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SENATE HANSARD 13 MARCH 2024 VOL 33 NO 32

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Wednesday, 13th March, 2024.

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

PRAYERS

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

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE

HEALTH, MENTAL AND WELLNESS PROGRAMME

          THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Good afternoon Hon. Senators.  I would like to remind the Senate that Parliament’s Health Services Department, in conjunction with the Public Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS), is conducting a Health, Mental and Wellness Programme that started from Tuesday, 12th  March, 2024 and will end on Thursday, 14th March 2024.  Each day begins with a presentation from 0900 hours to 1030 hours in the Special Committee Room Number 2 on the ground floor.  Thereafter, the screening programme for blood pressure, diabetes, breast, prostate and cervical cancers will be held in the clinic area, Rooms 113, 116, 117 and 137 on the First Floor.

          Hon. Members and staff are urged to attend the screening process which will take place throughout the whole day on those days. 

CLIMATE CHANGE SENSITISATION WORKSHOP

          THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Secondly, I would also like to inform the Senate that the Sensitisation Workshop for all Parliament scheduled to take place on Friday and Saturday this weekend which was announced yesterday is now scheduled to start with lunch at 1200 hours on Friday 15 March, 2024 instead of 0800 hours in the morning and on Saturday 16 March, 2024, it will start at 0800 hours in the morning.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          HON. SEN. MOHADI:  Mr. President, 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. MALULEKE:  I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE ZIMBABWE ELECTORAL COMMISSION FOR THE 2023 HARMONISED ELECTIONS.

          Second Order read:  Adjourned debate on motion on the report of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission for the 2023 harmonised elections.

          Question again proposed.

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

          HON. SEN. HUNGWE:  I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume:  Thursday, 14th March, 2024.

MOTION

ENACTMENT OF STRINGENT LAWS TO ADDRESS

THE PLIGHT OF WIDOWS

          HON. SEN. TSOMONDO:  Thank you Mr. President.  I move the motion standing in my name that this House:

          CONCERNED with the plight of the Zimbabwean widows who are routinely evicted from their homes by relatives whenever their husbands die;

APPALLED by the cultural practices by some unscrupulous relatives who deprive widows of their human rights, dignity and freedom after the loss of their spouses and in some cases even going to the extent of blaming them for their deaths;

          FURTHER DISTURBED that the loss of their husbands is accompanied by the wanton grabbing of their properties such as land, cars, among others under the guise of inheritance;

          NOW, THEREFORE, calls upon Government to enact stringent laws to address the plight of widows and thus, protect them from being relegated to poverty after they lose their loved ones.

          HON. SEN. MOHADI:  I second.

          HON. SEN. TSOMONDO:  Thank you Mr. President for giving me the opportunity…

          THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Order.  We cannot hear you because you have not switched on your microphone.

          HON. TSOMONDO:  Sorry Mr. President.  Thank you, Mr. President, for giving me the liberty to raise my concerns pertaining to the plight of widows in Zimbabwe.  While there are no specific recent statistics available on the exact number of widows in Zimbabwe, it is estimated that a significant portion of the female population are widows.

          Widows are from diverse backgrounds.  Some are in the rural areas, some in the urban areas and others are widows of war veterans of the liberation struggle.  They face various challenges and vulnerabilities due to cultural norms, stereotypes, legal issues and economic factors.  The situation of the widows in Zimbabwe is often compounded by issues such as property, inheritance rights, social stigma, poverty, economic hardships and lack of access to support services such as counselling and legal aid.

          Mr. President, inheritance disputes often arise due to cultural norms, traditional practices, lack of legal awareness and sometimes greed or manipulation by family members.  Widows face challenges in securing their rightful inheritance after the death of their spouses, leading to prolonged legal battles and emotional distress.

          The economic hardships faced by widows have a devastating impact on their lives as they pose a quantum of insecurities including finance, housing, food and school fees which affect their well-being and hinder their ability to cope with grief and loss, eventually forcing most of them into risky relationships exposing them to abuse and HIV/AIDS.

          These economic and other complex arrays of challenges cascade down to their children whose suffering vary with age, location, socio-economic background and cultural practices.  This culminates to child marriage, prostitution and drug and substance abuse.

          Sections 81 and 82 of the Constitution address the rights of women on equitable treatment within the family and society, protection of property rights and the right of social security without specific mention to widows.

          Section 120 (b) and 124 of the Constitution specifies the women quota representation in the Senate and National Assembly, but do not make any particular reference to widows’ representation.

          Despite the challenges that widows face, there has been numerous progress through various programmes and initiatives by the Government and its development partners, Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association (ZWLA) provides legal aid services to widows. Various Private Voluntary Organisations (PVOs) and Government agencies in Zimbabwe, conduct awareness campaigns and educational programmes to educate widows about their rights and empower them to assert those rights.  Some organisations implement livelihood support programmes, specifically targeting widows to help them become economically self-sufficient.  These programmes may include entrepreneurship development and other forms of support aimed at improving the economic well-being of widows.    

          The National Development Strategy 1 in one of its pillars, identifies strengthening social protection as one of its key priorities. This includes expanding access to social security programmes, such as pensions, disability benefits and unemployment insurance.  Its aim is to provide a safety net for vulnerable populations including widows.

          It is imperative that our country also takes a leaf from our regional and international counterparts and domesticate African Union Protocol to the African Charter of Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa also known as the Maputo Protocol.  The protocol specifically addresses the rights of widows, including their inheritance, rights and protection from violence.

          Allow me to also recognise the frantic efforts by the First Lady, Dr. Amai Auxillia Mnangagwa who has launched several economic empowerment programmes aimed at helping widows become self-reliant.  Her various initiatives include training in several vocational skills such as farming, poultry production and craft-making.  The First Lady has also donated sewing machines and other equipment to help widows start their own businesses.  She has also donated school supplies and uniforms to help children from disadvantaged backgrounds access education.

          Despite all these efforts, it is glaring evidence that much still needs to be done to mitigate the challenges faced by widows.  I therefore, call upon the House to amend the Constitution and enact laws that specifically elaborate issues of widows, in particular with specific reference to Section 80 and 124 of the Constitution.

          I also call upon Government through the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, to come up with policies to strengthen legal protection for widows to safeguard their rights.  Also, the Government through the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development through the Women’s Development Fund, to provide widows with access to finance, training and monitoring programmes to empower them to become economically self-sufficient.  I thank you.

          HON. SEN. MOHADI: Thank you Mr. President for

 giving me this opportunity to add a view words in support of this very important motion which has been moved by Hon. Sen. Tsomondo.  Whenever we talk about widows, we feel the sorrowfulness of how these people are living because that is the time when women who would have been left by their spouses live in darkness.  Some of them do not even know where to go.  They do not even know where to start because of the problems that they would be facing.  That is the time when the husbands’ relatives neglect them.  On this issue, I can talk until tomorrow about the problems that are faced by widows, they are endless.

          Most widows are left in poverty.  As soon as the husband dies, the relatives come and take everything from them – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – Sometimes, this is the time when they are forced to re-marry the uncles so that their property cannot be taken.  That widow ends up being married to someone whom she does not even love just because she wants to protect her property, and to secure a place for the children. 

          Most of the time, people tend to forget that this woman would have been left not only with property, but also with a duty to look after the children.  Due to the problems that they face, these widows end up failing to send their children to school because she would have no money to send them to school.  If those children become dropouts, what else if we are looking at today’s living standards?  That is the time when these children will now get involved into drug abuse.  They would be stressed to an extent of wishing they were dead because of the situation that is prevailing at their home.  As Parliamentarians, I think we have seen it, we have gone through it, and we have met these widows everywhere we go.  Apart from meeting them, they have made so many plights to us as Hon. Members to assist them here and there, but I do not think that is the solution.  The solution is upon us as legislators to enact enabling laws that can protect our widows.  Even if we are not widows today, one of the good days we are going to be widows and we would need that support.  Without proper policy or proper law that safeguards these widows, nothing will ever happen because we can cry and do whatever we can.  I also urge the non-governmental organisations and any other interested people to educate these widows as they remain without their spouses so that they can have a way forward in their lives.  As they are in the dark corner, some as I have alluded to before, do not even know the law that protects them which they can take regarding their plight. 

          I think there is need for awareness meetings that should be carried out in the communities so that these widows know what to do.  Apart from that, I also think that another solution is their traditional leaders who are next to them whenever they need assistance.  There is a cultural law, I do not know what it is called in English or in Shona, but I know they say udzule wathaka Chivenda. This practice must be totally abolished.  It does not assist because when you are given someone’s husband, you do not even know whether that man is HIV positive or not.  As such, you will end up getting diseases and you will end dying living your children.  Mr. President, I think without much ado, I rest my case, I support this motion.

          +HON. SEN. NYATHI: Thank you Mr. President. I would like to add my words to the motion moved by Hon. Sen. Tsomondo.  When the father dies, it becomes very difficult for the family to survive and finally the mother leaves the family, goes and looks for a job so that she is able to look after her children.  The children will end up failing to go to school because the mother will not be earning enough money, it will be enough to buy food only. Widows should be looked after because some people die whilst their children are still very young.  Life becomes difficult and the children suffer.  We want to thank the First Lady for her programme of conscientising the widows and widowers, helping them with whatever she has. 

          As leaders, we suggest that there must be a law enacted so that the widows can be looked after by Government and that at the end of the month, they get something that will enable the family to move on with their lives.  Children must go to school Hon. President. With those few words, I would like to thank you.

          +HON. SEN. M. NDLOVU: Thank you Mr. President of the Senate. I would like to also debate on this motion that has been moved by Hon. Sen. Tsomondo.  This motion touches on the lives of widows.  When a woman is left by her spouse through death, particularly married couples, it becomes so difficult because the relatives of the spouse will want to take over the assets.  Most women do not know that when they lose their spouses, they should approach the High Court so that they can be protected by the law. It is difficult to be a widow because you do not know what to do, particularly when it comes to dealing with the relatives of your late spouse.  It is difficult and painful for widows of ex-combatants because most of their spouses did not accrue anything.  When they returned from the liberation struggle, they just remained as ordinary citizens. They did not manage to access the little that was being accessed by others.  Some were not vetted, they did not own any house and it is painful Hon. President, to find an ex-combatant, someone who sacrificed for the independence of the country living like a pauper.  Widows must be looked after and we appreciate what the First Lady is doing to the widows, but she cannot assist all of them.  We therefore, request as Senators, that there should be a law in place to cover and assist the war veterans and their spouses –. We are talking about all widows that have been left by their spouses.  These are my few words with regards to this motion. I thank you.

          +HON. SEN. S. MOYO:  Thank you Hon. President for giving me this opportunity to debate on this motion today.  This motion is very emotional because it is about widows.  When we were growing up, we knew that widows were mature people of 60 years and above.  By then, children would have grown up.  This time around, things are so different because we are talking about young widows who would have married early because of the difficulties in our country.  When I look closely in Matabeleland South which is my area, we have widows with children who are married.  You find a 30-year-old widow with five children. Most of these widows are from our relatives who would have gone out of the country and passed on there either through gunshot wounds or through being affected by diseases.  As I speak right now, I have two whom I know who passed on last week.  Their wives are at home and they are now widows. Their men die in the diaspora. During the times of Wenera, most of the women were made widows. I would also like to bring in another dimension to bring in ex-combatants’ widows. We have our comrades who died in the war and they left children and women in 1980, when they were told that they were going to be looked after. We request therefore that these ex-combatants’ children get something, like what they do in some other countries.  For instance, in South Africa, it is happening. They get about R2500 per month. Here in Zimbabwe, when people are in dire straits, why can we not do the same? I was asking myself when I heard some of our Members discussing. They said we can have a plan. A widower is better because he will go out and look for a job. We do not talk of widows in the rural areas only, even here in town, we see widows who are going into prostitution in order to feed their families.

          My request therefore is that the Government should look into this matter. I have heard that the First Lady is trying her level best, and I was surprised by this because we have not noticed this in Matabeleland South. We request that she should also visit Matabeleland South because we have a lot of these widows and there are a lot of women without spouses. We have got 60% of women without spouses. Thank you.

          +HON. SEN. MLILO: Thank you for giving me this opportunity. This motion which has been raised here is pertinent indeed. We should debate it closely and thoroughly because we are talking of widows whom I know have been left by a spouse who was a bread winner. Therefore, my request is that the Government should look after these widows. When they go to reregister their wills, it is a problem for them to transfer the assets or the houses after the spouse has died because of high fees, and they are failing to pay those fees.

I therefore request that the Government should also look into the matter of stipends given to widows when their spouses have passed on. When they go to the bank, they find that the money would have been siphoned by inflation. The woman will be looking after her children on her own without a job. At the end of the month, that money is not even enough to pay for her rentals, buy food for the children or even to pay fees for the children. We therefore request the Government to look into those matters. I thank you.

          +HON. SEN. C. NDLOVU: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity. I also second this motion which is pertinent which has been moved by the Hon. Senator. Widows should be looked after properly. It is not only that these people are being harassed by the relatives of their spouses, they are also being harassed by Government officers when they approach these offices trying to get some help. There are assets which would have been left by the deceased, and when these assets are supposed to go to the surviving spouse, there is a certain percentage which should be paid in cash so as to facilitate the necessary documentation in order to help the widow.

          As the august Senate, we request that this matter be thoroughly looked into. When a widow has the necessary document proving that she is a widow, where can a widow get the necessary fees to pay for the transfer of assets into her name? Others end up dying and the mother will remain behind having not yet registered the house in her name. The relatives come in and take over the assets and property of the deceased. I therefore request that this motion be looked into thoroughly. I thank you.

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

          HON. SEN. MOHADI: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Thursday, 14th March, 2024.

MOTION

PROGRAMME ON CLIMATE SMART AGRICULTURE

Fourth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the effects of Climate Change.

Question again proposed.

*HON. SEN. SHIRI: Thank you, Mr. President, for according me this opportunity to add my voice to this motion which was tabled by the Hon. Sen. Mohadi on climate change. The world-over, we hear the issue of disasters or climate change. It has been there since time immemorial, around the 70s before I was even born. I heard that in Bangladesh, there was a disaster in Bhola District and 300 000 people perished.   In Zimbabwe, we experienced Cyclone Eline and people perished, fields and animals were destroyed. In Chingwizi, 20 000 people did not have anywhere to put their cattle and all this was due to climate change.

 As a nation, we realise that this climatic change is also affecting our wealth. Looking at this country, 52% are women. Many women survive on subsistence farming, doing small businesses like chicken rearing projects and farming fruits. Now, if we happen to experience this climate change and drought, farming will not be viable and there will be poverty, hunger and diseases will also manifest as climatic change affects us as Zimbabweans.

I was just looking at how this climatic change can affect our education sector. I have noticed that children cannot attend school when there is too much sun, in the cases of heat waves; when the winter is severe, children will also not be able to attend school. Those who suffer from albinism are affected by too much sun as most of them end up suffering from skin cancer. This climate change affects the whole citizenry of Zimbabwe. It is extremely difficult for any individual to walk more than 5km during a heat wave to the nearest clinic or hospital. So, most people die in their homes because of climate change.

Climate change also affects our health sector. As Zimbabwe, we have a law, the Civil Protection Act, that we want to amend. I want to thank the President for putting across Bills, during the Official Opening of Parliament, to be tabled in this House. I noticed that there is one, the Disaster Risk Management Bill. The Bill will look at ways of curbing climate change. By looking at the early warning sign, we should be alerted and also be able to warn others on the weather. We heard this on the radio or read it from the newspapers that there will be drought this year and people were aware of it and were adequately prepared.

As it is, information dissemination is lacking in some areas especially looking at the disabled people. When people are being forewarned, the language used during the warnings may not adequately relay the message that there will either be drought or too much rain. This is especially problematic to the deaf and dumb. Our television news bulletins provide sign language for the benefit of everyone. Unfortunately, there is no sign language when it comes to the weather report and forecast. This means that they are left behind because of lack of knowledge. As a nation, we should make sure that no place and no person is left behind when it comes to development.

          We had disasters in this country when we had Cyclone Idai which affected Chimanimani.  It was a disaster. Lives were lost, homes and properties were destroyed.  Looking very closely, I saw images of people on television who were being rescued by helicopters, but I did not come across disabled persons being evacuated also.  So does it mean that the Chimanimani area does not have disabled people or they were swept away by the floods because they could not get any help?

          I would like to urge the Senate that as this Bill comes to the House, we should look at it closely to see whether it is inclusive of the disabled.  As Senators, do we know where our disabled are in the country so that when disasters strike, we know where to go and rescue them?  We have a job to do so that we do not leave anyone behind, everyone should be protected from such disasters that come because of climatic change.   

          The other issue is that there are people who are being given residential stands in wetlands which has affected the rain patterns because wetlands have a part to play when it comes to our rain patterns.  Zimbabwe as a country, is seized with these challenges and we have seen that climatic change is real.  We thought it would only affect countries in the Far East, but now it is at our doorstep.

          When people face these disasters, the Civil Protection Unit (CPU) prepares the evacuation processes, so we have noted that some of those places are inaccessible to people in wheelchairs.  No mechanisms were put in place to ensure the disabled are catered for in times of natural disasters.  It is my humble plea that preparation for natural disasters should be inclusive of the disabled. I did my investigations during the Cyclone Idai, so I went and inspected the places where people were being taken to and urged the authorities to cater for the disabled.

          Now, speaking as a farmer, climate change has affected the farming sector.  We should adapt to change and use solar energy which caters for smart agriculture in our fields.  We witnessed our crops withering and dying. So I urge the Government to invest in helping farmers, including women so that they will be able to continue farming despite climatic changes.

          Mr. President, I want to say that our laws should be strict and firm.  The Disaster Risk Reduction Management Bill should be expedited. So as Hon. Senators, let us work together to pass this Bill. I thank you.

          HON. SEN. ZINDI: Thank you Mr. President for allowing me to also add my views in as far as this motion is concerned.  Firstly, let me thank Hon. Sen. Mohadi who brought this very important motion.  I hope the Government or Ministers responsible for policy redesign to mitigate against the effects of climate change will take this motion seriously because we have one world, one earth and we need to protect it. 

In my contribution Mr. President, I shall talk about deforestation, uncontrolled mining, and also climate change, and women including young girls and youth regarding their sexual reproductive health.  I shall be citing research that was carried out in Bikita and Chimanimani into the endangered impact of climate change.  I will also put suggestions to mitigate against climate change in as far as the issues that are mentioned in terms of afforestation and reforestation, and alternative sources of energy as a means to mitigate against the emission of CO2 into the atmosphere and also the Mines and Minerals Ministry, particularly in terms of uncontrolled mining activities which are taking place in our country to redesign the mining policy to take into consideration the environment before and after the mining project as a solution.

On deforestation, Mr. President, according to Jerry Melillo accessed online 13324 Climate Portal and updated on October 2021, he is a senior scientist at the Ecosystem Centre Marine Biological Laboratory. He states that forests cover 30% of the earth's land surface.  As forests grow, their trees take in carbon dioxide from the air and store it in wood, plant matter and under the soil.  If not for forests, much of this carbon would remain in the atmosphere in the form of carbon dioxide which is CO2, the most important greenhouse gas driving climate change.

          He further states that each year since the year 2000, forests are estimated to have removed an average of two billion metric tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere.  This carbon sink function of forests is slowing climate change by reducing the rate at which carbon dioxide mainly from fossil fuel burning, builds up in the atmosphere.  Therefore, from this argument Mr. President, you can see the importance of afforestation and reforestation and the importance and key role that our forests play in terms of mitigating against emissions of carbon dioxide into our atmosphere.  Hence, it is very important for us to take the exercise of tree planting as a very important exercise to reforest our forests and afforestation.

          In regards to use of alternative sources of energy, I am of the opinion that to slow down against this emission of CO2 gases, a solution Mr. President, is to switch to use of renewable energy such as solar, hydropower, wind and electric motor transportation.  We are now talking of massive mining of lithium, which lithium when processed, finds itself into batteries when manufactured which electrify motor vehicles and that transportation system should switch also on to renewable energy.

          The effects, for example of ZESA power disruptions, we have seen a lot of people ending up cutting down trees as an alternative source of power including tobacco farmers when they want to cure their tobacco.  That is reducing the forests that we have mentioned earlier on to say they contribute a lot in terms of removing the bad emissions from our atmosphere.  I can give an example.  Where I come from, Manicaland, Christmas Pass Mr. President, used to be a very beautiful forestry area but drive there today, Christmas Pass is bare.  There are no more trees.  You can actually count the trees remaining when you drive, meandering through Christmas Pass.  

The same applies with Boterekwa.  Boterekwa used to be a very beautiful forest area in Shurugwi but due to mining of chrome, it is gone and it will never come back.  Therefore, Mr. President, we need to take this climate change subject seriously and take corrective measures in order to preserve our environment and also to mitigate against climate change.

In my recommendations, particularly to the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, is to say, it is high time they should redesign mining policies.  How?  I mean to say they need a new approach that takes into consideration the issue to do with the environment.  This is before the project is implemented and after the project, perhaps to the end of the project.  The policy should take into consideration those two stages, at the beginning and the end.  If the project collapses, it should also take into consideration the environment where that project was.

For example, we have old time big mines which closed.  Mhangura is one of them, if I am to mention.  There are quite a number them like ZIMASCO, to do with chrome.  When they closed, they never rehabilitated the environment and that alone is contributing to climate change. So, I am advocating for the policy redesign to take into consideration those facts and also to switch to renewable energy use rather than resorting to using diesel, gasoline and all these fossil fuels which contribute to CO2 gases into our atmosphere.

In terms of reforestation and afforestation, I should  commend Government for the tree planting exercise.  Of course, I do not remember exactly when it was introduced, but I think it has been on the cards for quite a number of years now as it is being fronted by His Excellency the President.  We should continue with this tree planting exercise for purposes of mitigating against climate change and it should not be just for officials from His Excellency, Ministers and Government officials, but it should be for each and every Zimbabwean to participate and make sure that he or she would have planted a tree on the official day of tree planting and any other day.

For example, we are 16 million in terms of population and if each and every one of us would take this seriously, we would plant 16 million trees each year and that would assist and help in mitigating against climate change Mr. President.

On the uncontrolled mining I have mentioned Boterekwa and I also want to quote Mr. Kins, also accessed online, 26th October 2022, in which he states that, “mining sector is responsible for up to 7% of greenhouse gas emissions globally”.  Hence mining is a contributor to climate change.  Thus, Mining sector should also switch to renewable energy use instead of continuing to use the fossils, fuels such as gasoline or diesel as I said earlier on.

In addition, mining should now consider to have a positive social impact in the regions or areas where they operate. This is also emphasised by Higham Gulfs, cited in the intelligent miner who states that, “this means re-thinking, investment decisions on the regional scale versus just your project”.  It has to carry the whole scenario in terms of the environment as I have said earlier on.  This takes me to the last part of my contribution to this motion, which is climate change and its effect on women, girls and youths. 

According to UK Aid, lasting change through volunteering accessed on online, www.vso.international, states that climate change impacts sexual and reproductive health and the ability to realise the fundamental human rights...

THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT: Order, Hon. Senator.  You have five minutes left.  You can proceed.

HON. SEN. PHULU: I move that her time be extended.

HON. SEN. MLOTSWA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

HON. SEN.  ZINDI: Thank you Mr. President. I was talking about climate change, how it impacts on sexual reproductive health and the ability to realise fundamental human rights by women and girls, which fundamentally contributes to gender inequalities.  This is actually based on a research which was carried out in Bikita and Chimanimani.  The intention of the research was to make an informed decision in terms of how they could respond to climate change and how it impacts on sexual reproductive health on women and girls.  For example, the research came up with results which states that climate change, if it is at 1 increase, in a week before delivery, a pregnant woman who intends to deliver, corresponds to 6% greater likelihood of still birth.  That is how serious it is. 

Increased poverty and food insecurity driven by climate related loss of livelihood is also impacting maternal health as decreased yields impact nutrients input of the poor, through a decrease in availability and supply of nutrition.  The other area of that research, in terms of what it found - the key findings of it in regards to climate change, it contributes to low levels of awareness and access to sexual reproductive needs that is among farmers, women and girls.  It also contributes to climate shocks, which present resource constraints on health facilities.  For example, as mentioned by Hon. Sen. Shiri, when she cited the Cyclone Idai; it had a disruption on the whole health system, and also shocks exacerbate causes and effects of child marriage.  Girls end up getting married as a result, perhaps to find and get comfort, being looked after by a husband.  The girl will get pregnant when she is too young to give birth, leading to death.  Climate change contributes to mental health issues, child bearing related complications and death. 

In conclusion, investing in health systems can reduce impacts on climate change in women and girls, in regards to their sexual reproductive health and rights.  I thank you.

THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT (HON. SEN. KAMBIZI):  For the benefit of the House, if a Member feels that a Member’s time needs to be extended, after the announcement that the Member has five minutes left, you wait for the five minutes to lapse and then propose additional time.  Then we would give the additional time.  In this case, no additional time has been given because she was just spot on the time.

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

HON. SEN. NYATHI: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Thursday, 14th March, 2024.

MOTION

STRATEGIES TO MOBILISE RESOURCES FOR THE NATIONAL CLEAN-UP CAMPAIGN

Fifth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the National Clean-Up Campaign.

Question again proposed.

          HON. SEN. ZVIDZAI: Thank you very much Mr. President for the opportunity you have given me to contribute to this very important motion that was brought to this Senate by Hon. Sen. Mavenyengwa.  I notice he is not present today. It would have been my biggest pleasure to debate this motion in his presence but nonetheless, I am sure he will see my contributions in the records of Parliament. 

          Mr. President, I would like to express my gratitude, particularly to the Hon. Senator for moving this motion and to a few Hon. Senators that contributed to this motion in a manner that clearly shows that people are intent on making sure that Parliament contributes progressively to the development of this nation. 

Hon. Sen. Mupfumira, I think was a star on this, from my own view, for she focused on what should be done to save the beauty of our nation and to make sure that refuse is discarded to the right place.  She stated clearly the apparent issues of seeking political opportunity, political rent-seeking that was very clear in some of the people who contributed to this motion.

          I think as long as we keep ourselves in the paddock of seeking political rent, we are not doing this nation a favour.  We are not doing the people who voted us a favour.  I think Hon. Sen. Rita Ndlovu did very well as well to steer the debate in the right direction as did Hon. Sen. Phulu.   Clearly, then the debate got back into progressive developmental discourse rather than political rent-seeking that I saw from some of our colleagues’ contributions. 

          The elections are far off, elections are in 2028…

          THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF SENATE (HON. A. DUBE): Hon. Senator, order, I think you are debating and now you are talking about what happened yesterday. Can you please stick to your debate?

          HON. SEN. ZVIDZAI: Thank you Madam President, this was just the few appetisers that I wanted to put on the table leading to the substantive issues of my debate.  I will still want to emphasise that cheap political point scoring is not good for policy redesigning and policy development. 

          Madam President, emphasis was laid on failure of urban local authorities to keep the damsel that is called Zimbabwe, beautiful and smart.   The truth of the matter is that if you walk throughout the country, if you go to Bikita Rural District Council, the sad situation of litter all over the place is evident.  If you go to Harare, it is evident, if you go to Makokoba, it is there and it is a problem that we must face as a nation.  We must begin to say, what is the root cause?  As long as we do not find a root cause, as long as we find easy targets, as long as we live in the lane of blame shifting and blame gaming, we are not finding solutions to the real problems that we face. 

          It is a reality that Mbare is very dirty and it is a reality that Makokoba Renkini is dirty.  It is a reality that Makaranga in Gweru is dirty. It is a fact that Nyika Growth Point is an eyesore, so what can we do? Mention is made of the failure of our urban local authorities and interest is placed on this issue as from year 2000, which is a year incidentally when real opposition came around.  The question is, is it because of opposition or are there other factors?  In my opinion, successive Local Government Ministers have worked very hard since year 2000 to enfeeble, to weaken the institutions called local authorities.  We had executive mayors like Ndabeni Ncube, Chayamiti, Mudzuri and yours truly who did their very best because we had the power. The laws gave us the powers to effectively manage these institutions but since then, local authorities have been enfeebled leading to declining performance. 

There are other issues as well that I will raise. If you look at the revenue streams of local authorities, vehicle licence fees have been taken away.  The EMA penalties are not used to correct the difficulties that local authorities are facing.  Consequently, the efficiency of our local authorities in discharging their duties, in dealing with the competences are reposed on their shoulders by the law and it becomes more and more difficult. 

          Let me just give you an example. One mayor, Manyenyeni, diagnosed that Harare was in a difficult spot because of incapacity to do financial engineering and he employed an esteemed banker, one by the name Mushore.  He knew the weakness was around resource mobilisation.  Mushore is a top-notch banker, a guy who is very strong or was very strong on financial engineering and certainly, if he had been allowed to take this post, there would have been an impact on the performance of Harare.  Behold, what did Minister Kasukuwere say? ‘Mushore, you will never be the Town Clerk of Harare because you do not belong to us’.  This is the truth and as a result, Harare ended up taking up a Town Clerk who was less qualified for purpose than Mushore.        These sorts of activities do not help the situation at all in terms of capacity and efficiency to perform, dealing with the issues that must be dealt with. 

That is that on the local authorities, but I would also like to talk about the relationship between poverty and consciousness around cleanliness. If you go to Borrowdale today, and look at the streets and neighbourhood of Borrowdale and compare the neighbourhood of Borrowdale to the neighbourhood of Mbare, you will clearly see that Borrowdale is very clean and Mbare is dirty.  It does not just remain there. If you go to Masvingo, you go to the top-notch suburb in Masvingo, it is sparkling clean.  When you go to Mucheke, the story is different.  You go to Harare, Bulawayo, you go to Matshamhlophe, it is clean, it is habitable, it is very beautiful, but go to Iminyela, it is different. What is the difference? Look at the social strata, look at the social differences between people that live in Borrowdale and those that live in Mbare. Look at their social status, their wealth, you will certainly see that there is a relationship between consciousness around cleanliness and poverty.  So, what is the root cause? The root cause therefore, is what we call at micro-level, we call that hygiene security.  Do you have hygiene security if you cannot buy a deodorant, if you cannot buy toothpaste, if you cannot buy soap, if you must use mushangura to kwesha your teeth, if you must use your sipo to wash your clothes?  That certainly reduces your consciousness on cleanliness.  What happens at micro-level, the summation of the micro-level is the macro-level. If people at macro-level are not consciously working on cleanliness, then the summation at macro-level is what you see on the streets of the poor neighbourhood. 

I pose it therefore, that for as long as you have got hygiene poverty and hygiene insecurity,

          HON. SEN.  ZVIDZAI (speaking)…as long as you have got hygiene poverty and hygiene insecurity, the total sum is that Harare City, the sunshine City, will never be the same as Windhoek, and it will never be the same as Kigali because that cry, that hygiene insecurity, hygiene poverty permeates the real world of the macro-levels of cleanliness.  As long as we are not dealing with the ease of poverty, we can spend as much time as we want blaming each other. We can raise our voices loudly, they will not be changed. As long as there is poverty, you will have dirty neighbourhoods.

          I did a look and a bit of regression analysis of certain factors. You look at the income level which is related to where the affluent and where the poor go, and the relationship of that incapacity to just deal with rubbish. In Harare, Bulawayo and all these cities, we have got imported residents, the transient population that come from Mrehwa etcetera. For your own information, in this country, we have got a 36% open defecation rate across the board.

          If a person goes round the bush to defecate, forget about that person picking up rubbish when they see it. These are realities of our life that we need to deal with to make sure that Zimbabwe becomes the Zimbabwe that we all want and the neighbourhood becomes the neighbourhood that we all want. Sources of water are the same and the availability of the disposal of refuse, like I said, the open defecation, all those if you put that on a regression analysis curve, you will see the relationship between poverty and unconscientiousness around cleanliness. What are the answers?

          We should not just keep on shouting. We must propose solutions. With respect to local authorities, the panacea to the challenge that we face is a belief and living the provisions of devolution. Allow the people to manage themselves and allow people to be responsible citizens. Give them the latitude to explore the best out of themselves. The next thing is to strengthen local authorities, allow them to function and capacitate them. Do not stop them from working and do not celebrate failure in the hope that you will get more votes because that does not happen. It is a failed strategy.

          Since 2000, the ministers have been doing that, and they have been killing local authorities hoping that votes will shift, but they have not shifted. It is foolish to keep the same strategy hoping that you will get different results the next day. So hind back they attract revenue streams, give the local authorities back their electricity, give them back their licences, give them certain proportions of tax so that they have got resources available to them. Help them manage inflation. When they budgeted in December, the rate was 1:5, but today it is 1:20, and they do not have the flexibility to change the budgets so that they can deal with the challenge that they face. The budgets have shrunk four times and they are expected to deliver based on budgets that have been eroded because of inflation. This is not their choice.

          Madam President, I would have talked about the irresponsibility around EMA. They punish people for polluting the land and they use the money to buy fancy vehicles and the same sewage that they were penalising the city for spilling over is still there. The attitude of the law and the provisions around EMA is that if you punish, use this…

          HON. SEN. MAKAMBA: Madam President, may I interject. I think the Hon. Member is out of script. The word foolishness is unparliamentary language. Thank you.

          THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE (HON. SEN. A. DUBE): Hon. Member, can you withdraw your statement?

          HON. SEN. ZVIDZAI: Thank you very much Madam President. I do not remember calling anybody foolish, but for the benefit of my debate….

          [Time Limit]

          HON. SEN. ZVIDZAI: I was saying for the benefit of my debate and for the friendliness that I have with the Hon. Member, I withdraw. There are no foolish people in the country. Thank you.

          +HON. SEN. S. MOYO: Thank you Madam President. I thank you for bringing up this motion on dirtiness. I have a few words to bring before the House, having heard from Hon. Zvidzai as someone who has been a Mayor. He said the truth that if all of us were the same, our country would be quite clean. Firstly, I observed that our towns, whenever you drive into them, you find that hygiene is not practiced and it is now uniform throughout Zimbabwe. There is no one taking steps to rectify the issue of hygiene in our towns.

I will also raise matters of some of us here who are business people in the rural areas. I observed that when we talk of cleanliness, they are talking of being unhygienic even at their business premises. Are these persons clean as well? I say charity begins at home. We should have an eye and have the mind to be able to attend to these problems. I go to many provinces and I observed that most of our places are unhygienic. If you drive from Bulawayo, Mbalabala, before you even reach Zvishavane, there is a turn from Mberengwa and what is obtaining there is something that is a disgrace. There are a lot of plastics and bottles strewn around. We have tourists who drive through there. What do they say about the litter? We see it and we do not discuss about it. Most of us who stay in the rural areas in Matebeleland South, our beasts are dying after eating plastics that are being thrown around by people because we have no laws. If you go to Singapore today, you will see that the place is clean and hygienic. The nationals are proud of their country; if there is any dirt, there are people to attend to it.

          In the rural areas, there is a Food for Work Programme. What kind of jobs are on offer? People attend to these matters but after that, we find the places dirty because these people were not paid. When we are here talking about our country, we should come up with suggestions to policymakers so that they approach people to get their views.  There are a lot of unemployed people. There is a beer called Njengu, you cannot travel for 500 metres, especially in rural areas before seeing bottles strewn all over. When some people are driving, they litter with bottles and all sorts of rubbish all over. At road blocks, you will find empty bottles of beer and all sorts of empty bottles. Then you ask yourself, what sort of a country goes without a law?

          In conclusion Madam President, let us try to clean up our place. Let us conscientise our people. When we enter our ports of entry at either Plumtree or Maitengwe, it is so unhygienic and an embarrassment. What is the money that is being generated there being used on? That money should be used to ensure that the place is kept clean. I thank you.

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

          HON. SEN. MAKAMBA: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Thursday,14th March, 2024.

          On the motion of HON. SEN. MUZENDA, seconded by HON. SEN. MAKAMBA, the Senate adjourned at Sixteen Minutes past Four o’clock p.m.

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