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SENATE HANSARD 1 OCTOBER 2013 VOL. 23 NO. 06
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Tuesday, 1st October, 2013.
The Senate met at Half-past Two O’clock p.m.
(THE DEPUTY PRESIDENT in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE DEPUTY PRESIDENT
CORRECTION OF SENATORS’ SPEECHES
THE DEPUTY PRESIDENT: I wish to remind hon. senators of
the following: drafts of Senators for inclusion in the Hansard will be forwarded to Senators in the Senate within an hour of the speeches for corrections. Senators are requested to correct the speeches and return them to the Hansard Department immediately. The corrections should be restricted to grammar and spelling mistakes only.
THE DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Senators who speak in vernacular
are requested to speak slowly and to make pauses; this allows interpreters to capture and interpret Senators’ speeches correctly.
SWITCHING OFF OF CELLPHONES
THE DEPUTY PRESIDENT: May I advise hon. senators to
switch off their cellphones before business commences.
PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS
First Order Read: Adjourned debate on the motion in reply to the Presidential Speech.
Question again proposed.
SENATOR TAWENGWA: Thank you Mr. President, I rise to contribute on the motion moved by Hon. Sen. Mutsvangwa and seconded by Hon. Sen. Mumvuri. I also want to thank all those who contributed before me.
At this juncture, allow me Mr. President to congratulate you and
Madam President Madzongwe for having been elected as Presiding
Officers of this august Senate. Mr. President, the address by His
Excellency, The President Cde R.G. Mugabe on the occasion of the
Official Opening of the First Session of the Eighth Parliament of Zimbabwe on the 17th of September, 2013, charts the way forward for the nation, the expected performance of Government in particular, the acceleration of development, economic prosperity and change of work ethics must top our agenda as Zimbabweans if we are to deliver.
Mr. President Sir, as we are all aware, His Excellency Cde. R.G
Mugabe is a:
- Freedom Fighter
- A committed fearless revolutionary;
- A man who defends Zimbabwe and has contributed so much
to the nation;
- A man who believes in National Identity, pride and dignity;
- The empowerer of the downtrodden;
- A man who has opened doors for women and youths who have ventured into farming, mining, sport, arts and business in general;
- A man fulfilling the ideals of the Chimurengas.
As such, we should follow his footsteps in fulfilling the aspirations, hopes, expectations and desires of Zimbabweans, some of which are:
- Poverty alleviation and eradication;
- Improved housing delivery;
- Employment – self otherwise;
- Quality delivery of affordable health services;
- Clean portable water;
- Three meals a day;
- An acceptable level of service delivery from Government and Local Authorities as a tier of
- Economic prosperity;
- Quality Education;
- Fighting corruption.
Men, women, youths, those with disabilities, the destitute, the aged, War Veterans, Detainees, Restrictees, Collaborators and the generality of the Zimbabweans want to be part of the empowerment of this country and have put their faith in us. Our strength must be harnessed in order to address the above issues and others. Let us all join hands, put body and soul together in fighting corruption and all other ills in our country.
We have to prosper as a nation and be champions of empowerment in order to secure a lasting solution to the Zimbabwean peoples’ plight.
Let us be owners of our economy and benefit from our God given resources.
Ownership and means of production firmly in the hands of the majority, Mr. President is wealth creation. We must believe in ourselves and give 100%.
Mr. President, on the issue of agriculture, Zimbabweans by nature are hard working farmers and all that is required is to proffer ways to resolve various issues pertaining to agriculture; that is:
- Timeous delivery of inputs
- Pricing policy and timely announcements of pre-season producers prices, ( just to see what has happened to the white gold (cotton) due to pricing and the downstream industries);
- Role of the financial sector in order to access affordable credit facilities for the purchase of inputs and equipment
- Timeous payment after delivery;
- Water harvesting for irrigation;
- Restocking in terms of livestock
- Protection of the local industry against imports; Need for skills training in specialised areas.
Mr. President, we are however very proud of our tobacco farmers whose progress is self evident, agriculture’s greater impact will manifest over time. We are also happy to note that Government is importing agricultural machinery and equipment.
Mr. President, I want to thank His Excellency Cde. R. G. Mugabe for focusing on the resuscitation, revival and recapitalisation of industry as this will create the much needed employment. There is also need to protect our industries from imports which are sub-standard and of poor quality. There is also need to increase our power generation, and this area needs urgent attention if our industry is to survive. Mr. President, every now and then we read and we see pictures of ghastly gory, unnecessary accidents caused by un-road worthy overloaded, speeding vehicles which cause unnecessary deaths on our roads. This wanton carnage should be prevented and we appeal to the relevant authorities to take charge.
It is also upon the Government to provide a reliable public transport system which is user-friendly and caters for people with disabilities. However, let me take this opportunity to applaud Government in the current progress on the dualisation of our major roads.
Mr. President, I urge all Zimbabweans to speak in unison against the illegal sanctions imposed on our country Zimbabwe. Sanctions are causing a lot of suffering, loss of lives, stunted industrial growth and unemployment, thereby affecting the general welfare of our people. We should all say no to the illegal sanctions.
Mr. President, let me briefly touch on service delivery by local authorities. I pray that those who were elected to serve in local authorities are doers, worker bees, servants of all works and true servants of the people. People are suffering out there, spending the whole day on pavements and road sides while trying to sell their wares. They play cat and mouse with the municipal police. At night, the same people spend hours in queues for water, the precious liquid. The responsible authorities should provide suitable sites for these innocent Zimbabweans so that they have a suitable place from which to sell their wares. They should also provide alternative water points or water tanks. They should also clear the rotting refuse and garbage on our streets, mend roads and provide clean water and acceptable level of service delivery.
Mr. President, may I register my concern on the continued poor performance by parastatals and also welcome the strict adherence to performance based contracts. Those who do not perform should just quit. Madam President, may I also bring to the attention of this Senate, the plight of some former employees of our parastatals. These former employees are now destitute and wallowing in poverty, yet they are owed thousands of dollars by their former employers. Air Zimbabwe and ZISCO Steel, just to name a few, should urgently address former employees’ concerns.
Mr. President, I pray that the hon. Minister of Finance will allocate Constituency Development Funds (CDF) to senators to enable us to directly participate in the enhancement of the lives of people in our constituencies. Can you imagine how many boreholes my Chief who is next to me here, or other chiefs would have drilled in their constituencies and also the sudden change of lives for the hewers of food and drawers of water? They can even build dip tanks over the next five years. Therefore, let us all lobby for the relevant minister to consider senators when allocating CDF funds - [HON SENATORS: Hear, Hear]. It is our wish and aim to promote coordinated development projects in our constituencies.
Mr. President, may I congratulate and thank the peace loving and patriotic Zimbabweans, including churches, who prayed for peaceful, free, fair and democratic harmonised elections, which were held on the 31st of July 2013. Due to the peace, tranquility and stability before, during and after the elections, our tourism industry is on the rebound while growth in this sector, including domestic tourism is certain.
Mr. President, I will end my address by thanking Madzishe, our traditional leaders, the custodians of our national heritage for selflessly assisting thousands of our people who were affected by drought in various areas of our country.[HON. SENATORS: Hear, Hear]. We also thank the Government for the timeous importation of maize grain.
Madzishe, our agenda is rooted in our culture – varimi vanoshanda nesimba. Mr. President, there is no short-cut to a complete circle. The struggle has to continue until the final victory. Pamberi nekushandira nyika, Pamberi nekushandira vanhu. Ndinotenda Mr. President, Siyabonga.
SENATOR CHIEF NEMBIRE: Thank you Mr. President. I rise
to add my voice to the Motion. Firstly I would like to congratulate
Madam Madzongwe and Mr. Chimutengwende on being elected
President and Deputy President respectively, of this august Senate. I would also like to congratulate all members for making it to this august Senate. This shows that people have confidence in us. What is now left is for us to deliver without excuses. Let me thank the mover of this
Motion, hon. Senator Mutsvangwa and the seconder, hon. Senator Mumvuri.
I will zero my debate on two aspects, agricultural and infrastructural development. Mr. President, on the agricultural sector, I urge the Government to urgently support this sector since most people want food. Farmers need to be capacitated through providing them with inputs timeously. This will help to reduce the importation of food from other countries. Further to that, viable producer prices must be paid to the farmer in order for them to produce. The Grain Marketing Board (GMB) must be fully capacitated so that they are able to pay farmers in time.
Mr. President, I will call upon the Government to speedily come up with climate change policies which will help farmers to cope with the effects of climate change, particularly in drought prone areas such as
Muzarabani, Mukumbura and Mbire. The Government can construct dams on rivers such as Hoya and Musingwa in Mashonaland Central and also drill irrigation boreholes in the same areas. Mr. President, I would also want to applaud the President for coming up with a Climate Ministry, which also oversees the environment.
On infrastructural development, I urge the Government to urgently complete the Mukumbura road and dualising all highway roads. Mr. President, in Mount Darwin, most of the roads are in a sorry-state and most transport operators are shunning these roads, leaving private transporters who in turn charge exorbitant prices, making it very difficult for ordinary people in rural areas to travel. I call upon the Government to rehabilitate all roads in rural areas through capacitating the Ministry of Transport and the District Development Fund (DDF). Mr. President, I end up by urging all hon. Senators to preach the gospel of peace. I thank you.
SENATOR MUPFUMIRA: Thank you Mr. President and hon. senators. I am Prisca Mupfumira from Mashonaland West Province and Makonde Administrative District. Let me start by congratulating hon.
Madzongwe and hon. Chimutengwende, on being elected to be the President of the Senate and the Deputy President of the Senate respectively. I would also like to extend my hearty congratulations to His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Head of Government and Commander in Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, Mr. R.G. Mugabe and all the hon. senators.
Let me express sincere gratitude to all Zimbabweans for holding peaceful, credible and fair elections on July 31st. A special mention to the people of Mashonaland West Province, in particular Makonde Constituencies; comprising Chinhoyi, Makonde and Mhangura, for voting for me and affording me the opportunity to represent them in this august Senate. I promise to live to their expectations and will strive not to let them down.
Mr. President, I express appreciation to the President’s address and also to Senator Monica Mutsvangwa’s motion, which was supported by Hon. Mumvuri. The President’s Speech started with agriculture and this was not by accident or chance but emphasised the importance and critical nature of agriculture in Zimbabwe. Mr. President, the subject of agriculture is vital to the nation as it is life and the driving force of our economy. The single formidable indigenisation and empowerment programme is the Land Reform, which has benefited all across all social classes to the grass root.
The agrarian reform sought to empower previously marginalised Zimbabweans and was meant to enable them to participate in contributing to the Zimbabwean economy and hence it is the single most important element which can bulldoze our ailing economy. It is productive agriculture which can guarantee food and nutrition security, which is why in May this year His Excellency the President of Zimbabwe, Comrade Mugabe launched the Food and Nutrition Policy, which made special emphasis on all stakeholders, public and private, to invest in sustainable food and nutrition security projects. Agriculture contributes significantly to GDP, raw materials, employment and has high percentage significant to rural livelihood, hence the driving force of the economy.
Mr. President, hon. senators, we are collectively responsible for ensuring food and nutrition security for all. All people should have access to food in sufficient quantity and quality to meet dietary needs. This must be supported by a healthy environment which allows a healthy and active life. Food and nutrition security is an important driver of economic and social development. Addressing food and security also enhances economic growth for our country. The African Commission has also labeled the year 2014 as the year of agriculture for Africa, endorsing the important role this sector plays not only at a national level, but also on the continent.
Mr. President, the Copenhagen Consensus (2008) states that addressing malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies has the highest rate of economic returns. Effects of a malnourished nation include reduced work capacity, illness, disease and associated expenses and poverty.
Mr. President, factors affecting food security include the following amongst many others, climate change, recurrent droughts, lack of funding for farmers, power cuts, low fiscus allocation to agriculture – allocation to agriculture is below 5% yet in recognition of the importance of agriculture on economic development and growth, the African Commission, through the Maputo Declaration of 2003, encouraged member states to spend at least 10% of national budget on agriculture.
Mr. President, development partner support declined since 2000 as most donors withdrew support because of western imposed sanctions. The world recession exacerbated the situation, whilst non food crops such as tobacco and cotton are supported through contact farming very little can be said for food.
Mr. President, hon. senators, to support President Mugabe’s vision of agriculture there is need for legislation to compel users of food crops, traders, manufacturers and industry to support agriculture without exploiting the farmers. Banking sector support has been negligible, coupled with punitive bank interest rates. For instance, of the US$620 million announced by the president of the Bankers Association, less than 5% is for maize, little or none for wheat yet over 50% is for tobacco. In accessing loans, offer letters must be accepted as bankable and collateral acceptance must be inclusive. On interest rates, banks should be compelled to have low interest rates below 5% for staple crops and loan repayment systems such as stop orders must be in place. In addition, Agribank must be well capacitated. These are some issues to consider in debating the Banking Act Amendment Bill.
Mr. President, Zimbabwe’s production of key food crops (maize, wheat, sorghum) has remarkably declined over the past decade. This has seen Zimbabwe move from being a food surplus exporter to a food deficiency importer. Yields have significantly declined. The Grain Marketing Board (GMB) is unable to maintain strategic reserves of grain, which are supposed to be 500 000 tonnes of maize. Replenishing has been through imports by both GMB and the private sector.
These continuous food shortages have necessitated crafting and launching of the National food and Nutrition Policy by His Excellency the President. To see this policy realise viable momentum, the GMB should be adequately funded. It should be able to pay for all previous grains delivered by farmers. They must also pay for the transporters. It is sad to note that to date the GMB has only collected 20 000 tonnes of maize and yet our strategic reserve is supposed to be 500 000 tonnes.
It is also sad to note that while Zambia offered Zimbabwe 150 000 tonnes of maize, as at yesterday only 12 000 tonnes had been imported. This is a sad situation. The GMB has to be adequately funded. Most of us are farmers. Farming is a serious business and one cannot venture into a business without knowing whether or not it is going to be profitable. I urge that we have pre planting producer prices. I also urge that we have early settlement incentives to incentivise the farmers, so that we can regain our bread basket status.
Mr. President, on electricity supply, the suggested use of prepaid meters for farmers is not viable as farmers income is on average a once off paycheck and so to this end the power supply authority should introduce special tariffs for farmers and establish special payment plans such as quarterly payments for electricity bills for farmers. There must be schemes for the input suppliers, as they and banks are pivotal in guarantying nutrition and food security.
Mr. President, let me applaud the proposed Constituency Development Fund Bill to ensure accountability and transparency in the utilisation of the resources. If meaningfully funded and utilised this fund will provide people with an overall improved quality of life, and I am speaking for people in Makonde Constituencies; through this fund schemes for farmers. Input suppliers and banks are pivotal in guaranteeing food and nutrition security.
Mr. President, hon. senators, let me applaud the proposed Constituency Development Fund Bill to ensure accountability and transparency in the utilisation of the resources. If meaningfully funded and utilised, this fund will provide improved quality of life in Makonde Constituency. Through this fund, we would be able to refurbish and repair broken down boreholes, drill new boreholes thus providing improved access to water, sanitation and hygiene in the district.
Currently, there is a chronic shortage of functional boreholes in the area.
It is unacceptable for people, especially women and children to walk such long distances to search for water, only to find out that the water has run out. There has to be substantial investment in the refurbishment and in some cases, the establishment of proper water supply infrastructure and sewer systems.
Mr. President, hon. senators, education and skills training, as mentioned by His Excellency Cde. R.G. Mugabe, is crucial to the development and sustainability of all sectors of our economy. Setting up of the Psycho-motor model in the President’s office is a much welcome move. This will be a hub for driving the revision of the current education and training curriculum to incorporate early skills development, entrepreneurial training and ICT learning at the early stages of a child’s education.
The early identification and nurturing of skill sets will result in a society that is self-reliant and self-sustaining. The VTC should be revived at ward level. This is then beneficial in addressing issues such as indigenisation and employment creation. The establishment of the Common Facility Centres will also be a channel to facilitate this empowerment and skills transfer. Close collaboration of cooperatives can be realised through such a system and the development does not only become top-bottom but also bottom-top.
Mr. President, hon. senators, the sovereign wealth fund is also a welcome initiative. Therefore, in light of this, we look to the fund to be focused on extensively supporting the indigenisation programme, in particular youth and women empowerment through the Common Facility Centres mentioned above. I was left dumb-founded on realising that the majority of young learners in my constituency lack the very basic learning resources such as desks and chairs. In the new resettlement areas, very few or no schools have been built in the past decade. This is a loud alarm of the strides we have to take in this regard.
Mr. President, hon. senators, I would like to applaud the
Government on the current move to raise the wages of civil servants. This is an important move as incentives drive service delivery by leaps and bounds, in particular the education sector. If teachers in the remote areas are incentivised, the quality of education will improve and commitment levels to educating the future of this nation will rise as well.
Mr. President, hon. senators, another area that needs urgent attention is transport infrastructure. Kenzamba, which is very rich in mineral wealth, is less than 50km from Chinhoyi yet it takes over two hours to drive there because of the poor and rough roads. Driving there is a nightmare, yet that is where you get simple and loyal electorate.
By improving the road network in this area, all other areas of development will be resuscitated. The current inaccessibility of some of these areas in Makonde has led to the inability of its people to access basic social services. Children have to walk through inhospitable terrain to access basic education. Many times, ambulances fail to attend to the sick due to lack of access roads. This has also made it difficult for many of them to take full advantage of the indigenisation and empowerment opportunities available in this area through mining and agriculture, whose opportunities are in abundance in this area.
Mr. President, hon. senators, the nation is looking forward to a bright future with the present Government. The last five years have seen a rapid decline in health and social services, exacerbated by sanctions and lack of decision making by the Inclusive Government. The current conditions in the district are abysmal, and a lot needs to be done to improve the quality and access to basic and social services for the constituents.
After independence, the Government ensured that there was a primary health care centre every five kilometers, ensuring that every Zimbabwean had easy access to health care. Currently, it is sad to see that some people have to walk up to 20 kilometers to gain access to much needed services. Having arrived at these health centres, most are not well stocked and equipped to provide quality service. Currently, most health facilities do not have access to clean and safe water and neither do they have electricity nor connectivity.
At some clinics like Kanyaga in Makonde, pregnant mothers have to give birth in appalling conditions as some centres do not even have curtains to ensure their dignity. Maternal mortality is one of the biggest challenges being faced by the health sector in Zimbabwe. The highest mortality rates are found in the rural areas of Zimbabwe. Therefore, we need to invest strongly in our primary health centres to ensure that no woman dies while giving life.
Mr. President, hon. senators, I would like to applaud the Government for its efforts to ensure fair gender representation in both the National Assembly and the Senate. This year’s Parliamentary elections saw the election of significant numbers of women into the National Assembly and into the Senate. These impressive numbers are unprecedented in this country and speak to the requirements of the current Zimbabwe Constitution and the SADC Protocol on Gender Equality. Indeed, this strong representation puts Zimbabwe on the path to meeting Millennium Goal Number 3; target 2, whose goal is increased gender participation in decision making positions. Women make up half the population of this country, therefore it is impossible to make any progressive decisions in any sphere of our society without the input and contribution of women.
Mr. President, while Parliament has addressed the issue of gender parity commendably, more needs to be done in the representation and allocation of ministries to women in Cabinet. We are all confident that this will be corrected sooner than later.
Zimbabwe has the highest literacy rate on the continent and boasts of an education sector that has churned out highly educated people over the decades. Therefore, I argue that there are many educated, experienced and knowledgeable women who are capable of heading many of the ministries. It is my sincere hope that Zimbabwe will soon be ahead of the pack by continuing to champion the rights of women by integrating them into positions where they can effectively influence policy in order to move the country forward at a faster pace. As Chairman Mao once said, ‘women hold up half the sky’.
Mr. President, hon. senators, now that the Government of National
Unity, which was characterised by lack of decisive action is done and over with, we are in a better position to deliver in a transparent, corrupt free environment guided by the principles of servant leadership. May God bless us all indeed. Long live Zimbabwe. I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR LIAISING ON PSYCHOMOTOR ACTIVITIES IN EDUCATION: (SENATOR
HUNGWE): I move that the debate do now adjourn.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 2nd October, 2013.
On the motion of THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR LIAISING ON PSYCHOMOTOR ACTIVITIES IN EDUCATION, the Senate
adjourned at Ten Minutes past Three O’clock p.m.