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SENATE HANSARD 10 DECEMBER 2020 VOL 30 NO 13
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Thursday, 10th December, 2020
The Senate met at Half-past Two O’clock p.m.
(THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE in the Chair)
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Hon. President Sir. Hon. President, I wish to apologise to the Senate that this week, we had anticipated that we were going to do the Budget business, as such, we thought by now the National Assembly would have completed and the Senate would start deliberating on the Budget. I was hoping by now I would have suspended all other business so that we concentrate on the Budget. As such, ministers were not advised to attend question time. So I want to apologise because the ministers took up some other activities somewhere else and are not available for question time.
The Hon. Deputy President of Senate suspended Question Time in terms of Standing or No. 62.
REPORT OF THE ZIMBABWE DELEGATION TO THE 5TH ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF THE AFRICAN PARLIAMENTARIANS NETWORK ON DEVELOPMENT EVALUATION (APNODE) HELD IN ABIDJAN
First Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the Zimbabwean delegation to the Fifth Annual General Meeting of the African Parliamentarians Network on Development Evaluation (APNODE) held in Abidjan.
Question again proposed.
*HON. TUNGAMIRAI: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to add a few words to this motion on the Report which was moved in this House by Hon. Chief Nechombo. Mr. President, in most cases, we see that things are planned and when things are planned, things that need to be done are mentioned. If there is money to be paid, it is paid for the programmes. However, the problem is that there are no follow up mechanisms to see if the money was used according to the plan and what came out of it or where the problem was so that next time when the same programme is being done, people will have a guideline of how things should be done. Having learnt from the past, there is need for monitoring and evaluation.
The Hon. Speaker went to a meeting and came back with something that I believe is beneficial before things were taken for granted and if something is said, no one makes a follow up. So this report is very important to us as Zimbabweans. In all ministries that are engaged in a certain project or programme, there should be a team that sees to it that monitoring and evaluation is done to make sure that things are done properly and accordingly.
As the new dispensation, we want to see progress in the country and people who make follow ups on these programmes. It iseasy for people to be corrupt if there is no follow up on the programmes. That is where we have incidents of missing monies because there is no accountability. Let us play our oversight role as Parliament to make sure that there is accountability. We must make a follow up on these monies that are given to ministries to see what has happened, what the money was used for and make sure monies are not channeled to wrong destinations.
There is less corruption if people establish and understand that follow up is done. We also want to see convicted people in prisons who must not walk scot-free. This deters would-be criminals because everyone knows that staying in prison is no joy. The report on monitoring and evaluation helps us to develop our nation. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. CHINAKE: Thank you very much Hon. President I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Chief Nechombo who brought this motion. It delayed in coming because we were actually waiting for it. There is a lot that is happening in this country that we know nothing about. If you look at what is happening, the Chinese are looting chrome. There is no monitoring that is going on and we will not know what this country is getting from this chrome. I once asked in this Senate what we are getting from Manicaland diamonds. The Minister said he did not know for his role is just to mine. It means there is no monitoring going on there.
We need accountability and clarity on any programme that is being done in this country. When asked by the people we represent and when I profess ignorance, it is embarrassing; Hon. Sen. Chief Nechombo came with a very good motion for everyone to be knowledgeable. It was our wish that the President of the Second Republic appoints a Committee that plays an oversight role. We should be able to establish the direction of where we are going and where we are coming from. Ministries are not getting enough money, which means we do not know the exact status of our finances. Now that we have spoken, let there be a Committee that will play an oversight role.
All the mining activities in the bush that are taking place, if we let monies slide through without monitoring, people will suffer. Children of the next generation will blame us for being reckless. We need monitoring and evaluation. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA: Thank you Hon. President for giving me the opportunity to speak on this motion. We would like to thank our delegation that was being led by our Speaker who attended this very important meeting. Hon. President, we should do the monitoring and evaluation so that we see how things are going. There is a lot happening in these municipalities and councils in Zimbabwe. Just like the housing issue, people were just building anywhere they wanted. We should monitor these activities to see if they are within the law. With this knowledge that has been brought to us following the visit by this delegation, we have learnt lessons. Even allocated funds to ministries need monitoring.
We have children who are into artisanal miners. They are doing well, but is this gold going to Fidelity? There must be a plan that all minerals go through proper channels and monitoring to see if the money is being channeled to the right destination.
On agriculture, people are given agricultural inputs and the inputs are sold in the streets; we need monitoring and evaluation. There should be a team that does evaluation after they would have done monitoring. Before someone has gone anywhere we should be able to monitor if farming has been done, if anything has been done at all. People should be able to see if nothing has been done and those people should be called out.
Evaluation should be done also if anything has come back or if money has gone down the drain. Each and every Minister who is given their roles, they should be doing evaluation of the jobs that were given to them after monitoring. We want our country to progress and realise our 2030 vision of a middle income society. We want to thank those who brought this initiative to this country to say we need monitoring and evaluation in all spheres of governance. We want this to be taken seriously. With the problem of money in this country, the price of each and everything was going up. Monitoring was done and it actually worked well in this country. This should be seeded in our minds as citizens that we need to have monitoring and evaluation. Even in devolution there is a lot of money that is channeled towards devolution. We need monitoring then evaluation.
There are crooks that siphon funds. They should be monitored. Ministries should monitor these people. With these few words Hon. President, I would like to thank you.
*HON. SEN. SHUMBA: Thank you Hon. President for giving me this opportunity to add my voice to this debate. I support this motion. When they had gone where they had gone, they came back with a very good initiative. When they were presenting their report, I remembered that in this House we once talked about this issue of monitoring and evaluation. It is now being fulfilled to say other countries are doing this, so we should see this and teach each other. Let all that we are doing in this country be monitored to say what has come out of this.
I am very thankful that there is a programme like this. It does not teach the Government alone, it does not mean that the Government is the only one that does monitoring and evaluation. In English they say charity begins at home. If we are in the rural areas, right now the rains have started. You have bought seed and you have sent it back to the rural areas. Others will not do anything; they will just say it will happen on its own. If you go and monitor the seed that you have sent back home to say has any action been taken, that is monitoring.
We cannot have our eyes glued on the Government, blaming the Government. Also ourselves let us spring into action. This knowledge is not teaching Government Ministers and the President only, it is teaching us. All of us should find it as an opportunity to learn. Even in our constituencies, there are monies that are coming there, devolution funds, the CDF funds that are coming through. As Senators why do we not check to see how these funds are being used, what is happening? Let us not set our eyes only on the Government because this affects all spheres.
Someone mentioned councils, but the truth is that things are not going on well because of corruption. I once went to this other church. I went and saw houses that were built haphazardly. These things that have happened in Harare are so shameful. There are no more church stands. These things need monitoring. This is evaluation and monitoring. Council should engage in monitoring to see if it is authentic or people are just building wherever they feel like. This is not for Government only.
I am very thankful to the new dispensation. Someone yesterday praised the President. It is very true – he monitored and did evaluation, and indeed he assigned the young who are highly energetic to some of the positions. He monitored and evaluated and after doing that he appointed young men and women who are very energetic. We are very grateful for that because for 40 years we had bad roads, but recently after the appointment of a young man, we are seeing a change. It is our anticipation that we will be happy at the end of it all because we are seeing action. We have a wise man in a position of influence. You see that there is monitoring that is being done by these young man. Even if you do evaluation you are able to see the progress. This is a very important issue not only in our homes, but everywhere in all spheres, including the Government. If Ministers were here to reply to our motions, it was going to be helpful to the House and Ministries. Thank you.
*HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to add my voice to this motion. This motion is very important to us. It is about monitoring and evaluation. It does not focus on the Government only, it actually even refers to our own families. Even if we look at farming, we sit down as a family and plan for example how many fertilizers we are going to buy and all other inputs including machinery. If you do not look closely at these things, there will not be any progress but you need to evaluate and that is very important to us.
Those who went to Cote d’Ivoire were Members of Parliament, which gives us a task to say even in our Committees, we have work plans. Do we evaluate to see if that which we agreed as Committee has been done because if we are not evaluating, that Committee will not bring results. We would want to thank Sen. Chief Nechombo because those Parliaments which came together saw it fit that if they do not mention monitoring and evaluation, there will not be any progress. We want to thank this delegation that was being led by Adv. Mudenda. We also want to thank that the MPs were given various positions. That was good for our country so that when they meet other countries, they are respected and appreciated. That is why they were selected.
Mr. Speaker, it helps us a lot if they are doing their jobs together with other countries. As Parliament of Zimbabwe, we will benefit from this, it is an advantage to us because we will get to know of the good things that are happening at these meetings. We will be in a better position. We will be getting a lot of information because of people who are into these Committees. We are not afraid, we are confident those people who were chosen in these committees will do a great job.
Mr. President, as Senate, there are things that we should be doing. We should make sure that our oversight role is done properly. We should evaluate and monitor all that is expected of us by this country. Monitoring and Evaluation should not be done in Government only. It should be just like football, the coach should be able to know whether the players are fit, disciplined so that the team can succeed. If there is no monitoring and evaluation, there is no progress, even though we have debated this before, but looking at the importance of this Parliament, this is something that we should take serious. That is what is called Government.
We continue to trail behind if we do not see to it that we do monitoring and evaluation, we will lack in other areas. This has given us an opportunity to see the possibility of progress in our country. Thank you.
+HON. SEN. DUBE: Thank you Hon. President for giving me this opportunity to air my views on this motion brought by Hon. Sen. Chief Nechombo. Firstly, I would like to thank the delegation that represented us on the monitoring and evaluation meeting which is quite important and critical in the development of our nation. This is an important motion in this House; all of us in here want to see development in our country. Therefore, it is critical that we understand this motion. Monitoring and evaluation is not supposed to focus on the Government only, as once been said by the previous Hon. Members that in most cases, we always cry that there is no monitoring and evaluation yet it is our duty to do that monitoring and evaluation because Government cannot go round the country to do the task of monitoring and evaluation.
We therefore need to make sure that we critically look into the operations of our nation, like what a man who loves his wife becomes jealous, making sure that he makes follow ups to where his wife is going. We need to focus on the development of our country and make sure that we monitor everything to make sure that it is functioning properly for the development of our nation. For example, where I come from, there is timber and wild animals and during the night, there are people who come in to cut down that timber. Right now Government does not know that there are timber poachers but it is us who are supposed to make sure that we monitor those activities and bring to the attention of Government.
Our country is endowed with natural resources which can bring development into our country. We also have CDF that is coming in but we do not fully monitor and evaluate how it is being used. The same with the devolution funds, we do not clearly monitor their operations yet they are there for development of our areas. Development that is being brought in by these funds should be clearly monitored by us as Members of this House. This is why I am saying that this motion is indeed important and critical to our country.
Mr. President, where we realise that there is misrepresentation or lack of development, we need to make sure that we continue to give attention to those areas. His Excellency the President, Hon. Mnangagwa, continues to say corruption is a cancer that is destroying our country. Therefore we need to report cases of corruption so as to help the Government and our President who is working hard to see development in this country. Our help in this regard will assist in having progress in our country. As Members of this House, we need to make sure that we continue to have an eye into all activities that are for development into our country. In Shona, they say godo, meaning jealous.
My plea is that if all of us can understand this motion, it will make us work hard especially in the communities that we represent and wherever we go to make sure that there is progress in our country. If we continue to do this, we will see to it that the little money that we have as a country will take us a long way into making sure that most of the things that are critical in the development of our country are catered for. Let us not focus on a lot of things that are happening in different countries but concentrate on the developmental aspect of our country and make sure that the few things that we have in our country are used to give food and monitor them so as to see progress in our country.
Mr. President, like I have indicated earlier on that we have a lot of natural resources in our country but we realise that we have certain schools that are so deplorable yet we have funds which should be used to develop those schools but we lack monitoring and evaluation. We do not really get to see any fruits coming from these funds or from the devolution funds that have been allocated to these communities. Right now there are certain schools that do not have water and books because we are unable to monitor the progress of programmes or work being done in our areas. We need to gather all the resources that we have as a country and make sure that these resources develop this country. Let us guard our country jealously. With the few resources that we have, let development come to our country. I thank you.
HON. SEN. MOEKETSI: I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Chief Nechombo for his motion and the seconder. I see that we are on the same journey as those in the new dispensation. Mr. President, I would like to thank those who gathered information as they travelled and came up with this motion. However, this motion is not new in this House, I think this is the third time that it is being mentioned.
Hon. President, I would like to say this nation should testify to say, when Hon. President Cde. Emmerson Mnangagwa came into power; there are miracles and great things that happened. The biggest issue here is corruption. Given the motion in this House, it needs us to put our hands together. What I want is for His Excellency the President to tighten and put a grip on all the ministries as we are behind his efforts to do so. It is my wish that the President should not shuffle the same people who are known to be doing corruption because that is similar to swapping two half-full bottles of water where one cannot see the difference. We need new people with a different mindset and not shuffle people so that they begin to steal or display corrupt tendencies in a different location. We need a complete change.
As I speak, the agricultural inputs which were allocated to the Pfumvudza Programme, there is no follow up mechanism. Are we doing monitoring and evaluation of the seed allocated to rural areas? There is no monitoring in the rural areas when it comes to the Presidential Inputs programme. Mr. President, there is need for a tight grip on these Programmes and there will be development and total change to our economy. There are people who are given the task to monitor inputs distribution by the President but it seems as if these people also focus on fattening their own pockets and benefitting indirectly. They actually observe the corruption that will be taking place but do nothing about it. It is my wish that these people are imprisoned.
Our prisons are full of prisoners of stock-theft and domestic violence whilst those doing corruption are scot-free. I know that the President set up a Commission on Anti-Corruption which is responsible for monitoring and bringing to account those alleged to be committing corruption. However, when the Commission exposes the corrupt people, nothing is done about it. Within a few days when the matter is on the table, it is thrown away. I do not have much to say but as Senate, I kindly ask you to help the President to tighten the grip on these ministries. This is tarnishing the name of the President and his Office. A lot of people blame the President because there are a lot of criminal activities happening around. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. FEMAI: Thank you Mr. President. Before I contribute to this debate, allow me to greet Hon. Minister Matemadanda. I just want to say thank you very much for coming here. We used to hear on television and radio that he was not feeling well and it was our prayer that he recovers. We are very grateful to the Lord that he recovered. – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] – (Hon. Minister Matemadanda stood up and nodded in acknowledgement.) – This motion is very important in this country, not only in Zimbabwe but the whole of Africa and Europe. The word corruption is an English word; it was spoken in Britain to say it is ‘corruption.’ In Africa, we have a lot of languages on the word ‘corruption’, meaning that it is all over the world.
There are others who are able to get rid of corruption like Korea, Iran, China and other Arab countries which we know. As we were growing up, we once heard that there were others who were hanged in public for having committed corruption so others can learn that corruption is a very bad thing. Mr. President, if there is no one who monitors and evaluates our programmes, there is nowhere we are going. We will just sit in here and pass laws which are not implemented.
Whenever there is a problem in society, it is referred to the police. The President gave a decree that no private commuter omnibuses should commute to and from the city and anyone who intended to do so should have their buses or commuter omnibuses transport contracted to the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO). However, those who are supposed to monitor and ensure implementation of the President’s decree are those on the road. There is corruption and these private commuter omnibuses are travelling willy-nilly to and from the city. They are not under ZUPCO yet private cars are the ones which are being stopped on the roads and interrogated. How are these things happening? Those who are sent by the President to monitor and implement programmes should be capacitated through workshops so that they understand the nature of their work through lectures on what it means to work under a directive.
I had never heard of a police officer who was arrested on charges of having arrested a senior or junior official charged on corrupt activities. They are afraid of getting close to someone who would have committed corruption but it is easy for them to arrest someone who would have stolen a goat. It shows that we have failed and for our country to develop, we should get rid of corruption.
Corruption has tarnished our name as Zimbabwe and everything. If you mention that you are from Zimbabwe, the only thing that they will know is corruption. That is very true; people are blamed for corruption simply because of the corrupt activities that are going on in our country. I am thankful to the new dispensation for bringing young blood into positions of authority; I have not witnessed cases of corruption in these young bloods. I understand corruption is very deep and for these youngsters to get to the roots of all, it is difficult for them.
We have been to Dakar to attend meetings on getting rid of corruption. Let us start with thorough investigations and serious oversight. Let us set an example. If someone is corrupt, send them to jail. A cattle rustler is sentenced to 40 years in prison but someone who is involved in corruption is only send to remand and nothing more is done. We want this country to send all corrupt people to prison so that we set an example and everyone will know that the country is now progressing and developing. People who steal RTGs2 000 must be send to jail so that those who steal large amounts understand the intensity of the crime and it will scare them.
This country will be nice without corruption. Right now we say we have no money in the country but we have millionaires and billionaires who have the money in their homes and the money is not circulating. When they die that is when we hear of their wealth. When they divorce we hear of their assets, and we keep quiet but we will get to know of the information. In shona they say, mudzimu waro bonga kuona huku yakararira maza. It starts to eat the broody hen then eats the eggs lastly. We hear people who divorce exposing one another and I think it is the best time to arrest them. They must be tried and send to jail, both of them.
As opposition members, we are not here to oppose only. That is why you find us contributing towards the Presidential Speech because we have a new dispensation in our own party which is development oriented. We cannot develop this country when we are not united. Others are busy stealing; how can one have a property in Sandton South Africa? As a Zimbabwean, why not build your own place in Borrowdale because this is corruption at its worst. Why would you be buying a house in Britain when you do not have a house in Zimbabwe? You would want to use that house as a place to seek refuge - such people must be arrested. We are in the new dispensation and people should be arrested as a deterrent measure. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. CHIFAMBA: Thank you Mr. President and I thank the movers of the motion. As Zimbabwe, we should be doing away with corruption. In as much as we monitor one another, we are unable to evaluate the extent of corruption to an extend that you would find someone arrested put on leg irons but the following day they are released. What have we monitored and what have we evaluated? If one steals, they just catch them and release them. It is ‘the catch and release game’ but he or she would have deprived this country of developmental money that was supposed to have been used in the hospitals, foodstuffs for prisons, the education sector and other various infrastructures such as roads.
Money is not being used for the best interest of the country but is misused by a single individual who is corrupt. It hurts so much to see people walking scot-free after they have either raped or committed an offence. There are a lot of old men that have been incarcerated because of theft of livestock but none has been imprisoned for being corrupt. We hear of ‘catch and release’ schemes. Why would such people be arrested and released without being tried and within a short space?
In the Cyclone Idai era, people who were supposed to distribute foodstuffs are the ones who looted the foodstuffs. Buses were stocked from Chimanimani and Mutare with foodstuffs that people had looted, foodstuffs meant for the victims of the Cyclone Idai. After their arrest, has anything been done to ensure that the victims have been assisted on provision of foodstuffs? There is no accountability and monitoring as to whether the foodstuffs got to the recipients. We are being cruel to the victims of such disaster. If there is a disaster there should be a mechanism to ensure that deserving victims are the recipients of such aid and not those undeserving.
Corruption is a cancer in this country. The President talked about corruption and we should walk the talk. Whoever has committed an offence should be incarcerated. We are failing to have resources put in place because people would have stolen from Premier or ZBC. People are not paying for licences because programming materials have not improved; therefore people are stealing money meant for such activities. We should be able to monitor and be practical about measures that we put in place in order to recover that ill-gotten wealth. The President should investigate what people are actually up to as regards corruption. Mapfumo sang Corruption in the Society and we thought that he had misunderstood the situation but in fact he had put his finger on the pulse. All those corrupt elements should be arrested and incarcerated. This will then be able to show that the President is walking the talk and that we are in the new dispensation. We are no longer stuck in the old mode. The new dispensation should incarcerate people that are found guilty so that the change can be noted. We should not be wearing the same old shoes together with the new shoes, or we should not be putting new wine into old wine-skins because we are in the new dispensation.
Our President abhors corruption. Corruption is now a cancer in this country. The police are corrupt. If you make a report to the police, the case is swept under the carpet and it ends there because of corruption. Second hand vehicles that are filled to the brim traverse the roads. You wonder how they would have been able to be transported here. It is because of corruption. We should get rid of corruption. I reiterate; corruption, corruption, corruption.
People should know by deterrent sentences being passed, whether is it is Sharia law that one would lose an arm or a limb. We need to get rid of corrupt people in our offices. The Zimbabwe Anti Corruption Commission should also be more serious about the way that they arrest the people and ensure that they are dealt with according to the law. Nothing has happened. Anti corruption measures have been put in place by the President. He has done very well. If one has stolen 100 million, he must reimburse the money that he has stolen so that the generality of the Zimbabwean people can have their lives improved. If one has stolen $100 million maybe he should just return $50 million so that the change can be used for developmental purposes. Thank you Hon. President of the Senate.
HON. SEN. CHIEF NECHOMBO: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Tuesday, 14th December, 2020.
REPORT ON THE VIRTUAL EXTRAORDINARY SESSION OF THE GOVERNING COUNCIL OF THE INTER-PARLIAMENTARY UNION (IPU)
Second Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the Extraordinary Session of the Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union.
Question again proposed.
HON. SEN. MUZENDA: Mr. President, I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Tuesday, 14th December, 2020.
PREVALENCE OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
Third Order read: Adjourn debate on motion on 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence.
Question again proposed.
HON. SEN. KAMBIZI: Thank you Mr. President for allowing me to further debate on this motion. I also want to thank Hon. Sen. Dube for raising this motion that was seconded by Hon. Sen. Mpofu. Allow me, Mr. President, to thank Hon Members who debated this motion before me. However I want to add my voice on the same motion because I feel the debate was not exhaustive, hence I intend to add more flesh to it by proffering solutions to it.
Mr. President, I want to start by defining gender based violence. I will also go on to look at the causes, look at the forms of gender based violence and probably end up with some of the solutions.
Gender based violence, Mr. President, is the violence that is targeted at an individual or a group of people looking at their gender, that is either he is a male or a female that can be done in private or public. Mr. President, let me quickly look at some of the causes of gender based violence. The first one I would like to look at harmful gender norms. Mr. President normally when we are speaking in front of the chiefs who are custodians of our culture, one has to measure his words and I am going to measure my own words because some of the notions that I am going to talk about have something to do with our culture.
Mr. President, let me look at some of the norms that I am going to talk about. There is a belief or it is known that men have three characteristics. Men are said to be aggressive, have a tendency to control and men dominate. On the adverse the women that we have also have three characteristics. They are docile, they are subservient and they rely on men for provision of food and other materials. Now look at the above norms Mr. President, these norms foster a culture of gender based violence in that women suffer most because they are forced into early marriages because they rely on men for food. There is forced female genital mutilation. These are spurred by outdated cultural practices which I think we need to do away with.
A good example, Mr. President, is a man who originally is very loving, gentle and provides for his family, but one day he wakes up very broke, unable to provide for his family. His character changes Mr. President. He starts to abuse drugs - by the end of the day he is known for wife battering, murdering the wife, even killing the children because he can no longer provide for the family which he used to do. If the truth be told, culturally it is the duty of men to provide for their families. When they fail to do so, that is when they resort to violence which is exactly the opposite when we look at women. Women even if they fail to provide for their families, they soldier on, they work hard to provide for the children including the harassing man – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – So obviously I will say thumbs up to the women – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear] –
The second reason for gender based violence is hunger. If there is no food in the House, there is likely to be a hullabaloo. Instead of us working harder to provide food in the family, we turn to harass the women and our children because we have failed to perform our duties as the head of our homes. By doing so, early marriages and forced marriages will be entertained as families tend to accept dowry payments so that they ease the food bill. Women end up being involved in sex to get some few cents to provide for the family. That is hunger.
The other case is about money shortages in the home. We are seeing this happening every day, if there is no cash in the home, there is tension and the woman will be saying, ‘daddy provide food’ and because the husband cannot provide, he becomes harsh and starts battering the wife, which is very bad and unacceptable in this time of the century.
The other issue is war and conflict. During war times parents tend to force their daughters into early marriages for security reasons, but if I am to give a very good example of Zimbabwe, we last had conflict a couple of years ago. Just recently, we had a new type of war called COVID-19 which forced families into the kitchen day in, day out for 24 hours. That is a war; it resulted in food shortages and couples insulting each other. As a result there was gender based violence. Mr. President, what then must we do? It is futile for us to continually say we do not want gender based violence but we must be able to proffer possible solution.
There are certain other reasons why gender based violence is happening day in, day out. I am going to touch on what we should do starting with Hon. Senators who are in here. We need to educate the community on the effects of gender based violence. Probably we are talking about it in here but back home in the communities, people might not know what is called gender based violence and why is it bad because some men out there feel it is their right to abuse his wife because he will be saying I paid lobola.
We need to disseminate information on gender based violence. We need to raise extensive awareness on women’s rights. We need to inform people about the consequences of gender based violence, for example we are witnessing deaths of women and some men go on even to kill the whole family. So people must be aware of early effects of gender based violence. As we do so, we need to express safety and confidentiality. We need to set up functional centres with trained counselors that will not withhold matters and also community care givers.
One of the most important aspects that we must follow is to empower girls against sexual harassment. If the girls are not empowered, it will be very normal for them to go into the bars and start engaging in commercial sex. Gone are the days when we used to say a boy should be afforded the opportunity to go to school leaving out the girl child. The girl child could be much brighter than the boy. We need to empower the girl child and that should take the centre stage – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
Mr. President, we need to provide community based psychological and social support for the victims of gender based violence. Mr. President, if we are to make headway in the fight against gender based violence, we must also look at challenges that we are facing. Why are we not making headway in the fight against gender based violence?
So very briefly, I am going to look at the challenges that we are facing. The first one is there is inconsistency efforts and inadequate resources. As much as we want to raise awareness, we do not have the resources, the resources are insufficient or we are inconsistent in the fight. The second one is that that there is lack of political will. Do we really want to fight gender based violence as a nation? Do we really want to fight gender based violence as Hon. Members in here? If the answer is yes, then we must have political will together, and fight gender based violence and we will win.
The third one is that there is lack of funding. The fourth is that there is impunity and lack of understanding. When we talk of gender based violence, gender refers to men and women but the issue is tilting to the disadvantage of women. Therefore, if we do not involve those whom we are saying daily they are perpetrators, then we will not win the war. We need to involve the men who are allegedly the perpetrators and we also need to involve the women, though the ratio of the women perpetrators is still very low. This may be simply because women are shy to come in the open to say ‘I am being battered at home.’ Whose fault – if a man cannot come out and say I am being battered at home then we will do that for them, but not with the ratio that we have, it is tilting against women.
The other challenge is under reporting of cases of gender. That challenges falls with the women, very few women – if we were to investigate thoroughly, the number of women that are being harassed in the families is much higher than the figures that we have. I am saying the cases are under reported, if the cases are under reported, then we will react according to the figures that we have which will not be sufficient.
The other impediment is ‘not in my community’. Not in your community, it is because you do not know about it. That is denial to say that this cannot happen in my community. As long as we are in the denial mode, then we will not solve this problem of gender based violence. Mr. President, these women are our spouses, they are our equal partners and therefore, we should respect each other equally.
On country laws, this is also a challenge. The last one is the guiding principles to try and bring down gender based violence are not known. This calls for extensive awareness and as many workshops as possible, starting with this House going further up to the last person in the community in Kanyemba. What is quite disheartening Mr. President is in this country, we have many groups and many women organisations that purport to be fighting on the corner of women, that purport to be fighting against gender based violence, but what is happening Mr. President, the cases are getting higher and higher. So, I am not too sure whether these groups are functional. Mr. President, many women, and indeed right thinking men are astonished with the rate of GBV cases happening in this country because firstly, there is low conviction rate on GBV cases because women are not believed by men and worse enough or apparently, women are not believed by their fellow women. Secondly, the Judiciary imposes lighter sentences on such cases and some are even released on very modesty bail or come up with a mere warning.
Therefore, I want to advocate for legislative reforms and enforcement of laws for the promotion and protection of women’s rights – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – We should promote zero tolerance to all cases of GBV. Secondly, we should work hard to eradicate traditional practices that are harmful to women’s reproductive and sexual health. For example, rituals that are associated with puberty. We should also ensure victims have been offered legal medical and psychological support and medicinal referrals whenever it is necessary.
We should hold as many workshops as is practicable to make sure that everybody knows the impact of GBV. It could be within your village, your family but it will continue until the figures become uncontrollable. Allow me Mr. President to challenge all my fellow Senators in here, male or female, to take a leading role in the fight against GBV. Allow me as a special favour to women to urge all the Senators to treat fellow female counterparts as equal partners and to love them and also urge the same to happen to our opposite sex. I thank you.
HON. SEN. A. DUBE: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. MATHUTHU: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Tuesday, 14th December, 2020
On the motion of THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR MASHONALAND CENTRAL PROVINCE (HON. SEN. MAVHUNGA), the House adjourned at Five Minutes past Four o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 15th December, 2020.