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SENATE HANSARD 11 April 2018 27-35
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Wednesday, 11th April, 2018
The Senate met at Halfpast Two o’clock p. m.
(THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE in the Chair)
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. SEN. TAWENGWA Mr. President, I move that Order of the Day, Number 1 in today’s Order Paper be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 2 has been disposed of.
HON. SEN. MUMVURI: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
DEVOLUTION AND CULTURAL DEVELOPMENT
Second Order read: Adjourned debate on cultural development as being key to economic development.
Question again proposed.
*HON. SEN. CHIMHINI: Thank you Mr. President. The motion by Hon. Sen. Khumalo assists us to go back to our Constitution that talks about devolution. It also assists and guides us in terms of coming up with a holistic development that is not selective. If we say we want development, we need to come up with development that is stable and holistic. We should also consider the fact that we come from different parts of the country but we are people who live as one nation. I say this Mr. President because in most cases, we talk of globalisation. We cannot talk of globalisation without first addressing the issues that concern us as citizens of Zimbabwe.
There are words that we often talk about like tribalism and regionalism, I think those words remind us that if we talk of sections or regions, it affects people’s way of life. If we look at what happened in
Rwanda and Burundi, it was an issue that other tribes saw themselves as superior to others which is what we always talk about that such ideas do not build the nation. In Rwanda, more than a million people died, they should have sat down and asked themselves if this was building the nation. When they eventually realised that this destroys the nation, they sat down and came up with a decision to develop their country and right now it is developing.
What leads to development is the issue of respect and the honour we bestore on each other. I know that if we go to Bulawayo, you can speak Shona and people can understand you but you will be in an area where Ndebele is most common. What it means is that the Ndebele learnt other languages such as Shona so that there is harmony. I think this motion should assist those from Mashonaland and Manicaland that we should also learn the languages that are spoken in other regions and areas so that when we meet; there is no one who needs interpretation. I know it is a challenge to learn a new language when one is an adult but my request is that we should learn some of these languages so that we are able to communicate and move with one voice.
What I like about this motion is that development should not be only reserved for infrastructural development but should be holistic and touch on all the aspects of life of an individual. Development that is talked about, whether it is economic, social and political, is development that means people understand what they are talking about; which means if it is done in Bulawayo, Harare or other areas, we will be speaking the same language. I stood up to say that this motion is very important. If we look at our Constitution on the issue of devolution, I think we need to start speaking in honesty not to say there are no funds for devolution. If we say that we have 16 languages and say that there is no money to translate the Constitution, no development will take place. If we are talking of translations, let us look for funds to ensure that all the 16 languages are catered for so that people communicate using their languages.
There is an issue that was mentioned on employment that if there are people who can do work in an area, it is better that they be employed there than to get people from another region. So Mr. President, I think we need to support this motion and I want to reiterate that devolution gives us a solution for our nation to develop. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. TIMVEOS: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to debate the motion that was brought by Hon. Khumalo. We want to thank her for such an important motion. This motion is important as what has been alluded to that is in the
Constitution that all the 16 languages including sign language should be given equal status. I have gone round the country and to be honest with you, it would be good if ZBC could capture all the cultures and languages; give them an opportunity to teach us their languages and also the various communities to see that there are certain programmes that are being talked about and they need to understand it. It is important for us as a people.
The issue of devolution is also important. I was actually surprised in Mbire when I saw a community there and personally, I had not heard about that community. The people there have six toe nails and that is their community. We do not know this community because we do not value some of the different cultures that we have. Mbire is between the Zambian border and Zimbabwe. So, I think that we need to value and respect the different languages that we have in Zimbabwe. That is why we sometimes have challenges that if we travel around the country, you will realise that because particular cultures were not given an opportunity, they are not as educated as others. They end up being educated by someone from another region and that causes cultural confusion. So, what we should do is to value them and accord them the same status according to the Constitution. That will give them an opportunity to be educated. Those who are educated can go back to their communities and educate their counterparts.
So, I really want to support this motion moved by Hon. Sen. Khumalo. If we carefully consider this issue without looking at what is more important, maybe others did not have an opportunity to go to school but the moment we implement our Constitution, on the need to value and give all cultures equal status, we will not have a problem as a
Zimbabwe. So, I really want to support this motion. I thank you.
HON. SEN. KHUMALO: I move that the debate be now adjourned.
HON. SEN. CHIMHINI: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 12th April, 2018.
THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF THE: I request that since the Minister has arrived, we go back to Order of the Day, Number 1 but I take note of the interest by Hon. Mashavakure and Hon. Mumvuri that once we proceed with the same debate, you will have an opportunity to debate.
CONSIDERATION OF AN ADVERSE REPORT BY THE
PARLIAMENTARY LEGAL COMMITTEE ON STATUTORY INSTRUMENT NO. 79 OF 2017, AGRICULTURAL MARKETING
AUTHORITY (COMMAND AGRICULTURE SCHEME FOR
DOMESTIC CROP, LIVESTOCK AND FISHERIES PRODUCTION)
First Order read: Committee to resume on an Adverse Report by the Parliamentary Legal Committee on Statutory Instrument No. 79 of
2017 – Agricultural Marketing Authority (Command Agriculture
Scheme for Domestic Crop, Livestock and Fisheries Production)
House in Committee.
THE MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE AND RURAL
RESETTLEMENT (HON. RTD. AIR CHIEF MARSHALL P.
SHIRI): Mr. President Sir, reference is made to the matter which has just been highlighted. I wish to apologise for the late response which is due to the fact that I was out of the country on official business.
I shall proceed to address the two issues based in your report.
Statutory hypothec. The hypothec is common in most contracts and Statutory Instruments for example, the Forestry Commission Regulations and it is applied in this instance in order to secure Government’s interest on its investment given that Government would have extended a loan to the beneficiary who is expected to pay back the loan in light of the contract signed between the parties. The Statutory Instrument criminalises breach of contract. I wish to categorically state that Sections 5, 6 and 7 of the Statutory Instrument herewith do not in any way criminalise the breach of contract nor do they seek to enforce compliance with the provisions of the contracts.
These clauses only criminalise the abuse and misappropriation of inputs by beneficiaries who seek to defraud the State and side market inputs instead of putting the inputs, to their required use. In essence, this
Statutory Instrument targets those individuals who enter into the Command Agriculture programme with the overarching intention of defrauding Government.
When a beneficiary is in breach of the contract, the State will invoke the clause for breach which is in the contract and this clause does not in any way criminalise breach. May I state that section 50(3), Agricultural Marketing Authority [Chapter 18:24] also provides that regulations such as the one in discussion should provide penalties for contraventions thereof. In line with these provisions and also realising that there was absolutely no criminal provision dealing with people who bluntly and remorselessly misappropriated inputs in broad daylight, the Ministry with the assistance of the Attorney General went on to make such criminal provisions. Accordingly, I wish to state that the adverse report on Statutory Instrument 79, 2017 is not in any way contrary to the provisions of the Constitution, and in effect it strengthens Government’s security against theft and misappropriation of inputs which would have been extended to beneficiaries. I thank you Mr. President.
Committee to resume: Thursday, 12th April 2018.
REPORT OF THE 41ST PLENARY ASSEMBLY OF THE SADC PARLIAMENTARY FORUM
Third Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the 41st Plenary Assembly of the SADCParliamentary Forum, held in
Mahe, Seychelles, from 4th to 15th July, 2017.
Question again proposed.
HON. SEN. MOHADI: Mr. President Sir, I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. MUMVURI: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 12th April, 2018.
ICT LITERACY PROGRAMME
Fourth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on need to address the ICT divide between rural, urban, young and old in the country.
Question again proposed.
*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHIDUKU: Thank you Mr. President for affording me the opportunity to add a few words to this motion which was raised by Hon. Sen. Mavhunga and seconded by Hon. Sen. Mugabe. This is a good motion the world is now a global village, we now have a different world view and everything is now easily communicable. Be that as it may, the country is easily coming to an end. You will see that we have destroyed the country; we prefer easier things such that when you find a sack full of money in your house would you ululate or you will run away and start wondering what would have gone wrong. If enlightenment and education have become so easy, there is a serious danger.
Most families are being destroyed as Chiefs are hearing when they preside over village courts. People are stumbling upon matters that lead to divorce on their cell phones. These days a married woman will have a photo taken and edited using I.T. technology to look as if she was next to a certain big man and the photos are sent to the husband that the two were hugging one another. Your wife will be unaware of it and for the husband to be convinced that this is just I.T. technology; it will take a lot of time. The same would apply to a woman, when you are at work people can doctor photos and they see me in a compromising position with a very beautiful woman and in most cases a stature better than my wife and it will be sent to her and my marriage will be ruined. I am saying so because others have already spoken about it and if it were possible, there should be limitations as to how ICT can be used, that is where the problem starts. Easy come, easy go because of this form of communication, our country is now being destroyed.
I was once shown a certain picture of a woman who was looking for employment as a housemaid and she was either scantily dressed or naked. It was being sent to a prospective male employer, shall we then ululate that we now have freedom and are now expressing ourselves? We forget that we are elderly persons and our children and their wives are divorcing one another. Until 2030 when we will still be using this technology, there will be nothing to talk about in the form of the country. It would have been thoroughly destroyed. We will be living like cattle. A bull does not have a single cow as its spouse. We should speak out against such practices or refuse to accept such practices.
ICT is good but we should not be having detrimental results as a result of ICT. Hence I gave the example of a bag full of money coming to the house because everyone wants it. Inasmuch as we may want to embrace ICT, I observed with those few words that no one has debated bringing in that dimension. Some of the things you said are vulgar and therefore I cannot utter them, but indeed, that is what is happening. This phone is dangerous. It is bad in that it carries a lot of bad things. Some of the things may not be spelt out. If my wife, myself and child each have a phone, even if we were not to show one another what we have seen, it is correct that all of us will have seen what the image is like. I had to give this issue or maybe you could have had posters put on the walls. I thank you, they are all looking at me.
HON. SEN. CHIMHINI: On a point of order Mr. President, I am not quite sure whether or not they are debating the motion that was presented by Hon. Sen. Mavhunga. I have been listening to Hon. Members debating, that is not what the motion is talking about, if we look at what the motion is calling for:
- prioritise installation of the fiber optic infrastructure in all rural areas;
- Roll out an ICT literacy programme targeting the middle aged and rural populace in order to overcome challenges and obstacles that hinder progress;
- Take appropriate measures to ensure internet services are easily accessible and affordable;
- Expedite the Cyber Crime Bill in order to protect citizens from online abuses.
Maybe that would be the small component that has been captured but in other words Mr. President, you may need to direct the House so that we debate the motion. If Hon. Members want to debate something else regarding what is happening because of ICT, it can be a different motion. I thank you.
THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Thank you –
[HON. SEN. CHIEF MUSARURWA: On a point of order Mr.
President!] Point of order but let me first consider the first one.
You indeed have a valid point; the motion is much broader than the focus of the debate. All we are doing is to encourage Hon. Members to consider that it is (a); (b); (c) and (d) in their debates, but of course their debates are not quite offline because they are concentrating on (d). It appears (d), to them is of greater interest … to protect citizens from online abuses. Maybe the other issues will be raised but I do not know, so we should take it that you are reminding Hon. Members to consider other issues but it is permissible to pick just one aspect and concentrate on it. – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] – Thank you.
I had called on Hon. Sen. Bhebe. Infact it is fair that I mention that Hon. Sen. Bhebe, Hon. Sen. Bhobho would want to take the floor and then include whoever wants to take the floor. So it is Hon. Sen. Bhebe, Hon. Sen. Bhobho then we continue from there. Thank you – [HON. SEN. MOHADI: Hon. Sen. Chief Musarurwa had raised a point of order.] I think at this stage let us proceed with the debate. Unless there is need for another Point of Order but this has been explained, you may proceed Hon. Sen. Bhebe.
+HON. SEN. BHEBE: Thank you Mr. President for affording me this opportunity to add my voice on this ICT motion. I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Mavhunga who tabled this motion and the seconder.
Mr. President, others have already spoken about ICT and what they think about it. I also want to add a few points to what has already been said by other Hon. Members, I just want to emphasize just a few points. When we look at ICT and what has been said. ICT is mainly in the cities, people in the cities have an advantage that they have access to it and can learn faster. We have schools in rural areas, if only the Government could concentrate in the rural areas and install ICT systems in schools.
When I looked around and made my own investigations in the schools, I discovered that there are funds that have to be paid. So it is difficult for the rural dwellers to do that because they do not have such infrastructure in schools. So if only Government could stress the point that children in rural areas should also have access to ICT. People in the rural areas should be made aware of that so that they can also get on board. There are some who attend colleges or Open universities, at times some of the lessons have to be done on the internet. Suppose you are a teacher who is working in the rural areas and also studying with the Open University, it is difficult for that teacher because it means they have to travel to Bulawayo to access the ICT facilities. So I would like to stress the point that ICT should be made available to all schools in rural areas especially for the benefit of the young and also the elderly who are interested in learning.
I understand that some Hon. Members are no longer debating on the motion but this thing goes hand in hand because this WhatsApp and other things are things that we were taught by ICT people on how to use ICT – that is why I say it goes hand in hand. I think that there should be a law that controls such things so that people do not send messages that are destructive to the country and bad for the children because at times people post very bad things on social media. We cannot stop talking about it because that is exactly what is happening. So that is what is happening. That is the burning issue that I wanted to add. I am saying that we should introduce this in the rural areas as well so that everyone has the benefit of learning and we all develop. It makes work easy for the Government and also for messages to be sent quickly. With these few words, I thank you.
*HON. SEN. BHOBHO: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to add a few words to this motion that was moved by Hon. Sen. Mavhunga and seconded by Hon. Sen. Mugabe. It is a good motion. ICT has now spread all over the country and we encourage this motion because ICT has helped a lot of our children and even the elderly in adult literacy. We are grateful and we urge that there be continuity of this programme because it has assisted almost everyone in this country. People are now easily grasping concepts. School going children are now passing without difficulty because of ICT. As elderly people, we should encourage this motion. Our Government is doing quite well because even in the rural areas, we now have computers that enable children to understand technology and be able to use it fruitfully. Elderly people like ourselves are also being taught how to use ICT gadgets. In the past, we used to think that a lot of people cannot grasp concepts – contrary to that belief, a lot of us are now being taught and are now appreciating
I would like to thank the mover and the seconder of this good motion and those that are capable of further propagating this concept of ICT should continue to do so, so that all of us are enlightened in that regard. This is useful to us as a country because if we leave this country, wherever we go, we will not have problems communicating with others because we will have learnt this ICT. I thank you Mr. President.
HON. SEN. MAVHUNGA: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. MUMVURI: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 12th April, 2018.
CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS OF THE ELDERLY
Fifth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the rights of the elderly as prescribed by Section 82 of the Constitution.
Question again proposed.
*HON. SEN. CHIFAMBA: I would like to thank the mover of this motion on the elderly and the way that they are being treated in this country. We believe that our elderly people are not being properly looked after.
In certain countries, they receive certain sums of money despite the fact that they were once employed or not. The stipends that they receive will assist them to alleviate their suffering. In most cases, their siblings have died and they are left to take care of grandchildren. These grandmothers and grandfathers will have problems looking after the orphans.
You find very young children with an elderly person at home and she will be struggling to even draw water. They will not be having any food at home. It is not all of us who are working and will be entitled to pensions at the end of our working carrier. Furthermore, all the elderly did not have the chance to go to work. One cannot be entitled to a pension if they were not working. There are certain jobs that do not pay pensions to the elderly. It is up to the Government to take a step further and look after the elderly persons because some of the situations that we find the elderly people is very pathetic. You find a partially blind or blind old woman who is no longer capable of doing anything struggling to survive. Some have grandchildren but some did not have any children to give them grandchildren hence no one takes care of them.
The extended family unit has broken down. We no longer use it. I do not know whether it is a result of stinginess or what. In the past, ten people would live at one homestead and would look after the elderly. Grandchildren would go and draw water in containers for use. We have serious problems with daughtersinlaw who do not respect their mothersinlaw. You hear them saying that the helicopter has landed and is now taking diesel – they will be referring to their motherinlaw who will have arrived and would be having tea. This lady, daughterin law would have been married by my son and joined my family but now uses derogatory language referring to me as a helicopter. This is not proper.
This is a serious problem that we are facing as a country and Government should look into it. We know that Government has too many issues to deal with but some of the money is being misused and priorities are not being taken. We should remember our elderly persons because we were all born and at one stage we will become very old. The
Government should look after its vulnerable people such as the elderly.
If some of the elderly who do not have children are not taken care of, they get to the extent of begging on the street. I understand that there is a time when the elderly people fell victim of death or illness in certain areas. This is quite painful. I cannot unfathom what is going on in Zimbabwe. Some people go to the extent of assaulting ugly elderly women – this is happening in Zimbabwe. One day your mother or your relative is going to get old but you are also guilty of assaulting old elderly people.
In South Africa, they receive a form of stipend; the same applies to
those that would have given birth to children out of wedlock. Those with five children are receiving R$1 000.00 per month in South Africa for having given birth. We do not want to go that route because by so doing we will be spoiling our children.
Let us look after our own elderly persons. I have come across someone’s mother begging for bus fare but people did not pay heed to her. They would just go past her as if she does not exist. You find that there are those that crawl from the room to the toilet because there is no one to look after them, which is not pleasant. We expect the Government to look after such people. We are also growing old. To whom do we throw away these people to? Should we also be thrown away when we get older? We will be entitled to pensions but what about those that have been unfortunate and have never worked.
Some of the money that is misused by the Government through corruption, that money should be recouped and redirected towards looking after the elderly persons in Zimbabwe. With those few words, I would like to thank you Mr. President.
*HON. SEN. MAVHUNGA: Thank you Mr. President for giving me the opportunity to debate this motion on the elderly which was moved by Hon. Sibanda. I am quite grateful because he had a good vision that we all grow up and those that are lucky not to fall ill become elderly that they would be unable to look after themselves.
The Hon. Member’s motion says Government should come up with an Act that ensures that the elderly persons are looked after properly. That is good because this is the right forum. It would have been better if sums could have been indicated that could be allocated to these elderly persons, say $50 per month that might prove to be useful so that it is included in this motion. Those of us who are working are facing problems in buying food although we use the same shops with those that are unemployed. Those that are still able bodied can go and do piecemeal jobs and be able to raise money to sustain them. What about the elderly people who are not capable of working anymore. Indeed, we should be looking into that and ensure that we come up with an Act to look after the elderly so that they are properly assisted in that their welfare is properly taken care of by the Government.
We are grateful of the new dispensation of the President, Hon. E.D Mnangagwa who is strenuously fighting against corruption. We believe that with this fight against corruption, the economy is going to recover. It is our wish that once that is done then the economy will recover and we are able to do as we envision. It is true that the Government can do something here and there – [HON. SENATORS: Inaudible
THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Order, please
let us have order.
*HON. SEN. MAVHUNGA: The Government should come up
with laws that look after the elderly. We grew up a long time ago and never knew of an old people’s home. In my communal home in Dotito, we grew up knowing that we looked after our own elderly persons and they would die with their family members. It is a new phenomenon that families no longer look after the elderly persons. It is something that is quite painful.
I propose that there be awareness campaigns to inform people about hunhu, ubuntu or humanity and how they should be able to look after the elderly. When these elderly are put in old people’s homes because they do not have any grandsons or daughters to whom they can do their story telling, it will have ended. The family that is now devoid of a grandfather/mother is a loss to the family because the grandchildren will not benefit from folklore tales from the grandparent. It is important to keep our elderly persons in our own homesteads because they will be able to impart their skills and share their experiences with them.
I would want to thank the mover of this motion because he has widened our vision and said that we should not be selfish and think of ourselves now, forgetting that one day we ourselves will become very old. We should be teaching our children to love ourselves and in turn, we should demonstrate it by loving our elders so that when our turn comes, our own children will be able to treat us well. We should teach our children to love and this should be done by showing love to elderly parents. With those few words, I would want to thank you.
*HON. SEN. GOTO: Thank you Mr. President. I rise to say a few things about this motion that was raised by Hon. Sen. Sibanda and the seconder. This is a good motion which opens our minds. In every district or area, you find elderly people. There are some that are being looked after by their own families. I am touched by the fact that we should not start by coping what happens outside. We should first remove the logs in our eyes before we remove the sticks in our brothers eyes. Best practice yes, it is good but there are certain countries whose best practices do not conform to our traditional culture. We should maintain our own tradition and culture. The elderly in the olden days used to live a long time because they were looked after by their immediate family and the manner in which they used to live, was good. Most of us these days do not live long because we misbehave.
We may also clamour that our elderly should be properly looked after, but let us look at our socioeconomic aspect of the country. Our people used to live up to 150 years old. We should be able to look and see how this was achieved. Children should like fish, take to water because that is in their DNA. The Social Welfare Department is giving and the Government is doing well in that regard. If I were to get old, I would not want to be put in an old people’s home but we want those that go there to be assisted.
It is good that we have old people’s homes. We are in the Gender Committee and we went to the children’s homes where we noticed that they have problems. In fact, you would feel very much touched if you were to see the conditions in those homes, it is pathetic. The plight that they have is the same that the elderly people also come across. The elderly will just be dumped in an institution and the children go away. As people, we should also do something about them because the Government is not able to look after all the elderly people in this country.
The Government should consider what we are debating and what must be done. I am here to say that we should go back to our culture where the family unit was important. Families used to look after the elderly people. In fact, the elderly who are being looked after by their families are sitting pretty and are even much better than us. That is all I have to say Mr. President. Thank you.
*HON. SEN. SHIRI: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to debate the motion that was brought by Hon. Sen. Sibanda. This issue of growing old is a very important issue because even in the Bible, it acknowledges those who have come of age and age comes with wisdom because it is a blessing from God. So, we need to look after our aged because of that. There is nothing as difficult as the fact that we develop things that we cannot use. When I look at the issue of the aged people, I think that they should be well looked after.
Firstly in this august House, we are enacting pieces of legislation.
We should see whether these pieces of legislation will protect them. When looking at the issue of infrastructure especially buildings, I realise that most of us become too relaxed thinking that we will remain able bodied and we forget that we will someday grow old. Even when building our houses, we put up double storied buildings where we have to go up the stairs forgetting that one day we will become aged and we will not be able to enjoy what we sweated for. We have witnessed a number of people dying in other small homes because they are unable to live in their homes. So, I think that we need to revisit our legislation to ensure that especially the buildings are accessible to everyone because the stairs that we are talking about become a hindrance to those who are aged. Also, when we are talking of public institutions, our homes, hospitals, supermarkets and so on, let us remember that old age is coming. I realise that most people think that since they are still ablebodied, they will remain like that.
As a nation, we also have good policies because even in the rural areas, we have food for work programmes. Those who are aged are given aid without having to work for it. As one is aging, they need to be given free handouts because they no longer have that energy to work for themselves and especially with aged, there are diseases that are associated with age such as diabetes and blood pressure. So, for those who are aged, the Government should ensure that they do not pay for medical services for such diseases in our hospitals because they can no longer be able to pay. Mostly, those who are aged 75 and so on, do not pay for consultation at health centres but have to pay for the medication.
There are also diseases like prostate cancer that come with age. For men from the age of 40, they are prone to prostate cancer. We need to come up with awareness programmes for people to be aware that such age groups and the aged come with a lot of challenges. You need help and assistance from other people because you end up depending on others to guide you through. So, it is something that we need to look at and ensure that pensions are made available as well as social security to protect the aged.
We realise that even at the banks, the aged are found in queues because they do not know their rights as senior citizens. Some of these ablebodied people just look at them without assisting yet those aged senior citizens will be suffering from different ailments. We should appreciate, understand and value that senior citizens are very important people in our society and remember that we will all become aged one day.
I also want to talk about the bills that we have to pay. I was thinking that when one has become aged, the water and electricity bills should be scrapped, especially for those who have come of age because they are unable to get money. Senior citizens should have a certain percentage that they pay. I think that will assist them. Even when it comes to licences for farms for people who are senior citizens, they should pay less. This is a positive discrimination that we are talking about because it enhances social security for the aged.
I also want to focus on the fact that the aged or senior citizens – those who are getting pensions, if only they could be assisted to ensure that they are able to access their pensions in areas where they live. For example, the programme that was held by the Social Welfare Department assisted the vulnerable groups who knew that on certain days they would go to those areas and would get assistance. Transport is an impediment to the aged – the buses and available modes of transport are not friendly at all and we need to alleviate this burden.
I once had a debate with my children. One of them said they had prepared to take me to the old people’s home and I said that when I die, my spirit will avenge. So, I realise that we need to teach our children that it is important to give love to their parents. I travelled with them to a certain old people’s home in Zvishavane at the Jairos Jiri Old People’s Home and they saw the aged and realised that these aged did not have any relatives. They saw the way they were living. They then realised that such people who have come of age need love because they also have wisdom. In this august House, we are taken as a House consisting of MPs with wisdom because we are above the ages of 40 and that wisdom is acknowledged. So, if we listen to those senior or aged people, we will learn a lot from them. So, let us not look down upon them but let us respect them as people through our ubuntu so that we know where we are coming from and where we are going. Old age is good but there is a proverb that says, you do get old and even if you bath you still get old. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. MOEKETSI: Thank you Mr. President for giving me the chance to debate on the motion raised by Hon. Sen. Sibanda on pensioners and the aged. I just want to add one or two words. I want to say that let us teach our children especially the girl child. I am going to talk about all of them later in the debate. Let us assist our children who are getting married. Westernisation has now reached appalling levels, they no longer have respect for the aged. It maybe that my child has gone to get married and the partner used to love his parents before but he will be told that your parents are evil. We are getting old to the extent that our skin becomes crinkled such that you cannot tell it is Hon. Sen.
Moeketsi but it is only the close relatives who will know it is Hon. Sen. Moeketsi. Because of that old age, I am termed a witch, so we need to teach our kids. Sometimes it is a boy child who has gone to marry from the Moeketsi family where Leya loves her parents and the family is well up. The boy will tell her that he loves her but thinks her parents are engaged in witchcraft. There are two issues there, let us assist each other as the Upper House because we have a challenge.
One child is bringing children to the rural areas where we have our traditional food such as mice and grasshoppers. That child will come and say ‘granny what is this?’, the mother will rush from the other end to come and take the plate and throw it away. The grandmother will have given her grandchildren with love, but this is all done because I am old and they think I am engaged in witchcraft.
Because I am now old, the daughterinlaw and the grand children no longer love me. So, some of these things require that we assist each other. Our children who are getting married need assistance. I want to come back and give you an example of my grand child who stays in
Bulawayo. This child is well educated and has been to the university. He went to Zambia with his parents and from Zambia the father passed on when he was in Zambia. The inheritance was shared whilst they were in Zambia. He decided to come to Zimbabwe to his grandfather. So he came back to Zimbabwe; when he returned he married his wife, a nurse at Parirenyatwa hospital.
This nephew of mine when inheritance was shared, the father was in the transport sector with buses and lorries. He was given four lorries and it was equally distributed amongst the three of them. There were three buses, so they each got a bus. He married his wife and the wife is the one that bought a house. He had his wealth and drivers who were driving the lorries. With time the inheritance from the father was a thing of the past. He then went back to stay with his wife. They stayed together and he started getting loans and incurred debts to try and get back into business. He was not able to pay back the loans and the house that was bought by the wife was taken by those he owed money.
He has a big family and as I speak he is in Bulawayo. The children went to South Africa and realised the mother’s house had been sold, so they took their mother on the pretext that they had looked for a job for their mother. So, the wife went to South Africa and the nephew remained behind. When he remained, I stayed with him for some time. He was a man, a father figure, and he came to Chegutu because it is a gold mining area. So, he wanted assistance and Mr. Moeketsi advised him to get in touch with those who were into gold mining.
Now this nephew of mine used to wake up in the morning and request for tea. He was not able to go and engage in artisanal mining for him to look after his family and up to today, he is being looked after in an old people’s home. The children were summoned by the Moeketsi’s and asked why they were keeping their father in an old people’s home. Their response was that, ‘we realised that if we were to buy a house, that house will be taken over by people he owed money and so we thought this is better’. Sometimes we are very lazy and to that extend, children end up not having any concern for us. With these few words, I have said what I wanted to say.
*HON. SEN. MURWIRA: Thank you Mr. President for allowing me to support the motion that was brought in this Senate by Hon. Sen. Sibanda on the aged. This is a very important motion but the most important issue Mr. President, is that we have lost our traditional and cultural values because long back we had our grandmothers. When we grew up, we were taught how to look after them, knowing their importance to us, but because of the modern standards that we have today, grandparents are facing challenges and if you look at the issue of early child marriages – they were nonexistent.
Long ago, people used to go and be taught before they got married but if children are sent to their grandparents during the holidays, they do not have time with them. We are not able to look after our elderly parents today. I was thinking that we need to enact legislation to ensure that we bring to book those who do not look after their parents. Yes, I know that the Government can look after our senior citizens or our elderly, but I still ask myself why it is that we are not looking after our parents. In the past, if one did not look after their parents, the spirit of the late parents would avenge for this ill treatment.
Mr. President, I want to give an example. During the Easter holiday I attended a church function and decided to check on what was happening. I was concerned when I got to one household where there was an elderly woman. The challenge is that when these people are aged, we take them and put them in a secluded hut, meaning that if we the adults have segregated the elderly woman to that hut, can the children love their grandparents or the grandparents love their grandchildren? We had a prayer session and the sad thing was that there were these big cars there over the holiday but the old woman requested for food and said that she was hungry. What concerns me is that you are well up but you fail to look after your parents. I do not know what we can do but I think we need punitive measures for people who fail to look after their parents.
What is making us neglect our parents? I encourage that we, in this House, should also go out as we talk to people, we should raise awareness on the importance of looking after one’s parents. We will also give the chiefs time to talk about our traditional and cultural values. Modernization has affected us and all we say is that the Government should provide social security but we have also failed and departed from our traditional and cultural values.
I want to thank Hon. Sen. B. Sibanda for the motion that he tabled. It is an important motion and I also thank you for the time that you have given me to add my voice to this debate. I thank you.
*THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Thank you,
I am requesting for an apology because you once stood up and I overlooked you. So I know that I erred, others spoke earlier than you and yet they came after you. So I am requesting for an apology from you.
Hon. Sen. Machingaifa, I think you stood up to debate on this motion?
*HON. SEN. MACHINGAIFA: Thank you Mr. President, how
are you today? I stood up to add my voice that was tabled by Hon. Sen. B. Sibanda. This is a very pertinent motion that is detailed, protects values our traditional values.
This is not an easy matter but it is a very important issue that demands respect, love and respect for our traditional values. If we do not uphold our culture and traditional values, without love and respect for each other then it is a challenge. What is being debated on this issue is that we are not maturing in the same areas. Our grandchildren and us the grandparents, as we are if you look at us today, this august House is known as the Upper House, composed of people who have come of age and wisdom. Then we have the Lower House and the Lower House thinks this Senate is not even important because they are too traditional. The Government that we are requesting to provide social security when we have become old does not have ears, eyes or the budget to cater for the elderly. We are the ones, in this nation, from different tribes and cultures who should ensure that there is a fund that is created for the elderly to be catered for.
I was in the rural areas three days and I heard of what happened in Japan. A parent had a mentally challenged child, created a cage and kept the child in the cage. The child could neither sit nor stand, he only removed the child from the cage to eat and bath. So the legislation of the land brought the father to book and he was given a 12 year jail sentence. He was told that if he did not want that child then he should have taken the child to the relevant authorities that cater for such children. We are adopting some of these cultures that are foreign to us. I heard someone saying that we used to have relish served in one plate and the sadza in another. We would all sit round the plates and eat and that united us, but when the issue of the side plate came, a person can get his own food from the oven. We do not look for each other.
When it was meal time, everyone would go to the grandmother and we would all eat together. Now that is no longer the case. As men we used to have our own place where we would sit and talk. The girls would sit in the kitchens with their mothers. The boys used to sit with their uncles and fathers and get advice on life. If there was a funeral, people would not just bury the dead and leave but introductions would be conducted after the burial so that you would get to know each other as relatives. That is our culture and it is based on love, children would be taught that there is no babamunini but everyone is a father. White people are able to look after their elderly. They are the ones who initiated old people’s homes. There are companies that contributed monies towards social welfare to ensure that the workers will benefit after retiring in old people’s home.
At our age, I think we were the last generation that had the privilege of having fun with our grandparents. My grandchildren cannot spend time or play with me. For them to play with me, I will have told them to take my car. If I tell them not to touch my car, I am not their grandfather. Those are the challenges that we are facing. It is all about respect and love. This is a very difficult issue; it is like building a house. If you want to build a house, you need to dig a deep foundation so that the house will not collapse. Respect and love is what we need.
We have traditional leaders here. The Chiefs are the most important in this land. If we look back, the native commissioner would drive from Harare to Seke and he would spend days sleeping in a mud hut to see the Chief – that is respect. He respected the Chiefs but today the Chief is summoned by the DA to come to Karoi for a meeting. The DA will not go to see the traditional leader but he summons him. The question is where is the respect and where is the love? Respect and knowledge of how we can look after our elderly is a difficult matter. We want to give that duty to Government but we need to teach each other and raise awareness.
A person who is 70 years old should not stand in a queue in a bank or at hospital but this is not happening. I went to Harare Hospital one day and went straight to the reception; one young lady ran to me and asked me why I had done that without asking the people on the queue for permission to jump the queue. I told her that I needed to rush to work at Parliament and I was attended to by the doctor. We still have a lot to do.
The fact that we no longer have forums where we meet has destroyed the love that we once had. That has affected our relationships as families and we end up not knowing each other. We need to realise that we have a lot of work ahead of us. We need to educate each other as families. Other tribes have managed. If you go to their areas, you do not find old people on the streets. There are old people amongst the white folk but you never find them on the street. They look after each other because they have love and respect and it is within their culture but as Africans, we have lost it.
If we see religious groups, they are given a lot of money through offerings but you never hear them contributing towards the welfare of the old people. Instead, they contribute towards soccer teams. It is even rare for churches to go to old age homes to assist with social services that is cleaning the yard or roofing the home. You never hear of it. That is lack of love. If we have love we should know that we have our people with wisdom – the traditional chiefs, grandmothers and grandfathers. These people are important; there are certain things that we get from them that are not monetary gains.
This is a very important matter – we need to respect our elderly. For us to say that the Government should provide social security for the old people is difficult. Sometimes we force the Government. We forced the Government that children should get free education from grade one to seven. The result was shortage of books and pens. We also said that the Government should give free health services – yes, they build hospitals but there was no money for drugs. However, if we have love and respect one another, we can be united and work together. I thank you Mr. President.
HON. SEN. MUMVURI: I also want to add my voice to this very interesting debate which touches almost everyone in here. This is one of the surest things which happen to all of us – getting old. Some of us here are retiring very soon from this august House and we expect our pensions to be paid timeously and paid every time.
This is exactly what this motion is trying to address because we will also fall victims very soon. Those who have spoken before me have spoken about factual things which are outstanding and they are there for everyone to see. I just want to agree with the objective of this motion. By the way, let me thank the mover of this motion, Hon. Sen. Sibanda and the seconder. I want to agree with the objective of this motion which is to see that the elderly receive and enjoy better care and
attention than they are currently getting in all spheres of life. It cannot be better said than what the Hon. Sen. Machingaifa has just said.
Some of the things are happening in our midst and there is no curbing of the practice. He has talked about senior citizens not receiving their respect on queues. I agree with that one. We have seen it happening all over the community. I have also seen councilors in the rural areas where we come from not treating the elderly with the respect that they deserve in the allocation of food. Instead of them getting their food at home, they also queue and sometimes they are denied the food
that is there.
Let me give you an example of my area in Rushinga; some councilors have become corrupt. The elderly people are allocated food by the Social Welfare; after the frequent allocation has been delivered, the councilors say that the old people are getting food all the time and yet we have got younger people who are not disabled, they are strong and fit and have just married each other. Maybe the woman will have eloped. The councilors now take the food allocation for the elderly and give it to this young couple. They call it rotation. This young couple does not deserve that; a 36 year old male and 27 year old female, let them stay and look for their own food. We want to discourage that and I was not happy when I saw it happening because that is mistreating the elderly. Let the elderly get their share from the Social Welfare
Department monthly and efficiently.
This motion has given specific actions or measures to be taken in order to address the problem which Senator Sibanda has mentioned here. The first one was to say a ‘review and update legislation relating to the welfare and upkeep of the elderly’. This one was said and Senator Mavhunga spoke about it to say it is our duty as Parliament and we must make these laws compatible with what is there which we see fit so that the elderly are really catered for. We must take action and I would love to see the Ministers coming to comment about this debate. At the end of it all, we want to see what they say about our recommendations. That is in line and it is our duty as Parliament.
The other action which is mentioned is to ‘embark on training and reorientation of society on our traditional and ubuntu values in relation to the rights and privileges of the elderly’. True to that and Hon. Sen. Chimhini talked about it earlier on. We must go to the concept of extended families which we have abandoned as Africans and Hon. Sen. Machingaifa has also referred to it. One community which I appreciate though it is not of our own origin is the Indian community. They are very conservative and they maintain their culture and look after their elders. If you watch ZTV frequently, there is an Indian story called ‘Seize the Day’ and another one ‘India: a Love Story’. They teach us about how to look after our elders and keep our things together as a community. They do not look for help outside. They take care of their elders and everything they do; they do so as a community.
Another action which Hon. Sen. Sibanda proposed is to ‘compensate those elderly who had their retirement annuities and pensions ravaged by rabid inflation’. Yes, we have to revise our annual remunerations or monthly remuneration to cushion the elderly payout against the inflation which is going on or even if we can manage to raise that. We cannot say people are still earning $100 or maybe $100 is too much, $50 and they have to get on a bus to access that $50. It is all eaten up by travelling. So, we must look at it. Again, it goes to the law of compensation.
I have talked about the councillors. Therefore, we must really play our part as stakeholders to help Government in order to come up with a way to alleviate this. There is no use for people to go on pension and then they do not get their monthly salaries, some even die before they get them. Last time I asked Hon. Moyo about it to say, what are you doing about it, especially in the rural authorities, Bulawayo and Harare. People are suffering and yet they worked for this money. It is not fair.
Let us all put our heads together as stakeholders. Government is the Chief player but we also must do our part as indicated by the malpractice which we are doing here. It is not only the elderly but the disabled as well.
I think this motion brings to the fore the problems which are being faced by our senior citizens and it is our duty all of us here to really advance and support the motion, and urge Government to act promptly. I want to thank you Mr. President.
HON. SEN. MAVHUNGA: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. MUMVURI: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 12th April, 2018.
THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: I notice that it
is now 1615 hours and it is encouraging that yesterday and today, we went almost the same time with the National Assembly. National Assembly should sit longer than us because they are more than us and mathematically, if half of them contribute and we also have the number of Senators contributing, they will spend four hours while we spend two hours because of their numbers. Yesterday we both debated and adjourned almost at the same time. What I have observed is that the types of motions on the floor also make people debate much longer and better. So, we have some motions where we have both sides of the political divide, debate in a sober manner and are supporting the motion. Those are good motions and when writing motions, avoid issues that are too politically partisan. Senate is composed of mature people who should be 41 years of age while the National Assembly requirement is 21 years old. So, there should be a difference even in the way we debate and craft our motions. They should show our maturity and wisdom, and I can see we are debating in an interesting manner which is very encouraging. Usually, we do not have business and it is the type of motions that we bring that creates business.
On the motion of HON. SEN. MAVHUNGA seconded by HON. SEN. MUMVURI, the Senate adjourned at Eighteen Minutes past Four