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SENATE HANSARD 12 DECEMBER 2023 VOL 33 NO 18

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Tuesday, 12th December, 2023

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

PRAYERS

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

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE

PARLIAMENTARY CAUCUS ON DISABILITY

          THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I wish to inform the Senate that in the 9th Parliament, a Parliamentary Caucus on   Disability was established and Hon. Senators who are interested are invited to join by registering with the Secretariat in office number 336, third floor, New Parliament Building.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          HON. SEN. MUZENDA:  I move that Order of the Day, Number 1 on today’s Order Paper be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the Day have been disposed of.

          HON. SEN. TONGOGARA:  I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE ZIMBABWE ANTI-CORRUPTION COMMISSION FOR THE YEAR 2022

          Second Order read:  Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission for the year 2022.

          Question again proposed.

          HON. SEN. MUZENDA:  Mr. President Sir, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          HON. SEN. TSOMONDO:  I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Wednesday 13th December, 2023.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE NATIONAL PROSECUTING AUTHORITY FOR THE YEAR 2022

          Third Order read:  Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the National Prosecuting Authority for the year 2022.

          Question again proposed.

          *HON. SEN. MAVENYENGWA:  Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to add my voice on the debate on the Report of the National Prosecuting Authority, a motion brought by the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.

          Mr. President, the National Prosecuting Authority is a very key branch of authority in the governing of this country because it ensures that things are put in order, especially criminals so that they will be prosecuted and people may live freely without fear of criminals.  So, this motion brought by the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs shows that this Government branch ensures that Government must strongly support the National Prosecuting Authority so that they may work diligently in order to ensure that all criminals are put in their right places. 

To the National Prosecuting Authority, we realise that there are a lot of things that are inadequate.  This includes materials or resources to be used, that affect the National Prosecuting staff.  They are also supposed to get better remuneration so that they may not be tempted to take bribes from criminals because this will affect the justice delivery system.  There are some incidences that were pointed out by the Hon. Minister like the delay in prosecuting certain cases including high profile criminal cases, such as fraud or other corruption related cases. That shows that there are a lot of crimes that are not being prosecuted.  If the courts are short staffed, Government must ensure that they employ more staff to ensure that the justice delivery system is carried out expeditiously. We realise that there are a lot of cases that are reported in this country but it takes too long for these cases to be finalised.

          There is the indication that prosecutors are also supposed to receive training from time to time so that they do their work diligently and expeditiously so that all cases are finalised.  We encourage the Hon. Minister of Finance to look at the National Prosecuting Authority so that they carry out their work and finish their backlog. 

          In some cases, even witnesses will end up forgetting the stories.  I am saying National Prosecuting Authority is a very integral arm of Government. Investors come confidently in this country when they hear that criminal cases are prosecuted immediately and finalised.  On this motion, I am supporting that the National Prosecuting Authority receive enough funds so that they do not face challenges in carrying out their duties. 

          We understand that now a woman is heading that Authority, Mrs. Matanda-Moyo.  We encourage her to clear the backlog that is in this Department so that the cases are cleared.  In short Mr. President, those are the things I wanted to debate on in this motion.  I thank you.

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

          HON. SEN. TSOMONDO: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Wednesday, 13th December, 2023.

MOTION

SIXTEEN DAYS OF ACTIVISM AGAINST GENDER BASED VIOLENCE

Fourth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the commemorations to mark the Sixteen Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence.

Question again proposed.

*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHIKWAKA: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to debate on this important motion raised by Hon. Sen. Mbohwa.  Mr. President, I want to emphasise certain things in life.  As Chiefs, we are also judges and we encourage people to stay in peace. What we have realised with regard to violence is sometimes we fail to find a good solution to solve it.  The women are the ones who start this violence and they end up being victims.  What they do sometimes actually invites domestic violence.  I want to give examples; a woman provokes the husband.  We have cases where the husband will be taking good care of the woman and it happens that he is chased out of employment but all along he has been taking good care of this family. 

Now that His Excellency has brought about many programmes to empower women, the women may be empowered to earn a living but now that the husband has been retrenched or is no longer working, the woman will make a mockery of her husband.  She will begin to ill-treat her husband and fails to respect her husband.  The husband will try and ask his wife why she is behaving in such a manner. They will end up exchanging words and this will lead to fights. This will end up with the woman being beaten and she rushes to court. 

Our courts do not carefully analyse these cases in a bid to help people live harmoniously so that they live in peace.  Sometimes the woman may ask for a peace order in which the courts will grant that peace order.  Sometimes the peace order bars the husband from coming back to his house which will result in the woman dominating in the marriage.  The woman will then end up bringing another man.  That brings a lot of chaos.  My point is that the issue of gender-based violence is not understood properly by people.  It is as if it is about women only each time issues of gender are brought.  If you are as unfortunate like Hon. Sen. Chief Chikwaka who has 6 girls and the wife becomes the 7th girl, there will be 7 women all grown up.  The husband will not have any say in the marriage, the wife and the 6 daughters will gang up against the husband and the husband will be miserable in the marriage.

In our culture, besides what is happening right now and the distorted thinking of people, we have a proverb that says ‘zvikoni, zvikoni, mimba haibvi nekukosora’ ‘mai havaroodzwi.’ No matter how difficult it is, you cannot cough out pregnancy, which means a woman must never be beaten. Culturally, a woman or wife has always been respected, although as usual, there are exceptions here and there, but we cannot put an umbrella and accuse everyone. 

If we cannot separate roles between a wife and a husband as well as children, their duties and their rights, sometimes we may hear  a woman being told not to come back home later than the father. In other words, the child would be allowed to do as he or she wishes. When the father tries to admonish the child, the father has no say because of that. Children will no longer listen to what the father says. In the past, the mother would spank a child for discipline, but these days, it is no longer happening. If you do that, it would be regarded as violence and they rush to report. This problem requires stakeholders to discuss on how best we should prevent this problem, because prevention is better than cure.

If we were to stay in peace in our households, we need to have that respect of roles, where the father is the head of the family and the mother should also be respected by the children. As chiefs, we are troubled by these cases and we are trying by all means to bring parties together for harmony and peace. Sometimes we come across very serious cases of violence such as people being burnt, but in the past, we were well-cultured people. These days we have lost that cultural identity. The father does whatever he wants, the mother can also do whatever she wants and the children also behave the way they like.

Sometimes, indeed as men, we are also the source of the problem. The mother works hard to look after the family, yet the father abuses whatever resource, including what is earned by the wife. My appeal is, we need to revert to our culture in order to secure our future. Our forefathers were our professors. Their teachings were on bringing peace and tolerance in the family. If you look at the Marriages Bill that we were debating recently, it is really very adversarial in terms of culture. People will be arguing and fighting because of some of those laws that we are bringing up and introducing in our culture as blacks.

Mr. President, I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Mbohwa because this may be an opportunity for us to ensure that we go back to our culture. If Hon. Sen. Mbohwa’s mother grew up to old age, it means a lot because it does not mean that they did not go through a lot. They indeed went through a lot, but there was this harmony, culture brings this harmony. Mr. President, I thank you for the opportunity.

*HON. SEN. RUNGANI: Thank you Mr. President Sir. I would want to add my voice on the motion that was raised by Hon. Sen. Mbohwa about violence in families and in the country as a whole. The violence that we are witnessing right now was not there when we were growing up. I would want to understand what is causing that. We grew up with our parents shouting at each other, but as children, we would never join the fight. The following day, the mother would still cook for her husband and the husband would eat.  So, our children are learning from foreign cultures, be it from media, it is causing them not to listen.

Every day in the media, you see the murder of a woman, a woman was axed or stabbed by a kitchen knife.  What is causing all that? As blacks and as Karangas, we should adhere to our traditional teachings. In the past, when a young couple quarreled, when one of the couples is taken back to their parents, they would listen to their parents, but these days it is no-longer the case. We have lost our culture and adopted foreign cultures.  Now we can no longer manage those cultures.  Even the owners of those cultures that we are now adopting, we find it happening in those foreign areas.  You would come across a woman who prefers to die with her child, was that happening in the past? No. So we need to go back to our culture. Our children are no longer listening Mr. President Sir. 

If they do not listen to our teaching, it means there will be violence. If a child fails to listen to his or her parents, who then would they listen to? They will become violent. As we would grow up, we listened and followed the teachings that we got from our parents. We would get disciplinary beatings. They would listen to their parents because they would be reminded that you married this person, so do not embarrass us. Men and women are being killed.

Recently, I came across a posting on the group where a fellow congregant was beaten to death by their spouse. What I have realised is that our culture would bring order to our lives. Mr. President Sir, may we try to teach our children, even if they may not listen to us. Sometimes the violence is so petty. Boys and girls would kill each other for love. A 13-year-old girl or boy can kill for love, what sort of violence is that?  So, I still emphasise that we should go back to our culture and the country should have strong laws or rules where chiefs are empowered to enforce those rules.  With these few words, Mr. President Sir, I thank you.

HON. SEN. PHANUEL:  Thank you Mr. President Sir. I would like to thank Hon. Sen Mbohwa for this motion that supports women in this country. I am very grateful because we were also taught as women that we have rights. As women, we are also supposed to go to school, dress properly and we must be loved by our men.

 Our men beat us up. If a man comes across another woman, he rejects the first wife and neglects his children and will no longer pay for their fees. The first wife is usually chased away from home and when the man has property, he prefers to give it to the second wife. Sometimes women are prevented from going to church. Hon. Sen. Rungani said that when women try to go to church, they are stopped. As women, we meet every Wednesday and teach each other, but men do not want that. Rather, they want to kill us.  Men do not want to be rejected, they stalk you and if they discover that you are in love with someone else, they may chop your head off with an axe. A lot of women are being axed in Binga because men do not want to be rejected. If something else comes up in the country, a woman is never granted rights.

I am very grateful because we sat as Women`s Caucus where we discovered that we must teach our fellow women who are under oppression to know that we have rights. Right now we are way ahead - the 50-50 representation has put us in leadership. I will not go further because I am aware that you are cannot understand my language. I thank you.

          +HON. SEN DUBE:  Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to say a few words on this motion raised by Hon. Sen. Mbohwa, seconded by Hon. Sen Shiri.  This is a very important motion pertaining to our lives.  It does not matter whether it is a man or a woman who is on the receiving end, but it is not good to abuse each other.  If we make an analysis of the statistics on abuse, it is mostly children and women who are abused.  Yes, men are abused, but not as much as the women and children.  In most cases in the media and in our society, there is not a day that passes without a report of a woman being abused.  Women are killed and girls are raped.  I wonder what has befallen us. 

In the past, it was not easy to murder, people were afraid of killing.  The family was supposed to do a cleansing ceremony and culture was adhered to.  Nowadays, a person can kill and nothing happens and no one cares.  A man can kill a woman, goes to jail, come back and marry another woman and the same applies to women. The abuse is so prevalent that you would think the world is coming to an end.  There is no trust between partners.  Couples now live like animals and fear each other because one can wake up in the middle of the night and cut the other’s throat. 

We thank all the organisations amongst us that are campaigning against GBV.  Men would say I do not abuse, but they go and drink all night and come back in the morning, which is an abuse.  One would ask for food when he has not bought the food and that is also abuse.  Women and girls are being abused and find no peace to even walk freely as the boys would stalk them and force them to do what they do not want, that is abuse.  We are no longer at peace, even the rain is not falling maybe because God is angry with what is happening.  There is blood everywhere with people killing each other.  Women kill their own husbands, her children’s father and the same applies to the men without any second thoughts.  At times, the woman will say that she is tired and deprive his husband of his conjugal rights. The man will claim that he paid lobola so the wife has to obey or do what she is being told to do. All that is violence and people do not realise that when a woman is tired, she has the right to refuse conjugal rights because she is a human being. The traditional leaders must be empowered to ensure that they lead in bringing harmony in families to stop this violence. They are supposed to try to ensure that people live in harmony and peace. In the past, chiefs used to be instructive. Chiefs or traditional leaders should lead. We should live in peace and harmony. Sometimes someone who has committed murder - punitive sentences should be meted out to stop these offenders. Any one who commits murder, be it a wife who kills the husband or husband who kills his wife, sentences must be deterrent to ensure that neighbours may not emulate that. The society should learn a lesson from the deterrent sentences. People must not take murder as a way out of marriage. Anyone who murders a spouse must rot in prison instead of coming out and moving on. It is important that the sentences must be deterrent enough.

          If only lawmakers can ensure that such laws are deterrent enough. Culture must be followed and traditional leaders must be consulted if such a case happens. If a murder incident takes place, they must be asked on how they used to cleanse the community because the families must be brought together to ensure that issue is resolved. These days we no longer follow culture. We think when someone dies, that is it but families must be united; the family that has lost a member and the family that caused the death.

          The traditional leaders play a key role especially with regards to GBV. Yes, we have heard of several murder cases but our traditional leaders must take a leading role. If there is such an incident, it must be just one or very few instead of hearing of five or so murder cases in one community as if it is something to emulate. It is because tradition will not have been followed. The traditional leaders must be empowered to ensure they do what they used to do in the past. Those incidents must be countable not common. Life is sacred and murder is taboo.

I thank Hon. Sen. Mbohwa for raising the motion. I hope it will go through and be adopted to ensure that women or men are protected because this GBV is too much. Sometimes you come across a woman swearing in front of people that she can easily kill her husband. We heard Sen. Chief Chikwaka saying that. Indeed, sometimes women no longer respect their men regardless of the equal rights being advocated for, they are meant for work and business opportunities. There is need to teach people on how to live peacefully and harmoniously. Men should not take a woman as a slave when they marry because he paid lobola. You should regard her as one of your own just like Eve being taken from Adam’s ribs. With these few words, I thank you Mr. President.

          *HON. SEN. MUPFUMIRA: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to add my voice on this motion brought by Hon. Sen. Mbohwa. It is very important. I also applaud contributions brought earlier by other Hon. Senators. Mr. President, my focus is mainly with regards to young children, especially the school going age. There is a lot of violence taking place. Some of the violence of harassment is taking place between teachers and students who are supposed to be their caregivers yet we find a lot of harassment, especially in higher tertiary institutions. This is sometimes because they have not enough resources to match the standards around and end up falling victim to their caregivers.

          There are a lot of cases where children are being raped and some of these places are very common; Hopley, Epworth, Hatcliffe and so on. Sometimes children are abused by men who come well-dressed in suits and pick or choose some of those little girls who stand in queues to go and rape them yet they are supposed to be taking care of them. It is so disheartening to realise such things are happening. We have come across on social media that sometimes young children run away from their families or homes and they are being taken care of elsewhere by men old enough to be their parents. I used to come across such little girls while doing my duties and asked them how they survived, and they would say we are given money by men who come and pay very insignificant amounts like a dollar for the whole night. That is being perpetrated by responsible men.

          I would like to come to another issue and the law says the age of majority is eighteen but sometimes we come across incidents where they are married off at a younger age before they reach the age of 18 and abused by members of the family or their fathers. As women, sometimes we fall short in that instance.  In communal lands, we are seeing children going into forced marriages. Forced marriages that have the approval of their parents.  As mothers, I think we are failing our children.  Once our children have been raped, in most cases, they are raped by relatives and members of the family.  At times it becomes even apprehensive for a man to be left with his own daughters.  Fathers are raping their own daughters.  At times when my brother has raped my daughter, I would want to ensure that nothing is done to the offender. 

Children as young as nine years old have given birth.  The range also goes to 11 and 13 years.  If you go to Msasa Project, you will feel pity for these children who have been impregnated either by their own biological fathers or by those that are not their fathers.  There should be an end to this. 

In other provinces, rape cases are much on the higher side.  At times if one has been raped and they go to court, no one can prove this person has been raped.  At times some of these cases are swept under the carpet because even if they go to court, they will be humiliated and they will hurt more.  At times they choose to keep quiet.  Children are now being look after by their grandmothers, by so doing, we are destroying the life of that child.  As we were growing up, we knew that we would be expected to look after our parents because we would be educated.   What will become of these children that we are raped at nine years and 11 years?  The home is supposed to be a sanctuary, it is supposed to be a safe haven but if the rape is occurring there, where should we turn to?  I urge the Hon. Sen. Chiefs in this particular House to ensure that they look into the issue of rape.

Most of the victims of rape are women, although there are exceptional cases of men that are raped by women.  Our physic in most cases tells you it is difficult for a woman to rape a man and in most cases it is vice versa.  To the chiefs who will be adjudicating over these cases, I urge them to be fair and not apportion blame to the woman because it is the woman who is usually accused of being the causative agent or the agitator. 

If you look at what is happening, women sell at the market place and they are responsible for the upkeep of the children.  Men can even get a second wife while urging you to use the money that you are raising to look after the family.  A woman is a human being, she also has feelings.  We urge men to collaborate with women that you should not steal from them in the home, you should not steal the proceeds of what they have earned.  The country can be constructed by the owners and the owners include men, women and children.  It does not belong to the men alone.  We need to work together so that our country can be developed.

In the communal lands where we plant maize, l was told by men that the proceeds were used to purchase beer and to look for other wives.  You would find that they would be left with nothing to buy the inputs with when the rain season starts.  If we do not get anything from the Pfumvudza programme, nothing comes out.  It is being abusive of you to take the produce that has been produced by someone and sell it and then misuse the funds.  The money should not be expended at the growth point but should be directed to useful things.

In the past, yes, women used to cook and they were full time housewives but now women are working.  We get home and we will also be tired as professionals.  We urge this august House to educate our children that they need to be able to do household chores such as washing plates regardless of the sex.  Once our children are modelled on the role that each one of us can do any of these chores, there will not be any difficulties when these children become adults and they get into married life.  People no longer live well in these houses because of the sophistication that we are getting from the western culture.  Chiefs should help us to ensure that we go back to our traditional ways.  In that same process, when getting into our culture we should not oppress the women because the women are the ones that are working.

Rape is destroying children’s lives.  We have a Constitution that calls for gender parity in all spheres of Government and public sector.  Where will the girl child go when they have been raped at a tender age and are unable to proceed with their education?  It therefore means women will forever be fewer in these top-notch jobs.  Let us preach this gospel to the people that they should live well.  We need peace and harmony in these marriages.  We need our children to be educated and they should not be disturbed from their schooling.  Let there be enlightenment that rape should be stopped especially against school children.

Yes, it is true there are sugar mummies.  We do not condone that.  It is a bad practice because sugar mummies take advantage of the innocent school boys.  The maids or the house boys that look after these children are abusing the one-year olds and the three-year olds.  They are being raped by their keepers.  There should not be 100% trust to the keeper of the child because the keeper of the child is not their parent.  They should see how good these children are performing and they should be able to report to us on who would have tampered with them and which part has been tampered with so that we can attend to them early because they may not appreciate that they may have been violated.

I would like to thank the mover of the motion and that we should also go ahead and teach in terms of good culture and do away with the culture of rape or abuse.  Thank you, Madam President.

*HON. SEN. KATUMBA:  Thank you Madam President for giving me this opportunity.  The majority of my points on this motion have been said by the previous speaker.  What I am saying is that gender-based violence has become topical in this country and it is now in excess.  There are also people that are raping children.  My Grade 1 niece was raped as she was just going to school.

We urge men to be faithful and also us as women.  There was a man who was in a love triangle involving a daughter and a mother until the father had to find lodgings for the daughter at the growth point.  Such behaviour causes a lot of acrimony between the mother and the daughter and as a result, the family would be at war.  There would be no peace.

We urge our chiefs like Hon. Sen. Mupfumira has said, traditional leadership, that is the chiefs and the village heads, whenever there is a court that they are holding, they must preach against the gospel of gender-based violence.  The same should be done in churches.  My view is that whenever there is a gathering, you should speak against gender based violence because it is not only happening in the home, even outside when one is walking, people will just start whistling at you as you are moving and they start insulting you especially those who are responsible for loading commuter omnibuses also known as mahwindi.

Gender based violence is not good.  We should live in harmony and we should be loving so that our country can develop.  Thank you, Madam President.

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

          HON. SEN. MOHADI: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Wednesday, 13th December, 2023.

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. TSOMONDO: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Wednesday, 13th December, 2023.

On the motion of THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR HARARE PROVINCE (HON. SEN. TAWENGWA), the Senate adjourned at Twenty-Five Minutes to Four o’clock p.m.

 

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