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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 22 JUNE 2022 VOL 48 NO 56
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Wednesday, 22nd June, 2022
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two O’clock p.m.
(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. SPEAKER
PETITION RECEIVED FROM WATER COMMUNITY ALLIANCE
THE HON. SPEAKER: I have to inform the House that on the 1st of June, 2022, Parliament received a petition from the Water Community Alliance requesting Parliament to set up a Commission of Inquiry to investigate the Pomona Concession Agreement and make recommendations on whether the agreement is in the best interest of the citizens and the local authorities development agenda. The petition was deemed inadmissible and the petitioners were advised accordingly. There are two reasons – one is that we do not establish commissions here in terms of the Commissions Act and secondly the matter is before the courts. The petition was deemed inadmissible and the petitioners were advised accordingly.
VISITORS IN THE SPEAKER’S GALLERY
THE HON. SPEAKER: The visitors in the Speaker’s Gallery, may you confirm that you are from the University of Zimbabwe (Visitors nodded) – in case you become Members of Parliament in the future, when you are asked such a question in the future, you stand up my dear students.
I have to inform the House that there are students from the University of Zimbabwe, the Political Science Department, in the Speaker’s Gallery. You are free to move forward so that you can see the proceedings properly. Come and sit in front there (Visitors moved to the front row.) Welcome to the National Assembly of your Parliament -[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]
APOLOGIES RECEIVED FROM MINISTERS
THE HON. SPEAKER: I have the following apologies from members of the Executive: the Hon. C. D. G. N. Chiwenga, Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care; Hon. M. Ncube, Minister of Finance and Economic Development; Hon. Chitando, Minister of Mines and Mining Development; Hon. S.G.G. Nyoni, Minister of Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development; Hon. Kanhutu-Nzenza, Minister of Industry and Commerce and Hon. M.M. Ndlovu, Minister of Environment, Climate Change, Tourism and Hospitality Industry.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
HON. T. MOYO: Good afternoon Hon. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development. May I know Government policy regarding the promotion and development of indigenous African languages in our universities and teachers’ colleges?
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Moyo, you were at the national conference on the question of the nationally recognised languages and you discussed policy there.
HON. T. MOYO: I thought it could be beneficial to all Members of Parliament.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Can you approach the Chair?
(Hon. T. Moyo approached the Chair)
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. T. Moyo would like to rephrase his question.
HON. T. MOYO: Mr. Speaker Sir, my question is directed to the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development. May I know the Government policy regarding the training of teachers who would specialise on the teaching of indigenous languages in our schools? Thank you.
THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA): Thank you Mr Speaker Sir. I wish to thank Hon. T. Moyo for the question on what the policy is on the training of teachers in the teaching of our nationally recognised languages or our national languages. As per the Constitution, we are bound by the Constitution to promote the use of our national languages and their use in all facets of life, including in the humanities as well as in the techno scientific areas. To this end, starting 2019, we gave a policy directive to all our teachers’ colleges that when a student is enrolled at a teachers’ college, before they graduate, they must be able to be competent in at least three national languages which are not their own mother tongue. Through this policy we will be able to have teachers that are able to function in several corners of this country in delivering the education.
Mr. Speaker, our policy is very clear – total promotion of these languages. We have also made sure that there are certain teachers’ at colleges such as Morgenster Teachers’ College, United College of Education, Mutare Teachers’ College where special devices or teaching in special devices for sign language and also for people with hearing impairment where the specialisation is being done. On top of all this, our policy has also been to set up an institute that is able therefore to translate materials into our national languages, thereby making sure that this policy can be made effective.
We set up the Midlands State University National Language Institute whose job is to make sure that they have a lot of material in our own local languages. To this end Mr. Speaker, we have been able to translate the whole Constitution of Zimbabwe in all our national languages. We have worked on making sure that all the materials that were meant for COVID education in 2020 were translated into all our national languages. We also made sure that the NDS1 was translated into all our national languages.
The MSU National Language Institute started as a concept but now it even has a physical building that we completed and commissioned last year. It has a full complement of staff in all specialties of our national languages. Currently, we are in the process of even translating the Highway Code and all driving materials into our national languages. By doing so, we believe that this will feed into the literature in our teachers’ colleges so that they are able to function with the available materials to teach our students and be able to function in our national languages. Mr. Speaker Sir, thank you.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My supplementary question borders on incorporating the same indigenous language policy into higher institutions of learning in so far as it relates to - first and foremost teaching the 16 indigenous languages ahead of foreign languages in terms of the modules that are currently being taught. Would it please the Minister to first and foremost advance the ethos, values and teaching of the indigenous languages in the institutions of higher learning as models in a subject called language ahead of foreign languages Mr. Speaker Sir?
THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you. There are 14 indigenous languages that have been recognised – [HON. BITI: Inaudible interjection.] – Hon. Biti, can you check the Constitution? There are 14. I am not talking about the non-official languages.
HON. PROF. MURWIRA: Thank you Mr Speaker Sir. I wish to thank Hon. Nduna for his supplementary question on the issue of higher education outside of teachers’ colleges. The Midlands State University National Language Institute is at an institution of higher learning, which is a university. However, his question is very pertinent in that we have to be able to understand even the technical and scientific in our own indigenous languages. It means that we have to take time to lay those foundations. By laying those foundations, right now we have instructed, directed the MSU National Language Institute to start working on techno scientific material so that they are able to translate even a physics book, mathematics book, chemistry book into national languages. It is important to know that physical laws do not change because you have spoken in Japanese, they do not change because you have spoken in isiNdebele or Russian. Physical laws are physical laws. Based on this logic, we therefore are embarking on an extensive programme that will go beyond ourselves as biological human beings to make sure that we have started a journey which could take tens of years, twenties, hundreds of years to achieve - but we believe that we will be able to do so.
One of the issues that Hon. Nduna asked is ahead of other foreign languages. It is very important that for our people to function in the global village, it is important to know more even in the foreign language. It is not a problem for people to be able to know Russian, Chinese, Arabic, Portuguese and many other languages in addition to our own languages. We will be able to encourage both our own national languages as languages of instruction in all techno scientific areas but at the same time, we want also to be able to learn other languages. So the policy is, we want to learn our languages but the neglected languages were our national languages.
So, this is what we are working on but we believe that it is a journey and we will not be able to accomplish it, maybe in my own physical life or the physical life of many Hon. Members here but we have started on a journey that restores people’s dignity by making sure that they are able to communicate in any language in their technical, scientific, medical as well as their social life. I wish to thank Hon. Nduna for asking this supplementary question and I hope I have answered that question. Our policy is, we shall be able to even use and promote indigenous languages in our universities. I thank you.
(v)HON. DR. LABODE: Mr. Speaker, I just wanted to follow up on something. The Minister said that there is a policy that an educationist or teacher that is being trained now in Zimbabwe will be able to be proficient at least in three languages. I want to know when this policy started because the problem of children in Matebeleland being taught by Shona teaching teachers still persists. Is the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education following up on what is happening or the deployment that is being done or just monitoring what is really happening on the ground or any plans to retrain those teachers that are on the ground?
HON. PROF. MURWIRA: I wish to thank Hon. Labode for raising the question on monitoring and policy of monitoring and also wanting to know when we started this policy. At the beginning of the Second Republic, our main issue in higher education which is the foundation of the other educations as we train teachers was basically to restore dignity of the people of Zimbabwe by adopting what we call Heritage Based Education 5.0. By heritage based, we also mean that we restore people’s dignity in terms of the languages that they use.
We started this policy and its feasibility but physical implementation started in February 2019, and in particular, she has spoken about particular parts of our country and that there are people who are speaking in another language in a particular part. It happens everywhere in the country. There are also people from that particular part of the country who are teaching elsewhere. It is a national issue that we are tackling through the systematic approach to solving our problems and we know that we want our people to be proficient in all national languages so that it does not matter where you were born. If you were born in Binga, you could be teaching in Beitbridge or if you were born in Beitbridge you could be teaching in Dande without any problems.
So, origin should never be an issue here but the proficiency of speaking the language so that we can communicate with our fathers and mothers, so that we are able to restore their dignity by speaking in the language that they do is our aim. Our aim is not a mosaic of who stays where. Language is about the language of making sure that our policy speaks to the restoration of the dignity of the people of this country. The issue basically now is, we are monitoring and we are doing it. One of the colleges which started specialising in this is Joshua Nqabuko Nkomo which is also a teachers’ college and what we have also done because we were running behind with Nambya; we have started the Hwange Teachers’ College where Nambya is being taught.
We are also starting many colleges like in Binga and Plumtree. So, we are on the move. We cannot claim that we can do these things in two months. We cannot plant the seed and eat the fruit the next day but we believe we are on a path to the restoration of the dignity of the people of Zimbabwe as a whole through education. I thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Minister, I am sure you will allow me as a former teacher. You do not have to be Shona speaking to teach Shona. You can be Shona speaking but be capable of teaching Ndebele, Venda and so on. I thought that thrust should be emphasised rather than the linguistic selection of the people.
HON. MUTAMBISI: My supplementary question is, when can we expect dictionaries for all officially recognised indigenous languages?
HON. PROF. MURWIRA: I wish to thank Hon. Mutambisi for that very important question. We have already started producing these dictionaries at the African Languages Institute of the University of Zimbabwe. We already have these dictionaries which are in the making but we are very busy at this moment, which means there is already a product. It might not be complete for the 14 languages but for the MSU National Language Institute, it was a clear intention and a bold statement and an action to make sure that we have a mechanism that we use to actually produce books and dictionaries on our national languages.
In addition to that, we actually bought a printing press for the Midlands State University which is in town where we make sure that we can do the material and print those materials to make sure that our aims are not hindered by lack of any other resource in that direction. Hon. Speaker, we have started producing those dictionaries and we will continue but as I said, it is important to know that we are on a journey to the restoration of the dignity of African people as a whole through education by making sure that whatever we do, we are trying to make sure that we have solid footing towards the direction of the attainment of dignity.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Dr. Nyoni, are you there – [HON. DR. NYONI: Yes.] – Excellent, we had marked you for an apology, so for the purpose of our records we need to change that the Hon. Minister finally arrived on time.
HON. T. MLISWA: I want to thank the Minister for the way he has elaborated the vision of the languages being translated, which is a very important issue for the country. What I just wanted to ascertain from the Minister is that the translation is done by the academia but it is the printing in terms of the hard copies which are yet to be with us. Is it a question of another department providing the money because translation is excellent done by the academia? What about the printing so that there are hard copies and if possible, can we as Hon. Members of Parliament be favoured with hard copies of those translated constitution material.
HON. PROF. MURWIRA: Thank you very much Hon. Speaker. I wish to thank Hon. Mliswa for his supplementary question. I am happy to say that where we set up the national languages institute at MSU, we actually have a printing press. We are printing books which are available but as for the Constitution for example, we are very privileged and humbled that this project was sponsored through the Parliament of Zimbabwe. For the materials that are there for the Constitution, I think the Ministry of Justice and even in the Parliament of Zimbabwe, I am not too sure about the availability of number of copies but Hon. Speaker, I am sure your Hon. Office knows exactly how many copies were produced and what is available.
Mr. Speaker Sir, we have a capability to produce those hard copies. We will increase our capability to increase those hard copies. For the COVID materials, we actually printed them ourselves at the Midlands State University Printing Press. Hon. Speaker, I am sure that the materials can be made available whenever they are then demanded but the process of making them has to happen. Thank you.
*HON. NYABANI: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir, my question goes to the Minister of Industry and Trade. We have wholesales like National Foods, Gains and others, we have noted that these companies are receiving money from the RBZ so that they assist people but I have noted that they are not taking RTGs and local currency but they only want US dollars. What steps are you going to take so that such companies can assist retailers and Zimbabweans? We have noted that people have to go to the black market to procure US dollars so that they go and buy from these wholesalers. Thank you – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]
THE HON. SPEAKER: Is the Minister here, I cannot see her. Leader of Government Business - [THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS: The Deputy Minister of Finance is here.] – Hon. Leader of Government Business, you address yourself to the Chair and advise accordingly – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Order, order, do not disturb the process, I am consulting the Leader of Government Business. I now recognise the Hon. Deputy Minister of Finance.
*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHIDUWA): Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir, for such a pertinent question which was asked by Hon. Nyabani. Indeed, it is very true that we are receiving reports regarding wholesalers and such business entities which come to the auction. They get money to buy their goods. Such business entities, upon receiving money from the RBZ, then sell their goods in US dollars and not taking local currency. Working together with the Financial Intelligence Unit, our Ministry has been seized with the issue. I will give a report of what we have done so far. For those who violated the auction protocols, who get money from the auction and sell their products in US dollars, for those who abused the system we have managed to penalise 163 and those who are under investigations by the FIU, we have 284 business entities that are being investigated.
I would like to inform the House that we also do an environmental scanning. As of Friday last week, we investigated big shops, pharmacies and some retailers. Out of the 28, those who were comply ing with the exchange rate were only 11, which means that we have a lot of violations. The FIU on its own does not have the capacity to cover Zimbabwe as a whole. At the moment, we want to work with the National Economic Inspectorate and different law enforcement agents so that we cover the whole country.
In the past, we were getting reports that the auction rate is not doing the price recovery as it is but now that there is the willing buyer, and willing seller basis, there is no reason for us to go around taking note of what is happening in the market. What is left is that we start enforcing laws through the different arms. We are penalising offenders and the law is very clear that anyone who gets money from the auction should charge in local currency. If they want to use the USD, they need to use the auction exchange rate. I thank you.
*HON. NYABANI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. In the past we had the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe which was responsible for confirming that retailers were adhering to the laws. The question is – is this still happening that consumers are being protected? So we need a Ministerial Statement from the Ministry so that we know whether consumers are protected. Thank you.
*HON. CHIDUWA: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. Government policy is there. The Consumer Protection Act, Chapter 14 is there to protect the consumer and stipulates that consumers should be protected by the law. The monitoring which is done by the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe can be done but CCZ does not have arresting powers. They work with the responsible authorities through the Financial Intelligence Unit and the different intelligence and security agencies but we work together with CCZ. I thank you.
HON. BITI: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. My supplementary question to the esteemed Hon. Minister is that the auction is still a source of arbitrage. The black market rate is now between ZWD650 and ZW$D700 but the auction is around ZWD350. Why not just remove the auction so that we do not have arbitrage and the ZWD will find its own resting place without the arbitrage of the auction. Secondly Mr. Speaker Sir...
THE HON. SPEAKER: You cannot ask two questions.
HON. BITI: It is just buttressing Hon. Speaker Sir.
THE HON. SPEAKER: No, you asked a very good supplementary question.
HON. BITI: Okay, thank you Sir. God Bless you.
HON. CHIDUWA: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. The submission by the Hon. Member is valid that whenever we come up with policies, we need to ensure that we minimise arbitrage opportunities. Now that we have got the auction rates and willing buyer willing seller, the medium to long term trajectory is when there is conversions in the rates, we should reach a stage where we are going to use one rate. What is critical is that the dollar should be in a position to discover its own position and this is what is going to be obtaining in the market. I agree with the Hon. Member that we need to reach that stage where we should use a single rate, not the existence of the auction rate and the willing buyer willing seller. This is where we are going and that is the policy trajectory. Thank you.
(v)*HON. KASHIRI: On a point of order Hon. Speaker Sir. May the Hon. Minister explain in vernacular so that listeners who are listening to the proceedings can understand?
*THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Member, Zimbabweans are educated and they understand. I thank you.
*HON. MUDARIKWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. The question which was asked by Hon. Nyabani regards to basic commodities like cooking oil, flour, et cetera. The response by the Hon. Minister was that when the Financial Intelligence Unit uncovers such activities, it fines business entities. My suggestion is, why not blacklist such business entities from the auction? You would find that the ZFC was given money from the auction but they are not accepting local currency. It is important that such companies be published and blacklisted. This is the responsibility of the RBZ. The fining of offenders is not stringent enough. The RBZ is now responsible for regulating, investigating, charging fines; so there is no separation of powers and there is no transparency. Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order. I think the import of the question is stiffer penalties. Can you answer Hon. Minister?
*HON. CHIDUWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I would also want to thank Hon. Mudarikwa. In what the Hon. Member said, all the companies which are found to be violating the auction system are being blacklisted. There are no sacred cows on violation of regulations, especially those who receive foreign currency and misuse it. That is why you would notice that for those who were buying gas, the whole sector was blacklisted because of malpractice. We use civil and administrative charges, which means that we do not go to the courts. When we introduced S.I 127, which was incorporated into the Finance Act, we only apply administrative and civil charges and this is what we are doing. Those who are found to be violating the law are being fined and blacklisted. Thank you.
HON. MARKHAM: Thank you Hon. Speaker. My supplementary question is following up on the issue of fines. Fines do not work with people who have got a lot of money because they just pay. Jail sentences should be considered. However, what I cannot understand Hon. Minister is, we had a recent case where 100 computers were stolen and names were publicised, there was judgement and jail sentence yet with these guys who are stealing money from this country, they are not named. We do not know who they are? The Ministry intends to blacklist them. Why are they not publicised? Finally, if this continues, it will get bigger because I just pay and I go back. Mr. Speaker Sir, it is very clear that if I get caught today, tomorrow I will go back to the auction floor because I have got more than one bank account. If the Hon. Minister is serious, publish the names. Thank you.
HON. CHIDUWA: Thank you Hon. Speaker…
Hon. Ziyambi having passed between the Hon. Member speaking and the Chair.
HON. ZWIZWAI: Hon. Speaker, Hon. Ziyambi has passed through your way – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order. In terms of our Standing Orders, there is no offence if any of the Ministers or any of the Members pass through here and bow, there is no offence.
HON. BITI: He was on his feet.
THE HON. SPEAKER: You are allowed to go out when the Hon. Member is speaking. There is no between here. No! Go back to your Standing Orders.
HON. CHIDUWA: Thank you Hon. Speaker and thank you Hon. Markham for the supplementary question. In our previous submissions, we have said we have taken the route of moral suasion and we have reached that stage where we have seen that moral suasion is not working. We have also said according to the Finance Act, we are instituting civil and administrative charges. Again, what we have seen is people are willing to pay.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Minister, do not harp on what you said before. The question is, publish, blacklist and send to prison. That is the question.
HON. CHIDUWA: There is need for us to say, instead of just relying on civil and administrative charges, we make these violations criminal. So, the criminality now will then allow us to send to jail where the prosecution has been done. The issue of naming and shaming, this is an issue that I am also going to consult further but I do not think it is something which is difficult because we have got the list already. It is an issue that I can bring back to say if there is no illegality there, then we are going to publish. Otherwise, we have got all the names.
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir. The Minister can furnish this House with a list of those who have benefited and those who have violated. It is our role of oversight to know that and for the public to know. When can he bring that list into this House? In fact, it is outstanding. If you recall some time, they were supposed to bring the list of all who have benefited. Now we want a list of those who have violated so that we name and shame them, so that the Reserve Bank is not implicated in working with them.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Minister, there is a request to bring the list to the House. The question on the law - this is the place where the law is made. So why do you not bring in your proposed legislation so that the august House can look at the law and then you become more effective in curtailing arbitrage? Thank you.
HON. GONESE: On a point of order Hon. Speaker. I request that the Hon. Minister come up with a…
Hon. S. Sithole having stood up while Hon. Gonese still held the floor
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Sithole, there is a Member standing, so you cannot stand as well.
HON. GONESE: My point of order is for the Hon. Minister to come with a Ministerial Statement because this issue of the exchange rate has impact on prices, inflation and on the livelihoods of the people of Zimbabwe. So it is very critical and crucial. Therefore, I am requesting that instead of just bringing in the list, I propose that the Hon. Minister comes up with a comprehensive statement, dealing with, among other issues, the reason why this disparity between the auction and the parallel market rate is widening. The gap is actually widening instead of narrowing and these are the issues which we want to interrogate on behalf of the people of Zimbabwe. I thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Minister, you got the request. Perhaps you can also indicate the way forward in order to arrest the situation.
HON. S. SITHOLE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, for giving me this opportunity. My question is directed to the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs. Hon. Minister, around the country, there are some provinces with high courts and others who do not have high courts. People from such places have to go to the high court following remands, waiting for high court judgments. When can we see the setting up of some high courts in all the provinces?
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE,LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI) Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. That is work in progress. We want to ensure that access to justice is realised across the country. We opened a High Court in 2018, in Manicaland. In Masvingo, we already had one. We are building another one in Matabeleland South in Gwanda. Recently, we opened another one in Chinhoyi for Mashonaland West. So, the target is to have a High Court in each province and we are working towards realising that. I thank you.
HON. MOKONE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the Minister of Health and Childcare. Minister, on Monday we saw the nurses and doctors downing tools, which means that no one can access healthcare right now in Government hospitals. The situation is very bad, especially for the expectant mother because there is no one who is there to assist the woman when she is due to give birth.
Mr. Speaker Sir, this is in contravention of Section 76 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe and it is also against the Sustainable Development Goals that were outlined by the United Nations. My question is, what immediate measures does the Minister have to address the situation obtaining in the Government hospitals right now? Thank you.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Government is in negotiations for salary increase and an offer was tabled to the APEX Council. Negotiations are continuing and the health workers were contacted and the Ministry advised them that this process is still ongoing and they must wait until the conclusion of that process while they are at work. It is not very correct that the majority of them were on strike, it is only a few who were on strike yesterday or the day before and they have been advised that negotiations for a salary increase are ongoing and they must go back to their stations. I thank you.
HON. MOKONE: Thank you once again, the Minister highlighted that there are negotiations that are going on. I would like to find out from the Minister, it looks like for the past years there have been negotiations for salaries in Zimbabwe. What is the stumbling block to you achieving a lasting solution as regards to the workers in Zimbabwe?
HON. ZIYAMBI: Mr. Speaker, where there is organised labour and employers, negotiations for salaries will be there and you cannot say that you come up with a lasting solution when salaries and the conditions that industry operate in is determined by several factors that will necessitate once in a while for negotiations to take place.
*HON. MUCHENJE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Be that as it may, as the Hon. Minister has indicated because of the inflation and the salaries that all civil servants are earning at the moment without mentioning nurses, they should be ensuring that they are sensitive to the plight of the people because people are dying. Wages can be negotiated if conditions are normal, not the state that we are in at the moment. We cannot continue in this country without nurses and doctors that are at work. People are dying and we are also in a drought situation.
May the Hon. Minister come up with a timeline as to when the negotiations can be done so that the process can be quickened?
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Hon. Speaker – [HON. ZWIZWAI: Inaudible interjection.] –
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order! Hon. Zwizwai, may you withdraw your statement?
HON. ZWIZWAI: Yes Mr. Speaker Sir, I withdraw the statement that I had stated and queried where the Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care, Hon. Chiwenga and his wife are when the country is on fire. I withdraw, Sir.
*HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Mr. Speaker. If two or more people are having a negotiation, the aim is that they should quickly have a conclusion but the purpose is to achieve consensus. We have Government workers and the Government who are trying to come together so that they come up with something that is good for each of the sides. So our main aim with negotiations is to conclude as soon as possible.
However, we have made an offer in line with the finances that we have, so we await for them to come back to us to say if their constituents is happy with the proposal that we have tabled. I thank you
HON. MAPHOSA: Thank you very much Hon. Speaker Sir. My supplementary Hon. Speaker is that we once suggested in this House for salaries to be pegged at a marked USD component so that whenever, whether the inflation is going up or down we know that we are giving at interbank rate on a certain amount rather than that today we give 100% of nothing to salaries then tomorrow again they are striking because that 100% is not buying.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Mr. Speaker, our currency is the Zimbabwe dollar and when revenue is getting into our consolidated account, we do not ask whether they used which currency they used when they were selling the official exchange. We are working towards removing whatever factors that are influencing the decline of our currency. However, we cannot and we will not determine salaries on the basis of the USD. We will work around improving our economy and strengthening our currency but will never go to a scenario where we peg salaries using the USD. I thank you.
HON. MATEWU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the Minister for Local Government and Public Works. In view of devolution and decentralization, there are three levels of Government as in the Constitution; the national, provincial and local authority. I want to reference to Section 274 (1 of our Constitution which states that these manage their own affairs. I want to ask the Minister why there is interference from Central Government shoving down the throats of local authorities, for example yesterday to purchase fire tenders on their behalf. What kind of law is the Minister using to do this illegality? I thank you. – [HON. ZWIZWAI: She is there! She is there!] –
THE HON. SPEAKER: Sorry, sorry, sorry. Hon. Zwizwai, you advise the Chair politely. – [HON. ZWIZWAI: I am sorry Sir!] –
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. CHOMBO): Thank you Hon. Speaker Ma’am and Hon. Matewu for that very pertinent question. You started very well that we have three tiers of Government which is the central, provincial and the local authority, and they work in unison. I do not see anywhere where the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works has interfered in the affairs of local authorities. – [HON. T. MLISWA: You sit on councils!] – We do not interfere. I thank you.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order Hon. Mliswa!
HON. MATEWU: Madam Speaker Ma’am, the Hon. Minister did not answer my question, she just skirted around. However, my supplementary question is that the local authorities have to follow the Procurement Act. Why is the Procurement Act not being followed in ordering all local authorities to take their devolution funds and pay Belarus without any procurement? Why was this allowed to happen?
THE HON DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Matewu, you are not connected.
HON. MATEWU: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am, I will repeat my question. My supplementary to the Hon. Minister is that the Procurement Act is very clear on how one buys any tender. Why is the Hon. Minister flounting the Procurement Act in ordering every single authority to buy fire tenders from Belarus which they did not even ask for? They are taking this money from devolution funds that must be spent in devolved provinces which make their own decisions and own affairs? I thank you.
HON. CHOMBO: Thank you very much Hon. Speaker Ma’am and thank you very much Hon. Matewu for the follow-up question. We follow PRAZ regulations, and there is nowhere my Ministry has by-passed those processes. – [HON. MEMBERS: Was there a tender? Was there a tender?] – If there is any that you feel that we have not followed the laid down procedures, you are free to approach my office. I thank you. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Zwizwai, please take your seat?
HON. T. MLISWA: Madam Speaker, my point of order is that the Hon. Minister must not insult this House. We are the ones who make laws, we know PRAZ and there is no way you can say that they were bought. The question here is that you violated PRAZ and if you say that there is a tender, can you furnish us with the tender number?
There was no tender number in the report. It was a corrupt directive and it is difficult to ask a Minister who is also implicated in the corruption – that is where the problem is. Where is the tender number Madam Speaker? When was it tendered? Where are the adverts? This is PRAZ and we are the ones who put the law. An advertisement is made, and PRAZ regulations are followed. Cabinet is not above PRAZ, no one is above PRAZ. Can she tell us when they tendered the advert?
HON. CHOMBO: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am and thank you very much Hon. Mliswa for the follow-up question. As I stated before, my Ministry follows the PRAZ Regulations, and if there is any tender that you feel we did not follow instructions, you are free to write down or request for me to provide details of how that was done. I thank you.
(v)HON. MADZIMURE: Thank you Madam Speaker. Can the Hon. Minister give an undertaking to the House that she is going to come back with the fire tender documents, and also the Pomona deal …
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Deputy Minister, are you listening? Hon. Madzimure, please may you repeat your question?
(v)HON. MADZIMURE: Madam Speaker, I am asking the Hon. Minister to furnish the House with the tender documents for the fire tenders that she said her Ministry is going to purchase on behalf of local authorities and also the Pomona deal tender documents so that Parliament sees whether they were in compliance with PRAZ regulations.
HON. CHOMBO: Thank you very much Hon. Speaker Ma’am and thank you very much Hon. Madzimure for the follow-up question. As I said before, I reiterate that we follow procedures, and you are asking about the fire tenders and Pomona deal – that is too specific. I request that you put that in writing and I will be able to respond to it.
HON. GONESE: On a point of order Madam Speaker.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: What is your point of order? – [HON. MADZIMURE: Inaudible interjection.] – Order Hon. Madzimure.
HON. GONESE: My point of order emanates from the point that during question time on policy issues, we would expect Hon. Ministers and Deputy Ministers to be conversant with what is happening in their respective ministries to which they have been appointed to superintend as Hon. Ministers and Deputy Ministers respectively. Hon. Matewu asked a question which was very clear and unambiguous, it related to the provisions of the Constitution which is the supreme law of the land, which is above any other law or any other procedures. The Hon. Deputy Minister is not responding to the questions which have been asked both in relation to the original question and the supplementary questions, she is just skirting around the issues.
I submit Madam Speaker, that as the Chair who is presiding over these august proceedings, it is incumbent upon you to direct the Hon. Deputy Minister to directly respond to questions on issues which must be at her finger tips. When we are dealing with such an issue which involves tenders for all local authorities, that is an issue which any Hon. Deputy Minister in terms of the Constitution, should be aware of and this request for it to be put in writing is simply being evasive. I submit that you must direct her to respond to the questions or in the alternative that she must come up with a comprehensive Ministerial Statement which will deal with those issues relating to both the fire tenders and the Pomona deal which are very topical in our country. They are concerning the people of Zimbabwe and we have a Government which is subverting the Constitution – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I talked to the Deputy Minister and she agreed that she will bring a comprehensive Ministerial Statement next week on Thursday – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Sithole, please switch off your microphone.
HON. BITI: On a point of order Madam Speaker.
My point of order is can the Minister, in his statement, outline the legal provisions which is empowering him to...
Hon. Sithole having stood and continued to talk, disregarding the Chairperson’s comments.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Sithole, please take your seat. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] –
HON. BITI: Can the Minister in his statement, clarify and explain to the House the legal provisions that he is acting on. Can he also explain why he is now allocating devolution funds when we do not have a devolution law actualising the provisions of Chapter 14 of the Constitution and Section 301 of the Constitution? So, if the Minister’s statement can speak to the law, why is there by passing of the Procurement Act? Why is there by passing of the autonomy of local authorities and why are devolution funds being used in the absence of a devolution law in consistence of Chapter 14 and Section 301 of the Constitution? I thank you very much.
HON. MARKHAM: Madam Speaker, my point of order is, you recognized me before Hon. Madzimure, I have two points of order. I will just want to add a point of clarity to the Ministerial Statement and my issue is a very simple one. In order to get the tender, they must have received letters from the various local authorities applying for tenders. My second issue is even more important than all of that; why ordering tenders when we have got no water in the councils?
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Hon. Deputy Minister will include all those in the Ministerial Statement.
+HON. MUDAU: Thank you Madam Speaker. My question is directed to the Minister of Home Affairs. What is Government policy about vehicles that ferry cattle from one point to the other during the night? Since our country is infested with criminals, how can one know if these cattle are bought or they have been stolen?
THE MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND CULTURAL HERITAGE (HON. KAZEMBE): Thank you Madam Speaker. I would like to thank the Hon. Member for such a pertinent question. For starters, people are not allowed to move cattle from one point to another without clearance. Secondly, they are not allowed to do that even with the clearance papers at night. I thank you Madam Speaker.
+HON. MUDAU: Thank you Madam Speaker. My supplementary question I,s how can one know if people who are ferrying these cattle have permits or not because they are travelling at night?
HON. KAZEMBE: As I mentioned earlier on, it is not allowed to move livestock at night. She then went on further to ask how one can tell whether they are cleared or not. That is the purpose of having road blocks. They are stopped at every given roadblock to check whether they are cleared or not but at night, whether they are cleared or not, you are not allowed to transport livestock. I thank you Madam Speaker.
HON. KARUMAZONDO: Thank you Madam Speaker. My question is directed to the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement. Can the Minister explain to the House how many drilling rigs for boreholes are in the country at the moment? I thank you.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Karumazondo, you must put your question in writing so that the Minister will do the investigations and bring the answer. The Minister cannot know how many drilling rigs are in the country whilst he is sitting there.
HON. T. MLISWA: My question is directed to the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement. Minister, the farmers want to know the mode of payment for their maize this year. You had indicated that 30% would be in foreign currency but 30% of what as you know that there is the auction system? Secondly, why can you not pay them in foreign currency because already you are importing in foreign currency? You are making other farmers richer outside Zimbabwe and yet our own farmers are poor. When you pay them in foreign currency they are able to produce more, they are able to buy their own inputs because inputs are being sold in foreign currency. May the Minister please apprise this House of the mode of payment which will be made to the farmers in the 2021/2022 agriculture season? Thank you Madam Speaker.
HON. DR. MASUKA: Madam Speaker, I thank the Hon. Member for the question. First point of clarification; the 30% payment in foreign currency has been superseded by developments wherein the President agreed to a simplified payment system for farmers. For maize, it will be ZW$75 000 per metric tonne and USD90 per tonne and delivery incentive. This will also apply across all the other grain that the GMB will receive.
The second aspect relates to the mode of payment, the payment is not entirely in ZW$ and US$ because most of the schemes have been sponsored – the 2.7million rural households are all sponsored under the Presidential Input Programme, which is a free input programme. This is a contractual obligation between the Government and the households for them to be able to produce sufficient food to feed themselves and wean them from being social welfare cases. They then supply the surplus to GMB for which they are paid this ZW$ component and the USD component. From a Government perspective, we think this is very good.
The other aspect is that commercial production for maize, soya beans and other cereals is under Government guaranteed schemes through CBZ and AFC and these are predominantly in ZW$. The payment in ZW$ and USD recognises the production that is both USD and ZW$. Relating to this, the importation of maize and other cereals is entirely in USD and therefore the Government can do so. The Government is not importing maize at this stage. We have sufficient maize in the strategic grain reserve to meet our social welfare requirements; 45 000 metric tonnes for our social welfare requirements. It is the private sector that is importing maize and the same issue that the Hon. Member has raised, we have raised it with the private sector to say it is unwise to import maize. For example, importing maize from Malawi at USD220 per metric tonne and paying USD22million. That USD22 million could produce double the maize that we are importing and we have therefore urged them to reduce imports while supporting local production. Thank you Madam Speaker.
HON. T. MLISWA: My supplementary question to the Minister is that it costs USD3000 per hectare to grow maize, USD90 you give us in USD; the average a good farmer would grow is about five tonnes per hectare. So you are looking at a farmer getting away with USD500 and I have not even spoken about the national average which is probably less than a tonne or over a tonne. To me, the question is about the farmer going back to the field. How does this Government expect the farmer to go back to the field and they are not remunerating the farmer in terms of their sweat and what they want to do? Not only that, inputs are not subsidized; we need a system where inputs are subsidised and farmers produce because more money is being spend.
The Hon. Minister is correct in saying that there are private companies which want to import but can the Hon. Minister introduce a Statutory Instrument to stop them from importing and to buy from the locals? I think that is the only way the local farmers can benefit at the end of the day. Hon. Minister, it is important for you, being an agriculture person, not only that – I am happy that His Excellency the President is a good farmer; that you cannot take away from him and he needs to go back again. May he also be rewarded in terms of his sweat because how does he get back to the field when you are paying us in this manner?
HON. DR. MASUKA: Thank you Madam Speaker and I thank the Hon. Member for the supplementary question. As highlighted earlier, we think the current pricing model sufficiently rewards farmers for their effort. In connection with what could be called the replacement cost, it is always difficult to pay a replacement cost in an inflationary environment and it is in this regard that the bulk of the cereals that are produced in Zimbabwe are under a subsidised model. This is the Presidential Input Scheme that the 2.7 million rural households produce maize under and the bulk of the maize is produced in A1 owned resettlement and communal areas; these are subsidiaries.
The Government guaranteed schemes; this is a Government scheme where we take a cost plus approach. We take into account all the costs that the farmer has incurred and additionally pay the 15% return on the effort of the farmer. This model, in a high cost environment is what we believe is the way forward. This sufficiently rewards farmers with their effort. May I assure the Member that Government has now approved the summer plan and we are seriously looking at supporting farmers to go back to the fields, so he can be assured that there will be a scheme that will guarantee that Zimbabwean farmers will be sufficiently motivated to go back to the fields in November. Thank you Madam Speaker.
*HON. NYABANI: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. My supplementary question to the Hon. Minister is; as you are aware, farming is a business. Those who are farming are looking for a livelihood. Since you peg prices in ZW$, does the Government have a plan to provide agricultural inputs like fertilizer and chemicals at the GMB so that farmers are able to buy from there using ZW$ because the shops where these inputs are found, the prices are pegged in USD? I thank you.
* HON. DR. MASUKA: That is the plan of the Government to say, those who intend to buy will do that but we are already past that stage as most of the farmers will receive these inputs for free on the Presidential Inputs Scheme.
HON. BITI: Hon. Speaker, my question to the esteemed Minister is that in the past, producers of livestock and poultry used to buy grain from the GMB at a lower price than the cost price. However, in the last two years, that subsidy has not been there. The situation afflicting livestock producers is that costs are going up because of the exchange rate distortions but the price is actually depreciating, particularly the price of poultry, beef and pork. Why is Government not reverting to the policy of giving a subsidy to livestock producers in respect of purchases of grain and small grains from GMB?
HON. DR. MASUKA: The agriculture and food system transformation strategy is about transformation of agriculture to assure and ensure that Zimbabwe becomes food self secure. The second objective is that we must be food self secure. The third objective is that we must be …
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order. I do not know which constituency they belong to but food is important. The Minister is talking about the price of maize and they are busy making noise. So how are they going to inform their constituents? This is a serious matter of national security. If you want to talk, please go outside and talk on your party problems on factional lines.
Question without Notice were interrupted by THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER in terms of Standing Order No. 68.
HON. BITI: I move that the time for Questions without Notice be extended by 10 minutes.
HON. T. ZHOU: I object.
Motion put and negatived.
HON. DR. MASUKA: Before I was interrupted, I was saying, the agriculture and food system transformation strategy is about transforming the agricultural landscape so that Zimbabwe can be assured perennially of food security. It is also about ensuring feed security for our livestock. Cumulatively, we require US$2.2 million for human and animal consumption annually. We have also put a policy position that 40% of off takers raw material requirements must be produced through small value chain financing or contract farming. Once we put this in place, there was no need for a subsidy to be extended further to the livestock farmers and also poultry farmers. We said they are off takers and they must be involved in contract farming to secure 40% of their raw material requirements. In fact, increasingly, we are asking for proof that they have secured the 40% through their contract farming. Gone are the days where off takers think that GMB is a field. Gone are the days where someone establishes a bakery by the corner of the street and think that wheat is gotten from GMB. This is gotten from value chain. Wheat comes from farmers and Government policy is that those off takers ought to secure their raw material requirements from contract farming and 60% is what GMB is supplying. I thank you.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE
PROGRESS MADE ON INVESTIGATING MISSING LIVINGSTONE SUNHWA
- HON SARUWAKA asked the Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage to inform the House on the following:-
a) the progress made in the investigation of Livingstone Sunhwa who went missing on 6th November 2021 at St Mathias Tsonzo area in Mutasa Central;
b) measures taken to officially declare Livingstone Sunhwa as a missing person;
c) whether any form of punishment has been meted on the police officer who is allegedly said to have flogged and tortured Livingstone Sunhwa before his disappearance.
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order. I would like to thank the Ministers for attending today. You really did well. I am proud of you and I will make sure that I tweet and say today you did very well. You were in full force even those that have gone to Rwanda came here. Well done Ministers for coming and keep the good work. Your principal will be very happy and I hope that in the reshuffle that you have been praying for, you come back in your positions. I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND CULTURAL HERITAGE (HON. KAZEMBE): I would like to thank Hon. Saruwaka for such a pertinent question. The Zimbabwe Republic Police has confirmed that Livingstone Sunhwa, 19 years old is wanted for a case of unlawful entry into premises and theft in which he broke into St Mathias High School tuck-shop and stole various wares. He was taken by the police for questioning in the presence of his teachers. Some of the stolen property was recovered from him. Livingstone Sunhwa was released into the custody of the school headmaster on the same day since he had an “O” level examination on 6th December 2021.
However, Livingstone Sunhwa disappeared during the night before writing the examination and his whereabouts are unknown. I so submit Madam Speaker Ma’am and investigations are ongoing to try and locate him.
HON. SARUWAKA: My supplementary question is on the second part where I want to enquire from the Hon. Minister what action they have taken to officially declare Livingstone Sunhwa a missing person.
HON. KAZEMBE: Yes, my sincere apologies. Indeed, there is part (b) of the question. On the 16th December 2021, Livingstone Sunhwa’s family members filed a missing person report at ZRP Mutasa under missing person entry No 05/21. The missing person file has since been referred to CID Nyanga for further management. As alluded to earlier on, the local police in Manicaland has used print and electronic media to officially declare Livingstone Sunhwa a wanted and missing person. A press release and an internal signal alerting other stations were done but up to now, we have not received any positive information on his whereabouts. Let me again highlight to the august House that investigations are in progress and regular feedback will be given by the Commissioner General of Police to my office. We also kindly ask anyone with information that could assist the police to come forward to their nearest police station.
On part (c) of the question, Hon. Saruwaka wanted to know whether any form of punishment has been meted on the police officer who is allegedly said to have flogged and tortured Livingstone Sunhwa before his disappearance.
Mr Speaker Sir, the Commissioner General of Police informed me that the Police received a complaint on social media on the allegations. After receiving the complaint, investigations were done but no evidence of police brutality was established. However, the Police will continue to investigate the matter and we urge the public or anyone with information to come forward. I thank you.
CONSTRUCTION OF POLICE POSTS AT MWEMBE AND NGUNGUMBANE BUSINESS CENTRE
- HON. RAIDZA asked the Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage if he will construct police posts at Mwembe and Ngungumbane business centre in Wards 8 and 20, Mberengwa East Constituency respectively.
THE MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND CULTURAL HERITAGE (HON. KAZEMBE): Police posts and Mwembe and Ngungumbane business centres would be established in the area once resources permit. The intention is there but the challenge is resources. So far both places are being policed by ZRP Butchwa, which is currently deploying officers to conduct patrols in the area and bring the police close to the people for easy reporting and scene attendance. I thank you Madam Speaker.
POLICE ACTION AGAINST DRUG LORDS IN HIGHFIELD WEST CONSTITUENCY
5. HON CHIDZIVA asked the Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage to inform the House when police will investigate and take action against well known drug lords selling addictive and harmful substances in the Highfield West constituency.
THE MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND CULTURAL HERITAGE (HON. KAZEMBE): I would like to thank the Hon. Member for this pertinent question on drug and substance abuse. My office has directed the Commissioner General of Police to task the Officer Commanding Harare Province and Criminal Investigation department to conduct investigations in order to get to the bottom of the activities of the so called known drug kingpins in Highfield West Constituency in particular. The police is currently carrying out raids under operation No to Crystal Meth, targeting illegal drug lords throughout the entire country and from January to 22 May, 2159 people were arrested countrywide for various offences relating to drug abuse with 1183 being made in Harare alone. On 17 June this year, 28 people were arrested in Mbare, Chitungwiza, Mabvuku, Epworth, Dzivaresekwa, Glen Norah, Mufakose, South View and Highfield on allegations of dealing in or consuming illicit drugs. Police will not hesitate to arrest anyone involved in illegal drug dealings. However, the fight against this menace no longer requires the involvement of the police alone but an all stakeholder approach is required if we are to win this war. We implore the Hon. Member together with the public with information on drug peddlers to report to any police station. Thank you Madam Speaker.
HON. CHIKWINYA: Thank you Hon. Minister for that detailed response. My question arises largely on the basis that the same problem which was highlighted as specific to Highfield Constituency is also bedeviling our constituencies. One of the problems Hon. Minister is that you may arrest but the children that have been affected need rehabilitation. So my question is: what is the Government programme with regards to rehabilitating children who would have already been exposed to these drugs?
HON. KAZEMBE: Thank you Madam Speaker. Yes, it is indeed worrisome and something has to be done. I am glad to inform the Hon. Member that there is an Inter-Ministerial Committee that was set by His Excellency the President, Cde E.D Mnangagwa which is chaired by the Minister responsible for Labour, Public Services and Social Welfare, Prof. Mavima and they are coming up with a strategy to ensure that it deals with such issues. I am aware that they already have a strategy paper and I am sure that at the opportune moment, the Minister will favour the House. Definitely something is being done in that regard. I thank you.
*HON. CHIDZIVA: Thank you Madam Speaker. My point of clarification is that I want to understand whether it is Parliament procedure that the moment you ask a question in this august House, you get harassed by the police? You are asked to come to the police station. Is that the way we operate?
*HON. KAZEMBE: Thank you Madam Speaker. I would like to thank the Hon. Member for his question. He did not give clear specific details but I would want to believe from the insinuation, there could be a case that involves him. If he is free, he can approach me and we can sit down and make investigations but as I have earlier on said, once you have posed a question in this House, like he did with the question that I was responding to, the police may have heard about the issue as it is posed here. They may be out to get further information to buttress the investigation – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Please wait until the Minister is done with his response. We should behave as Hon. Members. We are not at a beerhall.
*HON. KAZEMBE: Madam Speaker, when I responded, I believe I was not properly heard. I said the Hon. Member has complained that he is now being harassed. I am saying it is possible that something might have happened to him and if that is the position, he is free to approach me and I will carry out an investigation to get to the bottom of the matter. I even went further to clarify that the police at times get these issues when we debate in this House or questions are posed in this House or through social media. At times they would want to get more information so that they can carry out investigations. If the Member has been harassed, he should approach me and we should sit down and assist him. Thank you Madam Speaker.
HON. CHIKWINYA: On a point of order Madam Speaker.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Point of order for what issue? This case has been clarified.
HON. CHIKWINYA: My point of order comes from the Privileges and Immunities Act.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Have you not heard what the Hon. Minister has said?
HON. CHIKWINYA: Madam Speaker, I want to refer you to the Parliamentary Privileges and Immunities Act which guarantees that Members of Parliament are not subjected to any harassment outside Parliament for what they say in Parliament – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – The Hon. Minister should have referred to that. The Hon. Member has raised concern out of privilege and he cannot be subjected to harassment for speaking in Parliament. If members of the police force want to interrogate the Hon. Member, they seek indulgence from the Speaker of Parliament about the matter which was raised in Parliament. Can we have the audience of the Hon. Member for clarification, not to follow him to a bottle store or to a lodge?
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Chidziva should have raised it as a matter of privilege, not as a point of clarification.
MEASURES TO ENSURE ALL POLICE STATIONS HANDLE ROAD TRAFFIC ACCIDENT CASES
- HON. HAMAUSWA asked the Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage to inform the House the measures being put in place to implement the policy which ensures that all police stations will handle traffic accidents so that efficiency and responsiveness by traffic police officers are not compromised in cases of road traffic accidents.
Hon. Hamauswa having stood up to explain further on the question
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Hamauswa, the procedure does not allow you to ask another question on top of another question. You have to allow the Minister to first give a response to the first question.
HON. HAMAUSWA: The question was wrongly written against what I intended to ask Madam Speaker. I want to put it on record what exactly I wanted to ask because the question was not properly written. May be the Minister can respond.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Hamauswa, you only need to resubmit the correct question. We are cancelling your question because you said it is a wrong question.
PLANS TO RELOCATE GWANDA PRISON
- HON. MOKONE asked the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to inform the House plans available to relocate Gwanda Prison to a more spacious area considering that the place is now overcrowded.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Madam Speaker. Let me thank Hon. Mokone for raising a very pertinent question, which is a major concern to us about the plans available to relocate Gwanda Prison to a more spacious area considering that the place is now overcrowded.
Madam Speaker, my Ministry, as the parent Ministry, is aware of the dire situation with overcrowding within our prisons and the challenges that come with it, which include lack of adequate and appropriate space for detained mental patients, compromised ventilation, drug supplies and deployment of health personnel, failure to provide inmates with a balanced diet as per dietary scale, general shortage of inmates’ clothing and bedding for inmates, amongst others.
To respond to the above question, I would like to inform the House that the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services, together with the Ministry of Local Government, completed the first phase which involved a visit to the proposed farm site. The second phase will be done in June whereby the Ministry of Local Government will revisit the proposed farm site, and provide drawings of what the prison is to look like as well as provide their recommendations thereafter, to enable planning for a way forward.
It is important to note that lack of funding and a financial backing have been a major setback in materialising the plan to relocate Gwanda Prison to the farm site. However, we will await the drawings and recommendations which we are expecting to have received at the end of this month of June, 2022.
POLICY REGARDING ALLOCATING RESIDENTIAL STANDS TO HOUSING COOPERATIVES
- HON. TSUURA asked the Minister of Local Government and Public Works to inform the House on Government policy regarding allocating residential stands to Housing Cooperatives as a strategy to alleviate housing challenges.
THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. CHOMBO): Madam Speaker, let me start by thanking the Hon. Member for asking the question. Around 2016, the Government suspended new allocations of land to housing cooperatives. The Government then adopted a policy of sanitizing the challenges facing cooperatives that were allocated land before any new allocations could be entertained.
HON. MARKHAM: Could the Minister just clarify on existing housing cooperatives as the Government’s strategy pertaining to UDICORP and with regards to title deeds because there are some housing cooperatives that are still processing land and there are others that have stopped. Could the Minister give us clarity on the use of UDICORP and the title deed as supplied by her Ministry?
HON. CHOMBO: I missed part of the question but as far as UDICORP, it is now under Ministry of National Housing and Social Amenities. The issue of title deeds, what we are doing right is we go and identify the approved plan of the area where that dysfunctional settlement is and we have had Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education take an aerial view of the place. We then superimpose that aerial view to the approved plan. That way, we identify those that are legal in the right stands and those are the ones that we are encouraging now to make sure that their buildings have been inspected and approved. We then process the title deeds if they meet the requirements. I thank you.
HON. MARKHAM: On a point of clarity; so UDICORP is not involved at all in any of this process? UDICORP has been used as a platform to coordinate all the cooperatives. So, can I confirm what the Minister has just said because she has not mentioned UDICORP, so I presume they are not involved in any of these land issues?
HON. CHOMBO: When I first spoke, I said UDICORP is now under the Ministry of National Housing and Social Amenities so they are handling their side of the processes. Ours is what I have reiterated.
SERVICING OF CANAAN AND WESTERN TRIANGLE IN HIGHFIELD WEST CONSTITUENCY BY ZUPCO
- HON. CHIDZIVA asked the Minister of Local Government and Public Works to inform the House when ZUPCO buses will serve Canaan and Western Triangle bus terminus in Highfield West Constituency.
THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. CHOMBO): The ZUPCO will have bus services to Canaan and Western Triangle from Thursday, which is tomorrow the 23rd June, 2022. There are some bus services already operating in the other parts of Highfiled. Members may wish to note that the services on these and other routes are affected by the number of vehicles; buses and kombis that are available to ZUPCO for operations. I thank you.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Members, we are deferring Question Numbers 12 to 19 as the Minister is no longer in the House.
HON. MARKHAM: Madam Speaker, the Minister was in the House 5 to 10 minutes ago. Apart from that, the Ministry of Agriculture has two Deputy Ministers and none of them can be here?
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I hear you Hon. Markham.
HON. MARKHAM: On exactly the same but extended, it is quite obvious that the Chief Whips have whipped people into this House because it has been like a bar in here, people just talking and not interested in proceedings. Why are the Chief Whips insisting that people should come here when they do not want to be here? If the Chief Whips call them here, can they make sure that they control them?
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you.
PLANS TO BUILD MORE CLINICS IN PROVINCIAL AREAS
- HON. MOKONE asked the Minister of Health and Child Care to explain to the House the plans that are being put in place to build more clinics in the provincial areas.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. DR. MANGWIRO): Currently, the Ministry of Health and Child Care is in the process of constructing three-twenty bedded clinics in Bulawayo, Mberengwa and Chimanimani after finishing one in Southlea Park. Furthermore, we are constructing health posts which are located in villages. With health posts, we are targeting to be building 30 sites per annum.
HON. MARKHAM: As a supplementary, I understand the building and the process but should the Ministry of Health not consider as well the staffing given the view that there are numerous clinics, for example in Harare, that are closed due to lack of staffing. Should we not change our priorities temporarily to sort out the staffing issues?
HON. MANGWIRO: Staffing definitely is a priority. It is on-going and training and recruitment is being done. As a matter of policy, we have even gone to the extent of recruiting those who are retired. So, staffing is our top priority as we do this construction along.
HON. MOKONE: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. I would like to thank the Minister for his response. However, my question was with reference to Gwanda Town. Nevertheless, the question was actually answered, looking at the national spectrum. So I will resubmit the question, looking at the Gwanda Town exactly.
HON. S. SITHOLE: The Hon. Minister is talking about staffing, there are some rural hospitals which do not have medical supplies, yet they are far from the district hospitals. Also, these hospitals do not have mortuaries. Communities are very affected and are paying huge amounts of money when someone dies. Sometimes it takes one week before the burial because the father, son or relatives will be out of the country. Communities are paying huge amounts of money, some are paying in the form of cows to ferry the bodies from the district mortuary. What is the Ministry doing about setting up of mortuaries and the issue of doctors at those clinics?
HON. DR. MANGWIRO: I would like to thank the Hon. Member for the pertinent question. Our policy is that hospitals should have mortuaries. Wherever we are constructing hospitals, there shall be mortuaries. On the issue of doctors, it is a policy that provincial and district hospitals should be manned by doctors. So all hospitals as, we go along will be manned by general practitioners. For provincial hospitals - we target to have 20 specialists in them, district hospitals we target to have at least six specialists in them. A hospital is called a hospital because there is a doctor, otherwise if there is no doctor it becomes a clinic or health centre. I thank you.
EKUSILENI MEDICAL CENTRE BEING OPERATIONAL
21. I. NYONI asked the Minister of Health and Child Care to appraise the House on when Ekusileni Medical Centre in Bulawayo will be operational.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. DR. MANGWIRO): I want to thank Hon. Nyoni for the pertinent question. Ekusileni Medical Centre opened its doors to the public in 2021. It has been operating as a COVID-19 Medical Centre since then. The Ministry is currently working on getting approvals for the respective staff establishment from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development. As I speak, I checked today, it had admitted six patients with pulmonary different diseases. Ekusileni Hospital is in operation and it is admitting patients. I thank you.
(v)HON. I. NYONI: Can the Minister inform the House on the progress made to link the three hospitals to NUST?
HON. DR. MANGWIRO: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. I want to thank Hon. Nyoni for his question. He is talking about twinning of a university and the hospital. Definitely what was publicized was that NUST we will be using it as a place where doctors can be trained. It is going to be a specialist hospital that will be concentrating on cardiac surgeries or cardiac problems but most of the lecturers will be coming from NUST. Mpilo and UBH will definitely be working with the local university because most lecturers or doctors are the same people who are the lecturers. About twinning or whatever, the agreements are there and those details will definitely be worked out by the technical staff. Hon. Speaker, whether it is twinning or agreements, the point is that it is going to be a centre that specialises in a particular cardiology and cardiac surgery problems. I thank you.
WRITTEN SUBMISSIONS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE
TRANSFORMATION OF THE DUNGWIZA CAVE TO A HISTORICAL SITE
- HON. G. SITHOLE asked the Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage to inform the House when Government will transform the Dungwiza Cave situated at Chaminuka Shrine to a historical site that can bring revenue to Chitungwiza.
THE MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND CULTURAL HERITAGE (HON. KAZEMBE): Thank you Hon. Member for the question pertaining to Dungwiza Cave. As a background, Chitungwiza-cha-Chaminuka site is associated with the legendary spirit of Chaminuka and was listed and gazetted as a national monument in 2017 for its famous intangible spiritual values.
The site attracts spiritual pilgrimages from all over the country for cultural rites and prayers. This site is thus treated as highly scared and is respected as a major shrine where many people from various parts of the country converge to pay their respects and offering to the high priest Chaminuka. The site continues to be active as a venue for traditional ceremonies such as rainmaking. Chamunuka’s spiritual significance, therefore, transcends the physical boundary of the site and the ethnicity of Zimbabwe, hence an epitome of national significance.
Similarly, comparative sites at national level include Nharira Hills, Njelele, Maringone and Chigara all of which play significant spiritual roles in communities spiritual wellness. Although the site is legally protected by my Ministry through the National Museums and Monument of Zimbabwe Act, it is revered as a source of national spiritual wellness and is managed through traditional restrictive taboos and rules that the traditional leadership of the Chitungwiza-cha-Chaminuka community has continued to enforce to date.
It is on this basis that the site was declared a National Monument. Thus the site is more of a spiritual sanctuary than a popular tourist’s destination. Whereas National Museums and Monument of Zimbabwe tries to increase access to the site, it does so in recognition of the shrine values of the site and its high divine nature and should thus guard against overdevelopment for tourism purposes. However, as a national monument, the site will be developed to an expected standard that respectful of monuments in its category but not derogatory of the values it was listed for.
PLANS TO ENSURE DIASPORANS CAST THEIR VOTES IN NATIONAL ELECTIONS
- HON. G. SITHOLE asked the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to inform the House;
a) what plans are there to ensure that citizens in diaspora can also cast their vote in national elections.
b) what corrective measures are in place to ensure that Zimbabwe Electoral Commission does not continue to move voters from their registered polling station without their consent.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Madam Speaker, let me thank Hon. Sithole for raising a very important question. The Hon. Member asked what plans are there to ensure that citizens in the diaspora can also cast their vote in national elections. He further asked what corrective measures are in place to ensure that Zimbabwe Electoral Commission does not continue to move voters from their registered polling station without their consent.
According to the Constitution of Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwean electoral system is constituency-based. In terms of Section 160 of the Constitution, there are 210 constituencies and they are all located within the boundaries of the country. The Constitution does not mandate the setting up of constituencies outside the borders of Zimbabwe. As decided by the courts in the Gabriel Shumba case, the courts recognised that our country does not have foreign constituencies as of now and since the Constitution does not envisage constituencies beyond the borders of Zimbabwe, it follows that no voter’s roll can exist outside the 210 constituencies into which Zimbabwe is divided for voting purposes.
There is currently no legislative framework that regulates voting by citizens in the diaspora. If a person requires to vote, he has to be registered in a constituency within Zimbabwe whereby the residential requirements is among the voter registration requirements provided for by our electoral law.
Madam Speaker, it is also important to note that the residence requirement is not a requirement strictly for persons in the diaspora as it also affects those who live in Zimbabwe. For example, a person who no longer lives in the Hatfield Constituency for the relevant period will not be allowed to vote in that constituency’s elections, notwithstanding that they still live in Zimbabwe though living in a different constituency, for example an area in the Harare North Constituency. In this regard, the residence requirements are not directed or targeted to exclude the diaspora vote as is the assumption by many.
Madam Speaker, let me touch on the issue of what corrective measures are in place to ensure that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission does not continue to move voters from their registered polling station without their consent. The Commission advises that it is not aware of any formal report wherein it has been alleged that it has moved voters from their registered polling stations without their consent.
What the Commission is aware of are the powers granted to it by Section 35 of the Electoral Act [Chapter 2:13], which provides that a voters’ roll may be altered –
- By the commission at any time to correct any error or omission or to change the original name or address of the voter to an altered name or address; which is done by
- The voter registration officer at any time by correcting any obvious mistake or omission, or by changing on the written application of a voter, the original name or address of the voter to an altered name or address;
2) In the case of an alteration in terms of subsection (1) made otherwise than on the oral or written application of a voter, notice of the alteration shall be published in the Gazette by the Commission or voter registration officer as the case may be.
It further provides in subsection 3 of the same section that where a voter who is aggrieved by a decision of the commission or a voter registration officer under this section, may appeal against the decision to a designated magistrate of the province on whose voters roll the voter is or prior to the alteration registered.
With the above background, the Commission recommends that where there are known incidents of voters being moved from their polling stations without their consent, a formal report be filed within the voters’ ZEC provincial offices or an appeal of any decision of an alteration made by the Commission or voter registration officer be made to a designated magistrate within the affected voter’s province. I thank you.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I move that Orders of the Day, Nos. 1 to 27 be stood over until Orders of the Day, Nos. 28 and 29 have been disposed of.
Motion put and agreed to.
CHILDREN’S AMENDMENT BILL [H. B. 12, 2021]
Twenty-Eighth Order read: Second Reading: Children’s Amendment Bill [H. B. 12, 2021].
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI) on behalf of THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC, SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. PROF. MAVIMA): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. The Bill before you today seeks to enhance the welfare and protection of children in the country as well as enable the creation of a safe and secure environment for child growth and development taking into cognisance the best interests of a child at all given times and circumstances. It aligns the Act to the Constitution, strengthens child protection and closes gaps that would give room to child abuse. As we drafted the Bill Mr. Speaker Sir, we also considered our cultural values as Zimbabweans and I am convinced this Bill best provides for a child in our land. First and foremost, the Bill redefines a child as a person under the age of 18 years as provided for in the supreme law of the land. Previously, a child would be defined as someone under the age of 16 years.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the Bill seeks to thwart child abuse in all manners possible. It widens and criminalises instances of child abuse, for example commercial sex, sexual exploitation of children and child grooming. The provision seeks to protect children from pervert adults and also protects them from getting access to drugs. Drug use is on the increase and we believe this provision has an effect of lowering drug abuse among children.
The Bill also seeks to protect the identity and information of all children in need of protection in terms of Section 5 of the Children’s Act. Instead of only those who have gone through the courts, circulation of pictures and children’s information on social media has been on the increase, jeopardizing children’s safety on line. Section 81 of the Constitution protects children from and I quote, ‘neglect or any form of abuse’. The reference to child in need of care has been realised to be discriminatory as it excludes those children who need protection. It is a narrow terminology. The Bill therefore, proposes the repeal of ‘child in need of care’ to simply ‘child in need’. The proposed phraseology should adequately cover all children in different circumstances.
Under the same section, it is proposed that child in need should incorporate the following categories: unaccompanied children, child marriage and pregnancy, sexually abused children, children exposed to cruel circumstances and an umbrella definition of cruelty to be provided without placing a limit to the circumstances constituting such cruelty. The Bill also endeavours to promote the child’s right to life. Concerned by cases of parents denying their children access to medical treatment, there is a section in the Act criminalising child abuse through the denial of medical treatment.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the Bill expands the responsibility of professionals who may suspect that a child is being abused. A duty is placed on any professional person who becomes aware or suspects on reasonable grounds that a child is being abused, to report that person to a police officer or a probation officer. It takes a village to raise a child and therefore, we believe everyone should have the responsibility to protect the child.
We are also concerned by parents or guardians who conduct commission of an offence by a child while child justice is fully provided for under a separate Bill administered by my Ministry of Justice, we felt that there is need to criminalise these instances to protect a child. Their guidance or parents’ choices should not be shadowed in the children’s lives but instead a child should be given an opportunity to choose their parts without any influence.
We understand that the international best practices provide that institutions that receive children must accommodate them in family type environment. In that light, we have a clause in the Bill providing for the same. The Bill also provides for early intervention and family preservation programmes that may be provided either by the State or through private organisations.
The adoption processes provided for in the Act did not give the concerned children an opportunity to air their views. We have learnt that children also need to be heard and therefore, the Bill has a clause providing for children who are to be adopted to be consulted depending on their age and maturity.
The current legal provisions stipulate circumstances which constitute neglect. Many a time, some parents or guardians simply ignore birth registration of a child until compelling circumstances like school registration arise. In spite of Government efforts to reach out via mobile registration units, most children remain unregistered. This also hampers our efforts to provide the relevant social services to the child. Therefore, this constitutional right to registration at birth must be adhered to. Section 81 of the Constitution guarantees a child’s right to a name and family name. This Bill therefore proposes addition to the existing circumstances which constitute child neglect by a parent or guardian to register a child’s birth. It also seeks to compile administrative measures for birth registration.
Juveniles that offend the law are often treated as if they are adults. The many differences and complexities of juvenile justice require that a separate piece of legislation be enacted and administered by the relevant Ministry responsible for justice. This is in line with regional and best practices which ensure that we accord children their proper rights in the spirit of the United Nations Minimum Standards and Norms on Juvenile Justice (“Standards and Norms) adopted by the General Assembly on 29 November, 1985. A separate criminal statute for juveniles will safeguard children who are in conflict with the law as they still need protection and proper rehabilitation.
The proposed juvenile justice system will include crime prevention by interventions throughout the process with the aim of curbing the recurrence of offences. This will involve a variety of Government bodies, agencies, departments, organisations and institutions such as the police, prosecutors, lawyers, the judiciary, probation officers, and detention and after care facilities. The Committee on the Rights of the Child encourages State parties to put in practice the Riyadh Guidelines found in the United Nations Guidelines for the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency of 1990. In this regard, this Bill proposes enactment of Child Justice Legislation to adequately safeguard rights of the child in conflict with law as provided through international best practices and that Bill is also before this august House.
Due to economic challenges, society has witnessed a sharp rise in the employment of children. This is usually done to supplement parental support which is never enough. In line with Section 19 (3) (a) and (b) of the Constitution, it is required that the State should put in place measures which ensure that children are not obliged or permitted to perform work or provide services that are inappropriate for their age. This principle seeks to synchronise the minimum age for admission into employment in line with the Labour Act, the age at which a child can enter into employment to be set at 16 years for non-hazardous work. This is also in sync with Section 81 (1) (e) of the Constitution which requires children to be protected from economic exploitation and child labour.
There has been an upsurge in child marriage which necessitates deterrent measures. Marriage of children perpetrated mostly by parents or close relatives have paralysed the social sphere, testimony to the famous African Union Campaign against child marriage outcry, “GIRLS NOT BRIDES.” The practice can only be reduced by enacting stringent or “no-mercy” laws with painfully lengthy custodial sentences and no option for a fine.
This Bill proposes the insertion of a separate section on child marriage. It further seeks to criminalise child marriage. It also proposes consequential amendments to the Marriage Act [5:11] and the Customary Marriages Act [5:07] in line with the Constitution. Several African Human Rights Instruments condemn child marriage and / or establish 18 years as the minimum age of marriage. These are:
- The African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child;
- Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Article 6);
- African Youth Charter (Article 8);
- SADC Protocol on Gender and Development (Article 8).
The Bill expands the definition of earnings for purposes of child maintenance to provide for parents who may not be formally employed. They will be required to financially maintain the child from their earnings.
Mr. Speaker Sir, we are confident that this Bill will usher the child in Zimbabwe into enjoying their best interests.
With these words, I urge Hon. Members to support this Bill. I now move that the Bill be read a second time.
HON. MPARIWA: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. Let me begin by thanking the Minister for actually addressing the House in terms of the Second Reading of the Bill. However, we hasten to say that the Committee is still in the process of doing more public hearings and as early as tomorrow, we have a meeting with several stakeholders in terms of input on the Bill so that we come up with a Committee report. I hope and trust that the Minister will be persuaded in actually postponing the Second Reading so that we also have a report from the Committee. We take issues of children very seriously to the extent that this Parliament, last week we launched a Child Rights Caucus, so I would want to believe that with the Minister, we are speaking the same language. Thank you very much.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. In view of that, I move that the debate do now adjourn.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 23rd June, 2022.
CHILD JUSTICE BILL [H. B.11, 2021]
Twenty-Ninth Order Read: Second Reading: Child Justice Bill [H. B. 11, 2021].
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I rise to give my Second Reading Speech on the Child Justice Bill. Mr. Speaker Sir, the Bill intends to establish a child criminal justice system for children in conflict with the law.
During the review of the Children’s Act, in order to align it to the Constitution, recommendations to establish a child justice system were also made, hence you will see that we are moving the Bills together so that when Hon. Members are debating related issues within the Bill, it will be easier for them to follow the debate and make meaningful contribution. Issues came out that we must align to the Constitution issues to do with children and recommendations were also made to establish a child justice system. The rationale for this Mr. Speaker, was to ensure that the welfare and child protection issues are separated from the formal justice system.
In essence Mr. Speaker Sir, this Bill proposes to give effect to the relevant foundational principles, values and fundamental rights underpinning the 2013 Constitution, together with the relevant international law norms and standards relating to child justice.
Mr. Speaker Sir, recommendations to establish a child justice system were made during the review of the Children’s Act and this was done to ensure that the welfare and child protection issues were separated from child criminal justice issues.
Mr. Speaker Sir, keeping children out of detention and away from the formal criminal justice system, mainly through diversion is a way of considering the best interest of the child, while also keeping in mind their mental capacity to have criminal intent.
When these interventions are inadequate or unsuccessful for child offenders, the child justice system implemented through the Child Justice Bill will allow for them to be tried and sentenced in child justice courts.
Mr. Speaker Sir, allow me to delve into some of the provisions to be addressed through the Bill. The Proposed Bill will set out the manner in which children below the age of 12 years who are suspected of having committed an offence are treated. They should not be treated in the same manner as those above the age of 12 years. The proposed child justice system seeks to direct a police official to inform the protection officer on the conduct of the child whereby the best interest of the child should be taken into consideration with regard to whom the child should be handed over to. The Bill also provides for age estimation and the procedure to be taken by the police officer or the courts where there is doubt about the age alleged to have committed an offence.
Mr. Speaker Sir, Section 51 of the Constitution, read together with Section 3 and Section 53, provide for the protection of human dignity and freedom from torture or cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment. This Bill speaks to the protection of human dignity of any alleged child offenders and highlights how they are to be treated in a manner that is dignified from the first contact with the police during pre-trial detention at any stage of their justice process.
The purpose of a child justice system, in as much as punitive measures should be taken for child offenders for their offences, their human dignity is to be protected, thus not making punitive measures the primary goal. They should be punished but in a manner that is strictly consistent with the objectives of rehabilitative and restorative justice.
Mr. Speaker Sir, General Comment 10 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, if read together with Section 69 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe stipulate a requirement that justice system should meet certain minimum standards which are part of the right to be heard and these standards ought to be the same for a child justice system. These include the right to stand trial before an independent and impartial tribunal; the right to be heard includes within its scope the right for an offender to effectively participate in a trial. For the child offender to be able to effectively participate in a trial - there is need to provide modified court rooms and trial procedures which suit the age of a child.
This Bill provides for parents, guardians or custodians to attend proceedings of a child justice court. In the same light, it also prohibits the use of handcuffs on a child in court, unless exceptional circumstances dictate. The importance of separation of trials between child offenders and adults is recognised for the protection of the alleged child offender. Only upon application can the trials be joined.
Due to the fact that a child’s best interests are paramount in every matter concerning the child and that children are entitled to adequate protection by the courts as provided for in Section 81 (2) and (3) of our Constitution, our judicial system plays an integral part in the protection of children’s best interests. This Bill also provides for the monitoring of a child justice system through the establishment of Child Justice Committees at national, provincial and district level to ensure that those interests are protected and no abuses occur.
Child Justice Court is established in terms of the Child Justice Bill are an added sign of progression within our justice system as they would be solely dedicated to trying children accused of committing crimes. Mr. Speaker Sir, I urge Hon. Members to support and pass this Bill. I submit and move that the Bill be now read a second time.
Mr. Speaker, in the same vein like what Hon. Mpariwa said, the Committee is still deliberating, so I move that the debate do now adjourn.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 23rd June, 2022.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr. Speaker. I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 17 be stood over, until Orders of the Day, Numbers 18 to 20 have been disposed of.
Motion put and agreed to.
RATIFICATION OF THE AGREEMENT ON THE PROMOTION AND RECIPROCAL PROTECTION OF INVESTMENTS BETWEEN INDONESIA AND ZIMBABWE
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI) on behalf of THE MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE (HON. DR. SHAVA): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I move that this House takes note that: WHEREAS Section 327 (2) (a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that an international treaty which has been concluded or executed by or under the authority of the President does not bind Zimbabwe until it has been approved by Parliament;
AND WHEREAS the Agreement on the Promotion and Reciprocal Protection of Investments between Indonesia and Zimbabwe was signed on 8th of February, 1999 on behalf of the Republic of Zimbabwe;
AND WHEREAS the entry into force of this Agreement shall be effective (3) months from the date of notification of the fulfillment of the legal procedures by the later Contracting Party;
AND WHEREAS the Republic of Zimbabwe is desirous to ratify the said Agreement;
NOW THEREFORE, in terms of section 327 (2) (a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, this House resolves that the aforesaid amendment agreement be and is hereby approved. I move that the aforesaid agreement be approved.
Motion put and agreed to.
RATIFICATION OF THE AGREEMENT ON THE PROMOTION AND RECIPROCAL PROTECTION OF INVESTMENTS BETWEEN BOTSWANA AND ZIMBABWE
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI) on behalf of THE MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE (HON. DR. SHAVA): I move that this House takes note:
THAT WHEREAS Section 327 (2) (a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that an international treaty which has been concluded or executed by or under the authority of the President does not bind Zimbabwe until it has been approved by Parliament;
AND WHEREAS the Agreement on the Promotion and Reciprocal Protection of Investments between Botswana and Zimbabwe was signed on 21st of March, 2011 on behalf of the Republic of Zimbabwe;
AND WHEREAS the entry into force of this Agreement shall be effective on the date of receipt of notification by either Contracting Party to the other that its constitutional and legal requirements have been fulfilled;
AND WHEREAS the Republic of Zimbabwe is desirous to ratify the said Agreement;
NOW, THEREFORE, in terms of Section 327 (2) (a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, this House resolves that the aforesaid agreement be and is hereby approved.
Motion put and agreed to.
RATIFICATION OF THE AGREEMENT ON THE PROMOTION AND RECIPROCAL PROTECTION OF INVESTMENTS BETWEEN SINGAPORE AND ZIMBABWE
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI) on behalf of THE MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE (HON. DR. SHAVA): I move that this House takes note:
THAT WHEREAS Section 327 (2) (a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that an international treaty which has been concluded or executed by or under the authority of the President does not bind Zimbabwe until it has been approved by Parliament;
AND WHEREAS the Agreement on the Promotion and Reciprocal Protection of Investments between Singapore and Zimbabwe was signed on the 1st of September, 2000 on behalf of the Republic of Zimbabwe;
AND WHEREAS the entry into force of this Agreement shall be effective on the thirtieth (30th) day from the date of notification of the fulfillment of the internal legal procedures by the later Contracting Party;
AND WHEREAS the Republic of Zimbabwe is desirous to ratify the said Agreement;
NOW, THEREFORE, in terms of Section 327 (2) (a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, this House resolves that the aforesaid amendment be and is hereby approved.
Motion put and agreed to.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Mr. Speaker Sir, I move that the rest of the Orders on today’s Order Paper be stood over until Order Number 37 has been disposed of.
Motion put and agreed to.
PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS
Thirty Seventh Order read: Adjourned debate on motion in reply to the Presidential Speech.
Question again proposed.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF ICT, POSTAL AND COURIER SERVICES (HON. PHUTI): Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir, for the opportunity to give a response to the Presidential Speech on the State of the Nation Address and the Official Opening of the Fourth Session of the Ninth Parliament.
Hon. Speaker Sir and the House, allow me to thank the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, His Excellency, Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa for an insightful and thought-provoking speech delivered to us as a nation. The President touched on very pertinent issues regarding our strategic direction as we journey towards becoming an upper middle-income society by the year 2030. In his address, he outlined the roadmap to our economic recovery, with projections of over 7.8% economic growth. The ICT sector will continue to play its catalytic role in this economic transformative agenda and in the fulfillment of the National Development Strategy One (1) goals.
Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) have become the keys to the efficient running of virtually all facets of the national economy, transcending every industry and service. ICT is becoming the harbinger and epicenter of global socio-economic transformation, in addition to being a strategic resource and foundation of every economic activity. ICT accelerates economic activities, such as consumption, investment, government-service delivery, and export competitiveness. Moreover, ICT enhances competitiveness, as well as economic and societal modernisation, because of its revolutionary power as a key catalyst for change, modernisation and innovation, connecting people and communities, improving standards of living, and creating new trade opportunities both locally and globally. Zimbabwe, like many other countries globally, is fully aware of the importance of ICTs for socio-economic development and transformation.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the importance of ICTs during the COVID-19 period cannot be overstated, given that due to lockdown restrictions, most people had to work from home using e-platforms while scholars and pupils had to engage in e-learning and health institutions had to rely on e-health for service delivery. Considering this Mr. Speaker Sir, the Ministry of ICT, Postal and Courier Services worked tirelessly in facilitating and coordinating the ICT sector’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Schools were closed throughout 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Government announced the opening of schools with limited holiday breaks and strict measures to curb the spread of COVID-19. As a result, the need for access to internet connectivity grew drastically. It is with this background in mind that our Ministry decided to facilitate access to free internet services by over 400 rural schools that already had internet connectivity but were struggling to pay for the monthly bandwidth.
The same facility was extended to the provision of free access to internet services at Community Information Centres (CICs) and Community Villagised Information Centres CVICs) by members of the public for a period of nine (9) months. This programme is ongoing. The Ministry, working with stakeholders, has also intensified the computerisation of schools through the ICT laboratory per school project with over 200 schools having benefited to date.
Mr. Speaker Sir, part of the mandate of our Ministry is to ensure that Government institutions are, to a greater extent as possible, equipped with ICTs so as to ensure effective and efficient discharge of their mandates. As such, the Ministry of ICT, Postal and Courier Services, through Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ), has initiated a programme to equip the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services, the Judiciary with modern ICT facilities including connectivity.
As part of the SMART City project, the migration of Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development ICT systems to the National Data Centre will be implemented Mr. Speaker Sir. The targeted systems and or departments required in the integration are the CVR, ZINARA, and ZIMPOST for insurance and for service provision at community level through Community Information Centre (CICs), VID and other relevant departments in the road and vehicle management.
Mr. Speaker Sir, ICTs are widely recognised as critical enablers of economic activity. An International Telecommunications Union (ITU) analysis revealed that a 10% increase in a country’s digitization score fuels a 0.75 percent growth in its GDP per capita. Additionally, the economic effect of digitization accelerates countries to move more and advance to stages of digitization. Going forward, the Ministry will continue to address the key fundamentals of a digital economy that includes digital infrastructure, digital platforms, digital entrepreneurship, digital financial services, and digital skills. Mr. Speaker, I thank you.
HON. MUTAMBISI: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. L. SIBANDA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 23rd June, 2022.
On the motion of HON. MUTAMBISI, seconded by HON. L. SIBANDA, the House adjourned at Six Minutes to Six o’clock p.m.