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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 8 FEBRUARY 2024 VOL 50 NO 27

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Thursday, 8th February, 2024

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. SPEAKER

LATE ATTENDANCE TO THE BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          THE HON. SPEAKER: I observed that on my left, five Members came in after prayers and on my right, eight members came in after prayers.  You have to be here and we start prayers together.

An Hon. Member having walked in from the right side.

THE HON. SPEAKER: And that makes it 14 on my right.

HON. ZEMURA: On a point of privilege Mr. Speaker Sir!

THE HON. SPEAKER: What is the point of privilege Hon. Member?

HON. ZEMURA: My point of privilege Hon. Speaker Sir, is that in 2019 during the Nineth Parliament, we were allotted stand numbers here in Harare.  We paid for the stands but to date, we have not been shown the stands.  Is it Government policy to say, you are an Hon. Member but you are not given your dues? I thank you.

THE HON. SPEAKER: The manner you crafted your question, was a question meant for yesterday – that was not a statement or a point of privilege. You directed to the Executive.  Have you all paid? – [HON MEMBERS: Yes, we paid!] – Hon. Zhou, please take the floor.

HON. TAFANANA ZHOU: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir.  The stands were for the Eighth Parliament, we paid and have the requisite documentation.

THE HON. SPEAKER: So, what is outstanding?

HON. TAFANANA ZHOU: The servicing and we were supposed to be shown the stands.

* THE HON. SPEAKER: Aaah, ko imimi maibhadharira sei chinhu chamusina kuona?– [Laughter.] – When you buy a loaf of bread and you do not touch it, that is very abnormal.  So, the first thing is, I think we need to get the stands serviced as soon as possible.  Thereafter, they will be pegged accordingly.  I think the Clerk of Parliament will work on that immediately.  Do you want to clarify something?

HON. TAFANANA ZHOU: Yes, Mr. Speaker Sir. The assurance that was there was, we were given the stand numbers and lease agreements. 

THE HON. SPEAKER: But you did not see them?

HON. TAFANANA ZHOU: We did not see them. They said that they wanted them to be serviced first.  I think your Office is seized with the matter.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  You know, had you been in court, you would be a redundant witness.  Let me be advised by the Clerk of Parliament before I respond.  Thank you very much. Administrative issues are directed to the office of the Clerk of Parliament.  If you do not get any joy from the Clerk, you can approach my office, and these matters are handled by the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders.  Having said that, let me follow up on the issues and see how we can, first and foremost, make some arrangements with the Ministry of Local Government so that you have sight of the stands next week. 

We also find out how far the Ministry has gone in terms of getting the necessary funding to do the services for utilities, that is electricity, water and sewerage reticulation.  So that should be done next week and we will be able to come back to you and report.  Ordinarily, these issues are very administrate, if you had said you went to the Clerk’s Office and you did not get any joy and also came to my office and found my office closed for the whole two weeks, then I would understand, but we will deal with the situation by next week.  Thank you.

HON. TOGAREPI: Mr. Speaker Sir.  While I appreciate and agree with what you have given us as advice, we are talking of 2013, this is eleven years to date, and we have heard, I think so many meetings.  I have sat down with the Clerks so many times.  We have raised this thing; this is the Eighth Parliament; the Ninth Parliament received a stand even in this Tenth Parliament, we are supposed to receive because it is part of our benefits.  So I think it is a matter that needs the Hon. Speaker to escalate it not for us to sit down with the people from the Local Government, they will not even listen to us.  Thank you.

THE HON. SPEAKER: I hear your plea.  I think indirectly you have whipped me and I am so whipped accordingly. Let us see things happening next week.  On the same note, Hon. Members, we are liaising with Mazowe Rural District Council and the Ministry of Local Government in terms of the new plans for the Smart City so that the stands that belong to Mazowe Rural District Council are disaggregated accordingly and then the rest of the stands which comprise low density, high density and medium density are within the vicinity of Mt. Hampden.  There will not be any harm in getting stands here and we get rid of whatever you have got on the other side.  This applies also to the staff, the staff of Parliament at the moment, have to travel 55 km one way especially those from Chitungwiza and Norton, Norton is about 65 km away. I think the ideal situation is that we have our stands around the Parliament Building.  Who knows, God willing, we might also negotiate for a hotel for Members of Parliament around here in Mt Hampden so that you do not have to stay out there far away from Parliament? You ought to pray for good things - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – you do not want a Hotel? This will be a hotel dedicated to yourselves like what they have in Zambia.  It is very ideal.  Thank you Hon. Zemura for that point of privilege.

HON. MUTSEYAMI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  Sometime last year before Christmas, I raised a point of national importance in this House with regards to the provincial councils which went through an election and were declared as winners, but up to date, they have not been sworn in, nor have they started their duties. 

That office has a clear reference in our Constitution, but there is no instrument or Act to enable them to start doing their duties.  With your indulgence, Hon. Speaker Sir, you referred this issue to be taken up by the Government Chief Whip whereby you advised that the Ministry of Local Government, in conjunction with the Ministry of Justice, Legal, and Parliamentary Affairs, have to come up with an enabling Act so that this Committee will start work, but up to date, no work.  I would not know probably something had come up whilst I was serving my suspension, but that is my prayer.

THE HON. SPEAKER: I do not know why you have to underline the serving of your suspension.  I have your sympathies.  I think if you recall, the first thing was to amend the Constitution because the previous provisions indicated that Members of Parliament would sit at the provincial councils’ level.

We thought that was very unwieldy and the Constitution has been amended accordingly to remove Members of Parliament from the provincial councils so that they could exercise oversight accordingly.  What remains now is to have the Bill as you rightly say Hon. Mutseyami, before Parliament here, so that the Act is enacted and the provincial councils begin to work. 

Let me follow up on that one with the Minister of Justice, Legal, and Parliamentary Affairs in liaison with the Minister of Local Government as well as the Attorney-General. We need that Bill so that the provincial councils are operational.   If you can indulge, we follow that process accordingly.  A very important point of privilege indeed.  Thank you.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

HON. TOGAREPI: I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 14 on today’s Order Paper be stood over until Orders of the Day Numbers 15 and 16 have been disposed of.

HON. N. NDLOVU: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

COMMITTEE STAGE

ADVERSE REPORT BY THE PARLIAMENTARY LEGAL COMMITTEE ON THE DEATH PENALTY ABOLITION BILL [H. B. 5, 2023]

Fifteenth Order read: Consideration of an adverse report by the Parliamentary Legal Committee on the Death Penalty Abolition Bill.

House in Committee.

HON. NDUDZO: I am indebted Mr. Chairperson. Good afternoon to you.  I rise on Standing Order No. 36 to present the report of the Parliamentary Legal Committee on the Death Penalty Abolition Bill.  If it pleases you Hon. Chair, I will read the report.

THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON (HON. MACHINGURA): Yes proceed.

HON. NDUDZO:  In pursuit of its Constitutional mandate as provided for in Section 152 of the Constitution, the Parliamentary Legal Committee on the 23rd of January, 2023, met to consider the Death Penalty Abolition Bill. After deliberations, it was unanimously resolved that an adverse report be issued in respect of the Bill due to the following considerations;

Section 48 subsection (2) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe stipulates that, “A law may permit the death penalty to be imposed only on a person convicted of murder committed in aggravating circumstances”.  The way section 48 (2) is couched allows a law permitting the death penalty to be enacted.  Section 2 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that the Constitution is the supreme law of Zimbabwe and any law, practice, custom and conduct inconsistent with it is invalid to the extent of the inconsistence.      

The enactment of the Death Penalty Abolition Bill contravenes Section (2) and Section 48 (2) of the Constitution in that it seeks to abolish what has been permitted by the Constitution.  It is inconsistent with the spirit and purpose of Section 48 (2) which is permissive to a death penalty law being enacted.  Section 328 (1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe defines a Constitutional Bill as a Bill that seeks to amend the Constitution.  Subsection (2) further states that an Act of Parliament that amends the Constitution must do so in express terms.  The import of the Death Penalty Abolition Bill infact, seeks to amend the provisions of the Constitution, in particular Section 48 (2) of the Constitution.  The Bill is not a Constitutional Bill as it does not expressly state that it seeks to amend the Constitution. 

Therefore, the proposed Bill takes away the permissive intention of the Constitution to have a death penalty and in any case, if any amendment is to be proposed on the death penalty, it is our considered opinion that it has to be introduced as a Constitutional Amendment Bill.  Mr. Chairperson, that is the report of the Parliamentary Legal Committee.

          HON. MUSHORIWA: Let me start by saying I have looked into the report submitted by the Parliamentary Legal Committee.  Mr. Chairman, it is my submission that I respectively disagree with the finding and opinion that has been submitted to this august House.  Mr. Chairman, I have taken opinion and also before we introduced this Bill to this august House from legal personnel, retired judges and also fundis in this issue.  

          Mr. Chairman, I am going to state the following, first and foremost, Section 48 of the Constitution which is the Right to Life, our Constitution. Our Constitution protects the right to life.  That is the first and fundamental issue that I want to submit.  The second issue is that if you read Section 48 (2), it says a law may permit the death penalty to be imposed only on a person convicted of murder committed in aggravating circumstances.  The key word there is ‘may’.  It is not saying a law must. 

What has happened, Hon. Chair, is that the death penalty is not a creation of the Constitution, but what has happened is that the framers of the 2013 Constitution gave that power to the people of Zimbabwe and to their Parliament to either make a law or not to make a law that introduces a death penalty.  This is the reason, Hon. Chair, I believe that the point of departure which I believe the Committee erred is not to remove or to temper with the provision.  What basically it does and I am going to give you the historical background, we crafted this Constitution in 2013 and from 2013, there was no law that approved the death penalty.  Unfortunately, the High Court judges were actually coming up with the death penalty sentence until the Supreme Court made a ruling to simply say in the Constitution, there is no law that provides for the death penalty.  What then transpired Hon. Chair is that the then Parliament in 2016 brought an amendment to the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act that introduced the death penalty.

The issue, Hon. Chair, is that the import of this Bill is specific.  If you go through the provisions that are there in the Bill, Clauses 3, 4, 5 which are the operative clauses of this Bill, they tend to do one thing.  They tend to amend the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act.  That is what it seeks to do.  What does this say Hon. Chair?  The power of the Constitution is not being taken away.  In fact, what this means is that this Parliament should and I am glad that two days ago, the Cabinet of Zimbabwe led by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, approved the principles of this Bill having gone through the various technical support in the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and the other arms of Government.

Why Hon. Chair?  The reason is simple.  Parliament has got the right to amend an Act of Parliament.  You can introduce an Act of Parliament and Parliament also has the power to amend an Act of Parliament.  For the Committee to then present to say this Parliament cannot amend an Act of Parliament, I think legally it is not correct.  The same thing if you read the Constitution.  Our Constitution talks on, for instance, the President has got the power to appoint certain key personnel.  The President is allowed to appoint Ministers, the Attorney-General, but where there is a provision where it says the President can appoint, it does not remove the fact that the President can actually remove the person that he has appointed.

What basically we are saying, Hon. Chair, is that the decision taken by the PLC is fundamentally flawed and I know where the problem is.  It is coming from that misunderstanding.  What they need to understand is that let us assume this Parliament, because the Government has also taken it on board, we remove the death penalty from our statutes.  Another Parliament comes; they can use Section 48 (2) of the Constitution, introduce another Bill to reintroduce the death penalty.  So, what you can actually tell, Hon. Chair, is that what we are doing is, we are basically looking into the amendments of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act.

I have had the chance to discuss this issue with the Chairperson of the PLC showing the various opinions that have come in respect to the adverse report that they had issued.  Hon. Chairman, I had also suggested because if for instance, the PLC, if you read the Bill in the manner that it is, one of the ways that we could basically try to come to a sort of a compromise, is then to seek an amendment to Clause 1 and Clause 2 of the Bill so that instead of saying Death Abolishment Bill, we basically say that it is an amendment to the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act.

So, we amend that Clause 1 then we also amend Clause 2 of the Bill which basically would then mean we are now removing any reference which is mentioned in Clause 2 on the abolishment of the death penalty.   If we do that, Hon. Chair, what it means is that if you go through Clauses 3, 4, 5, it then talks specifically to the amendment of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act and that Hon. Chair, there is no problem of variation because it does not touch on any aspect that can actually be defined as a constitutional matter.

Hon. Chair, before I sit down, I just want to state that this Parliament and the people of Zimbabwe have got the power to make laws and once you make a law and you feel that this law is not meeting the intended intention, you know Parliament has also the power to amend the laws.  This is the reason why, Hon. Chair, you find that we have actually come into this august House with quite a number of laws – the Finance Bills which pass the Finance Act.  We then realise that after they come into operation, they have created problems.  We come back here, and we can then amend.  What we are basically doing, Hon. Chair, is that this Bill therefore amends a statute that we actually passed as a Parliament.

To that extent, Hon. Chair, I would want to urge this august House to say that we will bring the amendment to Clause 1 so that at least we change the title of the Bill.  Instead of saying the Death Penalty Abolishment Bill, it becomes an amendment to the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act.  So that would be the first amendment.  We also then make sure that we amend Clause 2 so that at least there is no confusion in respect to the question of the death penalty.

The concession, Hon. Chair, of ensuring that we do that is to seek progress so that where the Executive and Legislature are actually seeing things from the same angle.  We could actually move without the need of having a problem where there are some areas of disagreements.  I have shared with the Chair of the Parliamentary Legal Committee, the sort of amendments that we seek to then do when this Bill comes to the Committee Stage in the debate.  I believe that this Bill is the right Bill at the right moment, as it meets the feelings of the public of this country.

          To just also add, many people would be aware that for every 100 people in Zimbabwe, 52% of those people are women.  They are exempted, they are not sentenced to death.  You also need to know that everybody who is under 21 years, cannot be sentenced to death. Anyone who is above 70 years cannot be sentenced to death.  What that means is that only 28% of the people in this country can be sentenced to death, 72% of the population cannot be sentenced to death.  We believe that the removal of the death sentence in our courts will go a long way in making sure that we build a just society.  I thank you.

          HON. DR. MUTODI: Thank you Hon. Chair for affording me this opportunity to debate on the Death Penalty Abolition Bill.  The Hon. Member who moved the motion obviously is not a legal practitioner or a lawyer and may not understand what the law means.  Law is a profession.  It is not a business for everyone.  Firstly Hon. Chair, the Constitution is the supreme law of the land and any Act of Parliament or Statutory Instrument that goes against the Constitution is ultra vires and should be disregarded to the extent of its inconsistence.

          *HON. MUTSEYAMI: On a point of order.  I think Hon. Mutodi, we need to respect each other because we are Honourable Members of this august House.  It does not matter whether you are a lawyer, doctor or what.  May the Hon. Member withdraw that statement?  It is important to honour Hon. Mushoriwa and as Parliamentarians, Hon. Mutodi is a Rhumba Artiste, we do not talk about that.  We cannot despise him because he is a guitar man. I request him to withdraw his statement.

          THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Hon. Mutodi, may you continue, but please do not continue in the same trajectory.

          HON. DR. MUTODI: I was saying the Constitution is the supreme law of Zimbabwe.  Any Statutory Instrument or Act of Parliament that goes against the Constitution of the country is inconsistent.  It is ultra vires to the extent of its inconsistency.  Section  48 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe is very clear that the death penalty may, and in the place of may, if I am doing a Statutory Instrument interpretation, I can also say, can be given for murder committed in aggravating circumstances.  We must look at the intention of the legislature when they made this provision in the Constitution.

          First of all, the ‘may’ specifically refers or tries to classify murders committed.  One, as a culpable homicide, for instance on murder that is committed with mens rea or with intention.  You intent to kill someone.  You know that they enjoy or they do their entertainment at this kind of bar, you take a knife or a pistol into your pocket and you go and target that person and kill them.  That is murder under aggravated circumstances.  You have intended to do it.  This is why the law was trying to separate these murders.  It cannot be all the murders that are supposed to get a death penalty.  Some murders are not intentional and some are intentional.  So the intention of the legislature was to make a differentiation between murders committed intentionally and those committed unintentionally.

          Hon. Chair, a Private Member’s Bill, by its nature, cannot purport to amend or seek to amend that which has been given by the Constitution. The Constitution has provided a death penalty to be given and any Private Member’s Bill has no locus standi, has no standing whatsoever to amend the Constitution.  The Constitution can therefore, only be amended through a Constitutional Amendment Bill, which of course has certain requirements, two-thirds majority for us to pass it or maybe, if you want to take to a Referendum.

          My emphasis is on the Statutory Instrument as the Member was chronicling his explanation as to why the death penalty could be permitted.  He missed it on the Statutory Instrument that phraseology clearly states that the death penalty will be given and the Constitution has actually provided for that.  It is now also, according to the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act, the judges have expressed their discretion.  They have imposed their discretion of course when dealing with murder cases.  You will find that some murder cases have received life imprisonment while others have received a death penalty.  There has been argument whereby people have said we do not have a hangman, so we have not hanged people.  We have not implemented the death penalty for the past 20-30 years…

          An Hon. Member having been grumbling while Hon. Mutodi was debating.

          THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Order Hon Mutodi.  Hon. Member, if you talk whilst the Hon. Member is on the floor and you are not listening, how will you hear what he is saying?

          HON. DR. MUTODI: Thank you Mr. Chairman.  I was emphasising that as we stand, our courts have passed the death penalty based on the Constitutional provision.  So it is wrong for the Hon. Member to say the Constitution did not provide for the death penalty.  I have also said our judges have expressed their discretion depending on the nature of the murder, whether it was international or unintentional and have passed in some spaces, they have actually sentenced some people to life imprisonment,  some murder cases have also received a death penalty. There has been an argument whereby people have said we do not have a hangman. So we have not hanged people and we have not implemented the death penalty for the past 20-30 years.

          THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Order Hon. Member. If you talk whilst the Hon. Member who is on the floor is debating, how can you debate when you are not listening to what he is saying?

          HON. DR. MUTODI: Thank you Mr. Chairman. I was emphasising that as we stand, our courts have passed the death penalty based on the constitutional provision. So, it is wrong for the Member to say the Constitution did not provide for the death penalty. I have also said that our judges have expressed their discretion depending on the nature of the murder, whether it was through intention or unintentional. In some cases, they have sentenced people to life imprisonment and in other cases they have imposed the death penalty.

          The issue that has been a talk point by some people who have been supporting the death penalty removal, is the fact that there has not been implementation or execution for murderers or those convicted of murder over the past 20 to 30 years because there was no hangman. I am saying if the issue is about the hangman, other methods of executing the death penalty can be implemented. So that can be cured through an injection or other methods. Some defenders have been saying that we do not want to execute the death penalty on people who may be innocent. I am sure the law provides that the prosecution be thorough and the conviction be beyond any reasonable doubt for cases such as murder.

          So I am of the view that the death penalty must remain as a deterrent measure in our Constitution and if we are to make some piecemeal amendments, maybe it would exonerate people with 70 years and above and things like that. Otherwise as it is, the death penalty is supposed to remain because of course, we have seen some ritual murders. Recently in Mberengwa, there was someone who was skinned. They removed the whole skin on the head and everything for ritual purposes.

          If you look at Tapiwa Makore’s case, people killed a young man who was supposed to have a start in his life if he was given a chance to live, but they took his life for ritual purposes. For us to keep those people in our society, give them good accommodation but admitting them to parole is a sin against our Creator. I thank you Mr. Chairman.

          HON. NDUDZO: Thank you Mr. Speaker for recognising me. I thank you for this opportunity. I want to clarify three very important points and perhaps accommodate the suggestions that have been made by the Hon. Member who has moved for this…

          HON. M. MAVHUNGA: On a point of order Mr. Chairman Sir. The Hon. Member is the Chairman of the Parliamentary Legal Committee. What is supposed to be happening is that Members of Parliament are supposed to debate his adverse report at the end of the discussion, then he will be given an opportunity after hearing all submissions from all Members of Parliament to respond to those. It would not be proper that he responds piecemeal to what each and every Hon. Member is going to submit. So, I suggest that we debate until all Hon. Members are finished then he can respond at once.

 THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON. Order, thank you Hon. Member, maybe I will ask you to respond. Let me take two or three people to debate.

          HON. GUMBO: Thank you Mr. Chairman. I will commence my debate by correcting certain mistruths debated by Hon. Mutodi. There is no murder without intention. The moment you remove intention, it ceases to be murder. If it occurs that someone died, that is what we call culpable homicide. The intent or import of Section 48 of the Constitution is the protection of the right to life. What subsection (2) of Section 48 of the Constitution does is that it creates room or it provides room for an exception to be created by Parliament through an Act of Parliament.

          The Bill which was presented to this House does not carry with it the import of a constitutional amendment. What it does is not take away the permissive power or the permissive provision that is subsection (2) of Section 48 of the Constitution. It addresses that which can be done by Parliament which is permitted by the Constitution. Now, it is very important. I am a Member of the PLC, but unfortunately my wisdom was not in the meeting that gave the Adverse Report. What is important to consider is whether the Constitution says ‘must’ or it says ‘may’. Whenever one seeks to embark on ultra vires debate, one must consider whether the Constitution has said this must be done which is peremptory. What that which is peremptory means is that we have no choice. It just must be done as a matter of constitutional law.

          When the Constitution says that this may be done, what it does is that it leaves Parliament at large. It gives Parliament room to maneuver. It gives the people of Zimbabwe an opportunity to decide whether they want to follow the right or left path. So the Bill which was brought to this House, what it has sought to do is to go and reverse that which Parliament itself enacted. It is not seeking to reverse that which the Constitution provides for. The permissible authority or the permission provision remains, but the punitive provision in the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act is that which is sought to be amended and that with respect Hon. Chair, cannot be said to be an Act ultra vires the Constitution. Section 152 of the Constitution provides for the establishment of the Parliamentary Legal Committee. What does the Parliamentary Legal Committee do and what obligation is it expected to fulfill? It says that the report must consider whether a provision in the Bill, Statutory Instrument contravenes. The key word there is ‘contravene’, violates and goes against.

          So the Bill which has been brought before this House, with respect Mr. Chairman, does not contravene Section 2 of Section 48. It does not address it even. What is addressed is the Act of Parliament which amended and provided for the death sentence. With that said, it is my respective view that the Parliamentary Legal Committee misreads its mandate. Number 2, also misread the amendment which is sought to be made by the Bill brought in the Death Abolition Bill. Those are my remarks.

          HON. TOGAREPI: Mr. Chairman, the Parliamentary Legal Committee (PLC), are the fundis of our law-making process. They must give us direction when we are faced with law that we, as representatives of the people of Zimbabwe, would want to push forward.

          I have listened to my fellow colleagues and the mover of the motion.  In my view, from what the mover of the motion said, the amendment in terms of terminology or texts of one and two sections, is the issue that created this disharmony between the mover and the PLC.  So Mr. Chairman, I think, when we debated, the House seemed to converge on the issue of abolition.  I was listening to the fundis and when we use the word ‘abolition’, it is like you are amending the Constitution, but if we are amending the Act, it is allowed to do so using the powers invested in this House.

          So, I think it would be prudent that we allow the mover of the motion and the PLC to find common ground.  As you are aware, the principles of this Bill were approved by Cabinet, meaning that Cabinet also in their wisdom, together with the law officers, and the Attorney-General, seem to think that we are moving in the right direction if we were to enact this law.  In my view Mr. Chairman, I think we need some interaction between the PLC and the mover of the motion and maybe through this debate, we allow them a different time to look at it.  We cannot move away from this law because it looks like that is what the people of Zimbabwe want – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –

Our Cabinet, Chaired by His Excellency, has already given a nod to the principles.  So, I think that is why you saw the Chairperson of the PLC wanting to contribute before the Hon. Members requested to debate first.  We were talking about it earlier and said, it looks like the mover of the motion is not disagreeing with you.  The areas that you are concerned about are the same areas.  Why do you not move towards each other and agree on those changes? – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –

          THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: It appears the House is unanimously agreeing with the Chief Whip.  So, I will be addressing you shortly. 

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. MAZUNGUNYE): Thank you Mr. Chairman.  I appreciate the debate that has been ongoing.  I also appreciate the quality of conversion on which the House stands to agree on. In light of that Mr. Chairperson, I move that you report progress and seek leave to sit again so that we can do further debate.  I submit Mr. Chairman.

          House resumed.

          Progress reported.

          Committee Stage to resume: Tuesday 13th February, 2024

COMMITTEE STAGE

ADVERSE REPORT BY THE   PARLIAMENTARY LEGAL COMMITTEE ON THE STATUTORY INSTRUMENT 153 OF 2023

          Sixteenth Order read: Committee Stage: Consideration of an adverse report by the Parliamentary Legal Committee on the Statutory Instrument 153 of 2023 Published in the Gazette on 25 August 2023

          House in Committee.

          HON. NDUDZO: Thank you Hon. Chairperson.  With your permission, I will proceed with the Adverse Report of the Parliamentary Legal Committee.  Hon. Chairperson, in pursuit of its constitutional mandate as provided for in Section 152 (3) of the Constitution, the Parliamentary Legal Committee must examine, in particular, paragraph (c). Every statutory instrument published in the Gazette and must report to Parliament or the Vice President, Minister or Authority as the case may be whether it considers any provision in the Bill, Statutory Instrument or Draft, contravenes or if enacted, would violate any provision of the Constitution. 

          The Committee met on the 23rd of November 2023 and its agenda was the analysis of Statutory Instrument 153 of 2023.  The High Court Amendment rules 2023 Number 1, gazetted on the 25th of August 2023.  After deliberations, it was unanimously resolved to issue an adverse report concerning the Statutory Instrument due to the following considerations: -

          The integrated case management platform as defined in Section 2 of Statutory Instrument 153 of 2023 is the electronic platform operated by the Judicial Service Commission to enable litigants in the High Court to file and serve processes electronically, pay fees electronically, track their cases electronically and participate virtually in the proceedings of the court—Statutory Instrument 153 of 2023 amends Statutory Instrument 202 of 2021, the High Court rules of 2021.  The amendment makes provision for the integrated electronic case management system IECMS an online platform designed to digitalise the litigation process as adopted by the Judicial Service Commission in February 2022.  This transformation of judicial operations from analog to digital was done to expedite justice delivery and keep up with global trends.  The Committee is concerned that the successful adoption of IECMS must be preceded by investments in technology to ensure uninterrupted internet connectivity by litigants and their representatives.          The Committee noted the following: -

Firstly, Section 4 of Statutory Instrument 153 of 2023 amends rule 15 of the principal rules by changing the name from service of process to service e-filing and related matters.  This amendment also states that initial summons may be done physically still all subsequent pleading, notices of self-defence, and court orders shall be done electronically on the IECMS platform.  It does mention that in exceptional cases, a judge may authorise the sheriff to effect service upon application. 

It is the Committee’s view that this development did not fully consider the technological development in Zimbabwe's ease of access to the internet or our socio-economic environment, bearing in mind that most of our population live in the country’s rural areas.  

The Committee opines that the amendment rule 15 violates Sections 68 and 69 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe which is the right to administrative justice and fair hearing.

          In particular and secondly, the Committee also noted that the Public Access aspect of the hearing is being taken away.  The public part of attending to the matter is eroded with the cases being heard online.  There is no participation by the public in the proceedings which affects the democratic nature of fair hearings.  It cannot be disputed that not everyone in Zimbabwe has access to or owns an electronic gadget that permits them to file and process electronically.  Not forgetting that internet access is strongest in cities.  The challenges are culminated by poor internet connections in most parts of Zimbabwe which are not yet within the ease of reach and convenience of the ordinary citizens.

  Further, it also infringes on the right to a fair hearing as the language of instruction on the IECMS is English affecting those who do not speak English.  This affects the respect of Section 6 of the Constitution which requires that the State and all Government agencies ensure that all officially recognised languages are treated equally.

Thirdly, about self-actors, bail applications become virtually non-existent as they do not have gadgets that permit them to file documents electronically.  Having noted this, the Committee was of the view that this was a direct violation of Section 49 of the Constitution which enunciates the right to liberty.  Further, Section 50 (6) of the Constitution stipulates that any person who is detained pending trial for an alleged offence and is not tried within a reasonable time, must be released from detention, either unconditionally or on reasonable conditions.  That Section seems also to be violated.

Further because under this law, bail applications are filed virtually and served on the state physically, the Registrar sets down the matters of bail prematurely before proof of service is filed creating a challenge in the judicial process.

Number four, if a pro deo lawyer is assigned a case, there is no guarantee that he or she will receive the assignment.  This is due to the fact that it is very easy to ignore assignments online.

          Section 5 of Statutory Instrument 153 of 2023, inserts two new Rules in the principal Rules, Rules 15A and 15B, which makes it compulsory for litigants to have ICEMS accounts as it guides litigants and representatives in the creation of IECMS accounts for filing appeals, reviews and other civil processes.  The arguments given earlier still hold water here as the administration of the right to a fair hearing and access to justice remains limited.

          Section 12 of the Regulations inserts a new Rule 110 to the principal Regulations, which reads:

  “Deadline for complete migration to paperless proceedings 110. 

1)  Six months after the promulgation of the High Court (Amendment) Rules, 2023 (No. 1), the court shall become an entirely paperless court, save in exceptional circumstances authorised by a judge of the court.

2) Pending any amendment of these rules that may be required to give effect to sub rule (1), the Chief Justice, after consultation with the Judge President, may issue to the court, any written directions necessary or expedient to give effect to that sub rule, which directions shall be binding and have effect notwithstanding anything contained in these rules for a period of six months unless the direction concerned is earlier embodied by an amendment of these rules.”

          It is the Committee’s view that this directly violates Section 47 (2) of the enabling Act, which requires parties to consent to their proceedings being conducted virtually.  The statutory instrument gives limited discretion as it insists that six months after going digital, thus ultra vires the enabling Act.

          With regard to the expedition of justice delivery, this has generally not been the case as since the commencement of IECMS, it has been noted that virtual hearings take longer than physical hearings due to lack of/or poor internet connectivity and availability of electricity.  Moreover, ICEMS has not been introduced in the Magistrates Court; they are bound to superior courts, further addition to the failure to deliver an efficient justice system.  In addition, the costs of internet services are prohibitive and requesting every litigant to file on the IECMs is unconstitutional as it excludes most litigants since they cannot afford internet services.

          The regulations seek to clothe the Registrar with a lot of power as he can now decide whether the papers filled are proper or not.  The powers given to the Registrar, who now regulates every step-in filing and managing cases on the system, are obtrusive as they intrude on Judges’ functions.  The legislature did not envisage this as shown by the High Court Act.  The system thus becomes unreliable as the automation still requires human input.

          Nothing on these reservations, the Committee unanimously issued an adverse report on the Statutory Instrument and in terms of Order 36 (I), I hereby tender a copy of the Adverse Report and of the minutes of the Parliamentary Legal Committee on the 23rd January 2024.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL

AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. MAZUNGUNYE): Thank you Hon. Chairperson, we have taken note of the Adverse Report that has been tabled before this House by the Parliamentary Legal Committee and we also noted the concerns being raised which we also believe are pertinent and as the Ministry of Justice, together with JSC, we will sit down and come up with any necessary amendments or changes in that regard if there are any.  So, we appreciate the concerns thereof and, on that note, we concur we are not objecting to the report being tabled by the Parliamentary Legal Committee.  I submit in that regard.

          THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON:  In the circumstances Hon. Chair, the report was unanimously arrived at by the Parliamentary Legal Committee.  The Statutory Instrument had been gazetted by the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliament Affairs on account of confirmation and acceptance of the contents of the report. In my respectful view, I move for the adoption of the report by the House as there appears to be no objections to the contents of the report.

House resumed.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. MAZUNGUNYE):  Thank you Madam Speaker.  I now, with leave, move that this House having given consideration to the report of the Parliamentary Legal Committee on Statutory Instrument 153 of 2023 published in the Government Gazette on 25th August, 2023, resolves that the Statutory Instrument would, if enacted, be in contravention of the declaration of rights and some provisions of the Constitution.  I submit.

          Motion with leave, adopted. 

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          HON. TOGAREPI: I move that all other Orders of the Day be stood over until Order of the Day Number 9 has been disposed of.

          HON. TSITSI ZHOU: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

 UNCONDITIONAL REPEAL OF ZIDERA BY THE US             GOVERNMENT AND LIFTING OF UNWARRANTED AND ILLEGAL SANCTIONS ON ZIMBABWE

          Nineth Order Read: Adjourned debate on motion on the illegal sanctions unilaterally imposed on the Government of Zimbabwe by the United States of America.

Question again proposed.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. MAZUNGUNYE): Thank you Madam Speaker.  I rise to give a response to the debate on the illegal sanctions unilaterally imposed on Zimbabwe by the Government of the United States of America.  I wish to thank the Hon. Members of this august House for the very enlightening and lively debate on unconditional repeal of Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZIDERA) by United States of America Government and lifting of unwarranted and illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe.  There is consensus that the illegal sanctions negatively affect everyone and these punitive measures have effectively hampered the Government’s effort to implement its developmental agenda.

          As the leader of Government Business in the House and representing the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, I am extremely delighted and grateful to the Honourable Speaker and Members to respond to some of the issues that arose during the debate.  The Honourable Members’ immense contributions to the debate revolve around the House Resolution:

-A delegation from Zimbabwean Parliament be sent to the United States of America to present a briefing paper to the President of the United States of America and Congress requesting their administration to expeditiously and unconditionally repeal ZIDERA which caused so much suffering to the ordinary citizens of our country;

-The delegation engages the United States of America Congress to lift the unwarranted and illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe;

-Zimbabwe presents its case to the United Nations by the end of December, 2024, so that these illegal sanctions imposed on our country are unconditionally lifted once and for all; and

-The United States of America Government to engage with the Zimbabwe Government on terms that promote mutual benefit through economic and political cooperation.

          Consequently, I shall not individually or specifically respond to the aforementioned, but will concentrate on the subject matter arising from the various contributions made by the Hon. Members.  The Second Republic is very clear that it seeks to shed off its pariah status by actively re-engaging the international community on political, social and economic fronts.  Among the strategies, Government will craft and adopt domestic policy priorities that translate into foreign policy goal to facilitate re-engagement with the international community, United Nations and Western countries.  The resolution by the National Assembly is a positive development which will complement strategies already implemented by the Executive.

          The Second Republic had already hit the ground running on the re-engagement drive with spirited missions of Presidential Special Envoys engaging several key countries for removal of sanctions and normalisation of economic and political relations and will continue doing that.  The Government is alive to the notion that improvement of relations with the international community will be leveraged in respect of the country’s quest to attract investment, promote economic growth and national wealth creation within the context of global economy. 

Notably, countries increasingly depend on good image, diplomacy and international standing in the competition for inward investments, tourist arrivals, favourable international trade relations and increased export to support job creation and better living standards for the citizens as envisaged in Vision 2023.  Government will craft and adopt domestic policy priorities that translate into foreign policy goals to facilitate re-engagement with the international community, United Nations and Western countries.

          Zimbabwe’s international goodwill was damaged following successful implementation of the Land Reform Programme and the backlash from the United States of America and European Union was immediate through the imposition of illegal sanctions and unfavourable international media coverage. United States of America enacted Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Act (ZIDERA) that impose restrictions on multilateral financing.  Other bans include the sale and transfer of arms, financial flow and asset freezes on listed individuals and Government Officials.  The illegal sanctions are making it difficult for the Government to provide essential needs for the ordinary person in Zimbabwe.  The general populace is now failing to access essential basic rights that include healthcare, food, water, sanitation and education among others provided in the Bill of Rights in Chapter 4 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

          Let me categorically state that the Land Reform is irreversible – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] -The motive was to redress land ownership imbalances and we achieved that.  The Second Republic took the decision to compensate all former farmers affected by the Land Reform Programme in accordance with the country’s Constitution and Zimbabwe’s obligation under bi-lateral agreements.  Cognisant of the reality that a large number of farmers need to be compensated, given the limited budget capacity.  Vision 2030 envisages engagement of bilateral partners over assistance to mobilise the requisite resources in order to finalise compensation process.  This is one of the domestic policy priorities that translate into foreign policy goals which facilitate re-engagement with the international community and Western countries.

          Far from the claim that sanctions are ring-fenced and targeted on a few individuals. The reality on the ground is the tight grip of the declared and undeclared sanctions being felt throughout the whole economy and its general populace. A good example is the agricultural sector. Agriculture is the backbone of our economy which used to provide employment and income to over 60 percent of the population, supplying 60 percent of raw materials required by the manufacturing sector and contributing 40 percent of the total export earnings. Illegal sanctions made it extremely difficult to access agriculture lines of credit and attract investment.

          I want to associate myself with the contribution of Hon. Munemo during the debate that if it was not for the able leadership of His Excellency, Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa who came up with sustainable surviving strategies, the nation was going to be in a pitiful, shameless and sorrowful state. The Government is prioritising irrigation rehabilitation and expansion, promotion and adopting of research that improves productivity of seed and animal varieties, upscaling of climate smart agriculture practices such as Pfumvudza/Intwasa and capacitation of extension services. The trust of agriculture, under Vision 2030, is to create a self-sufficient and food surplus economy that will see the re-emergency of Zimbabwe as the “Bread Basket” of Southern Africa.

          The unilateral coercive measures against Zimbabwe are illegal and unjustified because they violate Article 41 of the United Nations Charter which states that sanctions can only be decided on by the UN Security Council. The use of unilateral coercive measures is a foul to international law and assaults the sovereign competences of states towards its citizens.

          In September 2014, the Human Rights Council adopted a resolution on human rights and unilateral coercive measures. The resolution stressed that unilateral coercive measures are contrary to the United Nations Charter, international law, international humanitarian law and the norms and principles governing peaceful relations among States. It highlighted that these measures result in social-economic problems in the targeted States. In this regard, the Council decided to create the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights. 

It is against this background that the Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights, made a visit to Zimbabwe in 2020 and reported that these measures have had a negative impact on Zimbabwe and on fundamental human rights of ordinary citizens and must be lifted unconditionally.

          SADC leaders declared and adopted 25th October as the Anti-Sanctions Day in solidarity to the plight of the people of Zimbabwe. The illegal economic embargo imposed by United States of America and its Western allies impact is being felt across the region. The region is calling for unconditional removal of the illegal and unjustified sanctions.

          I am humbled by the motion moved by Hon. Mutodi and totally agree and am in support of the resolution of this House that:

  • A delegation from Zimbabwe Parliament be sent to the United States of America to present a briefing paper to the President of the United States of America and Congress requesting their administration to expeditiously and unconditionally repeal ZIZERA which caused so much suffering to ordinary citizens of our country,
  • The delegation engages the United States of America Congress to lift the unwarranted and illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe,
  • Zimbabwe presents its case to the United Nations so that these illegal sanctions imposed on our country are unconditionally lifted once and for all, and
  • The United States of America Government to engage with the Zimbabwean Government on terms that promote mutual benefit through economic and political cooperation.

          HON. DR. MUTODI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I am impressed by the debate which took place in this House with regards to the motion which is seeking to ask the United States Government to unconditionally repeal ZIDERA. It is clear in the debate that the land Reform Programme precipitates the sanctions by the United States and its allies. The sanctions are imposed in two forms:

  • Targeted sanctions where almost every Government official has been put on the list through some have been removed.

Some of the government officials who have been on the list or still remain on the list include President E. D. Mnangagwa, Minister Owen Ncube, Mr. Godwin Matanga and Mr. Mutamba, Mr.  Isaac Moyo, Mr. Anselem Sanyatwe, Mr. Constantine Guveya Chiwenga, Mr. Robert Mugabe and Madam Grace Mugabe, among others. There have also been business persons and companies namely, Mr. Emmerson Mnangagwa Jnr, Mr. Kudakwashe Tagwirei, Sakunda Holdings and the Zimbabwe Defence Industry.

Madam Speaker, on the economic sanctions, the sanctions have had the effect to block access to credit lines by asking US Directors to resist any loan or debt restructuring with regards to Zimbabwe and this has seen the IMF and World Bank failing to extend any loans to Zimbabwe.  The effect of the sanctions has been devastating to Zimbabwe in the following forms:

A volatile economic situation has arisen mainly characterised by hyper-inflation, exchange rate volatility, unstable financial and money markets, increased political risk, high interest rates and the increased cost of capital, de-industrialisation as companies have left the country, high unemployment levels as skills flight and breakdown of the family unit due to immigration into the diaspora, increased pressure on receiving regions or countries such as South Africa, where more than three million economic migrants from Zimbabwe have sought refuge, under-development as the World Bank has not been providing any loans, entrenchment of poverty and collapse of the health care system, an unfair electoral environment as urbanites who bear the full brand of unemployment, poor urban facilities and poor services have tended to blame the ruling government.

          Madam Speaker, sanctions are inhuman and they constitute collective punishment of all Zimbabweans irrespective of their political affiliation, gender and race. It is the responsibility of Parliament to come up with a lasting solution to the sanctions problem and to develop viable mechanisms to confront ZIDERA. During the debate, several Hon. Members set out their opinion. Hon. W. Shamu, who seconded this motion emphasised that action was necessary to ensure that the people of Zimbabwe do not continue to suffer as a result of the impact of sanctions. Hon. Chiduwa emphasised that the economic impact of the sanctions needed to be confronted; Hon. Ndudzo called for cover measures; Hon. Malinganiso said we could not compromise our land whilst Hon. Munemo said we could not sell our inheritance from our forefathers and Hon. Togarepi, who is the Government Chief Whip, said that the United States of America was seeking to impose a puppet Government in Zimbabwe through the cohesive measures although he did not claim any inch from their land.  He emphasised that Parliament needed to confront Congress, the very legal body which authored and passed  Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZIDERA).

          In view of the above, I would like to ask this House to adopt the motion on the unconditional repeal of ZIDERA. - [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] -  At this point Madam Speaker Ma’am, I would like to emphasise that an action plan be set in motion that a delegation from the Zimbabwe Parliament be sent to the United States of America to present a Briefing Paper to the President of the United States of America and Congress, requesting their administration to expeditiously and unconditionally repeal ZIDERA that has caused so much suffering to ordinary Zimbabweans.

          I would like to urge the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, the Administrators of this Parliament, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and above all, His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe to take necessary measures to support Parliament and the Hon. Members, to reach out to Congress as soon as possible with the Briefing Paper as proposed.

          I have no doubt that the presence of the high-powered delegation from the Parliament of Zimbabwe will be of great impact as it will allow the inauguration or commencement of effective engagement between the Parliament of Zimbabwe and Congress.  I, therefore, leave the task to act, follow up and operationalise the spirit of this motion in the hands of the Government Chief Whip, the Speaker of Parliament, the Clerk of Parliament, the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. I hope the selection of delegates to the United States of America will be done expeditiously and that those selected will have the passion and the capacity to persuade the United States of America Congress to help the people of Zimbabwe by unconditionally removing the cohesive and restrictive measures spelt out in ZIDERA.  I thank you.

          I move that the motion be adopted.

Motion that this House;

DESIROUS to have the heinous and illegal sanctions, unilaterally imposed on Zimbabwe by the Government of United States of America after the enactment of the draconian Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZIDERA) by the George Bush Administration, unconditionally removed to pave way for a prosperous sovereign State;

COGNISANT that the United States of America Government has not forgiven Zimbabwe for rightfully possessing the land that people won after a hard fought and protracted war;

DISMAYED that these evil sanctions have caused gross human suffering to ordinary Zimbabweans as they are not just targeted to individuals who are banned from visiting and operating businesses or bank accounts in the United States, but indiscriminately affect ordinary citizens who have to contend with severe economic hardships such as hyperinflation, exchange rate volatility and high levels of unemployment;

 MINDFUL that the imposition of these illegal sanctions has led to massive skills flight resulting in our people migrating to seek employment and other opportunities elsewhere;

 FURTHER COGNISANT that the Land Reform Programme is irreversible and will always be sustained;

RE-AFFIRMING ENGAGEMENT AND RE-ENGAGEMENT will always be sustained;

NOW, therefore, resolves that;

  1. a) A delegation from Zimbabwe Parliament be sent to the United States of America to present a briefing paper to the President of the United States of America and Congress requesting their administration to expeditiously and unconditionally repeal ZIDERA which has caused so much suffering to ordinary citizens of our country;
  2. b) The delegation engages the United States of America Congress to lift the unwarranted and illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe;
  3. c) Zimbabwe presents its case to the United Nations by the end of December, 2023 so that these illegal sanctions imposed on our country are unconditionally lifted once and for all; and
  4. d) The United States of America Government to engage with the Zimbabwean government on terms that promote mutual benefit through economic and political cooperation, put and agreed to.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

HON. TOGAREPI: Madam Speaker, I move that all other Orders of the Day be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 7 has been disposed of.

HON. KARIKOGA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

PROGRAMMES TO CURB DRUG AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE BY THE YOUTHS

          Seventh Order read:  Adjourned debate on motion on drug and substance abuse by youths nationwide.

          Question again proposed.

          HON. S. SITHOLE:  Thank you Madam. Speaker Ma’am. Good afternoon.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Good afternoon.

          HON. S. SITHOLE:  Thank you for giving me this opportunity to debate on this dangerous motion on drug and substance abuse by our youths.  I am saying it is dangerous Madam Speaker because it is destroying the future generation of our youths.

          Madam Speaker, I wish to say that as Members of Parliament, we can debate and debate daily but I want to say to the august House that we must put some action, measures and harsh laws on this issue of drug abuse.  I hope and believe that people elected us to stand for them here and not to destroy them.  Someone may query as to why I am saying so.  People are saying we are not imposing harsh laws on the issue of drug abuse because some of us are into the business of drug abuse.  So, I want to encourage Members of Parliament that the issue of drug abuse is now destroying the future of our youths.  In my view Madam Speaker, in an effort to hit three birds with one stone.  I will run like I am debating on sanctions because I am familiar with them.

          In my view Madam Speaker, this is why I am calling it dangerous.  Those who are supplying drugs, musombodhiya and whatsoever, are like murderers and traitors who commit treason. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – When I am saying murderers, someone is busy asking why?  The motion was tabled by Hon. Mapiki’ seconded by Hon. Karimatsenga-Nyamupinga, where they emphasised on sticking and sleeping.  The youths are always sticking.  You will find that some are dying before becoming parents and others are making babies through masturbation in their dreams – that is murderous.

          Treason is a threat to security Madam Speaker Ma’am. I want to inform Hon. Members as to why I am calling it treasonous.  Do you know that white people are very clever?  With your indulgence, allow me Madam Speaker, to show other Hon. Members.  These white people are very clever, they tried a way of bringing in family planning and failed.  Now they are trying to bring in this musombodhiya so that we do not have kids because people will be intoxicated every day.

 What they do Madam Speaker is that they kill a cow, take the skin, soften it and then they undo it.  They then make a rope to tie another cow and they make a short rope to tie by the neck and then take another one to make a whip.  They are so clever Madam Speaker, they use others and deal with us using money.

          So when we are here, we are supposed to teach each other that the agenda of the Americans comes with all shenanigans.  I want to emphasise that they are not sleeping, who have seen the doll of a black person, yet all the dolls always resemble the white people so that our kids will know that white people are more superior.

          So, I want to thank His Excellency for supporting the end of drug and substance abuse by setting up a Committee.  As leaders, when we set up committees like these, it shows that there is progress.  As Members of Parliament, we must make laws for  life in prison, without a court or a lawyer to defend. Madam Speaker, this is the agenda that is why I said this is a threat to security. 

          We have realised in Libya, Syria or wherever, do you think those people are not drunk? Do you think they get into war sober just like that? No, they will be drunk, it started there.  No person will move with a gun in public to shoot all those people are being used and drugged. So that is why I am saying it is a threat in the country, they are starting with these small things.  So let us make harsh laws without thinking that sometimes these laws will catch up with you. Let us defend our country.

          I will thank His Excellency for setting up a Committee, the Committee is supposed to get views from us on how we as Members of Parliament can put a law and then craft it.  I think that some Hon. Members talking about corruption through drug and substance abuse are correct.  What is stopping our law enforcement from catching someone with a heap of tablets and whatever musombodia is because they share?  Otherwise they go through courts, it is just only this small bottle and the rest will go.  They make a lot of money.  Some are saying they are not getting paid much, it is because of these sanctions which we are talking about.  Like I said, some are being used, they are the ones who are being used that is why they are defending. 

So my wish Madam Speaker is now that we constitute the majority, we can make it.  Even if they do not like it, we can make it in this Parliament.  Even if the opposition complains, we can make it.  We have done good because if there is no development, every burden goes to ZANU PF. So we must stand for it and defend and make laws which will make this country move.  Our leadership which we were given by God, Madam Speaker is kind hearted, these Americans should come to Zimbabwe and see all these developments we have achieved with our resources, for example, this Parliament and everything here, the development happening is because God is here…

HON. MUWODZERI: On a point of order! Thank you, Madam Speaker.  I think Hon. Sithole is just waffling, otherwise he has diverted from the issue of drugs.  He is now talking about ZANU PF, this is an august House whereby we should respect the sanctity of this august House, that is how I feel.  He is diverting his issues from the motion that he has raised.  The motion was okay, but he diverted his story and now talking about ZANU PF.  This is an august House whereby we must respect its sanctity. I thank you.

          HON. J. SITHOLE: Thank you Hon. Speaker, these ones are supposed to be taught.  If you say at my age I am waffling Hon. Member, it is not your problem let us go ahead as I have been given the floor…

          HON. MUWODZERI: On a point of order Madam Speaker.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Please, can we have order in the House Hon. Member, please can you take your seat.  We cannot spend the whole of this afternoon standing for points of order. You will debate when you want to debate or you can rise and have a chance to debate.

          HON. J. SITHOLE: They want me to forget what I want to say.  They are just interjecting to make me forget what I wanted to say, but they will not succeed. Madam Speaker, my prayer is, as Members of Parliament, let us assist our country and the people who elected us.   With these murderers who are bringing in  drugs in this country,  some are saying law enforcement people in borders are also involved in drugs.  My opinion is that we must amend some of our laws because we can say the police is not doing its job, when they go to court sometimes the police will not have done thorough investigations and the court will say there is not enough evidence for them to prosecute and at the end of the day, people will go scot-free.  We must revisit some of the laws so that perpetrators will not go unpunished.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. J. Sithole, you are left with five minutes.

          HON. J. SITHOLE: Someone must extend for me.  I was saying we must revisit some of our laws to allow police to investigate thoroughly before we take perpetrators to court.  Why am I saying this? If the police is not given enough time, they go to court without enough evidence because a suspect is only allowed to be in cells for a maximum of 48 hours.  Sometimes small fines are charged.  Let us bring some laws that are deterrent like 40 years in jail, we want to stop corruption and  abuse of drugs.  I want to say to some of us who are saying ZANU PF politics, I say politics is a good thing because it is bringing development.  You must know that politics is good and some say politics is a dirty game; that is dogmatise and dogmatism. You will know politics when you know dogmatise and dogmatism…

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. J. Sithole, Hon. J. Sithole!

          HON. HADEBE: On a point of order Madam Speaker.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: What is your point of order?

          HON. HADEBE: I think Hon. J. Sithole is on the influence of drugs and he must abstain from these dangerous and illicit drugs. He is diverting from the whole presentation…

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon Member, I do not think it is honourable for you to say another Hon. Member is on drugs.  That is very wrong and you must withdraw that statement.

          HON. HADEBE:  I withdraw.

          HON. MAKOPE: Thank you Madam Speaker.  Madam Speaker, I rise in support of the motion moved by Hon. Mapiki on the unabated drug and substance abuse that has done harm to our beloved nation of Zimbabwe.  Thank you for affording me this opportunity to add my opinion on this very important issue in discussion.  I am disappointed by unprecedent increase of cases related to drug abuse substance in our beloved nation.  The fact that we are not yet declared a national disaster is probably due to the fact that we might not have enough knowledge of the depth at which this menace has already crippled into our communities. 

          The number of drug users in Sub-Saharan African is expected to increase by nearly 150% by the year 2050, according to the new research by ENACT programme, an institute for security studies in partnership with Frederick Pardee Centre for International Future.   So, this escalating increase of such cases, it means the issue is of great concern. This is just a 5% increase in the proportion of its population experimenting with the illicit substance relative to today, but the projected population growth in Sub-Saharan Africa means the continent will experience the largest growth in the number of absolute users of the drugs in the region.

          Drugs and substance abuse, Madam Speaker, has seen an increase in admission of psychiatric institutions and the rise in murder, robberies, bullying, sexual abuse and rape in our communities.  Currently, Home Affairs have been in an operation arresting drug peddlers as well as the drug users and the numbers are so alarming in our courts.  Even if you look at some of the murder cases which we are experiencing these days, the majority of the cases seem to be under the influence of these drugs.

          Madam Speaker, let me take you through our statistical demography as a country.  According to the latest Zimstats, women comprise of 52% and men constitute about 48% of our population.  However, my contribution is embedded in showing that 61% of the population in Zimbabwe is our youth that are under the age of 25.  These statistics are showing us that we are being infected as a nation to the seed. When looking at our youths, I am looking at them as the seed of the nation, as the seed which shall grow and we expect a very good harvest in the near future, but if our seed is corrupted, if our seed is affected as farmers, I do not think we can expect a better harvest.

          So, most of our youths especially those who are still going to school, it might be high school or the institution of higher learning, they are the most targeted.  Therefore, our future is being threatened.  To me, this is a security threat as a nation that we should actually focus on measures to mitigate most of these challenges.

          Statistics from the year 2021 reveals that 60% of the psychiatric admissions were due to drug and substance abuse.  Of those admissions, over 80% were in the age of 16 to 40 years.  Further research revealed that the prevalence of drug and alcohol abuse was estimated at 57% amongst the youth.  Drugs in circulation in Zimbabwe include crystal meth, commonly known as mutoriro, guka, bronco, solvents such as maragado, marijuana, cocaine to mention but a few, which are mostly abused or traded under the streets by most of our youngsters.  There is estimated to be no more than 18 psychiatrists, 13 psychologists and 30 social workers in Zimbabwe to support a population of 40 million people, which means most of our employees who are mainly focusing on that particular area are very few.  So, our ground force is very thin.

          Most mental health services are supported by Zimbabwe’s 917 psychiatric nurses.  It is from this background that it is important to note that reports indicate escalating prevalence with over half of mental health patients suffering from substance induced disorders.  The country has a total of 18 facilities that provide counselling and rehabilitation services.  Among these is Ruwa Beatrice Rehabilitation Centre.  In addition, there are four public psychiatric institutions that offer help in the fight against abuse including Sally Mugabe Psychiatric Unit and Ingutsheni in Bulawayo.

          Madam Speaker, we have mentioned the challenges associated with the drug and substance abuse and the recommendations brought forward have been so limited.  We have been implementing some measures in the past, which include campaigns but I think this is the time we should now move a step ahead and try to think outside the box as a nation on some measures to curb this menace.  We can suggest the establishment of these rehabilitation centres for easy access.  Of course, they might be very expensive to some of these drug users but it is one way to go.  Again, that measure needs a lot of commitment by our Executive to avail some funds to the Ministry concerned for them to construct or to establish such institutions.

          The success of any of the ideas being discussed can only be met if the workforce of these areas or institutions are trained.  I have been suggesting, Madam Speaker, the establishment again of counselling centres in our schools and colleges where the personnel that we already have, like teachers can be trained and also focus in trying to curb this problem amongst our children at high school as well as at tertiary level.  This idea has been done by some nations such as America because it has been noted that teachers spend most of the time with the learners, therefore the signs and symptoms of drug abuse can easily or quickly be detected by the teacher while it is at the initial stage.

          Again, I think the State, through the legislative arm as well as the judiciary, should come up with laws which also catch the drug peddlers who are benefitting from this scheme. I believe there are a number of beneficiaries because most of these drugs are not manufactured locally and the idea seems to have been initiated from somewhere.  On this point, I even want to blame the Global North, where some of these drug peddlers have been procuring such dangerous and illicit drugs to developing countries like Zimbabwe.  I think if we find the sources, if we track down to the sources of these challenges, we can easily curb this.  Yes, the arrest of the drug users is very noble, but it is not enough if we do not arrest the drug lords who are selling drugs to our youngsters in the streets.  Such ideas, I think it is another way to go.

          There is also a very good suggestion which also needs financial commitment where some projects can be initiated in our communities, probably to engage most of our youths.  Self-help jobs can be used and they can occupy our youngsters.  However, teaching is one of the fundamental options at the moment.  If we start to teach our youths from primary level up to tertiary level, I think they can appreciate the dangers of taking drugs.  Thank you.

          THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Makope for a well-researched debate with statistics and facts.  Well done.

+HON. MAHLANGU: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.  May I also add my voice on the motion moved by Hon. Mapiki.  I would consider drug abuse as a killer disease that has come to destroy our young generation.  It started when our kids were doing some vuzu parties not knowing that our children are being initiated into drugs during these parties.  We went around to curb these drugs, but in the streets there was mutoriro and other drugs given numerous names.  I remember one day, Hon. Nyabani coming in the House with a sample of the bottle of drugs which was mainly taken by our youngsters.

As a nation, we have not come up with proper ways of curbing this problem.  We have not had someone who have been convicted because of selling these drugs, but these drugs have been in the streets in the open.  These drugs have become part of the meal of the youngsters because you find the youths trembling if they have not taken these drugs.  I am taking these drugs as a killer disease like HIV, even though we managed to stablise HIV because we got drugs to suppress the virus.  With this scourge of drugs, we are failing to get the source of these drugs, but it is found almost everywhere.  I want to thank the previous speaker very much because he gave statistics indicating how many kids in each area are affected.  My question now is, as a country, why are we failing to arrest even a single person to be an example that he has been found selling these drugs? 

Even right now, I can show you in the street who is selling those drugs, but if that person is arrested, you will find that person out of the prison in no time.  We have not heard of anyone who was sentenced because of selling drugs.  Again, what I have taken note of is that children are lying idle because our economy is not conducive, especially to the youths.  Is it not proper that we go back to the youth centres where in each ward, we have youth centres where our youths can spend time doing something that is productive?  Those who are good in crafting can be doing that, spending their time so that they are kept busy doing productive things instead of them loitering. 

Right now, we have a kid who lost his life because of taking drugs.  What I think is that these drugs contaminate our intestines.  I also request that let there be a law that those who are arrested, should lead the police to where they would have bought those drugs.  We want the trader of these drugs to be the ones being sent behind bars.  Thank you, Madam Speaker.

          HON. ZIKI: Thank you Madam Speaker for giving me this opportunity to contribute to this very important topic. I am not going to go into how this has ravaged the nation. As I stand here, I also have a family which is suffering from this scourge and I am not going to waste time on what a disaster this is bringing into our nation. I am coming in trying to give solutions. What are we going to do about this? I just have a few questions that I would want to ask.

          There is a lot that we can do, but I think some of the work that we need to do rests on people who should be doing that work. Public drinking is still a crime and it is on the statutes. Unlicenced liquor outlets are still outlawed under the law and that comes with confiscation for the loot of whatever will be sold. Selling liquor to under 18 is still a crime and driving under the influence of alcohol is a crime. Bottle stores operating outside of ours is still a crime. Today we have bottle stores that are operating like bars. They are actually putting speakers outside, but they are not bottle stores. They are operating during the night.

          There is a particular one in town. They had speakers outside the bottle store, they took away the speakers and now they are opening just one door and open until 10.00 p.m. Shebeens are still outlawed in this country, but they are there. In some areas where we come from, drug dealers and their places of operation are actually known to the police and everybody, but some of them get warned of impending raids. What I was going to recommend and this is my opinion, I think there is a lot to be done with what we have got.

          I do not know if our police are overwhelmed, in which case I am not sure as to how many policemen we can have per capita of our population for effective policing. I do not know whether we still have a unit. I was going to suggest a stand-alone unit, a police crack unit that deals with this scourge. That unit must be well incentivised with good perks and remuneration. I was also going to propose that we take this issue serious. We need to dissent on this with drastic action and change things. Zimbabwe must be a no-go area for drugs. If our police are effective, we can get to that stage.

          On the issue of alcohol, we are not the only nation that has been afflicted by this scourge. For instance, the U. K. around the 1990s, they shortened the opening hours of liquor outlets and they got results. Crimes went down. Hospitalisation through alcohol crimes also went down and people even reported on drinking less and so forth. That had advantages and this is what I was going to suggest that those hours of operation be shortened. We need to make sure that everyone who sells alcohol is properly licenced.

          Madam Speaker, the issue of rehabilitation centres should come into it. They take away the crime load from the criminal system. If someone can just walk into a rehab centre and be assisted without being judged, we will also improve on that. I am suggesting that in the short period coming, we must come up with a motion. I know it is a difficult issue because a lot of people are benefiting from the sale of alcohol and now it is becoming like a survival thing in the country because you find alcohol in the streets, but if we do not take radical action, we are not going anywhere. So, I will be moving a motion on the shortening of operation hours. Thank you.

          HON. MAVUNGA: Thank you Hon. Speaker for affording me this opportunity to take debate for the first time since being sworn in. With that in mind, may I implore you Hon. Speaker and Hon. Members to be gentle when it comes to point of order for I am but just a virgin in the House of the 10th Parliament, so help me God. I understand that I am allowed to talk for an hour since it is my first time – I am just kidding.

          As I jump into my debate, let me also thank His Excellency, President E. D. Mnangagwa for delivering such a beautiful magnificent august House right here in Mt. Hampden in Harare. Kusinika intshukutsha yokusebenza gadalala njenge Nhlonitshwa ze10th   Parliament. Allow me to thank also the residents of Nketa Constituency koNthuthu ziyathunqa for giving me the mandate to fully represent them in this august House and not boycotting Parliament.

          We are all in agreement that drug and substance abuse is now a scourge to society. The patriotic side of this House is in agreement to this fact. Surprisingly, the puppet side of the House is also in agreement and I believe the Hon. Speaker agrees that it is now a thorn in the flesh to society and is quickly escalating to being a pandemic in our beloved Zimbabwe.

Mr. Speaker, according to the 2024 National Budget as presented by Minister Prof. M. Ncube to this 10th Parliament, on page 153, paragraph 461, I quote “the issue has already been declared a national disaster and a taskforce has been set up to address the issue holistically”. It is also important to note that as young people, we realise the serious threat posed by this scourge to the attainment of Vision 2030 as highlighted on page 151, paragraph 460 of the National Budget presentation. With that in mind, allow me to focus my debate on solutions rather than problems, answers rather than questions and possible steps towards legislation landmarks rather than procrastination hallmarks in combating drug and substance abuse.

Allow me to propose possible solutions to consider as we debate the motion that was placed before the House. There are a number of solutions I can propose, most of which I received from the residents of Nketa through our constituency WhatsApp platforms. However, for the sake of time, I will indulge on the following: hefty penalties and vicious laws, communication strategy for transformational awareness and jobs, empowerment and skills development.

          Hon. Speaker, hefty penalties will help us combat drug and substance abuse by deterring the drug lords and their foot soldiers from trafficking these dangerous drugs and substances to our communities and discourage youths from indulging in these practices. I am elated to learn that Government is already taking steps to review legislation in line with drug offenders.  Allow me to propose a deterrent solution in our legislative posture to discourage the possession and trafficking of drugs and dangerous substances.

          May Government take a journey to some Asian countries and interrogate their policies and penalties on drug trafficking and possession. Let us take a flight to Beijing for example and not admire the walls of China, nor the rich culture of the global power but explore its stance on drug and substance abuse. According to DrugAbuse.com, a blog written by Addiction Centres Editorial, “In China, if you are caught with drugs, you could be forced to attend drug rehab in a facility run by the Government. Execution is the penalty for some drug crimes.”

          Let us take another flight to Singapore and not admire its clean streets and elegant buildings but explore its stance on drug traffickers. According to the Singapore Central Narcotics Bureau website https://www.cnb.gov.sg/drug-information/drugs-and-inhalants,

penalties for drug related offences range from one year to the death penalty and can include fines of up to US$20 000. For example, if you are caught with more than 250 grams of methamphetamine or meth or ice or mutoriro as commonly known in our country or dombo, you may face the death penalty. Of course, Parliament has a Bill on the abolishment of the death penalty, however other options can be explored.

          For example, let us take the last flight to Thailand and not admire the flavour of their cultural dishes and fancy hotels but explore their stance on drug trafficking and drug traffickers. According to JusLaws.com, an international law firm in Thailand, the production and exportation or importation of illegal substances can result in life imprisonment though I think Parliament should extend the death penalty to not just murders but to drug trafficking until the abolishment of death penalty is passed.

In my observation Mr. Speaker, all these countries have something in common. Their youths are not struggling with drugs and substance abuse, communities are not struggling with drug related crimes and violence and they are not faced with budgetary headaches to combat drug abuse but prioritise their money to development and economic growth. A study by the National Bureau of Economic Research has shown that there is a serious benefit to society by jailing offenders. However, in the case of drug offenders, the authors find that the cost-benefit calculations might be more favourable, because incarceration not only lowers crime, but also drug consumption.

Hon. Speaker, let us take a leaf from our Asian legislators and take a firm stance on the offenders of our drug laws. If our laws are too lenient, let us revisit them in this 10th Parliament and put the fear of God in those that think they can become the Pablo’s and Escobar’s of Zimbabwe. On the brighter side, hardcore drugs like cocaine and heroine have not fully penetrated our market and we have a window period to put our House in order and completely put a lid on the potential dangers that come with hardcore drugs – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]-

According to a research brief by UNICEF of 2023 on Understanding Drug Use and Substance Abuse by Zimbabwean Adolescents and Young People, The Zimbabwe Civil Liberties and Drug Network reports that alcohol, drugs and other substances abuse in order of consumption is cannabis at 67%, cough syrup 47%, crystal meth 36%, illegal alcohol 31%, pharmaceuticals 13%, crack 3%, cocaine powder 3% and heroine 2%. My proposal is that we consider long prison sentences or life in prison for drug lords and their runners.

As I conclude on this appeal Hon. Speaker, it is important to note that hefty laws or strict policies or legislation without effective and efficient law enforcement is like boarding a yellow bus with no wheels and expect to reach your destination. According to the Muthengo Development Solution Study, dealers’ homes or place of operations see the highest level of consumption at 46%, with 32% using a friend’s house. Nine percent of the study participants claim that sellers are widely known in communities and sell indiscriminately to all ages.

May we consider bonuses for law enforcement players to encourage arrests of drug dealers and discourage taking of bribes – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]- Raids and operations should be frequent and monitored through usage of technology and whistle-blowers.  In other cases, you find police officers with body cams or webcams on their uniforms. If our police officers can be equipped with those, it will be easy to record and monitor their activities and also follow on the arrests of drug offenders.

My second proposal to combat this problem is to improve our communication strategy by engaging youth on all media platforms, including social media through creative messaging and adverts, promote and encourage messaging in all 14 languages across relevant ministries in awareness campaigns. Make it mandatory for schools to intentionally and consistently advocate against abuse of drugs in print, digital and out-door media on their campuses and curricula. I take note that $30 billion has been set aside to fight drug and substance abuse and part of that money will support awareness campaigns and for that, we are grateful.

Hon. Speaker, may I propose that the communication strategy be thoroughly crafted in order to make these campaigns effective and achieve their intended goals. May the Ministry of Youth Empowerment collaborate with the Ministry of Media, Information and Broadcasting Services and have a joint taskforce to come up with a satisfactory plan to communicate effectively to the youths of this country. Let our communication be transformational and not transactional.

My last proposal Hon. Speaker, which I think is very critical in combating drug abuse is jobs, empowerment and skills. As the English saying goes “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop”. The unemployment rate is highest amongst young people in this country and this gives them ample time to engage in scandalous activities.  Creation of jobs and provision of empowerment opportunities and training will go a long way in helping prevent the spread of drug abuse in our constituencies.

We applaud His Excellency, President E.D. Mnangagwa for the establishment of various empowerment financial institutions like Empower Bank and Zimbabwe Women’s Microfinance Bank.  According to the 2024 Budget, 23.1 billion has been allocated to these two banks and 26.6 billion has been allocated to the other institutions for the purposes of recapitalisation.  I would like to implore the mother ministries of these institutions to avail more locations for these banks; employ more agents and not personalise the funding provided to their coffers.

May the retooling and refurbishing of vocational training centres be sped up because time is not on our side.  May some of these vocational training centres also house innovation hubs.  As we drive towards a digital economy, let us provide more options for young people to learn and participate in the relevant skills through these vocational training centres.

In conclusion, Bulawayo has nine vocational training centres.  Three are under the Ministry and six are under city council.  In my Constituency which is home to 18000 households and approximately 80 000, we have no vocational training centre nor recreational sports complexes.  We have since written to the Minister of Youth Empowerment and the Minister of Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture requesting support and funding for the establishment of these facilities and I would like to believe we will get a favorable response.

We have a serious drug and substance abuse in Nketa Constituency.  In the last two months, we have had to bury three young people due to drug and substance abuse related issues so much that I have had to turn a section of my office into a rehabilitation centre. Currently, Hon. Speaker we have five young people living at the facility and our hope is to have a rehabilitation centre in each Constituency in Bulawayo.  What breaks my heart is that two of these young people got hooked to drugs while at university and were forced to drop out of school.  One was doing HR at MSU; one was doing Architecture in China and the other one was forced to drop out of high school because of their addiction to drugs.  When you see a parent shed a tear for their child begging for help, you will understand that the country is on the verge of an all-out war of drug and substance abuse and it is a serious threat to the attainment of vision 2030.

Let us put hefty laws to discourage drug trafficking, sales and their consumption by our youths.  Let us have a solid communication strategy that is transformational in awareness campaigns across all media.  Let us create jobs, empowerment and skills training as a matter of urgency. Sanctions should go as soon as yesterday.  I thank you Mr. Speaker.

*HON. KARENYI: Thank you Mr. Speaker.  Let me take this opportunity to thank the mover of the motion which will help in healing that has caused our youths to become drug addicts.  I will say a few words in trying to highlight that the majority of our children in our communities where we come from, especially in Chikanga where I come from are drug and substance abusers. 

As a parent, one would agree that when a child is not in the house – you make investigations and find out that the child is peddling drugs.  The majority of our children are taking cheap liquors called imbwa and kuzoda.  Some are using bulbs and even children’s diapers in order to get intoxicated.

In my research, I gathered the causes of drug addiction.  I observed that there is peer pressure.  This causes the youths to get into drug abuse.  Stress is another factor that is causing drug abuse.  Stress is prevalent because people have nothing to do.  Some children fail to perform at school, hence they turn to drug abuse as an option.  Dysfunctional families in the form of divorces and separations leave children on their own.  As a result, there will not be any food in the home and children are forced into drug abuse. 

*THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MACHINGURA):  Hon. Member, may you please stick to one language.

*HON. KARENYI:  Thank you Mr. Speaker.  Divorce has caused a lot of children to be hooked into drug abuse.  I tried to look at all these things and then say as a country, how can we be talking much about such issues? It is because there is rampant drug use in the communities where we come from.  There is a lot of burglary.  Some parents no longer have properties because the children who are hooked on drugs are now stealing from their parents.  Some parents have been killed by their own children.  It is not normal for a child to kill their parent.  They do that under the influence of drugs. 

There is the Zimbabwe Civil Liberties and Drug Network report which shows that the percentage of people using drugs are on syrups.

Hon. Karenyi having said syrups whilst debating in Shona.

*THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  You are now using English.

*HON. KARENYI: I am sorry Mr. Speaker Sir.  May you assist me with the Shona word for syrup? 

*THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Please continue debating.

 *HON. KARENYI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  Cough syrup is now being abused by our children.  There is what is called Broncho, a cough syrup which is smuggled into this country and being abused by our children.  47% of our children are abusing this syrup.

Cannabis is being abused by 67% of our children.  The previous speaker spoke about cocaine saying that it is no longer heavily used in Zimbabwe.  Only 3% is abusing cocaine.  As a country, we should come up with stringent laws that deter drug abuse.  Our borders should not be porous to an extent that dangerous drugs are highly smuggled into the country.

Whilst researching, I also observed that children between 15-19 years are the majority who are being affected mentally because of drug abuse.  60% are under psychiatric treatment. Zimbabwe as a country has 60% of those drug abusers who are now suffering from drug abuse.  It means that it should raise some alarm or red flags and we should come up with mitigatory measures as a country.  I am quite pained by the findings that women produced their report that showed that the majority of people being arrested for selling these illicit drugs are women.  It means that these parents have now lost the plot.  They are the ones that are killing the young generation.  They are the ones killing your aunt’s daughter or your brother’s son.  So we should not love money to an extent that we kill the future of our Zimbabwean children through drug abuse whilst peddling them. 

          There are a lot of things that we may come up with as Zimbabweans to mitigate drug abuse.  I was hoping that the majority of the people that have been talking mentioned rehabilitation centres, but there is more that I would like to bring to light.  This is the fact that Government is supposed to come up with these rehabilitation centres so that the majority of those that are abusing drugs can afford the treatment.  The majority of these children are from universities because they have now gone into drug abuse as a result of being dejected after not having found any work.  Can there be people who can come and partner the Government so that when they come up with drug rehabilitation centres, they become affordable? 

I would like to remind you that as a resident of Manicaland, if you go into Fern Valley in Mutare, there is a rehabilitation centre which costs not less than US$60 per day.  This is beyond the means of the ordinary parent, but we are grateful that such centres are available to assist the drug abusers.  They are way above the affordability of the parents and that is not easy.  Maybe we need people that can come into counselling of both children and parents so that the families can be assisted.  Once the parents find out that their children are abusing drugs, the easiest way out is to disinherit the children.  The parents need to be educated that once a child is a problematic drug abuser, they should not expel them from the family because if they do so we are adding petrol to the fire. 

Experts should teach the parents how best to mitigate the issue of drug abuse in the family.  It was my considered view that in Zimbabwe, from the various researches conducted, out of 180 countries that are on the Corruption Perception Index, Zimbabwe is now on number 157.  This means that our borders are now corrupt and because of the porousness, our children are now going to abuse drugs in the community.  It is my wish that we have laws that are very stringent and do not create loopholes, but they will eradicate drug abuse.  My plea is that we have the CDF and we carry out research on the requirements of constituencies.  It is my considered view that CDF should come up with meaningful assistance to the community to ensure that we also lessen drug abuse.  Recreational centres can be constructed using CDF to ensure our youths are occupied with arts, drama or ICT.  We may see a reduction in the number of drug abusers. 

          Can our budget also look into the issue of projects for the youths and a provision being made in the National Budget so that they can become self-sustaining?

 Lastly, we have girls that are now abusers of drugs.  Eventually, they end up being sexually active at a very young age and they will end up having unwanted pregnancies and the children will end up being mothers.  So there is need to curb this scourge of young mothers who are below the age of majority.  Let me end by thanking the mover of this motion and also say that NGOs and popular churches with a lot of youths and adults should make time to teach the congregants on the dangers of drug abuse and the importance of abstaining from drugs.  I thank you.

          HON. KANUPULA:  Hon Members, I also want to add my voice to the motion on drug and substance abuse.  Over the years, the world at large has experienced people from all walks of life falling due to problems associated with substance and drug abuse in the global village and these are poor parentage as I said. Easy accessibility of drugs, peer pressure, influence of social media. Accordingly, Government and civil society should ensure that the following interventions are taken: - Creation of employment, both formal and informal. I am greatly pleased with the Government’s initiatives to set aside land for the youths. Establishment of rehabilitation centres to deal with drug addicts. I am aware, the State has taken serious measures through the Ministry of Health in conjunction with the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare to address concerns of drug addicts.

We also have to take awareness campaigns in the Zimbabwean context. We must acknowledge the role being played by civil society to educate the nation of the harm posed by drug consumption. Crackdown on offenders, the Zimbabwe Republic Police must be capacitated to eliminate drug lords in the cities and towns. Their effort is acknowledged and more resources must be availed to them to fight further.

Accordingly, drug abuse leads to the following issues in a city and towns. High rate of crime - indeed, crime rates related to drugs are on the increase. Stabbing of people, fighting, assaults are all on the increase in night clubs across the country. HIV prevalence, injecting drugs on one another using the same injections are causing a lot of transmission of diseases from one person to another.  Unprotected intercourse when under influence of drugs cannot be ruled out in young people.

Family disintegration – once an addict and failing to be rehabilitated, one risks losing his or her life or possibly being chased away from home, resulting in being a street kid. Loss of future generation – a generation that is drunk has no future. Imparting skills in a drunk generation is difficult. Accordingly, drug and substance abuse is not good for this nation. More effort therefore needs to be put to eliminate and minimise the impact of substance and drug in this country. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for giving me this opportunity.

*HON. GANYIWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for giving me this opportunity so that I can put forward my debate with suggestions in relation to the challenge we are faced with. I am speaking as Member of Parliament and also as a parent. Mothers normally say that giving birth is so painful. Let me also say, as a man, giving birth is so painful. If we discuss the issue without historical background, we will not achieve what we want. We are supposed to look back and analyse where we are coming from. There have been debate of other issues that people are using pampers as drugs. Have we ever done research that some of the things which are being kept can be drugs tomorrow?

In my research about this issue, I have realised that children should be disciplined. Who removed the authority that we had to discipline? I am looking at parents that are on both sides of the House. Has anyone died as a result of discipline by their parents? We are here as Hon. Members who represent constituencies because we were disciplined and censored. Who has done this? Why is a man without a wife trying to wipe the mucus of an unmarried woman’s daughter? Who gives us these international treaties that we sign before they are scrutinised by our researchers and experts about people who are bent on ensuring that things do not go well for us? We now have this monster amongst us.

I am happy to be in this august House. When we started we had a prayer based on the same Bible where we are equal. We are equal in our country. The 90% of Zimbabwean people are Christians. In Revelations, they say, he who loves their child should not spare the rod. Is this not the same Bible that we swear when we take our oath? Is it not the first thing you start making reference to before we start our work? Why are we not following some of these things if we are Christians?

The same Bible says that the mother and father of a mad fool son are not happy. We no longer have any happiness. Where is this coming from? A few weeks before the motion was moved, which brings into play the need to conserve our lands and avoid illegal settlements, but I hear that there are people that are in those areas who have been asked to be evicted from those areas. The country is being destroyed under our watch.

Mr. Speaker Sir, I am a parent and to think that my boys in future, will strike my cheek with open hands, it hurts me. The parents will look after the children as they grow and the children will have to look after the parents as they lose their teeth. Where are we going? Proverbs 22 v 6 says that instruct your children in the manner that you would want them to so that when they grow up, they will not deviate from that practice. What are we teaching them? These are the people who disadvantaged us and they got better land and resettled us in rocky areas. Now they are saying we are bringing our children in the wrong manner. Are you sure about it?

          Is this what we were sent to say when we gathered them at the dip tank or that sandy area? Did they say that we must spare the rod and spoil the child? Who was given that mandate, that when you come to Parliament come up with laws that children should not be disciplined by their parents and as a result, I will not assault my own child? I am speaking as a parent who is being hurt and as a representative of the people who have sent me to Parliament.

          If one were to look at our scenario today, we now have in place an image that would give us a script that would give us an example. Where did this template come from? Have we interrogated this template? What will our children be doing at these recreational facilities and who will have paid this money? We put a lot of money into things that are not developmental to our country by people that have misdirected themselves in taking crystal meth. This is just like modern trends that we must follow the global trends the world over for recreational facilities. Where were these recreational facilities put in place?

          This is warfare against Zimbabwean and African children. If you look at the statistics, you cannot separate the length and breadth of the economy when compared with a country with very few people. That is why Nigeria is rated amongst the best economies in Africa. Their population is huge. The Bible says reproduce, multiply and fill the earth like the sand. If they are not going to be involved in drug abuse, they are going to be too many of these people and our economy is going to grow. India is a big country and you cannot remove the number of people that are there. The same applies to China, you cannot disaggregate with the people that are there.

          All these people that come in like the NGOs, the majority of them have bad intentions. They come to the dog with a whip at the back. They are the ones who led our children to know about these things. As we were growing up before a certain age, you would not talk about reproduction and sex. We were then told that, that was being wayward. There is no person who copies things that they would not want to practice. When I learnt to drive a motor vehicle, I would steal my grandfather’s vehicle because I had been taught how to drive a car. We went a step further to say, if she becomes pregnant, she must be allowed to have an abortion as in the United States. It is good to do it, but when the repercussion of such actions stares in the face, it becomes painful.

          From the various researches that were done when HIV/ADIS came, the assistance that we only got was in the form of being given condoms. It then became easy for people to indulge in sex and those condoms were readily available. What exactly was the benefit? Why were they so magnanimous in assisting us? That is why I am saying that we need to sit down and introspect. This can give you the evidence of the war that was brought to bear upon us. We need time to introspect or bring forth the evidence and you are going to be frightened. I do not deny that an idle mind is the devils’ workshop and that those hooked on drug abuse, is because of being idle. I used to believe that those who are coming from poor homes are the ones who are in involved in drug abuse, but when I conducted the research, I found out that the majority of the people who are into drug abuse are those from well to do families. Then I asked if they did not have anything to do. They are the ones in the majority. Some of them inherited very reasonable inheritances such that their parents are turning in their graves. Do they not have anything to do?

We should interrogate this issue like the other motion who was debated to deal with either the removal or non-removal of the death sentence. It should be put in abeyance so that we will come and discuss it as Hon. Members and show each other the truth.

[Time limit]

HON. KARIKOGA: I move that the Hon Member’s time be increased by two minutes.

HON. NYABANI: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

          *HON. GANYIWA: Mr. Speaker, all I am saying is that the issue at hand is a very important one.  We cannot separate it like we were discussing, when we said we do not want certain pronouncements or judgments because the destruction of our children’s future is akin to being killed. So we will debate on issues such as the removal of sentences on those who are intoxicated or under the influence of alcohol. Tuckshops in constituencies are now also selling alcohol.  They should simply go there on a plea so that justice is not delayed because they are killing our children.

I expect my child to be in a position to look after me in my old age.  Why are you giving them crystal meth? This is where the death penalty should apply.  They were saying that there is no hangman in this country.  They promised to advertise the post in other countries so that the prospective candidate is issued with a work permit to work here.  In Saudi Arabia and Dubai, if you are caught with drugs, the death sentence applies. 

In conclusion, allow me to vent my anger on this motion.  I am now appealing to our listening President and hope that he is equally disturbed and will hear our pleas. We should not wait to come up with a law.  There must be Presidential Powers coming into effect such that anyone who is found in possession of dagga or any other drugs is imprisoned.  A lot of our children are suffering whilst we are waiting for the enactment of a Bill.  I thank you.

*THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Ganyiwa. I realised that the entire House was listening to you because the motion was disturbing you. Hon. Members, is this not the time when we say those with ears have heard?

HON. BAJILA: Thank you, Hon. Speaker. Let me start by thanking Hon. Mapiki for bringing this motion before the House.  Drug and substance abuse is a critical challenge facing our nation today.  My presentation will be short Mr. Speaker.  I will speak to some of the known effects of drug and substance abuse in our communities.  I will also speak to some of the issues that lead to consumption and even the manufacturing of these drugs in our homes without our knowledge. I will also speak to solutions as I see them as part of the solutions that this House needs to invest its mind on as we seek to combat drug and substance abuse.  I will then make brief comments on the presentation by Hon. S. Sithole and then I will be done.

Drug and substance abuse has caused a lot of mental health problems in our society as has been alluded to by previous speakers.  We are now having a lot of reports and also observing a lot of circumstances and situations where we find people being numb with drugs alone, developing violent behaviour and so forth because of drug and substance abuse.  Naturally, this is related to the issue of addiction and when we have someone being addicted to drugs, it means that they cannot do normal life without the consumption or abuse of drugs.  This gives us more problems as a society if we are going to have young people who cannot perform normal functions of human beings without taking drugs.

Mr. Speaker, addiction to drugs leads to criminal behaviour because in order for someone to get access to drugs, they may need to commit robbery so that they get money for drugs or they may need to commit one form of crime or another.  Also, after taking drugs, they then also develop these harmful and criminal behaviours. Mr. Speaker, we have spoken so much about drugs and substance abuse as things that are far away from our places.  Those who are Members of the Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care will attest to the fact that before the suspensions late last year, we had opportunity to interact as a Committee with recovered drug addicts. 

They narrated to us the kind of things that led to them to being addicted to drugs.  I see a lot of parents here, some of whom have children at boarding schools. We were informed that some children at boarding schools are mixing Movite with Mazoe and injecting it into the blood stream in order to get high.  These are things we have in our homes and things that children are using to get high.  It is a matter of us becoming more and more alert around these issues because we live in an era of inquisitiveness.  People are just experimenting and as they experiment, they produce these harmful substances that lead to them becoming addicted.

Mr. Speaker, I will go to some of the solutions that I think this august House needs to invest its mind on.  The first one being that we need to deal with our points of entry into the country.  Most of these drugs are imported into our country, they are manufactured elsewhere.  When they come into our country, our borders are porous.  The porousness of our borders is as a result of the poverty in the country.  It is as a result of the corruption in the country.  The corruption in the country is such that it is possible for somebody to get at our border post, enter the country after having bribed those who are supposed to intercept the entry of drugs and harmful substances.

Mr. Speaker, I implore this House to introduce sniffer dogs at our borders because no one will bribe a dog.  I implore this House to look into means by which the Ministry of Home Affairs and our border control authorities to introduce sniffer dogs that can sniff drugs on buses, luggage and everywhere at our ports of entry including our airports. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] If need be Mr. Speaker, we need to go further and introduce artificial intelligence into these things because we must stop drugs from coming into our country.  We must be serious about this and must not find ourselves grand-standing about it.

Secondly Mr, Speaker, we need to empower citizens to be able to conduct citizens arrests within our communities.  Drug dealers are people who live amongst us and our people know that the drugs are sold at that house.  They also know that a police report is not going to help.  We need to get our legislation to be able to empower our citizens to conduct citizens’ arrests on drug dealers within our communities.

Mr. Speaker, thirdly I propose that we need to develop a system by which recovered drug addicts are appreciated by our communities and even supported by the State to be goodwill ambassadors in the fight against drug and substance abuse.  These are people who have consumed drugs, and people who have been addicted to drugs.  These are people who have come forth and said they want to live a drug-free life. I propose that this House supports these people so that they speak to their peers more and do lived experiences of life after drug addiction.  We have these people in our communities and the State must take proactive means to support them and to make them goodwill ambassadors in the fight against drugs.

          Most importantly, these recovered drug addicts could be useful if we were to set up a fund for the revival of youth centres in urban areas where most of the drug consumption is happening.  We can have these recovered drug addicts getting jobs at those kind of places.  In addition to getting jobs in those kind of places, having roles of educating other young people who come to do various things that must happen at youth centres in these urban areas. 

          Mr. Speaker, I also propose that we include clauses of assets forfeiture for those convicted of drug dealing.  We need to forfeit their assets and their assets must be sold. When they are sold more youth centres must be built using proceeds from the forfeiture of assets of drug dealers.  That should be in addition to long imprisonment including life imprisonment for drug dealing.  We need life imprisonment for these.

          Most importantly, we need to deal with the issue of jobs.  As long as we do not answer the question of employment of young people, they will fall into harm or another and we need to quickly as a nation, come together and push the issue of employment creation.

          Lastly, I wish to thank Hon. Sithole for his comments which I wish I would have understood if they had been presented in understandable language.  Unfortunately, he spoke in a language somehow similar to English.  I thank you.

          HON. TSITSI ZHOU: I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          HON. MUROMBEDZI: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Tuesday, 13th February, 2024.

On the motion of HON. TSITSI ZHOU seconded by HON. MUROMBEDZI, the House adjourned at Twenty-One Minutes past Six o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 13th February 2024.

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