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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 25 July 2019 45-73
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Thursday, 25th July, 2019
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two o’clock p.m.
(THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER
ZIMBABWE WOMEN’S PARLIAMENTARY CAUCUS
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, I have to inform the
House that all members of the Zimbabwe Women’s Parliamentary Caucus are invited to a one day workshop on the unpacking of the
Marriage Bill [H. B. 7, 2019] on Monday, 29th July, 2019 at the Rainbow Towers Hotel starting at 0800 hours.
HON. BITI: Madam Speaker Ma’am, what about men too? Why discriminating because marriage is between men and women. So, we all need to go there, particularly to learn about Section 40.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Biti, I am being advised
that we are starting with the Women’s Parliamentary Caucus, followed by Committees and then all Members of Parliament – [HON. BITI: Varume ndovaifanira kutoenda uku because ndivo vari kuhura, vana Hon. Matangira.] – Please may you withdraw that word?
HON. BITI: I withdraw everything I have said against Hon. Matangira – [HON. MATANGIRA: Thank you very much, uri mukwasha iwewe ndoda mombe.]-
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you.
HON. BITI: Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of privilege.
THE HON. SPEAKER: What is your point of privilege?
HON. BITI: My point of privilege is to do with foreign currency and the shortage of electricity. My request is that the Minister of
Finance and Economic Development makes a statement to this august
House on where our foreign currency is given the fact that we do not have electricity. If you can allow me Madam Speaker, that is my point of privilege.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Your point of privilege is
noted, we will ask the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to come and give a Ministerial Statement.
HON. BITI: I need to make the submission Madam Speaker.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Go ahead Hon. Biti, but go
straight to the point.
HON. BITI: Madam Speaker, between January and June 2018 and these figures are in the Reserve Bank Governor’s Monetary Policy Statement of October, 2018, the one that bifurcated our accounts between RTGs Nostro and Nostro FCA. The Reserve Bank had received through export surrender requirements US$3 361 400 000. That is a lot of money. Of that money, 15% that is to say around
US$507 030 293. 00 was used to import diesel. Eight percent or around
US$267 353 576 was used to import unleaded petrol. Three percent or
US$111 000 000 was used to pay for energy. Two percent or US$ 64 000 000 was used to import crude soya meal. Two percent or US$62
000 000 was used to import rice. Then there is a breakdown Madam
Speaker, of one percent/one percent but 61% of this money totaling US$2 047 115 448 was then used to pay something called others which is not described but the ‘other’ things are described. So, we would like the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to come and explain to this House what this others is when you are not paying for
For 2019 Madam Speaker, between January and February of 2019 just in two months, we received foreign currency in the sum of US$707 254 483. Of that money, 17% or US$119 931 064 went to diesel. Madam Speaker, 9.4% or US$66 628 665 went to unleaded fuel; 1.6% or US$11 199 467 went to road tractors; 10 766 108 which is 1.5% went to wheat, then the rest Madam Speaker are one percent/one percent including for instance insecticides which were bought for US$6.7 million.
Then I come to the disturbing figure once again. Other products which are not specified which are 50.69% almost 60% went to other products. What are these other products that are consuming 60% of the foreign currency in this country when we do not have energy, when we do not have fuel? So, I would like the Hon. esteemed Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Hon. Prof. Mthuli Ncube to come and give a Ministerial Statement on where our money is going and why we do not have energy and fuel. I thank you very much Madam Speaker ma’am. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] -
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Biti, over and above the
requested Ministerial Statement, may you put it as a written question to enable the Minister to give a comprehensive answer.
HON. BITI: I will expand.
HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: I rise on a matter of
privilege. Last year in November 2018, I raised a motion on privilege that spoke to the issue of people with disabilities that come to our hearings here. In that instance, I was referring to a teacher who cannot see, who could not read our Oath and I raised it with the Speaker. I was told that in the following week the Oath that they read would be put into braille. I am disappointed Madam Speaker, that last week the same gentleman came to this very House and we did not have braille. They are coming back on Monday. On that day, I had offered to get the Oath and go and do the braille myself. I was told that the Administration was going to work on it the following week but they have not. So, I am now requesting – please, can I have a copy of the Oath so that I can go and organise the braille because he is coming back on Monday, 29th July, 2019 and I cannot keep on giving excuses. It is just three sentences Madam Speaker, I think we should be sensitive to these issues. I thank you.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Misihairabwi-
Mushonga, your point of order is noted. We will instruct the Public Relations Office to do that as a matter of urgency. Thank you.
HON. MADZIMURE: Madam Speaker, Section 12 of the Public
Finances Management Act provides that all audit and special reports be tabled in this House. Yesterday Madam Speaker, the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare repeated the same excuses that she has given before and also indicated that the Hon. Speaker or the Chair had not ruled otherwise.
In view of the fact that it is provided for in the Public Finances Management Act, that all the reports must be tabled in Parliament and apart from that, we all know that every institution that falls under the Government of Zimbabwe shall be audited by the Auditor-General and that all the reports are tabled in Parliament. Madam Speaker, if you also look at the background of the same NSSA reports, of late we have seen some movements where a colleague of the Hon. Minister is now reported to have been arrested, meaning there is more to that particular report. In view of that, I want the Hon. Chair to rule Hon. Minister, Dr. Sekesai Kanhutu-Nzenza to be in contempt of Parliament having refused to abide by the Hon. Chair’s ruling and also the provisions of the Public
Finances Management Act.
In addition, it is provided for in the Constitution of Zimbabwe that this Parliament will have oversight over the Executive and any other institution that is created by an Act of Parliament. So, I move that Hon. Dr. Sekesai Kanhutu-Nzenza be reported to the Privileges Committee and be charged for contempt of Parliament because if she had an objection, she should have approached the courts. Otherwise the Hon.
Chair cannot reverse the judgment that it gave. So I move Madam Speaker.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Madzimure, your point
of privilege is noted but I will study the matter and make a ruling later. – [AN HON. MEMBER: Madam Speaker, I have a point of privilege!] –
No, I ruled that Hon. Madzimure’s privilege was the last one.
EDUCATION AMENDMENT BILL [H. B. 1, 2019]
First Order read: Committee Stage: Education Amendment Bill
[H. B. 1, 2019].
House in Committee On Clause 2:
HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: I move the amendment
standing in my name that Clause 2 of the Bill is amended –
- by the deletion of the definition of “basic state funded education” and the substitution of –
“basic state funded education” means –
- education from early childhood education up to Form Four; or
- adult education up to Form Four; or
- any other category as may be declared as such by the Minister by notice in the Gazette from time to time:
for which pupils shall not be required to pay fees or levies and the State shall provide them with learning and teaching material, facilities, infrastructure and resources subject to the provisions of Section 75 of the
- by the insertion of the following definitions –
“child” means a boy or girl under the age of eighteen years;
“public school” means a school established and maintained by the Government, including schools run by local authorities; registered private voluntary organisations or faith-based organisations to provide education to the public without profit;”;
- by the repeal of the definition of “Government school” and the
substitution of the following –
“ “Government school” means a school administered and controlled by the national Government, local authority or any tier of Government as established in Section 5 of the Constitution;”.
Hon. Chair, just to indicate that we had a conversation with the Hon. Minister around the submissions that we made in that amendment and there are certain concessions that the Hon. Minister has given. So depending on that concession being put to the House, I will withdraw my amendment. It is not all of it that he has accepted, but he has compromised on some of it. I will wait for him to put the concession.
THE CHAIRPERSON: So what are you saying about your amendment?
HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: We agreed on the basic
one because ours was to argue that we want first to ensure that we put in a definition that includes E.C.D up to ‘O’ level. The original was to put it up to grade 7 so; we upped it form 4. I am hoping that this is what he has conceded to.
THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY
EDUCATION (HON. PROF. MAVIMA): Thank you Chair, we do
concede that the definition of Basic State Funded Education should be from E.C.D (A) to the forth form. We do not concede on the definition of the child because education is not only for children but learners or pupils. Some pupils start education after attainment of 18 years. So to reference child would discriminate against such pupil –[HON. BITI: Asi unobva Dotito.] – ndokwandobva Hon. Member.
THE CHAIRPERSON: What definition are they referring to Hon. Minister?
HON. PROF. MAVIMA: The definition of a child, it would
appear that originally free basic education would be accorded only to children who are defined as people of 18 years or less. We want our education to cater for people even after the age of 18 – free basic education. This is why we are striking that definition of child and making sure that all pupils who are in basic education which is E.C.D to form 4 are catered for.
THE CHAIRPERSON: Hon. Minister are you agreeable to (a)
HON. PROF. MAVIMA: (a) and (c) are okay there is no problem.
Amendment to Clause 2 put and agreed to.
Clause 2, as amendment put and agreed to.
On Clause 3:
HON. MISIHAIRABWI MUSHONGA: I move the amendment
standing in my name. Thank you very much the amendment speaks to the issue of sanitary wear. I must say that in conversations with the Minister, he did concede to that, save that we included the issue of endeavour. I must agree with him that because we have agreed to import section 75 from the Constitution and making it the preamble, it means it becomes a progressive implementation.
On that particular issue, we will be so happy Hon. Minister if you formally concede to this because we already have issues where children are not going to school because they do not have sanitary wear. I think it is something that has become really urgent. For you to buy just a packet of cotton wool now you have to pay between 10 to 12 dollars, and that is one packet that you only use probably for a day or two. If you are going to have your menses for 7 days, it means you literally need a packet for every other day which is 70 dollars. It has become really impossible for our children in school. So if we were to have that it would be the best news that people would hear today, particularly the young girls. I thank you.
HON. KARENYI: Thank you Mr. Chair. I think Mr. Chair this
Bill will help the young girls in schools. I just want to support the amendment and I will say I was in OK Supermarket today and the most expensive sanitary wear is going for RTGs16.25 and if you just calculate RTGs16.25 x 4 it clearly shows that most of the young girls are no longer using sanitary wear. I think the other female members in this House -we received a letter from a young lady and the young lady was complaining that we must try to lobby and make sure that the sanitary wear is given for free to every woman, not girls alone. This is a clear sign to say women are suffering out there Chair.
May I also take you back, during our time and our mothers, most of the women were using clothes and some were using some materials which are even harmful to our health. Mr. Chair, I think we know very well with this economic hardships, if you go to the rural areas it clearly tells us that the girls will not go to school during their menstrual period.
You remember some of the girls even stay murwizi, kugara murwizi just because she does not have sanitary wear. I think as women and as women parliamentarians we support this and we will even go further to move some motion and some Bills to make sure that every woman in Zimbabwe will get the sanitary wear for free - because the increase of cancer, most of the women who are now suffering with cancer, if you check it is the issue of failing to afford to pay for sanitary wear. So I just want to support the amendments and say vana vedu kumaruzevha vakanzwa Minister kuti we have managed to make sure that we will supply the sanitary wear for free, for sure Zimbabwe will celebrate because every girl is suffering.
I want to say if you go to these higher institutions, most of the girls who are now resorting to prostitution and some of them are even being taken by the sugar daddies, it is because of poverty, and they cannot even afford to pay for sanitary wear. So they will resort to take the sugar daddies so that they will get the sanitary wear. For us to safeguard these children, I think let us give them sanitary wear for free. So, I will support to make sure our girls will get the sanitary wear for free. I thank you
HON. MBONDIAH: Thank you Hon. Chair. I would also like to
add my voice to the amendment - to say that it is very disheartening for examples if you just go into our ladies toilet here at Parliament you would find that there are condoms in there. It is disheartening that most of the higher tertiary institutions would rather provide condoms rather than provide sanitary wear for ladies. So, I would like to advocate for free sanitary wear. You find that in rural areas, our young girls are resorting to using contraceptives so that they stop their menstrual cycles.
So I am also in support of this Bill. I thank you.
*HON. MUCHENJE: Thank you Chair. I would like to
contribute one or two points to this motion which has been moved by Hon. Misihairabwi. Can you imagine a mother who has four children that have reached their menstrual age, consider how much the parent would use to buy sanitary wear for four children plus herself? She uses about $1 000 - it is costly for the parent.
I would like to also talk about the girl child in the rural area, those in school are not enjoying their education because they do not have sanitary wear. The toilets do not have adequate water supply, if a child goes to school after using a piece of cloth, to use it throughout the day has health implications. Also, the child is not free to engage in educational activities because she is scared of spoiling her uniform. Once that happens, she faces humiliation from her peers and that also affects their performance in class. So that is a difficult period for the girl child. The mother is also not at peace knowing that the child has gone to school without proper sanitary wear. The improvision of sanitary wear in rural areas causes diseases. They use pieces of cloth and other means and this can causes diseases later on in life. So my contribution is that sanitary wear should be availed to school children.
Mothers also use other methods to try and prevent the menstrual periods but those methods have implications later in life. Therefore, sanitary wear should be affordable and should be available in all schools, in fact to all women. Recently I was at one of the community schools in my rural area. Most girls raised concern over the issue of satchels that they need them but they said they needed sanitary wear the most to enable them enjoy their education.
The other issue is on availing condoms in schools. I think it is good for those children who are sexually active – it is sad if a child who is in grade seven in impregnated. The parents are working so hard to send their children to school, others are being looked after by grandparents. We pretend and bury our heads in the sand that these children are not being sexually active, yet they are. So, we should come up with methods and means to ensure that they prevent pregnancies. If those forms of contraception are not availed, they will continue giving birth and bringing kids to their grandparents to look after them. Therefore I request that schools should be availed with sanitary wear as well as condoms. I thank you.
HON. GONESE: Thank you Mr. Chairman. Firstly I would like to commend this amendment which in my view is very progressive. It is in two parts; those who have spoken before me have already made reference to the first aspect and I want to thank the Committee on
Primary and Secondary Education as well as the chairperson, Hon. Misihairabwi for coming up with this progressive amendment. As it stands, we have had the problem where we have paid lip service to this very serious issue.
We are all cognisant that when it comes to issues of menstrual health, it is not out of choice. It is something that girls have no control over and there is an obligation on the State to ensure that girls have access to this. In the past we have had a situation where promises and undertakings have been made but they have not been fulfilled. I am happy that with this amendment we now have a positive obligation; a legal obligation which will be on the State. I would like to appeal to the Minister that apart from passing this legislation if he concedes this amendment he must go beyond and actually have implementation, because in the past we have had situations where we got legislation pass it in this House; we all ululate but on the ground nothing actually happens.
So we have to ask and plead with the Hon. Minister and his colleagues in Cabinet, particularly the Hon. Minister of Finance to ensure that appropriate resources are allocated to ensure that there is realisation of this amendment which I think we are all in agreement with and that it is something that is going to be passed unanimously.
On the second part of the amendment, I think it is also important that we deal with the issue of discrimination which the amendment is speaking to and I also hope that the Hon. Minister is going to take it on board and concede. I hope that if we are all in agreement then have consensus, then this amendment will pass without any objection. I thank you Mr. Chairman.
HON. MUNETSI: Thank you Hon. Chair for giving me this
opportunity. I just want to add my voice in support of this issue. I have always asked this question when a girl is at school and she goes on menstrual, what do you want the teacher to do? If teacher has nothing to give to that girl, what do you want the teacher to do – just look at the child? I was thinking that in the same way we have in school free feeding schemes there must also be free sanitary pad schemes in schools – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – When I heard about this Bill, I went around some schools in my Constituency. I gathered from some girls that during harvesting cotton from the fields, they pluck out some cotton and keep it so that they can use it during their menstrual cycle. This is a bad system which I could not swallow. If a mother cannot get money to buy pads for herself, how about her girl child? Why can the Government not set aside a fund for that to assist this girl child? That is my opinion. I thank you.
*HON. SHAVA: Thank you Mr. Chairman. I stand up to support the debate in this House concerning sanitary wear. Firstly, I would like to thank the Head of State for scrapping excess duty on sanitary wear. Over and above the non-payment of duty, my request is that we set up companies that produce sanitary wear.
I also call upon the Government to supply sanitary wear to school children from Grade 6 up to Form 4 and this should be easily accessible. It should be in the open in each and every classroom. It should not be hidden like condoms. We also request that this should also be rolled out in rural areas especially areas like Binga and Mashonaland West that are quite backward. This should be availed even in churches. The pastors’ wives should make these available in homes and to the vulnerable groups. I also want to support the fact that sanitary wear should be given in bulk. The cost of sanitary wear should be low or they should be availed on a free basis. If we are to advocate for them to be sold, there are children who cannot afford because they are orphans and are being taken care of by grandparents.
In my opinion, I think the way they distribute condoms should be the same way they distribute sanitary wear without people paying for anything.
HON. MUSHAYI: I would like to first of all thank the Committee Chairperson and the Committee for coming up with such a progressive amendment.
I think it is important to look at the fact that the provision of free sanitary wear in schools would go a long way in terms of making sure that young girls do not miss school. A certain percentage of girls are missing school because of their monthly periods. Whilst we are looking at the intention of the Government and the world-over we should now be fighting towards emancipation of women and making sure that girls are given the opportunity to go to school. We will not achieve this if we are not able to provide sanitary wear.
The reason why I think this recommendation is very progressive is because we are looking at the vision that we want to achieve as a country...
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Hon Sikhala, may you take
HON. MUSHAYI: Thank you Chairperson. The reason why I think it is important that we provide free sanitary wear in schools - if we look at a situation of a family, where a family wants to buy food; they would not prioritise buying sanitary wear for their daughter. It therefore means the daughter has to miss school because the family would have prioritised buying food.
Whilst it is noble that we want to make sure that we achieve a nation that has women and girls that are educated, we will not be able to achieve it unless we are able to provide free sanitary wear so that girls do not miss school. I also want to take this opportunity to thank the Committee and the Chairperson in terms of this particular recommendation because we realise that menstrual cycle is a natural process. I cannot be made to pay for things that I am doing naturally. It is also a blessing to be able to go for menses. It is an issue of national service because the moment I get my periods and I am now at an age where I can then deliver children, it helps me to be able to deliver children. Unless we are able to provide for kids when they are still going to school, we are missing an opportunity for us to be able to take our responsibility as a nation to make sure that there is no girl child left out in terms of acquiring their education.
I therefore feel that this recommendation and amendment is progressive and therefore, the Government should make sure that there is follow up in terms of making sure that once it has been approved, we then have implementation and follow through.
One of the things we have heard is that we have recommendations that have been approved but there is no budgetary allocation to make sure that it is achieved. We want to urge the Government through the Minister and the Minister of Finance that they make sure that once this has been put through, we have implementation and follow through.
*HON. MUTAMBISI: Thank you Mr. Chairman. I stand up to add my voice and support the issue of sanitary wear. We have girl children in school that cannot access sanitary wear who use cow dung. This cow dung can cause cancer, hence it will affect their future as mothers.
I want to applaud and also request that sanitary wear be availed freely. Children should be able to access sanitary wear to enable them to engage in sports like the Gems who were abroad. I also want to support this initiative so that the girl children can get sanitary wear for free. +HON. S. NDLOVU: Thank you for affording me this opportunity. I would like to thank the Minister of Education for this amendment that has been brought up. We are very happy about it.
A mother is a mother. She is the one who bears the children and looks after them. The mother buys her sanitary pads first. I am talking about the sanitary pads – this is what I am talking about. The mother will buy hers first but because it is expensive, the children will not get the sanitary pads. A girl will always get depressed whenever she is having her menstruation because she will be worried that maybe she might mess herself up. I would like to thank the Minister for bringing up this amendment because a lot of women now suffer from cervical cancer. May be this started way back when they were still girls using things that were not proper. We have travelled extensively and found that women are using banana leaves or cow dung to protect themselves. I am being told that they use leaves and grass because they will be desperate. What if it starts at school, what do you use? It means that you will end up messing yourself up and you will not be happy the whole day at school. We are happy that the Minister wants to amend this. Let us start with the school children. We are saying they should get sanitary pads for free so as to avoid them from contracting cervical cancer.
It looks like a lot of women are dying from cervical cancer. We would like to see those sanitary pads being taken to schools and this should not take long. We should see this coming to fruition. When these school children go out for sporting activities they will not spoil themselves and will play freely. We are happy that the Minister has realised that this is a very worrisome issue and we would like to thank him for this.
*HON. SHIRICHENA: Thank you for giving me this opportunity
in support of the issue of sanitary wear. I see it as important that the Government should avail sanitary wear to our children for free. The regime that we are growing up in now is different from the time when we grew up. We used to use sanitary wear that was sub-standard and did not cause diseases but currently, the regime that we are growing up in, there are so many diseases and infections. So, our children should be availed sanitary wear to prevent such health challenges.
My request is that the Government should avail sanitary wear for free to the girls as much as they provide anti-retroviral treatment. Things are so expensive nowadays; children cannot afford school fees, what more getting money to buy sanitary wear? They end up using unorthodox sanitary wear. The Government should ensure that sanitary wear is easily accessible and for free in order to protect the life of the woman in future. I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. PROF. MAVIMA): With regards to amendment of Clause 3 – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: May you lower your voices
HON. PROF. MAVIMA: With regards to amendment of Clause 3, we do concede to the addition but it should be captured already as follows; ‘Every school shall endeavour to provide sanitary wear and other menstrual health facilities to girls.’ Thank you.
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: I am of the view that the section that has been cited by the Hon. Minister does not really create an obligation on either the school or Government. If we are saying this is a right that needs to be enforced then the law should speak clearly indicating that it is an obligation. However, the manner that the Hon. Minister couched it, in my understanding means that it is not obligatory. It means that
Government and schools have got a leeway to say, ‘it is alright, we are trying our best but we cannot.’ It creates that loop. In my view, I think that the wording of that section needs to be revised so that it reflects the mandatory nature of the intention of the Legislature. I thank you.
HON. PROF. MAVIMA: Thank you Hon. Chair. I would like the august House to understand that this was a very well considered compromise. Initially, we have said matters such as this one are more of an administrative nature and could not be legislated into the Act. Hon.
Chair, we were also considering the fact that if we put an outright obligation right now on a school in Gokwe, Binga or Checheche there, to say as soon as this Bill passes they have to or are obligated to provide sanitary wear, we could render some of the schools dysfunctional because of the resource factor that we find in our schools. So, in my view it is good for us to put it in the way that we have suggested. However, we take a collective responsibility, which is what we have agreed with the Portfolio Committee, to ensure that the schools are well provided. It may be Government, non-governmental organisations or some of our development partners whom we are in the process of consulting at the moment and the consultations are coming in very positively. So, it is a pragmatic amendment of the amendment to ensure that our schools remain functional even as we look for resources to provide for the necessary sanitary wear. Thank you Hon. Chair.
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Hon. Chair, for starters I think I have got problems with the opinion by the Hon. Minister, that an administrative issue cannot be legislated. Most of the issues that are in the legislation are actually administrative and I believe that it is not true that we cannot legislate for an administrative issue. Secondly, I think where we are missing each other with the Hon. Minister, is that it appears the burden is being pushed to schools. I think it should not be the burden of schools, that responsibility should fall squarely on Central Government. The Central Government cannot abrogate that responsibility of ensuring that they take care of the sexual and reproductive health of our female citizens. It is squarely the duty of Government. So I believe that instead of that responsibility being put on schools let it fall squarely on Government, that Government should ensure that sanitary wear is provided for in schools at the cost of the Treasury and not of the schools.
I thank you.
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: May the owner of a white Isuzu Twincab registration number ADY0180 go and remove it because it is obstructing other cars.
THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY
EDUCATION (HON. PROF. MAVHIMA): I really want to appeal to
this august House to be very pragmatic. You realise that even the provisions of State funded basic education is being done in a progressive manner. We have to take cognizance of our fiscal situation as a nation. To place an obligation on the State when we all know that there is limited capacity to take care of that obligation, is to be irresponsible in our legislation. I really think that let us leave it as endevour for the time being and then we make all the efforts, together, not just the
Government but also the leadership that is in this House so that we can provide for this essential service for our girl child. I take that responsibility, but I am also fully aware of the situation that exists in our schools.
There are competing values, including issues of teaching and learning materials and infrastructure that we have all talked about in this House. So I really accept that responsibility, but I am aware of the limitations that I have as a Ministry. So I am appealing to the House to accept this amendment of the Bill which to me is quite progressive because initially it had not been considered in the amendment Bill. I thank you.
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Governments are put in place in order to take care of the welfare of the citizens. That one is an inalienable duty of Government to ensure that the welfare of its citizens is taken care of. For an Hon. Minister to stand in this House and tell us that he is pleading poverty when one of his duty is to ensure that there is wealth creation by growing the economy, in my view it does not add up.
In my language, Hon. Speaker I do not agree that we should then legislate because we are looking at the current situation. We do not make laws for today, we make laws for posterity. Therefore, the Hon. Minister should not run away from that obligation, that obligation should be imposed. I urge this House to impose that obligation and then the House will also have a duty of oversight to ensure that that obligation is being followed. If Government cannot do that, then there is no need for them to be Government, they should get out of Government. If they cannot do that then let them get out. So I maintain my position Hon.
Chair that that obligation should be placed on the State and should be mandatory. If the Hon. Minister continues to feel in the manner that he feels, I think we can divide the House and vote on it.
HON. PROF. MAVHIMA: Thank you Hon. Speaker, I heard the Hon. Member but the Hon. Member who is an economist fails to appreciate the universal reality that resources are always in short supply. There is no Government that takes care of all the needs of its citizens because there is no Government that has comprehensively resources that are needed for all the needs, otherwise all the citizens will just go home and rest and be provided for by the Government. So for the Hon. Member to suggest that a Government that has failed only on one thing, because of resource limitations which is a universal condition of human existence – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -
So Hon. Chair, resource limitation is not a situation that exists in Zimbabwe - even the richest country does not provide for all its citizens requirements. In this particular case, I am saying let us be pragmatic, let us make sure that as we look at the education sector, there are some things that we are saying can be obligatory now but pragmatically let us look at this and say as the resources become available, we can scale up.
HON. KARENYI: I think as a Government, you must also show political will. What I think the Minister can do is to make sure that we have it in our Bill, then what I believe is that if the Minister can go out there and say from such and such a period we are supposed to give the sanitary wear for free at primary school level. We must start from somewhere, maybe you can just commit yourself to say, we will start with primary level, from grade one to grade seven, obviously that will be our start for us to say yes we are committed to do something.
What I believe is that if you go in terms of the health sector, we know very well that we budget for money which we cannot even afford but you will see the ARV’s, we have got partners who can partner with us to provide sanitary wear if it is now in our Bill. I urge the Minister, may be commit himself and if he wants to start with something, start from grade one to seven then you go out there, I know very well, there are donors out there, there are people out there who can partner with you to provide the sanitary wear for free.
HON. MUNETSI: I want to agree with Hon. Sibanda’s view that
even if the Government cannot provide all services to its citizens, I thought Hon. Sibanda was going to say this is an essential service – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – So when it becomes an essential service, we have to forgo some things and look at what is practical at that moment. I thank you.
HON. PROF. MAVHIMA: Hon. Chair, what is being suggested especially by Hon. Karenyi is well taken care of by the importation of Section 75 of the Constitution into this Bill. Where we are basically saying, ‘Every citizen and permanent resident of Zimbabwe has a right to a basic State funded education, including adult basic education and further education which the State through reasonable legislation and other measures must make progressively available and accessible.”
This actually means that this essential service that the Hon.
Members are advocating for, which I agree with, should be
progressively provided as indicated in Section 75 of the Constitution, but if you are to give me an obligation today and say, ‘You must’. Then tomorrow, a citizen will come to me and take me to court and say,
‘Provide’. When I know that I do not have the resources to do that and there is competition among different values in the education sector and some are much more basic than others.
So I would like this leeway to allow me to work administratively on the provision of sanitary wear and other menstrual health services in order to ensure that I do not get embroiled in legal battles. This is the pragmatism that I was referring to Hon. Chair. I thank you.
*HON. ZEMURA: Thank you Mr. Chairman. I want to contribute to this issue on the basis that our youth should be weaned from the Government. A few months ago, we heard of male circumcisions and the male youths went and got circumcised by doctors for free. Learned doctors conducted male circumcision for free but now that this has come to issue of women, we are requesting that you look into the issues of women – they are struggling.
We produce cotton in this country were free inputd are provided by the Government - all we are requesting is that you supply us with sanitary wear but you do not want. However, when it came to male circumcision, it was rolled out countrywide because it was looking at the needs of men. Now that we are talking about the needs of women, may you also consider this and avail free sanitary wear. I thank you.
*HON. PROF. MAVIMA: Thank you Mr. Chairman, I have to concede defeat but this has put oranges and apples on the table. Male circumcision is a once off programme and when we look at the cost, it takes about ten cents for it to be implemented. I am saying, if I had a lot of money - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] - This is a ministry, that is what I mean. If I had a lot of money, this is something that I would implement tomorrow but I am saying, before I get the funding, let me say that we are going to do everything in our power through the Bill, to find ways of sourcing resources and we will do it in stages until we are able to provide sanitary wear to girl children in schools. This is why I said that I am appealing to Hon. Members to understand where I am coming from.
If they are saying they have funding that they can avail to me tomorrow – they can bring it forward. At one time I had to look for books but I could not get them and I looked for computers but I could not find them. Even schools – I am still struggling to get all those. So I am appealing to the august House to be pragmatic. It is a matter that is close to my heart and to my officials in the ministry.
Hon. Chair, I think you would also want to know that we have programmes on the ground on reusable sanitary pads. We pushed for the removal of duty on sanitary wear but for me to commit and say that I can avail sanitary wear tomorrow for all girl children – I would be lying. I thank you.
HON. S. BANDA: Thank you Chairperson, psychologically as you grow up you end up forgetting the names of the people whom you attended school with. There are people who I will never forget in my life. It is those girls who spoiled their dresses and skirts during my adolescence. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] - I can recall all their names - the beautiful and ugly ones I have forgotten but those who spoiled their dresses and skirts I still remember. – [HON. MEMBERS:
Hear, hear.] -
Mr. Chairman, if there is one constitutional thing that requires subsidies in this country – it is sanitary wear. We currently have command buses – the ZUPCOs; there is command agriculture and we now even have command bread. Let us also have command sanitary wear – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] - This august House will support a budget for sanitary wear even next week if the Minister of Finance and Economic Development budget for sanitary wear as Hon.
Members, we are going to support the Bill in this House.
Hence we remain firm in saying, ‘Give the sanitary wear for free!’
I thank you. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] - Amendment to Clause 3 put and agreed to.
Clause 3, as amended, put and agreed to.
On Clause 4:
HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: I move the amendment
standing in my name that:-
Clause 4 is deleted and substituted by the following-
‘4 New section substituted for section 5 Cap 25:04
Section 5 (“Compulsory education”), of the principal Act is repealed and substituted with the following: –
5 Compulsory Education
- Every child shall be entitled to compulsory basic state funded education.
- Any parent who deprives their child the right to basic state funded education shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding level 6 or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years”
Thank you very much although the Minister now thinks that I cheated him. On Clause 4, we did agree on the issue around compulsory, so I am sure the Minister can speak to it.
THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY
EDUCATION (HON. PROF. MAVIMA): Thank you Hon. Chair, we
did concede to the proposed amendment and we also think the duty to ensure the right of education should fall on the guidance as well. So, compulsory will also mean that the parents/guardians would have an obligation to make sure that learners go to school. I thank you.
Amendment to Clause 4 put and agreed to.
Clause 4, as amended, put and agreed to.
On Clause 5:
HON. DINAR: There is a statement here which says ‘any parent
who deprives their child the right to basic State funded education will be imprisoned...’ We have realised...
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Hon. Member, we have
already passed that.
HON. DINAR: On Clause 5?
HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: It was separated and we
have already passed that.
On Clause 6:
HON. MISIHARABWI-MUSHONGA: I move the motion stand
in my name that:-
Clause 6 as amended by the deletion of paragraph (ii) to the provision of the subsection (3) and the substitution of the following –
“(ii) The head of the school who has not issued a certificate in
terms of paragraph
(i) Shall enroll the child despite his or her being fully enrolled.”
Just to cut this short we did have a compromise and we agreed. We are basically saying we were having questions particularly at my Committee where they will go to a school and the head will say I am fully enrolled. If they do not issue a certificate that says he is fully enrolled to justify that they are really enrolled they have to enroll that child. This is to cut down the corruption where head teachers would say I am fully enrolled because he is waiting for other people to come and pay him so that he can come in.
THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY
EDUCATION (HON. PROF. MAVIMA): Hon. Chair, we do concede
to that amendment. In actual fact, we had just said on 6 (III) (2), (1), the verbiage there should just be ‘shall enroll the child’ without ‘despite his or her being fully enrolled.’ If they have not issued a certificate then they shall enroll and we should leave it there.
Amendment to Clause 6 put and agreed to.
Clause 6, as amendment, put and agreed to.
Clauses 7 and 8 put and agreed to.
On Clause 9:
HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: I move the amendment
standing in my name that:-
Clause 9 is amended by the deletion of subsection (7) and the substitution of the following:-
“(7) Every school other than public school shall pay a registration and annual fee as may be prescribed from time to time by the Minister.
(8) Any person or responsible authority who operates a school other a public school without paying the registration and annual fees as prescribed in subsection (7) shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding level 6 or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years”.
I think we are generally in agreement on the principle because I think the issue for our Committee was that we just did not want the issue that says all faith based schools are going to be exempted because there are some faith based schools that are actually very elitist. I think the Minister will speak to the compromise amendment that we had because we wanted a clarity between which faith based will be exempted.
THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. PROF. MAVIMA): Thank you Hon. Chair. We
did not concede to the amendment as it was, but we made a counter proposal to the effect that the quoted part is what should go into the amendment - “Every school other than a Government or local authority school or non-profit making faith based school shall pay a registration and annual fee as may be prescribed”. So non-profit making, I want to emphasise that. That is the addition that we are making there. Thank you.
Amendment to Clause 9 put and agreed to.
Clause 9, as amended, put and agreed to.
On Clause 10:
HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: Thank you Hon. Chair.
Can I seek a withdrawal of that amendment?
Clauses 10 and 11 put and agreed to.
On Clause 12:
HON.MISIHAIRABWI MUSHONGA: I move the amendments
standing in my name that; - Clause 12 is amended by the deletion of paragraph (a) in line 10 and the substitution of the following –
“(a) teach, in addition to English and sign language, any other officially recognised language prescribed for the region in which the school is situated by the Minister from time to time.”
Thank you Hon. Chair, again I think we have had discussions with the Minister over this one but perhaps just to speak to it so that the House understands why we were pushing this. This is about languages that are taught in schools. We know we have had complaints particularly from other regions where they feel that the language that is being taught to children is not the mother language. We had insisted that we categorise that language by region but we are persuaded to say instead of putting it within the regional context, we put it in the context of the mother language. We insist that it is not necessarily by the fact that Government can avail resources but to insist that if it is a particular mother language – if it is in Tonga area, the mother language is Tonga, we insist that therefore the language taught – language of instruction should therefore be Tonga. I think we got some concessions from the Minister.
THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY
EDUCATION (HON. PROF. MAVIMA): Hon. Chair, we do concede
but we would like to have the deletion of sub-section 3, Section 12 of the original Bill.
Amendment to Clause 12 put and agreed to.
Clause 12, as amended, put and agreed to.
Clause 13 put and agreed to.
On Clause 14:
HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: I move the amendments
standing in my name that; - Clause 4 is amended by the insertion of the following paragraph after paragraph (n3) in line 32 on page 4 –
“(n4) handling of sexual abuse cases in schools.”
We had put that amendment, that school authorities should have an obligation to handle sexual abuse cases in schools because we are having a lot of those happening in schools and we do not seem to have the school authorities putting it on to their table as an issue that they need to deal with. There were discussions with the Minister on the issue of handling, in that it pre-supposes that handling means some form of prosecution; that they would have prosecutory powers and we agreed that we are not asking the school authorities to have any other power beyond just handling and ensuring that they take it to the relevant authorities that are supposed to deal with it. The Minister had promised to find a different way of putting it and I hope that he did.
HON. KARENYI: Thank you Chair. I want also to add my voice but I do not know how you are going to put it Hon. Minister. We also have some headmasters and teacher who are part of this issue of sexual harassment. I do not know whether we are going to have a clause or anything which will allow a parent to go straight to the Ministry. I do not know how you are going to put it because I know of some cases where the teachers are involved and the cases just die a natural death but girls and boys are being abused. Maybe you can help us to put something in the Bill to make sure that the students are also being protected.
HON. DUTIRO: I also feel there is a need to have qualified teachers who are trained to handle these sexual abuse cases for these children. I do not know how best we can also try to put it across that there is need for that.
THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY
EDUCATION (HON. PROF. MURWIRA): We felt that on Clause
14 where we say the school should handle – we should substitute that with management. They should manage. Like the Hon. Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee indicated, handle has connotations of prosecution which the schools cannot do but we would like them to manage. We concede but with that substitution of handling with management.
As far as the Hon. Member’s suggestion, it is covered because we are providing trained teachers to do sexual and reproductive health training of our learners.
Amendment to Clause 14 put and agreed to.
Clause 14, as amended, put and agreed to.
On Clause 15:
HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: I move the amendment
standing in my name.
The only debate is that I am withdrawing that amendment.
Clause 15 put and agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments.
Bill referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee.
HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: Madam Speaker, I
would like to thank the Minister for conceding to a number of things that are there and to thank the House for standing in for most of the things, particularly sanitary wear although the Minister thinks I cheated him. I am quite excited and on behalf of the Committee, thank you for the support.
THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY
EDUCATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT
(HON. PROF. MURWIRA): Hon. Speaker, I do not hold anything against the Hon. Chair of the Portfolio Committee. I listened to the passionate debate that went in the House about the provision of sanitary wear. I really want to thank the House for taking that position. I want the august House to know that we are also passionate about that and about a lot of other provisions that should go into our schools so that we can maintain the quality of our education. Thank you to the House and thank you specifically to the Portfolio Committee for the sterling work that they did.
On the motion of THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND
SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. PROF. MAVIMA), the House adjourned at Six minutes past Four o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 29th July, 2019.