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SENATE HANSARD 17 AUGUST 2022 VOL 31 NO 58
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Wednesday, 17th August 2022
The Senate met at Half-past Two o’ clock p.m.
(THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE
LAUNCH OF THE TB CAUCUS
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I have to inform the Senate that in preparation of the re-launch of the TB Caucus, the Zimbabwe TB Caucus is inviting all interested members to join the Caucus by registering their names with the secretariat. Registration will take place from 1430-1600 hours in the Members’ Dining Hall during sitting days in the next two weeks.
Just because I said in the next two weeks, some will wait until the last two days. I know that – [Laughter.] -
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. MOHADI: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
REPORT OF THE THEMATIC COMMITTEE ON GENDER AND DEVELOPMENT ON THE BENCHMARK VISIT TO RWANDA
Second Order read: Adjourned debate on Motion on the Report of the Thematic Committee on Gender and Development on the benchmark visit to Rwanda.
Question again proposed.
+HON. SEN. MKHWEBU: Thank you Madam President for giving me the time to debate about such an important report which was brought into this House by the Portfolio Committee on Gender after visiting Rwanda. This report has come with a great lesson in this House. It talks about women’s rights
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Order, order! May I remind Hon. Senators to switch off their cellphones or put them on silent?
Hon. Sen. Mkhwebu having remained standing
When I call for order, you should take your seat.
HON. SEN. MKHWEBU: Alright, thank you. Thank you Madam President. This is a very important and vital report especially looking into women’s rights in the Rwandan Parliament, there is equal gender representation. This is what makes women’s rights to be looked into equally with the rights of children and the disabled. This becomes easy to tackle because women are a critical element in our society because they are the ones looking after children and the disabled. Therefore, their being included in Parliament in the 50-50 proportion, allows them to air their views in a better manner.
This delegation learnt a lot from the visit to Rwanda mainly looking at the aspect of the participation of women in getting access to loans. In our country, it is very difficult for women to access loans especially those from rural areas. For example, those from rural Gwanda have to travel to either Bulawayo or Harare to do paperwork in order for them to access loans. So it is very difficult for women, which is what we need to critically look into by focusing on women. We need to see to it that such facilities are easily accessible to women, which is what we need to learn as Zimbabweans, learning from what we gathered on what is happening in Rwanda.
In Zimbabwe, the less privileged who are starting businesses are encountering a number of challenges, which is why we always encourage them to make sure that they get assistance from banks in terms of funding. We also look at the interest that is being charged. It is charged according to what the individual is into, that is, if they are in the business of selling vegetables or tomatoes. We need to see that we charge interest basing on what the individual is venturing into. Also as a country, we need to look into the issue of making sure that when loans are availed to women, there is need to look into the interests that are being charged for every penny that they are borrowing from the banks. I saw this as a very important lesson that we need to emulate as a country.
Looking into the issue of the youth, we realised that if they are to venture into any projects, they are mainly starting those projects without much funding. Looking into Zimbabwean youths, we also need to ensure that less interest is charged on their projects because they will be starting and need support since this is indeed critical.
Looking at the genocide that transpired in Rwanda and was perpetrated by the issue of tribal enmity, we need to ensure that as Zimbabweans, we do not disregard each other regarding tribes. In Zimbabwe, we always do not look at each other as to which tribe one is coming from. Yes, we used to do that but it is not featuring anymore in the way we operate in our country. I realise that it is indeed a good practice to disregard the issue of tribal differences. We need to work as Zimbabweans. In this Senate, of which I will dwell more on because that is where I am in this august House, no-one focuses more on which tribe one comes from. Every time we leave this House, we always speak to each other using a language that one is competent in. Whoever speaks to me in Shona, I respond to them in Shona and the one whom I speak to in SiNdebele tries to respond to me in SiNdebele – this is one good thing that happens in our country. We always treat each other as peace loving Zimbabweans even though there is hatred between one or two people but we have shown love to each other in this august House. I have not seen anyone insulting one another. This is a great lesson that will continue to make us great Zimbabweans.
Madam President, looking into the issue of rural areas, we have less privileged people, some whom have failed to get education or critical information that includes issues like campaigns. They delay getting to the people living in rural areas. It is only those people living in urban areas who have access to such kind of information. If ever there is a Bill that is under consideration, it is only in a few cases where committees reach rural dwellers, and it is only those in urban areas who get information as to maybe a particular law being reviewed. Therefore Madam President, it is my plea that for everything that happens in Parliament, let us reach out to the rural dwellers. There is a law that looks into the 14 year olds who when they get into an affair, that is a boy and a girl, very few are aware of the law which prohibits that when these children get into a relationship they are not allowed to get married until a certain age. In rural areas, most children are going to be incarcerated because of that.
We have realised that the youngsters need to know that children below the age of 18 are allowed to get into a relationship but they are not allowed to engage in sexual intercourse or get married. These issues are also part of this report that was submitted by Hon. Sen. Ndlovu and supported by Hon. Sen. Mpofu. With these few words, I would like to thank you.
^HON. SEN. R. NYATHI: Thank you for giving me this opportunity to debate on this motion. Most of the issues have been addressed. We learnt a lot from the delegation that went to Rwanda and we will take some of the good things and adopt because not everything that is done there is good.
I am very grateful for the respect that the Rwandans give to their women-folk and it is very important to a nation for such respect. Without women there will not be a people. So I would like to congratulate even the Rwandans for giving honour to women because they are important to nation building. You cannot call it a home where there is no mother.
I also understood that Rwandan people are very united, which is a very small thing but very important thing that we can also easily adopt. Tribalism is not a good thing at all. If you go to certain places in Zimbabwe, you will hear someone saying I cannot understand that language yet we are all Zimbabweans. I take it that it is just because of lack of love, you do not need to go to school to learn a certain language. Tribalism is not good at all for nation building and economic development.
The problem also emanated from Mashonaland and Matabeleland names – that was the mistake. We should not be called Matongaland or Manicaland that on its own divides people. We should have an alternative name that unites people in all spheres of life. It clearly shows us that these names, Mashonaland and Manicaland have no dignity at all; even little children and the youths have adopted those divisions. If you go to Bulawayo you will hear them saying I do not speak Shona - it gives me a foul breath. So where are we going with this thing?
I am talking about something that happened two weeks ago in Hwange in my constituency. There was a boy and a girl who went to school together. They impregnated each other, so they decided to call for a discussion and failed to understand each other. At the end of the day, the girl committed suicide. When we sat down with the boy, he said Tonga people are not good enough for marriage.
Therefore, we need to adopt ways that rectify these divisions. Our country is very beautiful, let us not adopt everything especially foreign cultures. We should have our own traditional wear that I can be easily identified in when I am outside the country. If a Ghanaian comes, you can easily identify them because of dressing, the same with a Malawian. We do not have a national identity in terms of dress. All we do is imitating and copying other people. Let us do good things to uplift the image of this country.
We have come a long way with this country. I was young and used to run around but today I am old enough and I can no longer do many things yet I have not yet seen any good thing about this country.
Fellow Hon. Sen. alluded to the fact that this is a House where we see maturity. Why not come up with an adoption to lead the way forward so that we can adopt only good things and unite so that those good things can contribute to the development of this nation? I thank you.
^^HON. SEN. MOHADI: Thank you Madam President for this opportunity that I could add my voice to the report that has been brought before the House by Hon. Sen. Ndlovu supported by Hon. Sen. Mpofu, which speaks to the journey that they partook to Rwanda. Allow me Madam President to explain that their report spoke about the issue that there is no segregation and undermining of women or the disabled in Rwanda. Everyone is considered as a person and his or her rights are respected.
The report also highlighted about the important issue that the delegation had visited Rwanda for. It was to see how they could promote the representation of women in Parliament. The population of women in Rwanda is 61% and Zimbabwean Parliament, we are still lagging behind. I was asking that if you could find that in the coming elections, we could see with the elevation of women representation in the House, especially when it comes to decision making where we make decisions that are important to the country. If there is only one woman involved in the process of decision making and 20 men, even though the woman has got a sharp mind and is intelligent, she cannot compete with all these 20 men on her own. In this regard, I wish we could increase the number of women representation. We do not only look into the issue of the quota system; we go beyond that. I do not know which way we could implement this but I wish we could find a way that we could increase representation of women until we reach 50:50 representation. This is my plea before the House.
Madam President, in Rwanda, every month there is distribution of sanitary wear for vulnerable women. We wish that this could also be done here in Zimbabwe because it will promote the representation of women. I also wish that the budget for sanitary wear could be increased even in schools because some of our daughters fail even to attend school during their menstrual days as they do not have proper sanitary wear. Some of them even take leaves to try and use as sanitary wear.
Madam President, the people in Rwanda were also able to achieve this through working with their traditional leaders. We have our traditional leaders here and we wish that they could also be involved in the representation of women and promote the uplifting of women. Traditional leaders do not represent for example, Hon. Sen. Mohadi or Sen. Hungwe. They represent everyone in the country. We wish that they could be involved in every decision and task that we partake so that we continue to develop our country. They went on and educated us that in Rwanda – today I thought that I could use my vernacular language such that some people can pick a few words in Venda so that people could learn the language. I also learnt that we are not supposed to discriminate each other depending on our language or by tribe. I am pained when we speak of our tribes. For example, if I speak in Venda, people will start to laugh and mock me showing that they do not even understand what I am talking about. Other people would ask me to speak in a language that they can hear and I am shocked which cultural language you are referring to that I am supposed to use. Which culture am I supposed to pick? Everyone is born to a particular culture. Some speakers say everyone is supposed to be proud of his or her language. You are not supposed to be ashamed when you are speaking in your language. I present myself better when I am using my mother language. I encourage us to unite as Zimbabweans. Let us not segregate each other by issues of tribe, small issues of minor languages or other issues. Our Constitution in Zimbabwe recognises 16 official languages which we are not supposed to segregate each other upon. We are supposed to use them freely and represent ourselves without fear or prejudice.
Lastly Madam President, I would like to extent my gratitude to the Committee which brought us such a good report from Rwanda. I urge that this should not be the only Committee that tables the reports. Every Committee that goes out should table a report so that those of us who would have not travelled should also understand. The information should not end in this House but should be cascaded down so that every citizen in Zimbabwe and every community knows what is going on in other places. Our communities are saying they are not able to access the information and I pray that the information cascade until it reaches the grassroots and learn on how other women are being involved in development and decision making process in different countries.
I remember they also mentioned that there were also women who were given sewing machines and they are doing wonderful projects. The Government of Zimbabwe also gave people machines and the machines are stuck in the houses like displayed property. We need to revive such projects and give women such machines to continue sewing, even trying to make sanitary wear. This could be done by their mothers, sisters and their aunties. With these few words, I thank you Madam President. Have a good day.
+HON. SEN. D. M. NDLOVU: Thank you Madam President for giving me this opportunity to air my voice on the report presented by Hon. Sen. C. Ndlovu, seconded by Hon. Sen. S. Mpofu on the benchmark trip to Rwanda. I learnt a lot from this report which I would like our country to learn from. I realised that the Rwandese got into genocide because of tribal issues but what I liked the most is that in their Parliament you do not even realise that one is from the opposition party and the other from the ruling party. If I still remember quite well, they said there are eleven members in one party but no one mentions that my party is this or the other. Even their sitting arrangement is regardless of their party positions. We realise that this is what was prescribed to them by God. God does not want people that treat each other differently on party lines.
One other issue that I figured out from the report is that Rwanda is clean. Everyone takes part in cleaning campaigns and each time there is a cleaning campaign, cars are parked to enable everyone to participate in the exercise. As they do their cleaning, it means that even evil spirits are cleared and taken to bins. Even in our country, if we practice the same, treating each other the same and not treating each other badly on tribal differences or lines, we can go far.
As Zimbabweans, we need to avoid issues of tribalism. We are guided by bad spirits as Zimbabweans that were mentioned in the Bible from the pigs. We hate each other and always wish each other bad to the extent that we wish each other death. You may not see it when we talk but you see it when one picks a weapon that they are after killing someone. In our culture, we call this witchcraft. This in most cases makes God turn His back on us. If possible, those who took part in this benchmark visit should encourage that the good that they learnt from Rwanda should be applied in our country.
Although it is difficult, we need to work hard to ensure that we achieve this as a country. We need to see to it that the rural dwellers are also informed about what is happening especially in our Parliament. However, we figured out that it is common that in urban areas this is where information is taken to. In other instances, you realise that if a Ndebele speaker is spoken to by a Shona speaker, one may say I cannot understand what you are saying and the same from the other tribe. If only we can be able to treat each other well as a people and not show hate. All we are asking for is that what is coming out from Rwanda should come as a lesson, especially from the genocide that took place there.
After that genocide, there was peace, togetherness and right now everyone envies to go to this country to learn. It is a lesson that started on a difficult note but more good fruits have come out of it. We went through the liberation struggle as a country where we lost some heroes who are buried in places we do not even know. Right now since we fought the colonisers, when I grew up, no one would walk in the pavements because if you were to encounter a white person, they would even spit at you. One was not allowed to use the same plates with them or pick up or eat from the plate they ate from, even when you were working as a maid or gardener. You would be beaten if you did so.
As a country, we all fought because even those who remained behind were cooking for those that were fighting. They would kill goats for the liberation war fighters and therefore, everyone fought during the war. The women and men who went to carry firearms, those who came back and were supposed to have given birth to babies but were not able to do so because they were fighting, if those babies were then born thereafter, it means they also fought because at that time, they were in the stomachs of their parents during the liberation struggle.
In this august House, I would like to thank the Hon. Members who have always shown love to each other. In the Lower House where I used to be last time, it is difficult as people cannot even listen to each other. Right now as I speak, if I were to be in that House some would be clapping or dancing and this will not help us iron out issues which require us to listen to each other. We should value each others’ views but if we do what is called ‘joy’, in Ndebele it means the one who survives is the one that is powerful. The one who is not powerful always suffers, which is not what we look up to in our lives especially in the black culture. This will also make the children that we give birth to follow the same bad ways of doing things.
We need to work together and not show differences the greater part of the time. My plea is that if as Zimbabweans we work together peacefully or require prayer, we need to always appreciate each other despite the different tribes that we come from. We need to disregard this element of treating each other differently based on the political parties that we belong to. If one comes up with an idea which is good, it is critical that it is taken up despite the fact that it comes from someone who is from a different political party which is not the ruling party.
Right here in Zimbabwe, it appears we always want to put forward the element of tribalism and the different political lines that we are from. Above all this, we are all Zimbabweans and we are all children of God. We wish if God could only bring in peace to us Zimbabweans. I would like to thank all the Members that took part in this trip to Rwanda. We need to copy the good that we learnt from this country. With these few words, I thank you.
+HON. SEN. NKOMO: Thank you Mr. President for the opportunity that you have given to me. I also want to support the report brought to the House by Hon. Sen. Ndlovu and seconded by Hon. Sen. Mpofu. This is a report by the Committee that made a benchmarking visit to Rwanda where they examined and learnt a lot about how the Rwandans live. This report contains a lot which can be taken as lessons here in Zimbabwe. These are lessons which can be imparted at different levels in organisations which speak to the unity in the country, respect of the traditional leadership, importance of women and many others.
There are a lot of things Mr. President which us as Zimbabweans can take and use where necessary. The issue of unity within a nation is a very salient issue. This issue of unity hails from long way back when Mzilikazi ruled Zimbabwe with Mambo. This shows that unity within a State is very important. It leads to the development of a nation. In uniting, we speak as Zimbabweans. We have our traditional leaders who led us when we went to fight the war of liberation and they told us that we are one people and sons of the soil. We called each other mwana wevhu or umntwana wemhlabati. We never knew whether it was a Nkomo or Gumbo. The elders wanted us to unite and in this way they brought unity within us. During the war of liberation - fighting for our party, you could not tell whether a person was Shona, ZANLA or ZIPRA. We were only referred to as comrade, which showed unity and fighting with one accord. However, it slipped us to understand the importance of unity. This Committee brought up things which seem to be new but these are very old things which we did not abide to from the lessons that we were given by the elders when they were leading us. Now we are learning the importance of unity from other countries. We have elders who are seated in this House and if you look at these elders you can see their interest in building and developing our nation. Since I came here, it is hard for me even to identify any Hon Member by virtue of their party or tribe because they are all united. I wish every sector was related like the people in this House. I am sure our country was going to develop.
There are a lot of issues in this report and if we follow the report we can reap good rewards. Issues of tribalism are dangerous and as we speak here, we are discussing so that we can develop this country. This issue of calling each other minority tribes and minority languages tend to make others feel like they are being undermined. There is no big tribe. It makes people perceive each other as if they are not equal. We need a way which can be used to address each other in a way that no one feels inferior or uncomfortable in presenting their ideas. We need to address these issues so that we can have harmony and unity in a country.
Mr. President, the elders led us in a good way. Our listening President, Cde E. D Mnangagwa set out a day for cleaning. We noted that Kigali is a very clean city and you will feel ashamed to even litter around the place. He also brought about this initiative that we could also have clean and safe cities. But people do not want to change but rather prefer to stay in filthy environments. This shows that in our life we do not respect or listen to each other. When someone comes to separate us and say we should not listen to the President, this causes us to appear as if we are not united. I wish we could follow the orders and the vision of the President. For example, we are encouraged to put on our masks but some feel it is useless to follow someone’s orders. This is one of the indicators that we may not be understanding each other, but it shows that there is someone who is responsible for dividing us.
Mr. President, as we speak of women, most of the men wish that women could be recognised and promoted in every aspect. We have got examples of Ghandhi who led a country like India to become a very developed country. We need to respect women and promote them because they can cause great development to our country. The way the Committee from Rwanda presented their issue on the upliftment of women shows that if we could also do that in Zimbabwe and continue promoting our women we could go far. I see that we are on the right track of promoting our women.
The report also spelt that there were challenges in 1994 when there was genocide. They even called international lawyers to come and try people that led that genocide but this did not go any further until they recognised their traditional leaders who have the mandate to try them. Hon. Sen. Chief Charumbira spoke about this issue yesterday. Traditional leaders/Chiefs are very important. We are supposed to do it in the same manner the Rwandese did. We need to empower chiefs so that they have more authority in running affairs in their respective areas. Maybe they were not given time or authority to lead the people. I wish that they be given this opportunity and authority to manage their various areas. There are a lot of issues that we can copy from Rwanda that are good. I wish, if it is possible, that we take the good examples that we learnt from Rwanda and implement them as early as possible.
People really hate each other depending on their tribes. I wish that we learn and implement what was presented in this report so that it assists us in the future. All this goodness which has been brought by this report was made possible through peace that is within the country. Without peace, there is nothing good that can be done. With these few words, I thank you.
*HON. SEN. CHIFAMBA: Thank you Mr. President for giving me the opportunity to debate. I would like to applaud the delegation that went to Rwanda because they told us what they experienced. We have never been to Rwanda but because of what we got from the report, we understand the background behind the genocide between the Hutus and Tutsis which claimed lives of both the young and old which culminated in the Rwandese establishing a museum which signifies what happened – the loss of lives and spilling of blood.
However, we appreciate the fact that now they know that there is unit and diversity whether it is Hutus or Tutsis. Everyone is a Rwandese national. This is what we should emulate as Zimbabweans. You find that of late, some people would not attend funerals because of different political affiliations but when the GNU and JOMIC came about, people united in funerals and community gatherings. This taught us that whichever political affiliation you have, you are Zimbabwean. When people could not visit each other because of political affiliation, this was really sad but now people visit each other. Even in this august House, when there was a death from the other party, it was difficult to attend the funeral but now people go to funerals freely regardless of which political party they belong to. This should continue so that we continue respecting humanity as Zimbabweans.
In the past, it was also difficult to greet people from a different political party but now people are interacting and greeting. This is good and we need to understand that we are Zimbabweans. We need to understand that being Zimbabwean transcends political orientation. We need to continue united as Zimbabweans. We do not have to discriminate against the other but it is important that we greet and talk to each other regardless of our political parties. The spirit of division should not be found in Zimbabwe.
We need to look at the legal age of majority in Rwanda which is 21. In Zimbabwe it is 18 years and this gives us headaches. Our children are very naughty. Maybe it is because we consider them to be adults whilst they are still under our guidance as parents. Whilst they are going to school, they are not working but they rely on their parents. If you do not support these young people, they cannot stand on their own. We need to relook into this legal age of majority because right now these children have been led astray by this 18-year cap. They cannot be held accountable for their actions, whether it is at school or at home. This is a problem which was brought by the laws that we enacted in this august House. Because of this cap, even our grandchildren are telling us off. If you discipline that child, he or she will report you to the police and you will be arrested. We have to review this law in this august House so that we determine where we went wrong and we correct the past wrongs. When we were growing up, the mere look by your parent would know that you will be disciplined. This issue must be looked into.
Then there is this issue of the women’s bank. We were informed by the delegation that there is a Women’s Bank in Rwanda that has a small percentage of interest. This should also be found happening in Zimbabwe. In Zimbabwe, we hear that there is a Women’s Bank and we do not know how this is happening. Our request is that this bank should be found in different localities so that women can access it. We have tried but do not really understand what is happening. We know that there are some women who have access to the Women’s Bank. So as women, we want to assist each other in income generating projects but some of these projects fail because we do not have capital and support. The Women’s Bank should be found in all districts or different branches throughout the country. It becomes very expensive for a woman to travel from Mutare to Harare but if the Women’s Bank is decentralised then women from different provinces can have access.
Some women are even discouraged because they do not have collateral, and those who do not have collateral end up giving up on their dreams and projects. It is really difficult for them to use their livestock as collateral. This affects women who do not have resources, even young people who want to start projects like brick molding, they fail to engage in these income generating projects because they do not have collateral. This also affects our young people who end up abusing drugs, and being loafers because they do not have income generating projects to spend time on. So you will find that at the end of the day, if they are engaged in different income generating projects, they will be tired and cannot indulge in drugs. Those with idle minds and are not working will be found abusing drugs.
I would also like to look at the clean-up campaign that is also found in Rwanda, this is another critical issue. I do not know what should be done so that people are made aware of the importance of clean cities. When you go to the Central Business District, downtown at Copacabana, you will find rubbish being dumped at the Copacabana bus terminus. Some of this rubbish is found being spread in front of surrounding shops. I do not know what should be done but maybe there should be punitive laws that will stop people from littering. You find some people littering through their car windows. Instead of keeping their litter, they would rather throw litter all over the place. This is very a very crucial issue that should be addressed. Imagine what is happening in Rwanda, you will not see litter flying all over the city. If the people of Rwanda visit, they will be really surprised with the litter that is all over places. We do not understand basic hygiene. We end up blaming the City Council for not disposing litter yet everyone is contributing to littering in the cities. This can be eradicated when there are punitive measures that prohibit people from littering. If we find you littering on the streets, maybe coming to your home will prove that you do the same thing in your home. This is not good for hygiene as this can result in people getting contaminated and affected by different diseases.
We need to keep our cities clean because when we see clean cities and clean countries, we should emulate that and bring it home. We need to keep our country and cities clean. We cannot talk about Harare only but need to talk about all the cities of Zimbabwe, even growth points and small towns should be kept clean, not because you reside in the rural areas then you can just dump litter anywhere.
I would also want to implore Zimbabweans to honour traditional leaders because we learnt from the people of Rwanda who learnt from traditional leaders. In the past, we dealt with the Monthlante Commission that came and was done away with, and other commissions that were commissioned with no meaningful results. As Zimbabweans, we need internal traditional solutions and not solutions proffered by foreigners as they may take a long time holding commissions whilst spend time in hotels without solving anything.
We have a lot of wise people in Zimbabwe, be they church or traditional leaders and other Zimbabweans. These people are consulted by other foreign countries. We have a lot of educated people in Zimbabwe who can deal with local issues. Even our traditional leaders are educated like Hon. Sen. Chief Siansali, Hon. Sen. Chief Charumbira and others. They are very eloquent and educated; these are leaders who can solve local problems. Let us pass our problems to our young people who know what they are doing and are educated with distinctions and other qualifications. Let us bring our children back to Zimbabwe to solve our problems. We have educated senators in this august House, some are perceived to be educated and sometimes you find people looking at these qualities.
Let us work together as Zimbabweans and solve our issues as Zimbabweans. We need an internal solution to everything that is happening in Zimbabwe. Let us discuss as Zimbabweans; we have the brains and expertise to do it instead of bringing in foreigners who will take away foreign currency. We have a scarcity of foreign currency; let us use the forex within Zimbabwe by finding local solutions and paying local expertise. Should we then extract gold and use it to pay foreigners? It is like someone who seeks the services of a counsellor from professionals whilst they have an aunt who can counsel free of charge. You find people paying a professional counsellor yet they have aunts who can do so on their behalf. I thank you.
+HON. SEN. N. KHUMALO: Thank you Madam President for this opportunity to debate but before I do so, I have a plea. I think I am repeating this for the second time today. May we have interpreters in this august House because we are losing a lot that is being debated by other Hon. Senators speaking in other languages that we are not conversant with?
Secondly, since it has been indicated earlier on, may we have Ministers coming through to listen to debates submitted by Members because they debate on critical issues that require responses from our Ministers. Each time we are debating we are like sticking these issues to these walls and no response is expected from that.
I would then want to thank Hon. Sen. C. Ndlovu who tabled this important report to this House which was seconded by Hon. Sen. S. Mpofu. It is a very critical report which will make us learn a lot as Zimbabweans. Rwanda knows how critical women are, they know that women play a very important role in the economy of the nation. This is a lesson to us as Zimbabweans. We are still standing at 30% women representation in Parliament, Rwanda has gone past that figure.
Looking at Rwanda, there are no street kids on the streets; this is because there is a woman at the top who looks into this issue. There are no orphans that are seen to be going through difficult situations because orphans are put in appropriate places. Women feel for each other. Therefore, Rwandan women do not have a pull her down syndrome, hence it is a good country that have more women on top positions. We also look forward in Zimbabwe that women’s participation in Parliament is increased from 30% to a better percentage.
Looking at the issue of the Rwandan cleanliness, I have been to Rwanda, one may even be afraid to spit saliva because of their smart streets. All this is because there are women in leadership positions who have always put the issues of cleanliness upfront.
Rwanda is different from our country; you realise in Zimbabwe that you will have to continuously fight flies and there is a lot of litre all over our streets. However, it is a different scenario in Rwanda because there are no women who can just throw a child’s pampers in the streets. I am not saying we should stop using pampers, maybe it is because some of us used napkins but most of our women in Zimbabwe are very lazy because they just throw pampers all over instead of wrapping them and putting them together in a bin.
The Rwandan people are smart. Right now as we are debating, we need to adapt to the good things being done in other countries. How can we fail to be clean people? In the yester-years we never used to be like this, we used to have a smart country. Why are we failing to go back to that? It is my plea that we go back to what we used to be as a country.
I would like to thank our President for putting in place a day for clean up campaigns, which is a day that encourages everyone to come out and clean their environment. After cleaning you realise that there is litter everywhere, what kind of people are we? There is a proverb that says cleanliness is next to godliness, which means if we are not clean we are very far away from our Maker. I will continue to request our countrymen to go back to our status of cleanliness.
The report indicated that there is a museum. If you go there you will realise that there are human skulls in there. There was once genocide in Rwanda which was caused by enmity amongst citizens but the truth is that there is no tribe which can disappear from a country because of enmity from the other tribes. Even if we are very few God created us to exist. We once saw this in our country and we have learnt from the Rwandans that there is no tribe that can disappear because it has been ill-treated by another. We need to love each other and be proud in us being Zimbabweans and Africans – this is critical in nation building. I am not saying we need to continue hurting each other but we need to agree to the fact that we all belong to this country because we were all created by God.
I will also touch on the issue of children from Rwanda where they put the age of majority to 21 years. The people of Rwanda are blessed. In our country we have set the age of majority at 18 but what bothers me is that an 18 year old is not yet mature and fully grown. Their mind is yet to develop fully but we are saying they are grown up, can consent to marriage or marry. Such marriages do not last. They normally divorce quickly. In our culture we say: they were quick to get into adulthood before they were fully grown. We applaud what is happening in Rwanda because at 21, one is fully grown and can reason. In our country we have children below the age of 18 who are engaging in sexual activities and they know that in Zimbabwe, even if they are 16, issues to do with consenting to marriage and engaging in intercourse is the same.
As a country we need to engage in laws and take the age of majority from 18 to 21 and we would have done a great job. We do not need to look at the issue that once a child has reached 18, because they are now eligible to vote, therefore they can consent to marriage. Thank you Madam President.
HON. SEN. C. NDLOVU: Madam President, I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 18th August, 2022.
PROVISION OF FUNDS FOR COMPLETION OF DAM CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS
Third Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the need for government to provide adequate funds for the completion of dam projects.
Question again proposed.
HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: Thank you Madam President for according me this opportunity to add my voice on this motion which was raised by Hon. Sen. Mabika concerning our national dams. Madam President, right now we have challenge with climate change which is affecting a lot of things. If we have a lot of rainfall, all that water flows to the seas or we can experience a drought where there is no water resulting in people and animals dying because there will be no water for both domestic and wildlife. People will not be able to work because there will not be water for farming for them to earn a living. Because of climate change which is affecting the climate, dams are another way of harvesting water as a nation so that the challenges we face which are caused by climate change will be controlled as our dams will be full. We can use that water as human beings.
Madam President, I want to thank our Government, the New Dispensation for the work they are doing in constructing dams to harvest water. It is very helpful but my plea is that there are dams which have been constructed way back and they do not have water because of siltation. The new dams are still good compared to the old dams which are silted, for example, Mazowe Dam. It was a tourist attraction but now it is history because there is no water because of siltation. It is not the only dam but I have just cited it as an example because that is where I come from. Madam President, can the Government put aside some funds for rehabilitation of the dams and removal of the sand so that they return to their former glory and people would plough their fields where there is water.
Madam President, His Excellency always says a nation is built by its own people. Our Government is doing their best and everyone as Zimbabweans, like what others have talked about, we should put our heads together as Zimbabweans to support Government’s efforts of constructing new dams and removing sand from the old dams and also the coming in of the private sector means that the citizens of the country are willing to build their own country. That would go a long way and help us as we know that water is life. Gone are the days that we used to farm per season but when we are ready and have water in our dams, it helps us to plough all year round and live on that as people and our livestock. It would be a plus on our livelihood. With these words, I want to thank Hon. Sen. Mabika for raising this motion which is very important on the issue regarding water and how we can harvest this water so that we live as a country. I want to thank you for according me this opportunity.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. MATUKE): I move that the debate do now adjourn.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 18th August, 2022.
PARENTING AND EMBRACING A RECEPTIVE CULTURE FOR CHILDREN LIVING IN THE STREETS
Fourth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on vulnerable children living on the streets.
Question again proposed.
*HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: Thank you Madam President for affording me this opportunity to support this motion as parents and nation regarding our children. The challenge of children on the streets is bad news to parents. The reasons for children to stay in streets are that long back we had the extended family with uncles and aunts. If a parent passed away, the siblings of those parents would know that they have the responsibility to look after those children as their own. Nowadays, that is no longer in place due to colonisation which says family only refers to the nucleus family of father, mother and their children. We embraced it but now it has become a challenge because if you only look after your children and those other children from your siblings are not your concern, the children end up being orphaned with no one to look after them and become runaway children who end up in the streets.
The other thing that causes them to live on the streets is that when one of the parents passes away, like I alluded to before, no one looks after that family. If one parent dies, the other spouse will find someone else to marry especially if it is the wife who dies first. The man will not be capable of cooking and doing the house chores and will look for someone to help them look after the children. You find that the stepmothers normally do not look after those children well but instead abuse the children so that they end up running away. We should be aware that children want to be loved. Most of the abuses happen when the father is away and this is one of the reasons why children are all over the streets and do not know where to go. They think that it will be better if they run away and end up in the streets looking for food in the bins.
The other thing that is causing that is poverty. You find that some parents migrated from the rural areas into the cities and do not have anywhere to stay. The parents end up sending the children to beg in the streets for food and money. Those parents will be looking at their children to provide and so will take the money that the children will have collected the whole day to buy food. These are some of the challenges that are causing children to end up in the streets.
We know that we have the department of Social Welfare which is supposed to help these children but because of the numbers, the department is now overwhelmed and some of the children are placed in homes where they are looked after. If the children are used to staying in the streets, they run away and go back to the streets again. Some grow up there but when they reach the age of eighteen, the Social Welfare will refer to them as adults and chase them away from the orphanages.
However, some of those children are not given any life skills and do not know where to start because in the homes, everything is done for them. They cannot even make their beds or wash the plates and for them just to go out there after reaching the age of majority is very difficult for them to face the challenges of real life. Some of them do not have anywhere to go because their parents do not want to see them because of reasons best known to them. When they get into the streets, they face a lot of challenges and these days they end up being drug addicts. They start abusing drugs thinking that they will forget their challenges but that is in vain.
If Social Welfare was able, they should capacitate these children so that when they leave the homes, they will be able to look after themselves. I think as a nation which has departed from its culture, we should revisit our cultural values. Someone said in Rwanda they use their chiefs and they did very well. I think we should adopt that and give the traditional leaders room to rule over their people which they used to do before colonialisation. They were stripped of their powers because they knew power was with the chiefs and they put DAs. They knew that the chiefs had power to rule and influence their people to live well, so if we can go back to that, it would help us a lot. We know that it started way back and if we strive we can get there as this is a challenge in the whole nation.
I also want to say our society today, if we see children on the streets, we do not care about them but blame their parents for letting them live on the streets. I think the onus is on us as a nation that a child belongs to everyone. If we come across a child on the streets we should treat them as our own and we should put our heads together to remove those children from the streets. I want to thank the First Lady for the programme of removing children from the streets and placing them in better places that she implemented. Those who listened are way off as we speak though some ran away back to the streets. These children need to be educated so that they know they need skills for them to survive. The First Lady cannot do it on her own but we should put our heads together and help each other as the people of Zimbabwe, to curb this challenge of children living on the streets. I thank you Madam President.
HON. SEN. S. MPOFU: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 18th August, 2022.
POLICIES THAT ADDRESS AND PLUG LOOPHOLES RELATED TO TAX EVASION
Fifth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on policies that address and plug loopholes on tax evasions, illicit financial flows and corruption.
Question again proposed.
HON. SEN. MUZENDA: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday 18th August, 2022.
On the motion of HON. SEN. MUZENDA, seconded by HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA, the Senate adjourned at Half past Four o’clock p.m.