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SENATE HANSARD 14 MAY 2024 VOL 33 NO 46

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Tuesday, 14th May, 2024

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE

FAREWELL CATHOLIC SERVICE FOR MS. HELLEN B. DINGANI

          THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I wish to inform the Senate that there will be a farewell Catholic Church Service for Ms. Helen B. Dingani, following her appointment as the Ambassador to the Republic of Tanzania on Thursday 16th May 2024 at 1200 hours in the Special Committee Room No. 1.  All Members are invited. Non-Catholics are also welcome.

          Why is it the House is almost empty?

PROVISION OF STANDING ORDER NO. 18 (1)

          THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  I also wish to bring to the attention of Senators, the provisions of Standing Order No. 18 (1) which reads as follows: “the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders must subject to the provision of Section 139(4) of the Constitution regarding political and gender composition of Parliament or the Senate as the case maybe, determine the number of and nominate Senators who must save on Committees”. In addition, Standing Order No. 18(4) states that: “any vacancies in the membership of Committees shall be filled by the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders”.

I am reading slowly so that we understand.  It has been brought to my attention that some Senators are moving from one Committee to another without the approval of the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders. Members in question should therefore go back to their original Committees with immediate effect. It has also been brought to my attention that some Senators are not taking the business of Committees seriously by either persistently being absent or by coming late to Committees. I urge all Senators to take the business of Committees seriously.  In terms of Select Committee Rule No. 4(2), Senators who attend less than half of the period the Committee sits are not entitled to a sitting allowance.  Furthermore, in terms of Select Committee Rule 4(3), Senators who arrive after the adjournment of the Committee are not entitled to transport allowance.  Going forward, I will direct Committee Clerks to enforce these rules; so be guided accordingly.   

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          HON. SEN. MUZENDA: Mr. President, I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 8 be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the Day have been disposed of.

HON. SEN. GOTORA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE NATIONAL PEACE AND RECONCILIATION

COMMISSION FOR THE YEAR 2023

Ninth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission for the year 2023.

Question again proposed.

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

HON. SEN. GOTORA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Wednesday, 15th May, 2024.

MOTION

REHABILITATION OF CENTRES FOR STREET KIDS

AND PROGRAMMES TO PROMOTE FAMILY

INTEGRATION

          Tenth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the plight of children on the streets.

          Question again proposed.

          + HON. SEN. PHUTI: Thank you President of Senate and I would also like to thank Hon. Senator Tongogara who moved the motion on the plight of children living in the streets.  Mr. President Sir, what we see in the streets is disturbing because these children living in the streets leave us without any questions as to their stay in the streets.  On Thursday, after leaving this House, I passed through Nandos and about three seven-year olds ran to me asking for help and the Hon. Member that I was with scolded them and they ran away.  This motion was debated quite a lot last week Mr. President and most of the issues have been addressed.  I also agree to the fact that Government should see to it that we remove these children from the streets; these children should be returned back to their homes like what other Hon. Members were saying that some of them have parents close by and it is true because I also witnessed the same. When I got into a shop, the moment I left, I realised that some of them had left the streets because it was a bit late. 

When I started coming to Harare in 2016, I had about two street kids that I used to see each time I went to Harvest House but right now, in almost every corner, there is a street kid and even when the weather is extremely cold, you realise that they are walking without enough clothing. We realise the challenges with parents who are avoiding their duty of taking care of these children.  What is it that we need to do to ensure that kids are removed from the streets?  My suggestion will be if a child is born like today on the 14th May, they need to have a grant like they do in South Africa. Even if I am to remain with this child as a grandmother, I know that this child is going to be well kept from the grant that they will be getting. You will be able to pay their school fees from their grant allowances. So, if Government introduces a grant to every child who is born, it will assist us. If this grant is reviewed each time these children are growing up, it will assist a lot.

          South Africans are crying but their situation is better. My plea to our Government is that we also go the same way. This could assist us as a country. I have also asked myself if these are street kids or something else because I have challenges with Harare roads at the present moment. Turning from TV Sales and on the other side, there is Monomotapa Hotel, there is quite a number of people who will be asking for help from that corner. Even if you want to assist, you cannot be able to. I do not know whether these are street kids or something else. I do not know why it is like that.

          If you are to go to downtown, people that call themselves street kids are taking part in dubious activities and most of them are engaged in criminal activities like pick pocketing. In early February just behind Monomotapa, these people that call themselves street kids or street adults stabbed someone else. You realise that some of them are running away from their homes because they do not want to be reprimanded. Most of them are grouping up in smokey areas. In August this year, we will be having a delegation from the sub region and we need to ensure that we clear our streets because it will be so embarrassing in front of visitors. We need to take them to rehabilitation centres until this SADC Summit is over because this will be so embarrassing.

          Again, there are other people who are taking advantage of disabled children. You realise that when it is raining, there is this other lady who stays close to N1 Hotel. Whatever time you go to that place, you realise that the lady will be there with this disabled child. This child is grown up but still confined in a wheelchair.  My plea to Government is that we need to seriously look into this issue. Of course, this child is disabled but the way it is happening, it is not right. We need to ensure that such people get help from Government because that one qualifies to be looked after by institutions that keep children who are disabled. If this child is to remain on the street without any action being taken by Government, he or she will end up being a street kid. It is prudent that they are taken to a proper home. With these few words I thank you.

          HON. SEN. TSHABANGU: Thank you Mr. President. I did not want to debate this motion but let me say in absentia, we miss Madam President so much. She left this Chamber in safe hands, in you and your panel thus we were able to execute our mandate. We are so proud to have you in that Chair.

I am persuaded by the fact that the street kids that we find in our communities are a result of something. Our economy is not working. The centre is not holding. The corridors of power are broken. The family set up is broken. The country is divided. There is no nationhood. The drug abuse is at a higher level. Those kids that we find on the streets, it is not their liking. They do not have a problem but we need to address the push and pull factors for them to be on the streets. What made them to be on the streets?

They were not born on the streets. We were not born on the streets. As long as this country does not address the fundamental issues that if a father and mother in a family set up cannot feed themselves or they cannot provide shelter in their small space of existence, it will mean that the child will not be able to go to school. The child has to feed the family, do drugs and make sure that he has some money to fend for himself. I do not think we should criminalise the street kids. I do not think that the Government of Zimbabwe will be doing the right thing by putting a law that removes the street kids by force. We should create an environment that is conducive and make sure that those street kids are not born in the streets.

If there is disorder in a family and if parents fight, there is no peace in my home. If we fight over accommodation, welfare, transport, food and all these other fundamentals that should be provided in the presence of our children, what will that mean to our children. They walk away because we are failing to provide the motherhood/fatherhood in the family. If a child sees his father raping his sister; if that child witnesses that the father who is supposed to be the custodian of that family rapes the sibling of that child, are you telling me that that child is going to live in that environment?  Absolutely not, she or he will walk away and find some place to live.  The only place where they can live is in the streets.  So we need to address and say I will understand Mr. President and say, let us institute a Committee which is going to go and establish the causes of these kids to be in the streets. In 1980 to date, the number of street kids are increasing; when we got independence in 1980, there were no street kids in our streets.

          When we had the Unity Accord in 1987, we never had the same number of streets we are having today. What is it that we are not doing right?  What is it that our elders who were there before us did right for us and now we are failing?  I think let us redefine and look ourselves in the mirror and say if the Government is now working, let us address those issues.  If the centre is not holding, then we will end up having broken families. 

          Today, Mr. President of Senate, if we go to a Magistrate Court and look at the number of marriages that you will find; people go and marry and when they marry, they will never think of break ups or see that marriage broken.  The number of broken marriages is more than the number of marriages that we see every day.  All those things contribute for us to see these kids on the streets.  So I do not subscribe from where I sit in, I do not subscribe that we should criminalise for one to be a street kid.  We should arrest, use police, use force, use army to clear our streets; I do not subscribe to that.  Those kids have fundamental rights, they have freedom and all the freedoms that are enshrined in this Constitution, they have those rights.  Why should they be taken away from them? 

          It is because we are not addressing because we are more privileged than they are.  Mr. President of Senate, we have created a society where those who can afford can push away those who cannot afford from the centre.  That is not politics, that is not governance and that is not nation building.  The Government has the responsibility to create safe zones, to create and establish the cause of mushrooming of the street kids in our streets.  You look at America, advanced economies Mr. President, they still have street kids in their streets.  So it is something that we should address Mr. President, not by force but applying our minds and making sure that at the end of it all, this Parliament will be proud and say yes, through poverty, through addressing the issues of the economy, which I am sure that the street kids are where they are because our economy is not functioning.

          There are no jobs, we are not creating jobs, and this Government is not creating jobs.  Churches are mushrooming everywhere in the industrial zones where we are supposed to be creating a form of employment where the same mother of the street kid should be going to work and fend for that child, this is not happening.  We have turned that industrial hub to a church zone. Bulawayo for example Mr. President, which used to be the hub of industries, you go to the industrial sites; you will see churches everywhere and the economy is not functioning.  As a result, it becomes the sole product, if we fix our economy, we will have fixed those street kids.  We will take them to school, the Government will be able to take those kids to school.   We will be able to take those kids and create safe zones for them.  Some of them do not have both parents.  How does a child who does not have a father and a mother be punished for not having their parents?  It does not make sense; this Government should, at all cost, make sure that it is a Government for everyone.  The Vision 2030 which His Excellency the President said, we are all to prepare and subscribe to is not exclusive, it is inclusive.

          Why should we then, Mr. President, streamline, shred it and use the same methods that were used by the Smith regime of divide and rule that this is a school for whites, this a school for blacks, this is a hospital for blacks , this is a hospital for whites? Today we are saying these streets should be cleared, but in the same process, we say we are the only ones who should walk in those streets and those kids are not there by choice Mr. President, those kids are not there by choice, let us address them. I put forward that this Senate, we are the Senate, we are the Upper House. Why should we not investigate? You will go and listen to those kids, they will tell you their story.

It is their story that will are going to make a policy from. We cannot make a policy from nowhere, we cannot make decisions without going there on the ground.  Maybe I am shooting from the hip, I am talking about the economy, yet it is not the push factor of that child there. Maybe that child has a problem with a broken family which can be fixed. So Mr. President, I believe you can still execute this motion in the sense that through that motion which was brought in this Senate, my colleagues debated, they put flesh, I am not better than them.  Through you Mr. President, I put to you that it does not mean even if SADC is coming, we should clear the streets because we want to please our brothers and sisters no. I put to you Mr. President that let us address, let us go to the ground and hear across the length and breadth of Zimbabwe. It is not only in Harare, it is happening in Gweru, Kwekwe, the urbanisation. Why are they migrating from rural to urban? It is happening in Mutare, why should we not let us have a scientific analysis, facts that are based on scientific analysis so that we are informed as we take the policy, as we craft the policy, as we respond those issues.  Mr. President, let us go and investigate, we have the capacity, we have the human resources, we have the money, we have the time , we have the ability to do that so that we can make this country better and make Zimbabwe a working economy, a working nation where Zimbabweans can interact, share ideas and views.  I know my brother is not there, he was going to agree with me on the other side of the bench. Thank you Mr. President – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] -

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

          HON. SEN. GOTORA:  I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Wednesday, 15th May, 2024. 

MOTION

ENACTMENT OF A LEGAL FRAMEWORK FOR THE FUNCTIONALITY OF PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENTS

          Eleventh Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the need to enact an enabling law for the functionality of the Provincial tier of Government.

          Question again proposed.

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

          HON. SEN. TSHABANGU:  I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Wednesday, 15th May, 2024. 

MOTION

ENACTMENT OF STRINGENT LAWS TO ADDRESS THE

PLIGHT OF WIDOWS

Twelfth Order Read: Adjourned debate on motion on the plight of Zimbabwean widows who are routinely evicted from their homes by their relatives.

Question again proposed.

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

HON. SEN. MUPFUMIRA:  I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Wednesday, 15th May, 2024. 

MOTION

PROGRAMME ON CLIMATE SMART AGRICULTURE

 

Thirteen Order Read: Adjourned debate on motion on the effects of Climate Change.

Question again proposed. 

HON. SEN. MUPFUMIRA: Thank you Mr. President for allowing me to contribute to this very important subject.

 EMPOWERING WOMEN IN THE FACE OF CLIMATE CHANGE: THE CASE FOR GENDER-SENSITIVE POLICIES IN ZIMBABWE.

Climate change is no longer a distant threat; it is a present reality, impacting communities worldwide.  It is a global issue that has negative effects on ecosystems, economies and communities.  The impacts of climate change on humans are not gender-neutral and affect women and men differently.  In Zimbabwe, a country particularly vulnerable to climate variability and extreme weather events, the effects are acutely felt.  Women are typically more vulnerable to climate change due to pre-existing gender inequalities and access to resources.  Gender-sensitive climate change policies and initiatives are essential to promote gender equality and ensure that the impacts of climate change do not exacerbate existing gender-based inequalities.

GENDER DYNAMICS IN ZIMBABWE’S CLIMATE CONTEXT

In Zimbabwe, women are often at the forefront of climate-related challenges. Agriculture, a sector highly vulnerable to climate change, is predominantly managed by women.  They play critical roles in crop cultivation, livestock management, and natural resource stewardship.  According to Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and in Zimbabwe, approximately 80% of women live in the communal areas where they constitute 61% of the farmers and provide 70% of the labour.  Thus, the work of women farmers is essential for food security.  Most women are unpaid family workers.  Rural women work 16 to 18 hours a day, spending at least 49% of their time on agricultural activities and about 25% on domestic activities.  However, they also face unique obstacles.  Erratic rainfall patterns, prolonged droughts (The recent El Nino induced drought for example), and extreme weather events disrupt agricultural activities, jeopardising food security and livelihoods, particularly for women farmers.

GENDER-SENSITIVE CLIMATE INTIATIVES AND POLICES

To address the gender dimensions of climate change, the government of Zimbabwe, with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), has developed a Zimbabwe Climate Change Gender Action Plan (GAP).  The GAP is aimed at integrating gender concerns and prioritizing gender equality in climate change policies and initiatives.  The policy recognises that women and men have different needs, roles and responsibilities in addressing climate change.  The action plan includes measures to increase the participation of women in the decision-making processes, promote their access to resources, and enhance their resilience to the impacts of climate change.

SEVERAL INITIATIVES IN ZIMBABWE ARE PIONEERING GENDER- SENSITIVE APPROACHES TO CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION AND MITIGATION:

  1. The Gender and Climate Change Programme (2017- 2022): Implemented by Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development and UNDP in Matabeleland North and South provinces. Focuses in main - streaming gender into climate change policies and programmes.  This programme recognised the critical role women play in building resilience and promoting sustainable development.  It aimed to empower women and promote gender- sensitive strategies to address climate change challenges in vulnerable communities.
  2. The Climate- Smart Agriculture (CSA) PROJECT (2018-2023): Implemented by FAQ and Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement in Mashonaland West, Manicaland, and Matabeleland South provinces. Focuses in promoting gender- sensitive climate resilient agriculture practices.  This project empowers women farmers to adapt to climate change by promoting gender – sensitive climate – resilient agriculture practices.  It recognises the critical role women play in agriculture and aims to enhance their capacity to address climate change challenges.
  3. The enhancing Climate Resilience project (2019-2024): Implemented by Zimbabwe Resilience Building Fund (ZRBF) and World Bank in Buhera, Chiredzi, and Gutu districts. Focuses on supporting community-led climate change adaptation initiatives with a focus on gender equality.  This project supports community -led initiatives that prioritise gender equality, recognising that local communities are best placed to address their own climate change challenges.  It empowers women to take leadership roles in climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts.
  4. The Women in Climate Change Network (WCCN) (2019-present): Implemented by: Action for Accountability and Transparency (A4T). Locations: Harare, Bulawayo, and other urban centers. Focus on empowering women to take leadership roles in climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts.  WCCN empowers women to take leadership roles in addressing climate change challenges, recognising their critical role in building resilience and promoting sustainable development.  It provides a platform for women to share knowledge, experiences, and best practices in addressing climate change.

These initiatives demonstrate Zimbabwe’ commitment to gender – sensitive climate action, recognising the critical role women play in building resilience and promoting sustainable development.  By addressing the gender dimensions of climate change, these initiatives aim to enhance climate resilience, promote sustainable development, and empower women to take leadership roles in addressing climate change challenges.

CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES

          Despite progress, challenges remain in mainstreaming gender into climate policies and programmes in Zimbabwe.  Limited funding, institutional capacity gaps, and entrenched gender norms hinder effective implementation.  Addressing these challenges requires concerted efforts to integrate gender considerations into all stages of policy development, implementation, and monitoring.

          However, there are also opportunities for innovation and collaboration.  Engaging women as agents of change, leveraging local knowledge and expertise, and fostering partnerships between government, civil society and the private sector can drive transformative change towards gender- sensitive climate action in Zimbabwe.

CONCLUSION

          Gender -sensitive climate policies and initiatives are essential for addressing the differential impacts of climate change on women and men in Zimbabwe.  By recognising and addressing gender inequalities, promoting women’s empowerment, and fostering inclusive decision-making processes, these policies can enhance resilience, promote sustainable development, and pave the way for a more equitable and prosperous future for all.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF VETERANS OF THE LIBERATION STRUGGLE (HON. H. MOYO):  I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume:  Wednesday 15th May 2024.

MOTION

STRATEGIES TO MOBILISE RESOURCES FOR THE

NATIONAL CLEAN-UP CAMPAIGN

Fourteenth Order read.  Adjourned debate on motion on the

national clean-up campaign.

     Question again proposed.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF VETERANS OF THE LIBERATION STRUGGLE (HON. H. MOYO): I move that the debate do now adjourn

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume:  Wednesday 15th May, 2024.

MOTION

ROAD SAFETY DURING THE FESTIVE SEASON

Fifteenth Order read:  Adjourned debate on motion on successive road accidents on consecutive days in the month of November, 2023.

     Question again proposed.

HON. SEN. TSHABANGU:  Thank you very much Hon. President for affording me the opportunity to debate on this very important motion which was moved by Hon. Senator Mlotshwa.  I must hasten to say that Hon. Senator Tongogara, in her statement almost took part of my submission. Nevertheless, I think it is in good spirit.

          Hon. Senators before me have flagged out and put flesh on this motion. So, I would not be able to match the previous submissions but allow me just to add my voice, little as it may be. We have good laws in this country. Those who came before us made the laws and there is no nation that can function without traffic laws or any form of law. The question is the implementation of those laws. Do we have stringent enforcement of the existing laws in that regard? We have situations of over speeding. If you go to bus terminus, we are overloading. We have situations where drivers drink and drive. We have reckless behaviour that is exhibited by the drivers of the day.

          The question is that are these laws implemented such that the carnage is reduced and mitigate the loss of life and casualties that may come through these accidents through negligence. So, I call on authorities that it is important that we enforce, reactivate and make sure that this Government, in a way, reduces the carnage that we see from day to day, week to week, month to month and year to year. There is no life which is not valuable. Every life is valuable.

          HON. SEN. MUPFUMIRA: I rise on a point of order on the motion which is being debated. I thought a notice has been given and the proposer of the motion had said she is going to present the motion on Thursday. I thought maybe we should hear from the proposer of the motion and then get into the debate. I thank you.

          THE HON. DEPUTY OF PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Which motion are you talking about.

          HON. SEN. MUPFUMIRA: The one on traffic and safety.

          THE HON. DEPUTY OF PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  The motion which the Hon. Senator is debating is the one which was presented by Hon. Senator Mlotshwa on accidents which occur. The Hon. Senator referred to a contribution which was made by Senator Tongogara. He is not debating Senator Tongogara’s motion. He is debating the one which was moved by Hon. Senator Mlotshwa.

          HON. SEN. MUPFUMIRA: Thank you Mr. President. I withdraw but what was presented to us is what is being discussed. Maybe there are some similarities.

          THE HON DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: There are similar motions but they are different. You may proceed Senator Tshabangu.

          HON. SEN. TSHABANGU: In that regard Mr. President, I call upon the activation of our laws so that we reduce the carnage. In as much as we want to mitigate traffic accidents that happen on our roads particularly during holidays, we need the presence of our police especially on major roads. Today you can travel from Bulawayo to Harare or vice versa overnight, there are no longer highway traffic police therefore, it is free for all. I can drive at 180km/hr because I know there is nothing in my mind that will tell me that I will meet the highway patrol. They used to be there before. Their presence will cause us to drive carefully because you know you will meet them and they will stop and penalise you. We need the presence of highway patrol particularly on our highways.

          Let us allocate resources in these highways. We need to rehabilitate our roads. Our roads are now a death trap even if you have laws that you want to put, you cannot do something on nothing. We do not have roads that are conducive for our motor vehicles for smooth passage for our goods and services. The Bulawayo – Victoria Falls Road does not have potholes but dam walls. It used to take four hours for one to drive that stretch of 435km but today it will take someone eight hours. Here is the danger, you have never driven on that road before and you want to visit Victoria Falls, there are no road signs and you will still think that the road is the same as it was before. There is no information that the road is bad. You will drive and hit a pothole and that is the end of your life.

          Where there are issues and indicators that the road is in a bad state there has to be communication to the drivers that this road is terrible ahead. That way you will reduce the carnage. Education is key and paramount to the drivers and stakeholders themselves.  It is no longer there and it is part of the working policy that there is an obligation of the authority to educate the drivers, pedestrians and stakeholders about the safety. It is no longer happening. If that can be revisited as well.

          When you drive at night, there are seven haulage trucks following each other on a highway road carrying coal. There is no gap which is enforced from one truck to another. That is dangerous practice and that contributes to the accidents because drivers will want to beat a stretch of seven haulage trucks travelling at 80km/hr in a two way lane. I therefore put a proposal, you go in other countries in Southern Region, particularly on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, haulage trucks Mr. President should not travel after 6 ‘O’clock like in Botswana, wherever you are, you stop on a Friday.  Park your vehicle because everyone, be it workers who are working from Chitungwiza from Harare and from Harare to Bulawayo, they want to travel to see their families.  You park your haulage truck that is a standard practice.  They will travel at 2200hrs because you will allow the small vehicles to travel. In that way, you will mitigate this carnage that we are talking about. 

          I am telling you Mr. President, I am a night driver, I enjoy traveling at night but it is now a nightmare travelling at night.  It is a nightmare because our rail system is not working, everyone is using road transport coal or whatever.  So, everyone is linked to road transport and the road transport is congested, the road transport, roads do not permit and cannot carry that congestion Mr. President. So, I feel we will sit here and count the losses and count the number of accidents every day. As we speak now, Mr. President, accidents are happening someone is dying through an accident and these are some of the things Mr. President that we should mitigate. We cannot afford in a country like Zimbabwe, to have statistics that run to 2000 road accidents, 2000 people die in a year this is a small country. We cannot lose 2000 people in a year through road accidents. This is a small country we cannot afford these statistics Mr. President, that is way above. These are the statistics that we expect to have in a developed country but look we are the same.

If UK can still have these statistics yet a city of UK is as big as Zimbabwe and have the same statistics as ours, that is a sign of concern Mr. President. So, I think my submission will enable the Minister  - those who can create a policy because I  sit here as a policy maker so these are my proposals that I am putting as much as I am criticising, I put a thought of  reflection, a submission that can be considered Mr. President. I thank you.

HON. SEN. D. M. NCUBE: Thank you Mr. President. I also would like to add a few words on this important motion moved by Hon. Senator Mlotshwa. On road accidents, the spate of road accidents is a very worrying one Mr. President because the carnage on our roads is continuing unabated, so we need to do something about it.  While some of the statistics given by the previous speaker were a bit too exaggerated but the true statistics are that every month, about hundred to hundred and fifty people die on our roads that translate to about a thousand plus a year. That is worrying in any case because one more death on our roads which could be avoided should be avoided but generally it is impossible to completely do away with road accidents, they happen.

Some of the causes of the road accidents have already been articulated by others but let me systematically deal with them Mr. President. One of the most contributor to road accidents is speeding. Our roads are designed for a certain maximum speed, the curves both horizontal and vertical are specified for those maximum speeds and that is no longer being observed Mr. President, 120km/h is our maximum speed and our general speed particularly in urbanised area is around 60km/h but it is true that on some of  our good roads, we are doing 150km to 180km/h because the new cars now can actually handle those sought of speeds but our roads are not designed for those speeds.

The second biggest contributor of road accidents is reckless driving and we see it in town. People driving whichever way they want without due care for other motorists. Yes, the police from time to time, try to enforce but generally, nothing significant is happening to rein in Kombi/ Mushikashika drivers. They can even deliberately drive against the traffic and you can not stop them.  In the end, it gives others the impression that you can do whatever you want on our roads; so something has to be done there Mr. President.

The third one of course was mentioned by others as drunken driving. China has got very strict laws of drunken driving. You see people even in pubs drinking late in the night and they got cars parked outside. They jump into their cars and drive home but your motor processes are now suppressed and you can not react like a sober person. In the end, they are involved in accidents which kill innocent people.

The fourth major causes of accident Mr. President, are road conditions, you know when I started working in the 80s, there were teams of people hunting for potholes. Our maintenance crews could easily be fired if there are potholes on the roads.  Maybe it is because of sanctions and other factors, I do not know.  What I know is that the conditions of our roads are a major contributor to accidents, that we have got to take care of. 

Fortunately, the Second Republic is aware of that and major programmes have now been mounted to deal with that.  The number of people who perished on the Harare/Beitbridge Road before work was started is unimaginable.  However, now people are being killed because of excitement, driving on that good highway, speeding.   Before the New Dispensation, people from South Africa, when the NI was in good condition, they would jump and proceed, they would extend into the Beitbridge/Harare Road and they would invariably veer off the road and end up being stopped by trees.

          The fifth major contributor is lack of enforcement.  Lack of enforcement by itself is a major contributor to road carnage.  We remember during Chihuri’s time, they had speed traps everywhere.  There were targets for police to catch people so that there could be money flowing into the police coffers. Right now, I do agree with Hon. Senator Jabangwe, you hardly get highway patrols on our roads.  You hardly get speed detectors on our roads.  How can we do that?  These are gadgets which do not cost a lot of money but they can help us monitor speeding and those who break road rules.  We have got VID; I think VID is trying but mostly on heavy vehicles. 

Over the weekend, you will see all sorts of cars on our roads, some of them without lights.  There should be proper enforcement so that those vehicles which are not roadworthy should not be allowed on the road.  Let me end there in terms of the causes but what should we do to make our roads are safe?  Most of us here travel long distances but we are not safe on our roads.

We have got the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe (TSCZ).  They need to pitch up their work, not only in terms of just distributing leaflets but proper strategies, particularly of teaching youngsters who will be drivers tomorrow. They should grow up conscientised about proper driving ethics; proper road use ethics that is lacking.  So, the TSCZ has got a big job to do.  Yes our police, in terms of enforcement of traffic laws; laws are there. I totally agree but the road blocks which are mounted are no longer for enforcement.  They are now like mini-tollgates. Any car can go through as long as they have contributed something.  It happens all the time and we have got to face up to it.  Traffic law enforcement – obviously, we have also got to improve the conditions of our roads in terms of infrastructure development and that is taking place.

We are using our own internal funds and roads by their very nature require long term funding but because of the state of our economy as imposed by outsiders, we have got to use our own internal generated funds. So, we cannot move at a higher pace because there are also other demanding factors or demanding needs like education, health et cetera. However, we are alive to that in terms of the Second Republic. There is another thing which we need to do, which is deployment of technology. In Rwanda, they have got cameras everywhere and they call them ‘sophia’. ‘Sophia’ is always looking for road rule breakers. If you actually go through a red robot, your number is captured immediately and you will be arrested. So, we do not need to deploy people, let us also deploy people to a certain extent complemented by technology including those drones which fly in the sky. They will help us a great deal.

In conclusion, as law makers, while we can strengthen our laws, if the implementation is weak, there is very little which can be done. However, we cannot continue allowing carnage on our roads to go unabated as going on right now. Something needs to be done. Thank you Hon. Senator Mlotshwa for moving this motion and I thank you Mr. President for giving me the opportunity to contribute to it. Thank you very much.

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

HON. SEN. PHUTI: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 15th May, 2024.

          THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Hon. Senators should participate in the Business of the House.  When I ask you a question, you should respond, if you do not respond, I will keep on asking the question until you respond.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. DINHA): Thank you Mr. President. I move to revert to Order of the Day Number 1.

          Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

APPROVAL FOR RATIFICATION OF THE INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION ON THE PROTECTION OF MIGRANT WORKERS AND MEMBERS OF THEIR FAMILIES

 

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. DINHA):  I move the motion standing in my name that:

WHEREAS Section 327 (2) (a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that an international treaty which has been concluded or executed by or under the authority of the President does not bind Zimbabwe until it has been approved by Parliament;

          WHEREAS the Republic of Zimbabwe is desirous to ratify the International Convention on the Protection of all Migrant workers and Members of their Families which came into force on 01 July 2003.

WHEREAS Article 85 of the aforesaid Convention provides that Instrument of Ratification shall be deposited with the Secretary General of the United Nations

NOW, THEREFORE, in terms of Section 327 (2) (a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, this House resolves that the aforesaid Convention be and is hereby approved for ratification.

          HON. SEN. PHULU: Thank you Mr. President. I welcome the motion to discuss the ratification of the International Convention on the Protection of all migrant workers and members of their families by the Republic of Zimbabwe.  This Convention which came into force on 1st July, 2003, aims to safeguard the rights of migrant workers and their families ensuring that they are treated with dignity and respect. As we deliberate on the ratification of this Convention, it is imperative to reflect on the historical contents that have shaped our approach to International Treaties and Conventions. In the First Republic, International Treaties signed by the President were often neglected and never domesticated, resulting in missed opportunities to align our nation with international standards and obligations. However, it is encouraging to witness a shift in this trend during the Second Republic where there is a pro-active effort to bring these international instruments for ratification.  I would like to thank the Hon. Minister for the sterling job that they are doing. In fact, I have seen that they have quite a number of these on the Order Paper.

Mr. President Sir, the shift is a clear sign of commitment to respect  the Constitution and an acknowledgment of the importance of honoring our international commitments.  By seeking to ratify this Convention, we are signaling our willingness to uphold our international obligations, integrate global best practices into our national framework.  I urge my esteemed colleagues to recognise the significance of this motion in the broader context of our nations involving approach to international engagements.  Let us see this as the opportunity to demonstrate our commitment by respecting international treaties and conventions, thus setting a positive precedence for future generations and future engagements. 

          Therefore, in light of this historical context, the changing trends in our approach to international instruments, I propose that this House resolves to approve the ratification of the international convention on the protection of all migrant workers and members of their families.  Let us embrace this opportunity to show our dedication to upholding international standards and fostering a culture of collaboration and respect for our Constitution. 

          Article 85 of the Convention specifies that the instrument of ratification shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.  By ratifying this Convention, Zimbabwe will demonstrate its commitment to upholding international standards for migrant workers and their families.  In light of this, I urge this Hon. House to consider the importance of approving this Convention.  Doing so aligns with our national values and principles as well as our commitment to promoting and protecting human rights for all individuals within our borders. 

          Furthermore, in accordance with Section 373 (2a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, I propose that this House resolves to approve the ratification of the Convention for the Protection of all Migrant Workers and their Families.  I call upon my esteemed colleagues to support this motion as it reflects our dedication to upholding our fundamental human rights and demonstrate our willingness to collaborate with the international community in addressing issues that affect our migrant workers and their families.  Mr. President, let us stand together in support of this important cause and take a step towards ensuring a safer and more secure future for migrant workers and their families thank you.

          Motion put and agreed.    

MOTION

APPROVAL FOR RATIFICATION OF THE PROTOCOL ON AFRICAN CHARTER ON HUMAN AND PEOPLE’S RIGHTS ON THE RIGHTS OF CITIZENS TO SOCIAL PROTECTION AND SOCIAL SECURITY

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. DINHA): I move the motion in my name that:

          WHEREAS Section 327 (2) (a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that an international treaty which has been concluded or executed by or under the authority of the President does not bind Zimbabwe until it has been approved by Parliament;

WHEREAS the Republic of Zimbabwe is desirous to ratify the Protocol on African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Citizens to Social Protection and Social Security which was adopted on 06 February 2022.

WHEREAS Article 35 of the aforesaid Protocol provides that Instrument of 8 Ratification shall be deposited with the Chairperson of the African Union Commission.

NOW, THEREFORE, in terms of Section 327 (2) (a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, this House resolves that the aforesaid Protocol be and is hereby approved for ratification.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

APPROVAL FOR RATIFICATION OF THE PROTOCOL ON AFRICAN CHARTER ON HUMAN AND PEOPLE’S RIGHTS

ON THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. DINHA):  I move the motion in my name that:

WHEREAS Section 327 (2) (a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that an international treaty which has been concluded or executed by or under the authority of the President does not bind Zimbabwe until it has been approved by Parliament;

WHEREAS the Republic of Zimbabwe is desirous to ratify the Protocol on African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which was adopted on 29 January 2018.

WHEREAS Article 40 of the aforesaid Protocol provides that Instrument of Ratification shall be deposited with the Chairperson of the African Union.

NOW, THEREFORE, in terms of Section 327 (2) (a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, this House resolves that the aforesaid Protocol be and is hereby approved for ratification.

HON. SEN. PHULU:  It will be remiss to let this motion go through without any whisper of a debate.  Secondly, in all that advances the right of the disabled is something to be applauded and we would like to thank the Government and recognise the effort that they have made in the area of people living with disabilities.  In fact as I was coming into this building this morning, I was marveling at the amount of ramps and the thoughtfulness that has been put in coming up with this building of a structure which takes into account that there are people with various disabilities who must be able to access this structure.  This is demonstrative of the general attitude that we have to add in this area which has been brought under the spotlight since we have had our independence.

Secondly, every Government department is sensitive to this issue.  Every member of civic society is sensitive to the people living with disabilities and to align our legislation and all our laws to global international standards and regional best practices when it comes to how to handle, legislate, formulate our polices and how to enforce our laws taking into account that people living with disabilities have certain challenges in interacting with the environment, given some of the short comings that they have.  In fact the approach is to ensure that they have no short comings when all is said and done.  We must put effort in coming up with infrastructure and laws and how we deal with society generally to ensure that their lives become better. That is done basically through a framework and once our frameworks are aligned to the rest of the world, then we can claim to have taken a huge step forward in that field.  We thank the Minister for bringing forward this instrument for ratification; in support, such an instrument should be adopted by this House.  I thank you.

HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: I want to support the motion and I can say almost everything has been said.  So, let us support this motion and move on.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

APPROVAL FOR RATIFICATION OF THE PROTOCOL TO THE AFRICAN CHARTER ON THE RIGHTS OF OLDER PERSONS

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. DINHA): I move the motion standing in my name that:

WHEREAS Section 327 (2) (a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that an international treaty which has been concluded or executed by or under the authority of the President does not bind Zimbabwe until it has been approved by Parliament;

WHEREAS the Republic of Zimbabwe is desirous to ratify the Protocol to the African Charter on the Rights of Older Persons in Africa which was adopted in January 2016 and signed on 17 June 2020.

WHEREAS Article 28 of the aforesaid Protocol provides that Instrument of Ratification shall be deposited with the Chairperson of the African Union Commission.

NOW, THEREFORE, in terms of Section 327 (2) (a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, this House resolves that the aforesaid Protocol be and is hereby approved for ratification.

          HON. SEN. MLOTSHWA: Thank you for allowing me to add my voice on this important protocol. As a female Senator representing rural constituency in Matabeleland South, I rise to advocate for the adoption of the Protocol to the African Charter on the Rights of Older Persons in Africa. This protocol which aims to protect and promote the rights of the older persons holds a significant importance for our country, particularly for rural communities where the elderly face unique challenges and vulnerabilities.

          In rural areas like the one I represent, older persons play a crucial role in community as repositories of knowledge, wisdom and cultural heritage. However, they also face a myriad of issues such as limited access to healthcare, social protection and economic opportunities. By adopting this protocol, we have an opportunity to strengthen the legislative foundation for addressing these challenges and ensuring that our elderly population receives the support and the respect they deserve.

          The protocol’s provisions are non-discrimination and equal treatment, particularly relevant for elderly people who may already face multiple forms of discrimination based on age, gender, social and economic status.  By adopting this protocol, we can send a clear message that older persons in rural communities have the right to be treated with dignity, respect and that no one should be left behind or marginalised. Furthermore, the protocol emphasises on access to healthcare for older persons is critical for rural areas where healthcare services may be limited or difficult to access.

          By adopting this protocol, we can advocate for increased investment on healthcare infrastructure in services in rural communities, ensuring that older persons have the care and support they need to lead a healthy and fulfilling life. Additionally, the protocol provisions on social protection and economic empowerment are essential for addressing the poverty and financial insecurity faced by many older persons in the rural areas.

          By adopting this protocol, we can push for policies and programmes that provide older persons with access to pensions, social assistance and other forms of support that can help lift them out of poverty and improve their quality of life.

          Before I conclude, I want to give examples of hospitals that I visited in rural Matabeleland South where older people have no access to their chronic medications like blood pressure and no access to nutritious food. The fact that when they are sick, they have to be transferred to urban areas is out of their comfort zone and it is far away from their families.  As a Senator representing the rural constituency in Matabeleland South, I whole heartedly support the adoption of the protocol to the African Charter on the Rights of Older Persons in Africa. The protocol aligns with our values of respect for elderly and community solidarity and it offers a unique opportunity to strengthen the legal framework for protecting and promoting the rights of older persons in our country.

          I urge all Members of Parliament to join me in supporting this important initiative. I thank you.

          HON. SEN. PHULU: I rise today to urge this House to approve the ratification of the Protocol on the African Charter on the Rights of Older Persons in Africa. This protocol adopted in January 2016 was signed by Zimbabwe on 17th June 2020 and is a significant step towards protecting and promoting the rights of older persons in our country and across the continent.

          The protocol recognises the unique vulnerabilities faced by older persons and seeks to ensure that their full enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms sets out a comprehensive framework for addressing issues such as discrimination, access to healthcare, social protection and participation in decision making processes. By ratifying this protocol, Zimbabwe will commit to upholding the dignity and rights of our elderly population.

          One of the key provisions in the protocol is Article 5, which guarantees older persons the right to non-discrimination and equal treatment under the law. This is crucial as older people are often marginalised and face discrimination based on age. By ratifying this protocol, we send a strong message that we value and respect the contributions of our elderly citizens. Furthermore, the protocol emphasises the importance of access to healthcare as already emphasised by my colleague for older persons, particularly in terms of preventive, curative and rehabilitative services. This is essential for ensuring that the well being and quality of life for our aging population is guaranteed. Life is not just breathing oxygen, living and walking around – life is enjoyed when there is quality in that life and that life is infused when someone has respect, dignity and access to all services that are offered by society and to the enjoyment to the fullest extent of all their senses.

          By ratifying this protocol, we commit to ensuring that our old persons have access to healthcare services and they need to live a  healthy and fulfilling life.  So, it not just a health life, it is not important when we measure and when we go out in our communities to simply measure whether they are heathy and are living fulfilling lives; certainly, this protocol takes us there.  Additionally, the Protocol recognises the rights of older persons to social protection including access to pensions, housing and social assistance. 

Again, this is crucial for addressing the economic challenges faced by many older persons, particularly those who may be living in poverty or facing financial insecurity.  By ratifying this Protocol, we pledge to take concrete steps to ensure the social and economic wellbeing of our elderly population. 

Mr. President, in conclusion, the Ratification of the Protocol on the African Charter on the Rights of Older Persons is a vital step towards advancing the rights and dignity of older persons in Zimbabwe.  By endorsing this Protocol, we reaffirm our commitment to upholding human rights for all regardless of age.  I therefore, urge all Members of Parliament to support this resolution and seize this opportunity to make a positive impact on the lives of our elderly citizens. 

I take this opportunity as well to thank the Hon. Minister for bringing such a wide range of instrument for ratification.  It shows hard work, dedication and care for what you do.  It shows grave respect for our Constitution and our respect for all our institutions including Parliament.  I thank you.  

HON. SEN. GOTORA: Thank you Hon. President, I rise to put a few words on to this Protocol.  My coincidence, just yesterday in the Committee on Human Rights, we were debating exactly things like this. There are so many rights that the elderly people should be accorded.  By us adopting and approving this Protocol, it will give impetus to the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare to amend the old Older Persons’ Act to conform with Section 21 and Section 82 of the Constitution.  It will also give impetus to the Ministry of Public Service Labour and Social Welfare to expeditiously come up with the right policies that accord the elderly their rights.  The rights that should be accorded to elderly people in this country and of course in the rest of Africa are so varied. Just giving an example the right of an elderly person to have a seat in a bus, it is a right. The right of an elderly person not to queue to collect their stipends in a bank whilst youngsters are in front.  I rise to support the Protocol so that we ratify it as quickly as possible if not yesterday.  I thank you.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE DELEGATION TO THE 80TH SESSION OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE AND 45TH CONFERENCE OF THE AFRICAN PARLIAMENTARY UNION

HON. SEN. CHIEF NECHOMBO:  Hon. President, I move the motion standing in my name that this House takes note of the report of the delegation to the 80th Session of the Executive Committee and 45th Conference of the African Parliamentary Union (APU) held from 11th to 15th December, 2023 in Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire.

HON. SEN. GOTORA: I second.

HON. SEN. CHIEF NECHOMBO: Allow me Mr. President to begin by thanking you for giving me this opportunity to present our report on African Parliamentary Union (APU).

Mr. President, In accordance with Articles 12 (1) and 16 (1), of the African Parliamentary Union (APU) Statutes which state that “The Conference shall meet once a year in ordinary session, alternatively in one of the five regions of the African continent, namely Central, East, North, West and Southern” and “The Executive Committee shall meet twice a year in ordinary session upon the invitation of its Chairperson. One of the two sessions shall take place immediately prior to the Conference”, the 80th Session of the Executive Committee and the 45th Conference were convened in Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire from 11 to 15 December 2023.

The delegation from Zimbabwe, led by Hon. Mabel Memory Chinomona, President of the Senate, comprised the following Members of Parliament: -

  • Tsitsi Gezi, Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly;
  • Tichawona Karumazondo, Member of Parliament, and;
  • Susan Matsunga, Member of Parliament;

Furthermore, Hon. Mabel Memory Chinomona, President of the Senate was elected Vice- President of the Executive Committee representing the Southern African region.

          THE 80TH SESSION OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

          The 80th Session of the Executive Committee of the African Parliamentary Union (APU) was held in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire on 11 and 12 December 2023 under the presidency of Right Honorable Mabel Memory Chinomona, President of the Senate of Zimbabwe and Chairperson of the APU Executive Committee.

          Representatives of the following parliaments took part in the proceedings: Algeria, Benin, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Côte d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Morocco, Nigeria, Uganda, Rwanda, Chad, Togo, and Zimbabwe.

Representatives of the Consultative Council of the Arab Maghreb Union and the Youth Organization for the European and African Union attended the proceedings as observers. The opening session took place in the presence of Hon. Adama Bictogo, Speaker of the National Assembly of Côte d'Ivoire, Hon. Mabel Memory Chinomona, President of the Senate of Zimbabwe and Chairperson of the APU Executive Committee, Hon. Vanderpuije Alfred Okoe, Member of the Parliament of Ghana, Rapporteur of the Executive Committee, and Mr. IDI Gado Boubacar, Secretary General of the APU. Speakers of the National Assembles of Benin, and the Central African Republic were also, in attendance.     

          The opening ceremony was marked by the welcome address of the Speaker of the National Assembly of Côte d'Ivoire as well as that of the Chairperson of the Executive Committee.          In his opening remarks, the Host Speaker Hon. Adama Bictogo, Speaker of the National Assembly of Côte d'Ivoire, started by extending a cordial welcome to Abidjan to the Members of Parliament present on the occasion of the 45th Conference and 80th Session of the Executive Committee of the APU.

Hon. Bictogo conveyed the warm greetings of the President of the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire, His Excellency Alassane Ouattara, who is delighted by the choice of his country to host this event. Addressing the APU Chairperson, the Hon. Speaker praised the quality of her leadership and her commitment as the head of the organization since her election in November 2022 during the 44th Conference held in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.

To the Heads of delegations and Members of Parliament, he expressed deep gratitude for honoring Côte d’Ivoire with their presence. Lastly, he commended the APU Secretary General and his staff for their efforts in organizing the Abidjan meetings at short notice.

Addressing the political situation in the West African sub-region and particularly in Niger, which was to host the present sessions, the Speaker of the National Assembly echoed the President of the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire’s ardent wish for a return to constitutional order in the brotherly country and in other countries in the sub-region. He indicated that peace and stability are necessary to pursue progress towards development.

The Speaker also noted that political changes in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa are significantly impacting African economies, particularly causing food and energy crises, as well as rising prices of basic commodities. To address them, Africa must act from a regional perspective through greater solidarity and coordinated efforts, he added.

In reference to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine, with its unprecedented humanitarian consequences, the Hon. Speaker called for a truce and dialogue between the parties to resolutely commit to the path of sustainable peace.  Before the end of his welcoming remarks, the Speaker of the National Assembly of Côte d'Ivoire wished fruitful proceedings to the Members of Parliament, adding that recommendations from this meeting would be capable of advancing the APU and promoting African unity.

          Hon. Mabel Memory Chinomona, President of the Senate of Zimbabwe, Chairperson of the APU Executive Committee gave the opening remarks. The Chairperson, on behalf of all the delegates, first expressed thanks and gratitude to the Ivorian authorities for having agreed to host the APU meetings and for the warm welcome and hospitality extended to participants since their arrival in the beautiful city of Abidjan, on the green banks of the Ebrié Lagoon.

          She recalled that Niger, which had committed to hosting the 80th Session of the Executive Committee as well as the 45th Conference of the APU, was unable to materialise this commitment due to the military takeover that took place in the country and the dissolution of the National Assembly. Faced with this situation and the difficulties that could arise in urgently seeking a host country, the Chairperson appreciated the rapid reaction of the Ivorian Parliament, through the Speaker, Hon. Adama Bictogo, who agreed to take up the challenge by organising the meetings in Abidjan. She then asked the delegates, as a sign of recognition, to thank with loud applause the Speaker of the National Assembly of Côte d'Ivoire as well as Hon. Kandia Kamissoko Camara, the President of the Ivorian Senate.

          Hon. Chinomona underscored that it is always with fervor and enthusiasm that African Members of Parliament meet to pursue dialogue, strengthen Inter-Parliamentary cooperation, share experiences, and good practices, harmonize and reaffirm their positions on the challenges facing the continent and play their role in strengthening peace and democracy in Africa. She added that their meetings are always an opportunity for mutual enrichment and sharing a context characterized by a spirit of conviviality and dialogue, which are specific to Africa and the APU and reinforce the resilience of Members of Parliament in an international context marked by multiple challenges.

          The Chairperson expressed the hope that parliamentary delegations should be more present at Union sessions and that member parliaments should make sure to pay their statutory contributions. Effective participation in meetings and payment of contributions remain the two essential pillars that enable the APU to develop its activities and scope and to consolidate the place it occupies on the continental parliamentary landscape.

          The Chairperson insisted on the statutory commitment of Member Parliaments by appealing to those who are not up to date with their contributions to comply with their obligations.

          The Chairperson, recalling that her mandate was coming to the end on the occasion of the 45th Conference, expressed gratitude to Members of Parliament for their support. She also made proposals for strengthening the APU.

  1. She requested that the General Secretariat be reinforced with human and material resources in order to facilitate implementation of the recommendations of the Executive Committee.
  2. A revision of the statutes so that the Conference bureau can fully play its role.
  3. She suggested the establishment of a forum of Secretary Generals of Parliaments (Clerks in some jurisdictions) so that they can come together and discuss issues raised by the Executive Committee.
  4. Lastly, the Chairperson proposed the establishment of thematic committees such as a women's caucus, a youth caucus, a caucus on climate change and a caucus on sustainable development in line with the African Union Agenda 2063.

          Before closing her remarks, the Chairperson, wished fruitful proceedings to the Members of Parliament, reiterated warm thanks to the Ivorian authorities for the hearty welcome, the hospitality and the arrangements made to guarantee the proper conduct of this session of the Executive Committee, of the meeting of women Members of Parliament and the APU Conference.  Finally, she declared open the 80th Session of the Executive Committee of the African Parliamentary Union.

          Annual Work Programme:

The Secretary General presented the proposed work plan for the year 2024 at the invite of the Chairperson. The members of the Executive Committee observed that certain Member Parliaments do not take part in APU meetings and there are African Parliaments that are not yet members of the Union. Therefore, it is urgent to consider the situation in order to strengthen the organisation. They proposed that the question of strengthening the APU through more memberships and increased participation be included as a leading item in the work programme and the objectives of the Union, especially through meetings among Presidents and Speakers of parliamentary Assemblies.

          Following these observations, the Executive Committee approved the Annual Work Programme for 2024. The programme includes among other activities, the Executive Committee Meetings, the Conference, Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) related activities as well as the Afro-Arab Conference.

          Examination and Adoption of the Draft Budget for Financial Year 2024

          The Secretary General, Mr. Idi Gado Boubacar presented the draft budget for the 2024 financial year.

          He expressed concern over the difficulties in recovering contributions owed by certain Parliaments to which the members of the Executive Committee suggested that the governing bodies of the APU reach out to the countries concerned in view of finding solutions that would allow them honour their obligations and ensure a better participation in APU activities.

          Following these observations, the Executive Committee approved the draft budget for the 2024 financial year which is balanced in revenue and expenditure at 1,138,177 Euros.

          Hon. Mr. Pierre Flambeau Ngayap, Senator from Cameroon and Hon. Ms. Nakut Faith Coru, Member of Parliament from Uganda were appointed account auditors for the financial year 2023.

          The Committee of Women Parliamentarians

          The Committee of Women Parliamentarians of the African Parliamentary Union, met on 13 December 2023 to deliberate on the theme; Promoting the role of African women in stimulating intra-African trade.

          Considering that African countries have enormous trade potential, both regionally and globally and recognising the leading role that women play in regional trade, the committee made the following recommendations:

  1. Recognition by public authorities of the role of African women in trade and the promotion of their role in stimulating intra-African trade;
  2. Monitoring by African governments of the implementation of the rules and regulations governing trade at borders; This, for the purposes of helping women cope with the risks they face in their trade-related activities;
  3. Training African women in managerial skills to improve their access to knowledge and the development of competences, thus facilitating their access to financing;
  4. Access of African women to information relating to trade, policies, regulations, standards, taxes, markets and investment opportunities;
  5. Support for African women to use the agreements and market opportunities of the AfCFTA;
  6. Promoting policies and laws that protect the rights and opportunities of African women;
  7. Providing them with an environment conducive to export activity;
  8. Promoting the leadership of African women and their participation in business and export networks for export trade;
  9. Trade facilitation measures for African women in the AfCFTA;
  10. Improving amenities offered to African women at border posts (safe storage, access to clean water and hygienic sanitation facilities, care, safe accommodation and transport infrastructure and public transport, et cetera)

          Resolutions Adopted at the 45th Conference of the APU

                The resolution submitted by the Political Committee on “Combating insecurity, and terrorism, factors of political instability and recession” was unanimously adopted. The resolution recognizes the large number of victims of terrorism in the Sahel and on the African continent in recent years. These conflicts are causing a massive influx of thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees to other regions.

      The resolution notes with concern the mushrooming of Coup d’états in Africa especially West Africa which has affected the hosting of this 45th Conference in Niger. Armed groups and violent extremists are increasing their influence in West Africa and the Sahel while repeated coups d’état are destabilising Governments.

      Noting the inseparable connection between security and development, the Committee calls for:

  1. The Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Governments to ensure that all member States are restored to full constitutional order by the end of 2024;
  2. Reviewing of government policies related to Agenda 2030, Security Council Resolution 2250 and other relevant processes concerning peace and security;
  3. The need for adequate, predictable and sustainable funding for regional security initiatives.
  4. Transparent democratic processes

         The Resolution submitted by the Economic and Sustainable Development Committee on the theme “Development of intra-African trade in view of the effective implementation of the African regional integration agenda” was unanimously adopted by the Conference. The Resolution recognizes that the Agenda 2063 adopted by the African Union places great importance on the role that trade plays in developing economies and recognises that trade is a powerful engine of economic growth and development.

         The Committee noted that intra-African trade is one of the levers of social and economic development capable of generating high value-added potential for the manufacturing industry, knowledge transfer, productivity growth, and job creation and of contributing to increase income and reduce poverty. 

         The establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and its launch on 1 January 2021, which aims to create a single market of more than 1.3 billion people, constitutes a big step towards African economic integration and opens up prospects for boosting intra-African trade, strengthening complementarities in production and exports, and creating added value and job.

        The Committee also noted that the success of the AfCFTA is closely linked with broader African regional integration and that it is necessary to overcome obstacles such as insufficient infrastructure, tariff and non-tariff barriers, low product diversification, market fragmentation, and weak policy coordination. Accordingly, the resolution calls on:

  1. African States to promote policies and strategies aimed at preventing and resolving armed conflicts, terrorism, transnational crime and the various crises that may threaten stability and peace in the region and hinder the development of intra-African trade;
  2. African States to ensure compliance with commitments made regarding intra-African trade and strengthen support for local businesses during the transition to the continental market;
  3. The acceleration of the implementation of policies and programmes that enable African countries to promote economic diversification, create added value and derive higher income from their commodities, with a view to developing intra-African trade and integrating global value chains;
  4. African countries to join the Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS) established by the AfCFTA and the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank);
  5. African countries to further promote stock exchanges at the national or regional levels and their interconnection at the continental level;
  6. Development partners to intensify efforts within the framework of the AfCFTA by providing technical and financial support to Member States, regional economic communities, the African Union and the public and private sectors, through the following actions:
  7. States to adopt measures aimed at reducing production costs by reducing taxes and allowing cheap transport and energy services, infrastructure and information and communication technologies (ICT) to contribute to improving the purchasing power of populations and commercial competitiveness;
  8. Calls for the strengthening of dialogue and cooperation between different stakeholders, including governments, parliaments, the public sector, the private sector, civil society and regional organizations;
  9. Recommends finally that African countries put in place development strategies and policies that prioritize innovation, industry, digital technology, education and health;

          Abidjan Declaration on the Crisis in Gaza

          The Declaration on the crisis in Gaza was adopted by acclamation.

The representatives of African National Parliaments, gathered in Abidjan on the occasion of the 45th Conference of the African Parliamentary Union, on 14 and 15 December 2023, expressed deep concern in the current context, about the security and humanitarian situation in the Palestinian Territories and particularly in Gaza.

          Dismayed by the appalling suffering of Palestinians in Gaza whose human rights are no longer respected nor insured in flagrant violation of international law, including humanitarian law made the following pronouncements;

  1. Condemn terrorism in all its forms and Israel's military actions against civil populations in Gaza, resulting in thousands of casualties, massive displacement and an unprecedented humanitarian crisis;
  2. Denounce the disproportionate military response of Israeli forces in Gaza;
  3. Support the UN General Assembly resolution adopted on 12 December 2023, calling for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza and respect for international humanitarian law;
  4. Affirm that the two-state solution constitutes the path to a lasting settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in accordance with United Nations resolutions;
  5. Urge States and international organizations to respond effectively to the specific needs of populations facing humanitarian and security crises, including in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

          Motion of Support for the Nigerien People

          Mindful of the situation prevailing in Niger due to the sanctions taken by ECOWAS, representatives of African Parliaments gathered in Abidjan were concerned by these sanctions which affect vulnerable people, in particular women, children and the elderly,

          The Parliamentarians of the African Parliamentary Union, called for the lifting of     these sanctions, in order to allow the Nigerien people to contribute to the construction of Africa like every other African people.

          Election of the Bureau

          According to Section 2, article 14 of the APU Statutes modified and adopted on 28 November 2019 by the 42nd Conference, the Executive Committee of the Union is composed of three (3) members per National Group including at least one woman. Accordingly; the three Members of Parliament from the Parliament of Zimbabwe appointed at the 45th Conference in Abidjan are:

Hon. Tsitsi Gezi, Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly;

Hon. Tichawona Karumazondo, Member of Parliament, and;

Hon. Susan Matsunga, Member of Parliament;

          The bureau of the Executive Committee is composed of the chairperson elected by the conference at each of its ordinary sessions, and three vice-chairpersons and a rapporteur elected by the members of the Executive Committee. The Chairperson of the Executive Committee must be a Presiding Officer of the National Parliament. The members of the Bureau shall be elected for two years on a rotating basis which takes account of equitable regional distribution. Accordingly, the following Members were elected into the Executive Committee:

          Hon. Adama Bictogo, Speaker of the National Assembly of Côte d'Ivoire, was elected Chairperson of the Executive Committee.

          Hon. Mabel Memory Chinomona, President of the Senate of the Parliament of the Republic of Zimbabwe was elected Vice President of the Executive Committee. Congratulations are in order for the Hon. President of the Senate whose commitment to the development of Africa particularly women is well recognized in the region and abroad.

          MAKOROKOTO, AMHLOPE, CONGRATULATIONS!

          Hon. Mr. Abdo Sheikh Dirieh, Member of the National Assembly of Djibouti was also elected Second Vice President of the Executive Committee    

          Hon. Mr. Mahamat Oumar Malloum, Member of the Transitional National Council of Chad was elected Rapporteur of the Executive Committee. 

        The Chairperson of the Committee of Women Parliamentarians shall be an ex-officio member of the Bureau. Hon. Ms. Tayeb Wassila, Member of the National People’s Assembly of Algeria was elected President of the Women’s Committee.

        Hon. Ms. Bethy Ethel Naluyima, Member of Parliament of Uganda was elected    Vice-President.

           Hon. Ms. Foudda Arada Izzedine, Member of the National Assembly of Chad was elected Rapporteur.

         Draft Agenda for the 81st Session of the Executive Committee

          The Secretary General presented the following draft agenda:

  1. Consideration of the implementation of the decisions and recommendations of the Conference
  2. Consideration of the audited management account for financial year 2023
  3. Development of the draft agenda for the 46th Conference
  4. Draft agenda of the 82st Session of the Executive Committee
  5. Date and place of the 82st Session of the Executive Committee.

The draft agenda was adopted.

          Date and Venue of the 81st Session of the Executive Committee

The Secretary General indicated that the session is scheduled to be held around April or May 2024.  The President tasked the members of the Executive Committee find the host of this 81st Session and communicate with the Secretariat.          

RECOMMENDATIONS

 

Recommendation

Action

Timeline

 

Engaging SADC countries on the possibility of joining the APU

- Presiding Officers can informally engage their counterparts in the region on the possibility of joining the APU when they interact at international fora.

- It is pertinent to understand why SADC is reluctant to join the Continental body. The information will help the APU as they engage the respective non-members.

Continuous

 

 

 

 

Non-recovery of 50% of the annual contributions due by member Parliaments

-examine with the parliaments concerned the means likely to achieve a solution, such as the establishment of a multi-annual installment aimed at clearing arrears. The Parliament of Zimbabwe annual subscriptions for the year 2023 amounting Euro 20,000 is now due.

Continuous

 

Development of intra-African trade in view of the effective implementation of the African regional integration agenda

-acceleration of the implementation of policies and programmes that enable African countries to promote economic diversification, create added value and derive higher income from their commodities, with a view to developing intra-African trade and integrating global value chains.

Continuous

 

Enhancing the work plan and visibility of the African Union

-A revision of the statutes so that the Conference bureau can fully play its role.

-The establishment of a forum of Secretary Generals of Parliaments (Clerks in some jurisdictions) so that they can come together and discuss issues raised by the Executive Committee.

-the establishment of thematic committees such as a women's caucus, a youth caucus, a caucus on climate change and a caucus on sustainable development in line with the African Union Agenda 2063.

By December 2025

 

          CONCLUSION

          The need to implement resolutions emanating from Parliament of Zimbabwe’s participation at international fora can- not be over-emphasized. It is only through implementation that our participation can be rendered useful. It should also be noted that follow up action is required on each of the resolutions adopted at the 45th Conference of the APU.  

          The delegation wishes to express its deep appreciation to Parliament for affording them the opportunity to represent the country at these important continental Meetings.

          HON. SEN. CHIEF NGUNGUMBANE: Thank you Madam Chair for affording me this opportunity to support the report that has been tabled before this esteemed House by Hon. Senator Chief Nechombo.  First and foremost, I would want to recognise the role played by women in the upliftment of the Continent, regional bloc, the country and to the ward level.  I think women you should receive this honour in your lifetime – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] –

          Madam President, I think as a Continent, we should take such regional bodies seriously.  The issue of non-payments of subscriptions is indeed embarrassing.  At times we complain that foreign organisations do support continental bodies like APU, PAP, SADC PF because as a continent, we are really failing to live up to our expectation in enhancing social, cultural and political integration. Madam President, that can be achieved if member States make their subscriptions timeously. 

          Madam President, I would want to also acknowledge Madam President of the Senate Hon. Chinomona.  She has raised the bar of the Senate to higher levels – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] – I think the presenter mentioned the positions that she has held.  It is also a vindication to this House that we saw it fit to elect her to be the President of this Senate.  If a regional body like APU sees it fit to give her positions of authority, then it vindicates the decisions that we took as Senate.  I think we should give due recognition to other Members that were elected to various Committees. 

          Madam President, Africa is in turmoil.  I will make reference to ECOWAS Bloc where we have seen coup d’états taking place and it is women and children that suffer the brand of military coups, unconstitutional takeover of Governments.  I am very happy that as I discuss this report, in our midst, we have the President of the Pan-African Parliament who I feel should play a very leading role in ensuring that there is constitutional order when these member States go or hold elections. Of note, I know Mr. President, I have been following your debates when we are at PAP.  I would want to reiterate the statement that you made in your address that there is need to ensure constitutional order especially with regards ECOWAS. 

          Madam President, it is also important that we provide adequate transparent democratic practices and processes for our women.  You know in our culture, women are of the weaker sex, not to say that we want to demean them, no!  When it comes to the political fight, we are not as advantaged as our male counterparts.  Madam President, we feel that there is a deliberate need to protect our women so that they occupy position of authority.  It could be in politics, economics, socially and so forth.  We applaud the report that calls for women support in decision making processes. 

          Allow me in conclusion, to say women constitute 52% or more of the population in this country – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] – and in Africa but what is disappointing amongst our women is that they do not support each other.  If you have 52% you have a bargain, you should not be negotiating to have quotas reserved for you when you have 52%.  I feel women need to really support each other.  If you find more men occupying positions of authority, it means that you are not supporting each other, you are supporting men.  When you support men, men will continue to dominate you.  I want to raise this point in support to say Madam President, it is important that we support as many women in positions of authority.  Madam President, with those few words, I would want to support the report that has been tabled by Hon. Senator Chief Nechombo.  I thank you – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] –

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

          HON. SEN. CHIEF NGUNGUMBANE: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Wednesday, 15 May, 2024.

          On the motion of THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF WAR VETERANS OF THE LIBERATON STRUGGLE (HON. H. MOYO), the House adjourned at Five o’clock p.m.

 

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