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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 31 JANUARY 2024 VOL 50 NO 23
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Wednesday, 31st 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
APOLOGIES RECEIVED FROM MINISTERS
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I have got a list of Ministers and Deputy Ministers who are not able to attend today’s Parliament Business.
Hon. Vice President, Gen. Rtd. Dr. Constantino, G.D.N. Chiwenga; Hon. S. G. Nyoni, Minister of Industry and Commerce; Hon. J. G. Moyo, Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare; Hon. A. J. Masuka, Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development; Hon. V. Haritatos, Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development; Hon. D. Marapira, Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development; Hon. Z. Soda, Minister of Mines and Mining Development; Hon. Sen. M. Mutsvangwa, Minister of Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development; Hon. J. Mhlanga, Deputy Minister of Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development; Hon. T. Machakaire, Minister of Youth Empowerment, Development and Vocational Training; Hon. W. Chitando, Minister of Local Government and Public Works; Hon. J. G. Moyo, Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare; Hon. K. Kazembe, Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage and Hon. Brig. Gen. Rtd. L Mayihlome, Deputy Minister of Defence.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
*HON. NYABANI: Good afternoon Madam Speaker. My question is directed to the Minister of Home Affairs but since he is not here, I will direct it to the Leader of the House. What is Government policy with regards to the sale of alcohol everywhere in the community? People are now drinking publicly. Has the law changed with regards to the drinking and sale of alcohol? Are the police no longer arresting the offenders?
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. Z. ZIYAMBI): The Hon. Deputy Minister is here, hence I will defer the question to her.
*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS (HON. SANYATWE): Thank you Hon. Nyabani for such a pertinent question. The law has not changed and it does not allow public drinking. We are going to investigate those areas where public drinking is taking place because that is not lawful.
*HON. NYABANI: Hon. Deputy Minister, this issue does not require any investigation. People should just be arrested. Investigating will take time because alcohol is being sold and people are drinking everywhere. How long will it take for you to give us feedback that you have investigated?
*HON. SANYATWE: We are going to introduce an Operation that will investigate the areas where public drinking is taking place. I thank you.
*HON. Z. ZIYAMBI: The question that Hon. Nyabani asked is with regards to the sale of alcohol that has led to our children being harmed. During the December holiday, some children from Mbare were seen drinking alcohol. The Government has come up with a Cabinet Committee which is chaired by the Minister of Defence, Hon. Muchinguri and we are investigating so that we come up with one plan which can rectify this issue. If you look closely, you will find that in the past days, those who issue liquor licences are not the Home Affairs Ministry but their mandate is just to ensure compliance. Local Government is the one that issues licences and it has already conscientised people to put their houses in order so that when compliance is being enforced, they will not cry foul. There are a lot of programmes that are taking place in order to rectify this drug abuse issue. However, what I would like to encourage Hon. Nyabani and all the other Hon. Members to do is to join hands with the Committee that was put in place by the President. They are not the only ones seized with this matter but it is for all of us to come up with ideas on how we can move forward so that the nation is not destroyed. If there are others here with ideas, please put them across so that we can rectify the issue and we can all live in harmony. I thank you.
HON. KARIMATSENGA-NYAMUPINGA: Madam Speaker, before I ask my question for today, with your permission, in the last session, I asked the Minister of Health on the issue of Obstetric fistula and he promised to bring a statement to this House but to date, he has not brought the Ministerial Statement.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you for reminding the Minister of Health about the Ministerial Statement.
*HON. KARIMATSENGA-NYAMUPINGA: My second question is in two parts and it is directed to the Leader of the House. I would like to know if Government is aware that there is hunger in the country and people no longer have food. If they are aware, I want to know what plans they have put in place so that food gets to the people quickly before they die of hunger.
*THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. Z. ZIYAMBI): Thank you for the pertinent question Hon. Nyamupinga. Government has a lot of plans in place to ensure that people are not hungry. However, Government is no longer just giving people food but we are giving people food through Pfumvudza/Intwasa inputs. We then follow up on inputs given to see if they were put to appropriate use. The Agriculture Extension Officers will also be helping us. We have realised that people in the same area- some have food while others do not have. Those in science and technology are now helping us so that we come up with a system and people do not just become lazy after being given inputs which they sell and then wait for their Hon. Member to give them food. What we know through our investigations is that some areas are drought stricken and those are the areas that Social Welfare and AREX should identify and make sure the people who were indeed affected by drought get food. However, there are other people who have just become cry-babies and are not being responsible for their actions.
*HON. KARIMATSENGA-NYAMUPINGA: Madam Speaker, if we say that Government is following up on the inputs they distributed, we should not forget that last year there was Elnino and people had planted but their crops did not mature. People did not also get AN and that means people will not get a good harvest. What we are saying is that the Department of Social Welfare should tell us if they are going to give people food because they are hungry.
*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. DINHA): Thank you for the question. It is very true that maize was not being distributed though it is there. I think in the past days, we were just giving the maize to people in real need. However, from the next weeks, distribution will start because we did not have funding for the programme to start. Treasury has now availed $11 billion for the programme to start. So we are starting with the registration of the beneficiaries to enable us to distribute. People will receive grain and they will have their sadza. All Provincial heads have started the registration process and then they will follow up with distribution of the maize.
*HON. DHLIWAYO: Madam Speaker, I would also want to add my voice to the supplementary question that was asked. Should Government wait for the formula while people die of hunger? As I speak now, 15 women came to my place looking for food and they said they would sleep at my place because they did not have any food. So can you skip that formula for now and just give people food? You can then use the formula some other time or next year.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, can you please explain the formula that you want the Government to forego.
HON. DHLIWAYO: The Leader of Government Business did say they will verify who was given inputs and what they used them for before distributing the food. So that is the introspection I am referring to. I think we can put that aside and give people food in the meantime.
*HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Hon. Speaker. If the Hon. Member watches news, the Minister of Agriculture said that is what he is doing. If you look closely, when people are given inputs, it is social assistance. So in this country, we are embarking on a double social assistance, but we want to embark on social assistance where you are given inputs and then you plough. However, if you want us to give people inputs, then we follow and give them maize, we will be promoting laziness.
*HON. NGULUVHE: My supplementary to the Minister is; is the Government aware that the food that they take to the rural areas is not getting to the people because the transporters are not transporting for they want money? People end up using their money to pay transporters so that the maize gets to the people.
*HON. DINHA: I think that is what I said that we had maize or food, but there was no money to transport the maize to the GMBs. Now that we have received $11 billion from Treasury, we are now able to pay transporters to get the maize to the GMBs near the people so that it can be distributed to them. When transporters are transporting maize and say they are not being paid, they will be lying because Government does not give food without money for transportation.
*HON. NYABANI: I want to thank the President for giving us inputs, but I want the Leader of the House to understand what is happening in the country. We are getting inputs, but do you know that people are being given even if they do not have tractors. Someone can borrow a tractor for US$56 000. Who can be able to buy a tractor for US$56 000 when they take their produce to GMB and COTTCO, and then spend two years without being paid? Is the Government aware of the challenges people in the rural areas are facing? I think they should keep on supporting people for ten years because you are giving inputs to people who do not have the manpower, cows and tractors to use.
HON. Z. ZIYAMBI: A farmer who wants to be given a tractor does not get inputs through the Pfumvudza Programme because he is a large-scale farmer. He is supposed to be given a loan where he returns the loan. These are not candidates for social welfare, but those who should do Pfumvudza do not need a tractor or cows because it requires one to dig the holes.
*HON. MUTOKONYI: My question is directed to the Minister of Agriculture and in his absence, the Leader of Government Business. We want to thank the Government for promoting agriculture by supplying inputs. I want to ask the Minister what the Government policy is when it comes to farms that are not being utilised, especially A2 farms. So, I want to find out what the policy of Government is with regards to those farms.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. Z. ZIYAMBI): I want to thank the Hon. Member for such a pertinent question that those who cried for farms and are not utilising them, the Lands Commission was going around and from what I know and heard, they are doing a land audit to find out what is happening on each and every farm. They will bring a report and that report will be given to Hon. Masuka. You will find that letters of withdrawal will come because people were given farms to be productive, not to just have homesteads. When the audit is complete, it will give us wisdom on the way forward so that people on farms use them and the lazy people are withdrawn. People will be given inputs so that they move forward.
*HON. MAPIKI: My question was meant to go to the Minister of Mines, but now I am directing it to the Leader of the House. What is Government policy on the mining of lithium because we heard that lithium is now being mined by big people who have $3 million? We want them to tell us that as the owners of the country they tell us how we can peg where lithium is. What is the policy saying because people who are growing maize but not exporting it, it can be channelled to GMB? For us nobodies, I think we should have a place where we can sell our lithium and the millionaires can be allowed to build their plants.
*THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. Z. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Madam Speaker. I want to thank you and also the Hon. Member concerning lithium, lithium is mined by anyone, even the locals. If you want to grow our economy, you are free to join in, but if there are any examples of where the black people are being sidelined, I think that can be investigated. Hon. Minister Soda will look into that so that it can be rectified. The good part of it is that we are going to bring in a Bill, though it is late, we would want to panel beat it so that it gives us power as the children of Zimbabwe. We should really look at it so that we can come up with laws that are favourable for the black majority. In this country, we do not have a policy of discrimination. I thank you Madam Speaker.
*HON. MAPIKI: I want to thank the Hon. Minister for his answer. The issue on the ground is that people have been told that there is no issuing of lithium licences. So before the enactment of the law, in the areas where we come from, we are sitting on lithium, but we are saying, can we not expedite the passing of the laws so that as the owners of the land, we can get something? While waiting for the enactment of the law, I think it can also be treated the way we are treating farmers. Can we be allowed to explore the mineral while the Ministry is still trying to put the law in place? Many people who are mining lithium now are not Zimbabweans, but they are allowed to take the lithium. I think we should promote our local people so that they get involved. Minister, this issue needs to be looked into so that people in the rural areas also benefit.
*HON. Z. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Madam Speaker. I want to thank the Hon. Member for saying that licences are not being given because he said no one is being given licences. If he had said no blacks are being denied licences, but only the whites are given, we would say there is an error there. The aim of our Government is that our minerals should not be exported outside the country before beneficiation. If there are people exporting raw lithium, there is an error there because that is not Government policy. For us to stop the issuing of lithium licences, we would like to stop the export of lithium in its raw stage. This is what the Ministry is doing. Citizens should wait a bit so that the Ministry rectifies the problems. Yes, they want to benefit, but if a mineral is mined, there is no more renewal of the mineral. We would want the nation to benefit from the minerals. There is a reason why the issuing of licences has been stopped. I thank you.
*HON. MAHACHI: Thank you Madam Speaker. What is Government policy on the EPOs that are pegged for the mining of lithium yet there is no mining activity taking place?
*HON. Z. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Madam Speaker. What I know about the EPOs is that people are given rights to prospect for any mineral deposits underground to open a mining operation. If they found the minerals, they should go back to the Ministry and be given authority to open a mine and start exploration. The Ministry of Mines provides a tenure of three years for EPOS with a renewal option of another three years if you have evidence that you are doing something. So the EPO is not for someone to go and start mining.
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Have you been answered Hon. Mahachi?
*HON. MAHACHI: I am not satisfied with the Minister’s response because the reality on the ground is that people are mining where there are EPOs and on some EPOs, there is no mining activity taking place. We think the Government should loosen up the laws when we come to that area so that our country moves forward.
*HON. Z. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Madam Speaker. Our people are violating the laws a lot. If you have an EPO, it only gives you prospecting rights to prospect for certain minerals. If you have an EPO, you are just surveying. It does not give you the licence to mine. If you find that there is a mineral, for example gold, you should go to the Ministry of Mines and tell them there is gold and you now want to rectify your papers to come up with a proper mine. An EPO only protects you from others who want to come and survey on the same piece of land. If you abuse the EPO, then you should expect to be in a win it or lose it situation.
*HON. CHUMA: Thank you Madam Speaker. There is a misunderstanding on how the EPOs operate and who is supposed to be issued with the EPO. Also, there is an issue that when you apply for EPOs at the Ministry of Mines, it is supposed to take three years whilst a person is prospecting the minerals on a piece of land, but the application will be pending for another four years before it is approved. This results in the EPOs taking at least seven years for approval and that is the reason why people are worried about the issue of the EPOs. I implore the Ministry to expedite the processing and approval of the applications of the EPOs.
*THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. Z. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Madam Speaker. I think the Hon. Member has really clarified. What he is saying is that there are people who are sitting on the job and then he went ahead and explained how EPOs work. I think I will engage Hon. Soda since there are people who are lazy because they are saying that if it is expedited, it will make life easier for people in the community. Thank you, Madam Speaker.
*HON. J. SITHOLE: Thank you Hon. Speaker. My supplementary to the Leader of the House is, people are crying that if you are engaging the Minister of Mines and Mining Development, you find that people have EPOs that stretch, for example from here to Kadoma and from Kadoma to Mutare, just one person. That is the issue that people are crying about because for those years, nothing is happening, no activity is taking place. If you approach the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, they will give you an address that you make an application from those EPO people but when you get there, you do not get anything because those places are ring fenced. So, I think a person should be given an EPO for two claims, not for 1 000 claims.
Just imagine if a claim is as large as from here to Kadoma for one person, is that not what we fought for during the war when the whites had taken large farms like this farm other farm which was the size of Belgium. Minister, that is what people are crying for. I think you should rectify it together with the Minister of Mines and Mining Development.
*HON. Z. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Madam Speaker and the Hon. Member. It is very true that some sizes of EPOs are very large but Madam Speaker, I think we should understand how it started.
During colonial times, in this country of ours, black people were not supposed to be miners. So the whites would ring fence places then they would give land to the Africans and say you only concentrate on the surface; all this land is ours through the EPOs and it belongs to Mr. Smith. When we were being educated, we were not conscientised about the wealth that is below our ground. We were not told about the gold that is underground. It is historical. The colonialist wanted to remain with the wealth of the country.
Madam Speaker, I think the President is aware of this. There is a committee which is being chaired by the Hon. Vice President, Hon. Chiwenga. He is looking into this. Before we get to the Mines and Minerals Bill, there is an issue at hand. So, if we come with recommendations, I think it would be put in place because you did not say anything out of this world, but you have nailed it on the head. The President saw it and he said we should rectify this issue. If you see the President giving the mandate to the Vice President to look at the issue, it shows how important the issue is. That is why he chose the Vice President because this issue is at his heart.
HON. C. MOYO: Thank you Madam Speaker. My question is directed to the Minister of Industry and Commerce. If he is not available then I will burden the Leader of Government Business. My question is, what measures are being put in place to curtail the disappearance of basic commodities from supermarkets as well as stabilising the prices in both the Zimbabwean dollar and United States dollar? Madam Speaker, I feel business people are abusing the National Budget or they are sabotaging the National Budget which you pass. Thank you, Madam Speaker.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. Z. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Madam Speaker. I want to thank the Hon. Member for the question and the information that he has just indicated. Madam Speaker, this is extremely specific and it needs me to interrogate it to have the relevant Ministry doing an analysis of whether goods are disappearing, whether there is an impact that has happened because of the budget. Once they do that analysis, it will be able to inform Government to make the necessary interventions.
I admit what he is saying may be very correct, but I cannot answer that without specific evidence that this has happened because of this and therefore, there is need for an intervention. I thank you Madam Speaker.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Moyo, may you please put your question in writing so that the Minister will make some investigations and come to the House with a response.
+HON. NKOMO: Thank you Hon. Speaker. My question is directed to the Minister of Environment, Climate and Wildlife. There are some veld fires right round the country which affect the environment. What measures does the Government have to end this challenge of veld fires? Thank you.
Hon. Nkomo repeated the question upon the request by the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. Z. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Madam Speaker. This was deep Ndebele. I failed to get it but I was advised that it pertains to veld fires that are destroying the environment as well as wild animals. What is Government doing to curtail that? Madam Speaker, it is true that veld fires are destroying the environment and the Minister of Environment, Climate Change, Tourism and Hospitality Industry has engaged communities and more specifically, our chiefs are now involved in ensuring that we fight the scourge of veld fires. It is a problem that is very difficult to eradicate without the involvement of communities because veld fires are not started by animals. They are started by us human beings and therefore, it calls upon all of us to be responsible and ensure that we do not light fires unnecessarily.
The Ministry had to engage our community leaders so that they become our champions in ensuring that they advocate against veld fires. However, should the Hon Member need specific details, I think the Minister of Environment, Climate Change, Tourism and Hospitality Industry will be very happy to provide those. As a general policy, Government decided to engage communities to ensure that we deal with that. We were very cautious in imposing stiffer penalties to the communities because it was not helping - it is very difficult to identify somebody who drops a cigarette. So we implore communities to be vigilant and ensure that they have fire guards. There have been trainings to conscientise our people so that they are alert in ensuring that they curb veld fires. I thank you.
+HON. MASUKU: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. This problem happens nationwide. We request the responsible minister for animals to explain to us on what needs to be done? We have since realised that the culprits are not reprimanded.
HON. Z. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Madam Speaker. I think, this was a very good comment that does not elicit a response. What the Hon. Member said is very correct and that is the thrust that Government is undertaking to ensure that we protect our animals and the environment. I thank you.
*HON. MATANGIRA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. My supplementary question is that there are fires that come from the mountains since long back. Now that we are at a higher level, is there anything that we can do because lives are being unnecessarily lost due to veld fires?
In terms of policy, can we get drones that are able to detect and put out veld fires that just occur? There are places that just burn on their own, then the drones can go and put out the fires before we lose lives as a nation. We also risk not getting rains due to these veld fires. Can these veld fires be extinguished when they start on their own?
*HON. Z. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. Thank you, Hon. Member, for the supplementary question that there are some veld fires that start on their own in the mountains.
Hon. Speaker Ma’am, I grew up in the rural areas and fires that start in the mountains end in the mountains and do not destroy anything, especially when it is from our ancestors. Your proposal for us to have drones is a very pertinent one. I will approach the relevant ministry so that we can discuss on whether they can come up with drones that can go around watching out for wild fires. However, I think that will be good should they research and find that it is feasible. I thank you.
*HON. MUNEMO: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. My question is directed to the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development concerning our dilapidated roads. This does not only apply to our tared roads but also the dirt roads in the rural areas and bridges that have been swept away. What is Government policy for graders to maintain dirt roads? The DOR in the rural areas says they do not have fuel. This is giving us a lot of work as Members of Parliament since we cannot attend to all the roads.
*THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): Thank you Hon. Speaker Ma’am and thank you Hon. Munemo. This gives me an opportunity to explain to this august House on the rehabilitation of our roads. You will be aware that since Independence, it has been extremely difficult for our country to operate under the prevailing sanctions as it differentiates us from other countries in the way we rehabilitate our roads.
In most countries, the money in the Government coffers cannot rehabilitate roads without external funding. Even in this House, as the owners of the purse and also Hon. Members because you disburse funds to the different Government departments. When we do our budget, we should be aware that the various budgetary allocations to ministries should be in tandem with the ministries various projects. Ministries, usually find that they had been allocated only 10 % of their budgetary allocations at the end of every financial year. However, we do not stop our operations despite not getting the requisite allocations.
Fortunately, Zimbabwe is in good books with other countries with whom we work together with. We approach the road authorities, we have four roads authorities that I want this House to know about. We have RIDA, which is former DDF; we have local authorities in urban areas; we have Rural District Councils in the rural areas and the Department of Roads. When we look at our roads, specifically the trunk roads, these are what the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development should look after. However, because we have a listening President, Hon. E.D Mnangagwa, we are not only looking at Ministry roads, but we are looking at several roads, especially in the rural areas where most of us come from. However, this project cannot be completed in a day. Therefore, I am pleading with you Hon. Members that we have devolution funds, some have equipment, but they do not have fuel, we have five roads in our district. If we get fuel, we can be helped, and then we can go to ZINARA. This year as a Ministry, we have a fund to supply fuel and equipment so that our roads will be rehabilitated.
Madam Speaker Ma’am, I am so thankful, as I stand here, we have a plan on how we want to rehabilitate our trunk roads. At the end of this week, you will see us going towards Chirundu Road. We want to rehabilitate that road because it has been in a bad state for a long time. We also want to rehabilitate the Chirundu Border. We are not stopping there; we are going to start from Harare going to Chirundu Road and in the next two months, we will also want to rehabilitate the Nyamapanda Border Post. Those who are aware, we are also going to Mutare and refurbish the Forbes Border Post. We also want to go towards Kanyemba so that where we come from in our rural areas, we can go there rehabilitating, but at the moment, the soil is weak due to the heavy rains. We want to look at emerging trends so that we will not have soil erosion, therefore, we are going to visit your constituencies and work with Members of Parliament.
Our roads are indeed in a sorry state, but I am asking for mercy from this House and the nation of Zimbabwe at large, we cannot fix our roads in one day because of the rains. Our roads are in a bad state, but if we put together the resources that we have, you will see us coming and rehabilitating our roads. When you go back to your rural areas and if the local authorities do not have graders, you should sit together with them with regards to purchasing of graders. This time you will not find the snow graders, but you will find state-of-the-art graders.
This year, these are the plans that we have. We want to buy graders for all the rural district councils, graders, and tippers. We also give you fuel so that you come here and report that you have rehabilitated your roads.
*HON. S. ZIYAMBI: I want to thank the work that is being done by the Ministry of Transport. They are working very hard, which is very visible to us by rehabilitating our roads, but I worry that we have so many bridges which were swept away by the river. Some of the bridges have been like that for years, up to five years going further. Those bridges are in the trunk roads which belong to the Ministry. What is the Government policy for rehabilitating those bridges so that children can cross whilst going to school? Where I come from in Makonde, some children spend the whole week without attending school because the rivers will be flooded and cars will not be able to cross.
Recently, there was a bus full of people that was swept away, fortunately no one died. So, we want to know what the Ministry has put in place, especially for Nyari Bridge which is in the Alaska Copper Belt.
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: If you have bridges that you know, I think you should put that in writing so that the Hon. Minister will bring the answers.
* HON. MHONA: I want to thank Hon. S. Ziyambi for raising such a pertinent question. Our bridges were swept away a long time ago because of the cyclones and some were swept away recently. On Friday, I am supposed to see the Hon. S. Ziyambi in Lions Den, his constituency together with our engineers. However, the whole country has bridges that were swept away. Where I come from in Mashonaland East, we have Rwenya Bridge which was swept away many years ago. As Members of Parliament, I will be very happy that when we engage each other, we should convince each other that there is a provincial engineer in every province. If you write to us, write down the bridges so that we can have that information in our offices. I thank you.
*HON. GANYIWA: Thank you Madam Speaker. My question is directed to the Minister of Transport. We are seeing a lot of congestion at tollgates, especially during holidays or on Sundays or Monday mornings. What plans do you have to expand the roads at tollgates to be in tandem with the volume of traffic that has increased in the country? A lot of motorists are by-passing tollgates and as a result, Government is losing revenue.
Secondly, I have realised that the Norton tollgate is surrounded by houses which are under construction, which means very soon it will be consumed by houses. Are there no plans to move it to another area where there are no houses?
*THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): I would like to appreciate the question raised by Hon. Ganyiwa. The Hon. Member has given me the opportunity to explain to this august House. Indeed, as we approach our tollgates, we realise that the roads are narrow, but recently we put a Statutory Instrument that within a 1km radius at every tollgate, it must be expanded with more lanes. We expect to put four or six lanes so that we increase our revenue collection. That is one of the plans that we have. We also intend to expand our tollgates to plazas so that they are much more beautiful and dignified.
Most of the tollgates were constructed before some of the residential areas were built. Those who may know recently, we relocated the tollgate around Seke along the Wedza Road. We realised that tollgates that surround residential areas must be relocated, but we have a problem where residential areas are also being constructed around tollgates. We will end up not having tollgates. There is need to ensure that there is orderly settlement planning. We have realised that some settlements are being planned around highways. However, with regards to the tollgates that he referred to, we have no plans to relocate them right now. We intend to relocate the Skyline tollgate to Charter Grade and the Dema tollgate will be relocated. We are also looking at relocating the Eskbank tollgate along Bindura Road.
As we go on, I will be informing you Hon. Members on plans regarding tollgates. Sometimes you may hear that a tollgate was shut down. What causes that is not failure, but we take on board concerns from people or residents. For example, the tollgate at Chivhu, we realised that the revenue collected there is less that the expenses of running that tollgate. We continue listening to concerns and opinions from the residents. I thank you.
HON. NGWENYA: My supplementary question concerns the issue of roads. We used to have maintenance units that are closer to the roads and they have since been closed. Are there any efforts towards the reopening of those maintenance units under the Ministry of Transport?
HON. MHONA: Let me thank Hon. Ngwenya from Gokwe-Gumunyu who has raised a very pertinent question. Yes, last year Cabinet resolved and directed that we must resuscitate maintenance units. The idea is that we might continue rehabilitating our roads, but failure to do maintenance will also come to the same status quo that we are in as a nation. I am happy that on the agenda as we speak again, this also falls under the purview of ZINARA and ZINARA has adequately provided for the resuscitation of maintenance units.
So you will see vibrant maintenance units together with those who will be manning those maintenance units. I am happy that you will see them well dressed. The Ministry officials are busy procuring the attire and you will see that we have these camps, especially along major highways where they would also take care of our roads and even the environment and litter along the highways, making sure that they attend to the roads structure in terms of cracks that might be cropping up so that they attend to them with speed.
Precisely, we are resuscitating the maintenance units and you have been prophetic Hon. Ngwenya because this is something that we are doing as a Ministry.
HON. P. ZHOU: My question is directed to the Minister of Lands and Agriculture. Having noted that some wheat farmers who delivered their wheat to GMB have not been paid their dues as yet, what plans does the Government have to speed up these payments and does it have a deadline as to when these farmers should have been paid.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. Z. ZIYAMBI): I want to thank the Hon. Member for the question. My understanding is that GMB received some money to pay farmers. So the question then becomes very specific: with regards to how many have not been paid, that I cannot answer. As a policy and from the reports that we got, the Minster of Finance indicated that he had released funds for the payment of farmers. Perhaps the Hon. Member can put that question in writing so that the responsible Minister and the Minister of Finance will be able to interrogate what exactly is happening. I thank you.
+HON. F. MOYO: What are the measures that are done by the Government to prevent people from digging trenches and holes everywhere because those people are illegally mining, which is now a threat to animals, both wildlife and livestock even to the destruction of our roads?
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. Z. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. I want to thank the Hon. Member for the question. There is a policy that says whoever is undertaking mining activities must comply with EMA requirements, but what we have done Madam Speaker…
HON. S. SITHOLE: On a point of order Madam Speaker.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: What is your point of order?
HON. S. SITHOLE: I am sorry Madam Speaker to order the Hon. Minister. My point of order is that the Deputy Minister of Mines is around and so he should answer the question. Thank you.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF MINES AND MINING DEVELOPMENT (HON. KAMBAMURA): Thank you Madam Speaker. May I kindly ask the Hon. Member to repeat the question.
+HON. F. MOYO: Thank you Madam Speaker. I will repeat my question. What are the measures taken by the Government to prevent the digging of holes especially illegal mining which has caused land degradation? The holes that are left are now a danger to wildlife even to our livestock and this is a destruction to our road network? Thank you.
HON. KAMBAMURA: Thank you Madam Speaker. Unfortunately, I did not get the question in Ndebele. May I kindly ask somebody to interpret the question for me so that I can respond?
*HON. NGULUVHE: I can assist Madam Speaker. The question touches on two ministries. He is saying, what is the Ministry of Environment saying. What is Government policy with regards to people who just carry out mining activities and do not cover the pits or those open cast mines? Livestock or cattle fall into those pits and so, what is Government policy with regards to that?
* HON. KAMBAMURA: Thank you Madam Speaker…
HON. MATANGIRA: On a point of order Madam Speaker.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: What is your point of order Hon. Matangira?
HON. MATANGIRA: My point of order is that the Hon. Member who asked the question speaks Ndebele, and the Minister concerned does not understand Ndebele. The Minister now answers the question in Shona and the poser of the question does not understand Shona. That is my point of order.
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Matangira, even if a question is posed in Shona or Ndebele, the Hon. Minister can respond in either language.
HON. KAMBAMURA: Thank you very much Madam Speaker. I would like to thank the Hon. Member for the question. It is true that there has been a culture whereby small-scale miners, after digging for gold or any other mineral, they leave their work areas open and unsecured. The Ministry of Mines and Mining Development is working hand-in-glove with the Ministry of Environment to see that this is corrected. Yesterday, we had an inter-ministerial meeting together with the Minister of Environment and Ministry of Home Affairs, to find ways where we can collaborate to stop what is happening.
All the same, our inspectorate team from the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development will be going round to check on compliance with regard to securing worked out areas. The Ministry of Mines is coming up with a policy whereby all miners will have to submit a mine closure plan so that the Ministry can follow up to see that the closure plan has been implemented. It is true that communities have been losing livestock. So, the Ministry considered that and it is taking that seriously to make sure that our miners mine sustainably. Thank you.
+HON. F. MOYO: Thank you Hon. Speaker. My supplementary question is that there are now dangers that have been imposed on our environment. People now even mine on our road networks and no one has been persecuted on such matters. Others are even practising illegal mining on our railway line networks. No one is protecting our environment. We have the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Mines, why I posed the question is we have these Ministries but there is such danger and land degradation that is taking place. What are the Ministries doing?
HON. KAMBAMURA: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. Again, I would like to thank the Hon. Member for that question. Like I have indicated before, yesterday we had a meeting, our Ministry, Mines and Mining Development, Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Environment to brainstorm on ways to implement safer mining standards and also stop illegal mining, considering the havoc that the illegal miners are causing to the environment.
We came up with resolutions, chief among them was our combined teams which come from Environment, through EMA and Home Affairs, through the police to go around and check on compliance. They will be checking on compliance in terms of registration, compliance in terms of safer mining standards. Perpetrators of the law will be prosecuted and stiffer penalties will be imposed to send the right message to the people. We also deliberated on coming up with a Statutory Instrument (SI), which empowers local communities to report any unsafe mining standards in their area and wherever they suspect there could be illegal mining or unregistered mining taking place.
Further to that, our inspectorate teams would be going around again to check on compliance to the provisions of the Mining and Management Safety Regulations, which calls for miners not to enter disused mines and also to mine safely and sustainably. Thank you.
*HON. NHARI: Thank you Hon. Speaker. My question is directed to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, with regards to the CALA requirements. The money being spent by parents to fulfil the CALA requirements is much more than the school fees being paid. The parents are not happy with the way the teachers are conducting that. What can be done to alleviate the situation? I thank you.
*THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. T. MOYO): Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. I would like to thank Hon. Nhari for that important question. It is true that parents have been spending a lot of money on CALA. It was even higher than tuition fees, especially in rural areas. So the plan is to review the CALA issues as we review the competence-based curriculum that started working in 2015 up to 2022. This issue will be taken to Cabinet, chaired by His Excellency President Mnangagwa next week. The meeting will determine whether the CALAs will be taken out or we review them. At the moment I would not be able to respond whether the CALAs will be removed or they will remain. I can only know that after Cabinet deliberations. I thank you.
*HON. MATANGIRA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I would like to thank the Hon. Member who posed that question because even some of us would also like to ask the Minister, what does the CALA help the students. What are the benefits from CALA? Can the CALA help students to contribute to the community system?
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Matangira, the Hon. Minister explained that this issue will be deliberated in Cabinet. The Cabinet will determine whether the CALAs will be removed or reviewed. So any other response will come out from that.
*HON. MANGONDO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the Minister of Health, with regards to the pandemic caused by dirty or garbage, cholera. I would like to applaud the Government efforts with regards to the reduction of Cholera especially in Harare, where it emanated from and is now spreading. In the rural areas it is becoming serious. I understand Government is bringing Cholera vaccinations but that programme is leaving out some areas where the diseases is spreading so much, especially where I come from. In my constituency, we lost nine members of the apostolic sect due to Cholera. My question is, what is Government policy or plans to engage leaders of religious groups so that their members may accept to go and receive treatment from health facilities or at least accepting measures that may be taken instead of hiding and burying victims of Cholera. This helps us as communities to curb the disease fast. What are the measures being taken to empower the Civil Protection Unit to ensure that they work effectively in terms of equipment or resources that they have?
*THE MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. DR. MOMBESHORA): I want to thank Hon. Mangondo because the issue that you alluded to is very important and a threat to our livelihoods. People are dying yet this could be easily prevented. Cholera is a disease that can be combated. Cholera is caused by consumption of contaminated food, water and lack of property hygiene. That bacteria attacks a person after eating contaminated food. The person will have severe running stomach, severe loss of water which may lead to death sometimes, if not attended to earlier. So, our first step is that prevention is better than cure.
You also asked what Government plans we have regarding the vaccination of our people. I would like to emphasise that we are starting by educating people, especially in the rural areas, educating them on hygiene and the use of clean water. People must eat well cooked food and wash their hands before they touch food. They are supposed to use clean water from safe sources. If the water is obtained from untrusted reserves, it must be boiled before it is used for drinking or cooking. They may also use water purification tables or chemicals so that all germs die. We are going out in rural areas and we are also working with CPU to reach out to provinces. We also work with Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Resettlement. We also work with the Ministry of Local Government and the Ministry of Environment so that we help each other in improving the health of our citizens.
The other measures that we have taken in rural areas is that we have sunk boreholes and we have also put water tanks so that we can put water sanitisers in the tanks. We are working with WASH who are also sinking boreholes in the rural areas under the Presidential Scheme that states that for each village, there must be a borehole before the year 2025. We have now sunken close to 3000 boreholes, but we will start sinking boreholes in areas that have been affected by Cholera.
We as the Ministry of Health, will be working in collaboration with the Global Fund and we have started a project of sinking boreholes in our clinics. We did this because if we concentrate on our homes only, people might get infected when they use unclean water at clinics and hospitals. We now have about 350 boreholes that were sunken in our clinics and this year we will be sinking more boreholes. If there are places that are going to be affected by Cholera, we will then start sinking the boreholes in those areas.
In some areas where there are a number of the apostolic sect members that do now allow their fellowship to go and seek medical treatment, we have installed boreholes totaling 14. We now want to install solar systems and tanks so that they can access clean water. If there are some clinics that do not have water, we sunk boreholes a few metres outside the clinics so that clinics can access clean water. In Buhera, we are working in collaboration with WASH and we installed 30 boreholes; now we are working on solar installation in those areas. These are some of the things that we are working on. I have just given an example of Buhera, but in Masvingo and other districts, we are going to do the same.
On the issue of vaccines, we introduced the issue of vaccines and we started this programme on Monday. We have one problem, that there is a Cholera outbreak in a lot of countries and the problem is that the vaccines are not adequate to give enough to each and every needy country. World Health Organisation is working on how to distribute these vaccines so that each country gets a fair share, we are now working together with them and UNICEF on this issue.
As Zimbabwe, we were given two million three hundred doses that we are supposed to get. As I speak, we have eight hundred and ninety-two thousand doses that we have received in the country so far. Those vaccines are the ones that we are starting to distribute. We are expecting that on the 5th of February, we will receive another batch of vaccines of more than five hundred thousand to add on to what we already have. We will be receiving these doses in batches until we get to three million doses. We are not ending there; we are expecting to receive more doses as they continue to be distributed. We know that in Zambia, they are also experiencing this problem of Cholera outbreaks and they are even worse than us, they were also given three million doses.
We were thinking that if we get seven and a half million doses, we will have reached the required target. These vaccines are not adequate, we have realised that some of our areas here in Zimbabwe are not affected by Cholera or the cases are few than others. So, we are doing what is called target approach or prioritization. We are looking at the most affected areas at districts and not constituencies. We give you PMDs and they will prioritise those areas that are mostly affected. As we receive other batches, we will be administering to other people until we reach the adequate level. This vaccine is effective for six months. Our wish is to ensure that a person gets two vaccines so that there is a two-year prevention. We are looking into how we can get effective vaccines. We are also communicating with other countries that are producing these doses, some of them may not have been approved by the WHO at the moment and still on trial. I hope that what happened during the COVID pandemic, some of the doses may be allowed to be administered even if they may not have been certified totally.
Most of the countries in Africa (SADC region) are affected by Cholera. As we speak, South Africa, Mozambique, Tanzania, Angola, Seychelles and Zimbabwe are affected. We are trying to work as SADC region to look for the vaccine. The other problem is that we do not manufacture these vaccines here. If they become available wherever they are made, I assure you that no one will be left behind. Tomorrow, there will be a zoom meeting for SADC Heads of State with regards to Cholera. As Ministers, we met and came up with resolutions on Saturday and we have since sent those recommendations to our leaders who will then guide us on how best we can fight the Cholera pandemic as SADC. I thank you.
*THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MACHINGURA): Thank you Hon. Minister. Have you answered the question on what measures are going to be taken about church leaders who do not allow their congregants to go and seek medical treatment?
*HON. DR. MOMBESHORA: I am sorry I had skipped that because the questions were too many. It is true that we face big problems, especially when we get outbreaks that need vaccinations, be it Measles, Cholera and the like. We find resistance from some religious sectors. We are engaging them through various emissaries. I have also had conversation with the leaders and we agreed that they should allow our health workers to teach their congregants each time they gather.
Secondly, if anyone in their household suffers from Cholera, they should take sugar and salt solution in order to rehydrate and we agreed on that.
Thirdly, we told them to inform health workers if one of them gets sick because sometimes one would die at home suffering from Diarrhoea without seeking medical attention. That has helped us a lot. I went to Buhera, Marange and Chimanimani where these religious sects are predominantly found – we realised that most areas that were affected by these outbreaks were places where those religious sects gather. We have taken a measure that every Province must do outreach programmes to educate the congregants, starting with their leaders because if you do not engage the leaders, no one will listen.
So far, I think we are progressing well though we have not reached the level that we are totally satisfied. As a Ministry, we are also looking into legal measures or powers that we can use. We have not given up on engaging them. We are continuing because there is progress.
*HON. MAPIKI: Thank you Mr. Speaker…
*HON. MANGONDO: On a point of order, I am the one who asked the question first and I expect to ask a supplementary before any other Member.
*THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: I am sorry. You can go ahead Hon. Mangondo.
*HON. MANGONDO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Thank you, Hon. Minister, for all the details about the measures being taken by Government as well as what is happening in SADC. I asked a question on what Government can do or is doing to ensure that the Civil Protection Unit can get adequate resources to enable them to respond to these emergencies. We realise that they do not have resources to operate in conjunction with the Ministry of Health.
The Cholera outbreak is a big issue. You get into an area and people look confused that sometimes no one volunteers to dig graves for those who die from this pandemic. May the Civil Protection Unit be given adequate resources to work with? I thank you.
*HON. DR. MOMBESHORA: The Civil Protection Unit is under the Ministry of Local Government, but when there is a pandemic, we operate under this unit and they chair the coordination. Since we will be working under them, we will also look at measures that we feel may be used to prevent pandemics. I do not know what you mean exactly by saying they do not have adequate resources. At this moment, we are trying to work with other partners such as WHO and UNICEF who have helped us to source resources used to fight Cholera. Treasury also allocated us funds to be used and we have received eight ambulances from the World Bank. These are some of the resources that we will be using. We also got tents and water and all these resources are under the Civil Protection Unit, which is the commander of the operation in order to ensure that the resources work in collaboration with the district or province as they have the oversight role. Maybe they may still have some resources that they may need, but I wanted to demonstrate to you the measures we are taking and how the emergency and epidemic preparedness is taking place.
*HON MAPIKI: My question to the Hon. Minister is, is your Ministry working with traditional medicines researchers so that like what happened during the COVID-19 pandemic, you work with traditional medicines providers? Are you doing the same to fight Cholera?
*HON. DR. MOMBESHORA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. The questions are very difficult but I will respond. We have a Traditional Medicines Department as alluded to by Hon. Mapiki. This comes under the Ministry of Health, but we cannot prescribe to them what to treat. We can only say all those with knowledge of traditional herbs should register and they can come to us and tell us what they can cure. At the moment, however, no one has come up to tell us that they are able to treat Cholera. This is not a new disease, but we have not heard anyone from traditional medicines telling us that they are able to treat this disease. So, we cannot go and tell them to treat the disease because we need to do the necessary researches before the medicines can be administered. The same applies to modern medicines, research is done first and the WHO has to certify the use of any medicines. So, in short, we do not know any traditional healer capable of treating Cholera. If they are there, we expect them to come to take the necessary research steps.
Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE TEMPORAY SPEAKER in terms of Standing Order No. 68.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Before you leave Hon. Ministers, let me thank you and all the Hon Members very much for a very productive question and answer session.
ORALS ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE
PLANS TO IMPROVE QUALITY OF JOBS
- DR. MUTODI asked the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare to inform the House on the plans being put in place to improve the quality of jobs in Zimbabwe.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. DINHA): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. In response to the question raised by Hon. Dr. Mutodi, let me start by saying that the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, through the departments of Employment Services, Promotion and Labour Administration, are contributing towards improving the quality of jobs through the following:
The review of the National Employment Policy. The Ministry, with the support of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and its tripartite constituents, conducted the Zimbabwe Labour Market Diagnostic Analysis Report in 2021. The study had three specific objectives.
- To map current labour market dynamics and to identify the main constraints to the creation and access to decent and productive employment.
- To identify economic factors and activities with the highest potential to create higher quality jobs for Zimbabwean workers.
- To identify policy intervention that can support strategic investment in these sectors with high employment prospects and contribute to support formalisation strategies and local economic development. The LMDA presents specific recommendations of sectors with potential for employment creation. This will ensure we achieve our set target of 760 000 jobs as stated in the National Development Strategy 1 and contribute towards the achievement of Vision 2030. The Labour Market Diagnostic Assessment conducted in 2021 will inform the review and development of a new National Employment Policy. The objective of the National Employment Policy will be to place jobs at the centre of economic and social policies and to put decent employment at the centre of economic development. The National Employment Policy will provide a platform for coordinating macro and regulatory policies, fiscal and monetary policies, labour policies and programmes as well as sectoral policies and programmes to promote employment creation and improve the quality of jobs including the informal economy.
*HON. MURAMBIWA: On a point of order Hon. Speaker, Sir. I saw most of the Ministers going out yet there are so many questions with notice under their purview that need to be responded to. Please call them back so they can respond to the questions. I thank you.
HON. DINHA: There is also the National Strategy on the formalisation of the informal economy. Informality remains an obstacle for descent work for all. Workers in the informal economy experience most severe descent work deficit such as limited access to social and labour protection, and unsafe working conditions without social security.
In view of the above, the Ministry was mandated by Cabinet to develop a national strategy on the formalisation of the informal economy. This is a strategy that seeks to facilitate the transition of workers and economic units from the informal to the formal economy while respecting workers’ fundamental rights and ensuring opportunities for income security, livelihoods and entrepreneurship. It also seeks to promote the creation, preservation and sustainability of enterprises and descent jobs in the formal economy and the coherence of macro-economic employment and social protection and other social policies.
A draft National Strategy on the formalisation of the informal economy is in place following wide consultations and validation workshops of the draft were conducted. It is now awaiting adoption by Cabinet. There are also labour inspections. Inspections are carried out by the Labour Inspectorate from the Ministry. The inspections are carried out in terms of the Labour Act Cap 28:1 which is elaborated in the Statutory Instrument 154 of 2003. Focus areas for inspections are hours of work, wages, safety, health and welfare, the employment of children and young persons, among other issues. These are carried out with NSSA and National Employment Councils to ensure adherence and prescribed conditions of service.
There is also social security coverage for the informal sector. The quality of existing jobs that can be improved by expanding the coverage of social insurance in the informal economy. The National Social Security Authority of Zimbabwe is currently developing an informal sector scheme to extend coverage to the informal sector. This contributes highly to promoting descent work within the informal sector.
There is also Descent Work Country Programme for Zimbabwe 2022 – 2026. The Descent Work Country Programme seeks to promote descent work namely; opportunities for work that is productive and delivers a fair income, security in the work place and social protection for families, better prospects for personal development and social integration, freedom for people to express their concerns, organises and participate in the decisions that affect their lives and equal opportunities and treatment for all women and men as a key component of national and sectorial development plan.
The tripartite partners agreed on the following priorities for Descent Work Country Programme for Zimbabwe which is running from 2022 to 2026; employment promotion and also, they agreed on social dialogue and international level standards, to strengthen social and labour protection. The DWCP is running under the theme “Zimbabwe Working Bringing Together People, Practice, Policy and Partnerships to Deliver Social Justice Through Descent Work – A Fair, Inclusive and Secure Future of Work with Full Productive and Freely Chosen Employment and Descent Work for All”. Thank you.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. TOGAREPI: Mr. Speaker Sir, I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 7 be stood over until Order of the Day Number 8 has been disposed of.
HON. KARIKOGA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
GBV AWARENESS PROGRAMMES TO PROMOTE POSITIVE SOCIAL AND CULTURAL CHANGE
Eighth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the 2023 Commemorations to mark the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence Campaigns.
Question again proposed.
*HON. GANYIWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for giving me the opportunity to debate and also give my opinion on the motion brought by Hon. Ndebele on Gender-Based Violence between men and women. Mr. Speaker Sir, I thought I heard a lot from Hon. Members who debated earlier on Gender-Based Violence (GBV). I think the major bone of contention from men is that they are a bit more suppressed. I think there is need to ensure that there is equality.
When GBV is debated, it looks as if it is giving an impression that it is only to do with women, yet it affects both men and women. I think sometimes we tend to take it for granted that only women are vulnerable to violence. Through research, we also realised that men are also affected and are suffering from this problem – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – This is linked to suicide being committed by men. It is coming from those being affected by Gender-Based Violence or women. Mr. Speaker Sir, I realised that people tend to be swept away by rivers or just follow what is regarded as international best practices, this is leading to people being biased with regards to this debate.
Like I said, men are also suffering especially through emotional abuse. They are being affected very much by this. Our research revealed that – I do not know whether experts will satisfy this. This is my opinion. There is a time when I was working for a Radio Station for so many years and I was experiencing these issues. I used to meet men and women who used to testify personally that men are the ones who are actually suffering more of the emotional abuse. From our research, Mr. Speaker Sir, at some point, a woman can utter 50 words when a man has not said a single word – [Laughter.] – He ends up not saying a word and that leads to that abuse.
I once attended another workshop when I was still working on research of such issues and I was a participant there. I asked what men can do to avoid suffering from emotional abuse, how men should handle this situation and the response was - a man should just stand up and walk around or jog, but I realised that it cannot be a permanent solution to this problem. Men are being beaten physically by women. Mr. Speaker Sir, the reason why men are being beaten is not necessarily because they cannot fight back, but they try not to go against the law because once they fight back, it becomes chaos. When they are beaten and they try to go and report to the police, they are laughed at although they will be trying to respect the law.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I found someone who needed help after he lost his wife. He comes from the same rural area as myself, Masvingo. I went with him to the rural areas and his in-laws refused to bury his wife. What I realise there was that this was serious emotional abuse to this man. He cried so much that so many people were touched by this because he had nothing else to do. So this often happens to men and it is affecting them.
Mr. Speaker Sir, may I also add that according to our laws, men are the only ones who perpetrate sexual violence, but if you want to be truthful in work places, men are being approached. Women come to sit on men’s desks when they are skimpily dressed and that is abusing them. This is happening, including Hon. Members who are here, the female legislators who are here understand that this is happening, men are being approached. They are also victims of sexual harassment because men are triggered by what they see, which is not supposed to be seen at that time or something unusual.
When it comes to sexual harassment or violence with regards to rape cases, women, since they cannot penetrate the male, they cannot be said to be able to rape a man, but we can only lie to each other to say that there is no man that has ever been raped in this country. Mr. Speaker Sir, if we do not spell out these issues and speak about them as they are, we will not be representing all the stakeholders who send us here because there are some who may have been imprisoned because traditionally, if a woman slaps your head with her underwear, that is enough evidence to say you did it. So, we find that happening. The underwear is used to testify that this is the man who slept with the woman and it is regarded as the sole evidence that cannot be denied.
Men are being unjustly condemned because they do not have proper interpretation of GBV. I used to fail to find respondents to researches at my previous job. There were some women who used to assist us. They had a lot of facilities where they used to get assistance for free, but for men, there were no such facilities be it lawyers or NGOs. For women, there are safe houses to house women if they have been harassed at home. They are kept there whilst the so-called perpetrator is being looked for whilst they get counselling, but I have not seen safe houses for men. After being beaten, they are told to go back to their homes where they will probably be beaten again.
Mr. Speaker Sir, these issues are very troubling. I made a research because there is evidence that there are people who have been condemned unjustly. We have a musician who was arrested and convicted for rape although he was blind. So we try to analyse the type of blindness whether it was partial or total, he was totally blind. The question then is who approached the other or who held the other? How did that happen? Here I am trying to say for argument’s sake, sometimes men are condemned unjustly.
*THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Ganyiwa, you have only five minutes to go – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – You can propose that his time be extended.
*HON. GANYIWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. Let me wind up although I wanted to proffer more evidence on the harassment of men.
*HON. MUGWADI: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir. May you please give him 10 more minutes for him to debate?
*AN HON. MEMBER: I second.
*HON. GANYIWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Mr. Speaker Sir, the issue that we are debating on also speaks to our culture. So, we should consider both genders and discourage violence on both men and women. When you walk around town and you find a man being pulled by the belt, whether to true or false allegations, women just assist in that perpetration even when they do not know the real issues on the ground.
In conclusion, since you said I will get another opportunity on another day, there are words that can affect anyone’s restraint. I was once asked by someone, ‘You, as Sekuru Ganyiwa, expect me to control myself. How can I do that when I am told that my maternal mother is a witch by a woman that I married?’ I advised him to go out and jog but the truth is, I realised that we had nowhere to go for recourse whenever we are affected by this issue. Even on social media, there are programmes that seek to determine a child’s paternity, it is the men who are mostly affected.
So, I would like to clearly state that violence affects both men and women, and the girl and boy child too. In conclusion, I say we are all counsellors chosen in accordance to our culture. We need to preserve our culture in regard to this issue. For example, when counselling is being done, we realised that some counsellors encourage couples to fight, thus exacerbating the collapse of marriages even after going for counselling. I also realised that even when it comes to driving, only qualified drivers can be professional driving instructors. So, I think marriage counsellors should also be aptly qualified and be people of integrity.
*THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Ganyiwa, you touched on a lot of issues. I heard the whole House laughing especially when you said that men are also being beaten up.
*HON. P. MOYO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I also want to add my voice to this debate on Gender Based Violence (GBV). Although it affects both men and women, it mainly affects women. Looking at this country, as we consider my predecessor’s debate, if we are trying to compare between men and women, we will make a big mistake.
According to our culture, violence is often swept under the carpet. I was aggrieved by a one-year-old baby girl who was raped. How can such an atrocity happen yet this country is full of single women who are looking for men? How can a mature man do that to an infant? This is not a minor issue but a major one. I call upon this House to reconsider the number of days that we commemorate GBV going forward. I think the details of these issues must be considered.
When we look at secondary school going girls, they will be youngsters but they are falling pregnant. Those are very young girls. We also need to consider university girls or ladies; they are also being subjected to violence or harassment. They are being harassed by their lecturers in order for them to pass. The girls are caught between a rock and a hard surface because they are afraid of failing in their studies. Although boys also fall prey to these harassments, it is lesser when compared to girls because they do not fall pregnant. Girls easily fall pregnant because most often they do not even know how to prevent it – that is harassment.
Let us also consider a household set up. A wife or a mother can not speak out on violence because the whole family will turn against them for speaking up. So, they suffer in silence. I think we need to give them time to find ways for solving their problems. We may spend a lot of time debating about this, but as long as we do not delve into the finer details on how best to solve these problems, it remains that way. GBV does not end within the family unit because sometimes girls are being forced into marriage. We may think this is not happening but it is happening in our country. Girls are getting married before attaining the age of majority. Sometimes they are forced to marry someone they may not love, so we need to be looking into how best we may solve that problem.
Going into forced marriages, these girls may fail to settle down properly in these marriages because of the forced marriages and that leads to conflict in that family, leading to divorce.
The other problem is that we need to have a lot of education on gender-based violence. When a girl child falls pregnant, the girl is the one who is targeted and blamed, simply because she fell pregnant. Nothing much is said or done about the boy. The boy may proceed with his education whilst the girl is affected, hence, there is a lot of violence taking place against women and girls.
I therefore request this august House, especially with regards to women, sometimes we harass the girl-child who would have fallen pregnant yet we are supposed to look at both sides, male and female children.
I would like to thank the Government for legislating that a girl may proceed with her education even after falling pregnant. Although they may be affected when they go back to school after giving birth, they face the challenge of stigma. So there is a great need to prevent pregnancies at schools.
Furthermore, I would like to talk to the fathers because you are the leaders of the families. We have seen the older men who want to hang around younger girls even in this august House. It affects me because that young lady has the potential to settle down in her marriage but some men in this august House abuse young ladies and affect their growth path. My recommendation to the young female legislators is do not be fooled by these men because tomorrow they will be the ones bad-mouthing young female legislators. We have a lot of young female legislators who may not have money today but you as an older male legislator are busy stalking these young ladies. There must be a law that addresses this issue.
We have noted with great concern that a lot of the female legislators are not getting the chance to rest properly in their rooms at the hotels. They are being stalked by older male legislators who leave their wives in their rural areas and want to stay here in Harare in the hotels with young females. I am very much affected by that behaviour of men. I have realised that there are very old men in this august House who are no longer fit to be having affairs with young girls yet they are busy harassing these young ladies. If you cannot control or discipline yourselves, why not bring your wives to the hotels, it is allowed.
Therefore, I am recommending that the young ladies or girls grow properly. Those who know the laws are the biggest perpetrators of this violence because they know how to go about it. Again, these young ladies who would have been harassed must receive counselling and be educated properly so that they may not be harassed again. You find that these girls when they are raped, are further harassed by the kind of probing questions asked by the police. So those questions must be revised.
Mr. Speaker Sir, this is an issue that affects me so much that I may spend the whole day lamenting over it. As a mother, the pains of giving birth are always in the mind. Men, may you not harass girls because they are human beings like you. This august House must not take this lightly, it is a very serious issue. How can you say a woman can beat a man yet naturally a man is more powerful than a woman? I thank you.
*HON. MUTOKONYI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, for giving me the opportunity to debate. Indeed, the issue at hand is quite critical when it comes to violence between two genders. Sometimes you find that at the end of the day, people die because of Gender-Based Violence. In a particular case in Marondera, there was violence between a man and a woman. This man had his schemes, he invited the wife to go and collect firewood. He took an axe, but he had ulterior motives. He chopped the wife using the axe three times. After doing so, then he called people and told them where to find his wife. The people came and found the wife unconscious. They looked for the man and they found him hanging after committing suicide. This is an issue of domestic violence. There was no communication and in this case, there was no transparency between the parties. I am informed that the wife is still in hospital, but in a critical state.
It is important that we look at the causes of Gender-Based Violence because identifying the causes would give us the solution to the problem. This is quite a serious issue which is leading to loss of lives and it is resulting in children being orphaned. There are a number of causes to Gender Based Violence.
When we look at the issue of drug and substance abuse which is quite a serious issue and one of the causes of Gender-Based Violence, you would find that sometimes one party will come home drunk, either the man or the woman and this causes violence when children are watching. We want to encourage each other to be quite observant in order to reduce violence.
The other issue which is causing Gender-Based Violence is the issue of multiple partners amongst married couples. Infidelity among married couples, whether they are men or women, is resulting in death. We also note that in many marriages where there are polygamous marriages, there are a number of issues which happen. It is important that when there are polygamous marriages, there should be transparency and clarity because this is leading to marriages breaking down. It is also affecting children.
I want to proffer a number of recommendations regarding domestic violence. The Ministry of Women’s Affairs has quite a big responsibility in terms of educating the public, particularly in the communities where we come from. It is important to educate people on the negative effects of Gender-Based Violence. From my point of view, there should be community leaders or focus people at ward level who have the responsibility of educating people regarding domestic and Gender-Based Violence because this is what is happening and sometimes people might not have the correct information whilst knowing that there are cases of rape and abuse which are happening in their communities.
As an august House, it is important that we support the Ministry of Women’s Affairs in their quest to reduce Gender-Based Violence like what His Excellency, Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa normally says, that it is our responsibility to build our country because a country is built by its own people. It is our responsibility to enact laws which protect the people and we do that because the Constitution requires us to do so.
The other thing is that we need to empower the people with income generating projects which will keep our young people busy and productive so that they stay away from drug and alcohol abuse. I also want to request that different departments, particularly the community development aspect of the Ministry of Women Affairs, to start a lot of income generating projects such as baking, community gardens and others. This is quite beneficial in that it keeps people busy and takes away the aspect of violence.
We also need to form support groups for men who are being victimised. It is our responsibility to create such support groups which will cater for men who are being taken advantage of. I do not want to take much of your time, but I believe that as Parliament, we have to work together for the development of our country. I thank you.
HON. KARIKOGA: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. S. SITHOLE: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 1st February 2024.
On the motion of HON. KARIKOGA, seconded by HON. S. SITHOLE, the House adjourned at Twenty-Four Minutes past Five o’clock p.m.