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SENATE HANSARD 21 JULY 2021 VOL 30 NO 50
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Wednesday, 21st July, 2021
The Senate met at Half-past Two o’clock p.m.
(THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE in the Chair)
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSEE
HON. SEN. MUZENDA: I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 5 be stood over until all the Orders of the Day have been disposed of.
HON. SEN. MOHADI: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
VIRTUAL REPORT OF THE 65TH SESSION OF THE COMMISSION ON THE STATUS OF WOMEN ON WOMEN’S FULL AND EFFECTIVE PARTICIPATION AND DECISION MAKING IN PUBLIC LIFE
HON. SEN. CHIEF NDLOVU: I move the motion standing in my name that this House takes note of the Report of the 65th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women on women’s full and effective participation and decision making in public life as well as the elimination of violence for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls held virtually from 15th to 26th March 2021.
HON. SEN. M. R. NDLOVU: I second.
HON. SEN. CHIEF NDLOVU: Thank you Madam President.
As one of the United Nations (UN) family of organisations, UN Women convenes the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) annually. The CSW’s mandate is, among other things, to receive State Parties reports, consider and prepare recommendations on promoting women's rights in political, economic and civil, and social rights. It is also an advocacy platform where calls are made to member states to address the challenges faced by women in all walks of life.This is in compliance with the provision of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action of 1995. The 65th Session was held, virtually from March, 15th – 26th, 2021 under the theme, “Women’s full and effective participation and decision making in public life as well as the elimination of violence for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.” This report provides a summary of major outcomes of the presentations and deliberations of side events attended by Parliament delegation.
- The head of delegation – President of the Senate, M. Chinomona
- The Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly – Hon T. Gezi
- Chairperson of the Zimbabwe Women’s Parliamentary Caucus (ZWPC) – G. Kwaramba
- Vice Chairperson of the Zimbabwe Women’s Parliamentary Caucus (ZWPC) – S. Budha-Masara.
- The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Women Affairs, Community and SMEs Development – C. Madiwa
- The Chairperson of the Thematic Committee on Gender and Development – C. Ndlovu
Official Opening Ceremony
The UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, and high ranking officials from the African Union (AU), Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) officiated during the official opening ceremony. During this session reference was made to the disproportionate effect of COVID-19 on women, noting that women make up 70% of the front-line workforce. Emphasis was also put on the need to recognise and give value to productive care work that is done by women folk at homes. The UN Women Executive Director, Pumuzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, noted that COVID-19 has resulted in the increase in the number of orphans and child headed homes as well as school drop-outs. An estimate made was that by the end of 2021, 10 million girls will have dropped out of school. Noting that only 5% States, at global level, had gender equality in the COIVID-19 and Climate Change task force committees, a call was made for policy makers to ensure women, especially young women, are represented at all decision making levels.
The country Statement to CSW 65th session presented by the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, and SMEs Development, Hon S. Nyoni, made reference to initiatives aimed at achieving gender equality and women empowerment. These include the constitutional provisions, the establishment of Zimbabwe Women Micro Finance Bank, the Zimbabwe Gender Commission and the affirmative action policy in the enrolment of students at tertiary institutions. It was further noted that women were represented in the judiciary, that a number of them attained positions as principals of State teacher’s colleges, and in parastatals such as Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) and Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA).
Outcomes from Side Events
Political participation in a post-COVID-19 WORLD
COVID-19 exacerbated pre-existing inequalities. Measures recommended to attain gender parity include presence of well-coordinated national gender machinery; strong political will; relevant constitutional reforms enactment of gender responsive law; parliamentary gender monitoring office; existence of vibrant forum of women parliamentarians; existence of mechanisms to combat GBV; parliamentarians working in unison with CSOs to curb GBV; and lastly sharing of regional and international best practices.
Intergenerational alliances and participation of young women in public life was key at CSW 65. State parties were challenged to ensure the engagement of youth and students and to recognise that early exposure to women leaders as role models as well as policy making spaces – mentorship measures are needed to enable young women to successfully grow in leadership. State parties also need to ensure that there is balance of power in all spheres of society.
As for people with disabilities (PWDs), State Parties and civil society organisations (CSOs) were urged to develop an enabling environment, through enactment of laws and policies, to ensure full inclusion of women with disabilities. Policy measures to increase participation of women and girls with disabilities include:
(i) massive deliberate employment programmes of women with disabilities as an empowerment programme;
(ii) creation of a database of women with disabilities;
(iii) adoption and domestication of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol;
(iv) public education on disabilities and people with disabilities (PWDs) rights;
(v) mobilization of women living with disabilities to register to vote;
(vi) making use of electoral colleges for nominations to elect women with disabilities into decision making and leadership positions as is the case in Kenya and Uganda;
(vii) deliberate legislation for women with disabilities representation in leadership positions;
(viii) political parties and civil society organisations (CSOs) should assist with networking, training and encouraging women with disabilities to vote and participate in public and civil affairs;
(xi) women with disabilities to be included in election observation mission since often observers do not check on participation of women with disabilities.
Women and the digital world
It was noted that women were generally excluded from Internet connectivity, since at global level, of the 69% using the internet were youths and that 55% of them were males, while 45% were females. State parties were challenged to promote equal access to ICTs and to the Internet for all women and girls, increase women’s access to digital technologies to enhance their productivity and mobility in the labour market, work towards closing digital divides, include the gender digital divide, ensuring that programmes, services and infrastructure are adaptable and suited to tackle different technological barriers, including literacy, and targeting science, technology and innovation strategies to reduce inequalities and promote the empowerment of all women and girls and women’s full and effective participation in public life.
A call was made for member countries to put in place deliberate laws and policies that promote digital inclusion of women including online protection from cyber-bullying and online violence. In addition, State Parties were urged to engage the internet service providers to simplify applications to foster rural women to embrace digital technology.
Violence against Women
With evidence showing that COVID-19 had aggravated Gender Based Violence(GBV), the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) intensified its call for gender sensitive Parliaments and the use of IPU Gender Sensitive Tool-kit to address the alarming levels of sexism, sexual harassment and the widespread under reporting of such GBV cases. Among other things, Parliaments were encouraged to continuously assess situations, review laws and policies on ending sexism and GBV, provide effective report and investigation mechanisms that are independent from any form of interference. There was consensus on the prevalence, on online platforms, of abuse, cyber stalking, hate speech, doxing, intimidation and threats, trolling, public shaming and cyber bulling. In addition to awareness campaign against cyber-bullying and online violence, State Parties, were urged to include Information and Technology (ICT) into school curriculums to inculcate, into pupils, skills of how to deal with online abuse, what to do or what to post and what not to post on the Internet and other online platforms. Recommended measures to curb online violence against female journalists emphasised involving the whole society, putting in place gender sensitive laws and policies that empower police to protect women journalists and that vibrant and independent judiciary should prosecute and deter perpetrators of online GBV. More important, that multilateral policies should be cascaded to regional and national levels.
Concerning the high prevalence of GBV cases which have since been worsened by the advent of COVID19 pandemic, it was recommended that this can be prevented through a number of measures that Parliament can facilitate:
(i) ending all forms of harmful practices;
- ii) putting in place early warning systems;
(iii) effective implementation of existing gender and GBV laws;
(iv) collaboration of CSOs with parliamentarians;
(v) adequate investment in women empowerment programmes;
(vi) special measures including quota systems to boost women representation in key public institutions;
(vii) compilation of femicide database;
(viii) review of legislation.
The side event on child marriages involved testimonies from our very own Chief Mangwende and Chief Bushu, who show-cased empowerment programmes in the form of Pfumvudza, Tseketsa Kumwanasikana and the Nhangato empower and protect the young girls from early marriages. A resolve was made that State Parties, should rollout in rural areas targeted programmes that seek to empower the girl child and cushion them from the scourge of poverty, a root cause which tends to push girls into early marriages or unwanted pregnancies. Equally important, States were encouraged to put in place, laws that criminalise child marriages and punitive legal measures, to deter those who intend to engage in or facilitate child marriages.
Given that it is estimated that over 10 million girls will be out of school due to COVID-19; the empowerment of girls starts with keeping them in school and also having access to sexual reproductive education. The need to have all girls completing High School is a stepping stone towards empowerment. A deliberate programme and policy has to be put in place to address the plight of girls in order to deal with the effects of COVID-19 and HIV and AIDS. A policy addressing child marriages is also key as Africa has the highest number of these. The most vulnerable groups that fall in the ages between 13 and 21years hence the need for access to information. Children in rural areas need special consideration as they have little or no access to technology. Government’s response to COVID-19 must be practicable and localised. Parliamentarians to emphasise gender transformative approach to poverty alleviation, gender sensitive fiscal policies, gender responsive budgeting, and that social protection and poverty eradication should be bottom up in approach.
Parliament to facilitate investment in care economy especially supporting unpaid care work and safety net coverage focusing particularly upon women in rural areas, minority populations, for example, immigrants, refugees and PWDs, ensuring financial institutions contribute towards women financial inclusion and security through training, offering special funds and loans, and facilitating access to entrepreneurship technology use by rural women. Resources provided should also cover child care expenses to release women to engage in more productive paid work. Parliamentarians to spearhead labour law reforms, in particular, conditions and maternity leave, and they should be guided by the 2019 ILO Violence and Harassment Convention (No. 190). To attain food security, parliamentarians should facilitate strengthening of agricultural supply chains. More important, Parliament to ensure that women empowerment projects are integrated into national development plans.
Parliament should facilitate mainstreaming of widowhood in national policies and laws through review of gender justice laws, financial inclusion policies; health insurance; affirmative social protection and safety nets; and construction of national widows database. COVID-19 social protection funds should be deposited right into widows’ accounts, as was noted in the case in India and the impact was felt by communities. Widows should be trained to deal with four challenges: material change, for example, acquiring assets, skills and awareness to do more with assets acquired; relational change (negotiations with late spouses relatives, standing for elections, etcetera.) ; and lastly women's sense of self esteem, in order for them to participate in public life such as elections. Parliamentarians should, in their legislative and oversight roles, link widows concerns to 12 goals of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) relating to health, hunger, poverty, and others. Parliamentarians should promote widows decent work for survival.
There is need to develop robust national care system through labour laws and policy review, focusing on the following:
(i) parental leave (maternal and paternal leave);
(ii) care support for essential service workers;
(iii) income support to parents;
(iv) utility support;
(v) integrate unpaid carers into the labour force;
(vi) introduction of flexible work arrangements with option of home-based work;
(vii) improving workplace hours to allow more time for self-care.
Advocacy around women leadership for Climate Neutral and circular industries where women should have the drive to be involved in climate issues such as encouraging the green economy. Women need climate smart projects. A call was made to state parties to the acknowledged Paris Agreement to ensure that climate change actions should respect, promote and consider gender equality, empowerment of women and intergenerational equity. Full and effective participation of women in leadership and decision making on the mitigation and adaptation to climate change, environmental , disaster risk reduction and its resilience and adaptive capacities of women and girls to respond to and recover from adverse impacts of Climate change were overemphasised.
Action Plan by the Delegation
The delegation recommends that the Zimbabwe Women’s Parliamentary Caucus should;
|1.Call for adequate resources to be availed towards ministries dealing with social protection issues ; Labour and social Welfare, Health and child care, , Local Government,
|- Exercise their role in the budget making process
- Advocacy on adequate budget allocations in line with the Abuja Declaration
1. Labour and Social Welfare
2. Health and Child Care
3. Local government and public works
|Workplans to be determined by Committees
Pre- budget Seminar 2021
|2. Ratification of the ILO Convention 100,111, 190||-Lobby through position papers the relevant Ministry to present the ILO Convention for ratification||1. Portfolio on Public Service Labour and Social Welfare
2. Zimbabwe Women’s Parliamentary Caucus
|Workplan to be determined by the Portfolio Committee
|3.Increased women participation in mitigation and adaptation to climate change national strategy||- Exercising its oversight function Parliament must call on the Ministry ensure the national strategy on Climate change mitigation and adaptation provides for full and effective participation of women
- Advocacy work by the ZWPC through engagement of the Ministry of Environment
|1. Portfolio Committee on Energy and Power Development
2. Thematic Committee on Gender and Development
3. Women Caucus
|Workplan to be determined by the Portfolio Committee
ZWPC to engage Ministry by September 2021
|4.Urgent call for equal access to ICT access and passing of the Cyber Crime||- Exercising its oversight role, Parliament to engage the relevant Ministry on access to ICT
- ZWPC to lobby for expedition of the Cyber Crime Bill
- ZWPC through advocacy work to engage internet service providers through available mobile networks on empowering women at grassroot level
|1. Portfolio Committees on ICT , Postal and Courier Services
|Workplan to be determined by the Committees
|5.Political Participation and Empowerment of women
|- Exercising oversight function on women economic empowerment and address unpaid care work
- Legislative function- Sexual Harassment legislation
- Lobbying and advocacy on amendment of the Electoral Act to include the 30% women’s quota at Local Government level
- Advocacy role of the ZWPC – roll out the 50/50 position paper to stakeholders
- Work with WROs in Advocacy work on representation of women in public entities especially boards and other public entities
- Legislative/ representative functions on National Health Insurance in line with NDS1
- Legislative/ Oversight – strengthening of supply value chains and participation of women in line with NDS1
- Lobby for a Gender Inclusive national and Sectoral Results Framework for NDS1
1. Women Affairs, Community Small and Medium Enterprises Development
2. Labour and Social Services
3. Health and Child care
4. Thematic Committee on Gender and Development
5. Women’s Caucus
|Workplans to be determined by relevant portfolio committees
|6.Call on Government to ratify outstanding 1.ILO convention relevant to labour standards and amend labour laws to sexual harassment
2. Convention on the Rights of People With Disability (CRPWD)
|- Exercising oversight function in line with Section 34 of the Constitution
- Lobby the relevant Ministry to move for ratification of the ILO convention and the CRPWD
1. Labour and Social Services
2. Thematic Committee on Gender and Development
3. Women’s Caucus
|Workplans to be determined by portfolio committees
|7.Establishment of internal mechanisms to deal with sexism, sexual harassment and violence
Implementation of the IPU Gender Sensitive Parliaments Toolkit
|- Parliament to set up an institutional mechanisms to deal with issues of sexism and violence against MPs
- Parliament to implement the IPU Gender Sensitive Parliament Toolkit
2. Administration of Parliament
|Work with CSOs in ensuring national accountability on COVID-19 response and roll out of the COVID-19 Vaccine||- ZWPC take an oversight role in advocacy for accountability and transparency on COVID-19 response with support from CSOs including WCoZ||1. Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care
2. Portfolio Committee on Finance
|Monitoring implementation and review of NDS1 commitments||- ZWPC with support from WROs design M&E framework to monitor implementation of NDS 1 especially on sectors relating to key CSW 65 issues
- Monitor and review progress in policy implementation
2. Thematic Committee on Gender and Development
No single effort can end women political and socio-economic marginalisation and SGBV, the approach should be multilateral, inclusive of CSOs and private sector, multi sectoral, and should be regionally collaborated. Only then will the effective and full participation of women and girls in public life be achieved for the achievement of SDG 5 on gender equality. As a member State to the UN, the delegation calls upon the Government to consider the agreed conclusions to enhance equitable, sustainable development as set forth by the SDGs and as Zimbabwe works towards the 2030 goal of achieving a middle income economy by 2030 by leaving no one behind. I thank you.
HON. SEN. PHUGENI: Thank you Mr. President. I want to debate on this very important motion brought by the right Hon. Sen. Chief Ndlovu...
THE DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Order, he is not the right Hon. Member, he is an Hon. Member.
HON. SEN. PHUGENI: Thank you Mr. President, point taken. It is a very comprehensive report; I felt it necessary and important that I add my voice to this debate as well. The report speaks on the promotion, participation or the encouragement of women’s rights in political, economic, civil and social participation in Zimbabwe or across the globe.
Mr. President, I would like to make it clear that as long as we keep talking without concrete action or enacting laws that support what we say, we will not attain our goals. As we speak, in Zimbabwe, there is a big tendency that when women are involved in politics, they are called all sorts of names which I cannot repeat here without being evil. Women are confronted with so many barriers when they want to participate in the politics of a country. In other cases, not only are they faced with insults and verbal abuse but they also face physical abuse. When all of this happens and it is brought to public attention, the only thing is that there will be an investigation done but we never get the results of the outcome of such investigations. It is for that reason that I plead with this House that it is time we consider enacting laws that will make it a crime to insult women in order to discourage from them taking part in the political discourse of the country. We also make the same heinous crime of physical violence which is of a political nature against women because they want to participate in the political discourse of the country.
Now, I know that we do have laws that are supposedly meant to discourage or punish such crimes. I am not sure if the standard of proof is too high to be proven on these crimes. That is why we have never seen any conviction whatsoever on such crimes. As a result, women are deprived of their rights to participate in the political landscape and discourse of this country.
I am saying to Parliament, maybe we need to consider having statutory laws that say if you involve yourself in verbal abuse of women with a sole intent to discourage them from taking part in the political discourse or physical violence, with intention of stopping them or imposing barriers for them to participate, you will be incarcerated for a period of not less than six months and no more than 2 years. If we do that it would be a step in the right direction by giving effect to the rights of women to participate in the political discourse of the country.
The other issue which is raised by the report is an issue with regards to proportional representation. It speaks to some of the issues we heard in a debate yesterday, that women are forced to offer sexual favours as a way for them to take part or to be appointed to represent their parties in Parliament and in other important spheres. I propose that we find a way whether through the Electoral Act, that our political parties in exercising this important work, men play no part to the extent that have to play. They must be in the minority of those that have a final say as to who represents the party or who does not represent the party.
If we claim that we disapprove of certain acts, tendencies and traditions yet do nothing to curb them and simply pay lip service, nothing will change. As a matter of fact, the status quo will remain. I long for a day Mr. President, where as a result of our intervention as parliamentarians, that women will be able to fully participate and take advantage of their political rights.
The report also speaks of economic rights. Economic rights start with at the quality of education which women receive. It is part of the report that there is an urban-rural divide when it comes to the quality of education which is offered to our young girls and boys. It is important that if we are to make sure that women have these rights of economic participation protected, we look at the quality of education. I am happy that the report speaks to the issue of funding because if you want to see commitment from whatever aspirations or objectives, you have to go and look at the budget and see how much amount is dedicated towards the same objective.
Mr. President, it is important that this Parliament takes a serious look at the amount set aside, in particular for rural schools because that will speak to the quality of education which our young girls have received if we are to bridge the urban-rural divide when it comes to the infrastructure and delivery of education.
While speaking on the economic rights of young girls and women, we cannot leave out the exploitation that happens in these internship programmes. Many reports are there that shows that there is a lot of sexual exploitation that happen to young girls when they partake in these internship programmes. In that regard, if we are to safeguard the rights of young women to participate in economic activities of this country, we also ought to look at our laws – how biting they are. Do they encourage this perverse behaviour by their lack of effectiveness or there is a lack of political will or courage from the law enforcers? I would like to suggest that it is our laws that are defect in this regard. I also suggest that we have a deliberate law that speaks to the internship issues, that when our young people in particular girls, are involved in internship programmes, no one who is 3 or 5 years older than these young girls can be involved in any relationship with them. There should be no one who could be in a relationship with an intern if that person is in a managerial level. This must also be punishable by incarceration. We need to have laws that discourage people from ever taking chances in disrupting the development and rights of our young people and women to take part in the economic activities of this country
It is also important Mr. President, to notice that if our women are to fully participate and fully take advantage of their rights politically, economically, civil and social rights, that we revisit again the issue of representation in Parliament which is an important body that makes laws. That makes sure that the aspirations of our Constitution find expression. I reiterate what I said in my last presentation that it is a crime and indeed it is iniquitous that we sit in a House where the representation of women is far less compared to that of men and history has shown us that for a long time, women have been disadvantaged when it comes to decision makers. The report says about ten million girls are going to leave school this year because of COVID-19. That is about two thirds of our population. Ten million globally, but it can give you an idea of what that ten million translates to. It translates to two thirds of the Zimbabwean population.
It is therefore my informed view that the august House, the Parliament of Zimbabwe needs to have a 50/50 representation so that when we discuss these things and we pass laws, it is not as if it is men who are making laws for other people on matters which they do not understand. We need to have women on an equal footing with men so that they can share with us the burdens and the difficulties of accessing their inherent rights of participating in the political, civic and social activities of this country. I want to thank you Mr. President.
*HON. SEN. MOEKETSI: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to debate on this motion. I also want to thank Sen. Ndlovu for raising this pertinent motion. This motion is very good as it concerns with how women are living in our societies. In this august House, the issue of women not being accepted properly in society is now like a chorus which is being sung every day especially in areas where they stay.
Mr. President, in the past few weeks we went out with a Committee and got to one irrigation scheme where women mentioned that they do not have anyone who listens to them as women. There is no one who recognises even their efforts as women. They try very hard to get into the committees that are formed in their area, but there is no one who considers them as women. I do not know how this issue of women being properly accepted in the society can be resolved so that we can resolve this issue of continuously repeating to say the same thing all the time.
With this COVID-19 pandemic, it is very problematic to the girl child and maybe God will remember us one of the days so that this pandemic ends, but those who are going to get a better opportunity are the boy-children because most of the girl-children are being impregnated. There is no one who is respecting the girl-child and it is very painful Mr. President. Senators who are in this august House, 95% of the votes cast are from the women. There are some men who take the opportunity to use women, giving them money so that they can belittle another woman.
In this country Mr. President, things must be resolved properly concerning the issue of women. If there is a matter which has risen and it is said to have been perpetrated by a woman, the media and all people are quick to talk about this issue. We do not know how best we can do it so that women can be accepted as other human beings in this country of Zimbabwe. I do not know how best we can do this. Right now in this COVID-19 era, most women are being troubled.
This other day there is a woman who asked her child to call me to attend to the issue after the woman was physically assaulted. The husband was beaten by soldiers for failing to wear a mask but when the husband got home, he physically abused the wife for failing to go and buy meat. I asked the husband if he had left the money to go and buy the meat, but he had not done so. Right now, there are some other people who are assaulting women for wearing mini-skirts and trousers but there are men who wear dropping trousers. There is no law that even mentions the issue of mini-skirts but women were severely assaulted in Chegutu. It is so sad.
Mr. President, many women are facing a lot of difficulties. We got to a place where there are only two women involved in the Pfumvudza programme yet there were so many women who are there but they are not being included as it is said it is a man’s programme.
I do not know if there is a proper law that protects women. I do not even know how best we can craft a law which protects women. It is very painful Mr. President that many girl children are being raped in rural areas. They will be told to keep quiet and the mother will be told to silence the child. I do not know whether it is a crime for one to have paid lobola because that is causing the women to be abused in their matrimonial homes. There are other grandfathers who are also raping the girl child and it is very painful. There must be a solution – a law that will protect women from such instances. A while ago I did mention that all the fathers who sit in this House were carried by women in their wombs for nine months. I wish the men would respect women as much as we have respected Mbuya Nehanda by putting up a statue in her honour. We are pleading for women to be respected and be given enough opportunities like those given to men. I do not know how this issue can get to be heard in the rural areas. We are speaking right now but there are some other husbands who are dictators and do not allow their wives to attend any communal activities. Those women are forced to obey because they value their marriages yet they are being abused by being denied their right to associate.
I want to thank Hon. Sen. Ndlovu for raising this pertinent motion. Let us respect women. We know from the areas we come from, when it is time for campaigns, there is a lot of image tarnishing of women. There is a lot of hate speech and lies told about them so that they are removed from the voting race. Even those who were respecting the women in politics will end up not respecting the women because of the smear campaign. No-one bothers to ask if what they are hearing about the women is true or false. I plead with everyone to respect both our women and girl child in our country. I thank you.
+HON. SEN. M. DUBE: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity. I thank Hon. Sen. C. Ndlovu for bringing this motion to the House. This issue has been brought through a lot of channels and we will always bring it up in this House. The issue of a lot of girl children dropping out of schools due to gender based violence and rape as well as the Pfumvudza issue. What is lacking in our country is a deterrent law. The law is lenient to people that offend women. When someone assaults his wife and breaks her back, they are given a few weeks in jail and released. We always mention this issue but we have not had any way forward in terms of what should be done to people that abuse women. The other issue is that even when the police arrest the perpetrator, he is immediately released from prison whilst the woman remains suffering and nursing her bruises. The arm of the law should efficiently deal with people who abuse women effectively.
On children who drop out of school, some of these children do not do so voluntarily. Others drop out when they are doing Grade Seven after falling pregnant, meaning that there is no way the child can proceed as she automatically becomes a mother and due to her young age, she cannot deliver normally. A caesarean section would have to be conducted to deliver the baby. The future of the young girl has been disturbed as she could have been a future doctor or a nurse. A lot of lives are being disturbed due to rape. We pray that the long arm of the law stands firm. When doctors confirm that a child has been raped, the perpetrators should not be awarded with bail or parole. They should be served with long deterrent sentences of about 40 years because they are now threats to society and are like hungry lions that feed on their off spring.
As women, we are suffering and we pray that rape perpetrators are not given the option of a fine but should be given deterrent sentences to deter would be offenders. Women are always being raped. Even myself, if there are instances that I am not feeling well, it is impossible to keep forcing myself to eat because I can vomit the food that I would have eaten. As for rape, it is a permanent wound that one would live with for the rest of her life. We cry as women from different provinces of the country that the long arm of the law, through the intervention of Government, that everyone who is convicted of rape be given a long sentence. It is surprising that when one is convicted of assaulting a woman, he is given a sentence of about three years before being released but someone who is convicted of stock theft is sentenced for a period of up to nine years.
On the issue of Pfumvudza, we pray that as women we are equally equipped as our male counterparts and given adequate inputs so that we can also bring food to the table. Inputs are not supposed to be distributed based on gender. Women are also supposed to get these inputs because as women, we also prepare the land and do farming.
+HON. SEN. A. DUBE: I thank you Hon for giving me this opportunity to add my voice to the motion brought forth by Hon Sen. Ndlovu. The report seeks to bring forth the abuse that women face daily I feel I should add my voice as a woman too. I will first mention on the gender based violence issue. Every day we read and hear of women who had been killed, mutilated and buried by a man in some area. What is of concern is the fact that some men take women as slaves because they would have married them, but women are equally important as men. They are both created in the image of the same God. Women are not even allowed in the homestead and are abused before their own children. When the matters of abuse are reported to the police, the woman is instructed to go and bring the husband to the police. How can this be possible because the husband will beat her up again? It is important that when a woman makes a report of being assaulted by the husband, the police should make follow-ups and then arrest the culprit because once the police do not take such issues seriously, women will continue to be abused.
Women are also abused at work places. There are situations where women are equally qualified with all the requisite academic documents but the company/organisation opts to hire the males. When women do not give in to the needs of the men in position, they are turned away. The men in influential positions demand to have sex with women first before hiring them. The law should take such issues into consideration and people who practice bad attributes should be punished also. Laws should be set aside to deal with such offences.
It should also be an offence to call a woman ‘that wife’, - it is better for her to be referred to as ‘that lady’. The other issue is that the girl child is being raped and being raped poses psychological problems that one would live with for their entire life. The problem with some parents is that when the girl child reports on rape cases, they want the offence to remain hidden. They encourage her to keep quiet and tell her that it will heal with time. This is not advisable because it destroys the future of the girl child.
Women in politics also face a lot of challenges due to shortage of resources, mainly in the form of funds. What happens is that influential men tend to pay other women to destroy the character of other women in politics. This is made possible due to the fact that even women in politics do not have money, so they are controlled by those who have money. At the end of the day, the other women who are in politics are not respected. There would be certain group of men that would have labeled her and encourages people not to respect her because people might like her. Women are now being used to fight against each other instead of supporting each other because they hold the majority of the votes.
There is also the issue of 50:50 which is not going to be effective because women are now being used to fight each other. There is now the issue of proportional representation, but women shun each other and call each other BACCOSI and they end up lacking confidence even to say a valid point. We urge women to support each other. We should learn to respect women in each and every branch. They should learn that women are also equally able to do duties that can be done by males.
Women are the ones with a higher vote. It is a challenge in the women because they have not gained total freedom. Even though there is freedom, others are still lagging behind pulling back saying do not respect such an individual because she is a woman. Even when it comes to banks, when a woman approaches the bank looking for loans she is supposed to give collateral and this collateral is impossible to get because every asset will be registered in the husband’s name. When consulting the husband, he will ask ‘what do you want to use the money for, you want to spend the money with other men’ and this makes the women fail to go on with the desired project.
We urge that there be mechanisms put in place that could assist women so that they can be able to get loans so that they can also support their families. We ask that the law be enforced that when it is found that a woman has been abused, the law should take its course regardless of who orchestrated this abuse. If it is the woman who has abused the children, let the woman be incarcerated and leave the children under the care of the father. If it is the other way around, let the man also go to prison and the children be left in the custody of the mother, but we find that women are the ones that are affected a lot and face a lot of abuse.
I was watching television yesterday and I found out that a 78 year old woman was raped yesterday. She passed away and the person is only going to be given a sentence of five years and will then be released. I suggest that people that commit such offences be given a sentence of life in prison. Being raped is something that is very painful. It affects the mind. I thank you for this opportunity Mr. President.
*HON. SEN. SHUMBA: Thank you Mr. President. I thank the mover of the motion, Hon. Sen. Ndlovu. I was not fully focused when he initially started presenting the report. I then got back to my senses and refused to be left out on such an important issue that we are constantly debating about and it concerns the womenfolk. I am quite happy that it is the men that have moved this motion, even the seconder of the motion was a man who showed that he supports the objectives of women. I want also to thank them because as Women Caucus, these are the issues that we always discuss and we will be advocating for the increase in the number of women that are in positions of influence.
I want to urge womenfolk that are in this august House that we go back and teach the majority of the women who may not be aware of the fact that they are being oppressed by men. There are men who use women and they are being taken advantage of because of lack of knowledge. I urge you men not to just support us inside this august House of Parliament but also support us outside in our constituencies so that the women can also rise. This is why we have the issue of the 50:50 protocol. Even the Government talks about this. This came up in the Constitution and it was decided that there should be more women because there were very few women in these positions. Let us stand up and create awareness amongst women. Even in councils, the majority of them are men. When you ask as to why that is the prevailing condition, no one then answers. They need to understand these things. So we need assistance in that regard to ensure that all the women and men stand up and support women. Men should not give money to women so that they safeguard their positions, but they should go there and enlighten women. That is the crux of the matter.
Women should be educated because they just accept whatever comes from the men as the head of the house. We are now in an era where the Government is urging the woman to rise, to stand up and be counted as an equal person, as a person who has equal rights to the men. Women also liberated this country. They went to the liberation struggle and took up arms to liberate us. So we must stand up firm.
These two motions are similar in that we may tend to bring various information or the same information on issues of this motions but as women, I reiterate the same about the Government and that the Government is trying as much as possible to ensure that the women are treated fairly. We are forever moaning that men buy voters but the majority of the people in the communal lands are afraid to get loans. It is our duty as Senators to educate women that we should do things that sustain the womenfolk, that we should also raise money and be able to stand on our own feet. They should go to the women’s bank and get loans that were created for the purpose of developing women folk. So we should not forever be moaning that it is the men that have the money. We now have a chance to access loans from the bank. We should do that.
Senators I urge you to enlighten the womenfolk so that they can be able to stand and be counted on their own and compete on a fair platform with men. We are failing because we are not teaching our colleagues that they should go and get loans from the banks. I can now get a piece of land in my own name. Even the Pfumvudza Project is being done by the women mostly. We should take advantage of the project and inform women that if they are capable of executing the Pfumvudza Project they should then not fail to contest as participants in an election and that they should hold firm. Maybe they fail to get people that come to the communal lands to enlighten them.
So we saw men supporting the motion. I was quite grateful that they were the movers and seconders of this motion. Once it is done, we believe that that the chiefs, as they listen, we would also now have village kraal heads that are women. So it is the chieftainship that we have not heard that women are now chiefs but women can be village heads. I say so because I am a village head where I come from. If chiefs can appoint women village heads, why not appoint women to be councillors, chiefs or chairpersons to School Development Committees, and other authoritative positions. The majority of the points have been raised but I want to reiterate that as women in this august Senate, we must go out and encourage other women; we must not be coming to Parliament alone. Women must contest against men and win. With these few words, I thank you Mr. President.
*HON. SEN. FEMAI: Thank you Mr. President.
*THE DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Hon. Sen. Femai please wear your mask while debating, this will help you and other Hon. Senators not to get infections.
*HON. SEN. FEMAI: Thank you Mr. President, I forgot to put on my mask as I stood up to debate. First and foremost, I would like to thank the mover of this motion and the seconder. Secondly, I thank you Mr. President for affording me this opportunity to add my voice to this important motion. It is quite a painful motion that involves women. Today, I would want people to know because some people do not know. I would want to make my stance clear as I relate to women. I respect women more than I respect men. Others may be taken back as to why I am making this statement that I respect women more than men. I observed that women are capable of ensuring that a lot of things are solved. If I die today and go to heaven and there is a queue and a woman is behind me, I will allow the woman to enter first, I will not enter heaven and leave a woman behind.
I am from Manicaland and you Mr. President are also from Manicaland. There is a saying that says ‘mhamba inonaka maamai mudhuze’ everyone is aware of this saying. It surprises me that when it gets to work, we do not say the same saying that work is easier when you are with a woman because we are robbing them of top positions. It is only when it comes to leisure and drinking that we want their presence. If beer tastes better in the company of a woman, when it comes to work, I must welcome the participation of women too and not say the top positions should be reserved for me and my nephew John only.
Women are well respected. All Hon. Senators in this Senate or all men at home, when our male children gets to thirty years without marrying, we start wondering and want to seek spiritual intervention why at thirty they are still single. It is not because they are unemployed, sick, he does not have riches and he has failed in school but it is because he has failed to marry at an acceptable age. This only shows the importance of having a wife. Once a son gets married, we do a traditional ceremony, people will be happy welcoming the bride into the family. This shows the importance of a woman in a man’s life.
I have not heard the father of a particular daughter throwing parties or doing traditional welcoming ceremonies to welcome a son-in-law but once a son brings a bride home, that is done to show the importance that is attached to a woman. People should know especially males that women have got a lot of strength and wisdom, many people might not observe this. If a woman was able to change the mind of the first man that is Adam, to an extent that he sinned against God after he had been given specific instructions not to do so, that shows wisdom coupled with power.
When I say they have power, if you go to pay a bride price, you sit outside the home of the would be bride and when invited in, you go into the home clapping our hands, bowing down your head to show respect. I am proud to say this and emphasise the importance of women because I have five daughters and a son. They are equally educated, and the son is married with 3 children. All the girl children are married and they have their own families. For me to have extra pocket money, it comes from my daughter. I even regret why I did not have 15 daughters. I leave with my son butit is on rare occasions that he cooks a meal. It is the wife who makes sure I am fed and she also takes the goodies to her parents. The girl child is knowledgeable and they rarely lose sight of their parents, they remember their roots. She always goes back home. People should respect the girl child.
I cannot conclude without coming up with a resolution or a recommendation to this matter. It is my plea to this august House that when this motion is concluded, it should indicate that as the Upper House we are in agreement that a woman should be given due respect. A woman should be respected by everyone else as is done by Hon. Sen. Femai. I would want the recommendation to be worded accordingly. I thank you.
+HON. SEN. MPOFU: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to add my voice to this motion which was brought by Hon. Ndhlovu. This is a very important motion which is mainly focusing on us as women. There is an issue he touched on which talks about the provision of intellect women and that women are left outside. A lot of us women do not understand what is meant by intellect, even us here in this House do not understand what it is. We have received some information pertaining to intellect but there are people there in the rural areas who do not understand. Some do not even know how to operate a phone especially these smart phones.
Nowadays, even banks have gone paperless; they only use ATM cards for paying bills and purchasing goods. However, a lot of women especially those from the rural areas do not know how to use these services. Banks are also working hand in hand with cell phones using the e-wallet or e-banking which also a lot of women in the rural areas do not know how to operate. Again, some of these folks in the rural areas receive money from their children abroad but they also do not know what to do because they have not been taught on how to operate these mobile platforms or ICT gadgets.
It is my wish that all schools in the rural areas have computers and that adult lessons are conducted in these schools so that they can also learn how to operate these ICT gadgets. Money is being stolen from old people because they share their phones and bank credentials to the youngsters who end up stealing all the money. Therefore, it is my plea that the elderly should be trained or conscientised about the use of e-banking or mobile wallets.
Another issue which was brought by Hon. Sen. Ndhlovu is the issue of violence against women. A lot of women are not aware that there is now an Act that states what women who have been subjected to abuse are supposed to do. I also do not blame men since some of them do not even know that they will be actually abusing women or violating their rights because of cultural or traditional customs.
It is also important that the law enforcement agencies should go out and educate people on gender based violence so as to curb these rampant gender based violence cases. This topic should also be introduced in schools so that our children are made aware of gender based violence and the enacted laws regarding it. They should be taught that women are supposed to be treated with respect because they deserve a lot of respect just like the men do.
Another issue which was mentioned was on widows. These are being abused a lot. When the husband dies, the in-laws from the man’s side takes all the property which rightfully belongs to the bereaved widow and her children. Because most of the women do not know their rights, they lose all the property and suffer with the children to the extent of even failing to send the children to school.
Our laws should be loud and clear enough that when the husband passes on, the surviving spouse should be in a position to continue raising the children without any interference from the relatives. Sometimes you find these widows being chased away from their matrimonial homes by the relatives saying the person you had come for is now deceased.
As Senators, we should make sure that our legislation protects the women and their welfare. They suffer because they fail to find someone to confide in pertaining to the burdens they are facing within the family because the family will only be interested in taking all the property that the husband acquired whilst he survived.
When enacting laws, we should also consider that these laws are in the interest of widows that they should be protected and their wills be protected. There are relatives that become a nuisance after the husband passes on. It is really disturbing, especially for women that someone just emerges after the husband has died and the woman did not know anything but someone just comes when it comes to the issue of property. The woman is chased away or sidelined because it is said the property belongs to the man and the woman has no say.
There are women in the society called the health workers who go around assisting and taking care of people who are not feeling well in the rural communities. These women take their time but they are not getting any remuneration for their services from the Government. These village health workers assist a lot especially at hospital level. We plead that they be given something in the form of remuneration so that they remain motivated to work without any disgruntlements.
There is also the issue of climate change. At times it takes time before we have good rains and there will be drought but the person who is most affected is the woman. In such times, we should pay close attention to climate change. During these times of drought, let it be the women who are assisted because they are the ones that make sure that the family is fed. If there are food parcels that are issued, let them be issued to them because they are the ones that are worried about what they are going to feed the family at the end of the day. All these issue which are brought by climate change affect women a lot.
Pertaining to the issue of the work plan, when it is time to wind up the motion Hon. Ndlovu, we would wish that the Minister be present. He is supposed to come here and hear what the Senators are saying. We do not want it to end just as a report. We want the Minister to come forth and hear the recommendations that we have brought forth as the Senate. It is important that if there are such reports, they come and also hear what we are saying, such that there could be development in the future rather than for them just being reports that are read and no action is taken. We are also pushing that the Minister be present. Thank you.
(v)*HON. SEN. CHIFAMBA: I thank you Hon. Sen. Ndlovu for raising this motion which quite hurts me because of the rape that is being perpetrated on women. There was a hospital that was raided by three men who raped women and the other one was on the waiting list about to deliver. I wonder why one would be so callous to go to the maternity ward where people about deliver and rape them. Such culprits should be arrested, convicted and given stiff penalties. They should not be audacious to the extent of going to a hospital and rape a woman who is about to give birth. It is quite painful. I feel very emotional about it and I am almost in tears because of such wayward behavior. I do not know how best I can show my displeasure to such behavior. I am quite hurt by this. There are a lot of women that are also being hurt by this story.
There is also the issue of early child marriages –
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Order Hon. Sen. Chifamba. I need to correct the direction of the debate on the motion which was raised by Hon. Sen. Ndlovu. Primarily, it is on the report of the 65th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women’s Full and Effective Participation in Decision Making in Public Life. The second part is about the Elimination of Violence for Achieving Gender Equality and the Empowerment of All Women and Girls. So I think we need to remain within the parameters of the two main issues which have been raised by this report.
(v)*HON. SEN. CHIFAMBA: Thank you Mr. President. Well, I had seen that on the report it talked about child marriages.
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT: You may proceed but the earlier part of your debate was a bit offside. It was not strictly within the parameter of the report which Hon. Sen. C. Ndlovu raised.
(v)*HON. SEN. CHIFAMBA: Coming to the political arena, widows, single women and disabled women are being disadvantaged when it comes to election time. They are called names, despite being called names, these women are capable of leading. We thank the Government for giving us the reserved seats that are there for the women who are Members of Parliament. Women are capable and should be treated equally. If she wants to be a councilor or Member of Parliament, she should be free to do so.
I observed that there are a lot of people who are disabled that are very knowledgeable. There are also single women who are called a lot of names in the various constituencies which they live such that they will be unable to bring themselves forward as candidates in the election. As women, we should also feel for each other and support one another instead of pulling each other down because some women are even paid to run a smear campaign against their fellow women. If I am single or a widow, it does not mean that I am a prostitute. I am just as good as any other woman who might be in a marriage relationship. Therefore, I should be able to stand in my own right as a councilor or as a Member of Parliament. These smear campaigns trend so much on social media and most of the time the women will not be following social media. So, once the electorate has heard these smear campaigns and when you put your hat in the ring for the 2023 elections, you do not have support because they look upon you as a prostitute and hence they would not want you to lead them. These smear campaigns are even done regardless of the relevance to the campaign that will be taking place. Let the ground be fair and allow women to stand for election as councillors and MPs as well as other decision making positions in various professions. Women that have the qualifications and deserve such posts should occupy such positions.
Violence may be visited upon a prospective woman candidate even from their family or in-laws. One woman stood for councillor and won and there was violence in the home to a stage where the woman lost her life. I may be a woman but with better brains than a man so violence should not be used to settle issues. We have different callings and I might be much more intelligent than you as a man. Thank you for the opportunity.
+HON. SEN. CHIEF NDLOVU: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. M. R. DUBE: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday 22nd July, 2021.
ENFORCEMENT OF PENALTIES ON THEFT OF LIVESTOCK
HON. SEN. A DUBE: I move the motion in my name that this House:
MINDFUL that livestock production is the pillar of economic growth among communal farmers in Zimbabwe;
ALSO MINDFUL that livestock provide meat, draught power and are a symbol of security and wealth for most families in the country;
DISTURBED by the diabolical practice of livestock theft to satisfy the selfish gains of criminal individuals;
CONCERNED that the unabated criminal activities by such social misfits does not only reverse the progressive gains of our communities but plunges our communities into abject poverty as these thieves operate day and night;
NOW, THEREFORE, calls upon:
- The Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage to enforce penalties that apply whenever livestock has been stolen.
- The Judicial System to ensure that those found guilty of stealing livestock be brought to book regardless of their social and economic standing.
- Parliament to legislate for more stringent penalties to discourage all those contemplating engaging in such heinous and despicable activities.
HON. SEN. S. MPOFU: I second.
+HON. SEN. A DUBE: Thank you for affording me the opportunity to raise my motion with regards to stock theft. We are aware that domestic livestock is very important. It is our wealth and the wealth of farmers because livestock is like a bank which you can draw from so that you clear school fees arrears and you buy food. However, when you look at what is happening on the ground, there is a lot of stock theft. People continue pilfering livestock and kill other people’s livestock to sell. Some even break into other people’s farms cutting down wires, which in turn has affected the livelihoods of farmers. This disturbs farmers a lot and we notice that the cattle provide meat to farmers while some sell their cattle to butcheries while others till their land using draught power.
Sometimes when they apply for loans, they use the cattle as surety. Those are the different challenges that they may be facing. Livestock is very important. When Zimbabwe was liberated, it was done so that people could till their land and rear their livestock. So, it is important that livestock be protected in such a way that it will benefit their families. Some fail to take their children to school because of stock theft, be it donkeys or cattle. Stock theft is now rampant. People do not respect other people’s livestock. They steal and sell the livestock despite the fact that they do not own livestock. For example, in region 4 and 5, livestock is the peoples’ wealth because most areas are arid and not arable so they rely on rearing livestock. So, people bank on their livestock which is their wealth.
Unfortunately some people do not respect that setup and they break into other people’s kraals and steal the livestock to sell and you find them buying beer and other things. This only benefits fools but not the owner of the livestock. We have noted that stock theft is now rampant and is being spearheaded by people who specialise in stock theft. They wait for the sun to set and they cut the farm fence to enable them to steal the livestock. This just does not affect individuals but it also affects the economy of the nation. This culminates in people being poor.
Stock theft is something which is wide spread especially in the Nyamadhlovu farms where people are losing their cattle daily. Some people just use axes to kill the cattle and they just leave them like that. As a farmer, you do have an option and sometimes you are just forced to throw away that cow because you do not even know what happened to it. So, it seems the law is not punitive enough. It is painful to note that as a farmer who owns livestock, at times you face challenges like diseases that affect livestock. That is better but sometimes you find people stealing other people’s livestock. They just benefit without sweating for those livestock.
Our desire is for the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage to ensure that perpetrators of such crimes are arrested because we find that there is a lot of stock theft in different areas. This information is for public consumption, so law enforcement agents should arrest those who steal livestock. The courts proffer stiffer penalties to perpetrators so that those who are incarcerated are deterred from committing the same crime. This would make people realise and fear the law because you cannot wake up every night to monitor your livestock because there is the risk of being attacked by thieves. My plea is for the law to take its course and impose stiffer penalties.
Parliament should promulgate laws that are stiff enough to discourage stock theft. For example, if you lose cattle through different diseases or different ways, some people severely affected that they also die due to stress. We also use livestock as a form of dowry or lobola payment. Some people end up being hypertensive after experiencing stock theft, hence stiffer penalties should be imposed to discourage thieves from stealing livestock. This will culminate in a situation whereby people will respect livestock. Some people steal livestock not knowing that this is other people’s wealth where they rely on and are banking for their future and the future of their families. You just break into their kraals and steal their livestock despite not having worked for that wealth.
Even our elders used to say that stealing livestock is like bloodshed. So this is taboo and that is the reason why we see different diseases being found because people do not respect other people’s livestock, hence they kill other people’s livestock.
I do not have much Madam President but I thought that I should add a few words because I am talking about livestock and it is important for people to respect other people’s livestock. Those who perpetrate such crimes should be incarcerated and be given stiffer penalties. We have been receiving a lot of reports on stock theft – some people steal goats and others cattle. You find people stealing goats, slaughtering them overnight and serving stolen meat to their children. I thank you.
+HON. SEN. S. MPOFU: Thank you Madam President for giving me this opportunity to support the motion that was tabled by Hon. Sen. A. Dube which is rather a painful motion because stock theft is rampant in different communities and farms. Losing cattle after rearing and banking on your livestock, expecting it to be your livelihood towards the sustainability of your children’s education and household economy is very painful. The pilfering of cattle and goats is now something that is prevalent. You will find people killing other people’s livestock and selling at different points. My desire is for those people who sell meat to be punished because this is really painful to the livestock owners.
Livestock such as cattle is very important and has a significant role in rural areas, especially as draught power for tilling land. When you lose your cattle then it means that you do not have draught power and you cannot till your land for subsistence farming. Some people use their cattle as collateral for securing loans from banks or buying something. This is because we do not have stiff penalties. It is important to have punitive laws that will set an example to those who are still in communities because some people are arrested for just a short period of time before you find them being reintegrated into society. This sometimes leads to people stealing cattle and taking them to different areas where people do not know them. They do not arrest the people because they do not know whether the people who are doing that are owners or not. This is because there are no longer security fences around different farms and around different roads to prevent the movement of livestock. There were red zones in different zones which were meant to monitor the movement of livestock. Even the police should be given the powers to arrest those who are found perpetrating such crimes. They must be capacitated and given vehicles to move around so that they investigate cases of stock theft. The police should be found educating the rural communities on livestock rearing.
Livestock should be branded properly so that when livestock is stolen, the owner can then identify because every homestead should have a different brand. Some brand through the cutting of ears. It is unfortunate that this can be universal in other communities but proper branding is unique. So Madam President, I advocate for stiffer penalties for stock theft. Such penalties should be punitive enough to discourage other potential stock thieves. As Parliament, the onus is upon us to enact punitive laws. I thank you Madam President.
HON. SEN. A. DUBE: Madam President I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. MATHUTHU: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 22nd July, 2021.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. SEN. MUZENDA: I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 8 to 13 on today’s Order Paper be stood over until Order of the Day Number 14 has been disposed of.
HON. SEN. MATHUTHU: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
REPORT OF THE THEMATIC COMMITTEE ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS (SDGs) ON VELD FIRE MANAGEMENT
Fourteenth 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. CHIEF MTSHANE: Thank you Madam President for giving me the privilege to wind up this report from the Thematic SDG Committee on veld fire management.
Madam President, I would like to thank all the Hon. Members who contributed or who debated this report needless for me to mention them one by one but I am sure we all agree that the debates were very lively. There were several issues that were raised by your Committee, Madam President, and your Hon. Members, but I would only like to comment on one or two of them.
The first one that I would like to comment on is the question of absent landlords particularly on A2 resettlement farms where those farms are not providing any veld fire guards, as a result fires start from there and destroy all the properties and the environment. Maybe still on the same destruction of the environment and the properties I think it is important, Madam President, to note that it is a legal requirement for all the farmers to provide protection against veld fires in their properties and not only to protect your own property but to protect properties of your neighbours as well. I think we have a slogan that says we must not leave anyone behind, but on the protection from veld fires, we seem to be leaving other people behind. So I think we should adopt the same slogan that we should not leave anyone behind.
There was another concern from the Hon. Members and the Committee, that concern was the fines and the penalties that do with perpetrators of veld fire; it was not deterrent enough. I think it is the responsibility of this Senate to pass punitive laws that will prevent or deter the would be perpetrators of veld fires so the responsibility lies with this Hon. Senate to pass deterrent sentences.
I want to also compliment the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Tourism and Hospitality Industry for going right down to the grassroots level to pass the message on how to prevent veld fires although veld fires are common, people must know how to prevent them. I would like to compliment or congratulate the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement particularly EMA, which has done a wonderful job in conscientising our communities at grassroots level.
Madam President, although the Hon. Minister is not here to respond to the issues that were raised by your Committee and your Hon. Senators, it is my belief that he is going to respond to these issues at his own time. I think it is important for him to be advised by those who advise ministers that this Senate would expect him to respond to the issues so that we can have way forward. Having said that Madam President, please allow me to move that this motion be adopted.
Motion that this House takes note of the report of the Thematic Committee on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on Veld Fire Management, put and adopted.
On the motion of HON. SEN. MUZENDA, seconded by HON. SEN. MATHUTHU, the Senate adjourned at One Minute Past Five o’clock p.m.