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SENATE HANSARD 04 MARCH 2021 VOL 30 NO 23

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Thursday, 4th March, 2021

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE

LOGGING IN ON VIRTUAL PLATFORM

          THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I wish to inform the Senate that all Senators are required to log-in using their full names for identification purposes or indicate their name on the chat platform. This will assist officers in capturing their names on the attendance register.

I would also want to remind Hon. Senators that they must keep their gadgets on mute and only unmute when called upon to speak by the Chair.

APOLOGIES RECEIVED FROM MINISTERS

          THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: If I may welcome the Ministers, especially the newly appointed ones. You are welcome to the Senate. I can see my dear father, the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development, Hon. Mhona – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] – Also from the women, I can see the Deputy Minister for Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage, Hon. Maboyi – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] –

I only have one apology from the Deputy Minister of Defence and War Veterans, Hon. Matemadanda. Presently, we have Hon. Daniel Garwe, Minister of National Housing and Social Amenities; Hon. Mhona, Hon. J. Gumbo, Hon. Maboyi, Hon. Machingura, Hon. Mutsvangwa, Hon. Soda and Hon. Muchinguri.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE

          *HON. SEN. SIPANI-HUNGWE: Thank you Madam President. My question goes to the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement but in his absence, I will direct my question to the Leader of the Senate. This year the Lord blessed and gave us a lot of rain. We have crops and we are seeing that we are still in the midst of the rain season. How far has Government gone in fixing dysfunctional driers so that we are able to dry our seeds? What is Government’s position with regards to those farmers who have driers? We know there are farmers who have driers on their farms. Some of them are no longer functional and they need to be repaired. What is Government saying with regards to that? Thank you.

THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION, PUBLICITY AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA): Thank you very much Madam President. I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Hungwe for a very important question on the harvest that we are all anticipating as farmers and as a nation. The crop is very impressive everywhere we are going. Cabinet is working hard on the particular issue. The Minister of Agriculture went around the country and is still doing so, looking at the harvest and issues of storage of the huge harvest we are anticipating as a nation.

The Cabinet is also looking into the issue of shellers and dryers. Some of the farmers would want to use the same fields for winter wheat, so that is a very important question. The Ministry of Agriculture, through the Government, is working hard to focus on that. Some of the dryers have been acquired and the Minister is going around assessing the crop and the infrastructure, making arrangements to assist each other. We want to make sure that we do not get any hindrance as we are anticipating as big harvest.

We want to make use of our foreign currency to buy other things and we are glued on making sure that things like combined harvesters, dryers and shellers are available. It is our concern to make sure that farmers are assisted to take their produce to the GMB without challenges. Government will make sure that farmers are paid and we will make sure that we get rid of any delays. As soon as they deliver their produce, we will make sure that they are paid. Thank you very much.

*HON. SEN. CHIEF MAKUMBE: Thank you very much Madam President for giving me an opportunity to ask. My question is directed to the Minister of Energy and Power Development. This season throughout the country we got good rains and our dams are full. Minister, what is the situation as to the issue of mini-hydros in the country to our dams?

THE MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. ZHEMU): Thank you Madam President. I would like to thank the Hon. Sen. for the question. Government has plans to make sure that there is a hydro power plant at all the dams that are being constructed so that there is electricity production. Also, looking at farming activities in these different places, when water goes into a dam, there is need for some mechanisms to allow for irrigation. So the Government has plans to make sure that there is hydro power generation at each and every dam across the country.

*HON. MOEKETSI: Thank you Madam President. My question is directed to the Leader of the House. How far are Government’s plans of building houses for those families that have been affected by the construction of houses on wetlands?

* THE MINISTER OF NATIONAL HOUSING AND SOCIAL AMENITIES (HON. GARWE): Thank you Madam President. I want to thank the Hon. Sen. for the question in line with people who are staying on wetlands and river banks. The Government has good plans and there has been a committee set up by His Excellency, headed by the Vice President Hon. Chiwenga. It is looking at how prepared we are as a Government when it comes to emergency disasters emanating from irregular settlements.

Firstly, we are evaluating the number of affected people and looking at places to settle them. When we get the land, we will send the planners to go and service the land. In line with vision 2030 that says everyone should be settled where municipal services are provided, we will resettle people in those areas. Those in flooded areas we are settling them in other areas in tents whilst we are preparing the place we have talked about so that by October, everyone affected will be staying in good places. That is the Government plan. Thank you.

          *HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: Thank you Madam President. I was listening to what the Minister was saying, he was saying irregular and not illegal. Something which is irregular is illegal. Hon. Minister, you are talking about irregular settlers and only giving attention to urban areas but in rural areas. we also have those irregular settlers. In rural areas, there are people who are affected and there should be a policy enacted to cater for all these irregularities.

*HON. GARWE: Let me thank the Hon. Senator Chief Charumbira for his pertinent question. He referred to irregular and illegal. Both are not good, people were not settled well. Our plan as Government is not only looking at urban areas but also rural areas. For example, in Domboshava, especially the Show Grounds areas, you can not differentiate whether you are in urban, squatter camp or rural areas. However, we are visiting those places; we have a law which is going to be launched by His Excellency called the Zimbabwe National Human Settlement Policy. This law is going to affect most people because wherever a person is settled, there are laws that should be followed first before settlement of people.

The last time I was in this august House, last year 2020, we discussed about that policy. So, this is going to touch urban, rural, peri-urban areas and the whole of Zimbabwe. Wherever people are settled, there are things that should be in place before people are settled. In the areas where chiefs are heading, we have problems of headsmen selling land and pocketing the money. However, we want to work with you chiefs so that people who are buying land illegally will be prosecuted.   People in the rural areas are selling the chief’s land illegally. I thank you.

*HON. SEN. KOMICHI: Thank you Madam President for affording me this opportunity to ask my question. The Minister has articulated a very good plan. However, may the Hon. Minister expand further on the timelines as to when is the programme going to be conducted considering that the rains are still upon us. There are already other people who were displaced and are suffering; some are even staying in holes.

HON. GARWE: Thank you Madam President. I want to thank the Hon. Senator on the question of timelines that he has asked. On the roadmap, there are people whom we have placed in different groups. The first one is that of people who have been settled in River basins, those are in danger of being swept by the rivers. So as the Ministry of Local Government, through the Civil Protection Unit and Government, we are busy right now evacuating those people to temporary tents.

The second group is that of people in wetlands and those people have settled in places where churches, schools, community halls and clinics were supposed to be. Our aim is that wherever a person is staying, proper servicing should have been done. The Local Government Ministry has given us land which has already been serviced through the workmanship of the physical planning department, the engineers. For example, in Mbare, there is land like that given by the Ministry of Local Government to construct high rise flats.

Yesterday, we were doing a ground breaking ceremony because we want to construct flats so that we settle people there who are in danger. I cannot really give you the exact timelines but we have already started. I thank you.

          *HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA: I would like to go back to the Minister of Housing and Infrastructural Development. We truly know that there are councils that are greedy who take people’s monies and place them in wetlands. We also have land barons in this country who are stealing from people giving them State land. What measures have you put in place for those land barons who have sold State land?

*HON. GARWE: Thank you Mr. President. We have State Land in this country which is under the Government and no one has authority to sell State Land to the people. His Excellency, the President, last month gave a statement with regards to that issue which is now a policy to date that everyone who got land to build for residential stands from land barons should get their money back from that particular land baron. Selling State Land illegally is a crime. These land barons are being arrested. I cannot say their names but I am sure all of us know that land barons are being arrested because they took State land and sold it to people illegally. They never considered water and sewer issues and that is illegal, building residential stands in wetlands – all those activities are illegal. You cannot give people wet lands to build houses on. We have been working closely with the Minister of Tourism and Environment to make sure and see to it how best we can maintain wetlands. If we build houses in these wetlands, the water will disappear, our dams do not have water, and we need that water. Those who live in Bindura understand better. If you go to Mazowe Dam, up to today, there is no water. No one in this country is allowed to sell State land, land that is under the Chiefs as well as the Government because that is a crime.

*HON. SEN. DR. MAVETERA: Thank you very much Madam President for giving me an opportunity to ask a question. We are very happy with the steps that are being taken by the Government towards the land barons who are selling State land. What I wanted to hear from the Minister is that we have not seen those who have been sentenced and thrown into prison. These land barons should give back money to the people they sold the illegal State land to. If they bought State land for 20 000 to build a house and they build a house, what exactly are you getting paid for? Is it the house or the land?

*HON. GARWE: Thank you very much Hon. President, I would like to thank the Hon. Senator for his question. His question is divided into three phases; he said that we have not seen someone who has been arrested. There is another department that is responsible for that. Ours is to look at the road, sewer and electricity that is where we come in. His Excellency the President made it clear that land barons will compensate people they sold land to.

*HON. SEN. FEMAI: Thank you very much Madam President. Firstly, Madam President, allow me to congratulate Hon. Minister Mhona for his appointment to the position of Minister, hard work does help, he is a hard worker and serious in discharging his duties. I could see that coming that he was going to be a Minister because of hard work. My question goes to the Minister of Agriculture; there is a disease that killed cattle in this country, called theileriosis. What policy is there to alleviate this problem?

THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION, PUBLICITY AND BROADCASTING SREVICES (HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA): Thank you Madam President, I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Femai for his question that is directed to the Minister of Agriculture because they are the ones who are responsible and they are the ones who have got such programmes to make sure that January disease, real name theileriosis, is addressed. That issue was included in the budget to help eradicate tick borne. Government will make sure that all those things are in place so that the problem is alleviated. Agritex is moving around and if you make a report to Agritex, they are willing to assist. Also report to Veterinary Services so that they quickly attend to that before the spread of the disease.

In the previous year, cattle died, in our culture, cattle are a form of wealth and as Government, it is a matter of great concern if cattle die. Government is working tirelessly to end this.

*HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI: Thank you very much for these plans you have as Government to alleviate this January disease. What plans do we have because last year, a lot of cattle died and this year we are getting the same message and people are not getting any assistance to alleviate this? What exact plans are there to avoid death of cattle? Some of the cattle carcasses are now finding their way to butcheries.

          THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION, PUBLICITY AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA): Thank you very much Madam President. I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Mudzuri for his supplementary question. This is a disease that has been affecting a lot of cattle in this country.

The President introduced a programme focused on people being assistrd with cattle dipping. A lot of people are aware that the President introduced a programme around the country and in different provinces giving people cattle. We are yet to reach a point where those who have lost cattle are compensated.

*HON. SEN. CHIFAMBA: Thank you very much Madam President. My question is directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development. Hon. Minister is it possible for the elderly to be taught how to drive using automatic cars since most of us are old and our bodies no longer allow for the operation of manual vehicles?

THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): Thank you very much Hon. President of the Senate and thank you very much for congratulating me on my recent appointment as Minister. Thank you very much Hon. Sen. Chifamba for the question.

As we are all aware of the dictates of the laws of country, the Executive is there to uphold and make sure that your request comes to pass.

HON. SEN. KOMICHI: Thank you so much Madam President. My question is directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development but before I pose my question, I would like to join Hon. Sen. Femai on the message that he just delivered to you. I concur with Hon. Sen. Femai totally on your appointment.

Currently, the state of our roads in Zimbabwe is very pathetic and has been worsened by the rain season. We are having problems when travelling because of potholes. What is your immediate plan to attend to this problem? Probably, can you also give us the long term plan that you have so that we have reliable roads in the country? Thank you.

THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): Thank you very much Madam President. Let me also hasten to thank Hon. Sen. Komichi for that very pertinent question which also gives me the platform to address on a fundamental Government policy. For those who have been following, His Excellency Cde. Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa declared a state of disaster for our roads, which actually means that as Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development, we have taken over control of roads.

However, despite the declaration by His Excellency, as a Ministry we are also mandated by the supreme law, the Roads Act (13:18) also mandates us to take charge in particular Section 5 of the Roads Act, from local authorities or rural district councils if they neglect or fail to administer their duties. According to the state of declaration by His Excellency, we have a programme that is known as Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme. The programme will address what Hon. Sen. Komichi requested for the House to be appraised on (i) in terms of the short term measures and (ii) the long term measures.

The short term measure is the one that started on 1st March which is going to run for 60 days. This one is going to address the emergency works that entail the washaways, cleaning of drains and apparently the Ministry is seized as we speak, in trying to address and prioritise roads that would fall under Phase 1. However, Phase 2 would also entail re-graveling of roads whereby it is also going to run for about six months. In terms of funding, I know that one would ask whether this is adequately funded.

As we speak, Phase 1 has been funded by Treasury and I want to appreciate that, so that we take charge of the emergency works. Phase 3 entails the rehabilitation and reconstruction of roads and is also going to take another six months. Last but not the least, is the completion of bridges that were done and abandoned some time back. So in fact, Phase 4 will run into February 2024 and the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme will run for three years commencing on 1st March up to February 2024.

However, a plea to this august House is, as we then conduct our work as a nation. This is a disaster that entails working together now, that is necessarily to say the Ministry but as we then pass through relevant and different rural district councils and local authorities, we also require the support of the citizenry so that as we then partake that work we also work together with the citizens. Let us own our roads, the roads are ours and let us take charge of them. I thank you.

HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: Thank you Mr. President. I also join in congratulating the Hon. Minister on his recent appointment. He was also the Chairperson of the Budget and Finance Committee and was very good in the execution of his duties. I hope that he will continue to shine and not go down. You used to do well as a Chairperson and so, you should not reduce the standard that you have already set. When it comes to potholes – I come from Masvingo; halfway from Masvingo to Harare, there are potholes some of which are big but nothing is being done about it yet there is a Ministry and Government agencies which are responsible for that. When it becomes an emergency, those potholes will not last for three days. When it comes to performance-based management, I think you should give us a standard that potholes should not last for two days on the road. Cars are being damaged and accidents are happening because of potholes.

You should come up with a strategy where if one travels from Masvingo, those in Mvuma should be able to give an update on potholes. I think there should be localised pothole updates to warn motorists that there is danger ahead because cars are being damaged and people are dying.

THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): Thank you Mr. President. I want to thank Hon. Chief Charumbira for your question. You went on to proffer your advice on how we can move forward. I want to thank you because the issue that you raised has been discussed with our provincial road engineers and agreed that there should not be potholes that are known by name. We do not want to give names to certain potholes.

I would like to thank the President for his programme because we are now busy refurbishing our roads. When we started on Monday, that is our low-hanging fruit and that is what we are running with. The challenge that we have is the incessant rains and we cannot fix some of the potholes because of that. You might think that we are taking long but I know that engineers have indicated that potholes cannot effectively be fixed when it is continuously raining. Now that the rains seem to be ceasing, we are promising this House and the nation that we are not going to have such big potholes. The problem of having those potholes is that we were not maintaining our roads. I think the Government is there to maintain roads so that we do not lose lives due to potholes.

Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE in terms of Standing Order No. 62

HON. SEN. MOHADI: I move that time for Questions Without Notice be extended by 15 minutes.

HON. SEN. MUDZURI: I second.

*HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI: Is the work that is being done by engineers being monitored? We have seen a lot of shoddy work being done on the roads in this country. There is actually more damage done to the road than fixing it and the repairs are only temporary and lasts for a short while. May there be engineers who monitor the work that is being done on the roads. May we have a plan on what they anticipate to do because we are seeing that things that are being done are not sustainable.

*HON. MHONA: Thank you very much Hon. President of the Senate. I would like to thank Hon. Mudzuri for the question that he asked. Those who were following the programmes lined up for this year, His Excellency the President came up with the Monitoring and Evaluation Policy. The previous years, no one was monitoring the work that was being done but now because of this policy, we are going to monitor and evaluate each and every project. We are going to have personnel who are going to monitor all the projects which are done in this country so that we do not have crooked people who just do shoddy work and leave it.

HON. SEN. KAMBIZI: Thank you Mr. President. My question is directed to the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement and in his absence, the Leader of the House can do justice to the question. My question is; what is the Government doing to plug and curb abuse and misuse of Command Agriculture inputs by beneficiaries who are channeling those inputs towards the black market and even opening agro-shops selling diesel, fertilizer and chemicals? I thank you.

          THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION, PUBLICITY AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA): I thank you Mr. President and I want to thank Hon. Sen. Kambizi for that question. The policy of Government through the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement is to make sure that all inputs are actually channeled to the right use which they would have been put for. I am happy that as a leader in this august Senate, I would implore the leaders in this Senate that when you see where there is misuse and abuse of these inputs, it should be reported to the law enforcement agencies because it is against the laws of this country. Thank you.

*HON. SEN. MOEKETSI: Thank you very much Mr. President. My question goes to the Deputy Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development. I would like to thank the Hon. President for allowing the opening of schools. My question is, what plans do you have as we look forward to the opening of schools in regards to sanitization. As we speak right now, there may not be running water in these schools. What plans do you have for these children to resume learning? Thank you.

*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. MACHINGURA): Thank you very much Mr. President. Thank you Hon. Senator for that good question. It is our wish that when children resume learning, they are not killed by this pandemic. Our position as Government is we do not want children to contract this virus. All our institutions of higher and tertiary education were directed by the Government to make sure that learners have adequate disinfectants to keep them safe from Covid 19. That includes disinfection of premises. We are blessed as a nation because most of these universities and polytechnic colleges are manufacturing disinfectants and sanitizers.

I am happy that you looked at both the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development and the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education. There are plans to make sure that learners resume learning, making sure that WHO regulations are put in place to protect the learners. Thank you.

HON. SEN. DR. MAVETERA: Thank you Mr. President. My supplementary question to the Minister is: when learners resume learning, will teachers be vaccinated by then? Children may be exempted but teachers need to be vaccinated so that they are protected from the pandemic.

  1. MACHINGURA: Thank you Hon. President. I would want to thank the Hon. Senator for the question. I do not have an adequate answer for that particular question to say will all teachers be vaccinated by then. Vaccination is done in phases and the first phase concentrates on front line workers. As we know, teachers are in the second phase of this vaccination. Thank you.

Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE in terms of Standing Order Number 62.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE 47TH PLENARY ASSEMBLY SESSION OF THE SADC PARLIAMENTARY FORUM HELD VIRTUALLY IN NAMIBIA

First Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the 47th Plenary Assembly Session of the SADC Parliamentary Forum held virtually on 9th October 2020, in Windhoek, Namibia.

Question again proposed.

HON. SEN. MOHADI: I move that the debate do now adjourn.

HON. SEN. MUZENDA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Tuesday, 9th March, 2021.

MOTION

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF THE AFRICAN PARLIAMENTARIANS NETWORK ON DEVELOPMENT EVALUATION (APNODE) HELD IN ABIDJAN

Second Order read: Adjourned on motion on the Report of the Zimbabwe Delegation to the 5th Annual General Meeting of the African Parliamentarians Network on Development Evaluation (APNODE).

Question again proposed.

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

HON. SEN. MOHADI: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Tuesday, 9th March, 2021.

MOTION

REPORT ON THE VIRTUAL EXTRAORDINARY SESSION OF THE GOVERNING COUNCIL OF THE INTER-PARLIAMENTARY UNION (IPU)

Third order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the Extraordinary Session of the Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

Question again proposed.

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

HON. SEN. MATHUTHU: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Tuesday, 9th March, 2021.

MOTION

PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS

Fourth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion in reply to the Presidential Speech.

Question again proposed.

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

HON. SEN. MOHADI: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Tuesday, 9th March, 2021.

On the motion of HON. SEN. MUZENDA, seconded by HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA, the House adjourned at Two minutes to Four o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 16th March, 2021.

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