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SENATE HANSARD 17 OCTOBER 2023 VOL 33 NO 7

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Tuesday, 17th October, 2023

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE

ISSUING OF WIFI AND EMAIL CREDENTIALS

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I have to remind the Senate that the Information and Communication Technology Department (ICT) will be issuing WiFi and e-mail credentials to Hon. Senators.  In order to expedite this business, officials from the ICT Department will be stationed at the Members Dining from 1400hrs every sitting day this week. 

MEDICAL AID SCHEMES FOR HON. SENATORS

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I also have to advise Senate that Members are encouraged to be on any medical aid scheme of their choice.  For those who opt to join PSMAS which is the only medical scheme where Government complements the Member by contributing 80% while the Member contributes 20%, Hon. Members are advised that a representative from PSMAS is available in the Members’ Dining Hall with application forms.  Further, be advised that PSMAS has indicated that the waiting period of three months will be waived for any member who joins before the 25th of October, 2023. 

APPOINTMENTS TO INTERNATIONAL STATUTORY BODIES

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: In addition, I have to inform the Senate that the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders has appointed the following Members to serve on International Parliamentary Statutory Bodies as follows:

African Parliamentary Union

Hon. T. Gezi, Hon. T. M. Karumazondo, Hon. Sen. Chief Makumbe, Hon. S. Matsunga.

Inter-Parliamentary Union

Hon. Sen. Chief Mtshane Khumalo, Hon. Sen. Muzenda, Hon. N. Maunganidze, Hon. J. Nyelele, Hon. B. Nyamupinga, Hon. T. Karikoga, Hon. G. O. Siziba.

Joint Parliamentary Assembly and E. U. Africa Parliamentary Assembly (OACPSEU)

Hon. Gen. (Rtd) Nyambuya, Hon. P. Moyo, Hon. Adv. Madzimbamuto.

Pan African Parliament

Hon. Sen. Chief. F. Z Charumbira, Hon. P. Togarepi, Hon. Tafanana Zhou, Hon. E. Masuku, Hon. J. Hadebe.

SADC Parliamentary Forum

Hon. T. Nyabani, Hon. M. Mugomo, Hon. Sen. Chief Matsivo, Hon. L. Karenyi.

Association of Senate Shoora and Equivalent Council in Africa in the Arab World

Hon. M. Bimha, Hon. P. Mupfumira, Hon. J. Z. Timba, Hon. Sen. Chief Dandawa.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE ZIMBABWE ANTI-CORRUPTION COMMISSION FOR THE YEAR 2022

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I move the motion standing in my name that this House takes note of the Report of the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission for the year 2022, presented to this House in term of Section 323 (1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

Madam President, I move for the adjournment of the debate on this motion to allow Members to read the report and then we can debate it later. We distributed the copies last week. I submit, it is still very early to hope that everyone has managed to go through it.  So, I move that the debate do now adjourn. 

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 18th October, 2023.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE NATIONAL PROSECUTING AUTHORITY FOR THE YEAR 2022

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. Z. ZIYAMBI):  Madam President, I rise that this House takes note of the Report of the National Prosecuting Authority for the year 2022, presented to this House in terms of Section 262 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.  I submit Madam President.

          Madam President I think it is the same story.  I do not think Hon. Senators have gone through it and also maybe if the Clerk can advise the sent report.

          THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  I have the advice here.

          HON. ZIYAMBI:  Thank you.  I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume:  Wednesday, 18th October, 2023.

          THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  I am now hereby being given information that the reports were distributed electronically in your gadgets by the administration.  I think Hon. Members will have to check in their cellphones.  Maybe just ask management to check whether it was done so that they make sure it is distributed and you go through and understand it.  You will have to debate it tomorrow.  I thank you.

MOTION

PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS

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

          Question again proposed.

          HON. SEN. MUPFUMIRA:  Thank you Madam President for according me this opportunity to respond and contribute to the President’s State of the Nation Address which was presented by His Excellency, President Mnangagwa on 3rd October, 2023 at the new Parliament building.

          May I start by congratulating His Excellency Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa, for being re-elected as the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe..  I would also like to congratulate you Madam President and your Deputy, Hon. Sen. Nyambuya, for also being re-elected into this esteemed office.  May I also congratulate all Members of the Senate who have been elected into the office and hope that we will be able to execute our mandate diligently.

Madam President, His Excellency challenged the 10th Parliament to accelerate the completion of outstanding matters which were not finished in the 9th Parliament and also to new business for this Parliament, to give impetus related to climate change when the 10th Parliament is called to review the Water Act, the ZINWA Act, Plant and Breeders Act and the much anticipated Climate Change Bill will be introduced.  The Parks and Wildlife Bill is being amended while the Human and Wildlife Relief will be set up to offer monitory benefits to affected victims of wildlife and human conflict.  Enactment of the Bill should be expedited to accelerate the establishment of the National Health Insurance Scheme which will contribute greatly towards universal health coverage.  When passed, these Bills will further demonstrate Government’s long standing commitment to Vision 2030.

Madam President, His Excellency in his address talked about the Parks and Wild Act being amended, whilst the Human and Wildlife Conflict Relief Fund will be introduced.  Zimbabwe faces serious human wildlife conflicts that threaten safety and livelihoods. Over the past 10 years at least over 200 people have been killed and several injured and a lot of property destroyed.  Latest statistics state that Zimbabwe has around 100 000 elephants and yet the parks area is for 50 000 elephants. Zimbabwe has the second largest elephant animal population second to Botswana which is the highest at 130 000.  The two countries constitute over 50% of the world’s wildlife population of elephants. 

It is also important to understand the drivers for each landscape from ward level to national and across the border.  Some of the drivers are increased human and wildlife population.  I have already noted that we have more than double what as a country we can keep for elephants alone.  The drivers if not managed, will lead to pressure resulting in wildlife and human conflicts and also blockage in certain corridors, especially Matabeleland North where Matabeleland North alone has over 61 000 elephants and thus, decrease the habitat for the elephants.

There is increased frequency of animals moving out into the human territory causing more conflict.  People are killed and a lot of property is destroyed because there is an increase in the human wildlife conflict.  As a nation, our response is on developing, passing and enacting laws and policies that support a good relationship between human beings and wildlife. It is important to monitor drivers so that we reduce pressure, especially in areas most affected by wildlife. Responses must be well informed and backed by appropriate means and operational infrastructure to make sure that we manage the situation. Some of the cooperating partners include CAMPFIRE, a PVO whose mission is to promote and facilitate rural district councils, their communities and other public and private agencies to implement and support activities conducive to the development of communal areas through sustainable and unlimited natural resources in the communal areas, these also assist with policing. There is a lot of poaching which goes on in the areas where there is a lot of wildlife. Therefore, our own law enforcement agency, including CAMPFIRE, can also assist in enforcing.

The Climate Change Bill should, among other issues, regulate greenhouse emissions and facilitate low carbon emission. This should be thoroughly researched and debated with a view to strengthening appropriate institutions and funding mechanisms. Climate change is a reality and is with us. There is need to build capacity for all sectors to be able to adapt to changing climate which potentially affects many sectors.  Our communities are strongly affected by climate change. We need an inclusive orderly approach where we do not leave anyone behind. In the debates and discussions, there must be wide consultation of all the affected communities. We have all recently witnessed the heat, unbearably high last weekend where temperatures in Harare were over 44oc. Also, there is a lot of gas emissions which come from motor vehicles and other industrial issues. This requires adaptation strategies that include participation in climate change to cope with the demands that cause common effects to humans. We understand that last week there was a lot of dehydration, people fainting and collapsing because of the effects of the tremendous heat due to the climate change which we have.

Seasons have changed Madam President. Some time ago, before we came to know about the phenomenon of climate change, we would even predict the season. You would know by 15th October or November, the rains would come, but at the moment, we do not have that capacity because the climate has changed a lot. We build resilience, we enhance predictions, innovation and use of technology to ensure that we are prepared for climate change negative impacts. We are all aware about the storms and the cyclone which affected many areas. We also know about the recurrent droughts which have occurred in Zimbabwe and other countries in the world, especially in the region, those are all as a result of climate change.

We need to adapt strategies which will make sure that whether there is a drought or cyclone, we are able to manage the situation without loss of people and property. Thus, the Climate Change Bill is timely and must be informed by thorough stakeholder consultations so that we come up with the real issues which need to be managed. The Bill also seeks to come up with low carbon emission technologies. I know Madam President that at the moment, we have carbon tax which is collected and this is supposed to be given to EMA to manage their programme. Unfortunately, Madam President, this has not happened. The money has been collected and it is with the fiscus, but has not been given to EMA. Thus, they are not able to do some of the things which they are supposed to be doing. They need to be given their money so that they are able to do whatever they can to manage the climate change issues.

The Bill should effectively respond to the negative impacts, some of which them I have stated already. They affect mainly our vulnerable members, women, children and the physically or differently abled which we sometimes call disabled. I am saying differently abled because some might be visibly physically disabled while some might be mentally challenged, it is just that we are differently abled. We all have some disability of some sort. Some of the funds or technologies which are going to be used should assist all the vulnerable.

In his address to the nation, the President set out our legislative agenda which also included the issue of National Health Insurance Bill. This, if it is to be introduced, will alleviate and make health services available to most communities which, at the moment, are unable to access because of financial constraints. We hope when the Bill comes, we should be able to debate it and make sure at the end of the day the masses benefit from the National Health Insurance. It should be set out in a way that it is not only for the formal sector, the informal sector must also be brought into this.

We know our people are used to clubs, societies and so forth; the Health Insurance should cover people in rural and farming areas so that they also benefit as far as medical situations are concerned. However, more needs to be done. There are new challenges coming up. We are still coming out of COVID. We know we have recurrent Cholera and other waterborne diseases. We have a lot of other diseases which are non-communicable. We need to have this Bill so that people are able to access health services in their own areas, not the situation whereby people have to come to the big cities to get assistance. We need to have insurance which covers all aspects of the sector so that people can be assisted.

I commend Government for introducing innovative ways of raising more money from local resources to fund healthcare delivery. For instance, the AIDS levy, mobile health levy and NCD taxis. However, many of our people are not covered by the health insurance and face out of pocket expenditure in accessing healthcare, something that the proposed Bill would address conclusively. The National Health Insurance will be a welcome addition to the National Social Protection Framework which we already have. This should build on other existing social protection mechanisms already in place.

National Health Insurance Bill presents an opportunity for us to guarantee every Zimbabwean access to defined essential basic package of healthcare without facing financial hardships or falling into poverty due to prepayment mechanisms that come with Health Insurance at the moment. With this implementation, all will be able to access basic healthcare. We have an opportunity to infuse into the Bill, mechanisms that will widen the pool of financial resources available for health while creating room for greater efficiencies in spending through the pooling of both resources and risks.

Madam President, we have an opportunity to increase the resources available to health spending given the global regressions externally. Despite the support which we get from international organisations or donors, the high level of self-employment or informalisation of our economy, community health insurance schemes can successfully run at community or village level informed by the communities’ means and deeds. Examples of these are present in the continent and there is no reason why we cannot be able to come up with such a scheme. Madam President, the proposed Bill is quite timely and the right enabling conditions for success of such insurance schemes exist in our country, including strong Government commitment to cover the poor, favourable institutional and policy environment, and high literacy rate among the population.  There is a lot of stakeholder support for such schemes and Madam President, it just shows that our President is determined to ensure that there is access to health service delivery. 

In his statement, the President talked about trying to expedite the development funds using own resources so that we look at the key issues affecting especially the rural population.  We are talking about infrastructure such as the roads, clinics and schools with what I might call climate change has done overnight.  We got reports that roofs were blown away from schools and clinics in the areas where we come from and having such a fund would facilitate and expedite recovery of the locals so that school children can also learn under conducive conditions. 

Madam President, I can only speak a bit and leave the rest to the others.  I think the key issues which affect the ordinary people have been, to a certain extent, highlighted in my report.  Thank you for allowing me to make a contribution to the speech by His Excellency the President, Cde. E. D Mnangagwa. 

HON. SEN. NYATHI:  Good afternoon Madam President.  Thank you for giving me this opportunity to debate on the State of the Nation Address delivered by the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, His Excellency Cde. E. D Mnangagwa on 3rd October 2023.  Before I debate on this motion, allow me Madam President, firstly to congratulate His Excellency Cde. E. D Mnangagwa on winning the 23rd August 2023 harmonised elections which saw him given another five year mandate to lead this nation. Congratulations, Amhlope, makorokoto.  In the same spirit Madam President, also allow me to congratulate you and the Deputy President of the Senate on retaining your position in this august House.   Congratulations, Amhlope, makorokoto.

Mr. President, I wish to be brief as much has been said by other Hon. Members on what the President said in his speech.  He did congratulate all of us for having secured the mandate to lead the people of our motherland in our constituencies for the next five years.  We were not going to secure that mandate if we were not being led by the President.  People gave us this mandate after realising that we were followers of Cde. Mnangagwa whom they trusted from his first term of office.  If the President had not worked hard to challenge the lives of our people in the 9th Parliament, most of us here would have lost this mandate.  In this regard, I thank the President for making our constituents trust us with power to govern for the next five years. 

Mr. President, about the matters outstanding from the legislative agenda of the 9th Parliament, the previous Parliament managed to work on 69 Bills.  Imagine all this work was done when the country and the globe were battling with COVID-19 in all sectors.  We could not have achieved this without the visionary, dedicated and inclusive leadership of President Mnangagwa.  Parliament took unusual steps in making it possible to continue executing its mandate.  At some point, it was so difficult that some of the public consultations or certain Bills were done through radio stations and other media related platforms.  All these were made possible because of the innovations by the Second Republic led by His Excellency, Cde E. D Mnangagwa.  My request to Government departments and partners and those responsible to teach the citizens about laws should do justice by coming to Matebeleland South Province and teach our people about new laws enacted by this august House.

The President talked about the measures our Government is putting in place to enable improved agricultural productivity including irrigation development so as to realise national food security.  I am not sure if Zimbabwe has sufficient wheat because of these measures brought by our Government. In addition to the above, the President initiated the drilling of 35 000 boreholes across the nation. 

As Beitbridge, we are grateful to the President for remembering our region 5 through the irrigation in Insiza District and the number of boreholes across Matebeleland South was not enough. Our communities were given agricultural inputs last year which saw a number of farmers taking their produce to the GMB.  My appeal to the Government departments and officials is to accelerate the installation of some boreholes for those communities to benefit from the Presidential Project. 

The President said Section 264 of our Constitution speaks to the devolution of governmental powers and responsibilities in order to enhance local people’s participation in the exercise of State powers and making decisions on matters affecting them.  It is in this regard that the President spoke about the increase of resources towards devolution and decentralisation programme giving priority to projects which improve access and quality of education. 

Devolution and Decentralisation Funds has empowered people in Matebeleland South to determine how to develop their areas through their local councils as the President’s mantra goes - nyika inovakwa nevene vayo/ilizwe lakhiwa ngabanikazi balo; unlike in the past where people in Harare always decided how and when a clinic in the rural areas of Gwanda, Insiza, Beitbridge or Plumtree could be built.  The Second Republic, through the leadership of His Excellency Cde. E. D Mnangagwa, has empowered these rural areas to make decisions and prioritise things that affected them.  Mr. President, through devolution and resources, our communities have benefitted from construction of clinics such as Sweet Home Clinic, classroom blocks at Sabhabha Primary, Nkwame Secondary, Zhapani Primary, Maboshe Primary and Artherstone Primary Schools.  I want to thank the President for prioritising access to health and education. There is no better way of promoting and advancing the use of all languages, let alone, creating conditions for the development of them except creating a platform where the users of these languages can openly and freely use the language as the medium of communication.

          I want to thank the President, Cde. E. D. Mnangagwa and the Second Republic for opening the airwaves in these areas as his mantra, ‘Leaving no one and no place behind’. By commissioning radio stations in less developed areas, our Government is therefore making it a point that everyone gets informed and be heard in his or her own language. This project has not only enabled access to information, but created employment for our young people in Matebeleland South.

Lastly but not least, our President spoke about transformation of infrastructure. We from Beitbridge, can testify to that. Last week the President of South Africa, His Excellency Mr. Ramaphosa also testified how modernised, transformed and beautiful our border has become. Our Beitbridge-Masvingo-Harare Highway is also a testimony to the President’s call. We are happy to have such infrastructure in our province – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – As Matebeleland South, we request the Government to work on mobile phone networks in other parts of our province which do not have networks. Thank you, Mr. President for giving us this opportunity to debate the President’s State of the Nation Address (SONA). I thank you.

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

HON. SEN. A. DUBE: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Wednesday, 18th October, 2023.

          On the motion of THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR HARARE (HON. TAWENGWA), the House adjourned at a Quarter past Three o’clock p.m.

 

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