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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 28 JULY 2021 VOL 47 NO 70
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Wednesday, 28th July, 2021
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two O’clock p.m.
(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. SPEAKER
PETITIONS RECEIVED FROM MR. CALISTO KAREKE, THE
WOMEN’S COALITION, THE DEAF ZIMBABWE TRUST,
MUSASA PROJECT, MLIMISI SIBANDA, THE NATIONAL
ASSOCIATION OF YOUTS ORGANISATION AND MR. SHUMBA
THE HON. SPEAKER: I have the following announcements: I wish to inform the House that on 7th July, 2021, Parliament received a
petition from Mr. Calisto Kareke and Others beseeching Parliament to implement the Justice Smith Recommendations and compensate affected pensioners as a matter of urgency to avert further prejudice. The petition has since been referred to the Portfolio Committee on Public
Service, Labour and Social Welfare.
I also wish to advise the House that on 20th July, 2021, Parliament received a petition from the Women’s Coalition, beseeching Parliament to exercise its oversight role on the disbursement of social protection and social safety nets during the COVID-19 pandemic. The petition has since been referred to the Portfolio Committee on Public Service,
Labour and Social Welfare.
On the 20th July, 2021, Parliament also received a petition from the Deaf Zimbabwe Trust requesting Parliament to exercise its oversight function and protect the rights of pupils with disability. The petition has been referred to the Portfolio Committees on Primary and Secondary Education and Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare.
The fourth announcement: on 20th May, 2021, Parliament received a petition from Musasa Project, requesting Parliament to amend the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act [Chapter 9.23] so that it provides a mandatory sentence for rape. The petition has been referred to the Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.
In addition, on 26th July, 2021, Parliament received a petition from
Mlimisi Sibanda, requesting Parliament to exercise its legislative role on pegging of claims on agricultural land allocated to the communities by amending Section 31 of the Mines and Minerals Act. The petition has been referred to the Portfolio Committee on Mines and Mining
On 21st July, a petition was received from National Association of Youths Organisations beseeching Parliament to enact a policy guiding the National Youths Service before its implementation. The petition has been referred to the Portfolio Committee on Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation.
On the 21st July, 2021, Parliament received an inadmissible petition from one Mr. Shumba. The petitioner did not indicate their first name and whether or not he or she is a citizen of Zimbabwe. He or she failed to specify the action that is to be taken by Parliament, hence the inadmissibility of the petition.
REDUCTION OF DEBATING TIME
THE HON. SPEAKER: I have to inform the House that the time aN Hon. Member can contribute to a motion has been reduced to 10 minutes owing to a reduction in the sitting hours of the House which has been necessitated by the COVID 19 pandemic regulations. However, such limitation does not apply to a member who is a mover of a motion.
RESPONSE TO ISSUES RAISED BY HON. NYABANI THE HON. SPEAKER: I owe Hon. Nyabani a response on issues that the Hon. Member raised. At the beginning of business on Tuesday, 15 June 2021, Hon. Nyabani raised a number of issues which I promised to respond to today. I must however, point out that most of the issues he raised are administrative matters which should be raised through the office of the Clerk of Parliament or directed to the Committee on
Standing Rules and Orders through the respective party whips. We must learn to follow proper channels in raising such issues. Be that as it may, I respond to the Hon. Member on issues raised as follows:- a constituency visit allowance; Members will be aware that this allowance used to be paid to Members in the early 80’s and was eventually discontinued. For the 2021 Budget, Parliament had budgeted RTGS 10 billion, inclusive of the constituency visit allowances and
PCIC’s. However, provision was only made for RTGS 5, 1 billion for the legislative programme which covers amongst others, sitting of the House, Committee meetings and capacity building for committees.
PCIC’s were allocated RTGS 120 million leaving RTGS 4, 66 billion for all the above activities and constituency visits. Cognisant of this,
Parliament, through the office of the Clerk of Parliament wrote to Treasury with proposals on resumption of the payment of the constituency visits allowances. The proposals take into account the varying size of the constituencies in the country. Once a response is received, processing of the allowances will commence accordingly.
CONSTITUENCY INFORMATION CENTRES
HON. SPEAKER: The amount of RTGS$120 million provided in the 2021 National Budget is insufficient to build constituency offices throughout the country and to have them manned and fully equipped. There are also recurrent expenses that are attached to the running of these offices that include utility bills and salaries of personnel for the offices.
If the whole amount is committed to building offices based on the estimated cost of each office, it will only cater for a building for about 11 offices and this excludes other costs I mentioned earlier. The best solution is for us to take a phased approach to the building of the offices and the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders will have to pronounce itself on the matter to ensure that there is equity and fairness in deciding on which offices to be built first. Recommendations on how to proceed on the matter are being finalised and will be communicated to Members in due course.
I, therefore, urge Members to be patient while we address these matters. One of the issues that we have indicated is to approach the private sector companies that may have spare buildings to make these affordable to Members as their constituency offices.
PREMIUMS TO PREMIER MEDICAL AID SOCIETY (PSMAS)
THE HON. SPEAKER: The premiums that Members pay to PSMAS and other medical aid societies are what enable us to get services from doctors, hospitals and pharmacies. The recent review from RTGS$90 to the current RTGS$6 375 per member for the Pinnacle Plan takes into account the fluctuations in the local currency since the introduction of the auction system. The Zimbabwe RTGS$90 is what members used to pay when the rate was RTGS$1: USD$1. The spouse and children below 18 pay an additional RTGS$6 375 and the RTGS$5 001 each respectively. The total that each member pays will therefore depend on the number of beneficiaries insured.
I wish to advise Members of Parliament that the premiums that they are paying are a negotiated rate which is lower than what Members would ordinarily pay if they were not Members of Parliament. Members who have been hospitalised or sought treatment of late, will testify that the services are indeed being provided and are of great help.
We would appreciate that for the medical aid to be functional and effective, all of us must pay premiums that are economical, otherwise the service becomes unsustainable and will collapse. On that note, I want to appraise the Executive for the review of the services that are being offered to Members and the public service as a whole. I think we should see some more changes in that regard in terms of better services.
NOTIFICATION ON PAYMENT OF ALLOWANCES
THE HON. SPEAKER: I wish to confirm that the Finance
Department has not been issuing payment advice slips to Members of Parliament when allowances are paid due to technical challenges with the payment system. However, I am advised that the challenge has now been addressed and Members will be issued with payment advice slips to show what it is they have been paid for. This will apply for all subsequent payments from now going forward. Members are however free to approach the Finance Directorate to be appraised of what they have been paid and what is outstanding to them.
I also take this opportunity to advise Members that they have to date been paid their sitting allowances up to the end of May, 2021. The Finance Directorate is working on the June sitting allowances and these will be paid as soon as resources are availed by Treasury. These are the responses to Hon. Nyabani.
APOLOGIES RECEIVED FROM MINISTERS
THE HON. SPEAKER: I have received notices of Leave of
Absence from the following members of the Executive: - Hon. Rtd. Gen.
Dr. C. G. D. N. Chiwenga, Vice President and Minister of Health and
Child Care; Hon. F. Mhona, Minister of Transport and Infrastructural
Development; Hon. F. M. Shava, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade; Hon. Dr. A. Masuka, Minister of Lands,
Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement; Hon. J. G. Moyo,
Minister of Local Government and Public Works; Hon. W. Chitando, Minister of Mines and Mining Development; Hon. Dr. Nzenza, Minister of Industry and Commerce; Hon. N. M. Ndlovu, Minister of
Environment, Climate Change, Tourism and Hospitality Industry; Hon. V. Haritatos, Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement; Hon. D. Garwe, Minister of National Housing and Social Amenities and Hon. E. Moyo, Deputy Minister of Primary and Secondary Education.
A number of these Hon. Members were in contact with people who had tested positive, so they have been advised to quarantine themselves in their respective homes.
(v)HON. GONESE: On a point of clarification Mr. Speaker Sir! Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I have noted leave of absence applications by the Hon. Ministers and my point of clarification relates to the fact that no reasons have been given. I know you indicated generally that some have been in contact with people who have tested positive for COVID.
My request Mr. Speaker is, whether it is possible to have a situation where some of the Hon. Ministers may be able to participate virtually because as we move going forward, we have got this challenge and no one knows when it is going to end. I believe that as Members of Parliament, most of us are now attending sessions virtually. I believe that it should also be possible for Hon. Ministers who may otherwise be able to attend. For example, someone might be in self isolation but they are actually physically fit, have not tested positive and so are in a position to participate, answer and respond to questions from the comfort of either their offices, homes or wherever they are self-isolating.
So my point of clarification is whether we cannot expedite the business of the House by having the same situation which is pertaining to us as Members of Parliament also applying to Hon. Ministers so that they can respond to questions even when they are not physically present
… - [Operational challenges.] –
THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Gonese. Our Standing
Orders do not require the Hon. Minister or Ministers to give reasons. The Standing Orders simply state that they must seek leave of absence officially; no reasons are expected to be given. I was being generous by giving you some of the reasons why some Hon. Members could not attend.
The other part of your statement; when someone has been told by the doctor to be at home under quarantine and observation, that person is likely to be a patient. So they follow the doctor’s advice. I do not think that they can be engaged virtually but those who think they can do so on the advice of their doctors may proceed accordingly and we will accept their virtual attendance.
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of clarity Hon. Speaker. I want to thank you for the response. You made a detailed response pertaining to the issue in terms of the welfare of Members of Parliament. Mr.
Speaker Sir, you clearly hit the nail on the head.
The truth of the matter is really beyond you but it is the Minister of
Finance and Economic Development who, for many times has not been able to do what is expected of him by passing the budget. We are guided by the budget. When we ask for these figures, it is not coming from our heads. It is the budget that we pass in this House and for as long as we pass a budget and there is no seriousness in the execution of the budget, then it renders the budget useless and not only that, it is incumbent upon him to review the figures according to inflation. We hear him talking about the inflation coming down but we do not also see the results on the ground.
The Information Centres were a result of the budget and for me to also talk about offices that are not there and Information Centres, I then commend that in the next budget, Hon. Members, there is no point in applying for Information Centres because the structures are not there. Unless you actually turn your cars into Information Centres but with what was given by the Hon. Speaker, we must also review our demands. You cannot have an Information Centre if you have no structure, so we need to review how we present.
Mr. Speaker Sir, in terms of the medical aspect, you were right to say that, yes PSMAS does help and you have reviewed that. How great it is to review other sectors but the welfare of the Hon. Members is never reviewed. The Hon. Minister has not come to tell us the review of that and as a result, people will default in payment because our remuneration has not been reviewed – I have not heard him. It goes hand in glove, you cannot be increasing things and then at the same time you are not giving people what is supposed to be done in terms of review. So may the Minister of Finance and Economic Development review everything? You cannot review things piece-meal. The National Budget requires him and I am pretty serious about this because I have put my mind to it, that a review of the National Budget requires him to come here and tell us that I have failed to do A, B, C, D because of this and that but he does not respect this House. When it comes to issues of monies which he then comes to seek condonation to, if that money is available. When it comes to the Drax money for the drugs and everything, the money is available. This money, through the Auditor-
General’s office, has also been attacked that due diligence is not followed. The Auditor-General has been very clear on how Government is supposed to handle its funds–
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, are you seeking clarification or you are debating.
HON. T. MLISWA: Mr. Speaker, as you can see, each point is seeking clarity.
THE HON. SPEAKER: No, you are debating.
HON. T. MLISWA: I will stop debating and just say finally, it is the same as the devolution funds. The Hon. Minister J.D. Moyo is the only Minister who gets devolution funds and determines where it should go. He can take it to Vungu or wherever, devolution funds are for everyone. He cannot decide who to give it to. At times you give it to ZANU PF aligned councils then leave out the opposition. Devolution funds come in once and must be disbursed at once. Unfortunately, he is not here. It is a matter that I have asked him that why are you disbursing funds without following the Constitution in terms of how the structure should be?
So, he is never here and like I said, he behaves like a Prime Minister and maybe he is a de facto Prime Minister, I do not know but him being a senior Minister must lead by example. Even the former Minister Chombo, one thing you can give to him is that he would come and answer questions despite whatever. This becomes the worst Cabinet ever, some of them in terms of their performance, the Auditor General’s office and from the people point of view; from the constitutional view, they have let the President down and the people and they have let the Constitution down, shame on you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Right Hon. Member, next time, learn to ask questions for clarification – [HON. T. MLISWA: Inaudible interjections.] – No, you were debating. I was very indulgent in future, I shall not be indulgent. The first part of your question on review, I thought you were following newspaper narratives that the Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development is going to give us a review tomorrow. You might have missed that in the newspaper but he is doing that tomorrow and you will have the opportunity to ask questions accordingly, some of which are quite pertinent –
Hon. Togarepi having stood up
Hon. Member, I am speaking. Be procedural – [HON. T.
MLISWA: Inaudible interjections.] – Hon. Mliswa, I thought you were expecting my response and therefore, you should be silent. Some of the issues that you raise will be, I think, clarified tomorrow when the Hon. Minister gives us his budgetary review statement. The question of the amounts allocated to the PCICs, the responsibility is ours here in the National Assembly in terms of ensuring that the figures that may meet the requirements of the construction of such information centres and constituency offices are also met. It is a matter that can also be raised tomorrow to see to what extent the Hon. Minister is thinking ahead along those lines.
The question of assigning funds to the health sector, I think everybody must believe that our health is a number one priority and from what has been said by the African Centre for Disease Management, Zimbabwe is number one in dealing with COVID-19 and Government must be appreciated for that – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – Some of the developed countries cannot match what Zimbabwe has achieved in terms of the roll out of the COVID-19 vaccines. So, chakanaka chakanaka mukaka haurungwi. Yes, we have done much better than some of the developed countries in Africa and outside Africa for that matter. Thank you.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
(v)HON. T. ZHOU: My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Health. I want to understand the Government policy pertaining to the girl-child should she fall pregnant during nurse training?
THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY
EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA) on behalf of THE
DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON.
- MANGWIRO): I wish to thank Hon. Zhou for the question on the attendance in our nursing schools or schools of health. Hon. Speaker, I wish to say that our policy is non-discriminatory. That is the
*HON. KWARAMBA: My question is directed to the Minister of
Agriculture. This season, people had bumper harvests, especially in Hurungwe where I come from but the problem which is there is that people are delivering grain at temporary GMBs. This grain is not being transported to the main GMB depots due to lack of transport. What is Government policy concerning the issue of transportation of grains from temporary GMB shelters to the main GMB depots?
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE,
FISHERIES, WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL
RESETTLEMENT (HON. KARORO): I want to thank Hon.
Kwaramba for this pertinent question. I hope my answer is going to help many farmers. The Government policy says if we are talking about temporary collection points, if a farmer delivers grain at a temporary collection point, the details are taken which include tonnage and personal details. The money is written down there. The issue of transportation from the temporary shelter to GMB is no longer the farmer’s responsibility but GMB’s.
*HON. KWARAMBA: The problem which is there is that many
temporary shelters are now filled up. It is now difficult for other farmers to deliver their grain at the temporary collection points because the other grain which has been delivered has not been collected. I understand farmers are not being paid until grain is delivered at the GMB, not the temporary collection points.
HON. KARORO: From the supplementary question, Hon. Kwaramba has become very clear. I did not understand why it is problematic for farmers if the grains are not collected from the temporary collection points but it is that the problem of collection of grain from temporary shelters to the main GMB is also affecting the delivery of grain from other farmers.
As far as I know concerning what I have discussed with the management at GMB, this problem is specific to certain collection points. Of which, I want to understand which these collection points are, because I understand that at these collection points there is transport that ferries maize and grains there and then so that we create accommodation and room for other farmers. I would not know if there are specific areas that are having problems so that we deal with those. I thank you Mr.
*THE HON. SPEAKER: You did not answer on the issue on late payment of farmers by the Grain Marketing Board who would have taken their maize to the collection points, that is the question.
*HON. KARORO: Mr. Speaker Sir, our famers - whether it is the main depot or the collection point, our policy is that within 72 hours, they will have been paid. If there are some who are not being paid in 72 hours, then I will go and confirm with the Grain Marketing Board so that we know and have correct answers.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Kwaramba, the Hon. Minister is asking that if you know the places where that is happening, you will furnish him with the details so that he will look into the matter.
HON. T. MLISWA: I am happy this is a Parliament of records.
This question was asked to the Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement before harvesting time on how well prepared they were logistically. He said they were prepared and now I am shocked to know that they are not prepared. Why are you not following your plan in calling Grain Marketing Board?
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order Hon. Member, you did not listen carefully to the Hon. Deputy Minister’s response. The Hon. Deputy Minister indicated that as you are the representative of the people, if you have specific areas where there is a problem, please bring that information to the attention of the Ministry. As far as the Ministry is concerned, payments are done within 72 hours.
HON. T. MLISWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, I totally agree with him but the onus is for them to check with GMB if that is being done because it is a national issue. The issue of payment, I have discussed with the
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Mliswa take your seat. If you have got farmers who have been affected according to what Hon. Kwaramba is saying, please bring that issue to the attention of the Minister – [HON. T. MLISWA: Inaudible interjection] – Order Hon. Member, bring the list and we will know. You are politicking in reverse gear, just bring that list Hon. Mliswa and say here is what I have been talking about, Minister can you explain and then from there if there is any prevarication you will raise the issue of politicking. I thank you. (v)HON. MUDARIKWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Grain Marketing Board advertised collection points in The Sunday Mail. Out of those collection points, for example in Zvimba constituency; there are only two collection points, where we have got GMB staff, the other five collection points nobody is there. Something must be done as a matter of urgency. The Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement must come to the House and present a statement...
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, bring that list to the Ministry of Lands and Agriculture. Where there are no officials and where there is no activity, bring that list and then we will ask the Ministry accordingly in terms of our oversight responsibility.
HON. MUDARIKWA: I will Hon. Speaker Sir, I thank you.
HON. MBONDIAH: Those who want to ferry their maize to Grain Marketing Board should get letters from the police so that at least they can be cleared to transport the maize to the GMB.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Is that a supplementary question? Hon.
Member, can you contact the Ministry with your proposal please.
HON. MUTAMBISI: My question is directed to the Minister of
Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises
Development. What is the Government policy on engaging women in viable horticultural activities in rural areas in order to augment food security? Thank you.
THE MINISTER OF WOMEN AFFAIRS, COMMUNITY,
SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES DEVELOPMENT (HON.
- S. NYONI): I would like to thank the Hon. Member for a very pertinent question. Mr. Speaker Sir, Government is very clear that the production of food is key, not only to food security but also to development as a whole. It is also known that major producers of food or major activities in horticulture, the actors are women. So the Government policy is that no one must be left behind. Every Ministry must streamline gender, but with the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries, Climate and Rural Resettlement, we are working well together because automatically, a lot of actors on the ground are women and therefore you will find that a lot of people that are involved in horticulture in the rural areas are women.
Horticultural activities involve a lot of vegetables and fruits which not only contribute to the nutrition of the family but also contribute to the livelihood as the women sell the excess. Another policy that we have is that when women have more than enough of the consumption in their own kitchens, we are now enabling them to value-add on things such as drying the vegetables, making juices and packaging so that they make more money from the horticultural activities than just sell fresh produce. Also in lean seasons of horticultural activities, they can still have food security in their homes. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
*HON. SEWERA: My supplementary question is; can the
Minister give us a list of the projects on horticulture that are being supported by the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development, province by province. My constituency is in Mashonaland East, if she could tell us where the Ministry is supporting women’s projects in Mashonaland East.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Member, that question is not an
oral question because it demands details. If you can put it forward in writing and you get the appropriate response.
HON. MBONDIAH: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, my question is
directed to the Minister of Health and Child Care. What is the position regarding the first dosage of COVID-19 vaccine? I ask this question Mr. Speaker Sir, because in and around Kwekwe City, all centres have run out of the first dosage. Only the second dosage is available. Thank you.
THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY
EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA) on behalf of THE
MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE: I wish to thank the
Hon. Member for alerting us about the situation around Kwekwe. Hon. Speaker, so far this country has purchased completely 12 million doses paid for and we are at the moment receiving a lot of vaccines including today. I want to assure the Hon. Member that there will be enough vaccines around the country and that Kwekwe might just be a blip but it will be sorted. We are happy to hear that, we will sort that one out. I thank you.
HON. MUSHORIWA: Supplementary question Mr. Speaker.
My supplementary question to the Hon. Minister of Health and Child Care is to inquire from the Minister, given that we actually have two different reports pertaining to the quantum of vaccines that are already in the country; one from the Ministry of Health and Child Care said there is 4.9 million vaccines and yet the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, when he was receiving the latest vaccines claimed that they were close to about six million vaccines in the country.
So could the Minister clarify which is which?
HON. PROF. MURWIRA: Mr. Speaker, the facts are that we are
buying vaccines and what has already been paid for is 12 million doses. They will arrive at different times and as you know, we received some on Friday. They will continue coming. So, suffice to say we have paid for 12 million. We are going to continue purchasing enough vaccines for this country to attain herd immunity. It is a feat that this country has been able to do it with its citizens’ resources. We are very happy about the support that we are already being given by the people of Zimbabwe in this endeavour by attending in multitudes for vaccination. So, the nitty-gritty’s of numbers might not be the issue here. What we know is that we have purchased vaccines and they will be coming in batches. If there is a mismatch in numbers that are being reported, let it be very clear now that we have 12 million and they are coming in batches. I thank you.
*HON. TOGAREPI: I just want to ask the Minister what Government policy is in terms of those who are found to be COVID positive but they do not disclose to people around them. Will they not go and expose others if they do not disclose their COVID positive status. Does Government have any plans in place to let the neighbours of the person found positive aware of the person’s status so that they are not exposed?
*HON. PROF. MURWIRA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I want to thank Hon. Togarepi for his supplementary question. COVID-19 illness is not an embarrassing disease. It is a disease found in the virus that will be resident in people who also contracted the disease. In actual fact, there is no disease that is embarrassing. Illness is illness but with COVID-19 we want to continue to tell you that we have our communication strategy in place enunciated by the Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services. The Ministry continuously alerts all those who contract COVID-19 or are found positive to isolate, stay away from others and observe all the COVID-19 regulations until they are well. But if people are embarrassed and they do not isolate and continue to mingle, then expose others to the disease, it then becomes a crime. If anything of that sort happened somewhere, it will be dealt with through awareness to the public that COVID-19 is not an embarrassing illness because anyone can suffer from COVID-19 anytime. So, people should quickly visit their nearest hospitals for assistance. I thank you.
*HON. SHUMBAMHINI: Thank you Mr Speaker Sir. My supplementary question to the Minister is whether we have adequate testing equipment for people affected by COVID-19, especially in clinics in the rural areas. In rural areas they are just testing those they deem serious and the rest are being sent home to isolate. I thank you. *HON. PROF. MURWIRA: Thank you Hon. Shumbamhini for
your question. My response to your question is that this country, since last year is adequately prepared in terms of testing equipment. As I speak, we measure our testing supplies in terms of months of stocks. Currently, we have six months supply of testing kits, meaning we are well ahead in terms of the testing kits issue. What might happen is that some areas may quickly use up their supplies but as a country, we are adequately equipped for testing. We also continue buying more testing kits so that we have enough time and enough resources to test our people. I thank you.
(v)HON. TOFFA: My supplementary question is, what is
Government policy pertaining to deterrence for those people who are positive not to spread the disease around?
HON. PROF. MURWIRA: I want to thank Hon. Toffa for the
question. This is both a legal and moral question. Firstly, it is important that we listen to the information on health that is being disseminated on Covid-19. Our Ministry, including the Ministry of Information, is on television and on radio telling us about the dangers of this disease. Also, it is not a shameful thing to have this disease but an unfortunate thing which can only be attended to by health personnel. It will be unfortunate from a moral point of view for anybody to knowingly spread this disease. It is incumbent upon this august House as well to make sure that we can take positive steps which are deterrent as well to people who willingly do so. In the meantime, I have not looked closely at the exact policy. I could have time to look at that but moral suasion tells us that when you have a disease, please isolate - be at home, do not spread it to the next person because ubuntu tells us that surely you can be helped but do not multiply this disease.
I believe that Zimbabweans with 97% literacy and access to radio and television and our own makuhwa, surely we should be able to tell each other that we cannot do that because we have to live as a country, as a collective and I will at this moment just answer it from a moral suasion point of view, that it would be completely very bad for a person to willingly spread this disease; unless they knowingly do it, unless it happens that they did not know, then sometimes we can also not determine whether a person knew or did not know. If they knew and they have been tested, it would be the most unfortunate thing against the very foundations of ubuntu. I thank you – [AN HON MEMBER:
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon Members, if you keep on shouting I
shall switch you off.
HON. T. MLISWA: Before I ask my supplementary question, let me appreciate the role played by the Ministry of Health and Child Care, led by the capable Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care Hon. Rtd. General Dr. Chiwenga; his Deputy Minister, Hon Dr. Mangwiro and Permanent Secretary Rtd. Air Commodore Chimedza. I say this because in Norton, the programme was excellent. The PED, DMO, the District Nursing Officer at Norton itself in no time when I communicated with the Permanent Secretary that we needed more vaccines, I am proud to say in the rural of Norton, there were vaccines put there and the health staff of these institutions in Norton…
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, whilst the commendation is good,
you can only do so as a matter of national importance. Please ask your question.
HON. T. MLISWA: My supplementary question is: what policy do you have for those people who have suffered COVID post COVID, because there is a lot of trauma that they go through and I think that is the biggest problem we have. What mechanism have you put in place for the people who suffered COVID and now are off it because even my own personal assistant has suffered a lot mentally. What have you done to try and rehabilitate those?
HON. PROF. MURWIRA: I wish to thank Hon Mliswa for the
supplementary question on post traumatic stress that might result from having COVID. We have our Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare who are mainly responsible for that welfare but we are also responsible for mental health. Our mental health statutes are very clear on what we can do with people that have problems mentally as a result of some trauma that might have happened to them. In terms of the presence of policy - whether it was caused by COVID or by something else, we have enough legal backing.
We are saying that we have enough policy on mental health.
Government policy on mental health is very clear and in terms of
looking after people who have post traumatic stress, maybe as a result of
COVID or anything else, we have a mental health policy as a country.
That is what I just wanted to say.
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of clarity. Mental health and post traumatic stress are different –[HON MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]- The professor is good at that but his explanation was not that of a professor. He is a man I admire but today vanzvenga. Mental health, is it going to Ingutsheni or not? If there are no such centres, may you start telling us so that people can get counseled?
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order! Hon. Members online, wait to be
recognised. We have the last supplementary, so there is no room for any further supplementary questions.
Hon Minister, will you clarify, there appears there is confusion between trauma and mental health.
HON. PROF. MURWIRA: Mr. Speaker Sir, it is very difficult in terms of semantics because what I tried to say is whatever happens which disturbs your mind, I am defining it as mental health – whatever might have caused it. In this case, we are talking about stress that might have been caused by the issue of COVID. As I said, we have enough policy – we do not want our people to be stressed. Issues to cater with psychological services are also with clinical psychology, it is there in our ministry. In terms of policy presence, it is there. The issue on whether we are doing enough given the amount of stress we are having is what we should be positively working on. In terms of legal instrument, we have enough legal instruments. We are not short of them. HON. B. DUBE: My question goes to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education. I note that schools opening is imminent and there might be an impending disaster arising from school children using public transport to go to school. What mechanisms and arrangements are there to safeguard the children to avoid a genocide that may arise from the opening of schools without necessary transport mechanisms to make sure that they are safe. I am asking this taking into account that the only operator is ZUPCO and currently, it is failing to even cater for the few workers who are at 40% and will be having thousands of our children going to school.
THE HON. SPEAKER: I hope you are using the expression
genocide in a restricted manner.
HON. B. DUBE: Yes, genocide in the manner that the people in big numbers will largely be affected, not necessarily on the basis of murder.
THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY
EDUCATION (HON. MATHEMA): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. We
have had this pandemic since last year and within the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, we have done all we could. We are doing all we can to make sure that we protect the children. As for the word ‘genocide’, it implies that somebody goes out of their way to slaughter other people. We will do everything we can, like we have done since last year to make sure that we protect our learners, their parents and guardians.
HON. B. DUBE: I did not get the answer in terms of preparedness because I thought the aspect relating to the dangers of the children is on your Ministry, then the issue of transport and logistics on ZUPCO is on
Local Government. I thought an answer would come to say arrangements have been made. Are there any specific arrangements relating to the transportation of children to and from school that will safeguard them from being in contact with a lot of people at the bus termini and elsewhere.
HON. MATHEMA: As a Ministry, we will look into that. We
will do like what we did last year. This happened last year, nothing changed, and we have had that experience. I thank you.
HON. GONESE: In view of the fact that the new variant, the Delta variant is more transmissible than the previous variants that we have had, what has the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education done to mitigate against these dangers apart from the transport aspect which was asked by the previous Hon. Member? I think it is important for the nation to know the specific arrangements being done to safeguard the health, not just of the learners but also their teachers in terms of providing, for example PPE’s and testing so that we are furnished with more specific details in regard to what preparations are being done pending opening of schools as opposed to the general response that the Hon. Minister has favoured us with. Could the Hon. Minister expand so that as a nation, we can be more informed? I thank you.
HON. MATHEMA: Thank you Madam Speaker. The Ministry
will do whatever is required for us to make sure that the children are protected and everybody is protected. If indeed this Hon. House wants me to give details as to which routes to be followed by which bus for which schools, give us time, I will come back and give those details to the House. I thank you.
HON. GONESE: I am requesting that the Hon. Minister prepares
a ministerial statement prior to the opening of schools so that all these issues can be adequately interrogated at the appropriate time. HON. MATHEMA: Yes, I am ready to come and give a
ministerial statement to the Hon. House as requested by the Hon.
Member. I thank you.
HON. T. MOYO: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. My
supplementary question to the Hon. Minister is - are high school students expected to produce exemption letters at road blocks, especially those high school students who are attending private colleges who may not necessarily have to wear uniforms? I thank you.
HON. MATHEMA: Madam Speaker, we want every child to go
to school and if there is any need for me to issue those exemption letters together with the other Government departments, we will give those exemption letters. We want every child of this country to go to school. There is no way we can allow a situation where children cannot go to school because of COVID. Every child must go to school whether there is COVID or not. Once we are given the directive by His Excellency for us to open schools, we will open those schools and if there is any need for it, we will issue those exemption letters depending on what is on the ground. No child must be stopped from going to school and no child must die indeed.
(v)*HON. JAJA: Thank you Madam Speaker, it is okay to have schools opened but the situation out there is not as good as we anticipate it to be. We are actually paying a lot of money for extra lessons and online lessons through Zoom. If children go to school, how are they going to manage social distancing? Are we not seeing the current situation in the country with regard to the pandemic?
THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY
EDUCATION (HON. MATHEMA): Thank you Madam Speaker.
Like I said before, it is not the first time that we are facing this challenge. We have done it since COVID started and we have done our bit in schools that is John Tulloch School in Chinhoyi, we did our best together with the Ministry of Health and Child Care and together with all other Government departments to make sure that we protect the learners, staff and everybody. We will go back to the experience we have had and learn from other countries what they have done but when the time comes for schools to be open, we will go out of our way to make sure that schools are opened and all children will be protected. We will manage this Covid as we have done in the past and indeed as earlier on, Madam Speaker, the Hon. Speaker indeed indicated what we have done as a country and the whole of Africa. So I do not see why anybody should give alarm and despondency as if the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education did not do anything in the past to protect the children. I thank you.
+HON. H. MGUNI: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am, my
question is directed to the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries,
Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement. Hon. Minister, what is Government policy regarding the scooping of dams in rural communities? We know that sometimes dams are silted and because of siltation, there is need for scooping of dams now and again. Also we find some dams overflowing which eventually leads to dams not being able to conserve more water which is to the detriment of livestock and people in rural communities. I thank you.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE,
FISHERIES, WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL
RESETTLEMENT (HON. KARORO): Thank you Madam Speaker,
I am seeking the services of a translator here, so maybe if you could just give me a minute so that I get the question.
Thank you Madam Speaker, from the services of my translator, I gather that the Hon. Member wants to know what Government policy is in terms of maintaining scooping of dams and repairing those that would have cracked. I want to thank the Hon. Member for that question. What we are doing as Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement is to ensure that we maintain the dams because they are very important to agriculture. There is equipment that is coming into the country for purposes of de-silting the dams. I think the details of the equipment will be availed as we go. I thank you.
*HON. O. SIBANDA: Madam Speaker Ma’am, my
supplementary question is that the Hon. Minister spoke about dams. We have noted that the Ministry is visiting different areas. We have also noticed that those cracked dams are not being fixed and nothing is being done. In my constituency, it has been 27 years since a dam was swept away by the heavy rains and nothing has been done. The visits that are done by the ministers, the Member of Parliament is not informed that the Minister is coming.
As part of monitoring and evaluation visits, the best person to give you detailed feedback is the Member of Parliament of that particular area. We only see you on the television that a minister had visited a particular area. We are the very people who know where exactly there is a problem. We are the ones who can actually show you. We will be absent during your visits. We kindly ask you to assist us with the manner in which you operate in our areas of representation as Members of Parliament.
*HON. KARORO: Madam Speaker Ma’am, I would like to
thank the Hon. Member for his question. The issue that is a problem is that we have letters and communication that come to the Ministry that are actually thanking the Ministry for the work that they are doing especially that work that we are doing on these dams. Now that in his constituency there is a dam that has not been attended to for the past 27 years, Hon. Members who have problems in their constituencies, we have an open door policy within the Ministry …
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order Hon. Minister, you are not connected.
*HON. KARORO: I will start again Hon. Madam Speaker. The problem Madam Speaker is that we have letters and communication that is received by our office within the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement that comes through to us thanking us for the work that we are doing on dams.
The Hon. Member mentioned a dam that is 27 years in his constituency that has not been attended to. The situation brings us to what we discussed on the GMB issue to say that Hon. Members who have issues in their particular constituencies are free to come through to our offices with the list of dams that need attention. We have an open door policy within the Ministry; there is nothing that stops us from coming to your constituency. We will help each other to work on those dams that require attention. It is an issue of communication between Members of Parliament, constituents and the Ministry. Let us work together; nothing should stop you from coming through to us and communicating with us. A lot of Hon. Members are coming through and we are working together to have things fixed, nothing should stop you from coming through to our Ministry.
HON. T. MLISWA: My point of order is: can the Minister furnish us with the dams which are increasing and what you have done. Can you give us documentation showing statistics of dams that you have rehabilitated and the letters you refer to? Can we get that because it is a point on oversight and dam rehabilitation. Can we get statistics, constituency by constituency?
*HON. E. MOYO: Thank you Hon. Mliswa. We can bring the
statistics to Parliament. The letters are coming from the people in appreciation of what we will have done but we can also bring and read them here in Parliament.
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Minister, as requested
by Hon. Mliswa, you can make available the detailed statistics or documentation showing which dams have been rehabilitated.
HON. T. MOYO: The issue of dams in rural areas is an issue that is actually troubling us as Members of Parliament. In Gokwe, there is not even a single dam that has been scooped of sand or rehabilitated. We kindly ask the Deputy Minister to explain to this House how many days it takes for that machinery used in rehabilitation dam to reach our areas because this is a very big problem to us. How long does it take for us when we write a letter and where are these letters addressed to if we want our dams rehabilitated? A lot of dams are silted.
HON. E. MOYO: I would lie if I am to give specific days on how long the machinery gets to reach your areas. Actually, we do not keep the machinery for dam rehabilitation, it is in the constituencies. You also address all your communication to the Permanent Secretary.
+HON. MKANDLA: My question is directed to the Minister of Home Affairs. What is Government policy regarding the situation where a police officer passes on and the man leaves a wife and children? Maybe the wife will need transportation from the police camp to her rural area. What is Government policy regarding the repatriation and relocation of the family to their rural area?
THE MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND CULTURAL
HERITAGE (HON.KAZEMBE): I had to rely on my Deputy
Minister’s interpretation and I hope I got it well. I think she is querying that if a member of the police dies, their own relatives have to ensure that the body is taken home and the family’s relocation. To be honest, I was not aware of that arrangement. I may not be in a position to give a correct answer at the moment but I will look into it and see whether it is the police that are responsible or the PSC. I will find out and bring the answer to this august House.
HON. DR. KHUPE: My question is directed to the Minister of
Home Affairs. My question has to do with the late Cde Soul Gwakuva Ndlovu who passed on the 16th July, 2021. A veteran journalist, writer and freedom fighter, Cde Soul G. Ndlovu is one of the pioneers of the liberation struggle to the extent that in 2014, he was one of the 21 pioneers who received the liberation and independence medals but the sad reality Madam Speaker, is that he was not honoured. My question to the Minister is what is; Government policy in regards to people like Cde Soul G. Ndlovu who contributed to the liberation of this country and to educating people when he worked for the Chronicle and Sunday News but he has passed on; has not been honoured with anything because as far as I am concerned, he is one of the good candidates of a hero status.
THE MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND CULTURAL
HERITAGE (HON. KAZEMBE): I would like to sincerely thank the Hon. Member for such a pertinent question. For starters, I want to be perfectly honest that the New Dispensation has been doing things differently in a new manner, especially with regards to the issues to do with heroes and heroines. We have noticed that for the first time since independence, we have had even musicians in the name of Oliver Mtukudzi being accorded that status. We have also Soul Jah Love, a youth and also we had an actress; I think the surname was Nhira if I am correct. This shows that there is no discrimination whatsoever. I am also hearing now that the late journalist was also a liberation war veteran.
There are so many ways one can be accorded that status. From a journalism view point, it would come from the journalists themselves through the Ministry. I want to give an example; we have people who will be receiving awards very soon. Some writers came through the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation. Alternatively, they could also come through the liberation war veterans associations. So there are so many ways. The Ministry of Homes Affairs is not responsible for conferring hero status to a person; we are responsible for burying heroes.
I thank you.
HON. DR. KHUPE: Thank you very much Madam Speaker. The Hon. Minister says something must be written and from what I know, something must be written and I think it was written by Mr. Pathisa
Nyathi and handed over to the Minister of the Bulawayo Metropolitan Province Hon. Judith Ncube but up to now nothing has happened. The truth of the matter is that something was written and nothing has happened. I want the Minister to respond to that.
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order Madam Speaker Ma’am.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: What is your point of order?
HON. T. MLISWA: We have got the Minister of Defence who is responsible for war veterans, very capable. This question should really be directed to her to see what recourse she can take as a result of that so that there is equilibrium, balance of power and balance of regionalism because it is being seen as tribalism, ZIPRA and so forth. So the
Minister of Defence is the one who is responsible for the war veterans. He was one of the 21 and there is no letter needed because he is there on record – Inaudible interjection –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. T. Mliswa!
HON. KAZEMBE: Thank you Madam Speaker. I would like to
clear some air with regards to something that I heard to the effect that there could be bias in terms of conferring heroes status. Like I mentioned earlier on, a lot of people from different backgrounds have been conferred hero status regardless of where they come from, whether it is Manicaland, Mashonaland Central or Matabeleland. We have seen a lot of people being conferred hero status. What the Hon. Member is saying, that applications were submitted, maybe they could be in the process because there are so many people who have even been declared post-homously. So I am not very much aware given to this very particular case but I suspect the application could be on its way and there is still room for something to be done if the person meets the criteria.
(v)HON. BRIG. GEN. (RTD) MAYIHLOME: Thank you Madam Speaker. The issue being raised by Hon. Khupe and being dodged by the Hon. Minister of Home Affairs is the issue of the criteria. You find a person who joined the struggle in 1960 has been deprived the status of a hero while a person who joined the struggle in 1978 has been accorded the national hero status within 24 hours. What is the criterion that is used to confer hero status on retired uniformed members and war veterans? We want this to be clear so that we allay the fears of people out there. We come from a region where people have been perceiving marginalization, we want the Minister to be clear on what criteria he uses and what is the process that is required for the conferment to take place. I thank you.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Brig. Gen. (Rtd)
Mayihlome, who are you directing your question to?
HON. KAZEMBE: Thank you Madam Speaker, I did not get the question. Can the Hon. Member please repeat?
Hon. Brg. Gen. (Rtd) Mayihlome repeated his question.
HON. KAZEMBE: Thank you Madam Speaker. I thought I had made it very clear from the beginning, that the Ministry of Home Affairs does not confer hero status, we simply bury heroes.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Brig. Gen. (Rtd)
Mayihlome, please may you put your question in writing so that the
Minister will go and research and bring the answer.
(v)HON. MUSHORIWA: On a point of order Madam Speaker.
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon Mushoriwa, there is no
point of order. I heard what you said and it is a different matter. Hon.
Ndebele is that a new question?
HON. NDEBELE: I am rising on a motion of advice. Precedence has been set in this House that when heated questions like the one that is at the table arise, we round them off with a motion of advice. So I am rising on that.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Please may you come again?
What did you say Hon. Ndebele, I did not hear what you said?
HON. NDEBELE: I am saying I want to proffer advice. In the past that has been allowed. Madam Speaker, the question that Hon. Khupe raises, in my view, constitutes an important national question and is at the very centre of the…
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Please may you unmute your gadget Hon. Ndebele.
HON. TOGAREPI: Madam Speaker, point of order.
HON. T. MLISWA: Point of order chief whip. You are not the Speaker. The Speaker is there. You have been standing there attacking the Speaker. You cannot. I am protecting the Speaker. Sit down and she will recognise you. I am now going to whip you because your party cannot. You were not elected by the party to be a chief whip, you were appointed. That is where your problem is. You sit down and the
Speaker will choose who she wants. Thank you very much.
You belonged to G40 and you moved around with Mrs. Mugabe.
You were G40 original.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Togarepi, you cannot
raise a point of order on top of another point of order – [HON. T MLISWA: Inaudible interjections.]- Order Hon. Members!
HON. NDEBELE: I am on the floor Madam Speaker.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Ndebele, please may
you approach the Chair.
*HON. T. MLISWA: Hon. Togarepi you were a member of G40 while I was working with Hon. Mutsvangwa and Chriss Mutsvangwa. I know the history. We are the original Lacoste from 2004. You came in going to Mrs. Mugabe and moving around in Mazowe. You used to move around with Mazowe orange crush saying we will crush you.
Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE HON.
DEPUTY SPEAKER in terms of Standing Order No. 67.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE
ASSISTANCE GIVEN TO VICTIMS OF RAPE
- HON. TSUURA asked the Minister of Women Affairs,
Community, Small and Medium Enterprise Development to explain to the House the kind of assistance that is given to victims of rape who fail to raise bus fares to go and report to the Police.
THE MINISTER OF WOMEN AFFAIRS, COMMUNITY,
SMALL AND MEDIUM ENERPRISE DEVELOPMENT (HON.
- S. NYONI): Thank you Madam Speaker – [HON. T. MLISWA:
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Mliswa, order please!
HON. DR. S. NYONI: I would like to thank Hon. Tsuura for her question. Madam Speaker, the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Community Small and Medium Enterprise Development and its other Government Ministries and partners continue to offer comprehensive gender based violence services through one-stop-centres, police victim friendly units and safe shelters throughout the country.
Our traditional leaders are available to support in cases of gender based violence at the local level. The Ministry is also coordinating a transport facility to assist survivors of rape and also other forms of gender based violence who may want to travel to access these services -
[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members, please
may the Minister be heard in silence!
HON. DR. S. NYONI: This is through a fuel coupon facility that is available at all six one-stop-centres found in Bindura, Epworth,
Chinhoyi, Gwanda, Gweru and Rusape.
This support is also available throughout the Ministry offices in the districts being supported under the spotlight initiative. These districts are within the selected five provinces in Harare, Matabeleland South, Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland West and Manicaland. Any survivor needing this support is assisted to ensure they travel to access the services that they require.
In addition, Madam Speaker, key institutions such as police and other stakeholders have been engaged to accommodate the movement of survivors to access these services during the lockdown. The ZRP victim friendly units have made efforts to ensure that police officers manning roadblocks have taken advise to allow passengers of women survivors of gender based violence who may be travelling to seek these services.
Madam Speaker, as Hon. Members may be aware, we have ensured that partners continue to offer gender based violence services by having these considered critical and essential services. The Ministry has facilitated clearance of gender based violence service providers to enable them to continue to offer services throughout the country even during the lockdown. Toll free lines have been expanded to make sure that even those that do not find it easy to travel can signal the need for service and a partner can reach them as they call. Important to note is the seriousness that has been given to addressing this social problem as evidenced by the 575 toll free lines that have been set up by the office of the First Lady. As a gesture and initiative, we really need to applaud this as a much needed service by the gender based violence survivors.
The Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development would like to therefore urge families to utilise this lockdown period as an opportunity to bond and reconnect with their loved ones and not make it an opportunity to perpetrate gender based violence. We encourage families to stay in harmony and resolve disputes amicably. Most importantly, we must remember that according to Section 52 of our Constitution, every Zimbabwean citizen has a right to personal security and bodily integrity.
We will continue to work with and coordinate our stakeholders to ensure that gender based violence services remain available to all survivors. We call them survivors and not victims because we want to define and identify them not negatively but also positively as survivors because most of them struggle to get to where they are. Let us stay safe and protect each other, not only from COVID-19 but also from gender based violence and make sure that our loved ones are safe with us. I thank you.
(v)HON. TSUURA: My supplementary question to the Minister is; there are a few ward coordinators on the ground, who is going to be disseminating this type of information to the people of Zimbabwe and are the people of Zimbabwe aware of the information that she just gave to us?
HON. DR. S. NYONI: I think that is a very pertinent question Madam Speaker. We would like to advocate for ward coordinators in every ward. That would make it much easier but now that we only have a few, we are doing our best to disseminate information through those that we have on the ground. We also use other channels like the traditional leaders and other media channels. We also hope that the Hon. Members will also do the same to ensure that people in their constituencies know that the Ministry is available to assist and that there are also the toll free lines which are about 575. They can use these to seek help in instances where they face complicated situations. I thank you Madam Speaker.
(v)*HON. MANGORA: Thank you Madam Speaker. What plans does Government have in place to ensure that all provinces have onestop centres because there is violence everywhere and people need to be assisted? I think I only heard about five provinces with one-stop centres.
HON. DR. S. NYONI: Thank you Hon Member. That is a very important question. For now, we do not cover the whole country but only have one-stop centres in some provinces. We will continue as our budget is availed to move on and cover other provinces. Currently, according to the budget and our resource availability, that is what we have done. If there is any crisis, I am sure we could rush there but for now we have resource constraints. The list of the provinces is only where we are but we will continue to go to more provinces as resources are availed. I thank you.
WRITTEN SUBMISSIONS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE
CONSTRUCTION OF A PRIMARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOL AT MURAMBINDA GROWTH POINT
- HON. DZUMA asked the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education to inform the House when government will construct a primary and secondary school at Murambinda Growth Point considering that the population has increased.
THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY
EDUCATION (HON. MATHEMA): The Government, through the
Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, is always prepared to construct new schools and to authorise local authorities to construct new schools whenever there is need. The concerned local authority and community should make an application to that effect. The Ministry is currently mapping possible sites for the construction of new model 21st century schools using Government and private investors funding. The local authority, as the responsible authority for Murambinda Growth Point, is advised to submit an application to establish and construct a primary and a secondary school at the Ministry’s district offices. It should also ensure that the proposed sites have adequate hectarage as required by regulations. This will depend with the location of the school, either urban or rural.
The Ministry’s processes start at district level where local authorities submit their applications and once processed, the applications are submitted to provincial offices enroute to head office. The following are the land size requirements for the establishment and construction of schools:
|No.||CATEGORY||LAND SIZE FOR THE SCHOOL|
|URBAN (hectares)||RURAL (hectares)|
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. TOGAREPI: I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to
17 on today’s Order Paper be stood over until Order of the Day,
Number 18 has been disposed of.
HON. MPARIWA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
COMMEMORATION OF THE WORLD FREEDOM DAY
Eighteenth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the
Commemoration of the World Freedom Day.
Question again proposed.
THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION, PUBLICITY AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA):
Madam Speaker, I thank you for granting me this opportunity to respond to a motion on information as a public good, a motion which was a theme for this year’s annual commemoration of World Press Freedom Day which we celebrated on the 3rd May last month. It is indeed a welcome development that underscores the significance this august House attaches to the role played by the media in the development and sustenance of modern societies.
Firstly, I would like to thank the mover of this very important fundamental motion, Hon. Mokone who is the Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Information, Media and
Broadcasting Services. Let me also thank the seconder of the motion Hon. Shamu. As the Minister responsible for the media historically referred to as the press, I wish such motions and debates could take place more regularly to help mould among leaders in our society as informed appreciation of the media and the challenges that it faces as the fourth pillar of modern democratic states.
I should also acknowledge the insightful contributions made by Hon. Shamu in his seconding the motion. He raised many pertinent issues relating to media independence, some of which remain topical around the world. Furthermore Madam Speaker, I wish to thank all the Hon Members of this House that have contributed and those that will be contributing to the debate of this motion.
I notice that the motion generated a lot of debate in this august
House and I want to thank all those Hon Members who contributed. Hon. Dube talked about the need for investigative journalism and the setting up of more community radio stations. Hon. Nduna who talked about enacting supplementary laws to curb social media abuse using existing technological gadgets like cellphones, cetera simply because anyone who posts messages using these gadgets see themselves as journalists. Hon. Nduna also lamented about the cost of data which he said now made information an expensive commodity. Meanwhile, Hon. Nyabani was clear that journalists must be free and allowed to operate freely in their line of duty. However he observed that standards in the media have gone down due to uneconomic remuneration which the industry is offering. Hon. Nyabani felt strongly that journalists because of their status in society, should be adequately remunerated and well resourced, especially with tools of trade and other things they need for their job. This, he said would wipe out corruption within the media. He was also happy with the current media law reform agenda including the repeal of AIPPA.
Hon. Mushoriwa complained that AIPPA had destroyed so many livelihoods and careers of media workers following the abrupt closure of some media outlets. Zimbabwe, he said should be on the forefront of media freedom as we were the first country in Sub Saharan African to have both radio and television stations. For Zimbabwe to develop the media industry and also to nurture talent, especially when we have hundreds of media graduates coming out of our tertiary institutions every year, more outlets should be established as part of media diversity.
Hon. Mudarikwa called on our tertiary institutions to improve their training programmes so as to produce journalists equipped with competency across all, areas be it social, political or economic interests. He also commended both The Herald and ZBC for doing a great job in accurately informing the entire citizenry of Government programmes and policies. Madam Speaker, information as a public good was the theme chosen by UNESCO for the commemoration of World Press
Freedom Day in the year 2021. The concept note for this year’s commemoration of Press World Freedom Day states that the theme was aimed at drawing attention to the special role of journalism in producing news as verified information in the public interest and as to how this happens depends on a wider ecosystem which enables information as a public good.
According to UNESCO’s concept note for the commemorations, the theme was chosen to highlight the important difference between information and other kinds of communication content such as disinformation, hate speech, entertainment and data.
At this early stage of my response, allow me to highlight in summary the major issues and ensuing from the motion, its secondment and its debate so far. My response may thus cover some of the issues raised but maybe not all of them.
Issues which were raised by the motion include:- Commitment to press freedom; definition of information as a public good and the call for renewal of global commitment to freedom of expression, press freedom and freedom of information; Journalism in the COVID-19 environment; the prudence of having more players in the media space; freedom of the press as the right of journalists to express their opinions without suppression from the Government; the legal framework guaranteeing the freedom of the press in Zimbabwe; freedom of speech as the right of an individual to speak in public without the fear of Government interference and its limitation due to the public and national interest factor; the delicate balance between imposing general restrictions on journalists and reporters and how they affect the general public’s ability to access information; World Press Freedom Day as a way of ensuring the protection of journalists against attacks aimed at putting them down; Economic challenges faced by the media; the gate keeping role of internet companies and the need for transparency on their part; the need to strengthen media and information literacy capacities in the country and world; the need to strengthen media and information literacy capacities in the country; interrogation of the information environment with a view to creating conditions that are conducive for the fulfillment of UN sustainable development goals that advance public access to information and fundamental freedoms; harnessing the power of the media in capacitating it to unpack NDS1 to contribute towards the building of a positive national image and also to ensure that no place and no one is left behind in the national development equation as we move towards Vision 2030; the need for Zimbabwe to walk the talk and be guided by the 1991 Windhoek Declaration on the basis of which World Press Freedom Day was founded; the need to define the independence of the press as espoused by paragraph 2 of that Windhoek Declaration recognising the need to end monopolies of any kind in the media and ensuring a pluralistic press; establishment of truly independent representative associations, syndicate and trade unions of journalists and associations of media practitioners all this was raised by Hon. Members in this august House.
They also raised the establishment of truly independent representative association syndicates; they raised the relevance of the independent and pluralistic press and the establishment of true representative media associations needs to invest in media infrastructure to mitigate the adverse impact of global monopolies. They also raised the issue of investing in media infrastructure to give credence to the national devolution policy and programmes and finally they raised the issue of worrying power of donors and donor funded NGO’s over African Journalism, media associations and trade unions.
Madam Speaker, in view of the great confluence of thought already demonstrated by the debate on this motion; I will seek your indulgence to focus on only two most pertinent of the foregoing issues.
As a prelude, I wish to reiterate the second Republic’s administration of President E.D Mnangagwa’s unreserved commitment to the bill of rights enshrined in the Constitution of Zimbabwe. Members of this august House need to be reminded of the fundamental human rights and freedoms in part two of the Constitution among which Section 61 and 62 respectively, state the freedom of expression and the freedom of the media and the rights of access to information. It is particularly for the above reason that I, upon taking the office as Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, personally committed to actively take part in all global regional and national media commemorative events. This strategy was of course multi-pronged.
Firstly, I sort to take up every opportunity to fully explain to media practitioners and stakeholders of the Second Republic’s administration’s media polices and its commitment to implement the reforms the
President had committed to do during his inauguration.
Secondly, we had earned the two decades long polarisation that divided the media along political lines, a situation that made many journalists cease to be ethical and professional. We had the unenviable but surmountable task of making our journalists reflect and return to the true calling of their profession, that is being society’s trustworthy watchdog, the fourth pillar of our democratic state in addition to the Executive, Parliament and the Judiciary.
Madam Speaker, it is now three years since I took up the media portfolio and I am happy to say that with the assistance of this august House, especially the Hon. Members of your portfolio Committee responsible for the media, we have jointly as Government, created an enabling media environment in the country for press freedom to thrive.
Furthermore, through the networking and consultations that we have with the broad spectrum of the media sector as we process media Bills and laws that come on stream, we have managed to re-orient a significant part of the national journalist fraternity towards fulfilling the societal professional and responsibly.
Madam Speaker, as we continue to enhance press freedom and the accessibility of information to journalists and citizens in the country through the alignment of existing media laws to the Constitution and enactment of new ones, it is important for the Hon. Members to be aware of the Executive’s commitment to fully walk the talk in terms of capacitating the media fraternity to freely execute its duties without unnecessary limitations. We totally agree with the mover of this motion
Hon. Mokone’s assertion that as Zimbabwe, we deserve more and certainly we really do deserve more indeed.
Indeed following the freeing of the airwaves through the further licencing of six national commercial television broadcasters, six community radios and six university campus radio stations, the increase in the number of broadcasters will help entrench the independence, diversity and pluralism of media in the country. It is my Ministry’s hope that the newly licenced broadcasting institutions will start operating as soon as possible and most importantly at least within the legally stipulated time frame. The coming on board at this opportune time would pay dividends for Government’s national communication strategy on NDS1 as it is critical that we leverage all available national media outlets to raise public awareness about our blue print NDS1.
We want to clearly delineate its linkages to national Vision 2030 while at the same time highlighting the roles that citizens are expected to play as individuals and collectively as communities, economic units and organisations. It is only through open media systems that citizens in various interest groups maybe given voice to exchange and express their views on Government development policies and programmes like NDS, thereby increasing possibilities for positive programme outcomes and achievements of the national goals and vision 2030.
Madam Speaker, the freedom of the press is bound to deepen in our country as we move further into the new dispensation under the mantra ‘Zimbabwe is Open for Business’. As the economy improves on the back of the bumper harvest of 2020/2021 Agricultural season and progressively improving mining sector performance, we are certain that there will be downstream trickle down benefits into the other sectors of the economy, including the media sector.
Of more importance though, for us is the attraction of more investment into the media industry where media companies need capitalisation, retooling and working capital to maintain viable operational levels. In this regard Madam Speaker, it is important to note that media freedom, press freedom and the independence of the press are more pronounced in thriving economic environments. Economically and financially independent media practitioners tend to foster independent journalism. Hence, it is critical for us as Government, together with the media owners and investors to strive for the establishment of a viable economy and media industry. Government is determined to complete the national digital terrestrial television migration project (DTT), which entails migrating broadcasting services from analogue to digital platforms, because of the immense potential the project has in realising the theme of this motion, i.e. rendering
“information as a public good”.
Cognisant of the primacy of radio and television in taking information to every household’s doorstep and the potential of the smart phone to deliver information into the hands of most citizens, the
Ministry has, despite limited financial resources, started launching the DTT service in areas of the country that are ready to receive the digital signal. As the age-old adage says, “Information is power”, so priority in the rolling out of the digital service is being given to previously marginalised rural communities that did not have local radio and television signals like Magunje, Karoi and others.
Madam Speaker, the Second Republic administration is fully committed to walk the talk in terms of delivering on the media reforms that it promised and ensuring that members of the fourth estate – the media, are accorded the opportunity to freely carry out their daily work with pride and dignity. To that end, the following are some of the highlights that demonstrate that Government takes seriously the work that members of the fourth estate undertake and supports their role in gathering and disseminating information.
Designation of journalism as Essential Services during lockdown
Government gazetted Statutory Instrument 95 of 2020, which listed journalism as an essential service and journalists were and are still allowed to work during the lockdown to combat the spread of COVID19 through information dissemination. The Statutory Instrument which came into effect on 20th April, 2020, ordered the police and other enforcement agencies charged with enforcing the COVID-19 lockdown not to arrest, detain or interfere ‘in any unnecessary way’ with the work of journalists. The Statutory Instrument clearly states that
“communications and telecommunication services, including the Internet, any public or licenced broadcasting service and the activities of such persons as journalists, newspaper vendors or employees of such services” are all regarded as essential service providers,
Madam Speaker, issuing of PPEs to journalists is another move. Journalists are vulnerable to COVID-19 as they are also on the frontline, just like health and security sector workers. They need to be protected from the pandemic when discharging their duties. In May last year, journalists from various media houses received personal protective equipment (PPEs) and hand sanitisers from the Swedish Embassy in
Zimbabwe to protect them from COVID-19. The donation included 8 000 facemasks, 8 000 surgical latex gloves, 100 reusable protective suits and 852 bottles of hand sanitisers worth $25 000.00. The PPE was handed over to the Media Alliance of Zimbabwe (MAZ) and the Advertising Media Association (ADMA) for onward distribution to 25 media houses, including community media outlets.
Since then, a number of embassies, corporates, strategic partners and well-wishers have come on board with more donations. Such initiatives support Government efforts in combating the spread of the deadly pandemic. Again early this year, the Nyaradzo Group donated PPEs to the media fraternity, a gesture that was aimed at protecting journalists from the scourge of COVID-19.
Zimbabwe’s media fraternity has not been spared and is one of the sectors to bear the brunt of the pandemic. We have lost several prominent journalists and media practitioners since the onset of the pandemic with the first person to succumb to this virus being Zororo Makamba, a young journalist who was in the broadcasting sector, wonderful young journalist. The industry suffered several losses of professionals with invaluable and irreplaceable experience and talent, among them Charles Kawadza, Foster Dongozi, Janet Munyaka and now we are talking of a very senior journalist Gwakuba who was really a source of inspiration to a lot of young journalists in this country. We continue to appeal to the corporate world and to the employers to assist members of our fourth estate by providing with PPEs so that they conduct their job of information dissemination safely. The media works tirelessly to provide vital information to the nation about COVID-19, so they are very important. The rapid dissemination of information related to the disease has affected and influenced the behaviour of the public during the pandemic and the media has been working interminably to promote reliable information and combating misinformation and disinformation that is usually spread via social media by some unscrupulous individuals.
Let me say that even the ZIMVAC report that did research in this country’s 10 provinces attests to the fact that a lot of Zimbabweans are aware of the preventative and precautionary measures. They may be complacent, which again we are working on - but otherwise they know about those protocols of social distancing, wearing your mask, washing your hands and all this work has been done by the media in this country. I think they need to be commended for that – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
Then the repeal of AIPPA, in addition, the Government repealed AIPPA, which for two decades was a stumbling block in the execution of media practitioners’ duties. The repealing Act, the Freedom of Information Act provides more support to members of the fourth estate by providing ease of access to information. In further opening up the media landscape, my Ministry is closely liaising with Parliament; we work very closely with the Portfolio Committee and other relevant media stakeholders, in crafting the proposed Zimbabwe Media Practitioners Bill which is envisaged to set professional standards through a national code of conduct and work ethics within the entire industry.
Madam Speaker, as I almost conclude the proactive disclosure of information, the Second Republic supports the unparalleled work that the media fraternity undertakes to foster a two-way communication between the Government and its people. Hence, on its part, the Government proactively engages the media through the official disclosure of information from Cabinet sittings and this is done timely – the same day on Tuesday. It does not matter what time we finish
Cabinet, we make sure that we give that information timeously – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – This information is shared through a variety of ways, including but not limited to social/digital media platforms and of course, as I said the Post Cabinet briefings where we bring in journalists from all media houses. So we continue to make sure that we share information, we want a Government that is transparent and accountable to its people.
Foreign Media Clearance and Accreditation
Foreign media practitioners are free to visit Zimbabwe to cover various national, regional and international events taking place in the country as well as producing documentaries. Despite the low flow of foreign journalists into the country due to the COVID-19 restrictive environment, 83 foreign media practitioners were cleared for accreditation during the first quarter of this year. Fifty one percent (51%) of them came to cover sports, 22% were pursuing commercial film productions while 3% were producing other types of documentaries.
The hallmark of the current media reforms that we are implementing as Government is the creation of an ecosystem that enables journalists and all other media practitioners to fully realise their constitutionally guaranteed rights.
Madam Speaker, it is only in the field of mass communication that humanity and technology are inextricably bound, they now belong together. In other words, all that we are is now determined by the media. It is against this background Madam Speaker, that Zimbabwe is now a positive story. I thank you for your attention.
HON. MOKONE: I would like to thank the Minister for such an in-depth response to the motion that I brought before the House on information as a public good. In that regard, I move for the closure of the motion.
Madam Speaker, may I now move that the motion be adopted that;
COGNISANT of the fact that every year, third day of the month of May is observed as a World Press Freedom Day following the adoption of the landmark Windhoek Declaration which speaks of free independent and a pluralistic press;
MINDFUL of the social political and economic challenges faced by the journalists in a dynamic work where some of them perish while on tour of duty;
ACKNOWLEDGING the pressing requirements that have to be adhered to in fulfillment of the freedom of the press where the journalists have to ensure that they report objectively by promoting sound information dissemination methods for the good of human kind;
ALSO ACKNOWLEDGING that press freedom entails the safety
of journalists and access public information without any hindrance which may manifest itself as victimisation of legislations for information disclosures, particularly that which relates to the one of a sensitive nature;
DISTURBED that in some cases certain information which, if divulged has the consequences of compromising or endangering the lives of health or safety and security of members, press staff and their families;
NOW THEREFORE, calls upon this House to:
- Join the rest of the world in commemorating the World
- Enact legislation that will enhance the freedom of the press and encourage the media fraternity to diligently conduct their activities without fear or favour; and
- Call upon the members of the press to use their freedom to report objectively and to foster a culture of unity and harmony among our citizens so that everlasting peace can always prevail.
Motion; with leave, adopted.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. TOGAREPI: I move that the rest of the Orders of the Day be stood over until Order of the Day Number 31 has been disposed of.
HON. MPARIWA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS
Thirty-first Order read: Adjourned debate on motion in reply to the
Question again proposed.
THE MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND CULTURAL
HERITAGE (HON. KAZEMBE): Mr. Speaker Sir, allow me to comment on His Excellency the President’s State of the Nation Address which was presented during the opening of the Third Session of the Ninth Parliament of Zimbabwe.
As the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage, we are mindful of the spike in cases of vandalism of power and communication infrastructure which is bleeding the economy as well as disrupting the productivity of key sectors of the economy. It is for this reason that the issuance of copper licences will soon be restricted to a few legitimate copper dealers. On that note, the Copper Control Amendment Bill which imposes stiffer sentences on violators of the Act is already before Parliament.
In addition, the Zimbabwe Republic Police continues to adopt a variety of strategies that are aimed at curbing vandalism of public infrastructure and theft of copper. For instance, the Zimbabwe Republic
Police’s Minerals, Flora and Fauna Unit (MFFU) which is working as part of a multi-stakeholder taskforce comprising ZESA, Tel-One and NRZ, has been able to detect and arrest several criminal syndicates and individuals responsible for vandalising public infrastructure and theft of copper. We are optimistic that the strategies that are being implemented by the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the envisaged deterrent sentences will help curb these illicit activities.
In the same vein, my Ministry, through the Zimbabwe Republic
Police, remains determined to rid the country of all forms of criminality and will continue to discharge this mandate without fear or favour. The Zimbabwe Republic Police is continuously oiling its machinery in order to positively respond to calls by Government for the creation of a safe and conducive environment that supports the ‘Zimbabwe is open for business’ mantra.
In this regard, the Zimbabwe Republic Police continues to periodically review its operations and strategies to give impetus to
Government’s vision of realising an upper middle economy by 2030. To support these efforts, the Ministry came up with an Integration ICT Strategy which was approved by Cabinet on the 30th March 2021. Currently, we are seized with the unbundling of the systems and coming up with an overview of detailed system requirements as well as engagement of service providers. Once the system is in place, the Zimbabwe Republic Police would realise smart policing which encompass among others, prevention, detection and investigation of crime.
We are also expecting Parliament to debate and pass into law the
Police Amendment Bill, thereby aligning the Police Act to the Constitution and International Standards. The Bill has since passed through the First Reading and awaits its Second Reading in Parliament. Consultations were also made with the relevant stakeholders on the amendments of the Citizenship Act and Immigration Act so that they align to the current Constitution, particularly the establishment of the
Citizenship and Immigration Board as provided for in Section 41 of the Constitution which will be established once the Acts are enacted. After consolidations of stakeholders’ input, the Bills were resubmitted to the Attorney-General for further scrutiny. We await the two Bills approval by the Cabinet Committee on Legislation before they can be considered in Parliament. As such, the Bills are expected to be considered during this session of Parliament and once passed, we will start by implementing the formation of the Citizenship and Immigration Board. The two crucial Protocols – one against the smuggling of migrants by land, sea and air and the other on the trafficking of firearms, their parts, components and ammunition have been approved for ratification by Public Agreement Advisory Committee as well as by the Cabinet
Committee on Legislation. The treaties have been submitted to Parliament and await consideration for ratification in order to protect the rights of migrants and humanity in general.
I would also like to respond to a concern raised by Hon. Masiiwa that was captured in Parliamentary Debates, Volume 47 No.7 of 5 November 2020, where he highlighted the effects of corruption to the development of our nation as reiterated by His Excellency the President. He gave an example of a kombi without a baggage carrier passing through the police without being issued a ticket because the driver and assistant pay a lot of money at roadblocks.
May I reiterate that as a Ministry, we neither condone or support corruption of whatever form. Accordingly, the Zimbabwe Republic Police has revamped its internal investigations section which is mandated to investigate acts of misconduct by police officers to be better positioned to deal with any illegal or corrupt activities by members of the police services.
In addition, the Police Anti-Corruption Unit (PACU) is also working with various stakeholders such as the Zimbabwe AntiCorruption Commission, ZACC and the Special Anti Corruption Unit (SACU) among others, in a bid to rid society of corruption in all its forms. For the avoidance of doubt, we shall not falter in emboldening zero tolerance to corruption. We also urge the public to cooperate and work with the police to unearth these activities. We have a collective responsibility as a nation, to rid our beautiful country of corruption. I thank you Madam Speaker.
HON. TOGAREPI: Madam Speaker, I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. MPARIWA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 29th July, 2021.
On the motion of HON. TOGAREPI, seconded by HON. MPARIWA, the House adjourned at Seventeen Minutes past Five o’clock p.m.