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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 19 MARCH 2024 VOL 50 NO 37

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Tuesday, 19th March, 2024

The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two o`clock p.m.

PRAYERS

(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. SPEAKER

PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE MEMBERSHIP

THE HON. SPEAKER: I have to inform the House that Hon. Charles Moyo has been assigned to serve on the Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade and the Portfolio Committee on Environment, Climate and Tourism. 

Some Hon. Members having walked in.

Order! All Members who are coming in now, will you leave the House?  Our starting time is 1410 hours.

          HON. BAJILA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker.  I rise on a point of national interest, recognising that 16th March, 2024 passed over this weekend.  The 16th of March, Mr. Speaker, is an important day in the history of the Republic of Zimbabwe.  On 16th March, 2013, we held our National Referendum on the Constitution of Zimbabwe and it was resoundingly adopted and supported by the people of Zimbabwe.  Therefore, 16 March, 2024 comes as the 11th anniversary of that very important day

          I rise, Mr. Speaker, to remind this House that the Constitution of Zimbabwe, as voted for by the people of Zimbabwe on that day, became a capsule of the collective aspiration of the people of Zimbabwe, and therefore it is important for this House to constantly be reminded of this important day and to constantly take it upon itself that the Constitution of Zimbabwe is respected, both through private members motions and through Executive motions.  We take necessary steps to enable the full implementation of the Constitution of Zimbabwe as was the desire of the people of Zimbabwe on 16th March, 2013

          Mr. Speaker, we have got a lot of gaps, 11 years after that day, of so many enabling pieces of legislations that we continue as this House, to promise the people of Zimbabwe, but we are yet to deliver.  Mr. Speaker, Chapter 6 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe recognises 16 official languages of this country, but if we check section 68 of the Education Act still has specific mention of only four languages of this country, that is English, Shona, Ndebele and Sign Language.  We need to move further to leave the issue of respect of our languages not to be dependent on the goodwill of the Ministers of the day, of the Executive of the day and of the education officers of the day.  It must be based on the Education Act so that we can move even further.

          Mr. Speaker, Chapter 14 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe created a new sphere of Government called the provincial governments by a different name.  To date Mr. Speaker, we continue to promise the people of Zimbabwe that this House is going to bring forth legislation to ensure that the sphere of Government is properly constituted.  I implore this House in remembrance of the date of 16 March, 2013 to take it upon itself to move fast with this agenda so that we can be in full recognition of our Constitution, but Mr. Speaker beyond that, the date of 16th March must be understood in its collective significance to the people of Zimbabwe. 

On 16th March, 1983, 21 women at Emkhonyeni in Tsholotsho…

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Remember your time limit please. 

          HON. BAJILA:  May I request 30 seconds Mr. Speaker?

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  30 seconds?

          HON. BAJILA:  Yes – [Laughter.] – Mr. Speaker on 16th March in 1983, 21 women were killed by the 5th Brigade at Emkhonyeni in present day Tsholotsho North, thus making that day important in our history and important for us to continue to remember it. 

          On 16th March, 2015 residents of Maleme in present day Matobo Ward 16 managed to defend their land that was set up for capture when they were supposed to be evicted from their grazing land.  The story is out there and it must be remembered, particularly as we live in times of evictions in these days. 

Mr. Speaker, I rise to then say this House must remember the date of 16th March in all that we do, remembering it as the day the Constitution of Zimbabwe was agreed upon by the people of Zimbabwe, united in their diversity and that there are many other important events that have happened in our country around this day.  I thank you Mr. Speaker.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Thank you for your statement.  I thought you were going to say that the Hon. Members in this House shall always endeavour to read the Constitution in a manner that you seem to have demonstrated that you have read the Constitution.

          Indeed, 16th March is a great day when we had Amendment No. 20 Act 1 of 2013 as our national Constitution.  It is therefore imperative that we, Members of Parliament, must be seen to be leading in the appreciation of our Constitution.  I thought you were going to say further, the Constitution has been translated into the nationally recognised indigenous languages including Sign Language.  So give credit where it ought to be given.  We have these languages now using the Constitution accordingly and it is your responsibility, as Members of Parliament, to ensure that the general public reads the Constitution so that they can appreciate the supreme law in its entirety.

          The other issues that you raise of Gukurahundi, I believe they are being attended to vigorously.  It is hoped that in the not-so-distant future, the matter will be concluded accordingly so that there is closure to that unfortunate era in our history.

          As regards some amendments to the Education Act, I think it is up to you Hon. Member and others to move a motion or ask the relevant Minister when the amendment will take place so that it complies with the Constitution, the same with the Provincial Councils Act.  The issues can be raised through the Committee on Local Government, Public Works and National Housing so that we expedite the enactment of the Provincial Councils Act. 

I thank you for that observation, and let us remember March 16 as a great day in our constitutionalism – [HON. MEMBERS:  Hear, hear.] –

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          HON. KAMBUZUMA: I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 4 be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 5 has been disposed of.

          HON. HAMAUSWA: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

LAW FOR THE PROVISION OF LAND TENURE SECURITY

            HON. C. HLATYWAYO: I move the motion standing in my name that this House-

           AWARE that Section 292 of the Constitution provides that, “The State must take appropriate measures, including legislative measures, to give security of tenure to every person lawfully owning or occupying agricultural land”;

           FURTHER AWARE of the inequalities in land distribution which were brought about by the Land Apportionment Act of 1930, which resulted in the majority of the indigenous people being settled in areas unsuitable for agricultural produce;

          ACKNOWLEDGING the efforts implemented by Government to reverse the injustices of colonial legacies in favour of land ownership by the indigenous people;

       WORRIED THAT the Government’s efforts to empower indigenous people to own land has been derailed by failure to provide security of tenure or title deeds;

        FURTHER WORRIED that the indigenous people are losing land without compensation in the name of Public-Private-Partnership created to pursue development;

         NOW, THEREFORE, this House resolves that the Government should enact a law providing security of tenure to all the land, including communal land, in line with Section 292 of the Constitution.

         HON. M. MAVHUNGA: I second. 

         HON. C. HLATYWAYO: I rise to move to table, an amendment to the Communal Lands Act [Chapter 20:04] in Zimbabwe as well as a potential introduction of a Customary Land Development Act.  The current provisions of the Communal Lands Act do not grant title to rural communities in Zimbabwe and this has proven to be a hindrance to their potential for investments and development.  This limitation is against the right to development in line with the national objective of our Constitution and with the Africa Charter on Human and People’s Rights.

       Section 13 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe has one of the national objectives, which is national development.  The right to development gives all persons an entitlement to participation, contribution and enjoyment of economic, social, cultural and political development.  The right to development is a peremptory norm in international law to the extent that the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights protects the right to development in Article 22.  Zimbabwe has a duty to its citizens as a State party to the African Charter to guard against the exploitation of their land and the displacement from their custom ancestral land without compensation to clear the way for economic activities.

        Section 292 of the Constitution which reads, “the State must take appropriate measures including legislative measures to give security of tenure to every person, lawfully owning or occupying agricultural land”; rural communities must be able to hold legal title over the land they reside in order to enjoy their right to development on an equal basis with others.  However, in Zimbabwe, there is no legal provision that grants persons residing on communal lands, the right to hold legal title over communal land.  Thus, there is no security of tenure.  This has left rural communities often sidelined from developmental projects and constantly face forced evictions from their rural homes to make way for business projects. 

         This section of society remains vulnerable to disenfranchisement of their property, culture and heritage.  The absence of the right to hold title deeds over the communal land they have resided upon for generations, compromises their equal enjoyment of the right to development.  Development is a comprehensive process which aims to constant improvement of the well-being of the entire population and of all individuals on the basis of their active free and meaningful participation in development and in fair distribution of benefits, resulting from that participation.  The right to development in the context of communal land rights in Zimbabwe raises a question, specifically whether the lack of communal land tenure compromises the enjoyment of the right to development for persons residing in communal lands.  Communal land is regulated in terms of Communal Lands Act, [Chapter 20:2004] as read together with the Land Acquisition Act, [Chapter 20:2010], Traditional Leaders Act, [Chapter 29: 2017] as well as the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

       The issue of land ownership is central to both colonial and post-colonial politics. In Zimbabwe, as colonial policies of expropriation gave minority White farmers ownership of large areas of arable commercial land while most Black families lived in overcrowded and arid areas.  These land imbalances were created as a result of Land Apportionment Act of 1930, resulting in the majority Blacks being subjected to what is known as ‘reserves’ (maruzevha) at the expense of fertile land meant for agricultural purposes.

       Regardless of the efforts being implemented by the Government of Zimbabwe to reverse the colonial imbalances and promote land ownership by the majority Blacks, including the Land Reform Programme of early 2000, 42 years after independence, rural communities remain sidelined and marginalised when it comes to development.  There is little or no investment in those areas.  It is therefore, essential to interrogate how the present legislative framework regulating communal land in Zimbabwe, guarantees the enjoyment of one’s right to development and whether there is need for legal reforms.

       The Constitution of Zimbabwe is clear, “subject to Section 72 which deals with rights of agricultural land, every person has the right in any part of Zimbabwe, to acquire, hold, occupy, use, transfer, hypothecate, lease and dispose of all forms of property either individually or in association with others”.  In terms of Section 72 (3) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, the persons whose property has been compulsorily acquired may contest that acquisition before a competent court, yet there is no such provision in the Communal Lands Act.  Under the Act, these people have no right to contest the acquisition of their land.

        Further, in terms of Section 288 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, communal land is not included in the definition of land that may be compulsorily acquired.  The land which can be compulsorily acquired seems to be agricultural land.  Therefore, the Communal Land Act must be amended to align to the Constitution.  Further, the Constitution in Section 17, mandates the State to facilitate equitable development especially balancing rural and urban development and this developmental agenda must be infused in the legal regime for communal areas.  Borrowing from the Malawi position, it is recommended that Zimbabwean enact an Act similar to the Customary Land (Development) Act in Malawi that facilitates for the registration of title to communal land.  The Malawian Act, allows small scale farmers to convert their customary land into private land, which is capable of being sold, leased, inherited et cetera. The same concept can be adopted and made to be more inclusive and should give everyone settled in communal areas the opportunity to gain title deeds to their land.  As part of its Vision 2030 Goals, Zimbabwe undertook to promote and respect property rights in line with the laws of the country and international conventions.  Mr. Speaker Sir, by facilitating for secure land tenure in communal areas, the Government will advertently address a centuries’ long injustice and act as active propellers for development in those aeras.  To make this easier, the registration of title may be done through the Rural District Councils as they are more accessible in these communities and will reduce the cost of registration...

          The mic having switched off.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Why did you switch of your microphone?  Please proceed.

          HON. C. HLATYWAYO: There was an interruption Hon. Speaker Sir. Mr. Speaker Sir, Malawi, much like Zimbabwe, has a large rural population engaged in small scale farming to grow food for their own consumption and to sell locally.  This is largely agricultural community.  Malawi’s Land Act [Chapter 57:01] in Section 25, has a vesting of land section which is the equivalent of section 4 of the Communal Lands Act [Chapter 20:04] in Zimbabwe.  The section equally vests communal land in perpetuity in the President for the purposes of the Act.  The distribution with the Zimbabwean position is that the Malawian section is read together with another section which is section 30 which states that: “Nothing in this Act shall be construed as preventing the application of the Customary Land (Development) Act to any customary land and the subsequent registration of such land under the Registered Land Act as private land”.

          The meaning of the two provisions is that all customary land is the lawful property of the citizens, and is vested in perpetuity in the President for the purposes of the Act and the Act then goes on to issue a disclaimer that nothing in the Act should affect the registration of customary land as private land. This can be in terms of the Customary Land (Development) Act which is a progressive piece of legislation designed to facilitate the registration of rural land.  This is a position worth aspiring to.

          The role of Rural District Councils in the administration of communal land can be reviewed with the intent of improving oversight over the administration of communal land. This must be considered together with the role of traditional leaders in the administration of such land.  It is important to strike a balance between general law and custom, and yet this area remains one shrouded in confusion and inconsistency.  This means that a review of the role of traditional leaders in the administration of land must then be reviewed and the convergence of customary law and the mandate of the Rural District Councils be a priority.  Administrative processes must be streamlined to make registration of title and other related issues easier for the ordinary person.

          Mr. Speaker Sir, therefore, the House resolved that:

          Rural communities must be able to hold legal title over the land they reside in order to enjoy their right to development on an equal basis.  Rural communities must not be sidelined and marginalised when it comes to development. Investment is crucial in these areas. Zimbabwe must enact a law similar to the Customary Land (Development) Act in Malawi that facilitates for the registration of title to communal land.

          The Communal Land Act [Chapter 20:04] must be intra vires constitutional provisions be enabling persons whose property has been compulsorily acquired, to contest that acquisition before a competent court of law.

          A section stating that nothing in the Communal Lands Act shall be construed as preventing the subsequent registration of communal land as private land should be inserted with a view of creating legislation that specifies the process of registering communal land and the role of District Development Co-coordinators and traditional leaders in administering the land. I submit Hon. Speaker.

          *HON. MUSHORIWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the Member of Parliament for Chipinge Hon. Hlatywayo for his motion. Firstly, I would want to say that this country, Zimbabwe, is our country from Zambezi to Limpopo and we are proud of it.  This country was colonised in the 1890s.  Our ancestors fought for this land, Mbuya Nehanda, our chiefs, Chaminuka, Mashayamombe and Lobengula, fought the colonialists so that we get our land back.  Where I come from, we know that this land belongs to the tembos, the zebras.  The land belongs to our ancestors, which is why we have chiefs who rule us in Zimbabwe. 

          When the settlers came, they took our land and resettled people of Zimbabwe to what we call reserved lands.  They resettled people where land was not fertile, the soil was not fertile and the colonisers took where the land was fertile. After that, as children of Zimbabwe, they saw that it was befitting to start Chimurenga as Mbuya Nehanda had said that ‘mapfupa angu achamuka’. They went to the struggle so that we would rule ourselves.

          The guns were fighting for the land so that when we take it, we should give it back to the people, but what is happening now is that since 1980 when we got our independence, you know that our chiefs, our headmen, those who supported Chimurenga war, their desire was that after the war when we are now ruling ourselves, all those who were resettled by the colonialists would be taken back to their fertile land where they were displaced.

          So, the issue at stake now is that when land was being apportioned, it was delayed and only took place after the war veterans started to take land. The challenges that we faced is that our people in the rural areas were not recognised. Our people were looking forward to be taken back to where their ancestors came from. The situation that we are in right now is that when everything was done, we had put our chiefs in front. When we were taking back land, we should have taken our chiefs and headmen so that they would help in resettling people according to their totems, but that did not take place.

Right now, the challenge that we have at the moment is that our people in the rural areas, and because we have laws that were passed in this Parliament like the Communal Land Act and power was not returned to the chiefs and the village heads, the DA and the PA have more powers than the traditional leaders. What is happening is that if you are in the rural areas, even if the graves of your ancestors are there, that land and the fields are not yours. You can wake up one day being told to leave that place because they want to put up something.

          Mr. Speaker Sir, in the rural areas, you see that if our people go to the diaspora, they will say that even if they die, they want to come back and be buried where their relatives are buried. This is all because they think that land belongs to them, but the law on the ground says the land is not yours. That is why we do not have any improvement in our rural areas when we removed the whites. That is why this motion which was brought in by Hon. Hlatywayo is that we should amend the Land Act so that we look after the land in the rural areas because it is not possible. That is why I am saying in the rural areas, if I am removed, then I am not compensated for that. I do not think it should be like that.

          We are aware that we want investment but the investors should not be given more prominence than us as owners of the land. We should not respect investors and displace our people. Even if investors come, they can go and speak with village heads and tell them that the land is there but if you want land, you should pay for their rituals that you have to do and that money is planted into that area. Right now, what is only said is that if you go to Mutoko where there are ancestors who were buried in the mountains, their places have been destroyed because if you had given room for chiefs to speak, they should have been directed where to go and where not to go.

          The land in the rural areas should have title deeds so that everyone is aware that I can sell my land after the agreement from our village heads and our chiefs.  Our children…

          *THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Member, please speak in Shona. Chii kujamba? You started very well but I think you should speak in Shona.

          *HON. MUSHORIWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. We do not want our people to jump around looking for places to stay. I want to say if my grandfather wakes up, he should know that he left land for his children and grandchildren to stay, just like what we do in our cities. When we buy land, we want to leave an inheritance to your children and the whole family. So, that should also happen in the rural areas. I want to thank all the people in this House who were voted for by the people and we should do their will. I believe that all of us, whether you represent the urban area, but your roots are in the rural areas. We should support this motion which has been brought into this House that they should follow the law to give out land to the people in the rural areas. Thank you.

  THE HON. SPEAKER: Just a small point of correction. Is your understanding of agricultural land inclusive of communal lands?

  HON.C. HLATYWAYO: Yes Mr. Speaker.

  THE HON. SPEAKER: You say it is inclusive of communal lands in terms of Section 232. Is that correct?

  HON. C. HLATYWAYO: Yes Mr. Speaker.

  THE HON. SPEAKER: I ask this question deliberately so that in your subsequent debates, you are guided accordingly. Section 292 of the Constitution reference to security of tenure for occupiers of agricultural land does not include communal lands. That definition is in Section 72 of the Constitution which says in this section, agricultural land means land used or suitable for agriculture that is to say for horticulture, viticulture, forestry, apiculture or for any purpose of husbandry including

  1. the keeping or breeding of livestock, game, poultry, animals or bees;
  2. the grazing of livestock or game;

Now the important issue is, but does not include communal land. Did you hear that? So all those that are going to debate do not confuse issues. The motion is pleading for title in communal, but communal land is not agricultural land as defined in Section 72 of the Constitution when read together with Section 292 of the Constitution.

HON. ZIKI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, for the opportunity to add my voice to the motion moved by Hon. Hlatywayo on the land tenure and agriculture. There seems to be some confusion in the way it has been brought up by Hon. Hlatywayo. On that very same question that you have asked Mr. Speaker, it seems like this title was also being asked for on agricultural land.

If you indulge me Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like to give a brief background on how we got this land. We got this land through a long protracted brutal war, very bloody war. There is a blood price on this land. Even after the 10 years prescription of the Lancaster House Agreement, the land was not transferred to us. Furthermore, Britain reneged on its promise to compensate its kith and kin. The willing buyer willing seller which was suggested did not work. There is no one who would want to give up land in exchange for money. This must just show us how valuable the land is.

Then came on the formation of opposition parties just after the Land Reform Programme started. We had people wanting to give back land to our erstwhile colonisers and they asked for sanctions – [HON MMBERS: Hear, hear.] - Can you imagine the troubles that we have had as a nation, the under development? Everything that we have and all the troubles that we have, economically, socially, the infrastructure, the companies that have closed, and the jobs that we have lost. We are still paying the price for this precious land.  That war is still raging on.

Giving title to agricultural land would be tantamount to selling it back. I bet you, there would be a buy-back Zimbabwe campaign and in no time, there will be so much money awash and we will be left with no land.  Some of the people are of the opinion that this land is priceless and should not belong to individuals. When we went to war for this land, we went to war for the benefit of all Zimbabweans. We cannot then allocate a portion that gives title to individuals.

However, I recognise that we have a few challenges whereby people think maybe it is being caused by the lack of title deeds. I put it to you that there are farmers who are leasing the land, and most of the highly productive farmers who are leasing the land are making very good progress. I know of some who are renting or leasing thousands of hectares, they are doing a thousand hectares of wheat and maize and harvesting thousands of tonnage, but they do not own the land that they are working on. Title on its own is not enough, and is not a necessity or prerequisite for success on the farm for development.

What we need is for Government and stakeholders to come up with a robust financing mechanism that goes beyond one season like what happened previously when the colonial farmers where given land. They were not given one season finance schemes. We need finance schemes that go beyond five or 10 years for a person to really be capacitated. Title deeds would be a drawback on Government because it will have less control, and it will not be able to distribute land as it sees fit in the future.

Loss of access to land to future generations without Government owning this land, there will be loss of access to future generations of this land. This would make it very difficult for people to do agriculture which would then eventually impact on the country’s food security. Issuance of title deeds, potentially opens flood gates for foreign investors to buy all the land and when that happens, it would disadvantage the locals and it will lead to another Chimurenga. Also, this would create inequity in that not everybody would be able to acquire this land that would also bring in inequity amongst the farmers and division amongst the farming community.  Coincidentally, today on CNN News, I saw an article on the Scottish Parliament.  They are considering a Bill whereby they want to take back land.  Their land is belonging to 450 individuals or companies.  Now, there is an outcry there, people do not have access to the land, and now they are trying to reverse what is being suggested here.

 So, I would rather we just remain prudent and not follow the privatisation of land wherever it is because all land in Zimbabwe belongs to the State.  However, you can get it through the various channels with the difference of whether it is council land or State land but it still winds out through the Minister of Lands and President whose powers are given to distribute the land.

          In conclusion, what is needed here in Zimbabwe is a robust financial package, like I said, not limited to one season but goes beyond five years or ten years so we can capacitate the farmers, and no title deeds can achieve that.  I thank you.

          HON. S. SAKUPWANYA: Thank you for allowing me to add my voice to the motion raised.  I would like to center my debate on security of tenure as referenced in the motion.

          Mr. Speaker, land ownership cannot be discussed without going through the history of the liberation struggle as well as the subsequent reform programme.  Land was the major factor that led to the indigenous Zimbabweans taking up arms to fight against the illegal settlers who violently displaced our forefathers and deemed themselves owners using title deeds that were authenticated by an illegitimate government.  I say illegitimate in the sense that it was not democratically elected by the majority of the people but was imposed by the British for exploitative purposes.  Blood was shed to restore Zimbabwe from an injustice whose effects we still see today.

          Before the Land Reform Programme, we were not the owners of our economy. Much is spoken about how we were the bread-basket of Africa, but the only beneficiaries of that bread-basket economy at the time were those who owned the land and means of production.  That means all the production produced before the land reform was to the benefit of the white minority, leaving no room for an economic balance that reflects the population statistics.

          Mr. Speaker, I would like to give a reference to South Africa, a country with a similar history to ours.  They too gained independence, however unlike them, we went a step further and took back our land.  A recent statistic shown on a South African news channel indicated that 72% of agricultural land was owned by the white minority.  It further went on to indicate that the black indigenous majority contributes less than 10% to their economy.  As a result, South Africa today has the highest gene coefficient in the world which indicates the degree of inequality concerning wealth distribution.  Had we not taken back our land that would have been our story.

          Mr. Speaker, it must be remembered that land is indeed finite, we cannot have more than we already have. So, the decisions we make when it comes to this land, affect our posterity for the next 100, 200, or even 1000 years to come.  The land question is bigger than any individual and when it comes to security of tenure, we must ensure the land remains in the hands of the indigenous black majority 1000 years from now.  This will justify us to call Zimbabwe our country.  For, if we are not the owners of land in Zimbabwe, how then does Zimbabwe belong to us?

          Having highlighted this, I reject boldly the part of the motion that asserts the failure of the Government to provide security of tenure to the people of Zimbabwe. Ownership of land has indeed been given to us the people through the Government and the Government in turn has put that land in the custodianship of more than 300,000 indigenous Zimbabweans to make use of it and contribute to the economy.

          In this sense, the Government has done its mandate of creating opportunities for the Zimbabwean populace to earn a living by being productive.  I highlighted, Mr. Speaker, that we are dealing with land that must be productive.  When one is given custodianship of their piece of land, they therefore must make that place productive.  To this effect, I am proud that we have been productive to the point of breaking all farming records, particularly in maize and tobacco.  The difference this time, the wealth of our production is not shared directly by 4000 farmers, but by more than 300 000.

          Mr. Speaker Sir, had we given out title deeds during our Land Reform Programme, I do not doubt that 80% of the resettled farmers at the time would have sold that land back to the resourced white people.  When we were given out these farms, our Government was hit with sanctions and restricted with funding. The farmers' markets that were previously a source of supply in Europe were shut down immediately.  This was designed to set us up for our failure.

 During those desperate times, the majority of farm holders would have folded if the option to sell was made available. As an example, this means if Britain or America, through their surrogates, would have the opportunity to take all the agricultural land, they would and we must never allow a situation where we fetch such risks.  For, if we sell our land, then we would have sold Zimbabwe. I want to emphasise that Zimbabwe is not for sale.

          As I close, I would like to touch on the impact of land on the youth.  When I grew up during the 90s before the Land Reform Programme, agriculture was seen as a subject for failure, our education system at the time glorified those who wore suits and we pictured success to be associated with getting a job and having a high post in a company that we did not own. 

The Land Reform Programme, which has come to our ownership, has completely changed that mentality amongst the youth, even those who are employed today seek to engage in agricultural products to become owners of businesses in their economy.  Owning land means you own your economy.  So, Mr. Speaker, the security of tenure for the youth should continue to lie in the State.  Our land in particular, agricultural land is our future and should not depend on or lie in the hands of individuals.  I so submit.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Thank you very much Hon. Sakupwanya.  Before I call for further debate, I want to recognise Hon. Vice President Rtd. Col. Mohadi who has just joined us and thus a breath of fresh air – [HON. MEMBERS:  Hear, hear.] –

          *HON. MANGONDO:  Thank you Hon. Speaker for this opportunity you have given me to debate on this very important motion.  When this matter was brought forward, it was not as transparent as it is now.  This motion has not been properly brought before the House.  It has been smuggled into this House.

          This motion, Mr. Speaker, is an important motion that takes us back to the First Chimurenga.  In going back to the First Chimurenga, we should deeply think about the reasons why our country was colonised.  Colonisation came about when Cecil John Rhodes and his friend Rudd came and misled our ancestors that they wanted hunting concessions but their long-term plan was to colonise this country, which is what has now been done here today. 

          We have heard that this issue is similar to the issue of the investigation of the land issue. Unbeknown to us, we are being misled into believing that we are going to improve the issues around land ownership and title but alas, we are being taken for yet another ride. 

Mr. Speaker Sir, you know what happened in Matabeleland when King Lobengula realised that he had been taken for a ride by the whites.  I wonder if the other Members on the other side appreciate that it was the land issue that led us into taking up arms against the white settlers because they had touched on the nerve of our wellbeing.  Land is not for sale and should not be sold.

The land was repossessed from the colonisers through blood shed of our gallant sons and daughters who waged the liberation struggle and it should be treated as being sacrosanct.  When one is referred to as son of the soil, it is because of our possession of this land called Zimbabwe.  Once we lose this land, we will have lost our heritage, we would have lost our ubuntu or hunhu.   

          You will recall one of our founding fathers, the late Joshua Nkomo, saying that the land is what brought the Shona and Ndebele people together.  People did not know that the soil is critical in that it brought the Shona and the Ndebele people together.  The battle at Shangani was fought by the Shona and the Ndebele side by side, under the Commander Chinengundu Mashayamombe who fortified the unity between the Shonas and the Ndebeles.  Mashayamombe is one of the great heroes of the First Chimurenga who inflicted heavy losses on the white armies.  So, once you start talking about selling the land, we will not agree with you and we should warn you not to steer the hornet’s nest.

*HON. MAKAMURE:  On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir.  Hon. Speaker, let us not waste time debating on issues that do not form part of the motion.

*THE HON. SPEAKER:  Hon. Member, everyone has a right to debate and you are also entitled to give your own opinion when your turn to debate comes – [AN HON. MEMBER: Inaudible interjecions.] – Order Hon. Member!  When I say order, you sit down.  You will also be heard in silence as we will protect you just as we are protecting the Member who is on the floor. 

*HON. MANGONDO:   This is an important issue.  Once we discuss it, we will touch on the significant roles played by heroes such as Mashonganyika, Mapondera, Mbuya Nehanda, Chingaira and so on.  They died defending our right to land.  It would be an insult to these fallen heroes to hear that someone is bringing a motion that wants us to sell our land, land that has the graves of our ancestors.  This is hypocrisy of the worst order and should not be countenanced at all. Iwe

*THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order Hon. Member!  Who are you referring to as iwe?  We are debating a motion of national importance so it should be treated with the seriousness that it deserves.

*HON. MANGONDO:  Excuse me Hon. Speaker. When I was debating, I did not refer to anyone as iwe.  There are things that are just said by the way.

*HON. MAKAMURE:  On a point of order.

*THE HON. SPEAKER:  Hon. Member, please proceed.

*HON. MANGONDO: They do not want to hear what I am saying.  The communal lands, where we were born and bred, where we were chased away by the white colonisers will never be put up for sale in this country. As I have earlier on alluded to, it is like incurring the wrath of an avenging spirit.  It will destroy this country.

If there are people who are illegally selling this land, such wayward behaviour can be corrected.  Whoever commits a crime should be arrested.  That is why we have laws in this country.  We shall never abdicate our fields to the baboons.  If the baboons have destroyed our fields, we should have heart to remain in ownership of the field.

Hon. Speaker, this issue once happened in Guatemala.  What they did not know was that by coming with such measures, they had sold their birth right.  We see that in the communal lands, the homesteads and the lands are sold by greedy people. They combine the small pieces that they are buying so that they end up having vast tracts of land.  This does not augur well with us as we are currently faced with children that are victims of drug and substance abuse. They will end up selling that land because they want to buy drugs.  So, we cannot do that.  The soil is ours.  What our ancestors used to say after the First Chimurenga, the likes of James Chikerema, George Nyandoro, Joshua Nkomo, Michael Mawema, I am talking of those who started to call themselves mwana wevhu.  This is the soil that we are being told to sell by the people who do not know their history; who do not know where they came from, people who do not know the laws of Zimbabwe because they are fond of money.  They are now calling themselves people of money, instead of people of the soil.  We cannot do that.

          Rural homes should remain like that in their original names that are in custody of the President of the country.  On top of that, we have chiefs, we have headmen, kraal heads and the elderly who live in those areas who know the history of their areas. They know who belongs where and these homes should be protected as they are.  We do not want to do what Malawi is doing. Malawi is not Zimbabwe. We should not copy what they are doing. 

I encourage people to read and understand what we used to do since we started the land re-distribution from 1982 being led by Gordon Chavunduka.  They will tell you the stories about the land, what was brought by the Professors like Prof. Rukuni, Prof. Sam Moyo, all these looked at the stories and researched.  Yes, there might have been one who has a story that was told by others but the land should not be sold.  All the land should be protected by our President.  This has been researched.  It is not something that can be done by anyone who just wakes up and say let us sell the land.  It cannot work like that, nada.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, please stick to one language you were using, what is nada?

          *HON. MANGONDO:  What I have said ‘nada’, it means we cannot do that.  We refuse, that is what I mean.  I once said it cannot, which means if it is in mathematics, it cannot.  It is a disaster to sell land, so it should not be done.   Let me say that Zimbabwe, you will allow me Mr. Speaker Sir, to express myself in English on the statistics because I will not be able to explain the statistics in Shona but I will try.  Zimbabwe comprises of 36 million hectares.  That is all we have as a nation.   If we look at that 36 million hectares, 33 million hectares are for agriculture.  The other remaining is reserved for animals, forestry and cities. 

          When we got independence, the whites were 6 000 and had 66 000 hectares of land. There were using region 1, 2 and 3 and others in the African purchase areas.  There were 8500 blacks in the African purchase areas, those areas had only 5% arable land mostly in regions 4 and 5.  In the areas where we are now being asked to sell the land, there were about 700 000 families that had less than 50% of the agricultural land.  The majority of this land was in region 4 and 5 which had soils that are not good at producing meaningful and profitable land tenure.  So when we came up with the Land Reform Programme, it was observed that the majority of the people were now migrating from the urban areas into the communal lands, a case in point being Murehwa where I come from. 

We had deserted homes that were unoccupied, but as of now, they are now being occupied by grand children who were living in urban settlements.   

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MACHINGURA):  Hon. Mangondo, please wind up your debate.

*HON. MANGONDO: Thank you Hon. Speaker, we can see the importance of having a rural home, even if the young population migrate to the city, they will still come back to their original homesteads.  Even adults who would have retired will always come back to the rural communities after retirement.  as black people, we are very proud that we are part of our rural communities because that is where we call home.  When I visit my rural home, I will be very happy and very satisfied that I am where I belong. I thank you Hon. Speaker for giving me this opportunity to debate.  As Parliamentarians standing in for the people of Zimbabwe, I am saying that we must not sell our land. I thank you.

HON. CUMANZALA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I would like to thank you for affording me this opportunity to add my voice on this debate on Land Tenure which was moved by Hon. Hlatywayo, seconded by Hon. Mushoriwa.  Mr. Speaker Sir, I believe this is a very important topic or motion for this august House to debate. I think it is important that we have a meeting of minds here.  We are all Zimbabweans and we share the same history.  Our history is very clear because it states that and we all agree, during the period of colonial rule, policies were implemented by the colonial government, which resulted in the displacement of land from indigenous communities, concentrating ownership among a minority white settler. 

The Land Apportionment Act of 1930, formalised the social segregation reserving prime agricultural land exclusively for white settlers.  This is the history that we all share. The struggle for independence in 1960s and 1970s led to the Lancaster House Agreement in 1979 which paved the way for our independence in 1980.  By the way, in the liberation struggle, we all participated, it was not exclusively for certain individuals.  Now, although the Lancaster House Agreement included provisions related to Land Reform, the issue of land redistribution remained unsolved and this is why in 2000, there was a fast track Land Reform Programme which was initiated.

However, the question about individual ownership of land was not, and I am stressing, was not adequately addressed in this reform.

An Hon. Member having stood up to go out of the House

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Member going out, the Hon. Speaker rules that when you are dressed like you are, you are inappropriately dressed. So when you come in next time, please make the necessary corrections.  Thank you.

HON. MUGWADI: On a point of order Mr. Speaker.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: What is your point of order?

HON. MUGWADI: Hon. Speaker, I think the papers he is referring to are obstructing his convenience with the microphone, we can hardly hear him from this side. It will help us if he speaks a little bit louder.  I thank you.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Member for that observation.  Hon. Member speaking, did you hear the point of order from Hon. Mugwadi.

HON. CUMANZALA: Thank you Hon. Speaker, it is in order.  However, the question about individual ownership of land was not adequately addressed in this reform which left most new land owners not having received some title deeds. Now, Mr. Speaker Sir, the comprehensive and sustainable land reform that we are advocating in this House is crucial in balancing social justice, economic viability and environmental sustainability. 

The land situation in our country necessitates rectifyig historical injustices, enhancing food security and promoting economic development. However, achieving goals, these goals require addressing challenges such as land tenure. Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like to therefore propose land rights reforms that deal with the above mentioned challenges whilst leveraging opportunities for sustainable development.

Mr. Speaker Sir, let me first of all reflect a little bit on the legal framework that governs land tenure. I know previous speakers touched on these, but just give me an opportunity to reflect on this a little bit.  Collectively, the land Act No. 20 of 1982, the Traditional Leaders Act [Chapter 29:17], the Customary Law, Local Courts Act [Chapter 7:05] revised edition 1996 and the Rural District Council Amendment Act 1998 form the legal foundation for the land tenure in Zimbabwe’s communal areas mainly.

Mr. Speaker Sir, can you allow me to take a sip of water – [Laughter] – Mr. Speaker Sir, now let us look at the Communal Land Act because this established the foundation by recognising Customary Law and and tenure arrangements and delineating regulations for land use. This Act repealed the Tribal Trust Land Act, No. 6 of 1979 which governed communal land occupied by black Africans. The Act regulates the occupation and use of communal land and ownership vested in the State land but allowing traditional customer communities to occupy and use the land at the mercy of the President.

          The Traditional Leaders Act reinforces this foundation, emphasises the pivotal role of traditional leadership institutions in communal areas. It provides and protects the role of traditional leadership institutions such as chiefs, headmen and the village heads in communal areas by recognising that communal areas are predominantly traditional in their institutional framework.

          The Traditional Council Amendment Act completes this legal framework by providing the mechanism for decentralised land tenure administration through Rural District Councils, empowering them with authority over development plans subject to financing of laws from the State.

          The Act grants extensive hours to RDCs subject to ministerial controls and regulations, including powers related to natural resource conservation, agriculture, water resources and more. Additionally, the Customary Law and Local Courts Act provides for local courts to handle disputes in communal areas excluding disputes over land. However, the Communal Land Act may introduce competitive laws in cases where land disputes involve customary and statutory legal considerations creating potential contradictions in authority.

          Lastly, the Communal Land Act regulations on land use competes with the traditional land use practices recognised by the Traditional Leaders Act. Therefore, to optimise land tenure and gather land, my suggestion is to distinguish between communal and residential land, each with its unique classification, residential land where individuals currently resides and is to be allocated individual title deeds, granting former ownership rights. For equality, these title deeds can have the head of family’s name and their spouse.  

          The allocation of land to the new migrants will continue to be the responsibility of local chiefs facilitated through the existing administrative hierarchy involving headmen. This will also involve having clear guidelines on how and where to apply for this residential stand. On the other hand, communal land will encompass all other territories including commercial areas, protected areas, parks and reserves and therefore, the Rural District Councils and the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development will maintain oversights and administrative control over the communal land.

          This proposal aims to simplify land management by providing legal ownership documentation for residential land occupants while keeping communal land under the governance of established administrative structures. The objective is to strike a balance between individual property rights and communal stewardship, fostering sustainable and equitable land use in the rural areas, particularly considering economic implications.

          Here are some of the economic implications that I thought I should share with the august House:

  • The first one is, the provision of secure land rights to local communities will stimulate increased agricultural activities translating into employment opportunities, spanning farming, harvesting, processing and associated sectors.
  • By fostering secure land tenure and supporting small scale farmers. The reform seeks to optimise utilisation and those sustainable farming practices and amplify overall agricultural output.
  • Well defined and secure land rights from the formed foundation of investor confidence, catalysing agricultural and agri-business investments, secure in the knowledge of safe property rights.
  • The land rights can stimulate the establishment of agro-processing industries and promoting the production value added goods, economic diversification may extend to the development of rural tourism, leveraging natural and cultural assets of the different regions.

          Let me conclude by saying that the economic opportunities stemming from the land rights reform will collectively contribute to a more dynamic and inclusive economy, the confluence of job creation, investment attraction and economic diversification, not only addresses immediate economic incentives but also lays the foundation for sustainable and resilient rural development. A flourishing rural economy can yield positive spill-over effects on urban areas fostering a more balanced and equitable national economic landscape.

          Mr. Speaker Sir, from our history and myself coming from the Zambezi Valley, because of the Land Apportionment Act and because our people did not have title to land, in 1957, 57 000 members of the Apostolic Community were resettled to pave way for the creation of Lake Kariba and they were not compensated because of that. The same community in Ruvimbi is likely going to be resettled for the second time and they do not have title to land. They may not be compensated on the land where they are coming from.

          I have been to Chingwizi during the peak of Chingwizi, during the creation of Tokwe/Mukorsi Dam and the Chivi people know what happened there. They did not have title to land, most probably they have not been compensated to date. About 1 800 families were resettled and because they did not have title to land, most probably they lost all during the resettlement process. I believe this is a serious subject, we should put our heads together as Members of this august House and debate it without resorting to rhetoric. Thank you.

          HON. MUTSEYAMI: Good afternoon Mr. Speaker Sir. The approved ratio in this House, the National Assembly is 3:2 and I see the way you are administering as our Speaker, for the three that we go to and the way I am seeing the way you running the administration in terms of our ratio, you are beating us down because I think some of the Hon. Members have to appreciate that they must go for workshopping in terms of our Parliament…

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MACHINGURA): Hon. Mutseyami, please withdraw the words that you said just now. It is necessary that people have to go for workshopping, how can someone challenge a point of order when I am on the floor? Please withdraw what you have just said.

HON. MUTSEYAMI: But these are facts in terms of the Green Book.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: When they interjected you, please withdraw what you have said. Hon. Mutseyami, I am chairing. When they interjected you, I did not authorise your point of order and so, I am chairing and now I come back to you to say please go ahead. So, withdraw the last words that you said.

          HON. MUTSEYAMI: I am withdrawing the words that the Hon. Member from Chipinge East has to go for a workshop on how Parliament administers its business. I withdraw that.

          I think it is important with the assistance of Clerk of Parliament here, that we stick to the ratio as approved then by the Speaker.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: I was actually told that the ratio is 2:1. The Hon. Member who was on the floor is actually from your side, which means I should go back to the other side and pick two and then come back to your side.

          HON. MUTSEYAMI: You picked three Members from the other side.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: I have got four ticks here. How many Members spoke from your side? – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] - I will rule then. May I have one Member from your side and then I will go on to Hon. Nguluvhe.

          HON. SIHLABO: I am Hon. Sihlabo from Mangwe. Thank you very much for giving me an opportunity to add my voice on this very important topic. First, I would like to implore the House that this topic is extremely important and raises emotions. I would like to implore the House that we work together so that we come to an understanding which will help the cries which we are getting from our constituencies regarding this particular motion.

          Land is a very emotional topic as you have noticed when we started. Land is what sent all of us to the bush to fight so that we remove the colonialists who actually took the land from our forefathers. So therefore, for all of us, the issue which was raised by the mover of the motion is to break that status quo. We agree that since Independence, an amount of movement has been done towards redressing the past. We definitely do agree to that, but what we are constantly worried about is the fact that even the resettled farmers have got no title to the land in which they were resettled. Just because they have no title, they actually have been rendered hopeless. It is impossible for them to develop adequately on that land. First by acquiring finance because they have no security, and they can be moved from that land should any mineral be found by an investor, irrespective of the capital they would have put on that particular land.

          Therefore, I would like us to approach this topic on the basis that we try and get people to be compensated for the land in which they are living on. In the rural areas, people are investing a great deal of financial resources, either on their home or on developing the fields. We have to somehow find a way that should there be a desire either by an investor or by Government to take that particular land through compensation, the only way we can do that is when we have given farmers security of tenure. We need to find a way and not resell the land. I agree that reselling land will be detriment to us. We will be just repeating what the colonialists did – [HON MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] - Together, we need to find a way or model which will make sure that anybody who occupies land has security of tenure. If he has to be moved because of developments, there has got to be a form of compensation. If a mineral has been found on that particular area and we need to develop that mineral because it is good for the country, we need to find a way of either collective, if it is a communal area or it is individual compensation if he has built his communal home there.

Therefore, we need to deal with the elephant in the room which is security of tenure together from the other side and this side. We need to find a way which we can use or legislate such that people are just not moved willy-nilly without compensation. Land is very emotional. You could see in the House that if we do not approach this matter as a complete House, we will derail ourselves and eventually not achieve what Hon. Hlatywayo desires when he put this motion down. My submission will be that we find a way to deal with security of tenure for everybody on land, and then we craft some form of compensation if we have to move people. So, I submit.

HON. NGULUVHE:  I will just say some few remarks since most of the issues were covered by my colleagues. Let me start by saying we are all here in an independent country because of the war which was fought. People went to war basically over the issue of land. We liberated ourselves from the bondage of our colonisers who deprived us of our independence. The erstwhile colonisers grabbed our land, and this land mostly was taken from us basically to create big national parks, large or vast land basically for ranging and farming, especially from Matabeleland.  Therefore, when the mover moved the motion, he said yes, people were emotional because we must thank the Hon. Speaker who actually clarified the difference between the communal land and the land which was for farming.  Most of us here, we thought there was a hidden agenda because when we talk of title deeds in the communal land, we all know that the communal land belongs or is controlled by the chiefs and the communal land is under the President or it is under that State.  As such, we did not worry much that they must have title deeds because that land cannot be sold, it is communal land.  The chief cannot sell that land, the headman cannot sell that land because it belongs to the State.  Therefore, I am happy that at least the other side of the House have now realised that it is very important that we be united when we talk about the issue of land.  We must appreciate what the Speaker said.

          Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to hasten to say that when you talk of title deeds, I am sure even those who are in resettlements, there are ways of getting your title deeds, it does not mean that the Government does not give you title deeds. You will get your title deeds if you meet certain criteria.  My point is, I do not think we should dwell much on the issue of the communal land getting title deeds.  We should dwell more on the issue of that land which was grabbed and our people forced to go and stay in unfertile land.  Those are the areas we must talk about that those people who were removed by force from that area maybe those are the people that need to be compensated.  You cannot compensate people of communal land because that belongs to the State.

Mr. Speaker Sir, let us talk about the land which was grabbed.  People were forced to go in Matopo there, to create that national park of Rhodes there, they were pushed down to Matopo and Kezi.  Those are the people we must say, maybe if there are to be compensated, they should be compensated but who is going to compensate them?  You are aware that the Lancaster Conference almost collapsed over this issue of land when the British were refusing to compensate for the land.  I think let us leave the issue of compensation aside because who will compensate that land? That is my question.  At the moment Mr. Speaker Sir, yes, the issue of security of the land we are staying - maybe let us make it easier. As a war veteran, I will suggest that even those war veterans who have the land, they should be entitled to be given title deeds without paying anything because they sacrificed their lives.

Hon. Speaker, if you go down the history, those who fought in the Malaysians there, when they came back, they were given land for free.  They were given houses for free; they did not pay for that land.  The areas at Vumba there, those whites who were staying there, it is because they had gone to fight in Malaysia.  So, those are the people we must talk about, the war veterans, they must be given the land and title deeds – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – I am happy that at least we are together in this.  My colleague was saying this land cannot be sold because if we are not careful, you give title deeds to the people at the communal lands and some with money.   We are talking of the whites, they will come and buy that land and our people will not have any land.  That is why we are a bit bitter that we cannot say let us have title deeds in the communal land because people with money will come and buy that land and we would deprive our people of the land.  Let us ensure that the land is secured and the land is under State.  What is wrong with the land being controlled by the State?  Even those who are given title deeds, in these commercial farms, I suggest that no one should be allowed to sell that land without the concurrence of the State.  By this I mean the concurrence of the President.  If you are given your title deed, yes, but do not sell it, because if you are not careful, our erstwhile colonisers will come back, buy that land and we will find ourselves back in the reserves.  Those are the comments, I just want to add Hon. Speaker.  I do not want to waste much of my time, I thank you. 

HON. KAMBUZUMA:  I move that the debate do now adjourn.

HON. HAMAUSWA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 20th March, 2024. 

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

HON. KAMBUZUMA:  Hon. Speaker, I move that we revert to Order of the Day, Number 3 on today’s Order Paper.

HON. HAMAUSWA:  I second.

Motion put and agreed to. 

MOTION

PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS

Third Order read:  Adjourned debate on motion in reply to the Presidential Speech. 

Question again proposed.

THE MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS (HON. KAZEMBE): Thank you for allowing me to comment on His Excellency, the President’s State of the Nation Address which was presented on the 3rd October, 2023.

In his address, the President raised deep concern about the increase in drug and substance abuse, especially among the youth. In that regard Mr. Speaker, my office has been working tirelessly employing and deploying all efforts within its mandate to achieve visible progress on the drug and substance abuse in order to protect the vulnerable members of society from their effects.

The Zimbabwe Republic Police partnered with other law enforcement agencies in an interagency approach to conduct raids, mount road blocks, carry out passenger profiling at all airports, cargo profiling and anti-drug and substance awareness campaigns in a bid to reduce and possibly eliminate drug trafficking, drug and substance abuse.

Mr. Speaker, the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage is working to ensure that the Zimbabwe Republic Police is adequately equipped with financial and technical resources to be able to combat drug and substance abuse. To this end, the ZRP’s CID Drugs and Narcotics section has remained on high alert at all ports of entry and exit. As part of its programme to increase efficiency, the ZRP has since decentralised its CID operations across the nation.

On a related matter, the Forensic Science and Cyber Laboratory at CID Headquarter has also been prioritised in the allocation of resources to facilitate acquisition of latest technology to aid the fight against drug and substance abuse. It may be recalled that the ZRP recently received a donation of laboratory equipment from the People’s Republic of China. This Anti-Narcotic Analysis Laboratory Equipment ensures real time analysis of the drugs detected. Efforts are currently underway to secure more resources to ensure Forensic Science and Cyber Laboratory operations are spread across the whole nation. The Ministry will also examine if there is need to review any legislation that may impede use of analysis reports generated through use of such technology.

My Ministry is part of the National Committee on Drug and Substance Abuse and has been very active in the Demand Reduction Pillar through the ZRP. The ZRP has launched awareness campaigns, but these should be complemented by other stakeholders. This is a war that needs a whole of society approach.

Regarding His Excellency the President, Cde Dr. E.D Mnangagwa’s reference to amend the Lotteries and Gaming Act, [Chapter 10:26] to align it to the Constitution of Zimbabwe by incorporating online gaming and the corporate governance provisions provided for in the Public Entities Corporate Governance Act. Principles to amend the Lotteries and Gaming Act and the National Archives of Zimbabwe Act [Chapter 25:06] have since been drafted and awaiting approval by Cabinet.

In order to operationalise the National Plan of Action against Trafficking in Persons, principles to amend the Trafficking in Persons Act Chapter 9: 25 were approved by Cabinet and submitted to the Attorney General’s Office for Bill drafting. Meanwhile, principles to amend the Immigration Act [Chapter 4:02] and Citizenship of Zimbabwe Act [Chapter 4:01] are undergoing peer review at the Attorney General’s Office.

Consultations on amendments to the Private Investigators and Security Guards (Control) Act [Chapter 27:10], Official Secrets Act [Chapter 11:09], Unlawful Organisations Act [Chapter 11:13] have already begun. The principles to amend the Censorship and Entertainment Control Act [Chapter 10:04] were referred to the Attorney General’s Office by Cabinet after presentation.

Mr. Speaker, on the Citizenship of Zimbabwe Act [Chapter 4:10], the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage made contributions towards alignment of the Act to the Constitution of Zimbabwe and forwarded them to the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs for consideration. The Ministry has already initiated the process of aligning the Birth and Registration Act [Chapter 5:02] to the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

Furthermore, pursuant to the Government’s legislative agenda and the communication from the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs dated 6th November, 2023, the Ministry would wish that Bills under this legislative agenda are passed by July 2024. I thank you.

THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. T. MOYO): I wish to thank the Hon. Members’ contributions to His Excellency the President’s State of the Nation Address. The address to the two Houses of Parliament by the His Excellency the President of Zimbabwe, Dr. E.D Mnangagwa touched on critical aspects relating to primary and secondary education.

The pronouncements by His Excellency are instructive in that they give direction to the Ministry on how to proceed in as far as attaining Vision 2030 is concerned. It is important Hon. Speaker, to note that the Ministry is required through the NDS1 to contribute to towards human capital development. Pursuant to the address by His Excellency the President, Members raised a number of issues which this paper is meant to respond to.

The first issue raised by Hon. Members is the sending of children back home for non-payment of school fees. This issue was raised by His Excellency the President, Dr. E.D Mnangagwa who reiterated that children should not be sent back home for non-payment of school fees and levies. Members, during debate on the President’s address, flagged this important pronouncement which is meant to uphold children’s right to education. Indeed, the Ministry has taken strides to address this issue.

While the Constitution guarantees the right to education, the Education Act is explicit in Section 68(c) that ‘no pupil shall be excluded from school for non-payment of school fees or on the basis of pregnancy’. To ensure this is adhered to, the Ministry has set up command centres at each level; district, provincial and head office whose role is to monitor schools for compliance. School authorities that violate this provision face disciplinary action.

The Ministry has published through national media names and contacts of officials from the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education and these officials are at the disposal of parents and stakeholders to report any school that might choose to send children back home for non-payment. We also now have a tollfree number and for the benefit of Hon. Members the tollfree number is 317 to make it easier for stakeholders to report such schools.

When schools opened for the first terms in January, 2024 the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education had several meetings where he addressed headmasters and stakeholders in most of the provinces. The school authorities were discouraged from sending away learners as it violated their fundamental to basic education. Those who defied Ministry directives were going to be charged according to Statutory Instrument 1 of 2000. However, the Ministry observed that a few headmasters refused to comply and have since been engaged in remedial and corrective action is being undertaken.

On the issue of skills-based education, an important issue raised by Hon. Members from the SONA is the need to revolutionise our education system to embrace skills considering the academic pass rates that always hover around 30%, and here I am referring to O’level pass rate. As Members might be aware, that process started in 2015 with the introduction of the Competence Based Curriculum (CBC) whose thrust is skills, attitudes and values for the 21st century.  We have also embarked on a programme to retool our teachers through capacity building so that their pedagogy is in tandem with the demands of the CBC.  We have also introduced continuous assessment considering that we could not continue to assess values, attitudes and skills the traditional way.

          As the world continues to experience seismic changes, we have recently reviewed our curriculum to ensure it remains relevant.  This, we will continue to do after every seven years so that we give children education relevant to their time.

          On provision of schools, Hon. Members flagged this issue especially in resettled areas where there is a shortage of schools.  The Ministry has acknowledged that the country is facing a huge deficit when it comes to the provision of schools.  Resettlement areas, new residential areas in towns and cities are hardest hit because there is need for construction of new schools.  Some children are still walking long distances to schools.  Through budgetary support from Treasury, the Ministry is working on constructing schools in some areas where the situation is dire.  We are also working with education partners such as UNICEF and Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints to ensure that more schools are constructed.  The Ministry has also called on the private sector and citizens who would want to establish schools to do so.  We have simplified our registration process to fast track the establishment of schools.

Indeed, as noted by Hon. Murambiwa, the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Primary and Secondary Education, devolution funds should be invested in the construction of schools is another. We should applaud His Excellency the President for devolution which he introduced in 2018.  This has already seen classroom blocks and schools being constructed.   Should the construction of schools be prioritised by communities, it would mean devolution funds would continue to be channeled towards this noble cause.

The Ministry is also working on the construction of additional classroom blocks at the existing schools where these are inadequate.  The conversion of classroom blocks into science laboratories is helping to alleviate the shortage of laboratories across the country.  This programme is set to continue with funding from education partners making this possible.  I submit Hon. Speaker Sir.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF INFORMATION, PUBLICITY AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. MARUPI):  I also stand up to add my voice to the State of the Nation Address made by the President. First and foremost, I would like to congratulate His Excellency, President E.D. Mnangagwa for the resounding victory in the 23 August Harmonised General Elections.  The elections were free and fair in accordance with our democratic traditions and practices.  Let me also congratulate you, Mr. Speaker Sir, for being retained as the Presiding Officer of this august House.

Allow me to also congratulate all Members of Parliament who were elected by the people to represent them.  As you are aware, on the 3rd of October 2023, His Excellency, President Dr. E.D. Mnangagwa delivered the State of the Nation Address (SONA).  The address marked the opening of the First Session of the 10th Parliament of Zimbabwe.  During the speech, the President tabled 60 Bills and Acts for debate.  The Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services will ensure that the Broadcasting Services Amendment Act (BSA) and the Zimbabwe Media Commission Bill (ZMC) are ready for debate in this august House – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:   Order Hon. Minister, Chief Whip, for the avoidance of doubt, I will read Order 85; it says “a Member while in the House, must not (a) converse in a loud voice”.  Please be guided accordingly. Hon. Minister, you may continue.

HON. MARUPI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. In his address, His Excellency implored all members to expedite the media reforms, through ensuring that the amendments to the BSA are fast-tracked while the ZMC draft Bill is finalised.  The amendments seek to promote co-regulation, which is a significant departure from the current statutory regulation, and instill professionalism in the media industry.

The amendments also seek to achieve the following:

       a) Additional functions of the Zimbabwe Media Commission, which will include accreditation of local and foreign media practitioners; registration of Mass Media Services and the regulation and quality assurance of journalism and mass media communication training.

       b) Delegation of disciplinary powers to professional bodies registered with the Commission and

      c) Payment of annual levies into the Media Fund by registered media service providers.

My Ministry is constantly liaising with the Attorney General’s office during the drafting stage and once the amendments are complete, I will gladly present them before you for further scrutiny.  Thank you, Mr. Speaker Sir, I make my submissions.

HON. KAMBUZUMA:  I move that the debate do now adjourn.

HON. HAMAUSWA:  I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 20th March, 2024.

          On the motion of THE MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS (HON. KAZEMBE), the House adjourned at a Quarter to Five o’clock. p.m.

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