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SENATE HANSARD 14 FEBRUARY 2017 26-28
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Tuesday, 14th February, 2017
The Senate met at Half-past Two O’clock p.m.
(THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE in the Chair)
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF MEDIA, INFORMATION
AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. SEN. MATHUTHU):
Madam President, I move that Order of the Day, No. 1 be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the Day have been disposed of.
Motion put and agreed to.
STATE OF THE NATION ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT
Second Order read: Adjourned debate on motion in reply to the State of the Nation Address.
Question again proposed.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF MEDIA, INFORMATION AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. SEN. MATHUTHU): I
move that the debate do now adjourn.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 15th February, 2017.
PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS
Third Order read: Adjourned debate on motion in reply to the Presidential Speech.
Question again proposed.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF MEDIA, INFORMATION AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. SEN. MATHUTHU): I
move that the debate do now adjourn.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 15th February, 2017.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF MEDIA, INFORMATION
AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. SEN. MATHUTHU):
Madam President, I move that Order of the Day, No. 4 be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the Day have been disposed of.
Motion put and agreed to.
PROMOTION OF POPULATION GROWTH IN ZIMBABWE
HON. SEN. MUSAKA: Thank you Madam President. I rise to move the motion standing in my name;
That this House:
CONCERNED with difficulties to attract effective investors to
Zimbabwe for sustainable profitable investment due to Zimbabwe’s low population;
FURTHER CONCERNED that most non-governmental Organisations diligently promote birth control down wards instead of encouraging family planning for prolife that is population growth;
CURRENT world trend in population are to encourage large families so as to grow market for products;
NOW THEREFORE, this House resolves that the Zimbabwe
Government should encourage large families as follows;
- Give incentives to families to have a minimum of eight children;
- NGOs and Organisation promoting birth control should now be requested to promote family growth.
HON. SEN. SHIRI: I second.
HON. SEN. MUSAKA: I thank you Madam President. The issue
here I am tabling before the august House is one on population.
Zimbabwe’s population, not just population. our population in Zimbabwe Madam President, is too low to make any meaningful contribution in terms of economic development. If you look at the population of Zimbabwe and compare even with those countries that are even five times smaller than Zimbabwe, take for example England, it is five times or four times smaller than Zimbabwe. It has got a population of 76 million or more and the dynamics of development is enormous. We have only about 14 million people and even that 14 million may actually be a political figure, we could be less than that. The country is vast with many resources but empty. We have no people. We should be serious about development. The issue here is a very serious one. Let us take development alone - which investor would come to Zimbabwe to invest seriously for 14 million people? Even that 14 million, we will only have may be less than 200 000 people who are an effective consumer of any product, seriously. Even ourselves on our own, the beef and maize we cannot even consume it. We have to rely on exports. I will come on to that and show the functional weakness of that kind of a policy. If the internal dynamics are not properly developed and the internal dynamics I am talking about here are human beings, the actual people, the resources which we do not have. It is quite a serious one.
The Japanese factory, Toyota or Daihatsu cannot come to Zimbabwe and say look I want to come and build a factory to employ people. To start with, even if they set up so many factories the people may not be there with the necessary skills. They are not there, let alone the market. How many of our people can buy those cars? Why should he actually come here to invest for 14 million, instead he will go to Nigeria 150 million, Ethiopia 90 million and to Egypt where actually the people are there who can buy the product. So, that is a serious issue and it is a serious matter of concern.
Madam President, on population again, I will take you through history again the problem of having less people. Even if there was a conflict, we cannot fight a war because we will run out of people. We do not have the people, we cannot even fight it. – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.]- This is very serious in terms of security; we just do not have the soldiers.
I will give you an example in the European wars, the second World War. The Germans were ruthlessly efficient in terms of equipment, tactics and everything but they did not have enough blood. The Russians were hopelessly inefficient but they had more blood. They kept on coming. You lose 300, tomorrow they have so many people coming from Siberia. The Germans were surprised and ended up taking conscripts who do not know the traditions of fighting. Whenever they hear a gun, because they were Hungarians, they were conscripts, they simply ran away. That is how really serious it is if you do not have your own people committed. Our own people really with the traditions of fighting here are getting old. I am sorry to say, in fact my General
here - these are people with the tradition of fighting but he is old. We need new more people to be on the ground. The ones that stayed in the Chimurenga war are all getting old and I am old too.
Let us face it, this is a reality. The population is dwindling and dwindling. I am appealing that as we go along in terms of economic development, security, consumption everything, we should actually encourage our young people, those who can and those who are able to support children and actually give them support mechanisms to make sure that they have more children. Well, we should actually encourage more people. The organisations Mr. President, that are diligently committed to be antilife in the sense that all they are doing is birth control, in other words; do not have children, have two children or none at all. They are actually very happy if you do not have any children. No this should be reversed. They should not be encouraging prolife but they should encourage life.
The amount of money they are spending Mr. President, thousands and thousands in birth control must be spent in supporting families and children in schools because they have the money. If they have the money to actually discourage life, why can they not encourage life? Hon.
Members, face it. What they do Mr. President, I will tell you.
Well, they will come to our ladies, our beautiful women and say ahh no do not have many children, there is this method of control, all of them with side effects. Once they have gone into side effects, they go and complain, look I am now having side effects and they say ahh do not worry, there is treatment for it. Now, the same people they have sold the birth control, they get money. Now, you will go back with side effects and they sell again the medicine to you. So again, they are making double money. It is hypocrisy of the worst order. [HON. SENATORS:
So, I am diligently and honestly arguing that the system must be reversed. Those organisations doing that kind of promotion there should be prolife. They should promote more life that what they should spent more money on. It makes sense as I have argued that look, I am looking at all sides- economic, social, security, development - really, this is brilliant. Those who offer themselves to say look, I may want to go into this programme must be supported. The Government should actually encourage everybody that we should actually have more people, otherwise one day, we will be overwhelmed that we cannot even fight a war. I thank you Mr. President. – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.]-
HON. SEN. MURWIRA: Thank you Mr. President for the opportunity that you have given me. I want to second the motion moved by Hon. Sen. Musaka which is focusing on population increase. Increase in population is good because it has a positive bearing on our economy and businesses. For example, Mr. President, it is like Zim Gold, every month it sells 10 000 litres. If we were to bear more children and come to a population of 20 million, it means the litres would increase and also the money that we get in the country will increase, as well as the labour and employment is created. It is not only Zim Gold that we are talking about but we are talking about other companies that will come into this nation.
Mr. President, this will lead to positive development on the part of Government and the people. More profit means that even companies will now be resuscitated. Once companies are operational, it means people can now get employment. Mr. President, an increase in population attract investors from outside because they are assured that there are customers in Zimbabwe. My request to the Government is that what we are talking about is not that tomorrow we should wake up and say children should be born. We want the Government to take this up and consider this. We also request Senators and MPs to take the issue to their constituencies and encourage people to bear more children.
Mr. President, we will be doing this to ensure that we have more schools, hospitals, wider roads, decent accommodation and other things that will actually lead to the development of this country. I want to thank you Mr. President.
*HON. SEN. BHOBHO: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to add my voice on the motion that was moved by Hon. Sen. Musaka. I realise that it is very important because he mentioned a very important point that we need to bear more children. For us to have a nation, it is all about having more people. For us to have soldiers, it is because of the children that we bear. In our time, we gave birth to a number of children. If our generation comes to pass, there will be no children. The chiefs were excited because they had a list of members in their community and they knew that the Bhobho family had so many people and they would be able to articulate how the chief runs his community.
We are saying, those of child bearing age should bear more children, not one or two because we need these children to be in the Defence Forces. Thank you Mr. President.
*HON. SEN. GOTO: Thank you Mr. President. I rise to support the motion moved by Hon. Sen. Musaka and seconded by Hon. Sen. Murwira. This is a very important motion. We might be laughing but for us to be in this House, it is because we were born. He explained that he wants people to bear more children so that there is a population increase. If we had not been born, we could not be here. It is true people should bear more children. If people are few in a country it is not a nation.
I want to give an example without giving external forces. As we moved around Mashonaland East province during COPAC outreach programme, I always told people that we should not have few children. People would laugh at me when I was encouraging them to have more children. I explained to them the advantages of having more children. During the COPAC meetings, there was no one breast feeding. When we went to Mudzi, I saw young women who were breastfeeding and I actually said to them it is better to go and sit there and breast feed from there because the noise is disrupting us. In Hwedza, there were no young women who were breastfeeding.
I challenge people to say, if you become old, what will happen to the party. You find people bearing just two children. We know the cost of living is high but a person needs to do justice when it comes to bearing children. Hon. Sen. Musaka, we support your motion that people should bear more children; there is no problem there.
In my family, we are ten. Others died but we are all there. When we needed mealie-meal, we would make sure we get a 90kg of mealiemeal and a big pot will be used to cook for us to have something to eat. Nowadays, you find people talk of the cost of living. For us to have more schools, it will be a result of having an increase in population. My husband always says a child is a goblin because when we were in the fields with the children during school holidays, we would finish to work on one hectare in no time. If you have one child, it will take time for you to finish ploughing a hectare. If you have two children, you end up making negative comments about the person with more children.
Others used to give birth with limited spacing and that is what is supposed to happen. The truth is we should bear more children. Procreation is very important. There is nothing that can be done if there is no procreation. If the family is there over the festive season, you will enjoy yourself. If you do not have children, what do you do? If you only have two children and one dies, you are only left with one. Yes, you might say that God has made his decision but if you have more children, you are still able to enjoy. Chief, we really want to thank you for all that you say. Polygamy is not bad. It is actually very good because women do not want to give birth. So, it is better that more women come in to bear more children. Therefore, I want to support this motion.
Hon. Sen. Musaka, all those who are going to contribute to this motion will be positive. Right now, I have six children but among them, the one with the most children only has three. I always try and explain to them that if one dies what is going to happen. I always tell them that we need the family name to continue. In the end, the Goto family will be extinct, so we need to keep the family name going. I thank you Mr.
*HON. SEN. KOMICHI: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to contribute to the motion by Hon. Musaka and seconded by Hon. Murwira. This is a very good motion and you have done well. I want to give a background of issues that were of concern to me on population control.
This idea of having few children was re-colonisation that happened to us without knowledge. Long back, we were born 12, 14 or 9 and that was done in all countries. If you go to Britain, Germany or any other country, there are a lot of families that give birth to many children because they know that you cannot separate the population and economic development. If you look at countries like Britain, they have population of nearly 70 million and yet it is a small country. They did that because of economic development and also to have a good army for defence. When we de-colonised Africa and won the liberation struggle, they sat down with IMF and World Bank and they came up with human rights issues and started teaching our women and children that you do not need to have many children because of the cost of living. That is a lie. Even if children are 10 or 15, they will still go to school. Let us thank Bishop Marange who refused to be colonised. He did well and he is in a polymagamous marriage and that is what we want as men – that is to have more women and thereby have more children. Your motion Hon. Musaka should be Government policy that we should bear more children for the economic development of our country. If there is an increase in population, the country will develop and if we are few, there will be no development. Let us make sure not to do that because African countries are the only ones with a limited population.
There are two million people in Botswana and 13 million people in Zimbabwe. The Europeans knew what they were doing but our eyes have been opened and I hope that the women will support the motion.
Let us support this motion. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. MAWIRE: Thank you Mr. President for
recognising me so that I add my voice to the motion that is in this House this afternoon. The motion was moved by Hon. Musaka and seconded by Hon. Murwira and it is gender balanced. I thought it was going to be raised and seconded by men only, but I realise that there is a man and a woman who have supported each other and have realised that the situation is not desirable in the country. We might laugh and make jokes of this motion and it has been mentioned before that you want people to give birth to one or two children – what are you going to do in future?
Hon. Musaka, I do not know what has made you move this motion. Even in the Bible, God says be fruitful and multiply because he knew. If we look at all those who have contributed, they have said that without a large population; you will not achieve economic growth. Look at what is happening in different countries. In Africa, there are so many wars that are happening and if we do not have a large population, where are we going to get our defence forces – that will affect us.
Having a large population will also add to the economic growth of the nation. There will be more exports and imports leading to economic growth. This is an issue that we may think is very trivial. I want to thank Hon. Komichi who said that that this issue came with the Europeans when they colonised our nations. During that time, our ancestors used to give birth to a number of children as procreation was their nature. I remember that my grandfather had about 15 children. In my family, if you see a family called Mundenda at Manica Bridge, our real surname is Mataga and Mundenda is a nickname because they just used to go. If you go to Manica Bridge, it is Mundenda throughout because my grandfather used to make sure that he had women all over and they gave birth to his children. I am sure that traditional leaders will agree with me that you had realised this issue.
To follow up on the statement given by Hon. Komichi that the Europeans are the ones who were able to see that Zimbabweans are very clever and if we encourage them to have more children, we will not be able to penetrate their country and economy. So, they then decided to come up with issues of birth control and they started making birth control pills and other contraceptive measures and advised our women to bear fewer children. People of my age, we used to go to school after selling groundnuts or even round nuts. There was no money, but we went to school and now, people talk of the costs. Now even in the fields, you cannot do much because you have few children but if you had many children like we were in our family, you would finish weeding a hectare in no time.
The chiefs have taken this up before. They talked to our parents and discouraged people from taking contraceptive pills because they knew that the Europeans were after decreasing our population. But through education, we thought that it was right for a person to have one or two children. So Hon. Musaka, the mover of the motion and the seconder, you have brought a very important motion.
If you go to the rural areas and look at the homes that are built there – they are out of this world but despite the big houses, you will realise that a person has only two children. You then say to yourself, if that person had taken that money to the Government, he would have done better than to build a mansion without the children. Let me tell you a little story. I am sure that we all witnessed what happened in Budiriro where a woman lost a husband and two children. Maybe those were the only children because we never heard of how many were left and now the mother is left on her own. What will happen is that that woman is going to die of stress. That will be continuous stress for her and she will end up being hypertensive. So, this motion is very important and, we need to really consider it. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. MABHUGU: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to contribute to the motion that was moved by Hon. Musaka and seconded by Hon. Murwira. A large population is very important but, there are challenges that come with that. Firstly, if we compare the life that people had long back and that they used to bear more children, the children used to wear traditional clothes made out of animal skins. But now, things have changed because you need to buy proper clothes for your children. So, having more children depends on whether you can look after them or not.
Secondly, when we increase the number of children, you need to make sure that they go to school. Nowadays we see that other children, especially in the rural constituencies where we come from, children are failing to go to school and they are failing to send those children to school. So, should we have more children so that they end up just sitting at home? Right now, they are unable to get any employment and I do not think that that is a wise move. On the issue of investment, that is a difficult one; we might bear more children thinking that they will invest, but we also need to address the issues that we have in this nation. I do not think 51% will attract any investors. So we also need to address issues that will attract foreign direct investment. There are a lot of things but I will only touch on a few issues that really are pertinent to me.
On the issue of employment, there is none now. A child finishes university education but they cannot get a job. Our children are now living in the Diaspora because there are no jobs. If we were more organised, all our children would be getting jobs in Zimbabwe. So, we need to look into that and address it to ensure that development takes place.
On the issue of the fact that children can die, yes, that is God’s choice. I had an uncle who had over five children but now he is left with one. I also have an uncle who has two but those two are looking after him but the one who has 15 and has one left is not being looked after by his child. So, let us first create a conducive environment for us to bear more children. With those few words, I thank you.
HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA: I rise to commend the mover and
the seconder of this motion. In principle, I totally agree with it. Without a good population, it is difficult to draw investors. From experience, I can talk a little bit on that. The Chinese for example; I lived in China for five years, why that country has succeeded so much and over the last 40 years they have moved maybe from the bottom of the least of all countries to be the second largest economy in the whole world. They have taken advantage of their population. In China, if you move around as a tourist, the biggest percentage maybe 96%, everywhere you go is full with domestic tourists. They have also taught their people to visit places of interest in their own country raising revenue for the country. I totally agree.
In our efforts as diplomats in China to try and bring a lot of companies to Zimbabwe, the first question they would ask is what the population of Zimbabwe is. The moment you tell them we are about 14 million; they will all look around and say ah, I do not know how I can continue. What we have done as a country in China, we came together as a SADC group, so that when we spoke to these companies, we gave them a population of 250 million which is the population of SADC and that is when they got interested. I am talking about the big businesses.
However, I tend to agree with what the Hon. Senator has just been saying. We need to look at many other things if we are going to encourage our people out there to have more children. We need to see if we are developing as a country, our infrastructure, do we have enough schools to send these children to? Do we have enough hospitals to send these children to, have we done enough in terms of food security because you may end up having 15 and lose 10 of them because of malnutrition. So in terms of food security, what is it that we have done to make sure that our population increases. We need a bigger, population that is indisputable. It is true we need to have a big strong army to fight in times of war. In Europe, they are actually paying, the older population is more than the younger population and that is very risky. Like we said, we go back to the investor; the investor wants to invest in a country for 50 years so they do not look at this population which is in this House today. They look at the population 50 years from now.
Now, what we are saying in this House is that what legacy are we leaving for our children? Are we doing enough to give them confidence to say yes, we will be able to continue living the way they feel they have to live. We are churning 35 000 students every year and those children have no jobs. So, these are the issue we need to deal with and there is nothing impossible to turn around the economy of this country when you look at the natural resources we have and the human resources we have. So, that is development that is for sure and it is good to keep it in the back of the mind of every Zimbabwean vachiri kuibara haikona isu takapedza that it is important to have more children. There is nothing wrong but we need to give them an assurance that these children will survive in that environment.
The issue of support – giving incentives to families, this is happening in the countries where economies are doing well. We also hope that when we boost our economy, we will then be able to incentivise our younger children to have more children. So, this is very good and is very realistic. All the arguments which you have put upfront are very real but we need to look at our infrastructure to make sure that our children will live a decent life. I thank you.
HON. SEN. MAKONE: Thank you Mr. President. I want to thank Hon. Sen. Musaka for moving this motion and Hon. Sen. Murwira for seconding the motion. However, I want to differ from them, in the sense that I do not know of any law in Zimbabwe that says you must have few children. People are making a decision not to have children. Why are they making those decisions? Decision are based on what you aspire as parents for your children. If you aspire for them to go to Oxford, there is nothing wrong with that but the schools fees at Oxford is at £34 000 per year. This is different from having your children going to University of Zimbabwe where the annual fees is US$1 400 a year.
So you do things that suit your life style.
I honestly do not believe that we should be debating this motion here because there is no – [AN HON. SENATOR: Inaudible interjections.] – you should make a choice of what you want to do. There is no law in Zimbabwe that says you shall have two children and no more, unlike China where you could not have more than one child. There it was legislated. When it is legislated, then I see that there is something wrong with it but to legislate for people who are not legislated, I do not see the point. Those that want to have none can have none. It is an open field. Nobody tells you what to do with your life. It is an open cheque; you decide as a couple in your bedroom what you want to do. You cannot have the Parliament of Zimbabwe coming to tell you what to do there, whether to have children or not have children, it is really none of our business. The problem only happens if this Government starts to legislate, I am against legislation of numbers and you must remember that there are those people that have got different reasons for not having children. People do not always have children because they cannot have them but it is because of probably medical conditions which they do not want to take risks for. So, if people decide that I have done two and if I have a third one I might die, why force them to have children. Let people have the children that they want, children that they can afford, children that are not legislated for – that is freedom. But to start telling people what to do in their bedrooms, I really think that we have gone over the top. I thank you
HON. SEN. D.T KHUMALO: Thank you Mr. President for
allowing me to debate. This debate is excellent and I thank those who have brought this motion into Parliament so that we can think and be together in all what we do.
In my family, my grandmother had twelve, my mother had nine, my sister had twelve, and my brother had twelve children because at that time, that was possible. You could put them in the field and they would help you in the field. We never suffered from hunger. Issues at the present moment - we were taken to school by working hard. Now, we were moved to the areas where there is no water. If you look at Nigeria or Egypt where there is dense population, there is plenty of water. Unless this country develops the availability of water, children are not going to have many children because it means before the children go to school, they have to walk 15 km to go and look for water.
Go to Lupane, I know, that is why it is impossible for them to go to school. The schools themselves are too far away. Not only that, for example myself, that is why I am saying let us be together and really be together. I have five children, during the time when they were going to school there was what was called cadetship. Children in universities had their tuition fees paid by cadetship. My children applied for the cadetship but they were not admitted into cadetship. There was selection, so my children were left out. So, why should I have 10 or 11 children when my children will not benefit from resources which are there? Let us be together, not choosing by where you come from. My children were left out because of where they come from.
I was in Lesotho, I lived with other people’s children whose friends were on cadetship. People, let us be frank and fair, equal opportunities for the children wherever they come from. – [HON.
SENATORS: Hear, hear.] –
Let us look at the Presidential Scholarship; ask the children who have gone there. Are they equal from where they come from? This is our President and the President of those children but are they given that Presidential support? No. So, why should I have 15 children who are not going to school, who are going to be workers of these children who get opportunities to be sponsored through the Presidential Scholarship? – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] – Our Children are not going to be many, so that they will be workers of other children. There are no schools, they have to wake up early in the morning and go to school.
Let us think of that.
The other reason why our children cannot have many children is because of education. To me education is paramount because once a person is educated he or she knows how to look after his/her children. My five children are not going to suffer because the person who is not educated and is encouraged to have many children when the schools are too far, they are not getting the education. When a woman is pregnant, we know she is pregnant of a child who is going to be a worker of other children because schools are too far away. Let education spread equally in all the areas.
Water and health services availability are paramount as well. Are they there in the whole country? Let us be together and work together for everything. Many people’s children went outside the country in my area because they were not taken into local universities. They had to go outside the country to acquire education. So, why should I have many children who are not going to be educated and be other people’s workers? Let us correct that very thing of every child from everywhere to go to school and have services available everywhere so that these children will stay here. My children who are outside the country should be having 12 children in Zimbabwe.
Personally, I did not want 12 but I had planned for eight children. When I came here and my children were not included in the cadetship and I was supposed to foot all the tuition fees when others were not paying anything, I had to say five is enough because that is what I could afford. Ladies and gentlemen, let us have equality everywhere. Thank you.
*HON. SEN. MANYERUKE: Thank you Mr. President. I would like to thank those who moved this very important motion. This motion is important to those who realise its value. Our children are a way of growing our heritage. We are not saying these children should be born today or that schools should be built today. We are not talking about yesterday because if we continue talking about yesterday, it is now state. We are saying as a nation, in future we may not have the population that we are talking about. We are not talking about today. We are talking about sustainability.
As we sit in this House, if we ask each other, how many are you in your family, few of us are first born children? Most of you are either second or third born. All I am saying is we need to encourage our children to bear more children in order to sustain our population. In the Bible, the death of the first born children was there. Even today it is there – what you should know is that when this happens, there are a lot of misconceptions that come with this notion. So, we need to encourage our children to have many children.
Why do we ask a daughter-in-law why she has one child? What we are saying is we are not happy with her having one child. We are talking about the future, not today. Today is already past. Those who were born and wore animal skins and ate wild fruits, it is all in the past. Since the time of family planning, there was no one who has given birth to one child and clothes this child in iron clothes. They still buy clothes from local shops, that is what we are saying should happen. Our tradition encourages us to bear more children. Those of the Soko totem used to bear a lot of children, about 12 to 15 but other totems could not bear such a number of children. That is why the Bible says that when Abraham married Sarah and could not bear children, he had to get the maid. A child is a very important being.
In Muzarabani, we say that if you do not go to school, you will die. Yes, they do have degree. There are a few job opportunities but things will be well – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] – In terms of food this year, there is plenty because of command agriculture. There is a lot of maize. We will bring some for consumption and we have already started consuming pumpkins. So, the children who will come will eat what we produce. Let us not liken ourselves to the white people. The white people knew that if they mislead us as black people we would keep going backwards.
However, looking back on the farm areas on those who grew up during my time, the white farmers would bear nine or 11 children. In this House, we agree that the white farmers had many children minimally spaced in terms of age. Chief Nyashanu had 35 children and when each wife gave birth, they would have many children in return. Nowadays, there is one wife and one child, where are we going if we continue encouraging our children to do that? Our children are afraid of labour pains but the Bible says that if one gives birth, they shall experience pain because we have sinned. They should give birth for up to three or four times depending with the situation, even if they fail to reach eight as stated in the motion. Sometimes we encourage our children to bear once and yet the only child may not be intelligent but the dumbest in school every year. There is not even a degree given to an unintelligent student.
Let us embrace what God gave us. This is a very good motion, it develops our country Zimbabwe. As black people, we should tell our children to give birth and multiply. As for us, we are now too old to give birth, we are like off-layers. We are talking about the new generation and that is to come. Do not tell children that giving birth is painful, that is why we are now experiencing more births through caesarean section. Those who gave birth to 15 children did so through normal birth. As black people Mr. President, we are saying let us not reduce our population because we were able to give birth to many children before. They should follow suit so that the population is maintained. Even in the Bible, giving birth continued until Jesus came.
Thank you Mr. President.
*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: Thank you Mr. President
for this motion. This motion is very difficult to debate. I stood up to debate but I know it is difficult. To begin with, the Hon. Senator who introduced the motion is Hon. Sen. Rtd Gen. Musaka. We know that
Retired Generals do not just say things at random; they research intensively because that is what they learnt in the army. So, I know that they have a background to this motion. He told us a lot including economies and so on, but I should also support him through the Bible which says, be fruitful and multiply – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] – there is no limit. I was pleased to hear this today, that chiefs should look for more and may find one Senator as we leave the Chamber today. Polygamy was applauded. We do not want to talk about off-layers when we are talking about these issues.
However, before I dwell much into this motion Mr. President, I want to be factual on this issue. The facts are; in the past we used to have more children and it was a good thing. Even today, culturally, the expansion of the family means the growth of the nation and it is factual. Chiefs are mocked because they are the ones who still have many children; most of you do not even have and some only have one. We did not have anyone to support us, but today we have found a number of supporters and it is a good thing to us. You know that chiefs are against family planning according to our tradition. If it is about giving birth, there should be no birth control and no use of artificial means to close the womb.
As someone who is learned and is a chief, I want to say that the idea that the bigger the population, the more the country is developed is a false phenomenon. We do not want to go out there and begin to talk about things that will make us a laughing stalk as senators who are not learned. It is not true to say the larger the population, the more the economic development. Here in Africa, we have countries such as Sudan and Ethiopia which have more than 100 million people in population but we have better standards of living with 14 million people than those countries. So, it is not the issue of population which determines development but, there are a number of other factors. There are also some small countries like Switzerland which has a population of about 7 million, but their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is probably five times greater than that of Zimbabwe.
When companies such as Toyota are making investments, they do not invest according to the population like in Ethiopia. For example SADC as a region, they consider the regional GDP - they look at the budget like our own budget as presented by Hon. Minister Chinamasa in terms of revenue. They then make conclusions based on that to say, there are people who are wealthy and our cars have a high probability of being bought by a considerable number of people. So, it is not only about the number of people, but the actual wealth reflected in the GDP figures – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – This should tally so that Toyota will invest. If they conclude that you have the highest population but are poor, they will not come for investment. I wanted to clarify on that.
Today, we have people who have children of up to 12 in number and out of that, only two are afforded the opportunity to go to school while the rest are reduced to herding cattle in the rural areas. People would just note that the children dropped out of school in Grade Three due to lack of funds. So, we are not encouraging people to bear children for the purpose of sending them to the grazing land to herd cattle –
[HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] – I do not think that is what we intend to do. If we do that, it will sound as if we are debating blindly without looking into the future.
However, what has been spoken before and what you will speak after me and seem to be avoiding yet it is most critical is that there are more women in this country than men. So polygamy will help to get rid of extra women – [HON. SENATORS: Aaah!] – Is that not so? Women are 52%, it is good to have it that way because some will be unable to have their own men and yet you are encouraging the birth of many children. If one does not have a husband, how is it possible to give birth? I read a newspaper today which says, last year Zimbabwean people used 110 million condoms, that is in today’s paper. Yes, I know there is an issue of diseases and also preventing pregnancy, if you want a child you have to remove the condom. As we proceed, we also need to give a fair assessment unless what you are saying Hon. Sen. Musaka on large families, all is workable but where we are losing it, is that unless you come back to the family existence in our culture. If you follow the western world or the nucleus family, this issue of a large family works when we look at the extended family in our culture. If you fail to have children then you have the extended family assisting you.
If you want us to go back to that culture, let us agree that we go back to that culture but let us not forget that we cannot be the Western world. Let us also be in our own Africa cultural world. You need to go back to the African cultural world. Once I give children and cannot afford to look after them, I will know that my uncle or my brother will look after them. In the western world, it is ‘each man for himself and
God for us all’, hence you need to look after your family as a nucleus family. In our African culture, you bear children for the extended family not for the nucleus family and it is good. Let us go back to our culture of an extended family. If we do not do that, you will find that is what has resulted in street kids because the nucleus family if they have nowhere to go, they go into the streets. In our African culture, there are no street kids because if I bear 40 children, all of them will go to school because the extended family takes a hand in the growing up of those children. In our African culture, there are no children’s homes.
I am happy that people spoke but men want as many children as possible but the women are the ones who do not want more children. They end up having their tubes tied and using different forms of contraception. Hon. Sen. Khumalo - some have not told us how many they have. I realised that in workshops, so many interesting things are said. So we want to know from those who supported the motion how many children they have. Probably, they are just encouraging others to have more children when they only have two. I hope they will be given an opportunity to inform us how many children they have. If it is Hon. Sen. Bhobho, Hon. Sen. Mawire, we want to know how many children you have. This issue of all layers kills the debate.
Recently, I read in the paper that a woman of 65 years was staying with one of the relatives who is 19 years old. They fell in love and agreed to have a child at 65 years old. That was in the paper. In this House, I looked at everyone and saw that there is no off layer because no one is 65. The motion that you are supporting, the 65 year olds are having children. In November, we want to see all of you pregnant so as to ensure that you are serious with the support that you have given to this debate. Mr. President, I thank you. – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.]-
*HON. SEN. MAKORE: Thank you Mr. President. I could not
stop myself from adding my voice to such a beautiful motion. Mr. President, I want to thank you for giving me this opportunity. I want to thank Hon. Sen. Musaka for this motion. This is not the first time that he has talked about this. When he was debating the status of children’s homes, he bemoaned the issue of having few children and encouraged us to have more children. He was talking about what is happening at
Chirinda. The children there struggled to get food here in Zimbabwe.
I also want to thank the contribution by Hon. Sen. Makone. There is no policy that says you should not bear children. You can bear as many children as you want. If we are to ask so many people here, most of us came from extended families. Some of us come from chieftainships. There were resources and if there were no resources, you would find that children grew up in poverty. What it means is that as a parent, you have a burden. Yes, the issue of family came through NGOs but it was realised that there is need for you as an individual to plan the children you want to have. There is no family that was encouraged to take contraception but people took contraception voluntarily to control the number of children that they could look after. If a person has five children, there are quite a lot of children because from the families that we came from, you could have 40 or 45 children. I want to thank Hon. Sen. Chief Charumbira on what he said that now we have realised there is greediness. You now look at the children in your nucleus family. Long ago we used to look at the extended family and all children in the family would go to school.
What the ancestors would say is that when you reach a certain level of education, you had to get a job and look after the young ones in the family. Another interesting point that was mentioned was looking at the economy and status of our country. Yes, there are many of us but we realise that there is climate change. If it rains you will end up having floods at times, like the situation we have right now whereby there are floods. If the heat is too much, yield at the end of the farming season is reduced. Our fields are flooded and we cannot get much of the small grains. In families, it is a challenge to get enough food. Mr. President, we also look at the fact that the country has meager resources and it is a burden on the country. Our country is struggling with a population of 14 million. We do not have industry; we have not managed to fully develop it. As it is right now, we are struggling.
I thank the contributions that came. Let us take a leaf from the President and resuscitate our industry and social services. Most countries that have many children, their food is subsidized by their governments. In those countries, the old aged are looked after through the government social services, meaning that a nation is able to look after its people. Such incentives are not available in Zimbabwe. There may be provisions in the Constitution but we have not reached a stage whereby it is balanced and we can have such provisions. The economy is not balanced and we urge people to bear more children.
I realised on television the other time that Ethiopians were travelling on foot from Ethiopia to South Africa. What it means is that politically we have to be correct and minimise conflicts so that we become productive. If there is peace and tranquility, that will then increase the population and we can also be like China, Britain and other nations. The countries that colonized us would come and plunder resources from Africa to feed their nations abroad. We became dependant on these Western countries instead of us developing our industries and becoming self-sustainable.
Long back when I was a teacher, I would ask children what they would want to do when they grow up. They would say, I want to be a teacher, nurse or policeman, which meant that the child’s mentality was that they needed to go and work for someone else for them to be successful. That is the mentality that came through colonialism. It is that mentality that we need to get rid of and change our mindsets. We need to boost the economy on our own and make it survive. That is a very important point to drive our own economy, be self-sufficient and dependant on ourselves. Then we can say yes, we can now drive this thing. Right now, we do not have industries and our economy is deteriorating. We are saying, we need to work and progress. That is why this year we have command agriculture so that people can produce for us to have adequate food and food security.
I want to thank the mover of this motion. It is a good idea; these are very good wishes. We have seen other countries developing. If you are a billion and you pay PAYE or income tax, you have more money than the income tax that is obtained from a smaller population.
Mr. President, I cannot spend a lot of time. I was listening to what was being debated and realised that what Hon. Sen. Musaka said is true. Also, Hon. Sen. Mutsvangwa gave her experience in China and said countries that are well-up and have large populations can develop. In Africa, some countries have large populations but are wallowing in poverty because of conflicts. So, we must be politically correct for us to be economically correct. I thank you Mr. President.
HON. SEN. MUSAKA: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. MURWIRA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 15th February, 2017.
ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT
MEETING OF SENATORS
THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF SENATE (HON. SEN.
CHIEF CHARUMBIRA): All Hon. Senators are requested to remain behind in the Chamber for a special senatorial meeting after the Senate has risen. Thank you.
On the motion of THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF MEDIA,
INFORMATION AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. SEN.
MATHUTHU), the Senate adjourned at Three Minutes to Four o’clock
p.m, until Wednesday, 15th February, 2017.