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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 27 JUNE 2024 VOL 50 NO 66

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Thursday, 27th June, 2024

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)

*THE HON. SPEAKER:  Hon. Hwende, you are late.  How come you are late?  Do you not want to pray with us?

*HON. HWENDE:  It is because of the meandering roads Mr. Speaker Sir.

*THE HON. SPEAKER:   I also use the same roads and I plan my trips so that I arrive before time. 

*HON. HWENDE:  Some of us do not have convoys Mr. Speaker to pave way for us – [Laughter.]-

*THE HON. SPEAKER: I leave early, so please give yourself two hours to prepare, just give yourself enough time to prepare so that we pray together.  Is that not so Hon. Member? 

*HON. HWENDE: Indeed, Hon. Speaker Sir

*THE HON. SPEAKER:  I noticed the other side, a number of people, two or three people.  What is happening Hon. Members? 

When I crack the whip then people say this old man – [AN HON. MEMBER: Inaudible interjection.] - I will take away your coupons, I will not give you coupons. – [AN HON. MEMBER: Inaudible interjection.] -  The press should hear that.  When you discipline your child, it means that you love the child. 

Before I make the announcements, there is an Hon. Member who moved a motion on the late Vice President of Malawi.  Is the Hon. Member here?

+HON. BAJILA:   I am here Hon. Speaker.

+THE HON. SPEAKER:  Please come forth Hon. Member, may you approach the Chair?

Hon. Bajila approached the Chair. 

THE HON. SPEAKER:  I see too many gaps on my right.  People who sit on that side are not there, and up there they are not there. That middle row there, people are not there.  Hon. Members, what is happening? – [AN HON. MEMBER:  They are attending Central Committee meetings.] - 

THE HON. SPEAKER:   So both sides are having Central Committee meetings? – [Laughter.] - If you do not appear, you may disappear.  Alright, let us proceed then accordingly.

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. SPEAKER

NON-ADVERSE REPORTS RECEIVED FROM THE PARLIAMENTARY LEGAL COMMITTEE

THE HON. SPEAKER: I have to inform the House that I have received non-adverse reports from the Parliamentary Legal Committee on the following:

  • The Administration of Estates Amendment Bill [H.B. 3A, 2024]
  • All Statutory Instrument Numbers 55 to 101 published in the Government Gazette during April and May 2024.

 All of them have complied with the Constitutional requirements.

HON. CHIDUWA: On a point of national interest.

THE HON. SPEAKER: I do not see your name here Hon. Chiduwa, what happened? We must refer to our Whips so that we have structured procedures.  I will allow you to proceed.

HON. CHIDUWA: Thank you, Mr. Speaker Sir, I rise on a point of national interest to applaud and commend the positive milestones we have made as a country in our national budget processes.  On the 29th of May 2024, the Open Budget Survey published by the International Budget Partnerships announced that Zimbabwe has made significant improvements in its rankings of budget transparency, inclusiveness with an open budget index of 63 out of 100 against a global average of 44 for the 2022/23 assessment year.

Hon. Speaker, the Open Budget Survey (OBS) assesses the formal opportunities that are offered to the public for meaningful participation in the different stages of the budget process.  It examines the practices of the Central Government’s Executive, the Legislature, and the Supreme Audit institutions using 18 equally weighted indexes aligned with a global initiative for the fiscal transparency principles of public participation in fiscal policy.

Zimbabwe is among the top performers and ranks third after South Africa and Benin in Africa.  Zimbabwe’s open budget index has consistently improved over the years and signifies Government efforts to enhance open and free inclusive public participation and legislative oversight in the national budgeting process.

Hon. Speaker, in the 2023 open budget survey, it has been noted that Zimbabwe has increased the availability of budget information by increasing the information provided in the mid-term review.  Zimbabwe’s Parliament has done well by conducting public hearings related to the approval of the annual budget.

In terms of budget oversight, Zimbabwe got a score of 56 in 2023 compared to 48 received in 2021. The key budget documents that Zimbabwe makes available to the public like the pre-budget statement, the executive budget proposal, the budget estimates, the citizen's budget, and the mid-term review, were all deemed to be very comprehensive.

The improvements in national budget transparency are critical for the realisation of Vision 2030 as it builds public trust through robust and inclusive engagement.  It shows that we are on the right track concerning our fiscal management process.  We are an example to follow regionally and internationally.  We should stay the course and work on the areas that require improvements.  I so submit Hon. Speaker.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Why are colleagues from my left quiet? This is an accolade to you all – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Silence is not speech.

Hon. Chiduwa, that is a critical observation.  If you listen very carefully Hon. Members to his statement, it speaks to the collaborative role that you play with the Executive in the budget process.  The kudos therefore go to all of you.  This is why I was saying that silence on my left – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – This is because the Committee on Budget and Finance comprises Members across the board.  So you must be proud of that achievement. 

Moreso, the Zimbabwe Parliament remains the only Parliament in the world that is ISO-certified – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – be proud of yourselves.  You have made a tremendous contribution and I hope that when you attend future budgets, you will upscale the standards accordingly.  Thank you Hon. Chiduwa.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          HON. KAMBUZUMA: Mr. Speaker Sir, I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 3 be stood over until Orders of the Day 4 to 7 on today’s Order Paper are disposed of in that order. I thank you.

          HON. MUNEMO: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON DEFENCE, HOME AFFAIRS, SECURITY AND WAR VETERANS AFFAIRS ON THE PETITION FROM THE CHILDREN OF WAR VETERANS AND HEROES DEPENDANTS FORUM

Fourth Order read:  Adjourned debate on motion on the petition from the Children of War Veterans and Heroes Dependants Forum on the economic empowerment for War Veterans and their dependants.

Question again proposed.

*HON. ZEMURA: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. I would like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to debate on the motion regarding the children of the late war veterans and our war veterans who are still alive. Indeed, this issue was raised by children of war veterans.

As we stand here, it pains us also because we live with children of war veterans, both veterans who are alive and those who passed on and left their children.  Looking at their children and what they are receiving as pensions indeed pains us. When war veterans left for the war, we were here.  We were left looking after the children of these war veterans, some who are here and some who have already passed on.

We were left with the burden of looking after their children because there was no-one there to look after them. Some were sick, others could not go to school.  Most children of war veterans could not proceed with education because their parents were outside the country.

I thought that this issue would be looked into in the early 80s to determine what these children would get.     This is painful indeed, Hon. Speaker Sir. What pains us is what war veterans are receiving.  Not even mentioning their children, but war veterans on their own, are not getting anything.  Sometimes some of them would be requesting for assistance from other people, assistance in terms of tilling their land and other needs.

So from my area, a lot of people went to participate in the liberation struggle.  Some left their families when their children were still very young, but today the few children of war veterans are desperately seeking help. 

We are in such a beautiful Parliament through independence because of the sacrifices that were made by our war veterans. We drive nice cars because of these war veterans.  Many people might not know what a war veteran is or the children of war veterans.  These are the people who liberated Zimbabwe, so their families should benefit indeed.

It pains me because I am one of the people who looked after children of war veterans.  Unfortunately, that person from the Zemura family did not come back.  I was teaching and I was even left paying school fees for the children of the war veterans.  I believe that if someone goes outside the country to fight for independence, the nation or the Government should look after them.

Indeed, we have some war veterans in this House, both male and female, but for us who did not go to war, we have better livelihoods Hon. Speaker because we do not have some diseases.  Some were disabled. I live next to a woman who was affected by a bullet and she had to have her breast removed.  We go to work, we have medical aid and we are in a better state.

 I therefore request and I implore the Government to look into the interests and welfare of war veterans.  Some of us are war collaborators.  Forty five years after our names were captured in the database of war collaborators Hon. Speaker Sir, we are still talking about these issues for Government to intervene.  Zimbabwe waged a protracted liberation war for it to attain independence. 

There are some parents who were left with their families and who lost their children.  Some even testified that they lost their children to the war and they have not benefitted in any way.  Now in 2024, the children of war veterans are raising their issues of their plight.  Indeed, we support them in their plea and we support that Government should intervene because they did not benefit even from the land redistribution programme.  This is what their parents were fighting for but they did not benefit. Even when we queue for the livestock distribution programme, you would find that some who are benefitting are children of war veterans in every Government programme. Those who are not supposed to benefit speak good English and they benefit while the children of war veterans are not benefitting in any way.

So, we want to assist them and want to fight for their welfare. This is our time as war veterans to win this war which will result in children of war veterans benefiting. There are a lot of women who were left behind and their husbands passed away. We also have widowers who also lost their wives to the war. All those people should benefit. I am raising issues which are pertinent and this is what is happening.

You find that some women work for others and they are not receiving any food aid, whether it is grain or what and no one bothers to look into their welfare. To investigate how they are surviving despite losing their husbands to the war is very painful. If I was not in Parliament and was at my party or in my neighbourhood, I would cry and shed tears. This is because I am one of the people who have neighbours who lost family members to the war. Some might take it as a minor issue, but the Lord we worship in this august House will look after the children of war veterans because we are talking about reality. Some people are suffering. They do not have anything yet we are seated here in this august House as a result of the blood shed by our war veterans.

Some might be enjoying whilst others are suffering but we fought for this country. Widows and orphans of war veterans should be given benefits - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] - Mr. Speaker Sir, can I be protected?

THE HON. SPEAKER: You are protected

*HON. ZEMURA:  I was saying even orphans are given pensions instead of them not receiving anything. We desire that they be invited by the Ministry of War Veterans so that they benefit. Moreover, 44 years after losing their parents, whether they are over 18  or 19, the children of war veterans should be given the pensions of their parents. Such things should be looked into. I thank you Hon. Speaker.

          *HON. GANYIWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Let me add my voice to the motion which was moved by a Member of the Portfolio Committee on War Veterans which is looking at the welfare of beneficiaries of war veterans who are alive and those who passed on. This is quite an emotional issue which affects a lot of people and there is no family which did not lose or which does not have a person who participated in the liberation struggle.

          We need to work together in seeking to share ideas regarding the welfare of the children of war veterans. Indeed, a lot of Hon. Members have raised this. I am a child of a war veteran. I once spoke and said that I have been thinking and looking at the difference that was there between those who had both parents and some of us who grew up without both parents. When I go home, I am received by my children who will be happy that I am coming from work.

          Some of us did not have that privilege of meeting our parents or enjoying time with them because they had gone out. We need to work together as Zimbabweans to address the plight of widows and orphans of our war veterans who were left behind as a result of the deaths that occurred because of the liberation struggle. There are times when we hear people saying that war veterans who fought for this country are very emotional people and sometimes what happens is that when you are provoked by things that have been bothering you for a long time, you might be harsh. War veterans are sometimes ridiculed, some loved, some despised and some would say who sent them to war; they must go and tie it wherever it was tied to by colonisers.

          This is emotional to us and it reminds me of where we are coming from for some of us who grew up without our fathers. The issue which was moved by Hon. Nguluvhe that the children of war veterans and their beneficiaries should be considered in things like land redistribution and other benefits,  is because they were left behind since they did not have both parents. I will use a Shona idiom which implies that the good health and the lifestyles that we have as Zimbabweans, and given the opportunity to participate in politics in whichever political party, came as a result of the sacrifice of our war veterans who sacrificed so that we get independence.

          In English, they say and I quote, “musicians are the only prophets that never lied, and everything that they have said have come to pass”. The late Cde. Chimbetu sang that it is only the brave who went to war.  There was no incentive for crossing the border going to Mozambique.  People were inspired by the spirit of Murenga and also by the desire to bring independence.  The artist also said for us not to forget Jojo Michael and brother Tanyanyiwa who were inspired and who went to the war to fight for independence.  I remember my father told me that the first job that he did was plumbing and being a groundsman in order to raise money for bus fare so he could join his colleagues.  His first salary, he went to different shops in the city and bought shoes while others used their money because they had passion for setting Zimbabwe free from colonialists.

          I believe that this issue should be supported by all actors from different political parties because there is no family which does not have a family member who participated in the war of the liberation struggle.  We need to work together to better the lives of our war veterans and their children.  I also believe that the other challenges that we meet are because of the anger of those who passed on, sometimes they might be saying that we are neglecting their orphans and their widows – some were affected by the war, some were maimed and some were walking long distances without bus fare.  There is an opportunity which will culminate in them being given certificates which show that this is a war veteran who fought for the Independence of Zimbabwe because they are old. 

I propose that they board buses for free because they already paid by their sacrifice.  When they go to the banks, they must be given the opportunity.  There is this English adage which says, ‘A common place,  poor and rich people meet, but for different reasons’ - whilst a rich person gets in the bank to get the money to go and invest and the poor only get in there to save.’  They do not get the opportunity to go and start their own businesses because they do not have collateral.  I believe that the collateral they have is proof enough.  The evidence that they went to war and they gave us the opportunity to partake in businesses in an independent country - when they go to the banks, they must get assistance.  Indeed, it might be a small amount but they must not be asked so many questions which raise tempers and emotions because they did not have the opportunity to create their own wealth and to go to school because they fought for the liberation of this nation. 

          It is good to live in an independence country.  I once said before in a similar issue when we looked at the budget that they should be a bigger allocation to ministries which look at the welfare and the security of the set because the lack of threats to national security means there is security not going to reclaim our sovereignty. 

 I believe that they should also be prioritised.  Let me conclude by saying that when we are genuine indeed that we are independent having received our independence from those who had colonised us, let us thank our war veterans by tangible things.  Some of them are grown up and they have a few days or years left in their lives. 

          At one point, I was angry looking at the time my parents passed on and what they owned.  I saw that indeed this man died but if he was alive, he would be complaining. I believe that children of war veterans and our war veterans should be the first to benefit from land re-distribution because this is the land they fought for.  They should be given the priority.  We grew up knowing that whatever resources sometimes consumed by those who will be working to produce such resources.  In the same vein, we need to bring these families together so that we eat together and partake of whatever benefits together.  I believe that my views will be used.  I thank you.

HON. BONDA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, for allowing me this opportunity to debate on the motion on the petition from the children of the war veterans and heroes.  Firstly, I just want to dwell much on the motivation side that motivated the gallant children of Zimbabwe to take up the weapons and go to war.  It was a motivation that was a very good one in the sense that everybody when they left home going to the neighbouring countries to take up arms, we were promised that and the children of war veterans were supposed to benefit from the parents who were promised that the land will flow with milk and honey.  Mainly, what they went out to fight for was the rule of law and the just atmosphere or environment. 

          Most of these children are not actually educated because the parents left to take up arms. Some of the parents were not educated and when they came back home, they came back uneducated and were unable to support their children in as far as education is concerned. When they came back from war, the gallant sons of the soil of Zimbabwe, expected to get land and mechanisation to till land and allow the milk and honey to flow but unfortunately, it is out of reach for them, their children and their generations to come.

          Some got fertile land as we know, but most are in the arid areas always hit by drought year in year out. Poverty is passed from one generation to another. No land entitlement was given to the gallant sons and those who managed to come back.  In some areas they are moved, paving way to some developments leaving them poorer without land. I will take, for example, the areas like Chilonga and Hwange where they are actually being moved from one point to another paving way for the miners and the farmers in Chilonga.

          All this occurring, they failed dismally to educate their children. In some cases, some of these children never got any chance to see their parents who left for training in neighbouring countries but never come back. All this happening, some of the children never got their birth rights, here I am talking of even birth certificates, and some of them do not have.  For such kids to fend for themselves without equipment needed in the world, which is education, it is quite a difficult one.

They do not have any education whatsoever because they did not inherit anything that could actually make them get some better education to be better people in the country. Whilst we go down checking on what is happening to the welfare of the children of the War Veterans, they do not have land as their parents settled in resettlement schemes where stands are audited and only original stands stay put. We have seen this happening in the previous months whereby if a son of a war veteran decides to come back home, build a home or get a stand next to his parents, they actually met some kind of difficulties to build or to increase the number of the stands in those resettlements.

          It is so sad that most of them will not inherit anything as most of their parents are leaving nothing behind to alleviate their plight but actually, they are exacerbating poverty to these children who at times pay expensive bills for their parents which is supposed to be catered for by the Government.  Let us, as the House, assist the children of the war veterans who are crying in the wilderness seeking some kind of help. Those who lost parents in the war do need to re-bury their parents in a dignified way to actually get closure.

As I round up, the process of exhuming and according proper burial has taken too long. The children should be supported by the Government and projects availed as well as scholarships so that they can manage to fend for themselves. Also the exhumation and re-burial will actually bring closure to the parents so that they get to know.  As you know in our culture, we really need to know who our ancestors are and at times there is our culture that sometimes we need to visit burial places of our ancestors.  It is actually a sorry state for these children of war veterans who do not even know where their parents are buried. Thank you Madam Speaker.  I have added enough flesh to this debate that was raised by Hon. Nguluvhe.

          *HON. SHONGEDZA:  Thank you Madam Speaker for giving me this opportunity to support the motion which was moved by Hon. Nguluvhe, seconded by Hon. Kaitano. After receiving a letter from the children of war veterans raising their concerns. Let me take us back a bit to say that the war was painful. In 1974 when I went to war as a young girl, five grains of maize were allocated to you and you would eat them until the following day and you could not tell anyone or ask anyone. The war that was fought by war veterans was painful.

          After independence when I was bathing, my daughter got into the bathroom and saw a big wound and she asked what happened to my leg. I said I was injured in Mozambique so she said some people are enjoying your sweat and your blood whilst some are suffering and this affected me, it really touched me. This prompted the children of war veterans to write expressing their plight and indeed it was not easy, the war was very painful. I remember one other year, I do not know why they were saying, endai munodzorera kwamakatora nyika, this statement hurts and sometimes I wonder whether this is a person who really cares whilst some sacrificed their lives and some war veterans do not have arms, legs and some could not give birth because of the war. We went through a lot of things crossing rivers. Hon. Nguluvhe indeed raised a pertinent issue which I believe is the work of the spirit of Nehanda. The money which is being given to war veterans which was allocated to the Home Affairs Ministry should be taken to the Ministry of War Veterans.

          I appreciate the efforts of His Excellency President E. D Mnangagwa, who introduced the Ministry of War Veterans because we have a Ministry which will address our plight as war veterans and this august House should sit and agree that war veterans and their children should be prioritised. We have war collaborators who were assisting during the war and some

did not have the opportunity to see their children. Whenever my parents were asked by the Rhodesian soldiers about my whereabouts, they would say that she is not here and we do not know where she is because they were afraid of saying exactly where I had gone to.  This was because they wanted to protect their lives as a family. 

          Sometimes you find war veterans who are suffering and others who went for so many years came back suffering and are still suffering today. The 20% that is being discussed in different ministries, I believe should be allocated to the war veterans.  May war veterans be allowed to participate in different nation building programmes? 

          Madam Speaker Ma’am, this is quite an emotional issue.  Some of us grew up during the liberation struggle and did not enjoy our childhood life.  We went as children but we came back with an independent Zimbabwe and people are enjoying the fruits of Independence.  I thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.

          *THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Shongedza.  Please allow me to give Hon. Matangira an opportunity.

          *HON. MATANGIRA: Thank you so much Madam Speaker.  I stood up to add my voice to the motion – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:   Hon. Matangira, please proceed and continue to address the Chair.

          *HON. MATANGIRA:  Thank you so much.  Thank you for the protection Madam Speaker Ma’am.  I want to add my voice to this quite pertinent issue that affects everyone and the prophecy which was said by Mbuya Nehanda that my bones will rise again.  Indeed, they rose like during Ezekiel’s time. The war was waged, we got our independence and everyone was so happy.

We enjoyed the benefits of independence and forgot - the bones rose again reminding us, how come you have forgotten?  This was done during the petition that was generated by the children of the war veterans.  This also encompasses those who participated in different ways like war collaborators.  Today, we are debating about the issue.

Hon. Speaker Ma’am, we may differ in terms of ideology but we are looking at this reality.  This is not just an issue which can just be debated but because the issue is in Parliament, we are debating it.  It is not surprising that war veterans should benefit from what they deserve.  The world-over, there are revolutionary wars that were fought and participants in different wars are being compensated and this is cascaded down to their children and grandchildren. 

When we refer to the Bible, we find that there are families of the Levites.  Levites bore Levites and this continued from one generation to the other.  The war veterans of Zimbabwe are like Levites who sacrificed their lives, and their families.  Their children should benefit from what they deserve.  How can we do this?  I believe that this is what we should do.

Zimbabwe is independent and we need to go back to the drawing board looking at what led to the war.  We fought for our land and war veterans should be getting their allocations.  If it is a beast that is being slaughtered, then we should consider which part should be allocated to them. This is a country that attained its independence through a protracted war.  War veterans are the people who are suffering the most and should benefit from the land but they are suffering in a land of their forefathers. 

This is a legislature.  We need to enact laws that state that those who mine in our country should allocate a certain percentage to war veterans.  When they extract different special minerals, then a percentage should be allocated to war veterans and their families – whether it is lithium, diamonds, coal or oil, they should be given their allocation because this is what they fought for.  It is not proper for people who are coming from outside to benefit whilst they are suffering.  As Parliament, we need to agree on what to do concerning the war veterans issue.  Let us agree, there was no ‘one man, one vote’, and there was no black man who was allowed to be a Member of Parliament without selling out but we are here in this august House to enact laws in a democratic manner where everyone is free to voice their thoughts.

          Madam Speaker Ma’am, what pains me is that those who fought for this country are now on pension and what are they being paid for? It is for an independent Zimbabwe.  There are some people here who say, ‘it does not matter, we can take the country back to the colonisers and set it free again’.  Is that so?

It is not easy Madam Speaker Ma’am that after God had sent the Israelites to spend 40 years in the wilderness, just like our war veterans  spent so many years in the bush fighting for independence, then you hear someone uttering such a statement.  We do not use vulgar language in this House, but we say, ‘ask yourself, what should we give to these war veterans and their children?’ 

The children spoke about their heritage, their fathers perished in the war, and some came back with different ailments…

*HON. HAMAUSWA: Madam Speaker Ma’am, there is a bad habit which is happening in this august House whereby Hon. Members are raising issues which are insulting and derogatory to others

*THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. TSITSI ZHOU): Order Hon. Hamauswa

*HON. HAMAUSWA: I have not finished speaking Madam Speaker.  Are you happy that people are being insulted?

*THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, Hon. Hamauswa.  Let me say that everyone in this august House is allowed to debate, so you are allowed to see your Chief Whip for you to debate.

HON. MATANGIRA: Thank you, Madam Speaker.  Let me shorten my contribution.  I wanted to say that we have raised this issue and I believe that different Members of this House are hearing what we are saying.  A hatchling of a snake moves along the same way as the snake itself.  So the children of the war veterans should be given what they deserve.  Let us give them their heritage.  I thank you.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Let me remind this House that when a motion is raised, there are issues or prayers which are in line with the motion.  So, let us not digress from those.

*HON. MAJAYA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am for giving me this opportunity to add my voice to the motion which was raised by Hon. Nguluvhe after a petition which was brought in by War Veterans.

Madam Speaker Ma’am, I believe that there should be a database for war veterans.  If this was done after independence then we would be in a better position.

The children of war veterans only benefited when their parents were given the $50 000 allocation in 1997.  It is not every war veteran who was given that package because vetting is still ongoing and they do not have anything, which means that their families are suffering.  Their children do not have money to go to school.  I believe that this is the Government's responsibility to cater to their children’s education even if it means putting those children on the BEAM programme that would make sense. 

Children of war veterans and their parents sometimes fall sick in the rural areas and end up going to traditional healers because they do not have medical aid, nor do they have funeral policies.  When they die, they are given a pauper’s burial, some just receive contributions and are buried in a makeshift coffin. 

War veterans do not have farming implements. If they had implements, then they would be able to fend for their children. They also do not have income-generating projects which give them money for sustenance so the Government should consider introducing income-generating projects for them because their plight is touching. Their living standards do not portray them as people who fought for the independence of this country.  So the Government remembers the war veterans and looks into their welfare because they brought freedom to Zimbabwe.  War veterans look like paupers and they are poor.  I thank you.

*HON. ZVAIPA: On a point of order! I am kindly requesting for this lady who was debating to be accorded more time.

          *THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: The Honourable who was debating’s name is Hon. Zvaipa? To start with, this august House does not have mothers, it has Hon. Members and also the Honourable who was debating debated up to the point when she said she is done.  

HON. KANAGAUSARU: Hon. Madam Speaker, thank you for giving me this opportunity today to add my voice on the motion in support of the petition submitted by the Children of War Veterans and Heroes Dependents through Hon. Nguluvhe, seconded by Hon. Kaitano.

The matter is of greater importance and requires urgent attention of this august House. The petitioners have raised several critical issues that deserve our consideration and action.  Firstly, they have rightly pointed out the need to amend the definition of dependent in the Veteran of the Liberation Struggle Act [Chapter 17:12].  The current definition which limits dependents to the children under the age of 18 is far too restrictive.  Many children of war veterans require educational assistance beyond the age of 18, particularly for higher and tertiary education. By maintaining this narrow definition, we are failing to adequately support the educational needs of this important group.

Madam Speaker, education is a fundamental right and a critical path way to economic empowerment.  The children of our liberation war veterans should not be denied the right simply because they have reached the age of 18. We have a moral and constitutional obligation to ensure that the benefits and the recognition afforded to our war veterans are extended to their dependents regardless of their age.  Amending the Act to broaden the definition of dependents would go a long way in addressing this injustice.

Secondly Madam Speaker, the petitioners proposed that the Act be amended to include a provision on respecting, honoring and recognising the veterans of the liberation struggle.  This is a valid and important request.  Our war veterans sacrificed immensely for the freedom and independence we enjoy today.  It is only fitting that the contribution enshrined in the law that they be accorded the utmost respect and recognition by the State and the people of Zimbabwe.

The neglect and marginalisation of war veterans is a stain on our national conscience.  By incorporating provisions on respect, honour and recognition into the Act, we can begin to rectify this historical wrong and ensure that war veterans and their families are treated with dignity, integrity, sincerity, honesty and are given the appreciation they deserve.  Madam Speaker if you do not have a history…

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Order Hon. Kangausaru.  The Hon. Member who has just walked in, you should be aware that you are not allowed to walk in front of an Hon. Member who is on the floor.

HON. MUTIMBANYOKA:  My apologies Madam Speaker. 

HON. KANGAUSARU:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  Without history you cannot have a story.  Our history speaks for itself, but we see most of our children saying, kana makasunungura nyika endai munoyisungirira tigoisunungura isu because they do not know the story that when you have walked a certain path, you cannot walk it twice like in our liberation.  No one wants to go back there.  No one would like to go back there.

It reminds me of a story, Madam Speaker, of a small boy who was going to school with his friends and they were laughing at him saying your mother is ugly.  Look at her face, it is so disfigured.  The boy sat there wondering.  Day after day they would laugh at him in school and one day the young man took the guts and asked his mother what happened for her to be so ugly.  The mother was surprised.  She said come here my son.  Sit down here and let me tell you a story of what happened so that you can know.

She said that once upon a time, you were in the hut and the hut was burning.  As it was burning, my family said to me, sister the child is gone and the hut is burning.  There is no need for you to go and help your child.  The mother said to the boy, I took a wet blanket.  I covered myself and ran into the hut.  I covered you in the flame of the fire and when I came out, I was no longer protected.  I was protecting you and I was burnt severely.  That is why you see I am so ugly.  The boy understood from there.  When they went to school and his friends said your mother is ugly, he said I do not care because I know where I came from.  I know who I am.  I am what I am because my mother sacrificed for me. 

That was the story Madam Speaker that we need to know ourselves, that our history speaks of itself and that there are people who have sacrificed their lives.  I have heard the previous speaker saying that she showed her child a part of my body that was the sacrifice that was done.  I can tell you as a war collaborator myself, I know where I am coming from.  I know what happens.  I have people, I have my nephew who is also sleeping now and did not benefit from this country because he died, but his children are there.  People like Charlse Ziwome Kangausaru who is sleeping, but his children are struggling.  They cannot even go to school.  They did not go to school because their father was in the war.

Furthermore, Madam Speaker, the petitioners have called upon the Parliament to exercise its constitutional oversight role to ensure that the rights and the benefit of our war veterans are upheld.  This is a critical function of Parliament and one that we must take seriously.  We cannot allow the constitutional rights of our war veterans and their dependents to be violated and to be neglected.  It is our duty as law makers to hold the Executive accountable and to ensure that the provisions of the Act are fully implemented and are respected. 

Finally Madam Speaker, the petitioners have raised the issue of the eviction of heroes’ dependents from allocated land in the farms.  That is a deep concerning matter that requires immediate attention.  Our war veterans and families have sacrificed immensely for this country and they deserve secure access to land and other resources.  The evictions of heroes and their dependents is not only a gross injustice, but also undermines the very principle of our liberation struggle.

Madam Speaker, I urge this House to take a decisive action in support of the petitioner’s demands.  The time has come to arm the Veterans of Liberation Act to enshrine respect and recognition of our war veterans and to strengthen Parliament’s oversight role in ensuring the implementation of this critical legislation.  Furthermore, we must hold the eviction of heroes’ dependents and ensure their rights to land and other resources are protected.  Our war veterans and their families deserve nothing less than a house to stay with their children and their dependents, and I call upon Members of this House to stand with the Children of War Veterans and Heroes Dependents Forum and to work tirelessly to address the issues raised in this petition.  The future of our nation depends on it.  I thank you Madam Speaker.

*HON. NYAKUYEDZWA:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  I would like to air my views on the issue on the table which was raised by Hon. Nguluvhe.  Madam Speaker if we revert to the liberation struggle, we will take our thoughts deep down because during that time in this country there was no peace.

So the issue on the table is a very important issue which was raised by the children of these war veterans.  It is very important because they deserve to be earning something to applause or to appreciate the big duties which were taken by their parents.  Madam Speaker, I agree with all the people who were debating before and those who just debated today.  Even those from the opposition and those from the ruling party side are all in agreement to say the peace came after the liberation struggle.

Honestly speaking, we have to respect all those war veterans to an extent that whenever they feel sick, they have to be attended to in hospitals free of charge.  They must be offered free stands in urban areas.  Those who want to do farming should be offered farms and the inputs.

          *HON. NYAKUEDZWA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am and good afternoon. I would like to air my views on the issue which was raised by Hon. Nguluvhe. If we revert to the liberation struggle, we take our thoughts deep down because during that time, there was no peace in this country.  The issue is very important that the children of war veterans deserve to be earning something in appreciation of the work that was taken by their parents.

I agree with all the people who were debating before and those who just debated today. Even those from the Opposition and those from the Ruling Party, we are all in agreement to say peace came after the liberation struggle. We have to respect all those war veterans to an extent that whenever they feel sick, they have to be treated free of charge in all hospitals. They must be offered free stands in urban areas. Those who want to do farming should be offered farms and inputs.

Some people say during the liberation struggle, we used to prepare food for these war veterans and others would say we are the chimbwidos and others were calling themselves the mujibhas. I was born after the liberation struggle had already started. I asked myself as to who I am. I remembered that when my father went to fight for the liberation struggle, he had me with him. So, I call myself a war veteran because during the liberation struggle, I was still in my father’s body.

So, we need to get our share as children of those war veterans. I heard other people saying they are war veterans, whenever they think they liberated this country, let them take it back to those colonisers and we will liberate it ourselves. I strongly say no, those are just day dreamers. They must only remember that war veterans are very important. If you see anyone underrating these war veterans and their children, for example to me, it is an impossible task to them. Let us also respect these war veterans and their children.

In this country, just like what His Excellency usually says, Nyika inovakwa nevene vayo. I am kindly asking those who are on my right side, the Opposition and the Ruling Party, let us unite and have the same mindset to say let us protect and safeguard our country. Let us have a policy or a law that ensures that children of war veterans get payments or rewards from the country at large. Hon. Members are receiving vehicles for us to move from point A to point B. So, let us altogether respect the war veterans who are alive even those who passed during the liberation struggle to ensure that their children are given tokens of appreciation because their parents fought for this country.

They fought peacefully without any reward. They went there on their on free will to fight so that we are liberated as a country. All those chiefs and headmen in various areas were given back their traditional territories to rule. It is important for us to ensure that children of war veterans, on any educational level, are assisted. They have to be educated up to  university level free of charge. They must be assisted as well in a year like this one where we experienced drought. They must be given food aid free of charge, and not be vetted to say you earn a lot, no, we need only to give them since we have their parents who worked for free without any payment.

 Madam Speaker Ma’am, I agree with you to say everybody in here has a relative who died during the liberation struggle. By so doing, I would like to say, an issue like this one should be taken seriously and with much respect. Let us all respect those liberators and their families. A peaceful nation is a good nation for everyone to live in. In a peaceful country, you can do anything that makes you happy in your motherland.

 So, this country of ours is a democratic nation where you are allowed to do whatever you feel like doing as long as it does not offend or affect someone else. I would kindly say, these youngsters of ours just like myself, men so kind. I think you agree with me that men like us are so kind. We can even offer transport to a female along the road…- [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]-

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, Hon. Nyakuedzwa.

HON. NYAKUEDZWA: Thank you for your protection Hon. Speaker Ma’am. I was saying men are so generous to an extent of transporting ladies free of charge. We have other relatives of ours, War Veterans who passed on during the liberation struggle in various areas but we have others who do not look at the history of this country.  We have Hon. Members just like Hon. Brian James…

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. TSITSI ZHOU): Can I please request you to withdraw that statement – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

          *HON. NYAKUEDZWA: My apologies Madam Speaker Ma’am – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, order Hon. Members. Withdraw your statement Hon. Nyakuedzwa.

          *HON. NYAKUEDZWA: I withdraw Madam Speaker Ma’am.

          *THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: You can proceed Hon. Member without mentioning other people’s names.

          HON. TSVANGIRAI: The Hon. Member who spoke just now simply said I withdraw.  What is it that he is withdrawing? – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – He has to withdraw what he said.

          *THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, Order. I kindly asked him to go back and withdraw what he said.  He has withdrawn.  Hon. Nyakuedzwa can you proceed?

          *HON. NYAKUEDZWA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.  Without wasting much time, I would like to thank you for the time you gave me to debate and support what was said.  Let us all give enough respect to children of war veterans.  This is an issue that we, as a country, have got to agree to.  They must be given whatever they want because in our country we have peace and it also helps us concerning those who are abusing drugs and the like.  They must be taken off substance abuse so that they have a bright future.  I thank you.

          *HON. MAKUMIRE: Thank you so much for the time have given to me.  The issue was put before us by Hon. Nguluvhe.  I am kindly supporting that.  Children of those war veterans should be heard. 

Without saying much about the children, I know that for the children to be there, it started from the parents.  The parents went and fought the war of liberation to ensure that our country is free.  We are all here because of the blood which was spilt.  We are all here because there are other people who became disabled during the liberation struggle for us to be independent. 

          Our intention was that these children of war veterans do not continue bringing grievances here but for their issues to be resolved once and for all.  It also hurts us if we hear that war veterans have been arrested and taken into prisons.  It once happened in August 2021.  War veterans were taken into custody after they had brought a grievance, to say kindly improve our welfare and they were taken into prison.  On this issue – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

          *THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: May you kindly allow Hon. Makumire to debate in peace.  Do not shout while he is still debating.  Go ahead Hon. Member.

          *HON. MAKUMIRE: Thank you Hon. Speaker.  This issue did not go down well with us as children of war veterans.  If I think of this issue, I will end up crying – [Laughter.] -

          *THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: I think you mentioned something that is quite interesting that is why people are laughing.

          HON. MAKOPE:  I think the Hon. Member is debating what is not on the prayer of the motion.  In the motion, there is nothing of the arrest and we do not even have that case in Zimbabwe.  If we have it, we have to prove it.  I think the Hon. Member should debate the prayer of the motion – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] –

          *THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Order, Hon. Makumire please go ahead.   

          *HON. MAKUMIRE: Thank you Madam Speaker for protecting me.  If I recall the issue of war veterans, it reminds me of the poem which was done by the late Cde Muzenda.  May his soul rest in peace.  He was the Vice President of the country – his poem was entitled ‘Nehanda Nyakasikana’.  In this poem, he asked a question at the end of each verse. He would say ‘kuchazovei vanyai tichitambura’

          HON. MAPFUMO: On a point of order.  My apologies for interrupting this very good debate.  May the IT please adjust the sound system?  It is really affecting our ears. 

          *THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  I did not get your point of order.

          *HON. MAPFUMO:  I am sorry Madam Speaker Sir.  I do not know whether it is a point of order or not but I was asking the IT department to adjust the sound system, it is affecting us.

          *THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Sorry Hon. Member, there was information that we got from the ICT about the use of the microphone.  They said if two microphones are on at the same time, then there is bound to be echoes.  I did not understand what you were saying.  May you say it again?

*HON. MAPFUMO:  What you have just said is exactly what I was saying.  I was simply saying the microphones are bringing out some echoes.  Other Hon. Members are saying the air conditioning temperature is too hot in here.  May it be kindly adjusted so that we do not sleep in the House.     

*THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Sorry Hon. Member, the IT Department informed us that when two microphones are switched on at the same time, we will experience some echoes.  So, I did not get what you were saying.  Can you please repeat what you have just said – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] – Order Hon. Members!

*HON. MAPFUMO: Thank you Madam Speaker, the issue that you have just alluded to is exactly what I wanted to say that we are experiencing some echoes. Some are also complaining of heat in this House.

*THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: I am kindly asking the personnel responsible to look into that issue because this might cause people to sleep.  I think I agree with the same sentiments that you have just said.

*HON. MAKUMIRE: I thank you Madam Speaker.  The yesteryear Vice President of the country in his poem asked questions, ‘kunozoveiko isu vanyai tichitambudzika, kunozova rini varwi verusununguko vachitambudzika. Up to when Hon. Speaker will our children continue to suffer?  He continued to show grief in his poem asking questions that when will we be rich as sons and daughters of Zimbabwe?  Those are the same questions that are being asked by our liberators, together with their children and grandchildren.

They are crying that those children that you blessed us with, who are our future generation, are also crying in their own mother land.  The people of Zimbabwe are not happy Hon. Speaker.  The war liberators are not happy, what is happening?  The wealth of our country is not being shared equally.   No one looks at the welfare of the liberation war collaborators or their children. This is not a good situation Hon. Speaker. Those war liberators suffered so much, they must not continue to beg from us their children whilst some are feasting.

The previous Vice President in his cry also mentioned that they do not have enough land.  The children of war liberators do not have land to mine.  Our minerals are being mined by outsiders, people who do not come from Zimbabwe.  They are the ones who mine our minerals and take them out of the country.  We as grandchildren and children of war collaborators do not have gonyetis that can transport lithium.  They do everything for themselves and the children of war collaborators do not have anything.  This hurts me. They shared the wealth of this country amongst themselves when others are suffering. 

*HON. NYABANI: On a point of order Madam Speaker!

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: What is your point of order?

*HON. NYABANI: My point of order is that he must speak on a low voice because our ears are hurting – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

*THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order! Can we have order?  Hon. Nyabani, I was being handed a paper concerning our sound system. I did not get what you were saying.  Please repeat.

*HON. NYABANI: Yes, the Hon. Member is debating, but I am concerned about the loudness of his voice.  Can he please adjust his voice?

*THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: I thank you Hon. Nyabani.Like I said there is communication going on with myself and the ICT personnel.   As it is right now though we are experiencing problems, we must also try to speak with low voices because if we speak with loud voices, people might fail to understand our debates.

An Hon. Member having mistakenly switched on her microphone.

*THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order! Those Hon. Members whose microphones are on, please switch off your microphones.

*HON. MAKUMIRE: Thank you Madam Speaker.  The yesteryear Vice President said that they share the wealth of this country amongst themselves.  In some families, they will be 12 members and each of them will be owning a farm whilst other households do not even have a single farm.

*HON. MAKUMBE: Hon. Speaker, the poet is speaking on the oppression of the country of Zimbabwe by the whites and those who go to the white people so that our country remains oppressed.  The one word that has been said by the poet is that there are people who go outside to ask for sanctions to be placed against their own country.

HON. HAMAUSWA: On a point of order.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: What is your point of order? You cannot raise a point of order on another point of order.

HON. HAMAUSWA: Yes, because that is a point of madness.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: You cannot raise a point of order on another point of order.

HON. HAMAUSWA: It is not a point of order; it is a point of madness.

          *THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Order, order Hon. Hamauswa – [HON. HAMAUSWA: It is unfair! It is unfair!] – I will give you an opportunity to speak.  It will not end well if you give yourself the opportunity.  Order, order Hon. Hamauswa, please take your seat! Sit down Hon. Hamauswa!   My comment was, and I remember saying this before while Hon. Matangira was debating, to say let us go along the prayer that was written by children of war veterans.  I said the same to Hon. Makumire.  Let us give him time to proceed. 

          HON. MAKUMIRE: Hon. Speaker … - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-

          Several Hon. Members having switched on their mics to raise points of order.

          *THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  I would like to thank you, you all want to speak at the same time but in this august House, we only allow one speaker at a time.  Kindly sit down, Hon. Makumire.

          HON. MAKUMBE:  On a point of order Madam Speaker!

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  What is your point of order Hon. Member?

          *HON. MAKUMBE:   Thank you.  My point of order is, can we have the Hon. Member who said point of madness withdraw his statement?

          *THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:   The Hon. Member who said point of madness, I have cautioned him to behave. Let us all allow Hon. Makumire to proceed. 

          *HON. MAKUMIRE:   Thank you very much Madam Speaker Ma’am.  In this poem, the writer used to pinpoint on the oppression that used to happen before the independence of this country.  All the things that used to happen, it shows we still have all those irregularities as we speak. 

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Hon. Makumire, please proceed.

          *HON. MAKUMIRE:  Today, they are enjoying the wealth of the country while we are suffering.  The war veterans are struggling Madam Speaker Ma’am while others are enjoying the juiciest fruits of the struggle.  Only the few are enjoying but most of the war veterans, their children and their grandchildren are suffering.  It must not be like that. Let us remember all these people who worked hard for our liberation. 

          *THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Hon. Makumire, you are left with one minute.

          *HON. MAKUMIRE:  Madam Speaker Ma’am, my time was reduced because of the irregularities that were happening here.  Kindly accord me a few more minutes so that I can complete my debate.  – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]-

          Several Hon. Members having switched on their mics to support Hon. Makumire’s request.

          *THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  What is happening?  This august House has procedures?  Who seconds? – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Who objects? – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

          HON. MADZIVANYIKA: On a point of order Hon. Speaker!

          *THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  I am being advised that you cannot request for your own extension of time Hon. Makumire.

          HON. MADZIVANYIKA:  On a point of order Madam Speaker.

          *THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  You can go ahead.

          *HON. MADZIVANYIKA:  Madam Speaker Ma’am, I have one challenge that I observed. 

          *THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  I thought you wanted to speak along the same issue on the table. If you want to ask for the extension of Hon. Makumire’s time, I am going to allow that.

          *HON. MADZIVANYIKA: That is what I want to say Madam Speaker Ma’am.  Kindly accord more time for these other Hon. Members because our Clerks-at-the-Table are only keeping time this side and not on the other side.

          *THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Order, Hon. Madzivanyika. These time keepers simply tell us the permissible time for debate.    In this House, we have procedures.  Thank you.

          Hon. Madzivanyika has requested that Hon. Makumire’s time be extended.  Is there any seconder?  Are there any objections?  I will now ask Hon. Sithole to debate. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Order, order Hon. Madzivanyika! Hon. Madzivanyika order!

          HON. S. SITHOLE:  Thank you Madam Speaker for the opportunity to debate on this motion that was tabled by Hon. Nguluvhe, seconded by Hon. Kaitano on children of war veterans’ economic development which includes their forebearers.

          Madam Speaker, this petition and motion is not a demand but a right.  I want to impress on Hon. Members that I think we are all moving on the same track.  The land issue that was presented by the petitioners, I think His Excellency has established a Ministry of Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Affairs that will cater for the welfare of war veterans and their children.  Madam Speaker, this is the right time because we are now using our own currency that is backed by our gold.  Some people may say, why did they not do it back then and whatsoever?  This is the right time.  This is why we say our Presidium is moving with God.

          The land issue, Madam Speaker, we can say war veterans were supposed to - yes, they were supposed to have their 20%.  When you give someone land without equipment, it is nothing and when you give someone land with equipment like tractors, he sells the tractor.

 I am saying this is the right time because the war veterans now have a Ministry that will go around ascertaining the requirements of individual war veterans, be it tractors, chickens, pigs or cattle.  We cannot just say, take the tractors because you have a farm but come end of day, we will be crying again.

The petitioners have brought their issue of being moved from their land by some workers around the Ministry. We are debating here - yesterday morning on the 0600hrs news bulletin, the Commissioner of War Veterans was alluding that all Sections are there, what is needed is only the amendments.   For us as Committee members of Defence and Security, we went outside for verification of that petition, and we brought it in.  So what is needed is for all of us to come together as Members of Parliament to just buttress and make amendment Bills.

          In the health sector, they have said what they said, they need free medication whilst we are not supposed to even build their hospitals.  The army is there, they have some hospitals and clinics, we have somewhere even when they are based somewhere in plateaus or sections, we call medics and they are always there.  War Veterans just go there with their cards and say I am in the army, for example in Mbalabala.  War Veterans are in Filabusi, Umzingwani - they can go to Mbalabala for free treatment.  Here they can go to Tongogara Barracks for free, that is my view.

          On the issue of the burial of War Veterans, all these chapters and sections are there for us just to amend and bring it here to pass because they are supposed to be buried decently.  It is that which they fought for, it is not a demand but it is what they have fought for.

          Madam Speaker, on job opportunities, there are some retired and some are there, they can qualify either at DDC positions or by the offices either to secure these criminal issues around, the ministries and some parastatals where there are boards.  They are supposed to be recommended there, even their children are supposed to be recommended there.  In the army, in terms of job opportunities, they should be accepted.

          You know education sometimes is a culture…

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, order! Hon. Hlatywayo, Hon. Hadebe, and Hon. Madzivanyika, please behave like Hon. Members.

          *HON. MAMBIPIRI:  Thank you, Madam Speaker. The prayer of the motion here is focusing on the children…

          *THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Member.  Kindly submit your name to the Chief Whip and debate when your time comes.

          HON. S. SITHOLE: Thank you, Madam Speaker.  I know that when we are debating issues like these, some were killed during the war because of being ‘sellouts’.  So that spirit is coming, you want to go the way where the grandfather and the fathers go.  We know, so be very careful…

          *HON. MAKUMIRE: On a point of order! Thank you, Madam Speaker.  The word ‘sellout’ is not good when we are debating as Hon. Members in this House.

          *THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Makumire you were given your time and you debated, so let us allow Hon. Sithole to proceed with his debate.

          HON. S. SITHOLE: Thank you for the protection from the other vultures who want to eat me whilst I am alive.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, order! Hon. Sithole, proceed.

          HON. S. SITHOLE:  Thank you Madam Speaker, the issue we are debating here is a very critical and serious issue. We are debating about people who made us all to be here. I am debating this and I am in the Committee of Defence.

Madam Speaker, I think all of us here are debating the same thing. The souls and the spirits of our fellow comrades are looking down on us because some are benefiting because of them. There are thousands of them who died because of the Smith regime, both outside the country and inside the country.  They are in shallow graves.  Those who are here, it is just by luck, so you must respect that.

On the issue of children of war veterans, Madam Speaker, education is very important.  Madam Speaker, in this 10th Parliament we, the Defence Committee and the Parliament here are supposed to see that if we never do anything for the children of war veterans, our generations will pass. When our generation passes, the whites will take their chance.  So we want to make Bills and Acts which will protect our young generation forever. We do not want to debate again on war veteran issues.  We are supposed to deal with war veteran issues once and for all in this 10th Parliament.  Do all the amendments and come to the Parliament and pass them. If we do not do that, the burden will be on us as a Committee and as a Parliament.  The burden will be on us from God also and those who died for this country.

Madam Speaker, the Ministry of War Veterans of Liberation Struggle must take a stance to pay those who are vetted war collaborators, which will be the first phase and then go to the next phase.  From that phase, we go to another phase to try and vet the relatives of those who were left in the bush.   Not to say we want to vet everybody and then pay them.  No, let us pay them now.  Let us deal with those vetted and bring another phase.

That is my contribution, Madam Speaker.  My prayer is that this petition and this motion be adopted.  My thinking and my prayer is that this motion was supposed to have been adopted like yesterday.  Then as a Committee, we make the Minister do those amendments, bring them and pass them in this Parliament because even the issue of land, we have the Chairman of lands, with the issue of mines, we have the Chairman of mines.  So we, as Parliament, as Committees, are supposed to push the Ministries.  May God bless them and may their souls rest in peace.  Thank you.

          HON. NGULUVHE: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. I move that the debate do now adjourned.

          HON. S. SITHOLE: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Tuesday, 2nd July, 2024.

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER

NON-ADVERSE REPORTS RECEIVED FROM THE PARLIAMENTARY LEGAL COMMITTEE

          THE TEMPORARYSPEAKER:  I wish to inform the House that I have received a non-adverse report from the Parliamentary Legal Committee on the Persons with Disabilities Bill [H. B. 2, 2024].       

I also wish to inform the House that I have received a second non-adverse report from the Parliamentary Legal Committee on the Parks and Wildlife Amendment Bill [H. B. 1, 2024].  I thank you.

MINISTERIAL STATEMENT

MEASURES TO REDUCE ROAD TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS

          THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA):  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. On Tuesday, 12th June, 2024, Hon. Tafanana Zhou requested that I deliver a ministerial statement on road traffic accidents which have become rampant in the past few weeks. Resultantly, I was requested by the Hon. Deputy Speaker to deliver a ministerial statement on road traffic accidents. This of course, calls for me to address this august House on measures my Ministry is undertaking to reduce road traffic accidents.

It is true that the rate at which we are experiencing road traffic crashes is alarming, especially along our highways. A series of accidents we witnessed last month are a cause for concern. To demonstrate the frequency, I wish to highlight the accidents which were recorded only in the past one month.

Accidents in the Past One Month:

          On June 2024, four people were killed and 24 others were severely injured near Melfort when two buses collided. One of the buses was trying to avoid colliding with an oncoming truck when it crashed with another bus. The Ministry carried out a regulatory compliance assessment of the buses and established that they were both compliant. It is however, concerning that the truck that caused this crash was unroadworthy. Consequently, the truck driver was charged with culpable homicide.

          On 12th June, 2024, seven people died and five others were injured when the right front tyre of a kombi burst and the vehicle subsequently veered off the road and hit a tree at the 120 km peg along Harare/Nyamapanda Road. Investigations have revealed that the operator was not registered and thus, the kombi was not authorised to carry passengers. The operator was charged.

          On 16th June, nine people died and 10 others were injured when a bus they were travelling in caught fire in Gandanzara, Rusape. It is also concerning to note that this vehicle was not roadworthy and unauthorised to carry passengers. As such, both the driver and operator were charged.

          On 18th June, 2024, five people died whilst 13 others were injured when a kombi was involved in a head-on-collision with a truck in Mazowe. This kombi was not compliant and as such, the operator was charged.

          It is surely saddening to note that the above mentioned five public service vehicles that were involved in road traffic crashes have claimed 26 lives and caused injuries to 56 people over a period of 13 days. Lives were lost, survivors continue to live in fear and stressful conditions as a result of the accidents. May the dear souls of those who departed rest in eternal peace.

          The sad news of these horrendous road traffic accidents usually come through when we are least expecting. Social media is always awash with the news of these accidents. As authorities entrusted with the public policy environment of road safety management, we continue to do our best to ensure that we put in place appropriate, fit for purpose administrative, regulatory and administrative measures to reduce road traffic accidents on our roads.

          I would like to commend the Ministers of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution and their provincial various accidents and disaster response mechanisms, including the Civil Protection Committees, the Transport Systems Development and Management Department in my Ministry, the Vehicle Inspection Department of the communities in which these road traffic crashed occurred and many more stakeholders for their usual swift reaction to the scenes of accidents when they happen. I also wish to express my gratitude to Hon. Members of this august House for the support and speedy reaction when such disasters strike. May that spirit prevail in our road safety stakeholders throughout the country.

  1. MEASURES AGAINST ROAD CARNAGE BY THE MINISTRY OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT

          As I have maintained in this august House, my Ministry is not aloof to the realities that we find ourselves in regarding road traffic accidents. As you may all be aware, the National Development Strategy (NDS)1 (2021-2025) envisages that by 2025, Zimbabwe should achieve high quality and efficient public transport service, leveraged by a safer, efficient, affordable, accessible and smart multi-modal transportation system, covering both the rural and urban areas, with a view to reduce road accidents and fatalities by a 25% margin per annum.

          We are building on this policy position to deliver safer roads for our people. Resultantly, to prevent further road traffic crashes and manage the prevalent risks, my Ministry has, in the short term, taken the following immediate steps:

  • My Ministry reviewed its procedures for licencing public service vehicles by streamlining the role of VID in ensuring that these vehicles meet the necessary safety standards and are fit to be driven on public roads before being licenced to carry passengers or goods. This is particularly important in promoting road safety by reducing the risk of crashes caused by faulty and unroadworthy vehicles.
  • My Ministry continuously monitors and enforces compliance of public service vehicles with regulatory requirements by ramping up monitoring of, and enforcement of traffic laws to mitigate violations.
  • My Ministry is strengthening the role of Transport Operators Association by implementing a policy directive that prescribes that every transport operator should be a member of an association of their choice, properly constituted and registered. The associations will foster self-regulation and observe a standard code of conduct that promotes road safety.
  • My Ministry drafted and sent to the Attorney General’s office for further review, a Statutory Instrument to raise the minimum age of drivers of public service vehicles such as omnibuses and commuter omnibuses of more than seven passengers from the age of 25 years to 30 years.

Programming against road carnage and promotion of road safety are a multi- stakeholder function which require a systems approach. The fight against road carnage under my Ministry is addressed under the auspices of five pillars: Road Safety Management; Safer Roads and Mobility; Safer Vehicles; Safer Road Use; and Post-Crash Response.

The value of having these pillars is only possible and achievable if Zimbabwe adopts sustainable policy, legislative, administrative and institutional review for a lasting solution to the dangers we face as a result of road carnage.

In view of the above, my Ministry is working closely with the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage in the implementation of the Integrated National Transport Management Information System. This initiative shall be anchored on digital solutions for road safety to ensure integrated e-transport enforcement mechanisms, through effective tracking of vehicles on the central vehicle tracking and monitoring centre. This will lead to the implementation of the long overdue Penalty Point System, real time detection and ticketing of violations and many more digital solutions in traffic enforcement.

          In line with these Conventions and the Second Decade of Action for Road Safety by the United Nations General Assembly (through Resolution 74/299), which declared a Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021-2030, it is a good practice to integrate and strengthen the five pillars of road safety.  In view of the foregoing and in compliance with the Road Safety Review Report launched on 12 January 2022, following technical and financial support by the United Nations Road Safety Fund, the Ministry is finding modalities of technically enhancing and financially equipping the departments responsible for Vehicle Inspection, Vehicle Registration and Licensing and Road Motor Transportation. 

          Post-Crash Management is also another crucial pillar.  We will achieve this through establishment of the Road Accident Fund (RAF) which provides for compulsory cover to all users of roads in Zimbabwe against injuries sustained or deaths arising from accidents involving motor vehicles within the borders in Zimbabwe.  I will soon table the Cabinet principles relating to the RAF.  This cover is in the form of indemnity insurance to persons who cause the accident as well as personal injury and death insurance to victims of motor vehicle accidents and their families.

          The RAF shall be responsible for:

  1. Providing appropriate cover to all road users within the borders of Zimbabwe;
  2. Rehabilitating and compensating persons injured as a result of motor vehicles in a timely and caring manner.

The RAF shall provide for two types of cover namely;

  1. personal insurance cover to accident victims or their families and;
  2. indemnity cover to wrongdoers.

Once Cabinet approves our proposals, we count on this august House to render support and expedite enactment of the law establishing the Fund.

In conclusion, road crashes are unacceptable because we all know that they are preventable and avoidable. I therefore appeal to all road users to behave responsibly on our roads. I have taken it upon myself, normally whenever I drive along the highway, if I see a speeding bus, I assure the august House that that driver will not be driving a public service vehicle again.  I have done such in a number of cases and even commuter omnibus operators but I cannot do it alone.  I humbly call this august House that if you see anyone violating the rules of the road, get the registration number: we deregister that vehicle and punish the drivers so that we take corrective measures.  

On that note, I appeal to families, individuals, institutions, private and public companies and you members of this esteemed august House to join me in fighting road carnage in our motherland.  Let us all play our part for road safety as it is everyone’s responsibility.

Together we can save thousands of lives.  Before I sit down, with your indulgence if we can observe a minute of silence to pay our respect to those who have departed because road carnage.

All Hon. Members observed a minute of silence.

*HON. P. ZHOU: I would like to thank the Minister for his report. From the onset, he has spoken very well by saying that Hon. Tafanana Zhou called for a Ministerial Statement to be made.  I should also state that the mover of the motion was Hon. Perseverance Zhou, that is the omission that I saw.  I thank you Madam Speaker. 

          *THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: It is true that the motion came about as a result of your question to the Minister on a Wednesday.  We thank you.  It was an omission on that part.  

          *HON. NYABANI: I want to support the Minister’s Ministerial Statement but I would want to show the Minister that the problem with accidents, does it arise from defective motor vehicles, human error or it is because of the road conditions.  On these roads, when you travel, buses overtake about five vehicles or overtake on a steep slope.  Most of the accidents in Zimbabwe are caused by the licencing authorities.  You observe that most of the VID officials are always arrested for corrupt activities, for issuing out driver’s licences.  Are these drivers properly licensed or they are corruptly attaining these licences through bribery? There is no competent driver who can overtake three vehicles on a steep gradient.  I thank you.

          HON. MUTOKONYI: I want to thank the Minister for the statement where he has alluded that he is going to come up with a five-pillar approach to manage various issues, including road vehicles and the manpower. 

Madam speaker, with regard to that, he also alluded to the issue of integrated transport system that will give them a real time measure.  I would want to ask the Minister, particularly on the issue of these small vehicles which have actually become normal transporters in the system.  I would suggest that given all these issues, they should also put strong measures even if they are to arrest.  We know the arrests are happening every time but they should also come up with strategies that would actually see the reduction or the removal of these vehicles in the public transport systems. A lot of accidents have also been witnessed from these vehicles.  This is where a lot of havoc and chaos is happening.

          HON.  KAPOIKILU: Thank you Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the Hon. Minister for his comprehensive statement. I would like to bring the following to the attention to the Hon. Minister. If you check our roads, most of them particularly highways, they are very narrow and the volume of traffic has increased. Most of our roads, particularly high ways have aged, they are now too old and they have potholes. I would like to urge the Minister to embark on a road dualisation programme nationwide. Half of the times when you are driving on our highways, we miss each other by an inch all the time when you are travelling. So it is dualisation which is a long-term solution to this problem. Thank you.

          HON. MUSANHI: Thank you Hon. Minister for the statement that you have just submitted. Hon. Minister, is it not that the causes of these accidents are the de-regulations that have been done on road transport, especially the public service vehicles? Before it was regulated, each bus was given a timetable and there was less competition by that time, but when this de-regulation came, it actually made a lot of competition and most of these buses - I have parked my car, especially along Bindura Road on the side when the buses where racing and I think this is all to do with the competition of trying to fight for passengers. Do you not think it is right that you regulate again? Thank you. 

HON. J. TSHUMA: Thank you very much Madam Speaker, I wanted to add on what Hon. Musanhi has said, but my addition is that I have noted when you are on the highway, you are probably travelling at 120Km/h, you find that a bus overtakes you and disappears, which clearly means that driver will be travelling at over 140 or 160km/h. I wanted to try and urge our Hon. Minister to enforce again that issue of governing the speedometers of buses to at least a maximum of 100km/h.  That could help in the recklessness that you find. Also, the Ministry must try to expediate information dissemination. At times we might want to blame bus drivers only, but have you ever noticed how ordinary  people who fail to observe rules of the road. Probably it is because most of them buy these licences. Maybe can you use media and everything to try and conscientise people to observe road rules, like for example, you have got a two lane way that is going in the same direction, then you find somebody is using the inner lane and they are driving at 40km/h  blocking traffic and creating a traffic rage. Then in that moment when people are angry, they fail to exercise due caution and accidents happen like that. Let us have people getting information and try to disseminate information through radios, social media et cetera, so that these things are tackled. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Minister, please note that most of these are suggestions and not questions after the Hon. Member has asked his point of clarity, I will allow the Hon. Minister to respond.

HON. SIHLABO: Hon. Minister, I would like to bring in an idea. We note that a lot of these accidents are caused by failing to enforce the law. Basically, most of the laws which are there should be protecting us, the Minister can do all the regulations he can, but the enforcement is our biggest problem. We have got drivers driving at 120km/h. All public service vehicle drivers know that they should not be driving at 120km /h and above, but they are doing that and no enforcement is being done. We have the pirate taxis driving on double lanes. They all know that it is wrong but even if the Minister does any other regulation, as long as enforcement is a problem, we are not going anywhere. Therefore, I urge the Minister to probably collaborate with police so that we at least first make sure that enforcement is done. If we do enforcement, half of our problems are going to be solved. I thank you.

THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): Thank you Madam Speaker, let me thank my Hon. Colleague, Hon. Members for very important suggestions and also seeking clarity on some issues and my apologies again to Hon. Madam P. Zhou – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] -

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order! Can we allow the Hon. Minister to be heard in silence?

 (HON. MHONA: I was saying I want to apologies to Hon. P. Zhou for that omission. Yes, she is the one who had started asking about the carnage on our roads and resultantly, Hon. Tafanana Zhou raised and mandated that I bring a Ministerial Statement.

Hon. Nyabani talked about causes of accidents, the reasons according to a survey, they claim that almost 97% or so are due to human error, which are true and if we would actually follow up to some of the questions and points raised by Hon. Members indeed, it is the indiscipline that we are witnessing on our roads and I once said in this august House, the Ubuntu that we used to have as Zimbabweans has disappeared where we have become so impatient and  do not tolerate one another when we are driving. We always want to be ahead of everybody and this has caused serious problems navigating our roads and indeed we used to think that they are roads but whenever we visit an accident scene, you would actually see that someone was trying to overtake where there are dual lines and you wonder what sort of a highway code that person went through.

To concur with Hon. Nyabani, in terms of regulations, yes, we must know that whenever you are given a licence to drive, it is not you who is only driving. You are also driving the next person’s car and you must show due respect for that other road user, whether a motorist or a pedestrian. I want to thank him very much for that very important question and to apologise to say that I have started responding in English. Hon. Nyabani had asked in Shona. My apology for that.

Hon. Mutokonyi, the issue of mushikashika is a worrisome development in our country. In other Western countries they have got what they call bhoda bhoda, which are motor cycles, but here we have got mushikashika, which are a menace on our roads and we have seen the lawlessness that they demonstrate where they are supposed to carry four or five passengers, you see them accommodating nine or ten and you wonder how they are fitting into that. Also, to say to the people of Zimbabwe, the life is ours and if we board such kind of mushikashika, at the end of the day you must also think of yourself, your own safety before you proceed actually board such a vehicle. However, I know that if you are under pressure and want transport, at the end of the day you are bound to be in such a vehicle. It is my humble plea to the people of Zimbabwe to work closely so that we avoid mushikashika. Yes, the solution is under urban transportation where we are working closely with the Local Government to make sure that in all our urban cities, we have easy and accessible mode of transport. We are advocating for bigger buses but above all, we are thinking of a metro-train to also ease and decongest some of our roads.

This is the ideal situation that you find the introduction of metro-trains in our cities so that we have driving into town as a matter of choice, not that you do not have any form of transportation. Hon. Madam Speaker, I would like to thank Hon. Kapoikilu for raising that question. We were talking of roads that are narrow. Indeed, he is right. For the past 40 years or so, we were just traversing on narrow roads but we must hasten to remember that the volumes of traffic, we were talking of less than 500 000 vehicles in the country then. Now, we are talking of over 1. 5 million vehicles plying our roads, which actually justifies the need to dualise our roads. However, we can talk of dualisation once we have rehabilitated the existing road infrastructure. Our target is to earmark the trunk roads. These are the roads linking our country with our neighbouring countries.

This is the exercise that we are doing, working on the Beitbridge-Harare, then Harare-Chirundu, Harare-Nyamapanda and Harare-Forbes, which is Harare to Mozambique where we have also started dualisation. The ideal situation is to dualise all our trunk roads. In the meantime, we want the roads to be trafficable.  Again, good news to say is one of a problematic and topical, important road which is Beitbridge-Victoria Falls and it goes through Bulawayo. I am glad to say to this august House that we now have a partner. Soon, you will see us descending on the road to rehabilitate the 760 km entire stretch. That will ease a number of challenges that we were witnessing on that road.

The standard road, if you would relate well, even the Beitbridge, it was a 7 metre road, but we were saying surely, you cannot overtake easily or drive within that particular narrow road. However, we have enlarged it currently before dualisation to a 12, 5 metre so that you can even take advantage of the yellow lane, where it is a 2,5meter lane. You can actually drive if you are not driving fast to the far extreme left of that particular road. It is now wide but the ideal situation is to dualise. I want to thank you so much for raising that.

 Hon. Musanhi – deregulation, it was the issue of also enabling our people to participate in the transportation system. This is why there was the issue of deregulation. However, we then lost the issue of timetable. We still have timetable but they are not respecting it. They are racing trying to make sure that they get first in terms of picking passengers, which is something that we are also revisiting that you stick to your timetables. If you pass through a toll gate, that is where we are going to catch you if you are speeding because you will be against the time that you were allocated.

 So, we are putting devices so that if you start a journey from a certain point, as you pass through a toll gate, you are actually checked in terms of the speed that you were travelling at. In terms of ticketing, we will also be having law enforcement ticketing again, manning our tollgates.

Hon. Tshuma – governing buses, this has been done. We have S. I. 118 of 2023, which was promulgated and came effective on the 1st of January 2024, where we are limiting public service vehicles to 100 km/hour in tandem with other SADC region countries. You will see that we are enforcing that they continue storing the gadgets. I do concur in terms of information dissemination. We also need to up our game so that we communicate, not necessarily on the happenings along the roads, but also just basic information to the public. I assure you that we will improve in that regard.

Last but not least, my Hon. brother seated in front, apparently I missed your name again, you asked - are accidents lack of enforcement? You are right. Pirate taxes are on the increase, collaborate with police – I cannot agree with you anymore. Actually, you have said it all in terms of what we are supposed to do; the whole of Government approach where we have seen and I can cite a good example, the accident that happened along Bindura Road. The kombi had passed through a roadblock checking point where it was manned by our police and our VID officials. The question was - how did that vehicle pass through a checkpoint without checking the relevant documents?

So, we are advocating again to punish our own people first, punish the kombi operators and punish the drivers. We have agreed with the Minister of Home Affairs that the police officers, the VID officers who are manning a checkpoint, if a kombi or a bus is involved in an accident, you are accountable. I want to assure you that we will do that. The collaboration will continue even to other relevant ministries so that we reduce road carnage. I want to thank you Hon. Madam Speaker. If I have missed something, kindly indulge me on that regard. Thank you.

On the motion of THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA), the House adjourned at Twenty-Two minutes past Five o’clock p. m. until Tuesday, 9th July, 2024.  

 

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