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SENATE HANSARD 13 DECEMBER 2023 VOL 33 NO 19

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Wednesday, 13th December, 2023

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

PRAYERS

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

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

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

          HON. SEN. TSOMONDO:  I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

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

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

          Question again proposed.

          HON. SEN. NYATHI:  Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to add my voice to this important motion brought to this august House which is very important to our national development.

          Corruption is a very big impingement to national development.  It is like a parasite that feeds on a host until the host is lifeless.  Hence, we need to have strong measures put in place to cope and eliminate all forms of corruption. 

          The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission is the national anti-corruption agency mandated to fight corruption in Zimbabwe and is established by the Constitution of Zimbabwe, Amendment (No. 20) Act 2013, sections 254 and 255 and the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption, Chapter 9, 22 for the purpose of combating corruption, theft, misappropriation, abuse of power and other improprieties in both the public and private sectors.

          The Commission plays a pivotal role in the enforcement, prevention and investigation of corruption cases.  The mandate of the Commission on its own really entails that ZACC is a constitutional body and as such, it should work tirelessly because it is tasked to see through the development of our beautiful beloved motherland Zimbabwe.

          Mr. President, I managed to go through the ZACC report and I am really grateful for being awarded this opportunity especially when we are in the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence.  There is a table reflecting a total of 178 officers employed by the Commission and out of the178, only 73 are females and 105 are males .  I feel the disparity is too much.  There must be 50% females.  We want to see women also being equally engaged in such critical matters of national development through His Excellency the President, Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa’s mantra of leaving no one and no place behind.

          I feel ZACC has to improve.  The report says their services can be accessed in six provinces out of the 10 provinces we have in this country.  ZACC’s services should be accessible in all provinces and cascade to all districts.  We strive to make sure that we have a corrupt free environment and community.  However, we commend ZACC’s efforts for the campaigns done in the rural areas targeting the 70% population.  According to the report and the findings provided, there were 69 cases reported during this exercise.  I applaud the Commission for such an effort.  These efforts should be taken to all rural areas no matter how marginalised or remote the area is, so that everyone knows that corruption has no place and will never be given room to see the light of day in the country.

          For the period reported, there were 684 complaints and 481 of these complaints being from Harare.  There is need for ZACC to do investigations and make sure everyone who is benefiting or benefited from corruption is brought to book.  People are losing their hard-earned life savings to fraudsters.  ZACC should fast track and catch these perpetrators. It is really pleasing to note that there was a 38% decrease of complainants received the previous year; this being attributed to vigorous prevention campaigns.  Initiatives by the Commission, I suggest that these initiatives be constantly reviewed and be enforced such that at the end, we have a corrupt free environment and community.

The issue of court officials being lenient when dealing with corruption suspects is disturbing.  Recently, we read in the news articles of Chinese high officials who were executed after being convicted on corruption charges.  The courts should impose deterrent sentences because corruption is ravaging our country.  It must be dealt with effectively and any person who commits such an offence repeatedly should be given severe punishment that is equivalent to the sentence of murder because the services or resources that he or she would have inconvenienced or robbed and deprived the people would probably have saved a life or lives if they were utilised accordingly. 

Anyone who is a public office bearer, all the ill-gotten properties they would have acquired should be taken by the State and put back where they belong.  The catch and release phenomena should be looked into seriously because we need a corrupt-free Zimbabwe both in urban and rural areas, including the borders. 

In conclusion, I want to encourage anti-corruption training modules to be conducted.  I will dwell on my previous point on gender.  You stated that out of 25 participants, 17 are males; please let us have more females on board. 

          The report mentioned the International Anti-Corruption Day shows that corruption is not only an African or Zimbabwean issue, hence we should not struggle in isolation but we should work with the international community and learn how to fight corruption so that we develop our country as the President said, ‘Nyika inovakwa nevene vayo’. All those involved in corruption are destroyers: they should not be part of our society, they belong to the prisons where they can be rehabilitated and come back with the mindset of building their beautiful motherland.  I thank you.

          HON. SEN. S. MOYO: Thank you very much Mr. President.  I want to thank the Hon. Minister who brought in this motion for debate. Corruption is a cancer; the people of Zimbabwe continue to be affected by it.  Corruption is bad not only today, but for our future as Zimbabweans and for generations to come.  We need to sustain this war against corruption by asking important questions to the Anti-Corruption Commission, because corruption is the order of the day - let us call a thief a thief.  Mr. President, the culprits are being recycled into the same positions. Our country has become a playground, no matter how many times you recycle them, they will still look like rubbish and the catch and release of these criminals is being done to fool the public.  May they stop pretending at the public rallies or party manifestos where they claim they want corruption to be eradicated but they are not interested.

          Instant coffee solutions will not solve this scourge, these wolves still continue to suck from the breast of corruption with money they corruptly acquired. They send their children to expensive schools, holidays, buy houses and cars.  When they are caught, they will try to have you eliminated anytime because they have no conscience.

          We need to marry the citizens of Zimbabwe to the idea that corruption is a parasite and it is not right, it starts here in the Upper House.  What we lack in Zimbabwe is punishment. I humbly ask Mr. President that those caught in corrupt activities, may the mark of Cain be put on them and remain suspended until charged by the Anti-Corruption Commission. May we not have this catch and release as this is a cancer to Zimbabwe. 

          We also have to understand that the shortest avenue to ending corruption must come from the top.  If we see Cabinet ministers and governors being arrested and properties being confiscated; and it is exposed that this property belonged to so and so, he was a thief and it  becomes public knowledge, the citizens and the world will know that once you are a thief, you will be stopped from holding public office ever again.

          We should also help the Anti-Corruption Commission as those wolves will do everything to control the Commission.  They will make up false things to have them disbanded and end their careers.  They will even try to have laws to abolish the Commission.  Parliament and the justice system must stand in solidarity with the Commission, audits must be done and wealth declarations be looked at for those found to be corrupt so that they surrender the monies that belong to the citizens.

          HON. SEN. MUPFUMIRA: Hon. President, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          HON. SEN. TSOMONDO: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Thursday,14th December, 2023

MOTION

REPORT OF THE NATIONAL PROSECUTING AUTHORITY FOR THE YEAR 2022

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

          Question again proposed.

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

HON. SEN. TSOMONDO: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Thursday, 14th December, 2023.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

HON. SEN. MUPFUMIRA: Mr. President Sir, I move that Order of the Day, Number 4 be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the Day have been disposed of.

HON. SEN. MAVENYENGWA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

SIXTEEN DAYS OF ACTIVISM AGAINST GENDER BASED VIOLENCE

Fifth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the commemorations to mark the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence.

Question again proposed.

^HON. SEN. MALULEKE: Thank you Mr. President for awarding me this opportunity to add my voice on the issues of gender-based violence which most women and girls are facing. I am very happy about this motion.  For a household to be called a household, it is because of a woman. Familiess function very well because of women. Right now, we are no longer taking pride as pillars of strengths of our households because we are the ones who are being abused a lot. Cases of women abusing young boys are slightly there, but those cases are very rare compared to cases of men abusing young women. I encourage all Members of Parliament in this august House to take the task upon ourselves to go out there and teach people about gender-based violence. When a man gets married, he must know that he has married a human being who is equal to him, not someone who is going to provide manual labour alone in the farms. 

I want to thank Hon. Sen. Mbohwa for raising this pertinent motion. A few days ago, I heard that in Mufakose, a woman had gone somewhere, and when she came back, she found out that her kid had been murdered by her male counterpart. This is very painful to us as women. Mr. President, I am pleading to everyone in this House to be united and fight against gender-based violence. The act of killing minors is another form of gender-based violence against women because they are the ones who are going to be affected the most. Why would someone decide to kill a minor?  My prayer is, if the Ministers were here, they were going to respond to some of the issues of gender-based violence and appreciate what people are saying concerning these issues which are happening in our homes and where we come from. The man who killed a minor in Mufakose, I propose that he must face a stiffer penalty of staying in prison for the rest of his life.

A woman at home is expected to do all the chores, from looking after the children, farms and livestock. Most of the men spend most of their time drinking beer while women and girls are suffering at home, taking care of the family and doing all household chores. Most of the time, these women and girls are exposed to unhealthy and unsafe situations with wild animals such as hyenas, especially when they go out to look after their livestock. As women, we are facing a lot of problems.

 Women are dedicated to their families, and most of the time even if they are being abused, it is very difficult for them to leave their families because they consider their children first. I am pleading to the chiefs in this august House to encourage men to desist from gender-based violence and continue to help in conflict resolution in order to protect women, girls and families. Most men are very happy when their wives give birth to a girl child because they know that the girl will get married and as a father, he is going to get bride price. Most of the time,  men do not care about the welfare of these children when they are growing up.

As women in both rural and urban areas, we are faced with a lot of problems Mr. President.  As Zimbabweans, we must be united and concentrate on building our country and desist from gender-based violence. As women, let us be educated on our rights, laws and on the issues of gender-based violence so that we know what to do when we are faced with these issues. Sometimes girls are abused at schools and sometimes by our trusted relatives. As society, we must be united and report rape cases. Those who are found guilty must be incarcerated and stay in jail. Most of the perpetrators are roaming around. They are arrested, but after two or three days, you see them roaming around. I wish if the Ministers were around to answer on what steps can be taken because it is very painful to see a perpetrator roaming around after a few days.  Mr. President, women and girls are being murdered on daily basis. Thank you very much Mr. President for awarding me this opportunity.

          *HON. SEN. MAVENYENGWA:  Thank you Mr. President. I would also like to add my voice to this debate on gender-based violence. I think the issue of gender-based violence affects peace in the family, resulting in deaths at times, and sometimes serious injuries as well as emotional turmoil.  Children may end up being orphans because of this GBV.  Even at the workplace, nothing is done if there is violence.   Therefore, this violence should be tackled carefully as it affects both sides. It is not only women, sometimes men are also offended and it ends up affecting the children.

 Mr. President, I have noticed that what mostly causes GBV is unfaithfulness between husband and wife. They might suspect each other of promiscuous behaviour and that causes GBV. If a man is always out or comes home late and the woman asks where he has been, it will result in GBV as the man does not want to be asked, then they end up fighting.  When people are married, they should live amicably and should not involve a third party in their affairs. In our culture, a man can marry many wives, but that can be done amicably with the blessing of the first wife. This has always been the case and the wife will be free to receive the other wives. It is one of those issue that causes GBV if not handled properly.

There is also the issue of salaries - at times people will use their monies without the knowledge of the other party and when one asks what they should use in the house, it can result in violence and at times the man will ask for food, yet he would have not left anything at home and a fight ensues. If people are married, they should be transparent with their salaries and disclose how much they earn and how they intend to use it. Everyone should be afforded money to use when with friends and women should also have money for their hairdos or for buying dresses. This ensures there in no GBV in the family.

 Sometimes this violence emanates from mere use of property. Sometimes the husband may use the family property without the knowledge of the wife and that can also result in violence because when they ask each other, it will not be in a friendly way. Another issue that causes GBV is to do with conjugal rights. One may say I am tired and the other says let us be intimate. The one who wants to be intimate may feel hurt and that can cause anger, resulting in violence.  

There is need for both parties to resolve issues amicably. We know that when people marry, they did not come for anything else besides intimacy.  If people understand that, it will reduce GBV. Some people get married whilst they both have children from previous relationships and there is mistreatment of these children by both parties. We hear this from the social media or the formal media that children are beaten up until they die because they are not their biological children. At times they refuse to stay with children that are not theirs and that leads to conflicts in the home because one does not have anywhere to keep the child.

Even those who are not married can fight for a boyfriend or girlfriend and that is also GBV. Some people disagree over food and fight over the relish prepared by the wife, yet they forget that they will not have left any money to buy the relish. If the wife cooks chicken, the man will want to know where the wife got the money to buy the chicken and he starts suspecting that the wife got it from boyfriends. So as couples, people should be organised and ensure that everything is there at home. My wish is for our Government and other interested parties to conduct awareness campaigns to train people on the effects and impact of GBV. They should also take their awareness campaigns to churches and to our traditional leaders. People must be taught not to engage in GBV, but to resolve issues amicably. Those engaged in awareness campaigns must be given adequate resources to carry out these campaigns.

After all has been said and done, GBV sentences should be deterrent so that offenders and perpetrators of GBV do not repeat the same offence.  We should have police stations and clinics nearby because currently in some rural areas, police stations are far and people are unable to go and report and clinics are also far, such that people end up not going to get medical assistance.   We therefore encourage Government to build more police stations and clinics so that the victims of GBV are able to be treated and to report their cases. Even the traditional leaders’ courts should be given powers to give deterrent fines so that people do not continue to engage in GBV.

Madam President, these are the few additions that I wanted to convey on the issue of GBV.  It even affects development in the home set up. Everything stops when there is violence. I thought it was pertinent for me to add these important sentiments on the issue of GBV, especially in family settings. I thank you.

          * HON. SEN. MUZODA: Thank you Mr. President for affording me this opportunity to give my opinion on the issue of gender-based violence. I did my own research when this motion was introduced and realised that what can cause misunderstanding within the home or the community in general, is the economic challenges we face as a nation because there is no peace in the home when there is no food. The root cause of violence in our homes is poverty. We may have different livelihoods but we all need to have homes but if there is nothing in the house, there is finger-pointing because no one is capable of bringing income to sustain themselves in that home.

          Mr. President, I want to go on the issue of how we live in our homes because I have noticed that people do not talk about that issue. It is GBV to marry off a young child or marrying off a girl-child when she does not want to get married. It is the right of every child to grow up and be able to make their own choices or decisions about their future but that is not happening in our lives because of poverty. We take marrying off a child as alleviating poverty.

          Government and its departments should go deep in the communities talking about early child marriages because that is the root cause of GBV. You marry off a girl-child at an early age because you will have noticed that Mr. Makamba has a lot of cattle but the child is going into a marriage where there are more wives before her who are in that polygamous marriage. She is abused and taken as a slave because she is in that marriage to enable her family to have food. It is important for us to closely look into the issue of GBV because it is not happening in the homes only but everywhere, even here in Parliament, you can encounter it. Sexual harassment Mr. President, is GBV on its own.

At our workplaces, people are coming across sexual harassment or abuse just to enable them to be promoted or offered a job but that is not proper and should not be done. People are taking advantage of their positions of authority abusing young women. It will be an issue later on when the promises are not fulfilled and it affects a person psychologically and I want to appreciate you Mr. President for letting me continue.

Mr. President, I came across GBV on Sunday when I was coming from my home area using another route from Murambinda. I passed by a place where there was distribution of inputs in very small quantities. What I saw Mr. President, and that is why I was saying departments must go and educate people on GBV. Some communities do not segregate or choose where you come from or whose child you are? I saw old women being stripped off their clothes as there was stampede. Some people were being told that they could only get those inputs in February because it was someone’s turn as they had been allocated last year.  

I do not even know what was happening and I do not know who came with those inputs but it pained me to see a woman who was pushed down and those inputs were torn apart and scattered on the ground. Those are women and our mothers whom we expect to live properly in a dignified way like how we have been brought up. The most painful part is that the police were just looking and when I asked them why they were just watching people quarrelling as if they would remove each other’s teeth for seed that has not even germinated, does that mean  our police do not have power when inputs are distributed? Where our mothers are stripped off their dignity because of younger ones who will be more powerful…

          *HON. SEN. MAVENYENGWA:  On a point of order Mr. President. May we debate on gender- based violence. It looks like we have now strayed to issues about the distribution of inputs.  May the Hon. Member debate on gender-based violence instead of the distribution of inputs.

          *HON. CHABUKA:  On a point of order.  I would like to…

          THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF SENATE (HON. SEN. CHIEF KHUMALO):  I am not going to allow that.  Can you sit down please?  I have already given the floor to the Hon. Member who was addressing us.

          HON. SEN. MUZODAThank you Mr. President...

          *AN HON. MEMBER:  On a point of order Mr. President.  I just want to say Mr. President being beaten up is no excuse.  It does not matter who is beating you and how they are beating you.  Gender based violence is gender-based violence.  Whether you experience it at a seed distribution event or you meet it at home, it is one and the same thing.  We are speaking against gender-based violence.  Thank you.

          THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  I have already made a ruling.  Can we continue please?  You do not need to comment any further than the ruling.

          HON. SEN. MUZODA:  Mr. President it is so surprising.  I am sorry.  If we are debating, this is Parliament...

          THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  You do not need to go back to that.

          * HON. SEN. MUZODAWe are not playing in here or looking at who has stood up to debate.  There is nothing wrong with what I said.  I was talking about gender-based violence.  I saw women falling down because of seed.  I did not mention where that seed came from.  I was just passing by when I saw bad things happening.

          THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Can you continue with your debate.

          * HON. SEN. MUZODA:  So I want to say if we are here in Parliament…

          THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  You are going back to what I have already made a ruling on.

          * HON. SEN. MUZODA: Sometimes you become distracted  when someone comes and disturbs you.  I think I have spoken a lot Mr. President.  Starting from this House, let us respect our women.  Let us not harass them because when we are violent with them, we also do not have peace of mind.  Thank you, Mr. President.

          +HON. SEN. NDEBELE:  Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity.  I am talking of issues to do with gender-based violence like denying someone their right by not allowing them to participate in an election like what happened recently.  There are people who failed to vote for those they want to represent them, which is what we need to make sure that we address as a nation.  The critical issue is we have to make sure that we do not deny people their right by giving them representatives that they would not have selected in an election.

          There are people that needed to represent their people but they were closed out from these elections, which is what I am highlighting on, that we need to make sure that we do not abuse people by denying them the right to elect who they want.  Thank you.

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

          HON. SEN. SHIRI:  I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume:  Thursday, 14th December, 2023.

MOTION

PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS

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

          Question again proposed.

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

          HON. SEN. TSOMONDO: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Thursday, 14th December, 2023.

          On the motion of HON. SEN. MUPFUMIRA seconded by HON. SEN. TSOMONDO, the Senate adjourned at Twenty-Six Minutes to Four o’clock p.m.

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