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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 5 APRIL 2022 VOL 48 NO 35

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Tuesday, 5th April, 2022

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. SPEAKER

SWEARING IN OF NEW MEMBERS

          THE HON. SPEAKER: I have the following announcements:- Parliament received communication from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission on the election of the following members of ZANU PF and Citizens Coalition for Change parties as Members of the National Assembly with effect from the 20th March, 2022.  The Members are as follows:

          Hon. Biti Laxton Tendai, Harare East; Hon. Chibaya Amos, Mkoba; Hon. Chidziva Happymore, Highfield West; Hon. Chikombo Wellington, Glen Nora; Hon. Chikwinya Settlement, Mbizo; Hon. Chiwetu Jerimiah Z, Marondera; Hon. Hungwe Tasara, Mberengwa South; Hon. Hwende Chalton, Kuwadzana East; Hon. Madzimure Willias, Kambuzuma; Hon. Mahlangu Sichelesile, Pumula; Hon. Makari Zalerah Hazvineyi, Epworth; Hon. Makope Master, Mwenezi East; Hon. Nyasha-Masoka, Murewa South; Hon. Masvisvi Daveson, Gokwe Central; Hon. Matambo Johnson, Kuwadzana; Hon. Matewu Caston, Marondera Central; Hon. Matsunga Susan, Mufakose; Hon. Mugadza Misheck, Mutasa South; Hon. Munengami Fani, Glen View North; Hon. Murai Erick, HIghfield East; Hon. Mutseyami Chapfiwa Prosper, Dangamvura Chikanga; Hon. Ncube Musa, Tsholotsho South; Hon. Phulu Kucaca Ivumile, Nkulumane; Hon. Sibanda Dubeko Prince, Binga North; Hon. Tarusenga Unganai Dickson, St Mary’s; Hon. Tobaiwa Judith, Kwekwe Central; Hon. Zizhou Munyaradzi, Chivi and Hon. Zwizwai Murisi, Harare Central.

The swearing in will take place now, administered by the Clerk of Parliament.  We shall have three Members at a time.

HON. CHINOTIMBA:  On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Point of order with the swearing in?

HON. CHINOTIMBA:  Mr. Speaker, before you swear in the Members, some of us here are wearing party symbols like this gentleman here.  The CCC as you know have their yellow theme with their symbol, but now the gentleman is wearing…

HON. SIKHALA:  Are you telling us that woman is wearing a CCC symbol?  Mr. Speaker, we need to be serious.

HON. CHINOTIMBA:  He is wearing a CCC symbol.

HON. SIKHALA:  It is a tie.  Even Hon. Paradza is from CCC now – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.]-

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order!  Hon. Molokela, who told you to be on your feet?  Hon. Chinotimba, we note that.  Is there anything written CCC on the tie? – [HON. MEMBERS: No!]- No, so it is difficult to decipher.  There are some Members also with yellow shirts but they do not belong to CCC, but as much as possible, any visible party regalia will not be allowed into the House.

HON. T. MLISWA:  Hon. Speaker Sir, just on a point of clarity.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Did you hear what I said?

HON. T. MLISWA:  It is not to do with that, I just want to be schooled by you.  I heard you mentioning these names with the title Honourable.  Are they Honourable before they are sworn in, I just wanted to know? - [Laughter.] -

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Thank you Hon. Mliswa.  They are incoming Hon. Members.  You want to get me on technicalities?  They are incoming Hon. Members, and that is in order.

NEW MEMBERS SWORN

          HON. BITI TENDAI LUCKSON, HON. CHIBAYA AMOS and HON. CHIZIVA HAPPYMORE subscribed to the Oath of Loyalty as required by the Law and took their seats – [HON. MEMBERS:  Hear, hear.] –

          (Hon. Chibaya having raised his finger.)

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Hon. Chibaya, you raise your hand not your finger.

HON. T. MOYO:  On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Can you approach the Chair please because I do not want any more interruptions.

NEW MEMBERS SWORN

HON. CHIKOMBO WELLINGTON, HON. CHIKWINYA SETTLEMENT and HON. CHIWETU JEREMIAH subscribed to the Oath of Loyalty as required by the Law and took their seats – [HON. MEMBERS:  Hear, hear.] -

          HON. CHIWETU JEREMIAH Z, HON. HUNGWE TASARA, HON. HWENDE CHALTON, HON. MADZIMURE WILLIAS, HON. MAHLANGU SICHELESILE, HON. MAKARI ZALERAH HAZVINEYI, HON. MAKOPE MASTER…

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order! Hon. Member, take your seat.  Do not disturb the proceedings.

HON. MASOKA NYASHA and HON. MASVISVI DAVESON subscribed to the Oath of Loyalty as required by law and took their seats - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections].

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order!  Hon. Members, this is our first day after the by-elections.  Do not force me to take you out of this House.  Please, behave.

HON. MATAMBO JOHNSON; HON. MATEWU CASTON; HON. MATSUNGA SUSAN; HON. MUGADZA MISHECK; HON. MUNENGAMI FANI; HON. MURAI ERICK; HON. MUTSEYAMI CHAPFIHWA PROSPER; HON. NCUBE MUSA; HON. PHULU KUCACA IVUMILE; HON. SIBANDA DUBEKO PRINCE; HON TARUSENGA UNGANAI DICKSON; HON TOBAIWA JUDITH; HON. ZIZHOU MUNYARADZI; HON. ZWIZWAI MURISI subscribed to the Oath of Loyalty as required by law and took their seats.

          After CCC Members had begun to sing

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  I do not want any murmuring or singing please.  We are in Parliament.  I thank you. Hon. Molekela, please go out of the House - out of the House, out of the House!  

          Hon. Molekela was escorted out of the House.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  I have to remind all Hon. Members to put on their masks.  I have tolerated to some degree what Hon. Chinotimba raised.  From tomorrow, can Hon. Members adhere to the dress code and not be seen in colours that are aligned to party affiliation.  Please be advised accordingly.

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. SPEAKER

PETITION FROM LIMPOPO- ZAMBEZI TRANSPORT COMPANY LIMITED

           THE HON. SPEAKER:  I have to inform the House                                        that On Wednesday, 23rd March 2022, Parliament of Zimbabwe received a petition from Limpopo- Zambezi Transport Company Limited represented by their Chairperson S. Gwizo, requesting Parliament to initiate the process of the establishment of the Road Accident Fund Institution. The petition has since been referred to the Portfolio Committee on Transport and Infrastructural Development.

NON-ADVERSE REPORTS RECEIVED FROM THE PARLIAMENTARY LEGAL COMMITTEE

THE HON. SPEAKER:  I have also received other Non-Adverse Reports from the Parliamentary Legal Committee on the following Bills:-

  1. Private Voluntary Organisations Bill [H.B. 10, 2021]
  2. State Universities Statutes Amendment Bill [H.B, 13, 2021] and
  3. Children’s Bill [H. B 12, 2021].

 MEMBERSHIP TO PORTFOLIO COMMITTEES

                                  THE HON. SPEAKERI have to inform the House that Hon. Tembo has been nominated to serve on the following Portfolio Committees:-                                             

  1. i) Environment, Climate and Tourism; and
  2. ii) Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development.

           HON. DR. LABODE: Mr. Speaker Sir, I rise on a point of national interest. The UN, World Bank, Parliamentarians for Action are celebrating two huge milestones achieved by Zimbabwe in the control of HIV.  The Marriages Bill Act which was passed recently achieved to...

          THE HON. SPEAKER: You are muted.

          HON. DR. LABODE: Mr. Speaker Sir, I was saying the world is celebrating the two huge milestones that Zimbabwe achieved in the last two weeks through the Marriages Bill.  I am holding a letter that came from the UK congratulating Zimbabwe.  It says and I will just read one sentence from there it says ‘UNAIDS welcomes Parliament’s decision to repeal the law that criminalises HIV transmission in Zimbabwe.’ The letter came from Geneva; I will pass it on to you Mr. Speaker Sir.

          The Marriages Act has achieved two major goals, it criminalises child marriages...

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Dr. Labode can you read your motion.

          HON. DR. LABODE:   I do not understand.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: I called for any other notices of motion.

          HON. DR. LABODE Continued to read her point of National Interest.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Dr. Labode. I had called for notices of motion, that is not a notice of motion.

          I have been given a list of people who want to raise issues of national interest.

          HON. T. MLISWA: I have a point of national interest Mr. Speaker but I do not have a Chief Whip.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: I will recognise you but let me first recognise those whose names I have. 

          HON. DR. LABODE: I rise on a matter of national interest.  The world is celebrating our two milestones that we achieved through the Marriages Bill. We successfully criminalised Child Marriages and we also successfully de-criminalised willful transmission of HIV. Mr. Speaker Sir, globally, there are 72 countries at the moment that are still criminalising willful transmission of HIV. Zimbabwe has finally extracted itself from the top ranks of rogue countries that are throwing people in jails for something that they cannot approve of. These countries are Russia, Belarus, USA, Ukraine, Canada, Zimbabwe and Czechoslovakia.  Mr. Speaker Sir...

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Order the use of the word rogue is unparliamentary; you must say countries that are non-compliant not rogue countries.

          HON. DR. LABODE: Zimbabwe has successfully extracted itself from countries that continue or maintain the criminalising of willful transmission and these are mainly Russia, Belarus, USA, Ukraine, Canada, Zimbabwe, Czechoslovakia, United Kingdom, France and Taiwan.  We now thank God that Zimbabwe is no longer part of that. I will give you a quote, Justice Cameroon of South Africa, a constitutional judge says ‘HIV criminalisation makes HIV control worse than it is.  It is unacceptable and there is no proof as to who infected who and at what stage in a relationship’.  It undermines scientific advancement and public health strategies that opened a path to vanquishing HIV by 2030.  Dr. Mugurungi, the Director for Diseases Control in the Ministry of Health once said at a meeting that you do not legislate for people to be responsible, people when getting in a relationship should just be responsible.  So, on behalf of the champions in Parliament, I want to say thank you for the work you did against all odds.

I also want to thank the Minister of Justice, Hon. Ziyambi for having the courage to bring the Bill here.  It was very controversial indeed and I want to thank the CSOs for capacitating the Members of Parliament to come to where we are. Finally, I want to thank Zimbabwe for ascending to these laws under very difficult political, cultural and religious pressure.  You were hearing people saying this is not a party position but against all odds, he appended his signature.

          I now want to ask the President of Zimbabwe to take a further step in this regard to now please use his powers, I do not know whatever name they call it, when he normally declares for amnesty to release every prisoner who is in jail serving a 15 to 20-year term in jail for having been alleged to have willful transmitted HIV to be released. Also, can His Excellency the President also consider those who are waiting judgment like Samukeliso Moyo whose husband of 7 years claimed that she had given him HIV and she is awaiting judgment.  I thank you Hon. Speaker.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Dr. Labode.  Switch off your microphone.  You raised some valid points that a law has been put in place accented to by His Excellency the President, so those who were affected prior will have to perhaps look into your suggestion by bringing it to the attention of His Excellency the President. 

HON. T. MLISWA:  Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir and a very good afternoon to you.  Mr. Speaker Sir, let me begin by congratulating the Hon. Members of this august House who have joined us and to just say there is quite a lot.  Make sure that we move with national issues and many other issues which I think affect our people, basically hands on deck.  That is what we have to do so that we really represent the people effectively.  I wish you well in your tenure. 

Mr. Speaker Sir, let me also bring to your attention the issue of public hearings, namely one which was conducted by the Health Committee which was attended by one person in Chinhoyi.  Secondly, the other one again by Finance and Budget which was chaired by Hon. Nyashanu where in Chinhoyi, if my reading was correct, no one attended.  In Bulawayo, only one person attended.  It is quite a concern in terms of the amount of resources that go into us moving, staying in hotels and so forth.  I think it is an issue that requires to be looked into or else, again, we shall be blamed for wasting tax payer’s money.

On the other issue Mr. Speaker Sir…

THE HON. SPEAKER:  You can only raise one issue of national importance.

HON. T. MLISWA:  Yes it is part of it.  They are not different.  Issue two, Members of Parliament attending some of these hearings and participating.  It is also difficult for them not to have allowances paid when they travel.  I think if Members are travelling outside the country and are given foreign currency which is difficult, what about us who are travelling locally and local currency is available?  So it also makes it difficult for them to participate because they are really incapacitated, Mr. Speaker Sir.  I wish their allowances could be given before they travel.  I seek your indulgence in that matter.  Thank you.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Thank you very much Hon. Mliswa.  We do announce venues, times and dates for the hearings and also by radio, and it is important that Members of Parliament in the given areas also sensitize people to attend because it is part of their representation role.  That one or two people attended is most unfortunate. We will try other means of ensuring that the general public attend the public hearings so that the laws that we make have the imprimatur of the public in terms of their contribution to the law making process or any other policy issue that maybe canvassed through public participation.

On allowances, all Members are paid their allowances after - post facto, and you present yourselves you will be paid accordingly.

HON. CHIKWINYA:  Thank you Hon. Speaker.  I rise on a matter of national importance in terms of Section 62 of our Standing Rules and Orders.  Hon. Speaker, my matter of national importance emanates from the time under which we are with regards to tertiary students in the various universities.  Hon. Speaker, they have been given notice to register for their examinations but the notice is short and the fees are a bit exorbitant for them to be able to raise the required amounts of registration fees in the given time. 

My concern Hon. Speaker, and it is a concern borne out of consultation, being that if one fails to register, they defer examinations which is a departure from the norm where previously students were allowed to make a payment plan or at least sit for examinations and then fail to obtain results until they have paid for those examinations. 

So Hon. Speaker, I rise to move that if the Hon. Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education can come to Parliament at least with a Ministerial Statement as to why the rules have changed and, as Parliament, can have a national discourse around finding a solution which allows the students to be able to pursue their educational careers without disturbance.  I thank you Hon. Speaker.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  We will try to inform the Honourable Minister but you could raise the issue tomorrow during question time since the matter is hot and we hope that the Hon. Minister will be able to explain.

HON. BITI:  Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir.  I rise on a matter of national importance in terms of Standing Order 62 of the esteemed Orders of our august House.

Hon. Speaker, I raise the issue of the importance of protecting national institutions and there are two national institutions which I think need to be strengthened and their independence needs to be protected.  The first one is clearly the judiciary.  The judiciary is so key for it serves an important role in preventing self-redress amongst citizens and ensuring that there is justice amongst women and women, there is justice among men and men and I hope that the Executive can address the salaries of Members of the Judiciary so that the officers, judges, magistrates and prosecutors can execute their jobs without interference and without the fear of bribes and other undue influences.

Hon. Speaker, I come to this institution, Parliament.  Parliament is so important and in the Constitution, the doctrine of separation of powers is entrenched.  Parliament derives its power from the people and Parliament derives its authority from the people.  Hon. Speaker, only a few minutes ago, at least 28 new Members of Parliament were sworn in.  The majority were sworn in arising out of unnecessary and illegal recalls.  It is my respectful contention Hon. Speaker Sir, that... 

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Unnecessary what?

HON. BITI:  Unnecessary recalls. My contention Hon. Speaker, is…

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order.

          HON. BITI:  I said contested Hon. Speaker.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  I accept the first one.  May I not allow you to proceed with the second one and I will explain why.

          HON. BITI:  Can I just conclude?

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  No, I have heard you – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

          HON. BITI:  Can I just conclude Hon. Speaker.  I have not made my point.  My point is about protecting institutions. 

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Yes, yes, yes.  Can you sit down?  I will tell you – [HON. TOGAREPI:  Inaudible interjection.] – Wait a minute Hon. Chief Whip.  When you refer to the recalls and say Parliament is not empowered.

          HON. BITI:  I did not say that.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Yes, you said Parliament must be empowered – [HON. MEMBERS:  Protected.] – What I was going to suggest is, on that one referring to the recalls, am I right?

          HON. BITI:  It was in the context that institutions, Parliament and the Judiciary must be protected as is the position in the Constitution of Zimbabwe.  That is my point. 

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  In what terms?

          HON. BITI:  If I can just finish Hon. Speaker, you will get my point. 

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  I will indulge you. 

          HON. BITI:  Thank you.  Mr. Speaker Sir, it is important to protect the integrity of Parliament.  It is important to protect the independence of Parliament.  Parliament has a key oversight role spelt out in Sections 114 and 119 of the Constitution.  Parliament exists to make laws for the good order of the citizens of Zimbabwe.  In that respect Hon. Speaker, if there is to be any change in the composition of Parliament, there is only one person who can make that decision.  It is the people of Zimbabwe, who donate through the process of representative democracy for people in Parliament to stand for them.  Any process that obviates and undermines the people is undemocratic Hon. Speaker.  This Parliament must protect itself against processes that are undemocratic and undermine people.  Thank you very much Hon. Speaker – [HON. MEMBERS:  Hear, hear.] –

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order, order.  Any requirement for amendment to the Constitution to empower the Parliament is stated in the Constitution very clearly.  That route should be followed and once the gaps have been identified where you think Parliament is not empowered, then you will refer to that constitutional process for empowering Parliament.  That is the route and I am sure as a lawyer, you will agree with me that you have to follow the due process of empowering Parliament in that regard. 

          HON. T. MLISWA:  On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir. 

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  In what regard? 

          HON. T. MLISWA:  Mr. Speaker Sir, in regard to the recalling of Parliamentarians that it is very constitutional.  I moved a motion in this House where Members of Parliament were to contribute and they never contributed to it.  I find it quite sad that when I moved that motion, that Section 129 (1) (k) of the Constitution which empowers your political parties …

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  You are not connected and some Hon. Members online cannot hear you.

          HON. T. MLISWA:  My point of order is very clear Hon. Speaker. The Constitution is from the people.  Section 129 (1) (k), which your political parties assented to, gives the power to the political party to recall you.  I moved a motion here for all of you guys to contribute and only Hon. Mushoriwa …

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  You call them Hon. Members, not guys.

          HON. T. MLISWA:  I moved a motion for all Hon. Members to contribute.  I am quite sad that you ignored it and you see it fit to say Parliament must be empowered.  The Constitution is very clear.  Only Hon. Mushoriwa contributed because once again, you are all whipped.  The Constitution must be amended so that you are not whipped.  Let us change the laws for the betterment of the people.  That clause is painful because you have gone through it.  I have gone through it, so I now know how to master it. I have decided to be independent because it is hard when you belong to political parties.  Good luck!  It is either you are in those political parties or you stay out of the political parties. 

          I took the Hon. Speaker to court and the Constitutional Court was very clear that this is the law you made.  The Speaker has no power over this law, so let us not sound as if we are not educated.  The law is very clear.  May you join me in debating so that we amend the Constitution accordingly?  Otherwise, we are all wasting time.  If we want the Constitution to be amended so that the people must have the power, let us do that together.  I shall be ensuring that it is restored on the Order Paper so that you join me.  Hon. Biti, join me in the debate. Thank you very much.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  As I said and has been reinforced by Hon. Mliswa, if you are unhappy with Section 129, you know the route to follow in terms of constitutional processes.  It was well explained, beyond what was said by Hon. Mliswa.  Thank you very much Hon. Mliswa. 

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          HON. TOGAREPI:  Hon. Speaker, I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 13 be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 14 has been disposed of.

          HON. TEKESHE:  I second.

          Motion put and agreed to. 

MOTION

RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

          HON. JOSIAH SITHOLE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I move the motion standing in my name that this House;

ACKNOWLEDGING that sections 3, 6, 22, 56 and 83 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provide for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities;

INSPIRED by Government initiatives over the years to implement and fulfill the provisions of Section 19 of the Constitution;

COGNISANT that the Government of Zimbabwe is a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD);

MINDFUL that achievements gained following the enactment of the Disabled Persons Act of 1992, the adoption of the National Disability Policy in 2021, signing of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Persons with Disabilities in 2013 and the subsequent enactment of the 2013 Constitution of Zimbabwe are threatened with imminent reversal should the Government fail to expeditiously implement the provisions of the domestic and international

protocols that Zimbabwe has agreed to be bound to;

ACKNOWLEDGING that programmes relating to persons with disabilities should always be prioritised by all ministries and coordinated by the Department of Disability Affairs in the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare.

DISMAYED that the parent Ministry is ill-funded to prioritise and handle programmes on disability within Government ministries.

CONCERNED that Persons with disabilities experience diverse vulnerabilities as they are prone to abuse and exposure to various forms of unfavourable socioeconomic conditions throughout the country:

NOW, THEREFORE, requests for the establishment of a Parliamentary Caucus that deals directly with issues affecting persons with disabilities from a comprehensive and holistic perspective.

          HON. MPARIWA: I second.

          HON. JOSIAH SITHOLE: Mr. Speaker Sir, Zimbabwe has made remarkable strides towards recognising the rights of persons with disabilities.  The following are some of the steps achieved towards that cause.

  •     Enactment of the Disabled Persons Act [Chapter 17:01 (1992);
  •     Becoming a signatory to the United Nation’s Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities in 2007;
  •     The signing into law of the Constitution of Zimbabwe in 2013;
  •     The recent launch of the National Disability Policy by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa on 9th June, 2021 and
  •     The Education Amendment Act: 2020.

Perhaps the major catalyst now towards realising the rights of persons with disabilities is the Constitution of Zimbabwe as outlined in the following sections.  Section (3), which talks about recognition of the inherent dignity of each human being; Section 3 (f), which talks of the recognition of equality of all human beings; Section 6 (iv), the State must promote and advance the use of all languages, used in Zimbabwe, including Sign Language and must create conditions for the development of those languages.

          Section 56 (1 to 6) talks about equality and non-discrimination, while Section 83 has a lot about the rights of persons with disabilities.  However, all these great achievements should not be left out in the cold.  They must be supported, improved on and implemented accordingly.  Thus the purpose of this motion is to advocate for the establishment of a Parliamentary Caucus on persons with disabilities, as a key strategy towards responding to matters on disability in Zimbabwe.

  A simple but relevant definition of a caucus in its context is one which says ‘a caucus is a group of people united to promote an agreed upon course’.  Thus a Parliamentary caucus on persons with disabilities tackles disability as a human rights issue and aims to accelerate solutions to the challenges faced by persons with disabilities. Provisions of the recently launched disability policy must be implemented.

  The formation of a Parliamentary Caucus aims to give greater impetus to the needs of the disadvantaged or marginalised group.  This Parliament established the Parliamentary Caucus on Women and also on the rights on children.  Thus a Parliamentary Caucus on persons with disabilities is also a much dismissed initiative.  Furthermore, disability is a cross-cutting issue because there is no segregated sector that does not speak about this disability in one way or another.

  Therefore, disability issues should no longer remain on the advocacy agenda but should form part and parcel of the day to day running of all activities and Government programmes.  Inclusion must be the watch word as we navigate towards Vision 2030, persons with disabilities should not be left behind.  As of today, persons with disabilities suffer low representation in most organisations, including Government Ministries.  Even in our local communities.  Today, our Parliament just has a slot for two Senators representing persons with disabilities and their constituency is the whole of Zimbabwe. 

The Disabled Persons Bill, which is supposed to amend the Disabled Persons Act, Chapter 17:01 (1992) to align it to the Constitution of Zimbabwe has been lying in stage.  Domestication of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is still in its journey.  Disasters like COVID -19 accelerate challenges faced by persons with disabilities.  The inclusive education policy is still lying in stage.  The Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare is not adequately funded to meet the needs of persons with disabilities within Ministries.  It is clear that persons with disabilities have diverse types of disability.

 The convention on the rights of persons with disabilities defines persons with disabilities as those who have long term, physical, mental and intellectual or sensory impairment, which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their effective potential.  Thus the need for resources is paramount if the needs of persons with disabilities are to be met.  Above all, among persons with disabilities are the already disadvantaged groups like children, women and veterans of liberation struggle.  It is estimated that 15% of the world’s population or close to one billion people experience some form of disability. 

In Zimbabwe, we have not yet been able to establish accurate disaggregated data on persons with disabilities.  Many children with disabilities do not have access to education because of the numerous barriers in our communities.  Those who are not disabled today, may be disabled tomorrow.  One of our popular musicians, Oliver Mkudzi ‘may his soul rest in peace’ sang a song seka urema wafa, which is a stern warning to the seemingly able bodied people.  Therefore, we have to create as Parliament, an enabling environment for persons with disabilities in order to support the road map done by the Second Republic and the establishment of a Parliamentary Caucus for persons with disabilities as an answer to that clarion call. So I submit Madam Speaker Ma’am.

          HON. MPARIWA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I want to begin by thanking the mover of the motion Hon. Sithole who has presented this motion in a very passionate way that he appeals and recognises that at the end of it all, we are all close to disability in one way or the other. As I stood up you saw me limping somehow, each day we are close to disability just like each day we are close to our death, lest we forget that.

          Persons with disabilities have had a number of challenges and many a times people speak on their behalf without them. I would want to believe and emphasise the need to also have them represent themselves. His Excellency the President has gone out of his way to appoint a person who is housed in his office, that is Hon Senator Malinga, who actually advises on disability issues. I also want to recognise and appreciate the ratification of the United Nations Convention on Persons with Disabilities. What has remained therefore, is the domestication of that particular convention so that we get to have our own laws even if we are to amend laws without actually domesticating them to the effects of the United Nations Convention; we may not be able to attain the goal that we intend to attain.

My call is to have collective efforts to sing together with the various ministries and Permanent Secretaries to have the UN Convention domesticated. Why am I saying Ministers and Permanent Secretaries - you find that persons with disabilities are all over and by the very nature that they are everywhere, with the mention by Hon Sithole that we do not have the proper statistics in terms of how many people do we have and which category do you place them. Therefore, there is need to have all the ministries to have awareness to work together as a team so that we actually create a better law that every Ministry understands.

          If you go the Ministry of Youth, there are youths who are disabled -   if you go to the Ministry of Women Affairs, it is the same and if you go to the Ministry of Labour where we tend to throw every problem to social welfare, I do not believe so because if this is a shared responsibility, then we have to decentralise disability issues in the various ministries so that everyone plays his or her number in a particular Ministry. That way, we will have catered for them.

          In this day and age, you find that we still have buildings which cannot be accessed by persons with disabilities. There are no ramps for persons with disabilities. Again at this juncture, you will find that we do not have a centralised position or a referral point where you can point to say a person with disability can have assistive devices like wheelchairs, sticks and glasses. If one was asked as a Member of Parliament, you start scratching your head because you are not sure. You just end up saying just go to Compensation House or Ministry of Public Service. It is time that we treat this category of people with the dignity that they deserve because disability is not inability. They are part of the nation and we need to actually harmonise them to be part of the society.

          We need also to take an inclusive approach in terms even of the schools that they participate or attend. We need these children to be treated in the same manner as those without disability. Hon. Sithole talked about the budget allocation which is not enough because this problem has just been thrown into a particular Ministry and nothing else has been done. We need to go further and say there has to be enough budget allocation for this particular problem or for this particular category of people so that they are catered for from medication to everywhere. It is my humble submission and appeal that the Ministry of Finance has to find the money because people will end up saying what is it that they are doing at the Ministry. It is like a husband who tells his wife that when I come back I want you to cook rice for me, when he has not bought the rice. Where do you expect the wife to find the rice from?  We need to do more in terms of facilitating a budget that is sufficient enough to cater for persons with disability.

          On access to facilities, we need to make it mandatory because in 1995 there was a target of having 10% of every house allocated that they have to be accessed by persons with disabilities. Right now, I am not very sure as to whether we still entrust contractors to actually put mechanisms in terms of access by persons with disabilities to go into the buildings or we leave them out. I watch people at Post Offices and several buildings and it is pathetic, they cannot access those buildings and I do not think it is fair for a society which wants to be inclusive because when we have ratified this convention, it means we agree and we are going to do it. So our to-do should be practical, our to-do should be inclusive, our to-do should be thoughtful in terms of recognition that if I were part of them, what would we expect if people treat us that way.

          Half of the Members of Parliament here wear spectacles, which means we are towards getting to be blind. If you get to a doctor and they say I see some kind of trachoma, it means one way or the other you might be blind one day. By the very reason that we are wearing spectacles, it means we cannot see without them. Once I remove my spectacles, I cannot read what I have written. We need to be considerate whenever we make laws, whenever we treat society and approach a problem. Persons with disabilities are actually clear about what they want: ‘nothing for us without us’ and if we consult and walk with them, we will be able to take them on board and actually achieve very much.

          Madam Speaker, if you read the last paragraph of the motion it says, ‘now therefore, request for the establishment of a Parliamentary Caucus that deals directly with issues affecting persons with disabilities from a comprehensive and holistic perspective’. There is nothing which states more than what this motion is intended to do. In the past, we have set so many caucuses because one might say there are so many caucuses but I do not want to believe that setting a disability caucus would actually increase the number of caucuses that are here at Parliament. If the people are there who are willing and can work across the board with persons with disabilities, this is the rightful call, demand and recommendation that Parliament needs to be persuaded.

I am calling upon all Members across the political divide that this is the way to go that the sooner we establish this caucus of persons with disabilities, the better for everyone.  As women, it is very painful to have a disabled child, parents or relatives who are disabled and the treatment is different when they get to a certain level.  So, let us treat everyone equally.  By speaking here without the Parliamentary Caucus of such kind of target group, we may miss something but with a caucus, you are directly involved and actually discuss relevant issues guided by relevant information coming from the particular constituency.  So Madam Speaker, I am persuading my fellow Parliamentarians here to accept and support that we have a caucus for people with disabilities.  I thank you Madam Speaker,

                HON. T. MLISWA:  Hon. Speaker, I am so excited and want to commend Hon. Sithole for bringing this motion to this august House which was seconded by none other than the Leader of Government Business of the opposition, Hon. Mpariwa.  This is not the first time that this motion has been moved in this august House.  It talks about our insincerity towards something which we are not good at but we live with.  I personally always say we owe these people an apology. 

Madam Speaker, I also want to mention that I am the patron for National Council of Disabled Persons of Zimbabwe.  I organised a meeting with the Speaker and I am glad that the Speaker entertained them but unfortunately, the President passed on and it took time for her to be replaced.  However, Hon. Shiri who was part of this House is now in that seat and I am hoping that the caucus will happen.  One of the issues was to have a caucus and we were to meet to ensure that we advocate for this.  Madam Speaker, we are guilty as charged.  First of all, let us go to the Constitution of this country, on Section 83 which talks of persons with disabilities.  It is important that we read and people listen to this - the State must take appropriate measures within the limits of resources, oh Man! How can you say within the limits of resources when being disabled is not a choice?  How do we as legislators live with this law?  Is it a choice to be disabled that we go to the extent of saying if funds permitting? God created people like that and we cannot say funds permitting.  Because of that, they cannot do anything with the resources available to them to ensure that people with disabilities realise their full mental and physical potential including measures.  All these measures mean nothing when you talk about resources permitting. 

Let me go to Section 81 of the Constitution which is different because it says every child, boy/girl under the age of 18 years has the right, so why do you not also say those who are disabled have the right?  We are sitting here yet these sections in the Constitution are different.  Why do we not push for the amendment of this?  We are wasting time because if it is your right, you can challenge it in court.  If you go to court under Section 83, the court will say we hear you but Government says we have no money and they walk scot free.  Why have we allowed that as a people?  Zimbabwe was the first and one of the few countries in 1992 to come up with the Disabled Act and everybody said here is a nation which has a vision.  In 1992, people looked forward to a lot of changes to come through but it was never the case.  Up to now, we are still struggling in terms of how best we can comply.  The esteemed Hon Sithole mentioned a lot in terms of the percentage of 10 to 15%.  Madam Speaker, may this House move a law that even in this House, may we get 10 to 15 people who are disabled representing the disabled.  Do not be hypocrites, who amongst yourselves is prepared to surrender their seat for the disabled?  How can you talk about the disabled when you are not one?  We use them when it comes to votes and that is when you are seen.  Do not be in this caucus if you are not sincere. 

If you just go to the disabled to look for votes, God will punish you.  Politicians have the tendency to want to be seen around the disabled but the agenda will be looking for votes. I am looking for a politician who is prepared to stand down their position and campaign to expose hypocrisy.  Is there 10% of sixty, which is six?  I want the Women’s Caucus, Hon Mpariwa you were here, to first act and not talk.  Go and recall other members and replace them with the disabled.  Let us talk business and let us not come here and debate when you are not prepared to also make a move.  I challenge the Women’s Caucus of 60 to have six standing down for those who are disabled or else let us not come here and debate for the purposes of hypocrisy.  Hon Sithole is correct and I am waiting to see the Women’s Caucus sitting down. 

You have 40% of the Councillors and when they met the President in Victoria Falls, it was agreed this percentage should go to women.  For youths, we have 10 but how many are for the disabled?  In our own Senate, if I am not mistaken I see two.  Is that fair when they have no choice to be disabled and you are not doing anything to amend.  How many are in the boards, or in your parties?    Madam Speaker, the truth must be said and that is, charity begins at home.  In your own political parties, you are not prepared to accommodate them and you want to come here and debate, the time for debate is over.  Hon. Sithole is saying, ‘Can we act?’  The time for debate is over.  This motion has been in this House many times and Madam Speaker, may it be the last - it is accepted in this House until we act. 

          I am personally going to mobilise all those who are disabled that any party that does not give you 15% - do not vote for it.  I know I can do it but you cannot, and you know I can do it.  I am moving that to them that whichever political party does not accommodate you as 15% must not be in power because you will continue suffering.  The amenities, the schools, the toilets, the public transport – which ZUPCO bus have you ever seen that accommodates the disabled?  They are left behind Madam Speaker, vanosiiwa kunge mhuka.  No one is prepared kubatsira but their pride – we are destroying their pride every day.  We are making them feel as if they are not human beings – we are guilty as charged.

          Why do we not also come up with their own ZUPCO bus for the disabled?  I implore the Government to come up with buses for the disabled – which are clearly indicated, ‘Disabled.’  I implore the Government to come with schools for the disabled where they can get teachers.  I implore that there be a teachers’ training centre for teachers who will teach the disabled in sport, and in everything.  We have sporting facilities.  Where are they for the disabled?  Nothing is there Madam Speaker.

          The Land Reform Programme, how many disabled people have benefited from land?  Nhasi ndagarwa!  How many have benefited from land Madam Speaker?  None.  How can they go on a wheelchair in a queue?  First of all, they cannot get there.  The Land Reform Programme was very clear but did we accommodate those who we know could not walk?  How do you expect somebody kunoita jambanja, iye ari mu wheelchair?  Why did we not set aside some land for them?  Do they also not want to make money?  Do they also not want to contribute to the fiscus of the country?  Disability is not inability but in this country and in the way we behave.  We have not been able to respond to that clarion call.

          Madam Speaker, there were rehabilitation facilities for the war veterans during the struggle.  There was one in Ruwa because people who went to war needed rehabilitation Madam Speaker.  How many rehabilitation centers can we talk about today?  Today, the war veterans and freedom fighters of this country are a laughing stock.  The struggle was not easy – psychologically, they were affected and traumatised.  Some with broken bones, injuries from the bullets but we still do not have decent rehabilitation centres that they can go to.  Vanenge vachisekwa nevanhu kunzi, ava vanopenga nenyaya yekuhondo.  Akaenda kuhondo and so forth.  Iwewe wakapihwa freedom nemunhu akaenda kuhondo.

          At times we do not have to reinvent the wheel.  Can we go back? Jairos Jiri Centres, why is Government not putting money into those centres?  In St. Faith there is one, Mukuwapasi Centre, we used to go there and visit my grandmother at St. Faith.  We knew there was Jairos Jiri.  Why have we not taken that on board and ensure we include these institutions?  We do not have to build new institutions; we can rehabilitate these centres at the end of the day.

          Madam Speaker, there have been brilliant minds in this country.  I will tell you of John Makumbe who was an albino, and a brilliant legal mind.  Madam Speaker, there was a lawyer called Pearson Nherera who was blind but went to Cambridge University.  We are all able to do things here but how many of us have gone to Cambridge University?  They do not even know it and some people cannot even imagine setting foot there.  A blind person, who was disabled, went to Cambridge University, Pearson Nherera.

          There was Paul Matavire, the singer.  He made us become better people by listening to his music.  Music is soothing.  Today, what have we done for them?  What are we doing to make sure that their legacy lives on?  Hon. Sithole spoke about Oliver Mutukudzi singing the song the singers have been singing.  When he sang the song, Paul Matavire, there is no song that he sang which attacked us the able bodied.  If anything, we were inspired by his songs, by a disabled person.  All these three – may their souls rest in peace.  If we believe we are a nation of recognition, may we start taking corrective measures, it is allowed.  It is not late.  Even the Bible says that we can be forgiven anytime – go before God.  We need to recognise that we have been erring in this sector of the disabled.  It is about time we act on it.

          Madam Speaker Ma’am, you will realise that Parliament has tried to accommodate the disabled.  I see there are ways that they can come in.  I hope that the new Parliament will be advanced in terms of all this.  Where, instead of them finding it difficult to even contribute but there are gadgets that can ensure that they contribute at the end of the day.  If we have a Parliament with Members of Parliament who are disabled, and they do not have the ability to communicate at the end of the day, it is important that we facilitate them.  Parliament, itself, with the vision that I am talking about, if we have Members of Parliament who are disabled, once in a while, they must be accommodated.  They must be given time to speak.

          Madam Speaker, I also want to say that, the Parliamentary Caucus that Hon. Sithole is talking about; may I warn politicians, do not support it for the sake of politicking munopanishwa naMwari, musauye kuzotsvaga ma votes…

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Hon. Mliswa, you are left with Five Minutes.

          HON. T. MLISWA:  Do not come looking for votes.  Some of us do not have to tell you what you have done for the disabled.  Madam Speaker, I got them land in my constituency, where they are going to have their own school and clinic.  I sunk a borehole there for them and I keep speaking to the corporate world.  There must be incentives for the corporate world that a company that is contributing to the welfare of the disabled must be given a certain tax incentive then we move forward.

          The aspect of the plight of the disabled is not a joke Madam Speaker.  We have a singer in Norton, Talent.  She is on a wheelchair.  She uses her feet.  She sings and plays instruments using her feet.  She holds her daughter using her feet and has no hands.  You say to yourself, ‘Boy, what more can we do?’  The only thing that we can do is to make them live well and better so that they feel loved – so that we care for them.  It is not money when you care for people.  It is not money when you love people.  May we be sincere as a country?  May I implore the political parties to take this seriously?

          One day, with God’s will, a president can be a disabled person.  God’s time is God’s time and Romans 13:1 talks about all the leaders being put by God.  We do not want to be a nation that is educated but is insensitive to this plight that we all know we must do something.  I implore Hon. Members of Parliament that even with the CDF that you get, contribute at least 10 to 15% to those.  Wheelchairs, Madam Speaker as I close, must not be bought.  Why are we proud of giving somebody a wheelchair?  Government must give them for free, from today, may we move and may we contribute to the budget the same way that we did with sanitary wear Madam Speaker.  Which we were also involved and passionate about – it is only that you cannot debate again Madam Speaker but I would have liked to see you pushing that again for those who are disabled to get free wheelchairs.  How many are they?

          Let us make sure that wheelchairs are given to them for free but may we also make sure that they participate in corridors of power in boards, parastatals where Government controls.  There must be no debate and may this be the last time that we debate on this.  May we be known as Members of Parliament who did what we will do what we did for the girl child in terms of sanitary, for the disabled as well?  I thank you.

(v)HON. NDUNA: Thank Mr. Speaker Sir, I will be very brief today, it is unlike me but I just want to add my voice to the motion by Hon. Sithole, seconded by Hon. Mpariwa.  I want to start with the prayer that a Caucus has to be established for people living with disability in Parliament. I agree fully Madam Speaker because I also come from a constituency that has old people that are living with the disabled.  The rate of population living with disabilities is 15%, I actually second the prayer.

Madam Speaker, I also want to say if you may ask administration to mute everyone who is not contributing because I can hardly hear myself. 

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Members, can we have order please. Hon. Member, can you mute your gadgets please; you are interfering with the Hon. Member who is debating. 

(v)HON. NDUNA: Hon. T. Mliswa is not muted Mr. Speaker Sir.

HON. T. MLISWA: Sorry for that, I am now muted.

(v) HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for your protection. As Hon. T. Mliswa alluded to, that disability is not inability, I sit in a class where we have someone by the name Elisha Gumbo who does not have arms but he is in the same Law class with us -   he is going to attain the same degree as us, the able-bodied. I ask and pray that all institutions, Government and private must have equipment for people living with disability in order that they attain the same credibility and credentials as those who are able-bodied.  Having said that, I also want to talk about the Constitutional Amendment No. 2 Bill which is now law that spoke to the 30% representation of women in local authorities; it also speaks of one seat per each province when it talks about youth representation.  The same amendment spoke about the elongation or the increase of the period of our representation to 2033 by a further 10 years. I asked that we change the law and make a constitutional amendment that also speaks about 15% representation in Parliament for people living with disabilities.  For starters, Hon. R. Mpofu is not a representative of people living with disabilities. She is one of the members who came in as proportional representative for the 60 women.  I ask that you make a clarion call to that, may they separate empowerment tool or representative tool that speaks to and about the people living with disability that also come into the National Assembly.

As has been alluded to by the previous speakers, there should be nothing about us without us.  I think the people living with disabilities need to actually be represented in Parliament by the like-minded.  I have spoken to Constitutional Amendment No. 2 in the same way that we have renewable energy in the creation of our smart cities.  I ask that all the housing development projects that are going to take route should also take care of people with disability.  Those houses should have passage ways, and institutions that have the credibility to actually accommodate people living with disabilities assuming as well as hospitals. The hospitals need to have beds for maternity which can accommodate people living with disability.  When we talk of people living with disability, we need to harmonize our laws. According to the Birth and Registration Act, parents must get documents within 42 days after the birth of their children and that must apply to the disabled also.  We know how difficult it is for them to access maternal health. It should be incumbent upon Government to make sure there are laws for the good order and governance of all people in Zimbabwe, including the 15% living with disabilities. 

Section 327 speaks to domestication of our laws and we have domesticated the laws of the African Union and the United Nations Charter that speaks to and about people living with disabilities.  So the laws of the country need to be aligned to the Constitution in order that the people that are living with disability are also taken on board Mr. Speaker. 

The issues to do with property rights also need to reside with disabled people, nine times out of ten disabled people do not inherit any property.  They get to be disinherited when the property have title deeds. I come from a place which has a lot of old locations and some a lot of our old people live in those places but they do not have title deeds.  The issue to do with title deeds of properties also resides with the people living with disabilities.  Hon. Adv. J. Mudenda sitting in that Chair, not so long ago received a petition that speaks to and about establishment of an Accident Victims Fund that speaks to alleviation of the plight of people that are actually involved in accidents and the compensation thereof.  Statutory Instrument 45 of 2005 speaks to the remittance of 12 ½% of monies to Traffic Safety Council. 

Mr. Speaker Sir, 43 people are injured due to road carnage each day and everyone in Parliament and otherwise is 30 minutes away from disability or death due to road carnage.  So it is my hope and view that some of this money that has been given to Traffic Safety Council and by the way, because of the vehicle population that we have in the country or when yours truly was still Chairman of the Transport Committee, there are monies going to third party insurance, about US$100 million annually and 10% or 12.5% of that annually is US10 million.  It is my clarion call and view that some of this money be taken from there in order that it can alleviate the plight of those that are involved in road traffic accidents so that they might not be permanently disabled or if they are, there is need for them to get crutches and equipment that can alleviate their plight after a road traffic accident.  As I have said, we are all three minutes away from disability due to road carnage.  So I ask Mr. Speaker Sir, that this issue be viewed with the seriousness that it deserves.

As I conclude Mr. Speaker Sir, I ask that we have permanently in the National Assembly, a serious prophet that is going to pray for people that are sick, those that have been involved in accidents and those that are potentially going to be disabled people, according to Isaiah 53:5 so that no one gets to be disabled, no one gets to be blind because of sugar diabetes or blood pressure.  There is need to have serous prophets other than to have pretenders who disappear during covideous times and appear only after COVID has gone away.  Some of this disability is because we do not have serious prophets; it is because we have gold diggers and people that are no longer going by the word.

John 10:10 says the devil comes only to kill, to steal and to destroy.  Mr. Speaker Sir, we now need to reinvigorate the issue of an institution of the Holy Bible because according to Psalms 34:17 it says, ‘izinceku ziyakhala uJehova uyezwa’ and he also says in Jeremiah 33:3, ‘call unto me and I will show you great and mighty things which thou nowest not’.  All these verses can actually make sure that we have and we can reduce the issue of disability in this nation.

Mr. Speaker Sir, the last issue that I want to touch on is the issue of pensions and insurance.  The pensions are now being given at a rate of $50 or $65 to pensioners per month.  It is my clarion call because a lot of pensioners are dying before they enjoy their monies due to disability.  I ask that they be allowed to access, on the strength of this motion, their monies, in particular Mr. Green of Chegutu West Constituency.  He has his money tied up in Old Mutual and other money insurance and pension funds.  I ask that these monies be untied or be loosened so that the pensioners can access their money and make sure that their lives are bettered before they die due to ailments that cause them to be disabled.

Mr. Speaker Sir, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to vociferously, effectively and efficiently contribute to this motion by Hon. Sithole in the same way that the people of Chegutu West Constituency would have wanted me to contribute.  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir and God bless you.

(v)HON. S. BANDA:  Good afternoon to you Mr. Speaker.  Thank you for also giving me this opportunity to contribute to this debate which was raised by Hon. Sithole, seconded by Hon. Mpariwa. 

Hon. Speaker Sir, the first thing to note is the two Members who contributed first were also members of the Disability Caucus.  I am also part of the Disability Caucus and I am not interested in any money.  What we need to do is to save so that those people with disabilities get a chance to be equal to other people. 

Mr. Speaker Sir, my debate today will be more philosophical and theoretical than any other thing and it will also be oriented to the education sector.  Why, because for any person with a disability, if they do not go to school from the word go, then their life is almost tantamount to hell.  So we need to resolve this issue that comes first, which is the education of anyone whether they have got a disability or they have got no disability.

Mr. Speaker Sir, according to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, they say that countries must make sure that people with disabilities can access all services inclusive of quality and free primary and secondary education on an equal basis in all communities in which they live.  While some of this free primary and secondary education is going to people with disabilities, you find that it is not necessarily everywhere.  If you go to rural areas, to poor homes, you find that there are people with disabilities who are not going to school because there are a number of issues when we look at people with disabilities.

People with disabilities are viewed in five philosophical ways.  Firstly, there is what you call attitudinal access.  We look at them as if they are not able to do anything whereas like Hon. Nduna was speaking a moment ago, he is in class with a brilliant person who has a disability and they will also be graduating.  That is the Zimbabwe we want.  That is the world that we want, where everybody is given an equal chance.

Mr. Speaker Sir, there is also an issue of organisational accessibility or systemic accessibility whereby people with disabilities are shut out.  They are completely shut out from processes.  They are shut out from buildings, they are shut out from life, and they are shut out from education.  So we really need to make sure that we change that.  There are also architectural or physical accessibility issues that people with disabilities face.  Some of these refer to buildings.  You go to a building, some have got no lifts; they have got steps and it is just basic. These people with disabilities are not being considered at all.  Even when they are going to school, you may find that if the class happens by accident to have a ramp, the toilet they are going to use is not accessible and does not have suitable facilities for them.  So that demeans the education of people with disabilities.

There is also an issue of information.  People with disabilities lack access to information.  They lack access on support from BEAM in their education.  Most people with disabilities do not know about it.  So there is information gap which we as Parliament, the fourth estate, the media have to come in and help. 

There is also the issue of access to technology Mr. Speaker Sir.  Some people with disabilities who have got different types of abilities which I am going to mention in a few minutes may not be able to access the greatest technology that we have.  Why, it is because of the forms of disability that they have.  Research shows that the types of disabilities that most students face, there is what we call attention deficit or hyperactive disorder (ADHD).  This is because of the attitude that we give to them when they come to school or society makes them to go backwards, to withdraw into a shell and then they have got this disorder.  We need to come up with solutions that make sure that we do not look down upon anyone, whether they have got a disability or not.  We need to promote each other. 

          The other students’ disabilities include dyscalculia, visual motor deficit, dyslexia, hearing loss, traumatic brain injury, autism and structural disorder, language processing disorder.  Those are some of the challenges that the teachers that are being trained in our higher education institutions today need to be taught so that when a teacher is going to school, he is able to teach people with special disorders or any kind of disabilities.  We need Education 5.0 to say, yes while we are promoting business, we also need to look at how to empower lecturers so that they are able to impart their knowledge to those who may not have all abilities as they may have. 

          Mr. Speaker Sir, I also want to call on even political parties to say, this 15% that we are talking about – this is also a message to the census that is coming up.  We hear that a census is going to be taken for people with disabilities, which has never happened before.  So far, nobody really knows what percentage of disability we have in Zimbabwe or in the whole world.  It is just a rule of the thumb to say, I think 15% of the people are disabled.  We need to come up with a census that says in Zimbabwe we have got so many people who have disability.  Once we know how many they are, the policy that Parliament is going to come up with as we approach 2023 is that whatever party that exist that is going to run in that election, if it does not have a minimum of that percentage that has come up from the census, then it is not allowed to participate in the election.  We need to ensure that the difference between students with disabilities and those without is removed.  That way, we will not have many people on the roads who will be begging.  When they beg, we look down upon them and we do not assist them, so we need to change all that.

          Mr. Speaker Sir, as I conclude, all people with special needs need to be helped.  The free secondary education that we have, let it not be just for show but let it be effective. Let it be seen to be happening.  It should not end there Mr. Speaker.  Let it even go to higher education because there are very few students in higher education, so we want that trend to be cut.  I want to thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for giving me this opportunity. 

          (v)HON. MOKONE:  Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir.  I would like to thank the mover of the motion, Hon. Sithole and the seconder, Hon. Mpariwa.  Hon. Sithole brought up a very pertinent topic today when he spoke about the rights of the disabled.  Mr. Speaker Sir, as I begin this debate, let me start by saying that there is need to observe the rights of the disabled as enshrined by the UN article. 

The Constitution of Zimbabwe is also clear on that.  I think the Hon. Members who have debated before me have hammered on that.  They have highlighted that Section 83 speaks about the rights of the disabled people.  The disabled people have the right to food, shelter, education, political space and any form of economic emancipation that may be available in the nation.  Mr. Speaker Sir, let me rather say that they also have a right to information as the speaker who has just spoken before me has highlighted.  We actually need experts who are trained in various categories according to the disabled levels of the people in Zimbabwe so that they can help the people who are disabled to move in tandem with others in terms of getting information.

Mr. Speaker Sir, let me say that it is quite sad that some people have said that disability is synonimous to poverty.  This statement is not correct.  They are saying that because Government is failing to capacitate the people who are living with disabilities, therefore disabled people cannot look after themselves.  We have seen the emergence of women banks and banks that cater for the youths.  It is high time that we also see emergence of banks that cater for the disabled where the disabled can actually walk in and get loans without even asking for collateral so that they can be emancipated.

Mr. Speaker Sir, already there is a caucus for women in Parliament. Let us be accommodative and have a caucus for the disabled so that their issues are also heard.  If we continue to exclude the disabled people from the space in Zimbabwe, I see this as injustice for them because it means that we are not regarding them as people who are trying to live together with us.  There is need to see them as normal people and as people who should be treated the same manner that a normal person is treated.  They need a disability friendly environment. 

Mr. Speaker Sir, I remember when I was doing my Form Four, I used to learn with some people who were disabled as they were visually impaired.  I would like to thank the school because it managed to cater for those children who were visually impaired.  They provided the necessary equipment that was needed for those children.  Right now, I am at a certain university and there are quite a number of students who are disabled. It is quite sad that they are finding it hard to carry out their studies because of the barrier that exists in the education sector between the normal person and the person who is disabled. 

Mr. Speaker Sir, let me say that in Zimbabwe, we have seen that there is the Ministry of Women’s Affairs.  Let me suggest that there is need to also have a standalone Ministry that caters for the people with disabilities.  It is my belief that the Public Service Ministry is overloaded. There are so many issues that are being referred to the Ministry so there is need for us to separate Public Service Ministry and the Disability Ministry so that the needs of the disabled are met. 

Let me also highlight that we have seen that in politics, there is the PR system that caters for women.  Recently, there was Amendment 2 that saw the inclusion of the youths in the political space.  Mr. Speaker Sir, there is need for a legislative framework that speaks about the need to include the disabled people in the political space. 

Mr. Speaker Sir, as I listened to the mover of the motion, Hon. Sithole, he was praying for Parliament to establish a Parliamentary Caucus.  I am in support of his prayer because unless we establish a Parliamentary Caucus, we are not going to see the needs of the disabled people to fruition.  I am again praying for a standalone Ministry for the people living with disability.  With these few words, I thank you. 

(v)HON. MOLOKELA-TSIYE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I rise in support of the motion for the setting up of a Parliamentary Caucus on Disability raised by Hon. Sithole and Hon. Mpariwa. I am so excited that Parliament is showing leadership when it comes to issues of disability.  For too long in Zimbabwe, we have had a lot of rhetoric but I see that as Parliament, we are taking a clear stance that it is enough. We need to make sure that issues of disability take the centre stage at the national level.  This Parliamentary Caucus is most welcome and I am one of the Hon. Members who has fully supported and looks forward to actively participate in it. As we speak about issues of disability, we have to acknowledge that last year a progressive a step was achieved by Zimbabwe when we adopted the National Disability Policy.  It was indeed a very important step in making sure that issues of disability are taken seriously in this country but the policy on its own is not enough.  So we look forward to using this caucus to engage all stakeholders to support this sector.

          Some of the key issues we will be working on randomly include the fact that the Disabled Persons Act (1992) has become outdated and anachronistic.  So there is need for a new disability law in Zimbabwe, which will be very comprehensive….

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order! Hon. Molokela, I am made to understand that you were asked to leave the House.  How is it that you are still in the House?  The fact that you are connected to the internet and now contributing means you are actually violating the directive of the Speaker.

          (v)HON. MOLOKELA-TSIYE: I thought I was asked to leave the Chamber but being allowed to participate.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: No, sorry for all that Hon. Member.

          (v) HON. MAPHOSA: Thank you very much Hon. Speaker Sir.  I rise to support the motion that was raised by Hon. Sithole, seconded by Hon. Mpariwa on the enactment of a Parliamentary Caucus for persons with disabilities. I know a lot of issues have been raised around what is challenges or barriers faced by people living with disabilities in this age.  My worry is, having attained our independence about 20 years ago, we are still speaking on issues of accessibility whereby we still have institutions of Government with buildings that are not perfect to people living with disabilities.  It is actually embarrassing as a country and even us as law makers...

          (v)HON. NDUNA: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir.  I just want to write the wrongs on the Hon. Member’s speech. We attained our independence 40 years ago not 20, not 10, not 5 but 40, which is closer to the mark.  The 20 that she speaks to and about is both wrong, unjust and not allowed and should not be called for.

          (v)HON. MAPHOSA: Thank you Hon. Nduna for that correction, though it was a slip of the tongue and I apologise.  I was speaking about issues to do with accessibility, that we still have buildings and places in institutions, especially in institutions of higher learning where I actually chair, we go around these institutions seeing places of learning, lecture rooms, dining rooms which are not accessible to people living with disabilities. 

Before I was interrupted, I was saying that as Parliament, with Parliamentarians coming and going and all over years, issues to do with persons with disability was a thorn in the flesh to the country because we are the law makers.  We are people who have got the power to change the status quo.  So, I really agree with the motion of Hon. Sithole to say we need a Parliamentary Caucus that is going to focus on issues to do with people with disabilities.

          I know that we now have a lot of Parliamentary Caucuses and may be some may argue that we are labouring or we are giving a lot of budgetary allocations to Parliament to say we continuously speak of enacting Parliamentary caucuses but I think this one is very important.  It shows that we have ignored or we have let go these issues and relegated ourselves to issues of no importance at all.  It really pains that we afford these workshops and meetings yet to date, after all these years of attaining independence, we are still reminded of taking people with disabilities as a part of us while of course they are actually a part of us.

  People living with disabilities are not less human. They are more human and they are just like us, it is only that they have some challenges.  So we must desist from this attitude of wanting to be sorry and wanting to patronize people with disabilities.  Each time we speak about them, it is like we are feeling sorry for them.  We must be taking action to make people living with disabilities more human - in fact, they are human but we make them feel like they are less human.

          Speaking on issues of education, we were in a meeting and we were told that there is no one with hearing impairment who has ever attained a degree in the institute of learning or may be furthering their education because of barriers of not getting things that they should be using.  Issues of employment, because if you are not well educated, obviously you cannot be employed, that is why we see a lot of people with disability on the roadside vending.  That is the only thing that they have been relegated to as a country, to see disabled persons as vendors.  It is normal with us; we live our daily lives and think that life is okay. 

If we give them 20 bond we think we have helped them but that is not what they want.  What they want is for the Government of Zimbabwe to enact laws that are going to make them do things on their own.  That will enable them to learn on their own and be employed, to apply for business and enjoy whatever other Zimbabweans are enjoying.  I totally support the enactment of  a Parliamentary Caucus that will focus on disability issues and that will make sure that laws that are there that need to be aligned or amended, it is done  With those few words, I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

          HON. SHAMU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I rise to add my voice to the debate that is ongoing following the presentation of a motion by Hon. Sithole, seconded by Hon. Mpariwa. I would want on the onset, to state that this indeed is a noble motion. There is indeed the need for the establishment of a parliamentary caucus that would be dedicated to looking into the issues that concern people that live with disability.

          As Parliament, we are indeed the legislators. It is through Parliament that Budgets are passed and funds allocated for use by different ministries for different purposes. Therefore, the call by this motion that there be a caucus is aimed at strengthening the oversight role of Parliament on an area that affects many of our people. It broadens the base for better understanding of a given area of oversight and thus, the need for a caucus is indeed necessary to be met.

          If you look into society and follow on what happens every day, there are still many people in this day and age who hide their children because they have been born with disability. I could go on and on to give examples of various cases which need attention, which need to be followed up, which need to be resolved by making sure that necessary measures are taken for us to bring sanity within our own culture. Thus, the need for a caucus is indeed a way of wanting to create conditions that will enable Parliament to delve into these issues in a much more serious manner.

          Challenges of financial resources have been mentioned. The challenges are not only bedeviling Government but they also affect individuals and different families who are finding it very difficult to be able to take their own children for medical attention and especially when they suffer from disability which calls for expert medical attention and that costs a lot of money. Therefore, for us to resource ourselves in a manner that meets this area of serious concern, we need to create conditions that are favourable for us to debate, discuss and analyse situations in a manner that renders us to come up with solutions that effectively deal with challenges of this nature.

          Therefore Mr. Speaker Sir, I have stood up in order for me to underscore the need for the establishment of a caucus within Parliament that will be there to support all areas that have anything to do with the people that are living with disabilities. I thank you.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: I certainly appreciate your contribution Hon. Shamu because you dwelt on the motion. The motion is actually requesting for the setting up of a parliamentary caucus, not so much about what is being contributed. For me, this is quite a sensitive constituency because it does not have people who can actually talk on their behalf. So, I was leaving it the way Hon Members were contributing. I certainly appreciate. Thank you very much because you really hammered home the point that the mover of the motion requested that there be a parliamentary caucus. Thank you very much Hon. Shamu.

          (V)HON. MUSARURWA: Let me thank Hon. Sithole and Hon. Mpariwa for raising this motion. I do agree that there is need for a disability parliamentary caucus. This is a constituency we have been abandoning for a long time. There is need for this caucus which will advocate and cater for the people living with disability especially in prisons. We have quite a number of inmates who are in prison and are living with disability. The conditions that they live in are not safe for human beings.

          I also want to add my voice that we need to look into our tourism sector as we look into this parliamentary caucus for disability. Our conditions are not catering for our tourists and the people that want to visit our country in terms of our hotels that we have here in Zimbabwe. I do submit and do concur that we really need this parliamentary caucus for disability which will continue to push and advocate for the people that are living with disability. I submit Mr. Speaker Sir.

          (v)HON. NDEBELE: Hon. Speaker, I intend to speak for less than a minute. This is a motion I totally agree with as well as all the points that have been raised by all Hon. Members. However, let me hasten to be cautious. As a Parliament, we need to arrest wanton gullibility when it comes to allocation of leadership positions of that caucus in line with the maxim ‘nothing for us without us’. In other words, I am advocating for a position where that parliamentary caucus should be led effectively by Members of Parliament living with disability.  I am saying this right at the beginning because in society as a whole, we have seen that issues to do with people living with disability are usually hijacked by able bodied people who purport to speak for those who live with disability.  There is no way you can effectively speak for people living with a particular condition when you do not have that condition.    The Chinese have a saying that in order to understand how I feel, where I come from, you must do a mine in my boot.  It is certainly possible for us able bodied persons to then purport to champion that cause, leaving out those Members of Parliament amongst us who are living with disabilities.

                I just want to give you one example. Government recently appointed a National Coordinator for people living with disabilities but that person is not living with any form of disability. 

          HON. GONESE:  On a point of correction Mr Speaker Sir.  Just a small correction to my learned brother who is debating.  In terms of sensitivity, people with disabilities are not very comfortable when people say they are living with disability.  The correct terminology which has now been adopted is ‘people with disabilities’ and not ‘people living with disabilities’.  Let my learned friend take note of that.

          (v)HON A. NDEBELE:  As my learned brother has indicated, I am a lawyer and I am aware of that but that also buttresses the fact that as an able bodied person, I tend to forget some of these things and it puts more weight to my argument that these people lead that Parliamentary Caucus.  With that I rest my submission

                HON. JOSIAH SITHOLEThank you Hon. Speaker Sir.  I am so much delighted by the level of debate and level of interest in this motion where you find there is good concurrence in as far as the need for the establishment of a Parliament Caucus on persons with disabilities is concerned.  I find it very enlightening, especially seeing the likes of Hon. Mpariwa participating, Hon. Mliswa. Hon. Banda, Hon. Mokone, Hon. Maphosa, Hon. Shamu, Hon. Musarurwa and finally Hon. Ndebele.  It is very important that people are realising the plight of persons with disabilities.  I also like the fact that people were learning as they were debating issues like terminology being used that we talk about children, women and persons with disabilities and not disabled people.  It is a way of showing that even our Parliamentarians are still learning certain things to do with disability.   Having heard and listened to these good debates, I move for the adoption of this motion.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          On the motion of HON. T. MOYO seconded by HON. TEKESHE, the House adjourned at Twenty-Two Minutes past Five o’clock p.m.

 

 

           

    

                                                                              

 

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