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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 7 FEBRUARY 2023 VOL 49 NO 18
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Tuesday, 7th February, 2023
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two o’clock p.m.
(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. SPEAKER
NON-ADVERSE REPORTS RECEIVED FROM THE PARLIAMENTARY LEGAL COMMITTEE
THE HON. SPEAKER: I have to inform the House that I have received non-adverse reports from the Parliamentary Legal Committee on the following:
- Judiciary Laws Amendment Bill [H. B. 3A, 2022]
- Institute of Chartered Loss Control and Private Security
Managers Bill [H. B. 5A, 2022]
3. Criminal Laws Codification and Reform Amendment
Bill [H. B. 15, 2022].
4, Police Amendment Bill [H. B. 1A, 2023].
PROVISIONS OF STANDING ORDER NUMBER 157
THE HON. SPEAKER: I wish to draw the attention of the House to the provisions of Standing Order Number 157 relating to time - [HON. HWENDE: Inaudible interaction] – Hon. Hwende, this is important for you- relating to the time for handing in amendments of Bills. With immediate effect, no amendments will be accepted from Hon. Members on the floor of the House.
+HON. MASUKU: Mr. Speaker Sir, I rise on a matter of national interest. May the Minister of Home Affairs come and give a Ministerial Statement on speed traps on the roads. We no longer see police officers who put speed traps on the road. There are a lot of accidents now because there are no police officers who are controlling motor vehicle speeds. There are a lot of potholes too caused by the rain and the rate of accidents has become high.
HON. CHIKWINYA: Hon. Speaker, my point of national interest arises from the fact that last Friday, ZIMSEC released the Ordinary Level 2022 results. Consequently, 28.96% pass rate was recorded. In the same vein, 5000 students are reported to have had their results withdrawn. I seek that Parliament calls upon the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education to address Parliament on:
a) What measures ZIMSEC is going to take to instill confidence and security of ‘O’ and ‘A’ level examinations because these examinations were marred by excessive leakages resulting in withdrawal.
b) What measures are going to be taken in terms of recourse for those students who believe that genuinely they did not have any pre-access to the examination papers but they have had their results withdrawn? I certainly know of schools where the entire school had particular subjects withdrawn yet some students are arguing that we never had any pre-access.
I seek leave of the House that the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education be called up to give a Ministerial Statement and Members of Parliament interact with the same Minister as they relate the problems coming from various constituencies. – [HON. MUTSEYAMI: Inaudible interjection.] –
THE HON. SPEAKER: Chief Whip, you are supposed to be whipping your members.
HON. T. MLISWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, what Hon. Chikwinya has raised is an important issue, but I do not think a Ministerial Statement is good enough. It is limited. I think the Portfolio Committee on Primary and Secondary Education should be seized with this because there is more time to do an inquiry. This is the role of the Portfolio Committee. Even in terms of the Manhize mining, the Portfolio Committee on Mines was supposed to call Manhize and find out and then they will be able to exhaust all the issues.
THE HON. SPEAKER: I thought the request was a point of departure. If the Ministerial Statement is unsatisfactory, then the inquiry will follow.
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of national interest Hon. Speaker.
THE HON. SPEAKER: What is your point of national interest?
HON. T. MLISWA: My point of national interest is sad because we seem to be seized with it and I know that it has a lot of unnecessary responsibility. It is about the welfare of the Members of Parliament, in particular their outstanding allowances - they have not received their outstanding allowances from September…
THE HON. SPEAKER: From September last year?
HON. T. MLISWA: Yes
THE HON. SPEAKER: So what were we waiting for Hon. Members?
HON. BITI: We have been engaging through the Chief Whips.
THE HON. SPEAKER: I am there. I have got an open door policy, I am there – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] - September, October, November, December, four months then January and now we are in February. Hon. T. Mliswa, answer that one, manga makamirira chii when I am there?
HON. T. MLISWA: Some of the Hon. Members have Chief Whips who represent them. If the Chief Whips fail to represent their people, then that is where I come in.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hazvina mhosva.
HON. T. MLISWA: Kunge zvandakuita ikozvino. I am only a messenger because some people have failed to do their jobs. I do not belong to any political party, but the Members of Parliament have approached me saying that I must convey their messages – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] –
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order Hon. T. Mliswa, sei muchidya manonoko?
HON. T. MLISWA: Tanga tati makatinzwa mukagadzirisa. I would like to thank you for the US$40 000 that we received as it is said that half a loaf is better than nothing, so I want to thank the Government for the disbursement of the US$40 000. On allowances, we did not get our monies, especially after coming from the Pre-budget Seminar. This was in November, so we actually thought that since we had Pre-budget in November, all the outstanding issues would be taken care of. We then went on a break; there are field visits that are also outstanding in terms of payments. The rate was 600 at that time and now it has gone to 1200, so we are merely getting half of what we were supposed to get – [AN HON. MEMBER: Haa Chokuda ngaadzingwe basa uyo.] – So it is really out of that and the Pre-budget Mr. Speaker Sir, also alluded to the fact that the Standing Orders Committee would sit down to come up with a way forward in terms of accommodation and allowances for the Members of Parliament for those who do not stay in hotels. That is also an outstanding issue because the Minister of Finance and Economic Development said that money has already been budgetted for. It was up to the Committee to just sit down and say from this point, people will be given their monies at the end of the month as a result of not staying in hotels.
The other issue is on the car loans that are outstanding. My fellow colleagues are going for primary elections and unfortunately havana zvekufamba nazvo: mota one iyoyo ndiyo yamai, yababa, yeconstituency. I am appealing also on the issue of duty free US$30 000 because it was agreed. Mr. Speaker, if those monies would be disbursed early because I might say farewell to some of my colleagues since some did not make it in primary elections. I do not go for primary elections but these people must leave at least with hope and have something on hand that shows they were working for Parliament - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] –
Hon. Biti having stood up
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Biti, if your want to go to the other side, you can peacefully do so. Ndotaura Shona – chekutanga, mwana asingacheme anofira mumbereko. Kechipiri, regai kudya manonoko. I am there all the time and you just come and let me know this is the situation. Now five months is not good enough, so we will take it up with the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to ensure that your outstanding allowances are paid.
Secondly, those who still do not have the vehicles as agreed with the Minister of Finance will have the funds in their Nostro accounts at the latest by next week because this is long overdue. Hon. T. Mliswa, iwe urikumirira vanhu vane mapoka avo. Dai watangisa rako boka pamwe zvinhu zvaizofamba.
HON. T. MLISWA: Renyu iroro ndiro rangu asi ndingori kunze.
HON. MARKHAM: Good afternoon Mr. Speaker.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, Hon. Member Mataranyika hatitaure nyaya dzevarungu munomu – [AN HON. MEMBER: It is Hon. Zhou] - Who is it? Is it Hon. Zhou? Hon. Zhou, hatina varungu panapa, we have Members of Parliament. Thank you.
HON. MARKHAM: Thank you for your protection Hon. Speaker. I do not care what he calls me. He is irrelevant to me. Hon. Speaker, my point of national interest is very important. We are coming up to an election. We hear on social media, ZEC included, that they are going to do another round of what are called the blitz registration. I think it is important that ZEC comes clean and tell us when and where they are going to do this.
However, I relate to a point that I brought up four times already. The Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage promised us that he would go back and at your insistence, leave no one behind and register all the unregistered people left behind when he did his blitz. That was five months ago. To date, he has not come up even with a statement that he was requested to bring. You cannot register to vote without IDs.
In Hatcliffe, I have over 2000 people who have not registered. They have no IDs. In what we call makomboni kuzasi uku kuBorrowdale, we have at least 500 people who have not registered. This is disenfranchisement of the population. What is of serious concern to me is the Minister, four months after your insistence, has still not brought a statement to this House. I can only believe it is deliberate.
Mr. Speaker, finally I would just like to raise a point of national interest on four points I brought up of which I know you are aware. I asked on a point of national interest on the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement to bring a statement to this House on payments to wheat farmers - nothing. I asked the same Minister; and you were not in the Chair at the time, on a programme with the Tobacco Industry Marketing Board (TIMB) called ’Re-entry’ which was blocking all stop orders so farmers could sell their tobacco without stop orders being deducted. To date, we have had nothing from the Minister.
In both times, the Chief Whip was instructed to instruct the Minister to bring a statement to this House. Nothing happened. I have requested on numerous occasions for the Justice Uchena Report. To date, I have not had an answer. It must be close to 20 times I have brought this issue and I know your offices have been involved because they are the only people who have come to me with who to contact. The rest of the people have not said anything including the Minister of Justice.
Finally, Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Energy and Power Development told us categorically in a Question with Notice from me that by end of 2022, Hatcliffe would be electrified. The main supply line would be into Hatcliffe. I would like to tell the House that they have not even started yet. I thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you very much Hon. Markham. The Clerk is instructed immediately to ensure that the issues you raised are attended to. As for the Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage a letter has been written as evidence that he has been contacted. Now, I am going to apply Constitutional Provision Number 107 (2) to ensure that he complies this week. Thank you.
CHILD JUSTICE BILL [H. B. 11, 2021]
First Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Second Reading of the Child Justice Bill [H. B. 11, 2021].
Question again proposed.
HON. BITI: On a point of order.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Why do you want to raise a point of order? I want debate.
HON. BITI: The Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs is not in here.
THE HON. SPEAKER: I am totally aware of that. He will be connected virtually. The Hon. Minister is connected Hon. Biti, so we will proceed accordingly.
HON. BITI: Hon. Speaker Sir, there are two Bills dealing with children. So one is the Child Justice Bill which we are debating and the other one is the Children’s Amendment Bill. These Bills are very important but they are as long overdue as they are welcome.
Mr. Speaker, the issues of children and children’s rights are important. They are codified in Section 81 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe. Children are the future and that is why the Constitution devotes a substantial section in the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
There are issues that have been long outstanding that we have taken long to address. The first one Mr. Speaker, as you know, is the Child Marriages Bill. In 2016, the Constitutional Court set aside a provision of the African Marriages Act that allowed and permitted child marriages but until the passage of the Marriages Act, the law had not been changed.
You are also aware Mr. Speaker Sir, that last year the Constitutional Court, in the judgment of a Diana Eunice Kawenda versus Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs issued an important judgment that increased the age of sexual consent to 18 and again, more than two years after that judgment.
As far as the Child Justice is concerned, we want to…
THE HON. SPEAKER: While you are upstanding Hon. Biti, I want to hear from the Chairman of the Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee, why have you not taken action since 2016? What is the problem?
HON. MATARANYIKA: We have no problem.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Stand up.
HON. MATARANYIKA: We do not have any problem Sir.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Why did you not call the Ministry to account?
HON. MATARANYIKA: All I know is that the Minister promised to bring the Bill to Parliament and indeed he did that. That is why we are debating the Bill and it is my hope that all those issues will be addressed in this debate.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Please, can you be timeous in your intervention Hon. Chair. From 2016, it is now six years. Try to push and see that there is traction please.
HON. MATARANYIKA: Noted Mr. Speaker Sir.
HON. T. MLISWA: The National Constitutional Authority Board is still not there. How does such an entity function without a board? What has the Justice Committee done?
THE HON. SPEAKER: Can you take note Hon. Chairman. May you also look at the establishment of the board of the Law Development Commission? It has been long outstanding, which should be chaired by the Attorney-General. If you can pursue that as well?
HON. MATARANYIKA: We have actually raised that matter…
THE HON. SPEAKER: Give them timelines, Hon. Chair. You can proceed Hon. Biti. Sorry for the interruption.
HON. BITI: Yes, I hope you froze my time so that it is not eaten by your intervention Mr. Speaker Sir because I only have 20 minutes.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Please indulge my intelligence.
HON. BITI: Thank you Sir. So, you know the scourge, we have had nine-year old girls getting pregnant and the law has remained indifferent to the scourge. It is a national scourge in our society, child marriages below the age of consent of sexual activities. Compounded to these problems, you have problems that your Hon. Members are raising every week. The issue of drug abuse, particularly drug abuse in schools and the law has not been mobilised to deal with that because these children do not manufacture crystal meth. These children do not grow dagga or prepare Indian hemp. It is supplied by middlemen. It is supplied by suppliers who are known. In the Harare Avenues, people who sell drugs, who import drugs are known. It has gone so terrible that even diapers are being smoked. The old television sets are being crushed to get powder for children to smoke. So, we have a problem but I want to speak on this Bill, Child Justice.
I am concerned with the age that the Bill sets that we presume a child can commit a crime, which is 12 years. In respective submissions, we should increase that age to 14 years. A child is a child; he lacks apprehension; he lacks comprehension. Let us raise the age to 14 years and let us ensure that we have specialists that can assist with the reputability of the age at 14 years.
The second point about the Bill is about the penalties. We cannot impose custodial sentences on children because it is unconstitutional. We cannot impose whipping on children because it is unconstitutional. Our Constitutional Court has declared whipping a breach of Section 353 of the Constitution, which deals with cruel and degrading torturous treatment.
That means that rehabilitation centres; probation centres become so important but probation centres require expertise. They require children experts that will be able to work with these children towards the agenda of reformation and rehabilitation. The new philosophy of criminal justice as agreed and endorsed in our Constitution is one towards rehabilitation. It is one towards the cultivation of that individual who would have committed an offence to come back to normal life. I do not think that the law, including the current Bill that we are going to be debating in the Second Reading, is sufficiently mobilised towards the agenda of reform and rehabilitation.
We are concerned with the idea of punitive justice but you know that the old concept of an eye for an eye which makes the whole world blind is out molded. We should reform, we should rehabilitate. So, I move that we concentrate on probation and rehabilitation centres, and we concentrate also on community involvement. In African Customary Law, Criminal Law does not exist. Criminal Law does not exist because in African Customary Law, a crime is a community policy. So the whole family becomes involved. If a member of a family kills a member of another family, the whole family attends because kune chinhu chinonzi ngozi, you go and work in the field of that particular person.
I would like to see the involvement of the community and the church when it comes to criminal justice. So, there are things that we can take from African Customary Law, which does not recognise Criminal Law but recognise the principles of compensation, forgiveness and reconciliation. Those are not recognised in this Bill. There are other things that are not covered by this Bill in particular, which affect children. Why is it that 44 years after independence, in great independent Zimbabwe, a mother can still not get a passport for her child and has to wait for the father. You know that the majority of children born in this country are born out of wedlock. Therefore, the mother is not married but she has to wait for either a married man to run away from his wife to come and sign the passport in Herbert Chitepo.
She has to wait for a father who has run away to Botswana, who just donated the sperm that gave rise to that child. So, it is not good enough. Let us recognise the equality between men and women, particularly in respect of raising of the children. The High Court through Justice Zhou, has issued a very important judgment that recognises the principle of co-custody. The principle of co-custody must also be extended to the principle of co-guardianship. So, you cannot have co-custody, which is a liability because mwana anodhura ka. Pauchati manapukeni, wozoti purity, wozoti nhova, wozoti mukaka. Custody is expensive but guardianship is not expensive and pakuroorwa, murume akaita kunge imimi Speaker ndiye achiri kupiwa zvimombe mukadzi ongopihwa kamombe kehumai chete. That is not enough.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Aiwa, usandifananidze, wadii kuti akaita sewe. [HON. BITI: I took your cows so I agree.] –
HON. BITI: So, these things are not good enough. We are not sufficiently respecting women, because we are not sufficiently respecting women, we are also not then sufficiently respecting children. With women, I think it needs a standalone motion on its own. I appeal that as we debate this Bill, we recognise that children are fundamentally incapable of committing crimes and that when they do crime, we should move for rehabilitation, reconciliation, accommodation and incorporation into society. I thank you.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I just want to add my voice, however briefly to the Child Justice Bill, in so far as it relates to alignment of that Bill and Act to the Constitution, I repeat which is sui generis, that is in a class of its own, which is the supreme law of the land Mr. Speaker Sir. In so doing, we are signatories to the United Nations Convention on Children’s Rights, which speaks to Article 2 of non-discrimination, Article 3, best interests of children, Article 6, right to life, survival and development and Article 12, the right to be heard. Mr. Speaker Sir, this is the crux of my presentation, the right to be heard.
I would recommend that we align our Constitution that recognises a child being anybody below the ages of 18. It is only prudent, just and right that we do not continue to incarcerate children that are below the age of 16 in my view. I say this because at the age of 16, you are allowed to take a drivers licence. It can only mean somebody is in their right faculties to comprehend and write a test that speaks to and about driving aptitude. It is my thinking that at the age of 16, which the Constitution also recognises, somehow a child is mature enough to comprehend. At that point, it is the age that I would think a child is recognised to have committed a crime if they are to face the music.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the issue that I also seek to ventilate concerns the reformatory places that we used to have. I grew up in Bulawayo. There was a reformatory in Luveve - you would find that children as they go to such places would be reformed and be brought back to their parents without having to face the rigours of adult life in prison set up, which actually hardens them as criminals.
Mr. Speaker Sir, as I debate this Bill, I do not know how far you heard me talk about the issue of the children’s interests. Children’s interests are also embodied with issues to do with accommodation and dwellings that protect the interests of the child and their welfare. Where I come from, in particular, N23A in Pfupajena suburb, you have three families living in a three roomed set up. The two rooms are separated by a piece of cloth, so there are 30 people living in a three room set up, 10 in one room. In such a set up, there is no copulation, procreation and conjugal rights that can be performed in the presence of the child or the glare or observation of a child. What that does Mr. Speaker Sir, it removes the child in a child. It removes the children in the set up and the mould of a child. I am hoping as I debate this Child Justice Bill, that it can also align the issue of welfare in the society of the children by optimum provision of dwellings and housing set up so that there are no child marriages and child abuse in terms of the girl child. This is because they would have matured prematurely because they have observed the adults indulging and engaging in procreation, copulation and conjugal rights. The only way we can separate …
THE HON. SPEAKER: Just a minute. They have observed adults?
HON. NDUNA: Their rights are being violated.
THE HON. SPEAKER: No, no, no. You said they have observed adults exercising their conjugal rights. Is that a correct statement?
HON. NDUNA: The children are observing adults in copulation, procreation and conjugal rights.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Where?
HON. NDUNA: N23A in particular in Pfupajena suburb in Chegutu Mr. Speaker Sir. I am hoping that we can also as we deal with child rights and child justice …
THE HON. SPEAKER: Is this through social media?
HON. NDUNA: I come from Chegutu. I am the …
THE HON. SPEAKER: I am asking, is this through social media?
HON. NDUNA: No Mr. Speaker Sir. I said N23A. It is an address. I have been there.
THE HON. SPEAKER: And the children are watching?
HON. NDUNA: The set up is three rooms and there are three families of ten each.
THE HON. SPEAKER: So explain that background.
HON. NDUNA: When I did Mr. Speaker Sir, the Clerk took your time. I have taken you back a bit because I observed you were distracted.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Congestion in accommodation?
HON. NDUNA: Exactly Mr. Speaker Sir.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Now, I understand. Thank you.
HON. NDUNA: How do I hope that this august House which is endowed with lawmakers of note, including Yours Truly deal with this matter? It is the issue of revitalising the reformatories, instead of incarcerating the children because they have now engaged in crime, not of their making but because they have been pushed into such habits through lack of housing infrastructure development.
Where I come from, there is a place called Touch Line. For people or children to sleep in one room where there is ten of them in one family, they have to give each other time to sleep. Touch Line is like the Avenues of Harare. How do I propose that we annihilate that scourge of people going on to the Touch Line to solicit for favours, be they prostitution or otherwise? There is need to expeditiously deal with what we call the master plan of urban locality expansion in the local authorities so that there is ubiquitous amount of land in order to have the backlog of housing infrastructure dealt with. Where I come from, there are about 12 farms that need to be developed for urban expansion through the master plan. Could it please you Mr. Speaker Sir, in the same vein, to implore the Minister of Local Government to expedite in terms of master plan, adjudication and approval so that these children can be separated from adults and get optimum accommodation that speaks to the issue of Article 6 in the UN Article; the right to life, survival and development. I think those would be my submissions but I want to adhere to Common Law that our African Common law that speaks to the issue of amalgamation as a society and reformatory as a means to reforming the children who would have transgressed in the society and the age be pegged to 16 years of age as opposed to age 12 and below as observing that this is now somebody who can be incarcerated. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for giving me the opportunity to vociferously, effectively and efficiently present what the people of Chegutu West would have presented on the issue of the Child Justice Bill.
HON. MATARANYIKA: I want to raise a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir. The reason why I decided to rise now is that the information we give to the public in this august House has to be accurate. Unfortunately, Hon. Mliswa is labouring under wrong information - let me correct the position right now. In terms of General Notice of 2525 (a) of 1 June, 2022 which was gazetted in November, 2022 – the following are the board members of the National Prosecuting Authority: Mr. Mutsonziwa, Ms. Masvora, Dr. Choruma, Ms. Gukwe, Mr. Machinjike, Ms. Chibaya, Mr. Mazibuko and Mr. Makina. So indeed, there is a board for the NPA. I thank you.
Hon. Mliswa having stood up to say something
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order. When the correct information has been given, we cannot debate.
HON. T. MLISWA: I wanted to appreciate what he has said.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Yes, I have done it from the Chair on your behalf.
HON. T. MLISWA: And I think he only got the...
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, I have done it from the Chair and you are the consumer of that information.
HON. T. MLISWA: I would like to say he did not know...
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, the issue is that perhaps the Chair also suffered from some lapse of memory, so I forgive both of you.
HON. CHINYANGANYA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for giving me the opportunity to add my voice on the Child Justice Bill. I will start with the age. The Bill proposes 12 as the age of criminal responsibility and I think I agree with this age because it is being raised from the age of 7. I think 12 is a reasonable age as to the issue of having criminal responsibility. This is because if we go beyond 12 years, I think the children are mature enough to distinguish between right and wrong and 12 years is when puberty starts to set on and in terms of maturity, that is when I think the reasoning capacity at least they would not have much knowledge about distinguishing between right and wrong.
I want to welcome the proposal in the Bill which first looks at the issue of compensation and reparation when a child supposedly steals. Instead of arresting a child then the Bill is giving leeway for families to settle what would have been stolen. On the issue of incarceration – as we speak, the reformatories that we currently have are not equipped enough to allow the reformation of child offenders. I propose that all those detention centres for children should be equipped with educational, sporting and vocational facilities so that the children can be well reformed whilst they are in detention.
There is another provision which states that the age estimation should be done by a Child Protection Officer. I do not think this is proper because this can only be done by medical personnel. I propose that medical practitioners should be the ones to do age estimation. So those will be my submissions Mr. Speaker Sir. I thank you.
HON. T. MLISWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Allow me to contribute to the Child Justice Bill. I want to zero in on issues which I think are critical. Hon. Nduna mentioned the issue of 16 being the appropriate age which I certainly agree with because we already have precedence in the country that at 16 one can get a driver’s licence. I think for them to reach that age, a lot was put into it, adding salt in terms of the process and all that. I think that is something that I think would augur well with it being increased to 16.
Mr. Speaker Sir, there is also the issue on the specialised courts which are there and I think what they make is expert child psychologists, pedagogy for those who do not understand, the term is more or less education and so forth, which is quite critical. So, the issue of those experts in the specialised court does not help at all because there is a gap. When children are young, they cannot miss any process that ensures that their growth is in order. So, I would also say that what is critical is to have probation centres that are rehabilitated to suite what is expected of children at the end of the day.
As you would appreciate Mr. Speaker Sir, children are quite innocent, and as they are innocent, they cannot be punished the same way their parents are punished. They must continue with their education and activities that are meant for children, playing around with other children. You cannot have children playing around with adults; there is a total mismatch in terms of their upbringing. They then develop habits that at the end of the day, affect them in a way in ChiShona, mwana anokura asina kukura because the level of intellect and maturity that they will be dealing with has an influence on many issues.
So, the question here is, how do we separate the children from their parents who have committed a crime? What is also lacking Mr. Speaker Sir is that we do not have a particular law that says if a mother is incarcerated, their child of so many years must also accompany them in jail – there is no such law. So, we now have children going to jail with their mothers and as a result they then are unable to enjoy their childhood. What is critical is having hostels built, with kindergarten teachers for mothers and with the teachers teaching these children. They cannot be deprived of education because of their mothers. So, there is a lacuna there in terms of the age itself. At what age should the mother take the child to prison? If so, what facilities are in prison so that the child continues to grow? This is an issue that is quite important because we then see them.
I think Hon. Nduna’s point was to say that they are exposed to a lot more. In one room there are all females and it is a young boy who is growing up. He is exposed to what he is not supposed to be exposed to and I think that is what Hon. Nduna spoke about – there is no separation in terms of imprisonment. A mother is there with her son and at what point is the boy child disconnected from the mother so that they continue with their life? This is a key issue in terms of that.
The other issue that I thought was important was that of fingerprints in Zimbabwe in particular. Other countries do not allow you to take fingerprints of children. In Zimbabwe, a child’s fingerprints are taken and that becomes a record for that child. So, you cannot allow that to happen and not only that Mr. Speaker Sir, the law reports in this country also have the name of this child; so a child of that age appears in the law reports. Why should the name be there?
We must protect them and ensure that we protect them in this Bill because they have a life after that. When your name appears in these reports, it becomes difficult, and there is also the issue of society itself – society is very harsh. We also do not want a situation whereby a child whose mother leaves prison and goes out to the people - how do we deal with that? There is the aspect of stigmatization that is there which also affects the child. Other children who are playing with the child also think that the child committed a crime since they were in prison. How do we deal with that? So there is that issue; most countries seal those records and this to me is important.
Hon. Nduna also mentioned the issue of child sex. Child sex is not only for the girl child, it is also for the boy child. So, whilst they are in prison, they also are entitled to certain benefits of humankind as women. Are they not going to abuse those boys? This is the issue; are they not going to abuse those boys? How are the boys protected when the law is not clear in terms of protecting the boy child? For a long time, we have only spoken about the girl child. At nine years, the girl child is pregnant and it is a big crime but we do not talk about the boy child being abused at nine years Mr. Speaker Sir.
It is always the girl child who is abused at nine years; seven years the boy child is abused but there is no story and we do not take it seriously that at seven years there are women out there who are indulging these young boys yet it is not an issue. When it comes to the girl child, it is an issue. So, we need to be very clear as well that every child must be protected. The same law that we have for the girl child must also be there for the boy child to be protected as well. So, I think that is quite a critical issue.
There is also the aspect of drugs; the mothers are there and have different charges. They are in prison because of different crimes they have committed; others are drug handlers, murderers and so forth. So why are you mixing children with such people? What stories are they hearing that will be progressive? Mr. Speaker Sir, you know us growing up, we had our grandparents vachitiwudza ngano in the evenings. So what ngano is a child told in court when there are drug handlers, murderers and so forth? Ndakawuraya nhingi, ndikaita chakati, ndikaita chakati and this child is listening. We are now creating habitual criminals; it becomes a breeding ground for habitual criminals because he has now been exposed to all that. So, these are some of the issues that I think are critical in this report.
I think, like I have said, there is not enough expertise at the end of the day to be able to be dealing with this, from psychologists even with the prisons in this country. The psychiatrists are not even enough, so why then should we expose the innocent children to this? This will be my contribution Mr. Speaker Sir pertaining to this Bill. I thank you.
(v)HON. PHULU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I would like to add my voice to this debate on the Child Justice Bill. I would like to indicate that I am one of those who are very happy that at long last, we are having a Bill that is talking about how a child goes through the period of Justice System.
I have a privilege to have represented children in our courts for a long time and I am aware of how much it has been a struggle to divert children’s cases from the mainstream justice system. I know that we have had policies and law officers scratching their heads at exactly how to deal with each particular situation and we have been winning it for a long time. I must applaud those in the justice system who, for a long time, have informally actually entrenched a system for dealing with children. However, because it was informal, it was very difficult to deal with circumstances which were always changing.
Perusing through the proposed Bill, I have seen the inclusion of definitions of appropriate adults to widen the number of adults who can be relied upon by the justice system in order to assist and to guide children through the system. I have seen the introduction of the innovative concepts like family conferences, taking into account what Hon. Biti was talking about that in the African system, parents and their families have always been in the rehabilitation of children and deciding how to deal with a child outside the justice system in a way that is going to be beneficial to the child. To also allow that child to reform, to be dealt with in such a way that they become a useful member of society without experiencing incarceration in the prisons which are not suitable for children for many reasons which other speakers have mentioned.
I would like to also emphasise that inasmuch as we have put this Bill into place; the second phase is going to be to ensure that we gather the appropriate expertise to ensure that each and every provision is really taken advantage of for the betterment of our society. Mr. Speaker Sir, the instances of course were thugs, gangs and rogue adults in our societies. Noting that this Bill has to pass; we will start to take advantage of that. We will start to coerce children to use them in their gangs as the people who jump through the windows knowing that of course, children will be dealt with kindly and so forth. There will be instances where you have children who have become hardened criminals.
As a matter of fact, I did not see a clause which talks about how the court has the power to deal with certain children as adults. If we do not deal with that loophole, we are going to then have a class of children who are then exploited by the hardened criminals and effectively operate as adults.
It is unfortunate of course but what do you do when you get to such a situation? You are keeping in mind that a lot of the robberies, car breakings are committed by children ranging from 16 to 17 years. Are we going to give a magistrate or the court power to deal with a particular child with certain circumstances as an adult? Children who gang rape, how are we going to deal with them? At 16 to 17 years, yes they are children but we have that dilemma now. He has gang raped once, twice or thrice, how are we going to deal with that child? Are we going to have something that allows us to deal with those children as adults?
These are going to be interesting challenges as we go into Committee Stage that we will have to debate and try to polish so that we come up with something that is going to save both the child and the community very well, that is going to ensure that our children remain protected. In fact, there should be charges for adults who deliberately and consistently corrupt children to coerce them into participating in crime. An adult who participates alongside a child should surely be punished, even more punishment.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I can go on and on but I believe fellow Members of Parliament have contributed to this debate and I am sure that this is a Bill that is going to polish and save us very well in future as an act whilst it goes through the Committee Stage. I thank you.
HON. B. DUBE: Firstly, I would like to thank the Chairperson for Justice. I want to thank the Chairperson very much for bringing this important issue before the House relating to the Child Justice Bill and the wonderful report from the Justice Committee. The issues that the Bill seeks to address are the contemporary challenges that our justice system has to deal with. The contemporary issues in the justice delivery system are firstly that there is now a very high prevalence of young people finding themselves on the wrong side of the law and therefore increasing the population of young people either in police custody, appearing in court or in prison. It becomes imperative for this House to come up with a law that addresses how to deal with this contemporary challenge of the juvenile offenders
The first issue which is usually problematic relates to age determination and assessment because of the increased number of children in the streets and who are unregistered. They do not have birth certificates and therefore, the system has had to rely on the estimations and determinations from police officers, probation officers and at times assessment and determination by the ordinary court. So, this law is seeking to give guidelines on how this can be done. As long as we still have the challenge of children in the streets who are not registered, the law is actually in the right direction in trying to empower our institutions to then come up with the relevant estimations so that you are able to tell how to deal with the children in the particular ranges.
We have powers and duties of the police officers in the arrest and detention of young offenders. It has been a serious issue where ordinarily the police officers were trained to handle the adult criminals and in the process, they then find themselves addressing and dealing with the children who also find themselves on the wrong side of the law.
What the Bill seeks to do is then to set out how to deal with this and it is a positive move. I believe that this is the most important intervention that the Ministry of Justice as well as the Justice Committee has done to make sure that there are parameters and procedures relating to how to handle children who find themselves on the wrong side of the law, how to deal with warrants of the arrest and the duties and responsibilities of guardians and custodians of the children. At times when the courts release these children on bail, they need to release them in the hands of a responsible person. At times the challenges that have been there are that with children in the streets, it is very difficult to then find the guardians and courts have had headaches on how to deal with this. As a result, the majority of these juveniles then had to find themselves being detained in custody because there is no other option. No one is there to accept and receive them whilst they are waiting for their trials and also because of the first point that I talked about on identity, these children will be very difficult to trace.
So, I believe that it is a very good proposal to then have a law that deals with pre-trial and trial procedures as well as post trial procedures.
Then there is an issue relating to the aspects on fingerprints and other identification materials. I agree with what Hon. Mliswa said, possibly relating to them concealing that but there is no other way to identify a person for purposes of checking the records because what we want to do as the justice system is to make sure that we then also have a tracking system because people usually have a particular pattern. If you find a kid who has a propensity to have violations of a sexual nature - possibly starting at 7 years, you may find even at 30 or 40 years, they are still following that pattern. Those who are on the theft pattern will still do the same. Those who are on violence they will still do the same
The justice system must also be able to come up with identification methods that will be able to help you to trace and monitor those people, whether they have been reformed, rehabilitated or they have been made worse so that the law enforcement systems are able to quickly deal with issues. In terms of the criminal investigations, at times you have to follow patterns and fingerprints to be able to then track because human beings usually have a tendency that is permanent in them. It will be very difficult to ignore and avoid the issues relating to fingerprints and other identifications because we need to follow and check whether or not our justice system has actually done well. Those kids that were taken to the child justice system - have they reformed, are they now better than what they were before, if they were into drugs are they now good and honest people in the areas that they now live?
Detention and release of children, treatment and rights of children in detention in police custody prior to committal has always been very problematic because our cells were never designed in such a way that they would be cells for juveniles and cells for adults. The new law is trying to say there must be mechanisms that make sure that there is a separation between the young offenders and the old offenders so that there is contamination. We believe that young people have a chance to be reformed and therefore we want to come up with a system. The duties of the police relating to children in detention must have a clear register and treat them as children because they remain our children. So procedure before appearance of these children in court must be such that they are treated as children and they are given the necessary courtesy and attention that is necessary and required for purposes of making sure that we do not make them worse than they are already.
On principles relating to release of children from detention, the law is actually coming up with the new mechanisms to make sure that these conditions are relaxed so that we minimise the number of them that may end up at Whawha, Chikurubi, Harare Central Remand because in terms of our prison visits, we realise that the conditions there are not good. They are not good for adults, which mean they are worse off for our children. In terms of the release of these children, there are some who would have committed some more serious offences that makes it very difficult for them to be released because they would have actually presented a danger even to the family but at the same time, the law is trying to say what do we do even to these people even if we are to take them into detention, how do we make sure that they are protected? If they are to be released in the custody of responsible persons, what are the conditions thereon?
There must be continuous assessment and the law is actually coming up with mechanism to say how do we attend to an assessment of the children to make sure that they now fit into a particular category of safety for them to be to be released? I believe that this idea of diversion of justice to make sure that justice relating to children is specifically addressed on its own is very good.
We also have noted that for a long time, we have only been concentrating on the child offenders and the law has been very silent on the aspect relating to restorative justice. Victim-offender mediation has not been prioritised in Zimbabwe. This new law is coming up with these mechanisms to say this victim is also supposed to be attended to and the child who is the offender and victim must be reconciled so that we are able to put together the family. Usually children commit offences within and around their families or surroundings. It becomes very important because even if you release them from custody and you have not done the restorative justice mechanism, they will not be accepted by their communities. This Bill is coming up with a mechanism to say how do we reconcile the offender and the offended and make sure that we restore family confidence, we make family group conferences which are intended to benefit and reconcile the children who would have offended, their communities and parents so that at the end of the day, we are able to put together the most important fundamental God creation which is a family. In the human creation, what God established was that there must be a family whose fabrics must be able to mould, correct and also cause harmony. This harmony is usually violated as a result of possibly some children violating the law.
I like the Bill in the sense that it is coming up with restorative justice where it is saying we must be able to reconcile those who violate us. We must not over emphasise on the offender only but we must make sure that even those that have been offended are taken into account such that we are able, through the law, to facilitate the meetings between the violator and the violated and allow for apologies and reconciliation to happen. This is very important. Issues relating to legal representation, pro deo and pro bono mechanisms within our court systems, we intend that these be escalated so that these young offenders are able to get proper justice because at times they may admit to offences but with limited understandings. Those that are called limited pleas where a child is admitting to have done something, but they did not really understand the consequences of their actions as particularly relating to the particular offence. The law is saying relating to these young offenders, there must be a mechanism to allow them to get free legal services so that there is proper justice.
We know in Zimbabwe all those adults who are charged of murder, they are represented by lawyers for free at Government’s expense. What the Bill is coming up with is that for all our children who might find themselves on the wrong side of the law, they must be able to also get that pro deo facility where they will be able to get free legal representation at the expense of the State because if we have managed to give this facility to every murderer, why can we not give it to every child who find themselves on the wrong side of the law.
In terms of the court, our court system was designed without an intention of addressing the child. It was assumed that only adults would come and appear before the courts and now we realise that we have a lot of our children who may find themselves appearing in court. The law is now saying we must come up with a justice friendly system, a court system that is specifically designed for the children, that is friendly not only to the victim but what we have currently is a victim friend court where the witness is given comfort and is allowed to testify from the camera. We are saying we need the same for the juvenile offender where we need that offender to be protected from the public and be allowed to still have the treatment of a child so that they do not get the embarrassment. If convicted also, we are saying our prison systems need to be reformed for those children who the law has found that there is no other place to place them, they cannot go back home, they cannot do any other form of punishment except to be detained; our prisons must have the facilities for children; which means our prisons must be schools like. We must be able to have proper facilities for schooling for these children, both primary and secondary. That allows them whilst they are in detention to be able to have a life because the life that is experienced in prison, we are saying it is a correctional service. Whilst they are being corrected, they must not miss out a lot in terms of their schooling because they will come out being worse. Our prisons must also have facilities that allow for rehabilitation. The law is also good in that it is proposing the postponement or suspension of sentences for those offenders that we believe will have committed some offences which are serious but we realise that this child is still capable of being reformed. The law is saying the court must have the power to postpone a sentence. To say you have done badly to the society, you did one, two, three, four and five things and I am sentencing you to five years imprisonment but because you are 13 years of age, I am going to suspend your sentence; we believe that you will learn from this mistake, in the event that you misbehave, we will then remove the suspension at any given time and you will serve. This is a wonderful way of actually making sure that someone always has the axe on the back which gives them direction in every step because that person will be aware that in the event that I misstep, there is already a punishment that is behind me.
In conclusion, I would say, subject to various inputs that this House may put in place, I would conclude by saying that this is one of the most progressive and fundamental Bills that this House has championed. I am proud to be part of the group that has made sure that it is possible to have a Child Justice Bill in our lifetime. Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]-
HON. CHIKWINYA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. Perhaps Hon. Speaker if I may take advantage of me being on the floor. You saw me at some time approaching the Chair, the Hon. Speaker, Hon. Mudenda to seek clarity on the ruling that he had made in terms of Section 157 with regards to amendments. I am saying this because we are currently at a phase where we are dealing with Bills and we need to expunge them. Section 157 says if I need to bring an amendment, I am supposed to do it in writing as the Speaker ruled. I then sought clarity as to what then the provision of Section 154 which deals with amendments at Committee Stage says. If Members had understood the way I had understood, it was like we are no longer allowed to bring any amendments unless if they are in writing but Section 154 Hon. Speaker, gives us leeway at Committee Stage. If I convince the Hon. Minister responsible for that particular Bill to say Clause number 17, I propose that it stands in this manner, Order number 154 allows us to do that and the Speaker was in agreement. I brought this as a point of clarity so that at least we are not handicapped at Committee State - perhaps the Clerk may also advise you accordingly. I had understood as if there are no longer amendments that are allowed during debate but 157 says if you want a fundamental amendment, you bring it in writing but if it is an amendment where I can convince the Minister at Committee Stage, I can still move for that. Thank you Hon. Speaker.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA): So in other words, Hon. Chikwinya you are not debating on this?
HON. CHIKWINYA: No, I am debating, I am now moving on to debate; I said I am taking advantage of being on the floor. I am now proceeding to debate the Child Justice Bill. With regards to the Child Justice Bill, I think I would want to depart from the majority of my colleagues who are moving for the extension of liability in terms of age where the Bill proposes 12 and the majority of Members are saying let it be 16.
Hon. Speaker, I come from a constituency where I have seen a majority of these children, some of them at the age of nine are committing crimes, including murder. Whilst I understand that perhaps the capacity or the knowledge to say what we are doing is criminal, but I see we are beginning to build a society that may become tolerant to children committing crime. Can we have a law, because to put a law in place does not mean that we are pointing a particular finger to an individual? A father should be able to sit with his children and say ‘my dear children you are now 12 years old, if you commit such crimes you will go to jail’. However, for you to say ‘my children even if you go to 15 years you will not go to jail’, we are beginning to create a society that has criminals at a very tender age.
Hon. Speaker, we are the same Members of Parliament who are standing on this floor trying to deal with the issue of drug abuse. First of all, we are blaming people who are manufacturing and peddling the drugs. Definitely they are adults but we must also be able to deal with the consumer who is the child. We should say, for you to partake in drugs is a crime. These drugs are being taken by people at the age of nine or ten.
We were discussing the issue of drugs during lunch after we had seen an incident of a man who attempted to commit suicide just outside Parliament. He fell, luckily he did not die. I point that to drugs. We as a society are busy trying to deal with the issue of drugs but if we allow our children to be criminals and then to say but you are still young enough, we are creating a society of criminals. We made a mistake; it was also supported by the courts where we were told that we must not spank our children. So teachers must not spank children, but look at the quality of children that we are beginning to raise. A child now tells you that if you spank me, I will report you to police. At the back of it, he is coming home around 12 o’clock p.m. You are worried but at the same time you cannot do anything to him because you cannot beat him.
I grew up within a generation whereby if you misbehave you will be beaten by chitorobho. I believe that I had managed to become a Member of Parliament because I grew up in a system that allowed for the creation and molding of leaders who now find themselves in Parliament. Certainly, if we are going to be too merciful to these young people - including our children, we will never find a generation which will come to Parliament even at the age of 25, yet the Constitution allows MPs to be at the age of 21. We will be having drunkards in the streets and these drunkards will not be helpful because you are saying you are too young, but being criminals.
Mr. Speaker, it will become too difficult to rehabilitate them at 16 when they have started to be criminals at 12. Our neighbouring country South Africa, having realised that it was facing this scourge of young criminals, they have put the age of liability at 11. Together with that, they have now put correctional facilities. I actually have a friend who is from Kwekwe, who is a Mathematics teacher who is teaching at a correctional service prison in Durban. They have a primary and secondary school there. Let us tell our children that you can be criminals and go to jail at 12 but they do not go to the jail which adults go to like at Chikurubi or Harare Central. They go to a correctional facility with educational facilities where they are corrected and they become adults as soon as they complete their educational qualifications or their prison life.
Hon. Speaker, we must be able to deal with juxtaposing this particular law with what it is then that must happen to this child once they have been convicted of a particular crime. I believe that our prison systems were not designed to take care of children perhaps largely because they were built during the colonial era where the prison was largely meant for political prisoners and hard core criminals. As we pass this law, we must be able to envisage a situation whereby we have got 1 000 children that have been convicted and they are supposed to go for prison sentence. Where are they going to go because you have set up a law that defines them as criminals. That takes them through a child justice system with a possibility of conviction and be given prison time. However, is it the prison that we want them to go to and they meet with the hard core criminals like Muvevi and other such criminals? I do not think that is the intention. Hon. Speaker, please allow me to differ and agree with the Minister that the 12 years must remain as such in the Bill.
I will move over to the issue of the police and detention which in the Bill are referred to as the child protection officers and diversion officers. I will largely focus on the police as they handle these children’s cases. I think last Friday we were battling to have MPs adapt to the new constitutional format of having our police being a service. The majority of us were referring to the police as a force. I happened to be in court yesterday as a witness to a particular case. The word ‘force’ is still being used in our courts. The magistrates and lawyers asked when the police officer joined the force instead of saying since when did you join the service. The witness was saying ‘my force number’ instead of saying ‘my service number’. So, we have not yet done enough as a society to have a paradigm shift and tell ourselves that this is supposed to be a ‘service’ and not a ‘force’.
As it relates to children’s justice now, we have within the police service system, a section of police officers who we call ndini ndamubata because these officers are very rough. If they arrest you Hon. Speaker today, you would not want to be arrested again in Zimbabwe. They enjoy trampling on your rights and handling you roughly. If they are going to apply that mindset to children, we are developing hardened criminals. We are not moving with the spirit and context of the child justice delivery system that we want. So, it must be taken into the police service that you are now dealing with this age group that requires your leniency whilst you are carrying out all the steps of justice. But, you must be able to tell the child his rights and afford him every right afforded in the Constitution. He is still a child and needs to be nurtured.
So, I propose that once the Bill has been passed and assented to as an Act, follow up trainings with our police service must be done. Follow up advocacy with our systems that will be carrying out this child justice system must be done, so at least the intended child justice delivery system that has been enshrined in the Bill and described as one of the most progressive Bills lives up to its expectation. You do not want to be seen to be handling children, handcuffing them and putting two leg irons as if you are handling Muvevi. I do not think that is the intention of this Bill. So, I also commend the Ministry of Justice for coming up with this Bill, which I think is progressive and as alluded to by other MPs, let us deal with it in a holistic manner.
I want to believe that the Prisons Amendment Bill is before us. When we get to that stage we must be able to deal with the correctional facility mechanisms in terms of supporting this Bill. Perhaps it is contained in the Prisons Amendment Bill and not necessarily here. Members of Parliament must keep it in their mind that we have set up a Bill with a possibility of convicting a child. Once we convict that child, where do we want him to go? We will deal with that when we come to the Prisons Amendment Act. I, so move Hon. Speaker. I thank you very much.
HON. MUNETSI: Good afternoon Hon. Speaker Sir. I want to add a few words to this Bill but I am going to change a few things after hearing Hon. Chikwinya’s debate. I wondered where that child would be if he will be in the same prison with Hon. Madzimure. What issues will they be discussing? It came to my mind that we will be creating harder than hard core criminals that we see today. Nevertheless, I still believe that children need to be protected and laws that protect them must be formulated. These laws should mould their character, codify their conduct and safeguard them in the way they live. I believe we should separate laws meant for old people from laws for young people. They are still at a very tender age and most of the things that our children do are experimental as they want to see how it goes. If we then go hard on them as if we are giving judgment to an old and mature person, I think we will not be doing good to the child. Children should not mix with those hard core criminals lest they are taught other ways of becoming criminals.
One other thing that I discovered and should try to apply is to separate the dress code of children from that of the elderly prisoners. We should separate the dress code. Just the dressing tells you I am in this situation. I am not so sure about the type of food that these children get when they are in custody. Do they scrounge for food like the elderly? Some laws need to be formulated so that they are separated completely when in custody. I believe when these children are arrested, some form of schooling should be given to them so as to occupy them maybe with books. Also, different people from the prison guards should go and address them in custody. What type of person are we breeding if we give hard sentences to those children? The State and us Parliamentarians must actually look closely and find out how we can assist this child to come out there when he or she is still in good state of mind. I so submit.
HON. TOGAREPI: Thank you Mr. Speaker, I also want to contribute to this very important debate. I had a very different approach when we started debating this. Hon. Chikwinya played a very big role in my change of mind. When he said if we do not deal with these young people at an early age, we will then breed a country of criminals. I looked around in our country today and saw that the majority of people who are committing crime are young. We really need to do something very early; they say catch them young.
If we really want to rehabilitate those youths, it is better we do it early by showing them the right way and by arresting those who have committed crime at whatever age. I agree with the Hon. Minister when he said let it be 12 years. I think it is very conservative and it is a period when somebody is beginning to learn. If we take that person into custody and try to model that person, to clear the mind of that person at that stage, we can come up with a future responsible person. Mr. Speaker, after having said that, I think what is critical now, what we should recommend to Government is to quickly come up with these correctional environments.
My thinking is for us to come up with separate correctional centres, adequate and appropriate infrastructure to assist these young offenders. The issue of taking them in at 12, from the debate that we are doing here, I think it is the best thing to do. We need to model them back into society and to come up with different expertise; psychologists, sociologists et cetera, those people who can help the children reform and come back into the society reformed.
Hon. Speaker, if you look around in our country today; on the issue of drug abuse, yes we have older people who are also involved in mutoriro but most of them are taking this to the young. If we do not come up with laws that deal with the consumers of those drugs and if we leave them without rehabilitation, they will even travel outside Zimbabwe to buy these drugs. If we can take them in and use the expertise that can come from international organisations, we can stop our children from being criminals. Because of the social set ups that we find ourselves in, if you go to urban areas like what my other colleague debated, children are sharing bedrooms with their parents. When you go to schools today, there is sexual education and children will then start wishing to experiment.
If we do not take measures, you will see young people raping each other and if there is nothing to stop them from committing all these crimes, you will see them doing that. They will end up being thieves because they want to buy mutoriro and they do not have money to buy drugs. They will be forced into criminality and go and steal in order to access these drugs. This law, in my view, is going to assist us arrest these occurrences of our young people. It is world over and Zimbabwe is not excluded, so having this law is going to see us assisted and correcting our young ones before they even go to the level of this recent criminal who was shooting everybody. With the video and television, they see if they access guns, they will be shooting everybody because they know that because of their age, they will not go to jail. So, I really support this Bill that let us take it at 12. What can we encourage Government to do with these arrested young people? Are we going to really send them to hard labour? Are we going to rehabilitate them to well-structured correctional services or we just look at them as criminals? When they come back, what have we done to deal with the stigma in these young offenders that they will take back to the community.
Those are the things that we want to fine-tune but as for taking these young children to prison, whether we are going to call them prisons or correctional centres, I think it is the ideal thing. I thank you.
*HON. MADZIMURE: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I want to contribute on this very important motion. I am of the opinion that the incarcerated children must be taught skills that will help them after they come out of prison. They must be rehabilitated so that they will not commit crimes in future. Before we conclude on sending our children to prisons, we must look at why our children are coming crimes and also what should be done so that we have laws which deter children from committing crimes. However, if that is not done, then we would find children committing more crimes. We need a progressive law and we need to figure out why this is happening.
Mr. Speaker Sir, when you look at this issue, you would find that where our children are coming from - the home environment is not good. There are a lot of issues which force children into committing crimes. Sometimes they might be very young knowing fully well that they are committing crimes, but their homes are not conducive. We have a problem where we find grandparents taking care of their grandchildren. Some parents are going to the diaspora to work and some grandparents are left with grandchildren whilst they are not ready to look after them. You would find that some parents leave their children with their grandparents without empowering them and families are being destroyed.
Mr. Speaker Sir, if we do not look into this issue, we will continue having children committing crimes and going to jail. As you know, there are more children than adults. So we would find ourselves facing this challenge. However, we need to look at the sociological aspect of the issues, looking at how we are bringing up our children whether at school or at home.
Mr. Speaker Sir, we were talking about this last year that our children might go to school for free. This was exciting for many people because our children knew that they would wake up and go to school. Some even assumed that uniforms would be given for free. If a child is given the opportunity to go to school, Mr. Speaker Sir, that child is given a chance to be in a different environment, to forget about the depressing home or domestic environment. In 10 children who might be coming from such families, 7 out of the 10 would perform well because they were given an opportunity. So if we do not have such welfare being targeted at children who have a bright future, then we will not be fixing anything.
You would find that in other families, there are children who are being brought up by their grandmothers because they do not have parents. We need to empower such grandparents so that they can empower their children. If a parent cannot provide for their children, then it is difficult for them to determine the future of their children because some children are making a living on their own, some at 10 years of age are picking pockets. When you leave something, some take because they do not have enough. So if we fail to address issues like poverty and lack of food in families, we will not be solving anything and you will find children committing crimes but despite the difficult environment, if a child commits a crime, then something should be done so that they are restored and rehabilitated.
Mr. Speaker Sir, we have a big problem because the challenge is that at first, the issue of beating up children was outlawed but we need to come up with laws which speak to that. Even for black children, we know that we only use a small stick to beat up the children. Now we are going to a stage where children are being arrested. We need to address the core issue, the issue of bringing up children in a proper way so that they have basic ethics whether they are going to school, whether they live with other children having enough food and basics. At school they could be given porridge and other food supplements and they will continue going to school, but we are not doing that. On free education for children, elementary education should be free and this is a big step which would help our children.
Then we need to look at what should be done when arresting children. I remember when I was growing up in Highfield, there were some houses like the Matambanadzo Houses. We know that it was called probation where juvenile offenders were taken. They would have committed several crimes. We know that such children were taken to that place because there were buildings which were there which housed children who committed crimes. Now you will discover that in Mutare and other places, you will not find such places of rehabilitation.
You find that when a child meets with an adult in jail, sometimes it is very difficult to determine what should be done. It is important to know what crime a child has committed in the jails that we have. There should be jails for children and adults. I went to Sweden in 2002. In Sweden Mr. Speaker Sir, when you are arrested, whether you are a juvenile or an adult, you are taken to a certain house where you are interviewed where you are asked what you were doing whilst you were out, what crime you committed and what you wanted to do whilst in jail. They continue going to school even when they are in jail. Some are taken to different places and they are graded according to ages and what they will be doing. In Zimbabwe, there are no interviews. When you are in jail, it is like you are incarcerated in a kraal. No one cares where you sleep, how you sleep even juvenile offenders. You would find that even boys are called ‘ladies’ in jail. If a small boy goes to jail, then he is taken as such. This is what is happening.
When our children are mixed with adults in jail, when they come back, they will be animals. So as we are sitting here, we need to think what Hon. Ziyambi should do so that our children are not mixed with adults in jail so that they are not mixed with hard core criminals because you find that some are even abused in jail. There are some seniour prisoners who abuse juniors sexually and this is taken as the norm. So we need to create safe places where we keep juvenile offenders even when four years are suspended from their prison term, you would find that the question is, the home environment is different when they come back.
Some might think that the child is naughty but we might say that this child is naughty but maybe the environment has not changed. After the judgement, I have never heard that someone sat down with the child, maybe a social worker or counselor discussing with the child how this happened so that the child is help. We do not have such facilities in Zimbabwe. We need to create a structure which looks at child offenders so that they are profiled and it is known what they did as well as what they are doing. Such children should be assisted. There should be structures which deal with such.
In courts there should be advisors who sit down with children and counsel them so that before they go back to society they get proper counseling. Also, those who live with that child should be present during counseling so that they understand the challenges identified after profiling has been done. After this is done, juvenile justice system will be efficient. I thank you.
HON. GEN. RTD. MAYIHLOME: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. May I add my voice or buttress the points that have been raised on this Child Justice Bill. I will just emphasise a few critical areas. The first one is the issue of the content of correctional services. We have heard several Hon. Members saying that we have to move from imprisonment to correctional services. Correctional services or rehabilitation, what do we really mean as a country. When we do correctional services, what do we have in mind? What are we going to be teaching these children? This is critical; this is what I want to talk about.
Why is it that we are so worried about our own African children? We are not talking mainly about the Asian children in Zimbabwe. We are not talking about Jewish children in this country. We are not talking about talking about European children in this country. We are talking about our own children because we have lost it in terms of our culture. We have been chasing too many cultures that we do not understand. We have failed in the home. That is the point of departure that I emphasise that the homes have failed. We have created this monster. We supported these cross-cutting Bills or laws that have spoiled our children. We took away the cane; the teachers lost control of schools; the parents lost control because children are now on the streets.
We want to make sure that we bring back sanity. The sanity that I am proposing is that older generation of children that are mainly found in the streets should be in the National Service. These children should be doing farming, growing fruit trees all over the country. Our country should be having commercial plantations of food that this nation is going to be consuming and take off the streets of Mbare, Makokoba, Sakubva, Dangamvura and everywhere. Take them to the farms. Let them do national service. There are so many redundant soldiers and policemen who can be instructors and can change these children. It happened in Israel; they have turned the country because they have this system and they take these youngsters to the farms to do national service.
In National Service, they also teach them skills [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Chikwinya, please give him the floor, listen to what he is saying. Hon. Members….
HON. BRIG. GEN. (RTD) MAYIHLOME: I am not talking of 12 years, but I am talking of elderly so that they are exemplary to these young ones. You should listen because I was listening when you were debating. I am saying the older generation. These 17/18 year old should be pre-occupied because the younger ones are copying from the elder ones. They are the ones who give them mutoriro. So, once we deal with that older generation then we can come back to these 12 year olds that are being allowed to watch social media, television at home that teaches them cultures that are alien to our land. They are not getting proper indoctrination.
Even the schools, when we took away the cane, the headmasters lost control. Let us re-introduce things like military cadet at schools. Go to military camp schools, you will find that all the children match; they drill and they are disciplined. During our time we used to have boys scouts and girls guides. That was a way of making sure that these youngsters are kept in check, they are being groomed to be responsible citizens. We need to change the mindset. Social media environment, what are they accessing?
There is a Bill on Data Security. When we passed this Bill, we did not put sufficient safeguards to ensure that our children do not access things that are alien to our culture. So we need to revise those things and see where we missed it so that these children in the home - if you go to any country in the world, a Jewish child will never follow behaviours that they see in the streets, they will follow what the parents do in the home. An Asian child does the same; this is why they do not lose their languages when they go abroad.
Teachers must be allowed to reclaim the schools; I think bringing the claim would not be something out of this world. They must be able, with proper hearing, to decide on when a claim should be applied. Churches and homes must also be institutions where we mould characters. What are the churches doing about drug abuse; what are churches doing about changing the mindset of our children? What are the churches doing about shaping generations to be productive? If you read Webber, when he talks about how capitalism developed in America, he said the churches took the lead. If you were not for that you would not be getting anything, you will not go to heaven. Let the churches practice such things to say if you are not a responsible citizen, you will never smell the Kingdom of God.
All I am saying is, when we are talking of the content, let us emphasise what it is that we want to change. Let us have that discourse as a country; what is it that we want to do? I have mentioned a few, girl guides, boys’ scouts and military cadet in schools and national service for the older generation so that we produce responsible generation. Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
(v) THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I want to thank the Hon. Members for the robust debate. I am encouraged that by and large all the Hon. Members are in support of the Child Justice Bill with a few amendments here and there. The general feeling that I got is, Hon. Members are in support that we need a child justice system that is separate from an adult justice system.
I would like to thank Hon. Biti for his contribution. He spoke about child drug abuse and his main issue was, let us raise the age of sexual consent to 18. Mr. Speaker, we are talking about children who are in contact with the law and not victims here. So, I believe that the generality of Members are in agreement with our views that the age of criminal liability should remain at 12 years. We will deal with issues of sexual consent in other Bills.
Also, Hon. Biti spoke about rehabilitation centres that they are important and require expertise and we agree with that. Once the Bill comes into force, we need to ensure that we create more rehabilitation and restorative centres that will rehabilitate our children. I cannot agree with him any better.
Hon. Nduna was also concerned that children below 16 years should not be incarcerated. We believe that we should maintain it at 16 years and I am in agreement with what other Hon. Members have been saying. Hon. Chinyanganya spoke about 12 years as age of criminal responsibility. His main thrust was, we must have information of child offenders, which is the thrust of this particular Bill.
Hon. Speaker, I was also encouraged by the robust debate by Hon. Phulu, wherein he was supporting the Bill but raised pertinent issues that we need to address within the Child Justice Bill. Some of the issues, I will be addressing them when we go to the Committee Stage. I also want to thank Hon. Chikwinya and Hon. Togarepi for their contributions.
Mr. Speaker Sir, this is an important landmark Bill. We have never had a Child Justice Act in our laws and we are starting by having this. So, we will learn a lot as we implement the Bill but by and large, I want to urge Hon. Members that let us proceed and pass a law that will ensure that we separate young offenders from adult offenders. We should come up with a Bill that will now define our child offenders criminal justice system separate from the old people. I thank you Hon. Speaker.
I think those are the issues that were at play this afternoon. I listened attentively from the time we started this debate. I want to thank the Hon. Members and I will indicate to them that when we come to the Committee Stage, some of the issues, we are going to discuss them and ensure that they are addressed. Having said that Mr. Speaker Sir, I move that the Child Justice Bill [H. B. 11, 2021] be now read a second time.
Motion put and agreed to.
Bill read a second time.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Mr. Speaker Sir, I move that we do consideration of the Bills that came from the Parliamentary Legal Committee with your guidance.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA): It is not possible today because they have to appear on the Order Paper tomorrow.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. TOGAREPI: Mr. Speaker Sir, I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 10 on today’s Order Paper be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 11 has been disposed of.
HON. TEKESHE: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS
Eleventh Order read: Adjourned debate on motion in reply to the Presidential Speech.
Question again proposed.
+HON. NKOMO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I want to add my voice on the Presidential Speech. He highlighted on the issue of water problems which have significantly improved especially in schools. There are some provinces that now have dams which are of help when it comes to irrigation. Such development came with the Second Republic. The road infrastructure for example, the Chirundu Highway Road is one of the roads that is under the development that came with the Second Republic.
There are so many districts with new hospitals that benefited under the new dispensation. Shangani/Gwayi Dam is also one of the projects that were done under the Second Republic. So many people in that community are going to benefit from that project. I want to thank the President for the projects that he has done and the new developments that he has introduced. The girl-child was being prejudiced on going to school and for so many times, they were supposed to be doing household chores at home.
On sanitary wear, the President emphasised that there was need for us as leaders to go back to our community and assist those girls on the issue of sanitary wear. The road from Beitbridge to Victoria Falls which is under construction – a lot still needs to be done on that road but we want to thank the President for undertaking such a project. It is one of the major roads for so many tourists who visit Victoria Falls. I thank you.
+HON. ESTHER NYATHI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, for affording me this opportunity. I want to add my voice on the Presidential Speech which was presented during the State of the Nation Address. The President of the State emphasised on the issue of unity. He emphasised that we are not supposed to be racists, but we are supposed to pull together. He also touched on the issue of drought that is in the country and he said that there is no need for one to suffer because of drought. He also spoke about Pfumvudza Programme and we realised a lot of people benefited under this programme.
Inasmuch as there was a problem with rainfall, I believe in some parts of the country there are people who managed to do their farming. In Matabeleland South Province, we have an irrigation called Silalatshani. The President gave us wheat and we were able to do our farming and we took the proceeds to GMB. Farmers from Silalatshani are thankful of what the President did. I also touch on Insiza North Constituency in Matabeleland South. There is still a problem of rural electrification especially in schools. There are schools that do not have electricity. We are therefore pleading with the Government to assist on rural electrification especially in those schools.
There is need to build schools for there are students who still walk long distances when they are going to school. I want to thank the President for the programme that he did on cattle ranching in Matabeleland South. Our President is a people person and he loves the people that he leads. When there was an outbreak of cattle disease, he managed to avail medication that was given to our cattle and that was of much help to the people of that area. I thank you.
HON. CHINGOSHO: Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like to add my voice to the Presidential Speech. In his address, His Excellency, the President assured the nation that there will be some presidential inputs and we have seen the Zunde raMambo Programme benefitting on the presidential inputs as well as about 3 million farmers who were assured of benefitting and they are in the process of benefitting. This has enhanced production of cereals, oil seeds and leguminous plants. The President also assured the nation that the Harare/Beitbridge Road construction will continue and we can see that at this stage, phase one of that road has been completed.
This road was a black spot in the nation where accidents were taking place time and again. The construction of the Mbudzi interchange is underway. Local companies are engaged on this road and this has created jobs helping the unemployed. Zimbabwe recently launched our first satellite Zimstat 1 into space. This will have far reaching impacts on all sectors of the economy including agriculture, mining as well as weather and land management systems. So, we would like to thank His Excellency the President for what he is doing to the nation which is improving the nation and even the economy is also improving. Thank you.
HON. CHIKWINYA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I think you may want to first of all acknowledge that Members to your left were not debating this speech before but we saw it necessary to move from a position of opposition to a position of being the alternative as we prepare to become the Government in 2023 – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] - So, Hon. Speaker, I will indulge the Presidential Speech in the following manner.
First of all, the Presidential Speech was held historically at the new Parliament in Mount Hampden. In my view Hon. Speaker, that whole parliamentary project is in contravention of Section 315 (2) of the Constitution, (2) (b) to be precise, which states that and I want to blame us as Parliament as I quote this section because the Constitution directs us to say, “(2) An Act of Parliament must provide for the negotiation and performance of the following State contracts” and (2) (b) says, “contracts for the construction and operation of infrastructure and facilities”.
I want to believe Hon. Speaker that the new Parliament is an infrastructure and is a facility for housing law makers and the legislature. We, as Parliament, were never involved in the negotiation of that contract. We hear through media that it is a donation; we hear through media of various versions of how it landed in Mount Hampden from the Chinese Government but we, as Parliament, were empowered in terms of Section 315 (2)(b) to be part of the negotiation of that contract because we do not want to expose ourselves to mortgaging our country for future generations in a manner where we are unable to pay if we are going to pay; if it is a donation, we must be able to direct the type of donation that we want.
Right now we have a USD$400 million infrastructure where we simply lack dialysis machines at Parirenyatwa Hospital; where we simply lack cancer machines at Parirenyatwa Hospital; where we simply lack dialysis machines in Gweru and Bulawayo, people are dying on daily basis yet we are directing USD400million to build a Parliament building that we still have.
Besides that, as Parliamentarians and as a nation, we have lacked the sense of sovereignty. We were supposed to be proud to build our own Parliament. We were supposed to build our own institution; we have enough resources and debates have been presented in Parliament to the extent we have 63 minerals. We must be embarrassed enough to our children and grandchildren that we have failed to domestically mobilise resources to build our own Parliament. We stand here today guided by principles of a Westminster Parliament, a British-built Parliament and we are moving from a British-built Parliament to a Chinese-built Parliament. What have we, for us, to be proud of? We have nothing.
Our minerals are being plundered on daily basis yet we were supposed to channel those for domestic resource mobilisation to build our own Parliament. So, to me Hon. Speaker, the new Mount Hampden Parliament is a misplaced priority. We accept donations, contracts from foreigners, and we need foreign direct investment but as Parliament, as guided by Section 315 (2) (b), we must be involved in the negotiation of these contracts.
The second issue Hon. Speaker is the issue of gold coins. Last year, a new creature in the Monetary Policy called gold coins was introduced. It has been celebrated by some but I, at the relevant time, am going to ask the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to publish. In fact, that is supposed to be the norm. Who benefited? Who took all the gold coins because currently, they are not there? If you have your own RTGS and want to buy gold coins, they are not there. Various proposals have been made to have smaller denominations so that people can access them but this was another way of plundering and looting our reserves in terms of gold.
People are mistaking one fundamental aspect; the street rate of the RTGS to the USD stabilised at the same time that the gold coins were introduced. I do not attribute that to the gold coins, I attribute that to the non-payment of Government contractors largely through the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Number Two Programme (ERRP2). So, the time when the gold coins were introduced, was the same week that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development said we are now going to halt payments of contractors who have business with Government because they are being given RTGS money, offloading it onto the streets and therefore raising the street value of the RTGS or devaluing the RTGS so to say.
So, we must not celebrate the gold coins; we must actually be worried that in each and every one of our constituencies, there is a road that has been constructed halfway; not only one, in Mbizo I have more than 19 roads that have been done halfway. Some have not been done and others have been made worse because the contractors that had been engaged have not been paid and have abandoned the project. So, it is the lack of payment of the road contractors under ERRP2 programme that made the RTGS stabilise between September, October and November. As they began to be paid in January, look at what happened.
In December the RTGS to the USD was 1:600 and now that we are in February, it is now at 1:1400 because the same contractors are being given money without measures being put on how they are going to handle the RTGS which, if they get through RBZ; offload it to the street market actually devalues our RTGS and increases the nominal value of the RTGS. So, in the absence of a clear strategy on if we are going to continue to pay contractors in RTGS, we are going to get to general elections in July or August; our Zimbabwe Dollar trading at 1:5000 or 1:10 000 to the United States Dollar. We must be thinking of what do we do with contractors because we need the roads and the contractors need to be paid. The materials that they use are bought in USD; the equipment that they use, they buy in USD; the salaries that they pay are paid in USD and partly in RTGS. So, if you give them whole RTGS quantum, what is it that you think they are going to do despite offloading the same at the black market?
I will move over Hon. Speaker to the Presidential Input Scheme celebrated by the majority of members to your right. Hon. Speaker, I want you to take a visit to any of the constituencies where the Presidential Input Scheme is being handed out. The scheme has been purely politicised. So, here is tax payer’s money that we approve jointly approve as Parliament because the budget is apolitical. When we pass the budget as presented by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development; we pass it as a whole House – ZANU PF included; triple ‘C’ and MDC T included but when it gets to the rural areas and village 25 in Nembudziya, the inputs are given only to members of one political party – so we cannot be celebrating that – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
(V)HON. T. MOYO: On a point of order Hon. Speaker! The Hon. Member is exaggerating on the issue of input schemes. This has never been politicised. People receive inputs regardless of political affiliation so the Hon. Member needs to be factual in his presentation…
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA): Thank you very much. I think you need to stand guided. I am also in support of his views because what you are saying is not happening in all the constituencies. If it is happening in your constituency, I think you need to deal with the leaders within your constituency. In my constituency, there is no politicisation of inputs. Sorry about that, stand guided please.
HON. CHIKWINYA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. One of the weaknesses of our parliamentary system is that the Speaker of Parliament is also a politician and a Member of Parliament so you have to defend yourself and I understand you from that perspective but if you did not have a constituency, you were going to rule otherwise. Presidential inputs and there are videos that if you want us to upload here, there are videos where people are being denied food on partisan politics. So, let us face the facts – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Let us face it.
Hon. Speaker, the other critical point on Presidential Input Scheme is that of non-disbursing. The Presidential Inputs came mid-November, yet our farming season begins late September/early October.
So we must be able to deal with that from a Parliamentary perspective, we cannot allow and celebrate things that we know are not practical. The matter was raised in this House and it was also raised in the Presidential Speech itself that we are going to respond to inputs that favour a particular region. So regions that can accommodate small grains are supposed to get small grains; regions that are supposed to receive large grains will receive large grains but it is not happening. Everyone is being given maize, even people from Gwanda are being given maize.
Hon. Speaker, we must be able to direct the President to be factual because we are the Members of Parliament who come from constituencies. On that point Mr. Speaker, instead of us answering to each other as Members of Parliament, let us be guided by Section 140 (3) of the Constitution. Section 140 (3) of the Constitution directs as such - ‘The President may attend Parliament to answer questions on any issues as may be provided in the Standing Orders’. I challenge the Hon. President that he must take time to come and interact with us so that we tell him that in Gokwe–Mapfungautsi, Ward 25, this is what is happening and then he can answer because the Constitution allows for it. I am not saying he ‘must’ like Ministers but he ‘may’ and if he is responsive enough, he must be able to direct himself to the provision of Section 140 (3) which Hon. Munetsi did not know.
On the electricity part, recently there is debate in South Africa Mr. Speaker to the extent that the South African President, His Excellency Cyril Ramaphosa is being persuaded to resign because of the electricity crisis in South African. Deliberations are happening in Parliament where Members of Parliament are presenting factual findings in their constituencies.
In my constituency Hon. Speaker, I have areas that did not receive power for three days. So you cannot buy meat that can last you for three days because it will be bad due to lack of refrigeration. We have an electricity crisis but because we are burying our heads in the sand, we are blaming the electricity crisis and as contained in the Presidential Speech, we are burying our heads to the extent that we are blaming a booming industrialization for the lack of electricity. So we are telling ourselves that industry is booming so much that there is so much demand for electricity and therefore, our generation cannot meet the demand - that is a lie. I come from Kwekwe; ZIMASCO was closed recently and only opened a week ago. Lancashire Steel, Haggie Rand Steel, ZISCO Steel is, Sable Chemicals are down and these are high, huge consuming power industries which were operating in the early 2000s and in the First Republic but now they are not operating.
How do we pride ourselves to the extent that because a museyamwa has opened dovi making project, therefore our industry is now booming? Let us face the facts; Hwange is not performing, Kariba is not performing. We must not bury our heads in the sand, let us face the crisis and take the route of South Africa where Members of Parliament gather and tell their President that Mr. President you must resign as long as we have this electricity crisis. He must be able to face that and we must be able to do that in his presence in terms of Section 140 (3).
The manufacturing industry Mr. Speaker, the contradiction in the Presidential Speech is that we are saying there is an electricity crisis because of a booming industry. We also again acknowledge that our manufacturing is not doing well that is why we have maintained the import licence scheme as superintended by the Ministry of industry. So, we have a list of goods; you can import cooking oil, margarine, pads, tooth picks, it is because we have a non-functional manufacturing industry. We must be able to capacitate these industries and then we localise.
When Ian Smith was under sanctions, he made sure that ZISCO Steel was functional. He made Jade, he made that German soap which Mbuya Chibagu and others are now calling Jerimani soap. He made products in-house, he constructed ZISCO steal, Sable Chemicals for the manufacturing of fertilizer. This shows the ingénuity of a leader at the helm of the highest office in the land but if you are not genuine enough, you begin to point fingers at the Members who sit to your left Hon. Speaker.
I move over in respect of time. Let me go straight to harmonised elections. I believe that the President lost an opportunity to speak authoritatively on the issue of peaceful free and fair elections. He did not do enough to emphasise that Zimbabweans have suffered enough in a cycle of disputed elections.
He did not commit enough to the Electoral Amendment Bill, he did not do enough to set the conditions because as he was speaking about the SONA, things were happening in Murehwa where Hon. Garwe and I have mentioned him by name because he can respond. He was sending his own party vehicle to go and assault 82 year old people in village 16 in Murehwa – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – So, if we are going to allow violence by Members against fellow opposition people, then we are not respecting the same Presidential Speech, if you believe that it happened, that he talked about free and fair elections in a peaceful manner.
If you believe that they are free and fair elections in a peaceful manner, do not be violent in your own constituencies. Expose yourselves to free and fair, transparent systems of canvassing for elections and you are re-elected like you did for the first time. Why are you afraid to the extent that you are going about instilling fear into the citizens of Zimbabweans?
Right now, a senior ZANU PF official is on record to say all opposition identity particulars must be taken away so that they do not vote. What type of an election is that? -[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]- I am responding to issues of free and fair elections which are inherent in the SONA. So, if you were given your 20 minutes…
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Chikwinya!
HON. NYATHI: Hon. Speaker Sir, I just want to correct one notion by the Hon. Member who was debating here. I think that if you look at all speeches that have been given by the President of this great country Zimbabwe, almost in every speech that he gives publicly, he completely denounces violence and he actually says PEACE all the time – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – So, you must withdraw. He must withdraw.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Chikwinya, you are debating the SONA that was presented by the President. The two examples that you raised in this House do not relate at all to what the President said within the SONA presentation. So please, do not distort what is happening outside and what transpired on the delivery of SONA. Stand guided.
HON. CHIKWINYA: Thank you Hon. Speaker.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Your time is up!
HON. L. SIBANDA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I move that time for Hon. Chikwinya to debate be extended with five minutes.
HON. CHIKUKWA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
HON. CHIKWINYA: Mr. Speaker Sir, opportunity is not lost because we have the Electoral Amendment Bill before us. I want to believe that we must approach this particular Bill with all the soberness that is expected of this august House. All views of all political parties and stakeholders must be taken on board so that we create a condition that whoever is going to win the next general elections, is congratulated by those who would not have managed to make it. We can only do so if we go to an election that is non-violent, that has got no hate speech, where members of all political parties contesting are given free and fair time on all media platforms established in our country. All those issues must be incorporated in the Electoral Amendment Bill so that we give Zimbabweans a chance to regain all the lost time they have been losing because of disputed elections.
We must not get to a situation whereby Zimbabweans blame the electoral legislation for not being able to provide free and fair elections, yet we are the lawmakers who are supposed to provide for a legislation that directs the electoral management body on what to do. You saw what happened with the delimitation process. The delimitation process ended up in dispute and is currently in court because we have no Act of Parliament that directs ZEC on what steps to do when they are going through a delimitation process. We must learn from experience and the next delimitation process, ten years from now, must be guided by a particular piece of legislation tapping from the Constitution, respecting all constitutional provisions but giving a vehicle to what should be done by ZEC from what point to what point until the delimitation report is gazetted into public domain.
As I finish, we are the Citizens Coalition for Change, we are the next Government, post elections. We do not want to win because of a flawed legislation. We want to win because the conditions are free and fair. To win, we are going to do. Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. Zikomo kwambili.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: This is an honourable House. We are here to debate and not to campaign. This is not a campaigning floor. Sorry about that.
*HON. PRISCILLA MOYO: I rise to add my voice to the President’s State of the Nation Address. We observe that this country is developing and good things are happening in the country. If we look at the road infrastructure, it was in a bad state because there was no development but because of the President’s vision, His Excellency E. D. Mnangagwa, the roads are being reconstructed. We are marveling at the works that are happening along the Harare-Beitbridge-Chirundu Road. Recently, I travelled along it and it is being constructed to world class standards.
I also want to talk about the Beitbridge Border Post. Vehicular transport and pedestrians now use different entry and exit points to the border post. This is as a result of the astute leadership of His Excellency, President Mnangagwa. We also have a lot of dams that are being constructed like Gwayi Dam which we visited in Matabeleland North. I am one of the people who toured there with the Portfolio Committee. We were able to marvel at the work that is being done. The dam is almost complete and it is filling up. This is something that is tangible. If anyone is in opposition for opposition sake, they will be able to concede that the President has a vision and is delivering.
Our chiefs are now marriage officers. In the past, people were not having their marriages solemnised but they are now aware that the chiefs can solemnise their marriages and that these marriages are recognised at law. This is what is transpiring in the communal lands. We are so grateful for the Pfumvudza Programme. Those that come from communal lands will bear witness because people are heavily involved in farming. They no longer have challenges with inputs even if they do not have draught power in the form of cattle. Mwenezi is a dry place and people are harvesting maize. They also grow finger millet and sorghum. We are being given all these seeds so that we can plant them and this is as a result of the President’s vision. He is a capable leader, His Excellency, Cde E. D. Mnangawa. If the people of Mwenezi can hear me, let us remain united and vote very strongly for him. I support the President’s vision and what he is doing in this country and the marvels that he is performing.
He is not just dealing with the major roads but in places like Kuwadzana, the roads have been repaired. Chitungwiza Road was attended to and that is as a result of the astute leadership of His Excellency the President. In Masvingo where I come from, the inner roads are being attended to. This never used to happen in the past. This is tangible. Anyone can see what is transpiring in this country; it is developing because of the able stewardship of His Excellency the President.
The universities are now producing commodities like gas. Because of sanctions we did not have money. Some people only hear of sanctions but they have not experienced them because they have not travelled outside the country. They have not observed why sanctions are hitting us hard. Because of the President’s vision, he said universities should now be in a position to manufacture gas. When we had COVID-19, a lot of hospitals managed to get oxygen easily because our universities were manufacturing oxygen, sanitisers and other ancillary items that are required in fighting COVID-19. These are tangible items that came about as a result of the capable leadership of His Excellency E. D. Mnangawa. We praise him highly because of his vision in this country.
On airports, let me turn to the Robert Mugabe International Airport, it is now being attended to. Some may not know it because they do not fly, so, you have not been there and you may not appreciate the magnificent work that is being done at the international airport. A lot of planes are now coming to Zimbabwe. They are now coming here on a regular basis. Air traffic had gone down but it is now up.
I urge you to go and visit the projects that are being carried out by His Excellency at the airport. All countries are aware of this development, hence they have positively responded by flying to this region. A lot of visitors are now flying direct to Victoria Falls without any hustles and as a result, the country is earning foreign currency. A lot of issues have already been referred to by previous speakers but the issues that I have raised now show the good work that His Excellency the President is doing and I support him. In so doing, I thank you – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]
^^HON. MUDAU: Thank you Mr. Speaker. We want to thank our President; we now have a border of international standards. When people arrive at Beitbridge Border Post, they feel like they are crossing through a border which is different from all the other borders that are within the region. This is through the vision of His Excellency the President.
Mr. Speaker, in Matabeleland South, we did not have a passport office. As of now, we have quite a number of passport offices. People no longer spend nights queuing for passports. You just go to Beitbridge and you are issued with your passport and proceed to South Africa within the same day. This is taking place in Matabeleland South. We also have a place where agriculture which was being practiced did not have enough equipment, the President widened this project to become part of ARDA. Now, we are practicing cultivation and we are feeding the whole province.
Government opened large factories and business opportunities, some of which are attending the road rehabilitation programme for example Exodus and Bitumen contractors. There are various contractors who are engaged in the rehabilitation project. The Gwanda Road has been widened and there is progress on the rehabilitation process.
We trust our President because he has got an ear to listen to orphans and others who are not orphans. The President who has been on the throne for only four years, we thank him a lot for what he has already done. The President rehabilitated rural roads and they are now accessible. The President has done a lot of good things. I thank you.
*HON. CHIKUKWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker, I rise to add my voice on a motion raised by our Chief Whip and seconded by Hon. Kwaramba. A lot of issues have already been raised by previous speakers. I am going to confine myself to what I have observed on the ground. I am quite happy about the issue of education and the use of technology. I am happy that His Excellency the President has taken the stance and I urge all other institutions and agents to support the President’s vision in that regard.
I am also going to deal with the issue of CALA which was recently introduced. This is a good development whose objectives are very noble but the Ministry of Education should have funds that are set aside to enable vulnerable children to have the means to photocopy, do research and meet all the requirements of CALA. The parents or guardians may not have sufficient funds to provide for their children.
One day I was caught unaware when a child requested for funding to embark on the CALA project and at that time, I did not understand what that meant. I am advocating for this position because I am mindful of children that are funded under the BEAM Scheme. Schools should also be providing them with the photocopiers so that the children can easily access photocopying at schools.
I am also grateful that the President mentioned the issue of personal identification documents which are now readily available through e-governance. I urge the Government to ensure that there is adequate equipment once the scheme has decentralised to provincial centres.
In terms of what is happening there should be a budget to assist the children so that the parents can be assisted. They do a lot of photocopying as they engage in the CALA projects. Furthermore, I am also glad that the President mentioned the issue of identification documents, licenses et cetera. These personal documents are now easily accessible through E-Governance. This is a good development and I believe that once this has been put in place, it must be decentralised into provinces and that the necessary equipment is readily available at provincial offices. This is a good project that our father, President Mnangagwa came up with. There is also the issue of the engagement and re-engagement by Zimbabwe. We are a friend to all and an enemy of none. Still on that issue, as Parliament, you should come up with other programmes to also further support His Excellency’s vision.
We are hated by people who impose sanctions on us but it is never our intention to want to have an argument with them. As Parliament, we should have programmes. The composition of Parliament is diverse on political basis. We could, as Parliament, go and engage other countries so that they observe that as a nation, we are not an enemy of anyone but a friend to everyone.
Lastly, I would want to talk about the issue of Harare. I heard people saying that no road rehabilitation has taken place in Harare but George Road in Hatfield was repaired through the President’s scheme together with the Masotsha Ndlovu and Airport Roads. The President’s efforts enabled the rehabilitation of these roads to take place. There is also a road that leads to Belvedere that leads to the Harare Institute of Technology and many other roads that were repaired. This is what is tangible in Harare.
There are roads that were supposed to be repaired by the city fathers but they did not. We urge them to repair those roads. It was after all the roads had been declared a national disaster that the President came on board to repair these roads. I thank you.
HON. MUTAMBISI: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. L. SIBANDA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 8th February, 2023.
On the motion of HON MUTAMBISI, seconded by HON. L. SIBANDA the House adjourned at Twenty Minutes to Six o’clock p.m.