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SENATE HANSARD 2 APRIL 2024 VOL 33 NO 37

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Tuesday, 2nd April, 2024

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE in the Chair)

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR HARARE PROVINCE (HON. SEN. TAWENGWA): Madam President, I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 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 NATIONAL PEACE AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION FOR THE YEAR 2022

Sixth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission for the year 2023, presented to this House of Parliament in terms of Sections 253 and

323 (1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

          Question again proposed.

THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR HARARE PROVINCE (HON. SEN TAWENGWA): Madam President, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

Motion put and agreed to.                          

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 3rd April, 2024.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE ZIMBABWE ELECTORAL COMMISSION ON THE 2023 HARMONISED ELECTIONS

Seventh Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission for the 2023 hamornised elections.

Question again proposed.

THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR HARARE PROVINCE (HON. SEN. TAWENGWA): Madam President, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 3rd April, 2024.

MOTION

ENACTMENT OF A LEGAL FRAMEWORK FOR THE FUNCTIONALITY OF PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENTS

Eighth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the need to enact an enabling law for the functionality of the Provincial Government tier of Government.

Question again proposed.

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

          HON. SEN. RITTA NDLOVU: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Wednesday, 3rd April, 2024

MOTION

ENACTEMENT OF STRINGENT LAWS TO ADDRESS THE

PLIGHT OF WIDOWS

          Ninth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the plight of the Zimbabwean widows who are routinely evicted from their homes by relatives.

          Question again proposed.

          *HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: I rise to add my voice in support of a motion that was raised by Hon. Sen. Tsomondo that deals with how women suffer after the loss of their husbands.  

Madam President, this is quite a painful matter, in most cases, if you observe what happens when someone has lost a husband, the family would have been living together as father, wife and children in one dwelling.  Once the father is no more, the relatives of the deceased abuse the woman and take all the property.  You see electrical gadgets being taken to communal areas where there is no electricity.  Items such as stoves, refrigerators are taken away.  The children would have been used to a particular life style during the life of their father like taking food from the refrigerator and cooking.  However, when the father dies, everything is literally taken away including the blankets and end up sleeping on the floor, yet no one really cares about that.  It is quite disheartening Mr. President.

          I know that there are laws that were put in place to protect widows, and my request is that the custodians of those laws should do their duty so that when the husband dies, the widow is not going to remain aggrieved and suffering.  What happens after the death of a husband is quite painful.  Even at school, the children that would have been attending school are sent back or chased away from school because of non-payment of school fees, yet when the father was alive, he had planned how the family was going to proceed up to university level.

          Mr. President, I urge all women to work hard and not to entirely depend on the husband even for such basic items like salt.  Let us make long term preparations for the future of our children because we also have brains and hands that we were given by God. Nowadays, there are certain projects that are being done and meant to empower women in the community, for example women play ‘rounds’, that is they take turns to give each other a certain amount of money every month in order to start a business or buy groceries.  If our women are empowered, this will help them when their husbands pass on.

          There was at one time a drama played on television called Neria.  Neria went through an ordeal after the death of her husband, she suffered greatly.   The brother in law took money and a lot of other things that were in the deceased’s’ bedroom and the children were sent to the rural areas to herd cattle, yet these children were attending school when their father was alive.

          Therefore, Mr. President, this law that protects widows should also apply to the widower because there are certain members of the late wife’s family who want to benefit from where they did not sow and as a result, the husband will end up suffering because nobody will be looking after him.  Nobody will be there to do laundry or ironing for him because he will be left without anything.  All the property would have been taken unlawfully by those who do not deserve.

          Mr. President, I would want to thank the mover of the motion, Hon. Sen. Tsomondo for such an important motion that she brought before this august House that looks at the welfare of the widows and widowers.  I thank you.

          *HON. SEN. MAVENYENGWA:  Thank you Mr. President for giving me the opportunity to add my voice to this very important motion brought to this House by Hon. Sen. Tsomondo on the ill-treatment of women upon their spouse’s death.  

Mr. President, a wife can be married by her husband when they do not possess anything of material value but they will start working together until they raise their own wealth but should one of them pass on, the relatives come to literally steal what they did not work for.  They will come and take what they have not worked for.  We need to come up with laws that ensure that we protect the remaining spouse so that they can remain in possession of the property that they worked hard for, whether it be a widow when the husband was still alive. 

My wish is that the majority of the rural-based women be empowered because they are the ones that are mostly on the receiving end from the husband’s relatives.  The urban ones know quite a bit about the law and therefore, are able to litigate on their own and the same should be done to the women in the communal lands because the majority of women in the communal lands are very obedient to what their brothers-in-law say.  If our chiefs could be empowered to look into these issues, it would also be good to ensure that we put an end to this abuse of widows by relatives of the deceased’s husband because they are being stressed over property that belongs to them.

          Mr. President, it is my considered view that all our chiefs should be given a lot of power to ensure that they assist women who would have been disposed of their property in order to safeguard the interests of women mostly in the communal lands.  Furthermore, I would also like to appeal to men that when they are still alive, they should seek advice from lawyers on having wills in place so that when the husband dies, it is in the majority of cases that men die first, so that the family is protected.  You could be residing in town and be well educated but you may not be aware that if you die, your children and wife will be vulnerable.  So, if your brothers who have failed in life want to take anything away from your wife and children, they will be able to take over from your wife because the wife does not have the power to stop them.

          So Mr. President, I support the motion that was moved by Hon. Sen. Tsomondo that our laws should be clear and that they should be knowledgeable and this knowledge should permeate the communal lands, even to areas such as Chiredzi and Binga so that women in those areas become knowledgeable about their rights to inheritance of their late husbands’ property together with the children.  With those words Mr. President, I thank you.

          HON. SEN. SHIRI:  Thank you very much Mr. President for affording me this opportunity to also add my voice to this very important motion brought by Hon. Sen. Tsomondo.

          Mr. President, the treatment of widows can vary greatly depending on cultural, societal and economic factors.  In many societies, widows face numerous challenges and discrimination that can have a significant impact on their lives.  Some common issues faced by widows include social stigma.  Here in Zimbabwe, in some cultures, widows may face social isolation and discrimination.  They may be considered unlucky or blamed for their spouse’s death, ndiwe wakauraya, leading to them being excluded from community activities and events.

          There is also economic hardship.  Widows often experience financial difficulties after the death of their spouse.  They may lose their primary source of income like the land and also, they face challenges when it comes to employment and struggle to support themselves and their children.  Lack of financial independence can make them vulnerable to poverty and exploitation.

          Widows may also face legal and property rights.  In some cases, widows may encounter legal obstacles when it comes to inheriting property or accessing their deceased spouse’s assets.  Lawyers are very expensive and some laws may also discriminate when it comes to norms that prevent them from claiming their rightful inheritance leaving them economically vulnerable.  There is also limited access to education and healthcare for widows especially those in the rural areas.  This lack of access can negatively impact their well-being and limit their opportunities for personal and economic growth.  For example, most of these widows in the rural areas cannot afford hospital bills for some chronic diseases.

          Widows are also vulnerable to abuse such as sexual abuse.  Widows are often at a higher risk of physical, emotional and economic abuse.  Without the social and financial support of a spouse because most women depend on men for their survival, they are not economically empowered to look after themselves, so they may become targets of exploitation, harassment or forced remarriage, vogarwa nhaka.

          Lack of social support; Mr. President, the loss of a spouse can leave widows without a support system.  They may struggle to find emotional support or face challenges in building new relationships and networks.  You find sometimes they are discriminated against even when it comes to positions such as in church or even in political participation.  Mr. President, it is important to note that the situation of widows can vary widely across different religions and cultures. Efforts are being made by organisations like Msasa and our own Ministry of Women’s Affairs, to address these issues of improving the lives of widows through legal reforms, social programmes and advocacy for gender equality.  Widows face cultural practices and rituals.  Widows may be subjected to specific cultural practices or rituals that can be burdensome or oppressive, like zvokunzi hembe dzadyiwa nomujuru, saka makaita chipfambi, something like that; I cannot explain it in our own culture in Zimbabwe.  These practices can vary widely, ranging from the restrictions on clothing and appearance, to enforced seclusion or isolation.

          The loss of a spouse can have a significant impact on the mental and emotional wellbeing of widows.  Sometimes, you find some widows will be mentally challenged because of the stress.  Access to mental healthcare and support services is crucial to help them cope with their loss and navigate their new circumstances.  During the grieving period, widows need support.  It is not easy to take care of the children without the support of the father.  So, widows need psycho-social support to overcome their challenges. Education can also enhance their employability, improve their earning potential and improve their overall quality of life. We have programmes like vana mukando economic empowerment by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs. We have advocacy and support, we have NGOs and other groups raising awareness about the issues faced by widows and advocating for their rights, like Msasa Project, they provide support services, legal aid and community initiatives to improve the lives of widows and challenge discriminatory practices.

          Our Government has also implemented social welfare programmes targeting widows to provide financial assistance, healthcare support and educational opportunities.  These initiatives aim to alleviate poverty and improve the wellbeing of widows and their families.  Understanding and addressing the challenges faced by widows requires a multi-facetted approach, involving legal reforms, social support systems, education and awareness campaigns.  By empowering widows and ensuring their rights are protected, societies can work towards a more inclusive and equitable environment for all individuals.  I thank you. 

          THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I am sure the Hon. Senators will join me in congratulating the Hon. Sen. Chief Charumbira for being re-elected President of the Pan- African Parliament. - [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] -  We wish you success in your appointment.

          *HON. SEN. GOTORA: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to add my voice to the debate on problems being faced by widows.  I will not only dwell on widows, but also talk about the problems being faced by widowers.   I know of widowers that I may not mention names, who faced many challenges after they lost their wives.  It is true that mostly women are the ones on the receiving end.  Let me thank Hon. Sen. Tsomondo for bringing this motion.  The truth of the matter is that, in this country, there are a lot of problems whenever there is a death in the family, ranging from dispossession of properties to many brutal acts.  After one has lost their loved ones through death, one becomes even more disturbed.

          My clarion call is that in this country, we have laws that were passed by Parliament.  The first law is the Inheritance Act.  I do not know as to how many of us Hon. Members in here and those that are outside this august House are aware of what the law contains. It is in the statutes, but it is not being used.  Furthermore, there is a new law, Marriages Act, which was passed by this Parliament.  I do not know as to how many of us know what this law entails.  It is not anyone’s fault that we do not know. Everything that is new could be difficult to practice.  It requires people who urge others to also know about it.

          The Government can protect the surviving spouse by giving enough power to the traditional leaders so that when they hold their courts with village heads and people that they lead, they will be able to enlighten people of the laws that we have in this country, even if there is no such law.  We know that in our culture, it is not very clear; it is not clear-cut, culture is constantly changing.  We know that we now have educated chiefs who can assist in refining our customs so that our culture can protect the surviving spouses.

          I know of a certain chief who gathered his people and told them that any man who is not yet married cannot be given a field or a stand where they can construct their own homestead before getting married. Even to be given a portion to do some gardening so that they can grow tomatoes and cabbages before they are married, they only are entitled to such a stand and garden after getting married.  So the person who enables the man to get a garden, stand and the field is a woman.  So I see no reason why the person who has enabled the possession of such things is dispossessed of such items because their husband has died.  So I urge traditional leaders such as headmen, village heads and their aides to enlighten people so that such things do not happen.

          Let me go on the side of men.  In Highfields, a certain man married from a rich family. The unfortunate thing is that when the daughter died, the rich man came with a lorry and took all the property.  The aunties were ululating, rejoicing that they were taking property belonging to their late child and the house was left empty. So, this shows that even men are on the receiving end. 

The courts that have been made reference to by Hon. Sen. Shiri, I am aware that the Government can assist with lawyers who offer free services.  One can be able to have legal representation when they appear in court with fees being paid by Government so that they do not lose their inheritance.

By so doing, this will help people with no money to pay for lawyers to represent them so that justice is done.  Men can and should put their house in order when they are still alive so that their spouses and children do not lose what they worked for during their lifetime.  This can only happen if such laws that I have made reference to are made aware to the people.  The Marriages Act now states that if I live with someone’s daughter for a few months, she becomes my wife.  Secondly, I think that people should be given psycho-social support.  

There should be support from the aunties to ensure that the one who has lost a spouse is given social support.  In our culture, once a woman has lost a spouse, they go back to their home of origin so that they are comforted by their close relatives as they try and overcome this period of mourning.  Unfortunately, Mr. President, I have not heard of a man who is supposed to be given this support by his relatives.  Maybe we must start now so that we will not have such problems. 

Lastly, as a country, anyone who has lost a spouse, the surviving spouse should be empowered to ensure that they can continue with their lives.  Things that they acquired in marriage like gardens or homesteads must not be taken away when one spouse is dead and thus empowering them.   Unfortunately, these days, it is not all of us who can do field work or be involved in horticulture.  There are some other forms of empowerment that we now have.  In order to ensure that the deceased’s partner is respected when they lose their spouses, we must put laws to protect the remaining spouses.  An example is that men die early because the majority of us do not want to go to hospital. Weeks ago, I nearly lost my life not because my wife wanted to kill me but it is because I always say I am well. We realise when it is too late that we need medical assistance and this is how men die.  When I die, my wife is blamed. 

Inheritance laws must be made aware to the general public, the population must be educated on inheritance laws so that they know what to do in the event that one spouse dies.  Our children will be secure and continue going to school as opposed to being in the streets or being homeless.

+HON.  SEN. M. NDLOVU: Thank you Mr. President of Senate for affording me this opportunity to add my voice to this motion that was brought by the Hon. Senator.   What happens is that you are grieved, mourning your spouse and you will be thinking of how you will be able to raise your children.  Then all of a sudden there comes a family member who would want to take all the property that you would have worked for with your husband. 

I do not know whether this happens in certain areas or in certain tribes but this is a very bad habit.  If you take something from your brother’s wife or children, it leads to poverty and conflict amongst the children themselves.  They will stop going to school and will end up being street children.  The sad thing is that their father would have left enough money and properties to take care of the children and the property would have been taken by relatives.

Families should come together and not agree on such evil acts. Where do people get such powers and yet we have our own chiefs who are supposed to be presiding over issues of inheritance?  Why not give powers to chiefs to assist on such disputes? We know that people are grieved but at the same time, we must know that there is a family that has been left behind. When you see your neighbour’s family suffering like this after the death of a parent, it is very painful.

Let us take a closer look at this. It is very bad for someone to lose a parent, yet the relatives will come and take everything. When we were growing up, we used to see grandparents taking care of the children that would have been left behind.  There are some people who do not care or maybe in certain areas do not care about the widow and how she is suffering.  These things must not happen.  Let us look after these orphans so that they can be brought up well and go to school like other children.  Some of the children lost their properties after the father passed away.  We want our traditional leaders to be given powers to assist these children.  The law is there and people can also approach the courts to try and register their estates so that issues of inheritance can be solved by the courts and property shared legally.   I thank you.

          +HON. SEN. MLOTSHWA: Thank you Mr. President. I would also like to add my voice to this debate that was brought by Hon. Sen. Tsomondo. I would like us to remind each other that you find in the Bible Psalm 68: Verse 5 and 6, “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his Holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.”. God loves widows and defends them all the time. Us as Zimbabweans, we have a very big problem that when someone is down, we want to suppress them even further.

          Mr. President, we need to have a closer look at ourselves as people. This is a widow who has lost a spouse and is looking after the children, and people are busy eyeing the property of the deceased. I think it is good for chiefs and the village heads to go back to our tradition as Africans and look at why we want to make someone suffer again after she has lost a spouse. I think we should collectively blame that tendency. Let us suppose that this is a woman who has lost a spouse and you are looking at the family on how you can assist whilst you do not have any assistance to offer.  You only cry only when it affects you. It means as a community, we are no longer assisting each other.

          As Zimbabweans, we need to have a closer look at ourselves and ask ourselves why women say that they have lost everything and can no longer look after the children after losing their spouses. We need to empower the women and the reason why they are failing to sustain themselves, means we are not empowering them enough. I think the programmes for women are not enough to empower them. When we go to certain areas for example, the area where I come from in Matopos. If there is gold in that area and if there are very few women who are into mining, it means we are not empowering women enough.

          If you bring boilers yet there is gold in that area, it means that I am not fully empowered. A greater percentage of what women get goes to raise the family more than what men do. Women should be able to raise their families in the absence of their husbands. There is no parent who is going to live forever and so, we need to prepare, whether it is a man or a woman, we are all going to die. If we do not make enough preparations for our children, they are going to suffer. As Zimbabweans, we should see that all this is a taboo that we are being taught all the time and how do we do it together. That is not what ubuntu is all about. Ubuntu is something that should be there and it is not something that should be taught.

          We should not be going back to people to say that if someone loses a spouse, this should not be done. We cannot be doing that all the time. I think it is a very good debate and what I have noticed is that Zimbabweans need to know what is in the Constitution because if the in-laws turn against us, we are failing to defend ourselves because we do not know what is in the Constitution. Children and women should be taught so that if people approach her, then she can stand up and say that the Zimbabwean law protects her. That is why they are being harassed because they do not know what is in the Constitution. I thank you very for this opportunity to raise issues that women face. It is not good for one to be harassed and we need to correct each other as Zimbabweans. I thank you.

          +HON. SEN. NDEBELE: Thank you Mr. President for affording me this opportunity. I am happy to get this opportunity to add my voice to this debate, especially when they lose a spouse, they are harassed by the relatives of the husband. We are talking about the abuse that happens to women and girls. What happens most of the time is that most of the women are elderly, but when we talk about a widow or someone who gets married at 20, if you lose a spouse, you have lost a spouse. You are treated in the same way as a woman who has lost a spouse and they end up harassing her.

Even if it is a small thing that would have happened, they come and take everything and forget that when these people were working and buying whatever they were buying together, they were sacrificing a lot, but they end up losing everything after the death of a spouse. As other Hon. Senators have already said, if we are to buy a stand, it means that we have to forgo some of the luxuries in order to buy a stand. We go hungry at times in order to save. What I would like to say is that for women to be protected, there must be a law that forbids abuse internally. Sorry, I would have gone further because when someone is harassed, they end up getting sick. This is why you will find that some of the family members, especially children end up falling sick and engaging in many other social ills that affect the children. So, they end up having to seek help for the children to be normal. Most of them now live in the streets, they have nowhere to stay. If the mother is now staying in the bush, then the children also stay in the bush.

The most important thing that I would like to request is that the right of these people who we are talking about should be taken seriously. Most of the times it is the women`s rights that are talked about and these are women that are bunched together without any separation without any distinction in the widows. There should be distinction because it is not their fault that they find themselves in that situation. They also do not want to be harassed. The law of the country should protect those who are being harassed because this not by choice,  they should all be protected by the law. These women who are being harassed should be upright women.  Some of the women cause problems for themselves because they value third parties to discuss their issues.

Those who are able to teach these women should talk to them so that they behave properly. They should not find any fault with their daughters-in-law when they fall pregnant three months following the death of their spouses. Then they will be saying, so another man impregnated her. If they say another man cannot inherit their son`s property, then they should not think that the women are causing problems.

My request is that those who are able to teach these women should teach them properly so that when they go to the law courts, they should not say that I am a widow and I am being harassed and yet she would have caused it herself. She should not have a child before the spirit of her husband is brought back into the home because in the African culture, we believe that the spirit of the dead should be brought back into the home. We should not encourage people to follow the wrong tradition.  So, these widows should also behave themselves after the death of their spouses.  They must behave properly even when facing adversities. When their husbands die, some of them do not even want to mourn, they will be laughing.  We should teach women all this because we do not know what the future holds for us and also who will die first.

We should not crack our heads over what has already happened because we did not sit down with the widows to teach them how to survive and anything that can assist so that they do not get tempted to receive goodies or parcels on a daily basis. They will face difficulties once their spouses pass on. Secret admirers will bring chocolates to the widow because she cannot buy herself chocolates. Let us empower each other now before we become widows.     

There are a number of organisations like Musasa Project that was mentioned earlier, of which such organisations are ideal in dealing with issues that empower women so that no one can mislead them if their spouses die.  I thank you Hon. Sen. President for giving me this opportunity.

HON. SEN. FANUEL: Thank you very much for giving me this opportunity to talk about widows.  It is very painful especially to us women.  It is not that women are incapable; they are very much capable. They are able to do any other duties or work like any other person.

It pains me so much when a woman loses her husband. Either the young or elder brother of the deceased husband wants to inherit the woman. When a woman loses her husband, the village head as well as us the leaders in this august House, must ensure that before they inherit the spouse or marry the widow, they must first of all be tested for HIV because all they want is to inherit the wealth, be it cattle or whatever they may have. Those widows are already in pain because they are left in poverty and must be empowered through projects to take care of their families.

The children must benefit from BEAM. This is why we end up seeing women going into drug abuse and prostitution because of such a situation. Once you get into that, you lose all senses of control. Sometimes, when a woman loses her husband, society regards her as a loose person but it is not that she is loose but it is out of poverty. The Women`s Bank must look at such women to ensure that they are given capital and empowered to take care of their families. They must be informed about other Government entities and even the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community and SMEs.

The other problem is, widows are not receiving their pensions on time. These pensions must be increased for widows because they are insignificant and as less as USD20.00. They must be empowered because failure to do so will ensure that they remain in poverty. For instance, where I come from in Binga, they must be empowered and be given fishing nets because fishing is the main source of income. They must also be given farming land because being a widow does not render you incapable.

Some widows may not be able to work and others die after losing their spouses to HIV and AIDS and need assistance. When they go to hospital, they are supposed to be assisted but fail to get it because they do not have money. So, we are saying those widows must be given financial assistance in order for them to be attended to. Their children must attend school for free. In short, this is what I wanted to say Mr. President Sir.

          +HON. SEN. RITTA NDLOVU: Thank you Mr. President.  I want to add my voice to the motion which was moved by Hon. Sen. Tsomondo.  I will not say much because a lot of people have already contributed towards the motion.

  We have a lot of widows who have varying circumstances, some were left by their spouses whilst they were enjoying their marriages and some were living in poverty. So those women who were married to rich people with farms, shops and cars, lose everything to the relatives when the husband passes on. Most of the family businesses are run by the husband, however, when he passes on, the wife would not know anything about the business or how to run it, and even the head count of the livestock if they were into farming.  So when the relatives of the late husband come, it would be as if they are being taken advantage of, yet they do not know what is happening at all, concerning the late husband’s businesses. 

Therefore, it is important for women to participate and understand their husband’s businesses whilst the husband is still alive because by so doing, there will not be any problems in taking over or running the family business in the event of the unfortunate.  Women lose their properties because they do not have any idea of their husband’s properties, they need a good life, driving beautiful cars, but without understanding the source of income. 

We have some widows who are in the rural areas, these are the widows who suffer most because they do not know what the law says when they are widowed, but they know their livestock.  They live in the rural areas and take care of the home and all the property.  So it is important that every woman understands their right to property and it is our responsibility as a Government to make sure people are educated concerning their rights.  People should be taught about their rights so that they understand what should happen in the event of a death of a spouse.  Sometimes women have a tendency of enjoying marriage without taking into cognisance the fact that death will come.

I also want to talk about welfare which is something that is benefiting those who are in urban areas only.  I do not know how it is done in rural areas for the widows who do not benefit from welfare services.  For instance, if my mother is a widow and she comes to the urban center, it is a mammoth task for her to travel to get the meager benefits of the social welfare beneficiaries.  So it is important that welfare assistance be reviewed and decentralised so that it becomes meaningful to women in rural areas also.

When men lose their wives, they do not suffer the same as women who would have lost their husbands.  We have examples of those who lose their rich spouses, but eventually they will lose everything. People will be taking away everything because the remaining spouses are not actively involved in the running affairs of the businesses.  So I want to urge women to make sure that they participate in activities where their husbands are investing their time and energy.  They must understand everything whether farming of other businesses activities.  I thank you.

*HON. SEN. NGWENA: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to add my voice to a motion raised by Hon. Sen. Tsomondo with regards to widows.

Mr. President, women are suffering a lot in the society where we stay because they are losing properties after their spouses pass on.  I have witnessed two incidents where a family lost both parents.  There used to be a law in the past, I am not sure how it was structured, whereby the young brother inherits the late brother’s wealth or property.  So the young brother is the beneficiary according to that law or was supposed to be in charge of the property.  The children were left orphaned and with nothing, all the properties were taken by the uncle. 

Therefore, our law must work towards the protection of orphans and widows so that they do not end up in abject poverty after losing property to relatives.  Sometimes some of the children that we see on the streets is not because they chose to be in the streets, but they would have lost parents.  Even some of the early child marriages are because of the desperation of those children.  So it is my view that awareness campaigns should be carried out so that they are taught and are empowered with knowledge of what to do in the event of death of a parent.  In the past, there was an organisation called WILSA, am not sure if it is still operating and offering such education.  I thank you.

HON. SEN. TSOMONDO: I move for the adjournment of the debate.

HON. SEN. MUPFUMIRA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 3rd April, 2024.

MOTION

PROGRAMME ON CLIMATE SMART AGRICULTURE

          Tenth Order read:  Adjourned debate on motion on the effects of climate change.

          Question again proposed.

          +HON. SEN. S. MOYO:  Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to debate about the changes that are happening particularly here in Zimbabwe.  The variation of seasons is affecting the poor, mostly those who live in abject poverty.  Those who do not have anything at all are facing quite serious difficulties.  Why I am saying this is because climate change sometimes affects people who anticipate rains and only receive inadequate rains.  Especially in Matabeleland South region where I come from, climate change has brought suffering to people and it is affecting people’s livelihoods, especially the poor.  Our livestock is also affected.

          Let me take this opportunity, Mr. President, to say I believe those who specialise in studying rainfall patterns, who announced prior that we would be having rainfall shortages, you would find that Government carried on doing its work without responding to such.  People were given inputs.  They were given fertilizers as usual.  This is normally done when there is enough rain but this was done despite prior warning that there will not be enough rainfall.  So looking at this, I would say that Government did not take this seriously thinking that this would be like any other year.  Government should be a Government which cares and observes that the money which is used to buy fertilizer and inputs was supposed instead to be channeled to buying food for helping people in regions like Region 5 in Matabeleland South.

          Matabeleland is as big as Israel.  Israel is a country which has no poverty but there is not enough rain because Israel is carrying out water harvesting by building dams and preserving water.  So as a nation, I believe that we can learn from other countries because if we would learn from such countries, then areas like Matabeleland would not be facing drought.  Government should build dams and irrigation schemes where there would be water harvesting.  When the rain comes, that water should be harvested so that it benefits communities.  This, I believe if implemented by Government, and I also pray that God should allow our Government to have such thoughts, because this intervention would be quite handy.  I believe that people can visit other areas and get food but our livestock is not getting anything because of the drought.  So, Government should intervene in such a way that our livestock has water and stock feeds.

          Let me also say that I believe as a result of climate change, Government should know that we have a problem.  People are suffering.  They do not have food especially in rural areas because we do not plan ahead.  We grew up in the rural areas and when preparing for rains, our chiefs and traditional leaders would mobilise the communities so that people pick bones, debris and other things in the bushes so that when the rain comes, it comes to a clean environment.  These are traditional customs which were done.  We need to understand that Zimbabwe is different from other countries.  This is a country of kings.  This is a country rich in its traditions which should be honoured and we are different from other countries.

          Our chiefs should be accorded the respect and authority they deserve so that God would intervene.  I want to quote Corinthians which says that when my people live together in love, I will bless their nation and they would leave their bad deeds.  So, I will bless them when they are together.  I am saying this because of our chiefs.  It is important that we introspect as Zimbabweans.  We turn back to our culture so that we do not suffer poverty and hunger.  We do not want climate change to affect us only but when we pray, we believe that God will intervene because we respect our culture.

          Mr. President, I decided to raise this issue.  I do not know who is listening.  I come from Bulilima.  When we were growing up, we knew that there were places where people would go to venerate, to ask for rain and there were sacred places which were not accessible to other people but our chiefs now say that people do not listen to us, our chiefs were empowered.  That is why for one to be a chief, this should be coming from the family, from the ancestors but now you find people are complaining of hunger.  We are going to different countries begging for food yet we are a rich nation.  We have everything underground. Now, because we do not respect our culture, I want to say that our chiefs should engage with kraal heads and headmen so that we go back to our culture.  We are a people who are proud of their culture as Zimbabweans.  Zimbabwe needs introspection.  We were not dying of hunger and poverty but now because of climate change, we have lost respect.  Other people do not respect us, they just say these are despised people.  With these few words, I thank you.

          HON. SEN. ZVIDZAI: Thank you very much Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to contribute to the most important motion that was brought into this august House by Hon. Sen. Tambudzani Mohadi; so that we can put our thoughts together as to how we can deal with the effects of climate change and mitigate them so that lives may not be lost.  It is indeed a very important motion.  Climate change itself manifest in the general warming up of the globe, extremities of the weather, it can get too cold or too hot.  We can get too much rainfall, we can get very little rainfall, it is a whole mix of things, which makes it a little bit more difficult to deal with.  Difficult, as it may be, it remains necessary for the world to come together and try to defeat this difficult phenomenon. 

          Way back when I was in school, I think together with Eng. Ncube, it used to look like theory that the ozone layer is being chewed up.  There is a black hole developing in the ozone layer in Greenland.  It really did not matter but 40 years down the line, you begin to see the effects.  You begin to see widespread hunger.  You begin to see iceberg melting and show lines of the oceans rise.  You begin to see the world; the globe’s general average temperature increasing by 1.5℃, which is a lot.  The echo system, the way we survive, the relationships on the globe, do not desire that increase of 1.5℃ but what is the genesis of this serious problem.  Who is responsible, no blame gaming but we must say the truth?  The truth has to be understood as to how this issue arose.  It lies squarely in the industrial revolution.  The statistics show that since the industrial revolution, Europe, America.  America, I think generated, 422 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.  That disturbs the balance of the gases in the environment.  I think, if my Form Four Science still remains in there, carbon dioxide should be .03% of the total gases in the atmosphere but now it is way out because of the carbon dioxide that is trapped in fossil fuels, in your coal, in the carbohydrates, in your hydro-carbons, it is trapped there.  When you use that for energy, it is released as carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.  This carbon dioxide has got this bad habit of collecting heat and releasing it out into space and back here.  Hence your global warming.

          So, who are the guys, China leads, 31% of the problem that we have on greenhouse gases is because directly of China?  Europe, 7.3%, America about 11% spewing all these gases into the atmosphere and fallaciously believing that there is something called borders.  Borders are a fallacy; they do not exist.  This is why the misbehaviour of China is affecting Zimbabwe.  This is why the misbehaviour of America is affecting Zimbabwe.  This is why the misbehaviour of Brazil affects us.  We are all one place, separated by the continental drift, a recent concept where we believe that the globe was one and then tectonic drift happened and we separated.  They do not want us to talk about it, yet they are the culprits.  They are the reason why cattle are dying of drought in Matabeleland.  They are the reason why in Zimbabwe, 2023/2024 season is a very bad season. Now, they come around to us and say we will come in with Loss and Damage Fund; the Climate Change Fund, which we go there and kneel before them and get from them as if it is ‘Father Christmas’.  They are responsible and they must be held culpable for this. 

As a nation, we all must forget about being nice boys and talk truth to these people who are causing climate change in a big way.  I am basically talking about climate change versus international relations.  Climate change international relations, you will begin to see our representatives kneeling before culprits, instead of telling them the truth; instead of making sure that China - the Fund has to be distributed equitably, including here in Zimbabwe.  If you look at our carbon dioxide contribution in the atmosphere is very minimal.  A teaspoon into an ocean.  So, for me the elephant in the room is the industrialised nations.  We must talk to them.  The developed nations, we must talk to them as equals and draw their attention to the fact that the fallacies of boundaries must be completely dealt with and they must take full responsibility for - if you want, process of reparations so that we can regain our stability.

Today, we talk about carbon sinks; carbon credits; very difficult things, the sea for example; the oceans were the best captors of carbon dioxide but because of the solid waste that has been left to spill into the ocean, the capacity of the oceans to absorb this carbon dioxide and reduce the green house effects of carbon dioxide is minimised and reduced.  So, there they are, our international relations and climate change are related.  This demands a radical view, a radical approach to relate in a way that the responsible nations contribute significantly to reduction of the effects of climate change on us. 

          I am very pleased with my colleagues who have debated before me, they very well-articulated around issues of mitigation.  The building of dams, but this needs funding, the invention of new agricultural methods, the likes of drip irrigation using small quantities of water et cetera. That sort of infrastructure requires funding and we must demand that funding comes equitably from the Climate Change Fund that the world is building. 

          Without trying to blame anybody, this is my heart’s feeling that we are being short-changed by the people who participated strongly in puncturing the ozone layer and letting temperatures of the globe rise including the temperatures that we are experiencing in Zimbabwe.

          Mr. President, I thought I would just add this dimension to this debate and ask our leadership when they go to conferences such as COP 29.  COP 29 is coming next year; we need to hear them talk about these issues vehemently.  We need to hear them not begging for money from the Climate Fund.  We want to hear leadership there talking about equitable obligatory displacement into all the poor nations that are suffering from the industrialisation of the West, East and other places. 

          Who did this without taking responsibility for the wonders that we are as a globe?  Mr. President, thank you for giving me this opportunity and also thank the colleagues for contributing so robustly to this debate and indeed to Hon. Sen. Mohadi for thinking out this most important global issue that touches us.  The unification of the people of the world by climate change is similar to the unification of the people of the world by the calamity of the Corona Virus.  Together, black, white or whatever colour, we are all banded together by this phenomenon but the responsible person should take responsibility.  I thank you so much. 

          HON. PHULU: Thank you Hon. President, I would like to add my small dimension to this debate.  I would like to add a unique dimension to this debate, recognising that it has already been ably debated by a number of Hon. Senators who have debated before me.  I recall Hon. Sen. Zindi’s heated and detailed debate on this motion.  Hon. Sen. Mohadi’s debate and presentation of this motion.  Right now, Hon. Sen. Zvidzai has given a very important angle to the debate.  Hon. Sen. Moyo raised issues to do with how our traditional practices may as well enhance our intervention processes in this debate.       I could go on; many people have spoken in this debate.

Mr. President, while embracing this opportunity to address the critical issue of climate change policies and their implications on African countries.  It is imperative that we examine the proposed lenses through the decoloniality approach and consider the historical context in which these policies are being imposed on nations like Zimbabwe.  I think the Hon. Senator who has spoken before me has really touched on this issue.  It is a caution; Zimbabwe has actively participated in international negotiations around this issue of climate change as far back as 1992.     It was amongst the first few countries to sign and ratify the United Nations Framework, UNF CCC back in 1992.  It also acceded to a short of protocol in 2009 and Zimbabwe’s National Climate Change Response Strategy is quoted as saying ‘Africa is bursting with possibilities and a vast endowment of natural resources.   The continence of renewable energy potential is 50 times greater than anticipated; the anticipated globally, at least, demand for the year 2040.  The continent has over 40% of global reserves of key minerals for batteries, and hydrogen technologies. Africa also has the largest trucks of arable land and the continent is young; 70% of people under 30 years of age. 

It is time to tap the riches and aspirations of these people. Here, they were quoting William Ruto, the President of the Republic of Kenya.  While we recognise that global change is an issue that requires immediate action from all nations including African countries, we cannot afford to delay or exempt any region for taking responsibility for their environmental impact.  We must not take the brand on some of the measures that affect our ability to control our own resources.   As everyone is panicking around the world and people are seeking measures, the measures are skewed towards disadvantaging us.  Hence, we have some of the adaptation strategies that are being proposed.  I support them but is this the best we can do? 

          You will find that you will spend a whole amount of money at a conference talking about peripheral intervention measures instead of asking who is responsible and what they should do to stop the rot.  I agree with the argument that says, we need to gather up more courage and expertise in order to be able to question these big issues at these conferences. An example of some of the disadvantages that come from going to conferences and signing some of these protocols and treaties. 

          I will take from the field of elephants versus people.  In Zimbabwe, we now have signed treaties that mean that we no longer have control on how to deal with our elephants.  It eliminates our traditional practices of how to deal with our elephants.  Our elephant herd is huge whilst those that have massacred their elephant herds now seek to tell us how to deal with them.  So, this is caution.  I understand the urgency of addressing climate change but we must not ignore these underlined power dynamics at play. 

          Western countries, historically, are the biggest polluters, and exploiters of natural resources are now attempting to dictate stringent climate laws to African nations like Zimbabwe.  This reeks of neo-colonialism that cannot be allowed to continue.  We cannot ignore the fact that Western countries have disproportionately contributed to the current crisis.  I will not hum on this, as my friend, had put his foot on it. 

          As I was saying Hon. President, this issue cannot be divorced from its historical context.  We must seek to strike a good balance between the able arguments that we put forward in favour of this motion and the concerns raised by my colleagues who also are throwing out this word of caution.  We agreed that African countries including Zimbabwe have a stake in preserving our climate for the future; we cannot absolve from that. These future generations must be protected and we must take pro-active steps to mitigate the environmental impact. The meaning of working together with the international community to achieve meaningful progress towards a sustainable future Madam President, must not mean passing laws that leave us at the mercy of the international agenda to the detriment of our own developmental initiatives.

          I agree that the effects of climate change are dire and must be addressed, but we must do so in a way that upholds the principles of justice and equity. African countries must not be saddled with the burden of implementing stringent climate laws designed by western countries especially when those same nations have contributed the most to this crisis. We must advocate for a more balanced approach that takes into account the historical injustices and empowers us as African nations to pursue sustainable development on our own terms.

          Additionally, it is crucial for African countries to avoid the trap of relying too heavily on foreign aid and investment that may come with strings attached because we may become excited when we are given some change in the context of the whole issue. That leaves our hands tied behind our back and unable to function and develop our countries. We have heard that the industrial revolution is largely responsible. Does this mean that we should not have our own opportunity and fair chance at developing, at going through this phase of industrial revolution? These are the questions that we may have to answer. Can we successfully skip that phase?

          Right now, we rely on raw materials. Our gold goes out unprocessed and our minerals are unprocessed. Even our timber is unprocessed and we need to be able to go through the motions of being able to do that Madam President. I will outline examples of some of these traps like technological solutions that do not consider the social, environmental and economic impacts on local communities and exacerbate existing inequalities. Policies that prioritise economic growth without considering the impact on eco-systems and also our local knowledge and our local traditional institutions. I will not read the whole list and I think I have made my point.

          In conclusion, as we anticipate the Climate Change Bill promised by the President in his State of the Nation Address on October, 3, 2023, outlining the Government’s legislative agenda for the 10th Parliament, it is imperative to emphasise the necessity of addressing Climate Action and Sustainable Development holistically and inclusively. The approach should consider the inter-connectedness of social environment and economic systems thereby steering African countries towards a more sustainable and equitable future for all of us.

          We recognise the importance of regulating green house gas emissions and combating the effects of climate change, which is really where the interventions started as proposed by Hon. Sen. Mohadi comes in. Again, I emphasise that in this debate we support them wholly but what we say is that they are not enough and what we say is that we must not take them hook, line and sinker if it means tying our hands behind our back.

In a nutshell, I thank you for this debate and hope that all of us will be able to take this motion as we engage on this debate because we know that this Bill is coming and these cautions that we are talking about will come into place. Our delegations are going to COP25 and as they go to that Conference, our delegations again should carry this message of caution and more aggression in terms of questioning the long existing practices of the western nation. I thank you.

          +HON. SEN. MLILO: Thank you Madam President for giving me this opportunity. We are debating about climate change which is important. When talking about Bulawayo, climate change has caused a situation where there is water rationing which is allocated to different households. As I speak, there are some areas which do not have water. It takes two weeks or so for some people to have water which is a health risk. Climate change should be taken seriously because we do not know when the rains will come. Every place is dry and there is no water.

          So, I implore the Government to take note that water is a basic necessity and when someone does not have water, their life becomes very difficult particularly in Bulawayo where people are facing water shortages because of climate change and people are struggling to access water. They spend days without water and they go to boreholes to fetch water and the water is salty sometimes. At times it is water which can be used for toilets and sanitation. Drinking water is not accessible. So, Government should prioritise that.  I thank you.

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

          HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Wednesday, 3rd April, 2024.

MOTION

STRATEGIES TO MOBILISE RESOURCES FOR THE

NATIONAL CLEAN-UP CAMPAIGN

          Eleventh Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the National Clean-Up Campaign.

          Question again proposed.

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

HON. SEN. MOHADI: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 3rd April, 2024.

MOTION

ROAD SAFETY DURING THE FESTIVE SEASON

          Twelfth Order read:  Adjourned debate on motion on the successive road accidents on consecutive days which claimed scores of lives in the month of November, 2023 countrywide.

          Question again proposed.

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

          HON. SEN. ZVIDZAI: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 3rd April, 2024.

MOTION

PROGRAMMES TO CURB DRUG AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE BY THE YOUTHS

          Thirteenth Order read:  Adjourned debate on motion on drug and substance abuse by the youths.

          Question again proposed.

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

          HON. SEN. MOHADI: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Wednesday, 3rd April, 2024.

MOTION

PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS   

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

          Question again proposed.

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

          HON. SEN. MOHADI: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Wednesday, 3rd April, 2024.

          On the motion of HON. SEN. MUZENDA, seconded by HON. SEN. MOHADI, the Senate adjourned at Twenty-Four Minutes to Five o’clock p.m.

 

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