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SENATE HANSARD 20 JULY 2022 VOL 31 NO 55
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Wednesday, 20th July, 2022
The Senate met at Half-past Two o’clock p.m.
(THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE
DEATH OF HON. SEN. OLIVER MANDISHONA CHIDAWU
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: It is with profound sorrow that I have to inform the Hon. Senators of the sudden and untimely death of Hon. Sen. Oliver Mandishona Chidawu, the Minister of State for Devolution and Provincial Affairs for Harare and Senator for Harare Metropolitan Province on Tuesday, 19th July, 2022. I invite Hon. Senators to rise and observe a minute of silence in respect of the late Hon. Minister.
Hon. Senators stood in silence.
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I have to inform the Senate that there will be an APNODE Workshop at Rainbow Towers in Harare on 23rd and 24th July, 2022. All Chairpersons of Thematic Committees and three other Senators from each Thematic Committee are invited to attend. The workshop begins at 0800 hours in the morning on each of these two days. This workshop is meant to enhance Members of Parliament’s oversight role through monitoring and evaluation.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. SEN. MUZENDA: Mr. President Sir, I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 and 2 on today’s Order Paper be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the Day have been disposed of.
HON. SEN. KAMBIZI: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
PROVISION OF FUNDS FOR COMPLETION OF DAM CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS
Third Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the need for Government to provide adequate funds for the completion of dam projects.
Question again proposed.
(v)HON. SEN. CHISOROCHENGWE: Thank you Mr. President for the opportunity that you have given me. I want to thank Hon. Sen. Mabika for moving that important motion because the issue of conserving water is very important. If you look at the dams that are there, they need attention so that they can harness water. If you look at everyone in this land as well as animals, they rely on water. Water is vital.
We do have dams that are available and they should be well looked after and maintained. Those dams that are incomplete should be completed to enhance harnessing of water. Farmers were not allowed to farm without firstly putting contours. Those contours were important for trapping water. I think those who are engaged in farming should look into the issue of contours. Dams are built at a particular place but at an individual level, people can harness the water. Few people will be able to access water from the dams.
I think that drilling of boreholes is also vital. We realise that for people to access water in some of the boreholes, they have to pay. If one cannot afford to pay for council water, they should access it from the boreholes. The issue of dams is important because water is vital for everyone. On dams that are already in existence, we need to ensure that the Ministry responsible for water and maintenance of dams does its work well. I want to thank the Hon. Senator for moving the motion.
HON. SEN. MABIKA: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. CHINAKE: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 20th July, 2022.
PARENTING AND EMBRACING A RECEPTIVE CULTURE FOR CHILDREN LIVING IN THE STREETS
Fourth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on vulnerable children living in the streets.
Question again proposed.
HON. SEN. MABIKA: Thank you Mr. President, I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Mpofu for this very important motion. I was looking at it and thinking about these streets children that most of them it is not their fault to be on the streets. For some of them, it was caused by poverty, low education, abuse or lack of parenthood, sometimes domestic violence, poor relationship within families and step parents. It is therefore important that Government and partners put in some significant effort at an early stage. It will be important to have some partners who can build rehabilitation centres or some shelter for these children where the shelter would offer some form of therapeutic or developmental recreational programmes. They should also have social workers who help in the shelters to estimate the individual basic needs of food and clothing. They should also look at the psychosocial nature where the street kids will be offered an accustomed consultation. They also need to find out what stage of development the children have reached and they listen to the events that led these children to leave in the streets.
We also need to focus on the family backgrounds of the street kids and make sure these children in the homes or the shelter are taught various skills. At these shelters, we will definitely need tight security because these children have a tendency of going back to the streets even if something good is being done for them or to them. At some point, we will reach a turning point where they realise that it is good for us to do things for ourselves and they realise that those people suffering from destructive lives will eventually come to a turning point. It is not the only solution; we might also have another solution whereby we have visibility in terms of outreach work. Again I come back to the social workers. We have a lot of social workers who have graduated and are not at work, they could be made use of and raise awareness and more social workers will be at work. This also creates employment and help in controlling the push factors and the reasons for children wanting to choose life in the streets, some children might be changed if appropriate approach is used for the children. When it comes to street kids, we have push factors and we also have pull factors. Those factors that draw children to the streets, some include drugs and substance abuse and some of them see it as an opportunity to make money or there is freedom of some sort in the streets. It is up to the social workers and Government to make sure these factors are looked into. Surely something should be done urgently so that children do not continue to live in the streets.
I implore the Government and other partners such as NGOs to look into this issue of how best we can help the street kids than having partners that are meddling into politics, they can help by doing rehabilitation programmes. This will help Government and children to interact with the street kids such that they do not continue to live in the streets. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: Thank you for affording me the opportunity to add a few words on the very important motion that was brought by Hon. Sen. Mpofu, seconded by Hon. Sen. Chief Makumbe on the issue of street kids. It is a big challenge that the country is facing concerning these streets kids. This started in 1980 when we attained the independence. Mr. President, you know that we, the black people, were not allowed to live in the cities such as Harare - it was reserved for the white man but because of independence, most of us Africans were able to come to the cities. The challenge was that Harare was only meant for a few people. After the war of liberation, most people flocked to the cities through rural-urban migration and expanding the town was not prioritised, that is why we have problems today.
It is not the only challenge of Government but it also comes to us as parents of those children. The challenge we have with children who beg for food on the streets is that most of them will be dirty as they do not bath and they present themselves as children who are not well looked after. As parents, we should take the initiative to ensure that we look after our children and that will alleviate the burden of this challenge on Government.
That is why Government set up Vocational Training Centres and at one time we argued as to whether this was a good initiative or not. For me, it was a good initiative as it teaches children courses to do with skills that can sustain them in life. Some people had a different point of view on this matter. Vocational Training Centres are very important and now we see their importance. I hope that Government will ensure that our children go to Vocational Training Centres so that they get life skills that can sustain them in future.
The challenge is that some children can fall sick whilst on the streets and no one will be able to see that they are sick. Rape cases will increase as well as crime. As you walk around on foot around the city, you will find that these kids are harassing people because that is how they have been brought up in the streets. As parents, we need to do our part and assist Government. We want our children to go to school. We should not leave everything to Government because these children are ours. They grow up without any manners and moral values as well. That is where you find that there is a lot of substance abuse such as Crystal Meth which they start taking at a tender age. As parents, I want to encourage all of us to do our part. Let us request Government to assist us with school fees but at the same time, looking and having custody over our kids.
The challenge that we are facing in town nowadays is that you cannot move freely because of these children and it is affecting people who are going about their normal duties. We as Zimbabwe must talk to our parents that these kids should not be allowed to go into the streets to go and beg. As it is, the food that they get should be considered. It is better that they stay in the rural areas because one can engage in different activities as well as do gardening. With these few words I want to thank you Mr. President.
*HON. SEN. MUZENDA: I want to say a few words on the motion that was brought by Hon. Sen. Mpofu which is a very pertinent motion. This is an issue which is always under discussion and if no action is taken, it is important that we continue to remind each other as to what we can do as a country.
I investigated with the aim of wanting to check the challenges of children on the street whether it is just an African issue or something else. As Africa, we are taken as Third World or under developed countries but the results reflected that the issue of street kids is a global issue. It is not unique to Africa. It is of concern in developed countries like Russia, America, Canada and others. As Zimbabwe, it would be important for us to find a solution as the previous speakers have said that it has become a challenge which requires each and every one of us - maybe starting from this august House, to see what we can do. Do we have any legislation or policy, if it is there, is it being adhered to because the documents that are being written say that globally, there are 100 million children living on the streets.
It sets one to start thinking of how those many people can be assisted and yet they stay amongst other people. My apologies, I was not able to get the number of street children here in Zimbabwe but I will continue to look into it so that I get the statistics. Some of the children who grew up on the streets, it is not their fault that they are on the streets. Going forward as a Government we need to see what is going to happen. Are they not going to increase in number? It is not their fault. Even in other countries, if they decide to revolt against the Government, they will not be able to see the positive impact of these policies. I think it is a challenge that we need to work on in unison.
Furthermore, I think we need to look at the fact that for example when we are here in Zimbabwe, we should not use blanket statements and see everyone as a homogenous group. Probably those in Bulawayo, Mutare and other areas have reasons and challenges. When we have those policies, we need to have consultations with the concerned individuals so that they input into the policy making and solicit their opinions on how this challenge could be addressed. I am sure you know that our roads are congested. Where traffic lights are not working and uncontrolled intersections, you will find these street kids assuming the role of directing traffic.
Currently, I do not know whether we have legislation that pertains to the welfare of street kids. If it is there and it needs amendment, then we can see how it can be amended. I can imagine what the situation will be like 20 to 30 years from now. I thank you Hon. President.
*HON. SEN. NYATHI: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to add my view on this motion brought by Hon. Sen. Mpofu, seconded by Hon. Sen. Chief Makumbe about children living on the streets. This is a very painful issue Mr. President, especially for us mothers because we stay with children. It is true that the Hon. Senator found it fit that we should debate this issue in this august Senate. It is not the first time that we debate this issue. We have talked about it for a long time. This issue to do with children living on the streets has been amongst us for the past 40 years after independence. By now I believe we should have come up with a solution.
If only these things were done a long time ago for us to ensure that we take care of the children. I have noticed something Mr. President. What do we mean when we say street kids? When we talk of kids, we are talking of young ones in age but during evenings, you realise they are no longer kids. I do not know whether we should call them street adults. They are the ones who are stealing from people and harassing people. Are we just grouping them together, the young children and the adult ones? If we look at this issue, this is where the problem of thefts emanates from. They are the ones who snatch people’s bags and steal from people. I believe as Senators, we should be considering these issues seriously. Let us discuss issues, make a follow up and implement it, not just talking. After discussing issues, let us have a situation where those issues are implemented.
As I speak, it is now 40 years and we have been talking about children living on the streets and yet nothing has happened. Sometimes it is other organisations that are dealing with this but here as a country, in Zimbabwe, let us ensure that we empower such organisations and ensure that they are adequate to deal with this problem. Let us not rely on foreigners or other countries but let us solve these problems ourselves.
Mr. President, I do not think all these children living on the streets do not have parents. Sometimes they have parents. So let us ensure that we also make a follow up to see where they come from. Sometimes they come onto the streets but they stay at home and go back later. Let us ensure we make a follow up on where they come from. They come to harass people on the streets and go back home. Even the traditional leaders should also be involved in resolving this issue because they have people who encounter all these problems. Where I come from in Hwange, I have a chief who knows where to find me if I am needed. All I am saying is, we have discussed this issue for a long time. Right now, we need to come up with a solution.
Harare is the capital city but what is happening is not good at all. It is no longer a city, it is something else. If you go to Harare Street, you will find a totally different environment. We talk about attracting tourists. When they come, they will see a lot of unpleasant things down there. As a country, let us resolve our problems. Let us resolve our issues so that at least we restore our dignity as a people. Why are we failing to do that?
Mr. President, we have discussed this issue for a long time. I do not know whether the Minister moves around the streets of Harare, especially in the evening to see the situation so that when they come here, we discuss from the same page. Sometimes the Minister may say we are just waffling. Are they aware of what is transpiring on the streets in the evenings? This issue raised by Hon. Sen. Mpofu is a very important matter. We need to put our heads together and come up with a solution because the Hon. Member is a woman and a mother. With these few words, I thank you Mr. President.
*HON. SEN. MURONZI: Thank you Mr. President for giving me the opportunity to support the motion on street kids. I want to thank Hon. Sen. Mpofu who raised the motion and the seconder, Hon. Sen. Chief Makumbe. Mr. President, I concur with Hon. Sen. Chimbudzi that we are the ones who spoiled these children. Now, it has become a challenge and we are crying foul. It is true that we grew up during the Smith Regime. During that period, you would not even see street kids on the streets. After independence, we acquired too much independence and today it is costing us. Mr. President, what troubles me is that at one time, a very small child came to me at the intersection asking for money. I asked him what he needed the money for but he did not respond, which means the parents will be hiding somewhere in the streets. I do not know how we can address this issue. We can talk about it – yes, but the parents will be there and they will be hiding somewhere nearby. It is different from people with disability who will be in wheelchairs. One small boy came to me and asked for money and I told him I would give him a job as a cattle herder but he ended up shouting at me. So, I do not know how we can assist them Mr. President. If we do not do anything about it, the numbers are going up.
Mr. President, this is a serious issue - it cannot be addressed. Right now the increase of these street kids is alarming. I saw some of them close to the United Methodist Church, it was pathetic, I do not know if it is possible to remove them from the streets completely. Yes, we can talk and we can call upon the Government to address the matter but we will not be able to solve this problem. Why is it that in rural areas Mr. President, in our growth points and townships, we do not find such children? If you go to Madziwa Township, Mount Darwin, you will not find them, they will always rush to these big cities. That is an issue that troubles me. The parents are there, the children who bore these children are there and they are hiding somewhere, sending their children to go and beg. I think their parents must be arrested and this should be a criminal offense. I thank you.
+HON. SEN. D. M. NDLOVU: Thank you Mr. President for affording me this opportunity. I would also like to thank Hon. Mpofu who brought about this motion on children living in the streets. The reasons why these children are in the street are in different forms which is why it has been difficult to solve these problems even though we continue to implore the Government to build rehabilitation centres for these children. Growing up as a young lady, I used to work for non-governmental organisations aligned to churches but what we realised is that if these children think of going to the streets, they change their behaviour and behave like animals. I can give an example of a situation whereby when cooking, you use different mealie meals from maize and sorghum, you then do not have an appropriate name for this kind of mixture. We need to make sure we work hand-in-glove with non-governmental organisations to have rehabilitation centres to assist these children. Some of them come from good homes but they choose to live in the streets. This has become difficult for us to assist them.
Mr. President, the same children are the ones that are taking drugs and abusing substances. They do not listen to anyone. One Hon. Member touched on this issue saying we do not know if we can continue to call these children that are growing up in the streets, street children or street adults. They grow up in the streets and most of them are the ones who are contributing in prostitution, girls who are just using small towels to tie themselves. I once used Mutare Road around 2200 hours and what I saw is unexplainable. They were wrapped in small towels, some were seated and some were standing. When a car approaches, they would just unwrap themselves and when you do not know this, you will scream and fail to understand what is happening. This shows that the indiscipline in our country is just too much. These children turned to behave like animals. They are not scared of their nudity.
Mr. President, nudity is sacred, even for a young child, if you are to let them play without dressing, they show that they are no longer safe around the people that are there. The situation is just unbearable. Some of them become men at a young age for instance a 12-year old. To realise that this child has gone out of his way choosing to be a man when he is still a child is worrisome. Although some of them are orphans, most of them are just choosing to live in the streets just for bad behaviour. If possible we could just have those children rounded up and have them give us their addresses so that we can make follow-ups to where they come from. If you talk to them, some of them get to the point of accepting that the situation that they are in is not okay and they prefer to return to their homes. Some of them are then taken to churches for better standards of living but before the end of two months, some of these children are back in the streets. Some of them even indicated that if they are to be taken back to rehabilitation centres, they will end up burning the centres. All these are examples of people that can no longer be treated who suffer from what we call in English, cancer. It is difficult to treat cancer. What one requires is to say if God has become merciful to me, then I can only survive by treatment. If you do not get treatment, then you are nothing. It is the same with these kind of children who continue to play a blame game but even if Government put in place a place like maybe Khami; some of the children stay there maybe we can manage that they stay there. Like one of the Hon. Members who indicated that it has been 40 years when we have been talking about this issue. All the measures that have been put in place have failed to bear any fruits.
Even if we travel to other countries that are out of Zimbabwe, we have seen the same. I do not know if we are to say we are going through challenges in Zimbabwe. We have realised that the same problem is existing in other countries like those in Europe. We still have street kids not only in Africa but in developed countries. The only difference is that their percentages do differ, but they are there.
My plea to Government is let us try but we need to know that in all our trials, we are doing it for our children. Street children do not care where they sleep or what they eat, no wonder why some of them even open bins and smash cars just because their behaviour has turned into that of an animal.
I therefore thank the mover of the motion Senator Mpofu, and it is my plea that His Excellency should try and make sure that we build rehabilitation institutions for these children. I thank you.
HON. SEN. S. MPOFU: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday 21st July 2022.
POLICIES THAT ADDRESS AND PLUG LOOPHOLES RELATED TO TAX EVASION
Fifth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on policies that address and plug loopholes on tax evasions, illicit financial flows and corruption.
Question again proposed.
HON. SEN. CHINAKE: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday 21st July 2022.
On the motion of HON SEN. MUZENDA, seconded by HON. SEN. KAMBIZI, the Senate adjourned at Twenty Five Minutes past Three o’clock p.m.