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SENATE HANSARD 04 NOVEMBER 2021 VOL 31 NO 7
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Thursday, 4th November, 2021
The Senate met at Half-past Two o’clock p.m.
(THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE
APOLOGIES RECEIVED FROM MINISTERS
THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE (HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA): Before we proceed to Questions Without Notice, we have received apologies from the following Ministers: Hon. Gen. Rtd. Dr. C. G. D. N. Chiwenga, Minister of Health and Child Care;
Hon. Prof. Mavima, Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare;
Hon. Ziyambi, Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs;
Hon. Prof. Murwira, Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development;
Hon. Dr. Coventry, Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation;
Hon. Dr. Shava, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade;
Hon. Dr. M.N. Ndlovu, Minister of Environment, Climate Change, Tourism and Hospitality Industry;
Hon. Chitando, Minister of Mines and Mining Development;
Hon. Dr. Nzenza, Minister of Industry and Commerce;
Hon. Kambamura, Deputy Minister of Mines and Mining Development;
Here present, we have Hon. Sen. Mutsvangwa, Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services;
Hon. Madiro, Deputy Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development;
Hon. Dr. Musabayana, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade;
Hon. E. Moyo, Deputy Minister of Primary and Secondary Education.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
HON. SEN. KAMBIZI: Thank you Mr. President. My question is directed to the Minister of Local Government and Public Works. However, in his absence, I will kindly direct my question to the Leader of the House and Government Business. Mr. President, the rain season is fast approaching with disasters that are associated with it. These disasters have been taking place year in year out. To mention a few areas that have been affected, we have Mbire, Muzarabani, Chiredzi, Nyanga and Chipinge. May the Hon. Minister favour this august Senate by explaining stages and programmes that the Ministry is implementing as to indicate the preparedness of disaster risk management in order to avoid fire fighting that we seem to be associated with year in year out?
THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION, PUBLICITY AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA): Thank you Mr. President. I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Kambizi for that comprehensive question. What I would like to say as policy of Government, the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works has a department of CPU. You know there have been a lot of interventions they have been doing and a lot of work has been done to make sure that they avoid some of the disasters which are associated with heavy rains.
I know they had a workshop in Bulawayo and Harare. I was talking with the Minister, Hon. July Moyo, they have put aside a budget. But as he rightly asked, what I am going to ask my colleague Minister is to provide this august Senate with that explanation of the strategy, the programmes which they have to make sure that we do not react. I will ask the Minister, Hon. July Moyo to bring a paper outlining their strategy.
THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Hon. Minister, I was advised as you were concluding that you were not connected but it was too late to ask you to connect. Maybe from what I heard, the Minister was suggesting a Ministerial Statement on the issue of preparedness on disasters by the Minister of Local Government and Public Works.
*HON. SEN. CHINAKE: Thank you Mr. President. I would like to direct my question to the Leader of the House. Last year, we had farmers who planted cotton. When they sold their cotton, they were paid with groceries. This year, we also hear that they are going to be paid with groceries. How do the farmers prepare for the coming cropping season?
*THE HON. MINISTER OF INFORMATION, PUBLICITY AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA): Thank you Hon. President of the Senate. I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Chinake for the question concerning cotton farmers. There was a period where they were saying they were being paid for their cotton through groceries. This is a very sensitive issue to us as Government and we strongly believe that when farmers have brought in their produce, they should be paid adequately. Through the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, funds were disbursed so that these farmers are paid. It might be a slow process, they are being paid in batches, they are not being paid in groceries but in monetary terms using money.
*HON. SEN. CHIEF NGEZI: Thank you very much Mr. President. My question goes to the Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage. What programme is there regarding shrines? We have got graves for Sekuru Kaguvi – some heritage sites are being mined, there is vandalism and even if you tell the police, no action is taken. People may have problems in future to recognise or understand where Sekuru Kaguvi is buried. I will continue to say these things every day. What we want is clarity from the Hon. Minister to say what will happen then. We want these heritage sites to be safeguarded.
*THE MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND CULTURAL HERITAGE (HON. KAZEMBE): Thank you very much Mr. President. I would like to thank the Hon. Senator for his question. This is a very important question. This issue is actually troubling us as a Ministry. We were given a task by His Excellency the President, as Home Affairs, for us to identify such sites and ensure that all these places are well taken care of. We have a department led by Dr. Mahachi which is responsible for looking after those sites. They have come up with a Strategy Paper on how these sites can be safeguarded and this paper has been submitted to Cabinet for approval. If it is approved, then we will carry on with our work. We are not only focusing on places within Zimbabwe but all those places beyond the borders where our freedom fighters were buried are included.
*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHIKWAKA: Thank you Mr. President. I would like to ask for permission to give a bit of a background to my question so that the Hon. Minister can understand fully.
*THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE: The law requires you to ask your question and in the event that there is need for explanation, then you can put your question in writing so that the responsible Minister can respond accordingly.
*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHIKWAKA: I will try to put across the question and if it is difficult to understand, I will put it in writing as advised. My question is directed to the Leader of Government Business and it is with regards to the new law that was brought in and mentioned by the Minister of Agriculture to those who would have been allocated farms, that they should build a home 30 days after having been allocated the farm and employ a farm manager. My question is; is this law in support of our farmers? Are we not now fighting against black farmers who do not have the capacity or resources to set up such requirements within that stipulated timeframe? We are actually viewing this law as inhibiting farmers from development. That is my question to the Minister.
*THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION, PUBLICITY AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA): Thank you Mr. President. I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Chief Chikwaka for that question. As Government policy, farms were given and there is no reversal to that programme. Those who were given farms should utilise them – the President is on record of saying, farming is a business and people should be working. We are seeing the Government working hard through the distribution of agricultural resources in the Ministry of Agriculture.
Tractors have been purchased together with the Presidential Inputs Scheme and the Pfumvudza/Intwasa Programme, which is a strategy to encourage all those who were given farms to have a starting point. Everyone who has been allocated a farm should make use of that opportunity. We do not want absentees, those people who are never at their farms. On this issue of a circular that is said to be going around, that they should build a home within a certain number of days, I will ask Hon. Sen. Chief Chikwaka to put the question in writing so that he can get a comprehensive answer from the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement.
+HON. SEN. M. NDLOVU: My question is directed to the Minister of Home Affairs. We do not have a police station in my Constituency but we applied for a piece of land from the City Council and they gave us. What should we do so that a police station can be constructed?
THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE: That is not a policy question, I think if you put it in writing, research can be done. The Minister can answer it here politically without the facts on the ground. I know that he might want to respond so I will allow him.
THE MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS (HON. KAZEMBE): I will kindly ask the Hon. Senator to put the question in writing so that we can look at that particular case and be able to respond to that particular issue.
THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Let me announce that more Ministers have joined us. We have the Deputy Minister of Local Government, Hon. Chombo and the Deputy Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Hon. Matuke.
HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: My question is directed to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development but in his absence, I will direct it to the Leader of the House.
For our national currency to be accepted, Zimbabweans need to have confidence in their currency. What measures are being put in place to bring back confidence in our currency?
THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I know the Minister can tackle anything as long as it has to do with the Government of Zimbabwe but I am just coming from the Victoria Falls Budget Seminar where these issues where deeply canvassed.
THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION, PUBLICITY AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA):I think these are issues, as the Hon. President has said, which were debated at length at Victoria Falls at the Pre-Budget Workshop. Both the Minister Hon. Prof. Mthuli Ncube and the Reserve Bank Governor, Dr. Mangudya went at length explaining what they are doing from the fiscal and monetary side.
What is important to note is that there is no country in the world which has developed without its own local currency. I think the Minister was on record to say the local currency is our transaction currency. The issue of confidence is not an overnight thing and as such, we know that in 2008 we dollarised our economy and that meant that we were only using US dollars. The introduction of the local currency has been brought about by the Second Republic and it has been working well. Of course, there are unscrupulous people, corporate companies and individuals who have been constantly doing some tricks to play around with our currency and this was clearly said by both the Minister of Finance and the RBZ Governor that they are dealing with it. IFU is also dealing with it and there are investigations happening. There will be nobody who will be left without being penalised if they are found guilty. There is also the introduction of the auction at bank rate which has made a lot of companies and corporate companies to be able to acquire foreign currency for whatever inputs they need in the production of whatever they are producing. That has also helped the SMEs to be able to get foreign currency so that at least they can continue with their business activities. The parallel market which is affecting prices bringing run away increases in prices of our goods and this is what is being investigated – those found wanting will be penalised.
*HON. SEN. RWAMBIWA: My question is directed to the Minister of Agriculture. We are very grateful for the Pfumvudza Programme. We have people who are coming back to ask uswhy they are being asked to pay for what they received as transport money. Is that the requirement?
*THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION, PUBLICITY AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA): The Pfumvudza/Intwasa Programme is under the Presidential Inputs Scheme. These inputs are seed and fertiliser and they come from the President’s office. They are given to farmers for free by Government. We may need the full details of where this is happening. These inputs are from the President and are given to the farmer. It does not matter who this farmer is. The Government is assisting all the farmers. People who are working hard and doing what is requested are given the seeds.
The Minister of Agriculture may explain further because we might have different scenarios because of location but let us acknowledge and understand that this is a Presidential Scheme, Pfumvudza/Intwasa Programme. Every farmer in this country is being given the opportunity.
HON. SEN. DR. MAVETERA: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to pose my question to the Leader of Government Business. The world at the moment is fighting to try to ban coal as a source of power. I want to find out whether the Government of Zimbabwe is a signatory to that club? If so, what is Government doing to provide alternative source of power to the country as we all know that we are dependent on Hwange and also the communities and towns depend on Hwange as a source of employment?
THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION, PUBLICITY AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA): I would like to thank the Hon. Sen. Dr Mavetera for his question which is very topical at the moment. We have just come back from the airport to receive His Excellency President E. D. Mnangagwa who was attending COP26 in Glasgow in Scotland and these are the issues he reported back on his arrival. He said there were more than 193 countries and the resolution they came up with on the issue of banning coal in Africa, Asia and Latin America cannot be done immediately. The western countries have used coal for all this time and caused those problems leading to climate change and this has brought us all these challenges. So, as reported by the President, these western countries promised to give money to Africa, Asia and Latin American countries to ensure that the transition cannot be abrupt and the expectation cannot be that we can suddenly just move away from coal. We need the money so that we move into hydro-power, biogas and solar but that transition has to be smooth. We are however all agreeing that we need to eventually move out.
*HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: Thank you Mr. President. What measures have been taken by the Government to make sure that people are well versed with the issues of climate change?
*THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION, PUBLICITY AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA): Thank you very much Mr. President. I would like to thank the Senator for asking a question on the Government’s position. So far we have had the first, second and third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Each wave killed a lot of people and made a many very sick. We are now looking at the fourth wave and with the experience of other countries, when it becomes very cold, we have a lot of cases. From September to November, the numbers have gone down and the average number of confirmed cases are about 40 to 45. The number of deaths has also considerably gone down to 1 or 2. All the precautions that we have put in place to prevent and fight the pandemic are yielding results. We must not relax thinking we are out of the woods but we should continue being cautious. We have about 20 million vaccinations in stock which should see us vaccinating about 60% of the population of Zimbabwe. As leaders in your constituencies, continue to educate and conscientise people on the need to be vaccinated so as to lessen the impact of the disease. Government is communicating through the Ministry of Health and Child Care. We should make sure that we have vaccines and protective clothing. The Vice President, who is also the Minister of Health and the Ministers of State are involved in weekly meetings, having discussions on this particular issue so that we are always on guard against this pandemic. We should continue to follow all the COVID-19 regulations. That way we can safeguard ourselves. Even this fourth wave that is being mentioned, let it find us well prepared with ventilators and oxygen which is being made in our country. The Ministry of Health is making sure that they have HDUs and ICUs but the most important thing for us to know as a nation is that we are on level 2 with restrictions a bit relaxed and the curfew starts after 10pm. People should be tested, vaccinated and move around with their vaccination cards. Schools are following the COVID-19 protocols to safeguard children from the pandemic. As a country, we have not relaxed or turned a blind eye to this pandemic. We do not know what lies ahead of us, so we will continue to safeguard ourselves as a nation. I thank you.
HON. SEN. A. DUBE: Thank you Mr. President. I wanted to direct my question to the Minister of Health and Child Care. What is the Government doing to mitigate brain drain in the health sector? What measures are in place to retain the remaining skilled work force? Thank you very much.
THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION, PUBLICITY AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA): I want to thank Hon. Sen. Dube for that very important question. In the last Cabinet, this was a very topical issue, the issue to stem brain drain in the health sector. What the Ministry and Government are doing is coming up with non-monetary incentives to make sure that our health workers are provided with loans to buy their own private cars. Also, there has been a resolution to buy buses to make sure there are buses which are allocated to health workers. The issue of also providing institutional accommodation has been one of those measures being taken by Government. Also, the issue of re-training our health workers, meaning there is going to be a school where every health worker and all civil servants are trained. People are going to be trained as Zimbabweans how to serve your own country and how important it is to be patriotic.
More-so, we all know that all those who are leaving are looking for greener pastures. We may not be competitive with all those countries where they are being absorbed. Certainly, as a country, we are going to do everything possible to make sure that we retain our health workers. They are important. We do not want Zimbabwe to be a training ground and then everyone goes at the end of the day and our people are not treated. There is a lot of work and strategies which the Ministry of Health and Child Care are coming up with to make sure that we stem the brain drain of our health workers. I thank you Mr. President.
*HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA: Thank you very much Mr. President. We were given tractors that were sent to DDF. We would want to understand how they are going to be distributed as they are meant farmers and how they were distributed amongst provinces. Are they going to assist farmers?
*THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION, PUBLICITY AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA): I would want to thank you Hon. President of the Senate. I would also want to thank Hon. Sen. Chirongoma for the question. DDF is doing a lot of work. It is working on roads and drilling boreholes for people to have access to water. As DDF, they have their own representatives from the provinces to the districts. All this is done so that it assists farmers. I kindly ask Hon. Sen. Chirongoma to get in touch with those from the DDF and Agritex. These organisations work together and you should be able to get assistance from these offices. Thank you.
Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE in terms of Standing Order No. 62.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. SEN. MUZENDA: Thank you Mr. President Sir. I move that Order of the Day, Number 1 on today’s Order Paper be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the Day have been disposed of.
HON. SEN. A. DUBE: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
CONSTRUCTION, UPGRADING AND REHABILITATION OF THE ROAD NETWORK IN THE COUNTRY
HON. SEN. MABIKA: I move the motion standing in my name
That this House;
COGNISANT that a sound road network is the nerve centre of economic development;
NOTING with concern that the Chipinge Mt Selinda Road right up to Espungabera Border Post has not been attended to, resulting in its current state of disrepair;
ANTICIPATING the huge benefits that can be accrued to the country if this road and other similar roads countrywide could be given a facelift;
ALSO NOTING that the Border post at Mt Selinda has the potential of being developed as an investment centre and the shortest route to the port of Beira from Zimbabwe, thereby enhancing the ease of doing business in the country;
NOW, THEREFORE this House,
- Calls upon the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development to avail, through the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development, adequate funding for the construction, upgrading and rehabilitation of the road network in the country
- Applauds the Second Republic for the commendable efforts taken to fulfil the aspirations of the people by embarking on tangible developmental programmes that have become the order of the day country wide
HON. SEN. KAMBIZI: I second.
HON. SEN. MABIKA: Thank you Mr. President. I acknowledge that there are many roads that need rehabilitation in Zimbabwe, but I will proceed by way of starting with an example of Chipinge to Mt. Selinda/ Espungabera Border Post Road. Please note that the road from Mutare to Chipinge is usable, it is the last leg of the road that needs to be maintained.
I shall start off by giving a brief description of the nearest town, which is Chipinge. Chipinge is traditionally an agricultural service town whose economic activities depend significantly on farming activities in the region. It is an agro-based district. Typical agricultural products from the area include but are not limited to tea, avocado, macadamia nuts, bananas and coffee. Most notable estates or plantations are Zona, Jersey, Tanganda and Makandi.
The main access road to these estates including many A1 and A2 flourishing family owned commercial farms is the Chipinge to Mt. Selinda/ Espungabeira Road. These farms are experiencing significant inconveniences in their transportation of goods and provision of services as a result of the state of the access road from Chipinge to Mt. Selinda/ Espungabeira Border Post. This has resulted in very high transport costs for farmers in the area by way of high hiring costs and vehicle maintenance costs.
At Mt. Selinda, which is the nearest settlement towards the Mozambique Border, there are several activities of high social and economic impact. These are; the biggest boarding school in the area, Nurses Training Centre, Hospital, significant shopping centre and most notable, the Chirinda Forest.
There are socio-economic benefits and opportunities if we upgrade the Chipinge/Mt. Selinda/Espungabera Border Post Road;
- Commercial farmers’ exports will no longer need to travel the extra 200kms to Forbes Border Post in Mutare. This will make agricultural products for the area very competitive due to the extra freight cost saved.
- Since Beira Post is nearest through Espungabera from most parts of Zimbabwe, delivery times to export markets will improve, besides the lower cost.
- With the insurgents in Mozambique, the current state of the road is a security threat on its own, since it seriously compromises reaction period should need arise to safeguard our Eastern border.
- Easy access to Mt. Selinda Border Post will decongest Forbes Border Post where trucks are queuing for several kilometres to access Forbes Border Post.
- Chipinge is an export processing zone, exporting companies are losing revenue through high transport costs of plus 200kms to Forbes Border Post when they can access the border which is a stone’s throw away.
- With ease of doing business adopted by the Second Republic, the upgrading of Chipinge/Mt. Selinda Road will also improve the flow in and out of the country.
- Freight for mineral exports such as coal, Platinum, chrome and now potentially steel will have the shortest route to Xai Xai and Beira Port through Espungabera.
- Selinda Border Post is a sleeping giant. From Chipinge town, the road is only about 39.7kms to the border.
- Mozambique has already repaired and upgraded their roads from Espungabera to Beira, Maputo and so on and all that is required from our end is to fix our side of the roads to connect to the international export ports of Mozambique. This is a key factor of the whole economy and industrialisation.
- Mozambique is currently building a new deep sea port, North of Beira, at Mangoena. They are also building an international airport capable of handling heavy cargo at Xai Xai. In addition, the South Africans are building a road from South Africa all the way to Xai Xai area for the deep sea port usage.
By establishing a good and wide road network from Espungabera to Chipinge, we will be preparing ourselves to becoming a significant player in the Southern Africa transport web. Cargo to and from Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, Malawi, South Democratic Republic of Congo and South Africa can pass through Espungabera if the road is well prepared. This is massive revenue for the country which will be able to significantly counter Kazungula Border Post which is threatening Beit Bridge revenues.
Socio-economic Border Town benefits and potential if roads are good
Although we are a landlocked country, which is considered to be a disadvantage by many, it is actually a big potential for revenues through transit traffic, since we are sitting in the middle of Southern African region. To take advantage of this opportunity, we will need to make our border towns and border posts as attractive as possible in terms of usability, convenience and service. However, it all starts with a good access road and up market border posts. The service market does not have to be limited to port services only.
An example to illustrate the benefits and opportunities lying at our border towns would be that of Mt. Selinda. The benefits of improving the road from Chipinge to Mt. Selinda are as follows
- The mission hospital at Mt. Selinda is the only affordable and reliable alternative medical facility in Chipinge District as well as for the Mozambican settlements near the Espungabeira Border Post. Improving the road to Mt. Selinda from Chipinge to Espungabera Border Post will go a long way in shortening time to alternative medical attention if anything goes amiss at the Chipinge District Hospital which is in Chipinge Town. This requirement was most highly noticeable during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, which may still be with us for an unknown period of time.
- Service delivery to the hospital, school, shopping centre and nursing home will also be easier and faster to deliver.
- Zimbabwean education is much sought after service in Africa. There is a great potential of attracting Mozambicans from Espungabera, Chimoio and beyond to attend high school, nursing school and any other tertiary education that can be created at Mt. Selinda. This is a potential revenue inflow.
- Establishing bonded warehouses at border post could see all the towns close to our borders becoming high volumes outlets for “Made in Zimbabwe goods” to other neighbouring countries.
- Chirinda Forest is one of the oldest known tourism attraction in the centre of Chirinda Forest area with its famous Big Tree measuring 65 metres tall, 51/4 metres in diameter, which was last measured in 1986. Improving the access road to Mt. Selinda will see the place attracting private players to construct up-to-standard facilities at Mt. Selinda or in Chipinge, thus bringing more revenue, employment, self esteem and other services to the area of outstanding natural beauty.
Establish service centres for the Zimbabwe side of the border with scope for going across to provide the same services has got enormous potential, for example car and refrigerator repairs and irrigation systems. This is best done closer to the border like at Espungabeira. With time, our service personnel can penetrate deeper as their brands grow.
Geological surveys and agricultural extension services are another set of services that can be established at the border towns. There are so many minerals around Chipinge and on the other side of the border. We can economically conquer that Espungabeira side of Mozambique by simply extending geological and agricultural services across the border from Mt Selinda. If the geologists get involved in the concession ownership as a form of payment, we can end up having ownership of many mineral sites in that part of Mozambique.
Creating a glitter for neighbours to be attracted to Zimbabwe – what is crucial for Zimbabwe is bigger markets than our population and the most immediate markets are our neighbours. If they see our border towns shining, they will be more attracted to Zimbabwe and its products and services than the current situation. This is very critical. Even in the history of Zimbabwe, our main market has always been the entire region not just domestic market. These border towns must be one of our ignition points into the greater region. The Lever Brothers and Olivine of yesteryear were all dependent on a larger market than Zimbabwe for them to attain economies of scale. This would help in reducing both domestic and export prices for products.
What is most important for the development of border towns is that the majority of the investment, if not all the investment, is by private players. The main enabler is a good road network to the place and everything else will evolve.
I am confident that this request can be achieved and I would like to applaud the Second Republic for the road infrastructure development programme where we have examples of roads like the Beitbridge to Harare Road with 242 kilometres already open to traffic out of 580 kilometres; the advanced work on Harare Chitungwiza Road; Masiapambili Road in Bulawayo scheduled for completion very soon. Cyclone Idai washed away roads in Chimanimani and Chipinge which was the epi-centre of Idai reconstruction and rehabilitation of the road network (build better and resilient) for example Skyline to Ngangu through Machongwe/Nyahode to Kopa Road then the recently completed Kopa/Jopa Road which is to be commissioned by His Excellency soon; Kumbirai Kangai and Magamba Road in Mutare; Mbudzi interchange detours commencing this year and many other road works in both urban and rural areas. All this is being done using our own resources under sanctions. Hon. Senators here will agree with me that the Second Republic’s major thrust in every province has road network taking place.
Zimbabwe is a land locked country which does not have the advantage of sea-freight based conveniences. However, the disadvantage can be turned into an advantage using the centrality of geography in the Southern Africa region by becoming the most convenient transit country for both inbound and outbound cargo in the region. Yes, our location is a critical asset.
To effectively achieve the “convenient transit country” status, our road and rail networks infrastructure are of paramount importance. Our road networks have got to be of international standards or better. The quality of the “last mile” of the majority of our road networks towards border posts is poor to terrible. We have about 16/32 official border posts and of these, less than 25% of the roads are in reasonable shape but these are the doorways to significant national revenue streams ranging from port fees, tollgates, customs and freight business to other socio-economic services such as tourism, education, health care, general trading and so on. Market access to the immediate region can be through border posts. Border towns have had the minimum of attention in majority of infrastructure development, save for Beitbridge. These ports have got a wide impact on rural economies around the entire border length of the country. Bringing revenue to those many remote households depends on good road networks reaching those places. Kanyemba is an example of a success story in the making. I thank you Mr. President.
HON. SEN. KAMBIZI: Thank you Mr. President for affording me the chance to debate in support of the motion raised by Hon. Sen. Mabika, a motion that I feel is not only developmental but very essential to nearly all our roads that link Zimbabwe to the neighbouring countries. Some of the roads I am making reference to are:
Harare-Masvingo-Beitbridge Road; Harare-Chinhoyi-Chirundu Road; Harare-Guruve-Mbire-Kanyemba Road; Harare-Mutoko-Nyamapanda Road; Bulawayo-Plumtree Road and Chipinge-Mt. Selinda-Espungabeira Road. All these roads link to border posts where we do our trade with neighbouring countries. These roads link Zimbabwe to our neighbouring countries namely Zambia, Mozambique, Botswana and South Africa through designated official border posts but the usefulness of the border posts can only be realised if the roads are in good shape and are highly accessible.
Transport has become an important subject matter in the region and the world in general and Zimbabwe in particular for two reasons;
It is a significant human activity with a spatial component (not comparable); and
It is an important fact influencing the spatial variation of many other social and economic activities.
Transport is the means by which people and commodities are moved from one place to another by a number of physical modes that include roads, water, railways, airlines and pipelines. So transport in one way or another is a basic and very essential part of the daily rhythm of life throughout the inhabited world.
The transport system can be likened to the blood circulation system in a living organism. Without it, the organism dies. Transport is considered an essential feature of all modern economies. In general terms, as an economy grows and develops, it becomes more dependent on its transport sector. It is considered to be the most important factor in national, regional economies and social development because it has an important role in increasing production, reducing travel times, increasing employment and improving accessibility. It also reduces regional disparities and improving competitiveness of regions by facilitating trade, movement of labour and economies of scale.
The relationship between transportation infrastructure and economic development has been the focus of increasing analysis, discussion and interest during the past decade. Development of transport road network for all our roads linking this country to its neighbours plays a very important role in the economic development of this country. Such linking roads as Harare-Masvingo-Beit Bridge Road, Harare-Chinhoyi-Chirundu Road, Bulawayo-Plumtree Road and Harare-Mutare-Beira Roads come to mind. However, there are other linking roads that need to be looked at and developed, e.g Chipinge-Mt Selinda-Espungabera Road and Harare-Guruve-Mbire-Kanyemba Road.
The proper development of transport, road network not only reduces the cost of transportation both in terms of money and time but also helps in the integration of various regions within the country and affords better understanding of neighbouring countries with whom trade is carried out. A practical example is that of Chipinge-Mt. Selinda-Espungabera Road. The road is in a very bad state causing the community that needs to export goods to nearby Mozambique to move an extra 200km to take their goods to Forbes Border Post in Mutare, yet Mt. Selinda is the shortest route to Mozambique. This tends to erode the would-be profit due to high transport costs.
Another example is that of Harare-Guruve-Mbire-Kanyemba Road. This road is going to be a game changer in that the haulage trucks going into the interior of Africa using the Beit Bridge-Masvingo-Harare-Chinhoyi-Chirundu Road will then be using the much shorter Harare-Guruve-Mbire-Kanyemba-Zambia/Mozambique Road. Thumbs up to the Second Republic, this road is receiving attention and it is under construction as I speak.
I am very pleased that the Harare-Masvingo-Beit Bridge Highway is being rehabilitated to world standards. It is however, the Chipinge-Mt Selinda-Espungabera Road that needs urgent attention. Allow me to make a clarion call to the Ministry of Transport and Ministry of Finance to consider the above mentioned road in Manicaland for rehabilitation.
In conclusion, transport is indispensible to economic and social development of any country, be it a developed or developing country like Zimbabwe. About 5% of Zimbabwe’s road network is classified as primary roads and has some of the most trafficked arterials that link Zimbabwe with its neighbours. These are the roads that need rehabilitation to allow accessibility to the border posts and allow trade to be done smoothly. I rest my case Mr. President Sir.
ENACTMENT OF LAWS THAT CULMINATE IN DETERRENT SENTENCES BEING METED OUT TO CULPRITS FOUND COMMITTING CRIMES THAT DAMAGE THE ENVIRONMENT
HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA: Thank you Mr. President. I move the motion in my namethat this House-
CONCERNED with the grave and rapid environmental damage arising from high levels of pollution, wanton destruction of forests due to uncontrolled veld fires, desertification, siltation of water bodies, including the mighty Zambezi River, its tributaries and Lake Kariba;
ALSO CONCERNED that the unabated damage to the environment has far reaching consequences and ramifications to the economic development of the country, particularly as it affects livestock, game, flora and fauna and crops in general;
MINDFUL that the country`s water bodies are the backbone of our economic development and need to be jealously guarded and preserved at all times in order to create a legacy for generations to come;
NOW, THEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, resolves that Parliament;
(a) Enacts laws that culminate in deterrent sentences being meted out to all culprits found committing crimes that damage the environment;
(b) Calls upon the Executive to liaise with neighbouring countries on issues that relate to the preservation of water bodies such as the Zambezi and Limpopo Rivers so that practical measures are put in place to avert environmental disasters arising from pollution and siltation which in most cases are caused by human beings;
(c) Urges the parent Ministry to embark on a massive educational campaign countrywide, on the need to preserve the country`s gift of nature, the environment and its natural resources.
HON. A. DUBE: I second.
HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA: Mr. President, it is without doubt that Zimbabwe’s economic model is based on the extraction of our natural resources and ordinarily results in a lot of environmental degradation and a lot of waste generation. To that end, we are confronted by many environmental challenges of our time in the fold of climate change, pollution of our land, water and air resources, deforestation, veld fires, land degradation and waste management in general.
Mr. President, it is disturbing to note that air and water pollution have reached alarming levels in Zimbabwe and have no one to blame but ourselves for it. Our water sources are constantly being made unbearable by pollutants from our unfriendly mining operations by illegal gold miners scattered across the country. These illegal miners use dangerous chemicals to humans and animals like cyanide and mercury in their activities. When these chemicals enter our water bodies, the water becomes unusable for agriculture and domestic purposes for communities downstream. In their mining activities, they carry huge loads of sand to the rivers for washing, thereby silting the rivers and increasing droughts. As the normal channels are blocked by the silt and water storage space reduced, floods occur destroying our property, fields, livestock and even loss of life.
Furthermore, they leave behind open pits unattended in which our livestock fall into and you are all aware of the importance of our livestock in our culture, as a source of wealth, food, draught power, pride and so on. The activities of the illegal miner are causing too many farmer to miner conflicts to deal with affecting peace and development in the country side. An example that comes to mind is the cyanide poisoning that claimed 23 herd of cattle in Selous a few years back, various gold panning activities in Matopos and Ingwiza of Matabeleland South and along Mazowe River in Mashonaland Central province only to mention but a few. Also, the women and children exposed to mercury contamination in Shurugwi at some mines are clear examples.
Mr. President, the exponential increase in veld fires by 85% this year is alarming and has not only resulted in the avoidable loss of five human lives, productive property valued at more than US$230,000 and also 750,000 ha of forest land lost and foreign currency generating plantations destroyed, making it the single most significant threat to national recovery plans. The causes of these fires include land clearing, arson, illegal mining activities, children playing with fire and poor ashes disposal in the country.
Mr. President, the indiscriminate cutting down of trees and deforestation is also on the spiral and noted as the major driver of land degradation. Our forests are finished. This cutting down of trees strips the land bare, exposing it to all weather agents leading to massive soil erosion, which ends up silting our water sources and disrupting the movement and storage of our water. Deforestation also results in the loss of biodiversity, habitat losses for many animals, big and small, loss of aesthetic value and shockingly in excess of 330,000 ha of forests are lost annually to this monster. Tobacco curing, wood fuel for the many households and land clearing for various land uses to include settlements have been blamed mostly for deforestation in the country.
Mr. President, it is important to note that Zimbabwe boasts regionally and internationally of a robust legal and policy framework governing environmental management but lacks frantically in implementation and enforcement. There are also gaps on alignment with Constitution provisions, particularly on access to information, participation and protection of vulnerable gender groups and around lack of an integrated approach that require redress.
Mr. President, in conclusion, in an effort to manage, protect and conserve the environment sustainably and avert the looming disaster, I recommend;
That local traditional leadership use their powers to put in place and effect strict penalties for cutting down trees, burning forests or illegal mining in their areas;
That Parliament ensures that the Ministry puts in place relevant policies for sustainable management of the environment as a matter of urgency which among other things, give incentives like inputs to communities involved in the restoration of bad lands like gullies;
That there be prioritisation of environmental crimes in our courts which can be made feasible by establishing stand alone environmental courts in our judicial system that put very punitive measures that are deterrent enough to illegal miners, those who start veld fires and those who cut trees willy-nilly.
That communities participate in tree planting activities to restore forests cut and or burnt. Massive educational campaigns and rollouts across the country and assisting with tools in the community based projects should be implemented;
Communities should come together with their traditional leaders and engage in community-based projects like dam scooping, contour pegging, closure of mine dumps and so on like in the olden days. Thank you.
+HON. SEN. A. DUBE: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to second the motion that was brought by Hon. Sen. Chirongoma. It is a very important motion that happens in the areas where there is relocation, especially in all parts of Zimbabwe.
I thank you for this motion because it is very important. Where there is land, that is where our wealth is as Zimbabweans. The main problem is that people are not taking care of these resources that we have. You now realise that everywhere, you find environment degradation which in turn becomes hazardous to the livestock and even our children. This is because of the small scale miners. The minerals that they mine are very important but they should mine according to the laws. There is a lot of land degradation. When they dig these tunnels, they go to rivers where they start screening the minerals and the same soil they remove from the minerals end up causing siltation in the rivers. This is very important because most of our dams have been silted.
There is also an increase in crimes, murders and so on because these miners are now living like animals. Those who are lawful miners no longer have access to rightful mining. There are also veld fires almost everywhere where these small scale miners are found. Someone just smoke and throw the cigarette away, thereby causing veld fires. We are appealing that there should be laws which will ensure that everyone is accountable for causing veld fires. The laws will ensure that we return to the days when our environment and land was well preserved.
Mr. President, today we are losing a lot of lives as there are people who are burnt in their houses due to veld fires because people are not punished for such acts and they are not following the law. The issue of artisanal mining has caused a lot of damage to our environment and this has also caused a lot of crimes in those areas. Those who are licenced are failing to mine in those areas because they are afraid. I am grateful for the motion that has been moved by Hon. Sen. Chirongoma that there should be laws for artisanal miners which will enable them to mine under licences by the Government.
They should be grouped and assisted by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development so that they can lawfully mine and be educated to preserve our environment. Mining activities are causing a lot of deaths in the communities. I am appealing that our law enforcement agents go and enforce our laws in these mining areas because these artisanal miners are causing a lot of harm in our communities.
Some of these miners are facing a lot of calamities during their mining activities. We have had a lot of misfortunes as these miners just enter into old and closed mines to try and mine and they end up being trapped and losing lives in those mines. So, if it becomes a law that old mines should be assessed first before anyone can be given an opportunity to do any mining activities, lives can be saved. We are losing a lot of lives and we should try to ban such activities.
Mr. President, when I checked how our environment has been degraded, you will realise that the next generation will not have an inheritance because there is a lot of siltation in most of our water sources. Hon. Sen. Chirongoma said that these artisanal miners sometimes use poisonous chemicals which may be hazardous to human lives and livestock in our villages. For example, some use the cyanide chemical which causes a lot of damage and loss of lives in the community. We know that people are hustling for their survival but we are saying they should be alert and be considerate to our environment. If we can have laws so that our law enforcement agents move around taking to account everyone involved in these illegal mining activities.
Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to second this motion which is addressing a number of challenges in the community, especially veld fires and land degradation which is a problem in most of our communities. It may be difficult for the Government to oversee our surroundings, but we should try to manage our environment so that our land is sustainable. We should feel proud that our land is still usable and our environment can be inherited by our next generation.
+HON. SEN. A. DUBE (SPKNG) ... inherited by our next generation. Most people in the rural areas will be afraid to mention who would have caused the veld fires because they do not want to come forth. I thank you.
HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. A. DUBE: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Tuesday, 9th November, 2021.
On the motion of HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA, seconded by HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI, the Senate adjourned at Fourteen Minutes past Four o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 9th November, 2021.