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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 13 NOVEMBER 2019 46-06
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Wednesday, 13th November, 2019.
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two O’clock p.m.
(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. SPEAKER
RULING BY THE HON. SPEAKER ON THE IMPORTANCE OF
PRIVATE MEMBERS’ BUSINESS IN THE HOUSE
THE HON. SPEAKER: Following my ruling in the National
Assembly on the 23rd of October 2019 regarding the eligibility of MDC-
A Members of Parliament to question Vice Presidents, Ministers and Deputy Ministers on policy issues and the subsequent point of order raised by Hon. Mliswa on the same on Thursday 24th of October 2019, I have reconsidered my ruling taking into consideration the role of Parliament as augmented in Section 119 of the Constitution. It is the role of Parliament to protect and uphold the provisions of the Constitution.
The Chair has subsequently reflected on the matter and makes the following ruling:
Subject to the provisions of Standing Orders 62 (2) and 64,
National Assembly private members’ business takes precedence over Government business on Wednesdays and Fridays. As part of their oversight and representative roles, Hon. Members are obliged to pose questions with or without notice to Vice Presidents, Ministers and
Deputy Ministers. This happens every Wednesday afternoon during Private Members Business in the National Assembly and on Thursdays in the Senate. They also raise issues for debate in the House by way of Motions on particular issues which invariably have to be responded to by appropriate Ministers under whose Portfolios such issues may be applicable.
Hon Ministers must respond comprehensively to such questions as required of them by Section 107 (2) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe which states that:
“Every Vice President, Minister and Deputy Minister must attend Parliament and its Committees in order to answer questions concerning matters for which he or she is collectively or individually responsible.”
This is a constitutional obligation imposed by the Constitution on both the Members of Parliament and the Ministers. It is for this reason that our Standing Orders create a charge of contempt for Ministers who fail to adhere to this constitutional obligation. Failure to adhere to these Standing Orders may result in contempt charges being raised against
Ministers in terms of Standing Order 63 (2) of the National Assembly.
In addition, in terms of Standing Order Number 26 of the National
Assembly, Ministers are expected to respond to issues raised in Committee Reports within a period of ten sitting days.
Accordingly, my ruling of 23rd October, 2019 is hereby suspended sine die to avoid a paralysis of Parliamentary processes, I so rule.
RULING ON POINT OF PRIVILEGES BY HON. MEMBERS
THE HON. SPEAKER: Yesterday, there was a point of privilege raised by Hon. Markham concerning a forensic audit report and I have indicated that I would engage the Hon. Minister responsible. I have
done that. The Hon. Minister obliges and he will make sure that at the next sitting, I think after next week when we will have gone through the committee undertakings in terms of the scrutiny of the budget, he will table that forensic report.
As for the Hon. Minister of Health, he is out of town. However, I have made some communication that the House wants him to give a Ministerial Statement on the state of affairs as far as our health is concerned. I hope he will come back soon. If there is time tomorrow, we might slot him in.
As regards to Hon. Hamauswa, I followed up your request on national statement on water by the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement. The statement is ready and it shall be tabled any time when there is a window to do so.
Finally, it was a request for Hon. Minister Coventry to make a statement on the state of affairs of our football vis-a-vis the operations of ZIFA. She has obliged and hopefully if there is room tomorrow, she will make that statement accordingly.
ZWPC STRATEGIC PLAN VALIDATION
THE HON. SPEAKER: I have to inform the House that all members of the Zimbabwe Women’s Parliamentary Caucus are requested to attend the ZWPC Strategic Plan validation meeting on Thursday, 14th November, 2019 at 0830 hours in the morning in the Senate Chamber.
ACCESS TO PARLIAMENT WI-FI INTERNET
THE HON. SPEAKER: I also have to inform all Hon. Members
that access to Parliament Wi-Fi internet is now restricted to users with current log in credentials. In this regard, all Hon. Members are advised to obtain their log in credentials from ICT officers stationed at the Members dining room.
APOLOGIES RECEIVED FROM CABINET MINISTERS
THE HON. SPEAKER: The following Hon. Ministers have
tendered their apologies for today’s session: Hon. F. Chasi, Minister of
Energy and Power Development; Hon. Dr. O. Moyo, Minister of Health and Child Care; Hon. J.G. Moyo, Minister of Local Government and
Public works; Hon. W. Chitando, Minister of Mines and Mining
Development; Hon. E. Moyo, Deputy Minister of Primary and Secondary Education: Hon. Madiro, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage: Hon. Coventry, Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation and Hon. Mangwiro, Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care.
HON. GONESE: Mr. Speaker Sir, I rise on a point of privilege relating to the apologies. I note that previously in this august House, we have a situation where there are some Hon. Ministers who will not have sought leave of absence in terms of Standing Order Number 63. The Chair made a ruling that the provisions of Standing Order Number 63 would be invoked. Today Mr. Speaker, you have read out the names of those Hon. Ministers who have sought leave of absence from the Chair and conspicuous by their absence, I know you have missed some of the names.
I think Hon. Matiza is not among the list of Members who have sought leave of absence and it is actually a permanent fixture that he is neither in the House and he does not even seek the leave of absence which is provided for in terms of Standing Order Number 63. I think the Minister of Mines, Hon. Chitando and other Ministers are in that category Hon. Speaker. Hon. Minister Coventry is never on the list of those who have sought leave of absence and she will not be present in the House. My point Mr. Speaker is that even if they are out of the country on official business, it is incumbent upon them to inform the Chair through the Clerk that they are seeking leave of absence.
Mr. Speaker, you actually promised that you would invoke the provisions of the Standing Orders of this august House and that has not been done. I believe that it is not appropriate for this institution not to use the powers vested in it in terms of the Standing Orders which are actually supposed to guide our operations.
I therefore implore your office to ensure that those provisions are actually invoked, and not to have a situation where undertakings and promises are made which are never implemented. I submit that previously in the First Session you actually undertook to do so and up to now it has not happened. Mr. Speaker, I submit that the time has now come for you and this institution to use the teeth to bite those errant Ministers who do not take the business of this House and the people of this country seriously and I so move Mr. Speaker.
THE HON. SPEAKER: I thank the Hon. Member for bringing
the matter to my attention. As a fatherly Chair – [Laughter.] – I opted to write to His Excellency the President a very strong letter which was read in Cabinet and a reminder in support to that letter was done. So as of now there is no excuse because after that letter I think I should follow what the Standing Orders have indicated and act accordingly.
Hon. P. Chidakwa having been making a phone call was asked to leave the House by the Hon. Speaker.
HON. T. MLISWA: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir, good
afternoon to you. First of all, let me thank you for the ruling that you made in having to rescind a decision that you had made. It talks about the leadership qualities that you have. I think it is important that when a leader is approached and there is a plea to look into a matter to review it they do that and come up with a very progressive decision. I want to thank you wholeheartedly for that decision. It talks about the humility that you have. It does also teach us as leaders that we must do the same. Mr. Speaker Sir, let me take this opportunity to congratulate the
Ministers and Deputy Ministers who were appointed by the President, Hon. Garwe who is here and others, already not here despite being given that portfolio. I really want to speak from my heart, I think it is important that moving forward, we come up with a law that ensures that board members of every parastatal come through Parliament because each Minister who comes is always coming in with their new board. So there has got to be continuity at the end of the day as an institution.
Equally, the same applies to the Ministers. It is the prerogative of the President and it shall remain the prerogative of the President but there must be a better vetting system. There are some who were appointed who have never even spoken in Parliament, let alone in Cabinet, or been asked questions. So, it is important that there be a system like in any other country where people who are supposed to be ministers come through Parliament and the President has the final say. I think it is something that will make this country move forward. It is a suggestion and the President still has power and it is his prerogative but from an oversight point of view, it would be good for Parliament to be involved and I hope that you, as the Speaker, are also consulted on some of these people because you know how we perform, who speaks and who has the capacity and so forth. Whether you are consulted or not is a different thing altogether but the law must be able to cover that moving forward.
Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir.
*HON. CHINOTIMBA: On a point of privilege Mr. Speaker Sir. Hon. Members here – some of them have drivers but there is a danger as our security is compromised. You discover that when you go to the car park, you find some people seated on cars. Some of these people will be dirty and some of them will be putting on hats and it is not clear where they will be coming from. I would like to implore you that if these people sitting around the car park are security people, then it should be made clear. We need to know who they are. Some will be in our open trucks and some will be seated outside and because of that, I think the security situation should be reviewed. These people are neither
Members of Parliament nor are they members of the security forces. They are not even drivers, so I implore those with guards or relatives who remain behind in the cars not to come to this place but can remain behind at either Harvest House or ZANU PF HQ if they belong to these
THE HON. SPEAKER: I think the Hon. Member raises a very
important question. In other jurisdictions, no one just comes into the boundaries of Parliament without authority. So I take that point of privilege very seriously. We do not want any hangers around. So, we will make sure that those that just wonder around will not be allowed to do so.
HON. KASHIRI: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I would like to applaud the Minister of Finance and Economic Development and the
Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe on the timely injection of cash into the economy which will go a long way in easing the prevailing cash shortages. This move has been received positively as reflected by the fall in the parallel market rates as of today.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
+HON. MATHE: My question is directed to the Minister of
Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement. What is the
Ministry’s plans towards solving the challenge that is faced by farmers, particularly the issue of cattle that are dying.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE,
WATER AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. HARITATOS):
Indeed Hon. Speaker Sir, the drought has affected much of the country which has certainly affected the amount of livestock as well as human beings. What we are doing is drilling boreholes in areas that do not have water. In addition to that, we have been having regular meetings with the livestock industry in order to develop 200 000 metric tonnes of survivor feed which will be sold to communities affected at a reduced price. These things are ongoing but the major challenge is, going forward as a nation, we need to take a bold decision to ensure that some farmers in our country grow enough feed, specifically for cattle. If that happens, we will be able to stock the feed (fodder) over the years that we do have drought. This is very much required so that when we have droughts, we are able to mitigate against climate change. Thank you Sir.
+HON. MATHE: My supplementary question is - I was asking if his Ministry has the information from the ground. I realised we are having challenges when it comes to livestock. They are always dying all over. We just want to know more about the system being used, especially when we are looking at different communities. The cattle are dying four or five in each and every family.
HON. HARITATOS: It cannot be overlooked that there is dire need to look into the situation. Unfortunately, I do not believe our Ministry is the ministry that does declare national disasters. I believe that falls within the mandate of Local Government. Thank you Mr.
HON. MUTSEYAMI: Thank you Mr. Speaker. My
supplementary question to do with this challenge is we have seen this happening two years ago in places like Manicaland, part of Masvingo, the Midlands part and mostly part of the Matabeleland. We lost thousands of these beasts. Now, two years down the line, we have the same problem. What is the policy that we have as a Government so that we do not have this problem year in, year out without any solution? As we speak today Mr. Speaker Sir, we have already lost thousands of beasts but now the Government is coming in wanting to bring fodder and all that. It is a process that is happening but as we speak today, beasts are dying. What is the solution? What do you have in mind as a Government so that we do not have this problem coming in?
THE HON. SPEAKER: Address the Chair.
HON. HARITATOS: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I will respond in two parts to this question. Firstly, we have been encouraging our farmers to destock slightly. I believe and we strongly believe as a
Ministry that it is better to have nine health mombes out of 10 than have 10 dead mombes. Therefore, we have been encouraging our farmers to destock in areas that are in grave need of feed.
Secondly, as I mentioned in my previous statement Mr. Speaker Sir, as a nation, we have to look at the future. What is not in our hands is given by God. The fact that we have climatic changes it is not a cause of this Government, they are not caused by this Government, they are not caused by us Hon. Members of Parliament. They are caused by climatic changes that were caused by the first world. Therefore, we have to mitigate against these climatic changes. That is why I said that we, going forward, have to look in the production of fodder specifically for animal feed and not only to look at production for human feed because we all, in this room, in one way or another, unless we are vegetarians, we do eat cattle. Therefore, it is one and the same if we grow fodder for the cows that we do eat and ingest. Thank you Mr.
HON. MARKHAM: Thank you Mr. Speaker. My question is very simple. I understand the climate change and the reduction of stock but the point of fact and I would like to point this to Government is we are still talking about bringing in fodder crops when we have already finished the drought; we are going in the rains. Point number two, the Minister has failed to tell us that we do not have a dipping policy that is happening. My question is, when are we going to reinstate the dipping policy so that the cattle that are dying from diseases like theileriosis can be brought to book and we can get on a range of issues that have an open policy that is known to everyone. I thank you.
HON. HARITATOS: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir and thank you to the Hon. Member for the question. The fact is that we do in fact have a policy with regards to dipping. If we, as Members of Parliament are indeed into cattle, we will know that we have to pay a certain amount of money for every herd of cattle that we have and goes towards dipping of our cattle. So the policy is ongoing Mr. Speaker Sir. The unfortunate part is that we do not have the foreign currency to procure the dipping chemicals that are required. It is very important that we do maintain and continue to dip our cattle, otherwise for sure and certainly, diseases will take over and they will lead into a large amount of cattle dying. Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
HON. MAYIHLOME: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. Mr. Speaker, the same question was asked about six months ago and the same Ministry gave an assurance to this House that fodder was going to come from Mashonaland Provinces for the Southern regions of the country and nothing happened, not even a visit from this Ministry to check on what is happening on the ground. I will spare probably the Minister for the truth, however, why has the CSC not embarked on a programme to buy stock feed or animals from farmers who are desperate in the Southern part of the country?
HON. HARITATOS: Thank you Mr. Speaker and thank you to the Hon. Member for his passion into solving our issue that we currently have. Mr. Speaker, the CSC deal was signed on 1st April this year. The first deport that will open under CSC will be in February of 2020.
Therefore, we cannot completely blame CSC although it is noted that it was something that was put across to them. Thank you Mr. Speaker –
[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
HON. MATANGIRA: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. My supplementary question is – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order. Please be awake, you are now number two to ask an original question. What is your question –
[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
HON. JOSIAH SITHOLE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the Minister of – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
Hon. Josiah Sithole and Hon. Spare Sithole having stood up.
HON. JOSIAH SITHOLE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My
question is directed to the Minister of...
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order. What are your initials so that we can distinguish between the two of you?
HON. JOSIAH SITHOLE: I am Sithole Josiah. My question is directed to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education and in his absence, the Leader of the House. What is the Ministry doing about the escalating high drop-out rates of secondary school girls where we are having so many girls dropping out especially in Matabeleland South and Mashonaland Central? I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr.
Speaker Sir. This is a very specific question which I would respectfully request the Hon. Member to put in writing so that he can get a comprehensive answer. I thank you.
HON. J. CHIDAKWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question
is directed to the Minister of Energy and Power Development. Mr. Speaker Sir, Government institutions are now rejecting deceased bodies of people who would have died from citing unavailability of power at mortuaries. Where are these bodies supposed to go? In my view, it is
Government’s responsibility to preserve these bodies.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER
DEVELOPMENT (HON. MUDYIWA): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
I would like to thank the Hon. Member for the question. However, I think the mandate of the Ministry of Energy and Power Development is to ensure that there is electricity at hospitals and all other Government institutions.
Now, when it comes to dead bodies that are being denied by the hospital authorities - well, I do not know what to say – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]- If there is no electricity, it is because of the shortage of electricity that we are experiencing in the country. However, we want to ensure that all hospitals including mortuaries have electricity which is uninterrupted – [AN HON. MEMBER: How?]- We have always ring fenced those places unless there is a serious fault that affects the provision of electricity at those institutions but as a Ministry, we ensure that there is electricity in such institutions like hospitals where mortuaries are premised – [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order! Do not usurp the
Chairmanship. I understood the Hon. Minister very clear in her response and the response was reasonable.
HON. CHIKWINYA: I understand as well the response by the Hon. Minister and I want to draw my supplementary question on the particular aspect of ring-fencing the mortuaries being a strategic unit…
THE HON. SPEAKER: You do not have to reinforce my
HON. CHIKWINYA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I did not
notice that you had observed that as well. My supplementary question is to try and draw alternative methods of powering these institutions since we are suffering from power outages of more than 18 hours. So, even if you are going to ring-fence these institutions, you still do not have power from source. So Hon. Minister, what is the Government policy position on these strategic institutions with respect to supply of alternative energy sources like solar since they do not draw so much energy, they can easily be installed.
HON. MUDYIWA: In the absence of electricity, we encourage use of renewable energy so that we have got solar power plants for particular institutions but our challenge is on funding. We are looking for investors in that capacity to come up with such projects where they have solar plants to cater for particular institutions like hospitals, schools and other institutions.
We have got the renewable policy which we are going to launch very soon that is going to cater for such issues like renewable energy which is the only way to go so that the institution is assured of permanent uninterrupted supply of electricity from the solar.
HON. MAPHOSA: I think the question has not been answered. Whilst there has been talk of alternative source and everything, the question was - whilst they are planning, deaths are happening. Where do we take the bodies since they are rotting in hospitals? What is the Government doing to make sure that they give a remedy to the dead bodies now whilst they are planning for future alternatives? I thank you
– [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order! Can the Hon. Minister be heard in silence?
HON. MUDYIWA: Our responsibility as the Ministry of Energy is to provide electricity which is what we are doing at the moment. From the little electricity that we have, we are importing electricity to augment our generation of electricity in the country and if that is not enough, that is the best that we are doing at the moment. Hospitals fall under the Ministry of Health and Child Care and it is up to the Ministry of Health and Child Care and the responsible authorities to look for alternative sources of where they can place the dead bodies. I think the Ministry of Energy and Power Development would have done its part by providing electricity and ring fencing the hospitals by providing them with uninterrupted sources of electricity. Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
HON. Z. SIBANDA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the Minister of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality
Industry and in absentia, I will direct my question to the Leader of the
House. What is the Ministry doing to create harmony between wildlife and people and does the Ministry have any plans to establish funds to compensate the people who would be killed by the elephants?
THE HON. SPEAKER: My recollection is that this question has
been dealt with extensively.
HON. Z. SIBANDA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. If it has been dealt
with, I did not get the answer.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Check in your Hansard.
HON. MUTAMBISI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is
directed to the Leader of the House. The $300 withdrawal for individuals per week is far below the normal expectations by the general public. What is Government doing to cover up for such disparity?
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr.
Speaker Sir. We are in a transitional period. We moved from the use of the US dollar and we introduced our currency but we had a cash cover of only bond notes that were there, hence the need to ensure that we have a cap on withdrawals but fairly recently we have deliberately decided to inject cash into the market. So as we start injecting that cash we cannot open up but we have to monitor so that we limit the inflationary pressure on our economy. So it is something that the Government will look into progressively but the good thing is that cash is now being injected into the economy and the situation will improve progressively. I thank you.
HON. T. MLISWA: We have the Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Development there. He was at the RBZ and he can respond.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order. Hon. Mliswa, it is not permissible to point a finger at him. Hon. Deputy Minister, can you respond?
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHIDUWA): Thank you Hon. Speaker. I
am sure that the Hon. Members really want to get the responses but I officially started work today and because of that, I think we will prepare the appropriate responses. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order. Hon. Minister, you start
working as soon as you are appointed, try.
HON. CHIDUWA: Hon. Speaker, let me give the House a response on that. Hon. Member, the issue of economic management, we have to deal with a lot of variables and the variables that we are dealing with here are the operations of the parallel market. We are dealing with the issue of inflation and a huge cash injection has an impact on how people are going to behave especially with regards to the parallel market. - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order. Hon. Mliswa, I thought you insisted that the Hon. Deputy Minister must answer. So give him the due respect and listen to the answer.
HON. CHIDUWA: Thank you. I was saying the injection of
cash is going to be gradual and that is the long and short of it. Thank you.
HON. ZENGEYA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I have a
supplementary question pertaining to the response that has been given
by the Deputy Minister. Whilst you say you are in the process of monitoring the cash flow, how come while people were failing to access money in the banks there was so much money that was found circulating in the streets of Harare than in the banks? Thank you.
HON. CHIDUWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I am sure that the Hon. Members should appreciate that economic management is not based on what you see on the streets. What is important is whether we have empirical evidence to that effect – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – [AN. HON. MEMBER: Are you saying that ZBC is lying?] – [HON. T. MLISWA: ZBC is State owned so hainyepe.] – The Hon. Members are worried about the monies that the SMEs are making on the streets and – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – I am sure the Hon. Members want a response so what I am saying is if we look at our broad policy, we want to have broad financial inclusion. We want the sector to be banked so we are having a situation where people are making their money but if the money is not banked, this is why
Government policy is saying we want to ensure that people are banked.
That issue I am sure is covered because people are probably not banking their proceeds.
Then the other dimension Hon. Speaker which is part of the policy that we are working on is the issue of dealing with the black market. The issue of the black market is something that we are saying when people are buying goods and services from outside; they bring in goods through our borders. What we need is as they bring those goods, the easiest thing for us is just to say mari wakaiwanepi? This will immediately deal with the black market because as long as we say mari wakaiwanepi people will go through the official market. So that is the response.
HON. GONESE: My point of order Mr. Speaker is that the Hon.
Deputy Minister is answering his own question which he has created. He has not responded to the question asked. The question asked Mr. Speaker relates to the issue of new money, the new notes which were introduced yesterday which were already in circulation. The question was - why was there more of these notes on the streets than in the banks? This is a story which was carried on State media and I am sure that the Hon. Deputy Minister should be aware. He must make himself conversant with issues relating to his new Ministry. That is the question to which the Hon. Deputy Minister did not respond and that is my point of order that the Hon. Deputy Minister should be directed because his response does not relate to the new notes. He talks about banking Mr. Speaker, that cannot arise in respect of the new notes which were only introduced yesterday. The question is how this money got on to the streets before going through the banks. That is the answer or response which the people of Zimbabwe want to know because there is a suspicion that this money is being put on the black market instead of the formal market which is the banks.
HON. CHIDUWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I may not be privy to
the funds that are in the banks but as of yesterday banks were injected with cash. People were allowed to withdraw their monies. So that is the long and short of it. Maybe the Hon. Members are privileged that they know what is left in the banks but as for the money that was on the street, I am sure people have been given access to withdraw their cash and they did the withdrawals.
HON. MARKHAM: Hon. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Lands, Climate and Water. What is Government’s policy in these times of drought with the wanton drilling of boreholes and the construction of dams both in urban, peri-urban and rural areas, all three areas? What is the Government’s policy towards this because this is happening without following current Government regulations? I understand that water is critical but this is for primary use. My biggest concern is the people downstream of the rivers are not being consulted. The people lose, the water table of the underground water is dropping by tens of metres. My question is - what is the Ministry doing about it because the policy that they have got at the moment is not being observed.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE,
WATER AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. HARITATOS):
Thank you Hon. Speaker, I want to thank the Hon. Member for his question. We have sub-catchments within ZINWA and those subcatchments certainly do consult with the consumers of water. Therefore, the assumption is that when someone drills a borehole, that very same person needs to apply to ZINWA to be able to drill that borehole. That is where the management of these numbers is taken into consideration.
Hon. Speaker Sir, we have a serious problem in that we did not receive enough rainfall in the last season. Therefore, it is of paramount importance that we ensure that people do have access to water. So while we do appreciate that water tables are dropping we also realize that it is a basic human right to access water. Secondly, with regard to dams - you will know that we went to tender earlier this year on 19 dams and those tenders will be issued. Companies did tender for this and they were shortlisted, so our way forward is that we will continue to harvest more water through the building and construction of those dams. Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir.
HON. MARKHAM: Mr. Speaker, my question was specific in
the fact that if you are talking of the dam being built, the water downstream is being taken away from the people downstream because someone upstream is building a dam without the Ministry, ZINWA and
Environmental Management’s authority. What is the policy of Government now? What are they doing to rectify this so that the person obeys. We do not want one person upstream taking all the water and 400 farmers downstream not getting the water. The second issue is on underground water. Underground water is exactly the same as surface water; it flows and works exactly the same area. So, if my neighbor puts a borehole of 120m and I am only on 40m, he is stealing all the water. The question is if the Government is not enforcing this, what are they doing to improve the policy because they are doing nothing?
HON. HARITATOS: Thank you Hon. Speaker and thank I thank
the Hon. Member. He is clearly very passionate about this issue. Again Hon. Speaker as I mentioned, we have catchments in every corner of this country that fall under ZINWA. Those catchments are mandated to manage the amounts of drilling and they are also mandated to ensure that those that are downstream are taken into consideration. Hon.
Speaker, every single dam in Zimbabwe is mapped and has a capacity. Those capacities are recorded and a certain percentage of that capacity can only be withdrawn on a yearly basis. That mandate falls within that catchment which falls within ZINWA.
I find it difficult to believe the accusations that the Hon. Member of Parliament is saying. I will certainly look into what he is saying catchment by catchment. However, again the management of these catchments falls within ZINWA. I do believe and I am 100% confident that the management is done well. Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir.
HON. MADHUKU: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. My
question is directed to the Minister of Local Government and Public
Works. In his absence, I will ask the Leader of the House. What is the Government policy guidelines on the use of the disbursed devolution funds, especially to the local authorities in view of the fact that they have to meet certain requirements of the Constitution like Section 264 about participation, equitability, accountability and transparency?
Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr.
Speaker Sir. Parliament approved the devolution budget and what the Minister of Local Government did is to disburse to all provinces with specific instructions to local authorities on how to use the money. So the accountability question is not relevant because it is already there. Local authorities were given money, for example, Harare was given money for water and sanitation. It is very specific and it is going to be accounted for. All the local authorities were given and they will account for the monies that they were given. This august House has got a duty to ensure that the funds that were disbursed, they follow up and ensure that it was used for the specific purpose that it was disbursed to the local authorities to do. I thank you.
HON. T. MLISWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, thank you very much. This question was asked in Victoria Falls. While Parliament did pass the budget, there are also certain conditions in the Constitution in terms of the provincial council which must be put in place for monitors the resources and accountability. So, we cannot have a situation where you want to read John verse 14 and forget there is Genesis “in the beginning”. Let us read the whole Bible; the whole Bible as well as the Constitution. We cannot pick and chose.
The Constitution is very clear. I said it that within the very same section, it also talks about accountability and the provincial councils must be in place so that Members of Parliament are part of it and provincial councillors who were elected are also part of it. Right now, who is accounting for the money? It must really stop from the
Constitutional point of view. We cannot continue like this Mr. Speaker Sir. We also read. We might not be lawyers but with our little knowledge, we understand certain sections. The Minister must be able to tell us here which section in the Constitution overrides the aspect of accountability by the provincial council which is set up? That is my question. Which section of the Constitution overrides the accountability aspect of the provincial council which is set up – [HON. MEMBERS:
Hear, hear.] – Money coming in yes, but do not disburse money before there is a system or mechanism which the Constitution talks about.
Accountability is critical. Some of us in our own little way understand that Mr. Speaker. I am not a lawyer, but he must tell us the section in the Constitution not the one that he chooses. He is a lawyer, he knows the section and the test can only pass if he tells us the section he refers to. Thank you.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr.
Speaker Sir. The very Constitution that he is quoting in terms of provincial councils is fatally defective – [HON. MLISWA: Which section is that?] - Let me explain. Mr. Speaker, if you go to Section
270, which speaks about metropolitan councils – [AN HON. MEMBER: Siya metropolitan councils. Taura mamwe 8.] – Mr. Speaker Sir, if you want to look at the totality of the Constitution in terms of the provincial councils, it speaks about metropolitan councils. It refers to committees that have to be set up. When it talks about metropolitan councils, it says those that have been elected, those that are not MPs but provincial councilors that have been elected must be members of committees. In metropolitan councils they are not there; the provision is not there. So we are trying to clean up all this so that we come up with good legislation that will speak to the setting up of these provincial councils. Whatever he is referring to, we are mindful of that but in terms of accountability, we are saying the metropolitan councils as they are currently constituted, the rural district councils as they are currently constituted are still accountable for the funds that are appropriated to them. I thank you Mr. Speaker.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order. In terms of Standing Order
Number 64, time for Questions without Notice has expired.
HON. CHIBAYA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I move that time for
Questions without Notice be extended with 15 minutes.
HON. CHIKWINYA: I second.
HON. T. MLISWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, this is a fundamental issue and it is in the Constitution of the country. We do not want to be told things which are not in the Constitution. Section 270 (1) (e) is very clear, the functions of provincial and metropolitan councils which the Minister is referring to, (e) talks about one of the functions which is to monitor and evaluate the use of the resources in its province. These are resources coming from where, they are coming from the fiscus! So, I do not know which Constitution the Hon. Minister is referring to. I want to know because we do not want people to think that we do not read. We are very uneducated legally but we are able to point out to certain things that we think are necessary at the right time like I am doing now. He must respond by a constitutional provision which overrides that. It is above the law; the law requires the law not hearsay.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Mr. Speaker, I said funds were appropriated by Parliament and when Parliament did that, they were mindful that the provincial and metropolitan councils were not properly constituted. The point that I was trying to make to the defectiveness of the Constitution is that if you go to Section 271 of the Constitution, it says Committees of
Provincial councils, and it says for the better exercise of their functions, provincial and metropolitan councils may establish committees but each committee must be presided over by a member referred to in Section 268 (h) or 269 (1) (h). Section 268 refers to provincial councils and 269 refers to metropolitan councils but if you go to Section 269 there is no (h) and if you look at it on the composition of metropolitan councils, they forgot about these provincial councils.
Mr. Speaker, our position is we need to clean up all these issues aside of saying that it is also a conflict to say that a Member of Parliament appropriates, follows that particular budget, monitors it and will have oversight over it. We think we need to clean it up so that Members of Parliament do not sit in the provincial council but if this provision I have indicated shows that even the Constitution that he is quoting has got provisions that are missing which is what we want to correct. Thank you – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order, this is a very important observation. The bottom line - [Laughter.] – I would ask the Hon.
Minister to liaise with the Attorney- General to indicate whether in view of these gaps and shortcomings in the Constitution, can Government proceed to disburse funds to local authorities. So, we need that clarity. When we had a Pre-Budget Seminar, I indicated that let us err on the positive side of the law and the Constitution. So let us approach the Attorney- General or any other group of lawyers that can assist us as to whether we can in fact disburse funds in the light of these inconsistencies in the Constitution.
HON. MUSHAYI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Development. The reality currently is that pharmacies are charging medications in foreign currency. Given the current situation and the crisis that we have in the health sector, what is it that you are doing to make sure that pharmacies are provided with the foreign currency that they need to procure drugs.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND
ECONONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHIDUWA): Thank you
Hon. Speaker. We all agree that foreign currency is in short supply, so
in terms of the allocation of scarce resource, we deal with the issue of priorities as they come. So, health is a priority but obviously there is no way we are going to fully fund because we only allocate what is there.
HON. MUSHORIWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker….
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, please go straight to the point
because time is running out.
HON. MUSHORIWA: In light of the response by the Hon.
Deputy Minister, given the fact that yesterday the Government Spokesperson said the Government was going to charge pharmacies that are charging their products in foreign currency which they are procuring using foreign currency, yet you are saying that there is not enough money to give to these pharmacies, is it fair for the Government to take that route? – [AN HON. MEMBER: You can google Hon. Minister.]
THE HON. SPEAKER: Do not be disparaging, I do not like the
issue of google. Do not be disrespectful and also take into account that the Hon. Deputy Minister is new, be indulgent. Thank you.
HON. CHIDUWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I think the issue that is supposed to guide us is the issue of law. We have got the law that prescribes how the businesses are supposed to operate. I think what is prudent is for us to just follow the law. If businesses are out of sync with the law, that is what we follow.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order.
Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE HON.
SPEAKER in terms of Standing Order No. 64.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE
HON. CHIBAYA: Hon. Speaker Sir, question number one has been on the Order Paper for some time now but the Minister does not attend Parliament. I kindly ask through the Leader of the House if the
Hon. Minister can prepare his written response and give it to any of the
Ministers who always comes to Parliament or to the Leader of the
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, can you kindly
be reminded that this is the Second Session and all questions are new. So the issue that it has been on the Order Paper for long is out. These are new questions and they will be attended to.
HON. CHIBAYA: On a point of order Hon. Speaker, with all due respect, we have questions with notice on the Order Paper but this front bench is empty. There is no one to ask as all the Ministers have walked out of Parliament. What are we doing? These questions are coming from our constituencies but the Ministers just walk out and there is nobody to ask. The Ministers are not even serious.
POLICY REGARDING SWITCHING OFF OF LIGHTS IN
- TSUURA asked the Minister of Energy and Power Development to inform the House on the Government policy regarding switching off of lights in Government offices after working hours in view of power shortages experienced.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. MUDYIWA): We are still working on the
answers. We can defer the question.
PROVISION OF SANITARY WEAR FOR IMPRISONED
WOMEN AND GIRLS
- TSUURA asked the Minister of Justice, Legal and
Parliamentary Affairs to inform the House whether or not the
Government provides sanitary wear for imprisoned women and girls and if so, to elaborate on the frequency and quantities distributed.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr.
Speaker Sir. I will answer the first part of the question, the statistics will follow. Indeed, we provide the sanitary wear to women in prison to the extent of the available resources that would have been availed by Treasury. We try as much as possible to ensure that all the women in prison get the sanitary wear. I may also add that we do not have a huge prison population of women. Out of the 90 500 prisoners that we have, we have under 400 prisoners who are females. So we try as much as possible to ensure that the conditions that they stay in, they are availed whatever they need to use. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
HON. CHIKWINYA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. The principle of the question addresses items that are necessary to keep hygiene for prison inmates. Hon. Minister, may you assist this House by informing us what you are also going to do in terms of the principle of hygiene of prison inmates on the provision of slippers for inmates to use during bathing since they are using common bathing facilities.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. The original question pertains to sanitary wear. He has extended it to say perhaps it is an ideal thing in terms of hygiene to ensure that they have slippers which is also very specific. I will follow it up and try to find out whether they have those facilities for slippers specifically regarding what he is now asking. I thank you.
POLICY REGARDING PROVISION OF FARMING
INPUTS TO VULNERABLE MEMBERS OF THE SOCIETY
- HON. TSUURA asked the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement to inform the House the Government policy regarding provision of farming inputs to vulnerable members of the society such as the elderly, orphans, disabled and child headed families considering that the Presidential Input Scheme is insufficient to meet requisite demand.
HON. MARKHAM: On a point of order Mr. Speaker. My point of order is, Parliament has been reduced to a circus. We cannot ask questions during Question Time without Ministers here. As soon as we finished the Questions Without Notice, only these two honourable gentlemen are here. How can we be an oversight when there is no one here to answer questions? We are wasting our time and I am afraid tomorrow we will also be wasting our time with the budget because the very people we are supposed to oversee will all pitch up tomorrow thinking they own the place. I for one will not attend the budget session tomorrow. Thank you.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Can I try to respond to that
one. If you look at your Order Paper, most of the Ministers that are supposed to answer these questions were announced as having taken leave of absence. So, most of the questions belong to those Ministers who were presumed to be out of work because they are on duty. So that does not apply.
HON. HAMAUSWA: On a point of order. I am not trying to go against your ruling but I want to refer you to what the Leader of the House said. He once said that according to the Constitution, the Cabinet has a collective responsibility, meaning that if those Ministers who were here present, if they are here, we were going to be given confidence that Cabinet is working collectively. Now, if you say those Ministers who were supposed to answer the questions are on leave then it is contradicting the collective approach of Cabinet, thus the issue we want to raise to you.
THE DEPUTY MINISTERS OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE,
WATER AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. HARITATOS):
Thank you Mr. Speaker and thank you to the Hon. Member of
Parliament for the question. My response is as follows - as you might be aware, the Presidential Input Scheme is also termed as the Presidential Vulnerable Households Input Scheme. The programme is meant to empower all citizens...
HON. MUTSEYAMI: On a point of order. Mr Speaker Sir, I appreciate that these are written questions and equally the same, we expect the Hon. Minister to respond to those written questions on paper – [HON. MEMBERS: This is technology.] – We are not dealing with technology. This House is purely on hard copy. It has been the precedence and the Speaker always speaks for Members not to tweet in this House or to have access to the usage of cellphones. So it has to be clear. Mr. Speaker Sir, I seek your guidance with the presentation that is being done by the Hon. Deputy Minister. Is it in line?
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: What is important to the
House is for the Minister to give an answer but what is also important is that a written answer must be tabled. It is not for us.
HON. MADZIMURE: On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, it is procedural that the Minister must have a hard copy that is tabled and that is the purpose of a written question. Hon. Ziyambi got away with it when he brought answers without the statistics. That is why we give them two weeks to prepare. Hon. Ministers are supposed to table their answers and you cannot change the rules just like that. We are now an animal farm.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, you are now
out of order. What is procedural is that the Minister gives the response and what is procedural is that the Minister gives the report and submits the written report to the Clerks at the Table – [HON. MEMBERS:
Inaudible interjections.] –
HON. HARITATOS: Thank you once again Hon. Speaker. As
you might be aware, the Presidential Input Scheme is also termed as the Presidential Vulnerable Households Input Scheme. The programme is meant to empower poor citizens at household level to participate towards household as well as national food security. In that regard, identification to the extension of farmers that benefit under the Presidential Vulnerable Households Input Scheme is informed by involvement of the local community participation. The process ordinarily targets the vulnerable members of the society such as the elderly, orphans, disabled and child headed households. I thank you.
HON. CHIKWINYA: Our society has now broken the dual
enclave with regards to rural and urban. I understand that the Presidential Input Scheme inputs currently are being given to the rural communities. In recognition of urban farming which is also assisting in sustaining livelihoods to the urban people, what policy measures is the Government going to do in distributing presidential inputs to people who are currently doing urban farming in our cities?
HON. HARITATOS: Thank you Hon. Speaker and I would also
like to thank the Hon. Member for the question. However, on a point of correction, we distribute to 1, 8 million households. These households involve some form of urban which are the peri-urban farmers. So my assumption is that these are part of the 1, 8 million households. As I have mentioned that it is the community that identifies these vulnerable, it is not our mandate as Ministry. Our mandate is to provide the inputs that will then be later parceled out to the vulnerable community.
HON. KARENYI: What is the Government policy on the issue of
the implementation of supervising the issue of these presidential schemes? In our rural areas, it is public knowledge that these inputs are being politicised. Some of the political parties are not benefiting these Government programmes. So what is the Ministry doing to supervise so that all the vulnerable groups and all the elderly are given without political interference?
HON. HARITATOS: I believe poverty knows no colour, social
status, gender, religion as well political affiliation. If you are hungry, you are hungry regardless of what political party you voted for and whether you voted in the first place. Our mandate as a Ministry is to provide the inputs with regards to the distribution; it has got nothing to do with us. I thank you.
ADEQUACY OF INPUTS FROM GOVERNMENT PROGRAMMES
- HON. RAIDZA asked the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement to inform the House on the adequacy of inputs from both Government programmes, that is Command Agriculture and the private suppliers in view of the fact that the rain season is upon us.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE,
WATER AND RURAL RESETLEMENT (HON. HARITATOS):
Thank you Hon. Speaker. What I can advise the House is that we have met with the respective banks that finance our Command Agriculture and I am happy to inform you that 65% of the targeted farmers have been contracted. The following figures are what is on the ground: - 210 000 hectares is our target of maize; 30 000 hectares is our target under soya; 12 000 hectares is our target under sunflower and 25 000 hectares is under sorghum.
As I mentioned, 65% of that figure is currently being contracted under the Command Agriculture. Presidential Input Scheme, we have surpassed the 95% mark and we have almost completed.
RESERVE BANK OF ZIMBABWE AMENDMENT BILL [H. B. 9,
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI) presented the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Amendment Bill [H. B. 9, 2019].
Bill read the first time.
Bill referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee.
CONSTITUTIONAL COURT BILL [H. B.11, 2019]
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI) presented the
Constitutional Court Bill [H. B.11, 2019].
Bill read the first time.
Bill referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee.
INTERNATIONAL TREATIES BILL [H. B. 10, 2019]
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI) presented the
International Treaties Bill [H. B. 10, 2019].
Bill read the first time.
Bill referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee.
REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON DEFENCE,
HOME AFFAIRS AND SECURITY SERVICES ON THE
PETITION REGARDING THE WELFARE OF WAR
HON. MAYIHLOME: Thank you very much for the opportunity.
I move the motion standing in my name that this House takes note of the
Report of the Portfolio Committee on Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services on the Petition regarding the Welfare of War Veterans.
HON. MACHINGAUTA: I second.
HON. MAYIHLOME: Mr. Speaker Sir, I thank you very much
for the opportunity to present a report for the Portfolio Committee on Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services on the petition regarding the welfare of war veterans.
On the 14th May 2019, the Speaker of the National Assembly received a petition from a Mr. B. Kundhlande, which was then referred to the Portfolio Committee on Defence, Home Affairs and Security
Services. The petitioners’ prayers were that Parliament should conduct an enquiry into the welfare and plight of war veterans. He made reference to Section 23 (2) of the Constitution which provides that the State must take reasonable measures for the welfare and economic empowerment of veterans of the liberation struggle. He lamented that the current economic situation where the cost of living is perpetually rising. The monthly pension of RTGS$240 could not meet a quarter of the family’s basic requirements. He described the state of the health care having deteriorated where operations, scans, spectacles, medicines and drugs are being charged in foreign currency.
The prayer also besieged Parliament to recommend that the Ministry of Defence and War Veterans Affairs adopts policies and practices that take into consideration economic empowerment such as joint venture mining, agriculture, vocational training centres, loan facilities and fair representation in Government structures. In terms of Section 149 of the Constitution, the Portfolio Committee on Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services conducted an enquiry to assess the adequacy and effectiveness of Government policies and programmes targeted at empowering and improving the general welfare of war veterans across the country.
Your Committee undertook the following activities in gathering evidence. Oral evidence was gathered from Ambassador G. Marongwe, the Secretary for Defence and War Veterans Affairs on the pension benefits and welfare of war veterans on the 4th July, 2019.
The Committee also conducted public hearings on the welfare of war veterans in the 10 provinces of the country as follows:
We had hearings in the northern part of the country with the first group in Masvingo at Chitsanga Hall in Chiredzi and Masvingo Civic Centre. In Manicaland, we were gathered at Gaza Hall in Chipinge and at Queens Hall in Mutare. In Mashonaland East, we were at Mbuya
Nehanda Hall in Marondera and Zihute Hall in Murehwa. On the 1st of
August, we were in Mashonaland Central in Mt Darwin Sports Club and
Halla Hall in Bindura and in Harare, in the Senate Chamber and Mai
Musodzi Hall in Mbare.
The second group conducted public hearings in Bulawayo, Council
Hall in Gwanda, Jahunda Council Hall in Gwanda and Bulawayo
Council Hall in Luveve. In Matabeleland South as well, we were at
Plumtree Council Hall and Stanley Square in Bulawayo. In
Matabeleland North, at Lupane Council Hall and Tsholotsho Council
Hall. In the Midlands, we conducted hearings at Zvishavane Council Hall and Kwekwe Council Hall. In Mashonaland West Province, we conducted hearings in Chegutu Council Hall and Karoi.
The public hearings were attended by those who fought in the liberation struggle. Those who assisted the fighters in the liberation struggle and those who were imprisoned, detained or restricted for political reasons during the liberation struggle and the widows and wives of the veterans and children of war veterans.
Mr. Speaker Sir, furthermore the Committee considered written submissions received from various stakeholders including the Zimbabwe
National Liberation War Veterans Association and the Zimbabwe
National Association of War Veterans, and Zimbabwe Ex-Political Prisoners, Detainees and Restrictees Association, Association of War Collaborators, Zimbabwe War Cadres and the Association of Women of War Veterans, among others.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the oral evidence from the Ministry of Defence and War Veterans Affairs Ambassador G. Marongwe made the following submissions to the Committee that:
The War Veterans Act Chapter 11:15 provides for the establishment of schemes for the provision of assistance to war veterans and their dependents. The Act also provides for the establishment of a fund to finance such assistance. It details the War Veterans’ (Benefit Schemes) Regulations, the benefits entitled to war veterans as gratuities, loan benefits, education benefits, medical benefit and funeral benefits. He also emphasized that the Ex-Political Prisoners Detainees and Restrictees Act is virtually a mirror image of the War Veterans Act which regards to the special fund, the governing board and benefits.
On the pension benefits for war veterans and ex-political prisoners and detainees restrictees, the Permanent Secretary quoted Section 7 (5) of the War Veterans Act which provides for the pensions to be paid for the war veterans from the Consolidated Revenue Fund. A war veteran in terms of Section 4 of the War Veterans (Pension Scheme) Regulations gazetted through Statutory Instrument 280 of 1997 is entitled to a pension payable to him or her until the time of his death at the rate of Z$2 000 or an empowerment equivalent to at the time purchasing power parity of US$200 which was prevailing at the time in 1997. This amount was only given at the inception of payment of pensions of war veterans and was changed as time progressed as the rate deteriorated.
Mr. Speaker Sir, upon death the pension of a war veteran will be paid to the surviving spouse and any dependent child of the war veteran below the age of 18 years. The pensions for ex-political prisoners, detainees and restrictees are also provided for under the Ex-Political Prisoners, Detainees and Restrictees Regulations of 2005. He further lamented that the Pension Review Tribunal empowered by the Pension Review Act consulted relevant authorities and agreed on a policy of indexing war veterans pension to a grade of warrant officer class 1 in the Zimbabwe National Army. Whenever the salary of a warrant officer class 1 is reviewed, the pension is also reviewed proportionately. He also highlighted that the Ministry is considering a Cabinet decision which mandated all Government Ministries involved in economic activities to set aside a percentage to cater for war veterans.
The Committee was further informed that the current amount being received by war veterans and ex-political prisoners and detainees is too little given the current economic challenges. In response to these economic challenges, the Secretary assured the Committee that efforts were being made by the Ministry to lobby for an increase which is reasonable and meaningful to the comrades. Currently, the pension of a registered war veteran was RTGS$315, whilst that of ex-political prisoners was pegged at $317, equivalent to about US$22 or just abou7t
10% of what was availed in 1997 Mr. Speaker Sir.
The Committee was informed that the Ministry was proposing an increase for the pensions from that of a retired Warrant Officer Class One to that of a retired Major. This is in line with the Constitution requirement of Section 84, which states that veterans of the liberation struggle are entitled to due recognition for their contribution to the liberation struggle; a suitable welfare such as pensions and access to basic healthcare.
The Secretary submitted that the welfare of war veterans has been greatly affected by the prevailing economic challenges and most of them are riling in dire poverty and they do not have any means of subsistence. However, the Ministry has been assisting in providing certain assistance in the following;
Medical assistance – the Secretary for Defense, War Veterans
Affairs highlighted that war veterans’ health has deteriorated due to aging and chronic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes have become prevalent, hence there was need for consistent medical attention.
On the same, he submitted that the Ministry had prioritised medical treatment and war veterans’ healthcare claims that do not have a set limit. It was also submitted to the Committee Mr. Speaker Sir, that procurement regulations stipulate that the Government procurement uses three quotations. However, in cases where there are less than three service providers in an area exception are accepted and also the department caters for consultation fees. In line with this, the Committee was informed that the Ministry’s vision is to establish provincial and district hospitals dedicated to war veterans. Currently, plans were underway to provide medical identities for war veterans to access health service.
On funeral insurance Mr. Speaker Sir, the Committee was informed that the Ministry provides RTGS$2 500 for funeral assistance. However, this amount was no longer sufficient due to rising funeral and burial costs. The Ministry was engaging and strengthening partnerships with funeral parlors such as Doves Holdings, Nyaradzo Group and others so that provision of decent burial is maintained.
On school fees Mr. Speaker Sir, the Secretary for Defence pointed out that despite the budget constraints the Ministry had currently reviewed school fees from RTGS$2 000 to RTGS$4 000 per claim to cater for veterans and their dependants. He further stressed that the general shortage of foreign currency in the country was greatly affecting children of diplomats, military students and war veterans as parents were now being forced to source for foreign currency from the parallel market.
The Committee was also informed that a draft Bill that seeks to consolidate the War Veterans Act and Ex-Political Prisoners and Detainees, including other categories will be submitted to Parliament which I submit Mr. Speaker Sir has since been done. Moreover, the Committee was informed that once the Bill is passed into law, the war collaborators will be vetted and given requisite benefits. The Ministry was proposing to recognise both combatants and non-combatants, that is, youths who were usually based in refugee camps.
Now to the Public Hearings Mr. Speaker Sir, our Public Hearings in the ten provinces revealed the following. War veterans across the provinces expressed anger and bitterness with regards to their monthly pension benefits which have so far for many years been below the poverty datum line. Currently, the pension of a registered war veteran being RTGS$315 and Ex-Political Prisoners, Detainees and Restrictees paid at RTGS$317 is an equivalent of US$21 at the rate of 1:15 hence rendering war veterans to become the poorest group in society as they cannot purchase even a quarter of their daily survival needs.
A request was made for the pension to be pegged at the level of a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the Zimbabwe National Army. Statutory
280 and 281 of 1997 had pegged the pension of war veterans at ZWL
$2 000 but this was totally ignored and members have since been surviving on low pensions. It was reported that State had failed to honour and comply with the provisions of the Statutory Instrument. It was lobbied that the Government should settle the outstanding balance from the year 1997 when the Statutory Instruments 280 and 281 were gazette to both the living beneficiaries of the State and of all the deceased veterans. A request was also made that all senior citizens should be paid before civil servants.
Mr. Speaker Sir on the school fees, the Committee was informed that school fees payments was very erratic and some children had been denied tuition support to the extent that they dropped out of school before completion of their studies. The burden was placed on war veterans to verify whether tuition had been paid or not since they were receiving reports from their children who were being turned back from school. Cases of war veterans’ children being paraded in front of all the school children were very common in most of the areas that we visited much to the embarrassment of the veterans of the liberation struggle.
Whilst some war veterans felt that the management of fees to schools is the best, the majority strongly believe that it should be given to parents for accountability purposes as well as to minimize harassment as the case in some schools where war veterans’ children are being paraded and mocked. It was reported to the Committee that there did seem to be favouritism and neglect of war veterans’ children in accessing scholarships like the Presidential Scholarship Scheme, hence the request was that 20% of the students should be set aside for children of war veterans.
It was reported that the War Veterans Act had set 23years as the age limit for children’s support to the children of war veterans resulting in many dropouts before completion of studies. A call was made for this section to be removed and the establishment for vocational training centres to facilitate training skills to children of war veterans.
On the medical assistance, the state of war veterans’ health is deplorable and many of them are suffering from liberation war trauma. Funding for medical assistance was not been provided in time and whenever attempts for such funding are made, such assistance does not cover all the costs. A request was made that Government should equip one military hospital to enable war veterans access to medical treatment.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Members at the corner,
order! Hon. Members there, please give him a chance to read his report.
Yes, order there.
HON. MAYIHLOME: War veterans strongly condemned the
procurement regulations requirement which stipulates that the client must produce three quotations to the Ministry for the assistance to be processed. More so, expenses associated with obtaining quotations like transportation, accommodation and services fees are too high and prohibitive and claims for reimbursement for such expenses usually take long to be paid back. The whole process is more complex and totally disregards the fact that war veterans require constant medical checkups since many are living with disabilities and are too old. Medical reviews were reported to have been last done in 1997.
Although the Ministry was applauded for initiating the issuance of medical aid cards as a form of medical assistance, total displeasures was expressed as a result of harassment occurring in public institutions when accessing medical treatment.
The Committee was informed that war veterans require specialised medical care in the following categories:
- Access to audio care support,
- Access to paraplegic care and sensitive devices
- Access to visual care and assistive devices and - Access to dental care and support.
On representation in Government structures - the general feeling was that war veterans’ issues are not well represented in all Government structures. A call was made that 20% quota be reserved in all public institutions, including Parliament, to facilitate representation of their issues. In the same vein, most war veterans felt that they understand that a war veteran board composed of commanders was recently appointed. However, the grass root war veterans were neither consulted nor considered for board appointments, and they felt that they should be allowed to elect their own representatives to such a board.
It was also reported that issues to deal with war veterans were not being properly addressed by the Ministry of Defence and War Veterans since it has many departments with competing needs, hence a separate Ministry responsible for war veterans must be created. War veterans also requested that they be exempted from Government taxes because this places them with burdens given their paltry welfare and also that they be exempted from paying ring tax, customs duties for vehicles and agricultural equipment, tollgate fees, vehicle parking fees as well as industrial equipment for those who want to engage in businesses.
On Exhumations and Reburials - war veterans also raised the issue of freedom fighters who perished in Mozambique, Zambia, Angola, Tanzania and those who died locally and are buried in shallow graves and nothing has been done to either notify their families nor to establish their names in order to pay for their compensation. Further to that, the remains of such freedom fighters were still being discovered in all parts of the country. In relation to the above, it was noted that no effort has been made to maintain and monitor those shrines and some bones were still visible on the ground both in and outside the country. A request was made for the setting up of the Commission of Enquiry into the freedom fighters who perished during the liberation struggle, who have not received attention for burial compensation and recognition.
On Funeral and Burial Assistance – the Committee was told that currently, the funeral and burial assistance was pegged at RTGS$2
500.00 and the assistance usually came long after the burial of the late Comrade. It was also reported that discrimination and favouritism with regards to funeral and burial assistance benefits where some are given while others are not – not to mention tombstones. Concern was also raised regarding some delays of conferring hero status once a war veteran in rural areas has died. They recommended that once a war veteran departed, confirmation of a hero status should be given automatically.
With respect to honour and treatment on burial sites, those at national and provincial shrines are honoured with military parades whilst ignoring those buried in their home areas. A call was made to recognise all members of the liberation struggle as equals and that they should be favoured and conferred with the same national hero status despite the fact that one would be buried at the national shrine and others at provincial and while others will be buried in their home areas but benefits paid should be the same and equal.
On Vehicles and Offices for War Veterans - it was submitted that currently administrative offices for war veterans were only found at provincial level. A request was made for Government to decentralise administrative offices and that these must be supported with vehicles to coordinate activities for war veterans.
On War Victims Compensation Fund - Mr. Speaker Sir, the Committee was told that the majority of all victims were not compensated and those who were receiving their compensation did not get their full benefits. Concern was raised over the formula being used to calculate percentages since percentages are now uniform – ignoring the fact that there are some without limbs, legs and hands and that requires additional percentages. These compensation percentages needed to be reviewed periodically, which unfortunately was last done in 1997.
War veterans have expressed displeasure to the Committee over the closure of the Ruwa Rehabilitation Centre where all war victims were being rehabilitated. It was reported that General Solomon Mujuru then used influence as Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces at the time to deploy the army to harass and chess away war veterans that were rehabilitated at the centre as the call was made for the Government to re-establish war victims compensation fund to cater for war victims.
On empowerment - during the Committee’s Public Hearings, war veterans proposed four clusters which include firstly a war veterans’ bank. It was noted with concern that war veterans were spending more than two weeks in queues in order to access cash from banks. A request was made for Government to establish a war veterans’ bank which will allow members to access loans for their projects. Such a bank would avail affordable loans that will empower veterans to establish joint ventures or going to businesses.
On agriculture, despite the policy of the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement which stipulates that once land had been allocated to individuals, this must not be repossessed. The Committee was told that many war veterans especially those in A1 farms were being evicted and their land re-allocated to senior Government officials and their relatives – not to mention widows of war veterans who were being deprived or dispossessed of their land once their departed husbands had passed on.
The Committee was informed that the land was the major driver of the liberation war but for many years, war veterans did not have access to the land and farming equipment, hence a call was made for Government to allocate at least 50 hectares of land and above to each and every war veteran and 20% be maintained.
Hon. T. Mliswa having passed between the Hon. Member speaking Speaker and the Chair.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members.
HON. MAYIHLOME: The Committee was also told that war
veterans should benefit from conservancies, mining, forestry, wild life, fishing, poultry, livestock, command agriculture and benefit from the distribution of Government inputs from which they were being deprived. Currently, war veterans are said to be excluded from command agriculture and the Presidential Input Schemes.
On mining, it was reported that veterans are being denied access into mining or have had their claims re-allocated, hence a call was made for them to be given free claims in the event that they identified some mineral deposits. They also appealed to the mining companies in Zimbabwe to also consider contributing a percentage towards the war veterans welfare in the corporate social responsibility initiatives.
On vocational training centres – whilst the policy to support war veterans who intended to further their education is clearly enunciated in the statutes, it appears as either access to tuition had been done selectively under the guise of limited resources to the extent that many war veterans who are entitled to such support are still struggling. A request was made that Government should establish vocational training centres which will offer different vocational skills in agriculture, welding, carpentry and building, just to name a few.
In order to empower war veterans, a certain percentages of shares in the economy should be allocated to them as groups or registered companies. This will enable them to benefit from dividends of business operations according to their shares. It also forwarded to the Committee that lack of initiative by the board in the last two decades had seen failure to support any well intended self reliance projects which could have promoted entry into commerce and industry by many skilled and semi-skilled war veterans.
Mr. Speaker Sir, on Zimbabwe Ex-Combatants (ZEXCOM), war veterans requested the Committee that they lobby Government to assist them recover their shares from the following companies, ZEXCOM which was a company formed by war veterans when they voluntarily contributed $50 thousand each in the early 90s. The Committee was told that the war veterans who contributed their money did not benefit from the company though they were entitled to get shares. It was also raised that companies like SUNCORP Group Bank, NITRAM, Telecel and another venture led by a Mr. Benson Beta had deprived war veterans of their income. Following the speculation about the none existence of these companies, war veterans were worried whether they will ever recover their money, therefore, a call was called for an investigation to be made although the issues were not directly covered in this current petition. These were brought to our attention.
Honours and Awards
Whilst the Constitution clearly spells out the need to owner and recognise war veterans of the liberation struggle, Government has not done enough in compliance with this constitutional provision. Mr. Speaker Sir, concern was raised regarding the absence of recognition on State occasions such as independence celebrations...
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. M. KHUMALO):
What is your point of order?
HON. T. MLISWA: My point of order is that this motion is very important especially for the ruling party which serves as a revolutionary party. I even see Hon. Houghton is here yet he never went to the struggle and does not belong to the revolutionary party. Where are others. I was going to implore the Chief Whip before I blow the trumpet for members of the ruling party to be here. You are where you are because of them but you seem to be insensitive? I do not think you are sending the right signal. So, I am imploring the Chief Whip, before I ring the bell for people to come back here and listen to the petition –
[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
HON. MAYIHLOME: Thank you Hon. Mliswa I think this is a
very valid point Mr. Speaker.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: May all Chief Whips please
make sure your members are in the House, not only the other side but all
Chief Whips may they order their members to come in the House.
HON. MAYIHLOME: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir and thank you
Hon. Mliswa for that intervention. Mr. Speaker Sir, I was on honours, awards and recognition, whilst the Constitution clearly spells out the need to honour and recognise veterans of the liberation struggle, Government had not done enough in compliance with the constitutional provision. Concern was raised regarding the absence of recognition on State occasions such as independent celebrations, National Heroes Day and Defence Forces Day. In other European countries for example, war veterans are given special respect and recognition through parades.
The Committee was informed that war veterans are always told during national events like presentations that they are not on the list of important people. Many war veterans are now no longer comfortable to attend national events due to the humiliation by the youths. A request was made that they should be given a role to play during national events, awarded with liberation war medals, provided with uniforms and special sitting arrangements made for them during national events. They should be provided with food like everyone else during such occasions.
History and Legacy
Mr. Speaker Sir, it was argued that attempts at writing the liberation history of Zimbabwe will fail because of this tendency to join both ZANLA and ZIPRA history together, yet these were unique issues in each of the liberation movements. They strongly felt that the history should be written separately. The Committee was further told that there are no archives of information about the names and the role played by many who lie in mass graves. Consequently, documentation of the history of the liberation struggle is being done by people who never went to the war and it is being distorted.
They strongly condemned and opposed the current status whereby schools, clinics, halls, roads, statues and organisations amongst others are still being given colonial names as if the nation is short of heroes. A proposal was made that these should be changed and named after prominent Chimurenga heroes both living and departed.
Disarmament, Demobilisation, Rehabilitation and
The war veterans’ perception was that of unequal treatment and different opportunities for different wings as presented to the Committee. They believed that in spite of the 1997 Unity Accord and successful integration of the former armies, there were still perceptions of marginalisation particularly by those war veterans who did not join regular army and who were retired from active service particularly in Southern parts of the country. A call was made for these issues to be objectively looked at to find a lasting solution.
Mr. Speaker Sir, in conjunction with the above, the Committee was informed that very little effort was channeled towards rehabilitation and reintegration of the liberation struggle since freedom fighters were disarmed and demobilized. No efforts were made to deal with the stress and left freedom fighters with no education, no skills to integrate them into civilian life and no resources to help them to cope with the demands of the new civilian life at a time when most of them had attained the age of marriage.
It was argued that the United Nations had provided for financial support to cater for war veterans after the war with a provision that every war veteran be entitled to $500 thousand Zimbabwean dollars. However, only 50 thousand dollars was released, living a balance of 450 thousand dollars which they believe must be paid. The Committee is yet to get a clear response from the Ministry of Defence and War Veterans Affairs on this figure. In comparison to Rwanda and Namibia, ex-armed groups were given retirement grants, psycho-social counseling, awareness training, community sensitisation and psychological support.
The Vetting Process
Mr. Speaker Sir, it was reported to the Committee that after the liberation struggle, the majority of war veterans were vetted whilst some were not. Those who were vetted were given benefits and are receiving their monthly pension while others have not received anything 20 years later. Furthermore, there are those that are being vetted now who are not getting their back pay. The following categories of war veterans were encountered by the Committee Mr. Speaker Sir. Those who fought in the war of liberation, those who assisted the fighters during the war of liberation, those who were imprisoned, detained or restricted, those who died during Gukurahundi era, those who were hanged or executed at Salisbury Maximum Prison, whose who died during and after the war; those who were trained in the front, those who were vetted but not receiving their money and those who were vetted later on and started receiving pension benefits recently without back pay.
The Committee was told that the vetting teams were generally corrupt and the exercise is being conducted by youths who were requesting war veterans to bring witnesses whilst many of them had passed away. It was recommended that the team should not be there on a permanent basis. It was reported to the Committee Mr. Speaker Sir, that some freedom fighters that were captured during the cease-fire period disappeared and no efforts were made to date to account for them.
A request was made for Government to establish a database to account for every war veteran, living or dead, trained and untrained and complete the vetting exercise.
The Ex-political Prisoners, Detainees and Restrictees
Mr. Speaker Sir, the Committee noted that a number of freedom fighters were kept in political prisons, detention camps under harsh and unfavourable conditions. Many died in prisons, others were hanged and executed. They needed to be remembered and compensation given to their families. There was an appeal for Government to speed up the vetting process for both living and departed veterans or prisoners so that they can start to receive compensation and benefits.
Mr. Speaker Sir, although this was not part of the petition, the Committee received very disturbing concerns from the collaborators who expressed concern about their failure to have them vetted 40 years after independence as well as failure to conduct a belated national bira to welcome back the surviving heroes of the liberation struggle while recognising and appeasing the souls of those who perished along the way - fighters and civilians.
Collaborators assisted the fighters with information, food and cover and they were subjected to abuse and victimization although the Ministry has started the process of complying with the provisions of the Constitution by including war collaborators in the draft Bill which I am sure this new Bill will cover.
The Committee was informed, Mr. Speaker Sir, that land is being taken away from the surviving spouses once the war veterans had departed. It was further submitted that the monthly pensions that are paid to widows is severely reduced. Concern was also raised on the exclusion of surviving spouses in the empowerment programmes and projects once a war veteran had departed ignoring the fact that they continue to cater for the family.
A call was made for the Government to recognise and consider payment of benefits and pension applicable to both departed and living comrades as to be equal to their surviving spouses.
Marginalisation of Children of War Veterans
The Committee noted that child headed families whose parents had departed were being marginalised. The Committee was told that many had dropped out of school due to failure to pay school fees. It was brought to the Committee’s attention that a number of undocumented children were born during the war whose fathers were not known or are being ignored. As compared to Rwanda, ex war veterans children are receiving psychological counseling, skills training, and financial support in education with income generating projects.
Committees Observations and Recommendations
The Committee observed that in Zimbabwe, the current funeral assistance being given to war veterans was quoted at $2 500 whereas in South Africa for example, it is R25 000 as well as the provision of a coffin. The Committee recommends that the Government should periodically review the financial assistance fund. The Committee observed that the funeral assistance for the diseased war veterans is being provided months after the burial. The Committee recommends that Government should set aside a funeral assistance fund such that funds are released in time to avoid inconveniencing mourners.
The Committee observed that the current war veterans are receiving 315 RTGS and ex-political prisoners 317RTGS per month which amounts are far below the poverty datum line. The Committee recommends that the Ministry of Defence and War Veterans, beginning 2020 budget cycle, review the monthly pension to above the poverty datum line and pay date be that of civil servants to at least equivalent to US$200 per month which was stipulated in 1997.
The Committee observed that the promulgation of SI 280 and 281 of 1997 was not repealed. The Committee recommends that the Government should specify the pension benefits of war veterans through Statutory Instrument.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the Committee noted that there are no specialised medical care centres to cater for war veterans. Unlike in Rwanda, a medical rehabilitation unit was created and other experts to assess war veterans health and other benefits. The Committee recommends that the Ministry of Defence and War Veterans in conjunction with the relevant Government departments should establish specialised medical care centres to cater for war veterans.
The Committee also observed that the procurement regulation which requires war veterans to obtain three quotations is both expensive and time consuming. The Committee recommends that the Ministry of Defence and War Veterans should issue medical aid cards and place all war veterans on a medical aid scheme that seeks to comprehensively respond to the above psychological and physiological conditions by 2020.
The Committee observed that war veterans are being chased, are harassed in public and private institutions whenever they intend to access medication. The Committee recommends that the Ministry of Defence and War Veterans should invest in specialised infrastructure in the form of at least two to three specialised hospitals and one rehabilitation centre. Beginning year 2020, the Ministry of Defence and War Veterans should introduce a programme that calls for periodic review of medical examination of war veterans.
The Committee observed that Government violated section 84 of the Constitution by failing to honour and fulfill its obligations by providing suitable health and welfare and benefits to war veterans. The Committee recommends that Government should fulfill its obligations as provided for in the Constitution.
The Committee observed that there is no rehabilitation centre for war veterans including those who are now living with disabilities. In comparison with Rwanda vulnerable groups such as female war ex combatants and combatants living with disabilities are being provided with farming, housing, reintegration grants, equipment and access to various medical services. The committee recommends that the Ministry of Defence and War Veterans should establish a rehabilitation centre to cater for war veterans disabilities by 2021.
The Committee observed that war veterans are not represented well in Government structures in line with their plight and challenges.
The Committee recommends the following to the Ministry of Defence and War Veterans.
- The Ministry of Defence and War Veterans in conjunction with the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement should adopt a policy to ensure that once land has been allocated it must not be repossessed and all repossessed land should be returned to war veterans.
- Widows and surviving children of war veterans must not be dispossessed of agricultural land.
- The Ministry of Defence and War Veterans should allow grass root war veterans to elect their representatives to the board.
- The Government should establish a War Veterans Bank which allows members to access loans at low interest rates.
- The Government should establish vocational training centres which offer practical short courses in welding, plumbing, pig farming and poultry to be introduced at the beginning of year 2020.
- Beginning year 2020, Government should also exempt war veterans from the following taxes; land, vehicles, industrial machinery, agricultural equipment levies, tollgates and parking fees.
Mr. Speaker Sir, on educational assistance, the Committee observed that many war veterans’ children have dropped out of school and some are in tuition arrears. The Committee recommends that the Ministry of Defence and War Veterans with effect from January 2020 should timeously disburse tuition fees for children of war veterans and a budget for tuition should be included in their 2020 budget.
Mr. Speaker Sir, on recognition, the Committee observed that war veterans are not being given recognition during public events. The Committee recommends that the Ministry of Defence and War Veterans should craft a policy that recognises war veterans, duly awarding them with liberation war medals, with uniforms and special sitting arrangements at all events that relate to the liberation of Zimbabwe. It is also recommended that Government should declare all veterans of the liberation struggle national hero status upon death with equal benefits despite that one is buried at the National Shrine, Provincial Shrine or his home area.
The Committee observed that many institutions, roads and schools in the country still have colonial names. The Committee recommends that with effect from 2020, Government should adopt a policy that ensures that institutions like schools, hospitals and roads be named after prominent Chimurenga heroes, living and departed.
The Committee noted with concern that the vetting is not only incomplete but fraught with too many irregularities. It is recommended that a new Vetting Committee be set up and objectively vet all war veterans by December 2020.
The new Bill to harmonise war veterans should be speeded up. This one has been submitted Mr. Speaker Sir. The Committee observed that 1990 veterans have not been catered for, post 1980 war veterans have not been catered for. There are no plans to ensure that this group of experienced military commanders is not forever ignored. The Committee recommends that the Government should come up with a policy to encourage this group to form a Military Veterans Association to ensure continued repository military experience. Here, I am talking of military veterans who have served Zimbabwe Defence Forces post 1980, who were not war veterans of the liberation struggle, whose generation this country is quiet about but there shall come a time in the future that they should also be considered. So, the Committee is recommending that they be allowed to form a military of veterans association as well so that their interests are also protected.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the Committee recommends that the Government should create a War Victims Compensation Fund to cater for all war victims and the fund must be well allocated in terms of financial resources from the budget beginning year 2020.
The Committee recommends that the Government allocates land, distribute farming equipment to war veterans in both A1 and A2 farms by December, 2020.
Exhumation and reburial
The Committee observed that after the war, very little was done with regards to exhumation and reburial of departed war veterans. The Committee recommends that the Government should speed up the exhumation exercise and ensure decent burial of the remains.
The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, beginning year 2020 should allocate to the Ministry of Defence and War Veterans Affairs, a budget specifically for the exhumation and decent burial of comrades.
The Committee recommends that Parliament should facilitate benchmarking visits to Rwanda and Namibia for the Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services Committee to share experiences, assess and validate benefits being accorded to veterans in those countries.
It is this Committee’s fervent hope that the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development should consider the above proposals in the 2020 budget. The Committee further envisages that this report and recommendations contained herein will go a long way towards improving the welfare of the war veterans. The Committee appreciates and would like to appreciate Mr. B. Kudhlande for his petition which culminated in the inquiry into the welfare of war veterans. The Committee is also very thankful to all stakeholders who made submissions during the public hearings. It is the Committee’s fervent hope that the Ministry of Defence and War Veterans and relevant Government departments will diligently implement recommendations and appropriate measures to improve the welfare of war veterans, collaborators, ex-political prisoners, detainees and restrictees for it is upon their blood, sacrifice and limbs that we all have this freedom. I thank you Mr. Speaker.
*HON. MACHINGAUTA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Firstly, I would like to thank Parliament for the Portfolio Committee on Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services for receiving the petition of the war veterans and moving around Zimbabwe to listen to challenges bedeviling liberators of this country.
We need to support the issues affecting the war veterans. Our presence in this House is a result of those who sacrificed their lives during the liberation struggle – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – So, when we begin to debate about the plight of war veterans, we should not be partisan about it. We should bury our political differences and ensure that those who liberated the country are well catered for.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the issue we are discussing here is not a new one, it is even present in our Constitution in Section 23, that they should be respected and well catered for. Section 84 of the Constitution also provides for the importance of respecting and caring for war veterans.
Therefore, what we are debating about here is there in the Constitution and needs implementation, which is not happening and we should support the implementation of such.
Our war veterans are receiving an amount of $315 to $317 which is equivalent to US$12. However, in other countries like South Africa, the war veterans receive R1 800, R25 000 for funeral cover and also a coffin. They are also given accommodation where they pay 20% less in accommodation costs. This is what we also need to do towards our own war veterans. In Mozambique, war veterans are provided accommodation and they also receive free medical treatment whilst their children receive free education. In Angola, they receive US$67, free medical treatment and reburials where some are reburied in their various original home areas. Our own war veterans also indicated that this is what they want. Some of these things are provided for in our Constitution but we are failing to implement some of these provisions when we contributed to its crafting.
In the Constitution’s Preamble, it mentions the issues concerning war veterans and war collaborators like Chimbwidos and Mujibhas who are being left out and yet they contributed immensely in the liberation struggle up until independence. To date, these people are being ignored and when food is being distributed they are left out yet during the liberation struggle they were key informants and helped in the provision of food and accommodation – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
However, when the cake is being shared they get nothing; they are like graders which are used to gravel the road but after the road is smoothened, they are refused permission to drive in the same road as good vehicles are allowed to be driven there. These were some of the challenges which the war veterans and war collaborators were grieving about.
In Zvishavane, some war veterans and collaborators nearly shed tears as they indicated that amongst the Hon. Members present were some whom they used to mingle with during the liberation struggle and yet they are now sidelining and ignoring them. It was a painful experience as I was hurt by such sentiments. So we should handle these issues seriously. They also indicated that sometimes the country is faced with bad things like the cyclones due to the grieving of those who liberated the country. I therefore appeal to Hon. Members to support this report and our constitutional provisions on issues to do with war veterans so that they are well taken care of – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
War veterans also indicated that there should be re-vetting of war veterans because when this exercise was carried out, there are many who were left out and are out of the data base. These war veterans who have been left out also need to be included in the current data base. They also indicated that during the vetting exercise, the commanders of the liberation struggle should also participate since they are truly aware of those who were involved. This is because during the last vetting exercise, it is alleged that some of those who were included in the vetting exercise never participated in the liberation struggle and some are ignorant of what really happened or who was present. Therefore, they feel that if their commanders are included, it will be helpful especially if it is done according to the areas concerned since they knew each other well during and after the liberation struggle.
In addition, the war veterans requested that they need assistance so that their social standing is also above political parties. They also indicated that even some parliamentary procedures are not in tandem with what they agreed on during the liberation struggle. If given due respect, war veterans would be able to point out mistakes to politicians, political parties and Government officials so that the values of the liberation struggle are upheld since the country attained its independence. The war veterans also highlighted the fact that they need support from Government as a culmination of the previous exercise which resulted in the formation of Zimbabwe Ex-Combatants Foundation Investment Fund (Zexcom).
Some war veterans received the ZWL$50 000.00 once off gratuity which was disbursed in 1997-98 and 4 388 war veterans pooled their resources together to form Zexcom on the understanding that they would establish their own companies. However, these funds were abused. The war veterans are now requesting Government to investigate the circumstances surrounding the misuse of these funds, the culprits should be apprehended and they should reimburse the war veterans because these funds were supposed to transform the lives of war veterans.
The war veterans also sought clarification on funds that were sourced from the United Nations which were supposed to benefit every member of the war veterans Association. This money amounts to around $500 000.00 to benefit individual war veterans instead the war veterans only got ZWL$50 000.00. Therefore, we would like to request that Government investigates where the difference went to so that the ZWL$450 000.00 can be redistributed. This is the plight of war veterans Mr. Speaker Sir, they implore Government to look into the issue as a matter of urgency.
Furthermore, war veterans expressed concern over their properties and they requested that these properties should be returned because the properties were a source of their livelihoods. For instance, they expressed concern over a group of companies that fall under Nitrum, they also mentioned the Castle Arms Hotel which they felt should be returned to its rightful owners who are the war veterans; Nest Aid Farm in Bulawayo; Ascot Farm in Solusi; Woodglen farm in Nyamandlovu;
Howe Farm in Gweru; Lijo Farm in Harare; Salisbury Motel in Harare; Magnet House in Bulawayo; Davies Hall in Bulawayo and Green Haven along Victoria Falls road. All these properties belonged to the war veterans and the proceeds from these properties ensured that war veterans had sustainable livelihoods.
In conclusion Mr. Speaker Sir, war veterans expressed concern over the fact that when they returned from the liberation struggle most war veterans were not reintegrated into society. Some have been experiencing mental health challenges for a long time, some are destitutes – they move around scavenging for food in bins. If the rehabilitation process had been done in a proper way, war veterans would be living decent lives. However, some are not living in harmony with their neighbours and communities – this is not their fault but is a result of their war time experiences. Some were even nostalgic of their former leaders like the late Hon. Chenjerai Hunzvi – may his soul rest in peace because he tried his best to emancipate war veterans.
Some war veterans gave as an example their colleagues who participated in the 1967 battle. They mentioned people like Jonathan Moyo and Madziva who is currently living a life of destitution, roving around the streets of Bulawayo and eating from bins. He appears to be mentally challenged – he was supposed to be rehabilitated but that did not happen and he did not benefit in any way from any Government
The war veterans also mentioned the Presidential Scholarship scheme which they felt is not benefiting their children but the scheme is only benefiting children of those who have access to resources and did not even participate in the liberation struggle. Those who are deserving are not being afforded the opportunity for their children to also benefit from the scheme. They also mentioned that they also require a quota for war veterans in Parliament as representatives of war veterans, not what
is currently happening where some individual war veterans are elected Members of Parliament representing different constituencies. The proposed war veteran’s quota system should be similar to the current women’s and youth representation quotas.
With these words, Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like to implore the august House to brainstorm about these issues, to take the recommendations as we adhere to the Constitution and also to go back to the basic tenets of the liberation struggle for the nation to experience progress. I thank you.
*HON. CHIPATO: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir, I stand in
support of this motion. Firstly, I would like to indicate that during the information gathering process, we noted that war veterans are living in abject poverty yet these are the people who sacrificed their lives to attain Independence. Most war veterans, ex-detainees and war collaborators in different communities are wallowing in poverty because even after 38 years of Independence they have not benefited from any Government empowerment programme.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, order, may the owner
of a silver vehicle AES 7989 which is blocking other vehicles please go and remove his/her car. You may proceed Hon. Member.
*HON. CHIPATO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like to
continue deliberating on the report by buttressing the fact that this a heart rending plight that is currently obtaining in our country which got its Independence through the sacrifice of our war veterans. Most war veterans are suffering, some were injured during the protracted struggle; some people go around peddling malicious rumours that war veterans are uneducated and despised. This is a culmination of the imperialist Smith system which subjugated the black person and resulted in most people not affording to pursue degrees like what is currently obtaining in independent Zimbabwe.
In my opinion, Zimbabwe has never been led by the Opposition but by veterans of the struggle who have forgotten about their colleagues in the struggle. This is a cause for concern because for 38 years War veterans, war collaborators and ex-detainees have been suffering and wallowing in poverty. The ZWL$50 000.00 gratuity that they received can be compared to a parent who makes porridge, eats most of it and then smears the remainder on the mouths of the children.
Zimbabwe is currently what it is because of sacrifices during the protracted liberation struggle between our war veterans and our former colonizers yet they are overlooked when Government appointments are made. We implore Government to consider war veterans in different
Government initiatives like empowerment programmes, the Women’s Bank, Youths Bank and mining yet we do not have a war veterans, exdetainees and war collaborators bank … - [HON. MLISWA: Yes, dzokororai ipapo!] – We were also young people during the liberation struggle, untrained CIO intelligence operatives. Therefore, we would like to urge Government to prioritise the welfare of war veterans because the majority of the veterans of the struggle is suffering from different medical conditions like High Blood pressure, diabetes as a result of their war time experiences. Most war veterans do not have access to medical facilities, medication and other healthcare amenities yet they are expected to pay for treatment of chronic conditions yet they are unemployed. Some are earning only ZWL$200.00 per month as pensioners which is equivalent to a paltry USD$10.00. It is important for Government to prioritize the welfare of war veterans before considering everyone else.
Especially now, some who have children of school going age, previously war veterans were directly paid fees for their children but now the fees are directly being paid to schools, which results in their children being turned away for unpaid fees. We urge the Government to look into that. If we talk of war collaborators, they are parents just like war veterans and ex-detainees but they are not getting anything. Things are very expensive these days, where do you expect that person to get the money to buy groceries. Let us remember the people who liberated this country because since 1980 this country is being led by war veterans and we expect them to look at the welfare of these war veterans. Thank you.
HON. T. MLISWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to thank you for this opportunity to contribute to this debate which touches the hearts of many. Mr. Speaker Sir, for as long as the war veterans and the liberators of this country are not free economically, this country will never be given the respect it deserves. We shall be a laughing stock of the world. We attack the Americans and the British but look at the way they look after their war veterans. They are well taken care of and they are given everything that they want. We fought a protracted struggle which young men and women sacrificed. Some are no more and some are here today.
I am a son of the war veteran having been born in Zambia. My father was ZIPRA, he worked with the Cde. Mutinhiri, Hon. S. K. Moyo and the late Joshua Nkomo. Those are the references that know the contribution my father made. My mother was also in Zambia and the six of us were born there. I recall a time when our House was bombarded in Kabwata because of the fact that the struggle was continuing. As the struggle continued, it involved many. It involved a situation where those who believed in it outside would support in different ways.
Mr. Speaker, I want to talk about the real issue. It is sad, it is a shame for the leadership of this country which from 1980 as the dear Hon. Chipato said, that since 1980 this country has always been with the leadership of the war veterans. The question that I ask myself is how they went to sleep when they knew that the fellow commanders and fellow liberators are not doing well. We do not have to beat about the bush, the first President was Robert Gabriel Mugabe and the war veterans suffered but they worked to ensure that they were in power, they were abused, they were used and at the end of the day they were forgotten. They became enemies of the people of Zimbabwe because they believed in standing up for the values and founding principles of this country.
The Ministers were war veterans and the security sector was war veterans. The question herein is when you have such leadership which have war veterans why did they not think of their fellow comrades? I am too young if I am in power tomorrow to think of the war veterans because I never went to the struggle, I have no relationship with the war veterans. We would expect those that fought side by side with them to be in the forefront of this. The demise of the former President of this country was him not being able to take care of the war veterans, him not being able to do the things that they agreed would be done. Their benefits and pensions are nothing.
The real comrades are there in the rural areas, they have humility and do not talk – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – they will tell you that during the liberation struggle I was a commander. Let me talk about the commanders of the ZANLA Forces who are alive today; Cde.
Perrance Shiri was Commander, Tete Province, Cde. Zimondi, Manica Province, Cde Mabhenge was Gaza Province. These are the men who are alive. There was the High Command and General Staff in both ZIPRA and ZANLA.
Today as we speak, there are only 15 or maybe less than 20 High Command Staff who are there. No one has even said to them they must sit on certain boards or somewhere so that they are recognised. When will we ever be able to give them their due respect? They are not asking for money Mr. Speaker Sir. They are asking for recognition which has made this country what it is. These are the most humble men and women that you can come across. They do not ask for anything, unless you probe them then they tell you that we were part of the struggle. Maybe it is the struggle that made them so disciplined that they are not able to speak. The leadership has taken advantage of that discipline that they have in them that they must speak, but today we shall speak for them because we believe in their cause, we believe in what they stood for. It is important Mr. Speaker Sir to understand that.
Mr. Speaker Sir, let us not talk about war veterans being united when on the other hand there were properties that belong to ZIPRA. If we are to talk about reconciliation, has that property given back? These are sensitive issues which the ZIPRA Commanders could not talk about because of the discipline that they have. I told them that this is a new dispensation; the President His Excellency was part of the struggle. In being part of the struggle, there are outstanding issues which happened which brought bad blood between ZANLA and ZIPRA, Gukurahundi was part of it, we call for unity. The current Government must give back what belongs to ZIPRA, that is important. We know that they are moving forward with reconciliation but hide and seek is the game that they play.
Mr. Speaker Sir, ZIPRA Commanders, well trained remained quiet because they are disciplined not because they cannot speak. They were victimised for a very long time. While they were victimised for a very long time, they were labeled the enemies of the State. In being labeled as the enemies of the State, they went underground and some of them do not even want to be known where they are and so forth. It is important that the current administration looks into that.
The Minister of Defence is a renowned war veteran, respected and is part of the presidium of the ruling party. We cannot talk about war veterans without mentioning the ruling party because it is the governing party. The opposition has never governed and the opposition not having governed the country has done its part by ensuring that the Constitution covers the war veterans. The war veterans understand very well that in that Constitution there is something missing, and today I will say spiritually. You did not fight this war on your own. You had spirit mediums. Where are they in the Constitution?
We brag about Mbuya Nehanda and in the Constitution she is not there but we say she was part of the struggle. She led but today we have war veterans in there and the Chiefs. Who is it that led the struggle? Who is it that was protecting, it was a spiritual war. Then we go to the spirit mediums, an Hon. Member spoke about bira. Mr. Speaker and Members of Parliament here, I am very young but this country needs a bira which will cleanse what has happened. For as long as we do not hold a bira the problems of this country are not political they are spiritual, they are traditional.
Mr. Speaker Sir, we are not even prepared to go to the National Sports Stadium and do our bira there because we think we are white, one minute we want to be western, one minute we want to be eastern. Where are our roots? How can we be blessed by the forefathers of this land when we do not honour them? How many of us go back to their villages and do bira and you want to pretend as if you do not do it but you are wearing suits. It is critical at this point in time that we unite as a nation and that a bira be held to cleanse this nation. You talk about the companies which the war veterans were given. Telecel is one of them and they had a shareholding but we do not know where the shareholding has gone to. Hon. Mayihlome spoke about how we needed to account for this and so forth. The vetting processes of the war veterans – we have young boys and girls who, because they are driving flashy cars in the youth league, think they can vet their fathers who went to the struggle, yet their fathers went to the struggle before they were born.
What type of a system is that Mr. Speaker Sir? We need to revisit that. No wonder why some of them are despondent. There is something which I have learnt about life. Even if I am angry with somebody or I have angered them, I still believe at the end of the day I must say sorry so that their spirit is settled. The war veterans have been insulted and no one has said sorry. Just the word sorry – we are looking for a situation where moving forward, the President takes it upon himself to say a lot has happened in this country and it will never happen again.
Our casualty of the so called Mujuru cabal is where the ruling party destroyed war veterans. You destroyed the party by lying. We have war veterans like Kaukonde, Mushore who framed Mai Mujuru. We have war veterans like Jabulani Sibanda and Mvundura, people that you do not even know but you went and lied that they were about to ouster the President. Who ousted who at the end of the day? This is how this country is in a mess because you went and started attacking war veterans and you have never said sorry to those war veterans. So, for as long as you do not say sorry to those war veterans Mr. Speaker Sir, there is disunity. We have Didymus Mutasa and Rugare Gumbo, one of the few founding fathers of the struggle who suffered but today because you are in the echelons of power, you forgot how you got there. Young boys and girls do not know what Rugare Gumbo or Didymus Mutasa did but today you even want these two to apply to a party which is theirs. Shame on you, shame on you, shame on you, shame on you. How can you want the owner of the company to apply to that company?
HON. TOGAREPI: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir. With all due respect, I think this report is talking about war veterans and the veterans of the liberation struggle. It is not about politics or specific individuals and I think we -[HON. T. MLISWA: Inaudible interjection] –
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Mliswa please, they
listened to you throughout. Please can you listen to the Chief Whip?
HON. TOGAREPI: I think we are ready to hear from
Members including some from the opposite side - they debated very well and we also got what they were saying. But when it becomes specific to individuals or this debate degenerating to protecting individual interests, I think we need your protection.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Mliswa, can you stick to
the welfare of war veterans as per the question.
HON. T. MLISWA: I am a very democratic person. I am talking
about the ill treatment of the war veterans in this country and there is nothing wrong unless they are telling me that they were not ill treated.
Mai Mujuru was dumped in the streets and they were celebrating. Hon.
Togarepi was there supporting the former first lady Grace Mugabe. Were you not? That is the truth of the matter. I speak with my heart and honestly and you cannot stop me from that. It is very emotional but you all ganged up against war veterans to get them out of the party. You created what was called gammatox when she was not a gammatox. Today the party is weak because you are busy selling out for lack of ethics or principles. A party without war veterans has lost the election. I am telling the truth and it is painful to you. There is no unity without war veterans. You ill treated them. Manyon’onywa nechokwadi hooo- hooo- hooo.
Mr. Speaker Sir, this is a bunch of hypocrites which is in power through falsehood and for that you shall not survive the power that you think you are because you are not honest. You disown your own war veterans, you insulted them yet they campaigned for you and you got into power through their sweat. God is speaking to you now, you hypocrites. Hamunyare vanamai vakuru vakadai. Makavatuka, mukavadzinga vana Mushore, Bvundura nana Kaukonde, vana Didymus Mutasa na Rugare Gumbo.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Mliswa, there is a point
HON. RAIDZA: Hon. Chair, he is no longer addressing the
Chair. He is busy addressing us
HON. T. MLISWA: I want to tell them the truth. Munoita basa rekuuraya musangano hamunyare. Musha usina baba moti musha, ah hamunyare, varikupi varidzi vemusha, varipi varidzi vemusha. Iwe
Pupurai Togarepi wakaenda kunamai Mugabe iwewe uchindidzinga. Saka hachisi chokwadi here? Uri war veteran akaita sei iwewe unodzinga mai Mujuru na Didymus. Zera rako iwewe, ndakuudza chokwadi. Ini ndinofa ndichitaura chokwadi. Hauna zera na Didymus and Rugare Gumbo iwewe. Makadya mari dzema war veterans – and today they are suffering. Are you not ashamed? I am telling you the truth today so that you know. Zvichembere izvi hapana munopinda ne PR imimi. All those proportional representation seats must go to war veterans and not these women. Why do war veterans not have seats in Parliament, why are we having war veterans going for elections? If they are founders of this nation, they should never go for elections Mr. Speaker Sir. The war veterans must be given their own 50 seats. They do it proportionally and they get into Parliament. We cannot have a situation where you give, especially from the ruling, these useless people who do nothing, you give them seats.
With those words, I want to summarise by saying that I have told the truth that hurts. For as long as they do not respect the war veterans they are gone and for as long as you do not apologise to the war veterans, you are not going anywhere. War veterans were victimised. I want to thank you for this time and to say that it is important that the truth is said. You are not going to rule until the war veterans are put into power. I thank you. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Mliswa, surely it is very unfair that people listen to you throughout. – [HON. T. MLISWA:
Inaudible interjection.] – I will chase you out.
– [HON. T. MLISWA AND OTHER HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible
interjections.] –Hon. Mliswa, can you get out? Can Hon. Mliswa get out? Hon. Mliswa, can you go out? Can you go out Hon. Mliswa please? – [HON. T. MLISWA: VaMugabe makavaburitsa nenzira iyoyo. Mnangagwa kuita sei? Mnangagwa futi muri kuda kumuburitsa nenzira iyoyo. Manje tiri kuzvidira jecha.] – Order Hon. Members.
There is a Member on the floor please.
Hon. T. Mliswa escorted from the House by the Sergeant-At-Arms.
*HON. TOGAREPI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I would like to thank the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee for the report that talks of the veterans of the liberation struggle. I believe, going forward, this report should refer to them as the veterans of the liberation struggle, not just war veterans because there will be a misnomer. The history of this country must be very clear that there are three groups of people that fought the same way to liberate the country of Zimbabwe, though they were in different groups. The ones we now call war veterans are the excombatants who fought using fire arms (guns), followed by war collaborators and there are those that were detained in prisons, the detainees.
Sections 23 and 84 of our Constitution together with the founding principles of our Constitution explain that these people who fought in the war of liberation, including the collaborators should be treated fairly
– [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Members at the back, order please – [HON. MEMBERS: Vanodherera Chief Whip wavo.] – Can there be order please.
*HON. TOGAREPI: I am saying these three groups of people liberated this country and our Constitution talks to the welfare of these people. We should not be waiting for a petition from somebody who would have noticed how the war veterans, the ex-detainees and war collaborators are struggling. We are the ones who wrote the
Constitution and agreed as political parties that we should look after the welfare of the war veterans because they liberated us. Some people would want to differentiate and view these war veterans as is others are more superior than other war veterans but the firearms would attack everyone the same way. Therefore, there is no war veteran that is more superior to the other. Burial place for a war collaborator or an exdetainee is not what is important but their good deeds. They fought and liberated this country, therefore, our Government must take note of everything that has been debated in this House that if we pay ZWL$350 to our war veterans, what are we saying? How do we think they are surviving?
I fought as a war collaborator during the war but I got an opportunity to further my education but if in the communities, I can see a war collaborator who fought for this country, who never had the opportunity to go to school or to work so that they can take care of themselves; they are living in abject poverty. As people of Zimbabwe, we should look into the welfare of these people. In elderly ages, you start experiencing most of the diseases such as diabetes and hypertension because of the war. We should take the war veterans as important people so that our children know the history of our country.
I propose that in the coming 2020 National Budget, Parliament should ensure that they are allocated enough funds so that our war veterans are taken care of. They should be paid a better living wage so that they can access medication, take care of their families and do everything they need in their lives. These people are not many, they are now very few. If we look at our resources, we should be able to look after our war veterans, war collaborators and ex-detainees. When they fought the war, they did not do it for one tribe, not for specific political party but they fought for everyone – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – When we debate about the War Veterans Act, let us be united because these people fought for everyone. You have heard some debating that some of them do not talk about their background until they have been asked and you would realise that the old man that I saw at the beer drinking was actually a commander of the section that liberated this country. I do not think they are quiet but they are in pain and thinking that after all the work we did for these people, they are just looking at me whilst I am suffering. I feel that this report has touched on all areas that will allow us as Parliament to put in place a law that looks into the welfare of freedom fighters and war veterans.
In conclusion Mr. Speaker, most people politicise this issue. War veterans are freedom fighters who fought for Zimbabwe and no one knew that after the liberation, they will come back to Zimbabwe and attain positions. Some war veterans that are leaders in Government and others are not. There are others who went for teaching and others for different professions. Our Government made an effort and we have an Act here at Parliament. It is now our turn as Members of Parliament to craft and fast track that Act so that war veterans are taken care of. Government may put their effort to look after these people but if there is no improvement on our economy, it means the fiscus will not be enough to look after war veterans. We are representatives of the people, we also represent war veterans, when we contribute to the suffering of people of Zimbabwe; we are also making the war veterans suffer. I would want to thank the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee and his seconder.
Thank you Hon. Chairman for the report which you produced on the fact finding mission about the welfare of war veterans. I am also happy to note that on this motion, there is unity of purpose from all Members of Parliament of both sides. I am so glad to note that we are proposing that these ex-combatants and all who took part in the war of liberation struggle benefit from the National Budget which is going to be presented tomorrow, 14th November, 2019.
+HON. NKOMO: Thank you very much Hon. Speaker for giving me this opportunity to talk about the war veterans issue. When we are talking of war veterans, we are talking of people who changed Rhodesia to the then Zimbabwe. As Parliamentarians, we are here to talk about ways of improving our economy and improving the livelihood of war veterans. These people need to be respected because they fought for our country and we do not have to forget that they were fighting as a family and under one spirit. We need to respect war veterans, war collaborators and ex-detainees; we are not supposed to be separating them because they were fighting as a family.
In this House, we are not supposed to be calling them by names but they are freedom fighters. As I have mentioned earlier on, they fought as a family for us Zimbabweans to enjoy peace. People were fighting from all angles, for example some were trained in Botswana, some of them died along the way, some drowning in the rivers and others managed to make it. Some managed to train and they came back to fight for our country but others are still journeying and are going to make it.
As Zimbabweans, we need to remember the war veterans who died and that some of their colleagues are still living. We need to respect them because of their job well done; they fought as a family, women, men, boys and girls. We also need to appease the spirits of the deceased war veterans, war collaborators and ex detainees.
Lastly, their salaries and allowances need to be reviewed. I thank you.
*HON. KARENYI: I would like to start by saying thank you to the Hon. Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Home Affairs for tabling such an important report. I would also like to thank the Hon. Members who have contributed on this motion.
However, I would want to thank the war veterans for the liberation of our country. We are living a happy and peaceful life because of their sacrifices. The people who went to fight for the liberation of Zimbabwe sacrificed their lives and their families, some of them died during the war whilst others survived. It is my sincere wish that as a country we should take care of the families left behind by these gallant sons and daughters of Zimbabwe.
We know that it is in our nature that when we work, we work towards getting pensions when we age and in some instances, we are taken care of by our children. We have had instances where during the liberation struggle, an only child went to war and died and their parents were left with nobody to take care of them. I am proposing that when we are talking about the welfare of these ex-combatants, we should also include the families of these children who died in the war front. I will give a personal testimony; I was born in 1975 during the war of liberation and during that year my uncle from my father’s side called Goliath volunteered to go and join the struggle leaving behind a family and he never survived the war.
The child he left behind and his wife were never taken care of by the Government, hence my call for supporting these people in the budget. I have only mentioned my uncle by name but he represents many people who suffered the same fate and should be taken care of by the State.
I will now turn to the conferment of the hero status. It pains me to say that meetings and meetings are held to determine the hero status of the people we know that they were really engaged in the war of liberation. I feel this is a waste of time and resources; we should craft a clear-cut policy on the conferment of hero status. We have noticed that in our provinces, some funerals take long because people will be working on the modalities of the conferment of the hero status of a well known hero.
I will now turn to the health welfare of these war veterans, war collaborators and ex-detainees. I am proposing that they should receive specialised treatment at Zimbabwe National Army hospitals because they are part of the army and they were part of the army during the liberation struggle. They should receive this treatment free of charge because they have already played their part in fighting for the liberation
of the country.
I will now talk about rehabilitation Mr. Speaker under the department we call Psycho Social Support. Mr. Speaker, usually when someone is faced by a problem, it makes someone to go through trauma. Many of those people are viewed as insane but all these would have been caused by the experiences they were exposed to during the liberation struggle. We should have established a special department that concentrates on the rehabilitation of these combatants going through post traumatic stress. The treatment involves counseling and rehabilitation so that an individual maybe able to stand on his own and support his family.
Let me now talk about female e-combatants who deserve special attention because they have since lost respect from their communities. I talk about the women because they face unique problems unlike their male counterparts. The first problem that they faced was that as freedom fighters, they had to go to the war front and the second problem that they faced was giving birth. Another problem which they faced was that as young women, they had to go through their menstrual cycles in a difficult situation that sanitary wear was not readily available and this caused a lot of stress to them. I am therefore calling upon Government to give extra care and support to these women because of the post traumatic stress.
The report has also revealed that the process of vetting these war veterans has been hijacked by corrupt people who are disturbing the processes. I have noted that corruption is a really big problem in Zimbabwe but I thought this should only be found in financial and industrial circles and not in such vetting processes. I am proposing that when these war veterans form their new body or committee for vetting, it should be made up of deserving individuals – the ex-combatants and nobody else.
The report also revealed that some widows of these ex-combatants have been ejected from their farms and properties and I wonder who commits such an evil crime. I am therefore proposing that Government should take a step to reclaim this land and give it back to the widows and orphans. This should be spearheaded by the Land Commission which should carry out a thorough audit and reimburse the families so that they can survive on their land and not as paupers. I am proposing that those ex-combatants who did not benefit from the land distribution should be considered in this redistribution programme. We have a lot of derelict farms which could be redistributed to these landless deserving combatants and widows.
The report also discusses the education of war veterans’ children. It noted that these can only access primary level which is cheap but cannot go through secondary or tertiary education. I am proposing that Government should subsidise secondary and tertiary education for the children. The children should also benefit from the presidential scholarships to attain tertiary education.
In conclusion Mr. Speaker Sir, I am proposing that the welfare of the war veterans should not be handled on partisan lines. We have had instances whereby some of us think that war veterans only belong to the ruling political party, which is wrong. As MDC, we have a clause in our constitution which talks about the welfare of the war veterans. Government took a long time to look into the welfare of the excombatants immediately after independence. The late founder leader of
MDC, Morgan Tsvangirai in his capacity as the leader of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions spearheaded the welfare of the war veterans which saw the rise of leaders such as the late Cde. Chenjerai Hunzvi and the pay-out of the $50 000 gratuity. - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] - Some of us may deny this but let us carry our research and the truth will be revealed. Let us shun corruption so that excombatants may benefit and improve on their welfare.
*HON. JOSIAH SITHOLE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I
would like to say just two points. The first one is that we should understand that if the war veterans have to be recognised, we are the legislators and we should go to the people and educate them to respect war veterans. War veterans are a disciplined lot.
During the war, these war veterans had discipline instilled in them. If we want to unite as is always said by our President, kubatana kubatana, unity, unity, war veterans are the people who were told what is called unity because that was part of their slogan. So, even when we talk of working together as parties in Zimbabwe, the war veterans are the only people who understand what this means. Discipline was so important to the war veteran during the war that everyone knew what was meant by discipline. We know that war veterans are disciplined and do not just go into the streets to demonstrate. A true war veteran is not a sell out like Nyathi as he is well cultured and this is what we look forward to.
Lastly, there are those who have been mentioned that they need to be vetted. Our request is that the process be done soon so that we can be able to do those projects that have been alluded because the number of people involved will be known. This will help us in knowing the people who need assistance are because if we do not know the numbers and where the people are, the process will not be efficient. Thank you Madam Speaker.
*HON. SEREMWE: Thank you Madam Speaker. The issue that
is coming out with regards to war veterans’ welfare is mostly to do with land. A war veteran who does not have land should be allocated land. All the other things are a luxury, but if a war veteran or his dependant has access to land, that will give him a sense of self-esteem or dignity…
HON. TOGAREPI: I move for the adjournment of the debate.
HON. S. SITHOLE: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 14th November, 2019.
On the motion of HON. TOGAREPI seconded by HON.
RAIDZA, the House adjourned at Half past Six o’clock p. m.