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SENATE HANSARD 17 FEBRUARY 2022 VOL 31 NO 21
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Thursday, 17th February, 2022
The Senate met at Half-past Two o’clock p.m.
(THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE in the Chair)
HON. SEN. MATHUTHU: I move that Question Time be deferred for now due to the absence of Ministers.
[Two Ministers having walked in]
THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE (HON. SEN. MOHADI): Order Hon. Sen. Mathuthu, if you can withdraw because we have got three Ministers with us. I do not know whether the House agrees that we can continue while we wait for many more to come.
HON. SEN. MATHUTHU: At the time I moved, there was only one Minister. Now that others have come, I withdraw. Thank you.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
*HON. SEN. CHINAKE: My question is directed to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education to say how far are we with the issue of teachers because our children are not learning because teachers are not going to schools. I think our education has gone down because of the strikes by teachers.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. E. MOYO): Thank you very much to the Hon. Member who has raised that question. Yes, there is a national concern that teachers are not fully at work. However, our situation is improving by the day. When schools opened last week, the situation was quite dire because we had less than 50% of teachers reporting for work. With measures that have been taken this far, our situation has improved and as of yesterday, we were at about 55% attendance in schools. It is envisaged that going forward, with the moratorium that has been given by Government to allow teachers to go back to work until Monday next week, our hope is that by then our situation will have greatly improved perhaps to over 80%.
In fact, some of the provinces have quite remarkable attendance figures. In Masvingo as of yesterday, we had 85,4% attendance by teachers in schools which was the highest. The lowest was Bulawayo with 41,5% attendance and the average was 54,6%, almost 55%. We think that we are slowly improving and their issues have already been attended to and to the full, if not having been exceeded. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. CHINAKE: Madam President, I want to know how the issues that are being raised by teachers are being rectified because the teachers are just going to sit in while the children play outside. How are you solving the issue so that the teachers will go to work?
HON. E. MOYO: The issue of salaries has, to a greater extent, been addressed. Yes, there are gaps here and there. It may not be very prudent for me to discuss the issue of salaries because it does not fall within the Ministry’s purview but let me just give an indication that of the demand which was presented in January, it was further improved last week as per the announcement that you all heard. The variance between the demand and what was offered in USD terms was about US$10.
The issue of school fees which was another issue not raised this year in January, but it has always been on the table. Government then saw it fit to kick it in so that three children of each teaching family could benefit up to Z$20 000 per child. So, the issue of salaries, to a large extent as I indicated earlier, has been addressed. I may not go into talk about other issues that are peripheral to the issue of salaries because those who attend NJC have already acknowledged what Government has given and they have advised members to go back to work.
However, we have others who are not at NJC and for whatever reason, they seem to be declining but bigger organisations have agreed that members go back to work because their demands have largely been met.
*HON. SEN. SHUMBA: I heard that there are percentages on the number of teachers that have gone back to work. I would like to know if there is a way of monitoring whether.....
THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Order, may you raise your voice so that everyone can hear you.
*HON. SEN. SHUMBA: Thank you Madam President. Is there a mechanism of monitoring the teachers’ attendance and whether they are working or not?
HON. E. MOYO: The issue of monitoring attendance is one area that the Ministry is currently strengthening. We have our Provincial Education Directors, District Schools Inspectors and Schools Inspectors on the ground going around monitoring. However, the handicap that we currently have is transport. The Ministry does not have sufficient vehicles to conduct the monitoring.
However, we are encouraging our SDCs to give us information on what is obtaining in their schools. We are also encouraging our Hon. Members to also do some monitoring in their areas and also assist us by giving that information as to what is happening at the schools so that we can get our schools to function normally. At the moment, we have capacitated our different structures in the hierarchy of the Ministry to do the monitoring but we would also want to ask the whole of Government to kick in so that all agencies of Government do the monitoring and also give us feedback on what is happening on the ground.
You will appreciate that education is one of the biggest sector in the country with over 10 500 schools, hence requires huge resource outlets to ensure that effective monitoring takes place. It takes all of us to go into the field to assist in ensuring that education takes place. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. CHISOROCHENGWE: My question is directed to the Leader of the House....
THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE: There is no Leader of the House. Apart from the Deputy Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, we also have the Deputy Minister of Energy and Power Development, Hon. Mudyiwa; Deputy Minister of Local Government and Public Works, Hon. Chombo; Deputy Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Hon. Kambamura and Deputy Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage, Hon. Maboyi.
You can proceed with your question if it is not directed to the Leader of the House because at the moment we do not have one.
*HON. SEN. CHISOROCHENGWE: My question is directed to the Minister of Health and Child Care. In his absence, I would like to direct it to the Leader of the House. What is the Government policy with regards to timeframe within one should be issued with a COVID-19 vaccination card from the day one is vaccinated?
The Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development having entered the House.
THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Thank you for coming Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education. We were having a problem whereby the Minister of Health and Child Care is not around and also the Leader of the House is not with us. As a Minister, I think you will answer Hon. Sen. Chisorochengwe’s question.
Hon. Senator, may you please repeat your question because when you asked he was just coming in. He might not have heard it.
HON. SEN. CHISOROCHENGWE: Hon. Minister, what is the Government policy regarding the timeframe within which one should be issued with a COVID-19 vaccination card from the day one is vaccinated?
THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA): Thank you Hon. President. Hon. I also happen to be the Acting Minister of Health and Child Care.
The Government policy on this issue of issuance of cards, especially the ones that have QR codes which we have now developed; must be immediate. We are aware that there could have been problems at the beginning where cards were issued later. This was because they were being securitised and we were putting QR codes which are security codes on the cards, so there were delays. We are aware of these delays but the policy is that it must be given immediately after the person has been vaccinated.
*HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Energy. When is Government going to rectify load shedding which is hampering our businesses in this country?
*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. MUDYIWA): Load shedding is a challenge that we have. I would be lying if I say when it will be ending. We can lower it down through the interventions that we are embarking on. It is well known that the energy that we are generating in this country is not enough for all the people who want electricity. There are a number of challenges that are there, especially at Hwange Power Station where we have a lot of breakdowns. Today, we only have three units which are working and they are producing less than 300 megawatts. That alone will show us that we have a low capacity of electricity. We also buy electricity from outside and we are trying by all means so that the six Hwange units are functional. There is one which was burnt last year and we are trying to repair it. If all the five units are functional, we will be able to reduce the load shedding.
We are also looking at solar plants which are being constructed. If they are completed, they would feed into the grid and that will reduce the load shedding. For me to give an exact date, it will be a lie because the challenges that we are facing at Hwange are just prompt. We will not be ready for them but we are working hard so that we have electricity and will be able to meet the country’s demand. I thank you.
*HON. SEN.TONGOGARA: Thank you Madam President. My question is directed to the Minister of Education. Before schools were closed, there were feeding schemes in the schools because children would faint due to hunger. Now that the schools are open, is there a policy to restore the feeding schemes so that children will have food and not end up fainting in schools due to hunger?
HON. E. MOYO: Thank you Madam Speaker. The issue of school feeding is a Government policy where children are expected to get one hot meal per day. However, due to procurement procedures, processes and challenges thereto, the procurement process is not yet complete but contracts have been signed. It is our hope that within the next few weeks not exceeding a month, we should be having our school feeding situation in place. Most of the schools finished last year’s supplies but the biggest challenge that remained in terms of procurement was that of maize. The contract, I am aware we were discussing that yesterday, have been signed and the procurement process would soon be completed. Thank you.
HON. SEN. KOMICHI: Thank you Madam President. My question is directed to the Minister of Energy and Power Development. Fuel and LP gas is charged in US dollars. We are still waiting to hear when Zimbabweans are going to buy diesel, petrol and LP gas in Zimbabwean RTGS. It is absurd Minister that most of the Zimbabweans are paid in RTGS but there is a fixed commodity which is charged in US dollars. You are encouraging the black market and you are making our lives very difficult. We have been asking these questions for a long time. We are losing patience Minister, what is the problem?
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. MUDYIWA): Thank you Madam President. I would want to thank the Hon. Member for the question. on fuel, we came up with an arrangement with the RBZ, NOIC and ZERA where we went on to select 57 service stations where diesel will be sold in Zimbabwean dollars RTGS. The challenge that we were facing with supplying the RTGS fuel on the market was of foreign currency. We had liberalised the purchase of direct fuel imports (DFI) where companies with their own free funds import fuel and those will go on to sell their fuel in US dollars so that they are able to replenish their stocks. If we look at the loadings from our depots on daily basis, our RTGS fuel is far less than the DFI fuel by almost a third of the DFI fuel. So markets are flooded with DFI fuel and very few have the RTGS fuel. However, we are working on improving or increasing the number of service stations that will sell the fuel in RTGS. The challenge is that of foreign currency.
On the LP gas, it is our wish that we come with the same arrangement that those companies that sell the gas access the foreign currency on the official market which has got a lower rate than the black market rate. However, the challenge is the same that not all companies that sell LP gas have managed to access the foreign currency as per the interbank rate. That is the challenge that we are having. However, we are working with the RBZ so that we improve the allocation of foreign currency to the fuel importing companies and the LP gas importing companies. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA: Thank you Madam President. My question is directed to the Minister of Mines and Mining Development. When our gold panners are doing their mining activities, they dig everywhere. I want to hear from the Minister on whether they have rectified the issue of owning gold mines so that they know who is mining where. Secondly, during their mining activities, they are sometimes trapped inside because the ground is very wet. Are there people who are doing surveys so that they also advise these miners that no mining should continue as there is the danger of being trapped inside? I will finish by asking if each constituency has the statistics of the miners in its area. I thank you.
THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE: The questions that you have asked are not policy questions but because the Hon. Deputy Minister is here, I will allow him to respond.
*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF MINES AND MINING DEVELOPMENT (HON. KAMBAMURA): Thank you Madam President. Thank you Hon. Sen. Chirongoma for your question. We are encouraging our young miners, the small scale miners that they should register with the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development so that they have their licences. For the people who will be found mining without licences, we have engaged the police so that they are criminalised. We are busy coming up with a consortium which comprises of the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development officials and the police so that we investigate whether the people doing mining are doing it legally and if they are illegal, we will stop them. Those who are mining are leaving open pits from their mining activities and endangering people and animals.
We also encourage that those miners should look after the areas which they are mining and do the Environmental Impact Assessment so that they maintain a sustainable environment. We will increase the number of inspectors and those officers who will be moving around inspecting how the miners will be carrying out their extraction activities and helping them. They will be called mining extension officers. Last week but one, we encouraged our miners to stop mining temporarily during this rainy season because the ground is too humid. We made a press-statement which we also broadcast on our radio stations. In the few coming weeks, those consortiums which I talked about will be starting work but the others have already started in small groups. We want to increase the number of people on the ground because we noted that there are a lot of people engaging in mining illegally. Thank you Madam President.
HON. SEN. KAMBIZI: Thank you Madam President. I wanted to direct my question to the Minister of Environment, Climate Change, Tourism and Hospitality Industry or the Deputy Minister but I realise the two are not in. Therefore, may you allow me to redirect my question to the Leader of Business in the House, I realise you have appointed the Leader of Business in the House. Madam President, may the Hon. Minister favour this honourable House by explaining what the Government, through the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Tourism and Hospitality Industry is doing to ensure sustainable management of natural resources, prevention of the environment, pollution and environmental degradation. We realise that companies that are doing mining in this country in general and the Chinese companies in particular have left vast destruction in the communities that we live and they operate in. I thank you Madam President.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Madam President. I want to thank the Hon. Senator for the question. Madam President, I want to indicate that the Government has put sufficient laws to ensure that the environment is protected. When those from the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development give permission to mining companies to go and start mining operations, they always give them a check-list to say, ‘you must comply with these conditions before you start your mining operations.’ Among those conditions is the fact that they are required to get an Environmental Impact Assessment Report from the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) once they get everything, including liaising with the Rural District Councils (RDC). So the question of areas where we have environmental degradation due to mining activities is a question of compliance and not a question of lack of a relevant legislative instrument or policies by the Government. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHUNDU: Thank you Madam President. My question is addressed to the Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage. As chiefs, we want to find out how far the Government has gone concerning the remains of our ancestors which were taken abroad.
+THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND CULTURAL HERITAGE (HON. MAVHUNGA-MABOYI): Thank you Madam President. I do not know if I have understood the question correctly.
THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Order. Hon. Sen. Chief Chundu, can you repeat your question and put on your microphone so that those who are supposed to respond can hear your question clearly.
HON. SEN. CHIEF CHUNDU: Thank you Madam President. My question is directed to the Minister of Home Affairs. We want to know how far the Government has gone in trying to repatriate the skulls and bones of our ancestors which were taken by the Whites during the times of colonialism.
*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS (HON. MAVHUNGA-MABOYI): Thank you Madam President. Thank you Hon. Chief Chundu. We are working on it. What stopped us is COVID -19. Our borders have now been opened - the delegation will go back to Britain so that they work on how we can repatriate the skulls and bones. We are really working hard. Thank you.
HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI: Thank you Madam President. My question is directed to the Leader of the House. What is Government policy in consideration of the level of inflation? Today if you go to buy anything, the exchange rate of the Dollar is $250. What is Government policy towards civil servants, Members of Parliament and anyone who have a salary in RTGs, in terms of covering inflation with the dollar?
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Madam President. Firstly, I want to indicate that we now have a Zimbabwe dollar; we no longer have RTGs currency. So it is Zimbabwe dollar. Madam President, what we are doing, which the Reserve Bank and the Minister of Finance have been working on is to ensure that firstly, we stabilise our own currency. They came up with a raft of measures to ensure the continued use - by the way, we will continue with our currency. We will continue to strengthen it by way of ensuring that even taxes that were not paid in Zimbabwe dollar are now being paid in Zimbabwe dollar. They came up again with measures which were widely publicised, which the Hon. Member can get from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development on what they want to do in terms of ensuring that we strengthen our currency.
Coming to the issue of salaries, Madam President, discussions are ongoing to ensure that all our workers get a reasonable salary. I do not want to preempt the negotiations that are going on. Suffice to say, an announcement has already been made on the teachers’ salaries but on the general welfare of civil servants, including Members of Parliament who are not civil servants, that discussion is ongoing. I thank you.
HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI: I want to appreciate the response that everything is ongoing but there must be a certain level or a benchmark time, where we think if we cannot reach stabilisation, then we have to think of other means. Considering that when we announced the US dollar, which we had in our accounts as one –to-one with the Zimbabwe dollar, today if you go in the market, everyone takes your dollar first and it is between $250 and $270. For a civil servant, for an ordinary person, this money is not going anywhere and you cannot purchase your drugs even if you go to a pharmacy today, you will get a net of $270. So, what measures – just pronouncing measures and doing nothing about stopping it will not help us? What is the real policy of the target of stopping the runaway exchange rate which has gone to $250 from one-to-one? We might be in a million very soon, we do not know.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Madam President. I want to thank the Hon. Member for the follow-up question. I am not sure where he is getting the ongoing and unending negotiations. Everywhere we have negotiations that are concluded and a certain agreement is reached. I am aware that we are at the beginning of the year. We had a fourth wave that hit us and now things are starting to normalise and meetings are ongoing.
Secondly, I must say that the most disheartening is when Hon. Members have no confidence in their currency. They speak the language of saying that by such and such a time, it will be a million. The biggest problem that we have in this country is that of confidence. People are always speculating what the currency will be at a particular day and try to peg their prices or whatever, using a speculative rate. That is the work that the Reserve Bank is seized with and we need to deal with those issues to ensure that we stabilise our own currency. There is no country in the world that has developed using other people’s currency. So, it is up to all of us Hon. Members included, to think of ways to ensure that we ring-fence the value of our dollar. If you have any ideas of how to do it rather than speaking of going back where we should not, that will be welcome. The biggest problem that we have at the moment is, some people try to manipulate the system so that the confidence in our currency is eroded. I urge all Hon. Members to speak with one voice. We can do it if we have the will power to ensure that we stick with our own currency and we speak with one voice in terms of ensuring that we revamp our economy. I thank you Madam President.
HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI: I have a point of order.
THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF SENATE: What is your point of order, Hon. Senator?
HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI: I did not say that I have no confidence in the local currency. I was speaking of the run-away in the exchange rate and I asked how it can be stopped. I think what we would want to hear is how we can resolve it. When there are a number of measures that are not getting to a solution, we have the right to ask Government. The majority of people cannot access foreign currency on the auction market. If you want to buy fuel, service stations charge in foreign currency. If you tell me that there is a service station that is charging in local currency, I will be happy to go there. These are the measures that I am asking about. I do not expect you to tell me that I do not have confidence in my currency. What I am simply asking are the measures that the Government is putting in place to try to put an end to this.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Madam President. I am very happy if that was the thrust. My apologies if I misrepresented what you said. That is exactly what we want to do as a nation and say, let us find solutions Madam President to ensure that we preserve the value of our currency. That is exactly what the Reserve Bank and the Ministry of Finance are trying to do. They came up with measures in January on how to deal with it. I believe that all of us as citizens must run behind that and if we have any ideas on how to reign in errant people who are manipulating the system, let us all come up with solutions so that we preserve the value of our currency. My apologies if I misrepresented you. What you said in the end is what we aspire to do as a Government, to ensure that we run the nation behind our currency and ensure that we preserve its value. We want each and every person to have confidence in our currency as opposed to have this notion that having foreign currency will develop our country. That should not be the case. I thank you Madam President.
*HON. SEN. CHIEF MAKUMBE: My question is directed to the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing. Due to cyclones that are taking place every year, people in the rural areas are having their homes destroyed. Some right now are staying in the open. What is Government policy on the construction of our houses which are being destroyed by rains every year?
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. CHOMBO): Thank you Madam President, and thank you Hon. Sen. Makumbe. The question has been directed to me but the housing policy is for the Ministry of National Housing and Social Amenities. Thank you.
*HON. SEN. CHIEF MAKUMBE: Thank you Madam President. I would want to hear from the Leader of the House what the Government policy is regarding construction of houses. Buildings are being destroyed because of poor planning since we have cyclones every year.
*THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I want to thank you Madam President for the pertinent question from the Hon. Chief concerning houses that are being destroyed by cyclones in villages. The Government has put in place an extension which looks at the construction of houses countrywide. Last year, there was a launch of the National Housing Policy by the President which articulates what we are supposed to do when it comes to the construction of houses. The report talks about the challenges that we are facing, of houses being destroyed. There are plans in that document concerning rural areas. Strong houses should be constructed so that when we are faced with cyclones, houses are not destroyed. These are some of the things that are in that document which are going to take place when houses are constructed in the rural areas.
What might slow down the progress is that we have a lot of things that we are doing. All of us had plans to do big things but because of the pandemic, we stopped and channeled our resources on the pandemic, vaccinating people against COVID-19. It is there in the plans of Government that we should construct houses in the rural areas which are inspected. Those are some of the things which will be articulated, whose responsibility it is for the construction of houses.
Oral Answers to Questions Without Notice were interrupted by the Acting President of Senate in terms of Standing Order No. 67.
*HON. SEN. KOMICHI: Madam President, I request an extension of Question Time by ten minutes.
HON. SEN. CHISOROCHENGWE: I second.
*HON. SEN. SIPANI-HUNGWE: Thank you Madam President. My question goes to the Hon. Minister of Home Affairs. Madam President, the country has been destroyed. Our children are taking illicit drugs and alcohol. What is the Government policy regarding this issue and how can it be put to an end? They are taking drugs in the sight of policemen. The police will be there watching. If people report those selling the drugs, they go there and do nothing. We think that probably the police are being bribed. What are you doing, because we are seeing that we are losing a generation who are our children because of drug addiction such as mutoriro, bronco and some children become mentally challenged? I have seen children who are now mentally challenged because of the drugs. What is Government policy because our children’s lives are being destroyed?
*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS (HON. MABOYI): Thank you Hon. Sen. Hungwe for the question. It is true our children are dying because of drugs. The police are trying their level best to protect our borders but still these drugs illegally find their way into the country because our borders are porous. However, some of the drugs are being manufactured locally. Yes, you can blame the police that they are not arresting people but because of COVID-19, people were not doing normal business and were engaging in illicit businesses like brewing the drugs in their homes. As police, we are trying our best. Some of the police officers are also young and when they go to make arrests they are enticed into taking the drugs as well.
We implore you as Hon. Members to help us so that we engage the people in our communities and hold awareness campaigns and tell people how bad these drugs are. The Government has a programme in place to construct rehabilitation centres to treat and teach these children after they are arrested, and also parents and chiefs. This is not happening only in towns but also in rural areas. I will also talk to my superiors on how we can curb this. We know it is happening and people are going insane. Even the police, there are some who are also insane because they are also addicted to the drugs. Thank you.
*HON. SEN. CHINAKE: It is very interesting to know that these things are happening in Zimbabwe and people are actually getting licences. Why are people being issued with licences to engage in such production of illicit drugs?
HON. MAVHUNGA-MABOYI: Those who are getting licences are not in the production of such destructive drugs. Let us know that these children of ours or this generation is not coming for this ordinary beer that we are used to. They are now going for hard drugs or liquor that is very destructive. It is not the beer that is being manufactured by the companies that we know. That one is not dangerous but those that are destructive are the individuals who are manufacturing the illicit, destructive liquor.
What we must impress on is working together to help these children as well as help parents so that we educate the people that this mutoriro drug is very dangerous and life threatening. As Hon. Members, chiefs and teachers, let us teach people that these are dangerous drugs but children want them. If a child says he/she is going to kill you after consuming this drug, indeed he will kill you.
HON. SEN. KOMICHI: My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Local Government. I would like the Minister to listen carefully and think about it. I am not happy with the state of refuse collection in Harare. The city has become so dirty mainly in the high density areas. When you move around Harare and you look at it, you will definitely know that there is a problem and the problem should be huge. I do not know about the problem but the state of affairs of the refuse collection in Harare makes it clear that there is a problem.
Why do we not do what we did with the roads? The Ministry of Transport has taken it upon itself to resolve road challenges, whether they are under council, DDF or wherever the roads are; action is being taken to resolve the problem. When I come back to the councils, the Minister of Local Government is the boss, whether the council is under MDC or ZANU party councillors, the Minister is accountable. It is not possible for the Minister of Local Government to engage with the Council of Harare and collectively approach the challenge of refuse collection. Is it not possible? If it is possible, I think we need to take this matter urgently and if it is not possible, what is the challenge? Thank you so much.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS (HON. CHOMBO): Equally, everybody is worried and very concerned about the state of affairs. It is not only Harare but I think all the urban local authorities. The state of affairs is very worrying. It is not only the refuse collection but also sewer and so forth. If you go towards Chitungwiza and so on, you will notice that all the areas are affected. Central Government is equally concerned and we have gone as far as engaging the said local authorities, especially Harare and registered our displeasure in the quality of service delivery. I think it is at the lowest at the moment if you can agree with me.
Cabinet has taken steps to convert refuse to energy. I think Cabinet has passed that. This is a move to show that we are doing something to try to arrest that problem. We have also gone as far as engaging the said local authority to see if we can assist because they said they are incapacitated as far as equipment is concerned. Harare City Council received five dump trucks and the other five are on the way. You will see a marked difference in the coming month or so. Also with the performance appraisal that was introduced by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, you can see that there is a push for everybody to deliver; the CEOs, the Mayors and so forth all signed those performance contracts and they are supposed to deliver.
With these contracts, I think you are going to see a marked difference. We have let you down and we cannot abrogate our responsibility to say it is the MDC Council that has done that. We all know that has happened but we still have to deliver the service to the rate payers. Believe you me, we are taking steps as Local Government to make sure that we meet the challenge. I thank you.
HON. SEN. KOMICHI: My question is directed to the Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage. Minister, we are like in a mini civil war. The men from the State organ such as the police and army have been found to be involved in every armed robbery that takes place in this country – if not 100%. Of the armed robberies that are taking place in the country, one or two participants are from the army or policy.
This signifies danger and becomes a security threat. How is it possible for these men and women to access arms to execute their missions? What is Government doing to curtail this challenge?
THE MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND CULTURAL HERITAGE (HON. KAZEMBE): I would like to thank the Hon. Sen. for such a pertinent question. Yes, it is indeed worrisome that the level of crime to a certain extent is increasing but if we look at the statistics closely; while it may appear as if the level is going up, statistics are showing otherwise. However, I still agree that it is an issue that is worrisome and needs to be attended to.
Police officers or even members of the army are human beings. Whenever a crime is committed, there is no one who is above the law. I am sure you have seen that regardless of whether the person who has committed the crime or the accused belongs to the police or the army or whatever security organ, still the law takes it course. However, the National Security Council is looking at those issues to ensure that members of the security forces do not get involved, we try and curb the incidences. Otherwise there is no one who is above the law; whoever commits a crime, the law will take its course. I thank you.
Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT in terms of Standing Order No. 67.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 5 be stood order until Order of the Day Number 6 has been disposed of.
Motion put and agreed to.
MARRIAGES BILL [H.B. 7A, 2019]
House in Committee.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Madam Chair, I move that Clause 9 be recommitted to the House. I thank you.
HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: Madam Chair, we want clarity so that we do not pass something that will turn against us. What is the Minister saying?
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Madam Chair. If you notice on my notice of amendments, we have passed Clause 9. We had already disposed of it and agreed to it but in consultation with the chiefs, there are certain amendments that we felt are necessary to give effect to what the chiefs wanted. So I am requesting that we go back to Clause 9 and recommit it to the House so that we can then be able to adopt the New Clause 9. I thank you Madam Chair.
HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: Madam Chair, I want to confirm what the Minister is saying that we had some engagement on the matter. Clause 9 (1) seems to be going well. Clause 9 (2)...
THE CHAIRPERSON: We will deal with that when we get to it. Thank you.
Motion put and agreed to.
On Clause 9:
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Madam Chair. I propose amendments to Clause 9 that:
Delete Clause 9 on page 9 of the Bill and substitute it with the following clause:—
9 Chiefs as marriage officers for district
(1) Every chief shall, by virtue of his or her office and so long as he or she holds such office, be a marriage officer for a customary law marriage in the district in which he or she holds office.
(2) No later than four months from the date of commencement of this Act, or from the date of investiture of any chief, as the case may be, the Minister shall (in accordance with such conditions, including the completion of a prescribed course of instruction) ensure that every chief is certified as competent to carry out the duties of a marriage officer for the purposes of solemnising marriages according to customary rites.”. I so submit Madam Chair.
HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: Just for clarity Madam Chair, when we say (In accordance with such conditions including the prescribed course of instruction), maybe that needs to be clarified. Initially, we thought it was a straightforward issue, ‘not later than four months from that date’ but now we have these other conditions which are not mentioned.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Madam Chair. A marriage comes with responsibilities and other attendant issues that are attached to it. What is done to all marriage officers is that they have to undergo a prescribed training so that they are fully aware of what they are expected to do in terms of their obligations to the State. We cannot then remove that sub-clause because every marriage officer, the State will oblige you to adhere to certain conditions as a marriage officer. That training will ensure that chiefs will undergo that particular training and once you will have finished that, you will then be certified to be a marriage officer. That is all this clause is saying. I thank you.
HON. SEN. CHIEF NECHOMBO: Thank you very much Madam Chair. At the very onset, I also would want to appreciate our Hon. Minister for the consideration of sub-clause 1. Indeed, that is what we agreed on. Going on to sub-clause 2, I want to quote a bit where it is written, ‘the Minister shall ensure that every chief is certified as competent’. ‘Shall ensure’, from our understanding, that is mandatory, which implies that by the end of the day, if we are to be certified that we are competent to carry out these duties, it therefore implies that we may have some chiefs who may qualify or some chiefs who may not qualify. Maybe it is a misunderstanding of sub-clause 2. If the Minister may also clarify that to us but from the onset, from the layman’s understanding that could be the thinking that we may have some chiefs who may fail to be certified.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Madam Chair. It is indeed correct that there is need of a course of instruction so that chiefs are fully or any marriage officer is fully aware of the obligations that the State expect from them. Once that instruction has been given and the chiefs agree that they are fully aware of the obligations and understand them, then they are certified. It does not mean that they will write a special examination or something like that but a Marriage Certificate will ensure that from that certificate, flows several rights that accrue to the parties.
There are also other attendant issues that have to be taken into consideration. So without that being put in place like this, if we do not put it like this and we leave it open and say that by virtue of you being a chief, you can preside over marriages, if something happens you can say, ‘no, I did not know about this.’ So, this is just for the purposes of ensuring that everyone who is a marriage officer knows the obligation that they have to the State besides their jurisdictional obligation to their subjects. So if we do not put it, it will leave us with a gap that can be abused. I think it is not something that can be said to be restrictive or unreasonable but if you take into consideration that there are several rights that are affected by the solemnisation of that Marriage Certificate, you will appreciate why the State would want some form of instructions to be given to chiefs so that they appreciate the task that would have been bestowed upon them and they take it with the seriousness that it deserves.
This will also help chiefs when they are doing counseling on couples to say, ‘are you aware of these things or ‘are you aware that the authority that I have is both because I am the chief of this area and also as bestowed upon me by the President of the country to do such and such things.’ To me, this clause is very progressive. If you look at Clause 1, we are saying every chief shall be a marriage officer but we are also saying - so that the chiefs are mindful that they are also carrying a responsibility bestowed by the President on them, they must be fully aware that they will be given some form of instruction so that they will be able to appreciate the responsibility that would have been bestowed upon them. I so submit Hon. Chair.
HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: Hon. Chair, I am very reluctant this time around to over-belabour this issue on this Bill. I think we should close this matter and pass this Bill, which is the spirit that we have this afternoon. It is unfortunate that when the amendments were finalised in the Ministry, we never had a caucus. We would have polished up these things without coming here again through the debate we are having. We sat and agreed on all these amendments but they have come with some other additions, that is why we are debating further.
I agree with the Minister that a chief cannot just by virtue of office become a marriage officer. You are right, that is not what we are saying. You have clearly mentioned the need for some prescribed course of instruction. Again we are together, we do not object to that. However, it is when you say ‘in accordance with such conditions, including,’ – the course becomes just one of the conditions. This is why I am saying these other conditions that we are not even aware of, which may actually, when tomorrow we cry foul on them, they are not disclosed. I think even those who are already marriage officers, the main thing is - have the tools of trade been the course itself? In my own view, if this thing reads like, ‘the Minister shall ensure that every chief is certified as competent upon completion of a prescribed course of instruction,’ we have no problem.
It is this word that says, ‘such conditions,’ which conditions we are not even aware of. So we are not against the training of chiefs, we are actually supporting that. So, I stand to actually not object but to say, can we compromise and say, this issue of conditions scares us a bit because it will not always be the good Hon. Minister Ziyambi being in this Ministry. Minister Ziyambi may end up somewhere, maybe promoted – so someone else who comes may not understand the way you are putting it now. We are doing it for anyone. Whoever will be a Minister even 50 years from now, they should be able to read this and interpret it the same way, which is that we do not need those conditions but we need the course. Thank you.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Hon. Chair. The majority of conditions are within the Act. The Registrar General will then indicate what you are required to do. Over and above the training, the training will give you a general overview and what is expected of you. However, specific conditions are in the Act and from time to time because of the changing nature, there maybe regulations which are approved by Parliament also. So there will not be regulations or conditions that will be imposed by the Minister himself but they will be approved by Parliament and most of them are conditions that are within the Act itself. I believe that whilst I agree that we should have perhaps deliberated on this Hon. Chair, we had this long adjournment and we felt that as soon as we resume, we must deliberate on it. I believe that the way it is now Hon. Senators, it is now very progressive. No conditions will be put that are not in accordance with the Marriage Act. I so submit Hon. Chair.
HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: I am agreeing with the Minister, there is no problem. The Minister is now becoming more specific on these conditions, what the conditions are. In your drafting all the times, all situations Minister, what you then do is, you do not say conditions, simply say ‘of-course, subject to other laws, statute or Acts of Parliament,’ you already referred to the one by the Registrar General’s Office, it is better you put it as ‘they will be trained and also they have to satisfy what other laws require.’ If that is alright then now we know it is all about laws that have passed through Parliament, the Registrar’s Office, whatever about the marriage law, we cannot dispute that. Why do we not put it like we do always by indicating that yes, also they will satisfy, subject to whatever other laws also provide so that it is not just conditions which we do not understand, and now we understand it is other laws that exist.
*HON. SEN. CHIEF MAKUMBE: Thank you Madam President, I just want to buttress what was mentioned by Hon. Sen. Chief Charumbira. It will help us if we get the specific conditions because we are assisting in crafting the law. May we also know the detailed report on what are the exact conditions? For it to be easier for us, may we have a brief picture of what is being mentioned so that we fully understand on behalf of our people? If we say other conditions, it will be a bit vague, we need to understand fully what we are doing and which direction we are taking. Thank you very much.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Madam President. The way this clause is couched allows for the Registrar - from time to time, ensures that – I will give a very good example. If you are given a booklet of marriage certificates, the Registrar will explain what he expects. When to make returns and whatever changes enshrouds. We cannot then in this legislation specifically say that the Registrar be issued with these conditions to do 1, 2, 3 for that is the functions of regulation that the Registrar will issue. These are public regulations that are subject to interrogation by Parliament.
In general legislation, you can then not specify like that but where something becomes unreasonable, surely there is administrative action to ensure that it is corrected. In terms of the way it is couched, I believe it is very reasonable to state that there will be these conditions because you are supposed to make returns, you are supposed to do certain things, compile certain reports about the work that you are doing. Those are the conditions that you will then be able, among others to say I expect to you to do 1, 2, 3, 4 and they can change depending on circumstances. So the way it is, it has the leeway of ensuring that. I believe Hon. Chair that the way it is, it is not fatally defective. It is pretty much okay in its standard, the way that the drafters use to come up with legislation. I thank you.
HON. SEN. CHIEF NECHOMBO: Thank you Madam President. We are hearing our Hon. Minister very well on the importance of Number 2. It is quite understood that we need to go through some processes but for purposes of understanding, I would want the Hon. Minister to clarify to us that from this statement Number 2, there could be possibilities that one may fail to qualify on this process. That possibility is there. I am saying this because if it was not there, you could have just left point number one alone. So that understanding of wanting to know that there could be a possibility that one may fail, that is what we want you to clarify, not underestimating the importance of going through this training.
*HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA: Thank you Madam President. When you look at it, you can actually see that it is now in the Minister’s hands to act. In some instances, we are afraid to act or decide in the absence of chiefs. It is my desire that one day we will come together and understand each other, despite the diversity in ideas and opinions. If you look at chiefs and how they do their things, there is a procedure which they follow. How about us as Senators, what are we following; what are we looking at as reference point?
I think these things should be done in a language that we understand as Senators. If law making becomes too technical for us, you would have lost us. We want it simplified in a manner that as Senators we understand and can fully participate. It is even very difficult for us to go back to the people and explain to them in a detailed manner. Thank you Madam Chair.
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (HON. SEN. MOHADI): We are now on Clause 9 and I think we should stick to it. According to what you are requesting, you will find that the Bill and amendments were circulated to Senators through their emails. I do not know whether you had a chance to open your email so that you read through. That is the only information that I can give you.
HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: On a point of order Madam Chair. I have received messages that you are not recognising those that are on Virtual who are raising their hands.
(v)HON. SEN. CHIEF NGUNGUMBANE: Thank you Madam Chair. I think as a background to this clause, Madam Chair, you would agree with me that there are serious issues that we need to discuss. I want to thank the Hon. Minister for coming with a revised version of Clause 9 but the same bone of contention is that this clause was discriminatory Madam Chair in that the Minister would qualify the chief, which was not the case with magistrates and ambassadors. He has come up with amendments but these amendments are also silent on heads of embassies and magistrates. Can the Minister clarify on the clause?
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Hon. Chair. This clause in the format that it is, is not discriminatory at all. Those that are in the employ of the State such as the magistrates undergo specific training before they become magistrates. Those from embassies also undergo trainings. Religious leaders also undergo training because they are not within the employ of the State. The Registrar will then train them and they are issued with certificates. Magistrates are trained before they assume duty. I do not see where it is discriminatory. In fact, it would be discriminatory if we say chiefs must not be trained but everyone else is supposed to be trained when there are issues and obligations that each and every marriage officer has to the State. If it was a situation Hon. Chair that the marriage is confined to your area of jurisdiction, I would have immediately removed it. This marriage certificate will be recognised internationally and there are obligations and rights that accrue from that marriage certificate.
A long time ago, there was discrimination. The civil marriage was more recognised than the customary marriage. Now we are saying we want all our marriages to carry the same weight and the same rights to accrue. If we say no, without a prescribed form, without conditions that allow the marriage to be recognised in terms of our laws, we would not have done justice to ourselves. I do not believe that this form of training should scare anyone. It will be tailored in such a way that it will be difficult for anyone to fail but should you fail, it means you will not be able to carry out your obligations as required by the law. We would not want some marriages to be given when we all know that they have not met the requisite standard to ensure that the rights and obligations that will flow with them will be recognised. I so submit Hon. Chair and I believe we have debated this long enough and if the Hon. Senators can concede on this one so that we proceed. This is the reason why I had to go back and request a re-committal, otherwise we would have finished this. If Hon. Senators are happy with the form that it was originally, then I can move that we remove the re-committal and go back to the state that we were. I believe that in this state, the clause is very progressive and it shows a lot of respect to everyone who is supposed to be a marriage officer. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. CHIEF MAKUMBE: Thank you very much Madam Chair. We are saying marriages are there, they do exist. We are delighted that there is now progress. The issue we are asking is, what are the conditions that are being mentioned for those approaching the chief? May we have clarity on these conditions? There must not be a difference between those that work under the law and the chiefs. Are we going to be able to work under these conditions? That is where the problem is. We are progressing very well in terms of this Bill but we need clarity on this particular issue. What exactly are the conditions so that we are well versed as chiefs and we know beforehand? There are 283 chiefs in this country and they need to know what these conditions are. All other forms of marriage officers are well versed with the conditions they work with but when it comes to the chief, there is no clarity. Thank you.
* HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you very much Madam Chair. I have answered the question and I do not know what nature of response is expected. If you look at the Bill, there are no conditions written specifically for the magistrate. As I have mentioned before, there are expectations by the Government from the chiefs and those presiding over marriages. This should be internationally recognised. Whenever there is a problem, be it divorce, it should be known. These are the things I am saying are taught to the chiefs. Not everything is written down in this law but it helps when we focus on regulations. They should be in line with the Constitution and not outside the Constitution. Madam Chair, if it is a problem, we may leave that out and proceed with the Bill.
*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: Thank you Madam Chair. I am the President of the Chiefs Council. It is my view that we have expectations for the chief before he becomes a marriage officer. Madam Chair, the problem that we might experience is the word ‘condition.’ This is what we are fighting. This is what we have refused. Even those outside Parliament are saying the issue of conditions has to be looked at and reviewed. In the near future, this issue of conditions maybe abused. We need clarity on that. This is not a Ziyambi Ministry but for the next future. Other Ministers may come through and may abuse the word condition. May we have clarity on that issue of conditions? The way it reads here, it is actually the Minister of Justice -when he gives us the certificate, not the Registrar General, he will give us in accordance with such conditions. These conditions have not been said. We cannot list every condition but any conditions should be in terms of the law.
If the law is there from the Registrar General which authorises a certain person to be a marriage officer, it binds us. We want this Bill to be passed and not continue arguing. What I think is more progressive is that we should have been given more time outside this Chamber to discuss this issue maybe we would come to an amicable understanding. During drafting, we could understand each other but now it has been changed which becomes very difficult for us. The environment we are debating this issue in is very difficult for chiefs. If we were somewhere else, it could have been easier. However, it is possible to pass this in just five minutes if we agree.
Clause 9, put and negatived.
HON. ZIYAMBI: I just want to explain. Do you know this effect of the ‘no’, it means we are completely removing the clause? Maybe you are not aware of what you are doing, let me explain. If you say no, it means we are expunging this and proceeding.
*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: Yes.
HON. ZIYAMBI: So, if you want us to expunge it then chiefs will not be marriage officers, unless if you want us to remove the re-committal and we go to the original format.
*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: Hon. Chair, this is our country and we are all leaders and human beings. We are rejecting Number 2, not Number 1 but if you say once we say no, then we are also doing away with Number 1, then what it means is we should sit down outside the Chamber so that we have a proper discussion. We can leave this out and work on other clauses and come back later if we are having a difficulty around this one.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Hon. Chair, I think we are all chiefs – [HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: No, imimi muri Minister. Kana madzishe vati ngatibvisei 2, ngatibvisei 2 toenda mberi.] – If they say we should remove it, let us remove it. To be honest with you, I do not have time. I will be lying to you if I say I will be working on this. I am committed this week. We have elections this week. Even the traditional courts by chiefs have conditions. If we are happy about removing it and that is the pleasure of the House, let us remove Number 2 and leave Number 1 and then we proceed. This amendment, I proposed it. We had passed this and it is on record. If this amendment is not agreed to, we can revert back to the original one that went through the House.
*HON. SEN. CHIEF MAKUMBE: Thank you very much Madam Chair. The issue here is fixing the laws of this land. We want to agree that we are in this Senate Chamber as Zimbabweans. As chiefs, there are some laws that we actually see as wrong and will affect us in the future. They will affect our culture and the future of our people. Let us not think of ourselves. Let us find each other as a country. As people despite our disagreements or diversity in opinions, that should not divide us. We need to tolerate each other. It is not only about an individual.
As Chief Makumbe, we lead about 50 000 families and we are actually contributing to this debate with the people that we lead in our minds. We cannot hurriedly agree to a law that we do not fully understand. When we are talking about this issue, the Minister should not get emotional. Remember this affects the nation. I would like to encourage those who are involved or have the responsibility of crafting the legislative framework not to play hide and seek on this particular issue. We should be very honest. When we mention some conditions that we are not comfortable with, why do you not accommodate us?
The Hon. Minister should appreciate diversity in opinions and he should understand that there are people that we represent back in the rural areas. There is need to have a detailed understanding. We have a lot of input from these people because those people have different opinions to the ones we have. You might have a particular opinion today here but those people might have something different and politically it may mean something else. Those who come after you may actually change the whole scenario because of political reasons. We want to know as chiefs what we are engaging ourselves into. What are the conditions and that is where we need a detailed explanation for us to understand what those detailed conditions are. If it is a debate, you should allow us to debate freely. Every opinion should be heard because it is for the people of Zimbabwe and not for a particular individual.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Hon Chair, I can amend it to read as follows; no later than four months from the date of commencement of this Act or from the date of investiture of any Chief as the case maybe, the Minister shall ensure that every Chief is certified as competent to carry out the duties of a marriage officer for the purposes of solemnizing marriages according to customary rights – if it pleases the House.
*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: We have not seen the text but we have heard it and we fully understand. It is agreeable.
Amendment to Clause 12 put and agreed to.
Clause 12, as amended, put and agreed to.
On Clause 16;
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I move the amendment standing in my name that on page 8 of the Bill, we delete sub-clause (2) on lines 42 to 45 and substitute the following sub-clauses and then the existing sub-clauses 3 and 4 be renumbered sub-clauses 4 and 5 respectively.
(2) A marriage officer in a customary law marriage shall put to either of the parties to a proposed marriage or to the witnesses, any questions relevant to the identity or marital status of the parties to the proposed marriage, to the agreements relating to marriage consideration (lobola or roora), if any, and to the existence of impediments to the marriage.”
(3) At the solemnisation of every customary law marriage, there must be present in addition to the Marriage Officer, the parties to the marriage, two witnesses one from each party to the marriage being a relative who under the customary law of the community concerned is recognised as the primary family witness for the marriage.
On page 8 of the Bill, delete sub-clause (5) which is one sub-clause 6 and substitute the following sub clause;
If a marriage officer is satisfied that the intended husband and wife freely and fully consent to the marriage and that from the two family witnesses, it is apparent that customary law formalities have been met and that no lawful impediments exist to the proposed marriage, he or she shall proceed in terms of section 30 and such marriage shall be a valid marriage contracted under customary law. I so submit Hon. Chair.
*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: Hon. Chair, I would like to seek some clarification. Amendment of Clause 16 under (3) – where it says two witnesses, one for each party to the marriage being a relative who under customary consent to witness one for each…
Does this mean I bring two relatives, one should be my relative and the other should be whatever? The language is not very clear. Can both be relatives or only one?
HON. ZIYAMBI: Hon. Sen. Chief Charumbira, do you have the Order Paper?
HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: Yes I have.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Let me repeat it, it says –
At the solemnisation of every customary law marriage, there must be present in addition to the Marriage Officer, the parties to the marriage, two witnesses one from each party to the marriage….
*There should be two people; one is the wife’s relative and the other the husband’s relative. This means you are not bringing a friend but a relative who under the Customary Law of the community concerned must be known as a relative.
HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: Thank you, it is now clear.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you very much.
Amendment to Clause 16 put and agreed to.
Clause 16, as amended, put and agreed to.
Clauses 17 to 40 put and agreed to.
On Clause 41:
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I put amendments to Clause 41 in my name that. On pages 17 to 18 of the Bill, to delete sub-clauses 5 and 6 and substitute the following sub-clauses;
Sub-clause 5: Where one of the persons in a civil partnership is legally married to someone else, hereinafter called the spouse of the civil partner, a court applying Sections 7 to 11 of the Matrimonial Causes Act [Chapter 5.13] to the division apportionment or distribution of assets of the civil partnership shall pay due regard to the rights and interests of the spouse of the civil partner and ensure that its order shall not extend to any assets, which approved to the satisfaction of the court to be assets properly belonging to the spouse of the civil partner.
Sub-clause 6: It is here provided that by virtue of the partners dissolving their civil partnership, neither of them shall be deemed to be guilty of bigamy contrary to Section 104 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act [Chapter 9:23] if either of them is legally married to someone else. I submit Hon. Chair. This is basically to ensure that the argument that we wanted to put across, those that are married will lose their property, this will take care of that particular situation. Thank you Hon. Chair.
Amendment to Clause 41 put and agreed to.
Clause 41 as amended, put and agreed to.
Clauses 42 and 43 put and agreed to.
On Clause 44:
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Hon. Chair. I put the amendments in my name, New Clause substituted for 44 and the other clauses renumbered accordingly. Delete Clause 44 on Page 3 of the Bill and substitute with the following clauses and renumber it;
- The New Clause 44 is the recognition of marriages of foreigners or former foreigners. A foreign marriage is recognised as valid if at the time the marriage was contracted in any country;
- None of the spouses were already married as a part to a civil marriage or already married under the law of a third country that forbids marriage while either party is a part to a marriage that still subsists in that third country or,
- The spouses are not related to one another within a degree of relationship prohibited for the purposes of Section 75, that is sexual intercourse within a prohibited degree of relationship of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act [Chapter 9:23] or,
- None of the spouse was under the age of 18 years or,
- None of the spouses suffered a mental incapacity to consent or,
- The spouse freely and fully consented to the marriage.
New sub-section 2 reads;
- For the avoidance of doubt, no party to a polygamous marriage contracted in a foreign country where such marriage was contracted lawfully and without contravening sub-section 1 shall be guilty of bigamy under Section 104 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act [Chapter 9:23] if at the time of the marriage the husband was domiciled in that country;
- In accordance with the common law, the law of the husband’s domicile at the time of the marriage, governs the matrimonial property regime of the spouses even if the husband subsequently re-domiciles in Zimbabwe;
- Proceedings for the dissolution of a marriage referred to in paragraph A and the consequent disposition of the assets of the spouses and the award of the custody of any children may be conducted in Zimbabwe on the basis of the applicable foreign law in accordance with Section 25 of the Civil Evidence Act.
I submit Hon. Chair. The first part was similar; I think it is the sub-section 2 that is now the addition. I thank you.
Amendment to New Clause 44 put and agreed to.
New Clause 44, as amended put and agreed to.
On New Clause 45:
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I move the amendments in my name on new clause 45 and the other clauses will be re-numbered accordingly. The new clause 45 will now read as -the title will be application of Act to certain marriages other than civil or customary marriages. This sub-clause, I will just summarise, the Muslim community in Zimbabwe, their marriages cannot be classified as customary. So this clause will take care of Muslim marriages to ensure that they are also recognised in terms of our law as fully described in the amendment. It just caters for Muslim marriages. This was done in consultation with that community that inserted this clause. I so submit.
(v)HON. SEN. CHIEF NGUNGUMBANE: I wanted to contribute on this clause before but you closed the debate without recognising those that on virtual platform. I feel there is need to consider those that are physically present and those that are on virtual platform.
HON. SEN. CHIEF MATUPULA: Thank you Hon. Chair. It is the same as what was raised by Hon. Sen. Chief Ngungumbane that just check on the virtual platform as well.
Amendment to new Clause 45 put and agreed to.
New Clause 45, as amended put and agreed to.
Clauses 46 to 55 put and agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments.
Bill referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee.
On the motion of THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI), the House adjourned at Twenty-Two Minutes past Five O’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 1st March, 2022.