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SENATE HANSARD 17 August 2016 25-69
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Wednesday, 17th August, 2016
The Senate met at Half-past Two o’clock p.m.
(THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE in the Chair)
BUSINESS OF THE SENATE
THE MINISTER OF DEFENCE (HON. DR. SEKERAMAYI):
Madam President, I move that Order of the Day, Number 1 on today’s Order Paper be stood over until the other Orders of the Day have been disposed of.
Motion put and agreed to.
LEVELS OF CORRUPTION IN THE COUNTRY
Second Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on monitoring the Executive performance in dealing with reported cases of corruption.
Question again proposed.
+HON. SEN. NDLOVU: Thank you Madam President. I am
going to debate on the motion on corruption that was brought in this House by Hon. Sen. B. Sibanda. We are here debating corruption which we say in isiNdebele ukufumbathisa and in Shona uwori, but corruption is rampant in the Public Service - talk of the police, the hospitals and the entry points in our country. Let me say that very few of us can vouch that they are not corrupt and in some instances, you go to an office where you want a service, but because you do not have anything to grease their palm you are not assisted and you go out empty handed.
I will give you two examples of corruption and this is what I really witnessed. I know I am telling the truth on corruption. This happened some long time ago when I was still employed in Gwanda. I was sent to seek for a service here in Harare and we wanted a letter or document pertaining to our operations. I boarded a train in the evening and arrived in Harare in the morning. I was hoping to get that letter, and then return to Gwanda the same day. The train arrived early by half past seven and at around 8 o’clock a.m, I was at the office knocking at the door asking for that letter. I sat in that office until it was half past eleven. They told me that the person who was supposed to write that letter was not there. A certain man came to me and said, “madam, I thought you were coming from Gwanda; if you want to go early you need to pay for some lunch to the service provider.” At the end of the day, I knew that in order to get a service I had to pay some money.
So, I searched in my pocket and raised US$3.00 and just because it was towards lunch, I gave that person the money. He went out it and soon returned and with a letter in his hand. It showed me that the letter had been written but because I had not provided a kick-back, I was going to suffer. It shows that corruption is rampant. There are some people who influence people to be corrupt because we have some people who will come behind and say, “please, I need your services and let me greet your palm for a certain amount.”
I worked for the Gwanda Council. When you were caught red handed by the supervisor who was anti-corrupt, you would be in problems. You had to be very careful when working with him, Hon. Mkhwebu knows about this strict anti-corrupt boss because he was a no nonsense leader.
We are saying corruption is rampant. We have to fight corruption and what we need to do is to look for means and ways of fighting this corruption because the problem at times is that, if you do not have evidence to incriminate a person, you will let that person go free. On the other hand, if you want some service and an officer assists you, despite the fact that you have paid some kick-backs you will not go public about it.
Let me give my second report. Two weeks ago when I was returning to my constituency, we came to a roadblock and these policemen have no shame. They accept bribes in the open. I was travelling along Kezi road. There is a permanent roadblock on the Kezi road. There is an anthill nearby which is very visible when you are going towards my homestead. I was surprised to see the policemen squatting near that anthill. What came into my mind was that they were playing cards and gambling. However, when we got nearer we noticed that they were sharing some money which was on the ground. I only waved to let them know I had seen them. As I looked back through my rearview mirror, they soon stood up and departed.
These are the two stories that I came face to face with corruption. What are we going to do or say? We need some ways and means to inculcate some culture of anti-corruption in our people because it is now a plague. It is showing that it is not going to end soon. It does not mean to say that people indulge in corruption because they are poor or hungry, no. It is the ‘haves’ who indulge in corruption because they want to line up their pockets. I stood up to speak because I had two cases which I witnessed on corruption.
HON. SEN. MAKONE: Madam President, the motion before us
is a very serious one. We really want to dissect this subject and see whether this subject can allow us as Senators to come to one position. When we talk about the land in Zimbabwe, we are talking about the land that belongs to all the people of Zimbabwe that has been handed down to all of us by our forefathers. It is not land that belongs to anyone or any political party or entity. When those of us that thought at first that the land situation had not been handled properly and disagreed with the process finally came round to agreeing that the land reform programme was irreversible, it was done in good faith. In good faith, that those who had been given the land were entitled to it and that due process would be undertaken for them to have it as their land for posterity. It was that good faith that we all thought that all the people that had been given that land would keep it as theirs.
Madam President, what really worries some of us is that when there is a dispute between individuals, there is an effort to dispossess those that had benefitted from the land reform programme. It then makes it appear that the land had been allocated as a way of making people give eternal allegiance to an individual, group of individuals or a party. That takes away the essence of the land reform programme as we had understood it. Anything short of that smacks of corruption. Now, if we agree here as the legislators of this land that the land reform programme is irreversible, it therefore follows that if any member sitting opposite or this side or a chief had benefitted from land programme, that land allocated to them is irreversible no matter what happens or who they have a disagreement with in the future or which party they desert or do not desert. That land is theirs and theirs to keep.
To show genuineness that there is no corruption involved because the Executive at its highest level is involved in this process, we would be much more pacified because this is not something that the Anti Corruption Commission can handle, as this motion would suggest that we report to the Anti Corruption Commission. We want to hear the
Executive say that whosoever was allocated land has ownership of that land from now until the end of posterity or whatever the time is regardless of who they have a fight with.
Madam President, it was with great sadness that I noticed that some of the war veterans who are in a dispute with their party were invaded last week and were being asked to leave the land that they occupy. That is grossly wrong. I do not have land and it is none of my business. It is only my business to the extent that I am a Zimbabwean who believes in the irreversibility of the land reform programme. Whoever has got land today should not be incumbent to anybody because they were given that land. If we do allow that situation to persist, then we are allowing corruption at the highest level and have no business entertaining little people being arrested for anything else because we will have allowed it to happen at the highest level.
I know that those that have land might have fear to debate this land question. I am debating it openly on behalf of those people that have got land that let them have the title deeds or 99 year leases which allow them to be true owners of that land in order to avoid this kind of corruption Madam President – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] – I personally would love to have that land, only after people start getting title because I do not want to be anyone’s puppet, to be held on a short leash, to behave as and when I am to behave in a certain manner – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] – The land belongs to our forefathers and not to individuals. The people that have got land must be allowed to have title in whatever form forthwith. I thank you Madam President.
HON. SEN. D.T KHUMALO: Thank you Madam President for
giving me this opportunity to also discuss on the issue of corruption. My point is on the issue that we all have to ensure that our country is safe from corruption. I want to give an example of what happened two weeks ago just before Parliament went into a short recess. We had a Bill which was brought by the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, for me the position that the Minister should be the one who dismisses the staff in local authorities was corruption. We are saying the Minister will be corrupt if he dismisses people when he feels like dismissing. The Constitution says the tribunal has to suspend or dismiss the persons employed in councils. Now if the Minister is taking over the role of the Tribunal, then he is going to employ his relatives.
When he feels like dismissing them, he can dismiss them at any time. That is wrong. Our Constitution says the tribunal and it is written in the Constitution. if he cannot respect our Constitution, then what.
HON. SEN. TAWENGWA: On a point of order. Madam
President, if I recall very well, in the Bill itself it states the tribunal and not the Minister.
HON. SEN. T. KHUMALO: Look at the new Bill.
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: May I please
guide the House that why do we not address the issue of corruption. Let us stick to the motion.
HON. SEN. T. KHUMALO: I am thinking that if the Constitution says something else and we do otherwise, that is also corruption….
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: It does not help to
debate on a Bill which you have passed in the House. I was hoping that you would point out incidences of corruption because that is what the Hon. Senator wants addressed by this Senate.
HON. SEN. T. KHUMALO: On 21 June, we read in the
newspaper that the Gweru City Council was complaining that the Minister appointed somebody to audit their books and they felt that person was a relative of the Minister. Those are some of the small things we think are small but the outsiders who want to give us money may not view it as small. I also want to debate on the issue of Chiadzwa which we are all familiar with that $15 billion from Chiadzwa were found in the United Kingdom. At the same time the media was awash with the story of the son of a Minister who was found to have US$7m in a bag.
How can we be given money by donors? That may not be true –
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Order! I do not
know how to guide the Hon. Senator. I really wound not want to ask the Hon. Senator to sit down and then stand up when she has reconsidered what to debate. You cannot quote topics that do not have legal proof. We cannot do that. We are honourable people. It is a story in the paper. I do not know. You may continue.
HON. SEN. T. KHUMALO: The issue of corruption is not an
easy subject. We may agree or not agree, we will leave it as it is. The World Bank ranks Zimbabwe at 155 out of 183 most corrupt countries in the world. I am sure you are all aware of this. Whether I am right or wrong, we are known as a corrupt country. Our leadership is corrupt. We all have to fight to reduce corruption amongst ourselves and make our country better so that we can be given money. We are not being given monies because of the poor ratings at the international level. Therefore, I am requesting my fellow countrymen that when we have relatives, friends, party members who are our employees, if we find them as corrupt people, can we correct it because it tarnishes all of us. Zimbabwe is viewed as a corruption country because of those few people. They are making us to be called a corrupt nation.
I hope we are going to work together to reduce corruption in our country so that from now on Zimbabwe improves and can be respected by other countries because at the present moment we are not. I thank you.
+HON. SEN. GAMPU: Thank you Madam President for giving
me this opportunity to make my contribution on this motion on corruption which was raised by Hon. Sen. B. Sibanda. When we talk of corruption we are talking of a cancer in society or in the country. Even the smallest child is also aware of the fact that Zimbabwe is a country that is full of corrupt people. Let me pose the question – why are people corrupt? I will give my view whilst my colleagues have already debated
Let the quote the Bible on corruption. If you read 2 Peter 2:20, it talks about being unreliable and corrupt. When you start reading the Bible from Genesis up to Revelation, we have a total of 13 verses that talk about corruption and it says, corruption is a cancer, corruption is AIDS and corruption is diabetes. It is a modern day disease and as the leaders of the nation, we need to put a stop to this scourge and we need to put a stop to this epidemic. We are asking the Chiefs, Parliamentarians and the Executive to wage a very strong and vicious war against corruption. Pastors, reverends and presidents should also wage an anti-corruption drive, but unfortunately every one of us is fulfilling what is said in the book of Revelation that people will no longer have love for others but there will be people who are selfish, shameless, and fearless who indulge in corrupt activities. We need to have that will, we need to have that sixth sense which will force people to abstain from doing something evil.
When people feel scared of doing something bad, then there will be development in the country because when we are crying it means there is pain, wailing and gnashing of teeth. As leaders, let us not be like Eli the prophet who could not control the attitude and behaviour of his children and this led to his destruction. At our last sitting Hon. Sen. Chief Charumbira made a contribution and said we are going to miss heaven because of corruption. I feel as one of the traditional leaders I should make a contribution on this motion which is aimed at fighting corruption, because it is about the end times message which is mentioned in the Bible. Regardless of where you are, even if you are in the rural areas and you are not paying the levies and taxes - that is corruption. Even if you are driving your posh car and there is something wrong with that car and you corruptly travel around with it, it is corruption.
We need to examine ourselves and like what the Bible says. Whenever you are about to do something bad, you should feel your heart beating and you should feel your senses asking you to stop with immediate effect whatever corrupt activity you might be doing. As a traditional leader and a political leader, I am asking my fellow leaders that you should shun corruption. We should stop corruption and whenever a person is sinning and has no conscience then one will have come to the worst stage of their life and we need to seek for God’s guidance to fight this corruption.
We now need some holy intervention, some Godly intervention because if we are to fight it as human beings, we may not win the war. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. TAWENGWA: We have had members making
contributions and they are saying corruption is happening unabated and at a very high level. You may think that you are watching a movie or some drama, but what we know of dramas and movies is that they come to an end. I know that in this country we are aware of the fact that corruption has reached alarming levels and is now being handled by the office of the President and Cabinet and this is being controlled. I think when we say corruption is uncontrolled; I think that is a misnomer because we are now fighting it. If my memory serves me well, we have even put notices that whistle-blowers should pass on information on corruption. I believe that as Hon. Senators we shun corruption. We wish corruption would come to an end and if we know of any ways which to follow in fighting corruption, please let us put our heads together and demolish corruption.
*HON. SEN. CHABUKA: Thank you Madam President of the
Senate for giving me the opportunity to debate on this motion which was raised by Hon. Sen. Sibanda. It is a very important motion which has a bearing on the progress of our country and we know that we are now experiencing economic doldrums because of corruption. If you may quote one of our television programmes the Mai Chisamba ‘show, she says we have not come to the extreme end of this corruption. We have been talking about corruption but no tangible action has been taken in eradicating this scourge. One of us has said corruption is now being handled in the office of His Excellency, the President and Cabinet, but this has been happening for quite a long time. As the leaders of the people, we are here on a representative role-representing the views of the people in this august Senate as they have said.
We have also been told by Hon. Sen. Makone that people who have been given land through the land distribution exercise are being denied access to that. Let me give an example, a month ago in Manicaland, one person was evicted from this place and was being dismissed by a ranking official and the property of that poor individual was exposed to the vagaries of the weather for two weeks. There are lot people in leadership who have a lot of land, houses and this was taken up to the Cabinet but what we know is that no steps have been taken to eradicate this corruption.
That is why we are debating this problem in this Senate because if corruption emanates from the highest offices; you are role models to those under you, what are you teaching them? They will follow suite and we are saying if anybody has been mentioned by the whistle blower, they should be a follow up so that whoever is found to be on the wrong side of the law should be arrested and convicted. There should be no nepotism. If somebody has a high post such as a Minister and he makes a mistake or indulges in corrupt activities, he is transferred from one ministry to the other.
We are saying if we transfer such a person instead of firing them, how are we going to develop our Zimbabwe? Corruption is a scourge, corruption is HIV and cancer. We are saying these people should be removed from those posts because reports have been put naming somebody that they are corrupt but can you imagine somebody has come and envied your land and they chuck you out, evict you out of your land and the newspapers or the journalists are terrified because they are told if they tell the truth, they are going to suffer the consequences. They are being threatened. Some of them have their homes invaded at night and yet Zimbabwe came through the barrel of a gun so that we could be free.
We have had these people who have been attacked and their land allotted to them is being attached illegally by people who are corrupt and honourables have said the people are corrupt. At the moment, when Zimbabwe is in the economic doldrums, people have problems in accessing wages and yet, there are some people who have monies in excess. They are even exporting this money nicodemously and we need to have tangible evidence that people have made complaints against corruption and to face the truth.
Please, my fellow Hon. Members, let us not politicise some of these issues. People have problems including the unborn child who is suffering from kwashiorkor because the mother cannot access nutritious food. Zimbabwe is a land of milk and honey, but people are suffering because of corruption. Whosoever is involved in corruption and is convicted should be removed from that post, or fired. Let us not support corruption in Zimbabwe. I am saying this motion should not be removed from the Order Paper no matter how much time it stays because we need to debate it until we eradicate corruption.
HON. SEN. B. SIBANDA: Thank you Mr. President. I made a commitment that today I would move for the adoption of my motion and therefore, inspite of the plea given by the Hon. Senator, I am under duty to comply with my promise. In doing so, I would like to define what I perceive and what others have perceived corruption to be. It has been variously described as the use of office for personal gain.
It is not my intention today to go on the offensive for one or two reasons. The major reason being that when I moved this motion, I used the collective ‘we’. I am afraid though that certain individuals have taken advantage of my ‘we’ to indicate that it is a change of direction on my part. The fact is, I used the word ‘we’ in order to endeavour to coax all the Zimbabweans to harness our unique effort in order to achieve a result. So the use of the word ‘we’ should not be mistaken for aquiescencing.
Mr. President, I would start off by thanking all Senators that have contributed to this motion. I am very grateful for your contribution. I am a strong believer that whoever contributes in agreement or in disagreement, adds value to what is on the floor of this House. My special thanks goes to Senator Makore who seconded this motion. As usual, he distinguished himself as a shumba and seconded with vigour that this motion deserves.
Secondly, I would want to give special thanks to Chief
Charumbira. I want to believe that it is time that we lend an ear to what our chiefs think. It is time to place our chiefs in the right platform and when they talk, we must listen. I do not want to repeat what Chief Charumbira said, but on that day while I was out of order, I attempted to say this is chiefly and indeed, it was chiefly and should be respected.
I want to say everybody, I have heard the excuses ‘we do not have this’, ‘corruption is not easy to deal with’. I am urging all of us to turn excuses into determination to deal with corruption. As long as we have excuses about corruption, we are going nowhere. We are facing a challenge where corruption will either consume us or we will consume corruption and I would not want to be one of those consumed by corruption.
Mr. President, I think I am justified and I was justified in quoting Prof. Melle when he says, if you cannot contain corruption you better quit because it is going to consume the entire nation and I have no excuse about that. I know there has been criticism directed at that. I have also heard that corruption is being contained. I respectfully disagree. I respect that opinion. That is the reason why, Mr. President, I have suggested that Parliament be an arbiter in the corruption struggle. Set up an office which will keep statistics so that we do not talk off hand; we talk statistically, we talk educated and some of these arguments will vanish. What I have suggested is, let us have a list of incidents of corruption, let us have a list of those that have been attended to and let us have a list of the results so that there can be no argument.
The sad story is that our nation is sinking while we argue about the obvious.
Mr. President, I take this opportunity without saying a lot, to move for the adoption of this motion on the basis that we, as legislators, take a clear stance. I am calling on us to be counted to the Parliament that was counted in the history of Zimbabwe for taking a clear stance against corruption, changing the trajectory of corruption from the left to the right. The choice is ours whether we take that stance or not and be counted.
The second proposal, Mr. President, is that we should not abdicate on our roles. One of our major functions is to monitor the performance of the Executive. The Executive has the power to execute, has the power to do something about the level of corruption and we must hold them to account and that is what I am asking for; that they be held to account by ourselves. Once again, that adds to what Chief Charumbira called for. Let us not abdicate our roles, let us play our effective roles.
Thirdly, Mr. President, I suggest that let us educate our citizens. There is no bigger foot soldier than the citizens. We are an experienced fighting force in Zimbabwe and you will know that besides the men who carried the guns, there were foot soldiers who monitored the situation. I am suggesting that we educate our foot soldiers and they prosecute the struggle against corruption in as determined a manner as they prosecuted the struggle against colonialism. I therefore move for the adoption of this motion that this House;
NOTING that corruption is now endemic in the land;
ALARMED at the rate at which incidents of corruption are occurring unabated;
CONCERNED at the implications that this trend has on the economic recovery, the international status of the country and its international credit rating;
NOW, THEREFORE, this House calls upon:
- Legislators to take an unequivocal stance against the scourge;
- Legislators to closely monitor the Executive performance in dealing with reported cases for corruption; and
- Citizens to report to law enforcement agents, and the Anti-
Corruption Commission any suspected cases of corruption.
Motion put and adopted.
RESUSCITATION OF THE ZAMBEZI WATER PROJECT
Third Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the resuscitation of the Zambezi Water Project.
Question again proposed.
HON. SEN. B. SIBANDA: Once again thank you Mr. President. The purpose of my standing up is to wind up debate on this motion. In doing so, I sincerely thank all the senators who contributed. I want to underline, you do not have to agree with me for me to appreciate you. Mr. President, after thanking all the Senators in this House across the political divide for a spirited support, I want to deal with three distinct issues that came up in this House. The first distinct issue was a contribution by Hon. Sen. Makone. Throughout the motion, I talked about a region and when I concluded, I defined it as geographical and not tribal. It is sad that certain people read tribalism into my debate. I will deal with that later.
However, what I want to appreciate Hon. Sen. Makone for, is the bird’s eye-view that she gave about the region we were talking about. It is a different perception, not coming from Matebeleland but from a different region which saw the pain that is sometimes felt by the people in Matebeleland, aggravated in certain circumstances by what they perceive as denial of opportunity. Hon. Sen. Makone, I thank you very much for that spirited debate and I mean it sincerely – [HON.
SENATORS: Hear, hear.] – With that observation on Hon. Sen.
Makone, I want to believe that one day, the nation will say, ‘Hon. Sen.
Makone did say…,’ and nobody will say ‘we never heard it.’
The second issue I want to deal with is what I consider to be a genuine concern raised by Hon. Sen. Mashavakure. Hon. Sen.
Mashavakure was concerned about the reticulation of water from Zambezi to the southern and eastern regions. Remember that consistently, when I debated on this motion, I talked about Midlands and Masvingo because I believe they belong to the same geographical region. The ecology and needs for water are the same. Hon. Sen. Mashavakure was concerned on whether we will be able to reticulate that water. I want to assure him that from what I have read, there had been thorough feasibility studies to ensure that the water is transportable to the area concerned.
He was also concerned about the stance that Zambia has taken or may take. I am sure we have got instruments within Government to deal with that. I would not want to vitiate any possible relations between
Zambia and Zimbabwe on the issue of water. However, I am convinced that Zambia has cooperated with difficult times when it comes to Zimbabwe. They may have no reason not to cooperate with Zimbabwe where human life is involved.
The third issue I want to deal with is Hon. Sen. Chipanga’s comments. I honestly want to congratulate Hon. Sen. Chipanga for never finding the most ‘infantisimal’ reason to criticise what I said. I am sorry that he is not here today, but I would have wanted him to hear this.
What I would urge the Hon. Senator to do is to be slightly more factual.
Hon. Sen. Chipanga accused me of using the word ‘region’ numerous times. After I went through my speech, I calculated that in a thousand words, I used that word three times and it translates to 0.03%. If my performance is that good, that is more than a distinction.
I also want to re-emphasise that in talking about the Zambezi Water Project, I have emphasised the geographical entity. I want to state to this Senate that I am very careful about what I write. I am considered a senior citizen and I cannot afford carelessness and I cannot afford tribalism in this nation. In fact for those who know me, they know that Bheki Sibanda is above that – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear] – I am also sad that Hon. Sen. Chipanga associated my comments with the Matebeleland Liberation Front. I am sad, it brings me to tears. The integrity and solidity of this nation is in my heart. I believe in a unitary state and sincerely believe that we are one. I believe that the distinguishing features between the people of the northern and southern region are unperceivable. You cannot distinguish a Shona person from their features, neither can you distinguish a Ndebele person. Hence, I believe that the idea that we are different people is not only nonsensical but mischievious – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear] –
The last thing I probably want to deal with is the use of our nationalist leaders, both Ndabaningi Sithole and Joshua Nkomo, where it is said that they will turn in their graves because I used the words
‘region’ and ‘our region.’ If you go through my speech, there is no
‘our,’ not a single ‘our region.’ I would like to state here that lilliputian politics would not worry Joshua Nkomo. I speak about Joshua Nkomo because I know him more than Ndabaningi Sithole.
However, I am sure the same would apply to Ndabaningi Sithole. I want to state clearly for lack of doubt, that the things that would make Joshua Nkomo turn in his grave would be the thought of Gukurahundi and the tribalism that we try and push in this country. That reminds me of the 1979 document; those of us who know about it should be ashamed of ourselves as Zimbabweans. A document generated in London by the so-called educated of us, propagating tribalism in this nation. It is sad. The state of the economy and corruption would make Joshua Nkomo turn in his grave if he did. Specifically, the level of violence that we have on each other as Zimbabweans would turn Joshua Nkomo in his grave.
Lastly, I believe that the lack of respect for property rights in this land, which is turning us back, would also make Joshua Nkomo turn in his grave, if indeed he does turn anymore. I am also accused of instigating unnecessary motivation on the people of the southern region by saying that they must claim their economic space. Please, English has migrated. All I am saying is, take your share in the economy and I have no apology for that. Sometimes I have said to people of
Matebeleland, ‘you are not active enough, get up and claim your space.’ That is all I am saying. I am saying to them - I repeat, as far as the Matebeleland Water Project is concerned, they must stand up and claim their entitlement, rather than watch US$15 billion evaporate into thin air – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] – Once again, I am told that I used wrong words, ‘no pain, no gain.’ The pain I am talking about is the pain of having to stand up and claim your right. I am not talking about any other pain. I believe that if people are not sufficiently motivated, somebody must add the aura to motivate them. That is the ‘no pain, no gain’ I am talking about. Mr. President, I thank you and the entire House for listening. I would like to end this debate by saying that – please I beg you as Hon. Senators see me properly, never mistake me for a regionalist or tribalist. I am old enough in this game, it dates back to the Pearce Commission; it transcends the new thinking. It transcends the 1979 document I am talking about, we were not tribalists; we never will be. When we claim development as a region, we are asking for our share of the cake and nothing more – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – Thank you Mr. President. With those words, I move that the motion on the Zambezi Water Project be adopted.
Motion put and agreed to.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
THE MINISTER OF DEFENCE (HON. SEKERAMAYI): I
move that Order of the Day, Number 1 be now re-instated.
Motion put and agreed to.
CONGRATULATORY MESSAGE TO HIS EXCELLENCY THE
PRESIDENT AS CHAIRMAN OF AFRICAN UNION
First Order read: Adjourned debate on motion to congratulate His
Excellency, the President Cde. R. G. Mugabe and the Government of
Zimbabwe on successfully leading the African Union (AU) and
Southern African Development Community (SADC) as Chairperson.
Question again proposed.
*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: Thank you Mr.
President. I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Chief Musarurwa for moving this very important motion. Even though this motion is coming to conclusion, I would like to add a few words. If we ever come across the words ‘successfully leading, leadership quality and national pride’, I just want to emphasise on those phrases. People of Zimbabwe, there are some issues we should unite because if something done is good, we should applaud that. Looking at issues like this, we should applaud one another, even if one of us got a medal, we should congratulate them, not on partisan basis. If we manage to get to such level of politics, I think we will move forward as a nation. That is the corruption we are talking about, if something good is done by someone, we should unite and that which is bad we should fight against it together again.
Like on this issue, Zimbabwe was honoured. Even if a
Zimbabwean is in Mexico, they admire you for coming from a country which is headed by President Mugabe. It does not matter which party you belong to because many people benefit because of this country. We are all honoured out there because of the name Zimbabwe and President
Mugabe’s leadership. The honour that we get as a country, we should not align that to our political parties.
I think the issue of factions in our parties is primitive because we tend to promote wrong people to the wrong positions and this does not make our country prosper. I think we should give credit to people who are good at doing something; not that, that person belongs to your party or faction, but for the sake of moving forward. If Senator Marava is doing well, we should applaud him and congratulate him, it does not matter which party he belongs to.
Therefore, we should all be happy that our President was Chair of
AU because it is for the country; all our identity cards are written Zimbabwe. I think we should get to higher level as Senate because we are adults. This should bind us together, not thinking on partisan basis. If we start giving credit where it is due, we know that we are getting somewhere as a nation.
I was talking to Sen. Tawengwa that in this country there are very educated people but why is our country stagnant? This is because we do not give credit to someone who brings up meaningful proposals if they do not belong where we want. If someone does good and deserves
100%, let that person get it if it is correct, without relating it to politics.
On this issue we should unite for Zimbabwe which was honoured and our President gave us pride. Yesterday we were talking about the
Pan-African University; we were given that because our President was Chair. We are now reaping from his chairmanship and we were given that because the issue of minerals is a hot potato, and it should be given to a country which is strong. In this country we fight for our own natural resources; they think that we can have another revolution in terms of minerals. I think this is good work and on top of that he was honoured to be a rapporteur because he is good, they cannot lose him, he is now close to AU.
The next President should emulate this, whether he is going to be
Chair or rapporteur. We now have a benchmark; he is a role model already. We got dividends from his leadership. With these few words, I support this motion that the people of Zimbabwe should give credit where it is due, no matter one is from which political party. Thank you.
*HON. SEN. CHIEF MUSARURWA: Thank you Mr. President.
Let me start by thanking the President of the Chiefs’ Council, Chief Charumbira for his contribution, in which he concluded this motion, I also take the opportunity Mr. President to withdraw this motion, and thank all the contributors so that the House will adopt it. With distinction, he proposed several changes of doing things in the continent and in the SADC region. Our nation earned the pride which we deserve through the distinguished leadership of our President during his tenure of office. During the debates in this House several Senators conveyed their gratitude, and sentiments to His Excellency the President of Zimbabwe and wished the President many more good years of good leadership and wise counsel.
Some of the Senators who debated, including Sen. Mavhunga who seconded the motion Sen. Mumvuri, Sen. Chimbudzi, Sen. Manyeruke , Sen. Mawire, Sen. Machingaifa, Sen. Musaka, Sen. Komichi, Sen.
Timveos, Sen. Chimanikire, Sen. Tavengwa, Sen. Masuku, Sen. Mohadi, Sen. Goto, Sen. Maluleke, Sen. Marava, and other Senators. There may be other Senators who debated, and I did not mentioned their names, it is not that I have just left them. I would like to thank you all for making contributions on this motion and I am begging this House Hon. President that this motion be adopted. I thank you. –[HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.]-
Motion put that this House –
CONGRATULATES His Excellency the President, Cde. Robert Gabriel Mugabe and the Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe for successfully leading the African Union as its Chairperson;
WARMLY APPRECIATES his distinguished leadership qualities during his tenure in Office, an achievement that has earned the Nation pride:
NOW, THEREFORE, resolves that this House conveys its gratitude and sentiments to His Excellency and the Nation as a whole and wishes our President many more years of good leadership and wise counsel.
Motion put and adopted.
SECOND REPORT OF THE THEMATIC COMMITTEE ON GENDER
AND DEVELOPMENT ON EARLY CHILD MARRIAGES
Fourth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Second Report of the Thematic Committee on Gender and Development on Early Child Marriages.
Question again proposed.
*HON. SEN. MAWIRE: Thank you Mr. President for giving me the opportunity to make this contribution. This is a very important motion which was raised in this House and we are trying to put a stop to early marriages because many people debated against this custom of early marriages, especially to the girl child. When we look at this motion what pains me most is that concerning mothers, it touches them on the wrong side. When they give birth to their baby, they look forward to them having a better life, being married off and being wealthy. In most cases what happens in life is contrary to real life situations in these early marriages. We have had debates for a very long time in Zimbabwe when we were fighting these early child marriages which are prevalent in apostolic churches. We also had some cultures in areas like Chipinge where when there is starvation or hunger in the family, they would marry off the girl child. We thank the leadership which was very aware of the prevalence and it was debated and we now realise that the percentage of churches or religions which practice early marriages is now dwindling especially in areas like Chipinge.
Unfortunately, we have people whom we held in high esteem who were role models who are now marrying these young girls, and when you look around, in rural areas especially - you are told that a 10 or 12 year old girl up to 14 or 15 is married to an elderly man. What we know is that this young girl is not yet mature to have conjugal relationships and is not mature to carry a baby. What is worrying is that male Hon.
Members are now deserting this House when we are debating this motion, but I will address the few man who have remained.
We need to carry this message to the leadership of the country that we stop these early marriages because I can equate them to rape, because you are talking to an innocent girl, a little girl who does not know what is happening, and an immature individual. We are saying we need to hold campaigns throughout the country which are led by men, so that they go to Constituencies or provinces or sections of this country where we know that early marriages are prevalent and we speak against it. My fellow Hon. Members, I am pleading with the menfolk to hear and understand that as women when you men marry off these young girls, especially 12 year old girls it really pains us.
When women try to correct that situation, the men will use the male chauvinist saying that, ‘woman, when you came here you had no child therefore, the child is mine’. You will notice that when these people marry off their girl children, they are given money small monies, meaningless for small things. The same, it is a shame when that little girl is raped by an elderly person. These men will try and fight off the persecution of the offender and they would rather let the offender pay some lobola for the offence which has been committed. Not only is this problem a scourge in Zimbabwe, but in Kenya, we were told that we had people who married small girls, and made them up to 5 in number because he will take the first little girl and jump into bed with her, but this young girl has no experience in sexual relationships and the man divorces this young girl and takes the other until they came to the number of five. These are the problems faced when we talk of early marriages. As women, we are pleading with our men folk to fight these early marriages.
*HON. SEN. MATIIRIRA: Thank you Mr. President for giving
me this opportunity to make my contribution. I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Makore, Chairperson of the Gender Committee who raised this motion for us to debate. This is now a scourge or cancer. It is so difficult and very painful that a girl who is under 18 is married off to some unscrupulous man. There are a lot of reasons given for these early marriages. Some of the reasons were that these are child-headed families and as a result, they will be suffering from hunger and other economic problems. Hence, they prefer running away from these problems by getting married to elderly men.
I thought early child marriages would come to an end as a result of the new policy by Government that stipulates that no child should be married at the age of 18. I feel these should be stopped because an under 18 is not yet mature. When we marry off such a young girl, we have killed the future of this individual. When you look at your children in a properly run home, if there is a girl-child, they grow through all the processes of growth. They go through education, vocational training and mentoring and have a better future. We should bear in mind that the children are the future. The children are the future professionals.
When the Minister of Education was talking about professions and universities, he said we need to have such children in these professions. Also, we have under 18 girls being married off and thus, we are destroying the future of this child, the environment where the child lives and the future of Zimbabwe because they are the future brains which we are destroying. Therefore, we need to go to our constituencies and hold campaigns that will protect these children who are married off because this is a very big problem. The child is married off to a very poor family coming from a bad background and the future of that child is destroyed.
Mr. President, I think we should stop this behaviour. Early marriages should be stopped and terminated forthwith. The girls go into these marriages because of poverty and they get into that marriage thinking they are running away from the poverty in their homes, but this is false. I thank you.
HON. SEN. D.T. KHUMALO: I would like to thank Sen. Makore and his seconder for the motion. We have discussed a lot of things which are a disadvantage to a woman who is married before she is
18 years old. I understand there is the SADC model law which I think
Zimbabwe should also accept and adopt so that we can follow what SADC has put for all the countries to follow and emulate. Among these, we have also heard that in Zimbabwe there are early child marriages. I understand that in Bulawayo, 11% of child marriages happen there. That means in different areas, there are different percentages.
Just to give some of the problems which young girls encounter so that at the end they are married early, I will give an example of three provinces that I have worked in. In Matebeleland North, secondary schools as we all know at 13 years, you are through with your Grade Seven and are supposed to go to secondary school. The secondary schools are very far from home and children come back home very late in the evening. When they come back, my experience when I did an evaluation of one of the programmes, these girls said when they come back at night, they find people already waiting for them. They force them by twisting their hands until they agree. They reach home crying and at the end, the girls submit to sleeping with these men.
I hope now, it is an issue for everybody in this country that we are now saying 18 years and above should be the age of marriage. When we discussed with most of the women who were married around Lupane, most of them said that is how they got married because on their way back from school in the evening, their husband is one of those who used to twist their arms and they accepted because they had no alternative. It is known that a woman who is not educated is worse than a man who is not educated because an educated woman will always encourage the children to be better than her. She will always encourage her community to be a better community. So, we are saying - can we all fight for the education of the girl-child.
In the urban areas, people think child marriage is more in rural areas but even in the urban areas. I had an experience of a girl who got pregnant and was supposed to give birth. She was young and the husband did not want to send her to a hospital. He asked the women in the area to assist her but the girl could not deliver because she was young. She was not mature enough to give birth to a child and that girl passed on. When the girl dies, they will not say it is because complications in child birth but they will come up with something else.
I think all of us have a duty, whether it is in the urban or rural areas, girls are being married off when they are young. Even in urban areas we need to campaign. The schools are there and it is not that the schools are far. Some of them, it is because of their church beliefs. Even those people you talk about as mapostori, even in urban areas they are there and they are causing the same harm which is being done in the rural areas. The campaign for the understanding of the need of a girl child to mature should be everywhere in urban and rural areas.
The other disappointing aspect I observed in the urban areas was the issue of two roomed core houses. These two roomed houses comprise of a kitchen and a bedroom. If there are boys in this home, the girls would normally sleep in the same room as their mother and father. When we were doing the evaluation, these girls intimated that you were saying we are exposed to too much television, no we are taught by our parents who sometimes think we are fast asleep when we are not. We know what is happening and we also want to experience what they are experiencing. There is need for Government to upgrade these two roomed houses to bigger houses so that privacy at homes is not compromised. That is what the girls told us that it is not the television that exposes them to early sexual experiences but the situation at their homes. Once these girls experience sex at a tender age then there is a problem.
Again if a woman is not educated poverty is easily passed from one generation to the next. It is very important that we all fight for the girls to get a good education so that they grow up. As legislators, we should fight for BEAM to be funded so that those who cannot afford may be given an opportunity to access good education. Most
HIV/AIDS orphans are the major ones who are not going to school. In Matabeleland region, the brothers of the deceased will always say they do not want to look as if they are failing to provide for the orphans. They do not want to go and ask for money. They want to pretend they can afford. We need to fight this false pretence all of us so that orphans are provided with money, with social welfare or BEAM so that they do not drop out of school.
Finally, I would want to say that when the girls are married early, it is due to the reason that there is need of money in this family. She has no profit in that transaction. So why do we accept girls to be married early? Yes, there is payment of lobola but in my culture, lobola is not paid in full at once. It is paid in installments and she will work towards the payment of that lobola when she is not educated. It is not fair for the young girls who are not educated and employed. If the girl child is educated and pays for her lobola, it does not matter but the uneducated girl will fight to pay lobola for herself. There is need for us to say no to marriages of women who are not educated because they are going to suffer forever. I thank you.
+HON. SEN. JUBA: I would want to make my contribution on this motion especially on the issue discussed by Hon. Sen. Khumalo of two roomed core houses. We have an instance whereby a sister was impregnated by her brother because they were sharing the same room. The grandmother died because she was shocked by such an incident which is taboo.
I remember when we were growing up, we were taught that whenever anybody fondles you, you go and report to your parents. I know that we are in changing times. In my neighbourhood, there were young girls who used to spy on adult men at a particular house and on the fourth time, the girls would get into that home exposing themselves to the abuse by men. I think as parents we have a problem with the way we nurture our children because when we were growing up, our grandmothers would hit us if we played around with boys.
These days we now have kids on our streets who lay in a compromising position in order to attract men and in the end, get unplanned pregnancies and they dump those children on the streets. In the long run, Government has a problem in taking care of these street people. It is so painful to see something like this; we need to take care of our children. We need to be aware of who our children play with and what they do. We have noticed that even our little girls, because of loose morals which are inculcated in them by the environment may also fondle older men and beg for money. In other words, they know that they will be paid.
I am saying that as parents, we need to give guidance and tell our children especially the girl child that this person is a scorpion with a string that causes these problems. When the child has been impregnated and comes home, you ask that child who is responsible for the pregnancy and to tell the truth, she will not be able to tell because she would have been sleeping around with almost all the men. When you take them before a court, they will tell you that the girl was indulging in sex with John and Peter and therefore the court is left mesmerized. We should know that if people are housed in the same place they are definitely attracted to each other and we need to avoid this. At times these little girls we see in the streets are sleeping on the pavements and they are exposing their breasts and private parts and this is the same with the boys. What we need to do is to work hard and work on controlling our children so that they are well cultured.
As a result of the shameless situation which we find ourselves, a nine year old girl will indulge in sexual activities with adult men. When we were growing up, we were told that we should avoid men as much as you can because we were told that when you play with mature men, as soon as they see you they get an erection and when they get that erection they will not have any control of themselves, but you would have been spoiled. Think of the future of the girl child and think of the future of the country. I thank you.
HON. SEN. MOHADI: Thank you Mr. President of the Senate,
my debate is going to be very short. I just want to thank the Chairman of the Thematic Committee which brought this report in this august Senate. Mr. President, the issue..
THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE (HON.
SEN. TAWENGWA): Hon. Sen. Mohadi, I am informed that you contributed on this motion.
HON. SEN. MOHADI: I did not.
THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: It is on
HON. SEN. MOHADI: It was a motion which was brought by someone but on this motion, I have not debated on it.
THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: They
will check and I will allow you to debate it tomorrow. Thank you very much.
*HON. SEN. MURWIRA: Thank you Mr. President of the Senate for giving me the opportunity to make my contribution on this motion raised by Hon. Makore regarding early child marriages especially those below the age of 18.
Mr. President Sir, this is a painful situation especially with us mothers when our little girls are married before maturing. In the past this was a custom which was practiced by the apostolic sect. A 12 year old would be married to a 90 year old man in that religious sect, but we thank the Government for enacting legislation which says no under 18 should be married. We are saying if that child is married early because of immaturity, they quickly run to their parent’s home after staying in that immature marriage for a short time. I am pleading with the menfolk in Zimbabwe that they should no lavish themselves on the little girls. I am also pleading with the parents to take care of our girl children.
The most important thing is they have to advance in their education because if they are denied of their education they think they can run off from poverty by being married and have a good life. If you have educated them they will have a sense of selection. An uneducated and a 12 year old, if given some US$10 they think they have been given a large sum of money because they are immature. I am saying as Government, if a man marries a young girl, that person should be convicted and be given a very heavy sentence which will be a deterrent to other men who want to follow suit.
Also as mothers we need to have women in leadership positions but if these young girls are married at such an early age, nobody will take up these high posts in the future. There is need to enact a law which says a man convicted of marrying a young girl should receive a very heavy penalty, incarceration and punishment which will act as a deterrent to other menfolk.
*HON. SEN. MABUGU: Thank you Mr. President of the Senate for giving me this opportunity to make my contribution on early marriages, especially the girl child. This is a very painful exercise because we noticed that there are a lot of reasons which lead to these early marriages. I will mention but just a few, some of them are because of culture. When an aunt or sister dies, the widower if he is a rich one is given a young girl from the deceased’s family to marry so that he will not marry from another family who will enjoy that wealth which had been amassed with the help of the deceased sister or aunt. As a result the child is going to safeguard that marriage.
There is going to be violence in that marriage because the child is still immature and when a male visitor comes to such a home, the husband is so jealous and he will keep on fighting that girl abusing her because he will think the visitor will love that girl. The girl is also exposed to cervical cancer because she is exposed to sexual activities at such an early age, hence she has to be protected. The child has been denied the right to education and is going to be somebody who will live an oppressive life, no future and yet if she has had the chance to go to school, she would have a brighter future and have a better life for herself, family and the nation.
The other reason why these children marry early is because they are orphans and the care givers or guardians will also be poor. They cannot afford to look after the orphans and their own children and as a result they prefer denying the orphans right to education. If that young girl stays at home she feels she can run away from poverty by going to early marriages and by so doing she is destroying her future. We plead with the Government, if there are such orphans who are exposed to such vagaries of poverty, the Government should step in and give them assistance, especially in accessing education.
The third reason for early marriages is that these children experiment themselves from the lessons which they learn in biology. They want to experiment and research, and in the end they practice what they have been studying. This will result in unwanted pregnancy and therefore the girl child has to drop out of school but the boy child will continue with his education. When that young girl gives birth, she has to look after that infant. By the time the child grows up so that the mother can go to school, the parents will have no interest in taking that child back to school or on the other hand, because that child has tasted, she has lived that mature life, she will feel she cannot go back to school because it will be a shame. She will be mocked by other students at school because this would have happened when they are trying to put into practice what they learnt in Biology. At times it may happen that the young man may not be able to continue with his education because of poverty even if when they are together, they cannot continue with education.
I also would like to encourage Government that we hold awareness campaigns, especially amongst the youth in all the areas where we can find them. They receive education for life and we also give education to their parents that they should avoid these early marriages. We need to have counsellors, we need to have motivators, we need to have these educators against these early marriages. I am saying, as members of this august House, the Senate, we need to hold these campaigns when we are holding our meetings because we are influential. We have people who voted us into power, therefore we can disseminate that information and say no to early marriages.
I am pleading with the men that despite the fact that you have a lot of monies, you abuse that money in enticing these little girls so that you abuse them sexually and when you impregnate them, you have destroyed their life and at times you bring them into a polygamous marriage. They become the third wife or at times they are what is colloquially called a small house whereby, that little girl is rented some flatlet where she stays being abused by the elderly man and yet the life has been destroyed.
I thank Hon. Makore for bringing up this motion which is to fight early marriages. I thank you.
HON. SEN. MASUKU: Mr. President, I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. MARAVA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 18th August, 2016.
On the motion of HON. SEN. MASUKU, seconded by HON. SEN. MARAVA, the Senate adjourned at Twenty Five minutes past
Four o’clock p.m.