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SENATE HANSARD 06 AUGUST 2019 28-65

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Tuesday, 6th August, 2019

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

PRAYERS

(THE DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE

SWITCHING OFF OF CELLPHONES

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: May I

remind Hon. Senators to please switch off your cellphones or put them on silent.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR MASHONALAND EAST 

PROVINCE (HON. SEN. MUNZVERENGWI): I move that Order of

the Day, Number 1 be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the Day have been disposed of.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

PROTECTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT

Second Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the protection of the environment and the use of natural resources.

Question again proposed.

HON. SEN. MOHADI: I also want to add my voice to this very important motion which concerns our lives. It is very essential for each one of us to protect the environment because the environment that we live in does not grow but instead, us as people are the ones who grow because we bear children and the children bear their own children, whereas the environment stands still. If we do not take care of that environment, it means that the generations to come will never realise how beautiful their country was if we do not protect it. Before we protect the environment, we should also know the causes of how the environment is degraded.

There are a lot of things that cause degradation such as veld fires, soil erosion, mere cutting down of trees, droughts, landslides, cyclones, water and air pollution as well as mining. These are the root causes of destroying the environment. What should we do? How should we mitigate all those issues that I have just talked about? There is need for us as human beings, mostly to make sure we do not just burn fires randomly like that.

As I speak, if you go out where there are grasses, everything is being burnt. For what reasons? We do not know. Others just make fires whenever they want to clear new fields and sometimes living that fire burning and it burns the whole country. Those who are within those areas do not even mind and just pass by watching the veld being burnt. There is need for us to educate each other and there should be massive education especially in the communal areas to see that fires are not just burnt everywhere. I would also urge our traditional leaders to have a certain fine for those who are found causing veld fires.

Mr. President, we also have the issue of water pollution. You find that we have a lot of work to do. These days we eat these junk foods and the remnants are found thrown along the roadsides whereby you just eat and after eating, you throw it out through the window and go on, not even caring where you threw that piece of paper, especially the plastics that are just thrown all over the show. They take their time to rot and as a result, when rains come, those plastics are all carried to the rivers thereby polluting the water.

Also, you find that as we go into our irrigation schemes Mr. President, whenever we buy chemicals and apply them in the fields. All the residues from the fields are taken to the rivers, polluting our rivers and the fish in there are the target at the end of the day because as long as they take that polluted water, they will obviously die. Those who live in town will bear witness to the sewages that are not protected – there is

Manyame River which we cross always when we are about to get to Harare coming from my constituency. That river is so polluted Mr.

President. Whenever you are approaching that river, there is a very stinky smell coming from that river as a result of the pollution. Also, as you get to Chivero Dam, it is all a disaster. There is need for us to take care of all these things that I am talking about.

We also have another greatest enemy which is the air pollution whereby we have gases and air emissions of fuel that go up into the ozone layer which is broken and as a result we have no water and we have cyclones.  The air is polluted and as the ozone layer breaks you will find that we have cyclones, climate and our environment is failing.

Mr. President, I can name a lot of them and you will find that our rivers are polluted and miners just dig everywhere where they think there is a mineral that is to be extracted from the soil leaving those pit holes just like that. At the end of the day, the top soil is washed away and only those holes remain which are also a trap to our animals.  When they move around for grazing they fall into those pits and die.  Even people, if they walk nearer to those pits their legs are broken and so on.  The environment itself is badly affected and that happens, I said earlier on that this environment that we are living in does not expand and it will never expand and so, we have to take care of it.

Let me end by saying that as legislators, we should not only talk about the environment here in this august House.  We have a lot of work to do because we have to go and educate our communities. The information that we are giving here should descent to our communities so that they protect our environment.

With this few words, I would rather suggest that those who are found on the wrong side of the law, I mean the perpetrators, should be heavily punished.  There should be a jail term for them so that we protect our environment.  I thank you.

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

affording me this opportunity to add my voice to the motion that was moved by Hon. Sen. Chifamba.  I think since this House is the Upper House, if we notice that certain things are going wrong we should enforce laws to curb such actions.  I think we should return the control of the environment to the traditional leaders.  I grew up in rural areas whereby when village heads were summoned by traditional leaders to tell them to inform people to stop doing something, the people would comply. It now looks like the chiefs are seeing people putting down trees and they ignore; people digging pits in people’s fields and leaving them open and they do not care.  As we are speaking, people burn bushes as if we are saying go and burn the bushes yet we are saying it is bad.  All our road sides are ablaze in fire, I do not know what kind  of law should be enacted.  I also do not know what EMA is doing because they are supposed to mann our environment and stop people from destroying the environment.

You would even see piles of firewood along our highways.  I do not know what we should do as this august House because it is very disturbing.  You would realise that someone who had one or three cattle has nothing because they all fell in the ditches that are left open by the artisanal miners.  I once said that those who are licenced to mine, are they really qualified to do that or they are just scrambling for something they are not well versed with.  They have no respect, even for someone’s field, they just dig if they suspect that there is a mineral.  One woman said her field was destroyed and the people were saying they were after their mineral which passed through her field, meaning to say a portion of that woman’s field was taken by the artisanal miners.  They would leave a pit there and they take what they want.  I do not know what to do with this motion because nothing is changing, even if we shout out to say stop burning grass and cutting down trees, it is becoming even worse.

It could be the cause of low rainfall patterns in this country because we no longer respect our traditional leaders.  It is said in the Bible that there are people who will do bad things and we have broken most of these things.  When I was coming here, I used Chegutu Road. There were burning fires from both sides of the road.  Some people were removing grass along the fence, trying to prevent that fire to encroach into their fields so that their cattle can have grass to feed on.  Some people right now are counting trees so that when time for  the wild fruits called mazhanje comes they will reap and sell them.  We know that we are suffering in this country but there is need to enforce laws that are effective, not just to talk and leave it like that.  If we can enact effective laws, we should not go back and forth.

Forgive me Mr. President, let us return the powers to the traditional leaders so that they can help us on the issues of our environment and animal feeds which are being destroyed by people.  With these few words I thank you.

HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI: Thank you Hon. President for

giving me this opportunity to contribute on a motion by Sen. Chifamba.  This motion is as emotional on its own as we should be as legislators and probably as Central Government.  Why I say that is because everything is managed in the world.  Right now, people drink alcohol; they smoke and all those things are pollution but they are managed because you have to manage your body, then you manage what you are doing.  What is lacking in this process, I see we are bemoaning ourselves to say, what can we do?  I will repeat Mr. President, last time I said, where are the Ministers?  They bring the law into this Parliament; we have been debating these topics – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] – where are the Ministers who are mentioned here to take notes at least once.

I have never seen the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing in this Senate but we are just talking.  There is a Minister of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry, I do not know whether she has been here but we are talking about critical issues – [AN HON. SENATOR: She is in prison.] – She is in prison?  I am sorry; I hope she did not burn the community.  Anyway, what we are talking about Mr. President, this is a serious topic where I feel that the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) itself was created in good faith but is it being managed by the relevant Ministry and by us who have an oversight role to ensure they are doing the correct thing?

The present topic is ease of doing business but the biggest polluters and destroyers are mining entities.  People go and scratch the ground but they get protected when they do the wrong thing.  The EMA officials end up maybe getting a bribe and doing nothing.  So, we might empower a community that does not understand us.  The biggest enemy we have

in the country is the attitude of Central Government towards poverty – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – a person is going to hunt for a mouse because of hunger.  He ends up burning grass to chase the mouse the other side because there is no food.  I am saying everything must be managed and I am not saying anyone created poverty.  However, the purpose of the Government and our purpose when we read our prayer here, we are supposed to govern correctly.

Wherever you go, a human being always presides over the rest of the community or natural resources.  Whilst we might want to say do not sell this or that, the first pollution is here in Harare.  What is happening in Robert Mugabe Road is like people protesting that ‘Mugabe gave us poverty.’  They are always in the streets selling.  They are selling, throwing tomatoes and doing everything.  You cannot protect an environment on a poor community, it is not easy.  I sympathise with our chiefs because they might want to stop people from cutting trees but they have no fuel.  We used to go and get what is called chimutarara if you know it until the food is ready and then we eat.  We would be happy and we were told not to cut certain trees.  However, when we cut trees for our survival, are we replenishing them?  I am saying, we must go all out to ensure that we protect our environment and there will always be a cycle in environments, the reason why there is the word called habitat.  We are part of the habitat, we are not any different from animals when it comes to feeding on each other.

We must work and ensure that we manage other animals because that is how we were created.  We were created in the image of God and we pray in that image.  We are supposed to do things which are just and bring dignity to the human society.  All these things we are reading here do not bring dignity to our people.  I will give examples of pollution; water pollution – there is not a single river which has not been polluted.  Mr. President, when we were growing up; I do not know where you grew up but we used to say mvura haina n’anga and we would drink in any well.  However, today you do not know who would have poured oil or cyanide in every stream you come across.  People think they are surviving but they are throwing cyanide and it kills wild animals, our cattle and our children.

Right now, we are polluting the lake as said by the previous speaker.  If you cross Manyame River, the first thing you meet is a stench as you cross over to Masvingo side and that is a result of pollution coming from upstream.  If you want to go for recreation at Chivero, there is a stench and this has been on for many years.  If you read history, it started around 1965 and people had to redesign their sewage plan so that they treat the water in the lake because they could not move Harare out of the position which it is in.  So, we need to ‘deeutrophicate’ these lakes.

Although we are waiting for the grave, we cannot be moved because we think we are settled but we have to move the pollution we are putting down there.  We also need to move the pollution by making sure that we provide the relevant resources. You cannot get something without working for it.  For you to own a house, you have to build it.

Even if you say God will intervene, He will not intervene when you do not cook your food and expect it to come miraculously.  We have to work on making sure that we improve this society – [HON.

SENATORS: Hear, hear.] – I want to challenge…

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Hon. Sen.

Mudzuri, try as much as possible to stick to one language.

HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI: Thank you Mr. President but you know what?  The multiplicity of languages makes it more interesting because there are certain old people who want to hear what I am saying.  There is no interpretation, so when I think they will be enjoying this speech I put in quotes – [Laughter.] – I will try my best.  Thank you Mr. President.  Anyway, we need to work and make sure EMA does its work but the first person who should do their work is the Central Government.  If the Central Government continues to be on a demonstration against its people by not correcting the economic situation, we are not going anywhere.  We will continue to see people killing wild animals, burning grass looking for mice and having all this air pollution we are talking about.

In Zimbabwe, we might not concern ourselves much about air pollution because we are not highly populated.  We can still use our coal mines to run our mines because the level of pollution – we have to go to science and assess ourselves.  We might have to use our coal to ensure that we get productive but we have to manage that pollution.  Wherever we want to do a project, you have to go through EMA but today your biggest problem is that if you send your project to EMA, it will go after 30 days.  They ask you to pay 2% for whatever they want to assess, the cost of the project you want to do.  After 30 days they will not have done much, they will say you have submitted your report but maybe you have left some things and have to resubmit and pay another 2%.

It becomes a game.

I am asking this because this Government and us as Parliament, we have to check on each other.  Once we do that, that EMA officer needs a bribe and no longer does his job but looks for a bribe to make sure that you do not pay and make him reduce the days.  Our EMA officers need to do their work, we are talking of the ease of doing business.  I want to ask the chiefs, if we can ask them outside this place on whether the EMA officers are doing their work in rural areas.  I will be honest with you; they are supposed to teach people rather than punish them.  They are supposed to teach people that after cutting a tree, they should plant another one.  Is that not correct?  If you want firewood, the chiefs might say cut this area and leave another for planting.  That is how we should manage the environment and not leave people with no fuel to use.

If you go to certain areas like Chivi, there is no more firewood, no trees or rainfall and there is nothing.  The people living there need to be moved to a place where the habitat can contain them.  So, environmental friendliness, yes, no more selling of fruits, no more pollution by burning grass randomly, but we have to manage first at the top going down to the policemen who arrest the person who has polluted.  So everyone, we need to change the society, we need to train our society to love their country.  We need also to condemn our friends if they do wrong.  I want to be condemned for doing wrong and try to correct myself.

Our society has always been good at that.  That is why when we were growing up, we would swim with ladies, but no one would get pregnant.  That would be the time when people would get married as virgins and there was this Chimanda.   I do not know the English word for Chimanda, but it was given for that person who was married a virgin.  Today it is no longer there although people have long dresses – people were almost naked when we were young.  So I am saying, it is what we do as a people and how we manage our environment.

Thank you Mr. President.  I hope the Government comes to act and the Ministers get this concern through your office, Mr. President, that we are tired of debating in their absence.

HON. SEN. GUMPO:  Thank you Mr. President.  I would like to congratulate Sen. Chifamba for such a motion.  Mr. President, if I really knew that Parliament is a place where one can debate for 12 months on one subject and get no result, surely I would have wasted my time coming to Parliament.

It is serious, Mr. President, that we as Members of Parliament can debate for six months on one subject or even 12 months and get no results.  We are making this Parliament a place where we can continuously debate on a subject that we cannot conclude and come up with an answer.  I fail to understand why we are not getting responses from the Ministers where debates of such important matters are done.

That is the life of this country and we are getting no answer.

I have been listening to Senators in the past complaining about this august House debating on matters that we cannot get results out of.  What is the point of continuously debating on things that we cannot get results?  We fail to understand that.  We need Ministers, maybe it is up to Standing Rules and Orders that has not got enough…

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Sen.

Gumpo, order.  Are you debating the motion or you are raising a fresh point about absence of Ministers?

HON. SEN. GUMPO:  I am debating Mr. President.

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Debating

which motion?

HON. SEN. GUMPO:  The environment.  Sorry Mr. President, I have been overrun by emotions.

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  You will

debate.  The issue of absence of Ministers is an issue which has been raised over and over again and as the leadership – [AN HON. MEMBER: Inaudible interjection.] – If you comment before I finish speaking what do you want me to do, whoever it is?

It is an issue which the leadership of Parliament takes very seriously.  It is an issue which has been raised and we have stated, as leadership of Parliament, that when we debate, for example the

President’s address to Parliament, there are aspects in that presentation which the President makes to Parliament, his speech, which each and every Minister must come and respond to after Members of Parliament have debated and we are on record as having stated the fact that

Ministers have not come to do that.

So, you have made your point and it is now time to debate the motion as raised by Hon. Chifamba.

HON. SEN. GUMPO:  Thank you Mr. President.  My motion is definitely on environment which has been brought into this august

House by a number of Senators.  I have read the motions from the Lower House as well.  It is not only hear, it is all over the place.  My biggest worry is that how could we discuss on a matter for so long and get no answer.  We need an answer, whether it is the Minister who is going to be answering that or whether it is going to be Parliament itself or the Administration of Parliament, why we have subjects that we can discuss for a long time getting no results.  It means that maybe the system is not providing for answers.  We are not getting resolutions.  We need to have resolutions when we debate on a matter as important as environment. That will decide the future of this country.  It depends on the environment.

I personally put in a motion on environment which was on the issue of veld fire.  It is exactly the same.  It was in December and the same motion is being discussed today, which is environment which is degradation.  All the rivers are being silted 100%.  All our dams are being silted.  Where are we going to get the money to build the dams?  We cannot even get money for electricity at the moment, let alone building the dams.  If we have no dams, how are we going to be talking about agriculture in this country?  It is going to be impossible.

So, the seriousness of attending to these matters by Ministers having to answer back, come back to the Parliament if a debate has been done, they have to give back an answer – come back to us and say a debate that was done six months ago, here is an answer, this is what you have got out of it.  If we do not get those answers, what is the point of debating?  I have gone as far as consulting the Forest Act.  I went to the legal department in the Parliament.  I was suspecting that maybe the charges are not good enough, but I have discovered that in the fire problem, there is enough coverage for charges.  It is between three months and five years, but how many times have we heard from any court somebody being charged for starting a fire that has been sentenced for five years?

We have never got that, but it is there in the Act.  Why is that not happening?  Who is answerable to that?  We have to answer that as well.  We cannot afford as a Government, as Parliament to be debating on a subject of veld fires perpetually.  I was called two days ago by someone in Tengwe.  They called me as the Senator of that area and they said Senator, about 10 farms have been totally burnt out.  There is no grass; there is nothing that has been left.  Do we mean that as a Government we cannot stop veld fires?  What is Government all about if we cannot stop veld fires?  The provisions are there, it means either implementation is not actually taking place or is not even thought of.  We cannot afford that in a country like this one.

We are looking at agriculture and now the rivers are being totally silted.  I was watching television one day when I saw a dam that is being totally silted somewhere within our country.  There is nothing, we cannot even drink water from there.  Are we so incapable as a Government that we cannot stop these veld fires?  For how long is it going to carry on?

I said in my motion when I debated in December - I come from

Mashonaland West where we had that ZANU-PF conference, you saw the serious situation that was there.  I am born in that area, I grew up in that area and I stayed in that area.  There was a resettlement that was done by the colonial Government in the early 60s in a beautiful farm that was as good as many other farms like what we have today, but today we are living in that same area and you cannot even see a patch of grass.  It is totally degraded.

When I was a small boy, we used to go along the rivers and collect flowers, the fans that grow along the flowing rivers and sell them in Bulawayo but today there is nothing.  There is totally nothing.   How can we have that situation?  How are we going to sustain this population in this country?  We are going to have a serious problem.  We cannot have a position where we can debate issues perpetually with no answers at all.  We have to come to some conclusion.  The Minister of Environment has to come, answer and tell us what they are doing.  They do not just take that debate and keep it.  They must come back and tell us what they have done.  If they are failing, they must tell us they are failing to control the veld fires.  This is what the Hon. Senators are asking for because we cannot afford to waste the taxpayers’ money by coming to Harare and debate issues forever.  Thank you Mr. President.

*HON. SEN. MURONZI:  Thank you Mr. President for giving me the opportunity to add my voice to this debate.  I would like to support what the previous speaker has said.   We have seen that EMA is failing their duty.  In the rural areas, there is not much veld fire because everyone is alert and can trace where the fire has started.  At one time, there was an arrest after experiencing veld fires.  Most cases of veld fires are from the farms.  One day, I was coming from Macheke and there was a veld fire and people tried to put off the fire but failed.  I am urging that there must be chiefs in all the farms so that we try to control this issue of veld fires.  One day when I was travelling to my rural home, I noticed there was a lot of deforestation at the Mavhirivhi Mountain.  I stopped to collect some firewood because there were many trees destroyed.  They conduct this activity during the night so that EMA would not see them.  Later, the EMA people arrived and they told me that I was arrested and I asked them why they were arresting me. I was not the one who had cut down the trees.  They told me that I was supposed to go and get permission from the Forestry people but they later on released me.

Mr. President, what we are debating about might be difficult because we are creating our own laws.  We are supposed to create proper laws to curb this issue.  If you look at Mazoe River, the water has changed colour because of the illegal miners.  Hon. Sen. Mudzuri has said that long back, we used to drink clean water from the rivers but this has changed.  I am supporting that the chiefs be given their powers to control activity in farms around their areas.  I thank you.

*HON. SEN. FEMAI:  Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to add my voice on such a motion.  I would want to support the previous speakers that chiefs must be given the power to control these areas.  I once debated on this motion saying that in the rural areas where we stay, you do not find veld fires.  Fires come from farms to the rural areas but people put off the fires.  How do they want to operate?  That is where the problem is.  I want to give a testimony. Last week, we were called by the headman for a meeting.  I arrived there and he said, firstly, we want to relay the message that came from the chief.   First, anyone who is found to have caused fire, even if it is in your areas, you will be fined a beast each.  That is a chief with his land.  When we were coming from there, all the people said, we should stop causing fire.  If you want to burn something around your premises, you should consult the headman so that he comes and assess and find out why you want to burn the things.  That is what used to happen long back.  People would not just start fires willy-nilly.  EMA was given the task to look at the environment but it does not have powers to arrest.  EMA is a toothless dog.  It also reports to the police.  EMA officers do not approach the courts with a culprit, they also report to the police.  What is now happening Mr. President is that because of the economic hardships, people are suffering to the extent that anyone who has a tree in their premises will cut it so that they have firewood to cook and feed their families.  If EMA officers see them, there is nothing they can do because they are also suffering.  Kitchens of those who are cooking food illegally, I do not know how many they are, every location if you get there, they are using fresh msasa wood.  To make matters worse, they use sawmills not axes.  People of the age of 15 years are going to the extent of buying sawmills to cut down msasa trees which are as old as 100 years and go and sell a tree which is supposed to benefit all of us only benefits one person.  The chief’s tree only benefits one person because of economic hardships.  If it was possible, my plea was that - where is the Minister?   We should rather ask where the police is.  If we were only allowed to implement after we have debated without consulting the Minister, why do we debate when the relevant person is not there then we point fingers blaming him that he is not doing anything. Why do we debate? Why do we bother coming to Parliament when at the end of the day we look for someone who does not come to Parliament. We should debate then come up with resolutions and implement them.  We should come up with the penalties for people who cut down trees.  Maybe the Minister is going to use our debates to come up with laws which meet our concerns.

Surely, Mr. President, no one can miss fresh wood. In Ruwa where

I come from, I saw a lorry probably a seven tonne offloading fresh Msasa wood, not in the forest but by the road side where there is a market stall.  If EMA is everywhere, why does it not get there? The police will be around and they will be aware because I talked to one of them after I had given him a lift in my car. I asked him about these fresh logs which were being offloaded where EMA was. I asked him why the police do not arrest such people. He said they arrest them but the problem is, you waste your time being called to the courts and you are told if you are wanted you will be summoned and meanwhile the person is released. I asked him how many such cases have they dealt with because these people should be arrested.

What I am saying is that people who cut down trees should be arrested because they have stalls to sell firewood. Police should just ask them where they are getting the fresh wood and they are arrested. If one person is arrested all those people who wake up around 5 am with their wheelbarrows from surrounding areas finding their way into the location,s and people are buying because there is no electricity. This is how we are disturbing the environment. There is no electricity and people are now relying on firewood but it is destroying our country.

With these words, I think you should return the land back to the chiefs. This will empower our chiefs to see the people who are cutting down trees. If you go to our rural areas in Chimanimani, there is no one who cuts down trees because it is known that the chief said no one should cut down trees. It is in the rural area. The problem is in these resettled areas where people are cutting down trees. If you drive along Bulawayo, you find piles of fresh firewood along the way. Why is it that

EMA  does not arrest those people? With these words, I thank you Mr. President for this opportunity you have given me to debate.

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: It has been

brought to my attention that our equipment has broken down and right now there is no interpretation. So, if you would like your speech to be recorded in The Hansard you will have to speak in English. However, if you want to speak in any other language you must know that at the present moment, it will not be recorded.

HON. SEN. MAVETERA: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to add on what my fellow honourables have contributed. Before I proceed, I want to thank Hon. Chifamba for bringing such an important motion to be debated in this House. I think her main motion is a call for Government to protect the environment. Before I start debating on it Mr. President, I think we need to know what is the definition of environment. The definition of environment, I tried to look around, it was described as the surrounding conditions in which people live; animals, plants which they operate but it is also known as the home. I think this is very important, so this topic is very important to us because it defines our home, the home where we all live.  So it is for us to take note and put the significance it deserves when you are debating this.

Let me now zero-in on our environment Mr. President. I think the greatest threat to our environment, I know it is going to be very provocative, is our Government. The greatest threat to our environment in Zimbabwe is our Government, I repeat it. Why am I saying that? I think we create laws and Government is supposed to give directions. Everyone when we have got a good Government, I think citizens will actually listen to the Government. When you have ‘vana vanoramba kuteerera baba, it means baba vari kutadza pamwe’ because naturally we have to listen to our Government. That is a God given obligation. So when we have that not happening then we have got problems.

We have got a threat of the environment as we have trees being cut. We are saying why are people cutting trees? I heard Hon. Members trying to put emphasis on giving back the powers to the chiefs which is not a bad idea. It is good but what will the chiefs do if there is no ZESA and people are cutting down trees to use as fuel. Will the chiefs provide anything? So I think what we need to do is, people are cutting down trees because there is a ready market for trees. If there is no market for trees then we will not be cutting trees and who created that market? It is us the Government failing to provide electricity. That is why I said we may debate and debate but in Shona we say ‘uchida kusvina mota kuti ripere buditsa chishomwe’ and the ‘chishomwe’ is our Government. We need ‘kusvina’ so that we really follow and not create an environment.

Let us be realistic, we can say people should not cut trees and we do not want to see anyone selling firewood on the roadsides, vanobika nei, what will we use as fuel? We are not being realistic. Let us be realistic and say the Government has to provide power. It is unfortunate, we have to quote people that I do not want to quote and give as an example, the colonial era. It is very sad when you find yourself quoting the colonial but we are forced by circumstances to quote them. Why are we saying that Madam President? I am one of the people who does not want to quote the colonial era because I have got bad experience with it but we are now being forced to quote it.  We did not have all this problem of veldfires, degradation and tree cutting, why? It is because we had enough fuel and electricity.  Even if people did not use electricity there was paraffin.  They could afford, but now we have got a situation where not a single Zimbabwean can afford paraffin and ZESA is out for 18 hours and you say people should not cut down trees.  I am not saying people should cut down trees, I am telling you reality because you may think probably I am saying we should cut down trees.  I am saying who should stop people from cutting trees? It is the Government that is the greatest threat.  I want us to focus on the threat.

I am a student of natural sciences where you need to address the real issues if you want to get a better result.  Otherwise we may debate until we debate no more and end up even fighting and probably saying our chiefs are not doing a good thing, they are letting people cut down trees and all these.  So, Hon. Members, I think this issue is very important and we need to give it the importance it deserves.  We cannot do it without focusing on the threat. Let us zero down to siltation.  Right now, we have got problems of water in the cities and all this, it is a result of siltation.  Who caused siltation, it is actually the Government, not the people but it is Government failing to make sure that people live according to what should be done.

We have got a situation like Harare where we have people now being settled in areas where they should not be settled but Zimbabwe has got a lot of land.  Why are we having corruption and land barons? Spaces which were left for people and the environment to prosper are being taken because the Government has not created space elsewhere to give people places to build their houses.  So we are now depending on the land which was created by the colonial masters.  It is very sad, I do not want to refer to that but it is very sad when you actually are forced to refer to your enemy. I think that is a sign to tell you that you are really in serious trouble as a human being.

Madam President, we can talk of different aspects, different threats to the environment, different directions where the environment is under threat but it is actually because of human interaction.  Humans have actually failed to manage the environment and as such, we are also affecting the environment which is meant for animals.

I think the motion by Hon. Chifamba was to the effect that we should stop people from harvesting those wild fruits so that animals can have food. Why are people harvesting wild fruits; do you think someone will get pride in selling mazhanje?  I do not think so, but why are we selling mazhanje and getting pride in selling mazhanje? It is because the

Government has failed – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –

I know this may sound to be putting a political jacket but it is not a political jacket.  This is the reality and it is high time as an honourable House that we really come face to face and discuss as a people.  We all belong to this environment, no one owns this it.  If it is destroyed we all perish.  So, if we allow people who have got the responsibility to make sure that the environment is safeguarded to sleep on duty – I think Hon. Members have actually complained of people who are supposed to implement what we are discussing. Some of them have never visited – let me say visited this august House to listen to what we are doing – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – so, you tell us who is the threat to the environment?  Is it the person who is cutting trees, no?  It is actually our Government.

I hope by the end of my contribution Madam President, I think it will help a few Hon. Members to see and understand who is the real threat to the environment?  Is it someone who has been de-humanised to depend on selling mazhanje or someone who has been de-humanised to be selling firewood or it is the people who are causing others to resort to such?  People are trying to eke a living.  Why are we not – it is because we have failed to provide for our people. So they are saying whatever comes “chero chinoita kuti ndirarame ndava kuita” - is that the way we should be living as a people? – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –

It is very sad actually to say the police should be seen fighting those people selling mazhanje and all that.  I am being very realistic, but of course let us not be superficial because if they do not sell mazhanje, what are they going to do?  They are selling mazhanje in town because there are people who are living here in town who cannot afford a meal but survive on those mazhanje.  I think we really need to look at things as they are.  Madam President, I think I could spend the whole afternoon trying to emphasise on the importance of the environment but I think it has been emphasised by all other Hon. Members.

Probably the issue which I thought I could add substance to the debate is to say “ndiyani auraya environment”.  It is your Government, our Government.  If we want to protect our environment, we have to make sure that our Government behaves and knows that the environment is the home to all of us and as such, it is the duty of the Government to protect our home.  As Hon. Members, we are an arm of Government and so, it is also our duty to make sure that we protect our environment.  Probably you may think that when I say Government I am only referring to the Executive, no, we are also part of it.  So Hon. Members, let us avoid being a threat to the environment and end up crafting laws that actually punish people who are trying to eke out a living.

We now have got human-animal conflict and who is causing that? It is the Government because people are going to harvest mazhanje, wild fruits in the forests; animals are now hungry, they invade our homes and we end up with human-animal conflict at unfortunately a heavy cost to

lives.

Thank you Madam President for allowing me to share my little understanding and actually emphasising on the importance of the debate which was brought to this House by Hon. Chifamba.  I thank you.

HON. SEN. CHIFAMBA: I move that the debate do now

adjourn.

HON. SEN. TIMVEOS: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 7th August, 2019.

MOTION

ESTABLISHMENT OF AN EMPOWERED ENTITY TO ADDRESS

CHALLENGES AFFECTING PENSIONERS AND POLICY

HOLDERS

Third Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the need a legislative framework on pensions and insurance benefits.

Question again proposed.

HON. SEN. TIMVEOS: Madam President, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

HON. SEN. CHIFAMBA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 7th August, 2019.

MOTION

CULTURAL VALUES ON ENDING CHILD MARRIAGES

Fourth Order read: adjourned debate on motion on the need of the enforcement of the law on child marriages.

Question again proposed.

HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: I move that the debate do now

adjourn.

HON. SEN. S. NCUBE: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 7th August, 2019.

MOTION

DEVELOPMENT OF WATER INFRASTRUCTURE IN TOWNS

AND GROWTH POINTS

Fifth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the perennial shortages of clean and portable water in most towns and growth points.

Question again proposed.

HON. SEN. WUNGANAYI: I move that the debate do now

adjourn.

HON. SEN. SHOKO: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 7th August, 2019.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE THEMATIC COMMITTEE ON GENDER

AND DEVELOPMENT ON CANCER TREATMENT AND

CONTROL IN ZIMBABWE

Sixth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the Thematic Committee on Gender and Development on Cancer Treatment and Control in Zimbabwe.

Question again proposed.

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

HON. SEN. WUNGANAYI: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 7th August, 2019.

         On the motion of THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR MASHONALAND CENTRAL (HON. SEN. MAVHUNGA), the

Senate adjourned at Nine Minutes to Four o’clock p.m.

 

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