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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 17 MARCH 2020 46 35
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Tuesday, 17th March, 2020.
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two O’clock p.m.
(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order! Hon. Biti, please take your
ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. SPEAKER
PETITIONS RECEIVED FROM WOMEN’S ACADEMY FOR
LEADERSHIP AND POLITICAL EXCELLENCE AND
PASSENGERS ASOCIATION OF ZIMBABWE
THE HON. SPEAKER: I wish to inform the House that I have received the following petitions:
- On 28th February, 2020, Parliament received a petition from
Women’s Academy for Leadership and Political Excellence imploring Parliament to facilitate the implementation of Sections 17, 56 and 80 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe to ensure full participation of women in electoral processes. The petition has since been referred to the Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.
- On 3rd March, 2020, Parliament received a petition from the Passengers Association of Zimbabwe, requesting Parliament to enquire into the delay in the implementation of Statutory Instrument No. 129 of 2015 and its adequacies in curbing road carnage. The petition has been referred to the Portfolio Committee on Transport and Infrastructural Development.
STEPS TO SAFEGURD PARLIAMENT FROM COVID-19
THE HON. SPEAKER: The Presiding Officers of Parliament are consulting amongst ourselves and with the relevant authorities on the immediate steps we need to take as an institution to safeguard the health and lives of Hon. Members, from the COVID-19 virus. A comprehensive statement will be issued tomorrow, once the consultations have been concluded. As a start the institution has put in place facilities at the entrance for everyone to clean their hands. We have also engaged the Ministry of Health and Child Care for screening machines for use at that main entrance and within the institution.
In the meantime I am urging all Hon. Members, staff and visitors to Parliament to exercise extreme personal hygiene by constantly washing their hands with soap and running water. Members are also urged to avoid close contact with anyone with a cold or flu-like symptoms – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
Order, order! I am not talking about necessary proximity. I am talking about some people who might have some cold or flu-like symptoms. I am also urging all Members and staff who travelled to any of the COVID-19 affected countries within the last two weeks to approach the relevant health facilities for screening. I am also urging them to undertake self isolation for the greater good of Parliament and the nation at large apart from their own good.
MEMBERSHIP AND CHAIRING OF COMMITTEES
THE HON. SPEAKER: I wish to advise Hon. Members that the appointment of Members to the Committees is the prerogative of the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders as provided for in Standing
Order Number 18 (1) and subject also to section 139 (4) of the Constitution.
Hon. Chibaya having entered and shaken hands with other Hon.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Chibaya, please take your seat quietly and avoid shaking hands.
Consequently, any changes to the membership of the Committees, including the chairing of Committees will be done by the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders. Members are therefore advised that they should only attend the meetings of the Committees to which they were duly appointed and for which the appropriate announcements were made in the House.
Hon. Members, I have received seven requests for privileges. This is contrary to my ruling and because of that I decline, and if these privileges of Members are so urgent, they should be presented by way of questions at the appropriate time tomorrow – [HON. MEMBERS:
Inaudible interjections.] –
HON. SIKHALA: Mr. Speaker Sir, privileges are in terms of the Standing Rules and Orders of this Parliament. I want to emphasise again for the umpteenth time Mr. Speaker Sir, this institution is a creation of the Constitution of Zimbabwe and also it has been given a duty to uphold constitutionalism. So for the Chair to overthrow the rules of this House for not any explained and apparent reason, Mr. Speaker Sir, would be reducing the relevance and importance of this House to a kindergarten.
All the people who have asked for the point of privilege have got important and fundamental issues to raise in this House. It is absolutely unfair for the Speaker to make such an arbitrary decision which I would not think is in sync with the roles and duties outlined in our Constitution which this Parliament must dispatch. I thank you Mr. Speaker.
THE HON. SPEAKER: In terms of Section 206 of the Standing
Orders; where the Standing Orders do not indicate how many privileges can be asked, the decision of the Chair is final. Thank you – [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
HON. ZWIZWAYI: Honourable Speaker Sir.
THE HON. SPEAKER: I have ruled.
HON. ZWIZWAYI: Just on a point of clarity.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order Hon. Member. I have not recognised you– [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
HON. ZWIZWAI: On a point of clarity. Last time Mr. Speaker you are on record saying you are going to allow three and today you are saying zero – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. SPEAKER: Yes I am on record, but if I am presented with seven women, which ones shall I choose?
HON. SIKHALA: One from here and two from there.
HON. GONESE: You can just ask someone to come and pick –
[HON. MEMBERS: Use your own discretion.] –
THE HON. SPEAKER: Alright I have heard you. Order, order! Using the discretion conferred upon me by this Hon. House, I now choose Hon. T. Moyo followed by Hon. Maboyi and Hon. Mutseyami.
HON. T. MOYO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I rise on a point of privilege. The point that I am raising, Mr. Speaker Sir, is so vital and indispensable as it affects the rights and privileges of Members of this
House and the constituents that we represent. It is precisely on the Parliamentary Constituency Information Centres.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I realise that most of our Parliamentary Constituency Information Centres are defunct. So we are encouraging the Parliament of Zimbabwe to resuscitate these Parliamentary
Constituency Information Centres. Information is very important, Mr.
Speaker Sir, according to Section 62 (1). It states that every
Zimbabwean citizen, permanent resident including juristic members and the Zimbabwean media has a right to access information. According to
Julius Nyerere (1967), “while other countries are intending to reach the moon, we are going to reach the villages with relevant information”. In this case, these Parliamentary Constituency Information Centres are going to bridge the gap between Parliament and the constituencies, Members of Parliament and also the people that we represent especially in rural areas. Information is very important. May l encourage you as the Chair to assist in as far as reviving these centres. I thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you Hon Moyo. I think you
raised a very valid point and we shall look into the matter accordingly.
+HON. MABOYI: I would like to speak on a point of privilege. I would like to speak on the issue of coronavirus. I would want to know how our borders are like especially the Beitbridge border in case there are people who might want to come to Zimbabwe from South Africa. Some of them might come aboard a plane and then come in through the border. It is very difficult because we could be sitting here thinking we are protected.
+THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Member, you should speak proper
+HON. MABOYI: I am Venda and I do not understand some of the Ndebele words.
+THE HON. SPEAKER: I am also Tonga.
+HON. MABOYI: What I wanted to say is that at the border, we are not protected as it is right now. There are no gloves and masks as well as sanitisers. What I am saying is that we are facing many difficulties. I am speaking about this because we know that at the other side of the border there are people who have been affected by the virus. Therefore, sanitisers at the border are needed. There are thousands of people who enter through that border but workers are not protected. I have seen that myself as I went there on Saturday. There is nothing at all. I thank you.
+THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Member. I do hope
that there will be a statement from Government tomorrow that will look into this issue that is affecting many people concerning this coronavirus that has affected people worldwide. We will therefore wait for tomorrow in order to hear what the Government’s position is concerning this virus.
However, if there is no statement we do hope that a question will be directed to the Minister of Health tomorrow.
HON. MBONDIAH: My point of clarity is that I understand there is going to be a Ministerial Statement but in regards to the toilets here at this institution, there is no running water in our toilets here at
Parliament. I stand guided if there are any measures being taken.
+THE HON. SPEAKER: I asked the head of administration here and I asked him before we came here and he said there was no water in the building yesterday. However, there is water today. What caused that problem is that there is a pipe that burst outside here. They have looked into that and they have fixed the pipe. From yesterday afternoon there was water in the building. I thank you.
HON. MUTSEYAMI: Good afternoon Mr. Speaker Sir. With all due respect, we always abide by the Speaker’s rulings on several situations. My entry point with regard to the point of privilege is with regards to the rights of other Members of Parliament whose rights are being trampled upon by other Members. My point is to do with the Committees on Public Accounts, Environment, ICT and Higher Education.
Currently, the ruling is that there is a Privileges Committee which was mandated to investigate the alleged misconduct of Hon Members. Whilst that process is undergoing, of late we have experienced disturbances of serious levels from Friday, Monday and today. The dignity, integrity and credibility of the House is undermined at the highest level.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I bring it to your attention and my appeal is for order to be restored with urgency and sincerity like yesterday. It is important to note that in these disturbances some Chairpersons especially Hon Chinanzvavana was abused verbally –[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]- with these words that are unspeakable. I reckon Hon. Hwende has been abused to a level we cannot speak in this House to respect its dignity. So Mr. Speaker Sir, I put it to you to respect and to honour the decision which was made there.
Thank you and we will always abide by your response. I thank you –
[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]- THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order!
HON. MUTSEYAMI: Just to wrap up Mr. Speaker Sir; with
regard to the disturbances which are happening in the House, I call upon the House to put a Privileges Committee which is supposed to investigate the current misconduct which is going underway so that we have the solution to what is happening and we have a response from the House. Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order!
HON. K. PARADZA: Point of clarity Mr. Speaker Sir. –[HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order! Can you switch off your
microphone Hon. Member? Order, Order! I will start with the last part of
Hon. Mutseyami’s point of privilege. A Privileges Committee cannot be appointed over and above another Privileges Committee, otherwise we will run into a circus. A Privileges Committee has been appointed on the issues relating to the conduct of Members from my left. Secondly, there is a matter before the courts on a similar issue. Thirdly, the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders has completed the issues that are a cause of the Privileges Committee and the matter before the courts which is subjudice. The Committees must function in terms of Section 139 (4) of the Constitution which indicates that the structure of Committees must take into account the political set up and the gender issues in Parliament.
I have read this announcement referring to the Standing Order No.
18 (1) and the Constitution Section 139 (4). Any disruption to the Committee or Committee work runs contrary to the legislative agenda which was pronounced by His Excellency, the President during the State of the Nation Address. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] - Order, order! I will chuck you out. I will chuck one or two Hon. Members out. The legislative agenda has Bills which must be attended to by Committees and these Bills impinge upon the political and economic reforms which the Government must undertake together with the contribution of parliamentary processes in Committees including going out there for Public Hearings or listening to witnesses that have come through.
So, we have to respect that process and I am asking the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders that since we have completed the new Standing Orders which address the issue that is at the centre of the disturbances, let that process happen. Let the new Standing Rules and Orders be presented here before we go on recess and that will take care of whatever has been happening within Committees.
So, let the processes take place and we ask that there must be unity of purpose so that we fulfill the Presidential legislative agenda – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] - Order, order! You have forgotten, I said it before please respect yourselves. I do not want to end up at the clinic with no voice since I keep on shouting that you maintain order. The Hon. Deputy Minister of Energy would like to table Forensic report followed by the Hon. Deputy Minister of Lands and Agriculture.
TABLING OF REPORTS
ZESA HOLDINGS FINAL FORENSIC INVESTIGATION REPORT –
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER
DEVELOPMENT (HON. MUDYIWA): Mr. Speaker Sir, in terms of
Section 12 of the Audit Office Act, Chapter 22:18, I lay upon the table the Report of the ZESA Holdings Final Forensic Investigation Report – January 2019 - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order. Do not invite the Chair to send one or two Hon. Members out.
COLD STORAGE COMPANY FORENSIC AUDIT REPORT
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL RESETTLMENT (HON.
HARITATOS): Mr. Speaker Sir, in terms of Section 12 of the Audit Office Act, Chapter 22:18, I lay upon the table the Report of the Cold Storage Company Forensic Audit Report.
GRAIN MARKETING BOARD FORENSIC AUDIT REPORT
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE,
WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL RESETTLMENT (HON.
HARITATOS): Mr. Speaker Sir, in terms of Section 12 of the Audit
Office Act, Chapter 22:18, I lay upon the table the Report of the Grain Marketing Board Forensic Audit Report – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear,
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. MUTAMBISI: I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 and 2 be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 3 has been disposed
HON. KWARAMBA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. SPEAKER
VISITORS IN THE SPEAKER’S GALLERY
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Members, there was an oversight on my part, I did not recognise the presence in the Speaker’s Gallery of our visitors. I therefore take this opportunity to recognise our visitors in the Speaker’s Gallery. These are members of ZILWACO and War
Veterans. You are most welcome – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]-
Order, order, order!
VETERANS OF THE LIBERATION STRUGGLE BILL [H. B.16,
Third Order Read: Second Reading: Veterans of the Liberation
Struggle Bill [H. B. 16, 2019].
THE MINISTER OF DEFENCE AND WAR VETERANS
(HON. MUCHINGURI-KASHIRI): Mr. Speaker Sir, I rise to present to you the Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Bill which has come into fruition and has finally reached the Second Reading Stage.
The drafting of the Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Bill is in line with His Excellency, the President of Zimbabwe’s national legislative agenda to align all outstanding laws to the Constitution of Zimbabwe. To satisfy this requirement, my Ministry initiated the alignment process by carrying out stakeholder consultations. Outcomes from the consultative workshops were then used to develop principles which led to the drafting of the Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Bill.
The Bill was then approved at Cabinet level, gazetted and is now at the Second Reading Stage.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the purpose of the Bill is to align the existing legislation to the Constitution of Zimbabwe and repeal the War Veterans Act (Chapter 11:15), the Ex-Political Prisoners Detainees and
Restrictees Act (Chapter 17:10) and also provides for one consolidated Act called the Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Act which provides for all categories of Veterans of the Liberation Struggle that are provided for in Section 23 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe as “those who fought, those who assisted and those who were imprisoned, detained or restricted”. The Bill clearly distinguishes the four categories by defining
“Veterans of the Liberation Struggle” as; a liberation war fighter, an expolitical prisoner, detainee or restrictee, or a person who assisted the fighters in the war of liberation, that is to say a war collaborator or a non-combatant cadre.
Each category has its own definition provided for in the Bill clearly showing that the categories are not the same. Therefore, without derogation from Section 86 of the Constitution and 21 of the
Interpretation Act (Chapter 1:01), Statutory Instruments will be provided to cater for different benefits to be granted or paid to different categories of veterans of the liberation struggle.
The Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 20) Act (2013)
clearly provides the basis upon which the Bill was drafted. It explicitly recognises the liberation struggle as an important part of the history of the country which should always remind us and influence the way the country is governed. The Preamble exalts and extols the brave men and women who sacrificed their lives during the Chimurenga/Umvukela and national liberation struggles. Section 3 of the Constitution provides for the recognition and respect for the liberation struggle as well as recognition of the rights of veterans of the liberation struggle as some of the enduring founding values and principles of good governance of the Republic of Zimbabwe.
Section 23 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe also obligates the State and all institutions and agencies of Government at every level to accord due respect, honour and recognition to veterans of the liberation struggle. The same Section also obligates the State to take reasonable measures, including legislative measures for the welfare and economic empowerment of veterans of the liberation struggle. Section 84 prescribes as fundamental, entrenched and inalienable rights, the entitlement of veterans of the liberation struggle to due recognition for their contribution to the liberation of Zimbabwe and to suitable welfare such as pensions and access to basic health care through an Act of Parliament.
The Bill was, therefore drafted, to show an explicit link between itself and the Constitution, thus complying with the supreme law. It is not the intention of the Bill to take away any benefit that a war veteran or detainee is currently getting; rather, it seeks to add other categories that participated in the liberation struggle which were recognised in the current Constitution. The provisions of the War Veterans Act and the Ex-Political Prisoners, Detainees and Restrictees Act were incorporated in the Bill. The main difference evident in the Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Bill is the inclusion of four categories that form the veterans of the liberation struggle as defined in the Constitution. The Bill, therefore, provides a legal framework for the recognition of veterans of the liberation struggle and it will unlock the specific benefits that relate to them through statutory instruments.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I move that the Bill be now read a second time. I thank you. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
1.1 The Committee on Defence, Home Affairs and Security
Services had the opportunity to analyse the War Veterans Bill, [H. B 15,
2019] which was gazetted on the 1st of September, 2019. The
Committee received mixed views on the Bill. Some sections of the public argued that the proposed law had significantly failed to address the real concerns of the Veterans of the Liberation Struggle, whilst others applauded the Bill for recognizing all persons who participated in the liberation struggle, irrespective of the different services or role they played. Indeed, most of the contributions made by individuals, especially war collaborators, were highly emotive as they felt hard done by Government. This is because they have not received any recognition or state benefits for the immense sacrifice that they made for Zimbabwe to gain its independence in 1980. Cognisant of the diverse views proffered, however, the Committee is indebted to all persons who contributed towards the crafting of this Bill.
The welfare of Veterans of the liberation Struggle has for long been a contentious issue in the post-independence era. War Veterans,
War Collaborators, Non-combatant Cadres and Ex-Political Prisoners, Detainees and Restrictees have had divided opinion over how their contribution to the liberation of Zimbabwe had to be recognized and honored. Statutory measures were put in place to try and address the concerns of these liberation war heroes and heroines. The War Veterans Act (Chapter 11:15) and the Ex-Political Prisoners, Detainees and Restrictees Act (Chapter 17:10) are pieces of legislation instituted by the government to cater for the welfare of freedom fighters. However, these statutory measures seem to have fallen short in some ways to comprehensively address the concerns of war veterans in their various categories. This and many other reasons prompted the crafting of the Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Bill [H. B. 15, 2019]. This new Bill seeks to pacify and unify freedom fighters under a consolidated piece of legislation which proffers and promotes the rights and benefits of Veterans of the Liberation Struggle and their dependents. It is against this profound background that the Portfolio Committee on Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services conducted stakeholder consultative meetings on the Bill and compiled this report.
3.1 In line with section 141 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe
(2013), the Committee conducted public hearings in the ten provinces of the country, from the 27th to the 31st of January 2020. The public hearings were attended by various stakeholders that include: liberation war fighters, ex-political prisoners, detainees and restrictees, war collaborators, noncombatant cadres, widows, widowers and orphans of war veterans, children of living war veterans, persons living with disabilities, community leaders, government officials and other members of the public.
3.1.1 Also present during the public consultative meetings were associations such as: Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA); Zimbabwe Ex-Political Prisoners. Detainees and Restrictees Association (ZEPPDRA); Zimbabwe Liberation War Association of Collaborators (ZILIWACO) and Zimbabwe Children of Freedom Fighters Association (ZICOFFA).
3.1.2 Furthermore, the Committee had the opportunity to interact with the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Defence and War Veterans Affairs, Ambassador Marongwe and Mr. P. Muziri from the Southern Africa Parliamentary Support Trust (SAPST) on the Bill.
3.1.3 For wide coverage, the Committee split into two groups, each covering five provinces as shown below:
(A) TEAM 1
|Date||Province||Public Hearing Venue|
|27/01/20||Mashonaland Central||1.Musiiwa Business Centre (Musana)
2. Nzvimbo Growth Point (Mazowe)
|28/01/20||Mashonaland East||1. Rural District Council Boardroom
2. Rural District Council Hall (Macheke)
|29/01/20||Manicaland||1. Sakubva Beit Hall (Mutare)
2. Information Centre (Birchenough)
|30/01/20||Masvingo||1. Public Service Training Centre (Mucheke)|
|2. Public Service Training Centre (Nyika
|31/01/20||Harare||1. Stodart Hall (Mbare)
2. Unit L Hall (Chitungwiza)
(b) TEAM 2
|Date||Province||Public Hearing Venue|
|27/01/20||Midlands||1.Senga Institute Training Centre (Gweru)
2. Chiyedza Hall (Zvishavane)
|28/01/20||Matebeleland South||1. Jahunda Hall (Gwanda)|
|29/01/20||Bulawayo||1. Nketa Council Hall (Bulawayo)
2. Entumbane Hall (Bulawayo
|30/01/20||Matebeleland North||1. Tatazela Hall (Bubi)
2. Nyamandhlovu Hall (Umguza)
|31/01/20||Mashonaland West||1. Rimuka Hall (Kadoma)
2. Gozhongera (Murombedzi)
4.0 Unpacking of the Bill by the Permanent Secretary of
Defence and War Veterans Affairs
4.1 Ambassador Marongwe highlighted the importance of the Bill while acknowledging the efforts made in the past to address the plight of Veterans of the Liberation Struggle. He, however, stressed the fact that the new Bill would repeal the War Veterans Act [Chapter 11:15] and the Ex Political Prisoners, Detainees and Restrictees Act[Chapter 17:10] in order to come up with one consolidated Act which would comprehensively cover all the categories of Veterans of the Liberation Struggle provided for in the Constitution of Zimbabwe (2013). Thus,
War Veterans, Ex-Political Prisoners, Detainees and Restrictees, War Collaborators and Non-Combatant Cadres among others, would be catered for under one umbrella Act known as the ‘Veterans of the
Liberation Struggle Act’. He also summarized each clause of the Bill, paying particular attention to key constitutional provisions from which the objectives were derived. Definitions of groups of Veterans of the Liberation Struggle were also drawn from the 2013 Constitution of Zimbabwe, though in some cases additions were made in order to clarify the true nature of the groups..
5.0 PUBLIC HEARING SUBMISSIONS
The following key issues were raised by stakeholders regarding each clause of the Bill:
5.1 Clause 2: Interpretation
(i) The definition of “dependent” needs to be expanded to cater for the children of women who were impregnated by some
Veterans of the Liberation Struggle during the course of the war. Their children have fallen victim to stigmatisation and psychological torture on the grounds of the historical circumstances leading to their birth. This has disadvantaged the mothers and their children in accessing social benefits such as education, health and other services. Women in such a situation called for recognition of these dependents, so that they also benefit in whatever way prescribed by law.
- Ex-political Prisoner, Detainee or Restrictees
- Members of ZEPPDRA in all the provinces argued against a mandatory six-month specification for determining qualification as a beneficiary to this category of veterans. They contended that, in some cases, accused persons were detained, remanded or jailed for periods less than six months under intense stress, torture or other forms of abuses. They, therefore, recommended the removal of the six months condition and resort to considering the ‘contribution or act perpetrated as well as the act impact to the struggle in comparison to being in detention or prison for not less than six months. The rationale for this was that one can be incarcerated for one month and suffer more physically, mentally and emotionally than someone imprisoned for six months.
- In that respect, ZEPPDRA and ZNLWVA proposed ninety days as the cut-off point while other contributors called for the total removal of the specific deadline.
- Liberation War Fighter
- While acknowledging the definition of’ ‘War Veteran’ to mean a liberation war fighter with a sound military and or security background, ZNLWVA queried the attempt by the new Bill to accommodate cadres with non-military expertise under the Veterans of the Liberation Struggle banner. They argued that recognising all the four categories under one umbrella name would dilute the true meaning of
‘War Veteran’ thereby depriving war veterans of the benefits associated with internationally recognised military veterans.
- In that respect, War Veterans called for clarity in terms of seniority of the groups, objectively determined by the degree of sacrifice during the struggle, as listed in Section 23 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe (2013). Thus, they emphasised the fact that the armed combatants’ degree of sacrifice cannot be equated with political prisoners, detainees and collaborators.
- Non-Combatant Cadre
- It was proposed that the term, ‘non-combatant cadre’ should be removed and be replaced by ‘liberation war veteran cadre’. The sentiments from the public were that the description denigrates war collaborators in that it depicts an impression of non-connectivity to the struggle when in fact they were resolutely involved at all levels.
- They therefore, opted for ‘War Veteran Cadre’ as this impliedly meant exposure to the enemy’s attacks by either chemical,
biological or physical means.
- Representatives also proposed the deletion of the term ‘refugee camps’ as they felt that it gives the impression that freedom fighters who operated in these camps (better known as Transit Camps) were cowards fleeing their homes to live as refugees.
Additionally, members proposed that Transit Camps in Botswana,
Mozambique, Zambia, Tanzania and Angola should
unconditionally be mentioned in the proposed clause and considered as such for the purposes of vetting.
- On defining War Collaborator as a person who ‘ASSISTED’ the fighters ….’ it was proposed that the term ‘ASSISTED’ be replaced by ‘PARTICIPATED’ wherever the term appears in the
- War Collaborator should be ‘any person who had attained the age of 14 years by the 31st of December, 1979.’
- On the interpretation of ‘veteran of the liberation struggle’ the term ‘means’ should be deleted and be replaced by the term
4.3 Clause 3: Establishment of the Liberation Struggle Board
- War Veterans proposed the inclusion of a clause that empowers them to appoint members, from the grassroots, to be Board Members. The clause should indicate that the nomination and appointment shall be done through the Associations of the
Veterans of the Liberation Struggle. The Minister’s discretion to
appoint Board Members should strictly be guided by relevant statutory instruments.
- Members called for a clause which states that the chairmanship of the Board shall rotate between the Zimbabwe African National
Liberation Army (ZANLA) and the Zimbabwe
People’s Revolutionary Army (ZPRA) cadres, to ensure balance. They advised that the Board should be changed periodically, that is, after every 3 years, to curb corruption.
- Representative associations noted that the Veterans of the Liberation Struggle comprises of ex-freedom fighters, demobilized and retired personnel, and non-militant cadres. For that reason, they disputed the inclusion of the Commander of the Defence Forces of Zimbabwe in the Board for the sole reason that it would confine them to military command. Hence the Commander should not be Chairman of the Board.
- Members of the public also held in doubt the powers given to the
Chief Director by the Bill. They called for the trimming of the his
or her powers, especially on management of the Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Fund and other monetary projects.
- In addition to the functions of the Board, a proposal was made that the Board should be empowered to set out the criteria for declaring hero status to deceased veterans.
4.4 Clause 8: Powers of Vetting officers
- The general public called for the establishment if a Vetting Committee which should be changed after every three years, to curb corruption. It was therefore proposed that the subtitle of
Clause 8 should be expanded to read; “Appointment, Powers and
Duties of the Vetting Committee” as opposed to ‘Powers of vetting officers. In addition, a vetting officer should be a person who participated in the liberation struggle, either under ZPRA or
- ZILIWACO and ZNLWVA postulated that the clause should clearly state that War Collaborators are to be vetted by Camp Commanders or any such persons in authority who participated in the war and were directly linked to the persons being vetted.
- The vetting should be done in the zones and bases where the collaborators operated during the war of liberation. Chiefs, headmen and village heads should be consulted during the vetting of collaborators since they are presumed to have records of families and individuals who actively participated in the struggle in their villages of command
4.5 Clause 12: Benefits and establishment of schemes.
- Associations representing the four categories of Veterans of the
Liberation Struggle called for the removal of the term ‘BASIC’ in Clause 12 (a) (i) arguing that it allows the Minister or any such responsible authority, to offer a pension benefit that may not be sufficient to cater for the financial welfare of veterans. Instead, they opted for a clause which clearly states that Veterans of the Liberation Struggle are entitled to a pension benefit equivalent to a serving Brigadier General’s salary.
- It was also proposed that in the event of the death of a war veteran, the pension payable to the surviving spouse or dependants should not be reviewed downwards to the extent that it leaves the deceased’s family in abject poverty. This is in light of the added responsibilities that would be endured by the surviving spouse.
b) Medical and Dental Care
- Cognisant of this provision, presenters on the subject highlighted that nearly all liberation war veterans were either physically, emotionally or mentally incapacitated as a result of the aftereffects of the protracted war of liberation. In that respect, it was proposed that a comprehensive medical aid scheme, offered by a reputable medical aid company, be awarded. The scheme should allow beneficiaries to access healthcare at both Government and private institutions countrywide, as well as outside Zimbabwe, where and when the situation requires so.
- Several speakers on the subject also lamented the poor state of health institutions in the country and strongly proposed the incorporation of a clause on the construction of memorial hospitals and clinics for Veterans of the Liberation Struggle.
(c) Educational Assistance
- Veterans of the Liberation Struggle bemoaned the challenges faced by their children and dependents with regards to accessing educational funding. While the Bill restricts educational assistance to government institutions, both ZILIWACO and ZNLWVA associations argued that the benefit should be extended to cover private institutions in and outside the country.
- Still on the provision of educational assistance, ZNLWVA in Masvingo proposed the inclusion of a clause where a 20% quota of the Presidential and other national scholarship schemes is reserved for children and dependents of Veterans of the Liberation Struggle. In addition, the benefit should be availed to all learners, young and
old, as long as they are official beneficiaries, regardless of their age.
(d) Funeral Assistance
- In Clause12 (2), associations called for the incorporation of a sub clause on the provision of funeral services by a Parlour of reputable standing such as Doves and Nyaradzo Funeral Service providers.
- In addition, they proposed to be given funeral assistance and benefits which are equivalent to those of the other Veterans in the
Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.
- They suggested that hero status should not be distinctly categorized. Instead, they strongly expressed the view that all freedom fighters should be accorded national hero status for the purposes of uniform funeral assistance, honour and other postfuneral benefits.
- Veterans of the Liberation Struggle queried the powers of the Minister responsible for War Veterans Affairs and were quick to point out the ambiguity expressed in Clause 12 (3) on payment of gratuities. They called for a crystal-clear clause on the benefit entitled to war veterans in terms of the actual once off gratuity payable to beneficiaries.
- With respect to that, associations proposed the deletion of the word
‘MAY’ together with the phrase, ‘…within the resources available...’ to be replaced by ‘SHALL’ wherever they appear in the Bill. It was argued that the inclusion and use of ‘MAY’ leaves a lot to interpretation and is prejudicial to Veterans of the
Liberation Struggle. They argued that the clause must compel the Minister to honour the provision, instead of giving him or her the discretion to act otherwise.
- To that end, it was proposed that Clause 12 (3), when amended, should read, “The Minister SHALL prescribe a gratuity payable once only….”.
- Additionally, the Bill should state a figure in respect of the gratuity for each category of Veterans of the Liberation Struggle, as is the case with the War Veterans Act (1997) which gave effect to the payment of a $50 000,00 to all vetted War Veterans.
- In view of the above fact, War Collaborators and Non-Combatant Cadres proposed that their monetary benefits should also be paid retrospectively (backdated to 1997, when liberation war fighters received their gratuity and pension benefits).
- Furthermore, it was proposed that there must be a clause stating that all deceased Veterans of the Liberation Struggle should benefit posthumously, through their surviving spouses, dependants and or relatives.
- Another proposal made in honour of veterans benefitting posthumously was that 20% of their children, including those of living Veterans, should be offered jobs by the Public Service Commission. To this end, a call was made to incorporate a clause to read, 'Employment of children of Veterans of the Liberation Struggle in the public service, that is, the Zimbabwe National Army, Zimbabwe Republic Police, Prisons Services and other government institutions’.
(f) Clear categorization of the Veterans of the Liberation
- Pursuant to the aforesaid benefits, associations, particularly the
ZNLWVA, demanded clear classification of Veterans of the Liberation Struggle on the basis of their contribution and sacrifice to the Liberation Struggle. This should inevitably apply on the allocation of benefits. In other words, clause 12 should explicitly state the benefits and schemes for each distinct category.
- In view of the foregoing proposal, members of ZNLWVA and ZEPPDRA emphasised the importation of all clauses on benefits, from the current War Veterans Act [Chapter 11:15] and ZEPPDRA
Act [Chapter 17:10] into the proposed Bill. This includes importing all supporting statutory instruments.
4.5.2 Additional benefits requested by Veterans of the
(a) Tax and Duty Exemption
(i) It was proposed that the Bill should have a clause that exempts Veterans of the Liberation Struggle from paying land tax, vehicle import duty and tollgate fees.
(b) Quota System in Parliament and all government institutions and agencies
(i) The Veterans of the Liberation Struggle called for the Bill to have a clause which clearly states that there should be a 20% quota for War Veterans in Parliament and all government institutions, as is the case with women and youth. According to proponents of this idea, representation in Parliament and other state institutions by Veterans of the Liberation Struggle themselves will ensure that their welfare concerns are fully addressed while at the same time safeguarding revolutionary values and interests.
- Automatic Promotion of serving Veterans of the Liberation
Struggle in state institutions
(i) A proposal was made to include a clause on automatic promotion of Veterans of the Liberation Struggle currently working in government institutions. They suggested that serving members due for retirement should be promoted one step up in order to boost their retirement packages and pension benefits as is the case with retiring military personnel.
- Diplomatic Passports (i) All associations across the ten provinces concurred on the need to grant diplomatic passports to the leadership of the Veterans of the Liberation Struggle. They proposed the insertion of a clause in the Bill.
(f) Bravery Medals and New Identity Cards
(i) War Veterans called for the Bill to have a clause wherein the liberation fighters will be recognized and honoured through awarding of Bravery medals as is the case with Chiefs. They argued that the clause would complement Section 23 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe (2013), which elaborately calls for the State, its institutions and agencies at all levels to accord due respect, honour and recognition to Veterans of the Liberation Struggle. In addition, new identity cards should be processed and given to each Veteran of the Liberation Struggle.
4.6 Clause 13 -16: Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Fund
(a) (i) A call was made to include a clause on the decentralization of the administration of the Fund so that it becomes easily accessible to beneficiaries. While acknowledging the influence and role of the Board hereto, the public called for the trimming of the powers of the Chief Executive Director with respect to the administration of the Fund.
(ii) In respect of individual economic empowerment projects, War Veterans in particular, called for a clause on special concessions or grants in mining. This, according to them, will help the government to control and monitor its mineral resources by curbing pilferage and black marketeering.
(b) Compensation of War Victims and Veterans of the
Liberation Struggle living with disabilities
(i) Pursuant to and recognising the establishment of the Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Fund, the public in Macheke observed that the Bill was not explicit on compensation of war victims and Veterans who are disabled. It was therefore, proposed that there be a clause on compensation of war victims and veterans living with disability through an established War Victims Fund, as provided for in the War Veterans Act (1997).
(c) Exhumation, reburial and maintenance of Shrines of Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Associations highlighted that the Bill should incorporate a clause to address issues of exhumation of those who perished during the liberation struggle. They claimed that the State should take maximum responsibility on identifying the deceased and spearheading the exhumation process, thereby rendering them decent reburial at the Heroes’ Acre or their respective home shrines.
- The same clause should seek to address gaps on adherence and reverence to cultural practices such as traditional cleansing in order to appease and put to rest the spirits of fallen heroes and heroines whose remains lie neglected either in foreign land or from within our borders.
- There were concerns that the maintenance of National Shrines was being neglected, especially at provincial and district level. They proposed that existing Acts on maintenance of National Shrines be transferred to the ministry responsible for the welfare of Veterans of the Liberation Struggle, that is, the Ministry of Defence and
War Veterans Affairs.
- Clause 19: Accounting and Auditing of the Fund
Some members of the public advised that the said clause should also mention that Veterans of the Liberation Struggle, at grassroots level, shall be furnished with financial statements and Audit Reports regularly. Additionally, an external auditor should also be engaged to complement the efforts of the internal auditor.
- Clause 21: Resettlement benefits for Veterans of the Liberation
- There were calls to incorporate a clause which commits the government to protect their land rights. Concern was raised where some Veterans of the Liberation Struggle, widows and orphans of deceased Veterans, were being evicted from their resettlement areas. Associations therefore suggested that there should be a clause which stipulates that War Veterans whose pieces of land might be confiscated by the State for national developmental programmes, be relocated first before the government takes over their land.
- War Veterans asserted that the Bill should clearly state that every
War Veteran is entitled to at least 50 hectares of farmland.
- Moreso, they argued that the 20% quota stipulated in the Bill should not be restricted to farmland allocation alone. Instead, it should apply on all government projects such as housing schemes in urban areas and growth points.
5.0 COMMITTEE OBSERVATIONS
(a) (i) All the associations were not comfortable with the use of such terms as refugee camps and non-combatant cadre on the section dealing with interpretation of terms. Despite the term noncombatant cadre appearing on Section 23 of the 2013
Constitution of Zimbabwe, the affected group argued that the term was foreign to them and did not give a true reflection of the cadres’ involvement in the Struggle. The use of ‘Refugee Camps’ was rejected as Veterans called them Transit Camps.
(ii) War Veterans were not satisfied with the umbrella reference to all the categories of participants of the Liberation Struggle as
Veterans of the Liberation Struggle. This is mainly because the implied definition of war veteran from this perspective is not in tandem with the internationally accepted meaning of ‘war veteran’.
Internationally, the term ‘war veteran’ refers to a person who underwent military training and engaged in combat operations in a particular war. Likewise, our War Veterans are recognised as such as a result of their attestation in the ZPRA and ZANLA armies. Therefore, this set up (by nature of its proposed composition) dissociates the War Veterans of Zimbabwe from the community of international war veterans who subscribe to the World Veterans Federation.
(b) (i) The ZNLWVA and ZEPPDRA prefer upholding the current pieces of legislation, that is, The War Veterans Act [Chapter 11:15] and the ZEPPDRA Act [Chapter 17:10] while urging the government to consider crafting separate pieces of legislation for War Collaborators and Non-Combatant cadres. However,
ZEPPDRA would welcome the new piece of legislation only if it were to honour promises made in the current Act which offered $6 million as gratuity to each member.
(iii) ZILWACO and Non-Combatant Cadres expressed excitement over the development and appreciated the advent of the new Bill as they believed that all freedom fighters are equal in terms of their contribution to the liberation Struggle. The former is urging Government to pay members a once off gratuity in retrospect since their counterparts (War Veterans) had benefited back in the late 1990s.
(c) (i) Associations concurred on the rotational 3 year tenure of the Board Membership comprised of members drawn from the four categories at grassroots level.
(ii) Representatives of the four groups felt that the Bill was emphasizing powers of the Board and the Chief Director instead of being elaborate on benefits of Veterans of the Liberation Struggle. (d) (i) Associations of Veterans of the Liberation Struggle agreed on the establishment of a Vetting Committee made up of Ex-
Commanders of the Liberation Struggle.
- All the associations representing Veterans of the Liberation Struggle concurred on the need to have a clause that establishes a War Veterans quota in Parliament and all government agencies.
- The issue of benefits was very topical in all the provinces. All the associations called for clarity on allocation of actual benefits for each category.
- (i) The majority of Veterans of the Liberation Struggle did not benefit from the land reform programme and some of those who were fortunate enough to have gotten land were being unfairly evicted. Widows and orphans of fallen veterans were the most vulnerable to these evictions.
(ii) The Committee also noted that the Bill is silent on the welfare of veterans who are mentally and physically disabled as well as widows and orphans of War Veterans who passed on prior to 1980 in Zambia and Mozambique before vetting was done.
- There was concurrence on the need for members to participate in national economic empowerment programmes if they were rightfully empowered through grants and mining concessions.
- There is need to consider reviewing the vetting age limit for War Collaborators from the proposed age 16 to 14 years as at 31st
- There is need to consider revising the cut-off point for qualification as Ex-Political Prisoner, Detainee and Restrictees from six months to three months. This should include cadres who were executed and those who simply disappeared during the war yet their records are known.
- Veterans of the Liberation Struggle are vehemently calling for recognition and honour during important state gatherings such as Independence Day and Heroes Day Commemorations, among others. They also concur on being given new identity cards and bravery medals as is the case with Chiefs.
- (i) For the sake of preservation of history, liberation war fighters are proposing the establishment of Veterans of the liberation
Struggle Museums as well as the introduction of a War Veteran Bond which will stand as a legal instrument guarding the values of the liberation struggle.
(ii) War Veterans are concerned that the National Anthem is not sung at the beginning of each Parliamentary sitting in both the National Assembly and Senate.
- Associations representing the groups of freedom fighters strongly reiterated the need for speedy exhumation of fallen heroes and decent burial for all deceased Veterans of the Liberation Struggle. In addition, they are proposing a speedy proclamation of hero status, which in any case should be national hero status for all deceased veterans.
- Veterans of the Liberation Struggle were concerned about the
Ministry’s failure to consult them during the drafting of the Bill.
- The Committee observed that some members of the public lacked sound comprehension of the Bill. Most individuals took the public hearing gathering for a platform to narrate and share their personal experiences during the war instead of responding to the clauses of the Bill. Others, especially War Collaborators, demonstrated their readiness for vetting by going as far as submitting compiled lists of their members.
- There was notable confusion among the members of the public on the interpretation of Sections 141 and 149 of the 2013 Constitution of Zimbabwe. The majority of the people who attended the public hearing sessions were unable to draw lines between the Khundlane Petition and the Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Bill. People expected the Bill to have captured all the recommendations made in the Khundlane Petition Report which was still under debate in Parliament.
- Associations and individuals alike, were concerned that it had taken too long a time (40 years) for the Government to seriously consider the plight of Veterans of the Liberation
6.0 COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATIONS
- Suggested definitions and descriptions should be incorporated in the section on interpretation of terms. The replacement of the term
‘may’ with ‘shall’ should be adhered to wherever it is used in the Bill.
- (i) Repealing the Bill is not a reasonable action to take. Rather, importing all relevant clauses and statutory instruments in the previous pieces of legislation, [War Veterans Act 11:15 and ZEPPDRA Act 17:10] into the proposed Bill would go a long way in addressing the plight of Veterans.
(ii) An unquestionable categorization of the distinct groups of Veterans of the Liberation Struggle, as well a clear criterion for awarding benefits to each group should be considered. Added to that, the government should work out separate packages (pensions and gratuity) for War Collaborators and Non-Combatant Cadres which are different from those awarded to War Veterans and Ex Political Prisoners, Detainees and Restrictees, in order to avoid unnecessary political conflicts and court actions.
(c) (i) The Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Board should include members of the four categories drawn from the grassroots. The Board should be changed after every three years.
(ii) Though reporting to the Board, powers of the Chief Director should be trimmed so that he or she does not directly or indirectly become the sole administrator of the Veterans of the Liberation
Struggle Fund and all associated empowerment projects.
- A Vetting Committee made up of Commanders of ex-combatants
should be set up to handle all vetting issues. Traditional leaders such as chiefs, village heads and headmen who have records of families and individuals who actively participated in the liberation struggle should be consulted during the vetting process.
- Political parties must take the initiative to promote and implement the quota system in their respective political parties which is aimed at achieving the call for a quota reserved for War Veterans in Parliament.
- (i) The Bill should provide for a comprehensive medical aid scheme offered by a reputable Medical Aid Society. In addition, health care should be accessible in both private and public health institutions in and outside the country. In the long run, construction of memorial hospitals for Veterans of the Liberation Struggle is necessary.
- The Bill should provide for full funeral cover equivalent to that of a national hero and offered by a parlour of reputable standing. The Committee also recommends timely declaration of hero status as
well as the immediate release of funeral assistance funds and other post-funeral benefits.
- The Bill should offer standard educational funding for children and dependents of Veterans of the Liberation Struggle at all levels of learning including access to government scholarship schemes. This should apply on both private and public institutions.
- Veterans of the liberation Struggle in the four categories should be exempted from paying land tax, tollgate fees and import duty on commercial or investment imports.
- All landless Veterans of the Liberation Struggle should be allocated at least fifty hectares of land. Once land has been legally allocated, beneficiaries must not be dispossessed except with a court judgment and on condition that a replacement of equal size is found within three months before eviction. Widows, orphans and dependents of Veterans of the Liberation Struggle must be legally protected from eviction.
- Individual empowerment projects should be prioritized over group funding. The government should consider offering mining
concessions or grants backed by government guarantees - similar to housing guarantees the government used to provide in the early
- The vetting age limit for War Collaborators should be 14 years as at 31st December 1979.
- The cut-off period for qualification as Ex-Political Prisoners,
Detainees and Restrictees should be 90 days.
- Veterans of the Liberation Struggle should be given due recognition and honour by leading processions during significant national commemoration gatherings such as Independence, Heroes and Unity Days. Likewise, new identity cards should be processed and bravery medals awarded to all veterans in their distinct categories.
- For the sake of preservation of history, the government is encouraged to establish Veterans of the Liberation Struggle
Museums, as well as introducing a War Veterans Bond which will
stand as a legal instrument guarding the values of the liberation struggle.
- Stakeholders, in this case the four categories of the Veterans of the Liberation Struggle, should be engaged or consulted during the drafting of Bills concerning their welfare.
- A Gazetted Bill should be accompanied by a simplified version (Bill Digest) preferably written in local language, to assist the general public in terms of grasping the contents of the Bill.
- In addition to Statutory Instruments, the government should publish simplified versions of Bills in the form of pamphlets and fliers detailing entitlements and benefits and where to access these benefits. These should be readily available to all Veterans of the Liberation Struggle and all the eligible beneficiaries.
- Government should speed up the exhumation of fallen cadres and ensure that they are reburied decently. It must also ensure that all the shrines are properly maintained by responsible authorities.
Therefore, it is pertinent to boldly state that Veterans of the Liberation Struggle are an indispensable heritage, not only of our national history of liberation from colonial bondage, but also represent the national ethos and the collective spirit of Zimbabweaness birthed through resilience, bringing together our racial, ethnic and religious diversities. As such, the supreme law of the land acknowledges this pivotal and transcendental role and invokes the mandate of the state and all its institutions to accord “respect, honour and recognition to Veterans of the Liberation Struggle.” Unfortunately, it has taken 40 years for the State to come up with a law that seeks to address the concerns of Veterans of the Liberation Struggle as a combined force. In view of that, let it be known that most of the views given by stakeholders are noble and require attention. The case of subsidized transport, education, health care, housing, funeral grants and other relevant benefits for Veterans of the Liberation Struggle is not peculiar to Zimbabwe; rather, it is in line with international best practices. Thus, the Committee urges the responsible authority (Ministry of Defence and War Veterans
Affairs) to consider the people’s views and incorporate those issues that are critical in as far as the welfare of Veterans of the Liberation Struggle is concerned.
HON. MASENDA: Thank you Madam Speaker for giving me the
opportunity to add my voice to the Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Bill. May I, through you Madam Speaker, appeal to Hon. Members to allow the Bill to be debated in silence? There is a lot that can be learnt from listening to the presentation of the Bill because most of us were not born then. It is important that they listen to the wisdom that comes out of here. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]- It can be denied but it is the truth. I still need your protection Madam Speaker. There is a lot of interaction that is going on.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members, Order
HON. MASENDA: The Bill provides for a number of several
benefits but it falls short of conferring any benefit to decent burial of fallen heroes who are lying in shallow graves in the country and across the borders. So, there is need that fallen heroes need a decent burial. The second point is that the Bill provides for war veterans to be attended at Government Hospitals. It should also provide for war veterans to be attended at private institutions where need arises. There is no benefit for the burial of fallen heroes in Zimbabwe or across the borders like Mozambique and Zambia. There is need to provide that in the Bill as well.
There is a situation in the country which disqualified veterans of the liberation struggle from being classified as war veterans because of the political situation which existed then. It is important that everyone who took part, despite what could have happened in the past be considered as a war veteran. There is need for those who were not vetted to be vetted so that they all qualify for compensation as liberation war heroes. This Bill has nothing to do with the Rhodesia Front Forces. It has only to do with veterans of the liberation struggle who took part and fought against the Rhodesian Forces. So, there will be no consideration of those who fought on the Rhodesian Forces side to be considered for any compensation or for any benefit under this Bill.
This Bill seeks to address the inadequacies of the War Veterans Act which left out participants of the liberation struggle as enumerated in the new Bill. On the classification of dependent, the Bill should also include children of war veterans who were born during the liberation struggle in bases in Mozambique, Zambia and even in the fore-front, there were children who were born to the veterans of the liberation struggle who are not being considered under this new Bill.
On the determination of ex-political prisoner, detainee or restrictee, the minimum of six months was considered to be too long because some people were arrested for two weeks and they suffered torture, humiliation, trauma more than those who were in prison for six months. So, the period under which ex-detainees, restrictees and ex-political prisoners should be reduced to three months or even less. ZIPEDRA and Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans proposed a 90 day cut off so that at least more people will be considered as restrictees or detainees.
There is also need to benchmark the provisions of other liberation movements such as FRELIMO, SWAPO, in Rwanda, Umkonto
Wesizwe and in Angola, so that we do what is internationally accepted, not just our own thing. The term Non Combatant Cadre should be replaced with Liberation War Veteran Cadre. The term Refugee Camp to be replaced by Transit Camps because most of those people who found themselves in what we are terming refugee camps were waiting to go for training and come back home to fight the liberation war. So, the camps should not be refugee camps because as refugee, you are hiding away from a situation.
Those who went there were not hiding away, but had to wait their turn to be trained and come back home. The term should be transit camp not refugee camp. The Zimbabwe Liberation War Veterans Association raised a concern over the lumping of war veterans under one name as this will dilute the benefits that will accrue liberation fighters. So, they were saying that it is important that the four categories be kept separate for the purposes of considering the benefits that will accrue to ech category.
I would like to zero in on people who assisted. Someone who assists does not take part in the action. The word assisted should conveniently be replaced with the word participated in the liberation struggle so that everyone who had any hand in the liberation struggle will be recognised as a veteran of the liberation struggle. War collaborators are people who took risks to further the interest of the liberation struggle. They should also be considered as being war veterans of the liberation struggle but not people who assisted but should be taken as having participated in the liberation struggle.
The establishment of the liberation struggle board should rightfully be taken from from the two camps – ZIPRA and ZANLA because those are the people who liberated this country including any other person from any other camp is indeed not conferring the right of the veterans of the liberation struggle to manage their own destiny. So people should only be taken from those two camps.
The vetting committee should comprise of members who have a relevant background on the liberation struggle because bringing in any other person who might have no idea of what the liberation struggle was will dilute the strength of the vetting committee. People with ulterior motives might decide to do otherwise. The recommendation is, they should only have liberation war credentials for them to become a member of the vetting committee.
There is also an inclusion of a basic pension – why basic and just talk of a pension because basic means there is something better than the pension that is being offered. Here we are talking about the pension that war veterans should get should never be considered as basic. It should just be a pension. When a pension has been conferred to veterans of the liberation struggle, that pension should continue to be given to either the spouse, the children or the existing dependants of the war veterans so that everyone along the chain will continue to benefit. There are situations where the pension once granted is then taken away once the beneficiary is no longer there. That should not happen – it should continue to benefit other beneficiaries.
War veterans bemoaned the fact that accessing educational provisions is very difficult. Although the current War Veterans Act provides for educational assistance to war veterans and their dependants but this has been implemented in a haphazard manner to the extent that other war veterans have not benefited. Their children have not benefited. Payment of fees delays the whole process to help their beneficiaries. It should cover everyone else who has to benefit from that.
On the 20% quota, we are saying that this should not just be reserved to agricultural land but also cover housing, business industries and mining. It should also cover a whole spectrum of items that come from the Government. We are also saying that – [HON. MEMBERS:
Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order Hon. Ndebele.
HON. MASENDA: Madam Speaker Ma’am, I need your
protection – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order Hon. Members!
HON. MASENDA: The Bill provides that the ‘Minister may’, we want to make it compulsory by saying the ‘Minister shall’ so that the Minister has no .....
HON. MADZIMURE: On a point of order. According to the rules, a member cannot repeat what the other member has already said. He can only bring in new issues. The Hon. Member is simply duplicating what the Chairperson of the Committee has already said. If he has no new ideas, then he must sit down and allow other Members to bring in new ideas.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Masenda, you do not
have to repeat what has already been said. You may come in with other new things – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – [HON.
MASENDA: Jecha rinobva kune vanhu vakaita semi chete kwete ini] – Hon. Masenda you are left with five minutes. May you please wind up.
HON. MASENDA: I need more protection so that I can wind up quickly – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – There is also need to consider some exemptions for the veterans of the liberation struggle such that they do benefit from the land which they liberated.
There is need to exempt them from land tax, duty – [HON. MEMBERS:
Inaudible interjections.] – Madam Speaker Ma’am, I need protection, these Hon. Members are interrupting me – [HON. MEMBERS:
Inaudible interjections.] – there is need ......
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Masenda, you do not have to repeat what has already been said – [HON. MEMBERS:
Inaudible interjections.] –
HON. MASENDA: I do agree. There is need to recognise the veterans of the liberation struggle by awarding them at least a medal – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – that shows their participation in the liberation struggle.
*HON. CHINOTIMBA: On a point of order, when we started this session, one Hon. Member said we should not disrupt Parliament sittings. These Hon. Members are now disrupting Parliament business more than what is being done in the Committees. The disruption we see in Committee starts here.
HON. MASENDA: I need to wind up by saying that the veterans of the liberation struggle are old and they have so many illnesses. They need assistance in all medical areas. There is need for speedy implementation of the new Act so that the war veterans benefit as soon as possible from the provisions of the Act. I thank you. – [HON.
MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
HON. NGULUVHE: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. I
would first like to thank our Chairman for presenting that report and also our Minister for bringing the report to the august House. I would also want to appeal to the House that we cannot talk of Zimbabwe without talking about the history of this country and we cannot talk about the history of this country without talking about the war veterans– [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – Therefore, my appeal to the House is that when we come to talk about this Bill, we must be serious, otherwise most of you were not supposed to be in this House. Some of us took part and feel very emotional when we see that people hustle over an issue that affects the well being welfare of war veterans. So, I appeal to you Hon. Members, let us take this Bill seriously and consider the welfare of our officers.
As such Madam Speaker Ma’am, my contribution is going to be just a short one, just to remind our colleagues and Hon. Members that I know some of us would joke and say, ‘Go back to Mozambique return the country where it was, then we will come back and liberate it, it is not the time for that but let us be serious – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – I said jokingly.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order Hon. Members!
HON. NGULUVHE: I will just comment on the board. I think with all due respect, this board should not leave out those who actually participated in the struggle. We should include people who actually participated on this board – they know what the comrades went through.
So let us also include and make sure that on this board, we have comrades who participated in the struggle.
Then coming to the powers of the vetting officers, again I want to say that, ‘Let us not leave out the real war veterans who took part in the struggle’. I cannot imagine a born-free leading a veteran’s team to go and vet a real war veteran. So let us put a real war veteran to go and do the vetting. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
Madam Speaker Ma’am, I also want to point out that we all know what transpired in our country prior to 1987. There were some disturbances both in Matabeleland North, South and Midlands. As such, we have war veterans who were not considered for vetting – not because of their making but because of the situation then. So let us also consider that they are vetted. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
I will add just one or two issues on the benefits of the war veterans because most of the issues were covered by our Chairman. The first thing is the issue of the liberation war medals. This should be taken seriously to benefit those who deserve through the Ministry of Defence, War Veterans and Security Services. Secondly, the reburial of former freedom fighters who died in the operation areas – they must be reburied at both provincial and national heroes acres and the areas where these comrades died are well known by those commanders who commanded them in the field. Otherwise, if we are not careful we will end up reburying selous scouts.
We need to improve the medical treatment of war veterans by not limiting their treatment to Government hospitals only, considering that the Rhodesian forces also used chemical warfare against our fighters both in the rear and front. Effects caused by such chemical warfare require special treatment from outside Zimbabwe. I propose that the veterans of the liberation struggle on national events such as Independence, Heroes Days be identified by their uniforms. So I am proposing that we give uniforms to these war veterans, so that during
Independence celebrations or Heroes Day, they are easily identifiable. The uniforms should be different because I know that there is confusion as to who is a war veteran? Who is a war collaborator?
I think that we can differentiate them using the different uniforms so that you can identify that this is a trained war veteran and this is a restrictee and all those issues – those are my recommendations. With these few comments, I propose that we move with speed and that this Bill is passed expeditiously because when you see some of the war veterans down there, some of us are lucky that we are still looking young but most of them look like 78 year old people because of the way that they are suffering. I am sure some of us saw them during our Public Hearings.
When you actually move in areas like Tsholotsho and
Chikwarakwara, you can easily tell that that homestead belongs to a war veteran as opposed to the one that belongs to an injiva because of the way they are staying. So I appeal to this House, let us pass the Bill and give what is due to these war veterans. I thank you. – [HON.
MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
*HON. MUTSEYAMI: Thank you very much Madam Speaker
for the opportunity. I want to start by looking at the issue of the death of war veterans. Our policies should be clear on the last respects accorded at the burial of a war veteran – we have a problem with those burials. Some of them are being buried without respect and acknowledgement to their participation in the liberation struggle because maybe word took long in reaching the authorities. A war veteran ends up being buried like a child. After being buried, no respect is given or someone to give the history of his/her fighting. A person who can testify about the late war veteran’s participation in the liberation struggle.
The Bill should also look at the functionality of the laws. When a war veteran is being buried, we have a problem in that some liberation war veterans are being buried - the guest speaker, a respected person would be someone who fought alongside Ian Smith who comes to lead in the burial of a national war veteran – that has to be looked into. The person who is coming to give respect and deliver a speech at the burial of a war veteran must be a person who knows in detail about the liberation struggle and should have participated in the liberation. We do not want to see a war veteran being buried by a Selous Scout or a member of the Rhodesian forces. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
On Clause 12 Madam Speaker, it is about pensions. These people should not be considered as general workers on pension. There is no pension that they are earning. They should be given a sustainable living allowance to make them survive – it should not be pension but money that will enable them to buy food; they will take 8 to 12 years without anything to eat. They were in problems and now you put them on pension which is equal to someone who was a civil servant coming from his home. We equate the pension to that of someone who was staying in the forest for many years. This is supposed to be a salary and not pension, it should be able to buy food so that for the few years left, the veteran has a good life and live a better life than that of a civil servant –
[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
On the pension issue, the other thing is that on the education of children of war veterans, there must be respect. The person who fought the liberation struggle wants to leave kids on this earth who have the knowledge which will make them successful and for people to respect that, ‘that is the child of a person who participated in the liberation struggle’. With the little salary he is getting, his children should not become poorer than him who went to war. If you look at children of those who worked for Smith, they are far much ahead in terms of education compared to the children of a liberation struggle fighter. The Bill must explain that the children of war veterans must be respected. Like myself, Prosper Mutseyami, the son of John Selamu Zhuwau who went to war in 1973 coming from Mareya.
Madam Speaker, on the issue of projects, we must make up something so that there is a programme to get reward from their work getting assistance from the Government in terms of finance to uplift their lives. We have to remove the issue of collateral security. The collateral security of war veterans is their participation in the liberation struggle –
[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
Madam Speaker, the liberation fighters; on the board which is being created which will take care of war veterans – the first thing is that they should be people who have a clear history of the liberation struggle. If you check on the books, you will see that there is a well-explained history of the liberation struggle, not to have in the board just a person whom you assume was in the liberation struggle because he is good at speaking English on television. We want board members who are mixed with those from urban areas and from rural areas. Those who witnessed the struggle for the past 40 years and can speak with authority on the problems faced by war veterans for the past 40 years. Those are the people who should be on the board. We should not emphasise the on selecting people who hold high political offices, they are put under pressure when war veterans request their benefits. They are put under pressure by their political parties and gagged by their political parties.
That has to be addressed – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members.
HON. MUTSEYAMI: Lastly, Do not dispite the liberation struggle and the freedom we got. The people who went to war experienced a lot of problems in term of health; we should have hospitals to take care of war veterans with experts who understand the problems which were faced by war veterans. If they have ailments which cannot be treated in this country, there should be a clear policy that they will be assisted to go out of this country and get medical attention and make sure that war veterans survive well in this country. I would like to thank you for the time you have given me. I do not want to take a lot of time for others.
++HON. MABOYI: Thank you Madam President for this opportunity. Hon. Speaker Ma’am, I will highlight a bit on the war veterans and the way they operate. War Veterans are people who worked so hard for us to be here, I am grateful for what war veterans did for us to be here. However, war veterans are not getting what they are not supposed to be getting. If a war veteran passes away, there is no tea, no food, nothing for people who will be present for the funeral to get food. It is other people’s responsibility to look for all those things which are supposed to be there for the decent burial of a war veteran.
If you see people contributing here, they do not really know what a freedom fighter is like. People who went out there to fight for this country were affected physically, psychologically and by everything around them.
War veterans should be put into categories, that is a category for those that fought for the freedom of the country, a category for those who were cooking for the fighters and a category for informers. These people are different because those who fought for the country played a major role which no one can really take back. Therefore we are saying, let us have those levels coming out differently because their roles were different. They were never the same. We are saying war veterans should be taken for health examination because some of those people inhaled different dangerous substances and those things have led to administration of diseases.
Right now, we are realising that most of the war veterans suffer from various illnesses and most of them quickly die because there are so many diseases that they encountered during the liberation struggle.
Therefore, I want to add on to what the other Hon. Member said, that we are not only talking about pension but we are saying they need to get more than just pension because they played a major role for us to be here. We would not be here if it was not for them.
All I am asking for is that, those making contributions, those who are writing what is being contributed by Members, some learned need to realise that these people were deprived of the opportunities to go to school. Some of them failed to proceed with their education. Therefore, this is time for them to be send back to school and may be engage in vocational training courses that will help them in the future.
Madam Speaker Ma’am, if you see people that are suffering and showing extreme poverty in our communities, these are war veterans. We continue to say, please let us look after our war veterans. Right in here, we have people who fought for this country. We continue to say let us have those women being looked after because they played a major role in fighting for this country. We continue to say those ladies need to be looked after and their children. Right now, their children are being chased away from school because they cannot pay for their school fees.
If I fall ill as a war veteran, I go to hospital I am required to pay something like $3 000 but I do not have that amount. Therefore, I continue suffering. All those people who fought for this country and are suffering, we need to look after them. We are asking for uniforms to be given to war veterans so that whatever programmes that are being run, war veterans are included. We have war veterans that are coming out so clearly indicating that this one is a war veteran. This is what we are asking for. With those few words, I thank you.
*HON. KWARAMBA: Thank you Madam Speaker. What I
wanted to contribute in this august House has already been said. What I can say is that there are some children of late war veterans who went to the war but did not come back to Zimbabwe after Independence. Such children should be looked after. These issues should also be incorporated into the Bill.
As war veterans, we desire that our welfare be addressed. Hon. Mutseyami said the exact words that I wanted to say so I will not say much. We need to be regarded as anyone else. The monies that war veterans are getting should be reviewed. A war veteran cannot service his or her car, buy fuel for their cars, go to public hospitals or even taking their children to school.
Looking at all these factors, I would suggest that our children receive school fees disbursements early because these monies are not coming on time. The funds should be included in the budget. Thank you.
*HON. KARENYI: Thank you Madam Speaker. Firstly, I would like to thank the Hon. Minister for presenting this Bill to this House. My opinion is that as a nation we need to consider that as Government because it has taken us a long time to address the welfare of our war veterans. My point is that, we need to seek forgiveness of our national heroes, that as Government it has taken us a long time to address their welfare despite the fact that they participated in the liberation struggle.
As I stand here Madam Speaker, some might say that some people who were born after independence do not value war veterans but as an individual I value the liberation struggle. I was young then but I have family members who went to war and did not return after independence which means as a family we also lost family members.
When we refer to war veterans, it pains me because these are the people who brought independence to Zimbabwe. A lot of things were said Madam Speaker Ma’am but I would like to say that there is an issue that was raised in this House particularly referring to widows. When land was distributed, a lot of widows of war veterans did not benefit from the land distribution scheme. So I would like to ask that in this Bill widows be represented. When we decide to distribute land again, the one man one farm policy should also cater for widows.
Let me look at the Presidential Scholarship, the Bill points out that
20% should be allocated to war veterans. I propose that we must not use
20% but consider all war veterans’ children. Looking at the Presidential
Scholarship, you discover that most beneficiaries are children of Government employees who are earning salaries from Government. I am saying this because we have relatives who have benefited from this who have parents that are employed. As an individual, I would like to say that let us give this opportunity to the children of our war veterans so that they benefit from the Presidential Scholarship before giving the scholarships to those who have parents who go to work.
Madam Speaker, I would like to emphasise this point challenging the Government, that as Government audits these activities particularly those who went to war, looking at Presidential Scholarships, you will discover that including those who were in the Seventh Parliament, children of Ministers and Members of Parliament also benefitted from the Presidential Scholarship. I would like to say to the Government, we need to remember that we have children who deserve to benefit from these scholarships. Let us honour the children of war veterans.
We have women who participated in the liberation struggle who faced different challenges that are different from those faced by men.
Most women who went to war need counselling because what we and our aunties experienced during the war continuously affects us as women. This means that it is important to offer psycho-social support to such women so that they can have a better life.
Another point that I want to raise from the Bill that was brought by the Minister to the House, since this has taken long and we have not honoured our war veterans, we know that our money is being eroded by inflation as our economy is not stable. When these monies are dispersed this must not be similar to what happened when war veterans were given $50 000.00. There are a few who bought meaningful things and developed their lives. When they are given packages, I would like to request that in the Bill, the monies should be meaningful to our war veterans. After the Bill has gone through, it is important to honour our war veterans.
Madam Speaker, let me say that from a position of the labour party, the MDC in its Constitution has a section for war veterans. As a political party, we honour and respect our war veterans and we know that war veterans deserve to be given a package. That is why our party Constitution is very clear and it emphasises that we need to honour war veterans so that their rights are respected and they get proper food and receive money which will be meaningful to them. The party led by Adv.
Chamisa respects war veterans.
*HON. CHINOTIMBA: Thank you Madam Speaker. Firstly, I
would like to thank the Hon. Minister for bringing the Bill to the House. I am not going to say much but would like to address issues that were left out. In Zimbabwe, starting with school going children there is no clear history of our war veterans. For example those who died at Mboema and Chimoio, that history is not captured in the Bill.
The Bill should be very clear on the history to be taught to our school going children. The names of those who perished at Chimoio should be published in our textbooks so that children know their history.
Right now, we still learn of Cecil John Rhodes. When you go to Victoria Falls you will see the statue of Cecil John Rhodes instead of our founding nationalist fathers. This is what is lacking in the war veterans’ Bill so that the nation can retell the story of our war veterans, the young boys and girls who perished during the armed struggle.
In our country, Zimbabwe has a women’s quota in Parliament. Recently, we heard His Excellency the President speaking about the youth quota in Parliament. War veterans as they are do not have a quota in this august House. I was voted for after campaigning – [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
+HON. N. NDLOVU: Hon. Chinotimba uttered vulgar words in Ndebele and it is not allowed here in Parliament. I doubt if he should be allowed to continue to debate. I think he has insulted every mother and woman in this Parliament. Hon. Chinotimba spoke vulgar words. He insulted all the women in this august House and in the country, even the female war veterans. Because of that, Hon. Chinotimba must not debate in this House because he insulted the House and women using Ndebele. In the rural areas, if you say the words uttered by Hon. Chinotimba, you can be fined. Unoripiswa mombe yechibatiso kuripa mhosva yekutaura zvinyadzo mwedzi uno waMarch ndewekuremekedza madzimai.
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order! What the Hon.
Member is saying what Hon. Chinotimba has said; Hon. Chinotimba is refusing that he never said that word. So, we will check with the Hansard tomorrow to determine whether Hon. Chinotimba said those words or not.
*HON. CHINOTIMBA: Thank you Madam Speaker – [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Members, my ruling
stands, we will confirm with the Hansard tomorrow.
*HON. MATSUNGA: Thank you Madam Speaker for this
opportunity. I do not think as Hon. Members, the Bill that we are debating and the importance of war veterans; I do not think an Hon. Member who was voted for should use vulgar words insulting women. I do not think it is fair, this should not be said in the august House, to speak such words that offend the women – [HON. MEMBERS.
Inaudible interjections.] -
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order! Hon.
Molokele, I will send you out of the Chamber.
*HON. CHINOTIMBA: Thank you Madam Speaker – [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Members, if this
behaviour continues, I am going to send someone out. May we have order in the House – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]- You may continue with the debate Hon. Chinotimba.
HON. CHINOTIMBA: Thank you Madam Speaker – [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order!
HON. MOLOKELA-TSIYE: On a point of order.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: What is your point of order?
HON. MOLOKELA-TSIYE: Hon. Chinotimba clearly insulted
us, the question is not whether he did insult us or not, the question is what word did he use? According to the Chief Whip, he said ‘satanic’ and according to someone else he said something that I cannot repeat. So the point is Hon. Chinotimba actually said it. So, he will not speak until he respects women. It is women’s’ month and he must not disrespect women. He must withdraw and apologise for disrespecting women of Zimbabwe.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Chinotimba, if you said satanic, withdraw your words – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible
*HON. CHINOTIMBA: The previous speaker is the one who I
insulted saying satanic not women.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Please withdraw.
*HON. CHINOTIMBA: Madam Speaker, I withdraw the word
satanic – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – the word I said to the previous speaker. I said that you are satanic and that is what I am withdrawing.
HON. MOLOKELA-TSIYE: On a point of order Madam
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Molekela-Tsiye, please
take your seat or else I am going to send you out.
HON. T. MOYO: On a point of order.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: What is your point of order?
HON. T. MOYO: My point of order is that Hon. Molokela-Tsiye was accusing Hon. Chinotimba of not being a war veteran so he responded by saying satanic – [HON. MOLOKELA-TSIYE: Inaudible
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Molokela-Tsiye, order,
if you continue like this, I will send you out – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Hon. Members on my left, do you want us to continue debating the Bill or not? You are making noise despite the fact that I am ordering you not to make noise.
Hon. Murai having stood up.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Murai, please take your
*HON. CHINOTIMBA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I said that we have the women and youths quotars, however, we do not have a quota for war veterans in Parliament. War veterans are not recognised. We want war veterans to be honoured by being allocated a quota and not an elective quota but just like the youths and women’s quota. This quota should include at least one war veteran in every province – [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Chinotimba, please wind
up your debate and take your seat.
*HON. CHINOTIMBA: If we do that, then our war veterans will be represented in Parliament – [AN. HON. MEMBER: Iwe gara pasi nguva yako yapera] – The next point is that from the army my request is that a General should be a war veteran, not just an appointee but a war veteran – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]- Commander of the army
HON. T. MOYO: On a point of order, Madam Speaker – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-
*HON. CHIPATO: Thank you Madam Speaker. I would like to add my voice on the debate. War collaborators, war veterans and exdetainees live deplorable lives despite the fact that they participated in the liberation struggle and that they sacrificed their lives for independence.
Madam Speaker, 40 years after independence, the opposition has never been in power but they forget that there is someone who sacrificed his or her life and that person is living in abject poverty. We know that things are expensive in Zimbabwe and those who participated in the liberation struggle are living in abject poverty. My request is that Government should expedite the welfare of war veterans and war collaborators. There should be vetting in all provinces.
Let me talk about war veterans. These are people who have become a laughing stock to the nation because most of them are suffering from different diseases as a result of the life they lived during the war. Most of them go to hospitals but do not have access to medication. Government should prioritise war veterans and identify centres where war veterans should receive medical attention.
Most war veterans did not benefit from the land redistribution exercise. You will discover that the Woman’s Bank and the Youth Bank were identified as banks that will benefit women and young people. However, war veterans were not prioritised when these banks were being set up. When war veterans were given $50 000, I would like to take it as an analogy which can be compared to feeding a small child porridge and then constantly reminding the child.
We need to remember as a nation that independence came as a result of the sacrifice of the war veterans. It was very difficult for Zimbabweans to go to First Street before independence. So I would like to urge this august House to promulgate laws which will honour our war veterans. This august House was not meant for black people during the war and before independence, but because of the sacrifices of our war veterans who took it upon themselves to liberate the country which was colonised by the imperialists, things have changed. Now that we have independence and the land that our war veterans fought for, war veterans are just people without money and without resources. I would like to urge Government to prioritise such issues.
As this august House, it is important for us to remember our war veterans every time we prepare our annual budgets. There are children who were left behind by these comrades during the war. Some of these children were given their grandparent’s surnames. This is sad because such children did not apply to be born. We urge Government to look into such issues, particularly female war collaborators because you will discover that when you find that your daughter is pregnant you react, how about female collaborators who got pregnant during the war?
These are people who sacrificed to fight for the liberation of Zimbabwe.
With those words I thank you.
HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: Thank you Madam
Speaker. I think it is unfortunate that because of our own problems here in the House we are unable to give the importance that we should be giving to this particular discussion. I think it should be a discussion that brings us together instead of dividing us.
When I listen to the conversations and debate here, for the first time in this House we are all in agreement. It does not matter whether you are sitting on what side of the House, it does not matter what political party you are from, I think the message is clear. We all are apologising for not having done what we were supposed to for the 40 years, and I think that is what is important.
I am just going to raise two main issues. The first one is that the reason this particular debate is going the direction it is going is that it is a delayed debate. In most countries, Madam Speaker, you will find that there is a day that is called a Veterans Day. It does not matter if you are in the UK, in the United States of America or any other place; those that participated in the liberation struggle have their particular day.
I know that others may say we do have a National Heroes Day but unfortunately because even the national hero itself has become problematic in terms of those that participated in the struggle. It is important that we have a Veterans Day that acknowledges everybody who was out there where most of these people are talking about. Secondly, Madam Speaker, some of the things we are talking about here do not need money. We do not need resources to give dignity to people who participated in the struggle. Let me be very candid. I am sitting in this very House and I am looking at female war veterans. I cannot count them in the front rows where people are nominated as Ministers. Why is that the case? Why is it the case that those women who participated in the liberation struggle, today in 2020 are the backbenchers of this very House?
So I am not persuaded Madam Speaker when l listen to this flowery message about a Bill, when the practical things we should be doing on a day to day basis we are not doing. Why is Hon. Kwaramba having been in this House since 2013 - she cannot even afford to be made a Deputy Minister. You are saying she does not have enough capacity to even become a Cabinet Minister and yet it does not take anything to be able to take these particular women and put them in positions of authority. The message you will be sending to those that are sitting today up there is if they were to see their very own being put in positions of authority, they will understand that you are acknowledging them.
Unlike others who are saying oh let us find schools fees and other things, I am saying just give them the dignity that they should be having today. I do have a brother who went to the struggle. He came back and is an agronomist and yet when he goes to these Ministries, he is treated like rubbish because no one acknowledges that this person went to the struggle. For me, it is not about the things we want to do. It is not about the discussion of a piece of paper that we are bringing to this House, which for me is a sorry excuse of the things we should have done a long time ago. We should be embarrassed that we are sitting here 40 years later talking about what we are talking about.
My message is clear, we have ministerial positions and embassies. If I sit in the Committee of Foreign Affairs, I cannot count the number of female war veterans that have been asked to go and put up those embassies. Why is it a problem to just give them embassies? Why is it a problem that when we are looking at Permanent Secretaries, we look at how many Permanent Secretaries are people who are coming from the liberation struggle. It is not about being educated. Even those that are educated that degreed are not taken seriously. Even the political party itself should do its introspection. The ruling party itself - where are your war veterans in the structures of your liberation? –[HON MEMBERS:
Until we begin to walk the talk, we should be able to bring this Bill. For me we should not even be debating this. It is a foregone conclusion. Do not even waste time. We will pass it; except for a few things, but lets talk about the things you are not doing yourselves in the positions that you are in. I thank you.
*HON RUNGANI: I would to add my voice to the War Veterans Bill. Firstly, I would like to say that I was also in the Committee, particularly when we interviewed war veterans focusing on their welfare. Some war veterans were asking pertinent questions like who exactly is a war veteran. This encompasses those who went to war, those who went out of the country but came back without receiving any training, including war collaborators and ex-detainees. Some were saying we are referred to as war veterans but we experienced the war and participated in different ways. Some were asking how they would be rewarded.
In some cases we talk about war collaborators and if we agree that this is a female or male war collaborator who was 14 in 1979, these are the people that we want to refer to as war collaborators. There are also dependants of war or children of war veterans, these are so many. The communities in different parts of the country were saying that there are many people who were left carrying children of war veterans. Some were saying that even children of war veterans and those who were impregnated by war veterans and are facing challenges who do not even know where those who impregnated them went to, because they were casualties.
The Bill should be clear on those who are beneficiaries of war veterans and are being sent to school - in fact there should a cutoff date. For example, even at 25 years of age this should be in the Bill, so that even the child of a war veteran who is going to school even at 25 or beyond should benefit. This is because when the generation of war veterans is no more, no one will promulgate laws which benefit their children. So, we desire that children of war veterans should continuously benefit through school fees.
War veterans were given pensions which should benefit their widows. Some were requesting that the Bill should be clear that even after the death of a war veteran, the widow of that particular war veteran should continue receiving a full amount of the pension. When a war veteran passes on, their land must not be redistributed to other people, but it should benefit the widow of the late war veteran.
War veterans also requested that when laws are being passed in this House, war veterans should be buried in dignity and honour because most of them are buried as paupers. Some do not even have tombstones.
The law should be clear that when war veterans pass on, they should be buried in a decent manner and they should have tombstones. Those who are declared national heroes should also be buried in their rural areas but in dignity and honour. It is not a matter of them being taken to the Heroes Acre but they should be given an honour or a higher status even when they are buried in their rural areas. My last point is that war veterans said that they would like that in those areas where their colleagues were buried. Such places should be written properly and there should be tombstones and other things which honour the war veterans for posterity. Thank you.
+HON. N. NDLOVU: Thank you Madam Speaker. I would like to
first thank the Hon. Minister who brought this Bill to the House. I would also like to thank Hon. Mayihlome, the Chairperson of the Committee who moved around the whole country to gather views from the public concerning the war veterans. A lot has been said but I would like to add a few contributions that I believe have been left out. If you look at the issue of plots, you will notice that they were given plots that are far away. In many cases most of their children cannot even go to school.
They have to walk for 20 kilometres in order to get to school.
They do not even have stores where they can buy groceries. They have to travel almost 10 kilometres to do so. They have to face so many difficulties in order to access food. The war veterans are not even free at all. They are still at war and are fighting for their rights. Mr. Speaker Sir, if you look at the treatment that war veterans face, they are treated as spare wheels. You will notice that a car for example, has four wheels but if one deflates, they get a spare wheel and put it. That is what happens with war veterans. They are not respected people yet they are the ones who fought for our nation and freed our country.
We are what we are today because of the war veterans who fought for this country. War veterans did not fight for the rights of other people and forget their own. They thought that they were freeing themselves as well. What is shocking is that the war veterans did not represent themselves. If it is political parties, they have them chosen for them.
They are told what to do and when. That is not freedom that they fought for. The people who do that did not even go to war. They are the ones who are benefitting from their sweat.
The people who fought for this country did not get any benefit and it is us who are benefiting yet we did not contribute anything. The poorest people in this country are war veterans and they own nothing at all. There are people who get paid in foreign currency. However, the people who should be getting the foreign currency are the war veterans because they fought for us. I once read an article in the newspaper. We were told that farms that were taken away from the white people are going to be handed back to them. Those farms had been given to our fathers who are war veterans and they were told that they will age there. Their lives are uncertain because they are often threatened and told that the owner of the farm will come back one day. Our fathers were told to construct temporary houses and this should have shown them that they were being cheated and will be moved away one day.
Lastly, I would like to say that our mothers and fathers who are war veterans should not be given 99 year leases and end there. Would you kindly give them those title deeds for them to know that the land is theirs and that whatever happens, they know they own their places? They should not only have temporary papers of which the land would be taken away from them at any point in time. That is why they feel uncertain about what happened. Please give them the freedom that they deserve and the freedom of choice as well.
As I conclude, there is something called a smart document of MDC. It speaks widely of war veterans that they should be respected and that they should be given their rights. There are people who fought in Mozambique and DRC. Some of them are handicapped and their children are orphaned. They should be given their rights and freedom. We respect the people who fought the war. I would like to add by apologising to the war veterans. I am also a child of a war veteran. We apologise that you did not get what you fought for. Twenty years of farm invasion but you are told not to construct permanent houses. May they be given their freedom in full? Thank you Mr. Speaker.
*HON. SEWERA: Thank you Mr. Speaker for giving me this
opportunity. I have seen a lot of things and I have heard what has been said by Hon. Members of this House. Besides that, we have seen that the issue of war veterans is very important. It is being supported by everyone because a dead person does not just go for nothing. I am surprised by many Hon. Members who are supporting this Bill. We have even seen people who were saying, ‘return the country from where it came from before the independence’ supporting the Bill. There is an issue of a person called a war veteran. He is very important than anyone else.
They sacrificed themselves to fight for this country and they did not expect any reward. If you see now that person who sacrificed the way he is living, if you see where they are staying and where they are sleeping, it is not pleasing. We want to add more on what has been said but this issue of all those who fought for the liberation of this country; the fighters, the detainees and collaborators should be taken care of urgently.
There is an issue of farms being talked about. If these people are given farms, they will be empowered. It is not feasible to just give them farms without any resources. They should be given tractors and money or everything that uplifts their lives so that they are able to live well. They are still behind. I want to thank the Cabinet and His Excellency President Mnangagwa for this Bill.
On the issue of war heroes and heroines, the people who died for this country; I am one of these people – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – What I know is that I left my home area and operated in Masvingo but I was from Murewa. That person did not fight the war in his home area. People should be buried equally in terms of heroes status. I want to support the issue which was raised in this Parliament. They do not want to go under the Ministry of Defence. They want to choose their candidates and are given positions in Parliament. Before, they were given Ministers who are not war veterans to represent them. These people are not capable of doing so. That has to be looked into.
We are requesting that on the vetting day, especially war collaborators; we expect the war veterans who worked with them to be available. We are asking the Ministry of Social Welfare and security services to scritinise people who would want to cheat during the vetting process. This issue took a long time. There are some people who would want to benefit whilst they did not participate. We have people in rural areas who were collaborators and other war veterans who died and had their families left behind. These families have to benefit. We should not forget them.
War veterans do not want to do projects in groups. They also want individual projects so that they can get loans from banks. They also want their own bank which considers them as war veterans so that they are given money to do individual projects. If we look at war veterans who died for this country, these people have to live a higher life more than anyone else in this country.
I want to repeat because repetition is powerful. Thank you Mr. Speaker for giving me this opportunity – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
*HON. SHAMU: Thank you Mr. Speaker for giving me this opportunity to debate on this motion in support of this Bill whose aim is to improve the welfare of war veterans. I want to thank His Excellency the President of Zimbabwe, Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa and his Cabinet for allowing this Bill to come to Parliament. I also want to thank the Minister of Defence and War Veterans, Hon. Muchinguri-Kashiri who today tabled this Bill so that it becomes law in future. I also want to thank Members of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association, War Collaborators and ex-ditainees who united under the leadership of Cde Chris Mutsvangwa and others to support and contribute ideas contained in the report given by the Portfolio Committee today on the issue of the welfare of war veterans.
I believe a debate of the Bill will unify us as Members of the
National Assembly where we come representing various constituencies and political parties. I totally agree with Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga that as we sit in this House, no one can be said not to have participated in the liberation struggle in one way or another. Everyone played a role. We have relatives, friends or neighbours who got involved with the liberation struggle. We had a common objective which is the liberation of Zimbabwe.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like to request that the vetting of those who participated in the liberation struggle be thorough, no room left for corruption as that will derail this noble cause.
Mr. Speaker Sir, on the issue of the reburial of our fallen heroes, we should be cognisant of the fact that we had joint operations with freedom fighters from other countries. ZIPRA collaborated with Umkonto weSizwe of ANC during the Hwange battle. It is our duty to recognise and give a befitting honour to those that gave their lives for our liberation.
Mr. Speaker Sir, in the Manica Cemetary in Mozambique where
Patrick Mupunzarima is buried, he lies there together with Tanzanians from PPDF who gave their lives for our liberation. We need to take full stock of our departed, be they Zimbabweans, Tanzanians, Zambians or Mozambicans. We should not just think of ourselves but we have to pay tribute to all those who perished during the liberation struggle.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I was impressed by the contributions of Hon. Members on the welfare of liberation war fighters. When we talk of the welfare of war veterans, we are saying has one got a roof over his or her head. We are talking of their survival. If we do not improve their livelihoods, then we will have done a disservice to the nation. You may ask why I am saying so.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the Second World War was fought from 1st September 1939 and ended on 2nd September, 1945. The veterans of that war are still being remembered today. On the 27th to the 30th of April, there will be a Chinese-American Veterans of World War II; Congressional Ceremony in Washington DC. That war took place way back but they still remember them today. We are here talking about a war that ended only 40 years ago. In America they are commemorating war veterans of a war that was fought way back. They are likely not to find 10 people who participated in that war. It is therefore very important for us as Zimbabweans to do what we are doing today. Mr. Speaker Sir, to all Hon. Members who are in this House and to the leadership of this country, I think that we have appeased our ancestral spirits.
This law Mr. Speaker Sir, is a very important law that will touch on various issues to do with war veterans and also provide a vehicle for the chronicling of the history of the liberation struggle. We need museums on the history of the liberation struggle. We also need a committee consisting of knowledgeable people to write books on our liberation history. We cannot rely on books written by individuals for distortion and self praise will become the order of the day. The Government must come up with a committee representing the interests of all who participated in the liberation struggle so that they can be able to capture our sacred history. Exaggeration of one’s contribution distorts the history of Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle.
Mr. Speaker Sir, an authentic write up of our history should be indorsed by His Excellency the President as leader of this revolutionary nation.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I would have done a disservice if I was not to mention that war veterans from Chegutu District traveled to
Mozambique in September last year where they visited the Tembwe Shrines. They came back with a report which confirmed the fact that the graves in which war veterans who perished outside the country were unkempt and trees are growing on the graves.
In Mapayi, we have war veterans like Cde. Ziso who was a renowned hero yet no one has been there. This is why I said that this Bill is very important. When we leave this House and go to bed, we need to commend ourselves for the unity of purpose that we have shown during this debate. I thank you.
+HON. MAHLANGU: Thank you for giving me this opportunity
Mr. Speaker Sir. I stand in support of this Bill especially looking at the welfare of war collaborators who have never benefited as compared to the war veterans since they have never been vetted. This has resulted in them missing out on the benefits that are accorded to war veterans since they are unknown and not recognised.
If you look at the issue of NSSA, war collaborators are not benefitting from NSSA housing schemes that are being built for war veterans. Also in terms of health matters, some of them were injured during the war but because they were not vetted, they cannot benefit.
Our Government was not fair to all because these people did not benefit. With our Government, these people are not getting free medication as war veterans are. Since our Government has neglected these people for 40 years, I think that they should be first to benefit and should be given priority when the list for war veterans is done. They should also get the benefits that the war veterans are getting. As it is, they complained a lot because they are not even getting inputs from the Government.
Again, what I noticed about chimbwidos is that there are children who were born out there who do not have birth certificates up to today.
So, in my own opinion, I would like for these people to be recognised.
We should ensure that they get birth certificates for their children because they confirm that they have children who are out there. There is need for us to look into this matter. I thank you.
*HON. TOGAREPI: Thank you very much Hon. Speaker Sir for
giving me this opportunity to add my voice to this debate. Firstly, I would like to thank the new dispensation for recognising those who participated in the liberation struggle. We have been given the opportunity to be honoured as people who fought for the liberation of Zimbabwe.
I would like to thank Hon. Members who are in this august House for responding resoundingly to the report that was presented by our Chairman, Hon. Mayihlome. I would like to thank them for the history of our country was not properly captured. It was omitting some vital information as if some ex-combatants, collaborators, ex-detainees and non cadres were not necessarily important. They were being segregated. When you go to different places, you discover that some war collaborators and ex-detainees ran away from their places of origin.
Some people went to school in towns whilst war collaborators remained behind and those who went to school took up different jobs. Most war veterans spent their youth carrying weapons, fighting for independence. I would like to say that this Bill came at an opportune time and it will transform the welfare of war veterans and those who fought for the liberation of Zimbabwe.
I would also like to say that, despite the fact that we have different viewpoints relating to politics, at one point, there were some people who did not honour those who fought for the independence of the country and even said a lot of things regarding our revolution. However, today, I heard different Hon. Members concurring and agreeing. My desire is that those who are going to work on this Bill should expedite the Bill because I noticed that Hon. Members of this august House agree that the welfare of our war veterans should be prioritised. Therefore, we need to prioritise their welfare.
The other point I want to talk about is that, taking from the debates in this House, it is as if the war veterans; those who went to war, war collaborators and those who were waiting to be trained had similar challenges. If you go to Gutu right now, you find a place called Mungoma where more than 100 war collaborators died. When freedom fighters are considered, these things should be looked into. The war that we participated in, which was fought by war collaborators, ex-detainees and war veterans is the same war. We desire that this august House respect war veterans because the bullet that killed a war veteran, an exdetainee or a war collaborator is the same. Administrative issues should be looked into yes, but it is important that there is no segregation among war veterans, ex-detainees and war collaborators because this was the same war, there will not be another war. Whether one is a war veteran, an ex-detainee or collaborator, they have the same scars.
I would also like to say Hon. Speaker, when we look at different
Government departments, the national Constitution on Section 23 and
83, the Constitution clearly says that war veterans should be honoured. When we talk of honouring and respecting war veterans, it is important to identify and know war veterans. When there is nothing that identifies a person as a war veteran, then it becomes problematic. I would like to urge the Government that it is important to have symbols that identify our war veterans. For example, in public institutions like hospitals; when someone does not know that someone is a war veteran then it is difficult to serve them well. I think the Government should give war veterans a symbol like a medal so that they can be easily identified– when we identify war veterans, this will help them wherever they go, they can be identified by such symbols.
The issue of war collaborators; there are some children who have names like Hondo and other different names who do not even know who their parents or fathers are. We need to form a ‘Liberation Struggle Trust,’ which will be there to preserve the legacy of war veterans. However, for us who are still alive, the children of deceased war veterans, war collaborators and ex-detainees and those who were impregnated during the war and have children should have a database created which will be in the hands of the trust so that such children’s welfare is looked into.
Lastly, I would like to thank this august House; Hon. Members of this august House, we might differ on our viewpoints but I would like to appreciate that we concur and agree that war veterans should be honoured. This spirit of unity should continue. We must not be found denigrating our war veterans in future. The departed war veterans and those who are alive – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
HON. S. BANDA: Hon. Speaker, on a point of order. There is a narrative as if we from the MDC respect war veterans starting from today. From the day we were founded, if you go into our preamble as MDC, you will find that we respect war veterans from day one. So, I want that to be corrected. We love the war veterans, war veterans are part of MDC, war veterans have to be given more land.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I want to thank the Hon. Minister for bringing this Bill and the Hon. Chair of the Committee for submitting the committee report. I also want to thank the seconders of this Bill and applaud them. I just have seven points that I want to talk about. Hon. Speaker Sir, the issue that was brought up by Hon.
Mayihlome in terms of amalgamating all the different groups that fought for the liberation is certainly applaudable. This is what I want to talk about. This is unity, more unity and it is applaudable. Mr. Speaker, I want to recognise anybody who went to war, a war collaborator, a detainee, a restrictee who was 14 years of age in 1979. Mr. Speaker Sir, 1979 I was nine years of age but anybody that was five years older than me needs to be recognised according to this Bill as somebody that fought in the war of liberation.
What does this mean Mr. Speaker Sir? According to Section 3 of the Constitution, as alluded by the Minister of Defence, the recognition of the war of umvukela by our Constitution is applaudable. That is the very key tenet of our constitution and that I also want to applaud. In Psalms 90:10, the life that we have here under the sun as a biblical country, a country that recognises the Bible, the life that we have according to the Bible is three score and 10. If we live any time above that, it is makore embasera atinopiwa naMwari kana naNyadenga. It says you can go further and live four score, which is 80. Three score is 60, ten is 10 and it is 70.
If we recognise the issue of the vetting process and the amalgamation of this group, the person who was 14 years of age in 1979 will be 65 years of age today. Meaning that the vetting process – it is my clarion call and fervent view that it should not take any more than five years because the one who was 14 years, in five years time they will be 70 or they will be extinct because of natural attrition, because of the live they have been given by our Lord in the Bible.
I am just requesting that there be an expeditious process of vetting
Mr. Speaker Sir for those that were in the war of liberation that are left. By reason of natural attrition, there would not be any more war veterans than they were in 1980 or 20 years ago. A lot of them would have passed on. I am talking about the one that was 14 years of age in 1979. It is my thinking that if there is going to be vetting as been alluded to, let it be within the next year, otherwise we lose oral tradition and we will also lose the data that we have.
A brain can store six million items but as you get older the issue of memory does not get any better. All it needs is a stimuli in order that it can apportion what it has in there to what is the present day circumstance.
The third issue Mr. Speaker Sir, the vetting and the amalgamation where the first and second, I ask that as the cost of living adjustment monies and programmes, we should first and foremost deal with the pensioners who a lot of them are veterans of the liberation struggle. Why do I say so Mr. Speaker Sir? Currently, they are the last people to be spoken of and about when you start disbursing the cost of living adjustment. We should be the last in the line especially those of my age that never went to the war of liberation. The people that should be first in line are those that gave birth to the one man one vote. The people that gave us the freedom that we have today; the people that emancipated the formerly marginalised black majority of this country and who are none other than the liberators of this country. The Restrictees, war collaborators, the liberation war heroes are the people whose pensions as has been alluded to by Hon. Shamu that whose pensions need to be looked at effectively and efficiently. Aware that the Europeans take care of their own who fought in the World War I and World War II, we pensioners who are in England that fought World War I and World War
II who are being paid because they fought whilst they came from Rhodesia. If these people who are the erstwhile colonisers can be recognised using our own given resources coming from former Rhodesia who is now Zimbabwe. Let us recognise our own Mr. Speaker Sir who gave birth to the unity that we have today, who gave birth to emancipation and total empowerment of the woman that we have today. Aware that before independence, women never used to be recognised in the manner that they are recognised today, they used to be treated like children. After independence they started to be advancement of the woman. Mr. Speaker Sir, I like to speak about women because what men can do, women can do better and we are all born of a woman.
The forth issue Mr. Speaker Sir speaks to and about the National
Anthem. As long as we do not recognise how we deal with our National Anthem, we do not value our nation. As we present and as we chun out the National Anthem, we should not be standing at akimbo, we should not be chewing gum, we should take seriously the issue of the national anthem. Otherwise we will not have the rains raining in this country as we deal with our rain fed agriculture and as we also fill our dams for safe potable drinking water. Everybody at school going age should be taught the values of the National Anthem. Mr. Speaker Sir, we should be qualified to sing the National Anthem word by word. Everyone who is involved in sports and anything to do with this nation should first and foremost be qualified. You should go through a rigorous process of seeing if they are able to sing the national anthem. They should value it and they should sing it whilst they stand up straight and head up.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: May I remind you of your time Hon. Nduna?
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. The fifth issue is the exhumation and the reburial of our heroes. Hon. Shamu touched on this issue but I am going to centre on the issue of our Freedom Camp in Zambia. I went there, I saw how dilapidated, disused and the shrines are in a deplorable state. In that country we also lost a plateau of Zambians who in their quest to protect our own Zimbabweans who were in that country to try and fight for the liberation of this country. First and foremost, we need to spruce up, rehabilitate, reconstruct, rejuvenate our war shrines in that country, at Freedom Camp in particular before we can also go to the Zambians and offer our help in terms of sprucing up their war shrines for those who caused the demise of the platoon and their war veterans in their quest to protect our own. We need not only to exhume the remains, but we also need to bury them in a harmonious and good manner.
Mr. Speaker Sir on the issue of Tembwe, I have today in conjunction with Hon. Musanhi dispatched a team of four bearers who have an advance team which has gone to Tembwe to quantify the issue of making sure we maintain the war shrines that are at Tembwe where our own perished in numbers when the Smith regime decided to exterminate our own that went to war. The war collaborators were there and the liberators of this country were also there.
Mr. Speaker Sir, today we have about five of our own who have provided transport to go and make sure that they go and put in an inventory of what is needed. It is my thinking Mr. Speaker Sir that as long as we do not take care of those that died for this country, we are going to continue to be plagued by diseases that are unknown. Also, there are a lot of issues that can bedevil this country - chief amongst them the issue of lack of rainfall. It is my thinking that as they come back, with that inventory we can now by the end of this month or next month send teams from Chegutu West Constituency, Chegutu
Administrative District to go and make sure that they rehabilitate, rejuvenate and spruce up the war shrines. I also ask that there be exhumation of the seven heroes of the Chinhoi Battle so that they can be reburied at the National Heroes Acre.
Mr. Speaker Sir, with those few words, I carry the message of the people of Chegutu West Constituency who also want the Chegutu Heroes Acre to be spruced up using the God-given natural resources that are around Chegutu and also from ZIMPLATS. Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to thank you.
*HON. MPARIWA: I would like to thank Hon. Members for
participating on this Bill. There is no one who does not have a relative who participated in the liberation struggle. I would like to thank the
Committee for presenting the report which guides us to understand this Bill. In this Bill I would like to appreciate the fact that since 1980, there was no such Bill which looked at the welfare of war veterans. It is so embarrassing that 40 years down the line, we have people who are still suffering. Let me take this opportunity to ask Hon. Members to observe a minute of silence.
Minute of silence observed.
*HON. MPARIWA: May their souls rest in peace. Thank you. Most of the things that I wanted to say have already been said. We have women war veterans. The board that is going to be put in place should also include women because we need 50:50. Some who went there were injured, so the disabled people should also be included because in
English they say, ‘nothing for us without us’.
For some war veterans, it might be difficult to identify where they died and how they died, but if there is divine intervention through the appeasement of their spirits which is the responsibility of traditional leadership, our culture as African people, we can identify them.
Regarding the welfare of war veterans and their compensation which will be the culmination of the war veterans Bill, there are a lot of elderly people who go around asking for the NSSA offices and Post Office. Government should consider establishing banks which will service war veterans in different locations throughout the country.
Furthermore, there must a provision of psychosocial support for the veterans of the struggle. There are some war veterans who are taking medication for chronic illnesses for life. There must be special hospitals to cater for such people. I am aware that there is a Social Welfare Department which is responsible for looking at the welfare of the poor. I implore this House to prioritise this particular group because their issues are different from the previous group, because some went through different experiences like being exposed to guns during the war, some went to war at a tender age and some had horrifying experiences.
Let me conclude by saying that if we do not have the actual statistics of the people we are talking about, we would face a big challenge. It is important to have a database of such people for reference purposes for both the dead and those who are still alive. Hon. Speaker, I fully support this Bill, as an Hon. Member representing my party the MDC, my desire is that this Bill should pass so that our war veterans are assisted whilst they are still alive.
HON. TOGAREPI: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. N. NDLOVU: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 18 March, 2020.
On the motion of HON. TOGAREPI seconded by HON. NOMATHEMBA NDLOVU, the House adjourned at Twenty Four
Minutes past Six o’clock p.m.