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SENATE HANSARD 14 MARCH 2024 VOL 33 NO 33

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Thursday, 14th March, 2024.

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

PRAYERS

(THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE

CLIMATE CHANGE SENSITISATION WORKSHOP

          THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE (HON. SEN. KAMBIZI):  I have to remind the Senate that the Sensitisation Workshop for all Parliamentarians scheduled to take place on Friday and Saturday this weekend will start with lunch at 1200 hours on Friday 15 March, 2024 instead of 0800 hours in the morning and on Saturday 16 March, 2024, it will start at 0800 hours in the morning.

APOLOGIES RECEIVED FROM MINISTERS

          THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Today being a Thursday, we have Questions Without Notice but I have to inform the House that I have a host of apologies from Ministers.  To begin with, we have;

Hon. Prof. M. Ncube, Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion;

Hon. M. N. Ndlovu, Minster of Industry and Commerce;

Hon. R. Modi, Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce;

Hon. T. Machakaire, Minister of Youth Empowerment, Development and Vocational Training Centres;

Hon. Mupamhanga, Deputy Minister of Youth Empowerment, Development and Vocational Training Centres;

Hon. K. Coventry, Minister of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture;

Hon. E. Jesaya, Deputy Minister of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture;

Hon. K. Kazembe, Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage;

Hon. C. Sanyatwe, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage;

Hon. Dr. A. J. Masuka, Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development;

Hon. V. Haritatos, Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development;

Hon. Z. Soda, Minister of Mines and Mining Development;

Hon. P. Kambamura, Deputy Minister of Mines and Mining Development;

Hon. D. Mombeshora, Minister of Health and Child Care;

Hon. S. T. Kwidini, Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care;

Hon. B. Rwodzi, Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry;

Hon. T. Mnangagwa, Deputy Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry;

Hon. S. Chikomo, Deputy, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade,

Hon. J. Mhlanga, Deputy Minister of Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development;

Hon. M. Mutsvangwa, Minister of Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprise Development.

          In the House we have;

Hon. Minister Mhona, Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development;

Hon. Z. Ziyambi, Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs;

Hon. E. Moyo, Minister of Energy and Power Development;

Hon. Prof. A. Murwira, Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology.

          Hon. Members, we have to do with the Ministers we have with the hope that others will join us.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE

          HON. SEN. MACKENZIE:  Thank you very much Mr. President.  My question is directed to the Leader of the House, Hon. Ziyambi.  Hon. Minister, we know that this year is a very difficult year in terms of maize situation throughout the country.  We know that in a situation like this, our people are going to be exploited, others hoarding so that they can spike the prices.  What precautionary measures is Government putting in place to ensure that our people are not exploited?  Thank you, Mr. President.

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. Z. ZIYAMBI):  Thank you Mr. President.  I want to thank Hon. Sen. Mackenzie for the question which is very important. 

          Mr. President, what Government is doing is that we have a situation that is obtaining because of the El Nino and our projected harvest for the coming season, we are actually in the middle of assessing how it has been impacted by El Nino even though we know that the harvest that we expected, we are not going to get it. 

What we are doing, we are doing it in two parts.  Currently Mr. President, as of now, we are still food self-sufficient.  We had a very good harvest the previous year but we are projecting that as we go forward, we are going to have to be food self sufficient because of the El Nino phenomenon. 

Government decided to have multifaceted responses to this.  The first one currently, we are providing our people with relief aid in pockets that did not perform well the previous season, but what we are also doing is, we have decided to mop up maize that farmers might have and as a result, an announcement was made that Government is going to be paying farmers the import parity price of $390 per tonne and our hope is that, that will incentivise farmers to bring the maize that they have.

We have around 200 000 metric tonnes within our strategic grain reserve at GMB. We also have allowed importers; Grain Millers association and all the millers to import what they can for the private sector.  So what we are currently undertaking is an exercise to assess the projected harvest.  Once we have that, we will be able to say what is the deficit and then we come up with programmes to ensure that we close the gap.  One of the immediate decisions that Cabinet did was, we have several water bodies, and in fact, we have over 10 000 water bodies in the country. 

          The immediate solution that Cabinet agreed upon is to ensure that we put a bigger area under wheat this season, so that we can substitute the use of maize with wheat or we can do swap deal, whichever will be applicable, so that we ensure that we will remain food self-sufficient.  As a country, we are not panicking, we know that we have got the capabilities to ensure that we do that.  Over and above that, we are undertaking a programme to ensure that we drill boreholes in every village that we will install solar systems and water systems so that our villagers can grow crops that will augment what the Government will be giving them.  The measures that Government is putting in place will ensure that even those that have appetite of reaping our people, will find the market sufficiently stocked or our people growing sufficient grain to ensure that we go past this El Nino phase.  What is expected from those that do weather forecasting is that the next season will actually be normal or above normal.  We need to put in place measures to mitigate this gap that we have for this current season that we are about to harvest.  I thank you.

          HON. SEN. R. NDLOVU: My question is that we heard that the Committee on Agriculture went out to our silos and found out that there was nothing in our silos, yet the Government is saying our silos have maize for the entire season.  How far true is that Hon. Minister?

          HON. Z. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Mr. President.  I want to thank the Hon. Sen. for that question.  If the Committee went out looking for maize in silos, I think they were misleading themselves.  Government indicated that within the strategic reserves, be it in grain bags or in silos, we have around 230 metric tonnes of maize.  We also know from the surveys that we have done that several of our farmers did not deliver all their maize to GMB this past season because Government adopted liberalised approach to marketing of grain.   In other words, the private sector was also allowed to buy maize.  We know the amount of maize that was bought by the private sector.  We actually have an estimate of what we believe is there within the farming community.  That is the reason why I also indicated that Government has actually incentivised to say that instead of us importing from outside, why not offer our farmers, whom we know have their maize stocked up, the import parity price, so that we buy from them and we empower them as opposed to  importing first.

          We have a lot of maize to the tune of about 245 metric tonnes, there about, within our GMB.  However, I have not received that Committee report which indicates that we do not have maize in our silos.  I think it is premature to start to discuss a Committee report that has not been tabled, neither have they finalised themselves because if it has been finalised, it would have been tabled.  I think let us hold our horses, wait for the specifics of that report and we can then be able to interrogate whether that is the actual situation obtaining on the ground.

          +HON. PHUTI:  Mine is a request Hon. Minister.  We are from Region 5, we have areas under irrigation, for example in Mangwe, we have ARDA Trek, in Maphisa we have ARDA Trek, and ARDA Trek does not sell locally their grain.  They want us to travel to Bulawayo.  We hope you will encourage them to sell their grain to local people.  I thank you.

          THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE: That was a request Hon. Minister.  It is not a question.  I think you have taken note.

          HON. SEN. ZINDI: Thank you Mr. President.  I am very appreciative of the response by Hon. Minister Ziyambi, particularly when he mentioned the issue to do with increasing the hectarage for wheat planting season that is just around the corner.  My question is; does the Government have enough financial resources to set up the irrigation systems in order to ensure that many farmers could be in a position to be able to increase that hectarage, or perhaps they have earmarked a few farmers who already have irrigation equipment who would be in a position to be able to increase the hectarage, and possibly it would be interesting to know how much the increase of the hectarage as opposed to what we have always known?

          HON. Z. ZIYAMBI: I am pleased to inform the House that we have several facilities, about three or four that are going to assist our farmers access centre pivots and ensure that we increase the hectarage.  The Minister of Agriculture informed us that these have been concluded and we are actually ready to ensure that the centre pivots are rolled out and we increase the hectarage.  They have taken an exercise to identify where we have irrigation capabilities, where the centre pivots can be put.  This exercise is complete and we believe that as a country, we cannot be beggars when we have several water bodies and have the capabilities to ensure that we can grow our winter wheat and other crops.  We can even grow our maize. 

We are actually targeting, going forward that every season, through ARDA, if we can do 300 000 hectares, we will be able to have not less than 1.5 million metric tonnes, which will be in our strategic reserves. When His Excellency is saying that we have come of age, we now have climate proof agricultural practices; we can feed ourselves; we are food self-sufficient; he is very correct.  Our thrust now going forward is we are going to utilise our water bodies to mitigate the ravages of climate change.  We are going to start with this winter season to ensure that we increase the hectarages of the crops that we can grow in winter.  We are also mindful that there are other areas where the weather will be warm, we will then proceed to ensure that we also have some winter maize in those areas like Low Veld and Muzarabani area.  So there is no need for our nation to panic.  There are several   measures that His Excellency has tasked Cabinet to ensure that by the time we get to October, when our wheat harvesting has started, other crops will be harvested, we will have food self-sufficiency to take us to the next harvest when we expect a normal rain season.  I thank you Hon. President.

          +HON. SEN. S. MOYO:  Thank you Mr. President of the Senate.  I am making a follow up on the question to the Hon. Minister.  He said that we must not be afraid but in Matabeleland South, there are a few dams and those dams have not been rehabilitated, where are we going to get water?  What plans is Government going to put in place on irrigation?  I thank you.

          HON. Z. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Hon. President, I want to thank Hon. Sen. Moyo for the follow up question.  Mr. President, we are faced with an El Nino and we need short term measures but we also are taking into consideration what long term measures we can do to ensure that we do not have knee jerk approaches when the ravages of climate change affect us.  In the short term, we are going to utilise, like I indicated earlier, the water bodies that we have.  Zimbabwe is a unitary State. If we grow maize in Muzarabani, we can take it to GMB depot in Mapisa. So, we are not, at this juncture, worried about growing maize in Mapisa where we cannot grow it.  We will identify where we have water bodies, grow maize and ensure that our people there do not suffer.

          Going forward, His Excellency has said, let us ensure that we procure several rigs that will ensure that we drill boreholes in all our villages and we establish village companies where our villagers will be growing horticulture and everything that they can.  We will ensure that also our animals get water. So, you will find out that going forward, starting now, that is the exercise that the Ministry of Agriculture is doing in those areas that you are saying there are no dams; we will have boreholes in the immediate future. 

          Actually, we have a very big dam that we only need to drill and get to it and extract water without constructing the bigger dams that you see on the surface and that is one of the strategies that we are using.  So, we are saying, as a country, there is no need for us to panic and start talking about declaring a state of national disaster.  We must hang in there, there are several strategies that are being put in place to ensure that we will not starve.  Currently, the scenario that we are in, we believe it is okay, there is no need for us to panic.  I thank you Hon. President.

          HON. SEN. MAKAMBA: Thank you Hon. President.  I would like to thank the Hon. Minister for reassuring the nation that the strategic reserves are adequately stocked and there is no need for panic.  Everywhere we go these days, what is topical is availability of maize. I am sure my colleagues here will agree.  An appeal to the Hon. Minister, given the high cost of solar energy equipment, would the Minister and his colleagues consider waiving duty on the importation of solar equipment? I thank you.

          THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Again, I think that is a request. But you can respond to it.  Please go ahead.

          HON. Z. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Mr. President Sir.  Actually that is already there. We have waived duty on importation of solar, it is a facility that is already there.  Even on some of the basic goods like mealie-meal, cooking oil, we have waived VAT (Value Added Tax) on importation of those goods.  We want everyone who can assist because we are faced with El Nino that we are in the middle of assessing its impact. So, we have said, let us open up even though we believe that we have the capability to ensure that we will go through this phase.  I thank you.

          +HON. SEN. M. NDLOVU: Thank you Mr. President Sir.  I want to make a follow up to the Hon. Minister.  I come from Matabeleland South which is almost the driest area. Does the Hon. Minister have the equipment to drill boreholes that go up to 200 metres because the area is so dry that we cannot get water at 100 meters?  Do they have the machinery that can go up to 200 or more metres down the line?  I thank you.

          HON. Z. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Hon. President.   That is the thrust that we are doing.  We realised that the equipment that we had to drill boreholes would go up to 40 or 60 metres, which is not adequate for certain areas.  What we are now procuring are rigs that will allow us to do exactly what Hon. Ndlovu is speaking about.  I thank you.

          +HON. SEN. NYATHI:  I thank you Hon. President.  In Matabeleland South Province, we have dams without water but in some places, there are places with water like Mafia Dam.  Can we access water from Mafia so that we can do our irrigation or horticulture farming?

          THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE: The Hon. Minister has already explained to the Senate that in the short term, these are the measures that they are taking but there are some other long-term measures to follow.  I thought that question was answered.

          +HON. SEN. MLOTSHWA:  Thank you Mr. President.  I make a follow up on the issue of hunger that is facing the people of Matabeleland South.  My question is, since there is a lot of gold panning activities particularly along water dams, as we talk, Antelope Dam has been poisoned with cyanide. That dam is for ARDA and is for irrigation and supplying potable water to the people.  Hon. Minister, what should we do now that these dams have been poisoned with cyanide?

          HON. Z. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Hon. President.  I want to thank Hon. Sen. Mlotshwa for the question.  Mr. President, the good thing is, there is an acknowledgement that there is a dam.  There is an acknowledgement that there are individuals that are not following environmental laws.  This is an issue of compliance, somewhere within the chain, those that were supposed to ensure that the environment is protected did not do their work adequately, which is something that we will follow up with the Ministry of Environment and EMA to ensure that, that is done.

          Coming to the actual question, if that dam is not usable in the short term to medium term, we will identify water bodies that will ensure that us as Zimbabweans and as a unitary State, we will not starve. We will use the water bodies that are available.  If that water body cannot be used, then we will not use it, but we will take remedial action to ensure that the environmental damages that were done are corrected.

          *HON. SEN. CHIEF CHIKWAKA: Thank you Mr. President. Allow me to pose my question to the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development. We are all aware that the country is being troubled by sanctions. In this country, we have oil and as people who have a knowledge in Science, what is Government’s plan if we get oil and be able to process it so that it will be consumed here because it is mined in crude? When we mine it, what are our plans so that we will be able to use it, and the countries that are around us? As we are under sanctions and under embargo, we cannot sell them outside like the granite which is being transported in its raw form. What does the Ministry have for those who want to exploit it? Through our scientific knowledge, can we curb against that so that we will not have problems concerning our oil?

          *THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA): Thank you Hon. President and the Hon. Member who posed a question about the oil that we found in Muzarabani and the plans that we have concerning the oil so that our people will benefit. Firstly, I can say that all these developed countries, is because of knowledge of doing things through learning. Learning is knowing how to do certain things. I agree with him because this is what we are supposed to do. Our plan is that when we realised that we can mine the oil, when we got into power as the Second Republic, our President Hon. Mnangagwa said that all the universities should start offering degrees in petroleum chemistry, geology and degrees that will help us to get minerals underground.

          We looked at our education curriculum and we have started those degrees. We are also sending our children to countries like the Russian Federation and China who have the knowledge in oils. With this knowledge, we can see that our future is bright because our children would be able to do the petroleum industry so that our oil will help the development of our people. The issue here is that all of us should be knowledgeable about oil, that it should not remain only as crude, but that it can be processed and help us as a nation. Thank you.

          *HON. SEN. CHIEF CHIKWAKA: I think he left a small issue on how far we are?  Through our Science, are we able to see our surveillance system in coming up with radars that will detect enemies who will come and try and steal our minerals from us?

          * HON. PROF. MURWIRA: I am sorry I had left that part Hon.  President. On that issue of being able to refine our oil, our President started a programme of Geo-Spatial and National Programme. This is a programme which will help us to have eyes in the air, come up with satellite so that we also have the drones. This type of technology will help us to know the amount of wealth that we have and this knowledge will help us so that we protect ourselves because we cannot be caught unaware when we are there. So when we have this knowledge and technology of using the drones, we will be able to see what is under us, and use our resources and also protect ourselves. Thank you.  

THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE (HON. SEN. KAMBIZI): May I inform the House that we have been joined by the Hon. Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Hon. Moyo, the Deputy  Minister for Primary and Secondary Education, Hon. Gata, the Minister of State for Provincial Affairs in the Office of the President, Hon. Matuke and the Deputy Minister of Public Service and Social Welfare, Hon. Dinha.

*HON. SEN. CHAKABUDA: Thank you Mr. President for according me this opportunity. I have two questions, but the first one is directed to the Minister responsible for provincial councils. In the country, there were people who were elected in the provincial councils, but up to now, they have not started operating. What is the Government policy? Thank you.

*THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR PROVINCIAL AFFAIRS IN THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT (HON. SEN. MATUKE): Thank you Mr. President of the Senate. I also want to thank Hon. Sen. Chakabuda for her pertinent question in which she wants to know when provincial councils will start operating. I want to assure her that the law is currently being formulated and will be implemented within the shortest period of time. Thank you.

*HON.  SEN. MUZODA: Thank you Mr. President. My question is directed to the Leader of the House, Hon. Ziyambi Ziyambi. Mr. President, there is a growing culture by the police, in towns, of chasing vehicles and smashing their windscreens. This is causing accidents of people being run over by cars even on pavements. I witnessed a woman being run-over at Copacabana and she died on the spot. As soon as the accident occurred, all the police officers fled from the accident scene.

My question is, which law allows the police not to prosecute offenders but to smash the windscreens that make them see where they are going?

*THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR PROVINCIAL AFFAIRS IN THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT (HON. SEN. MATUKE): Thank you for this pertinent question concerning police officers who are smashing windscreens. First and foremost, the law does not permit the police to smash car windscreens. It is also illegal for people to run away from the police upon being directed to stop – it is a crime.

In the near future, there are machines that are going to be installed in towns so that offenders are caught using that technology. The machines will record the car number plates, that will be verified through the Central Vehicle Registry (C.V.R). The drivers or car owners will be identified and caught. Some cars drive through red traffic lights whilst others drive in the opposite direction. The new technology will be able to capture all these traffic offences even in the absence of operators.

In short, it is not permissible by the law to smash car windscreens. Thank you.

HON. SEN. CHIEF MATHUPULA: My question is directed to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education. First of all, the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development speaks a lot about Education 5.0. In order for it to be relevant, it has to be fed by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education.

          My question to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education is, how is your Ministry concentrating on Education 5.0? How are you implementing it at the lower levels of primary and secondary? A case in point being in rural schools, they are surrounded by livestock and fields where they do crop rearing. How can they learn more about this at their primary and secondary education so that it becomes relevant to what they are learning and not to learn about things that are far from them and will not use?

          Then there is the issue of community service in Education 5.0. How are you implementing it in primary and secondary education?

THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. T. MOYO): Hon. President of Senate, thank you very much for the opportunity. I wish to thank the Hon. Chief for the question. The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education has just introduced Heritage-Based Education which is an attempt to harmonise Education 5.0 with Heritage-Based Education.

Heritage Based Education’s major objective is to produce an African child who is suitable for the 21st century and some of the things that we inculcate in our learners, is the issue of critical thinking skills. We want our learners to be highly innovative, be able to identify societal challenges that are affecting our communities especially in both our rural and urban areas. When they identify the societal challenge, they are able to do research and find solutions to the problems. Research will be done through internet connectivity.

 We will soon be rolling out tablets, laptops and desk computers from Grade One (1) to Form Six (6) where learners are going to be imparted with skills of coding, robotics and artificial intelligence. They will go an extra mile in ensuring that they are going to address societal challenges, be creative and find problem solving skills – that will be a milestone Hon. President. Today we had an annual ceremony where we were awarding and rewarding excellence as far as competencies of critical thinking skills are concerned.  We identified and awarded learners who have, for instance, I will give an example of some learners in Mashonaland West Province who have identified irrigation infrastructure.   They have demonstrated today that even when one is a farmer based in South Africa, he or she can use remote control skills to send some codes to Zimbabwe and the water pump will respond positively leading to irrigation.  It can also direct that plot A should be irrigated for a specified period.    Therefore, this is innovation per se which we realised that it is very important in ensuring that those learners are going to be capacitated. 

We are also going a step further in terms of human capital development where our teachers are also going to be trained. A lot of training will be given to those teachers so that they can give the requisite skills and competencies in our learning sector.  I thank you.

          HON. SEN. ZINDI: Thank you Mr. President.  First and foremost, let me thank the Hon. Minister for reassuring the nation about the thrust and trajectory they are taking in terms of innovation.  However, my worry and concern are from the issues to do with connectivity in the rural areas.  We do not have that connectivity in the rural areas, it is limited.  So what plans does the Government have to ensure that there is connectivity to be able to use that internet, particularly when you look at the limited and slow speed of connectivity that we are experiencing with the local service providers?  Also taking cognisance of the satellite Starlink which does not require the base stations and what have you.  What is the Minister thinking along those lines?

          HON. T. MOYO: I wish to thank Hon. Sen. Zindi for the question.  I appreciate that in the past, there were disparities in terms of internet connectivity between urban schools and rural schools. 

          Mr. President, we have started introducing the internet in a box, where we are going to install a server at the administration block. That server will not use Wi-Fi.  It is a server deployed to the administration block and any learner within a radius of 200 meters will be able to access notes uploaded by the teacher.  The teacher will upload information and the learners can access the teaching-learning materials from that server which is very important,  through the use of geospatial information from our sister the Ministry of Higher Education where we are embracing the satellite system which may not even require the use of data and so forth.  Those are innovations Hon. President that we are embracing so that we bridge the gap between rural and urban schools as far as internet connectivity is concerned.  I thank you.

          +HON. SEN. MLOTSHWA: Thank you Mr. President of the Senate. I am not in a good mood because the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education is bringing us stories here.  Ever since this new curriculum was put in place, students have had no books at the school.  How are you going to deliver laptops when you are failing to have books and even classroom blocks?  Bring books first then laptops.  I thank you.

          HON. T. MOYO: Our approach is that we want to transform the education system.  We are bringing real reforms in education.  We cannot go back to the 80s and 90s when we were emphasising the provision of textbooks.  Textbooks will only be found through ICT gadgets, and the internet in the box.  Any book, e-book, any notes, any questions with answers, is what we need and that is in line with the 21st Century, not to go back to hardcopy textbooks.  Textbooks are uploaded in the system.

          As far as classrooms are concerned, the Government is doing a lot in terms of classroom construction.  This year we got trillions of dollars which will be channeled to the construction of classrooms.  We have identified those schools, satellite schools, and areas where learners are travelling for more than five kilometers, we are going to build primary and secondary schools so that we reduce the walking distance in line with international provisions.

          Again, it is not just the Government that will be solely involved in school construction, we have development partners who are complementing Government efforts.  We have a global partnership in education in the name of UNICEF where we have complementary funding.  These are funds that are there to be channeled towards the provision of classrooms.  Just this term, we have disbursed more than two million USD from GPE to construct classrooms so that satellite schools will be registered, and that is an advantage because where a school is operating without being registered, learners will walk to the nearest mother school.  So, this term we are going to register not less than 300 schools, and examinations will be written in those schools.  So those are the innovations that are happening.

          The other development partner is the Latter-Day Saints Church of Jesus Christ, in three months last year between September and December, they managed to construct 62 classrooms in Bulawayo, at Cowdry Park and several schools. This year the Development Partner has promised and provided funds to build schools in Mashonaland East, in Umzingwane Constituency. In Gokwe-Chireya where I come from, there is a local school called Mareri which was destroyed by the winds and Latter-Day Saints is coming to support Government by providing new classroom blocks.  So, we have quite a number of partners.  We also call upon individuals who have funds to partner with the Government.  We also have OPEC Fund for International Development which has pledged to provide 40 day schools and 10 boarding schools, a total of 50 schools which will be constructed this year courtesy of our development partners that are complementing Government efforts.  I so submit Hon. President.

          THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  There are about six other Members who were in line to ask questions without notice but in terms of Standing Order No. 67, the time for Questions Without Notice has expired.

          HON. SEN. ZINDI:  Thank you Mr. President.  May I kindly request, with your indulgence, that question time be extended, I thank you.

          HON. SEN. S. MOYO:  I second Mr. President.

THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Time for Questions Without Notice has been extended by 15 minutes.  

          *HON. SEN. CHIEF MATHUPULA:  Thank you very much Mr. President.  Minister, we spoke about education 5.0, which means education which is relevant to the situation.  You spoke about laptops and so on, but in our rural areas, we are still a bit far behind.  Would you look into the issue of maybe more technical education for rural areas such as metal workshops, woodwork workshops and livestock education.  That is what the children there are used to and if they are then trained into that, then they can feed into technical vocational centres and agricultural institutes because that is where we expect our children to be fed into and not universities such as UZ.  Can you please look into that?

          THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Hon. Chief, I realise that is a request.  So, just a few minutes from the Minister.

          HON. T. MOYO:  Mr. President, in my response, I said we have introduced heritage-based education where students are creative and innovative.  They consider problems in their communities, whether farming challenges or fishing challenges.  They will be addressed by this new curriculum and we are harmonising heritage-based education with education 5.0.

          Heritage-based education speaks to issues of vocationalisation of education and by vocationalisation of education, we are saying we want our learners to have skills to be job creators at Form 2 and at Form 3 level.  By the time the learner completes O’ Level, he should have a career.  I do not hesitate to give an example of learners at St Columbus and many other schools who are earning a living.  One learner managed to raise not less than 2 000 from drawing housing plans and the plans that learner will be submitting will be approved.

          We have some learners at Form 2, Form 3, who can fix cars, who are builders and carpenters.  They actually realise their career whilst they are in school.  Thank you, Mr. President.

          *HON. SEN. CHIEF NGEZI:  Thank you Mr. President for according me this opportunity.  My question is directed to the Leader of the House.  I want to know if civil servants, like in local government, the DDCs and their deputies are supposed to die on duty.  Are they not changed?  Do they retire?  They are there and corruption is there even at lengths.

          *THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. Z. ZIYAMBI):  Mr. President, his question was not clear.  He has his own question which is targeting a certain area.  If it were possible, he should put it in writing.  I have seen the Minister.  I think he is in the National Assembly.  He is presenting a paper there.  I think you can get a clearer answer from him because what I will give you here, you will not be satisfied.  If someone is at work and has a contract that is agreed, before retirement you cannot remove him, but from the way he asked, I think he should put it in writing because it is specific to a certain area so that the Minister will investigate if he has to rectify it.  Thank you, Mr. President.

          *THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Thank you Minister.  I think Chief, you have heard the response from the Minister.

          HON. SEN. CHIEF CHIREYA:  Thank you Mr. President of the Senate for according me this opportunity. My question is directed to the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development.  In his absence, the Leader of the House can help us.  In the rural areas, there is hunger. Farmers have cattle which they are using for ploughing.  The price of those cattle has gone down but the meat is still the same price.  What is Government policy which can protect farmers so that if they sell their cattle, they can at least get something because cattle are now going for US$100 instead of US$500?  My question is, how can those people who are abusing this system be chastised?

          *THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. Z. ZIYAMBI):  Thank you Mr. President and the Hon. Senator for a pertinent question which is saying that the price of cattle has fallen and there are third party people who are not giving people the right price for their cattle because of drought.

          Mr. President, every farmer has a right and when faced with drought, it is mandated to look at whether he should keep his cattle or he should lessen and remain with a small herd which he can keep well.  In this country, we do not have price control on beef.  The charging is left to the two parties.  So, the onus is on the farmer whether he should keep the cattle or sell the lot.  You should know where to put your money so that you can sell what you have and then you can restock after the season is favourable.

          His question can be best addressed by the agricultural consultants in their areas.  They will tell you whether you should keep your herd of cattle or you can sell part or all so that you do not lose anything.  Thank you, Madam President.

          HON. SEN. MUPFUMIRA: Thank you Mr. President.  My question is directed to – unfortunately two Ministers.  The Minister of Primary and Secondary Education and the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare. It is regarding BEAM.

          Let me start by thanking Government for the BEAM Programme, whereby children from vulnerable families are assisted with fees. It has come to our attention that there are some schools which are refusing to register students on BEAM for Ordinary Level examination.  The schools are demanding that they pay the examination fees in USD.  The essence of BEAM is that the parents cannot afford.  What is the Ministry’s policy on BEAM?  Where does it end?  Thank you.

          THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. T. MOYO): Thank you Madam President.  I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Mupfumira for the question.  BEAM is a social safety net that is availed to students from the most disadvantaged families.   By law, a school is not allowed to reject or assume that a student wants to register for examinations, whether Grade Seven, Ordinary Level or Advanced Level – the Government pays tuition, it also pays for all the examination fees.  If there is any school that is forcing BEAM students to pay examination fees in USD, again, it is violation of the law.  All learners are allowed to pay examination fees in whatever currency because we have a multi-currency regime.

          In this case, learners on BEAM have their school fees and examination fees wholly paid by the Government.  No school, by law, has the right to dis-allow those students from registering their examinations.  I thank you.

          *HON. SEN. RUNGANI: I wanted to direct my question to the Minister of Industry and Commerce.  In his absence, I will direct it to the Leader of the House.  What does the law say concerning the industries, that we no longer sew our own garments in this country?  We are buying clothes from outside, and our much-needed foreign currency is going out there.  What is Government doing so that our industry would resort to making local garments?  People are just going out and import clothes.

          * THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR PRESIDENTIAL AFFAIRS IN THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT (HON. SEN. MATUKE): The question that was asked by Hon. Sen. Rungani is very pertinent.  Firstly, it is the aim of Government that we should make our own things.  If you look in our supermarkets, the Government has worked very hard because we now have 80% locally produced items on our shelves.  When it comes to clothing, there are those smugglers, some of the clothes are even second hand and they are finding their way into Zimbabwe.  Some are importing clothes through our border posts.  Government has put a very high duty for those imported clothes because they are not in support of importing clothes.  It is not the policy of Government to promote people importing clothes, but as we are revamping our economy as all of us are witnessing at David Whitehead Company. The Government had supported it so that it resumes operations, as much as the other companies that are into garment making business are getting that support.  They have also provided the machinery so that we would be able to make our own clothes. Thank you.

          Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF SENATE (HON. SEN. A. NDLOVU) in terms of Standing Order Number 67.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Madam President, I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 6 be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 7 has been disposed of.

          Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE NATIONAL PEACE AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION FOR THE YEAR 2022

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. Z. ZIYAMBI): Madam President, I move the motion standing in my name that this House takes note of the report of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission for the year 2023, presented to this House of Parliament in terms of sections 253 and 323(1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

Madam President, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Tuesday, 19th March, 2024.

     HON. SEN. PHUTHI: On a point of order Madam President.

    THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF SENATE (HON. SEN. A. DUBE)          : What is your point of order?

    HON. SEN. PHUTHI: We have not received the copy of the report in our messages or inboxes.

     THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: This report was distribution to all Hon. Senators and this is the second time. I think you were not there since you had not been sworn in.

     HON. SEN. PHUTHI: I am indebted Hon. President – [HON. ZIYAMBI: That is why I moved for the adjournment of the debate.] –

     On the motion of THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. Z. ZIYAMBI), the Senate adjourned at Five Minutes to Four o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 19th March, 2024.  

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