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SENATE HANSARD 11 APRIL 2024 VOL 33 NO 42

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Thursday, 11th April, 2024

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

PRAYERS

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

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE

APOLOGIES RECEIVED FROM MINISTERS

         THE HON DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Today, being a Thursday, it is Questions Without Notice but I have a long list of apologies. I have received the following apologies from Hon. Ministers:

Hon. Dr. S. N. Nyoni, Minister of Environment, Climate and Wildlife;

Hon. K. Coventry, Minister of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture;

Hon. B. Rwodzi, Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry;

Hon. T. Mnangagwa, Deputy Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry;

Hon. O. C. Z. Muchinguri, Minister of Defence;

Hon. J. Mhlanga, Deputy Minister of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development;

Hon. W. Chitando, Minister of Local Government and Public Works;

Hon. B. Kabikira, Deputy Minister of Local Government and Public Works;

Hon. Sen. Shava, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade;

Hon. S. Chikomo, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade;

Hon. K. Kazembe, Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage;  

Hon. C. Sanyatwe, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage;

Hon. O. Mazungunye, Deputy Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs;

Hon. O. Marupi, Deputy Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services;

Hon. Z. Soda, Minister of Mines and Mining Development;

Hon. P. Kambamura, Deputy Minister of Mines and Mining Development;

Hon. S. Sibanda, Deputy Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development;

Hon. T. Moyo, Minister of Primary and Secondary Education;

Hon. A. Gata, Deputy Minister of Primary and Secondary Education;

Hon. N. Ndlovu, Minister of Industry and Commerce;

Hon. E. Moyo, Minister of Energy and Power Development;

Hon. Y. Simbanegavi, Deputy Minister of National Housing and Social Amenities;

Hon. Dr. A. Masuka, Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement;

Hon. V. Haritatos, Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Development;

Hon. D. Marapira, Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Development;

Hon. Dr. D. Mombeshora, Minister of Health and Child Care;

Hon Dr. S. T. Kwidini, Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care; In the Chamber, I would like to welcome Hon. Ministers for fulfilling your constitutional obligation to be here and respond to the Senators issues. Thank you very for coming. I have got;

Hon. Prof. A. Murwira, Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development;

Hon. F. Mhona, Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development;

Hon. M. Mavhunga, Minister of Veterans of the Liberation Struggle;

Hon. K. Mnangagwa, Deputy Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion;

Hon. J. Sacco, Deputy Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development.

Once again welcome. Hon Senators, you may field your questions.

     +HON. SEN. PHUTI: I rise on a point of order. I can see that Hon. Ministers are taking the business of Senate seriously. If you look at Hon. Ministers attendance in the National Assembly, it is not the same as in the Senate and we are troubled by this development.

      THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: The import of your question was that you have expressed dismay at the fact that we have got a long list of Ministers who are absent and yet in the National Assembly, they appear to honour their obligations. I share the same views with you.

      Hon. Sen. Sibanda having stood up to debate on the same issue.

     There is no supplementary. Is it the same as the issue raised by Hon. Sen. Phuti? We have already dealt with it. I have agreed with you that we are dismayed. I do not know what other language I can use. We are really saddened that we do not have a full bench of Ministers and we will convey to the relevant office. Rest assured, I am as concerned as you are Hon Members. It worries me.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE

     *HON. SEN CHITSAMBA: My question is directed to the Minister of Finance.  I would like to know if the ZiG can be used to procure fuel or pay for acquisition of passports?

     THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND INVESTMENT PROMOTION (HON. MNANGAGWA):  Hon. President of the Senate, I was hoping that all the questions on the ZiG can be asked after I present my statement today.

     THE DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  I will give you the chance to ask your questions after the statement.

     *HON. SEN. MDLULI: My question was also on the same issue so I will wait.

     +HON SEN. NYATHI:  My question was also directed to the Minister of Finance

     *HON. SEN MALULEKE:  My question is directed to the Minister of War Veterans.  People need to know how far you have gone after they were vetted.

     THE MINISTER OF VETERANS OF THE LIBERATION STRUGGLE (HON. MAVHUNGA):  Thank you Hon. Sen for the pertinent question.  I want to say in 2022, we started on the process of vetting of those who assisted in the war of liberation struggle, that is the (mujibhas and chimbwindos).  We will gazette the names of those we vetted so people can have a say on whether or not they really assisted. We had however stopped the process because most of those involved in the struggle had not gotten the opportunity to participate.  So in this year’s budget, we got RTGs 41.3 billion to enable us to continue the vetting process.  We will continue to vet those who were left out and then we can gazette all the names at the same time.  That will enable us to then be able to assist them once the process is completed.

      +HON. SEN. MOYO:  Thank you Hon. President of the Senate.  I want to ask the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education. What is being done about scholarships?  We have seen children of vendors who are not being supported most of the times, especially from Matebeleland South.  There are so many children who are not going to school who need the scholarships and their parents are vendors.  I want to know what is being done to cater for these children.

      THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA):  Thank you for the question Hon. Senator.  Allow me to say that there is nothing wrong with vending.  It is just done at different scales.  Big shops are vending, people can vend individually, so there is nothing wrong with selling things if it is being done legally.  However, we are talking about people who might not be having enough resources, be it vendors or not.  I just wanted to be very clear that vending is not a crime and does not reduce the status of a person in society.

      Now, when it comes to our policy, it is that we want every Zimbabwean head to be in tertiary education, they can be in colleges or universities.  It is because these are the people who will make this country strong by being able to produce the things that we need, from food to shelter, water, transport and everything else.  It comes from our education.  So we want as many of our…[technical fault]

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: We have some more Ministers who have just joined us: - The Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs; and the Minister of National Housing. Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, you are responding to the question by Hon. Sen. Moyo. You may continue now that we have got power back.

 HON. PROF.  MURWIRA: Thank you Mr. President. I started by a preamble where I said the issue of our students who cannot afford, no matter who gave birth to them, I had asked that we should not refer to vendors as if big shops are not vending too, they are just small scale. So, I did not want to subscribe to the fact that there is a profession that we disparage. However, let us talk about our students who might not be in a position to pay fees and what is Government policy and our programmes that are meant for that.

Mr. President, we as a Government, our policy is that we should use every Zimbabwean brain and give it access to education, not as a privilege to them but as a privilege to the nation because we need their knowledge, we need their skill, we need their attitude to make this country strong and formidable, where it can be able to provide for its own food, for its own water, for its own shelter, for its own communications and transport. So, it is very important that we take our students through the process of making this country strong through their capabilities that are developed through education.

We therefore, have a policy where if students cannot afford, we have two programmes. One programme is that of work for fees programme which we started in 2018, but strengthened starting from 2019 where students who cannot afford approach their department of Student Affairs where they state their plight and then they are helped through the work for fees programme.

The second programme is where we have a Student Loan programme that was signed off by the Ministry of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion by that time on 17th July 2018, where we put money in CBZ for our students to be able to access through a loan facility. This facility has not been that popular. Our students have not been availing themselves to take this loan. However, the Work for Fees programme is a very popular programme where students are able to state their plight and they can be helped. It is big at the UZ and MSU, being the two of our biggest universities where our students are given a chance to work and then their fees are paid through that process.

The spirit is to make our people access education because it is national interest that they are able to be educated so that they begin to build this country, brick upon brick or stone upon stone for this country, to attain the necessary dignity so that it earns respect with itself, its neighbours, near and far. I thank you.

*HON. SEN. KADUNGURE: Thank you Mr. President. My question is directed to the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education. Can you not afford to support students who have left this country through scholarships, sometimes they may have passed and spent three years without doing anything? I thank you.

*THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF.  MURWIRA): Thank you Mr. President. I thank Hon. Sen. Kadungure for that question, that says students who attain education outside the country spend many years without working. What I did not quite understand is that after graduation, they will not be employed.  Is that the case?   If that is the case, let me continue.  The students who attain their education in countries like the Russian Federation, from the past three years, we are given the names of such students before they complete their education so that we understand what they will be learning. This will enable us to take them to universities or to institutions where they can get employment.  We have started doing this and we started two years ago. We have seen that it is working well, but there is a problem with some degree programmes like law and medical professions.  

      Mr. President, for medical practitioners, we realised that for students who have studied law, they need to do what we call conversion so that they may practice.  There are some, especially doctors, it took quite some time - I think it used to take a year or three years for them to be able to practice.  Mr. President, we have since changed that to ensure that they are quickly employable after going through an observation period in clinics.  I believe this is what I have understood, the Hon. Senator was referring to scholarships.

      *HON. SEN. TONGOGARA:  Thank you Mr. President. My question is directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development.  I would like the Hon. Minister to inform this august House on what is happening on our roads, with regards to some people who are using unregistered vehicles.

     THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Hon. Sen. Tongogara, your question is not clear.  The mics are not on, so we cannot proceed.  

      Hon. Senators, it appears the problem is bigger than we thought it was. The hopes of fixing the problem within the next few minutes are actually fading. We are going to have to adjourn since we cannot record proceedings as is supposed to happen.

I am going to ask the Deputy Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion to make a statement when we resume sitting. I think you owe it to the Senators to make a statement and clarify the issues about the recent monetary developments that took place in our country on Friday. Agreed?

     THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND INVESTMENT PROMOTION (HON. K. D. MNANGAGWA): Yes.

     On the motion of THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA), the Senate adjourned at Twenty-Four Minutes past Three o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 7th May, 2024.

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