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Tuesday, 11th February, 2020.

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


(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)



   THE HON. SPEAKER: I wish to advise Hon. Members who

have not yet collected their ICT tablets to do so. Officers of the

Information and Communication Technology Department (ICT) who are distributing the ICT tablets are stationed in Room No. 311, Third Floor.



    THE HON. SPEAKER: I also wish to advise the House that from

Tuesday 18th February 2020 onwards, the Votes and Proceedings and other documents related to the business of Parliament will be sent electronically and Hon. Members can access the documents from their ICT tablets. No hard copies will be printed. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Order, on the perceived inadequacies on the use of the ICT tablets, you need to liaise with your Chief Whips because we came up with procedures as to how those inadequacies can be technologically attended to. If you are in doubt, you see the ICT Department, they will advise you accordingly.

         Let me take this opportunity to welcome all of you Hon. Members to this session and I hope you had a restful period with families. We look forward to our cooperative venture in promoting the work of Parliament together.


    THE HON. SPEAKER: Before I forget, I would like to meet the

Chairpersons of the Portfolio Committee on Local Government, Public Works and National Housing and the one on Public Service, Labour and

Social Welfare today before you go away.

         ^HON. MABOYI: My point of privilege is on the floods that have occurred in Binga for the past two days. Many people were affected by these rains to a point that they no longer have accommodation. Some of them are on tree tops. They need assistance. They have gone for some hours without assistance. They do not have food and accommodation because they have run away from water. For those who have been reporting about the issue, they have gone for more than 7 kilometres where they thought they would get help. I am saying these people need help. I thank you.

                 THE HON. SPEAKER: May I request the Leader of Government

Business to confer with the Minister of Local Government and Public

Works on the dire situation in Binga so that the Civil Protection Department can be engaged quickly.

       HON. RAIDZA: My point of privilege is on the ZIMSEC

November 2020 examination fees which they have gazetted for

November 2020 from ZWL$15 per subject to ZWL$190 per subject for

“O” levels. These fees are on the high side and my request is that our Leader of Government Business can bring this to the attention of the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education so that he can look into the fees as they seem to be on the higher side which may result in a number of students might facing a lot of difficulties in writing their “O” level and “A” level examinations in 2020.

         HON. MUTSEYAMI: My point of privilege specifically is directed to the Minister of Health and Child Care. My humble request is for the Hon Minister to come to this House and give an update as well as the nation at large on the challenges, preparations and everything else to do with the coronavirus, on the preparations we have done as a Government. Specifically, the Hon Minister has to address the question why Zimbabwe as a country is still allowing the coming in of Chinese visitors whilst we have first world countries like Russia, Australia and many other countries who have closed their borders due to the level of the challenge which is so massive that Zimbabwe as a country may not be able to solve.  If ever this problem would come to us, it will be a mammoth task to address or give it the attention it deserves. Mr. Speaker

Sir, I put it to you that it be addressed as soon as possible.

   THE HON. SPEAKER: Leader of Government Business, the

request for the ministerial statement on coronavirus by the Minister of Health. When I spoke to you Hon Minister about the Binga issue as raised by Hon. Maboyi, I did not recognise the Deputy Minister was there. So, you have to take it up Hon Deputy Minister with the substantive Hon Minister and perhaps by tomorrow and advise this august House as to what is being done to arrest the situation.           May I also indicate that some of the points of privileges can be raised during Question Time. So, do not overstretch my indulgence. I thank you.

    HON. KARENYI: I would like to draw your attention to the

Newsday of today, which I strongly feel that we need the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare to come and explain on the issue of domestic workers’ wages.  It was in the newspaper that the domestic workers will get $168 per month.  I strongly feel that those domestic workers have children who are also going to the same schools with those who are teachers or Members of Parliament.  We want the Minister to come and explain what would be the cause for it.  Is it feasible that the domestic workers can survive on $168 considering that they also have children who are going to school and they also want to buy food?    

  THE HON. SPEAKER:  The Hon. Deputy Minister of Public

Service, Labour and Social Welfare, I am sure you captured that.  If you can give us a statement or your Minister can do so this week.  Thank you.





I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 6 on today’s Order Paper be stood over until the rest of the Orders have been disposed of.

        Motion put and agreed to.







Speaker Sir.  I move the motion standing in my name that;

WHEREAS in terms of section 327 (2) (a) 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 of governments or international organisations shall be subject to approval by Parliament;

WHEREAS the Convention on Assistance in the Case of a Nuclear Accident or Radiological Emergency was adopted by the International Atomic Energy Agency General Conference at its special session, held on 24th to 26th September, 1986, and opened for signature at Vienna on 26th September, 1986, and at New York in October, 1986, and entered into force on 26th February, 1987;

WHEREAS the Republic of Zimbabwe is desirous of becoming party to the convention to set out a framework for co-operation with other state parties and with the International Atomic Energy Agency to facilitate prompt assistance in the event of a nuclear accident or radiological emergency to minimise its consequencies and to protect life, property and the environment from the effects of radioactive releases;

WHEREAS the Republic of Zimbabwe is desirous of ratifying

Convention on Assistance in the Case of a Nuclear Accident or

Radiological Emergency;

AND WHEREAS the entry into force of the aforesaid treaty shall be conditional upon its ratification by Member States in accordance with their constitutional procedures;

NOW THEREFORE; in terms of section 327 (2) (a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, this House resolves that the aforesaid

Agreement be and is hereby approved for ratification. I thank you.

HON. DR. MASHAKADA:  Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir.  I just want to seek clarification from the Minister as to what has caused all these delays since 1987 when the convention was operationalised.  Is there any latter day wisdom that has prompted the Minister to bring this convention for ratification since 1987?  Thank you.

HON. NDUNA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I just want to applaud the Minister for bringing the convention for approval or ratification here in the august House. I want to also say Mr. Speaker Sir, as we ratify the convention as it relates to atomic energy and radiology energy, we need to be aware that as a country and as a global village we are moving with the times in terms of technology.   Non-ratification and non-approval leaves us in the “born before computer era.”  We need now to collaborate and network our institutions and our nation with the global village Mr. Speaker Sir.

The issue of nuclear energy and radiology is the in- thing.  When you talk of chemotherapy or anything to do with cut- edge medical attention, you are speaking to and about radiology and nuclear energy.  It is only fair, prudent and just Mr. Speaker Sir that we embrace the global trends and the global community in terms of safeguards and safety nets as it relates to protection of these materials and equipment in so far as our medical institutions are concerned.  This is where it is prevalent in terms of its usage.  Non-ratification would mean we continue to be isolated in terms of inviting help that we could easily be getting from the global village.

It is my hope my Speaker Sir, that we expeditiously approve the ratification of this treaty so that we duly embrace the help that we can get in terms of safety nets when disaster strikes or protection of such materials so that they do not get to unduly injure our innocent, unsuspecting citizenry Mr. Speaker Sir.  It is with those few words Mr. Speaker Sir, that I want to applaud again the Minister for bringing this Convention for ratification.  Mr. Speaker Sir, on that note, I propose that we ratify or we give that approval for ratification without delay.  Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  I hope the Hon. Minister will clarify some misconception about the Treaty.  The last Speaker was talking about radiography as part of treatment of cancer.  The Treaty is not about that – [Laughter.] –



Speaker Sir.  I want to thank the two Hon. Members, Hon. Mashakada and Hon. Nduna for their contributions.  I want to respond to Hon.

Mashakada and indicate that this House has been making calls to the Executive to say that we have to ratify these conventions and we have brought some of them for ratification and the Honourable Member is asking why are you doing it now when the House was calling that we should do it.  Mr. Speaker, mwana oti ndoda sadza, womupa sadza obva ati ko wandipirei sadza randanga ndichikumbira, it becomes very difficult too.  Mr. Speaker Sir, the long and short of it is the Second Republic is committed to ensuring that we ratify all the Conventions that are available for ratification and I would not speak for the regime that was there in the 90s as to why they did not ratify.  I thank you.  I therefore, move that this House ratifies the aforesaid Agreement – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections] – Can you hold on please and listen. Hon. Member!

Motion put and agreed to.






WHEREAS Section 327 (2) (a) 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 of Governments or international organisations shall be subject to approval by Parliament;

WHEREAS the additional Protocol to the Comprehensive

Safeguards Agreement (Protocol) was approved by the International

Atomic Energy Agency Board of Governors in 1997;

WHEREAS the Republic of Zimbabwe is party to the NonProliferation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty but has not signed the additional Protocol;

WHEREAS the Republic of Zimbabwe is desirous of becoming party to the Protocol to strengthen and expand existing IAEA safeguards for verifying that non-nuclear materials and facilities for peaceful purposes;

WHEREAS the Republic of Zimbabwe is desirous of ratifying the additional protocol to the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement;

WHEREAS Article 17 of the Protocol provides that the Protocol shall enter into force on the date on which the Agency receives from Zimbabwe written notification that Zimbabwe statutory and or constitutional requirements for entry into force have been met or upon signature by the representatives of Zimbabwe and the agency.

NOW, THEREFORE, in terms of Section 327 (2) (a) of the

Constitution of Zimbabwe, this House resolves that the aforesaid additional protocol be and is hereby approved for ratification.  I thank you.

HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I just have one very important point that I want to put across.  The Treaty that we are proposing for ratification speaks to and about the peaceful usage of nuclear energy. I therefore make a clarion call that we as a nation are endowed with ubiquitous amount of mineral wealth which includes uranium.  It is therefore my proposal that; just next door in South Africa, they use uranium for the generation of nuclear power for peaceful purposes.  It would not be bad; it seems that it is allowable that we use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.  I propose Mr. Speaker Sir, given that we are ratifying all these protocols and conventions that in the same vein, we also interrogate the usage of uranium for nuclear power to cover the deficit that we currently have as a nation. If a little ball of uranium is beneficiated, it can produce a lot of electricity for this nation.  We currently require just below 3000 megawatts as a nation.  I am sure we can produce more than 15000 megawatts and also produce for the Continent.  This is my presentation Mr. Speaker Sir.  As we do, I ask that we interrogate the usage of uranium.  Thank you.

HON. NDEBELE: Hon. Speaker, the Minister has my full support because he seems to be undoing certain ills that the First Republic sat on for a long time.  However, be that as it may Mr. Speaker, you will agree with me that this is a softer part of international law.  I wish to find out from the learned Minister, when he intends to bring to this House a ratification of the Convention against Torture. Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

*HON. HAMAUSWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I stand up to give a reminder on the things that we agreed on with the Leader of Government Business in the House.  He said that when ratification of international treaties is taking place, it is important that the treaties should be availed to the relevant Committees so that clarity is made and the Committee can interrogate and share with other Members who do not understand like ourselves so that it can assist us when we come for ratification.  If I go outside and the Herald reporter interviews me on what ratification means and how the people whom I represent in Warren Park will benefit, I may not be in a position to respond knowledgeably – so my request Hon. Speaker is that, he should avail the international protocols to the relevant Committees and we will know what the nation is likely to benefit from the ratification of these protocols.  I thank you.

*HON. MATANGIRA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  We want to thank the Minister for what has been brought before this august House that Parliament should oversee what is being done in the nation because we are the representatives of the people.  Mr. Speaker Sir, as I was reading this thing, the word nuclear…

THE HON. SPEAKER: It is not this thing, it is an agreement.

Hon. Member, can you withdraw the statement, ‘this thing.’

*HON. MATANGIRA: I withdraw those words Mr. Speaker.  This agreement that we want to ratify as a nation, in my view, I think I want to agree with the previous Hon. Member.  Currently, we do not have electricity but we have a lot of uranium in this country and we expected reactors to be manufactured so that we have electricity.

However, once we have signed this agreement -  we have witnessed in Africa, people like Saddam Hussein and Muammar Qaddafi; is that not going to entangle us in future?  Yes, we need assistance so that if there is a radiological emergency…

HON. T. MLISWA:  On a point of order.  Saddam Hussein is not from Africa, if the Hon. Member can be guided accordingly.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Where is Saddam Hussein from?

HON. T. MLISWA: But you know where Saddam is from, it is

Iraq but it is not Africa.

THE HON. SPEAKER: I thought you were going to give a full educational intervention.

HON. T. MLISWA: No, but my point is…

THE HON. SPEAKER: He is from Iraq, it is alright. Now, I am sure you have taken the point.

*HON. MATANGIRA: Mr. Speaker Sir, in English they say,

‘birds of the same feather flock together’.  Saddam Hussein supported the Africans, even the Chinese supported the Africans and for that reason they are also part of Africa. These agreements are good, it is important that we sign them, but I think we also need to interrogate and see whether this will not have any negative repercussions that will be obstacles in our country.

         We had a lot of gold, minerals and a lot of natural resources a few years back but we are losing all those resources because of what is happening.  I want to agree with the Hon. Member who debated before I stood up.  I think we need to look at that agreement, engage our scientists for them to explain to us where the nuclear, radioactivity leakage is coming from and what has caused it. I thank you.



the Hon. Members for their contributions.  With regards to Hon. Nduna and his ideas the Minister of Energy is willing to listen to any contributions that may allow us to increase our energy output.  So that is well received and the Minister will be able to listen to you.  I want to thank Hon. Ndebele for supporting us and supporting Zimbabwe in signing and ratifying the additional protocol agreement. He wanted to know when the convention against torture will come to Parliament for ratification.  Like I said earlier on, we have already started bringing all the agreements and conventions to Parliament for ratification.  So this is work in progress, it is going to come.  Hon. Hamauswa was worried that the Portfolio Committee was supposed to interrogate the said agreement which I receive well and believe is part of Parliament Administration duties to ensure that the respective agreement is referred to the respective Committee accordingly.

         I finally want to thank Hon. Matangira and move that the afore said agreement be hereby approved by Parliament.  I thank you.

    THE HON. SPEAKER: In terms of Standing Order Number 20

(e), all international treaties, conventions and agreements stand to be referred to relevant committees.  So, it is very important that the relevant committees seize the matter and ensure that they deal with the convention so that we understand the implication of the treaty so as sponsored before the House.  I thank you.         Motion put and agreed to.







motion standing in my name;

    THAT WHEREAS, Section 327 (2a) 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 organisation shall be subject to Parliament’s approval.

    WHEREAS the joint convention on the safety of spent fuel management and on the safety of radioactive waste management was adopted on the 5th September, 1997 and opened for signature on the

29th September 1997;

    WHEREAS the Republic of Zimbabwe is not a signatory to the aforesaid convention;

  Whereas the joint convention entered into force on the 18th June,


                WHEREAS Article 39 of the Joint Convention provides that the

Convention shall be open for accession by all States;

    AND WHEREAS the Republic of Zimbabwe is desirous of becoming a Party to the joint 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.

 I move that the House approve the aforesaid agreement, I thank you

           Motion put and agreed to.







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 Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear

Material and Nuclear Facilities was adopted by the International Atomic

Energy Agency General Conference on the 26th October, 1979, in Vienna, Australia, and opened for signature and Vienna and New York on 3rd March, 1980, and entered into force on the 8th of February, 1987;

WHEREAS the Republic of Zimbabwe has not signed the convention;

WHEREAS the Republic of Zimbabwe is desirous of the becoming party on the Convention to establish measures related to the prevention, detection and punishment of offences relating to nucluear material;

WHEREAS the Republic of Zimbabwe is desirous of ratifying the aforesaid convention;

AND WHEREAS the entry into force of the afore-said conventional shall be conditional upon its ratification by Member States in accordance with their constitutional procedures:

NOW, THEREFORE, in terms of section 327 (2) (a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, this House resolves that the aforesaid Convention be and is hereby approved.

         +HON. D. SIBANDA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  Do we still have some of the rules when we are talking about medicines from other countries?  We need to look at some of the things which we can call dangerous weapons used to make those medicines.  When we are looking at these, as women, these medicines are going to affect us health wise when using them.  Most of the times women are the ones who look after ill people and these people will be using those medicines which are very dangerous to our health.

         Mr. Speaker Sir, some of the people are very cruel, they can sell to us these medicines which are very dangerous to our health.   We need to have rules which govern the movements of medicines from other countries to Zimbabwe.  So, the Government has to take the responsibility of taking care of such issues.  I thank you.



motion be adopted.

        Motion put and agreed to.






motion standing in my name:

     THAT WHEREAS Section 327 (2) (a) 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 Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear

Accident was adopted by the International Atomic Energy Agency General Conference at its special session, 24-26th September, 1986 and opened for signature at Vienna on 26th September 1986 and at New York on 6th October 1986 and entered into force on the 27th October 1986;

WHEREAS Zimbabwe signed the Convention on the 26th of

September, 1986;

WHEREAS the Republic of Zimbabwe is desirous of becoming part, to the convection to provide relevant information about nuclear accidents as early as possible in order that transboundary radiological consequences can be minimised;

         WHEREAS the Republic of Zimbabwe is desirous of ratifying the aforesaid convention;

         AND WHEREAS the entry into force of the aforesaid convention shall be conditional upon its ratification by Member States in accordance with their constitutional procedures;

         NOW THEREFORE, in terms of Section 327 (2) (a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, this House resolves that the aforesaid Convention be and is hereby approved for ratification.

         THE HON. SPEAKER: Before you speak, on behalf of all of us we are happy that you are back in good health –[HON MEMBERS:

Hear, hear]- We hope God’s speed will increase your health once more.

I thank you.

*HON MATAMBANADZO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for

giving me this opportunity because it has been long since I came to this august House to come and debate with my colleagues. Firstly, before I talk about the convention, I want to thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, for you advised me to go and seek medical attention. I also want to thank all the Members of Parliament who supported me; they are the reason why I am here because I took it for granted that I will be okay.

Lastly I want to thank all the Hon. Members for your prayers now that I am back in this House. It was a dangerous period for me. I changed to yellow within a day. I took a flight and sought medical attention. I never thought I would make it there but because of your prayers I got there and received medical attention. I want to thank Mr.

Speaker for giving me the opportunity to thank parliamentarians.

I also want to put emphasis on the agreement as I am also a legislator representing Kwekwe Central. Yes, nuclear is painful. Once you hear of nuclear it frightens you because it has killed a number of people even in Japan. Nuclear makes dangerous bombs. I am saying as Zimbabwe we should look at the issue of nuclear that is in the convention and that before we sign it – I am happy that we have not yet signed it; let us consider this agreement as Zimbabwe. There are those who make nuclear and they have made a lot of money because they are developed countries and have made money using nuclear bombs. We do not want to develop nuclear bombs.

We have a lot of mines that have uranium. If we mine uranium it will give us a lot of foreign currency. If it is bought by China or any first world country, it will give us better living standards in Zimbabwe.

Others have exhausted their resources, for example the Rambo movie – it is because of the mines that they had as they were mining uranium. We are not mining but do we have better standards? When we mine we sell to other countries and then we get money. I think the Minister is very clever. The Minister cannot sign something that will negatively impact on the nation tomorrow. So Minister, it is important that you need to look into it and see whether uranium will enable us to get our own electricity and other products because once we sign this and we allow people to come and sign we will not be able to use that uranium. We should stop the habit of getting loans from other countries. We need to look into that Mr. Speaker Sir.

Look at Britain- it left the EU hence the Brexit and we were told that the pound would lose its value. Brexit was a success. We left the commonwealth and the reason why we left is because we were being oppressed. We are saying let us not accept some of these things. We have brains and we should not be oppressed. They should know that with the education and knowledge that we have in Zimbabwe, their aim is to disadvantage us in terms of our economic success. I thank you. *THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND


Hon Matambanadzo and l also want to welcome him back. We thank God that he has returned in good health. I also agree with him that as we sign the agreement we are not signing because we do not want to mine uranium. The convention is there so that if there is an accident, there are ethics that we need to follow because we have the nuclear. So that is what it is saying and not that it is saying we cannot mine our uranium.

Motion put and agreed to.


MARRIAGES BILL [H. B. 7, 2019]

  Second Order read:  Second Reading:  Marriages Bill [H. B. 7,




Speaker Sir.  I present the Second Reading Speech of the Marriages Bill.

Mr. Speaker Sir, marriage is a most solemn and joyous occasion that seals the compact between a man and a woman to enjoy and endure life together in love and to raise children for the perpetuation of society.  By this Bill Madam Speaker, we seek to give the sanction of the law to that most fundamental, indeed sacred bond which stitches our society together, that is to say the marriage bond.

         Madam Speaker, of course this Bill will not be the first such law to do this.  There are and have been laws, past and present, customary and statutory, that have regulated the formalities of marriage but by now they are badly in need of updating and consolidating.  This Bill will combine in one law two Acts passed during the colonial era, namely the Marriages Act Chapter 5:11 which was passed in 1964 and the

Customary Marriages Act which was based on an Ordinance passed in 1917.  The Marriages Act regulated what are known as monogamous civil law marriages while the Customary Marriages Act regulated potentially polygamous marriages between persons to whom customary law may apply.

Why do we need to provide for both kinds of marriage in one law?  It is simply because in our social setting today, customary and noncustomary norms co-exist to a much greater extent than they did before.  So for instance, it is not unusual today for a couple to contract a potentially polygamous customary marriage and then formalise their union under the Marriages Act as a monogamous union.  This Bill will maintain the distinction between the two types of marriages but deals with them under the same statutory umbrella.

         Madam Speaker, I will not rehearse in any detail the provisions of the Bill which are adequately summarised in the Explanatory

Memorandum but I would like to share with you some salient provisions to give comfort to those among us who think quite wrongly that this Bill will somehow revolutionise or even overturn the marriage institution or subvert cultural values.  Far from it!

         The first issue I wish to address is the problem of unregistered customary law unions.  The transfer of marriage consideration (roora or lobola) in our indigenous culture traditionally solidified bonds between families. However, a disturbing trend has developed over time to commodify or monetise the marriage relation for material gain.  Some guardians of brides hold out for the highest possible gain for themselves while others refuse to consent to the formalisation of marriage until the last cent of the marriage consideration is paid.  This is why so many of our customary and non-customary marriages are unregistered.  To solve this issue Madam Speaker, the Bill will no longer require a customary marriage officer to satisfy himself or herself that there has been an agreement on the transfer of marriage considerations.  Please take note that the Bill does not abolish the institution of marriage consideration.  If the parties do agree on the transfer of such consideration, the Registrar is under obligation to record it when registering the marriage so as to minimise disputes about the terms of such an agreement.

Related to the foregoing issue is the problem of customary unregistered unions or what are called “common law partnerships” which (quite apart from the opposition, if any, on the part of the parent or guardian) are not solemnised for various reasons.  Not all of these partnerships are overlapping.  For instance, it sometimes happens that a couple embarks on an unregistered customary law union, have children together and purchase property together during that union, but then one or both of the pair contracts a registered marriage with another person.  What should happen about the care and custody of the children of the first union and how should the property of that union be disposed of?

We initially addressed this problem in the Bill by inserting the now discarded “civil partnerships” provision, which we will remove at the Committee Stage.  I assure you Hon. Members that there was nothing sinister about this proposal.  It was an attempt in good faith to help those women stranded between marriage and non-marriage because their partners, for whatever reason, could not or would not go through the formality of registering their union as a marriage. Compassion with women in those predicaments does not have to equate to hostility to the marriage institution.  However, to prevent even the possibility that these civil partnerships may somehow provide an excuse for our men to bypass or diminish the marriage-bond, we as Government will not countenance civil partnerships in the hope that some other expedient in the near future will be devised to solve this thorny problem.  We are open to helpful suggestions in this regard.

The other important issue taken up by this Bill is that of “child marriages”.  The Bill will formalise the Constitutional Court’s ban on marriages of boys and girls under the age of 18.  In doing so, the Bill is also aligning the marriage law with the Constitution, which expressly forbids child marriages.  This prohibition will extend to both types of marriage, customary and non-customary.  Anyone assisting, encouraging or permitting a child to marry will be liable to heavy criminal penalties and it will be an aggravating feature if the offender is the child’s parent or guardian.  However, according to Clause 42 (3) of the Bill, the annulment of a marriage contracted by a child will not affect any rights the child may have acquired as a result of the marriage.  This means that on annulment, the child will have the same rights to maintenance and division of property as a spouse has on divorce.

In conclusion, Hon. Members, I urge you to bring harmony to our marriage laws by enacting this most important Bill and raising it as a pillar to support this most cherished of our institutions, namely marriage.

I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

HON. MATARANYIKA:  Thank you very much Madam

Speaker for giving me the opportunity to present the Portfolio

Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Report on the

Marriages Bill.  I will not labour you with the introduction that the

Minister has already presented, save to say that I am going to present the Report as referred to the Committee by this House.  Therefore, I will disregard any parts that the Minister might have discarded along the way.   My report will be covering every part of the Bill as presented to the Committee.

The Bill addresses issues that affect the rights of individuals in different facets of society. In that regard, section 141 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, mandates Parliament to engage the general public in its legislative and other processes of its committees and to ensure that the interested parties are consulted about Bills being considered by Parliament.

In fulfilment of this constitutional requirement, the Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs in conjunction with the Committees on Women Affairs, SMEs and Community

Development; Health and Child Care; Gender and Development; and HIV and AIDS undertook public hearings for the Marriages Bill. The public hearings were conducted in all the country’s 10 provinces covering 61 Districts from 25 – 31 August 2019.


Clause 1: Short title

         Clause 1 is merely the title which no one had issues with and therefore accepted as in the Bill

Clause 2: Interpretation

2.2.1 Clause 2 talks about fundamental definitions used in the Bill.

Members of the public were particularly happy with the emphasis on the definition of a ‘marriage’ as a union between a man and a woman and nothing else. The definition of a child as anyone below the age of 18 was also applauded.

Clause 3: Child marriages

The Bill in Clause 3 outlaws child marriages, which was commended by the general  public given that Zimbabwe has been experiencing a significantly high rate of child marriages. This provision aligns the Bill to section 78 of the Constitution which stipulates the age of marriage as 18. It also gives effect to the judgment in the  Mudzuru Case of 20161 which outlawed child marriages.

The Bill does not discuss the issue of the age of consent to sexual activity. As the regulation of age of consent to sexual activity forms part of the sexual offences regime, this is provided for in the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act  [Chapter 9:23].

Whilst the Clause is commendable in outlawing child marriages, members of the  public submitted that there are still shortcomings and there is scope to improve the Bill by strengthening mechanisms for prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of child marriages, and also through provision of sufficient support to survivors of child marriage and measures to mitigate the impact of the same on their lives.

Clause 4: Consent to marriage

The Bill was commended for providing full and free consent by each part to marriage as this would reduce or do away with cases of forced marriages.  Members of the public, however, felt that the Bill should make provisions for  consultation of parents of guardians before any marriage is solemnised.

Clause 5: Nature of marriages

The public applauded the Bill for standardising all marriages in Zimbabwe and for affording them equal recognition, which signals a departure from the current regime where the marriages conducted in terms of the Marriages Act [Chapter 5:11] is considered to be more superior to the customary marriages conducted under Customary

Marriages Act [Chapter 5:07].  Some members of the public however submitted that inequality will continue as parties to a customary law marriage will still be able to convert their marriage into a civil one, but not the other way round (clause 5 (4))  “Upgrading” of marriages will remain a one-way process.

Clause 6: Legal status of spouses

The Bill was applauded for the provision of equal rights and obligations to parties  during the subsistence and dissolution of marriage. However, the Bill does not expand on the issues of equal rights and obligations during the subsistence of the marriage particularly how it relates to property rights.

         The case of Madzara v Stanbic Bank2 was cited as a typical example of how  women who are not registered owners of most immoveable property in Zimbabwe lose out when the spouse sells the property arbitrarily on the basis of property law rights – as the registered owner. The protection in the Bill is only limited to instances of dissolution.



       Clause 9: Designation of Chiefs as marriage officers

         The Bill is commended for seeking to decentralise the registration of marriages by designating Chiefs as marriage officers who are empowered to register customary marriages. Whilst the provision was largely welcomed, it was submitted that the Government must ensure that necessary safeguards are put in place to address challenges that may arise from this new provision.

Safeguards may include that, in the exercise of judicial functions, traditional leaders and the decisions of their courts should be subject to review by magistrates to ensure compliance with the law.

Members of the public submitted that responsibility placed on chiefs to implement the Bill may be challenging for some chiefs due to their age or education level. It was further submitted that, following the Land Reform Programme, there are areas where no formal traditional structures exist and Citizens in these areas might remain prejudiced in accessing registration of marriages unless the Minister intervenes.

Clause 11: Certain persons may in certain circumstances be deemed to have been marriage officers

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade made submissions for  amendment of Clause 11 to include every

Ambassador/Consul General by virtue of their offices to be authorised to solemnise marriages in the country to which they are accredited to.

Such provision should extend to a case where one party to the marriage is a Zimbabwean.

       Clause 16: Unregistered customary law unions

         It was submitted that under the current law, there are only two marriages that have full validity. These are (i) civil marriage under the

Marriage Act (chap 5:11) and (ii) customary marriage under the

Customary Marriage Act (chap 5:07).

The Bill continues with the characterization of an unregistered customary union as a  “limping marriage”. It is still an invalid marriage except in the limited sense relating  to “status, guardianship, custody and rights of succession of the children of such  marriage” under customary law.

It was noted that, it is a fact that the majority of marriages in

Zimbabwe are “unregistered customary law marriages”. All these marriages, both under current law and the Marriages Bill, remain

“limping marriages”. Yet their only difference is the absence of a marriage certificate.

Clauses 34 – 37: Registration of marriages

It was noted that one of the challenges emanating from the current marriage system, is  its failure to detect cases of bigamy. Although the act of bigamy is a criminal offence in terms of section 104 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, there is need to ensure that safeguards are in place to detect the practice at an early stage.        It was further submitted that, the Bill, in seeking to ensure registration of marriages, has made huge strides in attempting to curb the practice. The current safeguards in the law include the publication of banns and the notices. However, both have limited reach, hence limited impact in curbing the practice.

         Participants stated that the Bill must provide for digitization of the marriage registry, with the database accessible to all marriage officers for verification of status of persons intending to marry.

Clause 40: Civil Partnerships

Clause 40 on civil partnerships was by far the most controversial and most referred to part of the Bill.

Submissions received by the Committee were in two completely different categories. Those against and those in support of provisions on civil partnerships.

         Those against section 40 called for total repeal, as the practice is objectionable to  the majority Zimbabweans who are Christians whose beliefs are based on one-man-one wife as was demonstrated by God when he created mankind. It was submitted that culturally the provision is unacceptable to Zimbabweans whose ubuntu, customs and  tradition, identity, moral conduct and ethics are anchored on the sanctity and sacredness of a family, which is born out of marriage.

There were fears that the provision may be used as a vehicle through which foreign abhorrent practices will be transmitted to youths and future generations, leading to the destruction of a family as an indispensable social institution.

It was further submitted that civil partnership is a form of social deviant behaviour, whose effect legalizes immorality, promiscuity, and promotes spread of HIV and     other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and contributes to incidences of domestic violence.

The second category of submissions were of the conviction that section 40  was  progressive as it is intended not to promote cohabitation but to 'determine the rights and obligations of the parties on dissolution of the relationship,' in which sections 7 to 11 of the Matrimonial Causes Act (Chapter 5:13) were pertinent, with regards to, among other things, duration of relationship; extent of common residence; existence of

sexual relationship; financial interdependence between them; acquisition and ownership of their property; and support of children.

Clause 42: Void and voidable marriages

Clause 42 provides for the possibility of annulling child marriages entered on or before the 20th of January 2016. This was a welcome development that meant to protect the child.

Further, the public noted that in the event that the child annuls the marriage, the Government should set up proper support structures and safety nets for children in need of care.

Clause 53: Amendment of Cap. 9.23

Submissions and opinions were divided on the issue of decriminalisation of the wilful transmission of HIV as provided for by section 79 of the Criminal Law (Codification and  Reform) Act.

Those against criminalization of HIV were of the view that section

79 should be repealed as it does not only apply to people who deliberately and with evil intention transmit HIV to other people, its vague language means that any conduct can be a crime, including breast feeding. Therefore, members of the public viewed this law as making people living with HIV vulnerable to unfair prosecution, especially        considering that the direction of transmission between spouses cannot be determined. To date, the section has been used to target women who cannot afford lawyers, as a result most of those convicted so far were said to be women, because women usually are first to know of their HIV status and are being falsely accused of bringing HIV into relationship.

Submissions were also made to the effect that those who, knowing that they are        HIV positive, and do not disclose their status to their spouses, and wilfully transmit HIV should be prosecuted.

Some were of the view that that decriminalizing wilful transmission would be retrogressive in the fight against HIV and AIDS and submitted that wilful transmission of HIV, should remain criminalised and a stiffer penalty should be extended.


The Bill in Clause 3 outlaws child marriages, which is commendable given that Zimbabwe has been experiencing a significantly high rate of child marriages. However, there are still shortcomings and there is scope to improve the Bill.

        Recommendation 1

       Lessons should be taken from the ‘SADC Model Law on

Eradicating Child Marriage and Protecting Children Already in

Marriage’ which creates a  comprehensive mechanism for the state to offer financial and psycho-social support for children who would have been emancipated from child marriages and the  protection of children against child marriages. 

    Age of consent to sexual intercourse should be addressed by the

Bill. It should be      raised from 16 to 18 years

         Unregistered customary law unions remain the most common marital regime with about 70% of women living in rural areas in Zimbabwe being married in terms of this marriage. The Bill refers to their existence, but the shortcoming raised by members of the public need to be addressed.

        Recommendation 2

         The application of the principles in the Matrimonial Causes Act relating to distribution of property on divorce should be explicitly provided to apply to unregistered customary law unions.

         There is need to do away with the tag of “limping marriage” and recognizing them as valid, thereby putting them at the same level as registered marriages. The only difference will be that a marriage certificate is prima facie proof of the marriage while a party to an unregistered customary marriage would have to prove the existence of the marriage.

The Bill is commended for seeking to decentralise the registration of marriages by designating Chiefs as marriage officers who are empowered to register customary marriages in terms of clause 9. While the above rationale is noble, there are some problematic aspects arising from the proposal as it currently stands. Not every chief may have the capacity to perform the onerous responsibilities of a marriage officer.

Lack of capacity may arise from advanced age or illiteracy.

        Recommendation 3

         The Bill must not make all chiefs marriage officers by default. Instead, the Minister  may designate certain persons to become marriage officers, including the Chiefs, the headmen or some other qualified persons upon meeting certain criteria. This may be operationalised through promulgation of regulations that will give effect to the criteria upon which designation of other officers may be premised for purposes of this Bill. The criteria may include level of understanding, expertise and    experience in administering customary marriage related issues or any other consideration that will serve the best interest of this Bill. 

     The powers of the magistrate should be extended to include the

chiefs’ or any other designated persons’ functions as marriage officers under the Bill to ensure         compliance with the law. This is necessary to ensure that the Bill does not create a legal vacuum

         The Committee takes note of the submissions by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade for amendment of clause 11 to include every Ambassador/Consul General by virtue of their offices to be authorised to solemnise marriages in the country to which they are accredited. It is the Committee’s view that such a provision should be extended to a case where one party to the marriage is a Zimbabwean.

        Recommendation 4

       Clause 11 must be amended for inclusion of every

Ambassador/Consul General to  be authorised to solemnise marriages in the countries they are accredited. 

                  A procedure of transmission should be as follows: Ambassadors/

Consul General shall apply the laws and regulations of the Republic of Zimbabwe for the Registration of Marriages, the Solemnisation and the issue of Certificates of Marital Status. The Ambassadors/ Consul General should forward without delay, the copy of the marriage entry to the Marriages Department at Makombe Building in Harare. Upon receipt of the marriages entry, the same Civil Registrar shall be deemed to have solemnised the marriage.



         The Bill, in seeking to ensure registration of marriages, has made huge strides in attempting to curb increasing cases of bigamy. The current safeguards in the law include the publication of banns and the notices. However, both have limited reach, hence limited impact in curbing the practice.  

        Recommendation 5

         The Bill must provide for digitization of the marriage registry. The database must be accessible to all marriage officers registering civil marriages to verify status of persons intending to marry.

However, processing of this information must be for purposes of this

Bill and must be guided by the provisions of section 57 of the Constitution which safeguards the right to privacy. Data may only be processed by          authorised agents in the registry office through authorised documentation by the marriage officer or a court order.

         A window period of twelve (12) months effective from date of the promulgation of the law should be given for registration of all marriages but at the same time open unconditional registration and issuance of birth certificates and identity cards.


The Committee commends the Bill for the provision to parties of equal rights and obligations during the subsistence and dissolution of marriage. It is observed that there is a current legal lacuna which pitches rights of real registered owner vs. the personal rights that accrue in marriage in relation to matrimonial property.

        Recommendation 6

         It should be established whether marriages should be ‘in community’ or ‘out of community of property which is the current position according to the Married Persons Property           Act. We can follow the South African position which is in community of property or be guided by other jurisdictions which have placed protective measures that require spousal consent before dispossession, sale or hypothecation of property.  Regarding dispossession of the matrimonial home, the written consent of the spouse should be requirement and a remedy must be made available at law for those who are in contravention.

         Clause 40 which makes provision for civil partnerships has been challenged from a moral and religious basis. It is the Committee’s view that the provision undermines the monogamous nature of the civil marriage outlined in clause 5 (1) of the Bill.3 From a practical viewpoint, an additional challenge posed by the provision is in relation to the sharing of property at the dissolution of the civil partnership. The complexity is in determining the rights of the parties to the union at dissolution where one of them is married in terms of another marriage regime.

        Recommendation 7

         The entire Clause 40 of the Bill must be removed since it has sparked controversy based on among other things, unresolved property regimes. 

         The Committee noted that apart from stigmatizing persons with HIV, the criminalization of HIV transmission has detrimental gender dimensions. The Committee commends the Bill for abolishing the offence in its entirety, mainly to protect innocent spouses falsely accused of deliberate HIV transmission. It should be noted that the Bill does not abolish the mandatory minimum sentence of ten (10) years imprisonment for persons who are HIV positive and are convicted of rape or aggravated indecent assault or sexual intercourse with a young person.

        Recommendation 8

         Section 79 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act [Chapter: 9:23]  should be repealed. However, considerations of criminalisation when the wilful  transmission can be proven beyond reasonable doubt should be effected

         Despite the Bill setting out critical commitments that Zimbabwe must adhere to under international human rights law, it does not provide a framework for monitoring its implementation. Some of the critical commitments where the State must demonstrate  the extent to which they have upheld the commitments include inter alia, the commitments to end child marriages, to promote equality in marriage and to ensure registration of marriages.

        Recommendation 9

         The Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs must compile a report annually for presentation to Parliament on the progress made in implementing the provisions of the Act.



The Bill is commended for consolidating the country’s marriage laws and for providing for other outstanding matters related to marriage such as outlawing child         marriages. However, there remain other issues related to marriages that must be expeditiously addressed to ensure full alignment of all marriage related matters to the constitution. The Bill is silent on issues of marriage and inheritance, marriage and property rights; guardianship and citizenship. The relevant pieces of legislation must be urgently reviewed. It would be most desirable to have a consolidated Act of  Parliament covering all the key components of marriage law. I thank you.

         HON. NDUNA:  I will start at the tail end of my Chairperson’s report.  Madam Speaker, the recommendation from the citizens is that children’s rights should be produced first and foremost instead of this

Marriages Bill to be consolidated with the children’s rights and all other issues that pertain to the age of consent.  It was proposed by the entire citizenry that let there be a separate Bill that speaks to and about children’s rights, the age of consent and all additives that relate to children and their rights, as opposed to the issue of children’s rights being amalgamated and being put together with this Marriages Bill.

         The second issue was the issue of educating the masses about the impending Bill by the line ministry as opposed to your Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs going on the ground to unravel the Bill for the first time to the citizens.  Madam

Speaker, they wanted a whole Committee from the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to go and educate the masses about the impending Bill before your Committee on Justice, Legal and

Parliamentary Affairs goes on the ground.  The systematic Committee from the Ministry should be empowered with the diverse language usage that is enshrined in the Constitution - the 16 languages and make sure that they educate the people using their diverse languages that they understand. They wanted this to be done before your Committee embarks on dealing effectively and efficiently with the Bill at hand.

         Madam Speaker, the issue of children and under age marriages cannot be over emphasised.  The Supreme Court judgment can be brought to note if the children are not registered, if they have no birth certificates, identification cards or they have nothing that they have in their names to identify them in order that we know their age.  It was agreed by the citizenry that certainly anyone who is below the age of 18 should not be consenting to marriage.  However the impediment factor is that the majority of children either in Matebeleland down in Binga or other rural entities have no birth certificates.  They have been born in a house and not in a health institution.  The Act in terms of the Birth and Registration Act seeks to make sure that every child born is registered within 42 days after birth, which is six weeks.  That is not happening Madam Speaker Ma’am.  So, for that, we need first and foremost as a proposal a moratorium for a period of nothing less than one year.  Every child who does not have a birth certificate should be afforded a birth certificate, whether they are now with empirical evidence over the age of 18 or under the age of 18 so that if we are criminalising anybody who has been married to somebody who we deem to be under age, it is with empirical scientific knowledge and evidence that this person has got a birth and registration certificate, either in ID or a birth certificate.  So it is a proposal Madam Speaker Ma’am because I was one of the Chairpersons that went around conducting oral evidence on the Marriages Bill.

         It is a clarion call and proposal that there be a moratorium for every child in Zimbabwe that does not have a birth certificate to first have a birth certificate.  Madam Speaker, we will end up having a situation where we are criminalising somebody who has married somebody whom he thought was 18 because of the structure, body and outlook, whereas that child will be under 18 according to their real birth age.

         The third issue is of willful transmission of HIV/AIDS, that was struck down completely.  The issue of criminalisation was struck down because it was said that women are the most affected.  We are all born of a woman and at one time or the other during the issue of antenatal processes, they go to the doctor, present their results and interrogate their health status as it relates to HIV and AIDS so that the country can achieve the 9090 objective.

         Having said that, it was a proposal by the citizenry that the criminalisation of willful transmission - because muti unowira kwawakarerekera and the apple does not fall too far away from the tree.  Women are the most affected and the men never want to know their status. If they do, they do it nocturnally and outside the precincts of their marriage but women are always the first to go and give their status to their men who in turn turnaround and want to criminalise the women, what men can do women can do better.  If we criminalise our women we are criminalising a nation.  It was a proposal that let us remove that and let no one be criminalised for willful transmission because blatantly, it is women that suffer.

         The fourth issue, I am an advocate of ‘He for She’ and I know that we are all born of women.  The fourth issue on the appointment of chiefs as Marriage Officers, Madam Speaker Ma’am, it was an open proposal that the issue of sanctity of chiefdom and chieftainship should not be tampered with.  It should remain as it is as chiefs are not voted for and they are not appointed by anybody.  It is an issue of the family lineage in the chieftainship family.  So except the issue of increasing their knowledge in the issue of marriage laws further than that or other than that, the Minister should not have the power to appoint or disappoint a chief in the marriage officership.

     So this was a proposal and I make the same proposal Madam

Speaker Ma’am to this House, now that it was rejected and that it should not see the light of day in the current Marriages Bill.

         Issue number five of e-governance – the marriage registry.  It is also a proposal from the same citizenry which we presented the Bill to, where we conducted oral evidence that as we align the Constitution with the Acts, we need to embrace the issue of e-governance and make sure that all the other Acts are aligned to the Constitution …

  THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Order, order Hon. Nduna.  A

vehicle Toyota Allion, ADP 0480, grey in colour is blocking other vehicles.  Please, may the owner go and attend to it.  Hon. Nduna, you may proceed.

        HON. NDUNA:  Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.  The issue

of e-governance was quite vociferously, eloquently espoused and proposed by the citizenry as it relates to aligning all Acts – not only the marriages registry, Marriages Bill and Act but all other Acts because they remove us from an archaic, moribund, rudimental and antiquated state of affairs and puts us in the generation of today which speaks to collaboration, coordination and networking – that is e-governance.  It does not only create confidence in our registry systems but it also puts us in sync with global trends because a computer is rubbish in rubbish out.

A computer as it relates to revenue generation and plugging of revenue leakages does not ask for a bribe.  So the registration of a marriage register is certainly applaudable and it was applaudable then during the oral session – it is applaudable now.  It is applaudable in the future Madam Speaker Ma’am, and the issue of making an e-registrar and e-governance across the divide in terms of Acts is certainly applaudable.  I speak for other Acts as I speak for this Bill as well as it relates to e-governance.

Madam Speaker Ma’am, the issue of civil partnerships…Aaah – [Laughter.]that one torched a lot of storm to an extent that those women out there who are not married - In Chivhu when I presented, a woman stood up and said, ‘I will not reject a proposal when it comes from any number of men including Hon. Nduna.  If he proposes to me, I will make sure that I accept because I want to be part of the inheritance when he passes on if he is a well to do person like I know he is’.  So you can already see Madam Speaker Ma’am that there are people who, because of that civil partnership clause, would have gone into marriage for ulterior motives as opposed to the sanctity of the marriage that we know.

Madam Speaker Ma’am, that same clause - when we went to

Mutoko, a certain man stood and said, ‘do not sanctify your shenanigans you parliamentarians.  We failed to beat you up when you were young and we failed to control you but now we are going to fail to control you because you are bringing your ethos, values and Acts to protect your acts that you are currently having at your age.  Now, we as parents can no longer beat you up, we can no longer control you but you now want to sanctify your nocturnal Acts by bringing in Section 40 so that there can be civil partnerships, mapoto today, a woman married to more than five men and having a situation where they can get some remittances from all the men.’

They painted a gloomy picture on this Bill and asked for the sanctity of marriage to continue in the same way that it was before this Bill.  They said that, ‘marriage is the only fortress or only standing pillar currently’ and ‘everything else has fallen but the pillar of marriage is still standing and should not be defiled’ and this is their line of thinking.

So they said that, ‘further to the eradication of this Section 40 which can fuel a lot of nocturnal activities and bring upon this God fearing nation, a lot of issues amongst them the issue of lack of rainfall – there is little rainfall coming onto this nation now seemingly because of such Bills and sections.’  It is therefore applaudable that this section has been removed but further to that, they call…

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Order, order, Hon. Nduna,

you are left with five minutes.

HON. NDUNA:  Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am for the five

minutes.  So they called for, that we need not to bring to the citizenry our issues that we are currently creating on our own and they are saying that the present state where anybody who is in Chapter 5:11 can be criminalised for adultery are good enough as opposed to trying to originate another Bill that might be seen to be covering that issue.

Madam Speaker Ma’am, I will again want to emphasize the issue of birth certificates and the issue that every child should be registered as long as they are here in Zimbabwe.  Further to that, Section 35 up to Section 38 of the Constitution speaks to and about the registration of everybody who has been living in Zimbabwe for over 10 years to be given a citizenship status.  So if we are in a quest to align our laws with the Constitution – a nation is viewed in the manner and the way it upholds its own Constitution. We need to make sure that this Bill does not pass a litmus test if it is not aligned to Section 35 and Section 8. It is not aligned to Birth and Registration Act. We need to align laws as we debate the Bills here in Parliament so that clarion call further to the 12 months I had proposed at inception, I ask that it be elongated to 24 months because in Chegutu West Constituency there are a lot of children that are criss-crossing the width and breath of Chegutu who do not have birth certificates. Luckily, they have got a Member of Parliament in the form and mould of Hon. Dexter Nduna.

         They go to school without those birth certificates, they can learn as much as they want in a school of their choice, they can go and get their results and even to secondary – but time has come now for us to do everything by the law. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for the time you have given to me to eloquently, vociferously, effectively speak out about this marriage Bill. Thank you.

  *HON. T. MLISWA: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. I

will talk about this in Shona. Sub-clause (5) of Section 40 is the most contentious one. I want to thank the Minister for agreeing to remove Section 40 (5). It actually shows that as Parliament, the Minister listened to us when we brought submissions from the people. As Parliament that represents the people, we should be seen to be representing everyone. We should not discriminate others. There are laws or legislation that protects everyone.

         Those who want to be in civil marriages, Section 40 protects them but the challenge was that you cannot be found under Section 40 and under Section 5. Section 5 (2) allows that one can have a polygamous marriage. So we do not want to discriminate against those who want to be in a polygamous marriage because it is allowed in Chapter 5 (2). Under Section 40 (5) they were gaining both ways and they were benefitting more than the first wife. What this Bill has done is that it has separated the marriage unions.

         On the issue of AIDS that has been talked about - we are stigmatising. We should not turn a blind eye to HIV and pretend we do not know about it. For those who do not know that if you are positive and the wife is negative, you can have intercourse without a condom and the child will be negative. I am trying to explain that AIDS is not something that we should be making noise about when we have more diseases that are more chronic like diabetes and hypertension. For those people who used to take 10 tablets, they are now taking one tablet because there is medication.

         If you are HIV positive, you continuously take your medication and at a certain time you are found to be negative – my request is that

MPs who represent people in this House should be well educated.

Recently, it was being said that if you want to have a child there is insemination that was done but that is no longer done. You are given time to be tested, determine the safe viral load and you are told to have your child in order to give birth to a free HIV infected child.

         We are being taught that if you do not want HIV, as a woman you can use condoms. Why you are not telling your husband - if you are enjoying it that is your own fault and when it comes you have to face the heat.  It does not mean that when you are married there is no prohibition from using condoms. I am saying this because in 1995 my father was HIV positive and my mother was negative. I talk about this experience because my father died in 2017 from 1995. So I am talking about it because I have my father’s experience. He said that we should educate the people. That is why I can talk about it freely.

         We should not stigmatise. HIV has gone to a stage whereby it is no longer scary. What we should be talking about are sexually transmitted diseases because they are more deadly than HIV. If we say that we are protecting from STIs, then it makes sense because with HIV there has been a lot of progress because of science.

         On early child marriages, there is a contradiction. It allows that those aged 16 can consent to sex but marriageable age is set at 18 – that is a contradiction. No child should be allowed to consent to sex at 16 because you cannot say that at 16 you can consent to sex and at 18, it is the only age you can get married. That is a gross contradiction. It should start at 18 when a child is marriageable. It protects the child. You do not want a child to get married at 18 after being abused. Our culture needs to come in and educate the girls to keep our morals so that by the time they get married they are still marriageable.

         The other issue I want to talk about is that if you are a parent and you marry your child before 18 years, we do not want to hide our heads in the sand because the apostolic sect is guilty of this. They should stop this business of marrying children. After that they do not even want to seek medical attention. We cannot allow that – legislation should be taken to apostolic sects and educate them that they cannot marry a child who is below 18. Educate them that if a child is below 18 years they cannot look after their families.

         Men normally have a host of other women. With the young children they are still young because the man cannot satisfy all women in the marriage. The children end up engaging with other multiple partners. So they should be arrested. As Parliament, we do not want to be found violating the rights of the children or people. There is also freedom of association – we should not put legislation that contradicts another legislation. The legislation on freedom of association should be enjoyed by everyone.

         On the issue of early child marriages, I want to appreciate this because the marriageable age is 18 years and the age of consent to marriage should also be aligned to the marriageable age. The other issue that I wanted to talk about, in conclusion, is that this legislation if it comes into place, for women who are in polygamous marriages, they should be protected and this Bill actually protects them.

         I want to thank the Minister for this Bill because it shows that we are now representing everyone. As Parliament, we have done well in coming up with this legislation but what was a bone of contention was Section 40 (5) which said anyone can engage in civil partnerships. For those who want to do so, they can go to subsection (2) which allows polygamous relationships.

         I want to thank you Mr Speaker for according me this opportunity and as Parliament, we should not just talk about HIV without having sought latest developments in HIV/AIDS. As we speak, we should know that some of us here are sick and have HIV. Some of us have it and when testing is done, no one will go. Please do not stigmatise against us. Even those who are HIV positive also enjoy intimacy just like you do. I thank you.

         *HON. B. DUBE: Thank you Mr Speaker for giving me this opportunity. Hon Nduna spoke in English so I want to speak in vernacular that marriage was instituted by God and for that reason, Parliament and everyone is expected to respect the institution of marriage. On the Marriages Bill, I will quickly give a run down on issues that I think need to be addressed.

         The first issue pertains to the fact that a person can get married at what age. During public hearings, the people of Zimbabwe were clear that a person who should get married should be of marriageable age and it should be aligned with the Legal Age of Majority Act which is 18. The marriageable age is 18 and above. This assists us in addressing the issue of violence and oppression of children married below age because in marriage, there are a lot of challenges that are faced. That is why we have said you need people who are 18.

         Under customary marriage that is reconciling both ages, there was no age limit. The law prohibits marriage when a child is below 18. If a child is below 18, the question that was asked was if a child is below 16 years before one is of marriageable, why then is it that a person who is 16 can consent to sex and yet they are not of marriageable age? There are so many challenges that can be brought about by this scenario because from 16 years, a child can suffer from STI. When a child becomes pregnant at 16, the other question was who is going to be responsible? There should be alignment between the marriageable age and age of consent.

         Biologically, when a child is around 8 years, people say that a child is already sexually active, but as we went on public hearings, people said that was not important because if a child cannot stand for himself or herself in some other circumstances, it is then difficult to allow the child to consent to sex. There should be alignment between the marriageable age and the age of consent in order to protect the child and avoid risk that we are talking about.

         From there, I want to thank the fact that maybe Government realised that some of the things that we can talk about are not in tandem with how we live; such as a person can decide to be in a civil partnership. The issue at hand is that they realised that we cannot have people in marriage having civil partners and it is not acceptable because it distorts – like what I explained what marriage stands for. The Minister did well by saying this is not possible. I think we should also consider the fact that people can be promiscuous and whatever they do out there and should not infringe in the marriage.

         There are people who are controversial here and they say why engage in promiscuity in the first place. If people decide to be promiscuous out there, it should not be realised as marriage because marriage is not a game. So, it was clarified in the Bill. I also want to thank the people of Zimbabwe concerning a person who marries a child who is below 18. This issue was clarified in areas where I travelled to. In Masvingo and Midlands, it was clear that people said that they do not want it to be a criminal offence for a person to be arrested for marrying under the age of 18 but they proposed mandatory sentencing and no one gave less than 5 years in the areas that I went on public hearings. People are saying that those people who marry children below the age of 18 should not be found in our nation.  They should be behind bars for more than five years.  They think that five years is more than enough time for rehabilitation, so they are saying that person should be taken away from the society and rehabilitated.  As we look at our Bill, the sentence that should be given to those people who marry children below 18, the mandatory sentence should be between five and twenty years.

Lastly, on the issue of marriage officers, their increase was an issue that was widely accepted by people because in the areas where our people reside in, a lot of people would travel to the urban centres in order to get married.  Taking this rainy season for example, it is difficult for people to travel because transport is a challenge as bridges will have been washed away.  Now with the proposal to increase marriage officers, which takes into account all religions was a welcome development.  The Bill has now taken a turn in recognising customary marriages and it has been reflected through the Bill that these marriages are the same as they hold the same value.

Section 40 has a clause that proposes how people can share their property in the event of a civil partnership.  In the event that one dies, there is a challenge but with a certificate, it is easier to address the issues. In our African culture, we used to forget about the widow.  It protects the widow who is in a customary marriage because if anyone can go and register his marriage even with the chiefs, you do not need extended family to be witnesses as to whether you were married to the late or not.  So, that actually protects those in customary marriages.  I want to thank you for giving me this opportunity to debate the Marriages


*HON. KWARAMBA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker.  I also want to add my voice to the Marriages Bill.  We heard that the Marriages Act was put in 1964 and 1971. It was a long time ago, during the colonial era. So I want to thank the Minister that he considered harmonisation of these marriages.  I would want to talk about the child marriages.  I am happy that we are all against child marriages.  Together with the SADC Model Law, they assist in protecting those already in marriages.  The harmonisation of these laws is good, especially when looking at the issue of the age of consent.  Children were married off at 16 years and the Bill is proposing that the marriageable age be set at 18 in line with the Constitution.  At 16 years, the child is allowed to consent to sex.

When that child is allowed to consent to sex and gets pregnant, who is going to look after the child?  The parents are burdened to look after the child and the grandchild until their daughter attains 18.  We should align the age of consent to 18 years.

We also want birth certificates.  A child can give false information pertaining to their age and when these issues go to court, you realise that the child does not even have a birth certificate.  We want all children to have birth certificates so that it will protect them as their ages will be known.

Mr. Speaker Sir, under marriages, there is a bride price. It is good but the challenge is that some marriages are not registered because all the parents want are material things.  They expect the son- in- law to pay the full bride prize before the wedding and they end up staying together without a marriage.  We need to encourage our parents that when they marry off their daughters, they should not charge exorbitant bride prizes.  What is important is the love between the two.  A person is never married in one day.  The son- in- law will pay off the bride prize.

We also heard that traditional leaders will also become marriage officers.  We are saying that it is a good proposal because it reduces the distance and the cost of travelling to urban areas where people used to go and get married.  If the chief is in the area, he can conduct the marriage ceremony.  He will have a register and he can forward the registers to the Registrar of Marriages.  We also heard that those who are outside the country, the Ambassadors, will also be given licence to be marriage officers. We have others who are in the diaspora and would want to get married.  We really applaud the Minister for this.

In conclusion, I want to talk about willful transmission of HIV and AIDS.  I heard my predecessors saying that we have cancer which is more deadly, diabetes and hypertension.  AIDS is no longer a killer. If one is taking their medication as instructed, they live longer.  What I am encouraging is that when people get married, we should go for testing before we even engage in sexual activities. It is important that both of us know our HIV status and reach an agreement as to whether we are going to use protection or not.  I want to thank the Minister for the Marriages Bill and I hope that it will help us as Zimbabweant to respect the sanctity of marriage. I thank you.

 +HON. MATHE:  Thank you Mr. Speaker for affording me this opportunity.  This is my first speech in 2020 and I would want to congratulate you and wish you a happy new year.  Mr. Speaker, a lot has been already said by the previous speakers. I would just touch on a few details that they did not touch on.  On the issue of who has infected the other with the virus, I think that should be scrapped off our laws here in Zimbabwe.  I approached elderly people when we went around during the public hearings.  All the people were saying no one should be arrested for that because we have realised that men in Zimbabwe do not go for testing.  Most of them do not know their status.

Even women, there are those who have never gone for HIV testing but when they go to the hospital for delivery, they are tested.  Most of the time, the pregnant woman is the one who is found to be positive but the man will be found negative.  That has caused a lot of problems because the man would say, he is not positive so the woman is the one who is positive.  The issue of lobola is important here in Zimbabwe and it has always been important.  We still want that custom to continue but that should not hinder any marriages.  People can go and pay lobola at whatever stage.  If a person marries your daughter and you feel that he has delayed in bringing the lobola to you, you have the right to send a go between to go and remind him of the lobola but that should not stop them from getting married.

The Bill also talks about people who have cohabited for sometime or those who have cohabited for two or three days – [HON. MEMBERS:

Inaudible interjections.] – There are people who are disturbing us here.


+HON. MATHE:  If people meet in the streets and agree to go and spend some time together, it is by consent but if you say that if one of them dies, the remaining partner then says the stove belongs to me because we bought it together, I do not think that is proper Mr. Speaker.  There is a place where we went to in Matabeleland South, we were nearly beaten up by the elderly people.  They threatened us and said it is just that we respect Parliament, what is it that you want to teach the people by saying such things.  The language that they were using is the language that I cannot use in this House.

A section of Zimbabweans have said that should be scraped off from the laws of Zimbabwe.  It was important that we go and hear the peoples’ views on that.  Everywhere we went people were saying that if people cohabit for two or three years they should not be allowed to get a share of the property, but some women’s organisations were supporting that.  I will give an example of Nduna, if a woman lives with Nduna for two or three days, that woman cannot inherit Nduna’s car or property.  Here we are not talking about women who are just inheriting other people’s property but we are talking about women of nowadays, like women who are here in Parliament now.  They have their own resources and they are leading better lives than most men out there.

At times when a woman’s husband passes away, she can have an affair or a man friend who can assist her with this and that or even changing a tyre of a vehicle or just chatting with her to relieve her of stress.  If we allow that law Mr. Speaker, it means that if you die, suppose your friend had a family elsewhere, it does not mean he is going to come and inherit what you left.  At times when we look at the ration, there are more single women than men because men cannot live on their own.

If we allow that law to pass, it means a lot of women are going to lose their homes.  If we allow these young boys whom we call Ben10s it means they are after gaining something from the women.  If we allow that law to pass, it means these young boys are going to benefit from what these women have worked for.  If we allow such a thing to happen, it means these young boys will accumulate a lot of property that they would be inheriting from these women.  So we must remove that section.  The people out there said they do not want to hear of that section.  I thank you Mr. Speaker.  I know other Members still want to debate on this.

HON. MUSHORIWA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker.  I rise to add my

voice to the debate.  I want to start with the abolition of child marriages which I believe is a commendable thing to do.  What I seek Mr. Speaker is for the Minister of Justice to then help us in terms of the issue that has been raised by other Hon. Members in respect to consent to sex – the 16 years.  The challenge that we have been told within our constituencies is that if you leave the age of consent at 16, it gives room to older men to possibly abuse those 16 year olds knowing well that the law does not oblige them to marry them because remember, they are supposed to be married after the age of 18.  What then happens is that the old men will marry 16 year old girls and abuse them knowing fully well that if they get pregnant, they will not marry them because it is against the law.  The question that is there Hon. Minister is, would we be in a position to raise the age from 16 to 18 so that whoever impregnates anybody who is less than 18 will be subjected to a charge of statutory rape?

Then the other issue which I also believe is crucial in my view is the question of the equality of marriages.  I want to argue that, this Bill does not in any way put these two marriages at the same level.  As long as we have a situation where one can actually change a marriage from customary to civil marriage but you cannot do it vice versa, it then tells you that the two marriages are not equal.  It does not matter what other sections of this Bill are saying, in reality, everybody will tend to believe that, those who are in civil marriages are better off than those who are in customary marriages.

The other issue is to do with the designation of chiefs as marriage officers.  Mr. Speaker Sir, I understand the reasoning behind the question of having chiefs as marriage officers.  However, we have other chiefs with big territories and we want to have a situation where this should be castigated downwards to the level that headmen can possibly be made marriage officer because geographically, in certain areas it is difficult for a chief to oversee and be a marriage officer in a big and wide area.  In other areas it may be easy for a chief who have a small geographical area under his or her jurisdiction.  However, I think the spirit behind the Marriage Bill is to make it easier for people to get married and get the certificate to legalise their marriage.

Mr. Speaker Sir, the other issue has to do with the question of lobola.  I understand from the Bill that it is no longer a prerequisite.  Lobola is not being abolished, but it is not a prerequisite.  However, the challenge is; if we are going to have our chiefs who are supposed to be the custodians of the values of our society and you want our traditional leaders to violate some of the things that our tradition hold to be important.  Whenever a marriage is done from a traditional perspective, lobola is a key ingredient of a marriage.  I do not understand and I do not know whether it will be prudent and possible for our traditional leaders like chiefs to be asked to simply allow Peter and Marry who want to get married to get married whilst turning a blind eye to the question of whether or not the man would have paid lobola or not.  I think we need to have a balance and make sure that whatever we do, we take everybody on board.  Those who do not want to have the issue of lobola being tabled should go to those marriage officers who can turn a blind eye to the issue of lobola.  As we know it happens in our courts and other areas, but we want a situation where chiefs should actually be the last pillar or defense in terms of our traditional values.

Lastly Mr. Speaker Sir, is the question on – I actually want to believe that we need to try as much as possible to have as many people as possible to be marriage officers.  There is a Section within the Bill which the Minister – unfortunately, I do not have a copy with me here; but there is a clause that says, people are being given a time frame to have their marriages solemnised.  I think that the period that is being provided within the Bill, in my opinion is too short, you would want the period to be long.  Apparently, you also need to make sure that those people who are going to be marriage officers are also trained.  This is the other aspect that I have forgotten to simply say; at the moment, for a pastor or religious leader to become a marriage officer, one has to go through certain training under his ministry and they are told what to do.

We want to understand from this Bill Hon. Minister, what type of training is going to be given to the chiefs and other people who are going to be marriage officers knowing fully that certain positions in society like chiefs are not necessarily based on one’s qualifications but on the various laws of inheritance.  I will be happy to hear what the Hon.

Minister will say pertaining to how that issue will be addressed.  I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

*HON. KARENYI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  Let me add my voice to the Marriage Bill before us.  I am one of those who attended the public hearings to gather public opinion on the Marriage Bill.  Firstly

Mr. Speaker, women’s concerns were mostly on women in marriage on the issue of sharing property in the event of a divorce is often problematic on equal sharing of properties which they would have worked together to acquire.

If we visit our courts of law currently, we have an issue which involves Mary Chiwenga, the wife of the Vice President.  If you analyse it, it shows that our law in Zimbabwe Mr. Speaker – [HON.

MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – our law Mr. Speaker – [HON.

MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order in the House Hon.

Members.  Hon. Karenyi, that case is before the court of law.

*HON. KARENYI: Alright, it is before the court of law.  Alright, I thank you Hon. Speaker – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Let me reiterate that, the problem is; we have many cases which are before the courts where if a husband and wife divorces, they are unable to – [HON. MEMBERS:

Inaudible interjections.] – Mr. Speaker, currently, the law provides that if Hon. Makonya dissolves her marriage with Mr. Makonya, the problem which arises is that of sharing the assets which they would have acquired together.  Therefore, we as women, on behalf of women, I am saying in our Bill, there should be a law which provides that if we worked for assets together, we should share them equally – [HON. MEMBERS:

Inaudible interjections.] –

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members.  May

you sit down Hon. Member.  I have already overruled the Hon. Member who was debating.  So, there is no need for you to continue heckling her because I have actually told her to stop talking about the cases that are before the courts.

*HON. KARENYI:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  When we travelled around the country, it was revealed that most women are working for their families but when they face conflicts – or when men work for their families when they face divorce cases, they fail to get a fair share of what they would have worked for in that marriage.  It is therefore my desire Mr. Speaker Sir that there be a provision in the Marriage Bill on an equal sharing of assets in terms of the work both husband and wife would have done during their marriage.  If these issues are not addressed in our laws, it would mean that, between a husband and a wife, there will always be one party whose rights will be infringed.

Furthermore, the other issue is that the Marriage Bill should have a provision which is helpful to most women.  Most Members are referring to the issue of HIV/AIDS transmission; it was gathered that there are others whose rights are infringed.  However, in my opinion, there are some who take advantage of the law.  There should be a clause which address the issue of unscrupulous men who will be well aware that they are HIV/AIDS positive and they go on to marry an innocent 18-year old girl whom they know to be unblemished and infect her with the virus.  It is my desire that there should be a provision to help deal with this type of problem because if left unaddressed, many people will be infected by people who will be aware of their HIV/AIDS status.  It should also address those who will go falsely accuse their wives that they would have infected them with the HIV/AIDS virus.

Mr. Speaker Sir, I also want to speak of children from the Apostolic faith religion who are exposed to child marriages.  We also have some in this House Mr. Speaker where some marry young girls.  The law does not explicitly address the issue of how many years should be subjected to those who engage in child marriages and the men involved takes advantage.  So I suggest that those who marry young girls should be imprisoned for five to ten years and that might restrict many men from marrying young girls who will be below the age of 18.  It is therefore my desire that this provision be made.  This is good because even if the parent helps to have a young girl get into such a marriage, that parent should also be imprisoned.

The other issue is that of our mothers who were married for so many years and those marriages are not registered.  Mrs. Karenyi is there at Hot Springs and then Mr. Karenyi goes on to marry a younger wife in Harare and that second marriage is solemnised under the civil marriage and at law, that is the recognised marriage.  It is therefore my desire that such marriages be registered so that it is recognised at law that even if their marriage was not solemnised at law, the wife is the sole recognised one.

Clause 5 would have disadvantaged many people where, Georgina gets married from one man to another willy-nilly.  Most people were not happy about such an arrangement where one woman continues to have as many men as she can and then claim properties and many women were not happy about it.  On all men who marry and remarry, the law disadvantages the women because those men should be restricted at law so that if they move from one woman to another, they should have punitive restrictions at law.  This is so because every woman this man would have lived with views that union as a marriage as they will be living together and living as husband and wife.  When that man dies, the woman grieves over her husband.

In Norton, one woman said; “on civil partnerships, I am bitter because I have my daughter who is a cross border trader and works for her family but her husband does not want to solemnise their marriage.  When my daughter passes on, it would appear as if she was in a civil partnership.”  Therefore, Hon. Minister, try to help such women in such marriages.

In Mbizo, a certain woman said, “I was married in a certain year and my husband married another woman and they have solemnised their marriage already and I do not have a marriage certificate.  I am at a disadvantage because of that arrangement.”  Therefore, Hon. Minister, I am appealing to you that this Bill protects those women who are not married at law but they have been married longer than the woman who might have a marriage certificate.  We appeal to you Hon. Minister that these women be protected by the law.  Let me thank you for the time you have given me Mr. Speaker.



debate do now adjourn.

        Motion put and agreed to.

       Debate to resume: Wednesday, 12th February, 2020.

         On the motion of THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS, (HON. ZIYAMBI), the House adjourned at Twenty Six minutes to Six o’clock p.m.

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