[featured_image]
Download
Download is available until [expire_date]
  • Version
  • Download 41
  • File Size 255.43 KB
  • File Count 1
  • Create Date April 10, 2024
  • Last Updated April 10, 2024

SENATE HANSARD 10 APRIL 2024 VOL 33 NO 41

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Wednesday, 10th April, 2024

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE

COLLECTION OF CODE OF CONDUCT AND ETHICS DOCUMENT

THE HON DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  I have to inform the House that hard copies of the Code of Conduct and Ethics for Members of Parliament are now available in the Journals Office, Room No. 104 for collection by Hon. Members.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

      HON. SEN. MUZENDA: I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 6 on today’s Order Paper, be stood over until Order of the Day Number 7 has been disposed of.

        HON. SEN. GOTORA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

        HON. SEN. ZVIDZAI: I rise on a matter of national interest. Thank you very much Mr. President for this opportunity to make a statement in line with Order No. 61 of the Standing Orders that allows a Senator who is not a Minister, to make a statement on a matter he or she considers to be of national interest.

        Mr. President, I wish to talk about the erosion of pensions because of hyperinflation over a lengthy period of time starting from 2006 to 2009. Zimbabwe suffered unprecedented hyperinflation as we all know. The GNU undertook a currency reform exercise which killed the local currency and got it replaced by the US dollar in 2009. Pension schemes and insurance companies took advantage of the removal of the 25 zeroes from our currency to revalue pensions and insurance policy values.

         According to the finding of the Justice G. Smith Enquiry into pensions, pensioners and policy holders suffered heinous prejudice. Accordingly, Government agreed to work on compensating civil service pensioners while NSSA and private insurance companies would follow suit for contributors and policyholders under their respective purviews. The process of compensation was targeted to commence in earnest in all these sectors by March 2024. Hyperinflation is rearing its ugly head in our economy and will likely further prejudice compensates, and compensation disbursements are expected if Government sticks to the promise that it made when we crafted the 2024 Budget.

       In his statement, Mr. President, I pray that the Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion does the following:

  1.       Make a statement on the progress registered so far regarding compensating pensioners and policyholders for losses and prejudice that were suffered due to dollarisation in 2009.
  2.       To commit to pay the compensation in US dollars to vaccinate against repeat losses caused by the spiraling loss of value of our local currency against the US dollar.
  3.       That the insurance companies be strictly monitored to ensure that they do not shortchange compensates. I so submit.

       THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: In addition to what you have raised, I would also urge you to follow that up with a motion which can be debated so that the relevant Minister will take note of it.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE NATIONAL PEACE AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION FOR THE YEAR 2023

       Seventh Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission for the Year 2023.

       Question again proposed.

       HON. SEN. D. M. NCUBE: I would like to add a few words on the report presented by the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary affairs on the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission. When I went through the report, I saw one glaring problem which we need to address as legislators. Apparently, when the Constitution was put in place way back in 2013, as one of the five Independent Commissions, this was the only Commission which was given terminal life. It could only be in existence for a period of 10 years from the effective date, which was August 2013.

      The constitutional mandate of the NPRC has actually expired.  How are we going to cure that?  It is a question which should be foremost in our minds, if it needs extension because the work, they are doing is very important.  Also going through the report, you can see the commitment or the need for this Commission to be in place.  More-so, in 2023, which was an election year, that was the thrust to ensure that there was peace and tranquility during and after the election period.  They deployed in numbers way before the election.  The report then gave the 2023 elections a clean bill and practically said the elections were free, fair and transparent.  So, we must commend the work which was done by the Commission.  However, the main thrust why the Commission was put in place was to ensure that if there are any issues within the populace, Zimbabwean or any disputes of any kind, those could be resolved so that there is cohesion within all Zimbabweans and they all move together as one.  So, it is very important for people to realise that some of these events come and go, but we should remain united as a people.  

They divided their work into five thematic areas.  They received complaints, some complaints to do with political violence which they were able to interrogate and deal with.  There are also issues which are still residual within ourselves, those to do in some cases with Gukurahundi. We have seen the President being very clear on this.  If there are any animosities which are still lingering within our populace, let us sit down and dialogue so we can work this thing out.  At the end of the day, we should all be united to build our country.  

There are others who go out of their way to make sure that there is disunity within the population or within Zimbabweans and that should be discouraged.  They also looked at issues to do with Gender-Based Violence and violence created by those who take drugs.  In some cases, they went into detail on how they were able to resolve land disputes.  So, I strongly believe that the NPRC has a place within us right now, even though their Constitutional mandate has expired, it is actually important that we look at ways of extending that mandate so that they continue with the good work as evidenced by the report which was tabled before us.  Those are the few words I wanted to add on the report of the NPRC.

      HON. SEN SHIRI:  Thank you for affording me the opportunity to debate.  I just want to add my voice by looking at the key findings of the NPRC report for 2023.  The report includes a focus on programmes centered around complaints handling and investigations, conflict prevention and non-recurrence, healing, reconciliation and rehabilitation, research and knowledge management, victim support, gender and diversity issues.  

The NPRC’s work in 2023 was anchored on its overarching theme of conflict prevention to avert conflicts during and after elections.  Additionally, the NPRC’s 2023 programmes were informed by the country’s development blue-prints, our own NDS or National Development Strategy 1 and Vision 2030, emphasising the contribution of peace to the country’s development.  The report outlines the Commission’s efforts to support reconciliation, promote peace and address various aspects of conflict resolution and prevention.  Furthermore, the NPRC’s 2023 report has been presented in the National Assembly and we are also debating it here in the Senate as MPs indicating a significant step in the transparency and accountability of the Commission’s work.  

       I have some recommendations seeking to support the NPRC 2023 report.  The coordinates for transformative reconciliation report suggest that reconciliation actors should also focus on creating a platform for reconciliation facilitators or the middle level actors to develop an authentic approach to reconciliation.  The core group of actors should build a network of individuals with thorough understanding and experience in reconciliation and conflict resolution theories and practices like what is currently happening with our own chiefs for the Gukurahundi.  The network should also award and manage research grants primarily to expand the evidence on the past and to design effective reconciliation interventions.   

For organisations like persons with disabilities, there is also need to educate and recommend promoting constructive narratives about the past, current divisions and positive messages of peace and reconciliation in monitoring, evaluation and learning recommendations should also be implemented to ensure the effectiveness of reconciliation interventions.  I thank you Mr. President.

      HON. SEN. S. MOYO: Thank you very much President of Senate. I will take this opportunity to input my views on this important motion on the NPRC. I will start by saying, peace be unto you. Today, I stand before you to express our concern and question the report presented by the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission in Parliament. While we acknowledge the importance of addressing past injustices and promoting national healing, we believe it is crucial to critically evaluate the findings and methods of the NPRC.

Mr. President Sir, first and foremost, we must address the issues of equality. It is sad to note that the composition of the Commission lacks representation from different individuals, the Ndebele, Shona, Tonga, Kalanga and perspectives. The absence of culture size raises doubts about the independence and objectivity of the report. We need a Commission made of individuals who understand every Zimbabwean, no matter the language. How can you resolve issues when the majority of the whole Commission is made of one language group? The Government and Commission should stop disappointing the people of Zimbabwe because this Commission is important for peace. They should include individuals who represent different languages and cultures as voices in the Commission to ensure a balanced assessment of the truth.

Furthermore, we question the methods used by the NPRC in gathering evidence and testimonies. A full and strict process be followed to ensure accuracy and reliability, for example the nature and conflicts recorded by the Commission are not proper. The table of contents in the report claims that they got no complaints in Bulawayo as well as getting little reports of conflicts in Matabeleland South and Midlands, to name a few. I do not agree. For those who do not know, there are 17 244 GBV cases in the whole country. Bulawayo had the highest crime rate followed by Harare, Matabeleland South, Masvingo being the crime hotspots and different conflict types…

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Order Hon. Moyo. You may take your seat. When you are debating issues of this nature, you should select the language which you use. I want to refer particularly to a point you have raised that this Commission, when it was in Matabeleland South, they did not receive, I think you said complaints and something like that, and then you went on to say it is false. Hey! How do you know it is false? I am just cautioning you so that you select your language. Perhaps you could have said, ‘I do not agree with that’. There is nothing wrong with disagreeing but when you say it is false, hey, that is too strong a language my dear Hon. Senator. You may proceed.

HON. S. MOYO: Thank you Mr. President Sir. That is what I said. I withdraw and I will say that I am not agreeing for those who do not know that there were 17 244 GBV cases in the whole country. Mr. President, those being the crime hotspots and different conflict types, yet NPRC claims otherwise. However, there have been reports of witness intimidation and tampering, casting doubt on the integrity of the testimonies presented. For example, the Commission claims in the report that before the elections and after, there were the presence of the political players on the ground moving freely and campaigning for their candidates, distributing fliers and pasting posters without any hindrance, the public largely respected campaign materials for alternative political parties and there were a few complaints of the destruction of posters and other election materials; the electoral process flowed smoothly and quickly without any violent clashes or politically motivated disturbances. Even in areas where voting was delayed, voters still patiently and peacefully waited for the availability of voting materials without causing any disorder.

Mr. President, we all know that it is not what happened, should I remind you on what happened? Voter suppression and non-participation, when you were denied the right to vote, particularly in Harare and Bulawayo where ballot papers were not delivered from the midnight voting, midnight printing of ballot papers and midnight announcement of the midnight results. We also witnessed bizarre Presidential ballot papers layout meant to give an advantage to the regime. The absence of voters’ rolls at the polling stations in terms of the law. The health sector is in a sorry state. Our hospitals have become death traps. Most of our medical professionals are leaving the country.

We are ranked least happy in the world, highest inflation, highest road accidents, and highest poverty. We live in the negative. Then we have the NPRC disrespecting the people of Zimbabwe and putting out a false report that is not honest. Can anyone tell me this is not supposed to be the Truth National Peace Commission when they are busy reporting lies?

HON. SEN. NCUBE: On a point of order Mr. President. The Hon. Senator who is debating is saying the report by the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission was not honest. What is the basis?

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I have already cautioned Hon. Sen. Moyo that he should select his language. I also want to say, Hon. Sen. Moyo, this language which we are using is not our mother language. I am not proud of speaking in English, myself because we should not judge each other by the way we speak a foreign language, but when you are speaking and debating in Parliament, you want people to hear you. I am not understanding 90% of what you are saying Sen. Moyo.  With all due respect, I would advise you to perhaps speak a bit more slowly, but even better perhaps to revert to your dear excellent mother language.

The Hansard people are not getting what you are saying to the extent that you can accuse them of distorting your speech, but they are not understanding. I, myself am not understanding 90% of what you are saying. I have already told you that you should select words which you use. When you accuse the whole Commission that it is not honest, oh dear me, somebody who was sworn in and you accuse them! What is the basis? So, please select your language carefully, knowing that you are making a statement which is supposed to be substantial and an issue which tomorrow your children can look upon and say, sekuru here made a very important point. You may proceed Sen. Moyo.

       HON. SEN. ZVIDZAI:  On a point of order Mr. President.  Thank you very much for allowing me to find clarity with respect to the decorum of debate in the House.  Mr. President, is there anything substantially wrong with an individual, with a Senator debating and expressing an opinion if what he sees in a report is at variance with what he knows on the ground?

      THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Hon. Sen. Zvidzai, when you make a substantial difference like the one he is saying, you should do so to somebody who can defend himself.  The National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) is not here.  They cannot stand up and say what you are saying is not true, it is not correct.  You should select your words carefully.  Like I said, when you say that is false.  How do you expect the NPRC to react?  When you say it is not true, how do you expect the NPRC to react?  Anyway, I am in the Chair, I have made the ruling – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] – Please proceed and select your language properly knowing that the NPRC is not here.  

       HON. SEN. S. MOYO:  Thank you Mr. President.  Mr. President I think I quoted what I do not agree with this Commission.  Again, the Commission is not here, but a person stood up and said I am not saying the right thing.  These people are not Commissioners.  We have a problem in this House, let us respect each other.  This really is an issue to every citizen in Zimbabwe …

       THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Order, order! Please sit down.  Obviously, you did not understand what I have just said.  I am not understanding the argument you are making.  Muri kuti chii Senator.  

       +HON. SEN. S. MOYO:  Okay Mr. President, let me speak in Ndebele, maybe you can understand what I am trying to say.  I spoke about the Commission that focuses on the problem in this country, especially with regards to living amicably.  I also included that I read the Report and what the Report says is not what is transpiring on the ground.  I also said that this Report was written by the Commission and not by the Hon. Senators.  Another Hon. Senator stood up and claimed that what I was saying was not true.  As far as I am concerned, I am saying I wish this argument would come from a Commissioner, yet the person who is arguing is someone else.  According to our language, if you beat a witch, the owner will be revealed.  

         The Commission indicated that it does not have adequate resources to carry out its job.  It looks like they only focused on one place according to the Report.  It does not reflect the whole country.  What is happening is that we hereby request for an all-inclusive Commission to ensure that there is representation of all ethnic groups so that the work is sufficiently carried out.  I thank you Mr. President.

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

       HON. SEN. GOTORA:  I second.

       Motion put and agreed to.  

      Debate to resume: Thursday, 11th April, 2024.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE ZIMBABWE ELECTORAL COMMISSION ON THE 2023 HARMONISED ELECTIONS

      Eighth Order read:   Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission on the 2023 Harmonised Elections:

Question again proposed.  

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

       HON. SEN. GOTORA:  I second.

       Motion put and agreed to.  

      Debate to resume: Thursday, 11th April, 2024.

MOTION

REHABILITATION OF CENTRES FOR STREET KIDS AND PROGRAMMES TO PROMOTE FAMILY INTEGRATION

        Ninth Order read:  Adjourned debate on motion on the plight of children on the streets.  

        Question again proposed.

       *HON. SEN. CHINYANGA:  Thank you Mr. President.  I want to add my voice on the motion raised by Hon. Sen. Tongogara.  We want to thank the President of this country. Let me go straight to the debate. The children living on the streets, I think we are spoiling them.  We allow them to go roaming about, doing whatever they like because they feel justified because they have a problem.  They say they are desperate because their parents have separated and no one wants to live with them where they come from.  If you look carefully at it, some of them, where they come from, especially where I come from -Murewa, they do whatever with impunity because they believe it is because they are not known.  

It looks like there is street kid exchange arrangement whereby another group goes to another area whilst another one goes to some other places.  So, as far as I am concerned, these children must stay at their home areas.  We should look at those challenges as they are claiming that poverty, lack of shelter and hunger made them end up on the streets.

I am in agreement with what another Hon. Senator said yesterday.  The Social Welfare must look into their plight because some of them may not be liable to any offence due to their age.  Some of them are actually grown up and old enough.  I think they must be arrested and rounded up so that the country may mobilise resources to ensure they are kept in homes where they can stay forever, whoever is taken to a children’s home must never be allowed to leave.  

       There is a time when I used to travel to Marondera, when I passed by Msasa, I saw some children begging, so I tried to find out what was happening.  I went and parked my car by the roadside.  I asked them what was happening and they said their mother had gone to buy them food.  So, it means their parents are actually encouraging them.  They come to town with their children and use them for begging as a way of getting income.  That is very problematic because we must find a solution on what we should do with the children.

       Some of them live in allies and others sleep near flats where they are allowed to stay.  They end up grouping and sniffing glue and other harmful substances.  Some of the people hire them for cheap labour and let them go back onto the streets.  So, there are a lot of reasons why they go onto the streets.  The Social Welfare and non-governmental organisations should ensure that they are not supported while on the streets and all those who are giving them clothes or blankets must stop that because what it means is, as soon as they are given those blankets, they pass them on to their mothers who would be hiding someone and they continue putting on sacks, so the cycle continues.  They end up being a nuisance.  Sometimes they end up fighting for controlling parking areas and they also fight for sleeping space in card boxes.  They look like they are normal people because they are given money. Some of them get as much as US$20, so it means they are motivated to remain on the streets.  

I am in agreement with what another speaker said that if you assist children living on the streets, you must be arrested.  They must be rehabilitated and assisted by being taken to children’s homes so that they are rehabilitated to ensure that they move away from the mentality of accepting to live on the streets and in the bush.

        Let me give an example.  I saw one child and I said, you look like you were once a junior councillor, so what happened?  Why are you on the streets?  The child said, yes it happened.  Indeed, that child was a junior councillor but now that child is in the streets.  Those children are not on the streets because of suffering, but some of them is because of laziness.  When they are asked to work, or to fetch water, or are sent to carry out chores, they run away. So, for me, I think they must be taken out of the streets.  I thank the First Lady who has put some effort to take them away from the streets, rehabilitate them and spend time with them.  They run away from those homes.  Some of them run away from home and sometimes they run away from those children’s homes.  Why do they run away even if they are provided with everything?

I think these children must be removed from the streets by force. If they realise that children are being mopped out of the streets every week, they will not get the motivation to continue because we have put legislation in Parliament to ensure that they do not do that.  Some of them really do not have genuine problems but they create problems for themselves to justify their stay on the streets.

     ^HON. SEN. MALULEKE: Thank you Mr. President of Senate for giving me this opportunity to debate on this motion. The issue of orphans who stay in the streets most of the time is a very painful one.  It is a burden to us as Zimbabweans and we must make sure that these kids return to their homes because of the time the kids spend in the streets. They do not stay in their homes. I am troubled because of what they are eating and that they are not going to any school. I know that in each and every province down to district level, they say that it is the Government’s responsibility to make sure that these orphans are educated.

Last year, about 12 kids stopped me and asked me for food. I asked them where they were coming from. I said I wanted one amongst you so that I could help. Then one of them said that he was coming from Zaka. I said l also come from Zaka and let us go to the car. I could tell that the kid was lying. That kid ran away and took everything that was at the back of the car. These kids that we see in the streets most of the time and everywhere are very troublesome. Some of them are orphans for real who have lost both parents.

There are two or three ways which we can do as the august House. We have the chiefs here in Parliament. As representatives from different areas, I can see that these kids were born from different households and when they come to cities with their parents, they give birth to their children and the lineage continues to increase. I am pleading with the chiefs to find a better solution to resolve this issue so that we can take these children to better shelters.

In each and every district of Masvingo, there is a big house where there is Chambuta Care. I worked for a very long time during the refugee period when people were coming from Mozambique. The First Lady Amai Auxillia Mnangagwa renovated the place to be a national children’s home to cater for the children who stay in the streets. To tell you the truth, those who accepted to be admitted in the place, you will not agree that these kids are from the streets. Some companies built a house for the kids and most of the kids who agreed to stay at the place are now looking much better. There are a lot of projects which are being done there, from gardening to livestock production. These things are being spearheaded by the kids who came from the streets. You will not think that some of these projects are being run by the former street kids. Some kids ran away and went to different places like Masvingo and Harare, but those who chose to stay are leading a better life.

 The First Lady has managed to do a very good job. I had another homestead where about 28 kids were housed. I managed to get help and most of the kids have grown up under the shelter. I thank the Government for the assistance. The late former Vice President Muzenda took other kids and paid for their school fees. I want to thank everyone in this House including you Mr. President. We must help each other to make sure that these people who are living in the streets are able to get help and we also unite to make sure that these kids are genuine street kids who are not just running away from their families.

Let us work as a country because these kids are the future of this country.  Lastly, I want to thank Senator Tongogara for raising this pertinent motion and her seconder, Senator Rungani. I thank you.

*HON. SEN. ZINDI: I also rise to add my voice on the motion before this House, which pertains to kids who stay on the streets in towns, growth points and all other areas.  Firstly, I want to look at what causes these kids to stray in the streets. Those who write and do research say that kids run away from their homesteads to go into the streets mainly due to poverty. Some say that social, physical and emotional abuse by the parents or some say it can be sexual abuse which is never investigated and resolved very well. Those perpetrators of sexual abuse are not being held responsible so that they face the full wrath of the law. Due to that fact, the issue of abuse continues to happen until the kids decide to run away from the family. These are some of the things which cause the kids to run away from their families.

I want to come back on the issue that as black people, we have got our own way of life which is ubuntu. Our culture promotes the issue of extended families. Those who are able to get more resources must be able to help those who are not able to get enough resources to take care of themselves. That is how we grew up. We must also agree we cannot continue to live that way because things have changed due to the difficulties in people’s lives. People are now focusing on their own immediate families. It is helpful for us to go back looking at how we grew up, especially we as Hon Members who are debating this motion, if we unite and put our minds together and go back to our culture of extended families and how we used to take care of each other. I think it will be very helpful.  Let me give an example on the issue of abuse of children.  There are cases where parents divorced and the children are entrusted to mothers-in-law.  In our culture, if a woman dies, the young sister of the deceased will take her sister’s place as chigara mapfihwa in Shona and she will look after the children as hers since she is already the aunt to those children.  This was helpful in creating strong bonds within families and the children would not feel lost and end up being on the streets.  There was no possibility of the sister refusing to go and stay with the sister’s husband and children and it was culturally correct.  However, now there is the issue of culture dynamics as well as the issue of diseases such as HIV, which were not known then.   So, there was nothing to fear but because of the diseases, people are no longer interested in taking over their sisters’ husbands.  There is also the issue of human rights where people cannot be forced to marry someone, they are not in love with especially, a sister’s husband as dictated by culture.  What I am merely doing is reminiscing how we grew up and why we did not have children on the streets.  

      On the issue of culture, as we were growing up, you could never find kids on the streets.  This is actually a new norm.  Does it mean that these problems we are talking about today were not there?  I am speaking to these things so we can recall what used to happen and we can investigate and research on what is causing the influx of kids on the streets.  If there is need to revisit and mend our culture in view of removing the kids in the streets, let us do so.  Senator Chinyanga, alluded to the fact that government must construct homes and accommodate these kids so they can be motivated and educated culturally.  However, we should come up with solutions on the diseases.  When a woman is given to the sister’s husband, there must be a condition that a person must not be forced because of the diseases that are there and the rights of a person should be respected.  We must also take a step further that if they decide to engage in sexual activities, they should use protection, so they can give birth to healthy children.  Since culture is dynamic, we must also be dynamic in our approach in order to prevent the death of people and resultant loss of parents and children then straying onto the streets.

      I also want to support this motion that we should have a law that enforces the removal of these kids from the streets and house them in shelters.  Whilst we are doing this process, let us ensure we have a proper programme, well researched on what they will be doing in these homes.  They should not just be dumped and left to be idle.  Let us ensure they engage in agriculture, sports and other activities so that we create a homely environment.  If someone wants to eat, they should work for the food.  The kids have to be taught to work.  Currently, our kids do not want to work and we go and give them food on the streets where they stay.  Also, we need to find out what is needed by these kids to enable them to enjoy staying in the homes.  I think this will help.

The other thing is the way some high-profile people like ourselves here are abusing the children on the streets.  You will find some of them with a lot of money because they are being sexually abused and being paid for it.  You find a person like one of us or those with money picking up these kids, bathing them and use them to satisfy their sexual needs, especially those engaging in lesbianism and homosexuality.  It is not a good thing.  It is there in the newspapers yet no one has been arrested for sexually abusing these kids.  

In a country like Brazil, you read stories where they say there are too many street kids and they get to a point of shooting those kids to reduce the numbers.  

I do not wish us as a country to get to that point. Hence, I reached a point that we must research and come up with solutions so that we do not end up with these children running away from the homes which accommodate them. Let us come up with the solutions to make sure that these children stay in the homes. This will help us from a way of killing them because that is not a solution. Those who are killing, how would they feel if their children are going to face the same consequences because we do not know if tomorrow you might wake up not being there. Maybe you might be dead and your children may be used for the same thing. Hence, I do not see it as solution to end the street children.

I want to conclude by saying that the issue of drug and substance abuse is another issue causing many children to end up in the streets. They end up inviting other into the streets because they enjoy the money that they are being given by people. They say that the drugs are not expensive and end up carried away by taking those substances which is affecting their minds. At the end of the day, they end up in the streets. My problem is I see that it is another country which has got different a culture and dynamics which is being created. That is another country being created within a country of Zimbabwe and we do not know whether this newly created country is going to affect our livelihoods tomorrow. With these few words, I thank you Mr. President.

*HON. SEN. MUPFUMIRA: Thank you, Mr. President for awarding this opportunity to add my voice on this pertinent motion raised by Sen Tongogara. I also want to thank different Hon. Members who have contributed to this debate. I agree with the previous speaker that we must investigate and try to understand what is happening before getting to solutions or judging the street children. I am going to repeat what has already been alluded to by the previous speakers that these children living in the streets are coming from families. What is causing them to run away from their families before we shift our role to Government to take care of our kids?

There are unions in form of marriages which take place. After marriage, the children migrate to the street and then we request Government to take care of these children. We must find out why there are children living in the streets. There is in need for research. If we are talking about street children, they are not children only, but there are street fathers and street mothers, including those living with disabilities. It is very important to research and investigate so that we know what caused the increase in numbers of people living in the streets.

All of us, we do have a challenge. Most of us do have houses where we are staying alone. Some of us do have huge mansions with upstairs and some of the bedrooms are not occupied, but we do have relatives living in the streets. When we were growing up, we used to receive visitors and share bedrooms without segregating. We used to take care of each other as extended families. I encourage chiefs to revive the issue of extended families because extended families are no longer in existence. That is the reason why we find children, fathers, mothers and those who are disabled in different forms in the streets.

It is not the responsibility of Government alone. We must first look upon ourselves and see what we are doing to educate our children and grandchildren. A family does not refer to you alone, but it includes those who are around us, the extended family. I am not going to ask how many amongst us are staying with extended families.  Most of the children are running away from their homes even if the father and mother are there. Sometimes parents will be fighting each other every day and the children end up running away and staying in the streets. This is another reason.

In some situations, one parent dies and they are left with one parent. The remaining parent may choose to remarry and the children end up being abused. They are no longer being taken care of properly by the remaining parent and the children stay in the streets. Right now, there is an issue of the diaspora, but most of them are leaving their kids behind without any parent to take care of. Parents tend to send luxurious things like phones, money and other things, but all these things do not   replace or fill in the void left by the parent.

This leads to peer pressure because their kids would end up staying at bridges abusing alcohol and taking drugs. This is caused by lack of parental guidance. Parents might commit different crimes, especially women. In some cases, they go to prison with their kids or in some cases, the kids remain behind without anyone to take care of them. These kids end up being abused by some people. As Zimbabweans and as blacks, we know that we must take care of each other. If I am saying father or mother, I will not be referring to my biological parents. Every woman is a mother. Right now, we are teaching our kids that my father’s sister is aunt, that way of addressing creates a gap.

We must teach our children that these aunties are our closest relatives. That is what we are supposed to teach our children and our grandchildren. Let us desist from using the term aunt when referring to our young sisters, we must leave that vocabulary. In the event that the biological mother is no longer there, a child will know that there is another mother who can attend to my problem, needs or help. This job needs your intervention as chiefs. Most of us in this House, we were educated not because of the money from our biological parents, but from other relatives who took it upon themselves to help us to be where we are today. What are we doing to teach our children? We must educate our kids and cousins such that if they have enough finances or resources, they must be in a position to make sure that they help each other and help other kids as well in order for us to be a better society.  

      Madam President, there is need for a proper research and have enough facts, not just deploying people to take these kids from the streets and deploy them in different institutions.  Do we have proper procedures or facilities to take care of these kids?  Right now, we are talking about the issue of drug and substance abuse and we do not have institutions which are able to take care of these kids.  When they are kept in these homes, how best are they going to be taken care of?  Sometimes they are going to teach each other to become lesbians or gays and spreading diseases.  Do we have the capacity, or we are just saying that as long as we have managed to take them away from the streets, we will be happy that the streets are clean?  There is an issue or urbanisation that people are migrating from the rural areas to the towns, but there are no jobs.  As Government, we must encourage that we create more jobs in rural areas because that is where most people reside.  There are more youths in rural areas, if I am not mistaken, over 70% of the population of Zimbabwe is in the rural areas.  Sometimes we are looking for a solution which touches the people in the towns only but we are ignoring people in the rural areas. Right now, there are people in the rural areas who are staying at centres like growth points and shops.  It does not help to just take these kids without proper procedure, it is another form of abuse.

Mr. Speaker Sir, if we look into our Constitution [Chapter 2: No. 19], it says that as Government, we must try by all means to make sure that the rights of children who are staying in the streets have access to health, education and jobs.  We have got the issue of vocational training centres.  This issue must be encouraged to make sure that in each and every district there is a vocational training centre for the kids to be taught their jobs, not for them to go and look for the jobs.  That is what we are lagging behind from colonial period that the kids are learning and have degrees so that they can go and look for jobs.  Children must be taught how to create jobs, employment and contribute to the GDP of the country.  

     Madam President, I have got an example of a girl child.  Right now, what is being done to them - I am pleading to this august House not to talk in this House only, but we must go to the streets.  Even if we take a few of them, sit down with them and understand their reasons for being in the streets.  Madam President, even those who are disabled who are in the streets, let us not make conclusions for them but let us try to sit down and hear their grievances.  We are not denied the access to go to Hatcliff, Hopley and other areas and see what is happening there and what is being done to the girl child.   There are men who wear expensive suits and drive cars - that is what is happening. I can testify on this issue; I have seen it happening.  Kids are being lined up with men who wear suits and have good cars, then they are selected and sometimes they are undressed.  These kids are taken and abused.  It does not have anything to do with unemployment, but it has something to do with the abuse of the girl child.  If you sit down with them and try to find out how they end up in the street, they will tell you that ‘my father’s wife or my father chased me’.  They are facing various problems and sometimes you find that a 13-year old is staying with a nine-year-old and renting a small room.

Madam President, their rent would be paid by that man who is abusing her.  Most of the time these kids are manipulated and given a few cents, then they can tell you that after one hour, they are paid 50 cents by the man, and if the man sleeps with them throughout the night, they are given a dollar.  These things are happening here in Harare during daylight.  Tell me how the other kid is surviving whilst she is watching what is being done to her sister? She will end up being chased out because the other sister will say ‘I am no longer taking proper care of my client who is giving me food and shelter’.  That kid ends up on the streets.  Let us sit down and come up with a solution and also let us come up with procedures of rehabilitation, not a solution of taking them into institutions.  

      Yes, we are talking about institutions right now but most of the institutions are not inhabitable.  Most of the children are being transferred from children’s homes to family units.  Even those who are old or differently abled.  I am saying differently abled because I am talking about each and every one of us.  We have got another form of disability which we do not have.  Some of us are disabled in the body, in the minds, but those we are able to see are the ones we are looking down upon.  Hence, we must help each other as families in our communities to take care of each other because that is the reason why we are able to grow up to our status right now.  

I am saying, let us go back and follow our culture.  Let us educate our kids and our families to take care of each other, not that we take them like they are superior to others.  When visitors come, let us receive them properly and take care of them.  As men and women, let us make sure that we stay in peace and harmony. Yes, the Government is there to help, not for us to bear children and expect Government to take care of us and to make sure that Social Welfare is taking care of our kids.  Let us not judge these kids without doing proper research, sitting down with them and know what is bothering them.  Let us all do research and visit these different areas and have best solutions on how we can help.  Right now, we are saying we must take these children to children’s homes, but as individuals; do we want our kids to be taken to children’s homes?  We want the Government to take all the burden, but we do not want to take part as parents.  Yes, Government must help, but we must go back to our culture. Government must make sure that these children go to schools under the project of BEAM and the healthcare.  These issues must be done properly.  We must protect these children.  It is also the duty of churches to take care of the children.  Some people are failing to have children and some go to the extent of eating cow-dung or other herbal medicines in order for them to conceive.

Let us be able to help each other and remove poverty in the country.  As Hon. Senators, let us come with proper solutions to make sure that street children are taken care of with proper dignity.  I can spend the whole day debating.  My point is, let us not point our fingers to the children, we are the ones who are perpetrators, we are the ones who have done wrong. Let us go back and solve these issues from a family point of view up to the top.  Children must be taken care of because they are very important.  I thank you.

     +HON. SEN. R. M. NDLOVU: Thank you Madam President for giving me this opportunity to add my voice on this motion on children living in the streets without anyone looking after them.  They are quite a number of Hon. Senators who have debated and I think there are a few that are left.  Madam President, it is disheartening to see children living in the streets. I do not think they are all coming out of families that are impoverished.  Most of them are coming from homes with mothers and fathers.  

      If ever there is an opportunity to have them rounded up, and have them incarcerated, we will see their parents coming through to look for them.  Madam President, Zimbabwe is a country that has a lot that we can engage in. There are famers that are partaking in different farming activities.  If these children can be rounded up and have farmers taking maybe five of them each, this might help.  If they continue to run away from these farms, then it means they will just be mischievous and most of them end up running after people, waiting by the streets lights to ask for money.  In rural areas, these challenges are very minimal.  I have not come across such children living in the streets. It is because of challenges that include death, but death is not only found in urban areas, it is there even in the rural areas.  What is making them choose that kind of life?  Right now, we are going to be having Trade Fair in Bulawayo.  We will be having many visitors coming from different places and they will be running after these visitors with plates asking for money.  It is an embarrassment to our country.  Therefore, Government should take measures to get rid of these street children living in the streets.

      Back then, the disabled were not taken seriously, but Jairos Jiri took it upon himself to round up those people living with disabilities to a place where he managed to house them and look after them, giving them the necessary training according to the level of their disability.  We have businessmen who are unable to walk all because of this person called Jairos Jiri.  Even though he was asking for help from other partners, he managed to continue to look after these people.  So Madam President, if we can get someone who can have mercy between us and round up these children living in the streets, volunteer to take them, for example in Marondera and Bulilima, if we can have someone rounding them up and make them realise that staying in the streets does not help.

      Therefore, I take this upon this august Senate to help in assisting these children because surely, if you are to look at these issues, you realise that certain parents are not facing challenges that can drive their children to the streets.  In most instances, very few children go to these streets because of poverty at homes, but for most of them, it is just out of mischief.  From these streets, these children teach each other drug abuse.

       Another issue Madam President, if these children are beaten up, I guess we will see very little of such children staying in the streets in huge numbers.  I do not understand what is happening to these children, is it because they have chosen this kind of life or they are coming from impoverished homes.   Madam President, with these few words, I would like to thank you, the Hon. Senator who brought in this motion and the few that have debated, they have said a lot.  I thank you.

An Hon. Senators having crossed between the Chair and the Hon. Senator debating.

      THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF SENATE (HON. SEN. A. DUBE): Order Hon. Senators, you cannot cross between the Chair and the Hon. Senator debating.  

     +HON. SEN. M. NDLOVU: Thank you Madam President for this opportunity to air my views on this motion on children living in the streets.  What I realised Madam President of Senate is that these children, for most of them, it is not because they are impoverished.  If you are to get to NI Hotel next to ZANU PF offices, you would realise that there are ladies seated there and their children are running to the street lights to ask for money from motorists.  

Other women are taking children living with disabilities, put them on wheelchairs to ask for money from motorists in full glare of the sun. Yes, children encounter challenges of having parents dying but most of us continue to survive in our homes despite our parents having passed on.

If you are talking of rounding up children so that they can be taken good care of, it is one effort that has been tried by our First Lady. These kids were taken to homes but they still ran away from those homes. What do they want? If you are to call one of these children to your place, they will insult you and leave you amazed at how they will be scolding you.  Police officers should be empowered to remove these children from the streets and be taken back to where they come from so that we check as to whether these children do not have relatives or not.  You just wonder what else children living in the streets want us to do.

In most cases, girls living in the streets go to mining areas and it has disturbed their lives quite a lot. We do not know how we can best keep these children because once they give birth to their kids, they do not know who the fathers are and they continue to be street kids. We hope that this august House, upon agreement, need to agree on how we can round up these kids so that they go where they came from and we visit those homes and make further investigations as to how these kids end up in the streets.

We have kids that we stay with because their parents have died. As mothers and fathers, we need to agree and see to it that we have these children being rounded up from the streets and take them to where they are coming from so that we get this challenge to an end. These parents with disabled children whom they are using to ask for money, we need to get this to an end. Our country needs to be respected. As owners of this country, we are ignoring some of the issues that make our country appear to be disorganised out there. With these few words, I thank you.

+HON. SEN. NYATHI: Thank you for this opportunity Madam President to add my voice to the motion before this House. Quite a lot has been said by the previous Senators. However, what I would want to touch on is the solution to get these children out of the streets. As an august House, we need to enact laws that will have these children being rounded up. We also need to enact laws that will ensure that once they are seen in streets or at growth points, action is taken upon them. Without doing this, all the children will end up doing the same.

This issue of children living in the streets started with a few children but because some of them end up desiring this kind of life, it makes it difficult for parents to control their children at home because each time laws are being enforced to them at their homes, they choose to go to the streets. If we do not work in ensuring that these children are removed from the streets, this is going to be problematic to this country because each time they ask for money and you tell them that you do not have, they scold you. How is our country going to be respected with such people that are disrespectful? Right now, we will be having visitors and they will be running around asking for money from these visitors and this becomes so disgraceful to us as a country. Therefore, we need to come up with a solution as to how we can have these children out of the streets.

In most cases during the night, if you hear of people that have encountered a challenge of snatch and grab, it is mainly these children. During the evening, some of them are being abused and all this end up bringing challenges of sexually transmitted infections. I thank you.

Hon Sen. Fanuel having stood up to debate and there was no translation in Tonga.

HON. SEN. PHULU: On a point of order Madam President, there is no translation and Hon. Members are missing out on the invaluable contributions being made on this motion.

       THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  There is no interpretation so no one understands, but you can continue with your debate.

+HON.SEN. FANUEL:  Alright, I am talking of the issue of children living in the streets, which is a motion raised by Hon. Sen Tongogara.  It is a difficult issue for all of us in Zimbabwe.  Children living on the streets continue to increase, especially in Bulawayo and Harare and it pains all of us.  Yesterday, I saw a five year old that was carrying their little one on their back and I wondered where the mother of this baby was.  These children start roaming the streets at a young age of five years, and they continue to live on the streets and end up having children themselves at an early age too. You wonder who impregnates them.  

During COVID-19, the President enacted a law and stationed police officers and soldiers to ensure that everyone had a mask on.  Therefore, it will help us if a similar law is put in place to ensure that as parents, as law enforcement agents and us as the august House, we insist on having these children rounded up and taken to farming areas.  

I will also talk of bars where these children end up patronising.  In my view, I think in these drinking bars, it should clearly be written that those below 18 years are not allowed.  So, we can also have this law changed to no under 16 years.  However, todays’ children have big bodies and if you were to ask how old they are, they will tell you they are 20 years old though they will be younger than that.  Each time they are reprimanded, they decide to abscond from their homes and stay on the streets. In other instances, once mothers are widowed, they remarry but their children might not be wanted in the new home.  Therefore, I would encourage this august House to look into the issue of driving these women to focus on income generating projects to assist their children from previous marriages.  Right now, most of the children do not have physical challenges.  The other one got married to a man whom they picked from the streets.  This girl was picked by a Dr. Sibanda in Borrowdale, but upon interrogation, it was figured out that this girl knew where she was coming from and those who stayed with her also knew where she was coming from, but she got married.  Right now, we have women that are taking their children – especially disabled children to the streets on a wheel chair whilst it is very hot and you wonder what the mother will be thinking of.  So, we need to look into the issues of driving these children out of the streets.

One other issue is that there is need for parents at home to teach the children. This is our duty as Members of the august House, kraal heads and chiefs to ensure that we have monthly meetings to do researches as to why we are not seeing certain children from our families so that we figure out where those children would have gone to. In most cases, because we do not do that, you realise that you see maybe one child from your community coming back after a month or two. They will be dirty showing that they were living in the streets.

Right now, there are projects that have been highlighted and the First Lady rounded up some of these children living in the streets but when they were airing their views on the television, most of them were indicating that they are now living a good life. If you would really realise that most of them are now living flashy lives – [Technical fault.]

+THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Withdraw umbuluza.

+HON. SEN. FANUEL: Thank you Madam President – [Technical fault.] – Thank you, Madam President. I might end up saying the wrong things because I am not good at Ndebele. I prefer debating in Tonga. Thank you.

HON. SEN. SIBANDA: Thank you Madam President. Thank you again to Hon. Sen. Tongogara for the motion. I went out for some time, so I might repeat what has been debated before. This debate is long, but there are a few issues that I will just pass in my debate because some of the issues that I had put aside for debate have already been spoken. I would want to encourage us as leaders that all of us here are parents. We are the mothers and fathers of the children who are on the streets. If we count some of us among here, as Africans, we know we come from extended families and if you throw a stone, you might hit one child who is related to you. There are issues that have been said about intermarriages and some of the marriages that we go through after some divorce or death of our spouses.

I will encourage that we refrain from marrying into a family whereby a spouse has children because we are failing to take care of someone else’s child, even among our own families, even our own grandchildren. Most of them are being abused by the grandparents who are of their own flesh and blood, what more of someone else’s child? Even if the mother is no longer alive, there is that mentality of – I do not know of a term that I can use which is not offensive. What happens is that, when we marry, we become jealous even to the children that we found with our husbands, which is not fair. The best thing is to refrain from marrying people who have their own children.

In the Bible, we have noticed that there was a marriage that involved Hannah and Peninah and there was mentality of jealous. Peninah forgot that the husband did not belong to her but to Hannah. What about us people of the flesh? As women or girl children, the problem of getting pregnant any minute and unplanned pregnancies, we tend to have problems taking care of the children, especially as a woman. There is not much problems with men or the boy child because the mother is the one always taking care of the child. You might find other people having difficulties keeping a child who has been born of another child because that child will give birth to the child and leave it with someone else and move on with their lives. Therefore, they are burdened with the child and will not be taken care of in a proper way. Those children will end up straying into the streets again.

I know that in our country, abortion is illegal and there are Christian denominations like the Roman Catholic that also do not support abortion. I think it would be much better for you not to have a child than to throw away the child and next thing you are moving around the City of Harare or Bulawayo, you see a child being abused by someone else. It really hurts to the core of your heart.

The best thing as leaders, we have to sit down and deliberate on a way of terminating some of these unwanted pregnancies or to refrain from getting pregnant at all by using preventive methods. Most of these pregnancies only affect women and not men. I do not know when men are moving around the streets seeing street children, does it even get into their minds that some of those children are theirs? As mothers, we know that every child is your child. You feel the burden of a mother. You feel the burden of child birth. Thank you, Madam President.  

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

HON. SEN. RUNGANI: I second Madam President.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Thursday, 11th April, 2024.

On the motion of HON. SEN. MUZENDA, seconded by HON. SEN. GOTORA, the House adjourned at Twenty Minutes to Five o’clock p.m.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Post comment