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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 26_September_2018_45-05
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Wednesday, 26th September, 2018
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two O’clock p.m.
(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)
HON. MLISWA: Good afternoon Mr. Speaker Sir. In your
absentia yesterday, I did say to the sitting Chair that we appreciated the move that you took to move us from Pandhari to the HICC. I think you really behaved like a true headmaster whereby if your students cry you respond to them. Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir.
On a second note, it is quite disappointing that Ministers and
Deputy Ministers are not here, in this new dispensation. Even at Pandhari and HICC workshops, they were not there. His Excellency went to the UN with one Minister, the Minister of Finance unlike before where they would all go. What good reason do they have not to be here?
How can we continue like this? This is the first meeting where they
must answer questions and they are not here. Section 107 of the Constitution is very clear pertaining to that. We have started on a very low note against the will of the President as incinuated in the SONA that he gave to us. The SONA report is based on the Ministers implementing and they are not here, who will implement? It is very sad. – [HON.
MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] -
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr.
Speaker Sir. The Ministers are coming. I spoke to them and they all indicated that they are coming. I think we can proceed. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] - I am sure they should be here. I can only speak for the Cabinet Ministers; I did not speak to the Deputy Ministers.
HON. MUTSEYAMI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I think it is important to take note that whatever we do, we move according to time.
The business of Parliament started at 1415 hours, whilst the Hon.
Minister put it that they are on their way coming, they do not organise programmes of Parliament neither do they plan what they anticipate but we stick to what we have according to our Standing Rules and Orders and the Constitution of Zimbabwe. It is a problem if we have a situation whereby we would have ministers dictating time as to how we start programmes of Parliament that we wait for them while they are on their way. Probably, it is the new character of the new dispensation – we do not know. – [HON. MEMBERS: hear, hear.] - So, just for the record Mr. Speaker Sir, let this thing be done today and it must be sealed and never happen in this House, ever. We have on record 40 ministers here. Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Provincial Affairs Ministers but we hardly have 20 in this House. Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, if you can make the ruling as the best Speaker and as our headmaster for the good of Parliament. I thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, the two Hon. Members, Hon
Mliswa and Hon. Mutseyami, before I respond to your points of order please know that the nickname of the Hon. Speaker can be pronounced only outside this House. If you repeat it, I shall charge you for contempt of the Chair.
The messages from the two points of order on privilege are loud and clear. It is expected of the leader of Government business in the House and the Chief Government Whip to make sure that the Hon.
Ministers comply as requested, and in terms of the Constitution and Standing Orders. Just to nip it in the bud, I will raise the issue tomorrow when we meet the Hon. Ministers. I hope they will attend 100% and discuss the implications of such failure to abide by the Constitution and
Standing Orders. Furthermore, I shall write to His Excellency, the President, so that it is on record that when we started – [HON. MEMBERS: hear, hear.] – members on my right are not happy about that - we belong to the same party. That which is right must be applauded accordingly. – [HON. MEMBERS: hear, hear.] -
Order, this is not my request but it is the dictate of the Constitution and Standing Orders which all of us in this House must abide by. More so, Section 119 of the Constitution says “we all here must protect the
Constitution regardless of .”
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
HON. GONESE: On a point of order Mr Speaker Sir.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Do not disturb the flow of the proceedings.
HON. GONESE: It is a fundamental issue Mr. Speaker.
THE HON. SPEAKER: How fundamental in terms of what Standing Order?
HON. GONESE: It is in terms of both the Constitution and our
Standing Orders Mr. Speaker. In terms of the Constitution, Section 104 (3) which provides for the appointment of Ministers, the provisions are clear. Today is question time and the point which I want to raise goes to root and it is so fundamental that I feel it is important for me to raise it at this point-in-time. The reason being that in terms of Section 104 (3) the President can appoint up to five Ministers who are not Members of the Senate or of the National Assembly. As it stands, the President has appointed six Ministers and that is on record Mr. Speaker. – [HON. MEMBERS: hear, hear.] – He has appointed six and I think two of them are in this august House. I see Hon. July Moyo who is neither a Member of the Senate nor the National Assembly and Hon. Professor
Amon Murwira who is also neither a Member of the Senate nor the National Assembly.
I am now raising this point Mr. Speaker because unlike the previous Constitution, which gave the Executive up to 90 days or three months to regularise the appointments, the current Constitution does not have a similar provision. As a result, only a maximum of five can be appointed from outside Parliament. I am aware Mr. Speaker that indications have been made that Hon. Obert Mpofu is going to step down but until that happens, the fact still remains that we have got six who are not Members of the Legislature. That is unconstitutional and I would like the Hon. Leader of this august House to tell us why the Executive continues to violate provisions of the Constitution which are written in very simple English.
In terms of the Electoral Act Mr. Speaker, if a vacancy has been declared, there are certain provisions which have got to be followed. To start with, that vacancy must be gazetted and after it has been gazetted, the political party concerned must then submit the name of a substitute. Of those provisions – those steps have not been taken. As such, the
Hon. Cain Mathema who was appointed as the Hon. Minister of Home Affairs is not currently in that position, together with the other ministers, in terms of the provisions of the Constitution. Since those steps have not been followed, it is fundamental Mr. Speaker, for the leader of the House to tell us why the Government wants to violate the Constitution and does not want to abide by the provisions.
As this Institution Mr. Speaker, we have already alluded to Section 119 which obliges us to protect the Constitution. It obliges us to ensure that provisions of the Constitution and Good Governance are upheld. In light of the submissions that I have made, it is my respectful submission that the Executive is not properly constituted. We have got an excess in terms of the ministers who have been appointed from outside Parliament and that has got to be regularised. One of those ministers must forthwith be told to step down so that we comply with the provisions of the
Constitution. – [HON. MEMBERS: hear, hear.] -
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you very
much Mr. Speaker Sir. I want to thank Hon Gonese for his concerns –
[HON. ZWIZWAI: Hauna kudya here?]-
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon Zwizwai, can you withdraw that
statement. It is derogatory.
*HON. ZWIZWAI: I withdraw my statement which stated – have
you not eaten? - [Laughter.] -
HON. ZIYAMBI: I want to thank Hon. Gonese for his point of privilege that he raised and his concerns which are well acknowledged. What I want to say is that the current administration is committed to constitutionalism and in no way are they going to willfully violate the Constitution. His concerns were taken note of and are being corrected. I thank you.
ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. SPEAKER
APOLOGIES RECEIVED FROM CABINET MINISTERS
THE HON. SPEAKER: The Hon. Ministers who have asked for
leave of absence are as follows:
- Sen. Mutsvangwa;
- Prof Mavima;
- S. Moyo;
- J. Mhlanga;
- Prof M. Ncube.
HON. MUTSEYAMI: What about the ruling?
THE HON. SPEAKER: I beg your pardon and please take your seats. Thank you for advising the Chair. The ruling is that the matter will be brought to the attention of His Excellency the President, to expedite the process which the Leader of Government Business has indicated. In this particular case from public knowledge, I think the affected individual is Hon. Mathema who is not in the House. – [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Do not rule on the Speaker’s ruling. Thank you.
Hon. Nduna having stood up to ask a question – [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
HON. NDUNA: I need your protection Mr. Speaker.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order! The case of Hon. Nduna and a
few others, their matters are in court and the due process of court has not been completed to pronounce otherwise. So, in this case Hon. Nduna can ask a question and be here in Parliament – [HON MEMBERS: Inaudible
*HON. NDUNA (Speaking)… Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is
directed to the Leader of the House, the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs. Which measures does the Government have concerning children whose mothers are in prison? Is there any plan in place to ensure that children are separated from their parents so that they also do not serve the sentences their parents are serving, given that they have to stay with their parents in prison?
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Chibaya, if you are not satisfied
with my ruling, you have avenues to channel that ruling, so let us have order and go straight to the question please.
*HON. NDUNA: What measures does Government have in place
to ensure that children born under prison conditions whose parents are serving prison sentences, are separated from the serving mothers to ensure that they do not serve the sentences their mothers are serving?
*THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Mr. Speaker, I
want to thank Hon. Nduna for asking that question regarding children who are born in prison or who are with their mothers serving sentences in prison. As part of improvement of our justice system, we are trying to abide by what we call best practices. When a child is born, what is best for that child is to be with their mother because the mother is better placed to look after them. Among the measures we have in place, whilst in prison, the mother is able to get the necessary assistance to bring up their child. The reason is that, if the children are separated from the mothers, they will not be able to get the maternal love that is necessary for their growth.
*HON. NDUNA: Mr. Speaker, we witnessed that there was an open prison system at Conmara. Can there be a policy to ensure that such policy is propagated in our prisons to ensure that mothers can bring up their children while serving their sentences?
HON. ZIYAMBI: I want to advise that those are the measures Government is looking into to ensure that such mothers are taken to open prisons. Once funds are available, we will make sure that we have more open prisons and that is what we have considered to implement.
*HON. KARENYI: Mr. Speaker, I implore the Minister to give us evidence where the open prison system is functional in the country? I was once at Mutare Remand Prison in 2012 and those children had no such facilities. Those children lived together with their mothers and they are not given any supplementary foods or any other special day care services. Therefore Hon. Minister, please give us examples of jails with such facilities. I thank you.
* HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. When this
question was first posed, I said in order to provide the best for the children whose mothers are serving prison sentences, the best person placed to look after the children is the mother. Our Government policy is that children with mothers in prisons should be with their mothers because they are better placed there. The policy position taken by Cabinet is that Government should establish more open prisons to ensure that the mothers or women with children are taken to those facilities such as open prisons. Our hope is that mothers with their children are able to be with their children and also that children are looked after very well. When the amnesty was previously extended, we ensured that all mothers were released. Therefore, the rights of women in prisons are upheld as part of our policy and we hope that will actually improve their way of living in prisons. I thank you.
HON. PARADZA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. My question is
directed to Hon. Rtd. Air Chief Marshall Shiri who is the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement. Are there any Government measures to ensure that farmers in rural areas are able to engage in some scale of commercial farming also get command agriculture inputs?
*THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, WATER,
CLIMATE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. RTD. AIR
CHIEF MARSHALL SHIRI): Yes. All farmers can get inputs through the Command Agriculture Programme. Despite the fact that they are in rural areas or in commercial farms, if they apply and are eligible they will be assisted with the inputs that they require.
*HON. PARADZA: Thank you Mr. Speaker, but is it known by the officers who are at the provinces and district because they are refusing to give rural farmers inputs?
HON. RTD. AIR CHIEF MARSHALL SHIRI: Thank you Mr.
Speaker Sir. Yes, it is a known fact by our officers. We have several farmers from rural areas who have joined the Command Agriculture Scheme and I want to request Hon. Members in this House to also raise awareness in their different constituencies to ensure they have the knowledge. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
HON. SHIRICHENA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the Minister of Agriculture and Water. Do you have any plans to implement the Charora, Chamakudo and Inyala Irrigation Schemes which have been long pegged to utilise waters from Mundi/Mataga Dam to help the Mberegwa South people who are starving? I thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order. Hon. Members, you are reminded to ask questions on policy, not a specific programme.
HON. SIKHALA: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the Minister of Local Government, Hon. July Moyo. I want to know the Government policy vis a vis the current developments in local authorities where the commissions that were put in place during the climax of the previous Government when they appointed debt collectors in local authorities whose role and duty is for them to follow up residents who owe council and are asked to deposit the rates into the debt collector’s company. Is that lawful and what is the locus stadi of the debt collectors who are terrorising residents in local authorities at the present moment?
THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, PUBLIC
WORKS AND NATIONAL HOUSING (HON. J. MOYO): Thank
you Mr. Speaker. I would like to have more information on this question and be given specific roles or specific situations where these debt collectors are. I have not been able to know the role of debt collectors as a policy of Government. Thank you – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order.
HON. SIKHALA: Hon. Minister, I think it is common cause that you know the Government engaged a debt collection company called Well Cash Debt Collectors. These have been doing the job through the commissions. It is very true. It is a debt collection company that… THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, address the Chair.
HON. SIKHALA: It is a debt collection company which we understand whose directors are the former Minister of Local
Government, Public Works and National Housing, Saviour Kasukuwere and the former First Lady, which is currently doing the debt collection in local authorities, especially in Chitungwiza, Harare, Gweru and all other local authorities. If the Minister does not know, that it means that he is sleeping on the job – [Laughter.]
HON. J. MOYO: I am sure the Hon. Member knows that the
Minister is not sleeping on the job, but he can say what he wants. Mr. Speaker, I will go and check. I do not know of any Government policy regarding Government appointing debt collectors. Debt collectors might be appointed – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order!
HON. J. MOYO: Mr. Speaker, I do not know any Government policy where Government appoints debt collectors for Chitungwiza, Harare or for any other local authority. If he has specific appointed debt collectors by local authorities, I am asking for him to submit to me specific names so that we can investigate. Thank you – [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Sikhala, what was the name of the company.
HON. SIKHALA: Mr. Speaker Sir, the name of the debt collection company is Well Cash Debt Collection Company. It is all over all local authorities throughout Zimbabwe. I can bring him primary evidence tomorrow if he wants – [Laughter.]
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order! Now the company is known, I suggest the Hon. Minister follows that company and comes to the House and makes a Ministerial Statement – [HON. MEMBERS:
Inaudible interjection.] - Hon. Members, please sit down. Knowing the
Hon. Minister as I do, he will expeditiously come up with that
HON. MLISWA: My question is directed to the Minister of
Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, Hon. July Moyo. In view of the cholera outbreak and that the President said that the main cause of cholera was the sewers and the drainages in the local authorities, what corrective measures is the Ministry going to take to ensure that that is done? – [HON. ZWIZWAI: Inaudible interjection.]-
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order. Hon. Members, you have just gone through an induction workshop and one of the issues raised in terms of the rules of procedure is orderliness and if you do not respect your Standing Orders then you shall be judged accordingly. Hon.
Zwizwai, withdraw your statement – [Laughter.] HON. ZWIZWAI: I withdraw Mr. Speaker.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you.
THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, PUBLIC WORKS AND NATIONAL HOUSING (HON. J. MOYO): Thank
you Mr. Speaker. We are aware that cholera is caused by a number of underlying reasons, one of which is sewerage. In all our local authorities, the sewerage systems have collapsed because the pipes are too old. Some of them are over 60 years. In Harare, where the epicentre of the cholera outbreak, you know that over five thousand kilometres of sewerage pipes, most of it has over lived its life. What Government has done in the short term is to give an injection of $6.7 million so that the local authority can attend to bursting pipes. They are bursting and they are laid in the same trench as your water systems. So when they burst, they obviously affect the water that is within the same neighbourhood as the sewerage pipes. Government has further given to the City of Harare because the other line consequence of which causes cholera is the solid waste management system; Government has given the local authority, Harare especially, a directive to look after the Pomona dumpsite so that they can repair it. Your sewerage system, your water system, your solid waste management system, your refuse collection and in some cases your storm water drainage system which is associated with your roads maintenance; all these, we are very aware that the maintenance has been delayed and Government has now said we need to set up a committee to make sure that we mobilise resources to invest in all our local authorities so that we can upgrade your sewerage, your water, your storm water drainage systems and give equipment to local authorities so that they can collect refuse timeously. At the same time, making sure that dump sites of solid waste management system are upgraded so that that we can deal with this medieval disease in the manner that Government wants it to do.
HON. MLISWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, my supplementary question is, is the Minister aware that just giving Harare City is not enough. Can the Minister please respond to the issue of the master plans? Are the local authorities complying with the master plans because there have been developments that happened but there is no infrastructure that has been built to augment those developments. Despite trying to repair the old ones, there are no new ones that support the extended housing developments. The master plan is quite critical, can the Minister respond on whether local authorities are adhering to the master plans.
HON. J. MOYO: Mr. Speaker, we are aware that in the Harare
Metropolitan area, there are four local authorities. There is the Harare
City Council, Chitungwiza Municipality, Epworth Town Board and Ruwa Town Board. In order to make sure that these are mainstreamed and they work together, Government, having set up this committee is working with all those local authorities so that we can create an organisation that will look after the water and sewerage across the board so that there are no silos. Harare, for instance, provides water to Chitungwiza, Epworth, Ruwa and Norton, so to create an organisation that can look at water across the board, this is what other municipalities and other metropolitan cities have done. We are definitely talking to the city councils and we have brought them together so that we can look at these and analyse how we can deal with it.
Coming to the master plan, Greater Harare combination master plan, unfortunately that has not been promulgated as yet. There has been a lot of work that has been done in order to complete it.
Meanwhile, we are fully aware that conurbations have been built outside Harare municipal boundaries, outside Chitungwiza municipal boundaries outside Epworth and outside Ruwa. These are in Goromonzi, in some cases these are in Manyame and in another case, this is in Zvimba Rural District Council areas. Just as you find in other cities, in Bulawayo, there are, 16 conurbations that have been built which are outside the city limits of Bulawayo. These are in Mguza because Mguza Rural District Council almost rounds Bulawayo. In other areas like Gweru, Masvingo, there are situations which are similar and we are using both the Rural District Councils Act as well as the Urban Councils Act which requires that Municipalities or Rural District Councils cooperate where such a thing has arisen. Some of them have signed memoranda so that they can cooperate to give services to these outlying conurbations that have come up where there is no sewerage and water.
Yes, master plans are the solution but we cannot wait until master plans are done. We have to intervene now to give water and sewerage to those conurbations in the short term. Thank you Mr. Speaker.
HON. ZWIZWAI: On a point of order Mr. Speaker.
THE HON. SPEAKER: There is no debate that has arisen.
HON. ZWIZWAI: Honourable veZANU avo vakagara pamakumbo emunhu...
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order. I have not recognised you – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Order. Can the Hon.
Member be heard?
HON. MADZIMURE: Thank you Mr. Speaker. My
supplementary question to the Minister of Local Government is that, Minister, we have seen running battles between the vendors and the
THE HON. SPEAKER: Honourable Speaker, you were advised you do not address the Hon. Minister.
HON. MADZIMURE: Honourable Speaker, we have seen police and the vendors being engaged in running battles whilst the police are moving the vendors outside Harare to what they called designated places as a way of mitigating against cholera. Where they are being pushed to, there are no toilets. Even the surface is not even hardened. There is no water, there is nothing. Why would the Ministry think that it is important to push people from another area where it assumes there are no ablution facilities to another area where there is absolutely nothing?
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Minister; I am sure you see the interconnection.
HON. J. MOYO: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I am sure the Hon. Member is aware that the maintenance of the public in a municipality and in a local authority is the responsibility of the City Council. It is the responsibility of the municipal council. That is why city councils have municipal police. Those municipal police work with the national police to maintain public order. It is not a Ministry’s decision to make sure that you move people from one area to the other. It is a decision that is taken by the local authority but the local authority is aware that it is also administering public health and other statutes of the country under a Ministry. So, when they work with ZRP, it is in order to cooperate in order to deal with a situation that will have arisen.
The situation that we have right now requires that we decongest the CBD areas and while we want niceties, but the decongestion of the CBD areas has become an imperative if we are not going to have further outbreaks. These have been agreed to by the Municipality and the responsible Ministries. The Municipality and the responsible Ministries are making sure that yes, we can suffer temporal setbacks and discomforts, but the intention of Government and the Municipality is to build nice shopping areas outside the CBD areas. So, the designated places that have been planned by the City near Coca-Cola or near the Sports Centre are to decongest the City. It is not meant to punish or discourage people from doing business but it is meant to make sure that public health is maintained in Harare. Thank you Mr. Speaker.
*HON. SEWERA: Hon. Speaker Sir, my question is directed to the Minister of Transport and infrastructural Development. Murehwa West Constituency is concerned about people who perished in a kombi accident. My question is what is the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development doing about commuter omnibuses that are traveling on our roads without certificates of fitness? Does the Ministry have any measures to curb the corruption that is happening at the VID where people are paying $150 in order to get licences? I thank you. *THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND
INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. ENG. MATIZA):
Thank you Mr. Speaker. I want to thank Hon. Sewera for that question. The issue that he has raised is that he is concerned about safety on our roads. As a Ministry, we have taken quite a number of measures to look into the issues of safety. Firstly, we have put in a transports management system in departments such as VID, CVR and other departments to ensure that we guarantee safety to our commuters and also to curb corruption. If we put in a management system that is computerised, it actually blocks human intervention and that curbs corruption.
On the issue of intervention, we have plans to ensure that the Zimbabwe Traffic Safety Council is given authority to take action against drivers who are reckless and other measures. So, we have started implementing those measures. I thank you.
HON. CHIKWINYA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. In his opening
remarks, Hon. Sewera spoke of the six people who died in the unfortunate kombi incident. May the Hon. Minister explain the procedure under which the victims may claim from the road accident compensation fund?
*HON. ENG. MATIZA: I want to thank the Hon. Member for
the question. May the Hon. Member put his question in writing so that I can give him a comprehensive response? I thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order. The question relates to policy Hon. Minister.
*HON. ENG. MATIZA: Hon. Speaker, in the event of such accidents, we request the owners of those commuter omnibuses – [HON.
MUTSEYAMI: Inaudible interjection.] –
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Mutseyami, I do not expect that from you. Can you withdraw your statement?
HON. MUTSEYAMI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I need to
withdraw the statement that the Minister did not know that it was a policy question. Then when he came to respond, I thought probably he would say things that he does not know because he did not know that the question was policy. So, I withdraw.
*HON. ENG. MATIZA: Mr. Speaker that is an issue that is being addressed by the Ministry. We are in the process of addressing those issues. These are the processes whereby compensation can be requested.
*HON. MUCHENJE: Thank you Mr. Speaker. My
supplementary question is to the Minister of Transport and
Infrastructural Development. I need clarification because last time, we talked about these commuter omnibuses that the drivers are young and do not have licenses. So, what have you done to ensure that the drivers are licensed and are above the required age. In terms of how far the Ministry has gone on converting the Highway Code to various vernacular languages to enable those who do not know English to get the licences as well. Thank you.
*THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND
INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT (HON. ENG. MATIZA):
Mr. Speaker, I thank the Hon. Member for the question. We are looking at the issue of drivers who drive without licences, especially for commuter omnibuses and some who are travelling with fake licences.
The process that we are working on is a high level one – [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Mr. Speaker Sir… THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order.
HON. ENG. MATIZA: When I say high level, I mean an advanced one. As I said before, we have a transport management system and we are computerising the system beginning from the provisional licence to getting the drivers’ licence. It will be very difficult for one to travel with a fake licence. So, these are some of the measures we are taking Mr. Speaker. I also mentioned that all stakeholders will work together, these include the police, Vehicle Inspection Unit (VID) and the Transport Safety Council of Zimbabwe, which I said should be given powers to monitor under-aged drivers. I thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Minister, there was the issue of translating the Highway Code into vernacular.
*HON. ENG. MATIZA: Translating the Highway Code into
vernacular languages is one of the things under consideration – [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order. There are two issues that arise here. You need to accept where the Hon. Minister in a Ministry is following due process and that must be given opportunity to be implemented. However, the fundamental question asked initially related to the fund and perhaps the Hon. Minister would need to go into that one and come back with a Ministerial Statement after you have consulted, because it is a very important aspect where there are accidents.
+HON. MATHE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for affording me
this opportunity to speak in this august House. I request to speak in my mother-language for the benefit of the people in Nkayi. My question is directed to the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare. Mr. Speaker Sir, at present we have old people. My question is on the elderly who are no longer able to work for themselves, those who are 70 years old and above. Their life is difficult in this country in terms of sourcing food. As of late…
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Member, ask a question.
HON. MATHE: Thank you Mr. Speaker. My question is, what
policy is there in place so that the elderly people can live a better life since we are experiencing drought and for them to access food, those who are 70 years old and above countrywide.
An Hon. Member having passed between the Chair and the Hon. Member Speaking.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order. Hon Ndebele, can you leave the
THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND
SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. DR. NZENZA): Thank you Mr. Speaker
Sir. Sekai Nzenza, Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social
The Hon. Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, having addressing the Gallery.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Minister, please address the Chair.
HON. DR. NZENZA: Thank you for your question. We do
vulnerability assessment, which include the most vulnerable in our society. Among them are the elderly. We are now carrying out a review to ensure that service delivery to our elderly is getting there. Thank you.
*HON. MLAMBO: Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to ask a supplementary question. Those people who are experiencing challenges in the rural areas are there, when are they going to be assisted because they are actually struggling as we speak?
*HON. DR. NZENZA: Mr. Speaker Sir, we have systems which
are available at National, Provincial, District and right down to the village level and the data will help us to see how many people need assistance, the elderly, the sick and those living with disability. Through those systems, social workers who are present there will be able to assist with people who are in need of assistance. That is what my Ministry is doing.
*HON. ZWIZWAI: My question to the Minister is - in constituencies where we come from, there are others who need assistance such as the elderly and those living with disability. They were being denied social support because of their affiliation to the MDC.
So, I want to find if we will be able to get assistance for our members of
MDC who are elderly and vulnerable since there is a new dispensation.
I thank you.
* HON. DR. NZENZA: I thank the member for that question. I heard his question clearly and I have heard about this issue. – [HON. MEMBERS: hear, hear] - I have not finished explaining. This issue is being published in the media but as a new Minister, I do not have evidence to that effect. However, let me say that our policy as Zimbabwe is that a person should not be denied food or inputs because of their political affilliation. Everyone has the right to get the same resources that everyone else is getting.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, please sit down. Just to assist, if there are such cases that are documented, I think it is fair that they are brought to the attention of the Hon. Minister so that we do not simply make allegations. Let us bring those people to the Hon. Minister so the Minister can deal with the matter properly. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear hear] –
*HON. MUSANHI: My question is directed to the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare. Two weeks ago, ZBC broadcasted the plight of an 11 year old child in Chipinge. It was said no one was able to look after that child. He had sores on his hands and feet. What is Government policy on such issues?
*THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. DR. NZENZA): I thank the Member for
the question. Within the Ministry of Social Welfare, we have the Social Protection Unit that is there to identify vulnerable children like the child that you have mentioned. This child must be known by the village head who should take the issue up to the social workers in the area. However, since it was broadcast on television it means that child can be identified and assisted.
HON. B. DUBE: On a point of order Mr Speaker Sir, Hon Nduna is threatening us with violence in this corner. I do not know if we are still safe in this House. We are not safe anymore, he is threatening us.
There he is, he is actually threatening us. – [HON. MEMBERS:
Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order Hon. Members. Can you switch off your microphone?
HON. MAVENYENGWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker, My
supplementary question is to Hon. Nzenza. I wanted to seek clarification on the issue of vulnerable children. We see that there are other children loitering in the streets known as street kids and they are found in different towns such as Masvingo and other urban areas. What is Government policy on that and what measures are you putting in place to ensure that they are safe and they will not be run down by cars as they beg for money along the streets?
*HON. DR. NZENZA: Thank you for the question Mr. Speaker
Sir. The issue that he has raised on street kids is a challenge for the nation at large. We are doing an assessment or a feasibility study to see how these children can be assisted. We are also consulting our stakeholders on how we can get those children off the streets and take them out of the dangers in which they are operating.
HON. MLISWA: On a point of order. Question time is not done – some Ministers have left and they do not even have the courtesy to approach the Chair that they may be excused. Some Ministers have left yet there is only a few minutes to go. They came here late and they do not even have the courtesy to approach the Chair. This is unacceptable. They come here late and some of them are not here. We cannot have a culture like this Mr. Speaker Sir. They are disrespectful of the Chair.
They do not even respect Parliament and they do not even respect the Chair. You are the leader of this House – if they do not respect you how do they respect us? They absolutely have no respect for us. This is unacceptable in the new dispensation.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Chief Whip, can you identify the Ministers who have left? I thank you.
HON. HAMAUSWA: My question is directed to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare concerning the issue of vulnerability. We have cases whereby some kids whose parents are not known but are being kept under children’s homes but are having problems in acquiring identity documents. In Zimbabwe, can we refer from the Ministry kids to children’s homes then later on deny those kids identity cards? Can the Hon. Minister give us clarification on that one? HON. DR. NZENZA: Thank you very much Hon. Minister for
that question – [Laughter.] - I apologise if I have given him the title that is not his, I apologise. We have already started an assessment of residential homes. We are doing a review and every child has a right to an identity. The issue that is being raised has led to an ongoing review of all the centres. We shall be completing a review of all these homes within the next 100 days. I thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: I do appreciate the concerns of the Hon.
Members. You must also take into account that some Ministers have just joined the Executive and it is only fair that they indicate that they need to go through the books. The question of handover can be perennial because there are certain number of policies that the new Ministers must go through. Allow them to have the due process of going through those processes.
I am sure as from next week or so, there should be some difference because I hope they will have acclimatised themselves with the systems in the particular ministries.
Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE HON.
SPEAKER in terms of Standing Order No. 64.
THE HON. SPEAKER: There is a vehicle registration number AAV 4597, a greenish Pajero blocking other vehicles. May the owner please remove that vehicle.
SITUATION ON OUTBREAK OF CHOLERA
THE MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON.
- O. MOYO): Hon. Speaker Sir, I have the honour to present to you today the current situation regarding cholera. An outbreak of cholera was declared in Harare on the 6th of September 2018. Due to exponential increase in cases within Harare and beyond, coupled with high numberS of community and institutional deaths, the outbreak was elevated to a national disaster level by His Excellency. As of the 26th of September 2018, more than 10 000 persons have been presented to the screening and treatment centres. 6 645 suspected cases have been reported, of which 96 of them tested positive for vibrio cholerae and 49 have died to date.
I must also make special mention of the fact that 21% of the cases and a similar proportion of the deaths recorded to date are children below the age of five, the youngest patient being eight months old. We realise that this is a unique outbreak from those experiences in that there has been high levels of resistance to the commonly available antibiotics - high fatalities despite the outbreaks being predominantly urban and in that it is happening in the same areas that are heavily affected by typhoid. That raises the possibilities of dual infections. For these reasons, plans for vaccination for both cholera and typhoid are at an advanced stage with the cholera vaccine expected in the country today.
A number of responsive activities are ongoing simultaneously at both national and sub-national levels. Within the City of Harare, two cholera treatment centres situated in Glenview and Beatrice Road Infectious Diseases Hospital, a cholera treatment unit at Budiriro and a screening unit set up at Harare Central Hospital. Surveillance has been intensified in Harare and nation-wide to pick cases early for effective treatment at the static clinics and the established cholera treatment centres.
All provinces and city health departments are on high alert. They have activated their rapid response teams and therefore have been reporting the cases. I must hasten to say that immediately on realising that we have this outbreak, we activated a prompt emergency response plan. The determinants of the outbreak are being addressed in the affected suburbs throughout and all of the determinants. One of the determinants is availability of water to the affected suburbs and especially targeting schools for safe drinking water through restoring municipal supplies, supporting installation of water tanks and trucking, water quality testing for the main water works reservoirs and community points, fixing of sewers and burst pipes. Provision of mobile toilets in the key hot spots of Glenview and Budiriro has been effected. Community mobilisation and school hygiene promotion, distribution of non-food items, aqua tablets, buckets with taps for drinking water, water containers with taps for hand washing, protective clothing and detergents for toilet cleaners, shovels and wheel barrows for solid waste management to affected and potential high risk communities and organising of cleaning up campaigns. The planning for the emergency vaccination for cholera followed by typhoid is very relevant at this stage.
Let me indicate that from mid August 2008, if you all remember that period to July 2009, an un-precedented outbreak of cholera was reported in Zimbabwe. By the end of the outbreak, 98 592 and 4 288 deaths were recorded. Multiple factors interacted to make the outbreak widespread and devastating. Many are still un-addressed in 2018. By the end of the outbreak, 79% of the total recorded cases had been reported in Mashonaland West, Harare, Manicaland, Masvingo and Mashonaland Central provinces with Harare accounting for around 20% of the total cases. I have a list here with all the figures; I can make this available for the benefit of all hon. members.
As I indicated, the total number of deaths is now at 49 and the number of cases who have come through the clinics is at 6 645. Most cases came from Glenview 8 and Budiriro 1 and Budiriro 2. A 25 year old woman who was brought in collapsed and died on the same day, the 5th of September. A sample from the woman was positive for vibrio cholerae, ogawa.
All the patients have typical cholera symptoms like excessive vomiting and diarrhoea with ricy watery stools and dehydration. During the night of the 5th of September, more patients were admitted. By early morning of the 6th of September, 2018 – 52 suspected cholera cases had been admitted. On the 6th of September, 11 cases were confirmed to be positive of vibrio cholerae. 39 stool samples were taken for culture and sensitivity. Of these 39 samples, 17 were confirmed to be positive for vibrio cholerae type ogawa species.
Contaminated water sources and shallow wells including boreholes and wells are suspected to be the source of the outbreak. Sewerage was flowing on the ground all over the affected areas due to the blocked and damaged sewer pipes. On the 6th of September, the outbreak of cholera was declared in Harare and His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe Cde E.D. Mnangagwa declared cholera as a state of disaster in line with Sub section 1, Section 27 of the Civil Protection Act on the 12th of September, he managed to visit the epicenter, which is Glenview and Budiriro area accompanied by his two Vice Presidents.
Her Excellency, the First Lady Amai Mnangagwa also visited the centre.
Mr. Speaker Sir, let me give you the coordination and the interventions that have taken place. This is very vital for the members to know that there has been action which has been going on. A District Health Executive meeting was convened in Glenview to strategise on the response. Weekly meetings of the inter-agency coordinating committee on Health have been held since the outbreak was confirmed. Following this meeting, Thematic Committees were formed and these include case management, wash, health and hygiene promotion, surveillance, laboratory and logistics.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry met with the City of Harare team and partners. I have to emphasise that there has been a very good working relationship between the Ministry and the City of Harare officials. On 12th September a Cabinet Committee on Preparedness was reactivated.
Let me also now indicate the case management. We have had pediatricians attending to the cases of cholera treatment at the centres which I mentioned. We have about 60 volunteers who have been deployed to support cholera treatment centres in Budiriro and Glenview. We have had 7 200 door to door visits and interpersonal communication at health facilities have been conducted. An interactive SMS base demand driven cholera hub which enables subscribers to ask questions and receive cholera messages has reached more than 75 000 to date.
There have been public service announcements, talks and discussions on cholera and these continue to be aired on ZBC television. Our health promotion unit and UNICEF are currently developing tools for rapid assessment of knowledge, attitudes and practices. Our partners, I have to indicate Madam Speaker, have been taking part in the promotion and their response has been fantastic and these include
Higher Life, Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference and UNICEF.
UNICEF has mobilised four partners for the epicentre and case spread.
OXFAM is working in Glenview and Budiriro. OXFAM has distributed
5 000 buckets, soap, jerrycans, aqua tablets and so on. Higher Life Foundation supporting with NFI in community mobilisation in liaison with OXFAM. Higher Life comes out of Econet Wireless.
Let me go to the final pages of my report. The request for vaccines to the WHO has been made in order to protect over a million people in Harare and beyond as a first emergency measure and we have been provided with 500 000 doses which as I said are arriving today. It will be relevant for me to also advise you on the logistics. We have received two cholera central reference complete kits which are for cholera testing and very relevant. The global and regional WHO, UNICEF and CDC officers have arrived in the country and are supporting the vaccination teams. Arrangements are in process for additional supplies to arrive in the next couple of days.
Naturally, there are some challenges which I have to advice the House. Municipal water supply is sometimes interrupted during sewer repairs and the communities spend hours without clean water, and no mobile water tanks are in place to supply water to some of these residents. There is a low supply of aqua tablets and accessibility of household bleach and water guard. I am glad to report however, Madam Speaker that we have managed to get further supplies today from the Chinese Embassy of these particular products. There are so many other organisations and corporates who have come forward and have been giving a lot of assistance. The partners have conducted communication and social mobilisation activities and medium monitoring continues to be held.
Finally, I must point out that this is the first time that Zimbabwe is using oral cholera vaccine. Therefore, external support is required for them to be able to guide us. That is why WHO has come in and we are very grateful for that immediate response from them. Madam Speaker Sir – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – I am sorry. My sincere apologies but these are things that happen when you start.
We are all learning.
Recommendations, priority follow-up actions and the coordination mechanisms at national; we will continue doing so developing and reviewing our systems. I think with that, we should be able to strengthen our water sanitation and hygiene for the long term. I have to finally indicate that what we have put in place is just a temporary measure. What is being talked about by my colleague, putting the water systems, boreholes and so forth are temporary measures. We need to have long term solutions and I am glad to hear that the Ministry of Local Government is working on that. I thank you Madam Speaker.
HON. MADZIMURE: Can the Minister explain whether it was on his advice that after they had declared cholera as an emergency, they went on to hold a public meeting during the visit of the President to the affected area. Was it on his advice that such a big gathering be held and also politicising the meeting. Secondly Minister, the evidence from Glenview is that the person who used to ferry water from one of the boreholes – it has been found out that borehole was contaminated and has since been decommissioned. Are you in the process of making sure that all the boreholes that are in Harare are inspected and those that are found not to be suitable are decommissioned. Thirdly, do you intend to maintain the boreholes to make sure that they remain safe?
HON. MLISWA: On a point of order – [AN HON. MEMBER:
Section ipi?] – 68 (d). My point of order is after so many lives were lost. I think it will be proper to observe a minute of silence for even the young child who was eight months. I was touched and I think it is important – [AN HON. MEMBER: Ko vakapfurwa nemasoja?] – You can do that on another day I am just being sincere – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Madam Speaker, I was moved by the fact that even an eight months old child was lost. It is about being hearty and it is my own feeling at this point in time and you equally have a right to your own feelings. I thought to just observe that from a humane point of view, it was a national disaster. That would be my submission Madam
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Mliswa, I appreciate
what you have said but the call on a minute of silence will be done by the Presiding Officer. Thank you.
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Thank you Madam Speaker. Hon.
Speaker, 49 deaths due to cholera is unacceptably high. To me it points to one thing, ill-preparedness and lack of contemplation by the Health sector – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
So, it is my view – I do not want to talk about politics because the people who died are not known to which political party they belong. Those that died and those that are still afflicted are Zimbabweans, therefore it is important that we look at this problem from a
Zimbabwean point of view rather than from a political point of view. Madam Speaker, it points to ill-preparedness and lack of contemplation within the health sector, it does not matter whether it is the municipality or Central Government but it speaks to lack of preparedness and lack of contemplation.
Why am I saying lack of preparedness and contemplation – it is because the situation is in Harare and it is quite clear that at any time there can be this kind of an outbreak. Therefore if the health sector had been prepared and had contemplated, we could have avoided the 49 deaths. Now my question of clarification from the Hon. Minister is what is it that they are doing to ensure that we are more prepared and more contemplating on such outbreaks coming out?
Secondly, I know that it might sound a bit personal and I have also struggled on whether to ask this question or not, but what I know is that at some point this question shall be asked. Nonetheless, I have decided that I should just proceed and ask that question. The Hon. Minister spoke about development partners coming in to try and assist in the fight against cholera but there has been a lot of information and rumours coming on the ground, speaking to lack of confidence in the current
Minister of Health because of some questions pertaining to his medical or non-medical qualifications. I would love Madam Speaker, if the Hon. Minister can clear the air on whether indeed the qualifications that he has projected himself to possess, he has them or he does not have them.
Thank you Madam Speaker.
HON. MUSABAYANA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I would
like to add my voice to seek clarity on the presentation that was done by the Hon. Minister of Health. We are really sorry for the deaths that have occurred in our nation. However, I want to ask if they have already concluded or confined the cholera to mere bursting of pipes in those areas. We normally have cholera in the rainy season but this is happening in the dry season.
Why I am saying that Madam Speaker is, this incident happened again in 2008, whether it is by coincidence, we had just had general elections and it was a disputed elections. This time again, we had an election which is disputed and now we have cholera. Could that not be biological attack by some of those political parties that would have lost – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Madam Speaker, I think we need to extend our investigations beyond just the bursting of sewer pipes. We need to investigate this cholera epidemic deeper.
HON. MADZIMURE: On a point of order. Madam Speaker, what
the Hon. Member has said is a serious accusation. He is saying that there was a biological attack by the opposition, meaning the opposition poisoned the water, can he withdraw or he substantiates his claims. It is terrible.
HON. DR. LABODE: Madam Speaker, the disease control in
Zimbabwe has a system which is called weakly rapid response system, it is a surveillance system – [HON. MEMBERS: Through you Madam
Speaker, he must withdraw his statement.] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Musabayana was asking
a question to the Hon. Minister, let the Hon. Minister to respond to it. –
[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -
HON. MADZIMURE: Madam Speaker, the Hon. Members said
that because of the disputed elections in 2008 and 2009, it happened and it has happened again this time around. So he said that political party that is disputing the election results could have launched a biological attack on the people – that is unacceptable and not for the Hon. Minister to respond to. It is for you to rule on the matter – [HON. MEMBERS:
Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order Hon. Members.
I do not think that Hon. Musabayana pointed a finger at any political party. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Order, order!
HON. DR. LABODE: Madam Speaker ma’am, I said earlier that the health system in Zimbabwe …
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order Hon. Member,
did I recognise you? – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Ooh yes, you may proceed. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible
HON. DR. LABODE: Madam Speaker ma’am, I said that the
health system in Zimbabwe has what is called, the weekly rapid response system – surveillance system. What does this system do?
Every week, every health facility reports on certain diseases which we are observing and cholera is one of them. So if you have been observing four diarrheas in Glenview and suddenly you have ten, then immediately you should think cholera or typhoid. These reports are made to the Ministry of Health and Child Care and not to the City Council. The Ministry of Health and Child Care should be able to send a team and say there is a problem in Glenview. When they get to Glenview, they then identify what is called, the index case – the originator of the problem. Like I heard the borehole and encircle by putting a cap on it and actually contain it. We should not have gone to these thousands of people had the system been working. It is either the system is no longer working or something is wrong Hon. Minister, maybe you should respond. I thank you.
HON. TARUSENGA: Thank you Madam Speaker, my
clarification from the Hon. Minister pertains to the response from well wishers who have donated in cash and kind. On the distribution part, I know that the epicenter of the cholera and typhoid outbreak is Glenview and Budiriro but as he alluded in his statement, there are also outbreaks in Epworth, Chitungwiza and Norton who interact or come into contact with people from Harare.
I happen to be one of the Coordinating Committee members where we found that there is a problem on the distribution part of these things from well wishers. Hence I want a comment from the Hon. Minister.
THE MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE [HON.
- O. MOYO]: Madam Speaker ma’am, let me start with the question
of the presidential visit. It is the prerogative of His Excellency and his Vice Presidents to familiarise themselves with any epidemic that they would declared. It is only reasonable that has to be done and naturally, if we had not seen him participating there, we would have been very concerned.
Let me also hasten to say Hon. Members, there is not going to be any blame game in this particular exercise. – [HON. MEMBERS:
Inaudible interjections.] – In terms of who started it, we as the Ministry of Health and Child Care, are looking at this and we treat everyone equally. So the availability of His Excellency the President was through his concern to ensure that each and every citizen especially from the epicenter was being well looked after hence there was selectivity.
The next item is the issue of the contaminated boreholes. The Environmental Health officers and technicians in my ministry have all been instructed to go and inspect and ensure that no one – [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – they are all instructed to ensure
– [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order Hon. Members, may you kindly lower your voices. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible
HON. DR. O. MOYO: Madam Speaker ma’am, the relevant
officers in my ministry have been instructed to ensure that all the boreholes from where people are getting water are clean and not contaminated. As you realise, the boreholes that were identified as being contaminated in the area – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order what is your
Point of Order?
*HON. MACHINGAUTA: Thank you Madam Speaker, the issue
that we are discussing in this august House is of deep concern as a lot of people have lost their lives and others are sick. What started off in Harare has also spread to other cities and towns so as the Hon. Minister is speaking, there is a lot of noise coming from the back yet we are discussing issues that concern peoples’ lives.
We will not understand Madam Speaker because there is an Hon. Member who said some painful words in here and probably he is the one who harbored such intentions since people from Glenview and Budiriro are not from their party. My submission is that probably they were disappointed by the number of votes which came out from those areas.
My plea is that Madam Speaker, all of us should not politicize this issue.
We say this because they are important issues that arouse people’s emotions because they affect their health. What Hon. Musabayana did is very painful because people look forward to us coming up with solutions that ensure that their lives are well looked after. They took more than four days to go to the affected area and so, we should address these issues more promptly regardless of the area from which they come from.
I thank you.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Your point of order is noted and
members from both sides should avoid politicizing the issue.
*HON. CHINOTIMBA: Madam Speaker, I am quietly seated
here but the leader of MDC 99 is throwing some insults concerning the absence of some of my team members. I do not know why he is insulting me. I want him to withdraw.
THE MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON.
- O. MOYO): Madam Speaker, let me start with the contentious issue of the biological attack accusations. Madam Speaker, we have no record to-date of any biological attack on Zimbabwe. If it has to come, we shall advise you. Now that it has been mentioned, we can always investigate but as of now, I do not have evidence to that effect.
Madam Speaker, I was talking about the contamination of the boreholes and before, that I emphasized the fact that we are talking about a very serious issue here. I literary landed into cholera and lucky enough I was coming from a cholera endemic area Chitungwiza, where there has always been cases of cholera and where we have put systems to deal with it. We immediately took a drastic action and it had to be a drastic action considering what had happened in 2008. We had to avoid the catastrophe of 2008 and we said there should never be a death as a result of cholera, not even a single one should be allowed to die. Once it happens like that, it means there is no alertness in the system and there is no preparedness in the system. These are the issues we are working on as a Ministry.
The boreholes issue - immediately the boreholes were surveyed and the contaminated boreholes were immediately barred that nobody was allowed to use them after that. The people in the area however wanted to have alternative clean water. Water is very essential especially in the treatment of cholera. One; it creates a situation in which you will avoid further new cases and number two; continuous rehydration is necessary as part of preventing deaths on the part of those already attacked. Water is lost through vomiting and diarrhoea. Therefore, it means that we have to replace the lost water.
The next issue - forty-nine deaths, I agree is totally unacceptable and that is why we have come in and said we must put all the mechanisms in place to make sure that there will never be a cholera outbreak again. This is why the Minister of Local Government has indicated that we need to look at our water and sanitation systems and ensure that everything is done appropriately. That includes replacement of the pipes and checking of leakages on the whole system in Harare from Morton Jeffery Water Works into the whole of Harare including Chitungwiza. All the areas must be looked at for us to avoid that.
Having done that, we have also implored that since cholera is spreading country wide, that programme of rehabilitation and replacement of water, sanitation and hygiene systems must be country - wide. It is the generally acceptable principle because it will be pointless as a Ministry of Health to carry on treating instead of preventing. So we are going by the prevention route. Prevention being the installation of new water and sanitation pipes and ensuring that pipes work.
On our preparedness as a Ministry, I have just indicated that our partners have come in. Partners, Madam Speaker, have come in a big way contrary to what has been reported in here. They have come in a big way and we cannot deny and say that they have refused. They have come and given us a lot of support and they continue to give us a lot of support. UNICEF has come in, MSF has come in and we have worked with these organisations before. Their levels of commitment have remained very high and therefore, the development partners are working with us all the way.
Madam Speaker, the weekly rapid response system is what we are definitely utilising as a Ministry and that enables us to check on whatever is happening countrywide. We can be able to get the information through the Provincial Medical Directors coming into our system at head office and ensuring that our system is well covered. So as I have indicated earlier on, the level of alertness is very high and this alertness is as a result of the number of reports which are coming through the weekly rapid response system.
The issue of distribution of donated products was also raised. Initially, Harare as the epicentre had the concentration of distribution of products such as sanitisers, aqua tablets and other products but now that we have more donor partners coming through, we are in a situation where we are now housing everything at our warehouse at Natpharm here in Southerton. From there, Natpharm has a distribution system. That is where they are going to be distributing the products from. They will start trickling in and then eventually we shall see more products arriving at most of the centres. Likewise, borehole systems are part of the products which we have been assured of. The Chinese Government initially allowed for the drilling of two boreholes in Glenview and Budiriro and another three in Chitungwiza area. However, this morning they came to my office and they have offered to drill a total of 500 boreholes. So this will be country wide.
So, the amount of assistance that we are getting from our partners is massive. We have the capability to continue mobilising for more and we want each and every Hon. Member in here to also play their part, not to just leave it to us as individuals, but to also be able to educate the public within their constituencies to be able to seek for assistance within their constituencies as long as we are advised and going through the relevant channels.
I must hasten to point out that when it comes to money, all funds have to be collected through the Minister of Health and Child Care for accountability so that we do not get any pilferages. I think Madam
Speaker, those are the main issues which I had to answer.
HON. TOFFA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I would like to first of all thank you very much for indulging me and allowing me to ask the Minister this question. This is a very important issue as has been stated by everyone and it actually concerns the lives of people.
Madam Speaker, the Minister spoke about fast, prompt and rapid response. I would like to find out - is this accessible to the people? My reason for saying this is because I would like to present to the Minister a live situation in Bulawayo. We have a place called Burombo Flats. Burombo Flats houses over 1000 people mostly elderly people looking after orphans. Burombo Flats has got burst pipes with running raw sewer, sometimes running through the houses.
Madam Speaker, this situation has prevailed for over two weeks and there are people showing symptoms of running tummies and vomiting. They have sought help and people come maybe from the Ministry and council, look at this place and go away. The last advice that they were given is they were told to clean up the raw sewer. Now, the Minister spoke about wheelbarrows, gloves and shovels and these old people have not been issued with these tools. Why also should the residents clean these on their own? We are talking about old people and they are saying, “mtanami akeliyesikhulumela, bathi batisikline sikline njani. Do we need to wait until the people of Burombo die?
It is a high density area and so we are talking of a time bomb. We are talking of 49 people that have died. How many more people do we need to die? So, I would like to implore the Minister to treat this as a matter of urgency. Can you please render some aid to the people of
Burombo Flats by as early as tomorrow? Thank you Madam Speaker.
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: On a point of privilege Hon. Speaker. Hon. Speaker, as a matter of privilege, I think I have got a right to receive an answer from the Hon. Minister once I have raised particular questions.
Now, you might know, Hon. Speaker, as others know that I have been an integral member of the Health Committee in the last Parliament - very well connected in the health sector and therefore, some of the whispers I will be talking about here will be coming from development partners. Development partners are actually contributing close to 90%, if not over 90% of our total budgetary requirements in the health sector. Therefore, if there are fears that are coming from those development partners, it seizes to be a matter of a personal nature to the Hon. Minister. It becomes a matter of national interest and if it is a matter of national interest, it is incumbent upon the Hon. Minister to clear the air.
I have indicated, Hon. Speaker, that whispers are coming out that development partners are saying they do not trust this Hon. Minister because of his alleged fake qualifications –[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]- So this is an issue of national interest if development partners are going to shy away from bringing money into the health sector just because of a single individual. It seizes to be a personal matter but becomes a national matter. So, it is only in this House that this Hon. Minister can clear the air. Does he posses the qualifications that he purports to have or he does not? I think we need then to create confidence in the health sector. The Hon. Minister should clear that issue or else we are going nowhere.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Madam
Speaker, allow me to respond to the Hon. Member. First of all, he is out of order because the Minister is presenting a Ministerial Statement on cholera. Secondly, according to Section 104 of the Constitution,
Ministers are appointed by the President.
HON. SIKHALA: Madam Speaker, I have got a point of order against this Minister. The point of order Madam Speaker, is that the tenacity with which the Leader of the House is trying to defend his colleague is that he is also under qualified. He is not registered with the
Law Society, so we know he is also a masquerader –[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: You are out of order Hon.
Sikhala. Please, sit down.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Madam Speaker, I think the Hon. Member should withdraw his statement or else I will invoke the Standing Rules and Orders so that he can be charged –[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]- Madam Speaker, he has alleged that I am not registered. Can investigations be done and if the Member is found to be at fault, he should be charged. I think this is an honourable House, you should not come with disparaging remarks which you have not researched like what the Honourable Member is doing. He should do his research first and come and present facts into the House rather than hearsay. I said, according to Section 104, he is a learned colleague, he should be well vested with the Constitution. The appointing authority is the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe and nowhere is it written that qualifications are a prerogative of being appointed a minister. We should not digrace the Minister when he is giving a Ministerial Statement concerning cholera to digrace and speak about qualifications.
I move that the House do now adjourn Madam Speaker – [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Hon. Minister, the Chair will study the matter and make a ruling later.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you
Madam Speaker. I move that the House do now adjourn – [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: It has been moved that the House do now adjourn and you cannot further debate the motion but we can debate the motion on whether to adjourn the House or not. The debate we now have is on whether to adjourn the House or not.
HON. CHIKWINYA: Madam Speaker, I want to debate that motion of adjournment – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order. Hon. Members, may you sit down? – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you
Madam Speaker. In view of the fact that the Minister came with a Ministerial Statement to inform about the cholera outbreak, if the House will confine itself to those national if the House will confine itself to those national issues about cholera, I am prepared to withdraw my motion but I urge Members because the Minister also has some work to do and we also have a lot of work to do – to concentrate on cholera issues and not personal issues. I thank you. I then withdraw the motion to adjourn the House.
HON. SIKHALA: Madam Speaker, with the indulgence of the
Chair, I agree with the Leader of Government Business that this is a very serious and important motion to our nation to which if he could have been offended by my remarks, I apologise and withdraw.
HON. HAMAUSWA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I am also
happy that the Hon. Leader of Government Business in the House has acknowledged the serious nature of the matter that we are discussing. The issue of cholera is like we are in a firefighting process. So, we cannot abandon it in the middle of the firefighting.
Concerning what the Minister of Health and Child Care has said, I would want to add and say that, yes the President has declared this issue an emergency but, we do not see on the ground that it is really being treated as an emergency issue. So, starting from this House, we do not even have the sanitisers but we are just coming here, we are shaking hands and there is no indication that we are dealing with a threatening disease. Then again, buses that are coming from those areas affected by cholera, they are not being sprayed with disinfectants and how can we say we are in an emergency issue?
Again on the issue of development partners, and also the response on what the Government is doing, there is no budget and how can we really say we are responding – how are we responding. He talked about accessing the funds through the Ministry of Health and Child Care, what kind of funds are we accessing? Who is supposed to access those funds?
Then, can we really say we are serious? We also do not see an interMinisterial Committee responding to the issue. This is why we have now issues whereby some are accusing the local authorities because this is an issue which calls for inter-Ministerial approach so that all issues that are related to the cholera are dealt with.
I have been to schools, we do not have sanitisers in shops and we do not have dettol in shops. We expect in this declaration of emergency that also the Minister would urge the Government to remove duty on those things that we are not able to produce here. We are not able to produce dettol and this is an opportunity for us who are coming from our constituencies and we know that it is difficult to get a sanitiser. What kind of a nation are we when we are not able to produce a sanitiser and when we do not have dettol? Then, we come here and start politicising cholera. Can that be acceptable Minister?
Madam Speaker, I think that I should conclude by saying, we need a comprehensive response even though the Minister said that this is a short term response, we need to know when they say they decommissioned boreholes – is it enough? Is it the right thing to do to decommission the boreholes or they have another way of treating the water. If they decommission the boreholes, what will then happen to those people who were using that borehole as their sole source of water?
So, we need a comprehensive response to this problem, otherwise we will come here and we just sing. I also appeal that we need to have a commission to find out what is happening. We had a Commission on the shootings that happened on 1 August and why can we not have a Commission to deal with what is happening so that we have the real issues dealt with. I thank you Madam Speaker.
HON. D. SIBANDA: Thank you very much Madam Speaker. I
wanted to say, Zimbabweans are still travelling from point A to point B all over the country and there is a possibility that they will still spread the disease. So, I wanted to find out Hon. Minister, what measures are you putting in place taking cognisant of those who are in the deep remote areas who do not have access to the media because they do not have radios, no newspapers and so forth. What measures are you putting in place to make sure that sensitisation is reaching those people? Thank you very much.
HON. MLISWA: Thank you very much Madam Speaker. First of
all to the voice of reason, the Parliament, I want to thank both sides for finally putting national issues first. I think you have exhibited a great deal of maturity and nationalism. As the voice of reason, I want to thank you and to say keep up with that spirit.
Secondly, the issue at hand in terms of my clarity is that the Minister must really tell us whether it is more of a sanitation issue where people do not have clean water. Sewers are not there and are not well done because we will be rushing to the aspect of health when really the source is the infrastructure. I think that it is important for us to seek clarity on that. No matter how much awareness we do, but if we do not improve on the standard of life on the way our people live, especially in the high density areas where they are congested, the facilities are not there and ablutions are not there.
There is an Hon. Member of Parliament who brought the issue to say, while we chase the vendors around, they are not the problem. There is no proper infrastructure for the vendors to go out there and sell their products. They have never refused and by you taking them off the streets and wherever you are taking them, is the environment conducive for them to be trading. I have given an example of the Norton Constituency where there is fish farming and the fish industry thrives – there, there is no fish market and people sell fish but the issue now is, by us removing vendors Hon. Members, what alternative employment do we have for them.
We must be true and we must be human – no one here has the alternative employment for the vendors. If you do have, stand up and tell me and I will get all my constituents to where you are so that you can give them jobs. The issue is unemployment too. So, these are the causes of these diseases that we are talking about. Where there is unemployment, there is poverty and where there is poverty, the conditions are intolerable. So, we must be honesty when we sit in here and not politic at the end of the day. The Minister can get all the aid from the United Nations, from Russia and planes coming with medication but the sewers have not been repaired. You have not dealt with cholera. We cannot be a country which is reactionary all the time and firefighting but we must be long term thinking and come up with sustainable solutions so that these diseases do not haunt us anymore because they are archaic, they are intolerable and they insult us as people. How can Zimbabwe today after 38 years, be having typhoid and cholera? It is a shame on our country and on our system and our system must react proactively and come up with a concerted effort which will surely ensure that these matters do not rise again Madam Speaker, to conclude, we can boG down the Minister of Health and Child Care here, he is not the problem. Cholera keeps on coming every year, the medication and all the provisions are there. Let us go on the source and work on the infrastructure of the country so that it is habitable. The vendors who are selling air time, what do they have to do with typhoid? We are targeting the wrong people. The Government must start working. Thank you.
HON. CHIKWINYA: Thank you Madam Speaker. My point of
clarification from the Hon. Minister is that the Minister spoke of vaccination, may he enlighten the House the target of vaccination - is it children, everyone or within the centres which have been affected like Glenview and Budiriro or it is a nationwide programme.
Secondly Madam Speaker, the Executive acted in their wisdom or lack of it that vendors were part of the problem and they ordered them away from the centres from which they were conducting business. It is being disputed by the majority Members of Parliament here but at least, the Executive gave an order. Why can the Executive not order local authorities to remove solid waste situated in every corner of streets in our communities – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – As an order, it simply requires fuel, dump trucks, and front-end loaders which the councils have. We must start by doing the low-hanging fruits which is going to ensure that we have a sustainable programme. I agree with the plans laid out by the Local Government Minister of infrastructural rehabilitation. However, let us do things which can be done tomorrow. The City Councils of Harare, Kwekwe or Bulawayo must remove solid waste currently situated in our communities.
The third issue Madam Speaker is that the Hon. Minister spoke of boreholes. In my understanding, the drilling of boreholes by the Chinese Government, the 500 boreholes which he mentioned – boreholes were cited again as part of the problem which caused the spread of cholera. Now we are trying to multiply the number of boreholes, which means multiplying the risk of cholera from these boreholes. However, I have no problem with the boreholes but I suggest that the boreholes being drilled be equipped with chlorine cartridges and filtration systems so that from the borehole, the water enters the chlorine cartridge first before being accessible for drinking. The issue of having boreholes which are tapping directly from the water bodies into people’s cups is the one which is transmitting the disease at the rate at which the Minister spoke about. Therefore, I seek the indulgence of the Minister to look into these initiatives. I thank you.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. I speak from
the Chegutu West Constituents’ point of view, from the experience of
2018, where four people died because of cholera, in the early part of
- Madam Speaker Ma’am, what caused those four deaths is the same reason which caused the 400 deaths in Chegutu West Constituency in 2008 as alluded to by the Hon. Minister.
Madam Speaker Ma’am, what obtained in 2008, has not changed; it is the same issue that caused cholera in 2018, ten years later. This is because of the dilapidated, deplorable and disused state of the water and sewer infrastructure. When interrogated, the UN Aid and USAID, UNICEF, Red Cross and all other cooperating partners during the time that we were having meetings to ameliorate and alleviate the plight of those people in 2018 when four deaths occurred; Madam Speaker
Ma’am, they alluded to the fact that if a State of Disaster was declared in the nation, they were going to virement some of the money that is being channeled to Centre for Disease Control (CDC) in order to rehabilitate this infrastructure that I am talking about. Madam Speaker Ma’am, I am happy now that a State of Emergency has been proclaimed by His Excellency. It is no longer time for those cooperating partners, donors and friends in the health sector to pretend and hide behind the finger. It is my clarion call therefore, that this money that they were alluding to and these contingency measures which they said were going to be kicked in only in the event that this was declared a State of Disaster, be kicked in now.
I was a member of your Committee at the African Caribbean and
Pacific – European Union (ACP-EU Madam Speaker Ma’am. In that delegation, the people who own the European Development Fund (EDF) alluded to the same fact, that only if a State of Emergency was declared, they were able to lend to the private sector of any nation, including
Zimbabwe, part of the €200 million in order that we distant ourselves from this disease. Madam Speaker Ma’am, it is my hope and fervent view that the Hon. Minister Dr. Moyo, takes up this challenge and go to these people who have given their word and ask them to virement some of that money. I am aware of €22 million or US$ 22 million that has been sitting in the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) that can only be ignited and put into play only when a State of Emergency has been declared.
The circumstances which caused the cholera epidemic in 2008 have not changed in Chegutu West Constituency. There are 50 000 people who depend on 33 boreholes. There is no portable drinking water in Chegutu. They produce 10 mega litres, what reaches the enduser is 3 mega –litres against the consumption of 22 mega-litres that is required. You can only deal with this scourge by employing part of that
€200 million EDF and part of that €22 million channeled through the CDC.
Madam Speaker Ma’am, it is also my hope that the State of Emergency continues to be declared until the scourge of the dilapidated infrastructure is…
HON. CHIBAYA: On a point of order Madam Speaker. Hon.
Musanhi is now turning this House into a bedroom. He is sleeping here.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: You are out of order, please
may you sit down.
HON. NDUNA: As I conclude Madam Speaker Ma’am, I request
that this State of Emergency sticks and stays in place if it is the one that is going to make the cooperating partners to get attracted to us in terms of infrastructure development. It should stay in place until the entire infrastructure, water and sewer systems are rehabilitated, resuscitated, maintained and completely laid. Madam Speaker Ma’am, it is my clarion call and I hope it finds favour in the Executive through the Hon. Minister here so that we get the money required to alleviate the plight of the unsuspecting innocent masses, in particular, Chegutu West Constituency and Zimbabwe in general.
HON. SIKHALA: On a point of order Madam Speaker.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: What is your point of order?
HON. SIKHALA: Madam Speaker, we have got a humble request. There are only three Members who are standing to ask questions. It would be important and prudent that all of us complete our questions so that the Minister will wrap up. I think it was better that way especially myself. My question was very short to the Minister concerning the water situation in Chitungwiza. He came during the outbreak of cholera in Chitungwiza and that was his first port of call. He held a meeting with all stakeholders and important citizens of Chitungwiza...
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: That is not a point of order!
HON. SIKHALA: It was a point of order but...
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: That is not a point of order!
HON. SIKHALA: There are only three members who just want to
ask very short questions and not long ones so that the Minister will wrap up, unless if you will give us another opportunity to open questions to the Minister again?
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I hear you Hon. Sikhala, I will
allow you to ask but be short and to the point.
HON. SIKHALA: Thank you Madam Speaker. My question to
the Minister is that you came to Chitungwiza during the initial stages of the outbreak of cholera. You held a meeting at Chitungwiza
Municipality with all the Councilors and all other important stakeholders in Chitungwiza. Chitungwiza is not an area where you need education on, because you have been the Chief Executive of Chitungwiza Central
Hospital for almost 15 years and you understand the situation in
Chitungwiza on the ground, on how it is standing at the present moment.
When you came to Chitungwiza in your new jacket not as Chief Executive of Chitungwiza Central Hospital, but as a Minister, you promised...
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Sikhala. I said
short and to the point. Ask your question. – [HON. MEMBERS:
Inaudible interjections.] -
HON. SIKHALA: My question to the Minister is that the Minister knows that water supply in Chitungwiza only comes once a week for 8 hours. When he came during the period of cholera, he promised Chitungwiza that there will be an increase of water supply. How far have you gone with the promise that you left in Chgitungwiza that there will an increase of water supply? That is my question.
HON. GABBUZA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I have two short
questions to the Minister. He mentioned that they are planning to vaccinate Harare residents and Harare is house to 2 million people including the visitors. If we calculate the cost of vaccine vials for the cholera vibrio pathogen, calculate the cost of vaccinations that the team is going to use, is it not prudent to repair the burst pipes and sewers compared to pouring money into a vaccination programme which will only temporarily protect the people?
Secondly, we have had cholera for a month and one would expect that people should have died may be the first week, thereafter our nurses must have been able to curb the disease with experience and with drugs.
We were told that there was drug resistant strain, hence the pathogen was not responding to the drug. You have since told us that there was a better drug which was on offer. Why are people still dying if nurses and the drugs are there? Are they failing to cope with a simple disease? –
[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order Hon. Members!
*HON. NZUMA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I am Saul Nzuma
from Buhera West Constituency. We want to recognise the visionary leadership of our President Cde. Mnangagwa. – [HON. MEMBERS:
Inaudible interjections.] -
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Please ask your question.
*HON. NZUMA: I say that because we see the vision that our
Hon. Minister O. Moyo has. We realise that as he was heading Chitungwiza he did a good job and there is development. We also saw the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs giving us information yesterday. It is a good programme and the country will be doing well. I also thank the Minister of Transport that even where I come from Buhera West; there is a Murambinda/Birchenough road which is near completion. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible
I want to thank our Ministers for the good work that they are doing. I cannot sit down before I appreciate the good work that has been done by the appointed Ministers. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible
HON. TSUNGA: Thank you Madam Speaker, I am happy that
this time around I am recognised. Mine are direct questions. Given the various measures enunciated by the Hon. Minister in regard to dealing with the cholera menace, I have got very specific questions. Firstly, are there any indications as to whether Harare and indeed other parts affected by cholera will be declared cholera free? Secondly Madam Speaker, what measures are in place to ensure that those areas not presently impacted or affected by cholera are not affected in the short, medium and long term? Finally Madam Speaker, we may require assurances from the Hon. Minister as the responsible authority that this menace will not recur in the future. Thank you very much.
THE MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON.
- O. MOYO): Madam Speaker, let me start by answering the question from the Hon. Member from Bulawayo. That is a very sad state of affairs which he described. I want to point out that I take this matter very seriously and I am also realising that we are all taking this matter very seriously. I want it recorded in each and everyone of us that there should never be any deaths as a result of cholera or typhoid. That has to be our motto. There should never be any death as a result of cholera specifically.
Let me then hasten to indicate that we are serious about this. I will personally fly to Bulawayo on Friday and pay a visit to Burombo and make sure that things are in order in Bulawayo – [AN HON. MEMBER:
Why would you fly to Bulawayo?] – Whether by road or what as long as I get there. I will make sure that I get there and rectify the problem.
That is the issue. My Ministry is geared towards ensuring that there is fast, prompt response mechanism in place on a continuous basis. That is what you are going to be seeing on a continuous basis with regards to any problem that is related to health. I want you Madam Speaker, to note that the Ministry of Health and Child Care will now be running on a different concept altogether; the concept of taking appropriate action at the right time, immediately because it is a Ministry which deals with people’s lives.
The other Hon. Member was talking about availability of sanitisers. Yes, sanitisers will eventually get to each and every constituency. Like I indicated, at the moment, we were concentrating on Harare because that was the epicentre of the cholera. It does not mean that we were not looking after the typhoid issue. We are also looking after the typhoid issue starting with Gweru. There was also typhoid here in Harare. So, those two are being looked at concurrently without any distinction.
The issue of sanitisers which was specifically requested for or asked by the Member, accessing of those sanitisers will start to happen as soon as our Natpharm starts its distribution mechanism. There is a distribution pattern which they follow and we felt that it will be best if everything that is donated is housed and warehoused at Natpharm. They have the logistics of getting to each and every provincial hospital. Likewise, I take note that the Clerk of Parliament is also requesting for that type of assistance.
You indicated about the correct handshaking. I think it is vital that we all use our fists, no open hand – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Madam Speaker, I want to really say we all agree that cholera is here. I have addressed a lot of people from various walks of life and political parties, and we have said we forget about how we are going to be looking at the configuration of our palms. This is not a matter of looking at our political palm configuration, it is a matter of saving our lives. Whether I lift my hand, it does not mean that I belong to a certain party or if you open it you belong to a certain party. Let us forget about that please.
The seriousness you have shown today, I am really impressed.
This gives encouragement to the members of staff in the Ministry of Health and Child Care as well that the Parliamentarians are taking this matter very seriously. You must realise that there are a lot of health workers who have been sacrificing their lives handling these sick people and we must appreciate what they are doing. We really have to – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
The current situation requires that we all work as one. The issue of duties on dettol and things like that is something we can also look at. However, I am not just looking at it as a temporary measure but I also want to look at it as a permanent measure. We must be able to ensure that we empower our local pharmaceutical companies, make raw materials available for them, empower the Datlabs and CAPS of this country to be able to produce all the supplies that are relevant. We would not be looking at other countries if we had our own supplies.
Madam Speaker, we want to create a five star health system in
Zimbabwe accessible to all socially disadvantaged and anyone who can afford – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – We want a situation where we will not be going to Singapore for treatment or whatever. We want a situation where Zimbabwe shall be clean again, so we have to do the right things.
On the issue of decommissioning boreholes, contaminated boreholes have to be decommissioned because they were the source of the problems. Anyone sensible would move in line with that. They would ensure that you go and de-commission that particular borehole which is causing the problem. We do not have adequate drugs at the moment.
Let me move to the issue of having a commission on cholera. I do not think at this stage it is really necessary. The commission must be the whole nation. Each and every citizen has to be the commissioner of ensuring that there would be no cholera again in Zimbabwe – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – We have to start with personal hygiene; it starts with us. Avoid littering, make sure that the area that you live around is clean and making sure that our litter is collected. That is why the Ministry of Local Government comes and plays a major role in ensuring that we come up with a final solution. The definitive solution for eradicating this medieval disease is ensuring that we have a properly functioning water and sewage system. The current system, let me advise you - let me advise you – we have two pipes running in parallel. One is carrying raw sewage and the other one is carrying clean water. As soon as the one which is carrying the raw sewage bursts, it pushes the one which is carrying the clean water and the clean water pipe end up being contaminated and that ends up in our bodies. We end up consuming faecal material which is the main cause of the cholera. We just have to ensure that we put in place a proper functioning water and sanitation system. That is the solution.
We have to come up with sustainable solutions and this is the time to do it. There should never be a time when Parliament will have to meet again and start debating about cholera in Zimbabwe. We have to get rid of cholera once and for all. I am glad that everyone is singing the same tune because that is what we have to do. I implore you Hon.
Members to keep supporting us. Keep supporting us because with your support, we will be able to get all the relevant support from the international community.
I must point out and hasten to say while the President of Zimbabwe and the Minister of Finance and Economic Development are in the United States; they continue to plead for more assistance. I am advised that there is quite a lot of assistance which is coming through and our local partners, WHO, UNICEF and the bin in my office; on a continuous basis, we are working on the project to ensure that we get enough assistance.
How are we going to start with the issue of vaccines, how are we going to give the vaccines? Naturally, according to the principles of epidemiology, where there is an epidemic you start by ensuring that the area which is registered as the epicenter is the one where treatment commences. So, we are going to commence the treatment in the epicentre area which happens to be Harare, encumbering Chitungwiza. Those areas will be covered and the vaccines can be administered to anyone from the age of one going upwards. There is no selection. That is going to be done. The teams are in place and working. We are going to be having assistance from the World Health Organisation.
Before I was Minister, I worked with all these organisations. I have worked with United Nations and I have managed to get the support and that support is coming. Once we think that the support is not coming, we will be advising you but it is a natural response which is coming from the World Health Organisation.
The state of emergency to stay - yes, it would be nice for the state of emergency to stay until we are able to collect enough financial support to put in place sustainable solutions. However, it will have to be on a phased basis. We might have to look at the areas where we would have completely eradicated the problem and then release that area. So, it will be on area by area basis. I will not rush to immediately call for an uplifting of the state of emergency. That would be highly irresponsible.
We have had meetings with councillors with regards to water availability in Chitungwiza. They have indicated that they will look at it positively but unfortunately, the City of Harare itself is also facing a major challenge with regards to availability of water from Morton Jeffrey. That is why we had then opted to increase the number of boreholes in Chitungwiza as a stop gap measure. This is just a stop gap measure. We are going to sink those boreholes in accordance with the laid down protocols which do not allow boreholes to be sunk within a certain distance from a sewer system. There will have to be a proper survey of those areas where those boreholes are going to be sunk.
The mainstay is that eventually while this is a stop gap measure, each and every household in Zimbabwe should have free running clean tap water. Boreholes are a stop gap measure to stop our population and citizenry from going to collect water in the contaminated areas at the contaminated boreholes at the moment so that we stop the disease. There are also bowsers which are going to be made available to all the areas just as a stop gap measure. We are in a stop gap measure mode and we will end up with the ideal, the definitive and the absolute solution eventually as more assistance comes in.
The other Hon. Member asked whether it was prudent to vaccinate and why not utilise the funds towards infrastructure. Yes, you might say that but unfortunately, these vaccines are coming through World Health Organisation, our partners and we are not paying anything for those vaccines. Naturally, if we were going to be paying for them; yes, we would come up with a design whereby we will be able to do a balancing act but lucky enough at this stage these are vaccines coming in and there is no cost to us.
A drug resistant pattern that you talked about, I indicated that I landed into cholera coming from an endemic cholera area, Chitungwiza where we had set up systems and had managed to contain cholera. If we go to Chitungwiza now, you will find that the system that we put in place, if there is an incident of cholera it is immediately captured. That is the system which I personally had to go through the townships in
Glenview and Budiriro and encouraged the health workers to also adopt. The system allowed for the setting up of the treatment centres and then we identified the first line drugs that are normally used. These are ciprofloxacin and cafetriozine. The pathogens were resistant to these drugs and then we had to go for the second line antibiotic which is azithromycin. We are using azithromycin now. This is what the pathogens are sensitive to. We have a number of patients who are in wards at Beatrice Road Infectious Diseases Hospital. How we will know when we are going to declare the cholera as having gone now depends on the number of cases that are arriving.
We started with over a thousand suspected cases arising and then the number of deaths was also increasing. Higher numbers of cholera cases suspected arising, more deaths arising. Therefore, at this stage I want to advise the House that because of the stop gap measure interventions that were put in place, we have already picked. On the graph, we started with the increase in deaths and the cases; the platooning of the cases and the deaths and now we are declining. There is good progress. We are managing and containing the problem as a result of the stop gap measures.
I do not want to say that we are succeeding and managing to contain the problem as a result of our stop gap measures while we are ensuring that we have the final solution to the problem.
So, Madam Speaker, we want a clean Zimbabwe, we want a Zimbabwe where drugs are available. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] - I want to also indicate that we have had two companies that we approached and solicited for support. There is a company which is going to collect all the garbage in the epicentre. The other areas – we will negotiate with them and be able to bring them forward so that they can also be able to collect garbage there. The other company which has also come forward will be ensuring that they assist us with the construction of toilet facilities for the benefit of the vendors. So, all those plans are being put in place.
We have a mantra which I would like all the Hon. Members here present to be able to utilise as part of the awareness and education. It is extremely vital that we all recite it on a continual basis to our constituencies. Education and awareness must be allowed without fear or favour. That is one of the major solutions for us to be able to overcome this disease. ‘Cleanliness is next to Godliness’, Zimbabwe shall be clean again.
I think I have answered most of the questions. Thank you Madam
On the motion of THE HON. MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI),
the House adjourned at Two Minutes to Six o’clock p.m.