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SENATE HANSARD 14 DECEMBER 2023 VOL 33 NO 20

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Thursday, 14th December, 2023

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

APOLOGIES RECEIVED FROM MINISTERS

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Today is a Thursday and as usual, in accordance with the Standing Orders of the Senate, it is Private Members’ time for questions without notice.  Before I go to the list of Ministers present, which appears to be very short, I have some apologies from the following;

          Hon. G. D. N. Chiwenga, the Vice President of Zimbabwe;

          Hon. K. Mohadi, the Vice President of Zimbabwe; Hon. E. Jesaya, the Deputy Minister of Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture;        Hon. Dr. Mombeshora, Minister of Health and Child Care;

          Hon. O. C. Z. Muchinguri-Kashiri, Minister of Defence;

          Hon. Dr. F. M. Shava, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

          Present in the House and it is not a very encouraging number, are only two Ministers.  Hon. Minister Moyo, the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education and Hon. Phuti, the Deputy Minister of Information Communication Technology.

          It goes without saying that this again, is a very disappointing show.  The list of apologies has about six Ministers and yet we have got over 30 Ministers.  This is really treating the Senate with contempt as far as I am concerned.  It is unacceptable and it is coming after we have just had an interface between the Ministers and Parliament.  I am extremely disappointed.  I propose we make do with what we have whilst we wait for other Ministers to arrive.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE

          +HON. SEN. MLOTSHWA:  Thank you Mr. President Sir.  I have a question for the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education.  The Grade 7 results are out and my question to the Minister is, for those children that have failed who are denied places at other schools, what is Government policy regarding them because they are denied good education because of bad results?  Why are we denying those children the right to good education because of their results?  For high performance, they need those children to go to schools despite their bad results.  Thank you.

          THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  My earphones are not working so I did not quite get the question but I hope the Hon. Minister got the question.  If so, he may go ahead and answer.

          *THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY

EDUCATION: (HON. T. MOYO):  Hon. President, allow me to respond to the question in Shona because I am still learning how to speak Ndebele.  I want to thank the Hon. Senator for his question.  Government policy is that all children who have applied to be enrolled for Form 1 must not be denied that opportunity.  Government policy is that those children apply online.  We have a problem in boarding schools because the pass rate improved by 5% this year.  This means that those who managed to obtain 6 units at Grade 7 are many. 

          Schools then select the students looking at how the student performed.  Some boarding schools are getting many applications than they can offer.  One boarding received 2000 applications for students with 6 units.  They had a capacity to have 2 classes, each class accommodating only 40 students.  Many students with 6 units have failed to secure form 1 places at that boarding school.  Applicants are allowed to choose up to 5 schools and if they fail to secure accommodation at the first school, the next school will accommodate them, this then goes up to the 5th school. 

          If the child fails to secure a place in those 5 schools because of poor results, it means that they will eventually find a place somewhere, especially where the parents stay.  Government policy encourages students to secure school places near where they live.  Boarding schools are selecting those students who performed best.  However, the remaining students will eventually find a place.  We have many schools around the country that can accommodate every student.  I thank you.

          *HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: I thank you Hon. President. I would like to thank the Hon. Minister for his reply.  I am concerned with the rural community; some are ICT illiterate and do not know how to use internet and the others cannot even afford ICT gadgets.  On the pass rates, I noticed that urban students have better grades than their counterparts in rural areas.  What is Government doing to equip rural schools with better facilities so that they can compete with urban schools?  I thank you.

          *HON. T. MOYO: I want to thank Hon. Sen. Chief Charumbira for his question.  He asked two questions; the first one is on the ICT gadgets and online applications.  Mr. President Sir, so far, we do not have any complaints from rural schools and students that they have failed to access online applications.  We are now in our fifth year applying online, we have not yet received any report because all students are applying online. 

          On his second question on what the Government can do to improve the pass rate for rural schools.  It is true that rural students are less privileged than urban schools because of many reasons.  Firstly, in most schools in rural areas, they cannot access internet but in urban areas, students have ICT gadgets.  Plans are now in progress - we are sourcing funds so that we can have solar systems installed in our rural schools.  We received 48.8 million from our development partners (GPE) Global Partnership in Education.  Tomorrow, we are having a meeting with them and we will encourage them that part of those funds go for complementary funding, and the other funds will go for solar projects and rural electrification projects.  This will help students to access internet in rural areas so that they are at par with their urban counterparts.

          *HON. SEN. ZINDI: Thank you Hon. President.  I would like to inquire, we also read on social media that despite the Government policy that students no longer require entrance tests, some schools are still doing these entrance tests.  I thank you.

          *HON. T. MOYO: I want to thank you Hon. President.  I would like to thank the Hon. Senator for his question.  Government policy does not allow schools that offer form 1 place to enroll using entrance tests.  If there are schools which are doing that, as far as I know, there is no single school this year that enrolled using entrance tests.  If there are schools that are doing that, then it is illegal.  I ask those who have witnessed such schools to forward the names of the schools.  I also read about that in social media.  I received a call yesterday from a parent who was complaining that their child failed to secure a place because entrance tests were already done.  If that happened, can they forward the name of such schools so that we take action against such acts?   Government policy does not allow schools to do entrance tests.

+HON. SEN. R. M. NDLOVU: Thank you President of Senate. My question is directed to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education on the issue of BEAM.  The late disbursement of BEAM funds to schools is affecting students in their studies. What measures is the Ministry taking in order to avoid the late disbursements to schools and also avoid disturbances on the learners on BEAM programme? I thank you.

*THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. T. MOYO): Thank you Mr. President of Senate. I believe this is a new question and not a supplementary. Be that as it may, let me respond by saying, it is true that the practice has been the late disbursement of BEAM funds.  When we did our Pre-Budget Seminar for 2024, we agreed with the Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion that there will be quick disbursement of BEAM funds so that schools are not inconvenienced. The late disbursement of the funds led to the owners of schools having challenges in sourcing materials for the children’s upkeep.  Therefore, the Deputy Ministers of Education, Finance as well as Social Welfare, because the money is transferred from Treasury to Social Welfare, the Ministry of Education gets the money from the Ministry of Social Welfare. So, it was taking a bit of some time for the funds to be disbursed from each of the three participants. In 2024, that is going to be sorted out so that the headmasters are not going to have difficulties in sourcing for materials they want to use at the school.  So, it is work in progress. Thank you.

*HON. SEN. CHITSAMBA: We have heard that Grade 1 to Grade 7 education is going to be free. Is that going to be the case? Thank you.

*THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Thank you. In future Hon. Senator, ask your question through the Chair, although you want a specific Minister to answer the question.

*THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. T. MOYO): Hon. President of Senate, let me thank the Senator for the pertinent question.  It is true, Government has the intention that from ECD-A up to Grade 7, children should have free education. That is the aim of the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, His Excellency, Cde. Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa. So, this is not new.  It is an issue that we are seriously considering and it will not take us three years.  We need to mobilise the resources so that people benefit.  Free education comes in various forms.  There is the BEAM for those less privileged children that come from less privileged parents and they can go from ECD A up to grade 7 for free. In underdeveloped areas like my communal home, Muzarabani, Guruve and Kariba, children in those areas do not pay school fees.  They are going to school for free. There is a grant that is being used to cater for their fees. 

Those that pay do so because they will have reached an agreement that the school wants to build accommodation for the school teachers and levies are going to be paid. The Ministry is approached with proposals and approval is granted.  That is when levies are going to be paid, otherwise education is for free in that regard. We are grateful to the Government for doing such a splendid piece of work in the less developed areas.  Thank you.

+HON. SEN. M. PHUTHI:  Thank you Mr. President of Senate. My question is directed to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education. I want to find out on the areas in Matabeleland Province where there are no boosters. Sometimes, if they want to use diesel, there are challenges. Sometimes during the rainy season, there are challenges whereby we do not have boosters that can help in activating internet. I want to find out what measures the Ministry is taking to alleviate internet challenges? I thank you.

+THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY (HON. D. PHUTI): Thank you Mr. President Sir. I want to also thank the Hon. Sen. Phuthi for the question highlighting on the shortages of boosters which are called base stations in selected areas which then disturb the effectiveness of internet connection. Mr. President Sir, the Government has tried to put different measures or efforts in having all the areas of the country having access to internet. I also agree with what the Hon. Member is saying. There are specific areas like the ones she highlighted that they have shortages on infrastructure for internet connectivity. We have managed to put those base stations and network connectivity has improved in those areas that I have alluded to. I hope that highlighting the two projects that we have embarked on will assist in all areas having internet connectivity. There is PORTRAZ Mr. President Sir, that is mandated to check on how the internet connectivity is being carried out.  PORTRAZ also has separate funds that are supposed to be used for internet connectivity.   As I speak, I know they have put 12 base stations. You realise that when you combine the three projects that I have alluded to, it helps the network connectivity through the different base stations throughout the country.    

+HON. SEN. M. PHUTI:   Thank you Mr. President Sir. I was asking if the Minister is aware that when I asked the question, I was asking specifically for January. Yes, I thank him for the different efforts that they have made.  How is a child who is in Matiwana, for example, going to apply online when there is no network in that area? For now, as I speak, there is no network connectivity. I am therefore asking the Minister whether they are able to liaise with the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education if there is a way of having such affected children to be enabled to apply online.

+HON. D. PHUTI:  Thank you Mr. President Sir. I also want to thank the Hon. Sen for the supplementary question. I hope she is not saying that this is my chance to grill the Minister. This is a very important question that she has brought.  She is asking that all the issues that the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education has highlighted, especially on applying online while other areas do not have network connectivity. How then are you expecting all children to be able to apply? You realise that one of the questions that Hon. Sen. Phuti asked is almost the same as what Hon. Sen. Chief Charumbira asked when he was asking about certain areas that do not have network connectivity. I will accept that there are certain areas that have challenges on network connectivity. I will not run away from the fact that our children are supposed to be educated on how to use computers. The question is, how then do we have internet connectivity besides the boosters that come with the mobile network connectors?

 You realise the Ministry of Information has now established information centres whereby you have free WiFi.  They also have outreach programmes on how to use computers. Whether you want to do your applications on line or you are doing your school work online, you can do that for free at information centres. In almost all the districts, we now have information centres and this is helpful, especially in areas that do not have booster. We now have computerised village information centres. We have also established post offices that are community centres.  So far, we have done 32, especially in areas that do not have proper network connectivity. I think this is one of the efforts that we have tried as a Ministry to enable everyone to acquire knowledge, at least of how to use a computer and how to connect to internet. Lastly, what I will say Mr. President Sir, is that the learning strategy that is being used by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, together with the Ministry of ICT, they are in the middle of trying to give computers to all the schools that have ZESA and they want all these to have free WiFi. I think in that way, the Government is trying to move to a point whereby almost everyone will have knowledge of computers and also how to connect to the network. We have network from boosters, network operators and also from schools that have ZESA and WiFi. I thank you Hon. President.

*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA:  Thank you President, the Minister was doing very well.  We have learned about the airwaves - the good vocabulary, but Minister, out of the good things that you have said, the issue is when are we going to reach the same levels? What is your game changer, what is it that is going to accelerate the improvement of connectivity of rural areas? Your intentions - yes, we know, but what measures are you going to put in place as people in the communal lands are lagging behind?  I thank you.

++HON. D PHUTI:  Thank you Hon. President of the Senate.  I would want to respond to Hon. Sen. Chief Charumbira’s question.  What are we doing differently from what has been happening all along because the rural areas are lagging behind in terms of connectivity?  I would like to respond by saying that the rural areas are covered. The major highways, it was difficult to get connectivity but these days we realise that you get to Harare or Masvingo with good coverage, so I realise that from the major highways, there is good network coverage. After that, we will look at remote areas that may be difficult to get access. I can give an example of Gezani in Chiredzi where it is said is difficult to get there. We have gone there and we have put base stations. So, I think we have really made a tremendous effort to give connectivity to many areas.

The Government has also made efforts to ensure that in border line areas, now base stations of local mobile operators are operating there, they are now working so that people do not use foreign network operators. They are now using local mobile networks.

          *HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: I got the Kalanga and, in his response, the Minister is saying that there is connectivity near highways but it is not the case with other areas. We used to pay Village Heads using Mobile Money, Net-one or Econet. We have since abandoned that method of payment because even if you try to send their allowances, they will not be able to access it. We have since abandoned that. I wanted you to take note of that. You might assume that the highways, there is good connectivity but away from the major highways, indeed there is no connectivity although we may applaud the effort that has been made. So, those remote areas are still affected and this also affects the schools that we were talking about. I thank you Hon. Minister for the promises that have been made.

*HON. SEN. MUZODA: Minister, what are you doing as a Ministry or as Government, to increase communication centres that you referred to? I also would like to suggest that let us not lump all our communication centres at the Post Office? They are only accessed by a few people. If we could make every school in Zimbabwe a communication centre of that area so that everyone will get assistance instead of going to a Post Office after paying $5 to and from. That is a major challenge because in the rural areas, that money cannot be accessed.

*THE HON DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I thought you were saying it was just a suggestion not a question like you said. May I ask the Hon. Senators to use one language for the sake of the Ministers who are supposed to respond. We are supposed to use only one language when asking questions.

*HON. SEN. MAVENYENGWA: Thank you Mr President. My question is directed to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education. Mr. President, I wanted to understand from the Minister what is Government’s policy with regards to new schools that are being constructed by parents using devolution and Constituency Development Funds because we have realised that children are travelling long distances and that is why they are building these schools. However, when the parents try to ensure that those schools are officially recognised, it takes a long time. May the Honourable Minister explain what are the requirements to ensure that the school can start operating? Sometimes those schools end up risking dilapidation without being used yet we realise that there is a shortage of schools.

*THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. T. MOYO): Indeed, satellite schools have learners that attend those schools but when they are supposed to write national examinations, they have to travel to schools that may be a distance away or 10km away where they sit for those exams. As Government, we are not happy with that. For a school to be able to stand alone and not be addressed as a satellite school, there are procedures to be taken.

Firstly, there is supposed to be a block, a strong room and teachers houses or cottages. So, all those applying for registration, we do not refuse but as long as they have a strong room where examination papers will be safely stored, we give them examination centres.  Independent schools, today as I speak, we had meetings with Headmasters and we have discussed that. We told them that if they were not responding early enough to those applications in the past, that must end. They must send inspectors to ensure that all the requirements are met and the registration takes place.

*HON. SEN. ZINDI: My supplementary question is, are they not able to look into the matter of assisting schools as a matter of policy to ensure that they reduce the distance travelled by learners where sometimes they travel even more than 10km? They are aware that there is a problem. So, as a Ministry, are they not able to make a follow up on such schools and come up with a fund that may assist those schools to ensure that they have those required strong rooms and assist in the construction of teachers cottages, giving a percentage of what they can do? For example, the Ministry will state how they can assist the parents so that they can at least get assistance.

          *THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. T. MOYO):  Thank you Mr. President Sir.  We have funding available to assist those satellite schools.  Last term we had 250 schools.  We asked Members of Parliament to give us the names of such schools and a list was compiled.  Each of those schools were given USD5 000 before being registered.  We compile a list for each province.  If, for example in Masvingo Province, there are 35 schools, we give each school USD5 000.  The school heads signed out forms in order for them to receive those funds.

          Secondly, we appeal that devolution funds be channeled towards the less established schools and not those schools that are already well established.  The funds can be used to build the strong rooms and accommodation for teachers.  Money from CDF can also be used to help those satellite schools so that they can also be registered.

          *HON. SEN. GWATURE:  My question is directed to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education.  We have children who are in Grade 1 up to Grade 7 who are assisted by the BEAM Programme. How can these children be assisted to get Form 1 places because most of them are failing to continue with their education because of lack of funds.  Most of these children end up working in farms instead of continuing with their education.  I thank you.

          THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. T. MOYO):  I had already answered that question but I can repeat what I previously said.  A child that is assisted under the BEAM facility, upon completing their Grade 7, can continue with their secondary education.  There is no school that should refuse to enroll a child, even if that child has no money for school fees.  There is a committee that looks into the issue of children that come from less privileged families so that the Government can assist them through BEAM.  However, a child under the BEAM facility cannot look for a Form 1 place at a boarding school because BEAM cannot cover those high school fees.  There is funding available for the girl child of 12 million under CAMFED that looks for children from disadvantaged families.  These children are offered scholarships and school uniforms are bought using the fund.

          It is unfortunate that some children are unable to complete their education.  It is a crime for a child to stop going to school after competing their Grade 7.  If there are parents that are failing to send their children to school when there is a Government programme that assists such children, it is against the law.

          *HON. SEN. CHAKABUDA:  Thank you Hon. President.  My question is directed to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education.  There are some schools that force parents to buy school uniforms from the school.  These schools charge exorbitant prices and most parents cannot afford.  However, these same uniforms will be  available in shops at a lower price.  Can the Government not assist such parents so that they can be allowed to buy the uniforms from shops that sell them at a cheaper price?  I thank you.

          *THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. T. MOYO):  I would like to thank the Senator for such an important question.  There are some schools such as the school in Kwekwe that was reported to the Government that defy Government directives and force parents to buy expensive uniforms from the school.  The Government sent out circulars to schools that say that parents should not be forced to buy uniforms from the school.  If there are shops such as EnBee or OK that are cheaper that sell those uniforms, parents should buy from there.  If there are such schools, you can submit such issues in writing during questions with written notice and the Government can look into the issue.  The Ministry will send its officials to such schools and carry out investigations.  We have SI 1 of 2000 which is there to prosecute those who defy Government directives.

          HON. SEN. FANUEL: Thank you Mr. President. I would like to ask my question to the Minister of Education.  There are a lot of schools that are doing online applications, and yet many of those students have no access to internet. Sometimes teachers only teach online, like in Binga, they only go there for three months and after that they request for transfers.  Right now, there are a lot of schools without teachers in Binga because teachers cannot communicate in Tonga.  I also like to talk about BEAM especially, because it speaks to orphans.  Sometimes there are situations where there is poverty even if the parents are there.  There are parents who cannot afford, so that is what I wanted to ask. 

          The other thing is, teachers must be able to communicate in the local languages because in some areas, students have to interpret for the teacher.  Then the schools that have been constructed and supposed to be upgraded to boarding schools, nothing is happening and now learners have to travel 20 kilometers to go to school.  Then there are some schools with no water, so teachers are running away from such schools because there is no water and there is no learning taking place there.  I thank you.

          THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. T. MOYO): Mr. President, the Hon. Member has asked more than four questions. She spoke about online learning, she spoke about BEAM, issues to do with boarding facilities and the issue of teachers who transfer after three months.

          THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Attend to one question.

 HON. T. MOYO: Let me address the issue of teachers who transfer after three months. Mr. President, it is Government policy to deploy teachers to different provinces.  We have observed that of late, there are challenges associated with centralised recruitment.  It is our clarion call and we have resolved as Government that from next year, we are going to resort to decentralisation of recruitment of teachers.  The challenge of centralised recruitment is that somebody is deployed from Head Office and deployed to Binga, but that person comes from Masvingo or comes from Manicaland and the husband is in Manicaland.  The teacher will go and assume duties and upon assuming duty, the next letter that person will produce is a transfer later after three months.  In most cases, the majority of cases is that those teachers are not fluent in Tonga.  We have observed the deficiency of that centralised policy and we have resolved that we are going to allocate teachers from Head Office.  Then we are able to assess the number of teachers who are needed in Matabeleland North, for example, we decided to allocate 600 teachers in Matabeleland North who also established the most disadvantaged province.  Another most disadvantaged area is Binga.

          The people who are qualified who stay in Binga can also go to the district office and be deployed in the district of their residence.  Some of the teachers are likely to go to work from the comfort of their homes and this could also save schools in terms of accommodation challenges, it becomes an advantage.  That is where we are going so that we do not have these problems of teachers who may wish to transfer to provinces of their choice.

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

          HON. SEN. MOHADI: Mr. President, I move that time for Questions Without Notice be extended by 20 minutes.

          HON. SEN. BUNGU: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          HON. SEN. MOHADI: Thank you Hon. President.  My question goes to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education. I have observed that children who learn in resettled areas are still using infrastructure made of pole and dagga.  My question is, does the Ministry have any future plans in providing the necessary infrastructure as those children seem to be neglected?  I thank you.

          THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. T. MOYO): Hon. President, may I thank Hon. Sen. Mohadi for the question.  It is true that in some resettlement areas, the learning environment and the classrooms there are not in good shape and the Government is aware of the challenges. His Excellency the President, Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa is well known for saying no one and no place should be left behind.  The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education got the highest Vote in terms of the 2024 budget.  We got eight trillion dollars and part of that will go towards rehabilitation of those schools in the resettlement areas.  The other portion will be spared for the construction of such schools in the resettlement areas and all those areas where learners are walking distances ranging from five to 10 kilometers.

          Government policy is to ensure that the welfare of learners is met and that the schools are improved. It is our mandate to ensure that we are going to do that as instructed by His Excellency the President.  We also have development partners who are assisting us.  Two weeks ago, we had a partner who managed to build more than 60 classrooms in three months in the name of Church of Jesus Christ for Latter-day Saints.  I went to commission 65 classrooms and laboratories constructed in three months and they said in 2024, please tell us the areas where we can construct new schools and we can also build new structures like classroom blocks and laboratories. 

          We also have partners coming next year, we have partners in the name of OPEC Fund for International Development.  

*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHIKWAKA: Thank you Mr. President of the Senate. I am directing my question to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education  since he is the only Minister here present. What steps are to be taken by Government in order to ensure that the provision of education in the country is the same? When we went to school, we all attended and wrote Cambridge examinations. It was just the only single examination board. It was entirely up to you, whether you were a brilliant learner or not. We now have two types of examination boards, the Zimbabwe Schools Examinations Council (ZIMSEC) and Cambridge. Is this not going to create differences between learners? Even the families are now going to have differences between those who would have attended Cambridge and those who would have attended ZIMSEC. Those who would have been examined by Cambridge would feel superior to those of ZIMSEC. Why can Government not standardise and make it compulsory to have ZIMSEC as the sole examination board? I thank you.

*THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. DR. T. MOYO): Thank you Mr. President of Senate. Let me thank Hon. Sen. Chikwaka for his question. It is true that we have two examination boards, Cambridge and the ZIMSEC. We have realised that the children that sit for Cambridge examinations are learners from Trust Schools. These are the most expensive schools, the affluent ones. However, the law says that even if the learners are sitting for Cambridge examinations, they should also have ZIMSEC examinations.

For us to be able to change what is in the Constitution, it begins with the senators in the Senate, the MPs in the National Assembly as well as the civic organisations. Mr. President Sir, there are certain countries which also want to have ZIMSEC examinations. South Africa has made an application that they want their children to be examined by our ZIMSEC board. The Minister is coming next year in January for a memorandum of understanding. It does not mean that the children that sit for ZIMSEC examinations are disadvantaged. In terms of the question that has been posed, he said why do we not have ZIMSEC as the single examination board?  No one would want us to have Cambridge as our examination board, ZIMSEC is our local board.

As the Minister, I have no right to say that learners must only be examined under ZIMSEC board because it is ultra vires the Constitution. Individuals or civic organisations may petition Parliament in terms of Section 149 of the Constitution indicating their reasons for wanting to have a single examination board. By so doing, they will be beseeching the Hon. Speaker of Parliament who will then refer the petition to the Portfolio Committee on Primary and Secondary Education to consult the public through public hearings in all the 10 provinces of the country. After the consultations, a report is presented in Parliament, the issue is brought to the Ministry and we will be in a position to then say this is what the people want: to have a single examination board, that is ZIMSEC. Until that is sorted out, we will remain with the two examination boards. I thank you.

HON. SEN. SHIRI: Thank you Mr. President Sir. My question is directed to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education. Hon. Minister, what plans are in place to streamline the learning of sign language across Zimbabwe? What are the measures that have been taken so far to make it one of the core subjects as part of ‘O’ level passes? I thank you.

*THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. DR. T. MOYO): Thank you Mr. President Sir. May I thank in a big way, Hon. Sen. Shiri for such a very good question. Sign language, Mr. President, is one of the 16 officially recognised languages in our Constitution. As the Ministry of Education, we have produced a syllabus at Grade 7 and at ‘O’ level. It is there, but for us to implement sign language as a core subject in our schools, it means we have to liaise with our sister Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education which trains teachers. This is a clarion call Mr. President, for us to go further to train teachers. In some countries, every teacher is able to do sign language. It is a disadvantage to our learners who have disabilities of listening impairments. We want as well to liaise with the Ministry of Higher Education so that they start training. All teachers will go through teacher training colleges. Universities also should be able to do sign language which will be handy in the implementation of sign language as a basic core subject. I thank you.

HON. SEN. ZVIDZAI: Thank you Mr. President for this opportunity to ask a question to the Minister of Education. The ZimStats produced a recent report after the Grade 7 results came out. It indicated that the pass rate was 45.5%. Putting it in another way, the failure rate is 55%, which is greater than the pass rate. What is Government doing to deal with the issue of the 55% of our learners at primary school level who did not make the grade?  I thank you.

          THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. T. MOYO):  May I thank the Hon. Senator for that question.  Mr. President, I have not seen the ZIMSTAT report and I am yet to read it but what I know as far as Grade 7 results are concerned is that they performed very well.  There was an increase of 5% compared to the results in 2022 and we want to applaud our teachers for a job well done.  However, it is not everyone who passes.  If it is true that those who failed constitute 55%, that is the major mandate of our teachers, to improve the pass rate. 

The number of measures that can be put in place to improve the pass rate, the issues to do with online learning which should also be extended to rural areas, that will contribute in a big way in ensuring that the pass rate improves.  Also, the teachers must continue to ensure that they give homework on a daily basis, do assessments regularly, marking should be done regularly and in the process, this should ensure that the pass rate improves.  Feedback must be immediate and never be delayed.  These are some of the ways to improve the pass rate. We should also buy more teaching and learning materials, buy books and we have the funding to buy new books which should be availed to our learners and in the process that will also lead to an increased pass rate.  Even the classrooms need to be rehabilitated to make the environment conducive, which will also lead to an improved pass rate.  I think I have answered his question.  Thank you very much Mr. President Sir.

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

MOTION

PROGRAMMES TO CURB DRUG AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE BY YOUTHS

HON. SEN DUBE: I move the motion standing in my name;

That this House—

APPALLED by the unabated drug and substance abuse by youths nationwide;

GRAVELY CONCERNED that the situation is spiraling out of control as the youths spend most of their time idle and consequently end up taking drugs as a pastime;

WORRIED that such substance and drug abuse has extremely devastating and far-reaching consequences on our youths and the future generations;

NOW, THEREFORE, calls upon the Government to:

(a) come up with programmes to curb drug and substance abuse by youths through self-help projects that ensure youths are fully occupied most of their time thereby keeping them away from drugs.

(b) establish rehabilitation centres nationwide to assist youths who are addicted to drugs to the extent of treating substance and drug abuse as an integral part of their lives

(c) legislate for much stiffer penalties than before on individuals who are the sources of supply for those substances and drugs which give rise to incidents of this unwanted scourge of drugs in the country leading to this conundrum;

(d) Send to jail all repeat offenders without any option of fines at all; and

(e) take all necessary measures to ensure that law enforcement agents bring to an abrupt halt, incidents of drug and substance abuse as a matter of urgency

HON. SEN. MUPFUMIRA:  I second.

+HON. SEN. DUBE:  Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to add my voice to the motion that I tabled in this House concerning children involved in drug abuse.  In our nation, the issue of drug abuse is now cancerous.  Most of our children who we are hoping will be our future leaders and the law makers of tomorrow are now into drugs.  Most of the children think drug abuse is the way to go and to enjoy life.  All they think of is taking drugs.  Most of our children are no longer healthy because of drug abuse.

As I speak Mr. President, we realise that even rape cases are rising

because of drug abuse. As a parent, you cannot leave your son and daughter together because they might get into drugs and rape each other. If they are under the influence of drugs, you realise that one might not really be fully aware of what they are doing. There are so many of our children who are behind bars because of drug abuse, rape or murder cases. We have those who are into drugs who rape school students. All this is because of drug abuse. I call upon everyone to look into this issue and take it seriously so that we try to find a way forward as elderly people, especially as lawmakers.

We need to really come up with a way of dealing with drug abuse. Even the Council of Elders, as a country, we actually need to work together as a team to come up with a way of curbing the issue of drug abuse and also protecting our children. Some of our children do not want to go to school and are now school drop outs and want to concentrate on drugs. The teachers are now afraid of disciplining our children because they are afraid that once they do so, they might be murdered by the students who are into drugs.

We are therefore losing the future leaders, even long back we knew that as an elderly person and you are lost or not sure of where you are going, you ask for help from our children. Nowadays, it is scary to ask for help from our children. We might refer to this as a demon of drug abuse because most of them do not know what they are doing. All this is because of the drug abuse. Inasmuch as we can pray against this, we need to really find a way forward. If you have a child in Grade Six, you can find them drunk. I once saw a child who was in Grade Six who was a drug addict and when the teachers were trying to help this child, the child was busy talking negatively and bad about the grandmother. They actually mentioned how they got the drugs, the supplier and where they got the money to buy the drugs.

I once saw something from the newspaper that they caught about 100 people who were selling drugs. If Government can try to push this effort of trying to curb drug abuse, I think there is a lot we can do to help our children. I know that if this is not done, there are so many people who are drug sellers but as the Government tries to push, by all means, let us try to support them even as lawmakers. I believe that the Government is trying by all means to assist the youth to have something to do through the Youth Empowerment Bank and Vocational Training Centres as a way of trying to keep the youth busy so that they do not concentrate on drugs.

When you check especially in the urban areas, you realise there are too many groups of young children who will be busy talking about issues to do with drugs or even taking the drugs. Everywhere you go, each and every corner, you find different groups of young boys who are busy taking drugs. Hence, I refer this to a demon because when a demon manifests, it is exactly what they do just like these groups do when they move around. In their different groups, they act as if there is someone who has asked them to go and take drugs.

I want to urge the Government to come up with more vocational training centres or even rehabilitation centres so that we can take these children to rehabilitation centres instead of taking them to psycho-hospitals. We once heard that the Government is trying by all means to change the different places that were used as isolation centres during COVID to be turned into rehabilitation centres especially those who will be in the process of being rehabilitated from drug abuse. If we can turn these isolation centres into rehabilitation centres, maybe we can try with all our efforts to help especially the drug addicts.

We are also happy that when they come out of the rehabilitation centres, they are even far much better which is an indication that they will be taught whilst those who will be kept at the psycho-hospitals will act like someone who is not mentally stable. Hence, the reason why I say let us build more rehabilitation centres to take the drug abusers into relevant places not psycho-clinics. I urge the Government to work on this with immediate effect because it is a reality that is there and most of our children are dying due to drug abuse.

Also, if the Government can come up with a law that everyone who is caught red-handed with drugs should be given a stiff penalty so that tomorrow, they will not commit the same crime again. Those who would have been convicted of selling drugs or being in possession of drugs, if they are second offenders, they should be given stiffer penalties because the ones who are selling drugs are killing our children. I realise that most people are taking the issue of drug abuse lightly to an extent that even when you know your neighbour is the one who is selling the drugs, you do not say anything. I therefore urge Parliament to come up with a law to say anyone who has the knowledge of where drugs are being sold and does not disclose such information should also be arrested or charged, because that means they are working together. 

Mr. President, I doubt if these children love what they are doing because it is just a wave that is there which I have alluded to as a demon. The moment you start getting into drugs, you realise that even their behaviour, they act like someone who is not mentally stable. We are therefore urging the Government to tackle this seriously. We urge that all those who commit murder due to drug abuse or those selling drugs, even someone who is a witch is far much better as compared to someone selling drugs because once you sell drugs,  there is a lot that you  do that is not right. Hence, I urge the Government to put stiffer penalties on all those found in possession and selling drugs.

With these few words, I request that we push this issue and not just talk about it but implement every recommendation that we are putting and work together with all the ministries and departments, law enforcement agencies and come up with a law on what is it that we are going to do. I know that Members of Parliament, you have the power to do that. Let us exercise our right and come up with stiffer penalties on curbing drug abuse. We will be a country that does not have future leaders once we do not implement an Act that can curb the use of drugs.

+HON. SEN. M. PHUTI:  Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to add my voice on the motion that was tabled by Sen. Dube. A motion that is very emotional and painful because we have lost so many children and this has affected the country. I want to add my voice on what exactly it is that causes children to be drug abusers.

Mr. President, drug abuse is caused by the following issues: lack of employment, children living under conditions whereby they are harassed, either at home or by friends, hence they opt to be drug abusers.

          Mr. President Sir, if youths are not employed, they spend the whole day without doing anything, especially in urban areas. You will not move around less than 500 metres and find youths in groups just sitting and not doing anything.  I therefore urge the Government to check town by town or village by village on what it is that is making them sit in different groups.  Madam President, at the end of the day you realise that these young people commit murder or other offences, all because they do not have employment.

          I will talk about drugs.  As Members of Parliament, there is little that we know about what it is that is done by drug abusers.  These days you realise that someone goes to the extent of boiling pampers.  There is that blue stuff that is found in pampers.  They will boil it and drink.  Children these days even use google. They can take, for example Mazoe Orange Crush and mix it with Cerevita and come up with a drug.  We might accuse those who are selling cocaine, but there is more that they are doing, Madam President.

          I will also allude to issues that are being done by children.  For example, the mixture of Mazoe Orange Crush.  As a parent, you will be buying thinking it is food stuff not knowing that they will turn that into drugs.  Hence, I say we have little knowledge when it comes to what it is that our children are doing to come up with drugs. All that we need to do is to assist them.  Let us try to assist them, to make them see the bad and the good side of it.  When we say the only way out is to arrest them, we will have prisons full of young people, but still we are not helping them.  All that we need to do is try and find the root cause.  Secondly, we try to assist them see the negative side of it.

          I will give an example of COVID-19.  COVID-19 came with people who were coming from outside.  Here in Zimbabwe, we did not have COVID-19.  When it comes to drugs, you realise that cocaine is brought by people who have money and someone who does not have money will not buy cocaine, but will form their own drug.  Another thing Madam President, yes, we can come up with rehabs.  We can come up with a hall as big as this House.  We will fill this House, the reason being that they do not have anything.  We need to create employment.  There is no employment and as long as there is no employment, that means we are not doing anything.  As a Government therefore, we are mandated to create employment for our youths.

          As law makers, we can come up with something that can occupy our children, whether we come up with clubs whereby our youths are able to spend the day there and not taking drugs.  A few years back, I remember we once came up with a law where we are now allowing people to farm dagga. Why can we not reduce the licence for those who want to grow dagga? Whether we like it or not, as long as the licence is too high, they will buy and take those drugs. 

We also need to acknowledge that those who are drug abusers, we cannot take them to rehab most of the times, but let us take them to rural areas and we sit down with them, monitor them even if we have to monitor them every day and try to make them see the good side of not taking drugs.  If you just tell them not to take drugs, the next question that they will ask you is, how come you are taking your sadza, you are taking your tea?  What is the difference with me taking my drugs?  Once we sit down with them and show them the right side of not taking the drugs, you realise that you can use them as ambassadors on the fight against drug abuse. 

I have alluded to drugs that are coming from outside the country.  What pains me, Madam President is, we are talking about drugs.  It is just a small packet of drugs, but we have other high profile people who are coming with tonnes and tonnes of drugs.  In a way, we are saying we are only talking of someone who is bringing in a small packet while we have high profile people who are coming with tonnes of drugs.  We need to arrest everyone who comes in with drugs.  Some of us are actually people who are using diplomatic passports because you know you are not going to be arrested, therefore you bring in drugs.  As long as we are not arresting the drug sellers or those who come in with drugs, especially the ones who bring tonnes of drugs, there is nothing that we are doing.

If you check in urban areas, you realise they have a sign of putting a shoe lace on ZESA lines.  It is an indicator that somewhere close there is someone who is selling drugs.  If you do not know, check in urban areas.  As long as you see a ZESA line with a shoe lace or a shoe hanging, know that there is a drug seller nearby.  I will give an example of Bulawayo or any other urban area, you realise that deals that have anything to do with drugs are being done by business people, not someone who does not have money.  One thing that we have to take note of Hon. Members, for example as a Member of Parliament, my child can also be one of the drug abusers.  Why, because I have money.  I will leave my child with certain amounts of money.  You realise for someone who is not able to get even $1 per month, it is rare to find them abusing drugs.  Most of the times drug abusers are children of high-profile people.

Most of the times when we hold parties, especially our male counterparts, you realise that you also partake in such parties.  Once you are under the influence of alcohol, there are so many things that you do.  At those parties, you can find one bottle of beer costing US$1000.  Most of the times I always say, it is easy for you to catch those who are into drugs or the ones who are selling drugs for it is them who bring in drugs.  I therefore repeat the same statement, let us curb drug sellers, even if the person is of high profile; we need to arrest because they would have committed a crime.

          Another thing Madam President, in town you will realise that, for example, in front of Jameson Hotel, at a distance of one metre apart, there is someone who is selling something. At the end of the day, that person would not have managed to sell anything and because of stress, they will take drugs as a way of trying to ease stress. 

As a country, I think we need to create more employment opportunities so that most of our youths are occupied or they have something that they are doing instead of being idle as this will make them drug abusers.   Another thing I once alluded to is that we have so many rehabilitation centres, we are yet to build more.  Our prisons are yet to be fully occupied.  What are you going to do as Government once we have our rehabilitation centres being occupied by drug abusers? I think as a nation, we have a mandate.

          I will repeat once again and emphasise that as a Government, we have to deal with every one who is bringing drugs, whether it is high profile or not, we need to arrest them, I thank you.

          +HON. SEN. MOYO: Thank you Madam President. I want to thank you for giving me this opportunity to debate on this motion on drug abuse.  I will give an example of people 18 years and above.  I do not know whether I will say young adults or youths.  Most of the Hon. Members have spoken about our prisons and our children. It is a very painful discussion, the ones I alluded to, the 18 years and above, most of them are saying it is more like a demon.  A demon can manifest in anyone.  When someone is hungry, they will eat anything that is available. I think there are certain laws that are not being implemented in our country.  I want to believe that because we have chiefs in this Senate who are the custodians of our tradition, why should we have an 18-year-old child drinking beer?  If you ask our chiefs, they will tell you that long back, we never used to do that, but when you pose a question on why they are doing that, you will be told by our own traditional leaders that what is it that we are going to do, for our children are now ruling us.

Our country has laws, but we are exercising our mandate.  We have alcohol that is referred to as Njengu, it is a very dangerous alcohol, but what pains me is that it is sold anywhere, even in the streets you can actually find it.  Why are our law enforcers and chiefs not assisting us in this?  If one is not working, what is it that they are going to do?  Should they stay idle and not do anything?  In our rural areas, most of the times you will find people in different groups, and you will wonder what it is that they are doing, they are drinking beer.  Most of the drug abusers after taking beer, commit suicide and some of them murder.  Why is this so? It is simple, because they are idle. Last year, some us who come from Matebeleland South, we know that once they are done with school, they will cross the borders to either Botswana or South Africa.  That is where most of our children from that region go.  By reason of the changes that are there in South Africa or Botswana, you will realise they are deported. They come back and they are the same people who come back with those drugs.  I am therefore urging the Government to create employment opportunities for our youths.  In our country, we have so many mines.  We know that when a mine is opened, they can employ more than 4000 employees, but I am wondering who the employees are that are being taken, because most of our youths are not being taken.

          As Senators, we are all saying our Government is doing so many things, for example in road rehabilitation.  The question I am posing to the Government is why are we not employing our youths in such jobs?  It is an employment opportunity for them.  If there are any employment agencies that are taking youths or any employees, let us have more of our youths working.  Yes, we can say there is a demon, but I think the main problem is that we do not have employment opportunities. Most of the people who commit suicide or take drugs, is because of stress.  As an adult, one cannot go home empty handed and at the end of the day, they will take drugs or commit suicide rather than getting home empty handed.  I thank you.

+HON. SEN. R. NDLOVU: Thank you Madam President. I would also want to add my voice on what has been said by the other Hon. Members who have debated on such a painful motion. First and foremost, Madam President, we have to realise that in our days, we never used to have anything that has to do with drugs. The main reason why such issues never used to exist is because there were so many job opportunities. We used to have factories where those who did not get an opportunity to go to school would work. Hence when someone is at school and they do not come up with good results, they would still know that they will go and work on the factories.

You will realise that most of the drug abusers are children who are not at universities or those who had not had an opportunity to go to colleges. I believe so because they are idle and do not go to work. So most of the times, they opt to take drugs. In our country, there are no jobs for those who did not make it at school or for someone who has done well at school. The question that I am posing to the Government is, what happened to the factories? Most of the factories that used to be functional are no longer in existence. Most of them have been turned into churches. I come from Bulawayo and most of the factories have been converted into worshiping places.  What kind of a country has more churches than industries?

It is a question that I pose to the Government to say, let us reopen those factories so that we can create job opportunities. Also, in my own view, Madam President, I think there is no country that can have projects when they do not have factories. Yes, we can have projects but projects are being done by few people. It is not everyone who would engage into doing projects. Madam President, I know that a country should have factories and you will have tax from the factories which will contribute to the economy of the country.

On the issue to do with drug abuse, Madam President, you will realise that on drug abuse, even our law enforcement agencies, whilst in their full uniform, will still be taking drugs. You will find that someone is under heavy influence of alcohol in their police uniform. It then confuses me Madam President to say if law enforcement agencies are the ones now into drugs, who is going to be the law enforcement agency?

Madam President, I will also allude to the ages of those into drug abuse. There is nothing much that we can do as their parents as you can realise that the moment they finish school, there are no job opportunities where they can go and do internship. Therefore, the only thing that they know is, after school, they will take drugs. I stay in low density suburbs and because of the diaspora, you realise that there are so many child-headed families. Inasmuch as you can go, and the cases of drug abuse on child-headed families, there is nothing that is being done because the law enforcing agencies have also joined in the drug and substance abuse.

Why can we not teach our children at a tender age, the good and the bad behaviour? I know that we have started implementation of such but those who are at school, there are some who are doing it, which is therefore a challenge as they can be harmful to people. Madam President, like what the other Hon. Members have alluded to, we cannot rely on rehabilitation. As I speak, we have people who are now mentally stable and it is a challenge to have that person admitted on psychiatric hospitals. The hospitals are returning you without assistance. Let us have a relook into our laws. Law enforcement agencies must be able to assist when people make reports and the psychiatric institutions must also be able to assist by admitting the persons affected by drugs.

The last issue I will talk about is the creation of employment opportunities. It is good to have more jobs because our children will be occupied. It is very difficult for someone who has been into drug abuse to be completely rehabilitated even if they get the needed assistance. What kind of a drug is it that when someone take them, after five minutes they are already drunk? How are the drugs passing the borders? There are specific households selling drugs and the law enforcement agencies are aware of them but nothing is being done. There is need to put stiffer penalties to drug dealers. I thank you Madam President.

          +HON. SEN R. M. NDLOVU:  Thank you Madam President for giving me this opportunity to debate.  I also want to thank the mover of the motion.  The issue that we are talking about is very painful for each and every parent.  I know most of us are elderly people and we have seen this happening in our homes.  It is very painful to see your child addicted to drugs.  I can hear most of us are talking as lawmakers and as parents.  I was listening and also checking how most of us are correcting our children, especially when they come back home under the influence of alcohol.  Long back, we never allowed our children to drink alcohol.  It was just for the grown-up people because we knew how to control ourselves, remain respectful and peaceful.  Our children start drinking alcohol whilst in school.   

When we were growing up and you did something wrong, if anyone said I will report to the teacher or your parent that child would stop immediately for fear of the punishment that awaited them.  As Members of Parliament, I urge us all to come up with various solutions to assist Government to curb alcohol and drug abuse.  I agree there is unemployment but is it the fault of Government or it is because of the sanctions that we requested for removal, which forced the closure of factories.  I am urging those who asked for sanctions to go back and ask that the sanctions be lifted.  As the Senate, we need to think outside the box on how we can build our country.  No-one is going to come and build our country.  It is only us the citizens of Zimbabwe who are going to build Zimbabwe.  We need to implement laws that will be beneficial to our country.  We fought for this country because we wanted our land back from the colonialists. 
+HON. SEN.  M. PHUTI: 
On a point of order, I think the Hon Member is out of order.  The motion is on drug abuse.

+HON. SEN. R. M. NDLOVU:  If I am out of order, let us correct each other.  I will not respond to what the Hon. Member said as it is her own view but my wish is as elderly people in this House, we should look at the root cause of the problem and the motive behind bringing such a motion.  Once you look at the root cause of drug abuse it will be resolved.  Some people are saying it is those with diplomatic passports that are bringing in drugs and that needs to be looked into.

HON. SEN. M. PHUTI:  On a point of order Madam President.  The Hon. Member keeps referring to Hon Members in this House as someone.  We are all Hon. Members.

HON. SEN. R. M. NDLOVU:   My apologies Hon. Member.  It is just a slip of the tongue to say someone but I will refer to them as Hon. MembersLet me say we are in this painful situation which is very difficult to comprehend and we need to come together and work as a team to resolve it.  Twenty years down the line, all our youths will be dead and we will not be able to get grand children because of this drug problem.  Once someone is under the influence of drugs, they can sleep even on the road. 

My question is, what is the root cause and the answer is, who is doing that in some cases?  We are the ones destroying our nation and we need to take note of that.  I mentioned that when we were growing up, we used to have schools which I wish our current schools could emulate.  We used to have students who were doing building courses.  A builder does not need to be employed but they can earn gainfully using the acquired skill.  They can easily create employment for themselves.  The Hon. Member sitting beside me was with me at Tegwani High School in Matebeleland South.  He was not employed by anyone but he was an employer.  He built the Kariba Dam.  Building is a difficult job but it is very easy to get and create jobs for others as you require a lot of hands for a building project.

I wish the Ministry of Education could resuscitate such courses.  Let us not wait for someone to do it for us.  Those who were coming from the western countries have gone back to their countries and it gave us the opportunity to create jobs for ourselves.  Let us put our heads together and come up with a formula that can help us build our country. 

We should maintain our factories that were left behind by those who left and continue to produce.  I know some of them went with the title deeds but it is important to look into the future of our children. How can we stop them from abusing drugs?  There is no angel that will come from heaven and tell us what to do but we are the ones who are supposed to do it.  Let us bring our heads and minds together and work as a team and try to build our nation. 

Your home is here in Zimbabwe but the challenge is we are unable to stand up with one voice and work as a team.  We need to remember that everyone has someone who is into drug abuse. Can we solve this problem so that we do not leave it for our grandchildren because we will have failed to solve it.   We need to preserve future generations.  I thank you.

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

          HON. SEN. E. NYATHI: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Tuesday, 19th December, 2023.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE DELEGATION TO THE 54TH PLENARY ASSEMBLY SESSION OF THE SADC-PARLIAMENTARY FORUM HELD IN MAURITIUS

  HON. SEN. MBOHWA: I move the motion standing in my name That this House takes note of the Report of the Delegation to the

54th Plenary Assembly Session of the SADC-Parliamentary Forum held

from 22nd to 27th November 2023 in Port Louis, Mauritius.

          HON. RUNGANI: I second.

            HON. MBOHWA:

1.0    INTRODUCTION

  • The 54th Plenary Assembly Session of the SADC

Parliamentary Forum (SADC PF) was graciously hosted by the Parliament of Mauritius from the 22nd to 27th November 2023 under the theme: “The Role of Parliaments in Promoting Coordination for Enhanced Disaster Risk Reduction and Recovery Planning in the SADC Region”.

  • The Zimbabwe delegation was led by Hon. Advocate Jacob

Francis Nzwidamilimo Mudenda, Speaker of the Parliament of Zimbabwe, and it comprised the following Members of Parliament: -

  • Maybe Mbowa, Member of the Standing Committee on Gender Equality, Women Advancement and Youth Development and Chairperson of the Zimbabwe Women’s Parliamentary Caucus (ZWPC);
  • Chinhenza Chigwadzara (Chief Matsiwo), Member of the Standing Committee on Food, Agriculture, Natural Resources and Infrastructure;
  • Tendai Nyabani, Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Democratization, Governance and Human Rights;
  • Mercy Mugomo, Member of the Standing Committee on Trade, Industry, Finance and Investment; and,
  • Lynette Karenyi, Member of the Standing Committee on Human and Social Development and Special Programmes.

         

Figure i. ZIMBABWEAN DELEGATION LED BY HON SPEAKER J.F.N. MUDENDA

2.0    OFFICIAL OPENING CEREMONY

2.1    In her welcome remarks, the Secretary General (SG) of the SADC PF, Ms. Boemo Segkoma, expressed gratitude to the host country for the meticulous hosting arrangements made for

the 54th Plenary Assembly meeting. Ms. Sekgoma highlighted the importance of the Assembly in concluding a productive year which coincided with the end of the Forum’s 2019 to 2023 Strategic Plan.

The Secretary General stated that the SADC PF’s Strategic plan

had been successfully implemented with the full support and active engagement of Member Parliaments and stakeholders whose planned efforts had achieved a commendable feat. To conclude her statement, she extolled Mauritius for its unparalleled social protection programmes which include socio-economic safety nets which consequently guarantee the well-being of its citizens.

 

2.2 In addition to expressing his gratitude for the warm reception and the impeccable preparations that had been put in place by the host country, Mauritius, Hon. Roger Macienne, the Speaker of the Parliament of Seychelles and

President of the SADC PF, paid tribute to Mauritius’ exemplary leadership since the inception of the Forum, punctuated by the tenure of former Speaker, Honourable Abdool Razack PEEROO who, as President of the SADC PF from 2012 to 2014, passionately advocated for the transformation of SADC PF into a regional Parliament, especially during the 35th Plenary Assembly held in June 2014. In addition, Hon PEEROO also championed the institutionalisation of the SADC PF Rules of Procedure in a document aptly titled “Operating like a Parliament.” This document paved the way towards a more practical and substantive SADC PF transformation into a fully-fledged regional Parliament.

2.3    The Chair of the Regional Women’s Parliamentary Caucus (RWPC), Hon. Regina Esparon, emphasized the tangible social and economic benefits of investing in girls' education and training. She asserted that the

theme of the 54th Plenary Assembly was timely coming after the SADC

adopted the Gender-Responsive Disaster Risk Reduction Strategic Plan

and Plan of Action (2020-2030). Hon. Esparon stressed the importance

of recognizing that climate change disproportionately affects women and

girls due to existing gender inequalities, resulting in an increased burden

to this vulnerable group during climate crises.

 2.4    Hon. Sooroojdev Phokeer,

Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Mauritius, warmly welcomed delegates and underscored the 54th Plenary Assembly theme’s unique opportunity for fostering inter-parliamentary democracy and regional cooperation in addressing transboundary disasters and climate change challenges. In this regard, he made a clarion call to Parliamentarians to deliberate and exchange views in order to come up with standardised regional and international mitigatory efforts to combat climate change catastrophes.

2.5    In delivering the keynote address, the Guest of Honour, His

Excellency, Prime Minister Hon Pravind Kumar Jugnauth underscored the need for Parliamentary cooperation and diplomacy in addressing global challenges that impact the livelihoods in the region. With a focus on the Assembly's theme and the region's ongoing challenges, he emphasized the interconnectedness of SADC countries, advocating for enhanced regional cooperation to effectively tackle pressing issues and ensure stability and prosperity in the region.

2.5.1 The Prime Minister reiterated the need for Parliaments to

remain the sole custodians of democracy, entrusted with the solemn duty to not only enact laws and shape public policies, but also to allocate resources judiciously to ensure that their respective countries have the necessary legal and policy frameworks to mitigate risks, respond to disasters effectively and facilitate recovery and reconstruction.

          2.6   The Prime Minister concluded by encouraging SADC PF States to take a cue from Mauritius’ response strategy wherein the Government of Mauritius enacted the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act in 2016, which established a Statutory Council, a Strategic Framework to deal with mitigating the risks of disasters and to prepare for recovery plans and actions.

  2.7  Hon. Carolina Cerqueira, Speaker of the National Assembly of Angola, expressed gratitude for the exquisite preparations made for the 54th Plenary Assembly and pledged Angola’s readiness to welcome delegates to the 55th Plenary Assembly Meeting to be held in July 2024.

3.0   ZIMBABWE’S CONTRIBUTION TO THE

THEME AND THE KEY DELIVERABLES DURING THE SYMPOSIUM

         3.1    The Symposium, held on 22nd November 2023, focused on

the 54th Plenary Assembly theme “Role of Parliaments in Promoting Coordination for Enhanced Disaster Risk Reduction and Recovery Planning in the SADC Region”. The Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Local Government and Disaster Risk Management of the Republic of Mauritius, Hon. Dr Mohammad Anwar Husnoo, chaired the meeting.

          3.1.1 The symposium drew insights from Resource Persons and experts drawn from various sectors of the Mauritius Government in Disaster Risk Reduction and Management, Meteorological Services, Environment, Solid Waste Management and Climate Change.

          3.2    Hon. Speaker Advocate Jacob Francis Nzwidamilimo Mudenda, emphasised the need for a regional approach to address the impact of natural disasters that have affected several SADC countries, including Zimbabwe, South Africa, Mozambique, Malawi and the Democratic Republic of Congo. He highlighted the strides made by Zimbabwe in risk reduction, augmented by public awareness and adaptation to climate change. Speaker Mudenda called for the enhancement of early warning systems and the capacitation of meteorological sectors to mount a formidable Disaster Risk Reduction Mechanism.

3.3   Hon. Mudenda reported that, Zimbabwe had developed a legal framework for Disaster Risk Management (DRM) governed mainly by the Civil

Protection Act, Chapter 10:06 and Section 56 of the Zimbabwe Constitution which provides for equal protection and benefit of the law. He also highlighted that the Parliament of Zimbabwe was in the process of reviewing the Civil Protection Act given that it was enacted in 1989 and is no longer responsive enough to the obtaining climate induced disasters. Equally, he informed that the Government had drafted the Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Management Bill now before Parliament.

          3.4    Hon. Mudenda further stated that Zimbabwe has developed several policies and strategies to deal with climate change-induced disasters such as the National Climate Policy of 2018, the National Climate Change Strategy and the draft National Adaptation Plan. Furthermore, he asserted that one of the key priorities of the 10th Parliament of Zimbabwe was to ensure that adequate funds were provided for the implementation of these disaster management policies as well as ensuring the finalization of the Climate Change National Adaptation Plan. Hon Mudenda referred to the 2023 State of the Nation Address by His Excellency, Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa, President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, that prescribed several Bills related to adaptation and resilience, such as the Climate Change Bill, Water Act, Chapter 20:24 (2003) Amendment Bill and the Plant Breeders Rights Act which will deal comprehensively with adaptation and resilience in handing climate-induced natural disasters.

          3.5    In his concluding remarks which were received with approbation from fellow delegates, Hon. Mudenda called upon Member States to successfully coordinate and harmonise Disaster Risk Reduction and Recovery planning approaches and address challenges such as under-funded and uncoordinated institutional frameworks, lack of comprehensive risk assessments including addressing the problems associated with the prevalence of weak information systems. The Hon. Speaker also encouraged member countries to come up with sound National Determined Contributions in order for the world to reduce greenhouse emissions so that temperatures do not rise above the Paris Climate Change Agreement barometer of not above 1.5 degrees Celsius. This will mark the treatment of the fundamental cause of the disease rather than its pervasive symptoms.

          3.6    The Symposium noted the devastating impact of extreme weather events on physical infrastructure and socio-economic life. The SADC region has been ravaged by several destructive cyclones, including cyclones Idai, Batsirai and Freddy, which caused extensive damage and resulted in numerous human casualties and led to a significant number of internally displaced persons.

          3.7    A clarion call was made to mitigate the damage caused by extreme weather events in line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, which demands multi-sectoral approaches whereby public and private stakeholders collaborate to save infrastructure and lives. It is crucial to widely sensitise regional citizens on disaster preparedness through regular awareness campaigns. The Sendai Framework works in synergy with other 2030 Agenda agreements, including The Paris Agreement on Climate Change, The Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development, the New Urban Agenda and ultimately the Sustainable Development Goals.

          3.8   The Framework was endorsed by the UN General Assembly following the 2015 Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR), and advocates for: The substantial reduction of disaster risk and losses in lives, livelihoods and health and in the economic, physical, social, cultural and environmental assets of persons, businesses, communities and countries”. Whilst it recognizes that the State has the primary role to reduce disaster risk, it enjoins a shared responsibility among stakeholders including local Government, the private sector and other stakeholders.

          3.9    The Symposium acknowledged that during and in the aftermath of climate disasters, losing shelter, clothing, food or even basic amenities. This necessitates the immediate response and assistance of the concerned authorities. In this context, Member Parliaments were urged to enact laws, adopt budgets, exercise oversight and represent communities to address climate resilience in a way that mainstreams gender and ensures that the voices of women are heard in decision-making processes on disaster preparedness.

          3.10  The Symposium commended the Republic of Mauritius, host of the 54th Plenary Assembly, for developing a National Disaster Risk Reduction Strategic Framework (2020-2030) as well as an Action Plan for the same period to consolidate climate resilience, in addition to enacting targeted legislation such as the Land Drainage Authority Act and the Climate Change Act.

          3.11  Furthermore, the Symposium encouraged countries to meet the total financial needs for Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), estimated at USD 6.5 billion, including USD 4.5 billion for adaptation and USD 2 billion for mitigation. Such early investments will save the world from future damage in multi-fold figures. This proposal is in sync with Zimbabwe’s call for countries to meet their National Determined Contributions towards supporting efforts to mitigate against climate change impacts.

          4.0. REPORT BY HON. ADVOCATE JACOB FRANCIS NZWIDAMILIMO MUDENDA ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE RESOLUTIONS OF THE 53RD PLENARY ASSEMBLY SESSION OF THE SADC PF HELD IN ARUSHA, TANZANIA, 02 TO 08 JULY 2023.

 

4.1. Hon. Advocate Jacob Francis Nzwidamilimo Mudenda,

Speaker of the Parliament of Zimbabwe responded to the resolutions adopted during the 53rd Plenary Assembly of the SADC PF based on Section 119 of the Constitution which empowers Parliament to protect the Constitution by exercising oversight over all Government institutions and agencies at all levels”.

4.2. Hon. Speaker reported that Zimbabwe is now food secure with

a surplus maize harvest of 3, 5 million tonnes and 475 993 tonnes of wheat harvested in 2023. This is due to the implementation of the climate proofed agriculture programme commonly known as Pfumvudza/Intwasa, which supports over 1.6 million vulnerable households in maize, sunflower, small grains and soya beans production.

          Figure ix. PFUMVUDZA/ INTWASA

4.3 Hon Speaker informed the Plenary that, in 2010, Zimbabwe

established the Debt Management Office under the Ministry of Finance and Investment Promotion for the purpose of effective debt management in order to comply with SADC debt-to-GDP ratio of no greater than 60% for all Member States. The Public Debt Management Act [Chapter 22.21] (Act 4 of 2015) is the legal framework of the debt management policy. Debt management in Zimbabwe is undergirded by Parliament. The Zimbabwe Anti–Corruption Commission and the Auditor- General’s Office also bolster the effectiveness of public debt management strategies by thoroughly scrutinising the national Budget expenditure regime.

4.3.1   Furthermore, to bolster the implementation of the provisions

of the Public Debt Office, Parliament is amending the Public Finance Management Act to incorporate the provisions of the Model Law on Public Financial Management thereby strengthening the effectiveness of the Debt Management Office.

4.4     To strengthen a Rights Based Approach to the Conduct of

Business within the Natural Resources Sector in the SADC region”, Zimbabwe has adopted the policy on value addition and beneficiation of its mineral and agricultural resources, resulting in downstream mining and agro-industries. The 2024 Pre-Budget Seminar hosted by the Parliament of Zimbabwe implored the Government to accelerate the implementation of value-addition and beneficiation policies in the mining and agricultural sectors.

4.5     The report unveiled that the Parliament of Zimbabwe has a

new Thematic Committee on Climate Change to specifically conduct oversight on Government policies, Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), climate change adaptation and mitigation policies and programmes being undertaken by the Government, among other areas. Parliament will soon consider the Climate Change Bill, which seeks to regulate greenhouse gas emissions and facilitate low-carbon development technologies, including strengthening appropriate institutions and funding mechanisms by working together with the Select Committee on Climate Change. These two Committees are advocating for the enactment of the Climate Change Bill into law as supported by the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) and the Zimbabwe Environmental Lawyers Association (ZELA) in the same endeavour.

          4.6    Hon. Speaker reported that he led a delegation to the Second World Summit of the Committees of the Future which was held under the overarching theme- Bringing The Future To The Present: The Democracy of the Future, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Parliaments”. Participating Parliamentarians recognised the fundamental importance of incorporating the application of Artificial Intelligence in Parliamentary processes vis-à-vis e-governance which is now prevalent in several developed States. Accordingly, the Parliament of Zimbabwe will establish a “Committee of the Future” to ensure the application of Artificial Intelligence in e-governance whilst at the same time curtailing the negative effects of Artificial Intelligence application through the enactment of a sound legal framework.

          4.7    The report concluded by indicating the plans to provide Members of Parliament in the current 10th Parliament with iPads so that they are ICT compliant. In that regard, all MPs will receive some induction on how to use the tablets in their Parliamentary work, in chat groups amongst themselves and stakeholders in their Constituencies.

4.7.1 However, more fundamentally, the H.E Dr. E.D. Mnangagwa President of the Republic of Zimbabwe has established a fully-fledged Ministry of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services in order to drive the Fourth Industrial Revolution that is

anchored on ICT technologies for the whole country against the background of leveraging the application of Artificial Intelligence.        This Ministry is headed by a young, vibrant female Minister, Dr.Tatenda Mavetera.

          5.0 ADOPTION OF THE REPORT OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE AND THE TREASURER’S REPORT

5.1    The Plenary Assembly deliberated and made resolutions on

various policy, administrative and financial matters, including the transformation of the SADC PF into a Regional Parliament. In this regard, the Plenary Assembly acknowledged the progress made towards signing the Agreement Amending the SADC Treaty to establish the SADC Parliament, as reported during the 43rd SADC Summit of Heads of States and Government which took place from the 17th to 18th August 2023 in Luanda, Angola.

5.2    The Plenary Assembly took note that 9 out of 16 Member

States had signed the Agreement Amending the SADC Treaty. In this regard, the Plenary Assembly resolved to engage in further lobbying efforts with Heads of State and Government, along with other stakeholders, to expedite the achievement of the required quorum of 12 Member States for signing the Agreement.

          5.3    The Plenary Assembly commended SADC citizens and stakeholders for their enthusiastic participation in virtual public hearings conducted by SADC PF Standing Committees. The Plenary Assembly also encouraged them to continue actively engaging in future public hearings, which will be held annually.

          5.4    The Plenary Assembly took note that the current SADC PF Strategic Plan (2019-2023) was coming to an end and therefore, discussed the framework for the successor Strategic Plan for 2024-2028. Member Parliaments were encouraged to submit their inputs to the SADC PF Secretariat to ensure timely completion of the document.

          6.0    MOTIONS ADOPTED DURING THE 54th PLENARY ASSEMBLY     MEETINGS

6.1    The Plenary Assembly deliberated and resolved on various

issues arising from Reports submitted by the SADC PF’s Organs including Standing Committees, Regional Women’s Parliamentary Caucus (RWPC) and Regional Parliamentary Model Law Oversight Committee and Members’ Motions.

6.2    Report of the Standing Committee on Democratisation, Governance and Human Rights

The adopted motion encouraged Member States to to consider the

feasibility of conducting pre-election missions virtually to mitigate financial challenges faced by National Parliaments in funding Election Observation Missions (EOMs), thereby reducing costs and ensuring continued engagement of electoral stakeholders across the region to promote democratic elections and advocate for the domestication of the SADC Model Law on Elections.

6.2.2 The report called for further engagement of National

Parliaments to consider allocating resources for Election Observation Missions (EOMs) in their operational budgets to ensure the ongoing deployment of parliamentary EOMs, recognising their vital role in promoting democratic elections and monitoring the implementation of the SADC      Model Law on Elections.

6.3    Report of the Regional Women’s Parliamentary Caucus (RWPC)

The Plenary Assembly adopted a motion to encourage

Governments to develop and implement digital skills training programmes specifically targeted at rural women, providing them with the necessary knowledge and skills to effectively use digital technologies for education, income generation, and community development. Furthermore, Parliament should provide oversight to ensure that rural women have access to affordable digital devices such as smartphones, tablets, or computers, enabling them to access online resources and services.

6.3.1   Resources should be made available to organise digital skills training programmes specifically for rural women to enable them to effectively use digital technologies.

6.4      It is trite to note that a full dossier of resolutions arising from the deliberations of the 54th Plenary Assembly shall be provided to National Parliaments to craft a report to be presented at the 55th Plenary Assembly meeting in Luanda, Angola, in July 2024.

7.0      RESOLUTIONS AND WAY FORWARD

7.1    The Plenary Assembly adopted a resolution to mitigate

damage caused by extreme weather events in line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. There is a need for a multi-sectoral approach whereby public and private stakeholders collaborate to save infrastructure and lives, and ensure that citizens are widely sensitised on disaster preparedness through regular awareness campaigns.

7.1.1 Having noted that extreme weather events damage physical infrastructure, impact socio-economic life and recognising that the SADC region has been affected by several destructive cyclones

including cyclones Idai, Batsirai and Freddy recently which caused

extensive damage and caused hundreds of human casualties, as well

as internally displaced persons, Plenary Assembly resolved as follows:

  • That countries should meet total financial needs for Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), estimated at USD 6.5 billion, including USD 4.5 billion for adaptation and USD 2 billion for      mitigation, since such early investments will save the world from    damage in multi-fold figures in the future.
  • Member Parliaments to develop the synergies with policy makers, academia, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), traditional and faith leaders, Community Based Organisations (CBOs), youth representatives and other stakeholders to promote climate justice by reducing the carbon footprint through measures in line with theParis Agreement regularly reported to the COP.
  • Member Parliaments to enact laws, adopt budgets, exercise

Oversight and represent communities to address climate resilience

in a way which   mainstreams gender and ensures that the voices of

women are heard in decision-making processes on disaster

preparedness.

  • There is need for regional cooperation in disaster risk reduction

and preparedness since countries of the same geographical region

witness similar weather patterns and are affected by similar climate events.

7.2    The Plenary Assembly resolved to ensure that Member

Parliaments, including the Forum embrace the efficient waste management, promote renewable energy sources and take measures to further reduce the carbon footprint in their jurisdictions. In this regard, Parliament is called upon to include climate justice governance in its strategic blueprint to promote green initiatives within the organisation and encourage both Members and Staff of Parliament to proactively be champions in environmental protection actions.

7.3   Noting that there are countries that are yet to sign the Agreement to Amend the SADC Treaty, Plenary Assembly resolved to continue lobbying on the countries that have not yet signed in view of obtaining enough signatures needed for the Agreement Amending the SADC Treaty to take effect. Once again, Hon. Advocate Jacob Francis Nzwidamilimo Mudenda, Speaker of the Parliament of Zimbabwe will spearhead the process as the Chair of the Strategic Lobby Team for the Transformation of the SADC PF into a regional Parliament.

7.4    Plenary Assembly noted with concern the poor response registered           from the Member Parliaments, on the call for the Forum to deploy Election Observation Missions to the various Member States which held elections in 2023. In this regard, a resolution was adopted calling upon Member Parliaments to revive their interests in Election Observation Missions since they are fundamental to democracy, peace, and security in Southern Africa. The region is denying Members of Parliament an opportunity to observe elections in peer countries, thus eroding the basic tenets of democracy and inter-parliamentary solidarity.

7.5    The Plenary Assembly Plenary Assembly positively noted that a new           cooperation Agreement of SEK 52,000,000 (5 million USD) between SIDA and the SADC Parliamentary Forum (SADC PF) to strengthen the capacity of parliaments on Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) and HIV/AIDS-related services in the SADC region became operational on 1st November 2023. Parliament of Zimbabwe will thus make the first step into project incorporation by signing the Project

Implementation Agreement with the Forum.

7.6    Plenary Assembly, having noted that the Secretary General had performed her duties with utmost diligence, commitment, hard work

and dedication during the tenure of her current contract and consequently, adopted to renew her contract for a second five-year term. The Parliament of Zimbabwe to congratulate the Secretary General once a formal communication has been made in that regard.

7.7    The Plenary Assembly approved the blueprint for the organisation’s Strategic Plan 2024-2028, which encapsulates the Forum’s policy with respect to its Vision and Mission Statement upon which other operational parts of the Strategy will be anchored by the Secretariat.

7.8    As indicated in 6.4, the full dossier of the Plenary Assembly resolutions will be availed by the SADC Parliamentary Forum in due course for           consideration by Portfolio and Thematic Committees of the Parliament of Zimbabwe, including consultative processes with Ministries, Departments and Agencies.

8.0    CONCLUSION

8.1    The Plenary Assembly concluded by acknowledging the

progress made by the Republic of Mauritius whereby governance on the climate-induced exigencies matter has shifted from ‘managing disasters’ to ‘managing disaster risks’ which includes proactive measures such as the setting up of Early Warning Systems, training of personnel in fire safety, first aid, water rescue activities and other emergency skills, as well as simulation exercises for oil spills and tsunamis. In this regard,         Member States were encouraged to share best practices, technology, contemporaneous weather data and lessons to promote disaster preparedness and risk reduction.

8.2    The Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Adv. Mudenda called for

the creation of a standby “Disaster and Risk Reduction Brigade” to deal with this calamitous situation. The Hon. Speaker implored the need for the SADC PF to compile deliberations of the Symposium in booklet form.

8.3    Parliament of Zimbabwe continues to play a highly effective

leading role in the Transformation Agenda as the holder of the Chairpersonship of the Strategic Lobby Team of Hon. Speakers on the Transformation of the Forum into a SADC Regional Parliament. There is a need to continue lobbying Heads of State and Governments on the Transformation Agenda and in particular the Amendment of the Treaty to officially recognise the SADC Parliament as an organ of SADC.

8.4    Parliament of Zimbabwe commits itself to the full

implementation of the resolutions of the Plenary Assembly which shall be shared among all Members of Parliament to facilitate action by different Portfolio and Thematic Committees.

8.5    Finally and notably, the Speaker of the Parliament of Zimbabwe, Hon. Advocate Jacob Francis Nzwidamilimo Mudenda, presented well-  rehearsed infographic treatises on the Brief Speech during the        Symposium and the responses to the resolutions of the 53rd Plenary Assembly.

8.6    The 55th Plenary Assembly of the SADC PF will be hosted

by the Republic of Angola, who have pledged to choreograph a memorable hosting having just successfully hosted the 147th Plenary Assembly Meeting of the IPU.

 

 

I thank you.

*HON. SEN. RUNGANI: Thank you Madam President. I would want to add a few words that I have extracted from the presentation of the motion by Hon. Sen. Mbohwa.  She was explaining the role and mandate of Parliament and also explained that we need to teach the young ladies the importance of the economy and how the economy of this country works. They also alluded to climate change. If we do not teach our people on how it goes, they will not know. Sometimes we refuse when we are advised that we are not supposed to start farming activities with those rains because we will not have enough information. We are being told that we need to carry this information and take it to our constituencies.

They also informed us about heavy rainfall with thunderstorms that can destroy buildings. We need to prepare in advance to prevent calamities from such storms especially in Masvingo. There were people who were marooned at an island and a child was swept away but if people are better informed, they will be better prepared and they will take up the measures advised. That will help us to reduce the disaster. As we work in the rural areas together with our constituencies, we need to make awareness on climate change. They also explained to us on climate change issues and said women’s contribution must also be taken into consideration. With these few words, I thank you Madam President.

HON. SEN. MBOHWA: Thank you Madam President. I move that the debate do now adjourn.

HON. SEN. RUNGANI: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Tuesday, 19th December, 2023.

MOTION

SIXTEEN DAYS OF ACTIVISM AGAINST GENDER BASED VIOLENCE

Third 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. MBOHWA: Thank you Madam President. I move that the debate do now adjourn.

HON. SEN. RUNGANI: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Tuesday, 19th December, 2023.

MOTION

PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS

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

HON. SEN. KAMBIZI: Thank you Madam President. I move that the debate do now adjourn.

HON. SEN. RUNGANI: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Tuesday, 19th December, 2023.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

HON. SEN. MUZENDA: Madam President, I move that Order of the Day, Number 5 be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the Day have been disposed of.

HON. SEN. RUNGANI: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

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

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

Question again proposed.

HON. SEN. MUZENDA: Madam President, I move that Order of the Day, No. 5 be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the Day have been disposed of.

HON. SEN. RUNGANI: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Tuesday, 19th December, 2023.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE NATIONAL PROSECUTING AUTHORITY FOR THE YEAR 2022

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

Question again proposed.

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

          HON. SEN. RUNGANI:  I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Tuesday 19th December, 2023.

On the motion of HON. SEN. MUZENDA seconded by HON. SEN.  RUNGANI, the Senate adjourned at Twenty Eight Minutes to Six o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 19th December, 2023.

 

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