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SENATE HANSARD 12 OCTOBER 2023 VOL 33 NO 6

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Thursday, 12th October, 2023

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE in the Chair)

Hon. Sen. Zindi having stood up with the intention to go out of the Chamber whilst the Hon. President of Senate was calling for notices of motion.

          THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Order Hon. Senator, I thought you wanted to give a notice of motion, you should wait until I finish.

          Order, we have Cabinet Ministers in the House, let me take this opportunity to welcome the Minister of ICT, the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, the Minister of Provincial Affairs in the Office of the President and Cabinet and the Minister of State for Harare.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE

           *HON. SEN. MAVENYENGWA:  My question is directed to the Minister of ICT, Hon. Mavetera.  What is Government policy regarding boosters in outlying areas like Mwenezi, Chikombedzi and Chiredzi because such areas have not been having communication boosters for a long time?  It is difficult to communicate with people in such peripheral areas.  What is Government planning to do regarding the issue of boosters in those areas which have been left out since independence?  I thank you. 

          *THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY (HON. DR. MAVETERA): Good afternoon Madam President.  Let me thank the Hon. Senator for the pertinent question. Indeed, you were focusing on Mwenezi which is quite a specific question but I am not going to be specific, I am going to speak regarding Government policy concerning boosters.  As Government, we have plans to work on tower relocation, working with technical people like Econet, NetOne and Telecel.  The plans that we have include taking boosters to places which have been left out for a long time and we are going to be adding network coverage.  We have been using 4G technology but now we are going to 5G because there are areas which were under 4G coverage but now with 5G coverage.  We have plans to work on satellite base stations which will provide satellite connectivity.  That is the plan so that the rest of the country benefits from network providers.  I thank you.

           *HON. SEN. MAKAMBA:  Thank you Madam President.  My question is directed to the Minister of ICT.  Let me say congratulations Hon. Minister as a person who works in an industry which falls under your Ministry.  His Excellency saw it fit to appoint you the Minister of ICT.  There are provinces with many radio and television stations and there are some which do not have, for example in Mashonaland Central.  Manicaland does not have any, is there any policy regarding the allocation of radio stations to a province …..

          THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Order, order Hon. Senator.  I do not know which Minister you are asking that question, the Minister for ICT is not responsible for radio stations but the Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services. That falls under the purview of a different Ministry.  May you ask a question which is relevant to the Ministry of ICT? 

*HON. SEN. CHIEF MANYEPA: My question is directed to the Minister of War Veterans. I believe that mid-last year, there were people who were interviewing people who contributed towards the liberation struggle of Zimbabwe. The detainees, restrictees, collaborators and some were asked to open accounts and we were told to buy lines and phones regarding that. I wanted to find out how far the programme has gone so far?

*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF THE VETERANS OF THE LIBERATION STRUGGLE (HON. MAVHUNGA): Thank you Hon. President. Let me congratulate you for being appointed the President of Senate and I want to congratulate other Hon. Senators for being given the mandate to represent people in this august House. I want to thank Hon. Sen. Chief Manyepa for asking such a pertinent question regarding the welfare of war veterans and collaborators. Indeed, that question is a question which is at the heart of His Excellency, the President.  During the first days of the 2nd Republic, His Excellency decided that it was pertinent to review the War Veterans Act so that the welfare of war veterans is considered. 

In that regard, the law was brought to the august House and the law was covering war veterans, war collaborators, restrictees and detainees through the War Veterans Act [Chapter 17:12]. That Act then speaks to identifying those who are collaborators and the database of war collaborators was created. There were so many of them and then there was a vetting process which looked at how the different members contributed because war veterans and those who trained outside the country knew each other. Those who were collaborators were collaborating in different ways. Some were collecting information, buying clothes, and some were doing different duties.

So, for vetting to be done, that had to be done in the areas where these people were operating from and this was tedious and time consuming. The vetting process was done and those who were outside the country who were in training camps and some in refugee camps who are non-cadres were also put in the database. Through the new law, non-cadres and war collaborators were added to the database and the total number of people was not vetted, but there are other new people who had not submitted their names and they submitted later. Now we are in the process of requesting for money so that the rest of the people who were not vetted, proper processes and due diligence be done. I thank you Madam President.  

*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: Thank you Madam President. I have a supplementary question. Hon. Minister, I am satisfied, but in rural areas people do not know what is happening. Some are asking questions where they are and there is no feedback which is going to the communities. So, it is important that communication is done so that people have relevant information. Are there any plans for such communication to be done?

*HON. SEN. MAVHUNGA): Thank you Madam President. I want to thank Hon. Sen. Chief Charumbira for that pertinent question. Indeed, such programmes are there, but for now our Ministry as you are aware, had offices at the provincial offices although we have decentralised to districts. We have plans of disseminating information using our structures so that everyone becomes aware of the programme, so please be patient. We are going to bring information to the stakeholders. Thank you.

*HON. SEN. TSOMONDO: Thank you Madam President for affording me the opportunity to ask my question. Before asking my question, let me thank Government. We know that there are people who have chronic diseases like liver, cancer and our Government hospitals are treating people with chronic diseases for free, we appreciate that. My question is to the Minister of Heath and Child Care and if he is not available, to the Leader of the House. We have people who have liver problems who go through dialysis. They travel long distances from rural areas like 100 kilometres for them to be treated. Some go to Parirenyatwa Hospital and some to Sally Mugabe Hospital for dialysis twice or thrice per week. Is there any plan to have places in districts and provinces where people can access dialysis machines? We need machines in provincial hospitals and district hospitals. I thank you.

*THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR PROVINCIL AFFAIRS IN THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT AND CABINENT (HON. MATUKE): Let me start by congratulating our Senate President for being appointed and voted for and indeed, it is good that women continue holding such high offices. The question that was asked is quite pertinent. The Government of the 2nd Republic did a lot of projects especially in hospitals. Before addressing the question that you asked, Government has invested a lot of money to assist those who cannot pay for their medical services, but the Government, through the Department of Social Welfare, is taking people to India and other places. Last year, thousands of dollars were channeled towards the treatment of such people. Indeed, it is Government policy to continue bettering our hospitals.

Our hospitals are dilapidated. We have hospitals like Parirenyatwa, Sally Mugabe and Mpilo. The machines have deteriorated, but new machines are coming in. The Government is addressing that. The question that you asked regarding diseases like liver and diabetes, these are chronic illnesses and this is an important question. We are looking forward at receiving new machines to treat the people in district and provincial hospitals. I thank you for that question because it is going to encourage the Ministry to reach out to such hospitals so that people do not travel long distances to access health services. Thank you.

          HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: Thank you Madam President.  I also want to congratulate the new Ministers who have been appointed by the President to be office bearers.  I wish you well in your endeavours – [HON SENATORS: Hear, hear.] – My question is directed to the Leader of the House because the Minister of Home Affairs is not around.  What is the Government policy on mushikashika vehicles which are causing accidents in the CBD, by driving through red robots and careless parking?  I thank you.

          THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR PROVINCIAL AFFAIRS IN THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT AND CABINET (HON. MATUKE): Thank you very much.  I think it is quite an important question raised by Hon. Sen. Tongogara.  For the past three weeks, there was an operation to clean up all those vehicles.  As I am standing here, the operation is still ongoing.  I think more than 2 000 vehicles were impounded by the police for various reasons.  That operation is going to continue until the city is clean; until everything is in order.  It is just a matter of time; the police are taking care.  The operation is ongoing.  I thank you.

          HON. SEN. ZINDI: Thank you Madam President. Let me take this opportunity to congratulate you on your re-election together with your Deputy, Hon. Sen. Nyambuya and everyone else in the portfolio of Ministers.  I congratulate you all and all Hon. Senators. 

          My follow-up question is, I would not know whether through you Madam President, Leader of the House would agree with me in the sense that what I observe personally is more of lack of enforcement by the police to ensure that there is order in the cities other than the blitz.  Yes, the blitz has dealt partly with the problem because we have had so many blitzes but still, there is the problem of lack of discipline by drivers, motorists, particularly kombi drivers, the mushikashikas. 

          We have also seen buses, like ZUPCOs joining in.  They stop at non-designated places for embarking or disembarking of passengers.  All the other buses that have joined ZUPCO, which were invited in order to enhance the fleet of the ZUPCO, have also joined.  My observation is that there is lack of enforcement.  This happens right under the nose of the police officers standing right next to that bus stopping at undesignated places.  What would you say?  Would you concur with me that it is not the blitz only that can deal with that problem because we have had so many blitzes?  On lack of enforcement, what could be done in terms of ensuring that the police do their work?  Thank you.

          HON. MATUKE: Thank you Madam President.  I am sure it is a good contribution, but not really a question, to increase the enforcement so that we come up with an environment where our traffic will behave in a way which we can respect as a nation.

          Also, do not forget that urban centres, enforcement is not only coming from the police, the city councils are also part of that force.  The police come in when they think they need to augment or supplement the services which were supposed to be done by the city fathers.  So that blame can be shifted to the city fathers.  Police, yes can enforce, but they will be just assisting the local authorities.  They have by-laws to control traffic and when they fail, then police will come in to assist.  So, everything will be done to make sure that there is peace in towns in terms of traffic.  Thank you.

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT OF SENATE

VISITORS IN THE SENATE GALLERY

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I wish to recognise the presence in the President of the Senate’s Gallery, of students from Mahombekombe Primary School, Kariba. You are most welcome. - [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.]-

          +HON. SEN. NYATHI: I would like to thank and appreciate your coming in as the President of the Senate for another term.  I would also like to welcome our Ministers and my fellow Senators whom we are meeting for the first session on the Question and Answer segment.  I want to direct my question to the Minister of Energy and Power Development.  My question regards schools that do not have electricity. What is the Government planning to do with regards to electricity in schools since children are now learning online?  I thank you.

          *THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR PROVINCIAL AFFAIRS IN THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT AND CABINET (HON. MATUKE): Let me also respond in Shona.  This is quite a pertinent question.  The issue of electricity is an issue which is being addressed.  The Government is looking at a situation where schools without electricity have solar energy so that they can receive the same education that is being received by other children. They are examined by the same board regardless of where they come from, hence they should be assisted in that regard.  So, the Government is seized with the solar power provision matter because with the coming in of the Second Republic, these are key issues that we are going to address in the five-year mandate that we have been given by the electorate.  These also feed into Vision 2030.  So, such schools are going to be receiving solar power and they are going to be at par with those in urban areas.  I thank you.

          *HON. SEN. ZINDI: Thank you, Madam President. The people from my constituency have highlighted challenges that they are facing with Continuous Assessment Learning Area (CALA). Children are given CALA, which has to be researched on the internet and requires other accessories, which require money; the CALA is quite voluminous that children are working up to midnight, as a result, they do not have time to rest. The CALA was brought into the system whilst teachers were not well equipped and trained. As a result, parents have been burdened with teaching children at home more than the teachers do at school…

          THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Order Hon. Senator! May you please rephrase your question for clarity purposes?

          *HON. SEN. ZINDI: I wanted to explain so that I contextualise because these are questions that are received from the electorate.  My question therefore is, how are we going to be helped as parents for CALA to be palatable taking into cognisance the issue of researching using electronic means?  Some of the parents do not have electricity and hence do not have access to the internet.

          *THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. T. MOYO): Let me start by thanking Hon. Sen. Zindi for that pertinent question.  Indeed, as a Government, we find such complaints coming regarding the Continuous Assessment Learning Area (CALA).

  As a Government, we have deep-rooted programmes.  We set a date in May, this year under the programme Curriculum Review which every parent, student, and all the stakeholders in education go to their nearest school to submit their inputs regarding CALA and other curriculum issues. CALA falls under the competence-based curriculum and this curriculum at the moment ended on the 30th of September last year and parents brought their submissions. After bringing their submissions, this was done in line with Section 141 of the Constitution which says that before implementing and reviewing anything, we go to the people. So, the consultation process was done and let me promise this august House that Government is left with a short period of time.

          We gave a task to consultants who are reviewing and analysing everything that was said by parents including CALA. In the next two weeks, I am going to receive a comprehensive paper which indicates the needs of the parents. I cannot say that we are going to remove CALA, but we follow what people want. So indeed, for Grade 7 pupils, they have a lot of work doing CALA. So, multiplying 5 by 6 you get 30 which is quite voluminous for children and it is a burden to them.

          When we receive feedback from the consultations that were done, the Ministry is going to convene a meeting where we will give feedback to stakeholders. The feedback that we are going to give will be drawn from the views of the people. In the past, we know that when we were going to school, there was only one project at secondary as well as university level, but you find pupils doing 30 projects which are quite tough. We are going to implement the views and contributions of the people. I thank you.

          HON. SEN. MOHADI: Allow me to congratulate you and your Deputy for being reelected as our President and Vice President respectively in this august House. Also allow me to congratulate all the Ministers and Deputy Ministers that are here today and all of us who were elected to this House.

          My question is directed to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education. There are a lot of natural disasters that are occurring and a lot of schools have been destroyed by wind or heavy rains. As a result, our children are learning and studying in the open. What can be done so that those classroom blocks are be repaired quickly?

          THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDCUATION (HON. T. MOYO):  I wish to thank the Hon. Member for the question concerning the natural disasters and calamities that are affecting our schools, particularly the issue of classrooms that are being destroyed by wind and storms. Our Ministry has got complementary funding to the tune of US$5000 for primary schools and US$10000 for secondary schools. These are funds that are availed by development partners and I would not want to name them. If they write letters to our Ministry, we are in a position to assist those schools that would have been affected by natural disasters. I thank you.

          HON. SEN. KAMBIZI: Allow me to ride over all the congratulatory messages that came across. In the absence of Minister of Foreign Affairs, I will direct my question to the Leader of the Government Business.

          It is envisaged in NDS1 that Government will implement international cooperation programmes to improve international relations. In that regard, may the Hon. Minister favour this august House by explaining the strategies or programmes being undertaken by Government through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to improve diaspora participation in national development of this country? I thank you.

          THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR PROVINCIAL AFFAIRS IN THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT AND CABINET (HON. SEN. MATUKE): Thank you very much for that complicated question, but I will make an attempt to try and answer the Hon. Member. If I hear you well, you are trying to find out how our diasporans can participate in the national development of our country. It is a question which I can attempt to answer because it is not for Home Affairs but Foreign Affairs.

          His Excellency, Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa has come up with a programme that whenever he goes out of the country, he engages our diaspora community in every country. He has never failed to meet a group of our diaspora communities. Recently he was in New York and he met quite a number of our citizens there. That alone is giving our diasporans enough space to engage with Government so that they can develop whatever they want.

          There are a number of programmes where His Excellency is trying to assist our fellow citizens who are not in Zimbabwe by encouraging them to invest back home. The programme is ongoing and that was the initiative of the President and it is going to help the diasporans to have space in the development our nation. I thank you.

          HON. SEN. A. DUBE: Thank you Madam President for giving me this opportunity to ask my question. Let me start by saying congratulations Madam President for being reelected to the position of President of Senate. You were not in the House when I congratulated you.

          My question is directed to the Minister of Home Affairs and in his absence, I will redirected it to the Leader of the House.  Cases of robberies and murder are increasing everyday in our beloved country, how is the Ministry addressing issues of public safety and reducing crime rates in Zimbabwe?

          THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR PROVINCIAL AFFAIRS IN THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT AND CABINET (HON. SEN. MATUKE): The issue of robberies and theft are common in every country. As for Zimbabwe, I am sure you have seen a lot of road blocks which the police are mounting to curb the increase of robberies. In a number of cases when robbers come to Zimbabwe, most of these robbers go back to hide in the neighbouring countries. Everything is being done to try and curb the increase of thefts and robberies in our communities.  I want to give a good example where they have had several contacts with police officers and in most cases you have seen them in gunfire exchange.  Our country is quite alert that there is an increase of robbers and the police is doing everything to make sure that they reduce the rate of robberies.  Thank you Madam President.

          *HON. SEN. CHINYANGA:  Let me start by congratulating you for being re-elected as the President of Senate.  I want to thank His Excellency the President for empowering women.  I want to direct my question to the Minister of Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development.  I thank His Excellency the President for giving us this Ministry since Independence in 1980.  We live in rural areas Hon. President.  We do not see the significance and relevance of this Ministry.  We hear people in Harare saying that they have received loans and other things.  When we go to the Women’s Bank which is said to benefit women, we submit papers, but it seems as if us as leadership are not doing anything. 

          My question to the Hon. Minister is, when is this going to change and when are women in rural areas going to be empowered?  I live in Mashonaland East in Murewa.  I thank you.

THE MINISTER OF WOMEN’S AFFAIRS, COMMUNITY, SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES DEVELOPMENT (HON. SEN. M. MUTSVANGWA):  I want to congratulate you for retaining the position as the President of the Senate.  I also congratulate the Deputy President of Senate, Chiefs and the Hon. Ministers in this august House. 

The question that was asked by Hon. Sen. Chinyanga is quite pertinent.  It speaks to the empowerment of women through Government programmes.  That is why the Ministry was established.  This Ministry was given SMEs which includes small businesses, cooperatives and informal sector - the vendors.  There is one thing that I am proud of, Zimbabweans are organised.  The Government policy is that no place should be left behind or anyone who is left behind in Government projects and initiatives.  My Ministry is happy to assist women with capital, including some who might not have collateral.  That is why the Women’s Bank was formed in 2017.

Madam President, the bank was formed in 2017, but there was insufficient money to assist in capital financing for women in consortiums and different businesses.  Government saw it fit, so that the Ministry of Women’s Affairs has officers at ward level who would teach and empower women because when a woman has an idea, it does not necessarily mean that the project is successful.  I appreciate that Government has such officers. These officers could not access different peripheral areas; sometimes we are told to reduce gender-based violence, early child marriages and abuses at school.  It is important to empower the Ministry with resources so that we empower DDOs in every district. 

The President values the Ministry even women and girls. We received vehicles to give to our DDOs so that they will be able to access different areas.  When they receive telephone calls, they should be able to reach all corners of the country.  Some are getting bicycles so that Government programmes succeed.  The commitment of the President and Government is high.  There is also SEDCO which is doing a good job in empowering women through loans.  The Ministry indeed needs quite a substantial budget. As we go towards the budget process, may I urge the august House to advocate for the Ministry of Women’s Affairs to be given a substantial budget.  This should be emphasised so that the bank gets capitalisation. 

We do not end there by complaining that we are not capitalised, we are not going to work, the painful thing is what the Hon. Senator said and it is something that I have heard also.  The Women’s Bank generated a lot of interest and people opened accounts, they wanted to get loans so that they start their businesses. Not all those who applied got loans.  The big issue is that we faced many challenges.  We were affected by COVID-19 pandemic and it reversed a lot of programmes.  As we approach this year’s budget, we need a lot of capitalisation.

When the bank starts programmes working with partners, the Women Macro Finance Bank of Zimbabwe and the Ministry of Agriculture got 600 tractors which are going to benefit women farmers. We are going to ensure that women are empowered so that they can pay back even the loans.  Government policy is that we should permeate every corner of the country.  There is no peripheral area which is going to be left behind.

Let me invite Members of this august House that on the 14th of October, 2023, we will be in Chiredzi, the whole country.  Women will be show-casing their projects.  This is a United Nations calendar programme which is meant to commemorate and celebrate the job that is being done by women in rural areas.  Many of us come from rural areas.  We are going to capitalise them through funding, training them on technical skills making sure that they can do their jobs, making good food, beneficiation and valuation and promoting the growth of peripheral women and this will also help those in urban areas.  I went to Murehwa in Magaya Village and there is a centre of excellency, a centre where abused children in the community can go and find shelter including those who want to learn digital skills. We have financial inclusion which needs girls to be empowered for them to be on line, and to establish markets where they sell their products. We have a lot of centres like that, Shelters for Women and Girls. We have safe markets in Masvingo, there is a crèche and there is a clinic for women who have different health challenges. Thank you.

*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: Hon. Minister, you spoke about what has been happening in the past. These are projects that have been running for five years and so we cannot talk about the past. Women’s issues need a workshop. Please organise a workshop for leadership and female parliamentarians so that such issues are addressed. The other issue is that of funding. You are new in the Ministry and we sometimes do not understand the funding. We need to know how much is needed in 2023 and how many beneficiaries are there? We need statistics whether it is in Murehwa, Chiredzi and other areas. Such statistics need to be given to the august House and there should be a breakdown of the funds.

These are public funds and Parliament should get a report regarding the utility of the funds and tangible projects which Parliament should be aware of looking at what beneficiaries are doing. Perceptions are quite important because sometimes people might feel that these projects are meant to benefit leaders only, but these are community projects which are meant for the communities.

Sometimes you find that some have three cellphones in towns and they receive funding. My supplementary question is, what do you plan to do Hon. Minister? We want to know the different strategies. We have no confidence in what has been obtaining. Thank you.

HON. SEN. M. MUTSVANGWA: Thank you Madam President. I want to thank Hon. Sen. Chief Charumbira. Indeed, what he is saying, women are the majority in gender community development and SMEs. So, my point is that I have found a lot of good that has been done in the Ministry. What we have started, as a new Minister, the most important thing is to listen to the people. The big job that I am doing since I started is that stakeholder consultation should be the first thing. I spoke about SMEs and we have spoken to their leaders looking at their aspirations. Zimbabweans are patriotic people who love their country and who want to see progress.

We also spoke about cooperative movements. We want to understand the challenges they face. We spoke about cross-border traders who are very organised. Some go to South Africa, Zambia and other countries. They have structures. We also spoke about the Chamber of Women in Mining who also have their concerns. We met women in agriculture and SMEs in agriculture. What you spoke about Hon. Senator, let me clarify that what you said is quite important so that we convene a meeting with Hon. Members of Parliament and traditional leaderships, having leadership workshops with different stakeholders concerning the protection of the girl child.

These are issues which are in our plans. When we are going to Chiredzi, I would like to request your presence Hon. Sen. Chief Charumbira for you to come and see the Mutewo value addition in Chiredzi. We have women who benefited from the Ministry of Women’s Affairs. I believe that when you are saying that you are not aware, I believe visibility might be the issue. When I went to women in mining, the Zimbabwe Chamber of Women, people were given prices for exporting. These are women who were taken and empowered by Government. So, we are going to move together so that you come and see what Government is doing towards the empowerment of women and SMEs. I thank you.     

Questions without Notice were interrupted by THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE in terms of Standing Order No. 67.

HON. SEN. KAMBIZI: I move that time for questions without notice be extended by 15 minutes.

HON. SEN. ZINDI: I second.

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: The time is extended by 20 minutes.

*HON. SEN. ZINDI: Thank you Madam President. My supplementary question is that we appreciate the Women’s Bank and what has been done so far. Is it possible for the Hon. Minister of Women’s Affairs to bring a breakdown of the allocated budget in the previous year and how money was used in the ten provinces? I believe this will help us when we receive such a report of the past year in the annual budget. It will remove the perception that nothing is moving because we would have received statistics. Thank you.

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I believe your question is that you want statistics. Is it possible Hon. Minister?

HON. SEN. M. MUTSVANGWA: Indeed, it is possible Madam President because where there are statistics, I believe that you will see because you have evidence.

HON. SEN. D. M. NCUBE: Thank you Madam President. I would like to congratulate you and our Ministers. My question is directed to the Leader of the House. Mr. President, we have seen at robot-controlled intersections, particularly in Harare, small children some of whom are visually impaired and others sitting on wheel chairs knocking on people’s cars asking for assistance. Do we have any policy to deal with that sort of community? If yes, why do we make that sort of thing continue? Thank you.

          THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR PROVINCIAL AFFAIRS IN THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT AND CABINET (HON. MATUKE): Thank you Mr. President Sir.  I would like to thank Hon. Mackenzie for such an important question. I am sure we cannot let police arrest our vulnerable members of the community. We would rather try to assist them in a manner that would give them dignity.  In most cases, those people whom you see around the streets, most of them are child-headed families.  Some are orphans.  All the same, we are discouraging people from roaming the streets, begging for food and whatever resources and begging from motorists or anyone.  We all know that Government has got almost one or two homes in every province that can accommodate the vulnerable children so that they receive education and have enough food. 

I think through the Department of Social Welfare, a lot is happening to try and convince those vulnerable members of our communities to go to those homes.  A good example is Chambambati which was established by the First Lady.  We had almost at one stage cleared all the vulnerable members of our society who were loitering in the streets to that home.  The problem is they are used to roaming around, normally they would find their way back into the streets.  The position is, we will try to advise the Department of Social Welfare to make sure that consistently, they go to the streets and try to persuade those vulnerable members of our society to go and get Government support from quite a number of homes we have throughout the country.  I thank you. 

          HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: Thank you Mr. President. My question is directed to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education.  The first question is, we still have students who sat for ‘O’ Level examinations, whose results were suspected to have been fraudulent as a result of stolen or cheating.  Some have been held for years.  Havana maresults asi vakanyora.   Can we have a final determination whether they have been nullified for them to move forward?

          The second one, we have people in the Ministry who are teachers.  Umwe anondo sevenza kuBinga, murume ari kuMasvingo, do you not have a policy that assist them to work at the same school or nearby schools?  You know what happens if husband and wife are separated for long.  Ndiri kuvona ivo pachavo vachitsvakana, kuti iwe uri kuBinga ini ndiri kuMasvingo, can we swap.  Minister you may be aware and I know you are aware, vanhu varikutengesa nzvimbo US$1 000, kuti chiuya pano pendiri toinda kuMinistry tondoti, tinoda kuswapa.  We cannot have such a society, ndibhadhare kuti ndigare nomukadzi wangu kana nomurume wangu, just because the Ministry cannot see the need to move these couples nearer to each other.  Is there no policy kuti mubatsire vana, corruption yanyanya?  I thank you.

          THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. T. MOYO): Thank you Mr. President for this opportunity.  Also, I want to thank most profoundly Hon. Sen. Chief Charumbira for the two questions. 

Regarding the first question of results that were withheld mainly on the basis of suspicion that they might have cheated during examinations; in 2022, we experienced massive leakage of examination papers, which happened in our schools, particularly, Matabeleland South was the epicenter. That is where the leakages started.  People were selling examination question papers throughout the country.  Some of the questions were sold online and people made money out of that.  That is against the law.  Investigations were done, whereby Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education had to engage members of the CID and CIO.  There were suspects and one of the recommendations that was done for those suspects was to withhold their results.

          I appreciate the concerns made by the Hon. Member that determination has to be given and also that we need to give a time frame for the investigations.  So, I want to promise this House that we are going to look into this issue.  I am yet to look at the results of their investigations to establish the students that were affected.  Maybe I will also invite the Hon. Member to give us the names of students who did not receive their results so that Ministry officials may establish why they have not been given their results. If it is related to examination leakage, then we should be able to give determination.

          For the second question, it is a priority for Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education to practice de-centralisation in terms of recruitment.  Currently we have centralised recruitment, where someone is deployed in Matabeleland North and the spouse is placed in Manicaland.  Obviously, one of them would want to join the other.  The policy is very clear.  The policy is that we encourage couples to teach at the same school.  As soon as we have proof that they are legally married; they have a marriage certificate, we are able to assist.  The Human Resources Department can easily assist that couple so that they work at the same school.  I thank you.

          HON. SEN. CHIEF SIANSALI: Thank you Hon. President.  My supplementary is on the aspect of proof of marriage, having a marriage certificate.  Is it that the Ministry and Government does not recognise our culture on customary marriage because so many marriages we have do not have marriage certificates but they will be married customarily?  Are we now Europeans on that issue?  I thank you.

          HON. T. MOYO: Thank you Hon. President.  I wish to thank our esteemed chief for that question.  Our Zimbabwean laws do recognise customary marriage.  As long as there is proof that the couple is married customarily there should be no hurdles as to why the couple cannot be teaching at the same school.  So as long as there is proof, Hon. President, then we should be able to assist.

          *HON. SEN. RUNGANI:  I would like to congratulate the Senate President for coming back, Ministers and my fellow Senators.  I want to direct my question to the Minister of Local Government and Public Works.

          What is Government policy in growth points and rural areas looking at the pegging of stands by Rural District Councils in rural areas where people have been inhabitants for a long time?  

          THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR PROVINCIAL AFFAIRS IN THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT AND CABINET (HON. MATUKE): Thank you Hon. Senator for the pertinent question.  The Government policy is that no one should be left behind.  When Rural District Councils, through urban sprawl crowd into rural areas, they are bound to negotiate with people who live in such areas. The law directs them to engage the affected people incorporating them into the council plans. 

          However, since the question is directed to a specific area with that specific challenge, may the Hon. Senator put that question in writing so that the question will be taken to the relevant Ministry, and the Minister responsible will look into the issue to decide.  The law says that there should be a consultation and an agreement with the inhabitants of such an area. I thank you.

          THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: If you have a specific case where you are aware that some people were displaced and not given an alternative area to settle, may you put it in writing and the relevant Minister will attend to that question.

          HON. SEN. SHIRI: Thank you Mr. President.  My question is directed to the Hon. Minister of ICT, Hon. Mavetera.  Allow me to say congratulations to all the Ministers here.

          Hon. Mavetera, as we commemorate the International Day of the Girl Child, you are an inspiration to all the girls out there.  I want also to applaud your Ministry for availing WiFi gadgets to institutions including organisations who have persons with disabilities across the country.

          Now that the airtime has lapsed, what is the Ministry's position in renewing the internet services, especially to the disability constituency?

          THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY (HON. DR. MAVETERA): Thank you very much Mr. President.  Let me also take this opportunity to congratulate the Hon. Madam Senate President. The first time I stood up, I did not manage to do that.  Let me also thank Hon. Sen. Shiri for that very important question. 

          Indeed, our Ministry has got a programme where we are training people with disabilities. We are imparting digital skills not only to them, but also to the rest of Zimbabwe.  You will see within the next two weeks, we are also going to make sure that we even train the elderly making sure that they are also abreast when it comes to digital skills training.

          It is our policy to make sure that we only avail just for one year, which is an initial seed that we give to every group that would want to empower themselves.  However, we are going to look specifically for people with disabilities to see if we have got any other SOS’s that can be able to assist us and we may also engage POTRAZ to see if they can be able to assist you.  The policy is that we can only be able to give you this seed data for only one year, however, since it is a request that you are giving, we will see if we can extend it.  I thank you.

          *HON. SEN. BIMHA: Thank you Mr. President.  I would like to start by congratulating you and Madam President for being given the responsibility to lead for another term.  I would also want to congratulate every Senator and Chief in this august House. 

          My question is directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development.  The Government, through the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development, is doing a good job in road infrastructure development, especially roads that link big cities and towns.  However, after servicing roads, we find huge vehicles with abnormal loads using such roads and damaging them. 

          We know that in the years that we have gone through, people were carrying goods using goods train, so even in business, it meant that cost of production will be reduced.  So, may the Hon. Minister clarify regarding the resuscitation of the National Railways of Zimbabwe through the railway system. I thank you.

          THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): I want to congratulate you Mr. President, Ministers and all new Senators in this august House. Let me thank Hon. Sen. Bimha for that pertinent question. Indeed, our roads have been transformed and we have abnormal load trucks moving on the new roads. We are going to introduce weighbridges so that we know the weight of the different vehicles that will be using these roads. For example, those who are into lithium mining will know that when you look at the weight of lithium in a wheelbarrow, it is quite heavy than you think and this damages our roads. This is how we are transforming our roads. We are going to be charging such extra loads through weighbridges. Government policy is that such extra loads should not be using roads.

          I appreciate the coming back of the Second Republic under the leadership of His Excellency the President, Dr. E. D.  Mnangagwa through initiative of rehabilitating the railway lines where you find that some railway lines were not operational but now, we are looking at servicing that industry with new locomotives. We are going to get new locomotives as Ministry of Transport, which means that loads which  are not supposed to use roads are going to be using the railway line.

          Our railway lines are not damaged that much. On roads, there are potholes that develop but on railways lines, we call them cochins. These are only 10%. Out of the 2600 railway lines in the country, it is only 260 that we are working on. We are going to repair them so that our railway lines will be operational very soon thereby benefiting the growth of businesses when they transport their goods.

MOTION

PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS.

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

          Question again proposed.

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

          HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Tuesday, 17th October 2023.

On the motion of THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR HARARE PROVINCE (HON. SEN. TAWENGWA), the Senate adjourned at Six Minutes past Four o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 17th October 2023.

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