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SENATE HANSARD 17 FEBRUARY 2021 VOL 30 NO 19

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Wednesday, 17th February, 2021

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE in the Chair)

MOTION

RATIFICATION ON THE HARMONISATION OF SEED REGULATORY FRAMEWORK IN THE SOUTHERN AFRICA DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY (SADC)

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES, WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. HARITATOS) on behalf of THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr. President of the Senate. I rise to move that;

WHEREAS Section 327 (2) (a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that any convention, treaty or agreement acceded to, concluded or executed by or under the authority of the President with one or more foreign states or governments or international organisations shall be subject to approval by Parliament;

WHEREAS the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the Harmonisation of Seed Regulatory Framework in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) was adopted to address regional seed insecurity through integrating smaller and national seed markets into one large SADC seed market;

WHEREAS the Republic of Zimbabwe is desirous of acceding to the regulatory framework;

AND WHEREAS in accordance with Article 13 of the MoU, the MoU shall enter into force 30 days after the signature by two thirds of the Member States and in terms of Section 14 of the MoU, the MoU shall remain open for accession by any Member State and;

NOW THEREFORE, in terms of Section 327 (2) (a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, this House resolves that the aforesaid Memorandum of Understanding is hereby approved for accession. I thank you.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES, WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. HARITATOS): I move that Order of the Day, Number 2 be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the Day have been disposed of.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS

Third Order read: Adjourned debate on motion in reply to the Presidential Speech.

Question again proposed.

*HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: Thank you Mr. President. I am happy that you are alive, we have heard rumours that you had passed on. I am happy to see you with us today. I would like to thank you for affording me this opportunity to say few things with regards to the Presidential Speech. There are issues that were mentioned by His Excellency. He talked about the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic had ravaged the country, it is taking children of this land, those who were chosen to lead the nation, those who were going to be responsible to champion the development of this country. They have been taken by this pandemic.

His Excellency was warning us that this disease is real and the disease does kill. The President will not be just talking, when he speaks to the nation, you can see that he cares for his people. That is why we see him putting measures to combat the spread of this disease. That is why we hear of vaccines that have arrived from China. This is a way of trying to combat and try to make sure that the pandemic is put to an end.

Hon. President, when we look at the measures put in place by His Excellency, it is an effort to stop the spread of the pandemic by asking people to stay at home. When the pandemic started in this country, people stayed in their homes to combat the spread of the pandemic. There was an improvement in trying to combat t the disease, but people started relaxing, they were no longer observing the regulations put in place by Government to stay in their homes. So we saw a peak on the pandemic in the country, people were now attending parties, having fun, no longer wearing masks and were no longer adhering to the stipulated number of gatherings.

So we believe these requirements put in place and the vaccine that was brought in the country will help combat the spread of the pandemic. It is my prayer that because of these measures put in place, we will be able to combat the spread of the pandemic.

Hon. President, the President talked about climate agricultural programme. What it shows us is that the leader of this country has a great vision. Zimbabweans are hardworking people. His vision is utilisation of skills on the people of Zimbabwe, especially for the people in the rural areas. They are assisted and that way ensures food security for the people. He also mentioned that climate change has affected many countries, the world over.

THE DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Order, order, Hon. Sen. Tongogara. You can see that some Senators are not in the Chamber but they are following the debates. They are in different areas of the country because of this pandemic we need few people in here. So you have to use your gadget for virtual purpose so that those who are outside this Chamber can hear what you are saying and they can also debate. Please use your gadget.

          *HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: Thank you Mr. President, let me continue. The President mentioned about the tripartite negotiations and outlined that it would be an advantage because we have many ideas. If there are problems that we have, it is better to resolve them because of a pool of ideas that we will be having.

The President, in his speech mentioned the National Disaster Fund. This will be helpful to the people, it is a noble idea. It is good to know that there is a fund whenever disaster befalls a country.

The President also mentioned new products on the market and the role of the Standards Authority of Zimbabwe. It is always good that people get original and best products whose standards have been verified.

In his Speech, the President also talked about reforms of State enterprises, that is, parastatals. There is need to help these enterprises so that they do not get losses. These reforms will help parastatals perform as expected and help them avoid making losses every year.

*HON. SEN. DR. MAVETERA: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to debate on the Presidential Speech on the State of the Nation Address. This address had one vision of having a middle income economy by 2030.This sets a tone to develop our country as we would be able to sustain ourselves as a nation. That is the vision the President set for this country.

For the nation to achieve Vision 2030, the nation should be healthy. He touched on a lot of areas including health. On the COVID pandemic, he talked about what Government has done in order to curb this disease. This pandemic has taught us a lot of lessons in this country – it is important for a country to be well prepared in case there is such a pandemic. We should build our own hospitals because when COVID hit the world, no one was allowed to travel beyond the border. We used to get donations from donors but COVID removed all that and we were left without assistance. The President now said that hospitals, hospital staff and civil servants get support on health so that we have a healthy nation. We should have policy on health as a country. We should get to a stage whereby our leaders are treated locally when they are sick – this would reflect that we are ready health wise.

All our hospitals should be well equipped so that if there is a pandemic of some sort, we will be home and dry. It would look like politics when our leadership seek medical attention outside the country. People complain pertaining to that. If our leaders are treated locally, we will have faith in our President because if they are treated out of the country, we do not know which drugs they are given there. As a country, we will not be safe. We will only achieve our vision if the nation is healthy. I would like to thank the President for he wants a healthy nation. This should not end here.

On agriculture, the President said that the nation should be well fed. He touched on Pfumvudza programme which is bearing fruit now. We want Zimbabwe to be the breadbasket of Africa. For now, we have challenges because we do not have money in the country. We are importing everything from soya to maize. People import onions which is not necessary. We want that to be rectified in our country so that the irrigation skills which were talked about will be viable – Tokwe-Mukorsi should be fully utilised, so that it would be able to sustain the country. We are pleading with Government that the agriculture sector should be well resourced so that our country may be food sufficient. With what has been tabled before us, we are looking forward to the resuscitation of irrigation schemes. What is hampering all this is corruption which was mentioned by the President? You will find that the same people will be allocated land in the irrigation schemes at the expense of the whole country. Vision 2030 can only be achieved if we follow the President’s vision that the country be self sustainable.

The President also talked about devolution. Devolution is very pertinent in the development of our country because it is well articulated in our Constitution. Devolution has not gathered traction since 2013 when the current Constitution was passed. It is being politicised. Devolution is all about local development and it eradicates unequal distribution of wealth. Devolution also helps when it comes to evaluation and monitoring because the local people are involved in the distribution of wealth.

The President also talked about corruption. In Zimbabwe, we have educated and hard working people but now we are famous for the wrong things. We are ranked highly amongst the most corrupt countries in the world. The fight against corruption which is headed by ZACC should bear results. When ZACC was commissioned, there were high profile cases that were put before it but to date, nothing has been resolved. ZACC is not doing any work and that is what people say. Since its inception, no one has been convicted of any crime. They behave like people who do not have the expertise to handle cases. There is nowhere we can go as a country if we allow corruption to take precedence. We should deal precisely with corruption issues as a nation.

We should unite as a nation in the fight against corruption as per our President’s plea. We should investigate ZACC so that we find out whether we have competent people in order for us to achieve Vision 2030. I thank you.

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

HON SEN. KOMICHI: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Thursday, 18th February 2021.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE 47TH PLENARY ASSEMBLY SESSION OF THE SADC PARLIAMENTARY FORUM HELD VIRTUALLY IN NAMIBIA

Fourth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the 47th Plenary Assembly Session of the SADC Parliamentary Forum held virtually on 9th October 2020 in Windhoek, Namibia

Question again proposed.

*HON. SEN. CHIFAMBA: Thank you Madam President for the opportunity you have given to add my voice in support of the motion raised by Hon. Sen. Mohadi. The COVID-19 virus is very painful and it does not matter what your age is. It is different from other diseases where you can be operated. We are grateful for what His Excellency the President has said and the measures he has taken that people should avoid unnecessary movement. What exactly is the problem for people to stay in their own homes? People are just moving unnecessarily something that can be avoided and are not wearing their masks properly. People only wear the masks when they come across a soldier. This is your life and it is very important so you should take precautionary measures to make sure that the disease is not transmitted to you.

In some communities, there are no radios and televisions such that people have no access to information through that mode of communication. It is therefore our wish that the messages transmitted using other modes of communication so that people also get the message to take care of them against this pandemic. There are also people who are suffering economically, may they get assistance because they are braving the pandemic to say I would rather die of COVID-19 rather than hunger. We are talking of those who survive on vending and because of this pandemic people are no longer able to go about their normal activities.

It was a good measure which was taken by the President because in beer halls is where COVID-19 is transmitted, those are the hot spots. There are a lot of things that happen within bars. Yes, there are people who may be affected economically because there are no longer getting business out of the ban of the sale of alcohol but it is important as these are the hotspots of COVID-19. Those who are working in hospitals should get protective clothing to fully protect them. There are a lot of people who do not have protective clothing so their contact as they do business is not as usual so they sort of withdraw themselves because they do not have enough PEPs. It is important that they get PEPs because their working conditions are terrible and are taking it head on, and need to be protected.

We encourage those members who are in this House to also strive to spread the correct message. There are a lot of fake messages being circulated to say the vaccine has killed so many people in a certain country but we have established that these are lies. Let us be exemplary when it comes to this pandemic. If everyone refuses to take the vaccine, no one will take it serious or agree to be vaccinated. Let us do it and the nation sees that we are been vaccinated. Thank you.

*HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA: I also want to support the motion that was raised by Hon. Sen. Mohadi with regard to the meeting that was held in Namibia. It was a very big meeting indeed. During the discussions, a lot of issues were raised including the issue of COVID-19. This is now a world pandemic though initially we had thought we were safe but now it is with us. We are grateful that our President managed to secure vaccines for us. We also saw the Vice President who is also the Minister of Health and Child Care receiving the vaccines.

However, I want to thank the Minister of Health who is leading the medical fraternity and all the security forces who are at the forefront. As a people, we started believing that this virus was deadly after losing our relatives and close friends. We lost some of our relatives out there and some Government officials. This is for us to know that this is a deadly disease. As leaders, we should know that this pandemic is out there. If we want to meet our leaders, we have to be tested before we do that, this is a very good thing. There are some journalists who peddle fake news concerning vaccines. For the President to implement the lockdown, it is because he loves us. Our scientists and doctors have approved the vaccines which are coming in. The President has been advised by his advisors on the vaccine, which is a good thing. If a pregnant woman is diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, she can deliver a healthy baby because of the expertise of scientists in developing vaccines.

I am encouraging everyone to unite with the President. We should not be afraid because we are the leaders of the Government as Senators and Members of Parliament and all the other leaders. We should support our Government as we were taught. We should support the President on his extension of the lockdown for another two weeks, this disease exists. In the rural areas, we have pastors and civic organisations that hold awareness campaigns on the disease. We still have challenges at funerals where people are not following World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines. I think it is because of lack of education and understanding. We should unite in the fight against this pandemic and follow the WHO guidelines. This will help us as a nation. Thank you Mr. President.

HON. SEN. FEMAI: Thank you Madam President for affording me this opportunity to add my voice to this debate on the motion which was tabled by Hon. Sen. Mohadi on the SADC virtual Plenary Session which took place in Namibia.

Firstly, Madam President, I would like to thank the opposition leader, Hon. Sen. Douglas Mwonzora for allowing us to debate on every motion. Previously, we would ask for permission to debate on any debate, now we are debating on motions that are developmental – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – We were not free to air our views. This House is not partisan, it is called Parliament of Zimbabwe.

To show that the SADC Parliamentary Forum (SADC PF) was a very important meeting, it was opened by the Vice President of Namibia. It was an indication that SADC has now woken up. Black people now want to unite and work together in Africa to bring development to Africa, especially in the SADC region. I want to congratulate the people of SADC and their leaders that now they want to develop Africa so that there will be development in Southern Africa. They spoke about the COVID-19 pandemic, that is why I stood up so that we work together.

We thank our President for what he managed to do within his means but he is not a prophet, witch-doctor or a doctor, what he could do he did and we all saw it. We are now waiting for our scientists, traditional healers and doctors to come together for a solution. Those who believe in the traditional way of praying heard about this pandemic way before it came. During ancient times, traditional people are told of impending danger before it takes place. Government announces to us that they are going to acquire vaccine but it is also important for us to make thorough research before acquisition of things like vaccines. There is danger in these donated vaccines, we need to be vigilant.

Mr. President, I am in support of Government’s initiative of getting people vaccinated but experts within the Government should check this vaccine before it is administered to people. It is medical procedure that a doctor has to understand what exactly is wrong with you before they administer any medication on you, whether you have an ailment that may affect you because of the medication. There is no medication that can be manufactured to kill all the people in a country. We admit to get the vaccine administered on us as Senators in front of the nation because it is something that has been verified by experts.

Madam President, I also got the virus and I was asked to isolate at home. That is why my experience tells me that traditional healers and doctors should consult each other. I had to inhale steam mixed with herbs like zumbani, guava leaves and lemon as a way of combating the pandemic. In the first place, I never thought I had the virus. When I tested positive, it was a difficult moment for me but I think it is very important that people do a research on the use of herbs to combat the virus. Why then do we ignore traditional healers who can assist us? If we are able to acknowledge that everyone is important and contributes to a good cause that way we will make significant progress.

I am not a traditional healer but I once had a dream. I dreamt being directed to take a particular herb to heal a leg ailment that I had had for two years. Maybe this was cancer, we could have found a solution. What I am saying is, the fight between traditional healers and medical doctors does not help at all develop the nation, they should instead come together.

I heard there is a programme to have traditional healers and medical doctors work together – that will be a good initiative. I will be very happy if that is implemented. Thank you.

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

HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Thursday, 18th February, 2021.

MOTION

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF THE AFRICAN PARLIAMENTARIANS NETWORK ON DEVELOPMENT EVALUATION (APNODE) HELD IN ABIDJAN

Fifth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the Zimbabwean Delegation to the 5th Annual General Meeting of the African Parliamentarians Network Development Evaluation (APNODE).

Question again proposed.

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

HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Thursday, 18th February, 2021.

MOTION

REPORT ON THE VIRTUAL EXTRAORDINARY SESSION OF THE GOVERNING COUNCIL OF THE INTER-PARLIAMENTARY UNION (IPU)

Sixth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the Extra Ordinary Session of the Council of the IPU.

Question again proposed.

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

HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: I second.

Motion put and agreed to

Debate to resume: Thursday, 18th February, 2021

MOTION

PREVALENCE OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

Seventh Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the 16 days of activism against gender based violence.

Question again proposed.

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

HON. SEN. FEMAI: I second.

Motion put and agreed to

Debate to resume: Thursday, 18th February, 2021

MOTION

CONDOLENCES ON THE DEATH OF HON. SEN. RTD. AIR CHIEF MARSHALL PERRANCE SHIRI

Eighth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the death of Hon. Sen. Rtd. Air Chief Marshall Perrance Shiri.

Question again proposed.

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

HON. SEN. MATHUTHU: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Thursday, 18th February, 2020.

On the motion of HON. SEN. MATHUTHU, seconded by HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA, the House adjourned at Six Minutes past Four o’clock p.m.

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