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SENATE HANSARD 16 AUGUST 2022 VOL 31 NO 57
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Tuesday, 16th August 2022
The Senate met at Half-past Two o’ clock p.m.
(THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE
CHANGES TO THEMATIC COMMITTEE MEMBERSHIP
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: I have to inform the Senate of the following assignments of Hon. Senators to Thematic Committees: Hon. Sen. P. Mupfumira has been assigned to serve in the Thematic Committees on HIV and AIDs and Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment.
Hon. Sen. N. Manyawu has been assigned to serve in the Thematic Committees on Gender and Development and HIV and AIDs.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. SEN. MUZENDA: I move that Order of the Day Number 1 be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the Day have been disposed of.
HON. SEN. MATHUTHU: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
REPORT OF THE THEMATIC COMMITTEE ON GENDER AND DEVELOPMENT ON THE BENCHMARK VISIT TO RWANDA
HON. SEN. C. NDLOVU: I move the motion standing in my name that this House takes note of the Report of the Thematic Committee on Gender and Development on the benchmark visit to Rwanda on women participation in leadership, politics, decision-making positions and women empowerment in the socio-economic sector from 26th March to 31st March, 2022.
HON. SEN. S. MPOFU: I second.
HON. SEN. C. NDLOVU:
A five-member delegation of the Thematic Committee on Gender and Development accompanied by two members of staff, conducted a benchmarking visit to the Parliament of Rwanda from the 26th to the 31stof March, 2022. The need for total inclusion and non-discrimination of women in all spheres of life necessitated the visit. In this regard, the delegation sought to learn from and share experiences with its counterpart Committee in the Rwandan Parliament. The intention was to learn and adopt best practices and ultimately enhance Parliamentary oversight on the emancipation of women, girls, and other vulnerable groups as well as gender responsiveness in the utilisation of public resources.
1.1 COMPOSITION OF THE DELEGATION
The delegation to Rwanda comprised the following Senators and staff:
i) Hon. Sen. Ndlovu C. (Chairperson and Leader of the Delegation)
ii) Hon. Sen. Mpofu S.
iii) Hon. Sen. Hungwe Omega-Sipani
iv) Sen. Chief Nembire
v) Sen Moeketsi V.
vi) Mr. Majoni L (Secretary to the Delegation)
vii) Ms. Mugota V (Researcher)
2.0 OBJECTIVES OF THE BENCHMARK VISIT
The main objective of the visit was to enhance Members of the Committee’s understanding of policies and laws that Rwanda has put in place to promote women participation in leadership, decision making and women empowerment in the socio-economic sector with a view to adopt and recommend best practice in the crafting of our own laws and to expose Members of the Committee to diverse ways of women empowerment and emancipation.
The Committee delegation first had a courtesy call at the President of the Senate, Dr Augustin Iyamureni. The Committee also met its counterparts Committee the Senate Standing Committee on Political Affairs and Governance and the Women Parliamentary Forum. The Committees shared experiences pertaining their mandates in oversight and promotion of gender.
The Committee further met with Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion headed by Hon. Prof Jeannettee Bayisenge and learnt the role that the Government of Rwanda is playing in Gender mainstreaming, equality and promotion of stable family. It is from the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion where the Committee learnt about the collaborations between Government Institutions, Development partners, Non-Governmental Organisations, Faith Based Organisations, Civil Society and the Private Sector in promoting gender.
The delegation had an opportunity to visit the Kigali Genocide Memorial Park and Museum to appreciate the history of 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. This history is contributing significantly, towards the achievements in development, national unity, peace, reconciliation, gender equity and equality made by Rwanda.
The Committee delegation visited the Rwanda Investigations Board Isange One Stop Center at Kacyiru Hospital. The Officials informed the Committee on the importance of integrating the investigations, hospital and a safe house for victims of gender-based violence, rape and sexual harassment victims.
The Committee delegation visited the Kigali Special Economic Zones where the government, private sector, cooperatives and small-scale business create employment for youth and women in the country. An opportunity was given for the delegation to tour a textile firm (Pink Mango Factory) and a construction company (SAFINTRA) to appreciate the role of women in manufacturing.
The Committee was accorded an opportunity to visit Duterimbere one of the Non- Governmental Organizations that is playing a significant role in women empowerment. The Committee learnt from the meeting held with the officials from Duterimbere, that the burden should not only be left to the Government to promote empowerment of women, girls, boys and other vulnerable groups in society, NGOs have a role to play for the development of women and the nation.
Traditionally women’s roles and responsibilities were confined to household chores, and other activities which to a larger extent engage them for longer hours. In essence women have limited access to financial resources, decision making positions, and employment opportunities. Women’s empowerment is viewed as the capacity of women to increase their own self-reliance and internal strength besides the right to determined choices and influence the direction of change through the ability to gain control over material and non-material resources.
Zimbabwe has a National Gender Policy revised (2013-2017) that places strong emphasis on gender equality and envisions a gender -just society in which men and women enjoy equity and benefit as equal partners in the development of the country. The Zimbabwean government is on its course of implementing the policy to achieve a gender -just society and eradicate all forms of discrimination and inequalities in all spheres of life and development. At national level, Zimbabwe is committed to the Sustainable Development Goals, including Goal Number 5 on Gender equality and Empowerment. In trying to empower the women and girls the government of Zimbabwe has established the Women Microfinance-Empowerment Bank where women can access financial loans for entrepreneurship and other projects. Section 124 (b) of the Zimbabwe Constitution calls for women representation in Parliament through a Women Quota System in Parliament where 60 seats are reserved for women in the National Assembly and also the proportional selection of Senators as stipulated in Section 120 (2 a, b).
However, the quota system is not a permanent feature since the Zimbabwean Government has not yet achieved a fifty-fifty gender parity in all sectors therefore, it was important for the Committee to visit Rwanda and familiarise on how Rwanda has managed to achieve highest number of women in Parliament and decision-making positions.
Rwanda has a high record on women empowerment both regionally and globally. In this regard, Rwanda is considered as one of the best countries in the world that has managed to meet the women’s special needs and aspiration. Additionally, the Government of Rwanda has demonstrated strong determination and political will directed towards empowering women in the country and has achieved the highest number of women in decision making for example Rwanda has 61.3% women in Parliament.
It is against this background that the Thematic Committee on Gender and Development pursued a benchmark visit to Rwanda from 26 to 31 March 2022.
5.0 COMMITTEE FINDINGS
5.1 COMPARISON ON WOMEN REPRESENTATION IN DECISION MAKING BETWEEN ZIMBWABWE AND RWANDA
During the visit the Committee witnessed that Rwanda has got a significant number of women participation in decision making as illustrated by the table above and this is in line with the Article 75 (1 and 2 ) of the Rwanda Constitution and the mission of Revised Rwanda National Gender Policy 2021 aimed to ensure, that gender gaps across sectors are addressed through accelerating effective gender mainstreaming, gender responsive interventions and gender accountability to position Rwanda as a global model in promoting gender equality. In comparison to Zimbabwe, which lacks implementation of the legal and policy frameworks that guides the country towards, gender equality asserted in section 17 (a, b, c) of the Constitution. It is also clear that appointment and elections in government bodies are not considerate about gender parity in Zimbabwe as rightly stipulated in the constitution.
5.2 WOMEN REPRESANTATION AND EMPOWERMENT ENABLING FACTORS IN RWANDA
5.2.1 International Conventions, National Laws and Gender National Policy,
During a courtesy call with the Honourable President of the Senate and the Senate Standing Committee on Political Affairs and Governance, the delegation learnt that Rwanda has demonstrated its commitment to gender equality through ratification of relevant international instruments and putting in place a robust domestic legal and institutional framework to implement these obligations.
The delegation was informed that Rwanda was committed to global and regional gender equality commitments which included the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women acceded in March 1981, the Protocol to the African Charter on Human Rights ratified in July 1983, Convention on the Political Rights of Women, Convention on the Nationality of Married Women, Convention on Consent to Marriage, Minimum Age for Marriage and Registration of Marriages and ILO Conventions. On the other hand, Zimbabwe also signed and ratified some of the above conventions and the only different that the two countries have is on the implementation. The two countries domesticated the above conventions and are part of governing laws and gender policies. However, as for Zimbabwe it’s still lagging behind and the implementation is at a snail pace.
The Constitution of the Republic of Rwanda provides that in every decision making of any institution, 30 percent should be women, thus political party lists of candidates also adhere to this. There are also 24 seats reserved for women in Parliament as stipulated in the constitution. Rwanda has put in place several laws for gender equality which include Law N° 43/2013 of 16/06/2013 Governing Land in Rwanda; Law Nº27/2016 of 08/07/2016 Governing Matrimonial Regimes, Donations and Successions; Law Nº68/2018 of 30/08/2018 determining offences and penalties in general and Organic Law N° 12/2013/OL of 12/09/2013 on State Finances and Property. In comparison to Zimbabwean Constitution Section 17 calls upon the state to promote full gender balance in Zimbabwean society through promoting full participation of women in all spheres as well as ensuring that both genders are equally represented in all institutions and agencies of government at every level. In essence Zimbabwe is still grappling to implement the 50-50 call by the constitution mainly due to policy inconstancies.
The policies in place for Gender equality include; Rwanda Vision 2050;National Gender Policy 2021;Sector Gender Mainstreaming Strategies; Girls’ Education Policy 2008 (gives educational loans specifically for woman); National Policy against Gender Based Violence 2011; National Decentralization Policy 2012 revised in 2021 to ensure a fast track and sustain equitable local economic development and Health Sector Policy 2015 which is aimed on improving the availability of quality drugs, vaccines and consumables, expanding geographical accessibility to health services and improving the financial accessibility to health services. The Committee was informed that Rwanda fully implements all these laws to promote gender equity.
5.2.2 Gender Machinery in Rwanda
The delegation was informed that in order to fully implement policies, strategies and laws related to Gender, the Government of Rwanda has established the following gender machinery; Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion (MIGERPROF), Gender Monitoring Office (GMO), National Women’s Council (NWC) and the Rwanda Women Parliamentary Forum (FFRP).
The MIGEPROF is the Central Government institution mandated to ensure strategic coordination of the implementation of national policies, strategies and programmes regarding the promotion of the family, gender and children’s rights to facilitate their integration in the socio-economic and political context of Rwanda. On the other hand, Zimbabwe has got the Ministry of Women Affairs Community Small and Medium Enterprises Development which plays similar roles like that of the counter Parliament of Rwanda.
The GMO monitors gender mainstreaming and the fight against GBV/Injustices in public, private, civil society and religious institutions to achieve gender equality. In its work GMO conduct investigations and inquiries on cases of women discriminations, gender-based violence and other forms of inhuman treatment in communities. Comparatively, Zimbabwe has an independent Commission, the National Gender Commission which was established to investigate and make recommendations on all forms of injustices and gender discrimination. The only difference between the two institutions is that the GMO of Rwanda has got arresting powers after investigations and can prepare dockets for prosecution by courts, whereas the Zimbabwe National Gender Commission has no such powers, its role is to investigate and make recommendation on the issue.
The NWC is a forum for advocacy and social mobilisation on issues affecting women in order to build their capacity and ensure their participation in the development of the country in general under the guidance and supervision of the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion. The NWC is composed of all women and girls aged from 18 and above and its structures are from village level. At each level, there is an executive committee of 7 people. The highest organ is the General Assembly at the national level which is composed of Members of the Executive Committee of the National Women’s Council at national level; Provincial and Kigali City levels; District levels within the country and Representatives of women’s associations and cooperatives which have legal personality operating at the national level. In contrast, Zimbabwe has no such structures in the promotion and gender and women empowerment. The NWC in Rwanda facilitate for the mobilisation of women to participate in development programs and capacitating women in different areas and advocate for resolution of women’s problems.
The Rwanda Women Parliamentary Forum (FFRP) is a cross-party Women’s Caucus aimed at uniting women in the Rwandan Parliament towards common goals, and championing gender equality interests at the legislative level. The FFRP’s specific objectives include building solidarity among female Members of Parliament (MPs) regardless of different party ideologies, supporting women in Parliament to get involved in the revision or repeal of laws that discriminate women, and to raise awareness among other MPs, as well as public and private institutions, about the importance of gender equality. Zimbabwe has got such an organ the Zimbabwe Women Caucus in Parliament which plays roles similar to the above mentioned.
The delegation learnt that the Parliament of Rwanda has also been facing challenges. Negative cultural norms and patriarchal attitudes still exist and hinder gender equality promotion and women full involvement in development programs. Faced with these challenges the way forward has been awareness campaigns and also National strategy on men engagement such as HeForShe initiatives.
5.2.3 Gender Based Violence (GBV)
GBV undermines a person's sense of self-worth and self-esteem thus hindering them to participate in political and socio-economic sectors. In this regard, the delegation learnt that in order to provide support to victims of GBV, the Government of Rwanda established 44 one stop centres (IOSC) across the country and there are also IOSC Mobile which travel with the services to remote areas. Unlike in Zimbabwe where there are only five one stop centres for the whole country and is on the course of facilitating for mobile one stop centre services.
The delegation also had an opportunity to visit ISANGE One Stop Centre which was established in 2009. It provides 24/7 multi-disciplinary free holistic services under one roof. This has been necessitated by the fact that no single institution can effectively manage GBV and child abuse, thus different interventions are needed and also the long distance between service providers results in the risk of losing evidence. Services offered include Investigations; psychological counselling (adults couple therapy, individual counselling, family therapy, systematic therapy and children counselling); medical treatment (STIs, pregnancy, to give preventive help, PREP for prevention against HIV) and medical legal examination (forensic evidence on electronic and hard copies). The Committee was also informed that all these services were offered for free and provision of a temporary shelter. This program benefits both man and women.
In contrast with the above, Zimbabwe has only five one stop centers which are overwhelmed and are not fully operational and owned by the government some of the safe houses are owned by Non-Governmental Organisation like Musasa Project. Furthermore, investigations, medical examination and laboratory services are not readily available, therefore, compromising the concept of having one stop centers.
5.3.1 Kigali Special Economic Zone
The delegation also learnt that women participation in Rwanda is not only in the political sector but also in the economic sector. It had an opportunity to tour Kigali Special Economic Zone (SEZ). Rwanda's SEZ program is designed to address some of the domestic private sector constraints such as availability of industrial and commercial land, availability and the cost of energy, limited transport linkages, market access and reduced bureaucracy and availability of skills. The delegation visited Pink Mango a textile company in the zone and was informed that currently the company has on average of 3000 workers and 80 percent are women. The Committee was also informed that there are 7-year tax holidays offered by the Government for companies which employ more than 2500 people. The company’s corporate social responsibility includes monthly distribution of sanitary wear to women and nursery school for children of different age groups, to care for babies while their mothers are working. The delegation was impressed by this initiative as it reduces the barriers that limit women to participate in formal employment sectors. The picture below shows some of the children at the nursery school at Pin Mango textile.
The delegation also visited SAFINTRA which is a steel roofing company. The company is highly automated and has few staff. However, currently it has got 5 women and is aiming to employ more women. The Committee learnt that even though the company is highly automated and is in heavy manufacturing, women have space and had critical roles to play such as management, secretariat. Whilst the delegation appreciated the special economic zones in Rwanda and operational setup to promote women in these workplaces, it is opposed to Zimbabwe where the established safe markets for Small and Medium Entrepreneurs, have no any facility for nursery and kids’ playgrounds hence, they are a difficult working environment for mothers with young babies.
5.3.2 Duterimbere Non-Governmental Organisation
The delegation visited Duterimbere a non-profit organisation created in 1987 by 29 women with the aim to eradicate poverty in Rwandan population particularly to the women. The organisation is currently owned by 880 members (all women) drawn across the country. It has got a division of microfinance (Duterimbire IMF).
Duterimbire IMF is a registered Microfinance institution that was started in 2004 and was licenced by the National Bank of Rwanda in 2005. Its products and services include customer’s savings and deposit, customer loans for project development and financial education trainings to clients for understanding management of their small enterprises. The company currently has 58 553 customers (43 915 women 75%). The outstanding loans as of February 2022 are at approximately USD$7 105 222 with majority given to women. It also promotes women entrepreneurship through capacity building for starting and management of SMEs, Voluntary Saving and Loans (VSL) groups and linkages to Microfinance Institutions. Whilst comparing to Zimbabwe, none governmental organisation does exist in assisting and empowering women through capacity building training and projects funding. In addition, Zimbabwe has established a Women Microfinance Bank for women empowerment and is directly funded from Government coffers as opposed to the system of Rwanda where Duterimbire is funded by IMF.
6.0 KEY OBSERVATIONS BY THE COMMITTEE
The Committee delegation observed that:
- In Rwanda, Gender equality starts from the grass-roots that is family level through the roles given to children.
- The government through reconciliation process on the National Genocide, unified people and managed to create and implement policies that eliminated all forms of discriminations in terms of gender, creed, ethnicity, race, religion and or disabilities.
- Since most families were affected by genocide and many children were left without parents, the government adopted a system of family promotion where citizens can register to take care and adopt any vulnerable child within the society to allow him or her to grow up in a family setup and under parental care.
- The local traditional leadership, support and work with government and ensure the full implementation of the marriage laws and protection from child marriages and teenage pregnancies through registering and approving marriage between people who are 21 years and above as stipulated by the Rwandan Constitution.
- The empowerment of local youths and women through the Corporative in Small to Medium Businesses is easily manageable through registering, monitoring their operations and receiving their challenges. The Committee witnessed that the system of corporative in the SMEs curb problems such as externalisation of funds and also smuggling of foreign goods.
- Women’s empowerment through the system of cooperatives enables their small and medium businesses to grow and flourish due to financial loaning securities and better management of funds as compared to single owned businesses.
- Private companies promote gender equity and equality, which is key for women empowerment as witnessed by the Pink-Mango factory that provided and built a nursery school for children whose mothers are employed within the factory.
- In Rwanda there is a women support network through a Nation Women’s Council with structures from village level, which advocate and mobilises on issues affecting women in building their capacity and ensure their participation in national development.
- Rwanda introduced mobile one stop centres for GBV, rape and sexual harassment to remote and inaccessible areas around the country.
- That Rwanda has managed to implement policies and laws that promote participation of women in all spheres of life.
Based on the lessons learnt and the best practices from the benchmark visit to Rwanda the Committee recommends that;
- At least by 31 December, 2023, in all provincial and district hospitals in Zimbabwe, the Government through the Ministry of Women Affairs Community Small and Medium Enterprises Development, the Ministry of Healthy and Child Care and the Ministry of Home Affairs should establish One Stop Centrers where victims of Gender Based Violence, sexual harassment and rape will report, get investigations, treatment, counselling and safe shelter at the same premises to avoid compromise of evidence and injustice.
- The Government through the Ministry of Women Affairs Community Small and Medium Enterprises Development in collaboration with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary education should establish nursery schools in all the entrepreneur and cooperative sectors where women will be working by 31 March 2023.
- The Ministry of Industry and Commerce and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development should introduce a tax rebate for companies and industries that employ at least 1000 women, by 31 December 2023.
- The Ministry of Industry and Commerce, should invest in the Special Economic Zones particularly in light manufacturing and textiles where women and youth will get employed at least by 31 December 2023.
- The Ministry of Women Affairs Community Small and Medium Enterprises Development should engage traditional leaders in ensuring compliancy to 18 years age of consent to marriage, to curb child marriages and teenage pregnancies by 31st December 2022.
- The Ministry of Women Affairs Community Small and Medium Enterprises Development should encourage cooperatives business by registering more cooperative to access group loaning as compared to individual loaning for SMEs businesses, by 31stDecember 2022.
- The Ministry of Women Affairs should introduce a women network forum which mobilises issues affecting women starting from the grassroots by 31stDecember 2022.
Rwanda is well advanced in terms of women participation in politics, decision making and women empowerment. There is need for the Government of Zimbabwe to adopt the best practices by Rwandan Government as the Country is embracing the attainment of the vision 2030 of becoming an upper middle-income economy. Zimbabwe in its National Development Strategy 1 thrust is to leave no one behind hence the inclusion of women in leadership and political participation and empowerment are key to the development of the nation. I thank you.
+HON. SEN. S. MPOFU: Thank you Madam President for giving me this opportunity. I was really pleased to be part of the team that went to Rwanda with the Thematic Committee on Gender. We learnt a lot – [Part of speech not recorded due to technical fault] – There are 11 political parties and all are represented in their Parliament. They are united in such a way that you cannot tell which party they represent. This is something that really surprised us and we also wish that as Zimbabweans we could implement this and have a good working relationship. We visited another factory in their special economic zone and found men, women and girls who are in the business of sewing. This is not a Government enterprise but it is a combination of small and medium business enterprises and cooperatives, including the private sector. This was done in order to promote women in business. We discovered that a lot of managerial posts in that factory were occupied by women. One thing that we admired is that women who are breast feeding are allowed to bring their infants to work. There is a crèche in that factory. There are other women who work in the factory as babysitters whilst others are at work.
However, these women are not trained to be babysitters but they practice this as women with children. We also visited the genocide museum and the place is really haunting because a lot of people perished. This is a sad scenario looking at the history of the country. What happened is that for a person who was married to someone who was not from their tribe, they would kill the spouse from the opposite tribe. If your sister was married to the opposite tribe, you would be given a task to go and kill the man because he is not one of your tribe. This is what really escalated the genocide. After this, that is when the people of Rwanda decided to come and work together. In creating such relations, they decided to ignore their tribal differences. No one is supposed to be recognised either as a Hutu or a Tutsi. Everyone is now recognised as a Rwandan. I wish that we could do the same so that we do not differentiate each other by tribe.
The advantage of these one-stop-centres is that the victims of rape, sexually harassed and domestic violence go and report at these one-stop-centres. After that, you proceed to the investigation offices where they will investigate the case that will be presented before them. There is a hospital where victims of rape are medically examined to determine the level of abuse and determine whether they were really abused or not and hospitalised. There are also safe houses to give shelter to victims of sexual abuse. For those who fear victimisation, they are given shelter.
There are counselling services in this one-stop-centre, especially for victims of rape and sexual abuse so that after going through the different offices and being given shelter, they are also given psycho-social support counselling to address the mental state of the victim of rape. There is another NGO which was formed in 1987 by 29 women after having seen that women were being ill-treated. So the other mandate of the NGO is to end poverty, promote gender mainstreaming and also provide decent accommodation.
They were also looking at the vulnerable. In all these activities, this non-governmental organisation is working with the Government of Rwanda because they saw that Government on its own could not carry this burden of gender mainstreaming and addressing the different ills that were facing these women. There are so many things that are being done by this NGO. They have loans which are given to both men and women in agriculture, livestock production and young people were also given loans without collateral depending on the different projects that they do. They are given a specific timeframe when they can pay back these loans. Women are given specific loans which have a low interest rate and are not a burden to them.
There are loans for SMEs, farmers and buying houses. There are other loans for those who want to buy equipment like tractors and other machinery for road rehabilitation. Most of their clients are women who are independent. There are groups, companies and cooperatives. They also have a good programme which is meant for customers’ savings and deposits. Before saving their money, they are taught how to run businesses and how after being given skills in business management, how they can save their money instead of squandering the money. They are taught how to save money for future use, especially for buying stock and have savings accounts. These people who fall under this NGO can save their money.
This is a free scheme without any interests. There is another one which is meant for school going children to assist them during the course of their education. There is another savings club for young people. In this NGO, there is no interest that is charged. The other thing I noticed is, they have clubs for young children who are given skills on how to save money from a tender age. They are taught to save money from a young age so that they grow up with this skill of saving money. Gender equality is taught at a tender age at the grass root level so that as they grow up, they understand gender equality in their society and that there is no abuse between the genders as they grow up.
Many women in Rwanda are empowered with decision making positions, which is a good development because they are committed to gender equality. There are so many programmes which are meant to empower young people and girls. The people of Rwanda respect their traditional leaders and the traditional leaders work together with Government. They protect and strive to eliminate child marriages. In Rwanda, a lady can only get married at the age of 21 and not earlier than that. So, we learnt a lot.
I believe that other speakers who are going to speak after me will testify that this is a very clean country. There is a programme similar to the one run by President E.D Mnangagwa, the ‘Clean Up Campaign’. This is a serious campaign which they take as a very critical programme. During the Clean-up exercise, everyone participates in this national programme. There is no car which moves around during the clean up exercise. They have headmen even in urban areas that make sure that people follow this and no one disturbs this exercise. I believe that we need to understand the importance of keeping Zimbabwe clean like Rwanda. Mr. President, I would like to thank you for giving me this opportunity to share these few words. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. SIPANI-HUNGWE: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to add my voice to the debate as one of the members of the delegation. Before I add my voice to the debate, I would like to express my condolences on the passing on of Hon. Sen. Khupe and Hon. Sen. Chidawu. It is very saddening to note that we lost some of our colleagues whom we were with in this House. May God forgive them for all their trespasses in this world. I am one the people who went to Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda. I learnt quite a number of things but I also noticed that there are some things where we seem to be advanced, especially with regards to women in power as well as those in lower positions and the girl child; they do respect them very much. They position their women accordingly, beginning in their homes. They show that they are people who respect women but it looks like it emanates from the genocide or civil war that took place in 1994. People killed each other on tribal grounds, killing each other over the size of the nose or height where someone could be accused and condemned to death. We realised that even people from churches would sell out those people who were seeking refuge. They would be betrayed by people who pretended to be giving them refuge and that was so bad.
They are also able to organise their things. They have one-stop-centres. If someone is subjected to violence at home, they get treatment and soon after counseling, as well as shelter in case they do not have alternative accommodation. We also met very young Ministers, we saw a very young lady Minister, maybe 21 or 22 years of age and I really admired them. They are very young and very clean too. Many people look down upon the President’s clean-up campaign on the first Friday of every month. We were surprised that the people in Rwanda take this day seriously. There were no vehicles on the road as everyone was taking part in the national clean up day. I thought clean cities are only found in Europe but we saw a very clean city in Africa. Kigali is a very clean city. A lot of state of the art construction is going on. Their economy also shows it is progressing. So we learnt a lot from the visit.
The other thing of interest is - here we say 18 years that person is not fully mature but that side they say 21 years, meaning the person is fully matured. What I learnt is - let us do away with tribalism and stop seeing a person as Ndebele, Shona or whatever tribe. In Rwanda, if you mention that you are Tutsi you will be attacked. They all are Rwandans. They do not mention tribes. So I think if we are to do the same as Africans that would greatly help us. We also noted that there is nothing like not going to work because one is breast feeding. There are beautiful kindergartens where they leave their kids while the mother is working. The mother is allowed to briefly leave her work station to breast feed. I think that is a good thing. Here we talk of maternity leave whilst there will not be anyone doing that job.
The other thing is, there are 24 seats for women. So we are better than them on that aspect because we are more than their quota and they were learning from us. There is an organisation that is giving women loans but I realised that we seem to be more advanced although it needs panel-beating but we have a whole bank that gives women money. We did not go to other towns or cities but we were in Kigali.
I want to emphasise the cleanliness of the city. Nobody travels, everybody stays home and they will be cleaning. No shops open and I think if we are to imitate that, our towns can also be very clean. Thank you Mr. President Sir.
*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: Thank you Mr. President. I would also want to thank the Hon. Senator who brought this issue to this august House. I was not part of the delegation which visited Rwanda but I went there twice in different programmes that are not under Parliament of Zimbabwe. I have stood up to testify and support what the Hon. Senators were saying.
The issue that there was genocide in Rwanda is a critical issue. In just about three months - between April and July one million people were killed in the streets of Rwanda. They were killed because they were Hutus or Tutsis tribe. When we went to the museum, there were many skulls; actually there is a room filled with human skulls (victims of genocide) this was because of tribal differences. When the white people came, they would measure the size of the nose to determine whether one was a Hutu or Tutsi when they sought identification papers. One tribe had long nose and the other short nose.
There was hatred between the tribes. A man would marry a woman from a different tribe then during the war, you would find the mother or father killing their child because of tribal issues. You would find even skulls of young children. Indeed, when you visit that area, they will show you the ugliness of genocide and tribal hatred. Their experience shows that tribal differences are not good. This is not a good thing. It must not be entertained.
If you sit in a restaurant or hotel conversing with the Rwandese, if you ask them whether they are Hutu or Tutsi, they will all say we are people of Rwanda. The notion of being Hutu or Tutsi is no longer entertained but everyone is a Rwandese as a patriot. This is patriotism which must be taught even to the people of Zimbabwe that this is not a welcome move to differentiate people because of tribal origins. Now the people of Rwanda are united. People now respect true African ethos. There is no corruption in Rwanda. Those who engage in corrupt activities are banished. There is no corruption because the people are united. They are focussing on developing their country and working hard. Even on their clean up campaigns, there is no movement of vehicles during clean up campaigns.
The other lesson learnt is that after genocide, they decided to look for lawyers and judges who are international who are going to deal with perpetrators of genocide. They hired 80 international judges who have knowledge of the international law. They poured millions of dollars into that project so that the perpetrators of genocide would be brought to book. This was done and after two years, there was an agreement that all cases were dealt with. There were more than a million cases – issues of tribal conflicts are not easy to deal with hence these issues were also brought to traditional courts. The peace which is prevailing right now in Rwanda is because these issues were brought to traditional courts. Just a few were taken to the international criminal court. Most cases were dealt with under traditional courts. Today Rwanda is the most peaceful and cleanest country in Africa. What affects us is that even as black people, we look for intervention from westerners to intervene on our problems which can be resolved in traditional ways.
As we debate on this issue, we need to ask ourselves how we are going to deal with cases. Are we going to deal with them using western or traditional courts? Most people think that when issues are taken to traditional courts, they will not be dealt with appropriately. Chinese and Japanese believe that they are modern for us Africans. Africans/Zimbabweans also believe that we are modern. Even the bad is being copied by the black people. Rwanda has fixed its issues and these were fixed internally by the people of Rwanda. Today there is peace and tranquillity in Rwanda.
We also took the ZIDA model Rwanda – teachers are now being sent to partake in the Rwanda education sector. We need to emulate what is happening in Rwanda. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. MOEKETSI: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity. I would also like to thank Hon. Sen. Ndlovu for moving this motion and Hon. Sen. Mpofu who seconded the motion. I am one of the Hon. Senators who were part of this delegation to Rwanda.
I do not want to say much but I would like to talk about unity. We are used to what happens in our homeland where before any Committee meetings, we pray for God’s guidance. In Rwanda, there is no such. Then I asked towards the end that since we came, we have not prayed before opening any session. They said ‘no, we do not pray. Since you raised the issue, may you pray?’ So we prayed. The agreement that was made by the Rwandese, nothing else pleased me Mr. President but to note that factories were employing a lot of women who were sewing, and doing different jobs. This really pleased me.
What prompted me to contribute is that Hon. Sen. Chief Charumbira mentioned that he has visited that country several times. My request is that whatever we learn, we need to emulate and implement in our own country. Let us not just debate but let us implement this. You mentioned that judges went to Rwanda but could not resolve genocide cases but these cases were resolved by traditional leaders. This means that in Zimbabwe, we have traditional leaders who can deal with issues and rectify wrongs. We have chiefs who can give us laws and guide us, meaning that the issue that was raised was that Rwanda allows girls to be married at 21 years and not before.
We find parents being arrested because of the law that we enacted. I cannot discipline a child because when you discipline your child, you can be arrested by the police. We have some laws that should be implemented by traditional leaders. You have been to Rwanda Hon. Sen. Chief and have seen the laws that are good for Zimbabweans. Indeed, you say the truth. We emulate bad things. When we went to Rwanda, we did not know which political affiliation these politicians were coming from. We were surprised to discover that they belonged to different political parties but in Zimbabwe, we have graves. This should be dealt with by traditional leaders.
I once said that those who went to war were guided by our ancestors and these ancestors still exist and are found within our traditional leadership systems. They also spoke about the Bank of Rwanda that has a percentage for women who get interest in gardening but we kill each other. Some may have properties that were taken because of loans but the Rwanda Government knows that loans are given to different people with different interest rates looking at their ability to repay and their financial status. So we need to work together with our traditional leaders. With these few words, I thank you for giving me this opportunity.
*HON. SEN. KOMICHI: Thank you Mr. President, Hon. Sen. Chief Charumbira. I would like to thank the movers of this motion, Hon. Sen. Chief Ndlovu, Hon. Sen. Mpofu and other Hon. Senators who supported this discourse. I would start by joining Hon. Sen. Hungwe to mourn departed Hon. Senators who departed recently. I would like to congratulate Hon. Sen. Chief Charumbira for being appointed President of the Pan-African Parliament. I would also like to share my view point on the discussion regarding the visit to Rwanda. I did not go to Rwanda but have knowledge of the Rwanda genocide.
Indeed, these people fought and hated each other until there was genocide within a short space of time because of tribal wars. There was the decimation of a certain tribe where a million people lost their lives. You will find that Africans hate each other because of tribal differences. We need to take a leaf and learn as Zimbabweans and Africa at large, that this is not welcome and must not happen. Hon. Sen. Chief, the words that you said that they took judges and western lawyers, if this was done through that process, it was going to take centuries to deal with issues until they decided as people of Rwanda to find internal solutions through the traditional courts.
Traditional leaders then dealt with issues and there was peace in Rwanda. Today, there is peace and we are happy as Africans that we have an African country which can be emulated. The courts and the systems in that country are being studied by professors from different educational institutions the world-over, taking home grown solutions which bring positive results using indigenous knowledge systems and culture, instead of relying on western systems and solutions.
Therefore, the Rwanda situation teaches us that as black people, we can have internal solutions. It teaches African people that we can sit down and discuss so that we find home-grown solutions. We are found behaving like slaves because we emulate foreign concepts as models which are considered to be modern. What modernity is there if it is not emancipating the black people? Today, we need to change our mindset so that we are proud of ourselves as black people in order to transform the poverty which is in Africa.
As Africans we were blessed by God. Fellow Senators, Africa is rich with minerals, water and arable land. We are a pride on the continent, the world-over we cannot be compared to any other country, because our country is rich in resources but we are failing to manage those resources because we are using foreign concepts and systems.
The plea therefore, is that we should look within as Africa, and Rwanda has set a very good example, the governance system is the foundation of failure for black people. The governance system we follow in Zimbabwe and other African countries excluding Rwanda is the American government system. We copy the British, European and American system and we are not experts but learners in that aspect because of these foreign concepts. We need to build our own systems where we find the community tilling a common field and working together doing what was called Mushandirapamwe or the pulling of resources to cultivate for the benefit of the community.
We learnt a lot today that there is a President in Rwanda, the vice and other deputies and prime ministers come from different political parties. In Rwanda, no political party is used by Western countries and any other countries. Every political party works together for the common good of Rwanda. Therefore, Rwanda is clean; it is empowered and it has gender inequality. As Africa, we need to emulate this system. After general elections, we need to work together to develop our nations as Africa. I have an example of the Government of National Unity which transpired sometime in Zimbabwe. We also have an example of Mozambique which lost 64 billion dollars in gas extraction because of the insurgency that happened in Mozambique. If the people of Mozambique were united, then they were not going to lose the 64 billion dollar investment because we do counter-productive activities by copying British systems and other western systems.
The basis of the governance system is working together which is found in Rwanda which should be taken up by Zimbabweans; we do not need to be used by Westerners and other international countries. After elections, you find politicians being used by westerners that an election was stolen. However, at the end of the day, the ordinary citizens are the ones who suffer. We must not allow other countries to use us.
Let us look at what happened in Rwanda, as black people we can do our own projects and programmes. There is wealth in Kigali, there is wealth in the empowerment of women because people work together. As black people, we are urged to learn from Rwanda. We need to depart from the selfish agenda of the Western World but look at African solutions.
If the people of Rwanda had taken western systems in dealing with their issues, it was going to take a century for them to solve their problems. However, they decided to work with their traditional leaders and as black people, they have found a solution. So, we are also encouraged as Zimbabweans to learn from the people of Rwanda and implement this.
The delegation that went to Rwanda, you learnt something; let us take and implement that in Zimbabwe. It is very important to note that this is a good thing, we can copy this and we can have peace in Zimbabwe.
*HON. SEN. J. D. HUNGWE: Thank you Mr. President. I stand to add my voice on what my fellow senators also mentioned. I was deeply thinking about what I read sometime in the past. You spoke about the Rwandan issue and I am sure you have read some books and are aware that the Rwanda that you are talking about is the origin of the foundation of the ant-people or the black people. I am not surprised that they are performing very well like what was mentioned because they indeed are the source of exemplary of where the Bantu people originated from. We came here after being driven away but our original place is Rwanda. Is that so Hon. Sen. Chief Charumbira – [HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: Yes, Sen. Hungwe.] – So we should emulate where we came from and where we are so that we determine where we are going, our destiny. It is all about emulating our culture and do away with the Whiteman’s culture. What can be so difficult about that? How can we fail to write things? Is that so difficult to follow our culture? Let us do away with foreign cultures and promote our own. You will realise that we have been put in a difficult position where we have lost identity as black people whilst we emulate foreign cultures.
The chief was saying even people in traditional courts, wherever you go to a traditional court, you cannot find an opposition party. Can you find an opposition at a traditional court? That shows that we just inherited other people’s cultures. All these chiefs that we see here have no oppositions under their chieftainships. It is so embarrassing to have an opposition. You do not find an opposition opposing the chieftainship – where are you getting that from? Behave like people and according to your culture and follow your culture. It is so embarrassing and some of you may not know. Embarrassing things are all about imitating someone’s culture or practice when you do not know. Someone may not know that spiting after doing something means the act has been embarrassing. That is what my mother used to do and also yours. You should stop imitating or adopting other people’s cultures and traditions. Emulate your own culture. How can you just adopt other people’s culture? A chief does not have an opposition. He rules or leads everyone alike. Sometimes in the end the chief may say do you not see that what Mr. Sorobi was doing is not right. Our culture does not allow that.
Is it not a good thing that we use our culture in correcting each other but now we have adopted foreign culture? Follow your own culture and do not adopt other people’s culture. That is why people laugh at you wherever you go like in Rwanda. They ask you what you are doing. Imagine travelling all the way to Rwanda to learn yet your own culture is there. Are you not ashamed of yourselves? Travelling all the way to other fellow black countries to learn how to behave yet you have your own culture. There are some people out there who believe that Zimbabweans are good people. How can you go all the way to try and imitate what other people are doing out there yet you are looked upon as an example? Do not be so embarrassing.
God created this world. Have you heard about Christians? They fight to equate Jesus to God – the creator of people. God is the almighty and is the creator. You cannot try to equate him to other people like prophets. God is the one who created you and everyone else. Do you understand that? Let us not behave like idiots. God is our creator, nobody else is like him. It is not possible. God is God and you must know that. That defines you as a people.
Mr. President Sir, I kept on going but I only wanted to demonstrate that we should behave as human beings who were created by God, who know that God is the creator. That is what I wanted to say in supporting what was earlier on said by my fellow senators. I thank you.
+HON. SEN. A. DUBE: I would also like to add my views on this debate. This is a report that teaches us a lot as Senators in the Upper House. Firstly, I would like to pay my respect to the Senators who left us who include Senator Dube, Senator Khupe and Senator Chidawu. This has been a very sad thing that befell us as Senate. We put all this in the hands of God.
I would like to support this report, especially with regard to the contents that speak to equal rights of men and women. Every day we talk about the need for equality but sometimes people may not understand. I am very grateful that we have an understanding President who supports that view of equal rights. I do understand that indeed it is not possible to fulfil it entirely. Regardless of that, we have few women in leadership positions and sometimes we do not understand that it is important for them to hold those high offices.
After going through this report, we learn that it is indeed a good thing to emulate what is happening in Rwanda with regards to equal opportunities for men and women. It is also a good thing that the people who went to Rwanda represented us well in finding out what is happening to equal opportunities for women and men in Africa. We wish for equal opportunities for both men and women.
The second thing that I learnt with sorrow is the high number of people who were killed during the genocide on tribal grounds. That should be a lesson to all of us. Some people may not know what transpired in Rwanda that led to thousands being killed. In Zimbabwe, we segregate a lot on tribal grounds; Xhosa, Ndebele, Tonga or Shona. In the end, we should realise that such things may lead to loss of lives.
As Zimbabweans, we are one people. What we fought for is one thing. We all fought for being Zimbabweans as one and that is why we fought the white colonialists. That should be a very big lesson for all of us. Sometimes we read in the media that some people call for succession. That must never happen because such people are only looking for blood and war. The devil will be looking for an opportunity for the spilling of blood again. The devil will enjoy and rule with pleasure after finishing each other as blacks.
We also learnt that they respect the traditional leaders very much in Rwanda. We have seen a lot of unpleasant things and diseases because we have thrown away our culture and quickly embrace foreign cultures. We forget to resort to our traditional leaders who may give us advice and guidance on how to live hamoniously. So, that leads to a lot of chaos in our country with lack of respect amongst young people and the elderly whereby a child can threaten to go to court suing or attacking their parents. We run around to look for lawyers yet we have lawyers that were given by God, the chiefs or traditional leaders who can easily assist us in delivering this justice.
I wish Mr. President to understand this thing, revert to our culture and empower our traditional leaders so that they take a leading role. So, this Rwandan trip taught us a lot of things. If you look at the people who went there, if we can unite, a lot of things can move progressively in this chaos but where there is chaos and division, nothing moves because God does not condone such. I really understood this report. What can we do as a people? We can emulate what is happening in Rwanda without any problems.
Right now we talk of the National Clean-up Day but some people do not understand it. Some people take it as harassment yet indeed it is meant to address cleanliness which is found in the Constitution, to instil good hygiene and health in us. Everything is stated in this report and I would like to thank the delegation that brought us such a good report which teaches us a lot, the delegation led by Hon. Sen. Chief Ndlovu. It really encourages us to go back to our roots and emulate our culture and to unite regardless of the tribe that you belong to. We should in fact be proud to be Zimbabweans. Thank you.
HON. SEN. C. NDLOVU: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 17th August, 2022.
On the motion of THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR MASHONALAND CENTRAL PROVINCE (HON SEN. MAVHUNGA), the Senate adjourned at Twenty Five Minutes past Four o’clock p.m.