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SENATE HANSARD 04 MARCH 2020 29 27

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Wednesday, 4th March, 2020.

The Senate met at Half-past Two O’clock p.m.

PRAYERS

(THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE in the Chair)

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

HON. SEN. MKHWEBU: I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 5 on today’s Order Paper be stood over until all the

Orders of the Day have been disposed of.

HON. SEN. DUBE: I second.    

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS

      Sixth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion in reply to the

Presidential Speech.

Question again proposed.

HON. SEN. MKHWEBU: Mr. President, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Thursday, 5th March, 2020.

                                                                                    MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

HON. SEN MKHWEBU: I move that Order of the Day, Numbers

7 be stood over until all the Orders of the Day have been disposed of.

HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE ZIMBABWEAN DELEGATION BILATERAL

VISIT TO CUBA

Eighth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the Zimbabwean Delegation to the Bilateral Visit to Havana, Cuba.

Question again proposed.

*HON.SEN. MOEKETSI: Thank you Mr. President for giving

me this opportunity to contribute on this motion that pertains to the delegation that went to Cuba who represented us well. I would like to thank that country, Cuba. First of all, I would like to thank the leadership that went to Cuba to see what other countries are doing and copy. I would like to thank in a special way Madam President for the splendid job she did in that country.

As a country, if only we could imitate what other countries do. I would like very much to appreciate the gender issue. They respect and honour women in that country and I would like to thank Cuba for that.

They have three female Vice Presidents.

The other thing that I would want to add Mr. President is that I

want to request this Hon. House, that at least when you travel please include the visually impaired. There are Nigerian dramas where we see chiefs and kings who travel with their delegations who just go there to listen. They are not blind but they will be learning and that is very important to us women. At least once when you do some activities, please include those who are looked down upon so that they are able to come back and perform something.

What Madam President did is very important, which means we should all learn from that lesson so that at least when there are other things that may not go well with us women are able to cover up. When they reached Cuba, they discovered that the ambassador was not well and they paid rent for him and he is now staying in peace. We can also learn and see what other countries are doing in terms of honouring their women because some of the people do not  see that we are blind. They think we have vision, that is why they send us to represent them. So that is very important for you to respect women like what Cuba has done.

If only the Upper House, the Senate would know the importance of women. We are very fortunate to have in our midst chiefs who know the importance of women. If only we could go ahead and imitate the positive things being done by other countries. Cuba may not even have considered what we do as separate entities but when we are here to build the country. Cuba may not have considered that there are different political parties but they took and respected all the women in that country. If only our country could imitate such a good deed. With those few words, I would like to thank you Mr. President.

*HON. SEN. FEMAI: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to also contribute and add my words of gratitude. I realise that all the people who stood before me were thanking Madam President and thought I had been left behind. First and foremost, I also would like to thank Madam President of the Senate for a job well done when she represented us. That is what we call leadership. She represented us well on difficult issues, some of which were even embarrassing to the country. Imagine when the embassy is closing down yet you are going there to visit and you are told the embassy has been closed. It is the same as visiting your relative and you are told your relative has relocated.

How would you feel? I would like to thank Madam President very much. I am not sure if this hon. House allows us to clap our hands in gratitude. If we are allowed, I would ask the House to do that because what she did is in the report. I really appreciate what she did. If only we could have such leaders in this country, our country would progress well.

Secondly, I would like to applaud Cuba for welcoming us. We know that Cuba helped us a lot especially in the education sector. Some people may not even know and were questioning what Cubans were looking for in this country, complaining that they were here to take our jobs in the health and education sector but they promoted those sectors very well because the education sector as well as doctors took up from there.   

I would like to reiterate the importance of the Cubans.  I have my last born child and I do not want to mention the name.  The mother fell ill when she was 3 months 28 days pregnant.  Then she went to the hospital.  Women know those things that rupture during delivery.  The doctors would come, examine and say the fetus is not moving; not knowing that the fetus is somewhere hiding.  A Cuban doctor came and asked what was happening.  The nurses were even laughing.  The doctor asked in Spanish why they were laughing and they responded that the woman is very old and can no longer carry a baby.  I do not know what the doctor did but the child came out crying.  The baby was placed in an incubator.  The child survived but it was because of that Cuban doctor.  So, I really appreciate them very much for coming to this country and they continue helping us.  Each time I see my child I say, it is because of the Cuban.

In addition I would like to say, we were told that they were supposed to visit ten other countries besides Cuba but they failed because there are no resources to do that.  Those countries have a lot of things that we need as a country.  We cry out and say Zimbabwe is open for business, yet there are ten countries that are locked out because there is no communication.  Such countries may have good things that we need.  We hear that such things are happening.

We also heard that in Cuba they compiled a list of names that are kept in museums.  They wrote various names including liberation fighters and some of them Zimbabweans.  What really touched me is that there is a name of an icon that they honour.  They really honour that name but in this country, we have over 40 years of independence yet we do not know a specific icon.  If that name exists, probably the name is kept at a headquarters of one party.  We hear from other countries that such a person did an honourable job for this country.  I hereby request that such information be availed.  Each time we go out, we see the names of liberators on the walls of their parliaments.  That is a good thing.  I spend time looking at those names.  If a foreigner comes here, they would really appreciate that.  They would say indeed we went to Parliament and saw various names and pictures of heroes of that country.

In addition, that should not only be done on deceased people.  For example, the Deputy President of Senate, Rtd. Ltd. Gen. Nyambuya is well known for participating in the liberation struggle.  If we were to see his picture here, is that not interesting?  You only want to honour someone posthumously?  As I speak, I am sure there are people who have written my biography and are waiting for me to die so that they reveal such information.  Let us reveal all the heroic actions that people did whilst they are still alive so that even our children can honour us.

That would be very good for us.

I would like to add on and say, some of the people who died during the liberation struggle died in Mozambique.  Some of their names are there.  Here, we do not see their names at the heroes acre.  If we were to see Morgan Femai’s name at the heroes acre you are attacked.  Let us see those names openly.  They should not go to a certain party.  Such information is in the open and those are national issues.  People should have access to information of national importance. If I were to try to go to the heroes acre I am attacked.  This is true because I have gone there.

What is happening in Cuba is an eye opener for all of us that Government should honour and separate national issues so that information is accessible to everyone, be it the blind where they can use braille to read the names of both living and fallen heroes  - that will be very good.

I would like to add on and say I am the HIV and AIDS Portfolio

Committee Chairman.  The Cuban health centres are far much ahead in treating diabetes, HIV/AIDS and hepatitis. I thought if only I was able to go there, I was going to acquire information to empower my Committee with so that we may have solutions and suggestions to people living

HIV/AIDS.  That is the aim of our Committee so that people living with HIV/AIDS will live long.  So, if a country like Cuba is able to do that and we know that we have very good relations with Cuba; why not request medicines from them so that our people can have better lives.  We come and cry about sanctions yet it is us who have problems.  Why do we fail to relate with someone whom we have good relations with? Why can we not we request for medicines that cure HIV/AIDS and diabetes yet we come back here and cry that we are under sanctions?  Why do we not use that as an option?  Is our outcry for sanctions genuine when we have other options like that that can help our country to develop?

In conclusion, I would like to say if only we can be united and do away with political differences when we are in this Senate so that we build this country because this country cannot be built by outsiders.  It can only be built by people who are in here and united.  I would like to give you an example so that you see how it works. Here in Senate we are divided by political parties but if we go to our villages of origin, we are all under one village head regardless of political affiliation.  How does it work very well when it comes to chiefs yet it fails to work here in

Parliament?  So, we are ignoring something that can work out very well.  As Hon. Senators, let us be united; we will not have another Senate like this one in Heaven.  When we die, we go to heaven as individual souls, so it is better for us to unite whilst on earth; there will not be another opportunity.  It is better for us to unite here so that we build our country.  If I make a mistake, go ahead and tell me and if I suggest something to the President here in Senate, go ahead and tell him  - those who have access to speak to him instead of insulting me. With those few words, I thank you Mr. President.

*HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA: Thank you Mr. President for

affording me this opportunity to add on to this debate.  Allow me to thank the delegation especially the Hon. President of the Senate who led the delegation that went to Cuba.  Indeed the delegation that went there should accept our gratitude for representing us well. Cuba is one of the countries that is friendly to Zimbabwe.  We have a long standing relationship and we continue to be united with them.  Zimbabwe is known for celebrating Cuba for their health and education.

Those are some of the well known professionals that we know.  Some of our children would go to Cuba for three or four years to further their education.  When they come back, they become professionals and become just like Cubans because our young kids learn quickly.  They are very much advanced in technology, tourism and manufacturing and they are professionals.  The delegation that went there was shown a lot of places which means that there is a lot of development going on.  I would like to thank our Cuban Ambassador who went to help the delegation. He showed them several other places in Cuba.  We know that they have challenges just like any other country.  The Ambassador faces some challenges but the most important thing is that the Ambassador talked to the head of the delegation Hon. President of the Senate.

If you see leaders going where there are problems, they want to discuss ways of solving those problems.  I would like to thank the Hon. President of the Senate for taking it upon herself to solve all those issues there instead of waiting to come back.  We also know that those are places that were not liked by the British and the Americans but because of their intelligence, I realise that more than 22 000 were taken into that country through slave trade.  Slave trade was very painful in West Africa. They used to force people, drag them like cattle and at the end of the day, they found where they can hide and they were kept well.  That is a country that fought for their liberation and uplifted their lives.  So, I really appreciate the lessons that they got from there, they are also under sanctions but they stood against the odds of the sanctions and they continued to fight.  They now have industries and other things and are now advanced.  They now make HIV and AIDS medicines, they also cure diabetes.  They want to continue having good relations with

Zimbabwe and they are ready to provide all the other medicines that Zimbabwe needs.  So, I really would like to appreciate that because these are very good friends of ours.  We also discovered that in those countries, they are other women and men who fought for their liberation just like us. If you were to visit their Ministry of Home Affairs, you are able to see or know all the liberation heroes who participated in the liberation struggle.  They have a museum where you get all the information of the liberation heroes.

The Cubans showed us that they are friends to Africa.  All the Africans that fought in the liberation struggle are honoured there; they dedicated a special place where there is information on everything in Africa.  They know better the history of Zimbabwe, they have detailed information about our provinces that some of us may not even know.

We also got to a place where we heard that women united with men and just like in this country, women outnumber men in population. However, women have more seats and that should be emulated here.  In our history, there was a time where one white man would vote and their votes were equivalent to 20 black votes.  So we used to have slogans like

‘freedom now!’ – We would respond now, now! We would say ‘oneman, one-vote!’. Now, where have we put our women? When you are oppressed, even your brains will also not function properly.  We were supposed to say, one-man, one-woman, one-vote!

Sometimes women would not have access to identity cards. How were they identified then?  Therefore, I would like to say women should be respected and honoured.  I would also like to say to women, go on, united as one and go ahead and represent us well wherever you may go.  Cuba has 73% women in leadership positions, which is very good. This means there is no outcry like what we have here.  So, women continue like that way so that as men, we would appreciate your status.

However, the problem that you have as women is that there are presidents and ministers amongst you but unfortunately, you cannot unite on your own to support one of your own.  Instead, you oppose each other.

Therefore, I would like to encourage women on that note.  I would like to thank the President of the Senate who led the delegation.  The Eighth Parliament was also presided over by a woman.  So, women should really celebrate and dedicate a day to celebrate that.  It is a good thing for you women because one of your own has a leadership position.  The President of this country, His Excellency, E.D Mnangagwa really appreciates empowerment of women.  Women, continue to be united and this country allows you to congregate as women, whatever you come up with in your meetings should be accepted even by the

Government.  We also encourage you, not only in the Senate but also the National Assembly.  Unite!  Do not imitate what I have seen sometime happening that when one of your own gets a leadership position, you pull her down. You must not pull them down.    I really appreciate what happened in Cuba and let us emulate how they promote women.

The Upper House of Cuba constitutes a number of women and it is the same here.  So, as a country, let us unite as one, both women and men.  We need to keep reminding each other that as a Senate, just like what the previous speaker said, we are also an arm of the Government. There is no information that you may not have access to.  You have that information.  In Cuba, there is a neutral place where you can get access to information for example, if you want information about heroes.  So, let us all unite and stand as one in this country knowing we have got one President who is His Excellency E.D Mnangagwa whom we should appreciate and look up to.

I would like to conclude by thanking you very much for giving me this opportunity to say these few words. I thank you.

HON. SEN. DR. MAVETERA: Thank you Mr. President.  Allow me to thank the mover of this report, Hon. Sen. Dr. Parirenyatwa for bringing this report to the Senate so that we learn and share the experience of these two great nations.

Among the reports and visits we have gone through in this august House, I found this visit to Cuba as very pertinent and relevant to the people of Zimbabwe for the following reasons:-I think Cuba has gone through the same history and suffering like what Zimbabwe is experiencing.  Cuba was a third world country but as of now, it is middle, if classification was done correctly without bias, it would be categorised as a developed nation.

As Zimbabweans we really need to learn much. This report to me is not just one of the other reports but a very informative and instructive report which will assist as an arm of Government to push and influence development in our country.

I would want to express my dismay at how we bring ourselves down as Zimbabweans. It is very sad that we find our representatives, the ambassadors living in squalid conditions. I think we all know how much contribution Cuba has given to Zimbabwe since independence or in fact pre-independence until to date. I think we have got no excuse. If it took the President of the Senate to at least seek and improve the living environment of our ambassadors, what is the problem with our Ministry of Foreign Affairs? I think we need to take introspection.

The work done by Madam President, I take it from two angles Mr. President. One, that it is possible for us to improve the lives of our diplomats outside and we need to identify important countries which bring business into the country. Zimbabweans, allow me Mr. President and I will not apologies, we are a corrupt people. We only value people who bring in hard currency into our country but if we are to put together what Cuba has contributed to Zimbabwe up to date you would find that it will actually be valued to the tune of multi-billions rather than what we are rushing to get from the so-called other countries.

I think the embassy in Cuba is a very strategic embassy which should be given due respect and care and supported because it has done a lot for Zimbabwe. Which country has produced teachers which has actually educated the whole country like Cuba? I think Mr. President through you, we also learnt from the report that the embassy in Cuba does not only represent Cuba but it also represents 10 other countries or islands in the South American region. To date, our ambassador has failed to exercise his mandate because of the usual problem of resource constraints.

I think it is high time we actually run away or not accept the issue of resource constraints because right now, imagine which country, because before any investor comes to a country you visit the embassy of the said country. When you visit an embassy and find it looks like there is nothing appealing but is derogatory like Magaba, our embassy seems to be like Magaba. Do you think they will bring in their money? You are the highest person in Government who is going to superintend on their investment. I think we need to be serious Mr. President to make sure that it is a reflection. No wonder why you do not expect anyone to respect you as a citizen of Zimbabwe when you give yourself a poor reflection and then you expect other people to have high regard of you, us as a nation.

I think there are very simple things which we can do. First of all, is to improve our image and be able to attract good business. I am sure “vakomana vachinyenga vasikana muroad hapana anomhanyira ane tsvina, vanomhanyira akachena” and that also goes with business. If you go to a country and project an image which shows that we are not organised as a people, how do we then intend to get business. I think the issue of embassy, it is not only restricted to Cuba. I think we have had reports and it is high time we have a proper ministerial response from the Minister of Foreign Affairs. I understand he is a member of us here.

He is a Senator but he has attended very few sessions. I assume he will be doing business for the country but what is he doing when we are being projected in such a picture outside? We need to take concrete steps to say by next year all our ambassadors will live in a dignified manner which is befitting of a country called Zimbabwe because we have got only one Zimbabwe and that is what makes us proud.

I want to quote a few statistics just to emphasise that we have got a lot to learn from Cuba. I will start with the health delivery system of Cuba. Cuba is one of the countries with the greatest or the most advanced health systems in the world and that health system has been developed under   the background of serious economic sanctions and embargo, which is much worse than what we say Zimbabwe is under. Cuba has managed to actually come out with a robust world class health delivery system through world health organisation standards.

Cuba is actually one of the countries which has been called number one in terms of health delivery to its people and just to support you, there are statistics. Its infant mortality is 4 per 1000, and Zimbabwe we are at 25. Maternal mortality, I think this is one of the problems which we face as Zimbabwe, our mothers dying from pregnancy associated conditions. Zimbabwe we are sitting at 462 per 1000. Cuba has got 36 HIV prevalence, which is 0,27 and Zimbabwe we are at 13.

I think we can see that there is a marked gap between us and Cuba, which means we have got a lot to learn from what Cuba is doing and so we need to really give importance to this report which was brought in by our colleagues who visited this great country, if I can say Mr. President. But why is Cuba managing to achieve such great strides under the hardest conditions on earth? One of the reasons Mr. President, among many others, I would propose or suggest or think that it is because they are a united people. They are identified as a nation. They are not seen as individuals. They do not pull in opposite directions which is one of the lessons that I think as Zimbabwe we need to learn from the great nation of Cuba.

Right now, all our problems we are facing in Zimbabwe and I do not need to say them because everyone is witnessing it; the reason is even when you try to find a simple answer from our Ministers during Question Time they just say sanctions. Unfortunately, that disease has become an endemic and has gone on to infect ordinary citizens who also when they are asked why we are where we are as Zimbabweans, we say sanctions. I think the lesson from Cuba is a good lesson which tells us and probably for those who doubt that the problem with Zimbabwe is not sanctions but the good governance and corruption, not sanctions because Cuba has managed to achieve a lot. The sooner we realise that as Zimbabweans our problems are not on sanctions but lack of unity of purpose, then we will manage to change the trajectory which our country is taking.

Let us take this as a privilege and an honour to represent the people of Zimbabwe in this august House and we should really make sure that we represent them honourably saying the truth, trying to improve the lives of the people of Zimbabwe.  Cuba has managed to put everything correctly, if I can put it that way.

Right now, Zimbabwe is benefiting from doctors from Cuba.  One lesson also on the health delivery system of Cuba which we need to learn; we were told within the report that Cuba has got health professionals scattered in 160 countries but their Government knows where they are.  They are not lost like Zimbabweans.  These are people who are sent by their Government on an official capacity representing Cuba and showcasing the skills of the Cuban people.  Zimbabwe invests so much in training our doctors and we chase them away.  We know if you go to South Africa, Namibia, UK, Australia and New Zealand, you are attended by Zimbabweans.  If you say, do we have a database of how many Zimbabweans are there and what are they bringing into the country, we do not know.  So I think this is one of the things which we also need to learn from the great nation of Cuba, of utilising and recognising our intellectual capital.

We pride ourselves as one of the most literate countries in the world. In Africa, we are actually second but we do not seem to be benefiting from that tag.  I think it is high time we should really have a database of our professionals and make sure that the FDI will come if this is done correctly rather than to allow our people to jump borders.

Some of them go and change documents.

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Order.

Your time is about to expire.

HON. SEN. DR. MAVETERA:  Thank you. I will wind up Mr. President.  Let me just summarise.  One of the most important thing that we learnt from this report is the participation of women in Cuba in the governance of their country.  The reason why probably Cuba is doing very good is because there are a lot of women in Government.  Women are not corrupt and they have got a heart.  I think the sooner we encourage our women in Zimbabwe to participate more in governance issues, it may be the turning point of our country to be the better and greater expected Zimbabwe.  Thank you Mr. President.

HON. SEN. MATHUTHU:  First of all, I would want to thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to debate this very important report of the Zimbabwe delegation to Cuba on a bilateral visit from 1st to 6th September.  Mr. President, allow me to thank Madam President and her delegation for remembering our friends; our dear brothers and sisters in Cuba.  The relationship between Zimbabwe and Cuba started way back during the liberation struggle.  It was also interesting Mr. President to note that Zimbabwe and Cuba relations have shifted from the traditional cooperation in education and health to that of the new areas in technology and tourism.

Mr. President, I hope you learnt one or two things in this report as far as tourism industry is concerned.  Zimbabwe as a country, we are trying by all means to improve our tourism industry in order to generate more funds towards the fiscus.  Cuba and Zimbabwe almost share a similar situation where Cuba is under an embargo affecting various sectors of their economy, which include fuel supplies and unavailability of basic commodities while Zimbabwe is under sanctions and the challenges are almost the same.

Mr. President, it interesting to note according to the report, that despite the challenges, Cuba is managing through their guided socialism and strong leadership of a one party state nation.  In Zimbabwe, we are failing to manage because we do not speak with one voice under our multi-party democracy; the main challenge being failure to be united as Zimbabweans.

Mr. President, I would like to say to Madam President of the Senate for showing that she is a mother,  she is a mother because when she arrived in Cuba, she took care of our embassy and she also promised to engage the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade on issues that were raised by the ambassador and his staff.  From what we hear from the delegation, the problem of unpaid rentals was sorted out but as Parliament, I think we need to engage the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to prioritise the welfare of staff in our embassies throughout the world and make sure that similar problems do not occur.

Again Mr. President, we have to commend our embassy staff for surviving and lifting our flag high under such deplorable conditions.

After visiting a Cuban heritage centre, I do not hear from the delegation comparing it with our own considering that your delegation comprised of our own senior veterans of the struggle.  I think you learnt a lot that you would recommend to the highest office, especially the way they respect their heroes.  Mr. President, we are told of how the centre for genetic engineering and bio-technology was founded in 1980 to counter the US embargo to produce their medicines locally. For Zimbabwe, there is nothing impossible looking at the highlights.  What we need is unity of purpose, stop playing games of blaming each other and take a leaf from their major highlights in the report.

It is pleasing Mr. President, that they are even prepared to assist Zimbabwe and we must learn from the report and from their major highlights how they managed to eradicate some of the diseases.  Mr. President, it would be unfair for me to conclude my debate without recognizing how the Cubans have empowered their women and how they have managed to have them in the top decision making positions.  The reforms they have embarked on, the 53% representation and the 3 out of 5 women vice presidency is a great achievement.  With these few words Mr. President, I thank you.

HON. SEN. MKHWEBU:  Mr. President, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

HON. SEN. A. DUBE: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume Thursday, 5th March, 2020.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE DELEGATION TO THE PAN-AFRICAN

PARLIAMENT HIGH LEVEL SUMMIT ON HIV AND HEALTH

FINANCING IN AFRICA

         Ninth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the report of the delegation to the Pan African Parliament, High Level Summit on HIV and heath financing in Africa.

Question again proposed.

HON. SEN. FEMAI: Mr. President, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

HON. SEN. RAMBANEPASI: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Thursday, 5th March, 2020.

On the motion of HON. SEN. MKHWEBU seconded by HON. SEN. MATHUTHU, the Senate adjourned at Fourteen Minutes to Five

O’clock p.m.

 

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