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SENATE HANSARD 18 MAY 2021 VOL 30 NO 39

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Tuesday, 18th May, 2021.

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE

BILL RECEIVED FROM THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I have to inform the Senate that I have received the Centre for Education Innovation Research and Development Bill, [H. B. 1A, 2020] from the National Assembly.

THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR MASHONALAND EAST PROVINCE (HON. MUNZVERENGWI): Madam President, I move that Orders of the Day 1 to 5 be stood over, until the rest of the Orders of the Day have been disposed of.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE 2021 VIRTUAL HEARINGS AT THE UNITED NATIONS ON FIGHTING CORRUPTION TO RESTORE TRUST IN GOVERNMENT AND IMPROVE DEVELOPMENT PROSPECTS

Sixth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the report of the 2021 virtual Parliamentary hearing at the United Nations.

Question again proposed.

There being few Hon. Senators in the House.

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: If I may ask, where are the other Hon. Members of the Senate?  I have seen other Members saying they are on virtual, but we cannot start going on virtual before we fill the Chamber.

HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA: Thank you Madam President. There is an HIV Committee that has gone out on outreach, that is why we have a few Hon. Senators today.

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I do not think that takes more than half of the Members.  Let us continue.

*HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: Thank you Madam President.  I want to support the report which was brought in by Hon. Sen. Muzenda. I want to say a few words on fighting corruption to restore confidence in the public.  This motion is very pertinent because when a country has so much corruption, only a few people will be benefiting at the expense of the majority.  We are grateful for that meeting because they have seen that this is affecting the development of many countries.  So this gathering will help us because if they do not meet and talk about corruption, we would not have any development.  This will lead to people losing trust in their Governments.  I want to give gratitude for the report which was brought by Senator Muzenda because many countries are now engaging each other and bringing out many things about corruption.

I know where there is corruption, there would not be any peace in the country.  Normally, one person will be blamed for corruption while he/she is not at the centre of it.  I think as Zimbabwe, we must agree with that report because corruption is rampant in our country.  If there is no corruption, Government projects will improve people’s lives.  I want to thank Hon. Sen. Muzenda for bringing this report, because it keeps us on our toes in trying to combat corruption so that the projects of the country like construction of roads, schools, hospitals and bridges will be accomplished.

If there is corruption in the country, we will not make any progress in those projects. I want to thank the Hon. Sen. for bringing in that report. We must take it seriously so that we end corruption and move forward as a country.  I thank you Mr. President.

*HON. SEN. MOEKETSI: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to contribute in this Senate.  This is a very good motion which was moved by Hon. Sen. Muzenda, her intention was to reprimand us so that we desist from corrupt activities.  I would like to thank His Excellency the President.  Since he enacted the law of putting behind bars all those who are involved in corrupt activities, we have seen action on the ground.  

Mr. President, Zimbabwe is a very beautiful country.  In some of the areas that we visited, some of the schools were built just one block, it does not mean he was given an amount enough to build just one block, some of the money was squandered.  It is our wish that our President must continue to be firm and tough so that we have economic prosperity.  We are sinking this country because of corrupt tendencies by certain corrupt individuals who disguise themselves as development partners or people who are so keen on development, whereas they are thieves.

There is nothing that is as ugly as someone who deceives those who trust him with developmental work.  There are a lot of things that have been said by the previous speaker.  That is not the only thing, people are stealing farming implements, people are taking inputs and giving them to girlfriends, nothing is finding itself on the farms and nothing is finding itself under the soil.  People are using these resources to give to their girlfriends.  It is during this period that we see a lot of funny behaviour.  These are people who took oath and said they can do some of things that they were tasked to do.  People are destroying themselves and this country.  I continue to reiterate the fact that the President must be firm, he must not be afraid even those who are elderly, if they are corrupt, let them be send behind bars.  If they are corrupt what will the young ones learn from such behaviour?  Let it be a lesson and despite their age let them go behind bars.

It is my wish that we come together as the Upper House that we uphold this motion.  This is meant to safeguard us because we are destroying our future.   Even those who want to come to this country they will be afraid even when we have the resources, but it is because of our bad image that people are afraid to visit us.  People are being given the opportunity and then they destroy it and if then the President brings the Chinese people to help what people are good at saying is that he is wrong.  With these few words I thank you.

*HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA: Thank you very much Mr. President for giving me the opportunity to contribute on the motion brought in this Senate by Hon. Sen. Muzenda with regards to safeguarding our country on those who are corrupt.  The issue of corruption is a pertinent issue; - we need to safeguard our country against such tendencies of corrupt activities.

When it comes to corruption, we have quite a number of individuals and it is my thinking that those caught on the wrong side of the law and are corrupt - people should not spend much time in the courts of law.  They should be punished without delay. Corruption hinders development in this country.

We should look closely on the issue of corruption.  All departments, as I see it, and I have always said that boys and girls and Hon. Ministers who were chosen by the President might be doing their job very well, but the problem is that of corruption. Where we saw corruption rampant was through the Pfumvudza Programme. Fertilizer was diverted and it never reached its destination. Fertilizer was being sold to individuals who did not deserve it. Let us make a follow-up on everyone who received these resources to say, did they utilise these resources? If not, these were corrupt tendencies and action should be taken.

In our rural areas, there are long detailed messages which were brought to our attention. We should look closely at counsellors – those who are entrusted with leadership in our communities whether they are doing it? A lot of departments should engage in monitoring and evaluation. If they manage to achieve that part, I think that with the motion that was brought by Hon. Muzenda, we would be able to get rid of corruption totally. If we are able to do that, some were caught in very ugly corruption cases but up to this day, we have not seen anything that has been done to them and no action has been taken on these individuals.

These people are wondering, gallivanting without anything being done to them. Let us have individuals we can have reference to, who are corrupt that we should point to and have them get arrested and put behind bars. Those should work as an example to the general public. Even our roads that we are using, there is a lot that is happening. Let there be a way and as a people and as a country, we want our country to develop and move forward. With these few words that I have contributed, I would like to say thank you.

*HON. SEN. MURONZI: Thank you Mr. President for affording me this opportunity to add my voice on the report which was tabled by Hon. Sen. Muzenda in this House. My own view is that we should come up with a very strong law to protect whistle blowers. I think we will go a long way. People are afraid of being witnesses and some even take videos but for you to articulate it, you will be afraid of being victimised. This country is not in good state and things are not going on well. Even at the border there is security but people are crossing illegally.

The soldiers are being given bribes. Even during the time of Covid, we know people who would press to go and buy shoes, the soldiers would help those illegal border jumpers to bring in their things. I do not know whether this is because of poor remuneration which people are getting in Zimbabwe. If you look everywhere there is corruption. Yesterday with the Gender Committee, we were with women farmers. What they said was disturbing because they were saying they did not get tractors even from the time of Dr. Gono, and even up to now with this Pfumvudza, they have not benefitted anything. They were supposed to benefit the laptops but they did not get them.

Everywhere even in the highways, the Wish cars are just passing by the road-blocks because they pay bribes. We have rampant corruption and this is why we cannot go any further because even at VID, people are buying licences. So Mr. President, I have seen that if we come up with strong laws of protecting whistle blowers who witness where corruption is taking place, I think everything will be so clear. Thank you for affording me this opportunity.

^^HON. SEN. MOHADI:  Thank you President of the Senate.  Allow me to thank Hon. Sen. Muzenda who brought in this motion to this House, not forgetting the President of the country who always speaks against corruption.  When I look at the issue of corruption, the question is what are we doing about corruption?  This is what we are supposed to be asking ourselves.  Corruption is not done by an individual.  Two or three people are involved.  Each and everyone is involved in one way or the other.  We should be found taking action against corrupt activities.  I come from Beitbridge where we have the border between South Africa and Zimbabwe.  For example, our road from the border is 5 km to the intersection of Bulawayo and Harare.  This road has taken more than 15 years and it is not yet complete.  No work is done with allegations that there is no more money.

On the issue of COVID-19, which is a global pandemic and we need to protect ourselves, when we want to go to South Africa, people have to be tested by authorised hospitals but those permits are now fake.  There are private companies that produce these certificates illegally.  How?  We do not understand.  Mr. President, instead of controlling the pandemic, it is being spread due to corruption.

Now, looking at this issue of COVID-19, right now we are faced with this global pandemic which we need to protect ourselves against at all cost.  Because the Beitbridge Border is still closed, there are people who are writing fake COVID certificates and giving negative results, yet no tests would have been done.  This is done so as to allow people to cross the border to buy whatever they want.

Mr. President Sir, looking at the border area, with regards to tax revenues that we are supposed to get as a country, we are not getting those because of corruption, hence our Government fails to get revenue.  Not only that Mr. President.  With regards to issues of job opportunities, there are companies that employ people and you would realise that an individual goes to present about ten people that he or she is aligned to.   The other individual takes their 20 people that they are aligned to, grand children, uncles, cousins and take them there without any qualifications.  At the end of the day, that particular company employs people that are not qualified.

Mr. President, it is my plea that all of us become police officers.  I have not seen or heard of one MP reporting issues around corruption.  We have a duty of helping our society. It is not the country’s President alone who is supposed to denounce corruption.  We need to help our President to make sure that corruption is reduced in this country.

Another issue is that these perpetrators of corruption should be apprehended and given long sentences and not to let the culprits go without being sentenced.  I urge all the legislators in here to come up with a policy to make sure that if one is apprehended due to corruption involving money, once that money has been reimbursed, it should be put into tangible projects like building schools, clinics or mothers’ waiting shelters.

Mr. President, there is an issue with regards to monitoring and evaluation. There should be serious monitoring in activities that will be carried out so that we really see progress in these projects.  There should be follow ups so that whoever would want to be involved in corruption knows that they will be arrested and this will deter them.  If we do not do this Mr. President, we will not be able to fight corruption in our country.  Let us fight it and make sure that there is peace and unity in our country.  With these few words, I thank you for affording me this opportunity to add my voice on this motion.

*HON. SEN. CHIEF NTABENI:  Thank you Hon. President for the motion that was brought in this House by Hon. Muzenda on corruption.  Corruption Mr. President, we do not know how we can get rid of this cancerous behaviour.  We used to hear these things coming from Nigeria that they make fake passports and do these corrupt activities.  For now, we are confused on what could be the main reason for these corrupt activities.

In the rural areas, we are losing a lot.  I am not reporting this case to you but I lost 17 cattle and we wonder how they move around without a letter.  They went just like that; not even a trace.  This is the corruption that we are talking about. In the rural areas, we have donkeys.  They are the ones we use for transportation and we depend on them because we are poverty stricken.

I do not know about the police Hon. President.  If there is a mine that is said to be thriving, you see soldiers and police officers inside that particular mine.  Where do we report to?  If you go to a police camp, you find only two policemen.  It is pointless to go there and report, you just find two people.  Who is then going to arrest the policemen?  Honesty, where we are going is unknown.  These children we are raising are thieves.  Technology has brought corrupt officials.  Fake permits are designed and things go just like that, I do not know honestly Hon.  President.  The formers speaker has said the truth.  Even drivers of these small cars are corrupt.  Corruption is everywhere; those we expect to fix corruption are into it.  Not all of them, but it is my wish that we find a suitable solution to this issue.  Thank you Mr. President.

*HON. SEN. CHINAKE: Thank you Mr. President.  I want to thank Senator Muzenda for bringing in the report on corruption.  We want to know about these meetings they hold outside the country, what type of resolutions do they come up with because corruption in Africa is so rampant.  It is like the graph is going up.  Here is Zimbabwe, if you go into the city, it is corruption everywhere, if you go to the farms, in the cities, banks, councils - you find that it is corruption everywhere.

Mr. President, on this other day here, we talked about touts who were not treating people well and Police said they do not have transport.  We cannot understand the distance between town and Mbare which someone cannot go.  If you go to Showground, there are a lot of touts there, even if you pass through town, you see many touts, they are everywhere.  If we cannot remove the touts in our country, what else are we good at, it is corruption everywhere!

Mr. President, for a country to be well, I think those who steal money should be urged to return the money back.  It is not good for our President to go out with a begging bowl when people will have stolen it. So, people should be prosecuted.  Those who were involved in shoddy deals are with their families, they are walking scot free and they are many.  So even those who want to prosecute them, they will end up saying should we prosecute them because nothing is being done.  I think we are sinking deep in corruption.

Mr. President, it is also there in schools because if you cannot bribe a teacher, your child will not learn.  So, it is corruption everywhere.  We have said a lot in this House but nothing is changing.  If you do not pay US$10 for your child to have extra lessons in the same class with the same teacher, your child will not learn anything but that teacher is being paid by the Government.  So, I do not know where to report to. Last year, because of Covid, schools were closed but all the parents paid school fees for children who were seated at home.  We do not know the reason.  That is corruption.

Mr. President, corruption is rampant.  If you go on the roads, there are so many roads which are 60 or 70 kilometers but you will find that only 5 kilometers have been resurfaced.  We do not know where that money went to.  It is corruption everywhere.  If you visit clinics, if you do not know anyone there, you will not be treated well. So I do not know Mr. President what kind of law we can put in place so that this corruption is dealt with.  Yes, we can talk about a lot of things, but corruption is just too much.  We cannot chase away all the police officers and soldiers, but I think we should chase away the irresponsible bosses - they are the ones who supervise.

Mr. President, if you report your case to the supervisors that the junior has been involved in corruption, no action is taken.  So the senior officers are the ones who are sending the juniors to be corrupt on the roads.  Mr. President, illegal combis are finding their way into town.  Long back, you would find the V.I.D on the roads from Monday to Friday but today you find that V.I.D is always on the road, nothing is happening, they are looking for money.

The other thing that causes corruption is that the laws are too stringent for example.  If you are too harsh to your child at home, things that you do not want your child to do, that child will do it.  Let us make our life easy.  For example if you say a person should pay 100 dollars fine on the road, the police will say, ‘give me $20 and I will let you free’.  Let us lower our fines for people to be able to pay.  Maybe the police are not being remunerated well, but all of us are getting RTGs.  Long back, ZESA used not to have so many divisions but we do not know why they came up with so many divisions.  I think it is corruption because every new division is headed by a Director and Deputy Director, who were given cars.  If we remove those things, do you think ZESA will stop from operating?   This is all because of corruption, they want to engage in nepotism.

Mr. President, if these debates that we engage in - if they are heard and things implemented, probably we would end corruption, but you find that from 2018 when we started, very few things have been implemented.  We do not know whether that is corruption, we do not even know where we are going.  Even if people make a follow up, we just say they are in the offices, nothing is moving.  I think we should rectify that - that whatever we speak in here, like this Senate, we are mature, we debate for 21 days and then it takes four to five years without implementing, then we wonder what were we debating.  With these few words, Mr. President, I say we do not know how to end corruption but the whole of Africa is now in the corruption mode.  The borders are open to everyone, even where there are restrictions but you will find that people are crossing.  People who bring in second hand clothes are being prosecuted but why prosecute them while those things are coming through our borders and they are destroying our factories?  The Government does not allow second hand clothes to be imported but they are all over this country.  We do not want to bring our President to shame because at the end, the bark stops with him since he is the leader.  Let us help each so that whatever we point out should be rectified and that the police can listen.  If it is the Commissioner of the Police, he should be talked to.  Thank you Mr. President.

+HON. SEN. D.M. NDLOVU: Thank you Mr. President for the opportunity you gave me.  I feel so much pain with the level of corruption in Zimbabwe.  What pains me the most is that corruption in Zimbabwe is so high in Government departments where we expect people to be reporting to, but they have become the pool of corruption.  I say this because I have seen this with my own eyes and have heard with my ears.

Firstly, we get coupons here to access fuel at CMED.  You get there and they do not know who you are. They will tell you that there is no fuel but you will see someone being given drums of fuel.  They will tell you that it belongs to him since he paid for it last week.  If you ask them to remain with your coupons so that you will get fuel next time, they will say that it is not allowed.  When you show them Parliament identification, they will apologise and then you will be served.  Sometimes you think twice whether to identify yourself or not because you will also be promoting corruption or you can be attacked later.

There are so many people who were caught because of corruption but the cases seem to die a natural death when they say they are investigating.  When people hear that someone who was involved in corruption was arrested, people rejoice but the trial will be postponed continuously.  Later on, you will hear that the docket disappeared.  I have never heard anyone who was prosecuted for corruption and nailed or maybe I missed that out.

What I think Government where we belong to, I encourage our Government to prosecute whoever is involved in corruption regardless of their positions because this will deter other people to engage in corrupt activities.  Sometimes the only charge that they get is to be transferred from one Ministry to another.  If you go to Local Government, people are paying for housing stands.  People rush to pay because they will be told that stands will be repossessed.  As I speak, there are some who have been paying for stands for over eight years but they have not been given anything.  What they are getting now are threats that those stands will be sold to other people and you will be refunded the money that was paid in those years.  They want them to continue paying.  Is this not corruption? Where then should people go?

If they go to the police, as one Member who spoke before me said, one policeman would say go away from here.  You just come here to report such useless issues, then we get to wonder why people have paid for those stands yet they do not get the actual stands.  They were only given stand numbers. Is this not a level of corruption that does not even need investigation?

When we are driving, policemen do it brazenly. They will say, I just want a little from you then you can proceed.  When I was travelling from South Africa after getting injured, at the border they asked me to pay money.  They also said the road was full of thorns, so it needed to be pruned, otherwise I could not pass through.  I requested to see the person who was saying that.  After realising who was in the car, they then told the driver that he was carrying people who do not pay. He was asked to just go and apologise to me.  To my surprise, there was a policeman and a soldier close by.  I do not know what we can do to stop corruption but it is very rife in Government departments.  What sort of country can it be if we do not address this issue?

Yes, in this country we are affected by sanctions but the biggest sanctions we have in this country is corruption.   Government departments are churning out a lot of funds meant for development but that money is being diverted along the way.  For example, my home is in Nkayi.  The Nkayi road is dangerous.  We cannot even call it a road.  We would rather call it a death trap road because the road is full of huge potholes and there is no tar at all.  Cars sway out and into the road, up and down as people strive to go.  If you get a tyre puncture, you get attacked by illegal panners.  Most people do not get to their destinations.  That road has been there for over 30 years.  So, why is that road not being repaired?  The road is not very long like the Victoria Falls/Beitbridge, one but it is in very bad shape. We were once young and now we are old and that road is still not repaired.  When tollgates were introduced, we rejoiced because we thought that our roads were going to improve but now the roads have become worse than what they were before the introduction of tollgates.  Where is the tollgates money going to?  It is supposed to repair roads but it is being abused instead of repairing roads.  We call for the enactment of deterrent laws to stop corruption.

Some people are just moved from where they were working when they engage in corruption to somewhere.  Is that addressing corruption? We also realised that corruption is now rampant in young children.  Young children are making parents pay for some of the things that they do not deserve to pay for.  What will become of these children when they grow up? If corruption is not controlled, I cannot imagine what will become of this country.  The only thing that we need to do is enact strong laws. I thank you.

HON. SEN. SEKERAMAYI: Mr. President, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA:  I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 19th May, 2021.

MOTION

ADOPTION OF THE REPORT OF THE PRIVILEGES COMMITTEE INVESTIGATING CASES OF ALLEGED MISCONDUCT BY MDC-ALLIANCE MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT

Seventh Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the Privileges Committee investigating cases of alleged misconduct by MDC Alliance Members of Parliament.

Question again proposed.

HON. SEN. SEKERAMAYI: Mr. Speaker, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 19th May, 2021.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE THEMATIC COMMITTEE ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS (SDGs) ON VELD FIRE MANAGEMENT

Eighth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the Thematic Committee on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on veld fire management.

Question against proposed.

*HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: Thank you Mr. President for affording me this opportunity to support the report by Hon. Sen. Chief Mtshane in line with veld fires.  I want to thank him and his Committee for their insight which they give us as the generality of Zimbabweans by bringing out the dangers of veld fires because we are having challenges with veld fires.  The country of Zimbabwe is facing challenges being caused by veld fires.  We know that veld fires are a danger to the community, wild animals and people’s lives are in danger. One day I was coming from Parliament, going to Bindura. There is a place called Hunter’s Road and there was a veld fire. Traffic came to a stand-still and by the side of the road there was a dead body of a man who had died because the road was blocked with smoke. He did not see the road and was involved in a car accident.

These fires are caused by people with five senses but they will be trying to hunt rabbits. I think we should empower our chiefs so that they are given more powers to control veld fires. We know that everyone in this country is under a chief and chiefs know how to control their areas against veld fires. The other thing that I see is that in Zimbabwe people belittle the laws of the country because we do not have stiffer penalties for those who cause veld fires. Maybe it is because they pay a penalty of RTGs15 and this makes people not value the laws of the land.

As parliamentarians, we should make noise about it and scrutinise laws on our forests. If they are no longer applicable, we should repeal them so that people are afraid to commit crime. In Zimbabwe, Mashonaland Central tops when it comes to veld fires. We should be number one in terms of development. Even if our chiefs are working very hard, our children are not following what the chiefs are saying because some of the fires are lit in the night. Our country is very beautiful and our rivers are beautiful, this is what attracts tourists here in Zimbabwe because some just visit to come and view our mountains.

We are fighting tourism in this country and we are not getting tourists. Our rivers are drying up because the grass would have been burnt and it is causing siltation into the rivers. Our wild animals and domesticated animals are dying because of lack of water and lack of food as well. We should have stiffer penalties and convict people so that when after conviction they will not do it again. I also want to thank Hon. Sen. Chief Mtshane and his Committee that they did a good job as a country that we should look closely at what should be rectified. We do not support veld fires because it is a death trap.

In my area, a 90 year old woman died because she could not run away from the veld fire and it is very disturbing. We should be united in the fight against veld fires. I also urge the Ministry of Environment to help us in understanding their laws, especially in the resettlements. I think they should come up with fire guard committees in the rural areas and resettlements - those who will be our watchmen when it comes to veld fires, and  I think  this will really help us. I want to thank Hon. Sen. Chief Mtshane for the work which he did on veld fires. Thank you Mr. President.

HON. SEN. CHIEF MTSHANE: Thank you Mr. President. I move that the debate do now adjourn.

HON. SEN. MOHADI: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 19th May, 2021.

On the motion of THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR MASHONALAND EAST PROVINCE (HON. MUNZVERENGWI), the Senate adjourned at Twelve Minutes to Four o’clock p.m. 

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