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SENATE HANSARD 09 March 2016 25-33
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Wednesday, 9th March, 2016
The Senate met at Half-past Two o’clock p.m.
(THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE
POSTPONEMENT OF SPORT COMPETITIONS
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: I wish to inform
the House that the sport competitions between Members of Parliament and the Staff of Parliament which were scheduled for Friday, 11th March, 2016, from 13:00 hours to 1700 hours at Alexander Sports Club in Milton Park, Harare, have been postponed to Sunday, 13th March, 2016. The venue and time remain the same.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. SEN. TAWENGWA: Madam President, I move that Orders of
the Day, Numbers 1 and 2 be stood over until all the other Orders of the Day on today's Order Paper have been dealt with.
HON. SEN. MASUKU: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS
Third Order read: Adjourned debate on motion in reply to the Presidential Speech.
Question again proposed.
HON. SEN. TAWENGWA: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. MASUKU: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 10th March, 2016.
REPORT OF THE 133RD ASSEMBLY OF THE INTER-
PARLIAMENTARY UNION (IPU)
Fourth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Zimbabwe
Delegation Report on the 133rd Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union. HON. SEN. TAWENGWA: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. MASUKU: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 10th March, 2016.
REHABILITATION OF WAR SHRINES AND RECOGNITION OF
DEPARTED WAR LIBERATORS
Fifth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion calling for rehabilitation and maintenance of war shrines.
Question again proposed.
HON. SEN. MUSAKA: I wish to thank Hon. Sen. Mohadi seconded by
Hon. Se. Masuku on the motion on rehabilitation of the fallen heroes. It is important; I appreciate and agree with the motion, having seen a lot of suffering that the people who were in the front went through. Even those in the rear, there was no such thing as the front and the rear. Those who supported the war efforts, I am one of those who was in Zambia at the time, whether you were supporting from the rear or in the front, there was no difference because the enemy still looked for you to kill you. The enemy wanted to bomb everyone who was associated with the war effort so as to disrupt the supplies intended for the war efforts. So, the great sacrifice made by these people should be recognised and respected. Every effort should be made to rehabilitate the Shrines and I agree with the Hon. Member who said all Senators should at least undertake a trip to the shrines. We should all understand the sacrifice and the Shrines should be given the respect they deserve.
I totally agree with the motion and further propose that anybody who fell, died or hanged for Zimbabwe should be declared a National Hero, whatever the level or rank he/she held and those who died in the war effort supporting the liberation struggle. I thank you Madam President.
*HON. SENATOR MALULEKE: Thank you Madam President
for giving me this opportunity to make my contribution on this important motion. It is because of these heroes who are living and those not living today. I wish to thank the mover of this motion Senator Mohadi. The Hon. Senator moved around looking at the state of the graves of our fallen heroes. We as Parliamentarians should look into this matter with urgency. We all have relatives that went and fought during the liberation war.
In 2012, as the Women’s League, we went to Chimoio and we made many observations. There are two people who look after the graves, a young man and a young woman. Two others were said to be off duty. We were told that we could go and visit the graves the following day. We sang throughout the whole night. When we had arrived, it was not cloudy, but to our amasement it rained that night.
Two men suddenly appeared carrying a bag and they came straight at me
and I started shivering with fear. My sister advised me to be of good courage and accept that bag from the man. The bag was full of cassava and the four of us continued singing and the men just disappeared.
On the following day, we travelled by bus and visited other shrines and we observed that there was great need for maintaining our heroes’ shrines both at home and abroad. We then resolved that we should hold progressive meetings aimed at cleansing and cleaning our heroes’ shrines in our districts. Just as we had done after the war when we held traditional ceremonies to appease the spirits in regard to the surviving combatants, the same treatment and care should be afforded the fallen heroes.
We held a meeting with our district administrator and set up a programme of cleaning these shrines all the time, instead of waiting for special occasions of burials of heroes only. I also believe that in all our districts, we have established committees responsible for reburial of the heroes who were not properly buried during the war of liberation. I know that Cde. Rutanhire is one of the leaders of such groups. I therefore plead with the Government and the public that we should identify the tombs of the unknown soldiers for exhumation and decent burial. I believe that failure to give decent burial to our fallen heroes, who are scattered both within and outside the country, is one of the reasons why we have erratic rainfall patterns.
*HON. SENATOR CHIPANGA: Thank you Madam President
for giving me this opportunity to make my contribution on this important motion which was raised by Hon. Mohadi. I would like to say, the state of our National Heroes Acres are handled in a sorry state and yet these are people who sacrificed their lives and indeed made a great contribution to the independence of our country, Zimbabwe.
I would like to thank my fellow Hon. Senators who made a contribution especially where they talked about the exhumation of the remains of our heroes who were buried in foreign lands. But one of the chiefs told us that we cannot just get the bones and bring them into the country. He said that is taboo. What we do in our African culture is that we only collect sand from the grave for reburial, but perhaps we might have to change that in order to accommodate the views of those who want to see the bones of those buried in foreign countries brought home.
I am one of the few people who visited graves of all the freedom fighters in Zambia and Mozambique. I managed to visit all the places where our fallen heroes are interred. I am pleading with this august Senate that there is a problem which needs us to work in unison. Those who went to Chimoio were able to see a number of mass graves. My question is, if we were to exhume those bodies, how are we going to identify those people and say who they are? It means we will have to dig another mass grave of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers. We are not saying we should neglect those people whom we do not know because we have buried those we know.
In the past, there was a committee which was established and it included chiefs and the chiefs said we needed to carry out some traditional cleansing ceremonies so that we are able to handle the remains of the fallen heroes. We also know of the National Museums and Monuments, which leads in the maintenance and exhumation of these ex-combatants in all the national and provincial heroes. Yes, this institution is there, but unfortunately, this institution is underfunded and hence, it cannot keep the grounds of these fallen heroes well maintained. I know for sure that when you visit these places, you really feel saddened. You feel touched because they are in a sorry state of neglect and deterioration. The only time these areas are cleaned is when there is a burial of a hero at that particular place. That is when they are weeded and cleaned. I would like to urge that we need to have a budget set aside for cleaning these places and keeping them clean and in a state they deserve.
We have heard some people blame the chiefs for failing to carry out their duties in full, but as far as I know, the chiefs will be able to answer and give us a proper guidance. I did ask this august House that if we were to go and exhume these remains, we were not going to be able to identify the individuals. At Chimoio, there are remains in the mass graves. In Mulungushi and Tete, we also have mass graves.
What I need clarified in this august House is, what exactly are we suggesting? I am saying we should not play a blaming game that we are not taking care of our heroes who were buried outside the country. I am sure that as mature members of this august, we can suggest put a plan which is implementable. I keep on repeating because we seem to blaming the ex-combatants who survived the war. Some members are saying war veterans no longer think about those of their comrades who died or were left behind. But this is not a fact. We need to come up with a practical way of doing the reburials, exhumations and taking care of those graves.
Madam President, I have heard some of the topics being discussed here. Some Senators seem to be politicking; they talk about the selection of who goes to the Heroes’ Acre. What I want to say is, a decision has already being taken on the criterion on who can be interred at the Heroes Acre. I am not sure whether, as this august House, we are able to draw new parameters on the selection of the heroes to go to the Heroes’ Acre. This is not a talk shop whereby we only talk for the sake of talking. We have heard in the social media that we need to be involved in the selection of the heroes. People are blaming Government saying, the only people who are buried at the Heroes Acre are people who belong to a particular party but the criteria used is who did what during the war and who maintained that status after independence. Hence, these people deserve to be buried at the Heroes Acre and that is the criteria used in the selection of the national heroes.
There were some people who were not involved in the war of liberation but are buried at the Heroes Acre. I thank you Madam President.The simple reason is that they lacked consistency in that they went to war, but when they came back they did not go in the right direction. …
HON. SEN. MAKONE: My point of order is that I believe that we are in the Upper House, the Senate the Republic of Zimbabwe, we are not at ZANU PF Headquarters – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Make your point
of order Hon. Senator, do not give a lecture.
HON. SEN. MAKONE: The point of order is drawn from that statement and it is that the Hon. Member cannot be telling us that only those people who belong to one party are going to be heroes in this country. I do not think that is in order. Heroes of this country are people who have sacrificed on behalf of the people of Zimbabwe, not on behalf of a political party. It has nothing to do with political parties but everything to do with the people of Zimbabwe. Thank you Madam President. Musangano or no musangano, everyone can be a hero from their respective areas; economic, social or any other, you can be a hero as long as you are a Zimbabwean. I want to know where it says in the Constitution you only need to be a member of ZANU PF to be a hero.
Thank you Madam President.
*HON. SEN. CHIPANGA: Thank you Madam President but I am not sure whether I should respond to what has been raised by the Hon.
Member who has just spoken…
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Order, you said
something about ZANU PF and that is the point of objection.
*HON. SEN. CHIPANGA: Madam President, in my speech I did not talk about ZANU PF. If some of us have been to the Heroes Acre, you notice that out of all the people who are buried there, were people from all walks of life, not only people who were involved in the war of liberation. Therefore, I do not see why somebody should be talking about only ZANU PF cadres being buried at the Heroes Acre. I did not say that and that is not the import of this debate.
As far as I am concerned, I think we should all agree on what is going on in the country. I am only expressing my opinion and if somebody differs with my opinion, I do not know what to say. …
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: This is why I
always remind Hon. Senators to stick to the motion on the Order Paper because when you wonder off, you are likely to step on some Hon.
Member’s toes. Again, that is not how we do it anyway. Let us follow the rules and regulations of this august House.
*HON. SEN. CHIPANGA: Let me continue with my contribution and say, when you have been given the floor, you may go out of topic.
In this House, we were informed that the only people who are buried at the Heroes Acre belong to ZANU PF but that is false. As far as we are all concerned as Zimbabweans, our heroes acres or shrines should be kept clean and not only clean them when we are going for burial of other heroes or special national occasions. I wind off by thanking the mover of this motion, Hon. Senator Mohadi. I believe that when we are making contributions on this motion, we will stick to the fact that our heroes’ acres should be well maintained. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. BHOBHO: Thank you Madam President for giving me this opportunity to make my contribution on a motion raised by Hon. Sen. Mohadi encouraging us to maintain our shrines. I believe that members of this august House are very mature people and we share the same sentiments that we should think of ways and means of keeping the shrines in a clean state. Let us not only think about them when we are going towards national days or burial of a hero. We are now in an independent Zimbabwe because of the sacrifices made by the gallant sons and daughters of Zimbabwe. We can only show our appreciation by keeping those shrines clean. We need to think about those people.
I want to thank His Excellency, Cde R. G. Mugabe the biggest hero. We are now working hand in hand with him in maintaining the Heroes Acre because he is one of the survivors of the war and when we are talking about this we are doing well and we will support the motion. What is very pleasing is that as Members of the august House, we are the people who share his vision and as far as he is concerned he will be very pleased because we need to take care of the people who died for the liberation of our country. The oppressors were defeated through the sacrifices of such gallant sons and daughters.
It is quite pleasing when we hear that we have people in this august House advocating for the maintenance of the heroes acres and shrines. Our Government has already taken steps in keeping with the welfare of the families of the heroes. School fees are being paid for their children and spouses. Their medical expenses are being taken care of by the
State. We know there are a lot of things which could be done and we are also looking at what is happening at the Heroes Acre. We have also been told about the selection criteria of the national heroes’ status. People are graded according to their profiles just like we do in our institutions whereby we have top management and the shop floor workers. The same goes for the heroes where we have people who are buried according to their status. Please understand me, I am not saying that there are some heroes who deserve to be called heroes than others but I am saying we need to have a criteria. That is why our leader is taking care of such issues and hence the Lord has given him such a long life so that he can implement the plans to take care of our heroes. This is showing respect to them. Even in our areas where we have those shrines let us take care of heroes acres at district and provincial heroes acres. We need to have those places cleaned up.
In my constituency we call the families who were left behind by the heroes and we hold a ceremony in honouring those people and hence I am calling for all people in their constituencies that we need to put our heads together, work for the welfare of the heroes both the living and the dead and we go to those shrines and pay our respects. There should be no partisan politics displayed in this area and this is very important. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. MABUGU: Thank you Madam President, for affording me this opportunity to add my voice on this motion concerning the heroes shrines. I also have relatives who lost their lives in the struggle. I have two uncles who died. We did not know where these two were buried until last year when one of my uncles came out as a spirit medium on one of his sisters. My late uncle was in a cave and when we entered the cave we saw his remains. He was putting on one shoe and had clothes on his body. I want to thank the Government for what they did. His remains were repatriated and brought home and he was honoured as a hero with full military colours. We still do not know where the other uncle of mine is.
I want to say surely our heroes should be looked after wherever they are laid. I was really pained when I heard that there were war shrines which were not well maintained, with grass all over the place and I just thought probably one of my relatives is buried there. I think that the Government should really work hard because the living heroes were given Z$50 000 and what about the departed ones? I think they should be given money so that their shrines are looked after. Funds should be set aside so that they would be repatriated and their shrines maintained. It is very painful that we only give honour to the living heroes but what about the departed heroes.
I think it should start with us. We should unite and visit those shrines so that we see how these places can be maintained. With these few words Madam President of the Senate, I thank you.
+HON. SEN. MLOTSHWA: Thank you Madam President, for
giving me this opportunity to add my voice on the motion that was brought to this House by Senator Mohadi. This is a very important issue to all of us especially to Zimbabweans because there are so many things that we benefited from our fallen heroes who were so dedicated to fight for their country.
Madam President, in Ndebele there is a saying that brings out that everyone who fought for the war of liberation are all the same for they wasted their time but it was actually a benefit because they were trying to bring freedom to all Zimbabweans. Senator Mohadi highlighted on a lot when she brought this motion. She said that when you look at the homestead of the late Vice President Joshua Nkomo when you are passing by – I am one of the people who normally pass by, you just see a durawall that is falling whilst we are saying that he was Father Zimbabwe. It is a shame! Why is it not being corrected?
Some of the Senators who spoke before highlighted that most of the things are done according to ranks but as I speak, I wonder who exactly has the highest rank ahead of the late Joshua Nkomo. Everyone who was used as an example of the fallen hero came after Joshua Nkomo. We have a place that is known as Balagweni in Matobo that most of our fallen heroes were laid there in mass graves. During that war they were called dissidents but most of them died after contributing to the liberation struggle and hold high positions like Commanders; now their works are being undermined.
When the late Hon. Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo requested that their bones should be removed from the mass graves, the bones were not laid properly and at the end, they were buried in a shallow grave next to a place named as Matobo District Heroes Acre but they are being ignored.
This motion that was brought by Hon. Mohadi is a reminder that there was a time people wrote a letter to Local Government that there is no way we can emphasise on people that were buried side by side with those who were buried for example at Matopo Heroes Acre. There are some people who have said that we can try at least to show honour to them by surrounding their graves with a fence so that their families see that we honour or fallen heroes. Local Government did not approve of this for they were saying we should not start to dig graves that will create controversy to the community. The relatives of the fallen heroes are hurt by this.
If only Local Government can allow Matobo Rural District Council to fence and name the fallen heroes. We have people who were commanders who died during the war of liberation. At the end, it is not very clear to those who did not experience the war of liberation. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. MAVHUNGA: Thank you for according me this opportunity to debate on this motion which was raised by Senator Mohadi in which she is pleading with the Government that we should look at the heroes shrines and to acknowledge our heroes.
This motion has been brought at an opportune time because there is a Ministry which has been set up which is headed by Minister Ncube which looks after the shrines. I want to thank the President for giving us this Ministry and we look up to this Ministry to do its job properly and that the shrines are maintained.
We are talking about shrines which were bombed for example, Nyadzonya, Chimoio and Freedom Camp. As we are debating, we should also look at places where our heroes used to stay. At Tembwe, there are also graves. Some people died because of hunger, gun shots and diseases. It is our plea that when we look at graves that have been built already, we think that all those heroes that are still outside should be repatriated as well. For example Tembwe Base 2, that is where my husband was. He was a commander. After the base was bombed, they went and picked people and threw the bodies in drains because they were decomposed. I think we should think of those areas as well so that we should go and exhume.
I know of an area where there were 200 people and 25 were swept by Save River. I think if we go there, we can pick some bones from those river banks. Government should put funds together so that all those areas can be revisited and the bones be picked. It should be
Government’s burden – like what one of the Hon. Members said before me that when the spirits of the dead come out on the living, Government should take it upon and assist in the exhumation and burials.
I think the responsible Ministry should be funded so that they look into the issue and not only renovating the graves. We know that there are people who are still thinking that their children were sent to Yugoslavia or North Korea because there is nothing that is showing that their children died during the war. It is good as Government to notify people in the villages so that they know exactly what happened. Those who went to join the struggle are known. Where I come from, they used to do pre-checks and all the information was kept. The information was not only kept at the camps but it was sent to towns where there were offices for safe keeping. A census should be done so that the headmen will be asked about the people who died in the struggle and not for them to be given money but just to acknowledge that some comrades did not come back from war. I think it will bring to rest even the dead and those who were left behind. That is what should happen so that the spirits of the departed will rest in peace. With these few words, I thank you Madam President.
*HON. SEN. TIMVEOS: Thank you Madam President. I had not
stood up to add my voice but I think it is important that I do so.
I want to add a few words concerning our shrines. People fought so that we will be free and that we will be here in Parliament. I support that any place that we might think of where our heroes are laid, we must maintain those places so that the spirits of these liberation fighters will rest in peace and that our country is blessed. I am a Senator from Zvishavane and I want to talk about a place called Siboza where some of our heroes are buried. This place is a mess and it needs looking after, the grass is so long and the graves are dilapidated. As Government, we should look at the issue of looking after the Shrines properly. The issue of heroes is very important.
Today we were commemorating the disappearance of Itai Dzamara, a young man who disappeared a year ago without trace. To me, he is a hero and we remembered him today. Heroes are important to our country, but the question still remains - where is Itai Dzamara? Madam President, with these few words, I thank you for affording me this opportunity to debate this motion brought by Hon. Sen. Mohadi.
Madam President, I want to remind you that I come from Zvishavane and there is a shrine at Sibosa where freedom fighters were buried. If you see the place, you will not believe that it is a shrine where freedom fighters were buried. The place is dilapidated with overgrown grass; it is just in a sorry state.
Madam President, as I listen to the debate in this House, I can conclude that we truly have a problem. Let us come up with a committee which will look into the issue of freedom fighters in order to ascertain where some of them were buried. Do we have a database? Let us not be afraid. If some of our children are in Mozambique as has been alluded to here, are they not Zimbabweans? We cannot leave their remains in Mozambique, let us go and repatriate these bodies back home.
I am proud of a statement said some time ago by one of our chiefs, that there is need to go through a cultural ceremony in order to repatriate the remains of our children back home. I think that is why there is a provision to have chiefs in this Senate so that they can show us our cultural norms and values and we can stand guided. There are so many things being said, people are not happy. Today we were gathered in commemoration of our child, Itai Dzamara who went missing sometime back. I saw his wife crying Madam President. He is also one of the heroes. His family and the Zimbabwean populace are grieving over his whereabouts. We should be able to respect each other’s lives as Zimbabweans. We should respect the lives of people who disappear and our freedom fighters whose whereabouts remains a mystery. Thank you Madam President for the opportunity you have given me.
SEN. CHIEF NYAMUKOHO: Thank you Madam President for
the opportunity you have given me. Firstly, I would like to thank the mover of this motion, Hon. Sen. Mohadi. I am not in any manner changing the motion, but if you can allow me to just sway a little bit out of the one word, ‘shrines.’ The motions concerns shrines, but I am saying I am not a theologian, neither am I a student of theology.
However, I am saying, I have had a chance to meet the leaders of the matter we are talking about. I am contributing on what I think we should be concentrating on and expanding the motion. I am taking an example of what happened in the past. We have all gone through schools where we learnt a story about the Egyptians and the Israelites.
There was heavy oppression, just as what happened to us here in
Zimbabwe, we were heavily oppressed by the whites and we are black.
As I said before, you will excuse me if there are any Theologians who might look at it in a different way. I threw my mind into considering the leader of this war, who, to me is not any different from what I can imagine happened to the Israelites amongst the Egyptians. For that reason, I think of our leader, Cde. R. G. Mugabe, who dared to go out and fight for our liberation. He had no guns, he had to look for them or he must have gathered stones, sticks and all what he could use, I do not know.
From there, I found something very important which has made me to sway a little bit from the issue of shrines. Shrines mean a place where dead bodies are piled in whatever manner. At least it is an honoured place for someone who would have passed away. I am going to concentrate on how some of us were treated by the whites and how we have come to be what we are today.
As I said before, I am not trying to turn the motion to what I think and would like done, but I am saying concentration of what I - as I said before, I am not a theologian but I look at a situation and I am talking of our leader, the President.
When the Israelites crossed the Red Sea, we are told or we have read in the Bible, a certain incident happened, that was for the Israelites to gather and thank their God. The same God who created the Zimbabwe we are in, they came together and concentrated on strategies they could use to praise and thank their God and their leader, Moses. Instead, I see quarrels after that. As a political gathering here, we have people with different minds. They think differently and whatever comes into their minds, which is allowed as it is called politics.
However, I am taking it beyond politics. Zimbabwe has been known as a God-loving country and surely, it is. I know that this world has a creator who created it and made us black as we are. He gave us an opportunity to be able to do whatever, and even better things. Today, we find our leader at the top of the ladder in leadership. We have men and women with the highest social status in Zimbabwe. However, we after we crossed the Red Sea, we did not give ourselves time to thank God and our Moses of Zimbabwe. We are concentrating on what we have. Madam President, thank you for giving me the opportunity to give the other side, which is swaying slightly from the motion. Zimbabwe is known and said to be a God-loving country. I think I must end there.
Thank you Madam President.
HON. SEN. TAWENGWA: Thank you Madam President. I move
that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. MOHADI: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 10th March, 2016
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. SEN. TAWENGWA: I move that we revert to Orders of
the Day, Numbers 2 and 1 in that order.
HON. SEN. MOHADI: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
CRIMINAL PROCEDURE AND EVIDENCE AMENDMENT
BILL (H.B. 2B, 2015)
Second Order read: Adjourned debate on the Second Reading of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Amendment Bill (H.B. 2B, 2015).
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Your Excellency,
the Acting President and Vice President, may I just comment before you respond and advise you your Excellency, that there was no debate on this Bill. So, we are just waiting for your comments Sir. Thank you.
THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON.
MNANGAGWA): Thank you Madam President. I am very grateful to the Senators for accepting the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act Bill without amendment or debate, but I believe that Hon. Senators went through the Bill and found it fit to be passed by the august House of the Senate. May I now move that the Bill be read a second time.
Motion put and agreed to.
Bill read a second time.
Committee: With leave; forthwith.
CRIMINAL PROCEDURE AND EVIDENCE AMENDMENT
BILL (H.B. 2B, 2015)
Senate in Committee.
Clauses 1 to 49 put and agreed to.
Bill reported without amendments.
Third Reading: With leave, forthwith.
CRIMINAL PROCEDURE AND EVIDENCE AMENDMENT BILL
[H.B. 2B, 2015]
THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL
AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. MNANGAGWA): Mr.
Speaker Sir, I now move that the Bill be read the third time.
Motion put and agreed to.
Bill read the third time.
GENERAL LAWS AMENDMENT BILL [H.B. 2A, 2015]
First Order read: Adjourned debate on Second Reading of the
General Laws Amendment Bill [H.B. 2A, 2015]
Question again proposed.
*HON. SENATOR KOMICHI: Thank you for giving me the
opportunity to thank the mover of this motion. I would like to thank the Deputy President, who is also the Minister of Justice and Parliamentary Affairs. We thank you for bringing this Bill into this august Senate with the aim of solving some problems in this country. Let me make a few adjustments so that we can make a very good Bill of this law.
There are some areas which are not very clear. We are talking of the independence of the Commission in the Electoral Act. You will be coordinating the activities of the Commission and you also have a direct interest in the case that the election should favour you both as a candidate in the elections or because of your political affiliation. In that way there could be a bias and you may be found to make some partisan decisions and there could be some indirect interference in the processes of the elections.
My second contribution is that, once beaten, twice shy. We know that most of our elections have scorn poured upon them because we are told that there are some groups who are involved in the running preparation and organising of elections, such forces as the security forces, the police and the CIO. With this new law that we are now adopting, we are saying the people who are supposed to be registering the voters should come from the older people and the civil service.
When we are talking of the civil service, are we not talking of the armed forces, the police and the CIO because as far as we are concerned, if these groups are involved in the running of the elections, are they not going to rig the elections because we would rather have the elections run by the civil servants instead of these security forces.
You have also talked about the reforms. We need to instill confidence. We need to involve other political parties and civic organisations, both in the preparations and organisations of elections, especially on the printing of the ballot papers, because when we have had some hurdles within political parties, it means at some stages we need to involve these political parties in the printing of the ballot papers so that they know that everything is done clearly.
In the last elections we had people talking about the Nekuv system which was said to be used in the rigging of elections and when we follow the correct path we will be running our elections in a credible way, but if there is no transparency our elections will be disputed. Therefore, we need to set multiparty committees so that when we hold our elections, they will be credible. Minister, we would be very grateful if you include that in your plans.
Another bone of contention is the involvement of the Registrar General, Cde. Tobaiwa Mudede because other political parties always thought that he was biased and hence, he allowed the involvement of Nikuv and other actions which prejudiced the elections. What is worrying us is that the Registrar General’s office is also involved, working hand in hand with ZEC and we are not very sure that we can trust the voter’s role when these people are working as a team and yet we could not get it in the 2013 elections. Hence, we need to have a fool proof system which gives us our confidence in the operations of ZEC without the involvement of the Registrar General Hon. Mudede.
HON. SEN. CHIEF KHUMALO: Thank you Madam President
for giving me this chance to debate the Second reading of this Bill. I would also like to thank the Hon. Vice President for bringing this good Bill before the Senate. In debating this Second Reading of the Bill, Madam President, I would like to inform this Senate that I will propose some issues for amendment before this Senate and these amendments have emanated from discussions with my colleagues in the Chiefs Council.
Some of the amendments that I intend to discuss or to debate now are that Parliament was established in terms of Chapter 6 of the Legislature whereas, the National Council of Chiefs was established in terms of Section 15 and precisely Section 285 of the Constitution. We believe very strongly that these are two different institutions with obviously different powers and functions pertaining to each of them. As a result, we are asking for your permission to depose the so said amendments that we have come up with so that they can be reflected in the Order Paper and be discussed at a Committee Stage level. Thank you so much.
HON. SEN. MLOTSHWA: Madam President, thank you. Although I am borrowing the feet that I am standing on because the legal jargon that is here in this Bill is making me nervous, I do not know whether I am right or wrong in trying to have clarification. Hon. Minister, on Part 6 of the General Laws Amendment Bill, page 2, I want to understand where the biometric voter registration is incorporated. I know my colleagues have talked about the other things that I wanted clarification on. The biometric we want to understand because we think maybe it is going to change the scenario of our voting pattern in Zimbabwe.
Also, on the postal and diaspora voting, I want to understand if they were incorporated into this amendment. I would also want to have a clear definition of the voter education that recognises the Bill of Rights. As we rubber-stamp this Bill, we want to know that at least some of the things are going to benefit our people.
Then somewhere in this Bill it talks about the sexual act between a
12 and 16 year old. I cannot remember where I saw it but it is within this Bill and it says, between the two of these young children nobody can be prosecuted for the act. Whereas, we are saying we do not condone the marrying of young girls so how then do we now deal with it in this amendment. I thank you.
HON. SEN. MAKORE: Some of my two points have already been taken but the one I would want to make emphasis on, perhaps you will elaborate Vice President. The issue I am talking about here is under the Privileges and Immunities of Parliament. It does appear in this writing that at least under the privileges and immunities that exist within the Constitution, it is now going to be copped over by a custodial sentence which will be under the bosom of Parliament. I do believe that perhaps, you can look at it very closely.
If it goes further to a custodial sentence or to a civil suit the way it is articulated here, it does appear really that in due course parliamentarians themselves might not see it fit to be able to express themselves in Parliament, unless if those cases are outlined. I do not know how because in terms of the Constitution, yes there is a fine that is articulated there which is supposed to be paid. It does appear here that it is going to be heavier for a parliamentarian to express himself in Parliament. Perhaps, if those sentences are not articulated or the penalties are not written as to what kind of penalties they are. They cannot really be articulated as anywhere but it appears too heavy.
The other one that has already been cited was the responsibility under ZEC in terms of voter’s rolls. …
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: If it has already
been talked about, why not proceed to the next point.
HON. SEN. CHIPANGA: I need to just make an emphasis on the thinking that I want to put forward. The independence of ZEC in terms of Section 235, it is a commission that is supposed to be independent in its operations. It does appear there is the word ‘harmonisation’ that harmonises its own operations in between ZEC and also the office of the Registrar General. Some fear has already been expressed but what we are really trying to examine in accordance with and which is outlined in our Constitution is that, it appears as if it would be limiting the independence of operation by that harmonisation of other institutions that used to hold that particular task that is embosomed now under ZEC as a commission.
The last one is of course under Section 48 where you are dealing with issues that talk of murder and the murder under aggravating circumstances. The other murder which sounds to me to be in conflict with Section 56 which is an equality clause, I do really believe that there are claims that we must do away with murder, yes. However, it suggests that women under 21and those above 70 will not face murder at all but men will face it. A Constitution should not segregate so much. I do not know exactly how you are putting it in terms of this operation but it works against Section 56 and 53 of the Constitution that talk of the limitations to cruelty.
The other one cited also was that we cannot make an emphasis that children under sixteen and so forth, will not be charged under that act on anything that they will be doing. According to my own conception, it was supposed to be silent because that gives a guarantee to children that they can do it. As a law I do not think we can support a law that says you are given a right to do it as a nation. I do not know how you are going to apply it but I thought it could be left silent so that we advocate for culture to prevail rather than to sort of herald such kind of circumstances as normal in terms of the law. Thank you.
HON. SEN. TIMVEOS: Just a small addition to this General Laws Amendment Bill. Most of what I wanted to say has been said but I want to talk on the electoral reforms. Hon. Minister, I just want to know if the Bill, as I was going through it, has harmonised all the laws that are within the new Constitution of Zimbabwe, particularly laws such as POSA, AIPPA, Criminal Law and Codification Reform Act, in particular Section 121 of this Act, and also Broadcasting Services Act, et cetera. Does this Bill Hon. Minister has total compliance with all the provisions of Chapter 7 of the new Constitution of Zimbabwe. I really want to understand that. Is this Bill going to provide for an accurate and up to date electronic voters roll? Is this voters roll going to be made available to all interested political players in a searchable and analyzable format?
THE HON. VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER
OFJUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON.
- D. MNANGAGWA): Madam President, may I thank the Honourable
Senators who have contributed most usefully to the General Laws Amendment Bill. As I said in my Second Reading speech, we have 396 pieces of statutes on our books and over 254 of them have been affected by the new Constitution. We have chosen 154 Acts in the General Laws Amendment Bill. So there are still Acts which have not been brought in because the amendments are substantive. The General Laws Amendment
Bill deals with consequential and minor amendments to the respective Bills.
I wish now to respond to the individual contributions by the Honourable Senators. Senator Marava, you are right that the age of consent is 16 years and is different from the age of marriage. The age of marriage is 18 years for both men and women. It is not proposed at this stage to align the age of consent with the age of marriage nor is this requirement by the Constitution. The Constitution only requires that we raise the age of marriage to 18 years. The Constitutional Court also has already banned under 18 marriages and the marriages laws will be amended later, together with other marriage laws to conform with the current dispensation which makes the age of marriage 18 years.
Honourable Senator Nyambuya, I am glad that you have drawn
this House’s attention to the fact that this Bill will align the Electoral Act with the Constitution in many important respects, including the removal of the post of Registrar of Voters whose function will be taken over by
ZEC. This answers questions that have been raised by Senator Komichi
– you are now being answered under this provision. I may just say that ZEC is independent. It is not under my administration. In terms of accounting, it was under my Ministry until the passing of the Finance Act about three weeks ago. They had to go through the Minister of
Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs only in terms of accounting or spending Government money allocated by Parliament but now they have been given an accounting officer. So they are totally independent. The Constitution says so and we have complied.
You have also mentioned that I have interest in my party winning – you are correct. If you do not have interest in your party winning, ndezvako. I have interest in my party winning. In the past this was the area of criticism because it was Government which was running elections when we had interest. That has been removed. Government has no role anymore in running elections. It is now ZEC which runs elections but indeed I am interested in my party winning and I hope you do. You can also wish my party to win sezvo ndiri sekuru.
There is need to amend the Electoral Act. Further, after this my Ministry is open to consultations on this issue but for the time being we are happy that this Bill will fully align the Electoral Bill with the Constitution. So many other issues that we have now aligned, but what is most important is that in relation to elections, what is contained in the
Constitution are compromised provisions during the Inclusive Government. Those provisions are not ZANU PF or MDC. These provisions are nationwide. They do not represent any party although political parties have different views on some of the provisions of the Constitution but what was passed represents a compromise across the board. It cannot be attributed to one political party, one group, church, or a funeral organisation.
In the past, in the Electoral Act where we had constituency based voters roll, we moved away. We went for ward based voters roll but we are now moving on to the polling station based voters roll. The voters roll has now been removed from the Registrar General, Mr. Mudede, it is now in the hands of ZEC. They are now doing it. This question of saying, are people from Mudede coming to assist? All the records, machinery and equipment was with Mudede. You cannot say Mudede today and tomorrow do not come to the office because we want to remove the equipment, no. You have people from ZEC being taught how these machines work and take them to where ZEC is. That is the relationship that is there, hand-over and take-over. That is what has happened.
The Constitution says that civil servants can assist and not the army. Those have different commissions. The Public Service Commission refers to ordinary workers of Government and not police, army and CIO. This situation now makes ZEC totally independent from what it was before.
Senator Khumalo, you have asked a question which you asked before. I will answer both the past question and the current. I wish to assure the Honoruable Senator that the kinds of aggravating circumstances which may justify the imposition of the death penalty are very clearly set out in the Bill and they have no room for a judge to make up his or her own aggravating circumstances. Please read page 21 of the Bill from top to bottom.
Some might say we are being discriminatory that the women cannot be hanged anymore. I think you should be happy. I want to see those men who would want their wives or daughters to be hanged – nobody.
Hon. Sen. Khumalo having raised her hand.
There is a more progressive lady over there who does not even want men to be hanged.
In the past, only a pregnant woman could not be hanged but any other woman could be hanged, as long as the woman was above 21. Now, as long as you are a woman, you cannot be sentenced to death but do not make it an advantage, we can send you to life imprisonment. For men, those under 21 cannot be hanged. Those like me who are above 70 cannot be hanged again. Those of you who are between 21 and 70, we hang. However, I for one and not Government – as Mnangangwa, I campaign for the abolition of the death penalty across the board. That is the issue about the death penalty.
Senator Carter, the issue of voting by the diaspora is very clear in the Electoral Act. As long as the diaspora comes back for the election and has a home in the constituency in which he or she is voting and is registered in the voter’s roll for that constituency, the diaspora voter can vote – no problem. The difficulties of keeping a supplementary voter’s roll for diaspora voters are too many for ZEC to resolve before the next election and involve resources that are not presently available. We do not want the legitimacy of our voting to be overwhelmed by these difficulties, so the diaspora voters are encouraged to visit our country to exercise their rights to vote until these difficulties and suspicions can be set aside by improving, by having resources to support such a machinery that will take care of the diaspora voters.
As for the Electoral Court, this court is a division of the High Court and not a separate court. Section 183 of the Constitution does not apply. As for donations for ZEC, it is myself as the Minister responsible before this august House to oversee how donations are spent by ZEC, not ZEC itself. We are saying here despite ZEC being independent, it has nobody who can speak for it here in Parliament. I, as Minister of
Justice, have authority to speak or answer questions for ZEC. If questions are directed to ZEC, I will send them to ZEC and ZEC will answer and I will come and reply to Parliament.
What happens when a donation comes from a hostile or criminal source seeking to influence our elections? I, as the Minister, in terms of the Act, will ensure that ZEC should be principally be funded by
Parliament and not by individuals or countries outside and so on. No. Principally, it must be funded by Parliament. There are instances where, for capacitation building for example if they want to buy computers or motor vehicles, United Nations agencies like the UNDP are allowed but we do not allow hostile countries or individual organisations to come and finance ZEC. We protect ZEC from being influenced from outside through that method. We think that it is good for ZEC to be totally independent and not to be tied to some organisation as a result of funding.
Senator Chief Chisunga, I am pleased to inform this House that I wish to support the amendment proposed on behalf of the Chief’s
Council. I have the proposal made by Chief Mtshane. The President of the Chief’s Council, Chief Charumbira, came to see me and discussed these issues. I do not know why he did not tell you. I agreed with him that we shall facilitate this amendment and this is the amendment. You said that on page 63 line 33 of the Bill, delete subsection 4 and substitute with ‘subject to this Section and to subsection 5, 6 and 7, the Chief’s Council as it is constituted on the date of the dissolution of Parliament continues in office and to function as such until a new Council is elected in terms of the Electoral Act’. This amendment will appear on tomorrow’s Order Paper.
Senator Mashavakure, I take note of your comments about the definition of what is a disabled person but I would like to leave that to my colleague Minister responsible for the Disabled Persons Act to resolve because if I attempt to describe who a disabled person is, personally I do not believe there is anybody who is whole. Hon. Sen.
Makone who is a scientist will agree with me that no one is fully whole. I think the definition is found in Disabled Persons Act. If you want to dispute it, you can dispute it there. For us, we have no capacity to describe what a disabled person is. It is difficult for us. That is what I can say.
With regards to Senator Timveos, with regards to the question of POSA, AIPPA and the Broadcasting Act, they have not been covered in the General Laws Amendment Bill. These Acts are administered by different ministries. If there is any need for amendments, they will bring the amendments to us but if they are in conflict with any part of the Constitution, they will be captured in our remaining fifty or so Acts which we need to attend to for purposes of aligning to the Constitution.
Senator Chief Makoni, you were talking about the Privileges and Immunity of Parliament penalties – I am not so sure what the chief meant. What we have done is to improve the Privileges and Immunities of Parliament. The Contempt of Parliament, has now been elaborated and we have all agreed that this is what we want. This is also keeping up with the best practice in the Commonwealth. That is what we have taken on board from what was there before.
There is Hon. Sen. Mlotshwa on biometric voters system. Yes, it is not an event, we are progressing towards that. It is a process which requires the training of our people and acquiring correct equipment for that. However, whilst we will be doing all that, time will be ticking away. We are currently running a parallel system now and if we reach election time, after the completion of the biometric voting system procedures, we will use it and if not, we continue with the manual system.
The system has been accepted and we are also consulting countries who have adopted the biometric system so that we learn from them. Most of the countries we have consulted are saying they made a mistake because in some cases, the system collapses and they revert to the manual system. We have teams assessing this system so that we do not make the same mistakes made by other countries. However, as Zimbabwe, we have said this is where we want to go and we will go there fully informed, trained and qualified.
Hon. Komichi and your NIKUV, I do not know about it – [HON. SENATORS: Inaudible interjections] – It is true that I do not know about it, I would not lie about that. I just read about it and I do not know where it is. You requested that the preparation for voters’ ballot papers should be done in the presence of all political parties. That is not possible at all. We will never invite any political party to get involved in the designing of ballot papers. That remains the work of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC). A bad spirit has entered you, so that you investigate what will be taking place. Let the work be done by ZEC, which has been authorized to cover that area.
However, we have agreed as political parties that when elections are in progress, there should be Liaison Committees for all parties. This is for the reason that if any query arises, committee members from all the parties will be able to listen whilst on site. That is what we agreed and it is not in the law. It is just our understanding as political parties. However, the issue of sniffing into other issues is prohibited. Thank you
Madam President, after replying to the most constructive contributions by Hon. Senators, I now move that the Bill be now read a second time.
Motion put and agreed to.
Bill read a second time.
Committee Stage: Thursday, 10th March, 2016.
CONGRATULATORY MESSAGE TO HIS EXCELLENCY THE
PRESIDENT AS CHAIRMAN OF AFRICAN UNION
Sixth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion to congratulate His
Excellency, the President Cde. R. G. Mugabe and the Government of Zimbabwe on successfully leading the African Union (AU) and Southern African Development Community (SADC) as Chairperson.
Question again proposed.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF MEDIA, INFORMATION AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. SEN. MATHUTHU): I
move that the debate do now adjourn.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 10th March, 2016.
REPORT OF THE ZIMBABWE DELEGATION TO THE 38TH
PLENARY ASSEMBLY OF THE SADC PARLIAMENTARY
Seventh Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Zimbabwe Delegation Report on the 38th Plenary Assembly of the SADC-Parliamentary Forum.
HON. SEN. MOHADI: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. MUMVURI: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 10th March, 2016.
TRADITIONAL CHIEFS MANDATE
Eighth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the role of Traditional leaders.
+HON. SEN. A. SIBANDA: Thank you Hon. President for giving me this opportunity to say a few words concerning this motion that was moved by Hon. Mawire. This is a very important motion in our lives as Zimbabweans who from the beginning, have always respected cultural issues, especially when we speak of the chiefs’ because of the fact that they are very important and that they have always been important ever since our origin. When I look into this motion, it takes us back and makes us realise what kind of people we are. A nation that does not have a culture and does not respect its own cultural values is not a blessed nation. We need to know that in everything that we do, there is a relation between the living and the dead.
I will speak a lot about the respect that should be given to chiefs’ especially the villages where they stay. As we know, it should be these chiefs’ who should head different people from one place to another. Each and every chief has to head their own area. In each and every one of these areas are different people especially when we compare knowing that nowadays, there are different parties and different political groups.
All these things fall under a chief.
In my own point of view, I believe that the chief is the head of everything. We can speak of the President and other leaders. However, what I am looking at is that when we look at a nation’s cultural values, norms, our own culture and the western culture, we should take note that there is need to get together so that there is no fighting between the two.
I think the chiefs’ duties are being taken away especially if you look at the issue of land. You wonder who is supposed to be distributing land to the people. What I am looking at is that, the chief should be the one to distribute land to his people, so that the chief may know the people that fall under him.
As it is right now, people just migrate from one place to another without the chief’s knowledge. In addition, people come to open businesses and they do their mines and chiefs just see people having land distributed to them without their knowledge. It is very clear that they are no longer being respected. Even the youth no longer respect the chiefs. People used to follow their norms and values and as it is, that is what we are advocating for, so that we are not a lost people.
All things should be taken to the chiefs’. As we know that we are approaching drought, young girls will be married forcefully as their parents want food. We have those who are called DAs. You will notice that these DAs will be the ones leading in everything and the chiefs’ will be just following behind. You realise that they will not be given any food. At times you find people fighting in that area and you notice that some chiefs’ are becoming political. That is putting chiefs into temptation and the chiefs’ end up participating in political issues.
We have chiefs here. If they are to tell us the truth, they will tell us that there are times when they are taken away and they participate in political issues. It happens that they want to please our political leaders and they support political issues. We do not want anything like that because traditional leaders are supposed to correct us as a people. They are supposed to correct us as a nation. There should be nothing that should happen in an area without the traditional leaders knowing. So many things take place without their knowledge.
Going back to the issue of child marriages which has also been looked into in the Constitution, the traditional leaders should lead in this issue. If there are people who are disrespecting you, if you want that, then we do not have problems. However, we are advocating that there should be nothing that happens up to the killing of people and other political issues taking place in your area without your knowledge.
People should neither be killed nor abused without your knowledge.
Therefore, traditional leaders should avoid political issues. All people fall under a chief and they belong to that traditional leader. If there is anything that happens, I emphasise, the traditional leader should be made to know this so that if they are in agreement with this, they should go forward. For example, you find people holding meetings and even fighting without the traditional leaders’ knowledge. That shows a lot of disrespect which makes these traditional leaders to be tired of what is happening and at times they are afraid of those who are in political leadership.
They wonder what they could do since this is what would be happening. Therefore, ...
HON. SEN. MOHADI: On a point of order Hon. President.
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: What
is your point of order Hon. Mohadi?
HON. SEN. MOHADI: Chiefs do not belong to any party. So, they cannot defend any party to that extend. I do not think so. Thank you.
HON. SEN. MLOTSHWA: On a point of order Hon. President.
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: What
is your point of order?
HON. SEN. MLOTSHWA: I do not think a political figure can
want to defend the chiefs because that is what we are talking about. If a political figure is interested in what the Hon. Member is saying that the chiefs are supposed to be apolitical, it means they are political.
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:
Normally a point of order cannot be on another point of order. Thank you.
+HON. SEN. A. SIBANDA: Thank you Mr. President; sorry
Madam President, I was speaking of the importance of chiefs following the motion that is set down noting the importance of chiefs. When I linked this to the things that are happening nowadays, I said that chiefs are meant to be apolitical. However, as human beings we differentiate. I am not saying that they will be supporting a particular party. They could support any of the political parties that are in existence, but what I am trying to emphasise on here, Madam President, is that we should respect the chiefs so that our cultural norms and values go well.
As I said before, at times when these things happen, they become fearsome. I did not say which political party threatens them. I said they fear because of the situation that will be taking place at that time. However, what we are pleading with and what we are advocating for is that these chiefs be respected and that they respect themselves.
What we notice nowadays, is that we have elderly chiefs and even younger chiefs and what I am pleading with amongst the chiefs with their leadership is that, they should lecture the younger chiefs on this aspect. Again, I say that the chiefs should be respected in every area. Our chief in Mahlabayithwale at Godhlwayo is a chief who is respected even by children themselves. I remember during the liberation war, the white people abused chiefs a lot. Our chief refused to be taken care of by the soldiers because the soldiers were brought to our place to take care of our chiefs. He refused this offer. Even up to now, after that incidence, at Godhlwayo there is a lot of respect that we give to our chief.
Considering the dressing that we do nowadays, when we do the dressing that is done these days and then put on a zambia on top, our chief does not agree with this. If you notice, different things happen in particular places. In Mashonaland for example, when people attend funerals, a person has to greet each and every person. However, where I come from, when a person attends a funeral, they sit down and they have to greet the people with a lot of respect and they do not have to shake each and everyone’s hand. Our chief has advised us to keep that cultural norm. He is saying that what happens in Mashonaland at funerals is good because it is their cultural value. That is why I am saying these traditional leaders should protect culture in each and every area.
The traditional chiefs should also be respected even by the existing Government. However, nowadays, the chiefs also want to be uplifted in life. They seem to want to be uplifted in different areas so that the people who come and visit them will find them in a proper place. We should build proper houses for them. They should be given cars and we should electrify their houses, as they have suggested.
We heard the President of the Chiefs Council stating that they should go and meet when they realise that things are becoming bad, when they realise that they are being abused. As I said before, we live together in this nation, together with those who passed on, but we should know that it is our chiefs who are leading us and it is not what they want, but it is what God created. We heard that they met and they asked for rains. We may not know what they did there, but it began to rain everywhere. That is why I am saying it is vital to make sure that these traditional leaders are respected.
In addition, we are pleading with these chiefs to move around with a lot of dignity amongst the people. When you get respected by people, it is because of how you carry yourself. Therefore, people begin to point fingers at chiefs. You find them drinking even with the youths. That should not happen as it is not traditional. Therefore, such issues should not happen. We ask our chiefs to carry themselves the proper way, as our motion has stated. The Government also, should respect the chiefs. If they state that they do not want a particular thing to happen in their area, that should be as they wish. Our ancestors would not be happy with you if you allow people to be killed and abused in your villages. That is why you find that there are different diseases, some of which are not even curable.
I would like to commend one of the chiefs who said that where he comes from, he knows each and everything that happens and he has noted down each and every one of his people in his area. He is still keeping that custom that the girl child is put under inspection, as well as the boys so that they are virgins when they get married. For example, if a boy marries his girlfriend, that girl would be a virgin. We want that to continue happening. May you please take care of your cultural norms. We do not want people who will perish because of Aids. We want children who are respectful and not a 12 year old becoming a wife and a mother.
Madam President, it is my wish that these chiefs let us know the kind of challenges that they come across, so that as a House, we can get together and talk to the people that we live with, so that we can put our heads together to promote the livelihood of our own children and our own nation. It is their duty as chiefs. We do not know how they would feel if they let our nation perish. I thank you.
HON. SENATOR MOHADI: Thank you Madam President. I also want to add my voice on this motion which was moved by Hon. Senator Mawire. It is a very important motion because it talks of the roles of our traditional leaders.
Madam President, I want to emphasis the issue that traditional leaders do not belong to any party but in the Constitution, in the Declaration of Rights, the traditional leaders are also entitled to human rights, freedom of speech and the right to vote. No one can say that chiefs are not allowed to vote. They have the right to do so because in the Constitution, there is nowhere where I saw it written that everybody has got the right to vote except for chiefs. It is not there.
Our traditional leaders need to be empowered. There are a lot of things that they are supposed to be doing but because of the limitation of powers, they cannot do so. Right now, we have the issue of the girl-child and early marriages. If the chiefs were empowered to do so, maybe these problems would be solved amicably. I urge the Government to empower chiefs because they have a lot of work to do.
Madam President, out traditional leaders, the chiefs have got courts that they mann. Below them, they have other courts that they are supposed to monitor and supervise. If possible, the chiefs are also supposed train their headmen but just because of the limitation of transport, our chiefs are not able to do so. They do not have transport and so are not mobile. We have a few chiefs who are mobile at the moment and these are the ones who are here in Parliament. For the rest of the chiefs, they do not have transport. I wish, funds permitting, they would also be considered and be given cars so that they do the monitoring and constant evaluation at their lower courts.
We also have an issue whereby we were talking about the fallen heroes. You will recall that one of the chiefs said that there is a way that can be taken but they cannot do all that as long as they are not mobile. Madam President, let me say that I was impressed a week ago. You know that I reside at the border and when I am home I sometimes listen to the South African radio or television. I was impressed that in the Limpopo Province, the premier was giving a speech and he was saying that they had honoured their traditional leaders. I had interest and so I listened to the speech. They said that they had acquired 105 motor vehicles for their chiefs.
Apart from that, he further stated that they had set a budget aside for their traditional leaders. It then ticked into my mind that what are we doing for our own traditional leaders? Do we have a budget for them? We found that we do not have any budget specifically meant for the traditional leaders. I think we should take that into consideration in the next budget because we cannot talk of this budget which has just been done. In future, there should be something of that sought so that all the chiefs are taken care of and they should also do their duties freely.
Madam President, I do not know but maybe some have come
across situations whereby chiefs are chairpersons of certain parties but to my knowledge I have never seen a chief who is active in politics. They do not have positions in parties. Finally, let us take into consideration that these chiefs that we are talking about are also people who have got their own rights. With these few words Madam President, I thank you.
*HON. SEN. MATIIRIRA: Thank you Madam President for
giving me the opportunity to make my contribution on this motion. I have to thank Hon. Mawire for bringing this motion. We are talking on the rights and powers of our traditional leaders, especially the chiefs.
When you look at the chiefs, they have a very important role to play in their areas of jurisdiction. When we look at our areas in Zimbabwe, no area has no chief, particularly rural areas. All our areas have chiefs and even village heads. We know that if the chiefs are empowered, they can do more work than they can at the moment.
We are talking of climate change these years and we know that if we are to ask for assistance from the chiefs, they will tell us that if they perform some ceremonies like the rainmaking ceremonies, we can have the rains falling. We also know what is happening to our children, both men and women. There is a change of culture and that is why we are calling for the empowerment of chiefs so that they can control the people in their areas. When somebody has committed an offence in their rural area, and they are told that someone has come to arrest them, especially the policemen, they have fear in them. If they are told that there is a messenger from the chief who has come to collect them, the offender will become collected because chiefs do not instill fear in their people. Hence, if they are given enough power and respect, we will have a very peaceful life in our homes.
There are crimes which when are reported in the normal channels through the police and magistrates courts, we feel they should have been handed over to the chiefs who will be able to handle those issues. For example, in 1992, there was such a big drought that we felt that people were going to die. In my constituency, we have a river which is called Mazowe River and what I know is that, in that area, we have two pools which do not dry up. In one of those pools, people believed that there were mermaids which lived in there. The traditional leaders put rules and regulations to be followed when fetching water from those pools such as denying people to fetch water from using black pots, clay pots or any other metal objects. As a result the pools were able to sustain lives of people and livestock. This shows that when chiefs are given enough power, they can sustain the livelihoods of people in their areas and I am so grateful of this motion raised by Senator Mawire because it reminds us that we have to value our chiefs in our constituencies. We will be looking at whatever problem is in the country from both sides, the western method and the traditional way and this makes our lives tenable.
In my constituency, we are in region 4 and 5 where there is poor rainfall but we have the chiefs who are performing rain making ceremonies and the people who are involved in the these ceremonies are the aged people, that is the old men and old women and not those who are still sexually active - because they will have performed those ceremonies, people carry out their agricultural activities and country is well fed.
Madam President, I am saying this is a very important motion.
Chiefs have to be empowered throughout their structures and we will
find that Zimbabwe will be a country of milk and honey. When chiefs preside over cases in their jurisdiction, they will try what is within them and if it is beyond them, they will refer the matters to the courts above. I thank you Madam President.
HON. SEN. MLOTSHWA: Thank you for giving me this
opportunity to make a brief contribution to this very important motion introduced to this august House by Honourable Senator Mawire seconded by Honourable Senator Manyeruke.
The motion says our traditional leaders play a pivotal role and yet they are not given the due respect that they deserve. I do not know, maybe it is through my mischief but I am trying to think that according to this motion who is supposed to give the chiefs that recognition. When I tried to look at the structure of the chiefs, I think we want to see a true replica of the original traditions because if we house our traditions in a certain institution, we want to feel that there is a true replica of the old traditions that we are proud of as a nation because we are diverse but we want to feel that the different chiefs represent us in that aspect. I should think if then that happens, the respect will just come on its own.
We want to see reality in the representation and we do not want to be forced to admit that there is. We want to feel it. If a respected person enters a room, you have to feel that somebody of high standard has entered the room. I think that is what is missing for everybody else to feel that the chiefs are there and they are representing our traditions, because we do not have any other way of showing traditions other than the representation that is done by the chiefs. In my case my mother is a direct descendant of Mzilikazi the king, so I am interested in these issues because of that.
In our tradition, a chief did not marry a wife that has children by some three or four men in the same community. It was like that and we want to see it like that because if you look at why it was not allowed to happen - it was because a chief was not to share a wife with his subject. But if a chief is now marrying a wife that has five children from different men then the respect is never there because those same men will say I have a child with the chief’s wife. The respect of chiefs goes down because at times they do things that our original forefathers who were the repositories of knowledge were not doing. There cannot be respect in the community if a chief is sharing a wife with four other men. It was done like that because they wanted a chief to be respected that the wife of a chief is a wife of a chief. In that regard I think our chiefs are misrepresenting our traditions.
Again if you look into the present Chiefs Council or the previous Chiefs Council after Independence, you will find that it is like the recognition and leadership of the Chiefs’ Council only has to come from a certain region. The other regions do not have true chiefs that can lead the Chiefs Council. In that aspect when I look at it, I think we need to feel that all chiefs are the same. They represent those people of their areas. We do not want to see the other chiefs being belittled.
*HON. SEN. MAVHUNGA: On a point of order! Madam
President, the speaker should be aware that the chiefs are not appointed but they are elected within the Chiefs Council and therefore the Honourable Senator should not divide people.
THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE (HON.
SEN. MASUKU): The point of order is that chiefs vote for their President of the Chiefs Council.
HON. SEN. MLOTSHWA: Thank you for the correction Madam
President. I do not dispute that because I know the process that they vote but I am only saying I am putting the view that when we see it, to us it is like the other chiefs are being belittled. That is the point that I am making because in Ndebele we say “induna induna ngabathu”. So those
people make that person a chief.
In 2014, people around Njelele were so let down by seeing a convoy of cars headed by different chiefs from different areas come to Njelele, disregarding the chiefs in that area coming to do rituals without consulting the chiefs of that area. So, the people around are really disappointed in that Act, it means that our Chiefs are not regarded as
Chiefs. When we talk of Chiefs being given their powers and when they belittle each other by virtue of coming from another region and ignoring the Chief of that area, then the question is who is supposed to give that respect? We need to feel that our traditions are properly housed, otherwise I think that is why at times people choose to live in disregard of the existence of the structure. Of course they should evolve but not to the extent of wanting to be at par with the Executive of a country that is voted for a certain term because they are born. At times when you listen to the demands, you feel that the demands are made so that at least they are at par with the Executive of the country that is voted for by individuals. Chiefs are voted for by Chiefs but the individual in the
Executive are voted individually by people from different walks of life.
One year, we were attending an official opening of this theatre in Bulawayo and I remember that Chief Khaisa refused to accept a seat after the organisers first ran to give the Minister before they gave the
Chief. He refused to sit, saying that he had to be recognised before the Minister is recognised. We feel that it was a representation that we want from our Chiefs today because if they are still putting a plate to ask for respect from the people, then it will never come. But if they stand their ground and say we are representing this structure this way, then the respect will come on its own. We want to see true representation without fear. If our Chiefs are being subservient to the people who are in the Executive, then it is difficult to convince the young people who do not even imagine what the old structure of Chieftaincy was to respect it, because it is very difficult to respect a subservient of other people. I thank you Madam President.
*HON. SEN. GOTO: Thank you Madam President for giving me
this opportunity to contribute on the motion about traditional leaders.
Chiefs should be empowered although times have changed. When I was still young, Chiefs were highly respected in their constituencies and life was very smooth. I come from Manicaland though I got married in Mashonaland. There used to be some traditional ceremonies and cultures were observed. The Chiefs would be informed about everything that was happening in the area – whether it be illness, marriages, arrival of visitors, employment of herdmen or workers. This was done so that in the event that these people die, they would report to the Chief.
According to our culture in Manicaland, those who hanged themselves were not supposed to be mourned. The body would be taken away from the homestead and this was done for a particular reason. It was taboo to bring the body into the homestead. When there was a death of a premature or infant, these would be buried by old women only. Men were not allowed to gather but today people are now holding funerals as if these are adults. This is taboo.
Chiefs used to perform rain making ceremonies and this shows that they had a part to play. When we went to the President’s bash in Masvingo and Chiefs were present. When the President was about to deliver his speech, rain started falling. What was surprising about this rain is that it was torrential but very peaceful, hence showing the power of the Chiefs. Chiefs should be respected since they are born in
Chieftainship. Their power comes from God.
Chiefs should be empowered and given support. There should be a budget set aside for our traditional leaders. Some of their houses are not standard. They should live in places that are due their respect.
Government should construct houses for Chiefs and connect electricity. They should be given transport because they cannot be seen riding on bicycles. We are very lucky because in this august Senate, that is where we find Chiefs. We have to support them.
In the past, you could not rub shoulders with the Chief but you would show obeisance. Nowadays, when you see a Chief, you simply shout your greeting across without showing any respect. When we are talking about them, we seem to be talking about the rights of children but we are talking of a respectable people.
I will give another example of what happens in Manicaland, whatever ceremony you perform, even when you are going to lay a tombstone, you do not just do it anyway. You will have to inform the
Chief. When there is burial ceremony, there is a central burial system unlike in other areas where people are buried everywhere. When you want to visit these graves, you have to inform the Chiefs.
Chiefs are not selective, they do not practice party politics but everybody belongs to the Chiefs and everybody supports them. I will round up my speech by speaking about some of the cases which are reported in the normal court cases like the Magistrates Court. Some of these issues are not supposed to be reported to the police as they can be dealt with by the chiefs. Even when people are involved in a fight or there has been an assault with grievious bodily harm, which is assault GBH, chiefs should be able to preside over that. They should instill some sense of responsibility in avoiding domestic violence.
If a chief is empowered and talks about domestic violence in the area, it would be respected because it would have been said by the chief. I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Manyeruke and Hon. Sen. Mawire for such an important motion because if you are a self-respecting
Zimbabwean, you would know that everyone of us is under chiefs. I know that it is nearly late, but this is an essential motion and we need to debate it. I thank you.
HON. SEN. MAWIRE: Madam President, I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 10th March, 2016.
REPORT OF THE PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
DELEGATION TO THE 7TH WORLD WATER CONFERENCE
Ninth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the Parliament of Zimbabwe Delegation to the 7th World Water Conference.
HON. SEN. MLOTSHWA: Madam President, I move that the
debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. A. SIBANDA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 10th March, 2016.
On the motion of THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF MEDIA,
INFORMATION AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. SEN.
MATHUTHU), the Senate adjourned at Twenty Five Minutes to Six o’clock p.m.