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SENATE HANSARD 10 JUNE 2021 VOL 30 NO 44

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Thursday, 10th June, 2021

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

APOLOGIES RECEIVED FROM MINISTERS

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE (HON. GEN. (RTD.) SEN. NYAMBUYA):  Today being Thursday, we have questions without notice.  Unfortunately, I only have one apology from Dr. K. Coventry who is away on Government business.   I do not have any other apology and in the Chamber today, we only have four Ministers who are the Minister of Defense and War Veteran Affairs, the Deputy Minister of Local Government, the Minister of State for Provincial Affairs for Mashonaland Central and the Minister of State for Provincial Affairs for Mashonaland East.  This is not an acceptable state of affairs.  I would like to express my displeasure and dismay at this very unacceptable state of affairs which is tantamount to contempt of the Senate.  The Clerk will have to write a letter to the authorities expressing our utmost displeasure at the state of affairs.  It is not acceptable and I am sure the Hon. Senators agree with me that it undermines the role of the Senate which is stipulated in the Constitution; that is their right to ask Hon. Ministers questions on what is happening.  Having said that, I hope we will receive more Ministers since I only have one apology and we will have to make do with those who are here.  We are grateful to you Hon. Minister of Defense.  In fact it is the women Ministers who have shown that they are actually more professional than their counterparts.  Thank you Hon. Ministers.  We can field our questions to the Ministers who are here.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE

*HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Local Government. What is the Government policy regarding driving school trucks which are found in our city centres?

*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. CHOMBO): I would like to thank the Hon. Member for asking such a pertinent question. When you refer to driving schools, I did not quite get your question whether you were asking about where they train people whether it is safe. If that is the case let me clarify that we have noted that in urban centres people are just doing what they want. They do not follow council by-laws. As local government, we have a blitz that we have embarked on, together with local municipal authorities, because we have seen people who are plying different trades at undesignated areas. You notice that at Mbudzi, we are preparing a right place for that. Together with ZRP and Municipal Police, we are on a blitz and have warned illegal traders who are operating illegally at different places to move to where they are supposed to be. I thank you.

*HON. SEN. FEMAI: I would like to know that when demolishing structures for those who have tuck shops within their durawalls in their yards and those who do not have durawalls but have tuckshops in their yards. I would like to know whether both are going to be affected by these demolishes.

*HON. CHOMBO: I would like to thank Senator Femai for his question. Every municipal authority has its by-laws. If you are referring to a residential area, then it is not a business area. We warn all those who are carrying out commercial activities in residential areas. It does not matter whether the business is within the durawall or outside the durawall. As long as we do not have permission to be operating that business in that residential area, you have to stop that forthwith. If possible, then you can demolish on your own but as local authorities we are allowed to come and observe, and then demolish.

*HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Local Government. Right now there are PSC buses that carrying civil servants. Are these buses supposed to be parked at designated points because we have noted that they park in front of people’s houses and you discover that they litter by throwing away empty bottle drinks, chips and others. So, I would like to know if there are designated points for PSC buses, or maybe it will be just left like that without any corrective measures.

*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. CHOMBO): Our buses leave in the morning to pick up people. When they drop off people they are supposed to come and park the buses at our Government offices like CMED and other Government buildings. We do not allow public service buses to be parked wherever. I would like to request that if you notice any anomaly, please notify us so that we correct that.

*HON. SEN. CHIFAMBA: My question is directed to the Minister of Local Government. I would like to ask that as Hon. Members, are there any designated parking bays for Hon. Members where we do not pay. I request that the same arrangement that obtains at tollgates should also be done for Hon. Members and maybe there should be clarity whether there are places we are supposed to pay or not when parking our cars?

*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. CHOMBO): Thank you Hon. Member for asking that pertinent question. In Harare, as you know that this is where we converge as Hon. Members to do Parliament business, there are designated points at Third Street where every Hon. Member is supposed to park.  I would like to believe that no Hon. Member has been given a ticket.  However, if you see it fit that you should be given permission to park wherever you want to in town as a Hon. Member, as the Local Government, we can sit down with you and come to an agreement.  I thank you.

HON. SEN. A. DUBE: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to ask my question.  I will direct my question to the Minister of Local Government and Public Works.  What does the Government policy say concerning some stands that were sold by the City Council to citizens five years ago and have not been serviced up to date in some cities, especially Bulawayo?

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. CHOMBO): We have had a lot of problems and I think this problem dates back several years; it is a legacy issue if I may say.  We have had some stands that were allocated to people before they were serviced. This is why we are having problems of drainage, sewerage and water blockages.

The norm is that a person should be sold a stand that has been serviced with sewer, water and a road network.  We are now forcing the city councils to make sure that if the services were paid for, then they are supposed to provide that service through their land developers.  If you have such incidences where people have been given stands, I know there are quite a number of them,  kindly bring that to our office’s attention so that we make sure that we have a dialogue with the relevant city authorities.  I thank you.

*HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA: My question is directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development; in his absence, I would ask the Minister of Defence and War Veterans to respond.  The Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development has been moving around the country.  We all know that there are no good roads to move grains from farms to G.M.B or selling points.  So, I would like to know if the Government has any corrective measure to take regarding that situation.

THE MINISTER OF DEFENCE AND WAR VETERANS (HON. MUCHINGURI-KASHIRI) on behalf of THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Chirongoma for such an important question because it is Government’s desire to have a good road infrastructure.  It boosts Government’s economic programmes.  After working, people desire to reap benefits but if there are no good road networks, it is a challenge.  Like what the Hon. Senator has alluded to that there was a bumper harvest this season, so, it is important for our road network to be accessible.

However, we have Government roads which fall under the Ministry of Transport; we also have roads falling under the DDF and other roads which are managed by the Local Government under municipal authorities.  Therefore, I do not know the specific roads that the Hon. Senator is referring to.  This question might need to be put on the Order Paper but it is an urgent matter which should be communicated so that we take it to the responsible Ministry.  I believe they will respond as soon as possible.

We are all aware that after the heavy rainfalls, a committee was formed and given the task to look at the rehabilitation of roads in both rural and urban areas.  However, I would like to promise knowing that urgent issues like these, Government has various plans that are going to be implemented to solve different challenges that are faced on our road networks.  I thank you.

*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: Thank you Mr. President, I would like to direct my question to the Minister of Defence and War Veterans.  I would like to believe that the Bill which talks about the welfare of War Veterans is already being worked on.  What is Government policy regarding the different programmes that are going to be carried out?  Are these programmes going to be in rural areas?

THE MINISTER OF DEFENCE AND WAR VETERANS (HON. MUCHINGURI-KASHIRI): I would like to thank Sen. Chief Charumbira for his pertinent question regarding Government policy.  Looking at the vetting of war veterans that have not been vetted and ex-detainees - most war veterans and ex-detainees have already been vetted.  Most of them have already benefited. However, we are looking at war collaborators and non-combatant cadres who went to Mozambique, Botswana and other countries training but without using arms. Those two categories are the ones we are focusing on.  When we look at our Constitution, the people of Zimbabwe said that these people should be vetted and that they should benefit.

We anticipate that we have people who exceed 100 000, some might be genuine and some might not.  So, vetting is important because it will assist us.  We have started phase 1 which is for registration, it is a stage of declaring that one is a non-combatant cadre or war collaborator identifying where they were operating from – whether they were in Mozambique and where they were in Zimbabwe; the people they interacted with because most of these people are known by chiefs and headmen where they operated from.  We are going to find people who know most of these people in most rural areas but because of COVID-19 which delayed programmes, some are passing on and some are suffering.  We have embarked on the programme so that people benefit.  We have opened offices in districts – every District has an office which has a Government employee at that level.  These offices are centres of registration for war veterans and the different categories that we mentioned. There are four categories.

There are forms for war veterans, ex detainees, war collaborators and non combatant cadres.  One has to go and register, tell us his or her story and we will send the details. We are starting this registration on the 17 June to 17 July 2021.  These registration forms will be taken to the board which will go through the forms, working with different leaders of the parties that we are talking about in district centres.  That is why we held a meeting where we requested what I am requesting from Parliament that you inform your constituents to come forward and register.  The second phase is going to be coming but we have not yet organised the exact centres because it is going to touch different categories; war veterans, non combatant cadres and war collaborators.  We had commanders who were working with these war collaborators – these are the commanders who are going to be deployed to different districts.  We do not have the centres for now but we are working hard to identify such centres.  What we are launching right now is the first phase which is this Saturday and we will be publishing the centres.

We also note that we have cantonment areas and these fall under our Ministry.  For those who can, they can go to cantonment centres to register; when we embark on phase 2, we will communicate to the nation.

*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHUNDU:  I would like to understand on non-combatant cadres.  Maybe the previous programme that was done did not benefit a cadre.  For those who have already passed on and if their children are still alive, how are they going to benefit?

*HON. MUCHINGURI-KASHIRI: I believe that the non-combatant cadres that the Hon. Sen. Chief is referring to were not vetted.  This is a new programme that came after the Bill which was passed in this august House aligning it to the Constitution of Zimbabwe.  The Constitution of Zimbabwe was written by the general populace of Zimbabwe which stipulated that we should honour war veterans but they did not say that this should benefit the late.  This is speaking to those who are still alive and not those who passed on.  We will be identifying those who are specified in the Act – those four categories.

Those who passed on whether they are war veterans or war collaborators but were not mentioned by the general populace in the Constitution.  Legal issues are challenging but for sure, there are a lot of war veterans who passed on but this is according to what the people of Zimbabwe said in the Constitution.  This is something which is supposed to be factored into the Constitution as an amendment but for now we are basing on the Constitution.  There is no such amendment hence we are going to work with what is constitutional, what we were empowered by the people of Zimbabwe to do, I thank you.

*HON. SEN. SHUMBA: My question is directed to the Minister of Defence.  We hear that war collaborators and ex-detainees were at the villages cooking for the war veterans.  What are you going to do to such people because they are supposed to benefit from the spoils from the liberation struggle?  The collaborators were doing their duty because they were active.  In which group are you going to classify them?

*THE MINISTER OF DEFENCE AND WAR VETERANS (HON. MUCHINGURI-KASHIRI):  If we look at the current Act, it gives a definition of who is a chimbwindo and ex detainees.  It calls upon witnesses who witnessed that indeed the said person played that active role.  If they fall into that category as defined in the Act, there should be no problem.  If we go beyond what is contained in the Act then it means that everyone in Zimbabwe would now be covered by the definition including eight year olds who were also cooking.  The Act is meant to cater for people that were actively involved in the provision of food and running around with equipment and so on.  People like village heads or kraal heads will know who they collaborated with during the war.  If people feel that they have been left out, they can lodge an appeal with the Appeals Committee which is specifically set up for that purpose.  So, any aggrieved party should go to an Appeals Committee, the members of that Committee are Commissioners of Oath and you give your testimony under oath.  Errors could occur but once that Committee sits, it assists to rectify the error and mistakes. It comprises of lawyers, village heads, chiefs and headmen.  Nothing is going to be left behind.  Once this is in the public domain, the public want to benefit but if we look at our local experiences, we even look at best practices in other countries.

We also look at the issue of resources, does the Government have sufficient resources?  Hon. Members in this august House are the ones who passed the Budget.  Whenever it is budget time, I request that I be given or allocated money.  At times the money allocated to my budget is not even provided or it is very little.  So, we need to be realistic about our current state of affairs because everything comes back to Parliament.  So, I would like to believe that I have tried to answer this question as best as I could.  You are the ones who allowed us to come up with that particular law. Should there be any lacunas, we will have to come back to you.  I thank you.

*HON. SEN. CHIEF MAKUMBE: Thank you Mr. President.  My question is directed to the Minister of Defence and War Veterans.  What is Government policy as regards the members of the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) and the Airforce in terms of assisting communities with buildings?  For example in Manicaland which was devastated by Cyclone Idai, how can one get in touch with the offices of the National Defence Forces when requiring assistance?  I thank you.

*THE MINISTER OF DEFENCE AND WAR VETERANS (HON. MUCHINGURI-KASHIRI): Thank you Hon. Sen. Chief Makumbe for the question.  If you look into our Constitution, it tells you that the Defence Forces are not just there for war, it is there to defend our territorial integrity among other things.  We also work during peaceful times with the community to assist them because we are the people’s army.  If you have such request, you can write to any of our offices or you can call on the Ministers of State in your provinces.  They will be able to assist you because they are the chairpersons of the Joint Operations Command (JOC) meetings. So, they will be in a position to accept those letters and plan with JOC so that local communities can also benefit.

However, what you should know is that the army has no money. It has no budget for community activities.  We have inadequate amounts for sufficient food allocation.  We are mindful that the Government has a burden and we are trying as much as possible to assist although we do not have such a fund.  We ask you to approach the Local Government so that devolution funds can then be utilised to build schools, bridges and other such infrastructures because we have bricklayers, engineers and builders in the Ministry of Defence.  So, we believe that you will be able to send your request to our offices or to the Ministers of State.  I thank you.

*HON. SEN. SIPANI-HUNGWE: Thank you Mr. President.  My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Local Government and Public Works since her Ministry works with the Local Government and they superintend over councils.  My question is; are you observing that this country is now full of dirty, especially in cities.  Wherever you go, you see garbage not being collected and the garbage is now on the roads and vehicles can no longer move freely.  Have you observed that?  If you have made such an observation, what are you saying about it, especially to city councils?

My second question is; Parliament has done very well in terms of the welfare of Members of Parliament.  I was in the Eighth Parliament and we were promised that we will be allocated residential stands.  What is the progress in as far as those promised stands for Members of Parliament is concerned?  Some of us will leave Parliament and some will not come back when the elections are held and others have passed on.  What is the status of the stands that you have promised us and we paid some money towards the residential stands?  I thank you.

*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS: Thank you Hon. President.  I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Sipani-Hungwe for her questions. They are pertinent questions.  I am in agreement with you that service delivery from local authorities is at its worst although I am not qualified.  As Central Government, we are concerned about such shoddy service delivery that is being provided to the local communities by local authorities.  We sat down with local authorities and carried out an investigation into the causes of poor service delivery in terms of waste management, water and sewer reticulation.  When we look back, we observe that the towns were structured in such a way that it would cater for a very small population.

However, the rural to urban migration brought pressure on the infrastructure that had been made for a few people and the service delivery was overwhelmed.  The type of service they were giving and the one that was now expected were not in sync and because of the changes in the exchange rates and currencies, they were unable to deal with the issues of water management, waste management and garbage collection.  They were unable to buy the requisite equipment because of the funds that they had.  We also observed that the majority of the machinery was not being serviced.  Once it was bought, it would be put into use until it became dysfunctional.  This was happening in all the local authorities and that is what we witnessed.  We also observed that the devolution funds that were meant to buy such machinery was not being properly utilised for their intended purposes.  We came up with a report and we are looking at it with a view to rectify it.

As local government, we are now working with local authorities and we have now enhanced our supervision mechanism so that basic service delivery is offered such as the collection of garbage, sewage reticulation and provision of portable water.  In the next few months, you should be seeing a difference with regards to such issues.  The other problem being faced is that the people being provided with those services are not paying rates; it then becomes difficult for the local authorities to provide service deliverables.  They collect about 13% of 100%.  So if they are supposed to collect $1million they are collecting $13000.  This has impacted greatly on service delivery.  We are working hand-in-glove with the metropolitan councils such as Harare and Bulawayo.  You are going to see changes soon.

With regards to stands for MPs, I am in agreement with you that the majority of members are unhappy.  They are justified in being disgruntled because even those in the 8th Parliament have not received their stands and we are now in the 9th Parliament.  The reason was that the stands are there but have not been serviced.  We do not have sufficient funding to service them and it is now illegal for us to offer you an unserviced residential stand.  We have however sat down with Parliament and asked them to look for funding to service the stands and allocate them to Hon. Members.  We are now at an advanced stage and very soon you will be told the majority of your stands will be serviced.  I am asking Hon Members who live outside Harare to also look for stands out there so that we put less pressure on the provision of serviced stands in Harare.  I thank you.

*HON. SEN. TONGOGARA:  My supplementary question is on local authorities.  We heard the Minister saying the ratepayers are not paying.  Is she aware that the City Councils are raising rates every other month and it has become difficult for a person who paid $5 last month and you go next month they are told they owe $20?  Have you looked into that trend?  I thank you.

*HON. SEN. CHOMBO: Thank you Sen Tongagara for the supplementary question.  At the end of each year, budgets are agreed upon, interviews are done at ward level and end up at the Ministry of Local government and the budget is passed.  If you look at that, the majority of the people are not going to give their input into the local government budgets to see the proposals.  These fees should be agreed to by everyone.  However, when such meetings are called so that people can interrogate the budget, the majority of us do not find time and we are not placing a lot of importance on that issue.  We only become alive to the Bills and scrutinise them when they come.  I urge you Hon. Senator that if there is such a malpractice in any of these local government authorities you should approach us so we see if what is happening is in tandem with what you agreed in the budget.

HON. SENATOR CHINAKE:  I heard the Minister saying we can find stands outside Harare.  What is the modus operandi when one wants to get a stand in Masvingo because the council is saying they have not been given such an instruction?  I thank you.

HON. CHOMBO:  Thank you for the question Hon Sen Chinake.  I am going to respond as a Member of Parliament.  The chief whips sent a document calling for Hon. Members to indicate their areas of preference for allocation of stands.  If the document did not get to you from your political party, please approach you own political chief whip so that you can be assisted in that regard.  I thank you.

*HON. SEN. GUMPO: My question is directed to the Minister of Local Government. The road from Karoi to Omei in Siyakobvu is 250 km of gravel road. It is very rough and for the past two years, there has not been any bus. This is where the majority of the poor people live. From Harare to Kariba, you pay US$10 and it is only tarred road. From Siyakobvu, half of the journey they pay US$15 to $20. When we asked why there are no buses to Siyakobvu, we were told that the new type of ZUPCO buses is not meant for gravel roads. We asked Government to give us the old ‘chicken bus’ and ZUPCO will then award such people contracts so that we have transport in Siyakobvu. When are these buses going to start plying that route? I thank you.

*THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Out of respect, I could not just say that this is a lengthy question and secondly, it is not a policy question. What you need to do is to put it in writing so that the Minister can go and research and come and give an answer, but should the Minister want to answer your question, she is free to do so.

*HON. SEN. GUMPO: I have written letters to the Ministry and have not received any response from their office.

*THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: If you write your question down, it works as they will be forced to come with a response to a written question because what we are doing now is oral questions. Be that as it may, let us hear what the Minister has to say.

*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. CHOMBO): Let me thank Hon. Senator Gumpo for his question. I am in agreement with him that the truth of the matter is that you wrote a letter to our offices. I would want to confirm that I got the letter yesterday evening to look into your grievances. You gave the grievance of there being no public transport in the form of buses and also with regards to District Development Fund ferry that is used to ferry people. That ferry broke down but I got in touch with the Director of DDF, Mr. Jonga yesterday and he said because of the sanctions, they have experienced challenges in repairing the ferry. However, he said that they are now repairing the ferry and by end of June, it should be commissioned and be back in use.

I also got in touch with our Chief Executive Officer for ZUPCO about the bad road and that there is no ZUPCO bus. He said yes, they cannot send their new buses but he was on his way to Bulawayo. He said he will physically assess the said route. He promised that beginning of July, there will be a bus to do a trial run on the said road. So the beginning of July, you are going to get the ferry back in use as well as a bus that will do a trial run on that route.

*HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: My question is directed to the Minister of Local Government. What is the policy with regards the maintenance of offices of Government Ministers so that visitors such as Members of Parliament and others can have teas and soft drinks when they visit resident Ministers?

*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. CHOMBO): When you talked about biscuits, we thought of eating. The office of the resident Ministers or Ministers of Provincial Affairs do not fall under Local Government but under the Office of the President. That is where their budget lies.

*HON. SEN. CHINAKE: I would want to ask the Minister of Defence and War Veterans Affairs who said they no longer have a budget in the Ministry but we see that they are employing more people as soldiers. What are you going to be paying them? Where are you going to get the funding that you are going to use to pay them?

THE MINISTER OF DEFENCE AND WAR VETERANS AFFAIRS (HON. MUCHINGURI-KASHIRI): Hon. Senator Chinake says that the Minister said that they no longer have any funds. I do not believe that I said we no longer have money. I did say that our budget is allocated from Parliament. You are the ones that approve budgets. We come here with our bids and among the requirements will be money for the construction of soldiers’ houses, purchase of uniforms and food, and other various health matters such as drugs and so forth. You approve the budget in this august House and the Ministry of Finance keeps the record. We then make requests to the Ministry of Finance. That is how the budget runs. That is the budget cycle, you approve our budget in this august House. From time to time the Treasury will then allocate the funds on a monthly basis.  What I had said was we are not being allocated money to do construction for the community.  I said it is not our duty; it is the duty of other ministries – that is how I had responded to the question.  You then queried why we are recruiting when we have not funds, let me put the record straight and state that when we come to Parliament, we come up with different plans.  In our Act we are allowed to have 40 000 soldiers, that is our strength, we cannot go beyond that.

There are soldiers who are old and those that die; hence we need to be continuously maintaining the strength for purposes of deployment to secure our borders so that you are safe and that there is peace.  You are also able to do farming because we have a staff complement of 40 000 soldiers.  We are doing the recruitment; it is a programme that we brought to you during the budget process.  We were given an allocation to recruit these soldiers, so the money is there for training as well as catering for the needs of those that are being recruited.  I thank you.

Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT in terms of Standing Order No. 62.

ORAL ANSWER TO QUESTION WITH NOTICE

STATUS OF ACCORDING LIBERATION HERO STATUS

  1. (a)HON. SEN. TONGOGARAasked the Minister of Defence and War Veterans Affairs to inform the House the criteria used by Government on the status of those people who are accorded liberation hero status.

(b) Why war veterans who joined the armed struggle in the early 1970’s are vetted by those who joined the armed struggle in the late 1970’s.

THE MINISTER OF DEFENCE AND WAR VETERANS AFFAIRS (HON. MUCHINGURI-KASHIRI): Mr. President before I delve into the question, let me briefly quote what the preamble of our Constitution says about heroism.  “united in our diversity by our common desire for freedom, justice and equality and our heroic resistance to colonialism, racism and all forms of domination and oppression,  Exalting and extolling the brave men and women who sacrificed their lives during the Chimurenga/Umvukela and national liberation struggles”.

So, this is well defined in our Constitution, in our Preamble.  The inclusion of a statement extolling heroic resistance to colonialism in the preamble of the supreme law of the nation establishes the importance and pervasive nature of the value of liberation borne out of heroism.  The Constitution clearly recognizes the need to give due respect, dignity and honour to the heroic effort of those who participated in our liberation struggle and further defines them as those who fought in the war of liberation, those who assisted the fighters in the war of liberation and those who were imprisoned, detained or restricted for political reasons during the liberation struggle.

It is on this basis that Section 3 of the National Heroes Act Chapter 10:16 confers upon the President of Zimbabwe the powers to declare the hero status on certain citizens of Zimbabwe. The section states that where the President considers that any deceased person who was a citizen of Zimbabwe has deserved well of his country on account of his outstanding distinctive and distinguished service to Zimbabwe, he may by notice in the Gazette, designate such person as a national provincial, or district hero of Zimbabwe.

The process of declaration starts with recommendations from various organisations and associations from a wide spectrum of our nation that wish to have certain individuals conferred with any of the three categories of hero status.

Given the history of our nation, most heroes and heroines have predominately been those with political and military backgrounds.  On account of the due prominence given to liberators by our Constitution of 2013, however, the National Heroes Act Chapter 10:16 also take into account outstanding distinctive and distinguished service by all citizens.  It is on this basis that other heroes without political and military backgrounds like Dr. Chambati, he was a (businessman); Garry Magadzire (Agriculturist), Christopher Ushewokuinze (businessman) and Oliver  Mutukudzi (Arts) just to mention but a few, these have been awarded hero status as national, provincial or district heroes by public demand.  The onus is therefore, upon any citizens, groups of people, organisations or associations to justify their recommendations to the President award of any of the three categories of hero status on the basis of service rendered.

Mr. President, the criteria therefore, is that one should have rendered outstanding distinctive and distinguished service to the nation.

(b) Why war veterans who joined the armed struggle in the early 1970’s are vetted by those who joined the armed struggle in the late 1970’s.

Mr. President, it is not correct that veterans who joined the armed struggle in the early 1970’s were vetted by those who joined in the late 1970’s.  The answer to the question is best explained by giving a historical context to what happened during the initial vetting of war veterans.  When Government announced the 50 000 gratuity senior veterans were assigned the responsibility of conducting a vetting exercise in 14 days later extended by 4 days.

Some of the senior veterans who conducted the vetting process are:-

Serial Name Rank during the liberation War
01. Brig. Gen. F. Mhonda General Staff
02. Late Brig. Gen. E. Chitekedza General Staff
03. Assistant Commissioner E. Pfumvuti Detachment MO
04. Cde D Mahiya Detachment Commander
05. Cde Joseph Mbedzi Northern Front 3 Commander
06. Rtd Brig. Gen. Chitsungo General Staff
07. Cde Chitiyo General Staff
08 Cde Chokuwamba Detachment Level
09. Rtd Brig. Gen.  Gatsheni Coy Commander
10 Rtd Major Fibion Sibanda Regional Commander
11 Rtd Major Tshipa Regional Commander Northern Front 1
12 Rtd Major Nditsheni Dube Platoon Commander
13 KK Dube Regional Commander Northern Front 2
14 Col Ossie Mhandu Battalion Commander
15 Cde Ndaba Ncube Regional Security Officer
16 Ngambeni Ngulube Platoon Commander Northern Front 2
17 Tsiletso Makhado Detachment Commander

 

These are some senior during that time; some joined the struggle way before 1970’s.  These are by all accounts veterans who joined the struggle in the early to mid 1970’s.  The 1997 vetting exercise however, produced its own set of problems including but not limited to:

  • The inclusion of undeserving individuals, and
  • Omission of genuine veterans given the hasty nature of the exercise.

This is when an Inter-Ministerial Team comprising of security agents was put together to also address the fraudsters and vet genuine veterans who had been left out.  Once more, the team was made up of senior veterans with a wide and deep background of the liberation struggle, the likes of Comrade Ntuliki, Gweje, Hwacha (all late) and Colonel (Rtd) Maeresera. Thus, from the inception of the vetting exercise therefore, senior veterans have been responsible for vetting.  Over the past 24 years, nonetheless, individual cases have been handled by the inter-ministerial team although there was no proper appeal mechanism.  This has now been put into place through the creation of an Appeals Committee of the Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Board.

I should also mention that the purpose of vetting is to ascertain the credentials of persons claiming to be Veterans of the Liberation Struggle.  In the discharge of their duties, the vetting officers shall admit and give due weight to any of the following kinds of evidence:

  • The sworn living testimonies of the claimants backed by accredited Veterans of the Liberation Struggle;
  • The sworn living testimonies of persons who know or are related to or were associated with the claimant;
  • The sworn testimony of any person that was recorded before he or she died and
  • Other independent documentary evidence not limited to written evidence but including audio-visual or other kinds of acceptable evidence.

From the above provisions in the Act and the foregoing explanation, it should be fairly easy for those who joined the struggle in the early 1970s, most of whom were senior commanders to successfully go through the vetting process as they are well known by those who joined the struggle after them.  In the event that such senior veterans fail to qualify, they can always appeal to the Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Board and further to the Minister, whose decision shall be final.  Despite this decision being final, aggrieved persons can still approach the High Court for review.

MOTION

DEVELOPMENT OF LIBERATION HISTORY MODULES

Third Order read:  Adjourned debate on motion on the need to provide material and financial support to the SADC initiatives for the development of the liberation history modules.

Question again proposed.

*HON. SEN. SHUMBA: Thank you Mr. President for giving me the opportunity to support the motion that was raised by Hon. Sen. Tongogara regarding the history of the liberation struggle of Zimbabwe.   This is a critical issue which should be recorded in history books so that our young people are trained and they know how our independence came by.  I know that from the past, people were taught history that is why there are a lot of lawyers.

Most of the history that was taught differs from what is being taught now.  At one time, there was European and African history.  Now we have young people who do not know how our independence came about.  They do not know what war is because they were born after independence.  I believe that the issue that was raised by Hon. Sen. Tongogara is a good issue which, when we look at what is happening right now – we are looking at President E.D. Mnangagwa who has established a museum where African history will be recorded and displayed.  This teaches us that our history should not just disappear but people should know every African state history.  Just like in Zimbabwe because old people like us experienced the war, we know what we went through for us to attain independence but when we see most of our colleagues, they are grown up.  How are our children and grand children going to know our history?

Some young people are saying if you say you liberated the country, you should go and tie the country on a tree and they will go and liberate it.  They think that it is a very easy issue.  They do not know that there are people who sacrificed their lives.  There are people who suffered.  Even those who did not go out of the country lost a lot of things, including livestock as a result of the liberation struggle.  They do not know that when we look at Zimbabwe, there are few white people that we come across.  It is different from South Africa. We cannot tell or say that there is independence or not – the whites are still too many.

When we differ in opinion in Zimbabwe, we differ among ourselves.  The crux of the matter that was raised by Hon. Sen. Tongogara is that there must be books that are published and there should be writers who write about the liberations struggle.  There are a lot of war veterans who are still alive who are supposed to record or capture their history in history books so that the young people grow up knowing how independence was attained.

I would like to appreciate this because it is a very important motion because the young generation does not know but they need books so that they know our history.  They need museums so that they too understand the path that we took to attain independence.  We need to come together without arguing or differing.  We need people who experienced the liberation struggle who know and understand the liberation struggle up to this stage that we are in.  These things should be written down in books so that young people read and know the history of our country and write examinations.  I thank you Mr. President.

*HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to add my voice to the current motion which was moved by Hon. Sen. Tongogara.  I want to add my voice to this critical and crucial motion which was moved by Hon. Sen. Tongogara and seconded by Hon. Sen. Chirongoma.

I would like to honour SADC, which was referred to as the Frontline States during the war and assisted Zimbabwe and other countries like South Africa and Namibia to attain independence.  The three countries which assisted us are, Tanzania, Zambia and Mozambique and indeed, the liberation struggle needed the support of the SADC or Frontline States.  It was impossible for the country to wage war from within but it was important to strategise from outside the country for the successful war of liberation which emanated from the support of countries like Tanzania, Zambia and Mozambique.

Our soldiers did not have enough weapons but because of the guerilla warfare, we managed to overcome the imperialist system.  When the white people saw that we were serious, they resorted to negotiations at the Lancaster House Conference.  However, when looking at the history of Zimbabwe, you discover that liberation fighters and our parents died because they could not protect themselves.  The countries which were supporting us also had casualties and their people died after being attacked by the Rhodesian Regime.  We know that there cannot be independence without the sacrifice of cadres, but we would like to appreciate those who passed on before the attainment of our independence.  They died in foreign lands, giving their lives to liberate Zimbabwe and they did not manage to come back home.

I would like to express my support to the motion and say that Zimbabwe, SADC and the authorities should embrace the decision that the curriculum should include the History of Zimbabwe so that our young people know and understand it.  If we do not do that, our young people will not know the path that we took towards independence.  So, we appreciate that SADC has that plan to factor in the History of Zimbabwe.  In Zimbabwe, the education system is advanced in terms of teaching History and writing the History of Africa.

At one point I went to Cuba and saw the History of the Slave Trade which is captured there.  However, the people who visited were African people who were enslaved but do not have the correct history of the Slave Trade with records of people who were enslaved and their countries of origin.  So, I believe that the history that is being written by Zimbabwe is going to benefit SADC and the whole of Africa so that the Slave Trade history is captured and recorded in Africa.  I would like to appreciate and thank the countries which assisted us to attain democracy.

Women were not allowed to vote, obtain national identity documents, buy assets like cars or open bank accounts.  A woman was only allowed to do that when they had a male child.  If a woman went to maternity leave, they were replaced at work and all these things changed after independence.  Now women are able to do all the things which they were previously denied like opening bank accounts.  I would like to appreciate the changes which were brought through independence in Zimbabwe.  I thank you Mr. President.

*HON. SEN. MALULEKE: Thank you Mr. President.  I would like to add a few words to support the motion that was moved by Hon. Tongogara.  It reminds me of a lot but I am going to say a few things.  If you ask me the history – if you say 1497 then we know that Vasco da Gama went to India.  In 1963, our young people need to know that the liberation struggle started.  It is important to write a lot of Zimbabwean history books which will be taken to schools so that young people learn of the struggle from Zero Grade to University education and they know the history of Zimbabwe.  When they go to school, they learn a lot of other concepts but it is important for them to understand how the liberation was attained in Zimbabwe.

I went to Chimoio with women when I was in the Politburo and night and day we were crying after learning and observing what happened there.  This is where I began to appreciate that the Mozambican people really supported us Zimbabweans during the liberation struggle.  So our young people need to know what happened.  Hon. Sen. Tongogara said a lot of things and as the Upper House, our plea is that Ministers should be in the House hearing us so that they know that these issues should not end in this august House.  The issues being discussed here should be implemented so that schools are able to embrace the Curriculum through the right channels so that young people learn.

Some might not know, we have border lying areas where there were a lot of problems and we could not hide because there are no mountains.  So, we were detained in Detention Centres.  These are things that young people need to know, they do not know what ‘Keeps’ and Detention Centres are.  There was a lot of abuse of people.  For example, sometimes a woman would be asked to recite the identity document number of her husband and if she failed, she would be tortured or asked to stand on one leg as punishment.

Our children need to know that they need to understand the history of their country.  At times people lost their livestock which was forcefully taken away from them.  This prompted Zimbabweans to go out of the country to fight for the liberation of Zimbabwe.  Chiefs know that there are young people who went out of the country to train as liberation fighters and we need to know that and it should be captured in our history.  We do not need to just know about Cecil John Rhodes but about who went out of the country first, we need to know about Mbuya Nehanda, the Chinhoyi battle, what happened there and so on.

President Mnangagwa did a good thing.  I passed through the place where the statue of Mbuya Nehanda is mounted and young people were watching.  This is a marvel and it is something which should be emulated by young people.  This is a reminder and it honours the young people who went out of the country but failed to come back because they passed on before the independence of Zimbabwe.  As this august House, let us work together so that this history is published in books.  I thank you Mr. President.

*HON. SEN. MUPFUMIRA: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to say a few words regarding the motion that was raised by Hon. Sen. Tongogara.  I was prompted to stand and debate that, yes, it is important that these issues are found in school syllabuses.  Even some of us in this august House might be hearing this from other people but facts are important.  We need people who are knowledgeable and know what happened because we might write the wrong history.  The other thing that we need to know is that we are growing up and some who know what happened passed on. I will give an example of the Chinhoyi Seven Heroes. The place that we call the Heroes Acre in Chinhoyi is not the place but there are people who know the exact place where the seven heroes were killed.  We also had the privilege to engage Father Ribeiro, Mr Mazorodze and others and this is when we saw the correct place.

There are some people who are clever who went about spreading information which is not correct.  Some of the people in Chinhoyi do not know that this is a sacred place.  This allowed us to work with historians to identify the provinces with historical importance because heroes acres are not about Harare and the Heroes Acre but where things transpired. I am happy that when I was in the process of identifying where our heroes passed on, we had identified monuments and other places which were supposed to be heritage sites like the heritage site for the seven heroes.  That is where the chimurenga started then, Altenna farm where the chimurenga started and culminated in people going to the Lancaster House Conference.

In Masvingo, there is a place in Gutu which was identified by villagers where 105 people were killed in 1977 in November.  These are places which are not known by people but we still have survivors of this massacre and they can recite the history of that place in Masvingo.

In Chimoio, we spoke to students at State universities and ferried students in 26 buses.  However, if you go to that monument what you see compared to the history of the place is not pleasing at all.  There is need for it to be well kept.  The buildings surrounding that place do not align with the significance of the Chimoio area.  We want to have correct history not to hear it from people lying that they were there and giving the wrong information.  We need to tell the truth about our history.

We went with university students who cried after they saw what was on the ground.  The other thing that really affected me – it is sad that that Minister of Defence has left - was that there is no proper road to the monument.  In Mozambique, there are beautiful roads but from Chimoio to our shrine, there is no road at all.  We need to ensure that we correct that and boost our tourism.  Let us go and see what happened so that we understand the significance of the place where thousands of our people were killed.  Also take our children for appreciation so that they do not ask to be taken back to the colonial era.  This is very important but it needs financing and supporting to enhance domestic tourism.  It does not matter whichever political party you belong to, we all fought for the liberation of Zimbabwe and we need our children to know and understand that.

I remember when 1652 was mentioned, I straight away knew it was Jan Van Rybeck but we do not value such things.  I appreciate this motion.  In Matabeleland North, there is the Pupu battle where people were massacred but there is no monument.  I hope that the people who are going to carry over the responsibility of the places that we identified are going to make sure that there is a monument so that our young people are taught so they understand the correct history.  Sometimes people write incorrect history.  We want facts.  In 1966, I was a young girl but you hear people far younger than me claiming that they were there and they know these places.  My prayer is that historical sites of all events that are found in all the provinces and districts should be treated as sacred shrines so that the young people can go there and see what happened.  I thank you Senator Tongogara for that good motion.

*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA:  You saw me consulting.  People are moving out of the Chamber a lot and we stand the risk of not having a quorum. If that happens, then we will have to come back tomorrow and sit to adjourn.  My appeal is that this motion will be on the Order Paper so Hon. Members, you can prepare so that we continue with the motion next week.  Looking at those inside the Chamber, I believe we might be having a problem of quorum. So it is better that we adjourn before we lose the number that forms a quorum.

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

HON. SEN. HUNGWE:  I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume:  Tuesday 15th June, 2021.

On the motion of HON. SEN. MUZENDA seconded by HON. SEN. HUNGWE, the Senate adjourned at Twenty Minutes past Four o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 15th June 2021.

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