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SENATE HANSARD 1 MARCH 2022 VOL 31 NO 22

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Tuesday, 1st March, 2022

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

PRAYERS

(THE DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE

SWEARING IN OF A NEW MEMBER

THE DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: In terms of Section 39 (7) (a) of the Electoral Act Chapter 2:13, I have been notified by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) that Nicholas Nkomo of ZANU-PF party has been duly appointed a party-list Senator for the Matebeleland South Province with effect from 18th February 2022.  Section 128 (1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that before a Member of Parliament takes his/her seat in Parliament, the Member must take the Oath of a Member of Parliament in the form set out in the Third Schedule, Section 128 (2), which states that the oath must be taken before the Clerk of Parliament.  I therefore call upon the Clerk of Parliament to administer the Oath of a Member of Parliament to the Hon. Sen Nicholas Nkomo.

NEW MEMBER SWORN

HON. SEN. NICHOLAS NKOMO subscribed to the Oath of Loyalty as required by the Law and took his seat. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] -

NON-ADVERSE REPORT RECEIVED FROM THE PARLIAMENTARY LEGAL COMMITTEE

THE DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  I wish to inform the Senate that I have received a Non-Adverse Report from the Parliamentary Legal Committee on the Marriages Bill (H.B.7A, 2019).

COLLECTION OF 2022 DIARIES AND CALENDERS

 THE DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I also have to inform the House that 2022 diaries and calendars are now ready for collection.  Public Relations officers will be stationed at the Members’ Dining Room from 14:30hrs to 16:30hrs. 

APPOINTMENT AS DELEGATE TO THE ACP-EU JOINT PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY

THE DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Further to that, I have to inform the House that Hon. Senator Engineer Elias Mudzuri will replace Hon. P. Misihairabwi-Mushonga as delegate to the ACP-EU joint Parliamentary Assembly.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          HON. SEN. MATHUTHU: I move that Order of the Day, No 1 be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the Day have been disposed of.

          HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS

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

          Question again proposed.

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

HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 2nd March, 2022.

MOTION

CURBING GENDER BASED VIOLENCE AMONG COMMUNITIES

Third Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the increase of gender based violence since the outbreak of COVID-19.

Question again proposed.

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

HON. SEN. TONGOGARA:  I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 2nd March, 2022.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE VIRTUAL 49TH PLENARY ASSEMBLY SESSION OF THE SADC PARLIAMENTARY FORUM

Fourth Order read:  Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the 49th Plenary Assembly Session of the SADC Parliamentary Forum held virtually from 25th to 27th June, 2021.

Question again proposed.

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

HON. SEN. TONGOGARA:  I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 2nd March, 2022.

MOTION

CONSTRUCTION, UPGRADING AND REHABILITATION OF THE ROAD NETWORK IN THE COUNTRY

Fifth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the importance of a sound road network.

Question again proposed.

 (v) *HON. SEN. CHISOROCHENGWE:  The roads that have been refurbished now have potholes and nothing is moving on them.  If you look at the vehicles these days, if you try to move with them on those roads, you will end up not having a car at all.  I think the roads in the rural areas should be maintained, they should be refurbished.  If you look at the tarred roads, they all have potholes.  For  everything to go on well, we should have good roads.  The big trucks are the ones which are damaging our roads.

Now coming to Boterekwa, the road is really bad.  My plea is that the Government should urge those people who are mining along the roads to maintain the roads, but in Shurugwi, nothing of that sort is taking place.  So we are urging our Government to engage those who are engaged in mining to be careful when they are doing their mining.  We are also pleading with the Minister of Mines and Mining Development that he should educate people not to leave holes uncovered after mining.

We are urging the Government to help us when it comes to the maintenance of roads because the roads are being damaged by these big trucks which carry abnormal loads.  Some of the roads are now inaccessible.  You cannot even tell whether there is a road or no road.  We are thankful for some of the roads which have been refurbished.

 (v) +HON. SEN. SKANYISIWE MPOFU:  Thank you for this opportunity that you have awarded to me so that I can add my voice to this motion which was brought by Senator Mabika, the motion on the maintenance of our road network within this country. 

I am really disappointed because most of our roads have been damaged. This is caused by heavy trucks which use these roads. I will dwell much on the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls Road because this is a road that I use on a daily basis. This road has been damaged a lot by trucks which carry coal every day. What surprises me is that Victoria Falls has been awarded a city status but the road that links Bulawayo and Victoria Falls has a lot of potholes and it is not drivable. For a trip that used to take four hours, now you take more than that because of the potholes on the road.

          The road that stretches from Tsholotsho to Bulawayo is also bad. We expect that this road be repaired because it is one of those roads that have been damaged a lot. We used to travel for an hour from Tsholotsho to Victoria Falls but as of now, it takes four hours due to the bad state of the road. Our farmers and travelers are struggling a lot because the road is not good at all. I appeal that the Government intervenes so that they can repair the roads because I believe that Government is the one that is responsible for repairing of roads so that people can be able to travel easily.

          What also surprises me is that these roads that link the central business district are really embarrassing. The local authorities cannot see that it is a shame to them because most of their roads have potholes. Government should monitor the funds that are set aside for devolution so that they may be used to repair the road because the small vehicles that we use now cannot navigate the roads.  We buy tyres almost every day because of these roads. I thank you Mr. President.

          *HON. SEN. SIPANI-HUNGWE: I want to add my voice on this motion which was raised by Hon. Sen. Mabika because it is very important. For us to have safe journeys, it is because of the roads which will be in good condition. I want to thank our Government and God who gave us a lot of rains. These heavy rains are also contributing to the bad state of our roads. It is well known that when we have heavy rains, that is what happens to our roads.

          I want talk about the major roads and say Government is doing its level best. Our roads are now in good shape like the Harare-Beitbridge Road. It is very good. It is not yet complete but it is a good road now. What I am saying is that let us give credit where it is due and thank Government for a job well done. In the urban areas, we have good cars but our vehicles are being damaged because of the many potholes. I do not know whether the local authorities are not collecting revenue from the ratepayers. I also heard that ZINARA also gives them money. I think they should speed up the repairs so that they mend the potholes. Too many potholes are a hazard as they cause accidents.

          Specifically, in Harare if you go to residential areas, you cannot drive well. We used to laugh at other African countries which I shall not mention. Our local authorities should focus on the rehabilitation of roads. Where there are potholes, they should go there and repair those potholes, especially Harare City council. It used to happen that before you know it you would find council vehicles mending these roads. Council should take this seriously.

I also want to thank Government for intervening in urban areas by fixing the roads. They have taken charge as they are repairing the major roads in the cities. If Government is taking care of the major roads, councils should now go into the residential areas especially in high density areas because those roads need urgent attention. A few days ago I was in Chinhoyi and I was given directions to where I wanted to go but there was no road at all. Our councils should look for equipment so that they maintain the roads so that people travel well.

Finally, I want to thank Government for its intervention. If you look at Seke Road, it is now in good condition.  There are a lot of roads where Government has intervened.  Wherever Government is repairing the road they put a billboard to show that they are the ones who are maintaining the road. With these few words, I want to thank Government.

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

HON. SEN. SIPANI-HUNGWE: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Wednesday, 2nd March, 2022.

MOTION

ENACTMENT OF LAWS THAT CULMINATE IN DETERRENT SENTENCES BEING METED OUT TO CULPRITS FOUND COMMITTING CRIMES THAT DAMAGE THE ENVIRONMENT

          Sixth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the grave and rapid environmental damage.

          Question again proposed.

          HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI: Thank you Hon. President. I just want to add my voice on the motion on environmental degradation which is seen in Zimbabwe and elsewhere in our lives. We are inhabitants of the environment but it is very surprising that sometimes we leave it to Government to sort out environmental issues. I think every human being must work around conserving their environment and ensure that the environmental degradation is reduced. I am not sure how best Government and law enforcements agents can be roped in. In Harare for instance, you find that when farming season comes, farmers go and till along the river banks. They will till and plant maize and if someone slashes that maize, they say you are attacking the poor.

          I do not understand how you attack the poor when you are killing the same environment and you are taking sand into the same lake from which we want to get water that we use. Honestly, sometimes I think we should just learn to do it at home. Home lecture should be imported to teach our children and our relatives not to just abuse the environment. It is not easy for any institution to go and police human beings who think they can mess around with our ravines and our mountains. If you go up the hills, people have started farming on certain hills which are so steep that it will wash away everything that has been preserving the soils on those hills. Do you really expect someone to come and police us as individuals?

          I think we need serious introspection as a nation. Government can come in but as individuals, parliamentarians and every other person who lives in this environment, we need to work hard. We have just come from Rwanda and I can tell you that the cleanliness of Kigali will shock you. The plants which have been planted there, you can see that everyone is conscious of their environment and I do not know why we are not conscious of that. We go on to celebrate dirt and that is why we end up with so much for some time, when we celebrate dirt and the burning of our environment. Some farmers just put on veld firers and burn all the trees.

          We need to set an example. I am not sure how the Ministry of Environment can come in, including the police and EMA people to ensure that we preserve the environment. My suggestion is that we need communities to get involved and t be part of the environment. How best we do it – we can go on television, radio and whatsapp trying to educate each other. I think we need a national programme that teaches people how to preserve their environment. We can go on arguing about who should do what but as long as we consciously are not clean and say we do not want to see this happening, nothing will happen because when someone does it next week, we just watch him doing it and say it is bad but he is damaging the environment.

          We can go to several summits elsewhere to talk about the environment and climate change, but what we need is to first do it at home. My debate is all about Zimbabweans that we must do it ourselves and we must learn to preserve our environment, waters, ravines, wetlands and wherever we think we can have a source of life. I want to plead with Government and Hon. Members that we must strengthen our institutions. As long as our institutions are not strong enough to stop certain behaviours, we will not be able to achieve anything and we must stop the corruption that goes with the arresting of those who will have abused their positions in damaging our environment. With these few words or many words, I want to say Zimbabwe must learn to keep its environment and it starts with you and me. Thank you.

          HON. SEN. MATHUTHU: Thank you Mr. President. I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          HON. SEN. A. DUBE: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Wednesday, 2nd March, 2022.

MOTION

ENACTMENT OF LEGISLATION THAT UPHOLDS THE RIGHTS AND WELFARE OF CHILDREN ACCOMPANYING INCARCERATED MOTHERS IN PRISON

          Seventh Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on challenges faced by children with incarcerated mothers.

          Question again proposed.

          *HON. SEN. KOMICHI: Thank you Hon. President of the Senate for the time that you have given me and I also want to thank the Hon. Senator who raised this motion on the growing up of incarcerated children. This is a serious motion which should be looked at and there is need to think of ways to deal with this. . A lot of things happen in jail that could change someone’s’ character. When we are in cells, we meet a lot of people who have different characteristics and you do not want your child to learn from those people. A child can copy what someone else is doing.  Children can adopt bad habits and if they grow up, it is very difficult for them to change.   When children are incarcerated with their mothers, they are subjected to a lot of people who have bad characters. People in jails use a lot of vulgar words because when in cells, they behave like animals.  So when a child is exposed to that, the child will learn that bad behaviour.  The Government should look at ways to separate children from their incarcerated mothers. 

          I was thinking that homes should be set up where those children should be raised up from, something that resembles a nursery like where children are taken, those places where orphaned children are kept.  There will be trained people to look after those children.  So, I am suggesting that the Government should look at such programmes.  It is a programme that can be supported by NGOs because it is a very sensitive issue that deals with the protection of children.  You should not forget that people who are in jail, some of them, it is due to circumstances that led them to commit crimes.  Children should not be victims but the person who should suffer is the perpetrator.  It is our responsibility as leaders of the Government to put our heads together and make sure that we support the idea of institutions that take care of children of parents who are in prison.

          (v)HON. SEN. MUPFUMIRA: Thank you Mr. President for allowing me to debate on this very important topic.  I would like to refer to our Constitution (No. 20) Chapter 2, which talks about children and that the State must adopt policies and measures to ensure that in matters relating to children, the best interest of the children are paramount.  They must enjoy normal care, appropriate when removed from their normal environment.

          Mr. President, whilst it is very important and in society’s best interest for crime convicted mothers to be in prison, it is also important to balance things between the convicted mother and the welfare of the children. While children may have to remain with parents or mothers whilst in prison for purposes of bond, attachment as well as breast feeding especially for the critical age of up to two years, it is important that children must live normally.  The State should be adopting policies and measures to ensure that in such matters relating to children, the best interests of the children are taken care of.  Consideration must be given to what extent can a mother who is in prison is expected to be a normal prisoner and with normal prison routine, be expected to take care of the children and make sure that their interests are looked after.

          Yesterday we had oral evidence in two of our Thematic Committees and we had representations from the Zimbabwe Correctional and Prison Services.  One of the issues which came out was that they are not adequately funded. They do not have enough resources for food, medical care and other needs for the children whilst on paper, they are supposed to be looking after the children but they do not have the extra facilities and capacity to look after the children. We were also informed that most of our prisons in Zimbabwe were built for men not for women.  As a result, no consideration was ever thought to make sure that when women are incarcerated with children, how are they looked after?  As Parliamentarians or Hon. Senators, we have to really look at the way we budget to ensure that the basic needs of the child are met, that they have food and medicine. We were told that medicine is only at Chikurubi Female Prison.  In the other prisons, there is no such facility at all. So, we will need to refocus, re-strategize and plan so that we take care of women offenders.  We have to ensure that there is interaction with other actors, not just Government.

Hon. Sen. Komichi talked about non-government organisations. As

far as the prison is concerned, I think there is need for authorities to explore how they can work together with arms of Government like the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, to ensure that whatever is happening to the children, their needs are met by child care specialists.  There should also be involvement, even when employing these specialist services, they should consider those who do not work in prisons.  Sometimes if social welfare officers are prison officers, the difference might not be that much.  We need other people who are independent and interested in the welfare of the children.  There are no facilities in our prisons at the moment for taking care of children.  So, we are called out to ensure that we legislate minimum standards for the care of the children who are living in prisons. In a way, these children are serving a prison sentence for something which they did not do.  We have to make sure that the facilities in our prisons are friendly to the children who are in the prisons including the food; they were saying they had no food. So, if they have no food to give to little children, how do the children survive?  If there is no medication and adequate instruments in the clinics, how do they look after the children?  We have to seriously consider that we need to do something in our prisons to ensure that the children are taken care of and it is very difficult like for a two year toddler in a prison environment, the language which is used there and so forth is not good.  These children will be affected forever.  If there is a well resourced crèche or pre-school and well qualified people to look after the children, it will alleviate the damage to our children. At the moment, government has to seriously consider the plight of women and children in prisons.  Yesterday during our discussion on an issue raised by Hon. Sen. Khupe about the women who are physically or mentally challenged, there is no special consideration of such people.  These are people without limbs or needing a wheelchair.  We should ensure we understand what is going on there and come up with policies which will ensure that the human rights of the children are not affected negatively.   

          I want to thank Hon. Sen. Chirongoma for bringing this very important issue of children living with their incarcerated mothers.  Another issue is that pregnant women and women with newly born babies do not get postnatal and antenatal care.  Again, we need to look at how these women can be assisted whilst in prison so that at the end of the day they have safe delivery and the babies are well looked after because the State has a responsibility from what we have in our own Constitution.  The issue of an ambulance for the women’s prison should be considered.  The judiciary should consider issues of having sentences which are lighter such as community service and having special prisons for women with children so that the children can interact and grow in a semi-normal environment.  We thank Government for the women’s prison in Marondera but it will also not be having the facilities and resources to ensure that the children grow in a friendly environment and that their future is not affected.  We should also encourage dialogue with the families, social workers and the prison officials to ensure that maybe other family members could look after the children especially if they are three years and above with the assistance of social welfare.  There is also need for follow up in the event that a child is taken by a relative by social welfare and Government so these vulnerable children can be assisted. 

With those remarks, I want to thank Hon. Sen. Chirongoma for bringing this very important topic and that as legislators we will seriously look into the actual issues.  I am sure when the report of our oral evidence comes out, we will bring it to Senate so that together we can look at ways of how we can improve the welfare of the child who is living in prison because of the mother.

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

          HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume:  Wednesday, 2nd March, 2022.

          On the motion of HON. SEN. MATHUTHU seconded by HON. SEN. TONGOGARA, the Senate adjourned at Twenty-seven Minutes past Three o’clock p.m.

 

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