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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 7 MARCH 2024 VOL 50 NO 33

          PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Thursday, 7th March, 2024.

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER in the Chair.)

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER

ERROR ON THE ORDER PAPER

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I have to draw the attention of the House to an error on the Order Paper, which has been inadvertently reflected as Tuesday, 12 March, instead of Thursday 7th March. 

HON. TOGAREPI: A point of national interest Madam Speaker. I would like to stand at this juncture to raise a point of national interest.  Many people in Zimbabwe today or from all walks of life, are raising serious concerns concerning one low ranked American individual.  I do know he is a chargé d'affaires person who had a press statement disparaging our institutions, insulting the leadership of this country in the name of lifting the illegal sanctions they imposed on Zimbabwe.  He took an opportunity in a hotel to stand and insult our institutions. 

I would like to say, we are concerned.  The United Nations regard all countries as equal despite their size in terms of land, despite their size in terms of population and despite their size in terms of military power.  We are a sovereign country.  We do not need anybody from anywhere on this planet or beyond, to come and lecture to us how we should run the affairs of this country.  So, we are very concerned and it is my considered view that this small person be asked to explain himself or if it is possible, he goes back to America- [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] -  We do not need a person like that in our midst.  He is abusing the diplomatic hospitality that we are giving the Embassy of the United States.  We do not interfere with the politics of America.  We do not intend to interfere with any other country.  We also respect their sovereignty and we expect them to do the same. 

We cannot expect an ambassador or a person who represents a country to come to us and lecture or talk to us as if we are some small portion of their country.  So, it is my request that this be addressed to the Minister of Foreign Affairs to talk to this gentleman.  I do not know whether he is really a diplomat or he is somebody who came here to distort our relationship with the Americans. I really want the Minister of Foreign Affairs to call this gentleman to order.  I thank you.  

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Government Chief Whip.  I have heard your concerns, but I will defer the ruling on that matter to next week Tuesday.

HON. S. NDEBELE: Thank you Madam Speaker.   I rise on a point of national interest to bring to the attention of the House the commemoration of the International Women’s Day, which falls on 8th March every year.  My point of national interest is to plead with the Government to invest in women and accelerate progress.  We recognise what the Government of Zimbabwe is doing to increase women participation in various spheres, in particular, the Constitution provisions which calls for gender balance, equality and non-discrimination, the extension of the women’s quota in the National Assembly, the introduction of the women’s quota at the local level, the Zebra formation in the Senate and the introduction of the youth quota among others; a legislative provision that we applaud.

While we appreciate the progress we have made in empowering women and increasing their participation in various political, economical and social spheres of the economy, we are still far from attaining the 50/50 target.  This is a cause of concern and I would like to urge this august House and the Government at large, to work towards the attainment of 50/50 target, particularly when we go to the 2028 Harmonised Elections.  Women’s economic empowerment is also crucial to achieve gender equality and sustainable development.

However, we note with concern that the majority of women in Zimbabwe still…

An Hon. Member having called for point of order.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, please take your seat.  May you proceed.

HON. S. NDEBELE: Thank you Madam Speaker.  We note with concern that the majority of women in Zimbabwe still do not have equal access to economic resources, opportunities and benefits. As such, we are calling upon the Government to address the barriers and challenges that hinder women’s full participation in the economy by putting in place empowerment strategies aimed at creating equal opportunities for all women and girls in Zimbabwe.  I thank you.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. S. Ndebele. I would like to say to all women of Zimbabwe Happy Women’s month – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –

          HON. HADEBE: Thank you Hon. Speaker. In the last two weeks, I had the opportunity to visit so many rural provinces and what I discovered is that thousands and thousands of our farmers have lost their crops and millions of our people will face starvation.  I would like to implore the Government, especially the Executive to declare this farming season a national disaster.  I thank you.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I advise you Hon. Member to put that in writing as a question to the responsible Hon. Minister so that he will make some investigations and make some considerations.  I thank you.

MOTION

PROGRAMMES TO CURB DRUG AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE BY THE YOUTHS

First Order read: Adjourned debate on Motion to curb drug and substance abuse by youths nationwide.

          Question again proposed.

          HON. NYELELE: Thank you Madam Speaker for giving me this opportunity to also add my voice.  Madam Speaker Ma’am, drug abuse is a global pandemic and Zimbabwe is not spared from the problem according to the UN office on drugs and crime.  World Drug report said in 2022, around 284 million people 15 to 64 years, use drugs worldwide. In 2022; almost 26 percent increased over the previous decade.  Madam Speaker, the challenge that we have is that some of the drugs are new and are not on the list of prohibited substances and drugs.  For example, food now is being experimented with to produce drugs.  Substances that we take, for example, instant porridge is being mixed with Mazowe Orange Crush. 

          The definition of drugs worries me a lot.  Also, insufficient research and data collection on drug and substance abuse in Zimbabwe makes it difficult to develop targeted and effective intervention in adequate prevention programme, although prevention programmes are there in Zimbabwe. They may not be comprehensive or well implemented leading to limited impact on reducing substance and drug abuse.

          Madam Speaker, we have poor access, rehabilitation and treatment due to limited resources and infrastructure, and access to treatment and rehabilitation for those struggling with drugs and substance.  It is also limited, especially in remote areas like Binga where people are marginalised.  This can result in individuals not receiving the help that they may need to overcome their addiction.  

          Madam Speaker Ma’am, Zimbabwe has however, implemented various policies and strategies to reduce drug and substance abuse within the country, which include National Drug Control Master Plan 2020 to 2025.  This plan outlines the Government’s approach of addressing drug and substance abuse in Zimbabwe.  It focuses on prevention, treatment and rehabilitation as well as law enforcement and international cooperation. 

          Madam Speaker Ma’am, I am happy that His Excellency the President Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa, toured the General Headquarters, Criminal Investigation and Forensic Science of the Dubai Police and was delighted to see the artificial intelligence system that assigns policy patrol across Dubai without human intervention.  In line with the President’s mantra, ‘Nyika inovakwa nevene vayo, ilizwe lakhiwa ngabanikazi balo’, combined with Vision 2030, Zimbabwe has to adopt Dubai’s artificial intelligent system in order to curb the drug and substance abuse in our motherland.

          Madam Speaker, Zimbabwe has enacted laws to stop drug and substance abuse such as the Dangerous Act, Chapter 15:2 and Liquor Act 13:2.  These laws aim to minimise the production, distribution and consumption of drugs and alcohol. 

In conclusion, despite these challenges we are facing on drugs and substance abuse, the suggested solution is that it requires a multi-fasted approach, some call it a ‘funeral’ approach.  For effective intervention, the alarming drug and substance abuse statistics in Zimbabwe highlight the urgent need for comprehensive action to address this growing issue.  Combining efforts from sector of society including the Government, civil society organisation and individuals is important for controlling and managing this crisis.

          Furthermore, we need to raise awareness campaigns, increase access to treatment, support and implement severe policies.  By addressing drugs and substance abuse, Zimbabwe will be able to mitigate the burden on its healthcare system and improve the overall well being of the population. I thank you Madam Speaker.

          *HON. THOMPSON: Thank you Madam Speaker for giving me this opportunity to add my voice on drug and substance abuse.  Hon. Speaker, drug abuse is destroying this country.  Future leaders are being destroyed in regards to health.  No one will be able to work in the farming lands because they will be under the influence of drugs, and this will impact on the agricultural sector.  Drug and substance abuse will lead to increase in rape cases, casual unprotected sex where the kids will do this akasticker. The youth have also gone to the extent of abusing money or any resources at home. They end up stealing in order to satisfy their drug needs.  There are some elderly people who abuse these drugs with young people, thereby causing a lot of indignity in the society. Some use skin lightening substances that are either in the form of injectables or skin creams.  Sometimes that leads to them being unable to get surgical procedures in cases of emergency.  The Government must intensify the arrest of those who sell and trade in drugs.  I thank you.

          *HON. SHONGEDZA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am for giving me this opportunity to debate on this motion raised by Hon. Mapiki with regards to drug and substance abuse. Drug and substance abuse have caused a lot of harm to our youth, be it in schools or at their work places. One day as I was walking, I saw them drinking the so called tumbwa. I took it from them, lit a match and it all went up in flames. I explained to them that this burning that is happening here is also happening inside their lungs and that they will die at a very young age.

          We need to unite as a country so that we make an operation and remove these illicit alcohol beverages. Some of these youths are taking young ladies as wives.  If they consume this stuff, they spend a week in a numb state, which means there is no reproduction that is going to take place. That is disastrous for a country. We need to unite in this House and we must get rid of all those drug substances, including mbanje, to ensure that they are eradicated totally. I thank you.

          +HON. D. MOYO: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. I noticed that the increase of drug abuse is because of poverty in this country as well as lack of employment. This is leading to a lot of other illegal acts. This is also causing an increase in murder cases as well as any other crimes, including road accidents. In Bulawayo, we have Mpilo as well as UBH Hospital. They are trying by all means to rehabilitate drug addicts but those hospitals were not meant or designed to take care of such.

          For example, two weeks ago, where I come from in Nkulumane Constituency, we buried one person who died at Ingutsheni Hospital. That person was killed by one of the patients. The person was murdered at night and was found dead in the morning. This is all because those hospitals were not designed for drug addicts, but mental cases. So, Government should construct specified rehabilitation centres so as to ensure that the private sector is allowed to contribute to that. The Government should also promote artists to increase awareness in the drug and substance abuse.

          The laws should also ensure that they are deterrent enough especially to drug addicts so that we protect the future. As Government, there are a lot of things that we failed to do, but I hope we will win on this fight against drugs. Gwai/Nkayi Road was not successful as many other promises were not fulfilled, but we must be able to fulfill and win this one at least. Thank you.

          HON. MAUNGANISO: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. I would like to thank Hon. Mapiki for raising this important motion. I have listened through a lot of debates that were being raised by fellow Hon. Members and I have heard problems emanating from drug abuse being characterised. I believe what we must be seized with is proffering solutions in the pursuit of 1 Peter 1 vs 13. It says, “therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober...” We exist in a social world that is complicated whilst constantly changing. What works today may not work in the future.

          A writer, a social scientist, Taylor, Walton and Young sought to underscore that we do not live in a world of free social meaning. Robert Merton, writing in 1968 on Deviance said, “Deviance does not come from…”, but I would like to rephrase it and say Deviance does not only come from pathological personalities, but from the structure and culture of society. The pursuit of value consensus cannot be attained when individuals differ in terms of class and are exposed to varying opportunities and experiences.

Jack Young, in 1997as cited in Haralambos and Holborn on page 390, argued that for maintained social order, societies must be tough not only in trying to combat crime and criminals, but also in trying to change social factors that have a long-term impact on crime rates and deviance.  Howard Becker would also argue that society has a problem of labeling. That a deviance label can lead to further deviance, and it changes self-concept that one, for the first time, sees himself as a deviant.  He further argues that society, by making rules whose infraction constitutes deviance, and by applying such rules to particular people, society creates deviance. 

          Madam Speaker, what we are grappling with can be found in the writings of Carter G. Woodson (1933), in his book, ‘The Mis-education of the Negro’.  Why I say so Madam Speaker Ma’am? As I listened, I heard a lot of fellow Hon. Members proffering solutions to curing or to dealing with what I would term symptoms.  I believe we should attack the real disease as Mutukudzi would say, Chikonzero chaita musoro uteme.

          Madam Speaker Ma’am, a lot of our youths in both the rural and urban areas are idle, much of whom are to be found in streets or at the corners of every street and bridges.  The problem Madam Speaker Ma’am is unemployment, but why unemployment? I believe our education system until recently, was designed in a manner that would create job seekers rather than creating job creators. 

          Madam Speaker Ma’am, I would therefore, believe that it is prudent for Government to vocationalise our secondary education as opposed to constructing a lot of vocational training centers because from secondary school, the majority of our youths are coming out already addicted.  Why so Madam Speaker Ma’am? It is because if you check well when students or pupils write their Grade Seven (7) examinations, not more than 30% attain good grades.  It would appear as if our education mainstreams academics only, ignoring technical students and rare talent. 

          Madam Speaker Ma’am, I believe therefore, that we will vocationalise our secondary education and do practicals.  A student coming from completing his/her Form Four (4) can actually go and establish a garage.  Therefore, curing the problem of idleness and actually creating employment.

          Madam Speaker Ma’am, rare talent I believe is the one that pays most. If we look at Lionel Messi and Christiano Ronaldo today, I do not believe they have impressive Grade Seven (7) result slips to show whether or not they have five ‘O’ levels.  What they earn, Madam Speaker Ma’am, is huge.  If we happen to have multi-purpose academies probably for every province, we would have mainstreamed rare talent and empowered our students to attain what they deserve, instead of focusing more on making certain that they have all passed Form Four (4).

          Madam Speaker Ma’am, I am impressed with what I discovered on the Lomagundi College Facebook page.  It reads as follows:- “Graham Davison, one of our past pupils, 2022, got in touch with us recently to let us know that he is studying aeronautical engineering at Cardiff University in Wales.  He is turning out to be the best trainee because of his vast technical grooming at Lomagundi College through the City and Guilds programmes we offer.  Graham studied a Level (Two) City and Guilds Diploma in welding and fabrication, passed with distinctions; a Level (Two) City and Guilds Diploma in Principles of Engineering technology, passed with distinctions and HEXCO Machine Shop Engineering (NFC Level), passed with a merit here at Lomagundi College.  This was part of his message to head of our Technical Department, Mr. Chirimuuta.  I was by far better equipped than any of the other students in my year, most have no idea of what a spanner or socket is, nor had any idea on where to start when removing a wheel off the plane.  I was leading my group and changed the brake pads, removed the drums and changed the tyre in under two hours including brakes.  I could have done it in forty minutes if I was alone and not having to work and teach others what to do.  We wish Graham all the best in his degree programme”.

          Madam Speaker Ma’am, if we cross the Limpopo into South Africa, there was what was called Bantu education whose main purpose was to produce labour force for the tormenters. Madam Speaker Ma’am, I believe our education system must be revolutionalised to create students like Graham, not only so he can be a best student abroad, but so we can arrive at creativity and innovation in the country.  We do not need to look further because we have already had examples here at home.

          It is not only Lomagundi College, but if you go to Peter House or Watershed, I was reading about Watershed the other time after they had sold their tobacco and realised around USD900 000.00.  What is happening in our Government institutions?  Madam Speaker Ma’am, I believe and it is time we revolutionised our education to mainstream vocationalisation and rare talent.  A student at Kutama Day High Secondary School who is gifted in terms of athletics, if you compare his/her sporting age with his/her counterpart in Europe at the completion of ‘A’ level, the sporting age of our students at Kutama Day High School would probably be five months whilst his counterpart would be around 17 years because we are majoring the minor.  We must look at everything that pays with equal seriousness and arrive at a place of nurturing rare talent and ensuring that those who are technically gifted are natured in secondary school.  I so submit Madam Speaker.

          HON. MAUNGANIDZE:  Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.  According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), drug abuse refers to the harmful or hazardous use of psycho active substances including alcohol, illicit drugs that can lead to dependence syndrome, significant impairment and health problems.  Drugs and drug abuse is a multi-dimensional complex subject including constant demand and supply chain, litigation and regulation.  It requires all hands on the deck to address it.  Besides gainful youth unemployment, drugs and drug abuse are the top crisis our nation faces.

          Our country faces a precarious future which should be brought under total control.  This honourable House has a direct responsibility to address this public policy.  We cannot sweep it under the carpet, it will destroy our country just as an unattended fire consumes a forest.  As a youth representative, I rise to contribute to this debate on a matter that directly impacts my constituents.  Youths are the most threatened group and for purposes of this debate, I will refer to a drug as a harmful substance that one takes into a body with dire consequences.  In Zimbabwe, we are all familiar with traditional drugs such as beer, clear opaque, and mbanje.  These substances have been consumed by our elders from time immemorial.  I stress elders because youths have not been allowed to consume such potent substances until they have reached a certain age. After all, our people have always known the serious impact these substances have. 

The elders knew exactly how much to consume and when to stop. This is why in every country, there are strict laws governing the youths of controlled substances under which drugs are classified.  Some drugs occur naturally like dagga, heroine, cocaine, etcetera.  Some may have read about how the opium walls destroyed Chinese society leading to its colonisation and domination by the Western powers.

          More recently, druglords have been raging in Afghanistan and South America and the list goes on.  Over the last century, chemists and pharmacists have experimented with many substances resulting in the development of thousands of substances that can make one high.  Some have been developed accidentally while others were deliberately manufactured because beer is potent and in demand. This development has unfortunately led to many dire consequences.  To date, it has been made easy to manufacture legal drugs under very primitive laboratory conditions.

          In our own country, every day we read about youths including school children engaging in drug abuse at unsupervised parties and even sometimes in full glare of adults.  Apart from alcohol and dagga, the common drugs include cheap medical therapies that one is supposed to take for a cold or flu.  We live for the people, we come from the people and we know that drug abuse has already become a very serious public health matter in our society.

          If we are to build a prosperous future as our President, His Excellency, E.D. Mnangagwa always reminds us, we need to confront this menace ruthlessly.  If our generation falls, this will be judged as the generation that destroyed our people and their values. 

          Madam Speaker Ma’am, I call upon this esteemed House to recognise the necessity of comprehensive legal reforms to strengthen the framework for addressing drug and substance abuse.  Our laws should be robust yet flexible enough to adapt to the evolving challenges and trends in substance abuse.  Law enforcement should not target only the consumers but should devise ways to target the distributors.  Jail terms and measures should be tighter, especially for the druglords.  They do not deserve to be given any bail.

          In addition, in so many situations, not all drugs carry the same potential or risk. This is an important consideration to make when addressing this important subject, thus in crafting laws, it is important to come up with a clear classification of drugs and align justice to the severity of the drugs.  This is our first line of defence as Parliamentarians, this is our duty. To be able to do this; we need to understand the ecosystem of the drug environment in our country.  What drugs are being consumed, who are the consumers, where are they coming from, and how is the trade happening.  We need to be very clear about these questions, to craft laws that will stem the flood and consumption.  We know that many countries failed because they did not take a comprehensive approach, they either focused on the demand or supply side which does not work. We need a holistic approach.

          Madam Speaker Ma’am, we also need to learn how others have successfully addressed this menace in their countries.  What lessons are relevant to our situation in Zimbabwe?  Fortunately, there is readily available information because many other countries are confronting similar problems.  What remedies have worked and under what circumstances?  We all know that knowledge is global and application must always take place in context for us to succeed.

          In addressing the drug crisis, I call it a crisis because that is what it has become.  We need to be holistic. We cannot just focus on suppliers of drugs and consumers as some other countries like the United States have done to their regrets. We have to tackle both ends and this must be done holistically.  We need to act on complete knowledge about what is going on.  We have to apply a whole nation approach to solve this problem, which means the home, the school, and the whole of society must speak the same language.  We need to go back to the time when, if you were a child in a village and you misbehaved, any elder who saw you would ask urimwana wekwani, urimwana wekwanhingi urikuda kutisvibisa.  We need to go back there where we lost the campus of our values.  Everybody must be a custodian of our values or we will perish.

Madam Speaker, leadership both at the national and community level plays a vital role in combating drug and substance abuse.  We must foster an environment of accountability and responsibility where leaders advocate for the well-being of their constituency and actively work to eradicate the scourge of substance abuse from our communities.  This can be achieved through partnerships with civic organisations, religious institutions, and other stakeholders who share our commitment to promoting a drug-free society.  As you can see, I am speaking with a lot of emotion because I feel at a personal level that drugs are about to steal my future, that of my children, and that of my grandchildren.  I am not prepared to leave such a horrible legacy behind.  I want it to be a beautiful Zimbabwe that our forefathers left for us.

          Furthermore, let us not buy the nonsense from those who say the problem is exaggerated.  What are you going to say to a parent whose child died today from the drugs?  Where is your conscience? What is your role as a Member of Parliament in addressing matters that affect our nation, especially the custodians of our future?  Our youths, this must be a wake-up call for all of us, and especially for the lawmakers. 

There is a need for cultural sensitisation and education initiatives that raise awareness about the risks and consequences of drug and substance abuse.  We must engage communities and other institutions in promoting a culture of prevention where individuals are equipped with the knowledge to resist the lure of harmful substances.  This requires coordinated efforts and resources to develop comprehensive education programmes that resonate with diverse segments of our population.  Just as our gallant fighters’ slogan, ‘we are our liberators’.  Let us also say, only we can save our country from the destruction through drug abuse. 

          Madam Speaker Ma’am, before I take my seat, I urge each one of us to consider the profound impact that our decision initiatives can have on the life of our fellow citizens.  Let us stand together for solidarity with strife to create a Zimbabwe where every individual can fight free from the grip of drug and substance abuse.

          HON. CHAKAKURA: Thank you Madam Speaker ma’am.  Drug and substance abuse have not only affected the youth but people of all ages.  I want to thank you for allowing me to add my voice to this ongoing crucial debate.  People of today are using excuses such as stress relief, peer pressure, curiosity, self-medication, infertility, low libido, enlargement of their private parts which in future stop working, escapism, and an escape from reality and celebration, only to mention a few, to avoid taking responsibility of their actions and indulge in drug and substance abuse.

          Madam Speaker, the intersection between HIV and drug abuse has become undeniable.  Adolescence is often a vulnerable stage susceptible to risk behaviours influenced by drug abuse leading to unprotected sex and the sharing of unsterilised needles to inject drugs in their blood.

          Moreover, we cannot overlook the link between drug and substance abuse and the surge in gender-based violence.  Drug and substance abuse has been identified as a significant factor contributing to the escalation of violent behaviour in people.  How then can the country move forward with youths who are not ready to take responsibility for their actions? Our fathers are worried that one day, instead of taking charge of the land they fought for, we will end up selling our land for a 100 mm bottle of ethanol mixed with water.

Madam Speaker Ma’am, children are failing to recognise their parents because they get home high on drugs.  I am sure the Hon. Members are familiar with the ‘Wakanaka mhamha vako’ video and audio that circulated on the media.

          Globalisation has again made it possible for people to make drugs on their own.  By using the internet, people are learning how to make drugs by themselves.  Madam Speaker, I am crying to my fellow Hon. Members so that we join hands together, not only to report, but to fight these twin brothers, drugs and substance, by creating a supportive and safe environment where the youth can talk openly about their feelings without the fear of being judged through getting engaged as a community.

          Vocational centres are open to everyone.  Let us encourage youths to join them and keep themselves busy by using their hands.  Let us also provide evidence based programmes in schools where teens can see, learn and build life skills and foster resilience by promoting healthy behaviours in them.

          In conclusion Madam Speaker, His Excellency the President of Zimbabwe Dr. E. D. Mnangawa on Youth Day said that we are solid masters of our destiny, we are solid masters of our future and we are solid masters of our vision.  In this debate, I believe it means let us work together to fight for a drug abuse free Zimbabwe.  I thank you.

          HON. L. SIBANDA:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  We have noted the problems and challenges resulting from drug abuse among our youth, be it rural or urban.  The main base of this substance abuse being unemployment which has rocked our communities in recent years.  In order to address these issues as Government, we should be able, as a matter of urgency, to create employment or skills training centres for our youth.

          Madam Speaker, as a result of this substance abuse, we are now faced with an increase of crime rate which has compromised the safety of our communities.  Madam Speaker, in Tsholotsho where I come from, we have a problem with one whisky like alcohol called Ranger or commonly known as injengo.  It has claimed many lives of our youths and elderly.  It is important for Government to turn the production and distribution of such substances, otherwise we would be shooting ourselves in the foot killing our communities.

          It is also important to have district-based abuse counselling and rehabilitation institutions so as to re-orientate those who have found themselves victims of drug abuse.  I so submit Madam Speaker.

          HON. KANGAUSARU:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  Good afternoon and greetings from Hurungwe.  Allow me this chance to debate on this precarious motion on drugs and substance abuse by our youths. 

          Madam Speaker, drugs and substance abuse is an issue that can be seen negatively affecting the economy though increased health care cost, reduced productivity and associate crime rates.  It is no doubt…

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Hon. Kangausaru, please may you raise your voice a bit.

          HON. KANGAUSARU:  Thank you Madam Speaker.  Madam Speaker drug and substance abuse is an issue that can be seen to be negatively affecting the economy through increased healthcare costs, reduced productivity and associated crime rates.  It is with no doubt, Madam Speaker, that the economic impact of substance abuse further underscores the need for attention to this issue in Zimbabwe.  As a nation, we have witnessed how drug and alcohol misuse can reduce productivity in the workforce and anywhere that needs productivity and progress really due to absenteeism, impaired performance as well as accidents.  Moreover, the expenses associated with treating substance related health conditions place a significant financial burden on the healthcare system.

          The reason why I am strongly against substance abuse by the youths is that instead of addressing substance abuse through prevention, treatment and rehabilitation efforts, our beloved Zimbabwe can promote more productive workforce and allocate resources more efficiently towards other developmental priorities.

          Madam Speaker, allow me to elaborate on how the abuse of substance and drugs can lead to family breakdown, crime and overall decline of community.  Personally, I have known of a family that has suffered through the consequence of these illicit drugs like guka and tumbwa.  The young father has gone mad and the mother now because of that, has become a prostitute while the children are just loitering in the streets living a lifestyle that is not good.

          Madam Speaker, drug abuse is showing that it has far reaching social implications that necessitate attention in our country.  The misuse of drugs and alcohol is distabilising families while straining social relationships and contributing to domestic violence.  Additionally, I agree with Hon. Mavhunga when he said heavy penalty will help us to combat drugs and substance abuse to those that are committing and trafficking drugs to our young people.  This is because substance and drug abuse is often associated with the criminal activities such as theft, drug trafficking and violence which undermines community safety and cohesion.

          As I conclude on this Madam Speaker, it is important to note that if Government and the public as a whole address and find a solution to this wholesome movement of drugs abused by our youths, Zimbabwe will work towards creating a more coercive and harmonious society where individuals are empowered to live healthy and productive lives.  Time is not on our side.  The need to find a solution to this chaos is imminent. 

          Madam Speaker, allow me to also speak from a pastor’s desk because basically what happens there is that we have run away from our original stead.  If we are in our original stead, we are allowing the rule of God to be with us.  It will help us so much because the real cause, like was said by one individual chakonzera musoro kutema chii is because we have run away from our original rule of God.  If we can implement the rule of God in our society, we will not face some of the problems that we are facing now.  We will reduce them.

          If you even read from the Bible, if I was going to read Romans chapter 1, the whole of it talks about a people that has run away from the rulership of God and from their original mandate.  Therefore, because of their desire to do whatever they want, God has given them over to their desires and said I am surrendering you, do as you please.  That is why we find we now have children that are doing drugs, doing wrong things whereas ourselves, we have not spared the rod. The Bible says, “if you spare the rod, you spoil a child”.  It is now right time for us to implement the word of God, to teach our children when they are still in infant stages, to say to the children, when you are doing wrong, let us use the whip but we are now using the whip when the children are grown up.  When they are grown up, they fight us back.  As a result, we are having a society that is broken. I remember when I was young, my teacher who was teaching me in the infant stage, he said, “do as I say not as I do”.  He was smoking, drinking, he was doing all sorts of things but he said he would not want his child to do what he is doing because he wants a future for his children.

          I think all of us need to come back now, even if we do not implement the rule of God, we force our children to go back to scripture unions; to go back and identify ourselves and have our identity as a people, ubuntu, where we are all parents to every child that we see, but these days if a parent tries to correct another child, the other parent would say, do not touch my child.  If we can implement our ubuntu where our children can be taught the ways of God, we need not  run away from where we just overlook and now say ‘no to drugs’.  We need to start to have ruthless confrontation with the problem that we are facing.  It is a cancer that we are facing which we need to stand up and say, what do we do now.  We do drastic measures so that we can be able to overcome this problem and also to activate vocational training centres that will be able to help our children to stay out of the streets so that they can be able to be productive in their life.

 It is time now to wake up and restore our dignity as African people.  Some of the things that we are doing now is, we are importing cultures that are not ours.  As a result, we are an African people, let alone Zimbabweans who do not know our identity and do not know where we are going.  It is time for us to go back to the roots; to go back to the Bible, to go back to the word of God so that we can put the foundation correction.  The foundation must be put correct so that we might be able to have a future; our tomorrow.  After when we are all gone, we need these children to speak for us.

          Many of us, I have told my other friend the other day, my friend told me ‘you know what, I am a pastor, I am shocked, I saw my child going to school’ – a pastor’s child was drunk; was taking drugs and he went mad because he was just asked by a friend to taste.  When he tasted, there was a lot of concoctions of all sorts of drugs that made him to be mad.  The pastor was crying and I said to him, it is not that you must say if only my child was well, I do not care about what happened.  It is a collective effort that we must put that they are our children; we are Zimbabweans.  The future of our children lies in our hands.  Each one of us when we go, even if we do not like the word of God, we say ‘do as I say not as I do’.  In the olden days, people who were old would drink their beer, they would not allow any child to drink with them.  The adults would drink their beer but now we see adults drinking beer with the young people.  They are allowing them to drink beer with them and all sorts of drugs, instead of them to stand as examples. 

          The bottle stores in the olden days were never opened until midnight.  The bottle stores were opened at stipulated times so that we cannot be able to see children – like in Mbare, we see little children drinking beer.  Where did they get it? It is us adults that have sold the beer to the children.  It is time for us now to rise up and apply the word of God and enforce the rule of God, to say this is not what the word of God says.  Do it, even if ourselves cannot apply it, we can be able to say to our people in our constituencies, let us do the right things.  Let us do the vocational, let us do the scripture unions and promote good culture, we promote good morals and we promote a good Zimbabwe; a Zimbabwe of peace; a Zimbabwe where we are free from drugs.  I thank you.

          *HON. JONGA: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.  I would like to add my voice to this debate on the problem that we are facing in this country.  It has affected all ages; chiefs as well as religious groups, including all other leaders like us in this august House.  We are talking about drug and substance abuse.  They are coming in various forms.  Some of them are smoked while some you have to drink.  The biggest age group is between 22 to 40 years, affecting the youth. 

          What I think should be considered for solution is, the Ministry of Youth should bring back the National Youth Service.  I think this programme will be able to teach the youth on their future as well as patriotism.  In addition, vocational training centres, where they can be able to learn trades like building, metal fabrication where they can make scotch carts, poultry, among other projects.  It is also important that Government and other development partners work together to make a strong foundation to promote employment creation so that at least the youth will not have time to roam around the streets because they will be occupied productively.  The banks should also contribute to financial creation or entrepreneurship. 

          We grow a lot of tobacco in Mount Darwin West but those projects should contribute to the development of the local areas.  According to our research in the rural areas, some of the youth take drugs out of peer pressure and these end up leading them to several other criminal activities.  In saying all this, I am trying to illustrate that it is an important task that we need to take seriously and there must be serious apprehension of drug dealers and other elicit deals. I would like to take this opportunity to advise the youth, other elderly people and the society, to stop trading in illicit deals including drugs because it destroys the future of the country.  I thank you.

          HON. J. TSHUMA: I would like to add my voice on this very pertinent issue.  The issue of drugs and substance abuse have reached a  crisis and alarming level, not only in Zimbabwe but world-over.  I have heard some people want to attribute this thing to only probably lack of employment and economical problems.  I must point out to the House that we have this problem, even in the United States of America.  We have this problem in most of the developed countries.  So, it should not be confined to our situation here only, but I think there are issues that we need to look at in order to address this problem. We need to go back to factory setting, to the fundamentals.

          Our elders used to drink.  They used to use mbanje and everything but there was control of how these things were done and this control is no longer there.   In my province in Matabeleland, we used to have thothotho. There was even a famous musician Ndux Malax who sang a song ligcwele emajele alizwa ngethothotho.  Literally translation, it means that you are now in jail because of thothotho. It was there, but controls were there.  We no longer have controls today; we have let society to run on freely.  We have adopted a culture that we probably do not even understand. 

          I was so glad one day when we were in Bulawayo with His Excellency, the President when he actually hinted on us going back to corporal punishment, especially for today’s generation.  We are here today in this Parliament, you Madam Speaker seated there because of the systems that brought you up when you were growing up.  You became a good woman, you got married properly and you raised your family properly.  Our children today are failing to do these things because there is no control whatsoever.  So I think the Bible was right when it says that ‘spare the rod and you will spoil the child’.  I would love a situation whereby our Government will look at instances whereby we go back to issues of corporal punishment. 

          We need that thing because it moulds us, when we were growing up, we knew that 6 p.m is 6 p.m and you are supposed to be inside the gate of your parents’ house. Today my heart bleeds when I drive around town and around the locations in Pelandaba or Tshabalala or wherever, you will find young girls, as young as 13 years, 14 years, standing in street corners at 10p.m.  You then ask yourselves, what is going to come out of this person with this kind of attitude and behaviour and loss of control?

          We need to understand that the issue of drugs and substance abuse must begin at home.  We must first start as parents to actually discipline our children to remember that it takes a village to actually raise a child.  Today’s society is so polarised so much that if I try and rebuke someone else’s child, the parent will come back to fight with me why I am doing that if I am not the parent.

          These are the things that we have let loose that have contributed to this bad behaviour that we are talking about today.  So we can speak and speak or we can try to find solutions, but the biggest solution lies amongst ourselves to say let us not adopt cultures that are not ours.  We have got our own culture, let us go back to that culture.  That culture will determine and tell you that a child was never allowed to come near adults, a child was never allowed to be drinking with adults.  Today Hon. Speaker, you will find children mingling with adults, drinking and sharing everything with adults.  Those are the kind of things that will make this thing to be uncontrollable.

          So it can never be about economics, it is about our culture, let us go back to that culture that we know. Hunhu hwedu, ubuntu bethu. Those are the things that will make us be able to curb this serious scourge that has threatened even our future as a country. I was so glad when I saw most of the youthful Members of Parliament actually partaking in this debate. They have been concerned about this issue because yes, the future, definitely, is very much oblique because we are not seeing anything. People are now ‘sticking’ like one of our Member of Parliament once said.  People are losing direction, so we need to solve this together.  Whatever we do, we need to make sure Hon. Speaker that we go back to our culture and go back to our roots.  When we do that, we are going to sort the issue of drugs. 

          In conclusion, I want to quote a verse in the Bible which says that, ‘if my people that are called by my name shall humble themselves and seek my face and turn away from wicked ways, I Jehovah, shall listen to them and heal their land’.  It is time definitely for us also if we are Christians to remember that most of these things are because of what we are doing. We have turned away from God and we have done so much evil and therefore, as we do that God has turned away from us and so these are the results of God turning his back on us.  Let us come back and seek the presence of the Lord and the Lord shall heal our land.  I thank you.

          HON. HADEBE: Thank you very much Hon. Speaker. I rise to give a few knock-out punches on the motion. Alcohol and drug abuse is a serious problem in our country and as a Member of Parliament, I have seen firsthand, the devastating impact that substance abuse can have on individuals, families, communities, workplaces and even Parliamentarians like Hon. Nyabani, Hon. Sithole and Hon. Mugwadi…

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MACHINGURA): Please can you come again.

          HON. HADEBE: I was asking whether Hon. Nyabani, Hon. Sithole and Hon. Mugwadi are around.  It was just a question.  Let me carry on Hon. Speaker.  Alcohol and drug abuse can lead to crime, unemployment, poor health and social break-down.  It is therefore…

          HON. TOGAREPI: Hon. Speaker, the insinuation by the Hon. Member appears to say, he is talking about drugs and he calls names of other Hon. Members.  If that is not corrected, it is like he is saying these Hon. Members are drug addicts or something.  I think that must be corrected because what he has said is going to be kept as a record. He is saying that to another Hon. Member, I think he must withdraw and never to say that again.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Hon. Member if you insinuated anything please withdraw.

          HON. HADEBE: Thank you very much Hon. Speaker, I mentioned their names because they are advocates against drug abuse.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Can you say it because it is being recorded in the Hansard, can you say clearly what you meant by calling out their names.

          HON. HADEBE: I was asking whether they are in the House today because they are serious advocates against drug abuse.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Can you proceed with your debate, but do not call out other people’s names.

          HON. KAITANO: Before the Hon. Member mentioned the names of the three Hon. Members, he said he wants to knock some few punches on the debate, so that statement alone and then he continues to mention the names of the Hon. Members suggests that he is being mischievous, I think he needs to withdraw.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Member can you please withdraw calling other Hon. Members’ names.

          HON. HADEBE: Hon. Speaker Sir, I am not so sure whether I have to withdraw the local punches or the names of the Hon. Members.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  I said can you please withdraw the calling out of other Hon. Members names.

          HON. HADEBE: I withdraw that they are the advocates against drug abuse.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, I am chairing, I am asking you to withdraw the naming of other Hon. Member’s names.

          HON. HADEBE: I withdraw Hon. Speaker.  Firstly, they must strengthen and regulations regarding the sale and consumption of alcohol and drugs. We need to ensure that businesses that are selling alcoholic stuff are properly licenced and regulated. In addition to strengthening our laws and regulations, we must also invest in prevention and treatment programmes. There is need to fund and expand existing programmes that educate our people about the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse and also provide support to those struggling with addiction.

          We must improve access to treatment facilities especially in rural areas. I will quote some senior politicians. One is from the United Kingdom, Winston Churchill who was also a drug addict. He said, “I came to realise that it is not enough to conquer addictions, one must conquer the fear of returning to it”. I would also like to quote Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela the late, who was the President of the Republic of South Africa who said, “we must understand that even when we have convinced young people and the generality of our people of the dangers of abusing alcohol and drug abuse, we have only won half the battle”. The other half is to work with those who have become addicted to these substances. Let us wedge a war against the cause of addiction not against those who are victims.

I would also like to quote another politician here from Zimbabwe by the nickname Trabablas Dzokerai Mabhunu who said; “The growing scourge of drug and substance abuse is a great threat to national security and development as it leads to waste of talent, destruction of family values and increases crime in our society”. It is a collective responsibility for us to end this social vice. This was Emmerson Mnangagwa and in his own voice he said, “Mapurisa kana mukabata munhu adhakwa nemadrugs, mudirei mvura”.  

HON. TOGAREPI: Mr. Speaker Sir, we have a President in this country and when you call the name of the President in Parliament, you must punctuate it correctly. You must say it openly that the President of Zimbabwe, not like you are calling someone or your friend. If it is drugs that is in your head, please can you serve yourself from them?

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, make the right amends.

HON. HADEBE: Thank you very much Hon. Speaker. I was saying that speech was said by the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe. Thank you Government Chief Whip for that guidance. Finally, we must address the root causes of substance abuse such as poverty, unemployment and mental health issues affecting our people. Thank you.

+HON. MASUKU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I would like to add my voice on the motion by Hon. Mapiki regarding drug abuse. Drug abuse is problematic not only in Zimbabwe but the world-over. We continue to hear and see in different places and different borders that we have drugs that are crossing borders from South Africa and Botswana into Zimbabwe. This shows that Zimbabwe is not the only country affected by drugs but the world-over.

In the past, when youngsters would come across elderly people, they would be reprimanded but as we speak, there is no parent that can reprimand one’s child because these drugs and substances abuse are making them disobey us as parents. We even fail to reprimand one’s child because you are afraid of being bitten up by these children. In most places, you hear stories relating to murders of parents by their children, all because of drug and substance abuse.

My submission to this House is that Government should put in place laws that should make it a point that those that are engaged in drugs and substance abuse, the druglords and those that are using them, are stopped from doing so through prohibitive laws. My plea is that our country’s President should put in place a Committee that focusses on the menace that is caused by drug and substance abuse. I also implore this august House with us Hon. Members from the different areas of our country, that we need to ensure that we closely look at the dangers that are brought about by substance and drug abuse.

It is my plea that we unite against these challenges. As MPs from different areas, we do not need to attack this issue on partisan lines, but we need to unite against drugs and substance abuse. I also implore Government to put in place centres like what happened during COVID-19 to have those centres from different areas and constituencies turned into vocational training centres so that our children can find work to do from these vocational training centres.  With these few words, I thank you. 

          *HON. NATISO:  Thank you Hon. Speaker and good afternoon. 

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Good afternoon.

          *HON. NATISO:  Mr. Speaker Sir, drugs are mainly used in boarding schools and I am shocked.  They are competing on experimenting with these drugs depending on what you can mix.  They are now mixing Cerevita, brown sugar and orange crush.  At one of our local schools called Mushana, one of the students put the concoction in a ball-point barrel and there was yeast in the mixture so that it ferments quickly.  So there is need for thorough search as students enter the school premises to ensure yeast is not smuggled inside.

          We are aware that our boarders do not allow the importation of drugs.  How then will they be allowed to be displayed on shop shelves?  I am saying, if we go into some of the tuckshops and shops, be it in rural or urban areas, there are tonnes and tonnes of illegal substances that cannot be legally imported.  They seem to become legal once they are displayed on shop shelves.  These substances can be bought in cartons from some shops, but one can be arrested once outside the shop.  The police never arrest the substance peddlers despite showing them the substance suppliers.

Licenced bottle stores and night clubs can be penalised for buying those substances from the illegal shops, but vendors are left unscathed.  So the President ordered for all drug peddlers to be arrested.  Whoever is caught should show their source to the police.  In addition, some people are now making alcohol substances like ethanol.  An Hon. Member mentioned an illegal brew called Ranger.  It can be found in tonnes.  There are now bar codes to show that they are legal.  Lack of bar codes shows that it is illegal and has not been inspected by Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe (MCAZ) and Ministry of Industry and Commerce departments.  If we were to go out to towns and growth points, we will find tonnes of illegal substances.  Some are delivered door to door by trucks.  I thank you.

HON. TOGAREPI: Mr. Speaker, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

HON. MURAMBIWA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Tuesday, 12th March, 2024.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          HON. TOGAREPI: Mr. Speaker, I move that all other Orders of the Day be stood over until Order of the Day Number 8 has been disposed of. 

          HON. N. NDLOVU:  I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

CONDITIONS OF SERVICE TO IMPROVE PLIGHT OF COUNCILLORS

          Eighth Order read:  Adjourn debate on motion on the need to address the conditions of service for Councillors.

          Question again proposed.

          +HON. M. NKOMO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I am delighted to get this opportunity to air my voice on this motion moved by Hon. Jere.  Councillors are chosen by people in various wards and have a great job to do in our constituencies.  They get very little allowances and they do not have transport to run around doing their work.

          Some female councillors encounter challenges in their line of duty due to lack of vehicles.  I implore the Government to assist councillors in ensuring that they get everything that they need in their line of duty.  I thank you.

          HON. KANGAUSARU: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.  Thank you for granting me an opportunity to add my voice to this debate on the marginalisation of councillors.  I stand before this esteemed House today to add my two cents on the critical issue concerning the marginalisation of councillors in our local government structures.  These elected officials who are the closest representatives to the people at the grassroots level are facing significant challenges that hinder their ability to effectively serve their communities. 

          Firstly, councillors often lack the financial resources and logistical support necessary to carry out their duties.  These include limited access to office space, and no access at all to transportation, communication tools, and tools of trade which significantly impede the ability to engage its constituency, conduct oversight functions, and deliver essential services.

          Mr. Speaker Sir, the decision-making authority of councillors is often undermined by centralised control of authority.  This lack of autonomy restricts their ability to address local needs and implement solutions tailor-made to their community-specific context. 

          Last but not least, councillors ought to be given a remuneration that sustains them on day-to-day living expenses.  Mr. Speaker Sir, it is not a secret that the currency market is shaking, every day there is a new rate on the Stock Exchange market and this is greatly affecting our councillors. We do acknowledge their sitting allowances but it is not enough.  To avoid the temptation of corruption when executing their duties, salary, and remuneration needs to be reasonable enough to cater to their living expenses. 

          In conclusion, therefore, I advocate that this House acknowledges the critical role that our councillors play in local governance and development.  Secondly, this House calls upon the Government to take concrete steps to address the marginalisation of our councillors including allocating adequate resources to support their work and also even non-monetary incentives, strictly decision-making authority and autonomy, ensuring the safety and security of our councillors regardless of their political affiliation or background.  I thank you.

          HON. TOGAREPI: I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          HON. G. HLATYWAYO: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Tuesday, 12th March, 2024.

MOTION

LEAVE TO MOVE SUSPENSION OF PROVISIONS OF STANDING ORDER NUMBER 142 (1)

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. Z. ZIYAMBI): I seek leave of the House to move that the provisions of Standing Order, Number 142 (1) which states that every Bill other than a constitutional Bill must be published in the Gazette 14 days before it is introduced in the National Assembly in respect of the following Bills:- Private Voluntary Organisation Bill, Administration of Estates Amendment Bill and Criminal Laws, that is Protection of Children and Young Persons Bill.  I so move.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Hon. Minister, may I ask you to give reasons.

          HON. Z. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  There are about two or three reasons why I am seeking leave to have the House suspend this provision so that we can bring the Bills.  The first one, the Private Voluntary Organisation Bill was before the august House and there are minor amendments.  So, I am seeking that it comes because it was before the House before the expiration of the last Parliament. 

          The Administration of the Estates Amendment Bill deals with the office of the Master. There are a lot of issues that are urgent and we need this House to consider that Bill as well as the Criminal Laws Amendment. There is a gap in using the Presidential powers.

  However, over and above that Mr. Speaker Sir, we do not have Bills that the House is dealing with and we believe that if we cut on that time and introduce the Bill, the Committees can then start doing their work, the public hearings and we can then have a lot of activities within the House.  That will enable us to meet the targets as per the legislative agenda that was brought to Parliament by His Excellency. So, I am moving that we reduce the days the Bills have been gazetted, we bring them for First Reading and then Parliament can start interrogating the Bills.  I so submit.

          HON. HAMAUSWA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  While I appreciate the concerns and reasons submitted to this House by the Hon. Minister, I would like to differ with the request to suspend the provisions of Standing Orders for the reason that we are now witnessing the coming in of a new Bill.  It is like a new Bill is coming.  It has to go through that process.

          This Parliament is constituted by Hon. Members who were not here in the last Parliament and if we suspend the Bill, there are also issues which were contained in that Bill which I think this Parliament should give adequate time as provided for by the law for the Parliament to give adequate attention to this Bill.  This Bill has raised a lot of concerns not only in Zimbabwe, but it has the potential to affect even our international relations with other countries.

          I know that beyond the political connotations of the civil society, the civil society plays an important role in terms of supporting the developmental issues affecting our country, provision of water and sanitation.  So there is need for ample time to apply our minds, to apply the wisdom that is necessary to make sure that if there were some human errors that are affecting maybe the outcome of the Bill, then the Bill will be considered adequately.  This is my submission Mr. Speaker Sir.

          HON. MADZIVANYIKA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker.  I want to raise a constitutional point of view.  This book that I am holding Mr. Speaker, regulates the conduct of business in the National Assembly as well as in the Senate.  So to vary or to seek leave, the dictates of Standing Order 142 is tantamount to violation of the Constitution itself because this document is derived from Section 139 of the Constitution which says Parliament business is going to be regulated by the Standing Rules and Orders.  So I do not think it will be sustainable Mr. Speaker, to get that leave that violates our own Constitution.  I so submit.

          HON. MAMBIRIPIRI:  I just want to comment on the relevant Section 142 as it applies to the debate before the House today.  I say that particular provision was put in the Standing Rules and Orders in order to curtail or to stop political expediency when it comes to dealing with important Bills of this House.  What the Minister seeks us to do at this moment is exactly what the Standing Rules and Orders are trying to stop.

          This Bill is very important, not only to Parliamentarians, but to civil society and the nation at large.  Therefore, we really need it gazetted, have ample time which is 14 days as stipulated by the Constitution and then after that, we can gather and debate.  I thank you.

          HON. TOGAREPI:  Mr. Speaker, the Hon. Members who are finding it difficult to accept the request by the Minister, I really feel Hon. Members like Hon. Hamauswa would be able to help their Members that the issue of seeking leave means people are recognising that there is that provision, but because of the circumstances raised by the Minister, he would want and it is up to this House to then approve.  So it is not a matter of debate.  It is either an individual is saying no or yes, we decide and the issue of deciding is democratic.

          We cannot start to invent the wheel.  There are many times that Ministers have come here to seek leave on issues that are in the Constitution, in the Standing Rules and Orders so that if they are permitted, if they just wanted to do that, he could have just done so, but he has already recognised that there is this provision and he cannot proceed without recognising and seeking the indulgence of the House and that is what he has done.  If an individual has a problem with that, then let us go to the next stage.

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. Z. ZIYAMBI):  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.   I want to thank the Hon. Members, Hon. Hamauswa, Hon. Madzivanyika and Hon. Mambiripiri.  Hon. Hamauswa was actually going into the details of the Bill which means he is very familiar with it and his objections were just grand standing Mr. Speaker, if I am to put it that way.  I am saying so because…

          HON. G. K. HLATWAYO:  Point of order Mr. Speaker.  I think it is not right for the Minister to respond to Hon. Hamauswa’s contribution and say it is grand standing.  I think he needs to take it back because some of us were not in the last Parliament, and it is a fact that we do not have the details of this Bill and need adequate time to look at it.  So for him to say he is grand standing, I think it is not proper.  I think he needs to take it back.  I thank you.

          HON. Z. ZIYAMBI:  I was responding to what Hon. Hamauswa said, not to what others did not know and my response is that I actually alluded to the fact that there is no Business in this House.  We can decide to adjourn for two weeks and then come back and I will introduce the Bill, but I said Parliament needs to work and the 14 days, if you look at it when we gazette the Bill, Parliament will not be doing anything. 

It is for the purpose of the public to know the Bill.  Once it is introduced the actual business of Parliament starts.  So even if I am to agree, Mr. Speaker Sir, to say let us wait for 14 days, there is absolutely nothing that the Hon. Members will be doing.  You will start working when the first reading has been done and then it is taken to the Parliamentary Legal Committee.  They look at it and then we start the public hearings, but I am saying the Bills are in the public domain.  It is up to Parliamentarians whether you want to work or not and the provision that I am saying that it is allowed within the provisions of Standing Rules and Orders to seek leave.  That is the reason why when we are doing the budgets, we suspend the automatic adjournments times and the procedures, and we do it until the time that we decide to adjourn and at times we even finish early in the morning.

So it is not something that I am inventing today for those that were not in the last Parliament, but I am saying as Parliamentarians, you would like to work.  You want your Committees to start working.  You want to start doing things, but if you are not interested in work I acknowledge that the Bills have been slow to come because we have shortages of drafters but these Bills are straight forward.  If Hon. Members want to work, they are now accessible.  You can have a look at them.  Some of them are very small like the Criminal Laws Amendment Bill and then Parliament will then start working.  This is perfectly constitutional.  I heard Hon. Members saying it is unconstitutional.  It is allowed, that is why I had to come and do this procedure because it is provided for.  I so submit Mr. Speaker Sir.

          The Hon. Minister approached the Chair.

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. Z. ZIYAMBI): Mr. Speaker, I really believe that there is no need to vote.  We need to agree.  It has to be unanimous, all of us must agree.  If we agree that we do not want to work, then I am prepared to adjourn the House.  I put it that let us find consensus.  Do we accept the leave that I am seeking or we do not, then we adjourn?

          HON. HAMAUSWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for giving me another opportunity to also air my views.  I want to highlight to the Minister of Justice that we really appreciate that he wants us to work and we are here to work.  If possible, we would want to work 24/7  or 365 and a quarter days.  Due to constraints beyond our control, we are not able to do that.  The essence we are objecting is that we want a persuasive argument from the Minister not a threatening way of approach; something that amounts to some kind of draconian reaction to say, I am going to close it.  In Shona, we would say ndava kuzvidira jecha.  That kind of approach then does not persuade us towards a common understanding or the consensus.

          We would want to know because we were worried, according to the Constitution, legislative power is derived from the people.  The Minister correctly said, the gazetting for 14 days is meant for the public.  Then by granting the leave being sought by the Minister, it means that we are depriving the public of that allowance of 14 days to look into the Bill.  It is not true that when the Bill is gazetted, we will not be working.  We will actually be using the gazetted Bill to consult the stakeholders.  There is this time for the civil society groups, churches, farmers, everyone to then look into the gazetted Bill, have time to consult.  So, what the Minister is saying; he should persuade us to a point whereby we will agree that granting the leave will not affect the provisions in the Constitution that legislative power is derived from the people. The primary reason why it was done before, the drafters of the Constitution, why they said the Bill must be gazetted for 14 days; if the Minister can persuade us to say the primary purpose will not be affected, then we are ready to agree.  For the Minister to say, he will single-handedly close this out, I do not think it will work.  We will then go into silent acquiescence, whereby we passively agree on something that we were not supposed to agree…

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Hamauswa. Whilst you are putting across your argument, the Member at the back there sitting next to Hon. Hlatywayo, she is busy saying some things, how are you going to listen to what he is saying?

          HON. HAMAUSWA: In conclusion, I am saying that consensus is something that we also believe in We also believe that in everything, in our mother country, we need to go along with the way of consensus but arriving at that consensus, let us not threaten each other.  Let us bring in the persuasive arguments, which when we walk out of this House, we will say I have seen the point being raised by the Hon. Minister.  As long as the legislative agenda is not going to be affected, then we will be able to agree.  I so submit that we really need to be persuaded and not to be threatened.  I thank you.

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. Z. ZIYAMBI): Mr. Speaker, I am seeking consensus and I did not mean to offend anyone.  My position was, I actually thought I was doing something to motivate Hon. Members that they will start doing something.  To be very honest, ever since this Parliament started, there is no Bill that has come through Parliament.  The majority of new Parliamentarians do not even know what is to go out for public hearings.  The actual procedural processes of the Bill will not be affected.  All we are saying is, we do the First Reading, the Parliamentary processes that are not controlled by the Executive will then kick in and we interrogate it.  We bring it, debate and that is vibrant.  I want to agree with Hon. Hamauswa that I am persuading you to agree with the view that let us start working as a Parliament and start doing the work that we are here for. I submit Hon. Speaker.

          HON. MUROMBEDZI: On a point of order Hon. Speaker Sir.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: What is your point of order?

          HON. MUROMBEDZI: My point of order is to firstly ask through you, whether the Parliamentary Committee which deals with this Bill has been inducted?  I thank you.

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. Z. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to say that is your question, but let me answer by saying that the Committees have indeed been inducted.  There are several Committees, in fact the first one, the main Committee is the Parliamentary Legal Committee, it is already doing its work.  Once the Bills are read for the first time, they stand referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee to look at the constitutionality of the Bill to look at other issues and then bring a report to Parliament.  Thereafter, the relevant Committees will then start working on the Bill preparing for public hearings, preparing to produce a report that will be the Committee report, to be debated here in Parliament. So all those Committees have been inducted, there was a workshop in Bulawayo in which various Committee Chairpersons attended.  The Committees, I think are now up to speed with what is required. Over and above that, all these Committees also have a Committee Clerk that is there to guide the work of the Committees.  So that is in place Hon. Speaker Sir.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: I take it that there is consensus and we agreed. 

          HON. HAMAUSWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, there is no need for rushed consensus. The issues we have said were not addressed to say what the primary purpose of setting 14 days was. Are we also not depriving the same public, so why should we rush for consensus?  Is there any problem today where we are saying maybe we need to be satisfied? So I do not think we need to have a rushed consensus. 

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Hamauswa, I hope you are not changing goal posts now. 

          HON. TOGAREPI: Hon. Speaker, can we have your permission to allow us to talk to the Chief Whips. What we are doing now, we are seeking consensus not because we want to vote, but we want to work as a team.  We have been agreeing on these issues without this type of arguments.  Let us not argue for the purpose of just arguing.  So I think allow us two minutes to discuss on this Hon. Speaker.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Yes, I grant the two minutes Hon. Member.

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. Z. ZIYAMBI): While you grant the two minutes Hon. Speaker, let me explain what Hon. Hamauswa was saying was being harsh. As Hon. Members, we must also be responsible.  We cannot come here, spend a week, and spend tax payers’ money not doing anything. So we must have business on the Order Paper that justifies why we are here.  Once we do not have business that is on the Order Paper, that is the reason why I said I can then say if we are not prepared to do this, let us adjourn for two weeks and then come after. There is no business that justifies us being here and we say we are representing people when all we are doing is just to come and do not have any business.  That is what he felt was offensive, but I was trying to explain that I am trying to have Parliament working and when Parliament is working in Committees doing something, that is Parliament work.  I had withdrawn my hope in the hope that is reasonable, but I want to reinstate them Mr. Speaker Sir.  I thank you.

          Business of the House temporarily suspended to allow for discussions.

          House resumed.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members. Hon. Hamauswa, do you need another two minutes?

          HON. HAMAUSWA: Yes, just a feedback. The Ministry has managed to persuade us that indeed there would be no prejudice to our legislative process. We will be given ample time to go through the normal process. Once the blue is red, there is no disadvantage to the normal procedure which is as outlined in the Constitution of the law-making process. So, we are persuaded to agree with the Minister, but I will also give the Minister to respond.

          HON. Z. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I think we have reached a consensus that we do some work and will the request be granted? I thank you.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Minister and we thank you Hon. Hamauswa and Government Chief Whip for wisely requesting that two minutes be granted and that miracles and wonders would come out of it.

          HON. KARENYI: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir. I also want to put it on record that may be people will quote us as if we are here for the coupons or some other benefits. I think when the Minister was also explaining to us, he was saying it is either we close business for the next two weeks as if we think if we can close for two weeks, then there is no business. So, I really want the Minister to put it correctly so that we are not viewed out there as if we are here for benefits because we are not here for benefits. We are here for Parliament business and also to make sure that we represent our constituents. Thank you.

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: There is nothing to respond Hon. Minister. I take it that there is consensus in the House and that the request by the Minister is agreed to. So, the provisions of Standing Order 142 (1) is suspended.

FIRST READING

CRIMINAL LAWS AMENDMENT (PROTECTION OF CHILDREN AND YOUNG PERSONS) BILL [H. B. 4, 2024.]

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. Z. ZIYAMBI) presented the Criminal Law Amendment Protection of Children and Young Persons Bill [H. B. 4, 2024].

          Bill read the first time.

          Bill referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee.

FIRST READING

ADMINISTRATION OF ESTATES AMENDMENT BILL [H.B.3, 2024]

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. Z.  ZIYAMBI) presented the Administration of Estates Amendment Bill [H. B. 3, 2024].

Bill read the first time.

          Bill referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee.

FIRST READING

PRIVATE VOLUNTARY ORGANISATIONS AMENDMENTS BILL [H. B. 2, 2024]

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. Z. ZIYAMBI) presented the Private Voluntary Organisations Amendments Bill [H. B. 2, 2024].

          Bill read the first time.

          Bill referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee.

          On the motion of THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. Z.  ZIYAMBI), the House adjourned at Nine Minutes to Five o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 12th March, 2024.

 

 

 

 

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