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SENATE HANSARD 17 MARCH 2021 VOL 30 NO 25

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Wednesday, 17th March, 2021

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

PRAYERS

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

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE

SWEARING IN OF A NEW MEMBER

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: In terms of Section 39 subsection 7 (a) of the Electoral Act Chapter 2.13, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) notified the Clerk of Parliament that Frederick Shava, has been duly appointed as Senate party list member for Midlands Province with effect from the 16th of March, 2021.

Section 128 (1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that before a Member of Parliament takes his or her seat in Parliament, the Member must take the Oath of a Member of Parliament in the form set out in the 3rd Schedule of the Constitution. I therefore call upon the Clerk of Parliament to administer the oath of a Member of Parliament to the Senator in terms of Section 128 of the Constitution.

NEW MEMBER SWORN

HON. AMB. DR. FREDERICK MAKAMURE-SHAVA subscribed to the Oath of Loyalty as required by the Law and took his seat. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –

NON-ADVERSE REPORT RECEIVED FROM THE PARLIAMENTARY LEGAL COMMITTEE

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I have to inform the Senate that I have received a non-adverse report from the Parliamentary Legal Committee on the Statutory Instruments Number 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 48, 49, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56 and 57 for the month of February 2021

LOGGING IN ON VIRTUAL PLATFORM

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I wish to remind all Hon. Senators that they are required to log in using their full names for identification purposes or indicate their names on the chat platform. This will assist officers in capturing their names on the attendance registers. Hon. Senators are also reminded to keep their gadgets on mute and only un-mute when called upon to speak by the Chair.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          HON. SEN. MOHADI: I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 3 be stood over until the rest of the Orders of Day have been disposed of.

HON. SEN. SIPANI-HUNGWE: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS

 

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

Question again proposed.

*HON. SEN. TSOMONDO: Thank you Mr President for affording me this opportunity to debate on the Presidential Speech. I also want to thank Hon. Sen. Chirongoma for bringing the issue up. On the issues that the President talked about – I want to talk about COVID-19 and Pfumvudza.

On COVID-19, I want to thank the President for standing with the people of Zimbabwe. Looking at hospitals, he upgraded most hospitals. Where people were affected by COVID, our President stood by his country. He supported the upgrading of hospitals and people who got sick were attended at our local hospitals. He sourced machines from outside as he is well connected. Now, all our hospitals have ventilators. Our President appeared on our national television announcing guidelines to ensure everyone was aware of the COVID-19 guidelines like social distancing, sanitising, wearing a mask and so forth. He also put a lockdown in place and many people did not know why they were not going to work but later on they realised that the disease would spread. That is why he said people should stay at home so they would not spread the disease. He was protecting his family from being affected by the disease. We also want to thank the President for the vaccine that he brought into the country. At first, people were afraid of getting the vaccine but now after seeing that all the leaders were vaccinated openly they all want to be vaccinated because they have realised there is nothing wrong with the vaccine. Even in the rural areas everyone wants to be vaccinated because they have realised that people will not die if they get vaccinated.

I also want to thank our President for the COVID allowance because he realised civil servants were not going to work and pensioners needed cushioning, so he gave people COVID allowance and I want to thank him for supporting his people. He did not end there but went further to introduce the Pfumvudza Programme. It was well received by people everywhere and everyone participated. Before this, we would import maize but this time everyone has maize. Pfumvudza is very good because you use your hands and not tractors. If you go to the rural area everyone has a hoe and all the people who made land preparation as per Pfumvudza instructions got inputs and they are very happy with their yield. The good thing about Pfumvudza is that it does not cause soil erosion and it conserves the rains. We are very happy with the Pfumvudza Programme which was introduced by the President. People are happy and they are going to have a good harvest. Thank you Mr. President.

*HON. SEN. KOMICHI: Thank you Hon. President of the Senate for giving me the opportunity to contribute towards the Presidential Speech which was moved by Hon. Sen. Chirongoma. I would like to contribute a few words and comment on a few points raised by the President of this House. I would like to agree that indeed this year is a very good season. We were blessed by the Lord and got a lot of rains. We are seeing a lot of anticipation with regards to harvesting. The fields are looking very good and the Pfumvudza Programme is showing that everything went on well in the rural areas. All is well. It means when looking at the food distribution and food for households, it will be better than the other seasons. The effort that was put by the President, His Excellency as well as government to empower the people to fend for themselves can be heard through the radio, television and newspapers. A lot of people responded to that programme and we received the rains. We also see that our dams that had dried have now filled up. We have had a lot of rains this year. Whatever happens to us with regard to farming, we are assured that this year will be much better because of the sufficient rains. People should prepare adequately because we do not know what will then happen.Will we have the rains again? People should then prepare because we do not know when we are going to have good rains again.

We have a lot of problems that we face. In his speech the Hon. President of this country said the economy needs upliftment and development. It needs us to sit as a nation and a people, discuss and distribute accordingly and equally amongst the citizens. On the wealth of this country, we see how people are suffering in the rural areas. Things are hard and there is no employment. Women and young children, and some of these youngsters have gone on pension without even working. Things are really hard.

We should see to it that we have developed the health sector. We should make sure that people have access to basic healthcare. We should also reflect on the problems that we came across when we were hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. I understand that other countries got funding to fight the pandemic. South Africa is said to have received US$4 billion to help fight the pandemic but here in Zimbabwe we did not get such any amount. It means this country struggled on its own to find people who could give them funding to assist them financially.

My point is centred on the issue that we have we failed as a nation to work together, discuss and see what we can do as a country to have progress. Our country as Zimbabweans, even if we are to go outside the country Mr. President, we do not get assistance. We are insulted by other countries. As Zimbabweans, have we failed to see to it that we come together as one nation and plan forward to see to it that we have peace, progress and development as a nation?

I would like to repeat the words that were expressed by my own President from my political party, Senator Mwonzora who is here. He said as Zimbabweans, we should come up with a national dialogue. Let us come together as one and find a sustainable solution. Yes, we might have elections as a country and have differences politically, go for elections but when we come back let us put our heads together and find a sustainable solution for this nation. Let us not concentrate much on elections. Each and every time, let us not be found discussing or planning elections whilst the country is being destroyed economically and politically. You might be from the opposition or ruling party, but the pain of this economy does not choose, it actually hits everyone.

I would like to emphasise on the issue of the national dialogue which was raised by my President to say those from the Government, let us put our heads together and fix this issue. I understand there are a lot of things that have to be done, but we kindly ask that we find a sustainable solution as a nation. The problems that this country faces affect everyone despite their religion, political affiliation and so on, everyone is feeling the heat. Even vendors and ordinary people are feeling the pain because of this issue. Why do we not make sure that these people meet and discuss the way forward and come up with a sustainable solution? They should have a negotiated settlement.

It is out of this discussion that we look forward to seeing a national unity being birthed from these negotiations. We should have a holistic approach to problems of this country. The issue that is pertinent to this country is the issue of sanctions. When we come together as a country we can win and come up with solutions. If we come together, even when there are restrictive or targeted sanctions, these are just names and we can come up with a sustainable solution when we come together and when we are one.

People can go to America, China and Russia to inform them to lift the sanctions when we are working as one. That is if we go with the people who represent all the sectors of this country and inform them that we have come together as a country, may you remove these sanctions. That way, we can make sure that we find the money to fix all the economic, social and political problems that we will be facing as a nation. When this programme and negotiated agreement comes to an end, we would have achieved good relationships with other countries. When our officials visit these countries, we are able to get assistance.

I emphasise these words because we had a GNU in 2009, we had a lot of help from many countries over a short period, but we want to have and achieve more things more than we did during the GNU. We want to do big things from the negotiated agreements. We want to solve these problems that we have faced over the years. We do not want to see these problems anymore. Our future as a country should not be filled with insults and name-calling by other countries. We should not have a situation where a country loves chaos and hate. Our negotiations should give birth to national healing and reconciliation. Those who are angry should find understanding from these negotiations.

Our citizens should feel secure staying and living in this country. We should have a situation where the perpetrator and the victim come together and put everything behind. Our country is said to have not been practicing human rights but when we seat together, having a national dialogue and discussing the way forward we will find a sustainable solution. It is my wish and my thinking that Zimbabweans do not know that when we come together, discuss, negotiate, we can come up with something tangible. Our country is divided Mr. President, not only between Government and the Opposition. There are people that if they hear that Hon. Sen. Komichi has been run over by car, they celebrate. The funny part of it is that we are all Zimbabweans, that division Mr. President, if we sit down as Zimbabweans, have a national dialogue, this will be a thing of the past.

The next elections will be held in 2023, we should be having a unity of purpose by then. With those few words, I thank you.

*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: Thank you Mr. President. Firstly, I would like to say congratulations to Hon. Sen. Dr. Shava for being appointed a Senator. Being a Senator is a very big appointment. We might later on say congratulations to the Minister title but the first thing is you are now in the Upper House. You have been placed in the right House. Congratulations to you Hon. Senator!

I would like to thank His Excellency, the President for the speech he delivered, it gave us direction. Let me thank Hon. Sen. Chirongoma and his seconder for this motion. Let me say COVID has been mentioned in this House for a very long time. We are happy with the work that is being done with regard to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The President of this country also mentioned the reform of state enterprises and parastatals. I would like to take the importance of these words that he mentioned, ‘if these parastatals are not fixed this will kill us as a nation in many areas’. Firstly, is what do we get from the parastatals? Of the tasks that we give them, what are we getting from them? Are we getting what we expected? If you look at the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ), so many years have been wasted trying to fix NRZ. This is a very big issue. We hear that NRZ workers go for six months without being paid. They have a role to play as family members, so they cannot carry out their mandate properly.

Let me look at the 5 year National Development Strategy which starts from 2021 to 2025. I would like to encourage all Members of Parliament to attend workshops so that we understand what this document means. Do we understand what the President said in that document? We kindly ask Parliament to arrange workshops for Members of Parliament so that they understand the contents of the document.

I was also impressed about the irreversibility of the Land Reform Programme to say the land that we took no matter what, we will not reverse that process. We should remain like that, hence the irreversibility of the Land Reform Programme. Everyone is now in support of that programme. We want to progress Mr. President. Machinery might be there but if people are not organised, we will have a problem.

I would like to applaud the Ministry of Agriculture headed by Hon. Dr. Masuka. He is well organised, he has shown good leadership qualities. He has done well as a Minister. It is my wish that when the Minister comes to this House, we ask on the issue of cattle diseases especially January disease. People have lost their livestock and they were left with nothing. Will people be able to buy these cattle again, I doubt. It is very difficult for people to rise again especially those who were into cattle farming. Some of the farmers lost 20 to 30 heads.

Let me move on to Pfumvudza farming. This year we will have bumper harvest as a country. The best thing is to continue with this programme to prevent the chaos caused by people who want to do farming along streams, people just build houses even in wetlands. We have people who are no longer following traditional leaders. We have people who want to stay wherever they want and say we do not have traditional leadership. There is nothing like that. People should adhere to the way things are done. Headmen should make sure that things are done properly. We even have dubious characters who are claiming to be headmen when they are not and they are settling people in illegal settlements. This is killing our country and it should be fixed. I am following the President’s speech. He talked about fuel. It is very important Mr. President, that even in this House during Question Time, let us ask the Minister when we are going to have fuel. All those pertinent questions should be asked to the Minister and he should give us the exact answers that we are looking for. Fuel is now there and we would like to thank the Government for the policy that was put in place to fix this problem.

Even since the Mugabe era, we had problems when it comes to fuel but we never took any foreign currency from any other country. It was a policy issue and it was fixed and we do not have queues anymore. There are those who have that strategic plan and there were those who were sabotaging such plans. It was good to liberalise the fuel market. There are those who have interest. It is my thinking that amongst the Directors and Ministers, those who advise the Government, you have conflict of interest. There are some who block the good strategies that are meant to help the country develop the nation, corrupt elements within Government.

It reminds me of our days at the University of Zimbabwe when we used to use the Peugeot as our means of transport to get into town. Our transport experience taught us otherwise. I would like to mention the issue of roads in this country. I am from Masvingo and what has been done on this road from Masvingo to Harare is amazing. It is a new road indeed and that is the truth. It is not yet complete but you can see that the project is progressing very well. I can liken these roads to the South African roads because these are beautiful roads. It is nice and it is good.

We now look at social protection and people centered policies – those who are vulnerable, insecure and those who are over the age of 60. We would like to remember always that there are people who do not have access to some of the basic things. Let us continue to remember them, those who are disabled, let us not forget them. The other issue is of school fees in some of those places for example, Charumbira Primary School. Even if we are to say it is USD20, some of these people do not have and cannot afford some of these monies. Let us avoid social disorder, corruption and unfairness.

Let us make sure that children get education. We have distributed land amongst ourselves – what will the children get when they grow up without education? It means they have nothing and without education, they are going nowhere. The other issue is of devolution. Let us allow for the decentralisation because it is very important. We should also talk about the Youth Bill. There is nothing as good as the Youth Bill. Let us take care of the young ones including the women so that we have progress in the country.

Lastly, he mentioned the illegal economic sanctions that were imposed, on albatross on our economy. These should be removed unconditionally. This issue has been mentioned by Hon. Sen. Komichi. I was shocked why you did not clap your hands. He mentioned a very important point and I do not know why you were not happy. What Hon. Sen. Komichi said is very important because he was part of the team that was making noise about the imposition of sanctions on this country, but now that he is mentioning that these sanctions are killing us and they are bad on this country, it is very important for us as a country.

This is very good for progress of this country. He has made it right and this is very good what he has done. Let us come together as one. We are happy as chiefs that our children are doing a very good thing. He mentioned unity and inclusive Government. We did a global political agreement where others went to Kariba, South Africa and Nyanga and they were said to be negotiating. The model which was used there could have been the wrong model. It came to nothing after that. We might make the same mistake. Let us look at the model which was used for the Global Political Agreement. Let us review that agreement. Instead of taking people from other countries, why not make use of chiefs as facilitators of these agreements? Why do you charter planes to this country? It is very expensive to bring these individuals into this country.

Why is it that we like people from other countries to come and help us? Let us have local solutions to these problems without these southern people. Let us do this ourselves as a country. You will see there is a sustainable solution to the problems that we are facing. Let us fix the model that we used for these political agreements. Let us remove these sanctions as one. What more do you want? Need I say more? Thank you very much Mr. President.

HON. SEN. M. D. NDLOVU: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to present my maiden speech which is highly connected with the speech of our President, His Excellency President E. D. Mnangagwa.

Mr. President, Speaker of Parliament Hon. Jacob Mudenda, His Excellency President of Zimbabwe, E. D. Mnangagwa, Leader of the opposition, Hon. D. T. Khupe, my president who is here Hon. Senator D. T. Mwonzora, Clerk of Parliament and the entire staff, I would like to make my maiden presentation to this august Senate.

My speech will highlight five key issues that are close to my heart as a community advocate and leader, as a mother, grandmother and as a civil society activist for a long time. The five issues which are cross - cutting and are at the centre of poverty alleviation and eradication in our communities are:

  1. Sanctions and the so-called restrictive measures.
  2. Gender based violence.
  3. The economy.
  4. Agriculture support and development.

Sanctions

The country of Zimbabwe has faced two decades of unending sanctions. Reasons for these are many and known by those who imposed these sanctions. As people of Zimbabwe, we all call with one voice that those sanctions must go with immediate effect. This toxic action of sanctions caused by our Land Reform Programme must be rejected by all Zimbabweans because it has destroyed all sectors of our economy. It is said it is a targeted issue yet it is not.

My appeal Hon. President, is that both sides of this House regardless of opposition, meet each other halfway and detoxify these sanctions, correct or assist the long standing issues of our historic corruption and land reform as pointed out by the Land Commission and deal with motive issues. Our re-engagement efforts gallantly marshaled by the late Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, S. B. Moyo - may his soul rest in peace, must be continued in his memory. On that note I would like to pass my condolences to all those who have succumbed to the COVID-19 pandemic. The spectra of sanctions means our efforts to fight the pandemic will be difficult. We find it difficult to get the necessary vaccinations from such firms as Johnson and Johnson, Pfeizer and AstraZeneca yet we need all the support from both the East and West as the expected vaccines from China and Russia will not be enough.

Gender Based Violence

GBV is a cause for concern world wide as it has become a serious global health, human rights and development issue. It is symptomatic of the existing glaring inequalities, power imbalances and poverty in our communities. Legal frameworks such as GBV Act, civil society and government department’s intervention or treatment and participation are falling short of stopping societal ills. I implore Hon. Senators to try and do more on this issue. GBV as noted by the World Bank in 2019, contracts a country’s Gross Domestic Product by 3.7% and thereby it increases incidences of poverty. The situation has been made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic as reports indicate an increase in GBV activities as couples struggle to cope under the strain of lockdown and poverty with most households reliant on informal trade for their livelihood.

Economic

I appeal for resolution of prices, pay and currency dichotomy and imbalances in our economy. The auction system might be working for big businesses but for the common man in Nkulumane, Muzarabani, the subsistence farmer in Nkayi and the civil servant in Esigodini who gets paid in bond notes, it is a living nightmare as they are expected to buy in Rands or United States dollar denominated prices in all shops. The situation in most households regarding poverty in Bulawayo is deplorable. Our people deserve a functioning economy and social protection. The efforts of Government and NGOs dealing with urban poverty through groceries from NGOs, maize from the Government is commendable but not enough. It also represents the abdication of Government to look after its people. The Minister of Finance and Economic Development often talks of surplus but if that surplus does not translate to comprehensive coverage through social protection of the most vulnerable, the unemployed and the old, women and the unable bodied people, it only becomes a slogan and ticks marking exercise for the World Bank and IMF.

Agriculture

A greater percentage of our people rely on agriculture and specifically rain fed subsistence farming for their livelihood sustenance. The good rains recorded country wide this farming season must translate to good harvest and storage of especially grain for future lean seasons. The Government supported inputs year in and year out but dependence seems to be unending.

We must seriously look at these agricultural subsidies. Should we subsidise inputs only or look at outputs; should we tailor make support and should we continue the Pfumvudza/Intwasa 5kg, 16 by 9 concept? Can Intwasa go commercial if we look at quantum of support and size of plots? Is it sustainable and enduring Intwasa/Pfumvudza might come out as a successful political story and temporary subsistence farming story?

Devolution

The much hyped devolution has not been translated into practice. We must all remember that the devolution concept came into being after a protected campaign by many. Its political acceptance currently obtaining calls for speedy implementation indeed. Political will must be coupled with bureaucratic action eight years after devolution became part of our Constitution. Its primary implementation frameworks of provincial councils are yet to take off. One wonders whether it will really take off regarding real implementation of fiscal allocations and autonomy of our provinces.

Education

          The issue in our education institutions is bad due to COVID- 19 lockdown. Not all parents afford to pay extra lessons for their children to cope with lessons. For those who have finished grade seven and looking for form one places, some schools ask for pay slips from parents before they enrol a child but there is nobody who does not know the situation in Zimbabwe. Everybody depends on informal trading. Therefore, I ask this august House to call for the Minister of that sector to interview and stop this toxic system.

In conclusion, I would like to remind the House that midway through the life of this Parliament, our people are still looking for those promises. Professor Mthuli Ncube gave a glowing account of Transitional Stabilisation Programme and our own, His Excellency President E. D. Mnangagwa made hope filled promises for the National Development Strategy 1. Zimbabwe people still have that hope to be fulfilled by action. I thank you.

*HON. SEN. DENGA: I would like to thank you for giving me this opportunity to debate on the motion raised by Hon. Sen. Chirongoma on the Presidential Speech.

When the President delivered his speech on agriculture, he spoke about Pfumvudza and Command Agriculture.   We want to thank the Lord for good rains this year and this means we have a bumper harvest but there are a lot of issues surrounding the harvest. We do not know about whether the pricing will support farmers because right now tobacco farmers are crying because they do not know the prices yet. They do not know whether they will get their money in US$ or it will be half RTGs and US$. As their representatives here in Senate, we want to support farmers so that they will be able to go back into the field in the next season.

There was an issue which was talked about by Hon. Sen. Chief Charumbira about the national herd. It is now three years and people have been talking about the depreciation of cattle herd because of deaths in the rural areas. Parents out there dispose livestock in order to pay fees. I think the Government should declare this as a state of national emergency just like what is happening in this COVID era so that people get access to vaccines that help their cattle so that they will not lose.

Coming to Pfumvudza, we have seen people digging holes but the Pfumvudza inputs were delivered late. We expect that when the President speaks, all the departments who are involved in agriculture should make follow ups so that people do not lose time redoing the holes because they will have been covered by grass and water.

On corruption, the President said that there should be zero tolerance to corruption. Right now, we are seeing corruption happening in all sectors especially in agriculture. If you visit a number of areas, you will find that inputs were being given to illegal miners because they were able to pay at the depots then they would go and resell them and end up buying vehicles or beer. We have documented evidence on that. For our economy to move forward, we should deal seriously with corruption, because corruption is just like sanctions. If we unite as Zimbabweans and work together as one, we will see the issues of corruption being dealt with. Corruption in agriculture and other sectors should be properly investigated.

The President also talked about irrigation and the building of big dams. We have a good example of Tokwe-Mukosi Dam which is now overflowing but downstream there is no production.  We want to see fields being opened so that we have all year round progress going on there such as dairy and horticulture.

Then coming to the monetary policy, it had stabilised because the President had said they had discovered it was Econet which was causing inflation but we are seeing the same trends coming back. The percentages being charged by Econet and other service providers has spilled into the markets. Money is being sold even through the banks, some being drawn from Nostro accounts. We are saying those who deal with finances should check on those so that we are able to achieve our Vision 2030. With these few words, I want to thank you Mr. President.

HON. SEN. GUMPO:  Thank you Mr. President for affording me the chance to debate on the Presidential Speech. First and foremost, I would like to commend His Excellency for his well designed opening speech which was eloquently delivered in both Houses of Parliament. As usual, His Excellency, the President praised the peaceful environment that our country is enjoying, taking into account that most countries are experiencing political turmoil. The current good political environment that our country is enjoying is credited to His Excellency who has created a level playing field where everyone enjoys the freedom of expression. The Presidential Speech covered most areas that are experiencing challenges. The speech clearly indicated what government is doing about the challenges and that includes the cyclone, the current drought that greatly affected the whole country as a result of the global climate change and the shortages of power generation due to drought and other factors. The drought caused the death of most domestic animals as well as the wild animals, thereby destroying most of the pastures and also creating water shortages in both urban and rural areas. The President said government is doing its utmost to control the unusual situation. He also spoke about shortages of cash that is affecting the populace. However, the President spelt measures meant to cure the runaway inflation which was partly caused by the current economic sanctions imposed on the country by the Western countries. The inflation seems to be stabilising.

The President encouraged the nation to remain united despite the challenges, as government works on solutions which will enable the country to regain its breadbasket status in the region. Mr. President, COVID is a new development that the President talked about and he assured the nation that government is doing its best to try and control the pandemic. It is everyone’s hope that the death rate will continue to decline until the pandemic is eliminated. The President assured the nation that despite the challenges that the country is facing that no one will die of hunger. He indicated that the country is already importing essential goods in order to reduce the challenges and improve the livelihood of the people.

The President also condemned corruption and declared zero tolerance to this cancerous and undesirable practice.  Many S.I.s have been issued on COVID-19 and it is the role of every citizen in our country to respond by observing all the rules of COVID-19 issued by WHO and our government to make sure that they are fully observed in order to avoid further lockdowns which affect all our industries because they are imposed to curb the disease. Surely prevention is better than cure.

The lockdown is very costly as it affects the industries and employment for the generality of the population. Schools are closed and the children suffer as they spend more time at home instead of being at school. The goal is in everyone’s court. We have a duty to play to correct the gain. The President said the problem is in some of these social places such as bars, hotels and the shebeens where these rules are not properly observed.

Madam President, it is very surprising that you see groups of people moving, talking and laughing and hugging with no mask at all. This is indeed a dangerous situation which needs to be corrected. One wonders whether the law enforcement in these areas is being forceful and effective in these conspicuous places. If we continue in this manner and the COVID-19 gets out of hand in our country again we will have no one to blame. Our country has a delicate economy and cannot afford to have more lockdowns.

Today Madam President, I took it upon myself to drive in town trying to count the number of people that were not wearing masks. It was surprising that throughout the day I only found one person. This is praise to the Ministry of Home Affairs that is in charge of the operations. This is surprising and I hope such a situation prevails in many other places. Some of those areas that are affected by people not complying are the rural areas. People still do not understand about COVID-19. You find them walking around, hugging and also laughing. We still have a job to do there. I hope the Chief’s Council will do something about the communal people. Lucky enough, we have not heard a lot of cases in those areas, but it is a matter of time whether that situation will not get to those places. I thank you.

HON. SEN. T. MOYO: Thank you Madam President for giving me this opportunity to add my voice. Firstly, I would like to thank the people of Bulawayo for nominating me to represent them in this august House. I am a member of MDC-T.

I noticed that in Bulawayo we do not have enough dams. The current dams were built during the Smith regime which they built for themselves, because at that time they did not want black people to stay in towns. They were also few locations: Sizinda, Makokoba, Njube and Luveve. Now, the locations have expanded, that is why we are running short of water.

Madam President, we plead with the Government to build more dams. Women and young girls are suffering as they have to walk some kilometres to fetch water. They are raped on their way and a 20 litre bucket is not enough for a family. They are forced to go two or three times a day such that girls do not have enough time to do their homework. The raping of young girls affects their education as they find it difficult to associate with others. They also get pregnant and end up dropping out of school. Mid-last year in Bulawayo, many people lost their lives from drinking dirty water from sewer streams.

Madam President, in Bulawayo we do not have roads as the roads are worn out and a write off. There are potholes all over. As the President is in support of the devolution of power in this new dispensation Madam President, we all know that Zimbabwe is a rich country and there are minerals - those minerals can be sold in foreign currency to boost the Zimbabwean economy.

Madam President, we want to thank President E.D. Mnangagwa for introducing the Pfumvudza Programme because this year we received good rains and we will have less hunger. For those who always complain that they do not have tools for ploughing, this year everyone is going to harvest and we want to thank President E.D Mnangagwa for bringing this programme. This year, everyone is going to harvest. I thank you Madam President.

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

HON. SEN. MATHUTHU: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

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

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

HON. SEN. MATHUTHU: Madam President, I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 5 and 6 be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 7 has been disposed of.

HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

MAINTENANCE OF THE ROAD INFRASTRUCTURE IN THE COUNTRY

Seventh Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on road rehabilitation programme countrywide.

Question again proposed.

HON. SEN. MATHUTHU: Thank you Madam President for giving me this opportunity to second this motion. This is a very important motion because the road and the transport infrastructure play a very important role in both the developing and the developed countries.

I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Chimbudzi for coming up with this motion especially now after the President had given us the most hardworking Hon. Member of Parliament as the Hon. Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development. I know Madam President the man will be equal to the task. So, as we debate this motion almost all our highway roads and other roads are in a bad shape. We have potholes on tarred and gravel roads. I agree with the mover of the motion that the challenges have resulted in the loss of lives and damage to properties.

Madam President our roads in the country are classified, we have roads under the Ministry of Transport, some roads are under the DDF and some roads are under the local authorities. I hope and trust our newly brewed Minister of Transport would find ways and the systems to harmonise these roads authorities. Madam President, some of our roads connects us to our neighbours and they play a major role in the movement of imports and exports. That contribute to the country’s fiscus and these roads are important to the economic and social development.

Madam President in rural areas, very soon the farmers will be moving their produce to the nearest GMB deport. They will face challenges the whole country because the excessive rains that we were given by the Almighty most of our roads are not accessible. So, there is need Madam President for our Government to act with speed in repairing these roads. In order for Vision 2030 to be successful, we need proper roads and transport infrastructure. If these roads are improved, there will be more trade taking place both locally and externally. This will have an impact on the development of the economy of the country.

Madam President, I will not dwell much on the statistics because that has been well researched and articulated by the mover of the motion. I would like to urge our Government to come up with a master plan to improve our roads and transport network in order for our local players in the industry to participate in the whole supply of chain and deliver their goods on time and ensure mobility.

Lastly Madam President, I believe that with proper and reliable road and transport network, the country will realise more on our tourism industry. I hope my fellow senators would find time and debate fully this very important motion. I thank you.

*HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: Thank you Madam President for affording me this opportunity to add my voice to this motion.   Firstly I would want to congratulate Hon. Sen. Shava for the position that he was given to be in the Senate where mature people are; people who talk about supporting the Government elected so that they work for the Government and people. Madam President, Hon. Sen. Chimbudzi brought up a very pertinent issue pertaining to our roads. It is good that we got good rains which will lead us to a bumper harvest. This has led us to have bad roads. I would want to thank our President and the Government because they saw it fit just as what has been articulated by Hon. Sen. Chimbudzi and his seconder to declare the state of our roads a national disaster. That is why we are seeing them mending our roads so that our roads will be better and be usable. Madam President, especially in the rural areas, the roads are really bad and the bridges were swept away and people cannot cross to other areas. Now that schools are being opened some you will find that some children will start absconding school and this is so because schools were closed due to COVID. Now that the schools are being opened, our roads and bridges have been swept away and it is a challenge to our children because they cannot go to school and parents will not be able to go and fend for their families.

We talk about hygiene and if there is no soap, it is very difficult to bath. Madam President, what I am pleading is that this issue of roads as it has been declared as a national disaster, the Government cannot do it alone. We know that our President has incorporated everyone that if the nation is faced with a challenge it is not for the Government only but it is for everyone. So, he involved private players so that they would help. That is why we are seeing the Beitbridge/Chirundu Road incorporated local contractors who are mending our roads so that life goes on.

The vision of our President is well ahead that when we are talking about the issues of the country, we are not talking about Government only but we are incorporating everyone who is capable and is in Zimbabwe so that life goes on so that we attain Vision 2030. I just want to say that the issues that have been raised in this House are pertinent concerning our roads which do not allow us to promote tourism and also visit other countries and also that our goods will be ferried from point A to point B.

I am just pleading to those who know that our roads have been declared as a national disaster by the President. It is now a challenge to the country. We should put our heads together those who are able, the private sector and investors so that we work together to make sure that our roads are usable so that our people will travel freely and that we will not endanger the lives of our children. We need bridges on our rivers so that we will not lose lives. With these few words, I want to thank you Madam President for affording me this opportunity.

*HON. SEN. MUPFUMIRA: Thank you Madam President. I would like to make my contribution and support this motion that was brought into this House. The issue that we have of bad roads is a problem that we have as a country. All the roads are no longer in the right state. It is indeed a disaster to this nation. When you admit that there is a problem you will be able to fix that. This has been accepted by His Excellency, the Head of State of this country that there is indeed a problem in this country. Statutory Instrument 47 of 2021 mentioned that this is a national disaster.

There is no access to some of the roads in this country. For example in Makonde, it is difficult accessing that place. There are no buses and the road is so bad. Most bridges have been washed away and even children who are going back to school will face a lot of problems. When it comes to the issue of tourism, there is no proper infrastructure when it comes to roads because tourism is hugely affected. Those who want to travel with ease find it difficult to access some of the places.

My prayer is that with the declaration made by His Excellency, the fixing of roads was regarded as a priority for example, urban areas which are under local governance. The declaration given by the President, the local headmen pledged to fix these roads with the Minister of Transport. National Government has taken it upon themselves to make sure that all these roads are fixed. We are thankful that we now have a holistic approach and now the roads are being fixed. The allocation that they were getting was so little but with this declaration that has been made, they are now being given money from Civil Protection. The Ministry of Transport will get money to fix these roads.

We are happy with the introduction of the new Minister Hon. Mhona. Even if you read in the newspaper, you will hear of the strategies that he has introduced. He has pledged to have those policies implemented in this country. Some of them have been said to be urgent. Within six months some of these things are expected to have been implemented and done. Some roads are being tarred and some they are applying gravel following the presidential declaration with regard to roads and action has started. There are some roads such as Karoi to Binga, I do not know when this one started. I think it is 20 years ago without anything being done to it.

If these were fixed, that is going to facilitate the movement from Zambia through Karoi then via Binga to Victoria Falls. Even those who are coming from Harare to Bulawayo then Victoria Falls will go to Karoi and from Karoi will go to Binga. Even investors will come in these local areas and uplift development in these areas. Even along the roads, the cutting of grass, Government should do something but again, as leaders in our communities we should encourage community members to take it upon themselves to make sure that they clear their area. Cars cannot access some of these areas. We should encourage people even to have food for work as a method to get the work done.

We are happy people talking about the big harvest that we are expecting this year. Accessibility to the market should be made a priority. Without roads people have difficulties in reaching markets. Even those in the rural areas, because of the bad roads sell their produce at very low prices, something that will affect them. The lack of proper roads is a big disadvantage to the rural communities. These are some of the things that we should focus on and make sure they are prioritised and fixed. Everywhere there is gold but it is not accessible. Those who are into serious mining cannot do so because there is no road.

I would like to thank Senator Chimbudzi for bringing this motion into this House and thanking His Excellency for accepting and acknowledging that this is a national disaster. The fact that the President acknowledged and admitted that this is a national disaster shows that we are in the right trajectory.

I was in the eastern highlands Madam President, a few days ago. This road is very exciting. You can enjoy the journey from Harare to Rusape, from Rusape to Honde Valley where there are banana farmers and a lot of other fruits. It is a very good road. We should be able to appreciate what we are doing. We are very grateful to say this is a very important programme to us. Some of the inputs failed to reach their destinations because of bad roads that we have in some parts of the country. It is our anticipation that the Minister will fulfill his promises as written in S.I. 47.

I would like to thank Sen. Chimbudzi. They are happy that there was acknowledgment that the roads are in a bad state. Thank you Hon. President.

HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: Madam President, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

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

MOTION

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

Eighth 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. KAMBIZI: Thank you Madam President for allotting me time to debate on the Report of the 47th Plenary Assembly Session of SADC that was held virtually from 9th to 11th October, 2020. It is only normal that I also thank the mover of the motion, Hon. Sen Mohadi for coming up with such a motion. However Madam President, I just want to add a few things on the motion.

Madam President, it is important that I start by informing this House that it was important for such a motion to be held. In fact, the meeting which was held virtually was held in Namibia and we also had a delegation from Zimbabwe that went and represented us. Maybe let me start by informing this House the purpose of the SADC Parliament. The purpose was to strengthen the governance architecture of the SADC region.

It is a key driver for regional integration and development efforts. Madam President, there is an interdependence in the SADC region, hence there is need to work together and the need of cooperation at Government level. The meeting of the SADC Parliament was very important to us as it is a reflection that southern region countries are working together during this difficult time when lives are being lost daily due to the COVID-19 pandemic which however has affected the whole world.

It was very important and commendable that our country participated during this virtual meeting because many of our colleagues, as everybody else will agree, succumbed to the deadly COVID-19 pandemic that does not have a cure up to now. The fact that the Vice President of Namibia attended, speaks volumes about the importance of this meeting. This same meeting provided a vital platform for citizens to directly link with their representatives and give input into SADC’s regional integration agenda. It is therefore important that the transformation of SADC Parliamentary Forum into a regional Parliament be accelerated. It must be passed as quickly as possible.

It is very refreshing to know that our country was represented by our educated Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Advocate Jacob Mudenda but the presence of our own Hon. Sen. Mohadi from this House was the icing on the cake as we felt that this House was well represented.

There are very important submissions that were made by heads of delegations that this House should take note of. One such submission pertains to the role of parliamentarians in strengthening accountability during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of our people in this country, without any bias have a propensity to steal whenever there is a disaster in the country, hence the need for parliamentarians to take a leading role in ensuring accountability.

The Speaker of the National of Assembly, Hon. Advocate Jacob Mudenda who apparently was the head of delegation from this country made us proud by explaining vividly the methods that have been used by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe to minimise casualties of the COVID-19 pandemic. Primarily due to His Excellency’s endeavours to specialize on prevention rather than cure, some of the initiatives that were taken by His Excellency just as a reminder or recap are as follows;

  • Declaring COVID-19 a deadly pandemic on the 17th of March, 2020.
  • Putting a lockdown measure because the pandemic had become a national disaster.

Promulgating a number of Statutory Instruments to enhance the legal framework to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. As I speak, a total of 32 Statutory Instruments if not more were passed but of particular importance is to note that all Statutory Instruments passed in an endeavour to curb COVID-19 were scrutinised by the Legal Parliamentary Committee to ensure the constitutionality of the Statutory Instruments.

His Excellency also went further via the Ministry of Health and Child Care- putting of masks by everyone became a must, washing of hands and exercising social distance of at least a metre.

The 47th Plenary of SADC was very essential to us as law makers in that we learnt a number of lessons;

  • As Parliamentarians, we should not sit back and leave everything to the Executive but we should instead take a leading role in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic;
  • We should discharge innovative leadership and make real our constitutional mandate of representation, oversight and legislation;
  • We should unite and build resilient health systems as the best defence against any health emergency;
  • There should be unity among us law makers in as far as health matters are concerned regardless of our political affiliation because the pandemic knows no political parties; and
  • There should be smooth collaboration by Members of Parliament or law makers so to speak, which is the best defence against COVID-19.

At this juncture, I would like to applaud the Government led by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Dr. E.D. Mnangagwa and his team for working hard to make sure the citizenry of this country are safe from COVID-19. I also want to applaud the Speaker of the National Assembly, Adv Jacob Mudenda for presenting for adoption a strategic lobby document which guides the lobby initiatives ahead of the SADC Council of Meetings scheduled for March 2021.

The need to eliminate discordant voices within our country cannot be over emphasised and remains our biggest challenge, hence the need to resuscitate initiatives with the mandate of eliciting or drawing support at both political and Government level. I am talking about those voices that peddle lies as far as the pandemic is concerned; I am talking about those voices that inflict fear and frighten people in as far as the COVID-19 is concerned; I am talking about those voices that are always against the good efforts that are being done by the Government to ensure that people are safe from COVID-19.

Madam President, allow me to end my presentation by emphasizing and encouraging the citizens of this country to accept the vaccination programme. Allow me to make mention of top leadership of this country who publicly went and got vaccinated. It is also important that I mention that there are some members even of the opposition who also supported this programme and even went public encouraging people to get vaccinated. Like I said earlier on, the pandemic does not know any politics at all but it is our duty to unite and ensure that our people are safe. I would like to thank our President for his being interconnectedness – he is well connected with the outside world. No wonder why right now we have vaccines donated to this country by other countries, for example China and Russia. We need to thank His Excellency – the Government is trying by all means to have the vaccines using our own resources. That is very commendable.

I would also want to thank Hon. Members here present who took the initiative and went ahead to get vaccinated and I am one such an example. Word of advice to all Members of the Senate, it is our duty wherever we come from – the constituencies, provinces; we should go there and encourage our people to be vaccinated. The moment they get the word from us, because we are their leaders, they voted for us – one word to them is enough. I thank you Madam President.

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 March, 2021.

MOTION

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

Ninth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the Zimbabwe Delegation to the 5th Annual General Meeting of the African Parliamentarians Network on 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 March, 2021.

MOTION

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

Tenth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the Extraordinary Session of the Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

   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 March 2021.

   On the motion of HON. SEN. MATHUTHU seconded by HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI, the Senate adjourned at Quarter to Five o’clock p.m.

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