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SENATE HANSARD 14 DECEMBER 2022 VOL 32 NO 6

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Wednesday, 14th December, 2022.

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

PRAYERS

(THE DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE in the Chair)

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          HON. SEN. MOHADI: Thank you Mr. President.  I move that Order of the Day, Number 1 be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the Day have been disposed of.

          HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS

                   Question again proposed.

HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: Thank you Mr. President for giving me the opportunity to add my voice to the debate on the State of the Nation Address (SONA) delivered by His Excellency the President, Cde. Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa. I would like to thank His Excellency for his vision.  When we went to the new Parliament Building, we were all impressed by the state of the art building.  This is part of development in the country, which we need the most.

During SONA, His Excellency the President talked about chiefs’ Zunde raMambo, which he had extended to village heads.   The chiefs are there but they will be helped by lieutenants, the village heads in order to cover the whole country.  This will help people in the rural areas so that no one is left behind, as the Government takes care of all its people. As big as the country is or as big the area of a chief is, it will be covered when it comes to food distribution during needy times

The President also talked about finance, in relation to the Insurance Bill.  Insurance companies had proliferated everywhere in the country but when people need to be assisted through their contributions, it was not happening.  Even if you fall ill, you were asked of shortfalls but you will be contributing every month.  I want to thank our President for such wisdom that he wants people to benefit from their contributions towards insurances like medical aid.  We feel great because we have a caring President, who has his people at heart.

Mr. President, His Excellency also talked about the office of the Attorney-General that it is no longer part of the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.  The President’s foresight helps us because we all know the history of our courts.  If one is persecuted and goes to court, the cases were not coming to conclusion.  Victims would be called to court several times and in the long run, the docket will be missing or you can be told to come the other day and so on.  What our President did now would see our courts being run professionally and cases dealt with timeously; especially cases of corruption, they do not need to take long before conclusion because a lot will be happening behind the scenes.  I think this will help us go a long way in trusting our courts.

His Excellency also talked about the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bills. This is going to correct things which were not right.  We know that our minerals will be channeled where they are supposed to be going so that they benefit the nation.  This is different from what was happening where people would just take their minerals to all corners.  This is going to bring order to the mining sector and it is going to benefit the country. 

          Mr. President, His Excellency spoke about Disaster Risk Management Bill, which is a vision meant to save lives.  His Excellency saw that we were not prepared when disaster occurred in Chimanimani.  We lost a lot of lives because there was no mechanism in place to mitigate the disaster.  The Disaster Risk Management Bill is meant to address this so that the departments which are tasked with that responsibility would be prepared for disasters.  There will not be any need for being reactive to the situation but the departments would be proactive.  Due to climate change, we do not know when disasters come and the end result.  If there is preparedness and there are mitigatory measures, the nation will not lose many lives.  I want to thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHIDUWA):  I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          Motion put and agreed to. 

          Debate to resume:  Thursday, 15th December, 2022.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHIDUWA):  Thank you Mr. President. I move that the House reverts to Order of the Day, Number 1 on today’s Order Paper

MOTION

SUSPENSION OF STANDING ORDER NOS. 32 (6), 52, 65, 67 (5) AND 137

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHIDUWA) on behalf of THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Mr. President, I move that the provisions of Standing Order Nos. 32 (6), 52, 65, 67 (5) and 137 regarding the reporting period of the Parliamentary Legal Committee, automatic adjournment of the House at Five Minutes to Seven o’clock p.m. and at Twenty Five Minutes past One o’clock p.m. on a Friday, Government precedence and Private Members’ precedence, questions and stages of Bills respectively, be suspended until business relating to the Budget has been disposed of.

          Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

CONSTRUCTION OF SCHOOL INFRASTRUCTURE AND RECRUITMENT OF ECD TEACHERS

          Second Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on challenges affecting early child learning.

          Question again proposed.

          +HON. SEN. S. MPOFU: Thank you Mr. President for the opportunity that you have given me. This motion is about ECD, young children who are supposed to go to school.  It is very important to the children so that they access knowledge at an early stage.  It is important for children to attend ECD because this prepares them for Grade 1.  A child who goes to Grade 1 after attending ECD will be well prepared for primary school learning.  Before ECD when children attended Grade 1 lessons, they used to cry refusing to go to school hence children need to attend ECD. 

          If there is a problem with the child that the parents did not notice when the child was home, teachers help in observing problems that need to be attended by medical practitioners and they will advise the parents.  Some schools in rural areas are not yet ready for ECD A and B.  It is important for some of the requirements to be met.  Classrooms for ECDs are unique, the classrooms are wider. 

          The wide classrooms are not there in some schools where they offer ECD.  There are a lot of requirements that need to be attended to.  There is need for such classrooms in rural areas so that the children have enough space to learn and play from.  Most places when you go around schools, you find that the children will be outside.  When it is cold or raining, they have to share a classroom with other children and as such, learning is impeded because they will have to mix them with grade ones. 

The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education must look into that especially for rural schools so that proper infrastructure can be set up for ECD students.  ECD learners are very young and some of them travel long distances to go to school; Government must build nearby schools.

          The other problem is, in most areas, there is no electricity of which electricity enables internet connectivity. Most of the rural schools do not have internet connectivity.  Most of the rural schools do not have internet connectivity.  Most schools these days are being attended to through the internet.  Children cannot use WIFI because there is no electricity.  The Government should help either by setting up electricity or solar powered systems so that rural children can also access learning like other children in urban centres.

Again, in the rural areas we do not have the required teachers.  The Government should look into this matter that we should have ECD teachers.  They need to be trained so that the rural children can also access education just like their urban counterparts.  What is good is that Government said that these children should have food at schools.  In most places, particularly in rural areas, food is a problem.  They leave home without having eaten anything and when they go to school, they cannot learn properly in that condition.  In some schools, the food is not prepared.  They just store the maize and beans.  It is because the parents do not know that they should take the initiative in that programme of feeding the children in schools.

The other important thing, Mr. President, is computers in rural areas are not there so the Government should avail laptops, tablets or phones which are cheaper to enable parents and guardians to buy for their children at low prices.

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Order!  Hon. Senator, you may take your seat.  I am not very good in Ndebele but we are being advised that you are debating on child marriages and yet this motion is about the challenges which ECDs are facing. If that is correct please can you debate on ECDs.  This motion is about ECD.

HON. SEN. S. MPOFU:  Mr. President Sir, I am debating on ECDs, the disadvantages which are faced by ECD children in rural areas.

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Okay, unfortunately, I cannot judge for myself so I will take your word for it.

+HON. SEN. S. MPOFU:  Thank you Mr. President.  I was saying the children in ECDs are disadvantaged because they do not have access to gadgets for them to be able to use and learn.  Therefore, we request that Government should have a programme where they supply cheaper gadgets so that rural parents and guardians can manage to buy the gadgets so that these children can also enjoy learning ICT related educational matters. 

Again, the teachers in the rural areas, we need ECD teachers who also use the language of the community because most of the ECD children normally go through this problem because the teachers are not able to speak the local languages.  That makes it difficult for these children to learn or to understand what they are taught.  We therefore request that the Government should look into that.  Those children should access all the necessary prerequisites for ECD such as books, toys because they are still young.  They still have to play because they are still at infant stage. 

The Government should look into these matters to enable rural children to learn like their colleagues in the urban centres.  With those words, Mr. President, I thank you.

ÙÙHON. SEN. MOHADI:  Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to add a few words on the motion that was moved by Hon. Sen. Mabika, which talks mainly about the ECD.  Mr. President Sir, I now revert to my mother language.

Mr. President Sir, the children who attend ECD are very young.  Some of them are as young as 4 years and some are 5 years old.   I would like to focus on the resettlement areas.  Children have to walk 20km to school and talking of ECD, are we saying these children will be able to get to a school which is 20km away from where they stay.  It is not possible.  If they are likely to get to such a distant school, they will not concentrate because they will be tired, Mr. President.

Meanwhile, we are happy that our children will grow up going to school through ECD but in other areas which are disadvantaged, it is not working out. Even if we are to look at rural areas, the current situation is that the classrooms that they are using, especially in resettlement areas are not proper classrooms.  These children will be using mud houses as classrooms which were left by the previous farm owners.  In such kind of an environment, what do you expect a kid to do? 

Mr. President, let us also look at these children that are at such schools; if we are to look at those in Regions 4 and 5, even if people plough in their fields, they do not get meaningful harvests.  So these children normally go to school on empty stomachs and the school feeding programme is not there in quite a number of schools.  If these children are going to school hungry and get back home hungry, it affects their performance. 

Mr. President, children walk long distances and there is no transport to ferry these little children to and from school.  If you look at these children who are five to six years, nowadays people are cruel, they no longer respect children. We realised that there are more reports of kids being raped on their way to and from school.  We realised that very few of those children are able to reach Grade 7.  Most of them do not get to finish their Grade 7 because they would get pregnant and leave school.  Our President is always saying we are leaving no one and no place behind. If possible, may the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education  set out a small budget that focuses on ECD so that it alleviates such challenges that I am highlighting here.  Without anyone looking at this issue, it means kids will continue to be in trouble. Mr. President, I have said much about these kids, they need our care; they need to get proper education which is similar to that of their counterparts in towns and growth points. 

Going to the issue of teachers that are teaching these kids, we do not have enough teachers.  Those who are not capable of teaching these classes end up taking those classes without the requisites, just because they want them to be at the same level with those in growth points but the ones on resettlement are kids that have been left behind so much.  These kids in the resettlement areas end up not taking education seriously because they always suffer at that tender age.  My plea to our Government is to help our kids because it is a fraction of Zimbabwe that needs to be assisted.  With these few words, I thank you.  

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

          HON. SEN. TONGOGARA:  I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Thursday, 15th December, 2022.

          On the motion of HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA seconded by HON. SEN. S. MPOFU, the Senate adjourned at Seventeen Minutes past Three o’clock p.m.  

          

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