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SENATE HANSARD 10 OCTOBER 2013 VOL. 23 NO. 10
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Thursday, 10th October, 2013.
The Senate met at Half-past Two O’clock p.m.
(MADAM PRESIDENT in the Chair)
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
SENATOR MARAVA: My question is directed to the Minister of Transport or in his absence, the Leader of House. The hon. minister would be aware that we have witnessed a lot of carnage on our roads. The major culprits have been the conventional mini-buses. However, this has been exacerbated by the entry into the transport business by small Ex- Japanese vehicles, mainly the Ipsums and Noahs. Sometime last year Madam President, his ministry issued a statement banning the operations of these small vehicles, the Ipsums and the Noahs. This led to their disappearance from our roads. Hon. Leader of House, has there been a change of policy with regards to the licencing and operations of these vehicles? What policy measures is the ministry putting in place to ensure that these vehicles do not continue to endanger the lives of the travelling public as we approach the festive season?
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (MR. MNANGAGWA): Thank you
Madam President, I am grateful for the question that the hon. senator has asked. Of course in the absence of the substantive minister, I will do my best to share with you the position of Government in relation to the question of carnage on our roads. Hon. senator, be assured that the question of carnage is of great concern to our Government and indeed to the entire population of this country. You will realise hon. senator that we now have something like 14 years of sanctions. We have gone through that period without infrastructure development in our country as a result of the constraints resulting from sanctions.
However, the last three years have seen a resurgence of some economic growth. I am sure, hon. senator, you are aware of the efforts that are being made now on some of the roads. Those who come from Bulawayo know that a lot of progress has been made by the Ministry of
Transport on the construction of the road from Plumtree-Bulawayo- Gweru and now to Harare. That has now improved the state of the roads, as well as widening the roads in our country. That is not the only scheme we have in relation to dealing with that problem. Government has already approved schemes to do the same from Beitbridge- Masvingo and Harare-Chirundu. Also the other one connecting Mozambique, that is via Mutare- Harare and Chirundu, also not forgetting the other branch that goes to Victoria Falls.
We believe that this cannot be an event; it is a process where that policy will unfold. The pace will be determined by the availability of resources in the country. We do not think that the question of issuing of licences is at the core of the accidents on our roads. We believe that there has been a growth from the economy in terms of motor vehicles on our roads without a corresponding expansion of infrastructure to accommodate the growth of that volume of traffic on our roads.
However, Government is always keen to improve on any legislation relating to road traffic, with the intention to improve the quality of driving on the roads and the quality of behaviour by our citizens on the roads. This is a duty that rests on all citizens to take upon themselves in order to facilitate the coming about of legislation that can promote safety on our roads. With those comments, hon. senator, I thank you for asking the question.
SENATOR MUMVURI: Thank you Madam President. My
question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs. I want to know the policy of Government as it relates to those officers who are transferred from one station to another. Do they or their families continue to occupy accommodation at the previous station at the expense of those who are still stationed there, especially those who come from training depots? Thank you.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS (MR.
ZIYAMBI): Thank you Madam President. I would like to thank the hon. senator for asking that question. However, the question is not very specific because there are several scenarios. An officer may be transferred for disciplinary reasons or for investigation and you cannot therefore say the family should vacate the lodgings because of that. If an officer is transferred to another station, definitely they have to vacate the place they have been staying because they are no longer stationed there. Thank you Madam President.
SENATOR CHIEF CHISUNGA: Thank you Madam President.
My question is directed to the Minister of Justice, Legal and
Parliamentary Affairs. According to the new Constitution, the chiefs’ courts are now part of the Judiciary. May I know if there is a policy which safeguards the integrity of these courts considering that in previous years, people undermined these courts? Thank you.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (MR. MNANGAGWA): I thank you
for that question and I believe there has not been any change. The judicial system of the country has always included customary courts like the chiefs’ courts. They have always been part of the dispensation of justice in this country and they continue to do so.
After appeals have been made by some chiefs, we are reviewing the extent of the jurisdiction of chiefs with a view to expanding their responsibilities in some areas of their competence. When we achieve that goal, we have to do it through consultations with the Council of Chiefs countrywide, in order to take on board their views, where they believe that there is need to adjust their jurisdiction. However, we also consider the possibility of doing so accompanied by the level of training in order to reduce the volume of cases that go to the magistrate courts, which we believe could be dealt with by the chiefs’ courts at the low level if we properly provide for adequate punishments which the chiefs can dispense. It is a matter in progress. I have already met several chiefs who have come to complain and some of their complaints are quite genuine.
Personally, I believe it is necessary that some of the issues that flood the lower courts should be dispensed at the traditional customary courts. Hon. senator, my ministry is seized with that matter and I have no doubt that when we are fully conversant with the system, we should bring a Bill that will pass through Parliament, elaborating and expanding, as well as making sure the dispensation of justice is contemporary with the current legal system practiced in the country. I thank you.
SENATOR MUSAKA: Thank you Madam President. My
question is directed to the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs. Probably, I should start by making an observation. It should have come from the Chiefs, but I do not intend to offend the chiefs; it is the delivery of justice in terms of the infrastructure. If you go to the rural areas, justice is being delivered under a tree. I am asking this from a human rights point of view as it is a bit dehumanising. Sometimes I feel like avoiding going to that court because of the conditions under which I am being tried. Is there a policy to provide better infrastructure so that the individual on trial can feel comfortable and the individual can feel there is fairness and justice being delivered? I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (MR. MNANGAGWA): I am grateful for the question you have asked. Perhaps I should give you a bit of history. Hon. Senator Musaka, you have a father, your father had a father and your grandfather had a father and we are here today because of that chain. That chain is what we are today, so we cannot despise what was before us. What we can do is to improve on what our grandparents established; the systems they established, so that we cannot say “Justice does not come from the room in which it is dispensed; it comes from the system that dispenses Justice”. It could be under a tree, it could be in a river or a mountain, but justice is what is dispensed not the way it has been dispensed.
However, I take your point very seriously. There are two systems which we have in Zimbabwe. It is easier to establish courts in Matabeleland because it is father to son chieftainship. It is easier because you may be able to establish a court knowing that it shall perpetually be father to son. However, the President of the Chief’s Council, Senator Chief Charumbira is here, and from his point of view, if there are eight brothers and one becomes Chief, the other seven have to follow but they will not be staying in one village. So we do not know whether the courts will be shifting as the Chieftainship moves from one brother to the next. I do not know whether Senator Chief Charumbira has ever discussed with the council of Chiefs that the Chiefs in Mashonaland area should discuss and agree that under each
Chieftainship, there must be a common place established, and then Government can put a courtroom there. So those are some of the issues that must be taken into consideration but as I have said, in Matabeleland, it is easier to do it. Thank you.
MADAM PRESIDENT: I think Senator Musaka had forgotten
that madare anoitirwa panze.
*SENATOR MACHINGAIFA: Thank you Madam President.
My question is directed to the Minister of Justice and it is a follow up on what he has said regarding the Chiefs Courts and their accommodation. There are some people who are suggesting that if stands can be allocated where the public may build the Chief’s house and a Court especially near a school or clinic, that house will be built at that stand, so that it
will be like - State property, whereby a Chief who is in power at that particular time will move into that accommodation. When he has been moved out of the Chieftainship, he moves out of that residence and the one who takes over his position will come and stay in that place so that they will be using that house and utilizing the Court house which will have been constructed at that point. Thank you.
*MR. MNANGAGWA: Thank you hon. senator for asking that
question. I am sure if you were listening to what I was saying you should have not asked that question. The problem that we have is that in different areas, culturally you will find that the Chieftainship revolves around the families and therefore, if we were to say a Chief for a particular area has been elected hence we are going to construct some buildings for his use, then somebody may even die before we have finished constructing the house and the traditional court. That is why I had consulted Senator Chief Charumbira to tell us how they go about the election of Chiefs in particular areas. This will enable the public to construct accommodation and the chiefs’ court at a central place whereby a Chief will dwell. There should also be a traditional court house so that whenever they inherit the Chieftainship, they move into that designated area. However, at the moment what we are looking at is, a Chief who has been selected also selects a place which is near his place where he will conduct his court trials so that whenever there are any traditional celebrations like roasting of beef and goat meat, they will do that at their own premises.
This is a different scenario from the Ndebele chieftainship because the chieftainship evolves in one family from father to son and in that manner, they use the same residence hence it will be easier to construct a decent dwelling place and a traditional Court house.
MADAM PRESIDENT: Thank you Minister for your responses.
I think I need to remind hon. senators about the Standing Rules regarding posing questions. There is no need for you to address the Minister, just pose your question.
SENATOR MUMVURI: Thank you Madam President, my
question is a follow up to the issue of traditional courts. Can something be done like an induction of the Chiefs so that there is a common understanding of the laws of the country, so that there is a common base on which they try cases? I am saying so because there is evidence that some Chiefs do not understand the guiding supreme law of the country, which is the Constitution. When they give their judgements they are in contravention of the supreme law of the land.
- MNANGAGWA: Thank you Madam President. Again on
that score, the foundation of chieftainship is built not on ignorance but on the basis that Chiefs are the custodians of tradition of the people. With that in mind, it will be dangerous for us to think that the Chiefs are ignorant.
However, a workshop can be held where we can share views and expose new legislation relating to General Laws of the country but without the assumption that the Chiefs are ignorant. There are traditions that make him a Chief and those traditions cannot be regarded as ignorant customs.
*SENATOR CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: Thank you Madam
President. I would like to add onto the answers given by a minister of the Chief Mapanzure Clan. We hope next time you will give us a chance to respond to some of these questions pertaining to us as Chiefs to some of these questions where we are responsible for administering the laws. When we look at the Ministry of Home Affairs, we also find that there are some police officers who are ignorant of the laws that exist in this country. When we talk of customary law, and when we say traditional chiefs want to enforce a law or arrest somebody; they will send a messenger or a policeman from the ZRP to go and make that arrest. However, when some of these police officers are given such a message by the Chief’s Court they question that message. My question is do you give lessons to your police officers to understand that they should work hand in hand with traditional Chiefs and Chief’s Courts?
*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS: (MR
ZIYAMBI): Thank you Madam President, for giving me this opportunity to respond to the question raised by the President of the Chief’s Council. With regards to the police officers - some of them are not aware of the traditional Chief’s powers. What I will do is I have gained this information from you. I will take it up with the hierarchy of the police, so when they see the chief’s messenger coming, the policeman is aware that he deals with his official duty and that he is not out of step to follow instructions given by the traditional chiefs to send them to take a message to somebody who is requested to come for trial in the Chief’s Court.
*SENATOR MAVHUNGA: Thank you Madam President, my
question is directed or is in connection with the reburial of people who perished during the war of liberation. Listen now, we hear of people talking of some graves which have not been discovered in those areas where people died during the war. In some instances you will find that the relatives of the deceased take the responsibility upon themselves to rebury their beloved ones. My question is does the Government give any assistance to people who may want to rebury loved ones who died during the war?
*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS: Thank you
Madam President, for this information and question which has been posed regarding the reburial of people who died during the war of liberation. As we talk we have heard of some cases where people who died in that period and here reported to the Ministry of Home Affairs.
These people’s remains were exhumed and reburied in a decent way. Therefore, I plead with you members of the senate if you know of any place where there are some people who died during the war, please come and report to our Ministry and we will exhume the remains and rebury them decently.
+SENATOR KHUMALO: Thank you Madam President, there
are remains of people who fought in the war and they have not been buried properly. I would think if that comes similarly there are remains of people who died during the Gukurahundi which have not been buried properly. I hope we are also going to think about them and bury them properly.
*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS: Thank you
Madam President, for the questions which have been raised regarding the reburial of people who died during the Gukurahundi period. The problem we have is that we have a case whereby we are burring people whose cause of death we are not aware. We will run into the problem whereby we burry even people who are not supposed to be buried by the state. This is quite a difficult question because when we are following this reburial programme, we have to follow the channels set up by the Government. We have to follow the criteria required for the people to be reburied, people with a specific history.
+SENATOR MATHUTHU: Thank you Madam President, my
question is directed to the minister of Home Affairs. I have realized that the Lupane Heroes Acre and other Heroes Acres in that area have not been constructed, and accorded the proper dignity that they deserve to have. You find that livestock move around even on the graves. What is the policy with regards to this issue?
*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS: Well I am
not very fluent and efficient in Ndebele but I hear the question is based on the Heroes Acres in that they are not being properly taken care of. This is a very good question. I would suggest that the question also raised a history which has to be followed so that people understand the current situation at these Heroes Acres. There are some things which are supposed to be done in order for the Government to properly take care of the Heroes Acre not only Heroes Acre but also other areas.
We have been in problems we seem to be sneaking out of these problems, but the problem we face is that we were living in the period of sanctions. We know that if the sanctions are removed we will be able to get enough money so that we can work on all the projects which we were set out to do including care which should be given to the Heroes Acres nationwide.
MADAM PREDSIDENT: Order! Hon. Muchiwa, I have to name
you and when you are named it is not really good. And I am hoping I do not have to name you again because I have been saying Order, hon. members and you did not pay attention to that and when do not pay attention I have to name you.
SENATOR MUCHIWA: I am sorry.
SENATOR SHIRI: My question is directed to the Ministry of Home Affairs. May I know whether police undergoing training are also given lessons in communicating in Sign Language? You find that some of the disabled people, who come to report their cases of abuse at police stations, may be people who are not well understood by those serving them as they have a special language. So my question is, are the police officers given lessons in Sign Language?
*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS (MR
ZIYAMBI): I want to thank the hon. senator for that important question. I have understood your question. What I will do is that I will go back to the police hierarchy and find out what they have on their curriculum and come back with the answer.
*SENATOR CHIEF MUSARURWA: My question is directed
to the Minister of Home Affairs. I would like to know the plans which you have regarding the areas where the First Chimurenga was fought, especially areas like Fort Charter where people lost their lives.
According to our history, you are aware of the existence of such places. What plans do you have regarding these areas?
Also, what plans do you have for the preservation of sacred places in and around the country?
*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS (MR
ZIYAMBI): Thank you Madam President. Starting with sacred places for the heroes of the First Chimurenga war, some of these places are outside this country. We need to preserve and conserve these places. I remember there are people who look after these places and we had meetings with the people who are caretakers of these places. They said they need to conserve and preserve our sacred shrines. They said they need monies so that they can take care of these places. Our plans are that in future we should have a budget directed to the care of these sacred places. I thank you.
*SENATOR CHIZEMA: My question is directed to the Minister
of Home Affairs. You find that when a police officer is discharged from duty or he dies, from the look of things, the uniforms are not taken. There are some thieves who take advantage and put on the uniforms and use them when committing crimes. In the colonial period, when a police officer died, the uniform was taken by the police and burnt.
Unfortunately, these days, there are some people who you meet in the streets putting on this police or military attire. Hon. Minister, is that allowed?
*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS (MR
ZIYAMBI): Thank you Madam President. It is very true that we have some people who steal military or police attire and these people conduct unlawful roadblocks and steal from unsuspecting people. I remember in the past, the hierarchy of the police force advised the public that whenever there is a roadblock which is conducted by two or three police officers, you should ignore that roadblock as it would be a fake roadblock. Our law does not allow ordinary people to put on military or police attire.
We are not very sure whether these thieves are using attire which has been obtained from police officers who have either died or were dismissed. Therefore, we need to look at how these people use this attire. If you see anyone who is not a member of the uniformed forces putting on this attire, you should go and report because when you leave the police or military, you are supposed to surrender your uniform.
+SENATOR MKHWEBU: My question is directed to the Minister of Home Affairs. I want to find out when the Ministry is going to finish the construction of the statue of the late Vice President Joshua Nkomo?
* THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS (MR
ZIYAMBI): Thank you Madam President. Today, we discussed this issue with Minister Mohadi. We were speaking to the people who are carving this statue. They told us that they are still in the process of constructing it. We have sent out some people to make a follow up on the production of this statue because we heard that by the end of the year, the construction of this statue should be completed. This all depends on the people who are constructing this statue. We will be looking at the problems they are facing so that they can be rectified for the statue to be completed on time.
*SENATOR GOTO: My question is directed to the Minister of Home Affairs. This is with reference to beef, you find that somebody who has been given a permit to slaughter a beast in the rural areas, when they want to ferry this beef to the urban areas, they are advised to go and obtain a permit called the Carcass Permit. Why do you not decentralise this document so that when this person is carrying beef, there will be no problems. I would like the issuance of this document decentralised so that it can be easily accessed by people who want to ferry their beef from the rural areas to wherever they want instead of covering up with blankets and ferrying it at night.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS (MR
ZIYAMBI): On this question, I will have to get the answer from the Ministry; I do not have the answer at the moment.
SENATOR CHIEF SIANSALI: My question is directed to the Minister of Home Affairs. Does your Ministry have any plans of decentralising passport offices to provinces if not districts, so that our people can be afforded those documents without hassles?
THE DEPUTY MINISTE OF HOME AFFAIRS (MR
ZIYAMBI): It is a very pertinent question and it is very correct that we need our people to access the necessary documents near their places of residence. We are starting with birth certificates and we are negotiating with all our rural district hospitals and the local authorities so that we have one of our officers stationed at the hospitals. However, regarding passports, what we will do is that we want to decentralise the processing of passports. The documents will be processed and sent over for passport production here in Harare. Everyone in the country should make a loud noise about sanctions because the paper that produces passports is imported. Therefore, the question of decentralisation without adequate resources will be very difficult to sustain but as soon as the situation normalises, it is our hope and wish that people will be able to access their documents in places around their residential areas.
Thank you Madam President.
+SENATOR MKHWEBU: Thank you Madam President. My
question is on the sentence given to cattle rustlers if they are convicted of stock-theft. Thank you Madam President.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (MR. MNANGAGWA): Hon.
President of Senate, I understand Ndebele but speaking it is a bit difficult, so I will speak in English. Isigwebu samasela.- [HON. SENATORS: Laughter]- Yes, it is obligatory, once you are convicted of stock-theft, the mandatory sentence is nine years. There are some areas in the country where people believe that a mandatory sentence is lenient. However, the Judiciary is of the view that, even in stock-theft there are grave cases and others that are light but we just have one broad brush for light as well as grave stock-theft cases. We paint them with one brush, but we think that it is not the proper thing to do.
We have not received suggestions from the public, but the judicial system has expressed that we should adjust it so that we will have categories of stock-theft. For instance, there is a current case which came in last week. A man married somebody’s daughter and the fatherin-law charged lobola in the form of five cattle which the son-in-law was unable to deliver. The girl’s father went on to drive the five cattle from the son-in-law’s family herd. The son in law reported the case to the police as stock-theft. The son-in-law was always boasting that nothing would be done to him since he had already taken his wife and so he would not pay the cattle even if the cattle were there. The son-in-law went to collect back the cattle from his father-in-law and the case was regarded as stock-theft requiring a mandatory sentence. In criminal procedure, we have what we call mens rea, a Latin word meaning the intention to steal. Then there is the actus reus, which is the act of implementing the intention to steal.
In this particular case, it is difficult to establish the mens rea or the intention to steal because the father-in-law was implementing a decision done at the family court level to collect lobola and the intention to steal is not present. We believe that we need to attend to this issue so that we categorise these cases of stock-theft and apply justice fairly. It is unlike a situation where somebody takes away someone’s cattle even under the circumstances which I have described and they are painted with one brush, it is not a fair justice. Yes, the law is there, if you steal cattle, you go in for the same period of time, regardless of whether you steal one or 20 cattle, the same sentence still applies. That is not very easy for the judiciary. I thank you.
*SENATOR MAWIRE: Thank you Madam President. My
question is directed to the Minister of Home Affairs. Are there any plans for the construction of decent accommodation for the police officers especially those in the growth points where others are currently staying? We have noted with concern that, if this is not well planned, our police officers have now resorted to rented accommodation elsewhere. When these people are not properly accommodated, some of the official documents they will be using get lost. My second question is on the construction and renovation of police officers’ mess where they eat and drink after work. Are there any plans towards the refurbishment of these places so that we do not find police officers drinking and eating in public places? This exposes them to corrupt activities and indignity.
*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS (MR.
ZIYAMBI): Thank you Madam President for these questions, which were asked by the hon. senator. The questions are very important. We discussed these issues of decent accommodation for the Zimbabwe
Republic Police (ZRP). The first step adopted was to apply through the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, so that there is a quota system allocated for the ZRP especially where we can construct a police station and decent police accommodation. Further to that, police officers should be allocated stands because we have experienced problems where police officers will be staying in rented houses where some landlords are thieves or some other uncalled for behavior, and our police officer is also exposed to that and is bound to be corrupted. You find that police officers also use public transport and I think that this does not augur well with their duties. They need to have a proper transport system. The senator also discussed police canteens.
We are working hard so that we can refurbish these canteens.
I remember we discussed the issue of spot fines, which was supposed to be directed towards refurbishing police stations, accommodation as well as to maintain peace and order in the country. Our greatest challenge as police officers is that the budget allocated to us is not sufficient for us to complete all the projects that we want to embark on. We are not happy when we see our police officers eating or drinking in public. We find that if the police officers stay amongst the crowd, their status and execution of duty is compromised because when they stay in those conditions they are definitely corrupted by the system. Therefore, our hope is that as time goes on we will be able to have enough money allocated to us in the budget to build decent canteens and accommodation for our police officers so that they do not compromise their standards.
As the Ministry of Home Affairs we have all those plans for our police officers to stay decently, in a non corrupting society.
Questions without notice were interrupted by MADAM
PRESIDENT in terms of Standing Order Number 34.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE
PROTECTION OF VICTIMS OF SEXUAL ABUSE
- SENATOR CHIMBUDZI asked the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs what measures Government has put in place to protect children who are victims of sexual abuse.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (MR. MUNANGAGWA): Madam
President, I rise to thank Hon. Senator Chimbudzi for her question, which I hope will make hon. senators aware of the measures
Government has put in place for the protection of such children.
The Government of Zimbabwe, as a signatory to various national, regional and international declarations on the rights and protection of children implements various social protection policies, legislative instruments and programmes to ensure the fulfillment of all children and women’s rights. These initiatives resulted in the establishment of the Victims Friendly System in 1997 through the amendment of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act that aimed at supporting survivors of sexual violence and abuse to pursue their right to access specialized health, justice, welfare and other services without hindrance or intimidation.
In December 2012 the Judicial Services Commission facilitated the launch of the 3rd Edition of the Protocol on the Management of Sexual
Abuse and Violence in Zimbabwe. This resulted in the Judicial Service Commission providing enhanced performance and efficiency in responding to the protection of children from sexual violence and abuse.
The new Constitution provides for the rights of children against abuse in the following provisions:-
- Section 19(1) stipulates that “the State must adopt policies and measures to ensure that in matters relating to children, the best interests of the children concerned are paramount”.
- Section 192 (c) states that “the State must adopt reasonable policies and measures, within the limits of the resources available to it, to ensure that children are protected from maltreatment, neglect or any form of abuse”.
- Section 19(3)(b)(ii) provides that “the state must take appropriate legislative and other measures to ensure that children are not required or permitted to perform work or provide services that place at risk the children’s well-being, education, physical or mental health or spiritual, moral or social development”.
- Section 81 (1)(e) provides that “every child, that is to say every boy and girl under the age of eighteen years has the right to be protected from economic and sexual exploitation, from child labour and from maltreatment, neglect or any form of abuse”.
The Sexual Offences Act (2002), which is now part of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act of 2006, criminalises sexual offences which have been defined to mean;
- rape; or
- aggravated indecent assault; or
- sexual intercourse or performing an indecent act with a young person, involving any penetration of any part of his or her or another person’s body that incurs a risk of transmission of HIV; or
- deliberate transmission of HIV”
The Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act defines sexual offences for the purposes of Section 302A (which relates to testing of persons accused of sexual offences for HIV infection) as the following offences- i) rape; ii) aggravated indecent assault;
Section 3(1) (b) of the Domestic Violence Act (2006) defines domestic violence as “any unlawful act, omission or behavior which results in death or the direct infliction of physical, sexual or mental injury to any complainant by a respondent and includes sexual abuse”.
Section 3(2) (b) of the Domestic Violence Act (2006) further stipulates that for the purposes of defining sexual abuse it “includes any conduct that humiliates, degrades or otherwise violates the sexual integrity of the complainant”.
Section 3(1) (i) and (m) of the Domestic Act (2006) provides that
“abuse is derived from the following cultural or customary rites or practices that discriminate against or degrade women -
- forced virginity testing; or
- female genital mutilation; or
- pledging of women or girls for purposes of appeasing spirits; or
- forced marriages; or
- child marriage; or
- forced wife inheritance; or
- sexual intercourse between fathers-in-law and newly married daughters-in-law;
- abuse perpetrated on the complainant by virtue of the complainant’s age, or complainant’s physical or mental incapacity”.
Policy Measures Put in Place in 2013
- Government of Zimbabwe launched the Protocol on the MultiSectoral Management of Sexual Abuse and Violence in Zimbabwe (December 2012).
Madam President, the Protocol has strengthened the functions of the
National Victim Friendly System Committee which is chaired by The Chief Magistrate’s Office. It has overall responsibility for coordination of policy reform and the implementation of the Protocol.
The Government together with other stakeholders is rolling out the Protocol as a yardstick of what is required from each stakeholder in the management of sexual abuse and violence against children and other vulnerable members of society. It provides a renewed opportunity for survivors of sexual violence and abuse by ensuring that their right to coordinated, comprehensive, quality care and support are guaranteed.
The Protocol sets out minimum standards and key procedures for all relevant stakeholders to provide survivor-centered services to child survivors of sexual violence.
As a result of this initiative, all courts have been directed to give priority to cases of sexual abuse and violence against children. In most instances the cases are now being completed within a week of an offender’s first appearance in court. This approach has seen a drastic reduction of the sexual abuse cases awaiting trial. The system is therefore now ensuring that child survivors of sexual abuse and violence do not endure long traumatic delays before the cases are tried. Getting done with the case brings closure to the dark episode in the child’s life and helps in the child’s rehabilitation.
Sentences being imposed by the courts have become more and more severe. We are not sure whether these sentences of ever increasing severity would work to deter offenders but all the same, the message is being sent that the courts will not sit back and watch these offenders terrorise children. The Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act provides for sentences of up to life imprisonment.
1.1 Binding commitments from key stakeholders to protect children from sexual abuse and violence through the protocol
Who is bound by the protocol?
All government departments who are signatory to the Protocol and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) committed to the management of sexual violence and abuse are bound by this protocol, namely: The
Zimbabwe Republic Police Victim Friendly Unit, Ministry of Health and
Child Care, Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, Ministry of
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, Ministry of Women’s
Affairs, Gender and Community Development; Ministry of Justice,
Legal and Parliamentary Affairs; Ministry of Media, Information and
Broadcasting Services; Department of Public Prosecutions, Attorney
General’s Office, Law Society of Zimbabwe, National AIDS Council, Civil Society Organisations.
2. The Victim friendly Court
Madam President, the Victim Friendly System refers to measures put in place for the protection and active participation of survivors in the criminal justice system. Through the 1997 legislative amendment to
Section 319 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act (9:07), the Victim Friendly System was put in place to accommodate all witnesses, particularly children, deemed as vulnerable witnesses during criminal proceedings in the Victim Friendly Court. We have 17 Victim Friendly Courts in the country and under that system; the following milestones have been achieved:
- Judicial and other court officials became less formal to accommodate the participation of children.
- All children who come to court as complainants or witnesses
testify in camera, and their testimony is relayed into the main court through the closed circuit television (CCTV).
- All children have an intermediary during court proceedings.
- Establishment of the Multi Sectoral Victim Friendly Court
- Use of anatomically correct dolls for child survivors and
- Provision of witness expenses by Government.
Training of staff
Through the Chief Magistrate’s Office and collaborating partners,
Government of Zimbabwe has trained over Two Hundred and Eighty Five (285) Judicial Service Commission staff members, including magistrates and Clerks of Court on the management of sexual abuse and violence and supporting vulnerable survivors. Awareness campaigns are on going through the Victim Friendly System Sub Committees.
In 2013, between January and August, the number of child survivors of sexual abuse and violence supported in our courts stood at 2
026 girls and 65 boys.
3. Multi-Sectoral Stakeholders
Madam President, the Government of Zimbabwe is working through a multi-stakeholder framework to achieve the measures put in place to protect children who are victims of sexual abuse as outlined below.
Child Survivor/Child Perpetrator surrounded by the following stakeholders:
- Civil society
- CBOs/FBOs/Traditional leaders
- VFC National Coordinating Committee
- VFC Sub Committee
- Child Protection Committees
- Child led groups
4. Other measures in place to protect children from sexual abuse
4.1. Pre-Trial Survivor Services
- Information Sharing
- Reporting to community and Industrial structures
- Medical services
- Psycho Social Support
- Place of Safety
- Relief Supplies
4.2. During Trial
- Interview with the Prosecution Department
- Familiarisation with court system
- Welfare Services/Support Person
- Use of Closed Circuit Television system
- Anatomically correct Dolls
- Comfortable and Homely side room
- Sensitive Court personnel/gestures
- Witness expenses
4.3. Post Trial
- Temporary Shelter
- Medical Services
- Follow ups
- Psycho social support
- Rehabilitation and Reintegration
- Relief Materials.
4.4. Expert Evidence
The Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act, Section 278, Subsection 3 and 3A authorises State Registered Nurses to do medical or forensic examinations. Thus they may be called to the courts as Expert Witnesses where the court requires their expertise. Through this legal process, the Government of Zimbabwe is providing efficient facilities for the fast tracking of access to medical services by survivors who need to beat the 72 hour Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) deadline against
HIV infection. I thank you
MADAM PRESIDENT: We thank you for your thorough
response to this question. Your Ministry has done justice to the question. So, that brings us to the end of Questions for Oral Answers. At this juncture, I would like to appeal to the Leader of Government Business, Sir, we had 7 questions for Oral Answers today, and only two, have been responded to because two ministers or representatives of Cabinet Ministers were present. That means we have to carry over 5 of those questions.
I am appealing to you Sir, to please encourage Cabinet Ministers to take this assignment seriously because it is part of their duties. It is also a way that the hon. senators can be answerable to their constituencies. I would like to believe that these questions come from their constituents. The hon. senators in turn, have to bring them to the Senate. So I am appealing to you Sir, to please encourage the other Cabinet Ministers to provide written answers to Questions with Notice. That is the only way we can meet our mandate as people’s representatives. I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (MR. MNANGAGWA): I will pass
on the message. Thank you.
MADAM PRESIDENT: We really appreciate that you have been
with us since 2.30 p.m. and you are still here with us.
ALIGNMENT OF LAWS TO THE CONSTITUTION
First Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the harmonization of existing legislation with the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
Question again proposed.
SENATOR MARAVA: Thank you very much Madam President.
Madam President, I stand to make clarification here. Bearing in mind that:
- The Executive has expressed its willingness to cooperate with the Legislature as regards this motion,
- The Deputy Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Hon. Chasi, availed himself to this august Senate within the shortest time after the introduction of this motion. He explained the problems facing the Executive in respect of the matter under consideration. The Deputy Minister also assured this august Senate that the matter was indeed receiving urgent attention.
- The last person to debate on this motion yesterday was none other than the President of the Chief’s Council, Hon. Senator Chief Charumbira who echoed the need for oneness in this august Senate.
- Madam President, where I come from, we respect Chiefs – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear]- Therefore, as the mover of the motion, Madam President, I agree to the request by the Hon. Deputy Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary
Affairs that we defer debate to the 20th November, 2013 as proposed by Hon. Senator Chief Charumbira after which debate shall resume. I would like that to be noted. Thank you very much.
SENATOR W. SIBANDA: I second.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (MR. MNANGAGWA): I move that
the debate do now adjourn.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Tuesday, 20th November, 2013.
PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS
Second Order read: Adjourned debate on motion in reply to the Presidential Speech.
Question again proposed.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (MR. MNANGAGWA): Mr.
President, I move that the debate do now adjourn.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Tuesday, 14th October, 2013.
On the motion of THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS, the Senate adjourned at One Minute
th October, 2013. to Four O’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 14