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SENATE HANSARD 20 APRIL 2021 VOL 30 NO 33

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Tuesday, 20th April, 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

ERROR ON THE ORDER

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I have to inform the Senate of an error on today’s Order Paper where two Orders of the Day were numbered as No. 4. After effecting the correction, all the subsequent orders will be renumbered accordingly. Can I take this opportunity to recognise the Hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs in our House. You are welcome Hon. Minister – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] -

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

THE HON. MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE (HON. SEN. DR. SHAVA): Madam President, I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 3, 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

HON. SEN. MUZENDA: I move the motion standing in my name that this House takes note of the Report of the 2021 Virtual Parliamentary Hearing at the United Nations under the theme, “Fighting Corruption to Restore Trust in Government and Improve Development Prospects,” held on 17th and 18th February 2021.

HON. SEN. CHIEF MTSHANE: I second.

HON. SEN. MUZENDA: Thank you Hon. President.

1.0    Introduction

The 2021 Annual Parliamentary Hearing at the United Nations was convened virtually on 17 and 18 February 2021 under the theme, Fighting corruption to restore trust in government and improve development prospects'.” Participation was drawn from 400 Parliamentarians as well as diplomats, representatives from civil society and experts on the theme. The theme was designed to ensure a parliamentary contribution to the Political Declaration of the United Nations General Assembly Special Session Against Corruption (UNGASS 2021) scheduled for June 2021.

1.2    The Parliament of Zimbabwe was represented by the following Members of Parliament:

Hon. Tsitsi Veronica Muzenda;

Hon. Vincent Tsvangirai; and

Hon. Robson Mavenyengwa.

2.0    Opening Session

The Hearing was officially opened by Hon. Duarte Pacheco, President of the IPU and H. E. Mr. Volkan Bozkir, President of the 75th Session of the General Assembly.

In his remarks, Hon. Pacheco noted that corruption has become a cancer to democracy and requires collective anti-corruption efforts as well as political will in order to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 16 (SDG 16) “to substantially reduce corruption and bribery in all their forms by 2030”. In this context, he called for Parliaments to be guided by the 2005 UN Convention Against Corruption. This requires legislation and resources to enforce laws that have become even more urgent due to the pandemic. Hon. Pacheco also lauded the Global Organisation of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC) for its active role in trying to reduce corruption.

H.E. Mr. Volkan Bozkir noted that corruption remains a pervasive global challenge which erodes public trust in democratic institutions. He underscored the crucial role played by Parliaments in their legislative, representative and oversight functions through keeping the governments accountable, informing governments about the challenges and aspirations of the people and translating UN resolutions into effective legislation. In the context of the COVID-19 Global pandemic, H.E. Bozkir called on Parliaments to ensure that emergency funds approved to fight the pandemic are not diverted through corruption.

In her keynote address, Ms. Delia Ferreira Rubio, Chairperson of the Board of Transparency International, highlighted the importance of the 3 Ts in fighting corruption, namely: Trust, Truth and Transparency. She emphasised that the adoption of conventions is not enough but implementation of the principles in letter and spirit is imperative. She noted the clear correlation between anti-democratic responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and high levels of corruption.

3.0    UN Convention against Corruption and Implementation Challenges and Corruption Involving Vast Quantities of Assets “Grand Corruption”

Corruption was identified as a serious threat to global security and stability. It adversely affects development, delivery of public services, especially health care which has now been burdened by the current fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Following presentations from lead presenters, participants were given an opportunity to share country experiences and best practices. Hon. Mavenyengwa shared Zimbabwe’s experience highlighting the following best practices:

  • Creation of the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) and the National Prosecuting Authority,
  • Zimbabwe's corroboration with International Criminal Justice, the launch of National Development Strategy 1 (2021 -2025), and
  • National corruption laws such as Prevention of Corruption Act, Money-Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Act among others.

The following salient outcomes emanated from the deliberations:

  • The 2030 Agenda cannot be achieved without tackling corruption through enacting laws to curb illicit financial flows, recovering ill-gotten assets, protecting whistle blowers and creating robust, independent anti-corruption bodies.
  • In addition to good corruption laws, there is need for public awareness, strengthened public institutions and political will to enforce and implement these laws and policies.
  • Ending impunity through criminalisation and effective punishment of corrupt practices is necessary.
  • Enhancing regional and international cooperation and collaboration in combating corruption. Parliamentarians were identified as key players in the establishment of inter-governmental agencies and processes to facilitate the implementation of the provisions of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC).
  • The need for a multi sectorial approach, in particular, the inclusion of the participation of civil society organisations (CSOs) and the private sector in fighting corruption was emphasised.
  • Despite different levels of development across regions of the world, the use of artificial intelligence is a key component in fighting corruption.
  • The media, including social media, is a watchdog over the conduct of public officials and politicians. However, its role should also be regulated to curb excessive production of fake news and misinformation. The UN launch of a facility called 'Verify' to authenticate information from social media testifies the need to exercise restraint on social media.
  • States can draw from the Oslo Statement (2019) which contains 64 expert recommendations on preventing and combating corruption involving vast quantities of assets.
  • A proposal to create an International Anti-corruption Court (IACC), modeled on, but distinct from the International Criminal Court (ICC), was made. However, it was met with reservations amid concerns that the organ may be used to target victims from weak developing countries, while culprits from the rich powerful countries are protected.

4.0    Gender-Sensitive Anti-Corruption Policies and Key Anti-Corruption Measures: Assets Disclosure and Beneficial Ownership, Whistleblowers, and Financing of Political Parties/Elections

The Session identified the following challenges faced by women:

  • Corruption undermines economic development and perpetuates poverty and may drain resources for public services that women depend more on than men.
  • Political and grand administrative corruption may perpetuate gender inequalities such as discrimination against women with respect to resources, participation in politics, and access to high-level positions in public administration.
  • Male-dominated decision making has even wider consequences as fewer resources may be allocated to government policies and programmes that benefit women.
  • Women risk being exposed to physical abuse, sexual extortion and exploitation.

5.0    Parliament and Anti-Corruption: Good Practice and Strategies

Participants critically examined The United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), noting that it requires member states to enact domestic anti-corruption laws. These laws are required to prohibit extortion, bribery and money-laundering.

However, it was further noted that the UNCAC does not effectively address mechanisms for enforcement of the provisions of the Convention or the domestication of laws. Its provisions against political corruption were described as weak. In this regard, the UNCAC has failed to curb grand corruption.

6.0    Gender Sensitive Anti-Corruption Policies and Key Anti-Corruption Measures: Assets Disclosure and Beneficial Ownership, Whistleblowers, and Financing of Political Parties/Elections

The following outcomes and recommendations emanated from the Session:

Parliaments play a critical role in fighting corruption through its legislative, representation and oversight functions. Parliaments were called upon to exercise their functions as follows:

  • Ensuring a strong legal framework to curb corruption. This involves passing national anti-corruption legislation and creating an environment that makes corruption more difficult by promoting transparency.
  • Ensuring that public resources are used legally and responsibly by monitoring government policies and activities to ensure conformity with priorities of their constituents.
  • Establishing a robust whistle blower programme where women feel safe to raise concerns such as a gender-specific response team in addition to other whistle blowing channels (i.e. women reporting to women). This can be done through budget allocations and amendment of existing laws.
  • Supporting gender analysis and collection of sex disaggregated data on corruption and the application of collected data, particularly in law making, oversight and representative roles.
  • Participants called for gender parity in the representation of women in Parliament. Furthermore, Women Parliamentarians were encouraged to lobby their political parties to be placed in strategic Committees to help address vulnerabilities faced by women in the various sectors.
  • There is need to combine targeted anti-corruption policies with efforts to empower women in governance and improve access to information through promoting and advocating for an enforceable right to information for women and men.
  • Participants were called upon to further explore the establishment of the International Anti-Corruption Court (IACC). Such an international mechanism with authority and power to freeze laundered money and to investigate and punish the criminal elements has a chance of reducing corruption.

7.0    Overall Recommendations

Zimbabwe has made great strides towards anti-corruption and anti-money laundering efforts as evidenced by the anti-corruption measures adopted by the Government to eradicate corruption and build trust in Government.

However, there is a need to address some gaps in terms of legislation, for example, enacting legislation in line with the provisions of Article 32 of the UNCAC which provides for the protection of witnesses, experts and victims of corruption.

Parliament can also influence the budget allocation towards fighting corruption to ensure adequate resources to, among other issues, capacitate relevant officers as well as to facilitate public awareness campaigns.

Parliament should play its oversight function in ensuring the implementation of the various measures in place as well as the functioning of established institutions to fight corruption.

Parliamentarians, through their Chief Whips, should lobby for women Parliamentarians to chair strategic committees.

Parliamentarians should contribute towards anti-corruption efforts using a gender lens.        I thank you

HON. SEN. CHIEF MTSHANE KHUMALO: Thank you Madam President for giving me this opportunity to support the report moved by Sen. Muzenda on 2021 Virtual Parliamentary Hearing at the United Nations under the theme ‘Fighting Corruption to Restore Trust in Government and Improve Development Prospects’.

Madam President, in the opening remarks of the session Mr. Pacheco in his remarks noted that corruption has become a cancer to democracy and requires collective anti-corruption efforts as well as political will in order to sustain development goal 16, SDG 16, to sustain substantially reduced corruption and bribery in all forms by 2030. Under the same opening remarks Mr. Volkan Bozkir noted that in the context of covid-19 global pandemic he called on Parliamentarians to ensure that emergency funds approved to fight the pandemic are not diverted through corruption.

Under the UN convention against corruption and implementation challenges and corruption involving vast quantities of assets-grand corruption, it was identified that corruption is or has now become a serious threat to global security and stability. It adversely affects development, delivery of public service, especially health care which has now been burdened by the current fight against covid-19 pandemic.

Madam President, the following salient outcomes emanated from the deliberations that the 2030 agenda cannot be achieved without tackling corruption through enacting laws to curb illicit financial flows, recovering ill gotten assets, protecting whistleblowers and creating robust independent anti corruption bodies. It further said in addition to good corruption laws, there is need for public awareness, strengthening public institutions and political will to enforce and implement these laws and policies.

          Despite different levels of development across regions of the world, the use of artificial intelligence is a key component in fighting corruption. The media including social media, is a watchdog over the conduct of public officials and politicians. However, its role should also be regulated to curb excessive production of fake news and misinformation. The UN launch of a facility called ‘Verify’ to authenticate information from social media testifies the need to exercise restraint on social media. States can draw from Oslo Statement (2019) which contains 64 expert recommendations on preventing and combating corruption involving vast quantities of assets. A proposal to create an International Anti-Corruption Court (IACC) modelled on but distinct from the International Criminal Court (ICC) was made. However, it was met with reservations amid concerns that the organ may be used to target victims from weak developing countries while culprits from the rich powerful countries are protected.

On Parliament and anti corruption; good practice and strategies, participants critically examined the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), noting that it requires member states to enact domestic anti-corruption laws. These laws are required to prohibit extortion, bribery and money laundering. However, it was further noted that the UNCAC does not effectively address mechanisms for enforcement of the provisions of the convention or the domestication of laws. Its provisions against political corruption were described as weak. In this regard, the UNCAC has failed to curb grand corruption.

With these few words Madam President, I support the motion moved by Hon. Sen. Muzenda.

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, 22nd April, 2021.

MOTION

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

Fifth 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. MWONZORA: Thank you very much Madam President. I just have one observation. We are being called to answer to the allegations after a judgment has been given. I read the verdict by the Committee and it finds everybody guilty....

Cellphone rung.

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Order, if I may remind Hon. Senators to switch off or put your cellphones on silent.

HON. SEN. MWONZORA: There is a verdict that was given by the Committee which was headed by Mr. Samukange. I take note that Mr. Samukange is a lawyer. That verdict finds every person who is a member of the MDC guilty of the same offence. Those who were there on that day and those who were not there on that day – it finds them all guilty. It also finds those were punished by the party for sitting while others walked out – it finds them guilty as well. There are four people like that in this august House. There is Hon. Sen. Komichi, Hon. Sen. Dr. Mavetera, Hon. Sen. Makone and myself. We were punished by the MDC led by Mr. Chamisa for disobeying him and staying in this House.

Now because this Committee was lazy, it finds everybody guilty and proposes to punish us the same. That is number one. Number two; the Committee for the first time made a correct finding that the Hon. Members were coerced or forced by a superior authority to them to do what they did. It also found that there had not been any planning involving every Member of Parliament. It found that there was no Caucus. Now, where there is a superior authority which makes you do something, there is an automatic defence called obedience to superior authority. So Mr. Samukange must have known as a lawyer that once he found that there was superior authority that gave people an order, that is a defence on its own but they said nothing about it. By the way Madam President, when we are in this House, the laws of the country operate. During the hearing, I brought to the attention of Hon. Samukange and his Committee that I had been punished already by my party and they said Hon. Sen. Mwonzora you can leave because there is no need for you to defend yourself. After this we find ourselves being found as guilty as those people given the chance to defend themselves. That is gross injustice.

Anyway Madam President, the Members of the MDC you see here were internally subjected to this cohesion. They did not sit on their laurels. They rebelled against that leadership, removed it and placed in a new leadership that has attempted to change the politics of this country. This new leadership has now said we must get rid of the politics of hate, politics of hunger, politics of acrimony, politics of polorisation and replace it with the politics of rational disputation and tolerance. These MPs have been exemplary in their debates. They have now said what matters to us is not whether this issue came through ZANU PF or through MDC but what is important is what is in the best interest of the Zimbabwean people. They have done that. They have opposed where it is supposed to be opposed and supported where in their estimation, they were supposed to support. What have our colleagues done across the table. They have proceeded to ignore that and just want to punish including those punished already.

Madam President, this country and especially this Parliament has been subjected to some of the worst behaviours ever. The reason was we had a leadership that did not listen to us and had its own orientation. We have gotten rid of that leadership. We have taken a positive stance towards removing the yoke that was on our necks and we have replaced it with another leadership.

Mr. President Sir, Chief Justice Malaba was subjected to ridicule in the National Assembly when he came to swear in the Speaker. At that point in time, the leader of the opposition in Parliament was Senator Eng. Mudzuri and he was also the Vice President of the MDC. I was the Secretary General of the MDC at that point in time. Hon. Sen. Mudzuri and myself went to the Chief Justice and met him together with his Deputy Justice Gwaunza and we apologised for the wrong that had been done. The Chief Justice forgave us but the example of people who take on responsibility for the bad behaviour of their subordinates and apologise must be encouraged. It is the whole mark of civilisation.

Now, we want this country to go forward. We want this country to go forward. We want this Parliament to start servicing the people of Zimbabwe. We want the Parliamentarians to start doing those things that they were elected to do and that is to make sure that we improve the lives of the Zimbabwean people. We the accused here have started the ball rolling. This persecution now brings us miles back. We have moved forward and this Parliament must take judicial notice that we have moved forward and that this Samukange report, incompetently done, puts us back to the iron age of the Zimbabwean politics. I submit with respect that we must be seen as this Parliament to take notice that we have developed and that things have changed as well as to encourage those things. Therefore we call upon leaders from the other side to take judicial notice of what has happened and let by-gones be by gones unless if of course, as a leader of my party, I was accused and found guilty of insulting the President of Zimbabwe.

Three weeks ago, the same President invited me to accompany him to Victoria Falls for a vaccination programme and I did. So, there is movement, there is convergence, there is a meeting place between myself as a leader of my group and the President as a leader of his party. The two are talking together and the effect of this report is to drive us apart. So, in my respectful view, there is no longer any need for this.

I have already said that the verdict is omnibus. It also punishes people who were not there. It finds everybody guilty and it comes to – and this one I am addressing it because this will be read by lawyers. Hon. Samukange and his Committee in coming up with this verdict used what is called the Doctrine of Common Purpose. This is the doctrine upon which everybody was found guilty and Hon. Samukange said because there was a standing committee that sat and said we are not going to recognise the President, every member of the MDC therefore is guilty. That is not how the doctrine of common purpose works. The doctrine of common purpose works on people who were part of that meeting and just as in ZANU PF, not every member is a member of the politburo. In the MDC, not every member is a member of the National Standing Committee. So, what this verdict does is that it punished even those people who did not sit in that meeting. That is not how the doctrine of common purpose works and at any rate, the doctrine of common purpose works only in criminal cases. There was no crime and it does not work in misconduct.

This, at most will be a misconduct. This,at most is a discourtesy and therefore, the doctrine of common purpose was incompetently applied. In my respectful view, and I am glad that we have traditional leaders led by Hon. Sen. Chief Charumbira and I take notice of things that he said on two occasions in this House. The encouragement he felt at the change of the politics of Zimbabwe. The encouragement he felt at the sense of responsibility displayed by MDC T legislators. What this report does is that it ignores all that.

I therefore submit, with respect, that there is another important thing - our law says a person cannot be punished twice for the same offence. So, if I still and I am put in jail for three months, when I get out you do not try me for the same offence and sentence me to six months. When I come out again, you sentence me. The Speaker of Parliament sentenced us already and each one of us had monies deducted before the Samkange Commission sat. We had monies deducted already for the same offence. We complained and we were not heard.

After deducting our monies for that offence, the Samkange Commission comes and says that is not enough – it seeks to take away the diplomatic passports, creating discrimination among MPs. MPs doing the same work, ranking the same – one is a diplomat and one is not. They are travelling together to Geneva for the same thing. Maybe one is even a Chairperson and one is not, but they get into two different queues. That is some form of black apartheid that this thing introduces. There is no need for that. The point is that we were punished and we served our punishment because our money was taken.

Mr. President Sir, this Parliament especially this Senate, must come to a conclusion of fact that was not known to others and that is with the technology introduced. If the President is in the National Assembly and I am not in the National Assembly and I am in another room and I walk out of that room, have I walked out of the National Assembly, have I walked out on the President? You are in this Chamber and you walk or you are watching the proceedings from your gadget in your hotel and you walk out of that hotel room – have you walked out on the President? We must come to a conclusion, we must define the law but it was no defined.

In my respectful view, when I am not in the same room with the President, I am incapable of disrespecting him by walking out of the room in which he is not. When punishing the Hon. Senators, that is what this verdict does but more importantly, this verdict deals with Senators walking out during a budget. Our law is clear. The budget is presented to the National Assembly and not to the Senate. Now when the Senators do not come on the day of the budget, they are not committing any misconduct.

I just want to conclude by saying we beg this House mostly the legislators on the other side that a good case has been made of the dramatic change of politics in our country. A good case has been made that maybe it is time to let bygones be bygones. The fines that are proposed are beyond the reach of the MPs. I think it is about Z$400 000. The taking of the diplomatic passport is a humiliation which is not necessary. Therefore, I pray that this report while it may be acknowledged must end where it is and it must not be carried into action. In fact, this report must be thrown out. Thank you.

HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: Thank you Mr. President. I should say I am humbled and I would like to say with your permission and permission from all Hon. Senators, can we defer this debate so that we do not spoil what we have built to date. Let us defer this debate and have serious consultations and it can be back on the Order Paper. Thank you.

HON. SEN. MUZENDA: I second.

HON. SEN. MUZENDA: Mr. P resident Sir, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

HON. SEN. MOHADI: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 21st April, 2021.

MOTION

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

          Fifth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the Thematic Committee on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on Veld Fire Management.

Question again proposed.

*HON. SEN. MBOWA: Thank you Mr. President. Mr. President, it appears as if I am offline, be that as it may let me continue.

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Apparently the whole building has lost network connectivity so you may continue.

*HON. SEN. MBOWA: Very well, thank you so much Mr. President. First and foremost, I want to thank you for giving me this opportunity to support the motion raised by Hon. Chief Mtshane that deals with veld fires. I also want to extend my gratitude for tabling such an excellent motion.

Veld fires have become a thorn in the flesh of the majority of people. In fact, we are failing to find solutions on how to ameliorate the issue of veld fires. The problems that are caused by veld fires are too many and have grave consequences. Most veld fires are committed during this time when the grass is almost drying up and the majority of our cotton, especially in Gokwe will still be in the fields. We pick our cotton until June, but there will also be weeds in the same fields. Veld fires are detrimental to the economy of the country because we lose our crops and if our crops are destroyed by fire, we have famine in the land.

This year we had plenty of rains and if you look at the vegetation of this country, it has been quite alluring from fauna and flora. Once they are destroyed by veld fires, they become a tinderbox, can destroy vast tracts of land and leave destruction in their wake even for creeping and crawling insects such as grasshoppers and other various insects. We also have animals that seek shelter from the same trees and grass – all which are destroyed because of veld fires. Even human lives are placed in great danger, if a human being was to come across a veld fire whilst in a bush, they risk losing their own lives. We can lose the lives of people, notwithstanding the lives of animals. We also want to look at soil conservation, if there has been a veld fire; trees are going to be razed to the ground. So the trees that were ensuring that soil erosion is taken care of are destroyed as the area will lose its top soil as a result of soil erosion, especially with the first rains commonly referred to as Gukurahundi because there is nothing to protect the soil as the rains pound the land and this will cause gullies.

When looking at tourism, if you recall Mr. President, when you go to Victoria Falls, you are visiting Zimbabwe. If you look on the left or right, the vegetation has been badly burnt on both sides of the road. This will tend to discourage tourists from coming to our land because the destruction of the vegetation will turn them off. This has the ability to hinder the number of visitors who will come through. Furthermore, veld fires are no good in that they are very destructive. I come from Gokwe, a very hot area and we constantly have veld fires in that area and the heat, we cannot breathe properly as we will be starved of fresh air.

Should the culprits who will have caused veld fires be caught, they should be given deterrent sentences. Through the traditional leadership i.e. chiefs, headmen, village heads and Members of Parliament, we should also have fireguards that will quickly stop the spread of fire. As Methodists we say, you and I have a duty. So it means that we should go and teach people about the dangers of veld fires, especially this year when we have had a lot of grass and trees that have been resuscitated. This is the only way that we can prevent veld fires. With these few words Mr. President, I rest my case in support of the motion and also expressing my dissatisfaction with that. I thank you.

*HON. SEN. FEMAI: Thank you Mr. President Sir. I wouldnot start without first expressing my gratitude because when our Lord Jesus was nailed to the cross to die for our sins, people up to now still say, in Jesus name because he did a good deed.

I would like to thank the President of the new MDC-T dispensation for the good that he did for chasing away the person who has been giving us problems. I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Mwonzora. He is now able to dialogue between members of the Opposition and Government.

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Order, order, I appreciate where you are coming from but can you stick to the debate.

*HON. SEN. FEMAI: Thank you Mr. President. I had gone astray. Thank you for guiding me because if you had not guided me, I would have remained lost. Thank you.

I want to talk about the motion that was raised in this august House. Veld fires have become a perennial problem to this country. They have become a perennial problem because the perpetrators are given light sentences. There are certain creatures that are carnivorous be they birds, they feed on locusts, be it a snake, it will feeds on mice and mice feed on grass. So, these creatures were created by God and there is a purpose for the creatures’ lives and that also enhances the life of a man. Man was the first one to be created and God knows that man cannot live without certain things. He created all these creatures great and small so that the person can live benefiting from them but the same person is now destroying his own life by causing veld fires which destroy forests and the animals that he or she is supposed to benefit from also die.

For this country to be called beautiful, it should be in the state of its creation as the previous speaker has said the tourists will then enjoy nature in its natural environment. People in England have their own mountains that are different from ours. Those in South Africa have trees that are also different from us. Each and every place has its own different natural resources and if we destroy our own natural resources, we will not be promoting tourism because we will have destroyed the tourist attraction. By so doing, we will have short ourselves in the foot.

The majority of some of these creatures like grasshopper, if the grass is burnt, the eggs will be destroyed, hence they will not be able to produce. Grasshoppers together with their eggs, once they are burnt, they will be no such creatures. Few might survive but they will not be able to continue functioning in the purpose that was created for God. The areas where veld fires have taken place, you find that cattle are dying and all the other livestock is also dying. May be the poison creature was burnt by the veld fires and the poison now remains. If a cow ingests, that it dies.

So, I believe that it will not be fair for me not to suggest the type of sentence that the offenders should be given. I do not believe that in Heaven, if you killed someone, you are the only one who receives a harsh sentence. If I remember very well, the Bible says, ‘thou shall not kill’. Do they mean that thou shall not kill a human being or an animal? The Bible simply says do not kill. I believe that if you kill an animal, you will have killed something. For veld fires, I propose a sentence of fifteen or more as a means of deterrent to would be offenders.

Mr. President, in the farms, there are no Chiefs that look after the traditional lands unlike in villages where there are Chiefs and headmen. They encourage the community to only gather dry wood which they will use for cooking. If you want to cut down a tree that you would want to use at your homestead, you get a written or verbal permission from the Chief to cut these trees, so you cannot willy-nilly be cutting trees. In communal areas, there are Chiefs and they direct that such trees should not be burnt because they are for ceremonies. They treat such trees as sacred and those trees are not being destroyed. I believe if one is sentenced to 15 years, it will act as a deterrent to offenders and veld fires will decrease. Those that are near to where the veld fires take place should also be sentenced for six months for failure to identify that person who has started the veld fire and report the culprit to the nearest police station.

It is my request Mr. President that farms which had been taken by the white colonialists when we were resettled in barren semi arid areas, may we have Chiefs in those areas. Some of these Chiefs have their own ruins in those areas while they are in the farming areas. That is why you find that there are ruins for the Chiefs in the farming areas, meaning that blacks were able to identify areas that were fertile. We have gone for 40 years after our Independence, and we should say restore the areas of the jurisdictions that the Chiefs had even if it falls within someone’s area. According to our African tradition, the Chief should rule using his customary law and their boundaries should be respected and restored to the original boundaries so that the Africn culture and the prevention of veld fires is enforced in the farms.

In communal lands, police officers are 50km away from where veld fires occur and the chief is only 10 or 15km or even less because he has the headman or the village head who also acts for and on behalf of the chief - therefore, veld fires are not a daily occurrence. If there be such boundaries, we will be able to protect this country with its flora and fauna. We should return this cultural issue so that it can be looked after and be preserved by chiefs. The chiefs by nature are apolitical, but they just live in those areas and apply the traditional law. In line with our culture, this is what I believe would be most helpful to us. I thank you Mr. President.

+HON. SEN. DUBE: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to add my voice on the motion which was raised by Chief Mtshane over the issue of veld fires. Veld fires have destroyed a lot in our areas. A long time ago, veld fires or a fire was considered as a bad omen when it got into a house. Some people are not taking it seriously when they start a fire. They are taking it for granted. Some people know very well who would have started a veld fire, but they do not report the issue. Senators suggested that some people be appointed so that they report these matters or some committees should be set so that those people would know very well who has started the fire at a certain communal area can report them.

Indeed fire destroys so many things. I still remember some time ago when I was coming to Harare from Kadoma there was a huge veld fire which could not allow any vehicle to pass through and even animals could not pass. One of the Honourable Members highlighted that some tourists would be afraid to visit this country because although it was Kadoma they might think that maybe it was the whole country which was being burnt.

I still remember in Kadoma my grandmother was burnt together with her granddaughter or grandson by these veld fires and nobody reported because they did not know who had started the fire or they were afraid to report the person who had started the fire. These veld fires can destroy homesteads, even animals and it hinders development if this continues. It is because people do not want to report the person who would have started the fire and sometimes it is because of the cruelty of those people who would have started the fire.

Those who would have started veld fires must be given stiffer rigorous penalties because they destroy other things as well. I therefore propose that the sentence be stiffer and rigorous so as to deter those so called offenders. Some people would know who would have started the fire, but they do not want to report the person, instead they hide it - as a result, some people lose their lives because of that. We should know how this fire would have started so that we report the persons.

If people want to burn their litter, they should just wait until the fire ends, rather other than to leave the fire to continue. It is not good for this country, it is very bad. We lose a lot in the country because of these veld fires. This motion is very important to us all. It is very important that those who represent those areas know who would have started the fire because if you do not report, you are as well an offender.

For our economy to grow, we should report those people who would have started the fire so that our country builds up well. With these few words thank you very much, Mr. President, for giving me this opportunity for this motion is very important.

+HON. SEN. D. M. NDLOVU: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to add a few words on the issue of these veld fires. There are some issues that people do not take note of which are very important in our lives and this matter is very important. We do not take these veld fires seriously but we should know that veld fires are very dangerous. They are very bad because there will not be any grass and the soil will also be eroded. Right now we are crying in urban areas that there is no water. We are getting water from boreholes. We have dams and rivers which should assist with water but right now there is nothing in the rural areas because of these veld fires that destroy grass yet animals graze on grass.

One of the Hon. Senators said that grass is very important to so many animals even snakes as well. This is very important – there are so many things that snakes can assist with. As grass is burnt, we do not have anything at all. Our animals will not have anything to graze on. All of us should not condone veld fires. Any person who starts a fire should be given a stiff and rigorous penalty. Even if it is a child, he or she should be told not to play with fire. For those who smoke as well, we should take note of these because they just throw away their cigarettes on the grass hence starting fires. As the Hon. Senator has said, some start fires to spite others but that is very bad. If I start a fire in communal lands trying to fix others, it is not good because this fire will go as far as Limpopo. Animals will not have anything to drink from and also to feed on because the soil will have been eroded. Some animals enjoy drinking water whilst they are in the river.

I am very proud of this motion which was raised by Hon. Sen. Chief Mtshane, that everybody should be a policeman to the person who haa started a veld fire. We should all try to prevent these veld fires. I thank you Mr. President Sir.

*HON. SEN. M. NDLOVU: Thank you Mr. President Sir for giving me this opportunity to add my voice on this motion which was raised by Hon. Sen. Chief Mtshane. Chiefs are the ones who take care of our land. Some crops and lives are destroyed by these veld fires. My wish is that chiefs will call the Ministry of Mines to seek clarity on whether those who mine gold want fire because these artisanal miners say that they use steel which needs to go through the fire in order for them to mine gold.

The other thing that was said is that chiefs do not have authority or power to raise their voices over those issues of veld fires but my view is that chiefs have got powers because they take care of our land. The law should be stiffer because there are so many things that are being caused by fire. Right now, we are seeking tourism for the tourist to see the animals which are not there in their countries but how can we feed these animals when there is no grass? As Hon. Senators in this august House, we should assist the President over this issue of veld fires because these fires destroy animals and people lose their lives. So many people have lost lives because of veld fires. All of us including animals survive on grass. I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Chief Mtshane for raising this motion.

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

HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 21st April, 2021.

MOTION

REPORT ON THE PARLIAMENTARY LEADERSHIP FOR THE 2030 AGENDA WEBINAR SERIES: COVID-19 RESPONSE - LEAVING NO ONE BEHIND

Seventh Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the Parliamentary Leadership for the 2030 Agenda Webinar Series.

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, 21st April, 2021.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE JOINT PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON YOUTH, SPORT, ARTS AND RECREATION AND THE THEMATIC COMMITTEE ON INDIGENISATION AND EMPOWERMENT ON THE STATE OF VOCATIONAL TRAINING CENTRES, THE EMPOWER BANK AND SPORTING FACILITIES

Eighth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the Joint Portfolio Committee on Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation and the Thematic Committee on Indigenisation and Empowerment on the State of Vocational Training Centres, the Empower Bank and Sporting Facilities in Zimbabwe.

+HON. SEN. A DUBE: Thank you Mr President for giving me this opportunity to add my voice to this motion raised by Hon. Sen Mbohwa over the issue of VTCs. This motion is very important because youths are our future. I was one of the members who visited these places with the Committee for Indigenisation and Empowerment. It was a joint committee with the Portfolio Committee on Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation and the Thematic Committee on Indigenisation and Empowerment being led by Hon. Tongofa. We visited so many places where these children are learning. It is not every child who gets employed but some children learn these jobs so tha they are self employed as they grow up.

We visited Gwanda a place called Pangani where some of the children turned out to rear goats. You realise that the places where they rear goats are not well built, hence these buildings should be reconstructed so that these children can learn. The teachers also do not have places to stay, hence the request that the Ministry on Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation should be funded so that these places where the children are learning can be reconstructed. These children show endurance in their learning but it is very unfortunate that they do not have places to learn in.

We then visited Umguza where they also keep goats. There was an old man who has been living under a tree and he only put a tent to shelter himself. I appeal to the Ministry to assist by funding the man so that he has a roof over his head. We later on visited Gweru and we realised that the Municipality is not taking good care of the stadium which is also the same with Barbourfields. Youths are supposed to be using those stadia during their leisure time. That made the municipality to take matters seriously in creating those stadiums. Youths are very important as they play a pivotal role in this country.   Nowadays children are alcoholics and take drugs because they do not have anything to do. We saw it fit that many VTCs should be constructed so that our youths can be assisted in doing various jobs other than being criminals.

We visited some of the places where we noticed that some of the children wanted to access loans for start up projects but it is very unfortunate that they cannot access the loans because there are no banks within their centres. They travel long distances in order to access the funds. Sometimes they do not have transport fare to go to these banks. If these centres are used to access the funds, it will be easier for the youths to start their projects. Our request was that the banks should be located within the provinces so that the youths can easily access the funds.

          We visited one province and we realised that only five children had access to the funds because these banks are not are not within the provinces of where these youths are staying so that they can start their businesses to start living. It is not that these children are not applying but it is very difficult for them to go and access funds because the place is very far away. Our request was that these banks should as well be centres for these banks where these youth can access them because these youth want to be entrepreneurs. They want to be carpenters.

Some of the youth want to access some other loans so that they start something for a living, but it is very unfortunate that it is very far away from where they can access these funds and from where the centre of the banks are. That is what we reaslised and these youth should be assisted. These youth are our tomorrow, they are our future and we should assist them so that they cannot live this miserable life that they are living. We should assist them as the National Assembly and the Senate.

Even if the banks are not there, if at least these application forms for them to access loans can be made available, it may be easy for them and it will make our youth very happy. These youth think that maybe we do not want to assist, but we do want to assist them. With these few words Madam President, this motion which was brought by Hon. Sen. Mbowa is very important for our youth and our entrepreneurs. So many children are learned but they are not employed. If we can assist them to apply for these loans they can be our future. Thank you.

HON. SEN. MBOWA: Thank you madam President, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

HON.SEN. CHIMBUDZI: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 21st April, 2021

MOTION

MAINTENANCE OF THE ROAD INFRASTRUCTURE IN THE COUNTRY

Ninth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the road rehabilitation programme countrywide.

Question again proposed.

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

HON. SEN. MATHUTHU: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 21st April, 2021.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE 47TH PLENARY ASSEMBLY SESSION OF THE SADC PARLIAMENTARY FORUM HELD VIRTUALLY IN NAMIBIA

Tenth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the 47th Plenary Assembly Session of the SADC-Parliamentary Forum held virtually on 9th October 2020.

Question again proposed.

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

HON. SEN. A. DUBE: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 21st April, 2021.

MOTION

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF THE AFRICAN PARLIAMENTARIANS NETWORK ON DEVELOPMENT EVALUATION (APNODE) HELD IN ABIDJAN

          Eleventh Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the Zimbabwe Delegation to the 5th Annual General Meeting of the African Parliamentarians Network on Development Evaluation (APNODE).

          Question again proposed.

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

HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 21st April, 2021.

          On the motion of HON. SEN. MUZENDA, seconded by HON. SEN. D. M. NDLOVU, the Senate adjourned at Twenty Two Minutes past Four o’clock p.m.

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