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SENATE HANSARD 10 NOVEMBER 2021 VOL 31 NO 9

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Wednesday, 10th November, 2021

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

PRAYERS

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

  MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

         HON. SEN. MATHUTHU:  I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 and 2 be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the Day have been disposed of.

HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI:  I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS

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

Question again proposed.

*HON. SEN. CHIFAMBA: I want to thank you for affording me this opportunity to add my voice on the Presidential Speech. I want to thank the mover of this motion, Hon. Sen. Kambizi.  I thank the President for encouraging the young people to become farmers, which is very important.  Mr. President, the farming that is taking place is not adequate, so we need to fill in that gap.  There are so many things that we have derailed in this nation because such agricultural products are not being produced.

Mr. President, as I was growing up, I knew of Cashel Valley that makes baked beans and the breakfast coffee that was available in Zimbabwe.  We do not see these products anymore.  This is when we are now beginning to see the importance of farming because that is where our food and sustenance come from.  If we produce wheat, even the price of bread will be reasonable because we will be producing the wheat.  It is true the youth are the future leaders.  They should engage in farming, which is more productive because we have come of age and no longer have the strength; I want to thank the President for that.

I also want to thank the President for availing inputs for people to engage in agriculture. He is ensuring that the majority of the people in the country get the inputs, although a few are unable to get them.

On the issue of corruption, some who distribute these farming inputs engage in corruption and yet the release of these inputs will be adequate for everyone, hence others do not benefit. In other areas where we have travelled, we were told that inputs arrive in the middle of the night and a lot happens. So people fail to get those inputs and what it means is that the people are unable to engage in productive agriculture because they cannot get the seed and fertilizer to enable them to engage in farming.

So where these inputs go, no one really knows and the next thing is that the President is troubled when people start saying we did not get inputs. I am sure he is disturbed by this because he will have released adequate inputs. There are people who are engaged in corruption, we need to plug these holes so that they do not derail progress in terms of agriculture in our nation. Corruption is a cancer and especially when it comes to distribution of farming inputs for agriculture because he will have done his best to ensure that people get the inputs.

I implore the Government to ensure that it puts in place measures to deal with corruption. If I am told to travel 10 kilometers to go and get grain, I am unable to do it because of my age. People need to be given inputs to produce food. The issue of agriculture is important because we can even produce tomato puree and most of the things that we are buying in the shops we are supposed to be producing them as a nation and not to be importing these products from other countries. By importing, we lose a lot of foreign currency to other countries and yet we can engage in farming and produce this on our own.

Farming is very important and I thank the President for encouraging people to engage in farming and that people should take farming as a business. People should do farming to ensure that the nation is safe in terms of food security. For those who cannot engage in farming, they depend on those who are able to farm. So, food security is important but once inputs do not get to the people, that is what disturbs our food security in the nation.

On the issue of sanctions, I want to say that sanctions should be removed in Zimbabwe because they are not only affecting the targeted but they are affecting the ordinary man in the street. Currently, a lot of services have been closed down and people say it is because of sanctions. There is no production in the industries because of these sanctions. As Zimbabweans, we are saying we should unite, not along party lines, let us push for the removal of those sanctions because politics does not give life to people out there. Those who are engaged in some work are affected by the sanctions. I appeal to those who have imposed sanctions in Zimbabwe to remove them. We do not want them anymore.

On the issue of the Women’s Bank, we are saying the bank is there and it is very important, but there is need to ensure that every woman is able to access finance from the bank. You can go with all the required documents and fail to get the money and yet others are accessing the loans. So we are saying that it needs to benefit the different groups of women. Those in business should be given those loans for them to be productive. We want everyone who is a woman to go and access the funds not to go and get it to buy biscuits. They should engage in productive businesses that will assist others. There are some who have a challenge that once they access loans, they are unable to be productive and end up buying food like meat. The money should be used for the intended purpose. The Women’s Bank should ensure that every woman has access to those funds for productive reasons. Thank you Mr. President.

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

HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Thursday, 11th November, 2021.

MOTION

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

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

Question again proposed.

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

HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Thursday, 11th November, 2021.

MOTION

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

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

Question again proposed.

*HON. SEN.CHIMBUDZI: Thank you Mr. President for affording me this opportunity to add a few words on the motion that was raised by Hon. Sen. Mabika. It is a very important motion for us as a nation concerning road infrastructure in our nation. We are aware Mr. President, that for a country to develop, it should have a good road network to enable investors to come and invest as well as tourists who would want to visit our beautiful country. Some may decide not to use air transport and use road transport in order to have sight of our beautiful country.

We want to thank the New Dispensation led by His Excellency, President E. D. Mnangangwa for his commitment in ensuring that the road infrastructure is rehabilitated. We realised that there has been road rehabilitation for the Beitbridge Highway and we have seen that our country has good vegetation that you can see as you drive and you see this as a result of the good road infrastructure. This is also good in the sense that we are able to relate well with our neighbouring countries such as Botswana, Zambia and Mozambique.  It also enables us to work together because some of the goods to those countries use that road network, so that strengthens our relations with these countries.

In Mt. Darwin Constituency we had Ndoda Road which is in Mt. Darwin, Mkumbura.  When we were born it was just a dust road and we were content with what was there because we had that colonial mentality.  We did not know that we had been left behind in terms of development. However, we are happy with the new dispensation led by President E. D. Mnangagwa and that road is now left with just 36 kilometers for it to be completed to the boarder.  We want to thank the Government, it is a beautiful road even if you travel at night, and it also has reflectors. The people in Mt. Darwin are excited and they thank the President for that.

Let me hasten to say that the Government led by President Mnangagwa through the new dispensation, these road networks has made people appreciate the work that is being done by the dispensation. The tourists who are visiting will be able ambassadors to their various countries in terms of the beauty of the country as a result of good road infrastructure.  We see that the Government has foresight that development is going to come. Already, we have made milestones in terms of development through the road rehabilitation.

Mr. President, let me say that we want to continue supporting our Government for unity and development only comes through when we are united.  We are the ones who should ensure that there is development when we are united because our neighbors and friends outside will know that we are working together as Government.  Even those who want to assist like the investors will do so because we will be speaking the same language and we will be applauding the work done by the Government.  This is the only Government that we have, we do not have another government in Zimbabwe.  We are the owners of that Government so we need to applaud them.  I thank you.

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

HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Tomorrow, 11th November, 2021.

MOTION

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

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

Question again proposed.

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

HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Tomorrow, 11th November, 2021

MOTION

CONDOLENCES ON THE DEATH OF HON. SEN. REJOICE TIMIRE

Seventh Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the untimely death of Hon. Sen. Rejoice Timire.

Question again proposed.

*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHUNDU: I want to thank for the motion that was brought in by Hon. Sen. Khupe on the loss of Hon. Sen. Timire.  As traditional leaders, we saw her as someone who had the people at heart.  When we had requests from the constituencies where we come from she did not look at which constituency would have called her or even look at the race or tribe but she would make an effort to come to the area together with her daughter she used to travel with.

Secondly, when there was a need, she would not even look at her ability.  We the different able bodied ones appeared to be the disabled because she would make an effort to get to the constituency.  At one time we invited her in Hurungwe and we have about 9 traditional leaders and three headmen so we were about 12.  I had requested her to come together with Hon. Sen. Malunga and Hon. Sen. Khupe but some were unable to attend because of other work commitments but she made a commitment that she would come.  For sure she called me together with the leadership in Hurungwe we were able to mobilise all the children who were in need to meet in Magunje.  She addressed all the differently able bodied people, those who needed wheelchairs, crutches and different types of disability aides.

The invited people gave their grievances and Hon. Sen. Timire took up the grievances to higher levels.  Members of the constituencies from which   these children came from testified that Hon. Sen. Timire had managed to secure wheel chairs and other equipment to use. This is the time when COVID-19 befell us.

Children with disabilities, once you talk to them, what they then expect is results.  So they continued to come to us and check on progress.  For us to tell them that there was COVID-19, they did not understand. So I gave Hon. Sen. Timire the number and she would phone and explain to them what was derailing progress.  At the time when COVID-19 subsided, we were then told that Hon. Sen. Timire had passed away.  So the work that she had started remains unfinished.  Hon. Sen. Timire, rest in peace.  The work that she left uncompleted should be supported and completed.  We hope that the family that she left behind will be consoled. Parliament and the whole nation, we have been robbed of a hero.  With those few words, may her soul rest in peace.

*HON. SEN. CHIFAMBA: Thank you Mr. President.  I do not know much about Hon. Sen. Timire but that we worked together in the SDGs Committee. I saw commitment in her work.  When we were going out on outreach programmes, she was always on time.  She would even ask us the late comers what would have delayed us.  Hon. Sen. Timire is someone whom I did not feel free to talk to at first but she always greeted me.  Later I realised that I am the one who has a problem.  She was someone who was very free and I saw her as someone who was close to me because of the greetings that she used to extend to me.

         She was a brave woman in terms of her work.  Wherever she went, she was able to mainstream issues of disability in the different areas we went to.  When we visited schools, she asked how students who were visually impaired were learning.  She even asked of those who were unable to walk, she asked on how they would access some of these services since there was no path to use their wheelchairs because she knew very well about the difficulties of disabled persons. She was committed to her constituency and when she contributed, you would feel that she knew what she was talking about.

The day that I learnt about her death, I was deeply pained and I asked myself, who is going to be greeting me by that corner because she always used to greet me.  Love is important and I remember her because of the love that we shared.  The tendency that I used to have, of not greeting each other was bad.  It is important to find out how each and everyone is doing.  If she had not continued greeting me, what memories would I have of her?  Now, due to the effort that she put in greeting me and her gestures, I am able to see the gap that she left behind.

After a few days, we also heard that her husband also passed away, which means the husband found it difficult to live without his wife. Now because the pillar had fallen, which was Hon. Sen. Timire, he felt he could not make it without her.  My deepest condolence is to the children for the loss of their mother.  Even the daughter who used to travel with her mother, I am sure it is difficult for her to come to terms with the loss because she used to push her mother’s wheelchair everywhere.

Hon. Sen. Timire was brave and she used to work hard.  Other people with disabilities are beggars in town.  You will even notice that they do not have disabilities that restrict them from working for their livelihood.  When you go beg for money in the streets, you do not get enough.  With Hon. Sen. Timire, I noticed that she was a very committed and brave woman.  She always did her work very diligently and she had her constituency at heart.  I want to say Hon. Sen. Timire, rest in peace, together with Mr. Timire.  I thank you Mr. President.

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

         HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: I second.

         Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Thursday, 11th November, 2021.

MOTION

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

Eighth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on children with incarcerated mothers.

Question again proposed.

*HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: Thank you Mr. President for affording me the opportunity to support the motion which was moved by Hon. Sen. Chirongoma.  I would also want to thank the seconder.  Mr. President, being incarcerated is a sad issue.  It leaves someone with a troubled mind.  Firstly, one can think of the dignity that a person would have lost before his or her kids or even the community that that person comes from.

In our country, most of our prisons were built by the colonialists and most of the people who were incarcerated were men.  The jails were not built for the incarceration of women because at that time women did not commit crimes.  Most of the men were being arrested for political reasons, not because they had committed crimes but because the colonialists did not want any Africans who engaged in politics to oppose them.  When we attained independence, this did not change; it remained the same until women were also incarcerated for different crimes committed.  In this country, we do not have a female prison.  Males and females were being mixed in the same prison, and this is what I think the Government under the New Dispensation should address.  We have the hope that prisons will be built for incarcerated women.

It is difficult for us as women that if you are breastfeeding, you cannot leave your child behind at home because that child requires the love of the mother.  Even if the child falls sick, the mother knows that the child is sick and she knows the life of the child.  So she cannot leave the baby at home whilst she serves her sentence.  She takes her child to the prison and this presents a challenge to the inmate.

A child grows up as a prisoner, yet he or she has not committed a crime.  Let me say that our women nowadays commit a lot of crimes.  Sometimes they fail to express themselves in court because the court set up is not a friendly place.  However, we look forward to the New Dispensation to address these issues.  I think that incarcerated women are disciplined.  I say so because I have not heard of incarcerated women attempting to flee, which means that they respect the laws of the land.  If one is sentenced for three months, they complete their sentences and if it is a year, she can spend the whole year in prison, so there is a lot of discipline.

Mr. President, I also like the rehabilitation programme that is done by the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services.  If a woman is incarcerated without any form of empowerment, this is found in the prisons.  We see inmates that are leaving the prisons with professional qualifications, something which they did not have when they entered into prison. Some are coming back into society with knowledge on how to run businesses and projects.  We have seen a number of women who have served their sentence being better citizens in communities.  We want to thank the Government for that.  This assists the inmate so that when he or she goes home, she is able to look after herself.  Being incarcerated is painful but when they come out of prison, they are empowered through the projects that they would have learnt during their time in prison.  We want to thank the Government for such initiatives.  This also enables the inmate to be re-integrated into society because she is able to look after herself and be productive.  We want to thank the Government that the Government has come up with a good initiative to empower the inmates.

Let me say that as women, we will continue to encourage each other to live in harmony in rural areas because when a woman is incarcerated, there is a particular group that does not want these people to be re-integrated into the community in the rural areas.  Even in families where one is married, some will not want to accept them. What we are saying is that our women in prison should be empowered so that they can look after their families.  We hope that the Government will extend its services towards building of centres or blocks where women with babies can sleep with their children and look after their children well.  This enables them to take care of their children.  In the event that they fall sick, they also want to get medication and the children also need vaccines such as polio.  They should be coming from proper homes.

Under the Vision 2030, the Government talks about health for all.  We hope this will be addressed and that the incarcerated woman in the prison should be able to enjoy these rights.  With these few words Mr. President, I want to thank you for this opportunity.

         ^^HON. SEN. MOHADI: Thank you Mr. President for giving me the opportunity to just say a few words concerning the children that are put in jails with their mothers but also allow me to use my vernacular language.  Children have committed no offence, the offenders are the parents, and sometimes the jailed mothers face a challenge that they do not have relatives that they can leave the children with whilst they are in jail. Some of them do not trust their relatives to an extent that they will be confident enough to leave children under their guidance.  They fear that the children will be abused under the guidance of the relatives, hence they take a decision to go with their children to serve their sentences.  When a woman is incarcerated, we need to really look into the issue because the child committed no crime and their rights would have been violated.

The child needs to go to preschool so that their lives are not disturbed.  Another alternative is that community service be given for  light offences for these women with small babies where they will be coming from home and have at least little time to spend and take care of their young babies.  We know that life in prison is difficult. I am one of those people who toured Chikurubi Female Section and I witnessed challenges faced by women prisoners with babies.  The children’s tomorrow would have been disturbed. It is my plea that the courts must first consider community service for women with babies and with small offences.  It is my view also for women with babies to be put in open prisons with their children.  If the children are left at home without their parents, they end up in the streets because they will not be any control from parents, no one will know where they sleep.  Mr. President, with these few words, I would like to thank you for giving me an opportunity to add my voice to this motion.

         ^HON. SEN. MALULEKE: Thank you Mr. President for affording me this opportunity to debate on the issue of mothers being imprisoned whilst they have small babies.  I also want to thank Hon.  Sen. Chirongoma for raising this motion. This is very painful. Some women are in jail for crimes they did not committee because they do not understand the nature of the crimes that are charged against them. I still remember in the last Parliament, we went to Chikurubi and visited all the cells and lastly we visited the women’s cells.  There were a number of children; some of them were supposed to be in school in ECD ‘A’ but they were in prison with their mothers.

It was very painful to witness this issue; though we also witnessed the smartness of the prisons.  It did not go well with us because we know that these kids were not learning anything meaningful, they are supposed to learn in a proper home set up.  There were not learning something which will help them in the future. Therefore, we are pleading under the Second Republic led by His Excellency the President, Dr. Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa that we look into the issue of prisons. The First Lady, Amai Mnangagwa at one point visited the prisons where she encouraged that the cells be renovated. The issue of prisons is a very serious issue which needs to be looked into by us as the Upper House.  When we go into our homes, we must go and teach women that when there is conflict, they must find better ways to resolve conflicts because at the end of the day, a child is going to suffer when they are incarcerated.

In the past when the mother commits a crime, a child was taken care of by the grandmother or other relatives but it is different nowadays.  Sometimes there is no close relative to stay behind with the child whilst the mother goes to prison or the mother is a single parent and the whereabouts of the father is not known, hence the child has no one to stay with whilst the mother goes to prison. This issue is very painful to us as mothers because what these children are seeing in prison is going to affect them in the future even after the children are no longer in prison.  Sometimes they go and imitate what they have seen.

Mr. President, I thank Hon. Sen. Chirongoma for raising this very important issue.  Men must also take responsibility of taking care of their children when their mothers are in prison due to different crimes.  For a child to be born, it takes two people hence the responsibility must fall on both parents.  I encourage chiefs to look into the issue of men so that they take care of the children when their wives or girlfriends are in prison. We have not seen any man going to prison with a child; the whole burden is left for women. They must look into the issue and see who is wrong.  This is against our culture that women go to prison with their children and these children are suffering from the crimes they did not commit. There is a song which says ‘ask yourself where you are, what are you going to do tomorrow’.  These kids whom we are sending to prison with their mothers are going to blame us tomorrow.  These kids are going to blame the mother but the father is there.  We plead with you Hon. President on this issue. We want the Ministers to be in this House listening to our concerns.  They do not come to the House to listen to our concerns.  Why are they not coming?  These issues mostly affect rural women although there are some women in towns who are also affected.

Hon. President, we are airing our concerns to you. Ministers were appointed by His Excellency the President. We want them to come so that we help each other. I also want to thank Hon. Sen. Chirongoma for raising this pertinent issue. It is difficult to carry a pregnancy for nine months and end up in prison with that child again. We must work together to solve this issue. Thank you Mr. President.

*HON. SEN. DR. PARIRENYATWA:   Thank you Mr. President and I would like to commend Hon. Sen. Chirongoma for moving a motion concerning incarcerated mothers.  This is a serious issue which needs to be debated by this House.  It is not the child’s fault but it is the mother’s fault. The child has rights which should be honoured and respected.  It is important that this issue be looked at in depth.  So, we need to know how many women are incarcerated and it is important that we understand the number of years of incarceration. In other countries, children of incarcerated mothers are not allowed to be in such institutions for a long time.

Hon. President, it is not easy to be incarcerated and it is worse for a child. Very few women can fall pregnant in jail because the conditions do not allow that. When they give birth, they go to maternity hospitals and eventually are sent back where they are incarcerated. We know that such children who grow up in prisons end up exhibiting emotional problems and even at school, such children are found to be very emotional. They are found engaging in fights and some are found to be breaking rules. It is as if they want to rebel. In schools, they normally perform poorly than other students.

Hon. President, it is important to look at this issue. I appreciate that this issue was brought into this august House so that we observe whether children’s rights are being observed or not. We need to ascertain what should be done to improve innocent children’s rights. So, I would like to appreciate this motion saying that such issues should find closure and there should be a proper conclusion. I thank you.

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

         HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Thursday, 11th November, 2021.

On the motion of THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE), the Senate adjourned at Nineteen Minutes to Four o’clock p.m.

 

 

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