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SENATE HANSARD 12 APRIL 2022 VOL 31 NO 34

          PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Tuesday, 12th April, 2022

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

PRAYERS

(THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE in the Chair)

ANNONCEMENTS BY THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE

ERROR ON THE ORDER PAPER

THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE (HON. SEN. MOHADI): I wish to draw the attention of the Senate to an inadvertent error on today’s Order Paper, where the Printer retained Order of the Day, Number 7, which related to the Committee Stage of the Pension and Provident Funds Bill [H. B. 17A: 2019], which was passed last Thursday.

Consequently, Order of the Day, Number 8 which is adjourned debate on motion on the reply of the Presidential Speech would now be re-numbered as Order of the Day Number 7.

BILL RECEIVED FROM THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I also wish to inform the Senate that I have received the Zimbabwe Independent Complaints Commission Bill [H. B. 5A: 2020] from the National Assembly.

MOTION

MEASURES TO RESUSCITATE THE ECONOMY

First Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the need to come up with measures to resuscitate the economy.

Question again proposed.

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

HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 13th April, 2022.   

MOTION

EFFORTS TO CURB CORRUPTION

Second Order read: Adjourned debate on motion to introduce deterrent sentences for those engaging in corrupt activities.

Question again proposed.

+HON. SEN. A. DUBE: Thank you Madam President for affording me this opportunity to add my voice on the motion which was raised by Hon. Sen. Tongogara.  This is a very important motion which deals with corruption.  Corruption has destroyed our country.  If we look closely, corruption is not done by only one person but it is done by two people.  You will find that someone at work will be given whatever he or she is given as a bribe by some people around there.  Then the person who will be at work receives this bribe because he/she needs the money, so he or she accepts the bribe.

Corruption is destroying our country because everywhere, we find that there are a lot of devious things which are taking place which destroy our State.  The President provides aid to assist the people but   this aid is being diverted and is sold on different platforms.  It is now surprising that the things that are issued by Government so that they could assist members of the public are being sold, which is not a good thing.

Aid from the Government is not supposed to be paid for.  There are a lot of ways in which corruption is taking place.  Corruption is destroying our development in most of the places and you cannot see the development which is taking place.  This corruption is perpetuated by the citizens of this country and other citizens are not exposed so they are not arrested for being corrupt.  We thank the President for putting a Commission in place that handles and deals with issues of corruption.  We see that the President is interested in ending corruption in this country of Zimbabwe. Corruption has taken a grand stand.  Even at food courts, there is corruption.  The prices are just altered and lowered if someone they are afraid enters.  This shows that corruption is almost in every place and corner.  In the queues at the banks, there is corruption.  There are now people who go and queue at the banks early and sell their positions to people who arrive late.  There are people that even force people to board buses that they do not want so that they get money. 

Madam President, there is corruption everywhere.  I do not know which step the State can take to curb corruption.  The responsible commission that looks into issues of corruption should be supported.  Also as citizens, we are supposed to support the Government in fighting against corruption but it is the other way round, we are protecting corruption and increasing it. 

Corruption is like a disease that is destroying the country.  Every evil thing that has happened in this State is caused by corruption.  Everyone is now self-centred.  People just want to fill their pockets without thinking about the other person.  People think that it is now the norm that life is supposed to be conducted. This is a very important motion that needs all of us to get united and end corruption. 

If you see someone getting involved in corrupt activities, we should report them to the authorities for them to be punished.  It is supposed to be a sentence that is set aside which will serve as an important measure and deter people from engaging in corrupt activities.  If people are scared of exposing corrupt activities, there are suggestion boxes that can be used at post offices.  These can aid in reporting  corruption cases.  If anyone has seen something of a corrupt nature, they can also write a paper and deposit it in these suggestion boxes.  Some people are afraid of being whistleblowers for fear that they can be harmed.  If there are suggestion boxes for people to report violence and corrupt activities, this could also assist us as a nation. 

Corruption has clenched its jaws even to the young people.  If you ask a child to do a task, they ask how much you are going to give them.  For now, to send a child without giving him money, they will refuse to do the task.  The generation that we have now is filled with violence and corruption. 

With these few words, I would want to say this is a very important motion, especially to us leaders who represent the people.  It is important that we assist people and if we see any corrupt activity, we should report it.  The Government should also create awareness platforms so that if people see corrupt activities, they should report them.  The practice that people are asked to pay for them to get aid from the Government is not the proper channel.  People will blame the Government that it is giving them food and they ask them to pay. I support the motion that was raised by Hon. Sen. Tongogara.  Thank you. 

*HON. SEN. CHISOROCHENGWE:  Thank you Madam President for according me this opportunity to add my voice to this motion that was moved by Hon. Sen. Tongogara.  I would want to thank all those that debated on this motion.  Indeed, this is a good motion.  Corruption has destroyed the country.  It has now become a cancer.  Be that as it may, people speak against corruption but are involved in corruption.  For one to acquire a national identity card, one has to pay their way on to the line.  As a result, those that do not have the money and cannot pay those that work there, especially people who travel from the communal lands to urban centres, are unable to obtain passports and national registration cards. 

The President is on record saying this country can be built by its owners.  It is my observation that as owners, we are also destroying our own country.  A lot of corrupt issues are being reported in the newspapers but we never get to hear the end of the corruption case.  As a result, it is not acting as deterrent.  Corruption must be dealt with and it must be uprooted.  You can go to hospitals and you cannot access drugs.  However, you find a person who is employed at that particular hospital administering drugs and also injecting people.  Where would they have acquired the drugs and medicines from? The Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Home Affairs should ensure that our practices are corrupt free and that all those that are involved in corrupt tendencies are dismissed. 

During the time of COVID, people were not allowed to move around but you would see a vehicle passing through a road block where they were supposed to deny the same vehicle access.  They simply pay their way through.  These corrupt tendencies permeated every one of us in Zimbabwe.  We need to put an end to corrupt tendencies because there is no Government Ministry that is not involved in corrupt tendencies.  A lot of people are making their living out of corruption. 

In our communities, children are being raped and reports made at the police stations but nothing comes out of that because the accused will pay their way throughout and it is the poor man that suffers.  If a rich man commits offences against the poor, they will not get justice.  Everyone has a duty to ensure that we fight corruption.

          Corruption is now a problem.  The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission must be properly remunerated so that they cannot be bribed and that they will not prosecute corrupt accused persons.  Let us fight this cancer together, I thank you.

          +HON. SEN. D. M. NDLOVU: Thank you Madam President for the opportunity given.  Corruption is a very painful issue. The issue of corruption is difficult because it strikes at the epicentre and for us to get over this, I do not know what to do because we have a challenge where people in the law-making process are the ones who are pushing it more. If you are to go to hospital to seek for medical attention, doctors are also involved in corrupt tendencies and this ends up complicating the health of our patients.  In most cases when a doctor is supposed to make a certain procedure, they always make it a point that they push time until the patient gives up. Once money is involved, the procedure is not followed accordingly because the one who pays money will always jump the queue.  Hon. Senators also have a problem with service stations because if you go to fuel stations, those that pay money are attended to first.  In the end you will be told that there is no fuel yet those that come when you were in the queue are served whilst you follow the queue. 

          This is what we call corruption, and it is one of the major challenges that we are encountering as a country.  It is indeed painful like what the previous Hon. Senator said that if you send your child to buy something they are not given enough change, they will pocket the rest.   This is why we say corruption should be nipped straight in the bud.  In most cases you hear quite a number of people who have been arrested due to corruption but if one is to find out what happened to the arrested people, the cases just die a natural death.  At the end of the day there is no trace to the cases.  My plea is that our Government needs to make it a point that they arrest everyone who is found to be involved in corruption despite their position in society.  In other instances, when the communities are supposed to pay a very minimum amount for receiving Presidential aid - the figure is sometimes exaggerated to some people and those corrupt people cause deliberate delays so that people continue to pay more money.  Therefore, it is very difficult to deal with corruption because the epicentre is the one that is worsening things. 

          If you do not pay anything you will not get the services you want and that has to be addressed.  In criminal cases, quite a number have gone scot-free and there is no trace on the disappearance of certain documents.  The same happens to lawyers and these are the worst corrupt people because they charge exorbitant figures for legal consultations.  Some people are not able to stand for themselves in courts and not because they have enough money.  They claim to be diverting their duties or create time for you so that they charge more and this is a major challenge for our country.

Madam President, even when armed robberies and housebreaking cases are reported and the criminals are apprehended, funny enough those cases just die a natural death because of corruption.  Different Government institutions including the political environment, quite a number of issues are not addressed accordingly because of corruption.  Are we saying corruption is good as a country forgetting that it does us no good?  It is a challenge for our country because corruption cases are rising. This ends up having people saying our Government is failing to deal with issues of corruption. These are the few submissions that I wanted to add regarding this motion.  I thank you.

*HON. SEN. MOEKETSI: Thank you Madam President for giving me the opportunity to debate this motion.  I want to go into the merits of the motion that was raised by Hon. Sen. Tongogara on the subject of corruption in the country.  In truth, corruption has destroyed our country.  Corruption is likened to a clay pot that has a crack.  If the crack is not stopped, it will lead to the destruction of that particular clay pot.  It is akin to the corner that has a crack on the wall of a house.  If it is not attended to, the house will collapse.  That is how our country has collapsed.  Corruption started as an insignificant thing started by two or so people.  Can we say Madam President that we have graves of people who died because of illegal mining which is done in a corrupt manner?  If they bring $10, they are given a pit to mine.  They enter the pit today and the following day they will be dead.  As we speak, the President said land should be allocated to people but there are some people that have now become wealthy as a result of land.  When you go there and say I have observed that this piece of land is not being farmed, may I be allocated, they will tell you it is already occupied. But if you go behind the back with $20, you will get the piece of land.  Corruption has destroyed the country.

If I go to a school with my child who requires a place for form 1 and I do not have a bribe, the child will not secure a place.  It started as something very small but it has grown to large proportions.  This is similar to the crack on the clay pot which needed to be attended to in time.  A stitch in time saves nine.  The poor are being taken advantage of by the rich.  When you go to a market where tomatoes are being sold and you do not bribe them, the farmer who will have brought the tomatoes has no power over the tomatoes she/he will have brought to the market.  At the market place, you will be surrounded by animals that are bent on surviving.  I urge those that are looking into putting an end to these corrupt tendencies to put their heads together.  I also wish that the President could hear our dissatisfaction and plea concerning corruption.  The people that are involved in cracking down corrupt tendencies should be well paid so that they are not tempted to look aside by the perpetrators of these offences because they will have been given a bribe.   Corruption has killed this country Madam President.  Fraudulent and dishonest activities are destroying this country.  There is nothing that we are capable of doing today without paying a bribe in this country.  If the truth be told, when people tell you that there has been a death next door, that is the only time they will be telling the truth, though at times they will be lying.  I urge all of us to put our heads together as Zimbabweans, as a country.  As an august House, let us put our heads together.  We have a Commission but as an august House, I urge us to put our heads together.  Wherever there is corruption, we should accept that there have been corrupt activities and not ask for evidence and just end the enquiry.  We need to put our heads together to build our country.  We need to say the truth and once we start saying the truth, our children will also tell the truth.  If we desist from criminal activities, our children will also not be criminals.  It does not end where I will have committed a corrupt activity but even at home, my children will also hear me talking about corrupt activities and they will also want to follow my footsteps. 

There is also the issue of RTGs and the US$ rate which is a serious challenge.  Anyone is free to name their price because they will be having sacks full of money.  They demand whatever they want because they will see the desperation.  However, we are destroying our country and making each other suffer.  We look at our money like a newspaper but other countries are proud of their currencies.  The South African Rand at one time was less powerful than our Zimbabwe dollar.  We are no longer paying much credence to the value of our dollar because of corrupt activities.  The council of elders is urging us to put our House together.  The elders of this august House which exudes wisdom should work together to end corruption.  I thank you.

          *HON SEN. DENGA: I want to thank Hon. Sen. Tongogara for the motion that she has moved on the subject of corruption. Corruption is now the order of the day. It is becoming a way of life for people of this country. If you look at all our ministries, there is a lot of corrupt activities taking place such that the Anti-Corruption Commission is a small unit. It needs to be enlarged and expanded to be able to deal with corruption in Zimbabwe because everyone is now corrupt.

          Yesterday as I was listening to the radio, I heard that at Parirenyatwa Hospital and Sally Mugabe Hospital where women are supposed to receive free maternity services, they are supposed to get beds when it is delivery time. It is very difficult for one to get such a bed because of corrupt tendencies. There is a nurse that I spoke to and they said that they require US$20 for one to be able to receive a bed so that they are able to get assistance when they go into labour. If you do not pay the US$20, you sleep on the floor until delivery days. It shows that there is rampant corruption in the Ministry of Health.

          If you look at the recruitment of soldiers and police officers in the Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Defence, corruption is rampant in the recruitment process. People are being made to pay US$50 in order to be recruited. In my home area of Chikomba District, this was revealed when there was recruitment of soldiers recently.

          On major highways in our country there are now soldiers and police officers manning the roadblocks. When mushikashika passes by, both the soldiers and police officers go there. If an Hon Member’s vehicle passes by, they turn a blind eye. If you drive along Chinhoyi Road, you may come across four roadblocks. One wonders as to whether there is no communication that the roadblocks are too close to each other. You cannot have a motorist being stopped just outside Harare and at Nyabira. Before one gets to Chinhoyi there will be another roadblock. Some are illegally operating these small roadblocks in the middle of the night. One day I witnessed a roadblock which was mounted in the middle of the night when it was raining. It would appear as if they are making a living out of that. Maybe we may need to look at their remuneration.

          On the issue of rehabilitation of roads, there are contractors that are being given these contracts to rehabilitate roads but you find that some of these contractors do not even have a grader or caterpillar. They have no equipment. All they have is just their vehicles but they are given a tender to construct a road. I once witnessed a contractor complaining about 200 litres of diesel which had covered 40 kilometres.  The contractor showed that he had no knowledge of road construction but got the contract corruptly because they are known to the ones that are awarding tenders.

          If you look at Grain Marketing Board, one brings their maize and they are told that there is too much moisture which is at 12.7%. But when one brings their maize with moisture content at 13% they are accepted. This is all because of corruption. If you go to ZIMRA, the couriers of this world like malayitsha are bringing in goods into the country without the owners of the goods presence. Household goods such as beds and television are able to cross the border without any duty paid because corruption will have taken place. That is why some people are using short-cuts, going through bushes and others will be found in possession of firearms.

          There is also the issue of child trafficking. A bus leaves Harare and picks people in Rusape and children without passports go through Zaka area and pick up people from as far afield as Chiredzi and they are able to do these hot deals because there is a lot of money behind it. However, are they able to go past the border through the security of soldiers, police and ZIMRA? They go past because they will have paid bribes to be able to access their entrances. Drugs are passing through these borders because people are paying bribes. Firearms also pass through the same borders and these arms are a threat to our national security.

          It is my appeal to the President that if there are people who are involved in corrupt tendencies, they should be called to order and be told that it must end now; we should open up a new chapter. Those that are now involved in corruption should be arrested and dismissed from work. That way, our country may go forward. I thank you Madam President.

          *HON. SEN. KOMICHI:  Thank you Madam President for giving me this opportunity to add my voice to this debate in terms of corruption.  I want to thank Hon. Sen. Tongogara the mover of the motion.  What I have observed Madam President, is that in 2021, there was a survey about corrupt countries where 180 countries were assessed in terms of corruption level.  The country with the highest level of corruption was Syria followed by Somalia.  In Syria there is war, there is no stable Government, people do as they please, there are no strong institutions, the same applies to Somalia, and there has been no Government for quite a number of years.  It has been difficult to come up with a strong Government.  Those are the findings in terms of corruption the world-over.  Out of 180 countries, Zimbabwe was 157 as a corrupt country. 

We see that it is in terms of established Government and institutions; it is in the same bracket with Somalia and Syria.  Denmark and Singapore have very strong governance systems, they have very strong economies, poverty is not rife in those countries, and they live well.  Those countries that I earlier on mentioned, life is difficult in Syria and Somalia as we speak right now.  Madam President, corruption is rife in our country.  It is everywhere, everywhere you go there is corruption.  I see that Government has engaged police officers and ZACC, it is akin to drawing water with a tin that has a hole, it will never be full.  It is akin to say the fish that is in the water should not drink water.  They are in the water, hence they drink the water. 

Madam President, Zimbabweans are in a corrupt environment, an environment that is conducive for corruption.  For us not to be involved in corrupt activities we may speak against it the whole day, from morning to sunset but as long as the environment that is conducive to corruption is not eliminated, the corruption will continue to rise.  Extreme poverty is the driver of corruption; 49% of Zimbabweans live in abject poverty, 70% of Zimbabweans are poor because of unemployment.  Our children go to school but mothers who are vendors are finding it difficult to survive because the economy has gone down.  Can we say we are capable of putting corruption to an end   -what measures would you have put in place? 

Members of Parliament have given several examples of Home Affairs, Immigration and so forth that there is corruption.  I say they are corrupt because of the salaries that they are receiving.  If civil servants are poorly paid, corruption will be rife as a result of them wanting to live.  Our economy has gone down, corruption will be difficult to deal with because people are suffering, if you want a place at school, you must pay to secure the place.  There is need for one to pay wherever you go.  I believe even today Members of Parliament are even ashamed of producing our pay slips.   If you are going to come across corrupt tendencies, you are going to be involved in corruption because the little money that you are earning does not allow you to buy groceries for two weeks.  Once afforded an opportunity, you will also be involved in corrupt tendencies.  Corruption will never come to an end no matter how we cry. 

Madam President, one day I gave a lift to a police officer.  He asked me why he was  going to work and I said you are going to work to earn a living, it was raining and he showed me 18 000 as part of his pay which appeared on his pay slip.  He said once given an opportunity to be corrupt you will accept the bribe.  We should take this task and place it squarely on the shoulders of Government.  It is their duty to ensure that corruption ends.  If Government fails to solve the economy of this country, corruption will not end.  It is in Government where we are facing the highest challenge of corrupt tendencies.  Government should take its responsibilities, if you are ruling you must ensure that you do things that enable people to live.  Corruption also deters investments to the country.  A lot of rich people will think twice about coming to invest in Zimbabwe when we are rated number157 out of 180 countries in terms of corruption.  

Madam President, Government can come up with the budget but because of corrupt tendencies they will come up with several supplementary budgets.  Corruption will ensure that this country does not develop no matter what we do.  The President might run, work and sweat; he is very energetic, he is in Chivi, Victoria Falls, Singapore, he is all over, he does not rest. Hardworking as he is and the First Lady as well; she is hard working, she is all over the show to ensure that there is a turnaround for the better.  For as long as we remain without meaningful answers, our country will remain struggling. We may mourn or groan but we must come up with an everlasting solution in terms of the economy of this country.  We may go to elections, removing one another from power but corruption will not end.  We may shout at one another or arrest each other but corruption may not end.   There is need for solutions for this country to go ahead and develop.  The solution that I have in mind is that Government should take its leadership role in calling for a national dialogue.  National dialogue will bring in a solution that is wholly owned by Zimbabweans and we do away with this idea of fighting or insulting one another and start building the economy of this country.  We must be focused and give one another ideas in terms of how best we can deal with our economy.  Once people are paid properly in our local currency, the currency will become strong and jobs will be abundant, commodities will be affordable, surely you will see corruption going down.  Zimbabwe will move from number 157 up to 130 or 140 instead of the 157 we are currently at in terms of corrupt countries. The solution of the economy lies in the revival of our economy.  We need to sit down together, have a political dialogue; come up with a solution, united as one family.  Then we can approach anyone for investment and they will come and work with us as a united family.  I give this task to the President and Ministers who are here that they should take ownership of this problem and be able to turnaround the fortunes of this country.

We may arrest one another and jails will become full. In those jails, there is also corruption.I was once arrested and I was asked to pay US$60 so that I get a blanket.  These are difficult situations.  So my appeal to the Ministers here present and the President of the country is to take charge. If we are united, even investors will come and invest with us and the solution of the country is there.  I thank you.

          *HON. SEN. SHUMBA: Thank you Madam President for affording me the opportunity to add my voice on this motion moved by Hon. Sen. Tongogara.  This is not the first time that there has been debate on this particular motion.  I remember there was also a report last year that was tabled in this House, which was also talking about the same issue of corruption. 

          As has already been said by others, Hon. President, corruption is rife in Zimbabwe countrywide.  The Hon. Member who spoke before me said it is the responsibility of the Government, through its Ministers to ensure that there is common purpose and that there is national dialogue but I tend to disagree with him because there are some people who want to see people suffering.  There are some people who befriend Whites so that they can see their own people suffering.  They do so inherently on the fact that it is the Government that suffers.  However those who suffer are our relatives.  This is what has led to corruption.

          That is why it is said that people suffer because of poor salaries.  Even us Senators, we are poorly remunerated.  Why are we in this situation?  Is it not because of the sanctions that were called for by some of us?  Why do we not simply deal with the issue of sanctions, let those who called for them go back to their Whites who have imposed these sanctions on all of us.  Will this not lead to a reduction in corruption because once it is done, the sanctions are removed everything will be good.  I hear some people saying that there are no sanctions and the like.  They believe these sanctions are self proposed but it is the causative agent of the suffering by the people of Zimbabwe.  This is what has led to Zimbabwe having a poor economy and this has fueled corruption.

          I do not believe that it started a long time ago.  This country was enjoying a good economy but when we all wanted to become rulers of this country, we then brought Whites on board so that they can impose these sanctions on us.  We need to be united and once we are united, we go and say to our Whites, we do not want the sanctions anymore.  We start from there and then we can see how best we can grow.  The country is now affected, there is no money; there is no good economy.  Others would be smiling while others are suffering.  This is where corruption started. 

          We may debate the whole day but my considered view is that we need to be united. We need to forget the past and forget about the appetite to want to rule because we do not know if corruption will be eradicated once one becomes President.  We have to be united.  We need to first remove the sanctions.  Once the sanctions have been removed, we need to then look and see where we were lost.  Whites are no longer with us here, we are inviting them to make us suffer.

          I was listening, processing what was being said and realised that there is something which is controlling our economy, which is sanctions.  It might please us but we are not all pleased with those sanctions.  I do not know how corruption can be put to an end.  I was thinking that we need to have strong prayers so that we can become united.  There is only one being who is capable of doing that and that is God.  Corruption is rife and it will continue being there because of the sanctions.  The sanctions are hurting, God help us so that we can live in harmony and think about re-building our country.  I thank you Madam President.

          HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: Thank you Madam President. I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Wednesday, 13th April, 2022.

MOTION

FIRST REPORT OF THE THEMATIC COMMITTEE ON HIV AND AIDS ON THE IMPACT OF COVID-19 PANDEMIC LOCKDOWN RESTRICTIONS ON HIV AND AIDS SERVICE DELIVERY SYSTEM IN ZIMBABWE

          Third Order read:  Adjourned debate on motion on the impact of COVID-19 pandemic lockdown restrictions and HIV/AIDS service delivery system. 

          Question again proposed.

          *HON. SEN. DR. PARIRENYATWA:  Thank you Madam President for giving me this opportunity to add my voice to the motion that was raised by Hon. Sen. Kambizi.  The motion is very good.  It remained on the Order Paper and it is a good thing for people to continue debating about it.  The motion speaks to the impact of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions on HIV/AIDS service delivery system.  There is need to carry out an investigation as a country so that we can draw some lessons for posterity. 

Madam President, COVID-19 and HIV/AIDS are in existence. We still have COVID today.  We hear that there are some new variants detected in Botswana.  In Europe and China, it is still there.  We are now getting into our winter in June and July.  There will be a lot of colds and flu, so we should continue wearing our masks properly.  Those that have not received the first and second doses of vaccination should get vaccinated.  There are some who have not received the third jab, they should go and receive it.  We urge Zimbabweans to get vaccinated because prevention is better than cure. 

On the issue of HIV, we urge people to be faithful to a single partner and should there be challenges, they should use protection.  Condoms are easily accessible and should be used.  If you are HIV positive, you should continue taking your medication so that your viral load would not increase.  The same applies to pregnant women so that they do not pass infection to the child.  COVID and HIV are both stigmatised.  If one contracts COVID, the entire family will be placed in isolation.  There was caution but there was a lot of stigma.  This is what happened to people who were first infected with HIV.  These two conditions suffer from stigmatisation.  However, both conditions are getting better because there is now treatment and people are no longer required to disclose their status. 

I have observed that if you are HIV positive and you contract COVID, it appears that your medical condition worsens.  That is where there is a link between HIV and COVID. It is a co-morbidity that affects you when you are HIV positive, especially if you are no longer taking medication.  We have encountered cases where HIV patients refused to get vaccinated.  We are saying there are vulnerable groups and they ought to be vaccinated.  Also, diabetes and tuberculosis patients should be vaccinated against COVID as well as the elderly.  This is because our immunity is now low due to our advancing ages. 

We have observed that during lockdown, those that are on HIV treatment had difficulties in accessing their medication.  That is how COVID impacted on HIV.  It was difficult to visit laboratories to get their viral load checked.  It was said there was a danger of contracting COVID at health institutions.  Children were not going to school.  This increased teenage pregnancies, contraction of STIs and HIV.  We should investigate our children to find out what happened because a lot of things happened during that period.  If you are HIV positive and get COVID infection, your mental status gets compromised. That is where there is a smash between HIV and COVID-19 morbidity, especially when you are no longer taking medication, you will have serious challenges.  People must be vaccinated for COVID-19, especially the vulnerable groups like people with tuberculosis and diabetes should be immunized from COVID-19 as well as elders in this august Senate, our immune system is no longer strong because of our ages. 

          We observed that during lock down, those that were on HIV treatment had difficulties in accessing their medication because of COVID-19 restrictions.  It was difficult for people to go to the clinic to be tested for viral load despite the fact that people with HIV had greater risks of contracting COVID-19.   School children have a higher risk of contracting the disease also, especially those in boarding schools. 

          There were also cases of gender based violence and teenage pregnancies.  A lot of things happened during the COVID-19 lockdown period Madam President.  Mental status will be compromised if you are HIV positive and can also contract COVID-19.   We were in a difficult situation.  It is whereby you can knock at the door and you will fail to remember why you knocked at that door.  After sitting down then you recall what you were doing, it is because of being HIV positive and contracting COVID-19 at the same time.  We also surveyed other countries on issues to do with drug abuse; we saw that they were almost similar to Zimbabwe. 

          What is the magnitude of this drug abuse? As a country, what are we doing? There is an inter-ministerial task force on drug abuse but as Members of Parliament, as usual we must be engaging.  There should be a board in Parliament that looks at such issues so that when Hon. Senators go to their constituencies they will teach people about drug abuse.

          On domestic violence, we noticed that people that used to spend less time at home like the husbands, because of COVID-19, they had to spend more time at home.  Some couples were engaged in conflicts; instead of getting together and loving each other, they resorted to violence. Those that were in love found ample time to love one another, and those that did not love each other ended up fighting.  We experienced gender based violence on both sides; men and women. The lockdown impacted on social interactions, diabetes patients, COVID-19 patients and HIV patients.

          This also impacted on commercial sex workers as men were locked indoors by their wives, so they did not get money during the lockdown period: is this positive or negative to the country?  If they are no longer having income then how do they look after their children?

          Lastly, I plead with this august Senate that COVID-19 and HIV are still in existence, our health sector remains threatened and we must allocate more funds to the health sector.  The money that was going to COVID-19 must continue to be channeled to the health sector despite the fact that COVID-19 is now on the decline.  I thought I would add my voice on this motion and I thank you.

          HON. SEN. KAMBIZI: Madam President, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Wednesday, 12th April, 2022.

MOTION

SECOND REPORT OF THE THEMATIC COMMITTEE ON HIV AND AIDS ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE ANTIRETROVIRAL THERAPY (ART) ROLL-OUT PROGRAMME

          Fourth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the implementation of the Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) Roll-Out Programme.

          Question again proposed.

          HON. SEN. KAMBIZI: Madam President, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          HON. SEN. MATHUTHU: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Wednesday, 13th April, 2022.

MOTION

CONDOLENCES ON THE DEATH OF HON. SEN. SIMON KHAYA MOYO

          Fifth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the untimely passing on of the late Senator for Matabeleland South, Hon. Sen. Simon Khaya Moyo.

          Question again proposed.

HON. SEN. KAMBIZI: Madam President, thank you very much for affording me the opportunity to debate a special motion that talks about somebody special and I am talking of none other than the late Hon. Sen. S. K. Moyo, a national hero.  What makes this man very special is his contribution towards the liberation of this country and the sacrifices he made for this country to get independence.  I also want to thank Hon. Sen. Mathuthu for coming up with this motion.  Fellow members of this House debated at length, but I feel I would like to add some flesh and a few other things that I feel were left out; his contribution to Zimbabwe after 1980, the appointments that he got in both the ruling party and in Government.

The Late Hon. Sen. S. K. Moyo was born on 1st October 1945. The late gallant son of the soil skipped the border of this country in 1968 headed for Lusaka in Zambia.  Upon arrival in Lusaka, he was directed by ZAPU leadership to take up studies with the University of Zambia and he did that and studied for a Diploma in Social Sciences. Immediately after that in 1973, he enrolled with the University of Makerere in Uganda where he studied for a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Sciences, which he passed with an Upper Second Class Honours and is testimony of his intelligence.  Accordingly, that same year in 1973, he was appointed ZAPU representative in Uganda.  In 1975 on his return to Lusaka, probably as payback time for what he had been doing, he was appointed Secretary and Special Assistant to yet another gallant son of the soil the late Dr. J. M Nkomo.

He then went for military and intelligence training in Germany and had refresher military courses in Cuba and Russia.  On his return, he was appointed to serve in the ZAPU Revolutionary Council.  Madam President, because of the intelligence, education and military training that he got in various countries, he had to travel with the late Dr. J. M Nkomo to attend the Geneva, Malta and Lancaster House conferences as a Special Advisor.  In 1980 when we attained independence, he was duly appointed Assistant Secretary to the Ministry of Home Affairs.  In 1983, he served as Undersecretary in the Ministry of Justice.  In 1984, he was appointed Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health.  Accordingly, in 1989 he was awarded the Liberation Decoration Medals for his role in the liberation of Zimbabwe (Gold and silver).  In the same year 1989, he was chosen to be head of Corporate Affairs of Zimbabwe Development Trust, a trust that had been founded by Dr. J. M. Nkomo and he was also elected Member of the Central Committee in the same year.  In March 1990, he was elected Member of Parliament for Bulilimamangwe South Constituency.  As an MP, he served in the Public Accounts Committee and the Indigenisation of the National Economy Committee. In 1992, he was appointed Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce.  In 1994, he was re-elected Member of the ZANU-PF Central Committee and thereafter appointed Deputy Secretary for Administration in the ZANU-PF Politburo.  In 1995, he was appointed Minister of Transport and Energy and in 1997 to July 2000, he was appointed Minister of Mines, Environment and Tourism.  In 1997, he was also appointed Deputy Secretary for Legal Affairs in the Politburo and in 2001, he was appointed to go and serve as High Commissioner to the Republic of South Africa and to the Kingdom of Lesotho, a post that he served with distinction.  I just want you to see the type of person this gallant son of the soil was. 

The late Hon. Sen. S. K. Moyo was an adept writer.  His first book was “Mr Speaker Sir” a compilation of his speeches in Parliament and beyond.  His second book was “Service to my Country”.  Between the period 2011 and 2014, he was the National Chairman of the ZANU-PF party.  In 2017, he was appointed the Minister of Media Information Broadcasting Services.  The late national hero and gallant son of the soil was instrumental in the independent sovereignty of this country and its Land Reform Programme.  When the late national hero passed on, he had worked tirelessly for this country. The national hero status was befitting for such a gallant son of the soil.  May his soul rest in eternal peace.

          THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Just a point of correction. Hon Senator S. K. Moyo was never a Speaker in the august House. He contested as Speaker in 2008 in a rerun of the post and he lost to Hon. Lovemore Moyo. It is just a point of correction.

          *HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: Thank you Madam President for affording me this opportunity to support the motion which was raised by Hon. Sen. Mathuthu on the death of Hon. Sen. S. K. Moyo on 14th November 2021.

          Firstly, I would want to thank the parents of Ambassador Simon Khaya Moyo for being able to send him to school because those days, very few blacks were able to go to school during the colonial era.  After he was sent to school, I want to thank him for remaining a true patriot by not looking down upon other people. I want to thank the likes of Ambassador Moyo because of the education which he attained and the opportunities that he got during those difficult times. There are very few who remain humble after getting educated that they would work for their country and uphold their kinsmen.

          We have heard about his history that he went and joined the liberation struggle when he was a young man. Because of his education, he had a choice not to join the liberation struggle, but could have looked for a job. As I have alluded to before, he had his country at heart. He loved his people so much that he wanted to bring change to the country.

          We heard from the chiefs that he respected the chiefs because he was a well mannered child. He was brought up well and he knew that he was human. We know that in our country, our chiefs are community leaders, so he respected the chiefs. We missed a lot during his illness and when I am standing here, I can visualise him sitting on his chair. Despite being ill, he would attend all sittings and he would be cheerful. He did not show that he was sick and could not come to work. He was always here, being cheerful and participating in everything that took place in this House.

People like Ambassador Moyo are not very common. These are people who love their country. These days, very few people love their own people. I want to thank him for the works that he did. We have heard about his history that he was once an Ambassador outside the country and he performed his duty well, making sure that people from Zimbabwe are living well. When he was an Ambassador in South Africa, he did all his best to enable our people living in South Africa to live well. A person like that should be honoured and respected, especially for the work that he did.

As Senate, we really lost a good person of the likes of Ambassador Simon Khaya Moyo because of his experience and keenness to ask. We learnt a lot from him. I want to say may his soul rest in peace and may the Lord continue to look after his family because he is the one who can only do that.

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

HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 13th April 2022,

MOTION

PREVALENCE OF DRUG ABUSE BY YOUTHS

          Sixth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the devastating effects of drug abuse by youths.

          Question again proposed.

          (v)HON. SEN. S. MPOFU:  I want to thank the mover of the motion.  I have noted that what caused people to use drugs most of the time are the elders; they point in a direction that people are supposed to drink alcohol and smoke dagga and being engaged in other various illicit activities.  In the end, children think that taking a lot of alcohol and smoking of dagga and substance abuse is something to be adored.  As adults, we are supposed to protect the children and not to allow them to be involved in drug activities and even show them that we drink in public spaces before their eyes. 

          Hon. President, the other thing that caused this is the places that we come from and our backgrounds.  There are people that are mentally disturbed.  This disturbance of mentality is caused by substance abuse and it ends up even being transferred to the children.  This bad habit is taken by children even at schools, to imitate adults in substance abuse be it in the form of smoking or drinking.  We should as adults make it a point that we know the whereabouts of our children.  If as adults we are not concerned about where our children are going, this freedom that we give them end up bringing other friends and start doing unscrupulous things as if it is the proper way of living. 

          Mr. President, whilst if the parent knows where the child has headed out to, and upon return questions him or her about his trip, it can help and protect in stopping drug abuse.  What also causes drug abuse is that these substances are being sold in the streets.  I am surprised, where are the law enforcement agencies at such times when people are selling illicit substances like drugs on the streets?  Even in rural areas, there are now people that are selling these drugs.  It is worrisome - we need to encourage the law enforcement agencies that they should arrest those that sell drugs in the streets so that they can be incarcerated. 

          The other thing that causes drug abuse is stress and poverty.  When people see that they do not have groceries, they end up abusing drugs or they think that drinking could assist them in their sorrow.  There should be an awareness that once one tastes drugs you get addicted and will have to live with it for the rest of your life.  Long back, elders would have time with children and educate them about their future.  As for now, it is no longer being done in that way.  You witness that when people get to their homes, everyone is preoccupied by his or her own activity.  Elders will be busy watching television.  There is no longer that set-up that parents and children meet on around table and try to advise each other on matters of life. 

          Mr. President, my opinion on how to end drug abuse is that we could educate these youngsters that are still going to school and show them that drugs are not good at all. Also monitor their movements to get to know who they are with and know their friends whom they play with.  This is done so that you know that if your child has gone out you will know the character of the person he has gone out with and his interests.  As a parent, if you feel that your child is not playing with good company, advise the parents of your child’s friend that the child is practicing bad habits and he or she can end up influencing my child. 

          Mr. President, children are now abusing even bronco which is cough medication but they are now using it for drugs.  Pharmacists are not supposed to allow youngsters to purchase medicines without a doctor’s prescription because they end up using these medicines as drugs.  Both parents and guardians should lead as an example and be role models before their children. They should not take beer or get drunk before the eyes of their own children because this will end up portraying bad image in front of the children.  I have noticed that most countries have places known as rehabilitation centres.  These are places where children who have been heavily affected or addicted to drugs are taken to so that they withdraw from taking drugs.  It is now important that here in Zimbabwe we have such centres so that children and youngsters who are now addicted to drugs can be rehabilitated through education on the disadvantages of drug abuse. 

          We are appealing to the Minister that such places be set up so that our children addicted to drugs can be taken to these places.  Even in schools, children should be educated on the dangers of substance abuse.  This should be part of their curriculum, from a tender age, they should be educated on drug abuse until they reach university level.

          Our police officers should be visible in each and every ward the whole country.  There should be a police station in each and every ward so that children are taken there if they do not listen to their elders on the issue of drug abuse.  Children should learn to respect and fear the police officers.  Even the village heads and traditional leaders should be given powers to arrest people who sell drugs to children.  Even in rural areas, the issue of drugs is now dangerous.  Selling of any substance that leads someone to be drunk should be a crime and should stopped with immediate effect.  Our children are now at risk in this country because of drug abuse.  They cannot even dress properly.  You will see their trousers on their knees.  I thank Hon. Sen. Dube for raising such a salient motion because it helps our country to develop. I thank you.

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

          HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Wednesday, 13th April, 2022.

MOTION

PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS

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

          Question again proposed.

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

          HON. SEN. MKWEBU: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Wednesday, 13th April, 2022.

          On the motion of HON. SEN. MUZENDA, seconded by HON. SEN. CHIEF MAKUMBE, the Senate adjourned at Twenty-one Minutes to Five o’clock.

 

 

           

 

 

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