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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 30 JANUARY 2024 VOL 50 NO 22
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Tuesday, 30th January, 2024
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two o’clock p.m.
(THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER
SWEARING IN OF A NEW MEMBER
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I have to inform the House that on the 13th of December 2023, Parliament received a letter from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission advising that Muchimba Chineka had been elected as a Member of the National Assembly for Binga North Constituency with effect from 10th December 2023. Section 128 (1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that before a Member of Parliament takes his or her seat in Parliament, the Member must take the Oath of a Member of Parliament in the form set out in the 3rd Schedule. Section 128 (2) of the Constitution states that the Oath must be taken before the Clerk of Parliament. I, therefore, call upon the Clerk of Parliament to administer the Oath of a Member of Parliament to Chineka Muchimba.
Order, the Clerks at the entrance there, can you make sure that Hon. Members do not go through that door.
NEW MEMBER SWORN
HON. CHINEKA MUCHIMBA subscribed to the Oath of Loyalty as required by the law and took his seat – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
CHANGES TO THE MEMBERSHIP OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEES
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I have to inform the House of the following changes to the membership of Portfolio Committees. Hon. P. Sakupwanya will serve on the Committees on Mines and Mining Development and Local Government, Public Works and National Housing; Hon. T. Ndou, will service on the Committees on Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare and Primary and Secondary Education; Hon. C. Muchimba, will serve on the Committees on Sport, Recreation, Art and Culture and Information, Communication Technology and Courier Services; Hon. A. Munjeyi will serve on the Committees on Local Government, Public Works and National Housing and Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare; Hon. P. Machangu, will serve on the Committee on Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development; Hon. A.T. Mavhunga will serve on the Committees on Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture and Youth Empowerment, Development and Training and Hon. R. Bila will serve on the Committees on Health Care and Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare.
*HON. NYABANI: Greetings to you Madam Speaker. I stand here as a Member of Parliament for Rushinga. It is my wish that our children should be the leaders of tomorrow. The way our children are abusing alcohol is not right and it would be sinful for us not to talk about this issue and try to resolve it as Members of Parliament. Children are abusing alcohol called mutoriro and this is killing a lot of people in my constituency.
Beer used to be sold in beerhalls but now it is sold everywhere and it is sold to almost any age group. Some are saying this mutoriro is being abused because people have no jobs but I asked myself what the twelve-year-old child needs employment for. Some are saying alcohol brings in tax but who will benefit from that tax if all people have been destroyed? Therefore, Madam Speaker Ma’am, I urge all Members of Parliament in this House to take cognizant of the need to make useful laws. The abuse of alcohol is now at a high level and is killing a lot of people hence bringing underdevelopment to this nation.
Laws should be enforced or implemented to enforce shops that sell alcohol to have liquor licences or that it should be sold at the right places. As Members of Parliament, we should not relax without protecting this nation. I thank you.
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Nyabani, it was going to be good if you come up with a motion so that everyone can debate and contribute to this very important issue.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. TOGAREPI: I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 5 be stood over until Order of the Day Number 6 has been disposed of.
HON. KARIKOGA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
UNCONDITIONAL REPEAL OF ZIDERA BY THE US GOVERNMENT AND LIFTING OF UNWARRANTED AND ILLEGAL SANCTIONS ON ZIMBABWE
Sixth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the illegal sanctions unilaterally imposed on Zimbabwe by the Government of the United States of America.
HON. MUTOKONYI: Thank you Madam Speaker. Compliments of the new season. I rise to debate on the affirmation motion on illegal sanctions imposed against Zimbabwe by the West. Just to look at the background to that, I have defined the sanctions in three terms where we have the first set of sanctions which are the British sanctions. The second set of sanctions are those from the European Union and the third set of sanctions were placed by America. At the peak of the land dispute between Zimbabwe and Britain, we saw Zimbabwe going ahead to distribute the land without compensation and that set the tone of the first set of sanctions. What is the effect of the British sanctions and what are they? The background of that is that Zimbabwe was colonised by Britain on 2nd September 1890 and was ruled by Britain from 1890 to 1980. It is in this period that the British people suffixed their economy, industries and agriculture. Almost everything was maybe linked in terms of the systems and machinery. The British sanctions cut that umbilical cord which was there and had been there with Britain. They imposed sanctions and in those sanctions, that is when we saw the country failing to get the machinery or spares for the repair of the equipment because almost all this equipment was coming from England. This then affected the industries and we saw things changing.
I am sure at that time, the British Government was paying the suppliers not to deal or to supply spares to Zimbabwe and this led to the collapse of the industry. Companies stopped producing and some of the companies were paid to stop operating since they were British owned. The closure - and I remember there was the whole Air Force of Zimbabwe Squadron which used to fly the Hawks. The whole squadron was grounded because of lack of spares to run that Squadron unit. The effect of the British sanctions is that most of the machinery in Zimbabwe were made in England.
Therefore, Britain romped in its neighbours, the EU which set the second set of sanctions. What are they and what are the effects? The EU market was our cash cow for our Foreign Currency because Zimbabwe was selling beef, citrus fruits and flowers. Therefore, we lost that market which was our main cash inflow in foreign currency to boost our reserves. Thus we no longer get foreign currency that we used to get from the EU. Germany also drifted from Zimbabwe on an agreement that was signed in the 1930s in which Germany was providing paper to print the Zimbabwe dollars. That is where we see the effect of the second set of sanctions.
The third set of sanctions, which are on the motion, are the United States illegal sanctions. What are they and how did they come to be? A third set of sanctions was imposed by the USA which is called the Zimbabwe Economic Democracy Recovery Act (ZIDERA) which was enacted under Senate Act Number 494 effective on 21st December 2001. Hon. Speaker, ZIDERA condemns Zimbabwe for the economic doldrums we are already facing now. They were put by this Act. What does ZIDERA say and what is the effect on Zimbabwe? It says all countries with relations with America could not do business with Zimbabwe. It went on to say no International United Nations Monetary Organisations in USA were allowed to extend credit facilities. I remember it was actually written in that Act where it says that the US Secretary or Treasury is instructing all directors of international institutions to vote against Zimbabwe not to forgive their debt and not to allow the credit lines. It is very clear that whilst some other term is targeted sanctions, the Act is also very clear that the sanctions were made and are made to affect Zimbabwe economically and this is how they came to be.
The International Monetary Fund, World Bank and other credit institutions were instructed to do so. There is a saying that he who pays the piper calls the tune. It then meant that those who own these institutions sit in boards where most of the funding comes from (USA) hence we see them instructing other institutions which are thought to be independent but we can actually see that America is instructing not to support in terms of the credit facilities. It is very difficult for a third world country to operate without these credit facilities. A lot of other countries have been bleeding through their national budgets and part of the budget is funded through the debt to make sure that the debt enables them to achieve all their planned programmes. This is where we saw a lot of infrastructure not being handled properly in terms of development particularly from 2001 because of these illegal sanctions. Therefore, the Zimbabwean Government failed to fund a lot of its projects because of such. We saw infrastructure development was very minimal up until March when we started witnessing the coming in of the Second Republic where a lot of infrastructure has been put and we need to give thumbs up to our President Dr. E.D Mnangagwa for ensuring that whilst the country is still bleeding with sanctions, we are witnessing a lot of infrastructure development, from power, road to airports, and this is happening whilst the country is still under the illegal sanctions. So, it went on to say whilst the USA placed the country under sanctions, it is on record that annually, the country funds the so-called NGOs to the tune of US$60 million to ensure for democracy and related other projects in the country. It went on to say US$60 million will be channelled annually to Zimbabwe. This is the money that is used by USA foot-soldiers to move around the country under the cover of NGOs.
We are saying the same Americans who imposed sanctions against us now give aid as NGOs. We are saying whilst they are now giving us aid, why can they not just remove the sanctions instead of channelling the aid and at the same time, instructing all these international institutions not to fund Zimbabwe. How can this be? If you impose sanctions on us and give us aid, it is difficult and why should it be like that? So, the USA soldiers are operating in this country, the foot soldiers under the disguise of NGOs because if they love Zimbabwe, they have to remove the sanctions instead of bringing much of the aid with the sanctions still in place – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –.
Why we then term them illegal sanctions - these sanctions were never agreed by the United Nations. The Security Council sat, China and Russia vetoed the imposition of the said sanctions and that is why up to today, we term them illegal sanctions because they were not agreed and vetoed by the UN Security Council. These sanctions were never imposed by UN because Russia and China voted against these sanctions, therefore, we call them illegal sanctions because Zimbabwe is not sanctioned by UN. Surprisingly, the US, Britain and its allies continued to impose these illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe, but the important thing to know about these sanctions is that they were crafted or the draft was crafted here in Nyanga by fellow Zimbabweans and unfortunately, we are in these sanctions though some of the Zimbabweans were part of the drafting of these illegal sanctions.
However, I want to categorically say that the USA and its allies should unconditionally remove the sanctions because the sanctions are illegal and the sanctions are causing devastating effects to ordinary Zimbabweans. What it then means is that whilst we are not going to fold our hands as Zimbabweans, Madam Speaker, I remember reading a journal from the Ministry of Agriculture in which Hon. A. Masuka stated that sanctions or no sanctions, we are going to make sure that Zimbabwe is food secure. We are witnessing that and we actually know that the objective of the sanction imposers was to make sure that if people get hungry, do not get jobs and money or work for them to survive, they can rise against their Government, but we want to thank our good Lord who loves Zimbabwe that whilst the sanctions are there, the good Lord ensures that we receive good rains. We also want to thank the Government of the day for ensuring that we keep on moving forward as we are witnessing that a lot of development is taking place. We are seeing it whilst the country is still under sanctions. I want to say, the USA and your allies, can you remove your sanctions because the sanctions are hurting the ordinary people?
HON. S. SAKUPWANYA: I would like to extend my gratitude to Hon. Mutodi for raising the motion seconded by Hon. Shamu. Sanctions have had an impact that is detrimental to the growth of our economy. In so much as we have found ways to get our economy growing, the rate would have been much faster had it not been for the impact of these illegal sanctions. As a whole, sanctions have an impact that is felt even among the youth. Today, we live in a technology-driven global society which has veered from the traditional media streams as sources of information and entertainment, having transcended to social media through social networks such as Facebook, YouTube and “X” formerly known as Twitter.
Content creators from Zimbabwe have been disadvantaged as they are unable to monetise their content directly into Zimbabwean bank accounts and this is a direct result of sanctions. For as long as you want to use a Zimbabwean bank account, you will be unable to monetise your views on social media networks, something which can be easily done in South Africa. This results in our young creative minds being forced to leave the country for them to attain value for their shared content on the global social networks. Should we therefore keep quiet when a deliberate brain-drain is caused by sanctions? No way!
Madam Speaker, as we speak to the effect of sanctions, it must be noted that these have a negative bearing as well on our ability to export. I come from a province where many indigenous farmers have embarked on farming macadamia nuts. While the global price for macadamia nuts is going up, our farmers are put in a choke-hold because the European channel of export has been closed off to them due to sanctions for the simple reason that if you produce macadamia nuts from a land reform farm, then the produce is not taken up by the EU market. This means our ability to compete fairly on the global market is hammered and this is an infringement to our rights as global citizens.
I now want to speak to the inclusion of individuals placed on the sanctions list who have never themselves been tried or convicted in a court of law for the alleged crimes that warrant their presence on the sanctions list. I would highlight that my own father was on the sanctions list yet right up until the time of his death, he was the most honourable man that I knew who never stole anything from anyone and his only crime was to fight for this country and its land, him together with other stalwarts who are living and deceased – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – He was supposedly removed from these sanctions some years ago. However, today because I share both his name and surname, if I were to attempt to receive or send money outside the country, it will be blocked just because I share both his name and surname. Speaking to the fact that when the Americans say they have removed him from the sanctions list, it is a public relation move to hoodwink the public that sanctions do not exist. In the same vein, when they say sanctions hurt only a few, they do so to push a narrative that is far from the truth.
Madam Speaker, it is imperative that the individuals targeted on this list be removed as there is no basis under which they have been targeted. It is in no way beneficial to the people of Zimbabwe. In fact, it appears as a means of coercion by the Western forces for us to remain slaves and be subservient to their agenda which we need to consult and find out what it is. Madam Speaker, the purpose of these sanctions does not benefit Zimbabweans in any way. When they were instituted, elements within the Zimbabwean opposition of the time were used to justify their initiation. They were hoodwinked to believe that sabotaging the economy is the only path to power and to this effect, there is still a video of the former Opposition leader, Mr. Tsvangirai asking for South Africa to cut off electricity to Zimbabwe as a form of sanction to our country.
I want to state that during the GNU era, the same Tsvangirai went on a crusade to have sanctions removed. It was a rare moment where everyone in the country from all political divides agreed that sanctions must be removed. History teaches us that the failure to remove sanctions at a time where Zimbabweans were united against them, brings the reality that these sanctions are there to benefit a western agenda which is a priority seemingly over our own. It shows that they were never about human rights but only about the wealth of the then white minority at the expense of the black indigenous majority. It is about land to which we cannot and will not reverse the gains of the liberation struggle – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – Without land, then we would never have been free.
Madam Speaker, if we were to scrutinise further, it must be highlighted that when we did the Land Reform Programme, we did it against the British and not the Americans. The whole purpose of the liberation struggle was against our suppressors then, who were the British at the time. As history would teach us, our war was never with the Americans, but the British and their descendants who stole our ancestral land, forced us into small non service towns and abused our mineral wealth. The question must be asked of the American Government why they would institute such harsh sanctions against us where their citizens were never involved. America itself, was in world wars reparation for the loss they incurred during the world wars against Germany who eventually paid them up in 2010, and yet today they want to demonise Zimbabwe for correcting a colonial injustice. This is before we even bring forward the question of reparations that Zimbabweans need to ask from those who colonised us.
Seeing that the American Government has sanctioned us due to Land Reform, they can then be questioned if they ever indeed fully supported a liberated Zimbabwe. If they really wanted the black Africans to be given the right to self-determination, be it political or economic, then it must be asked of them why they instituted these sanctions. Such an action shows us they would have preferred for us to be under colonial system that is Rhodesia where all the means of production were owned and controlled by descendants of the colonial masters. The determination of which would mean that we would need to correct our history and teach our youths that when we talk of colonisation, we should not talk about the British alone, but they also had allies who supported their calls for blacks to remain subjugated.
I want to reiterate that we fully subscribe to the mantra as espoused by President Mnangagwa, that Zimbabwe is a friend to all and an enemy to none. So, Madam Speaker, I do agree with Hon. Mutodi’s suggestion that a delegation must be sent to the United States of America in a bid to determine if indeed it is still their objective to cause suffering amongst Zimbabweans without having to hide behind the false narrative of human rights abuse. It is also important to act upon the means of engagement, the results of which should allow us to properly assess our relationship with the United States of America.
I would lastly, like to highlight that the enemy of every Zimbabwean is poverty and anyone that promotes poverty against Zimbabweans is our enemy. With that, I humbly submit. Thank you – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
HON. M. NCUBE: Thank you Madam Speaker. Good afternoon and compliments of the new season.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Good afternoon. Thank you and same to you.
HON. M. NCUBE: Thank you Madam Speaker for affording me this opportunity to add my voice on the motion moved by Hon. Mutodi, supported by Hon. Shamu on the removal of illegal targeted sanctions. Madam Speaker, since early 2000, Zimbabwe has been under sanctions imposed by the United States of America and the European Union that has shaped Zimbabwe’s domestic politics as well as the country’s relations with the Western nations. It is therefore imperative that as we debate this motion, we put in mind that there is no country that can survive as an island. The UN and its allies say the sanctions were introduced as a response to serious electoral irregularities and human rights abuse in the Parliament and Presidential Elections while it was very clear that these interventions were not targeted and were not a response to the State, but were a response to the State led land acquisition process which unfolded from March of 2000, which radically transformed the property ownership structure on the land in favour of small scale farmers and the majority of black people.
Madam Speaker Ma’am, the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001 was enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress to support the people of Zimbabwe in their struggle to effect peaceful democratic change, achieve broad based and equitable economic growth and restore the rule of law. What is not clear in this policy Madam Speaker, is the statement of the Act, what it means by the people of Zimbabwe that is whether it also included the democratic elected sitting Government of the day because the Zimbabwe Government is made up of Zimbabwe, by the people of Zimbabwe and for the people of Zimbabwe.
Again, Madam Speaker, the Zimbabwe Democracy and the Economic Recovery Act of 2001 clearly states that the President of the US is authorised to provide financial backing under Part I and Chapter IV of Part 11 of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 to the Land Reform in Zimbabwe, provided certain conditions are met. As much as we appreciate that ZIDERA is US policy, where have you seen a president of another country having individual powers over the affairs of another independent union? According to Whites (2003), sanctions are a war without guns and bloodshed and have limited, if any effectiveness for changing behaviour or governments of target countries. Sanctions may be regarded as an implicit declaration of war by the sanctioniers to the sanctionee. We may try to talk politely about these sanctions but they remain a cold war by one nation against the other only because of the big brother mentality. Why am I saying Zimbabwean sanctions are a war as a result of big brother mentality? Zimbabwe has done nothing against America to deserve this war but America wants to be the overseer of humanity abusing other sovereign nations.
Madam Speaker, sanctions against Zimbabwe qualify as war against a nation. The fact that besides the provision of humanitarian assistance, ZIDERA prevented any substantive new investment from entering the country. It also set out that America will pause any new loan credit facility or debt reduction initiative being carried out by the international financial institutions. Humanitarian assistance is mostly associated with war. We have recently seen countries sending humanitarian assistance to Ukraine, DRC and Palestine because there is war against humanity hence it should be agreed that USA realised that ZIDERA is war against Zimbabweans not political leaders, thus the reason for accepting provision of humanitarian assistance.
Madam Speaker, even though economic sanctions are an increasingly common tool of coercion in international disputes, their implementations may not cause the desired outcome by the imposer. For example, sanctions that may be targeted at specific individuals may end up negatively affecting the very people that the sanctions were intended to protect from the actions of the allegedly bad governance. This is exactly the case of Zimbabwean sanctions said to be initially targeted at ZANU PF leaders who are the same democratic elected leaders of Zimbabwean Government, but end up affecting the general public.
The general populace, unfortunately, became the major victims of targeted sanctions given that the country was denied lending rights from international institutions and political leaders and their sympathisers were slapped with travel restrictions, thereby crippling their ability to deal with pressing national issues in a globalised world. Leaders may also find ingenious ways of lessening the bad part of sanctions on them while the ordinary citizens bear the negative impact of targeted sanctions.
Madam Speaker, how do you ban Government leaders from attending very important international forums if the same leaders are supposed to be talking and listening on behalf of their people? How do you block a nation from obtaining finance or credit facilities from international lenders to inject into the developing economy if you do not intend to worsen the economic challenges for the poor people of that country? To make matters worse, these same finances were plundered from the same country you are denying access today. That is far from the claim that sanctions in Zimbabwe are ring fenced and targeted at a few individuals. The reality on the ground is that the tight grip of the declared and undeclared sanctions is being felt throughout the entire economy and affecting women, girls, widows, orphans, civil servants and businessmen. I would say specifically in my district Tsholostho and other districts like Nkayi, Binga, Rushinga, Mutoko, Muzarabani, Gutu, Bulawayo and Harare.
Madam Speaker, the imposition of targeted sanctions on Zimbabwe brought with it bad publicity, a record low credit rating and the pariah State tag. Investors willingly pulled out of the country, avoided making new investments or were commanded by their countries not to make new or further investments in Zimbabwe. Targeted sanctions led to sustained disinvestment and de-industrialisation in Zimbabwe that severely weakened the economy with negative consequences for the citizens.
Madam Speaker, the Second Republic led by His Excellency the President, Cde E. D. Mnangagwa has, on the onset, been clear about engagement and re-engagement. This was because the President and the Government noted that sanctions against Zimbabwe are unjustified and not supported by the United Nations, African Union and SADC. The President has also realised that these sanctions came as a result of misinformation to the US by the colonisers who had lost land after the land reform. The President has applied for Zimbabwe’s readmission to the Commonwealth showing commitment to good governance. He has also called on for a round table discussion with US and its allies to resolve the economic sanctions but alas, the imposer is not harkening to the call.
Madam Speaker, we are grateful to our neighbouring countries for maintaining that sanctions must be removed because they do not contribute constructive solutions and their removal would recognise progress made and be an important confidence building measure. Had it not been for the support from the SADC, our all-weather friends and the ingeniousness of our President, the Zimbabwe economy would by now have totally collapsed and resulted in insurgence against democratically elected ZANU PF Government to the celebration of USA and her allies.
In conclusion, Hon. Madam Speaker, I support the motion moved by Hon. Dr. Mutodi to have a Parliamentary delegation to travel to the US to meet the President of the USA and the House of Commons to advocate for the removal of these illegal sanctions against Zimbabwe. As alluded to earlier, the sanctions were imposed in the first republic yet we are in the second republic. The sanctions were targeted at individuals but with economic impact to all Zimbabweans. The sections were said to be a measure of good governance but have become a cold economic war against the poor majority of Zimbabweans. The sanctions were imposed without any engagement of the Government of Zimbabwe but the second republic is ready for re-engagement. The sanctions have crippled our economy by not allowing Zimbabwe to search for financial loans from financial creditors, banning international trading and travel by our leaders.
Madam Speaker, as a mother and as a woman, I call upon those who are busy campaigning against the removal of sanctions to join hands together and ask for the removal of these illegal sanctions. Thank you, Madam Speaker. Twalumba! Siyabonga!
HON. MUGWADI: Thank you very much Madam Speaker. May I take this opportunity to convey my compliments to you in the new season.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Mugwadi and same to you.
HON. MUGWADI: Madam Speaker, allow me to add my small voice to the debate under discussion on sanctions. Firstly, while thanking so much three colleagues who spoke before me and contributed immensely to this debate. I want to take this opportunity to qualify what sanctions are. My small understanding tells me that where sanctions are supposed to be imposed on a State, they must follow the protocols and legal requirements provided by the United Nations (UN) Charter, such that for those sanctions to be able to pass the test of legality, they must be multi-lateral and not unilateral.
What we have on the Republic of Zimbabwe and its people are unilateral sanctions by former erstwhile colonial masters, the British, Americans, Canadians, Australians and New Zealanders. Therefore, because they were unilateral and were not imposed following the provisions of the UN Charter, we have illegal and unlawful sanctions in this country and its people. Therefore, by all standards, they should be removed because they have no space or place in the community of nations – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] -
Madam Speaker, to that end, we have the African Union. It has made its voice categorically and unequivocally clear that the sanctions regime on the people of Zimbabwe, their leadership and country are illegal and must be removed. We must therefore, as Parliament, give a strong commendation to the entire African Unions for standing with the people of Zimbabwe. The Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) has set aside and observes the 25th of October as a special day annually, as a day of regional solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe in calling for the removal of sanctions which we now call, the SADC Anti-Sanctions Day.
Madam Speaker, not only them, powerful nations that sit in the UN Security Council, China and Russia and other progressive Nations, have joined hands with the people of Zimbabwe, SADC, African Union, the non-aligned movement, in calling for the removal of these illegal sanctions. Now, therefore Madam Speaker, it is important to qualify in this House why these sanctions were imposed. I was still very young when these sanctions were imposed. In fact, if I recall very well, I was still nursing my Zimbabwe Junior Certificate (ZJC). Now, I am almost 40 years old and have grown to understand that there is so much opportunity in this country because of the yoke of sanctions which our people, leadership and nation has had to needlessly carry because of irresponsible actions of counterproductive and counter revolutionary Zimbabweans who, on a normal day, should be seated on the opposite benches. They called for these sanctions and must be called out – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]
Madam Speaker, it is not speculation. We have video evidence of people receiving khaki envelopes from white men calling for these sanctions – it is there on record. We can even quote them in verbatim saying in one of the instances with Morgan Tsvangirai, may his soul rest in peace. The former leader of the opposition MDC, which of course stands against our goals, has fractured several times such that we do not know what character it takes at the moment. He said, at one point in time in 2003, that this regime in reference to the ZANU PF Government, the people’s Government, a democratically elected Government which, thanks to God, is still there, that this Government does not understand any other language than having sanctions on it. He said that very clearly and the videos have been circulating. I am privileged to have a director of information from one of the progressive revolutionary practices of this country and have access to that information. I have it and if Parliament wants it, I can bring it here, it is there for the record.
They called for sanctions and when these sanctions were called Madam Speaker, we must be very clear as parliamentarians and as the people of Zimbabwe just as our leadership is very clear that these sanctions were not imposed yesterday for reasons that we are now raising today. At the time that these sanctions were imposed, the reasons were very clear, and of course, those who imposed them were the administrations of George Bush and Tony Blair and were not smart enough as to hide the reasons. We must not pretend or assist them to hide those reasons today because the reasons were very clear. Number one of the reasons was that the Zimbabwean Government should not have proceeded with redistributing land to address the historical colonial imbalances over the ownership and possession of land in Zimbabwe.
Therefore, because it has taken this giant revolutionary decision towards completing the process of decolonisation in Zimbabwe, this Government must be punished because it is a bad influence between Cape and Cairo. All other African Governments, bad people and Africans outside of Zimbabwe who have no access to their land because the white men in their countries are still holding onto it. Do not go far away, go down Limpopo, you know the land question has become topical today because the people of Zimbabwe and their leadership were brave enough to draw the first line and bring back land to the people. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
These sanctions were imposed not for the Human Rights that they are talking about today, not for stage-managed disappearances that they allude today; and not because of the elections that were held in 2008, 2018 or 2023. These elections have already taken place and they called them uncredible and unfair and therefore reasons for keeping the sanctions. No, that is a lie and we can not be lied upon as to the reasons why they imposed sanctions. It was because we united our people with their land, the land which our forefathers fought for. The land, today, that so many souls are lying in unmarked graves for, we have it and others do not have it. Therefore, Zimbabwe needed to be punished according to the white men because it was becoming a bad influence to other African Governments.
This is why we are proud as one of the few or, if I am not mistaken, the only African country where the process of decolonisation has completed when others are yet to. We therefore were sanctioned for taking this brave decision. We must remind our colleagues who should be, on a normal day, seated on the other side, that today amongst them are a rapacious clique of land barons in the cities. They are now preying on that land that we had to forcefully take from the white people – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – they are building their houses and communities on top of that land which we have made sure that they are united with. They must reflect and understand that we must speak with one voice when it comes to the question of sanctions.
Madam Speaker, the sanctions were also imposed for the second reason that I am going to allude to, that the ZANU PF Government elected by the people then, is no longer desirable for purposes of the white people and therefore needed to be replaced and for all intents and purposes, the sanctions were put in place for regime change. They said this Government has become too revolutionary, that this Government is too brave for a black Government, that this Government is daring, that this Government is abandoning useless Lanchester provisions of willing seller and willing buyer and therefore must be punished. What should we do? Let us form an opposition party to pamper and give it all the support to wrestle power from ZANU PF legally or illegally. That is why the leaders used to say, we will remove the ZANU PF government constitutionally or unconstitutionally, violently or non-violently. They were very clear on that – [HON MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – It is because the sanctions were put in place to remove this Government. Thank God we still have a Government almost 23 years later.
Madam Speaker, the third reason why sanctions were put in place is there in black and white in one of their Senators who used to sit in the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations of the United States of America Congress. It was apparent, we had imposed a sanctions regime on the people of Zimbabwe, not on targeted individuals. They were obvious that on the people of Zimbabwe, on the State of Zimbabwe, on the Government and economy of Zimbabwe, such that their economy shall scream and people should start to ask where the problem is because there will not be bread in the shops. “We will attack their finances and inflation will be the order of the day”. “We will make sure that their economy gets to the fundamentals for people’s survival”. “There will not be fuel, they shall not produce anything from their land”. “We will cut their access to farming equipment and at the end of the day, people will say what do we have with ourselves except that it has become a life and death situation”.
Therefore, let us overthrow this Government. The people therefore in Zimbabwe are supposed to be screened and made to scream according to these sanctions’ regimes. Thank God that even as they scream, they continue to scream in revolutionary terms, that is why they failed to achieve that, but they were very clear. I am just trying to bring these things Madam Speaker, to the fore so that everyone including those on a normal day would have been seated on the other side, must understand that even if they are there, where they are based on other reasons than what I am saying, then they do not know exactly what kind of an animal they have become part of and that is why there is a lot of chaos in their party.
Our economy has been made to scream Madam Speaker. There was a time when we could not count quintillions and they were almost closer to achieving that because the whole purpose of these sanctions was to cut the umbilical cord between the people and their revolutionary party such that when that happens, Zimbabwe becomes a country of what I would call wada watonga, anyone could be anything in Zimbabwe because the fabric that keeps it intact would have been destroyed. Thank God, twenty-three years after the sanctions, we are still breathing.
Madam Speaker, the sanctions were put in place to isolate Zimbabwe and allow me to go into unchartered territories. For this, I want to salute the former President of South Africa, President Mbeki who was very clear and there were things that he declassified which are essential indeed that at one point in time, he had to be engaged in a lot of series of diplomatic engagements and series assisted by the then, I think British Chief of Staff Defence. When the British were now closer to contemplating an invasion of this country, he assured them that they were not going to get out of the terrain in Zimbabwe because the liberation generation veterans were still active enough and they would wipe them away within 24 hours and they will regret any decision to invade Zimbabwe. He had to stop an invasion in Zimbabwe, Russia and China had to play a very fundamental role in the Security Council to stop those machinations. We owe them a salute as the Parliament of the Republic of Zimbabwe.
Madam Speaker, President Ramaphosa continues to take every global and international stage given to him to call for the removal of sanctions on the people of Zimbabwe. President Samia Suluhu, picking on the late President John Magufuli of Tanzania, continues to shine on every global and international stage so given to her that the people of Zimbabwe must be removed from the yoke of Zimbabwe. President Nyusi of Mozambique continues to call for the removal of sanctions on the people of Zimbabwe. Former President of Zambia, Lungu, was very clear that sanctions on the people of Southern Zambezi needed to have sanctions removed from their necks.
I do not know Madam Speaker, of course just as you are, what the other presidents out there think about, it is not for me to discuss. I just do not know, but I must be very clear. I knew that President Lungu was very clear on sanctions on Africans in Zimbabwe that they must be removed.
I want to thank President Joao Lourenco of Angola who was very clear that sanctions on Zimbabwe must be removed. President of Malawi, His Excellency Chakwera, was also very clear that sanctions on Zimbabwe must be removed. President Hage Geingob from Namibia was very clear that sanctions on the people of Zimbabwe must be removed. President Mokgweetsi Masisi from Botswana is very clear, that sanctions on the people of Zimbabwe must be removed.
Madam Speaker, the King of Eswatini was also very clear that sanctions on the people of Zimbabwe must be removed. President Paul Kagame is very clear that sanctions on the people of Zimbabwe must be removed.
Having said all this, where are my fellow Members who must be seated opposite to me on this debate? Are all these people who are saying these sanctions must be removed not on ZANU PF, but even on their necks? Are these people men? Where are they in this debate when everyone who matters is saying the sanctions must be removed? They cannot even utter a single word that sanctions must be removed on all of us including them too, but when the price of bread soars, they are the first to complain. When our currency is attached, they are the first to complain and they would want to hoodwink the people of Zimbabwe to think that it is incapacity of our Government yet they know exactly where the elephant in the room is. They will tell you that sanctions on the people of Zimbabwe are not effective in causing the challenges that we are having. The question that I want to pose to the opposite bench as I sit down is that if these sanctions were never meant to achieve anything of all that I have alluded to, why do you want those sanctions to be still kept in place if they were meant to achieve nothing?
Madam Speaker, in short as I sit down, sanctions, as Hon. Nyoni has said, are part of what is called high-breed warfare to belittle other States. I would suggest that before a delegation is sent to the United States of America to debate and discuss with them about sanctions, we have the leader of Government Business here to provide us guidance. The Ambassador of the United States Government must be here first to answer the basic question of whether he knows the land between Zambezi and Limpopo better than we do. We have never been in the United States of America to comment about their elections. Elections in Zimbabwe take place according to the laws of the jurisdiction of Zimbabwe and not theirs. We were not there at Capitol Hill when they were at each other’s throats. We did our swearing-in ceremony very peacefully and in love at the National Sports Stadium. So, we do our things according to our systems. However, notwithstanding that they still try to find and scavenge for a reason to suggest they are still keeping sanctions on us, we must summon them here and have a discussion even a breakfast meeting in this building. I so submit Madam Speaker.
HON. A. MPOFU: Allow me to add my voice to the debate on the illegal sanctions that have been imposed on our country by the United States of America. It is common cause that the sanctions have severely affected the viability of the Zimbabwean economy since the time they were imposed. Zimbabwe has experienced high levels of inflation, currency instability and other macroeconomic deficiencies. The family unit has been broken as most men and women of the economically active age group have left the country to the diaspora seeking jobs and better living standards. There has been a skills flight from Zimbabwe and such brain drain has affected all sectors of our economy.
It is important to note that the illegal sanctions are a crime against the people of Zimbabwe by a powerful state which is imposing them, fully aware that they would affect the voiceless ordinary people. Women in particular, have borne the brunt of the sanctions as they have been left to take care of children and other dependent family members while men cross borders to South Africa, Australia, United Kingdom and other international spots where they never return.
As a Parliamentarian, I am persuaded to support this motion by Hon Dr. Mutodi. It is the right thing to do for Parliament to confront ZIDERA in the manner proposed. I wish to agree with Hon. Dr. Mutodi on the irrationality on the US Foreign and Defence policy which he mentioned in this motion. It is true that the US has over the years, developed irrational policies that have seen them invade many foreign territories. Look at what they did in Japan where they detonated nuclear bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing millions of innocent people. Look again at what they did in Iraq and Iran. They have maintained a wholesale policy against Palestine and as I am speaking, there is ongoing genocide against Arabs living in Gaza and those in the West Bank – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] - For how long would the US continue to destroy innocent lives, destroy sovereign countries and push Arabs and Africans to the brink of extinction? There must be a stop to this.
Our country has suffered enough. The evil and unjustified sanctions imposed by the US on Zimbabwe must end now. I hope that the delegation to the US President and Congress will be highly powered with you Madam Speaker Ma’am being part of it in order to send a message that Zimbabwe is united against sanctions.
The youngest Parliamentarian in the Tenth Parliament has debated. I thank you.
*HON. MAPIKI: I want to say compliments of the season. You have come back whilst some Hon. Members in this august House have left. To me this means all is well. Let me start by saying I am happy to debate on the motion which was moved by Hon. Dr. Mutodi regarding the illegal sanctions. I want to look at the causes.
Historically, we know that in 1884, the partitioning of Africa was planned by colonial imperialists. There were British, French, Belgians, Americans and other westerners. Zimbabwe was allocated to the British. One big issue which we noted is the distribution of wealth in Africa. The purpose of doing so was to take advantage of the natural resources that are found in Africa. In Zimbabwe, there is vast land and other resources which were supposed to benefit Zimbabweans, but which eventually benefited them.
In 1887, there were men and women, for instance there was Mbuya Nehanda who came from Mazowe, just like yourself Madam Speaker. Mbuya Nehanda resisted the imperialist powers. In our culture, when someone is found with a human head, it is seen as witchcraft, so the British are wizards because they confiscated her head. Zimbabwe should not have a deep relationship with witches. No matter how beautiful a snake is, you cannot put a snake in your pocket.
In 1890, they sent their hero Rhodes who came to implement what was planned at the Berlin Conference. From 1890 to 1924 we were not led by the British, but by the Anglo-American Company. The Anglo-American Company was being supported by the British. What they took from our land was being repatriated back to their homes. You find that some organisations were formed to support them and not us. For instance, the United Nations is meant to support their programmes. This is not a secret because we have African leaders like Patrice Lumumba and Gaddafi who were killed because there were resolutions which were meant to give power to kill such people. So because Africans do not have the power to veto UN resolutions, you would find that it is difficult for them to oppose such resolutions. The land issue is the one which led to sanctions being imposed and not what people say. Some people were just used to implement other people’s programmes. Madam Speaker, this is what we look at because it pains us.
We know that there was the Second Chimurenga where our nationalists like the late Dr. Nkomo participated in. There were organisations like Oppenheimer which is led by former Nigerian President Obasanjo. Such organisations are meant to indoctrinate very intelligent young people like Chamisa, Bobby Wine in Uganda, Odinga in Kenya and in Zambia there are some leaders there. Such people are brainwashed to turn against their Governments. That is why we struggle with opposition parties who are meant to protect American and British ideologies. We need to take a holistic approach. If we do not stand like we did during the 2nd Chimurenga, sanctions will remain in place but we need to be bold. The Land Reform was carried out and you find that in other countries, there were implications of soldiers working together with Guzman in their Land Reform. In Russia, as we speak, it is not that there is bad leadership but it is because American interests have been tempered with in Ukraine.
So, the Americans are against the Russians. There are other countries like Mali and the other North African countries which have agreed to move out of ECOWAs. Even regarding SADC and the African Union here, you would find that there was a consensus. We had an incident with Hichilema and some people who were coming from Zambia to say negative things about us. If Mbuya Nehanda said that my bones will rise, you would find that what is happening in the SADC, we need to be very careful. If we go to the African Union, there are a lot of people who are not serving African interests.
Before I sit, let me say that the British will remove sanctions when we have addressed the issue and a colleague spoke about African leaders. They spoke about the removal of sanctions and you would find that in other countries, military bases were established in Africa, in SADC States where they infiltrated and they have their people who are serving their interests. Even in Botswana, now we have quite a good leader. In Zambia, there were some issues also, but the issue of bases is not good.
As Zimbabweans, we need to really think deeply but I want to thank our ancestors because in 2000, there was an American funded opposition and this is the situation which led to the Americans working with Botswana. If they had decided to come, then things were going to be something else. They have a base in Botswana but we had oil in Muzarabani and from Muzarabani, it is around 50 kilometers. I want to say that we need to take a holistic approach and instead of just brushing the issue aside, you find that there is no charity when we talk of westerners.
You find that in the Opposition, some are giving up, some are forming new parties and others are making different decisions. These are the spirits of our ancestors, Mbuya Nehanda, the Nkomos and others. Young MPs in this august House should stand united and protect the heritage of Zimbabwe because you find that there are some Opposition members who are not clean, they are like snakes that cannot be put in pockets. You find some selling out our heritage which was led by the Nehandas and others. I thank you.
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Mapiki. May you correct that there is a base in Botswana and that there was oil in Lusaka? May you please correct such anomalies.
*HON. MAPIKI: I am sorry, I wanted to say that their military base is in Zambia. From Zambia to Muzarabani just across Zambezi, it is just a few kilometres. It is not very far but in Botswana, there is another base. They say these are military bases. I just wanted to allude to that. I thank you.
HON. KAITANO: Thank you very much Madam Speaker and compliments of the new season to you and all Hon. Members.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you and same to you.
HON. KAITANO: I rise to put my contribution to the motion that was moved by Hon. Mutodi, supported by Hon. Shamu. I acknowledge the contributions that my fellow Hon. Members have already given and I have seen a number of issues that I wanted to debate on. They have been shared by my colleagues. My contribution is going to be more biased towards what Hon. Mugwadi has said, but I am going to give some biblical reference as a launchpad to my argument.
I am going to give you a passage of scripture. Jeremiah Chapter 29: Verse 7. I have got two Bible versions. The first one says “Pray for the country or the city you are living in because if good things happen to it, good things will also happen to you”. The NIV says, “Also seek for peace and prosperity for the city or the country where I send you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it because if it prospers, you too will prosper”.
Madam Speaker Ma’am, the first thing that you did when you opened your mouth was, let us pray. It tells me the high significance of prayer, probably emanating from the Holy Bible. I have also heard many people at many various organisations where they start by praying and many quote the Holy Bible in whatever they do, needless to say His Excellency the President of this country has said to the nation of Zimbabwe, speaking of a very critical mantra that says “nyika inovakwa nevene vayo, igotongwa nevene vayo, igonamatigwa nevene vayo’, bringing the importance and significance of the Bible. Now this Bible that has been given so much significance is requiring of all the people, be they Zimbabweans, be they non-Zimbabweans, as long as they live in this country, they are being asked to pray for the prosperity of this country; to intercede for the prosperity of this country and not to call for sanctions [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
Our President, Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa is in line with what Jeremiah 29 :7 talks about. He has the right to quote the scriptures because he continues to ask us to pray for the prosperity of Zimbabwe but Alas! Madam Speaker Ma’am, we have many Zimbabwean citizens of this country who claim to be sent by God. They even use words like ‘God is in it’ but God is not in the calling of the imposition of sanctions on Zimbabwe. He is not in that. God is in the prosperity of this country. I think this is why they are disintegrating because they are not in line with what the word of God says. It says pray for the prosperity of Zimbabwe.
The first passage that I read talks about people living in that particular country, not the citizens of that country. It therefore means, if anybody, be they Zimbabwean or not, as long as they live in this country, they must call against the imposition of sanctions in this country. They must call for the removal of sanctions in this country. How much more for Zimbabweans? The scripture says, when Zimbabwe prospers, you too will prosper. Like what Hon. Mugwadi has said that the other side must call for the removal of sanctions because if Zimbabwe prospers, they too will prosper. Not just Zimbabweans, even non-Zimbabweans, as long as they are living in this country. The American and British alike, they must also call for the removal of sanctions because the scriptures are encouraging them for the prosperity of this country. Therefore, Parliament must be unanimous in calling for the removal of these unwarranted …
An Hon. Member’s cellphone having rung.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, Hon. Members, let me remind you to switch off your cellphones or put them on silent when we are in the House. Thank you.
HON. KAITANO: Madam Speaker ma’am, as I conclude, God is never in the business of imposing sanctions on this country. Whoever calls for sanctions and continues to do so, should not claim to be a Pastor, should not claim to speak on behalf of God. In fact, the Bible says, he or she is off-side and we want to thank the visionary leadership of our President, Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa, for if there is somebody to claim to lead and to speak the oracle of the scriptures of God, it is him because what he says is in line with what the scriptures say. I say to this Parliament, let us continue to speak against the imposition of sanctions on this country. Let us continue to speak for the removal of sanctions and as we continue doing so, we will certainly win.
As I began with a passage of scripture, I am ending with another passage of scripture, Numbers Chapter 13:30 that says “let us go up at once and posses our land for we are well able to overcome” I thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.
*HON. MATANGIRA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am, for awarding me this opportunity to debate on this motion because those who sing and advocate for democracy saying we know it best were there when the liberation struggle started when the whites came to this country. No-one was under sanctions although they were fighting the blacks and killing them. That was the time when it was mentioned by our ancestors that our bones shall rise. The bones have arisen and democratically, people have raised their voices and said that they want their country. The blacks did not wage war against the whites, but they demanded their farms and resources peacefully.
In English, the definition of war is not action. It is something that comes to remove obstacles although there is bloodshed which is going to happen. The liberation struggle was fought so that our country which was colonised must be returned to its owners. The democratic people supported that there be a liberation struggle. They supported that the country and its resources must be returned to the rightful owners even those who know about the laws supported that. For example, if your car is stolen and you search and find it in Victoria Falls, it is no longer your duty to know how the thief is going to go back to Bulawayo. As the owner of the item, your role or purpose is to take your car. We took our country through the liberation struggle. We waited for the oppressors to peacefully and rightfully hand over what belongs to us without fighting them. Today is our day to take back our country and resources. Those who fought the liberation struggle sat down and agreed that everything that belongs to us must be rightfully given to us. Our parents supported this initiative. We want our country, including everything in it, rise Zimbabwe! What was said by Mbuya Nehanda has happened. For 20 years, you have stolen my hoe, I am kindly requesting you to return what rightfully belongs to me. The oppressors did not want to return. They were given an opportunity to give us the other portions which they were not using. They refused although they were given the opportunity to sell even though the land and resources did not belong to them, they still refused.
In English they say, “we will buy the land even if it belongs to us on the basis of willing seller willing buyer”. The country was ours, but they still refused. They started to use other means to recolonise our country. That is when the Zimbabweans rose and refused oppression, in order to reclaim our farms. You are now imposing illegal sanctions, where is the democracy you are talking about? The illegal sanctions were imposed to us because we have taken back our land, including all the resources. We are not going to bow down. Sanctions are not a new thing in Zimbabwe.
Some countries including Guatemala were sanctioned because they were talking about their wishes and aspirations. Illegal sanctions were imposed on Cuba because they wanted their resources. Iran was sanctioned because of oil. Gaddafi was killed because of oil.
Zimbabwe, let us be united and remain resolute. Let us go to our mines so that we mine and overcome the sanctions. As a country, we are going to discover more minerals in the near future. These countries which are imposing sanctions will come back apologising to us that they were wrong about these sanctions. Right now, they are allowed to mine and operate their companies in Zimbabwe because our leadership and us as Zimbabweans are not people who revenge. If we are revengeful as a country, we would not have allowed them to continue operating in our country, including those who support them.
Our President, Dr. Mnangagwa is a good leader. He encourages us to work hard. We can not run away from our country because we are facing difficulties, we continue to work hard and God is providing. May God protect us from diseases. Our President is encouraging us to work hard in our farms, produce and manufacture for the prosperity of our country. At some point, China was faced with a very difficult situation where they reached a point of eating donkeys. Even us as a country, we are going to overcome this. God is for us all. I thank you Madam Speaker.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. TOGAREPI: I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 6 to 10 be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 11 has been disposed of.
HON. T. ZHOU: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
GBV AWARENESS PROGRAMMES TO PROMOTE POSITIVE SOCIAL AND CULTURAL CHANGE
Eleventh Order read. Adjourned debate on motion on the 2023 commemoration to mark the sixteen days of activism against Gender-Based Violence campaign.
Question again proposed.
HON. NKOMO: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am and compliments of the new season.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you and same to you.
HON. NKOMO: Thank you Madam Speaker for allowing me to add my voice on the issue of Gender Based Violence (GBV) on the motion presented by Hon. Ndebele on behalf of Hon. Sen. Mbohwa. I want to particularly talk about sexual abuse of girls and women…
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Nkomo, the motion was introduced by Hon. Ndebele and not Hon. Sen. Mbohwa.
HON. NKOMO: Thank you for the correction. I want to particularly talk about sexual abuse of girls and women as these cases have been rising at an alarming rate in Zimbabwe. According to WHO Global Status Report on Violence Prevention 2014, one in three women and girls will experience physical, sexual or gender-based violence (SGBV) in their lifetime.
Unfortunately, only four percent of these women/girls will report this violation to the police due to stigma or fear. Rape and sexual violence are especially under reported. An alarmingly high proportion (43 percent) of adolescent girls in Zimbabwe aged between 13-17 years reported that their first incident of sexual intercourse was unwanted and unplanned. The cultural, social, economic dynamics in Zimbabwe creates an environment where sexual abuse often goes unreported and victims face numerous challenges in seeking justice and support. Understanding the context of sexual abuse in Zimbabwe is crucial for addressing this pervasive issue and implementing effective interventions to protect and empower girls and women.
Hon. Sen. Mbohwa, on page 4, highlighted that sexual abuse statistics among girls and women in Zimbabwe has sky-rocketed on a staggering rate. In 2019, there were several high-profile cases of sexual abuse and exploitation in Zimbabwe, including the alleged rape of a 12-year-old girl by a prominent businessman and the abuse of women and girls in a religious cult. These cases highlighted the ongoing problem of sexual violence in the country and the need for greater awareness and action to address the issue. Comparatively in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic further exacerbated the problem of sexual violence in Zimbabwe as lockdown measures and economic instability led to increased vulnerability and exploitation of women and girls. According to a report by the Zimbabwe Gender Commission, there was a significant increase in reports of sexual violence during the COVID-19 pandemic with many cases involving minors and vulnerable individuals.
Needless to say, the actual figures may be even higher due to under-reporting, stigma and cultural barriers that prohibit victims from coming forward. Despite these challenges, there were also some positive developments including the passing of the Domestic Violence Act in 2007, which provides for stronger legal protection for victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse. Additionally, civil society organisations and other stakeholders continued to raise awareness on sexual violence and advocated for greater accountability from perpetrators.
If I may add that there are several factors that contribute to the high frequency of sexual abuse in Zimbabwe. These include gender inequality, entrenched patriarchal norms as well as power imbalances whereby the Zimbabwean culture exposes women and girls to exploitation and abuse. In reality, economic hardships and poverty also worsen the situation. Young girls and women resort to exploitative means for survival. Additionally, lack of understanding of sex education and awareness programmes leave many girls uneducated on their rights and how to protect themselves from sexual abuse.
Victims of sexual abuse in Zimbabwe also encounter numerous other challenges relating to fear of stigma and retaliation, limited access to support services and inadequate legal protection. Stigma surrounding sexual abuse often leads to victim-blaming and social ostracism, further traumatising survivors. Additionally, the lack of specialised support services and counselling facilities hinder the recovery process of survivors.
Legal frameworks for addressing sexual abuse exist in Zimbabwe as shown by our supreme law which is the Constitution as well as our very own Criminal Law Code. However, it is trite for us to agree that enforcement and accessibility of justice remains a significant challenge for victims due to cultural norms as well as other areas which are too remote to access, hence it is vital to work on improving so that in every corner of the country, no stone is left unturned. Moreover, various organisations and initiatives are working towards preventing sexual abuse and supporting survivors in Zimbabwe. Private Voluntary Organisations (PVOs) such as Musasa Project and Padare/Enkundleni/Men’s Forum on Gender are actively involved in advocacy, awareness raising and providing support services for survivors. These efforts aim to challenge societal norms, provide education on consent and gender equality as well as offer safe spaces for survivors to seek assistance without fear of judgement.
To sum up, sexual abuse against girls and women in Zimbabwe is a complex issue deeply rooted in societal norms, gender inequality and systematic challenges. Addressing this problem requires a multi-faceted approach that encompasses legal reforms, comprehensive support services, education on consent and gender equality as well as efforts to transform cultural attitudes towards Gender-Based Violence. To effectively tackle this problem, we ought to partake comprehensive legal reforms like making laws that make some cultural norms illegal and punishable as well as social interventions as law alone is not effective.
Be that as it may, I second Hon. Sen. Mbohwa for pushing for the alignment of GBV laws with the Constitution, for example filling the gap between the age of consent to sexual relations and the age of marriage as it leaves those between 16 and 18 vulnerable to abuse so as to cover and fill in the gaps that can be seen as loopholes and challenge discriminatory social values so as to promote gender equality.
HON. CHAKUKURA: I want to thank you for allowing me to add my voice to this important topic on Gender-Based Violence. Let me also take this opportunity to thank the chairperson of the Zimbabwe Women Parliamentary Caucus for the initiative to move this motion in both houses as ways and means to raise awareness and instill debate amongst us on the hot topic. This motion is still appropriate, despite us having passed the 2023 commemorations held from November 25 to December 10, 2023, with the campaign theme, "UNITE! Invest to Prevent Violence against Women and Girls." Let me hasten to mention that awareness of Gender-Based Violence, must be an all-year-round programme given that we witness and experience GBV daily here in Zimbabwe.
Mr. Speaker Sir, my focus today will be on intimate partner violence which is a form of Gender-Based Violence and also known as part of domestic violence. It has greatly affected many women in our nation. This has resulted in some victims experiencing physical violence, emotional violence, spiritual violence and many more forms of Gender-Based Violence. Women are being raped by their intimate partners, but because he is the one who provides for the family, they are being forced to keep silent.
This has resulted in a rise in incidences of emotional trauma, which has resulted in a slew of mental health concerns such as despair and anxiety. Most women are suffering in silence and if they do not seek help, they may commit suicide or even suffer mental breakdown. According to statistics published in The Chronicle on November 30, 2023 by National Police, it was noted that there were 17 244 cases documented countrywide from January to October, with 15 462 reported by women against men and 1782 reported by males against women. This demonstrates how gender-based violence disproportionately affects women.
Madam Speaker, intimate partner violence (sometimes called passion crimes) is real and has contributed to many of the broken homes and marriages and/or divorces, trauma on the victims and in some instances, death of victims in Zimbabwe. Intimate violence has also resulted in the violation of the human right to religious freedom. Spiritual violence refers to the misuse of spirituality to control, manipulate, or harm individuals. It can occur in various forms, including religious coercion, cultic practices, and spiritual manipulation. Spiritual violence can take place in any spiritual or religious setting, including churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, and cults.
The perpetrators of spiritual violence may be religious leaders, gurus, or individuals who use spirituality for personal gain or control. Because of the constraints that some religious practices impose, women have been obliged to engage in abusive practices. This includes forced marriages and child marriages.
Therefore, we should also consider women's freedom of worship,
regardless of their relationship status, as this will reduce concerns related to child and forced marriages. As such, if we all work collectively to support such efforts, we will be able to eradicate the problems that have emerged as a result of intimate partner abuse as a type of gender-based violence. Together as a people, we will aim for and work towards attaining United Nations Sustainable Development Goal No. 5, which deals with ‘gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.'
Given the tragedies that have befallen women, I am to implore that our Government implements legislation to fight intimate partner violence. It can be accomplished by imposing tougher punishments such as increasing jail sentences for perpetrators of gender-based violence and reconsidering that mass pardons should not include perpetrators of gender-based violence, which will contribute to eliminating this type of gender-based violence.
I also recommend that the legislation enact a Bill that would support unpaid carers by withholding a certain proportion of their monthly expenses from their employed partner's pay or compensation. Lastly, I also propose a review of legislation that supports those in a relationship recognised by law and are employed to get a specific percentage of their wages, monthly income, compensation or pension in support of their spouse. I thank you.
HON. CHAIMVURA: Thank you Madam Speaker for allowing me to add my voice to the debate on gender-based violence tabled by Hon. Ndebele, the Acting Chairperson of the Zimbabwe Women Parliamentary Caucus. As part of the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence, l want to look at the effects of gender-based violence on boys and girls in Zimbabwe.
Gender-based violence (GBV) has significant and long-lasting effects on both girls and boys in Zimbabwe. It refers to harmful acts directed at an individual based on their gender. It includes physical, sexual, psychological, and economic abuse, and can occur in both public and private spaces. In Zimbabwe, GBV is a pervasive issue that affects the well-being and development of children and adolescents.
However, for girls in Zimbabwe, the effects of GBV are particularly
devastating. According to a study conducted by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), approximately 1 in 3 girls in Zimbabwe experience some form of sexual violence before the age of 18 (UNICEF).
This statistic highlights the alarming prevalence of GBV against
girls in the country. The impact of such violence on girls can be profound, leading to physical injuries, unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections, and long-term psychological trauma. Furthermore, GBV often disrupts the girl child's education and therefore, limits their future opportunities, perpetuating a cycle of poverty and inequality.
Madam Speaker, on the other hand, boys in Zimbabwe also experience the detrimental effects of GBV. While there is less data available specifically on GBV against boys, it is important to recognise that they too are often victims of various forms of violence based on their gender. This includes physical abuse, emotional manipulation, and societal expectations that contribute to toxic masculinity. Such experiences can have lasting consequences on boys’ mental health, relationships, and overall well-being.
The impact of GBV on both girls and boys extends beyond individual suffering to encompass broader social and economic implications. It undermines efforts to achieve gender equality and sustainable development in Zimbabwe by perpetuating cycles of violence and inequality. Addressing GBV requires comprehensive strategies that encompass legal reforms, access to support services for survivors, educational initiatives, and community mobilisation efforts.
In conclusion, gender-based violence has profound effects on both girls and boys in Zimbabwe. The available statistics underscore the urgent need for concerted action to address this pervasive issue and mitigate its far-reaching consequences. I thank you.
HON. TSITSI ZHOU: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. KARIKOGA: I second.
Motion put and agreed.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 31st January, 2024.
On the motion of HON. TSITSI ZHOU, seconded by HON. KARIKOGA, the House adjourned at Half past Four p.m.