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SENATE HANSARD 12 FEBRUARY 2019 29-18
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Wednesday, 12th February, 2020.
The Senate met at Half-past Two O’clock p.m.
(THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE in the Chair)
PRESIDENITAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS
First Order read: Adjourned debate on motion in reply to the
Question again proposed.
HON. SEN. MBOHWA: I would like to start by saying toall of you welcome back from a long holiday and compliments of the season. Thank you Madam President for affording me this opportunity to add my voice to the speech which was delivered in both the National Assembly and the Senate by His Excellency the President on 4th October, 2019 when he opened the Second Session of the Nineth
The President outlined many priorities and also set out Government agenda. I am pleased that the President talked about reforms. He also talked about economic and political reforms that should be achieved by 2030. I am confident that His Excellency’s plan to create a prosperous economy and society in this country of Zimbabwe will succeed. However in these harsh economic conditions, we need to stand united and not divided for us to realise positive change of our nation and changing our face as Zimbabwe.
The President also talked about economic sabotage. Madam President, people feel these harsh conditions and economic sabotage – what you can see or read or what you read appears to be highly organised and require also an organised and heavy response. You would realise that countries like UK, Tanzania and Indonesia, to name but a few have put stiffer penalties and I think it is high time as Zimbabweans to do the same. It is so pathetic, we cannot just look whilst exchange rate manipulation is taking its toll. We want to stand behind the
President as he tackles head on the fight for his people.
Also the President talked about reviving the economy. I will talk more of women because I am a woman and in my party, I am in the
Women’s League department so I talk strongly of women. We cannot leave women when we are talking about reviving the economy and also trying to help the President to realise his Vision 2030. Women constitute 50+% of the population. We are more than half the population and also women are responsible for the livelihood of millions of people, whilst we constitute more than half but we are responsible again for looking after the livelihoods of many including children. So, I feel we should not leave out women when we are talking about reviving the economy and I feel women should be seen participating in agriculture, mining and manufacturing activities. Starting with agriculture, even if we constitute more than half the population, the most worrisome part is we do not have the land. Women constitute a small percentage of registered land owners and it is very difficult because we are the ones who look after the family yet we are deprived at the privilege to own land.
However the Government has tried to cater for women
Government has programmes to cater for vulnerable groups and women are classified in the vulnerable groups. Government has come up with programmes like Command Agriculture which can also help women to put food on the table. The Presidential Input Scheme is also another programme, but here is the problem. Since we are incapacitated, when we want to talk about Command Agriculture, when we go to CBZ, incapacitated as we are, we are not able to go and collect those inputs. So it means those who will have those inputs are men, yet men are already economically empowered and women still strive without anyone caring. I feel that Government should look for ways to improve welfare of women so that we are also given land and are also given inputs which we strive for.
Madam President, I want to talk about the mining sector. This is very worrisome for women. When we look at the mining sector, the President said that it is another source whereby we can improve our economic growth, but we have got only 10% of women who own mines and the fact that the 10% is there, it means we need to be supported. We are vulnerable to many things Madam President. Sometimes if you try to get into mining men will tell you that this is not for women. Go home, it is a man’s job, but the fact that the 10% is there it means that we can. So I think something should be done so that women can be supported and empowered to become successful as their male counterparts. I am just trying to say the Government should also try to come up with ways of uplifting us as women.
We have got financial challenges. When you want to get a mining plot you need to have a prospective licence and you need to get someone to peg the plot for you, but we do not have resources, we do not have property but for our fellow men counterparts who are in the same field they can just go and take a loan from the bank. Why? Because they own property, they own houses, they own land and we are virtually nothing as women. They can easily go and take loans and put up property for collateral security. So we are left behind as women and the most painful part of it Madam President, is that sometimes we fall victim of these
men who are in the licencing departments. I cannot say more. Those who are in mining know much better.
Sometimes if you get a mine the men will come and chase you away. I have got an example of a mine, Red Hill which was given to the women in the Midlands. Soon after they had been given the mine the men came and said it was their mine. Now, the issue is with the Ministry but it is almost a year and nothing has been done; the activities have since been stopped. There is nothing we can do as women. Those men are already doing something on that plot. We cannot fight them, we will have to wait for the Ministry to give the verdict, but we will already have lost the battle.
Sometimes in those mines we are not protected. If you go to the police asking for protection the police would ask for sex in exchange for protection. Whoever works with women knows that women are so passionate for their families; they can go to the extent of doing anything in order to safeguard the livelihoods of their families.
So I think the Government should come up with ideas and strategies to help women in the mining sector and programmes should be put in place. I want to assure you Madam President, not a single cent or a minute given to a woman will be wasted. Women know how to use anything that they are given. They are the backbone of the economy. That is why you see that when I go to industry – I am now going to manufacturing industry. When things are hard in Zimbabwe women uplift the economy of the country. How? Go to Matabeleland South. They are making these bags – [The Hon. Sen. showed Senators a handmade beaded handbag.] - You cannot find this type of a bag in China, but women are making these beautiful bags.
If we open our industry or our companies we will make a lot of money but the problem is, we do not have resources. If we want to take loans, like I have said, we have no collateral security. We have got the ideas but who to share the ideas with - I do not know what we can do. It is not only the bags but let us talk about bread making. Let us talk about the suits. Most women who are wearing suits in here, they are made by fellow women in the industry or small shops in town - very nice dresses. We are capable; if we work together and resources are sourced for the women we can produce a very viable clothing industry. So I think the Government should assist on that. Even on what the President said – reviving public enterprises like NRZ, CSC and GMB, with the right investors and proper management we will not go wrong. They will change the fate of the country. Let us help the President by achieving his Goal 2030 with women on board not to be left out.
Madam President, with respect to the legislative programme, the
President also highlighted that we have moved at a dreadfully slow pace.
He was referring to the mandate that we are supposed to do in Parliament to fulfill the obligation of those who voted us into power since we have forgotten. As I quote from his statement, we should try to put more effort and speed up works of Parliament. I am quoting from what the President said, ‘we must work hard and be smarter on serving our people because they deserve better, more than we deserve’.
So I am just encouraging my colleagues that it is my hope that we do just that and make sure that we serve the people who have entrusted us with all their soul, all their heart and voted us to come and do what they have sent us for. Thank you Madam President, ndati ndibudewo muHansard. Thank you.
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I think you wanted us to laugh because everyone who speaks anobudawo muHansard.
HON. SEN. MUZENDA: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. MOHADI: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 13th February, 2020.
REPORT OF THE DELEGATION TO THE 45TH PLENARY
ASSEMBLY OF THE SADC PARLIAMENTARY FORUM HELD IN
Second Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the Delegation to the 45th Plenary Assembly of the SADC Parliamentary
Question again proposed.
HON. SEN. MOHADI: Madam President, I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. SIPANI HUNGWE: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday 13th February, 2020.
REPORT OF THE DELEGATION TO THE PAN-AFRICAN
PARLIAMENT HIGH LEVEL SUMMIT ON HIV AND
HEALTH FINANCING IN AFRICA
Third Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the report of the delegation to the Pan African Parliament High Level Summit on HIV and health financing in Africa, held in Brazzaville, Congo from 11th to
12th July, 2019.
Question again proposed.
+HON. SEN. A. DUBE: Thank you Madam President for
affording me this opportunity to add my voice on the motion that was brought in this Senate by Hon. Sen. Femai. Firstly, I want to congratulate the Hon. President of the Senate and my wish is that God must give you wisdom like that given to Solomon that we read in the Bible. I also want to acknowledge the presence of the Deputy President of the Senate who was the leader of the delegation that went to Brazzaville.
The issue to do with HIV and AIDS is a very topical issue and I want to thank all the African countries for treating this disease with the urgency it deserves. You realise that it is one of the diseases that cause so much havoc. I want to thank every member who participated in this trip and to congratulate Zimbabwe as a nation that we did not sit back and relax but we are trying to find all means of protecting people against HIV and AIDS. We have AIDS levy to assist us in the fight against HIV and AIDS and we are aiming for a reduction in new infections by 2030; National AIDS Council (NAC) and Government subsidy is healing us to achieve this.
In our country we have so many minerals and that is why there is an improvement in our economy. As a Senator, I want to encourage everyone that the Ministry of Health and Child Care be allocated more funds in the fight against HIV and AIDS. For one to get medication of HIV and AIDS the medication must be readily available in health centres and the patients must be on continuous treatment. I know we also get assistance from Global Fund but there is a second line drug whereby they are supposed to be assisted by the National AIDS Council. There are challenges that NAC is facing especially in acquiring such medication. This might be due to the problems that we have with foreign currency. The Government must allocate more funds to the Ministry of Health to help fight the spread of HIV and AIDS. I am proud of the way we are handling this AIDS pandemic in our country, now new infections have declined.
I know there are so many African countries that want to come and learn from Zimbabwe how we are fighting HIV and AIDS. In this Senate we have an advantage because we have a member who attends the Pan African Parliament and he shares with us how other countries are fighting this pandemic. The team that travelled to Brazzaville travelled together with the Deputy President of the Senate which is an indication that it was a high-powered delegation. They shared with us every contribution that was made during the conference that they attended. They shared on ideas on how to get funds, how to acquire medication in the fight against HIV and AIDS. I do not have much to say, I just wanted to add those few words that I have said. We must put our voices together as Zimbabweans on how we can have medication in stock for HIV and AIDS. You realise that once one is under such medication they have to take if for life and once they stop taking the medication this will affect them. I believe by 2030 we would have managed to reduce new infections. I know that from time to time we have investors and people who will come to assist us on health matters.
I thank you.
HON. SEN. FEMAI: Mr. President, I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. TIMVEOS: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 13th February, 2010.
REPORT OF THE THEMATIC COMMITTEE ON GENDER AND
DEVELOPMENT ON THE PLIGHT OF PEOPLE WITH
DISABILITIES AND CHALLENGES FACED BY WOMEN AND
GIRLS WITH DISABILITIES IN ZIMBABWE
Fourth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the Thematic Committee on Gender and Development on the plight of people with disabilities and challenges faced by women and girls with disabilities in Zimbabwe.
Question again proposed.
*HON. SEN. M. R. DUBE: Thank you very much Mr. President
for affording me the opportunity to add my voice to this motion. I am deeply troubled by women and girls who live with disabilities. I want to add a few words to this debate.
Yesterday, I heard an Hon. Senator saying that disabled people are being mistreated in our rural constituencies. They are raped but we do not talk about it. Children are mistreated especially in rural areas. Some people use these disabled children for rituals, especially in farming. I know this because I grew up with a woman called Dorie Sibanda who was disabled. We would see her pregnant time and again and would ask her the person responsible for the pregnancy and she would say that it was her father. You know how naughty children are because we would keep on asking her and she would end up explaining how her father abused her.
She would fall pregnant and be forced to terminate the pregnancy and would be taken to the cotton fields several times. Even the village head would be aware yet no action would be taken because if there is a parent who is doing that, they should be arrested. They cannot be abusing children, impregnate them and force them to abort. We would ask Dorie where her child is and she would tell us that the child was taken to the bush by her father. Even though she was mentally retarded, she would know what happened.
I think that as we sit here, we should agree and put our heads together so that we come up with a solution whereby such people are sentenced harshly for up to 25 years. Some men abuse disabled children and impregnant them – even up to five children. They rape them and no action is taken upon them and such children give birth to illegitimate children.
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Order, order
Hon. Member. The motion is about disabilities and challenges faced by women and girls in Zimbabwe. I fail to understand how your debate is tied to the motion. – [AN HON. SENATOR: It is on disabilities!] -
Hon. Senator, please carry on.
HON. SEN. M. R. DUBE: I mean disabled children Mr.
President, such people who are not able to even go to the police station to report such abuses. Sometimes they are not able to walk although they may still fall pregnant. So they impregnate such people and no action is taken against them. They may impregnant them and at times even giving them five children yet no action is taken against them.
So I am saying, let us report such perpetrators who are abusing such children. Some of the children are being abused by their parents for ritual purposes for them to boost their agricultural produce yet when they die, you do not even find bags of maize. I thank you.
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Thank you Hon.
Senator Nyathi for such touching words. I beg your pardon Hon. Sen.
Dube for such a touching contribution.
^HON. SEN. MALULEKE: Thank you Mr. President for giving
me this opportunity to debate on this motion because I find it very disturbing. The motion pertains to the issue of disabled women which was tabled by Hon. Sen. Ncube.
The main challenge is in rural areas where schools are very far and also they are not farvourable to disabled people. If we could get schools that cater for the disabled, that would be very helpful. The problem is that when one is not educated, they cannot tell whether or not they are being treated right or badly. When the Committee went around the country, they found that there were a lot of challenges being faced by disabled people especially for women and particularly girls.
In the past, girls were not being sent to school as parents preferred to educate boys. We have Hon. Members who are traditional chiefs and they are the most affected by this problem of disability in rural areas. I wish that the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare was here and listening to what we are saying. As the people who are representing people, we are supposed to be united and speak with one voice on issues affecting our citizens.
In rural areas, they are facing challenges when boarding buses going to clinics. If we could make sure that clinics are within easy access so that the disabled can go and get help and in order for them to be assisted, we need to be united. Most Hon. Members talked a lot about people who are disabled. Some of the disabilities are brought by accidents on the roads. We had an accident in Kwekwe and another one at Beatrice. That increases the number of people who are disabled. It is our job as Hon. Members especially to send our girls to school because these are the people who face a lot of problems and they cannot express themselves. Sometimes they cannot even access health care but if we are in this Parliament – all of us have to go back and educate our people. For those in urban areas, it is better – they go to school and know what is right and what is wrong but in rural areas, Chiefs have got a lot of work.
What can we do for our children who are disabled? Some are not even able to feed themselves. We are supposed to put our heads together. Since we are now in 2020, we will get to the end of this year – may be by year end, we would have invited the responsible Ministry to come to this House so that they hear what we are talking about. I thank you Mr. President for giving me the opportunity to debate on this issue on people living with disabilities especially women.
*HON. SEN. MATIIRIRA: Thank you Mr. President for giving me the time to debate and congratulations to all of us alive here in
Senate. I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Ncube who led the Gender Committee that went around the country looking at issues to do with people living with disabilities. I would like to congratulate them for
If we look at the ten provinces in this country, people living with disabilities are so many because everyday people born with disabilities come as well as people injured or maimed during accidents; that also happens every day. I really appreciate the Hon. Members for going around the country looking at how people living with disabilities are surviving in this country so as to inform Government.
It is very difficult because in the Eighth Parliament, we also agreed but we went around considering how they can get access to clean water but we also came across the problem that this Committee also came across. We realised that people living with disabilities are suffering in the households. That also affects especially the women and children at home. In a household where there are people living with disabilities, even if they are both father and children, the mother of that household is the one who is mostly affected.
Towards the end of 2019, we saw a certain family from Hwedza on television. The whole family comprised an old woman as well as a man who is grown up, a middle aged man as well as a small girl. The mother is really troubled by that man because she is not able to assist him whilst he is also disabled. It was so sad to hear her account on how they survive. I would like to thank this Committee for raising such issues because this honourable House should come up with suggestions or solutions that can assist people living with disabilities.
I would like to thank the President of this country, His Excellency – Hon. Mnangagwa. When he addressed Parliamentarians on the official opening of the Ninth Parliament; he put it that when such laws come to this House and are debated, solutions should be brought from this House on how such people can be assisted. If such a Bill comes, we should really contribute to see how that Bill can speedily be passed so that we bring solutions to people who are living out there with such problems. It is so sad. I would also want to reiterate what one of the speakers said that indeed some people take advantage of the disabled out there especially old people but even young children are affected by that. Sometimes when we travel, we see them and they are sometimes on wheel chairs. It is not easy for them to travel. All those things should be looked into by Government so that we come up with solutions. I think if we have a law, that will help very much because even if we look at schools, there are children living with disabilities yet there are no user friendly facilities at such institutions. All these issues affect people living with disabilities. At the end of the day, the mother is the one who is mostly affected because for example; she may hear that the child has fallen and injured at school, she will end up suffering trying to help that child.
I would like to support this motion and urge Government to take action to ensure that we have a solution. I thank you Mr. President. +HON. SEN. PHUTHI: Thank you Mr. President for giving me the time to debate. Compliments of the new season to all of the Hon.
Senators here present. Welcome to the New Year.
Last Sunday, I travelled to Gwanda and just after Bulawayo, it was heavily raining. There was someone who was on a wheel chair but no one was willing to assist him and the main reason being that the man is on wheel chair. Up to today it is troubling me that if someone is disabled, does it mean that the person is not supposed to get assistance? Above all, what really pained me is that the person was going to school and what I am asking myself is, did he ever manage to get to school or not?
Therefore, I ask the Government if there is a way that they can assist all the disabled people like Jairos Jiri Centre that we used to have where they would assist all the disabled people. They would learn craft work and one thing that I have learnt in life is that all the disabled people, you will realise that they are naturally intelligent but we look down upon them. There was a time I checked something on the internet and I saw one disabled lady who did not have hands and legs. I realised that she had a baby and she was able to do everything for her baby.
Sometimes we think that the well able people are able to do everything but from the video, I learnt that it is us who are disabled to a certain extent. I plead with everyone that there is need to respect all the disabled people. One speaker indicated that most of the buildings that we have are not friendly to the disabled people - which is an indication that when those buildings were constructed, we did not take into consideration the disabled people especially those who are on wheelchairs. When we are well able sometimes we do not understand those who are disabled.
If we are choosing leaders sometimes it is easy to get someone who is sailing in the same boat with them especially for the disabled. Therefore, it is important that when we are choosing leaders we choose someone who represents the disabled. Let us choose someone who is in the same boat with them so that they are able to understand what they are going through. In South Africa for example, I have my nephew who is in Grade 5. He is being assisted by the South African Government. He is even driving a car and is receiving a grant every month.
The school that he is attending is a good school, he is being taught on how to live with his disabilities. In Zimbabwe, we realise that we do not really take care of those who are disabled. I have my other niece who tried to look for a vacancy in one of the schools in Bulawayo and she could not get it. If we try to assist them in a way that they can get vacancies for their education in schools that are compatible with them, you will realise that they will be able to live with their disability.
I will keep on using South Africa and Botswana as an example - you will realise that even those who are disabled are actually employed. In Zimbabwe I have never been to any office to see especially women who are disabled employed. I do not know whether it is a way of looking down upon them. These are the people who can assist us to improve even our economy. As I said before, most of the disabled people in rural areas are naturally intelligent especially during this rain season. There are some people who cannot walk. You realise that they do not have wheel chairs and face challenges in walking. All my relatives that are outside the country that I know get wheel chairs and grants.
There are some people especially those who benefitted from Jairos Jiri - you will realise that mostly shoe makers are able to do a great job compared to those who are able. I have two from my ward who are shoe makers and the other one sells vegetables. The biggest challenge that they have is that they do not wheel chairs and they try by all means to get something that can assist them move around. Someone mentioned that there are people who harass especially those who are disabled mostly the girl child or women. The ratio is 1:10 whereby you hear that a man with disability raped.
There are certain cases where a father goes to an extent of raping their daughter so that they can be rich in life. I plead with the
Government to try and assist those who are disabled who are victims of rape. Yes, they might be disabled but these are human beings who have their five normal senses. The same feelings that you have when such an act is done to you are the same feelings that they have.
I plead again with the Government to assist them for some use Braille language in reading. If Government could create vocational centres or any training schools that can assist them, that would be most appreciated.
I will emphasise on the issue of creating employment for the disabled. Sometimes you realise that these people are able to go to school but we do not offer them opportunities to get employed. Let us acknowledge that those who are disabled most of the times are naturally intelligent. I thank you Mr. President.
*HON. SEN. RWAMBIWA: Firstly, I want to thank Hon. Sen.
Ncube for bringing this report after going around doing investigations about the disabled people. They did a workshop with the Human Rights Commission. Disabled women were talking about the problems which they are facing. The main problem which they talked about is at hospitals. They said that if they go to hospitals they are not treated as people who are disabled. They are not given first preference so that they are served and go back home on this. One woman said she went to the hospital while she was pregnant and faced a lot of problems. They could not understand each other with the nurse. If possible at hospitals, schools and even prisons, if we could have people who can do sign language it would be helpful. We should treat these people as human beings.
We went to the prison and we witnessed the same problem of people who had different types of disabilities. Some could not walk, they would be crawling yet in the prison no consideration is made that someone is crawling and is not able to walk. The room will not be taken care of. So the Government should look into this so that the disabled are looke after well.
When we look at public transport, the disabled people look up to able bodied people to help them board public transport such that if they are not helped it is a huge problem for them.
If we look at the late Jairos Jiri, he was a man who was given the gift of looking after the disabled. If we look at his life we can see that he was not after gaining anything. If the late Jairos Jiri was still alive we would not be talking about the plight of the disabled because like I said, he had a natural gift in looking after the welfare of the disabled.
Being disabled does not mean inability but it is because they have not been given the opportunity and as a result have lost hope. All disabled persons can use their hands or any part of their body to do something. There is a woman from my constituency who does not have any hands but she can carry a bucket full of clothes on her head and go to the river to wash those clothes. If the disabled are given an opportunity and assisted in engaging in productive work they are capable of doing anything and fending for their families but we are not assisting them and as a result their talents are not being utilised.
I grew up staying less than 15km from Jairos Jiri. We saw him as a man who had a passion of helping the disabled. He would send some disabled children to school. In the rural areas we have disabled children who are not going to school. Some are not able to travel the 3km to school every day because of their disabilities and yet you can see that the child is very intelligent and can attain high grades and become someone in life. So let us treat disabled people as human beings because they are also human beings.
There is a Shona saying - seka hurema wafa. Today I may be physically fit but tomorrow I may also be disabled. I may lose my hands or my feet and will be in need of help from well bodied people. So if I do not help disabled people today when I am able bodied, who will help me tomorrow if I am unfortunate as to become disabled. I thank you Mr. President.
*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: Thank you Mr.
President. I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Ncube and her Committee for bringing this motion to the Senate and I would also like to thank all those Hon. Senators who have contributed to this important debate. The previous speakers have all been saying that this is a very sad issue. I wonder why we are failing to look after the disabled people in this country. People have become selfish and self centered and do not care about the plight of the disabled.
I would urge all Hon. Senators to unite in this debate as it is a pertinent issue. This issue should not be politicised. We should set politics aside and unite with one voice so that the plight of the disabled can be heard and action is taken. The Government should put in place policies that help the disabled.
As Hon. Senators, we should also look into this issue of the disabled and how we can help. I will give an example of what took place in my constituency. There was a young girl who was disabled who could only move around with the assistance of a wheelchair. She was born with this disability. When she was about 19 years old, it was discovered that she had been impregnated by a Form 3 boy. He was summoned to the traditional courts where it came out that he was being looked after by his mother’s relatives as his father had not raised him.
According to tradition, we cannot charge his mother’s relatives as they do not carry the same surname as him. The boy did not refuse the pregnancy but he had no money or property that we could fine him for his offence.
So we took him to the magistrate’s court and they also could not fine him because he had nothing. We could have arrested the boy but it was of no use and it was unnecessary to take him to court so we took the girl back home. It is now 20 years since this happened and the child has now completed grade 7 and now doing Form 1. She is very bright in school but the single parent cannot pay her fees. The mother has moved to Harare and is now a vendor; this is the society we are living in. I assisted the child by sending her to school and paying her fees and the mother is now in Harare.
As elders we must stretch our hands to help in such cases, we must not just look and do nothing about it. We have a lot of work as legislators. There is another serious issue when it comes to disabled girls. The mother in law did not accept the impregnated girl because of her disability. It is surprising that it was a woman who was against a disabled girl.
THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT (HON. SEN.
NYAMBUYA): Please address the Chair.
*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: I am sorry Mr. President; I am looking at women because I am addressing them. If a boy impregnates a disabled girl and agrees to the charge the problem lies with the parents of the boy, they might not want anything to do with the girl like in the case that I am speaking about. As women you must look at that issue, what should we do? We must legislate laws that deal with people who dump people after impregnating them. The Committee must sit down and find solutions to these problems.
As leaders, we must lead by example by helping and not just to refer all cases to Social Welfare. I have seen the disabled people getting paid by the Social Welfare but now the economy is bad, they are not getting anything. Who should be responsible for their welfare?
Everyone must take responsibility, the Executive and the Parliament; as Parliament what are we doing about this? We need to enact laws that help the poor. I was in the Standing Rules and Orders Committee when the Committee discussed on how Parliament can accommodate disabled people.
If someone is in Parliament and is disabled let us say visually impaired, they are given an assistant to help them and that person is fully paid by Parliament. I want to thank Parliament that they have done something for the disabled but still we need to do more. Jairos Jiri has been talked about - I want to thank them and appreciate the work they do. I saw street kids who were disabled asking for money. As
Government, we must make laws to help these children. In modern days families are no longer united, the traditional culture of uniting families is no longer in existence. If we are not united, it is very difficult for the country to move forward.
I witnessed a white person in the rural areas; he used to say I am putting 50 sweets, run the one who will run and get to the table first will get all the sweets. The kids held each other’s hands and walked together and arrived at the same time. They replied to the white man that if we left one kid behind what will he get, we walked together so that we can share; that is the true African spirit. There is no need to leave others behind and eat alone.
Nowadays we have very rich people unlike in the past. I was talking to someone yesterday; I meet one person in Dubai who goes for luxury visits every weekend. Zimbabweans are going to Dubai for luxury visits and come back but some people will be languishing in poverty back home. If you ask that person, he has never helped even a single person who is in needy. Some fly to United Kingdom to see Manchester and they fly in business class. They can spend roughly US$7000 one weekend and then come back. This is not good.
The other thing that we can do as a country is we need to reserve jobs for the disabled. If you get into Parliament you will find that there will be someone who will be sitting monitoring the security machine, you can give that job to a disabled person because that person will be just seated. So, we need to give jobs to disabled people, especially those jobs where you can work whilst seated. The reception area, you find that the receptionist will be seated most of the time, we have disabled people who are fluent in English, and they can be receptionists.
I want to ask the Committee to sit again and do more research on how we can help the disabled community; they must not concentrate on challenges faced by disabled people only but solutions. Hon. Sen.
Chirongoma talked about a National Assembly member who is blind. We must also exempt disabled people from paying taxes. We just declare that if you are disabled you are not supposed to pay tax. It may be the disabled person is a billionaire then maybe he might pay tax, but if he is just like any other ordinary person there is no need for paying tax.
THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT: Hon. Sen. Chief
Charumbira your time is up.
Thank you Mr. President, lastly, Mr. President, yesterday people debated on this motion, they spoke very well and I clapped hands for them. What will happen to all the things that we discussed yesterday it will just be a talk show no follow up. We need to implement not just talk. I thank you Mr. President.
HON. SEN. KOMICHI: Mr. President, I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. RAMBANEPASI: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 13th February, 2020.
REMOVAL OF ILLEGAL SANCTIONS IMPOSED ON
Fifth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the unconditional and immediate removal of the illegal economic sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe.
Question again proposed.
HON. SEN. MWONZORA: Thank you very much Mr. President
Sir. I would like to thank the mover of this motion as well as the people who debated this motion before me.
Mr. President, in two days time Zimbabweans who love democracy and peace will be celebrating the life of one of the most dedicated democracy fighters in our country, Former Prime Minister Dr. Tsvangirai. – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] – Dr. Tsvangirai was promoted to heaven on 14th February, 2018. He achieved a lot of things in this country but today I want to focus on one of the last things that he achieved.
One of the last things that Morgan Tsvangirai dealt with was the issue of sanctions. Let us forget the propaganda surrounding this issue and let us forget the half-truths surrounding this issue. Morgan Tsvangirai and indeed the MDC have a very clear policy on the sanctions and a very clear position on the sanctions. The clear position can be stated as follows: - ‘The MDC supports the re-engagement of Zimbabwe in the International Committee of Nations. However, this reengagement must be matched with positive, tangible movement on the part of Zimbabwe to institute key political, economic and social reforms’.
In other words, this issue about the re-engagement with the International Committee must have a quid pro quo – there must be movement on the part of Zimbabwe in instituting social, economic and political reforms. These economic and political reforms Mr. President must be designed to make sure that the lives of the Zimbabwean people are changed for the better. In fact, it is the objectives of my party, the
MDC, to get over governmental power through peaceful, democratic and constitutional means, govern differently and change the lives of our people for the better – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] –
On the issue of sanctions Mr. President, this is what Morgan
Tsvangirai did. History has it that when he was Prime Minister of the
Republic of Zimbabwe – in the period between 2009 and 2013, Morgan
Tsvangirai visited Australia and New Zealand. When he visited
Australia and New Zealand he exhorted those nations to give the Zimbabwean Government another chance. Secondly, the Australians and New Zealanders removed the sanctions – it was because of the work of Morgan Tsvangirai and this was never acknowledged by our Government and press.
After that Morgan Tsvangirai together with the late Former President Robert Mugabe and Deputy President Arthur Mutambara appointed what was called an International Re-engagement Committee. This was a committee comprised of key ministers of Government who coincidentally also were the key negotiators of the Global Political Agreement. These ministers were dispatched to Brussels, other capitals in Scandinavia and in Europe to ask the Europeans to reconsider their position on Zimbabwe.
As a result of the work of these ministers and as a result of the work done by the dear departed, the European Union (EU) in July 2013 lifted all the sanctions against the Zimbabwean authorities except two people. The two people were Robert Mugabe and Grace Mugabe – no other Zimbabwean is on EU sanctions as we speak – [HON.
SENATORS: Hear, hear.] – After that, they also retained sanctions only on the Zimbabwe Defence Industries. So as we speak, only one Zimbabwean remains under sanctions and that is Mrs. Grace Mugabe. Only one Zimbabwean company remains under EU sanctions and that is the Zimbabwe Defence Industries.
The excuses that people give that we are under European sanctions are certainly not true because [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] – there is clear historical evidence. These are clear historical facts Mr.
President. I will touch on the American issues later in my address but let us clear it. There are no sanctions other than targeted sanctions on Grace Mugabe and the Zimbabwe Defence Industries that are still coming from the European Union and that, Mr. President, is one of the works of Morgan Tsvangirai.
Not only that, in December 2012, Morgan Tsvangirai singularly dispatched an envoy by the name, Jameson Timba to go to Number 10, Downing Street in London and talk to President David Cameron, exhorting Britain to persuade its allies within Europe to lift the targeted sanctions for two reasons. First because the sanctions hurt the common man but secondly those who are incompetent, may use sanctions to explain away their incompetence – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] –
As a result of that, David Cameron agreed that he will work with his
European counterparts to remove the sanctions except, said David
Cameron, ‘Robert Mugabe, his wife and the Zimbabwe Defence
Industries’. As I have already said, this is great work done by this great man. I thought I should say this in order to put these things in proper historical perspective. When we are alive or when one of us is alive, we can talk lies about each other; we can try to outdo each other; we can do propaganda against each other but when one is departed, we have a historical duty to say the truth and what I have said is the truth.
But what are the causes of the sanctions that were imposed by the
United States, which is where I am now going with the promulgation of ZIDERA. Most Zimbabweans I have talked to especially are those who belong to ZANU PF; and explained the phenomenon of sanctions based on the land reform. They acknowledge that because the black people took their land, the whites retaliated by putting sanctions. I am not here to judge the veracity of that but I am about to test whether that is true or false.
It is common cause that immediately after the formation of the MDC, it was clear to the ruling party, Government and leadership then that a credible political force had entered the political fray in Zimbabwe. This was a credible political force that could take power from the ruling party then. As a result, we see in 2000, 2002, 2003, 2005 and culminating in 2008, an orgy of violence. Zimbabwe was enmeshed in internal self cannibalising. We were eating each other like animals. People were being killed in cold blood. Does this not attract some kind of measure or censure from the world? I suppose it does.
There was state sponsored violence especially in the run off to the Presidential Elections. 300 youths belonging to the MDC were murdered in cold blood. These are historic facts. These include Better Chokururama, Tonderayi Ndira, Godfrey Kauzani and one of our Senate candidates – Shepherd Jani in Murewa. They were abducted and killed in cold blood. As we speak right now Mr. President, their abductors, killers or murderers have not been brought to book. If this does not attract censure from the international community, I wonder what does.
We also saw a lot of violence directed against women – one graphical one happened in Mutoko. This woman was harassed, harangued and humiliated. At the end, she was given an axe with which to strike her own child – her own blood. She took the axe and in a rare fit of courage and almost divine anger, she turned and looked at her tormentors and struck two of them and they died on the spot. She was able to save her child and so on. This is tragedy Mr. President. This is a Zimbabwean doing this to another Zimbabwean. This woman was arrested eventually and charged with murder. Fortunately, she pleaded self defence and it succeeded.
We must talk about this because Zimbabweans think about this. Those who went through this do not think kuti zvakangovharana. We should not act as if zvakangovharana. Zimbabweans are sore in their country and we need to heal. In order to heal, we need truth telling. We need to tell each other the truth of what happened. There were instances where people were disposed of livestock by fellow Zimbabwean people.
There were incidences where granaries were torched.
Food distribution was done on partisan lines – so was distribution of inputs. This is what prompted the former Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara to say, Zimbabweans have imposed sanctions on themselves. The Zimbabwean Government, by doing this – was imposing internal sanctions on its own. Let me say Mr. President because my party and myself want to reconstruct this country. We want to pick up the broken pieces. We want Zimbabwe to heal again. Let me say whether the source of the sanctions is internal by which I mean the work of a rogue regime or rogue elements within a regime because they do exist.
Whether the cause is that or the cause is because of a foreign power intervening in the affairs of a country – it matters not. What matters and what is historically true and what is a truism is that the sanctions hurt the poor and the down trodden. Rarely do the sanctions go and hurt their target. If you drive to Borrowdale, the rich and famous and powerful are building houses that even Europeans have not seen. They are building houses I am sure President Trump has not stayed as a dwelling. They are being built in Borrowdale by the rich, powerful and privileged.
The down trodden in Mbare, Dzivaresekwa and in these high density suburbs are living in poverty and squalor. We need to go and take Zimbabwe on a new trajectory; a trajectory of truth telling, justice, fairness and recognising that a wrong was done to another person. We need to address the issue of how we relate to each other. There is nothing very right about being MDC; neither is there anything very right about being ZANU PF. It is a matter of choice. After all, when we went to war we said we wanted universal suffrage, human rights and democracy.
Democracy entails the freedom of a person to choose. If this person wants this political party, they must be able to choose that political party – otherwise Hebert Chitepo, Takawira and all those luminaries would have died in vein if we do not practice what they died for. Tongogara and company died so that we have democracy in this country. Who is anybody to force Zimbabweans to like them? Who is anybody to force Zimbabweans to vote for them? This is what attracts the wrath of others to us.
As I have said in the preceding section of my speech, I was pointing out not what the foreigners did to the Zimbabweans but those people who were supposed to protect Zimbabweans, what they did to those people that they were supposed to protect.
Lastly, I would like to deal with the common myth. The common myth is that we are suffering because of sanctions. We are poor because of sanctions. Our children are not going to school because of sanctions – maybe Members of Parliament are not getting paid because of sanctions. The hospitals, it is because of sanctions and everything else is because of sanctions. It may very well be that the sanctions are contributing to that but let us confront our own problems. We are the
Senate – the Upper Chamber. We are the people who must bring our
Government to account.
There is massive corruption. There is no question about it. If you go to the Passport Office, you have to grease a few hands. You go wherever you want to go, be it Command Agriculture, there is corruption everywhere. Roadblocks, mining, agriculture or any other sector, there is massive corruption. This corruption is not being brought by America and Britain. It is not being brought by Germany,
Scandinavians and Australians. It is corruption being done by our kith and kin. It is high time Mr. President that we take radical approach against corruption. In China, they put you before a firing squad. I am not advocating for that but I am advocating for something almost equally stiff. We need not to pay lip service to corruption.
Mr. President, in dealing with corruption, we do not have to look at
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Your time
has expired Hon. Sen. Mwonzora.
HON. SEN. MWONZORA: Thank you Mr. President. When
dealing with corruption, we must apply the law and our legal system
says that justice is blind. It says you treat equal things equally. So, when we deal with corruption, let us deal with our friends as well and not only deal with our opponents, be they internal or external. When we deal with corruption, we must be ruthless and we must be proficient. We know of certain people who if you ask anyone, if this man is corrupt - everybody will say yes, he is corrupt but they are walking scot free and protected by this State.
There are allegations of State capture Mr. President, where a few individuals are said to be in charge of the whole economy. We cannot have that and we must deal with that. There is abuse of office and abuse of our armed forces to do things that they were not trained to do. That is unfair, unjust and unconscionable. There is pervasive use of hurt language in the State Media and Social Media and we need to deal with that. More importantly, we need to deal with selective application of the law.
Having said that Mr. President, it is up to every one of us to deal with the scourge of sanctions and when we deal with it, we must look at ourselves first. William Shakespeare says in one of his books “the fault, dear Brutas is not in our stars, but in ourselves.” We must look at ourselves first and then look at others later”. Thank you very much.
HON. SEN. MBOHWA: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. PHUTHI: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 13th February, 2020.
On the motion of HON. SEN. MUZENDA, seconded by HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI, the Senate adjourned at a Quarter past Four o’clock p.m.