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SENATE HANSARD 21 MARCH 2018 27-32
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Wednesday, 21st March, 2018
The Senate met at Halfpast Two o’clock p. m.
(THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF THE
POSTPONMENT OF THE MULTISTAKEHOLDER
THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE (HON. SEN.
TAWENGWA): I wish to inform the Senate that the Centre for Peace
Initiatives in Africa and Zimbabwe Institute had invited Chief Whips, Committee Chairpersons and the Chairperson of the Women’s Caucus to a MultiStakeholder Conversation with the Minister of Finance and
Economic Development. The dialogue session which was due to be held on the 22nd March, 2018 at Rainbow Towers has been postponed to the 9th
April, 2018 on account of the fact that the Minister of Finance and
Economic Development is away on official duty.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. SEN. MOHADI: Mr. President, I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 and 2 be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the
Day have been disposed off.
HON. SEN. MAVHUNGA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
REPORT OF THE ZIMBABWEAN DELEGATION TO THE 41ST
PLENARY ASSEMBLY OF THE SADC PARLIAMENTARY
Third Order read: Adjourned debate on the report of the 41st Plenary Assembly of the SADCParliamentary Forum, held in Mahe, Seychelles, from the 4th to the 15th July, 2017.
Question again proposed.
*HON. SEN. SHIRI: Thank you Mr. President. I am very grateful to Hon. Sen. Mohadi on the report she brought to this august House of the SADCParliamentary Forum held in Seychelles. Part of the report touched on the SADC model law. She mentioned Jessie Kabwila who talked at length on the inclusion of people living with disability that they should be included in development programmes.
We had an opportunity to talk to this Hon. Member when we were talking about the rights of people living with disability and equitable distribution of wealth to people living with disability, not forgetting youths and women. We also talked about their health and all issues to do with the progress and development of people living with disability.
Whenever we are talking about the disabled people on any issues,
these have a bearing on the development of the country. When we look at countries like Zimbabwe, we notice that people living with disability do not have proper representation. Well, I know people may say, there are two Hon. Senators representing people living with disability in this august House but we are saying, they are underrepresented, especially when you look at all the other forums. Let us be factual and state facts as they should be stated. People living with disability are ignored, they are downtrodden. When people are talking about social and political development, people living with disability are neglected. Let me turn to health, when we look at a woman living with disability, especially in the health sector, people living with disability visit these institutions for example a pregnant woman, the atmosphere is unfriendly, the beds are not friendly.
Mr. President, we visited some of these institutions with SDGs Committee and we noticed that there were some problems which were faced by people living with disabilities. We believe that the status of people living with disability is held lowly yet we know that every human being is precious. Every human being was created with God’s image. We know that people living with disability, if given a chance, may lead to the development of their constituencies and their country. We need to have an omnipresent in all what we do.
Even when we come to the issue of redistribution of land, let us allocate them. When we are crafting a legislation, this has to embrace people living with disability. They should benefit. We have a law which talks about equality of men and women, especially when we talk of the National Gender Policy. There is a section which talks about the rights and privileges of people living with disability. The big question is, why are we not making it universal that people living with disabilities have benefits equal to those so ablebodied persons.
We moved around the country during the Constitution making process and people were very vocal and said there should be seats reserved for women, especially 60 seats. Some people stated that they have people living with disability who were injured during the liberation war. People living with disabilities constitute about 10% of the population. That is why we are calling for a quota system which should include women with disability. I am so happy when we discuss about ICT issues in this House, we are saying people living with disability should not be left behind because if we leave such people, if we discriminate, there will be a retrogression.
Mr. President, we have people who are being sexually abused and some of these people who suffer these injustices are those people who have speech impairment. The problems they face is that when they go to health institutions, some are diagonised HIV positive – because of the signals which they are given, if a person who has a hearing impairment is told about being positive in HIV, according to them, the sign given shows that they are in good health state because the sign they use can be misunderstood. We have realised that at times because of the poor communication, some of them are given wrong diagnosis or wrong treatment hence our call that in places like such institutions, we need to employ people who can communicate in sign language so that when we have these patients coming in with their different problems, we will call for an interpreter.
In this august House, you are working with us as representatives of persons with disabilities and we seem to be doing well. When people with disability are clamouring for recognition, they are not being a nuisance, but they are talking about the realities of life. We thank Hon. Mohadi for this contribution. We once had a time whereby we were talking about Jessie Kabila where we were saying, in any institution, in any of the talks or any of the foras when they talk, they should include people with disability.
We are living with them and we can support them in what they want. Most importantly, we believe in that people with disabilities feel the impairment and they are the only people who can express living with disability and these conditions. We should know that in this country we have different people with people with disability. They need to be taken care of, respected and afforded their rights. I thank you.
HON. SEN. MOHADI: Mr. President, I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. MKHWEBU: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday 21st March, 2018.
ICT LITERACY PROGRAMME
Fourth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the need to address the ICT divide between rural, urban, young and old in the country.
Question again proposed.
HON. SEN. MOHADI: Thank you Mr. President. I want to add
my voice to this motion which was moved by Hon. Sen. Mavhunga and seconded by Hon. Sen. Mugabe. I will not say much because a lot of issues have been said. Let me recommend that this motion was well researched. You could look for every inch of information and you could get it from the presenters. What is left for us is just to augment what they have given us. Indeed, knowledge is power. We ought to know how ICTs are operated because there is all what we need as people. This is because there is easy communication. You can communicate with other people even those outside the country whenever you feel like at any time.
Also, there is reduction of costs. You will recall that long back when letters were being sent, they were taking a lot of time to get to their destinations. Sometimes you could send people to convey a message and the same message that you have sent does not get to the third person as it is. It would be distorted by then. As of now, it is a thing of the past. When we look at this motion and we look back into our communal areas, you find that we have a big problem Mr. President because all these gadgets that we are talking about need electricity which is not there or solar system.
When we talk about the solar system, it is not everyone who has got it. The rich people will always be at an advantage. So, I urge Government to quicken the process that everybody gets access to electricity in the communal areas. We may have these cell phones and whatever gadgets we have, I remember one of the Members yesterday indicated that in the communal areas, if you want to get network, you have to climb a mountain so that you could get to a higher level. So, if we are talking about the old people, they are no more able to climb mountains, and so they already have a problem.
When we are talking about the old people, you find that there are some old people who are getting their pensions through cell phones whereby they have to go to EcoCash or whatever. My grandmother cannot operate a cell phone. She has got poor eyesight, even though she can be taught how to use a cell phone, she will send her granddaughter/grandson to go and withdraw the money. Gogo will be thinking that the money is still there whereas the granddaughter/grandson has withdrawn all the money. It is very essential for us to have these gadgets, but we also have got a problem which needs to be addressed, not by going to school but may be to be taught in a manner whereby people can be assisted.
Again, if we look at the googling system, as farmers of today, you can google any information if ever you have access to electricity. Either you want medicines for your cattle as a livestock farmer, you can get medicines for your animals and just pay when you are seated where you are, or if you are a crop farmer and you want some varieties that suit your area, you just google and you will get all the information after knowing what kind of soil type you have, but all these needs electricity and that is where our problem lies.
When we come to our social media, I think it is too open that it has got no limits because this ICT that we are talking about now, the social media is now abusing it. You find that if they have an issue, they will take Hon. Sen. Mohadi’s head and put it there and they say that Hon. Sen. Mohadi talked about this when I never talked about that issue, but my picture will be there and they will produce me talking. I think there is need for the control of this social media because it is a crime and if it is a crime, they have to be arrested for giving false information.
Sometimes as politicians, we go out and have meetings. It is either if you are lucky even if you go to address a meeting and you find that you do not have enough audience, if you are lucky they will take a recording of a meeting that was done some years ago and record that you had a lot of people. If you are unlucky, even though you have a lot of people at the meeting, they will just capture a corner, maybe where there are 10 or 15 people who attended your meeting and say you did not have people at your meeting. That is the ICT that we are talking about. There ought to be a control measure on this issue. On one side it is very good but on the other side, if not controlled, we are gone.
Mr. President, if we look at children of school going age, they have no work to do. Once he has got a cell phone that has WhatsApp and other systems, we do not know what will be happening at school but when they come back home, most of their time is utilised on the phone. Whether they have got some homework to do, they do not do them because they are busy with their gadgets. Sometimes these children get all the information that they need. When we grew up, sexual activities were private thing but I tell you our children know that systems better than we do today. As a result, they end up having unwanted pregnancies. The opportunity of going to school is no longer there. I would urge all of us, including our chiefs to stick to our culture because the issue of culture is no more.
Mr. President, I attended one of our meetings one day when the chiefs were complaining bitterly about these ICTs. They said the dress code that is there these days, chiefs are no longer able to control it. This is because the Constitution allows anybody to dress the way he or she feels. As a result, cultural norms are being doomed because of these ICTs. We have to look at this positively to see how best we can bring back sanity. How can we bring back “ubuntu”? Meanwhile we are using ICTs because ICTs do not mean we should get out of the good things that are carried out by our traditional chiefs.
Mr. President, some of our young boys and girls these days are subject to drug abuse because they google and find all what is needed on these gadgets. They know which drug to take so that they become addicted. I think we have a lot of work to do. I support this motion. It is a very good motion and it was well researched. However, we have work to do in order to bring sanity in the country. If we do not do so, the moral fibre of our country will be destroyed by these ICTs if there is no control measure. With these few words Mr. President, I thank you.
*HON. SEN. GOTO: Thank you Mr. President. Firstly, I would want to thank you for affording me this opportunity. I would want to thank Hon. Senator Mavhunga for moving this motion, which was seconded by Hon. Sen. Mugabe. This motion is very pertinent. Before, I did not know how important it is but I now know how important it is. Let us go back to our culture. Long back, we had our own ICT which was used that time before we have this modern one. If you remember, we have our chiefs in here and they know how we used to communicate.
Long back, there were ways of communicating. What I heard from my grandmother is that before all this, if there is an event, I know in some schools they used to beat drums. If there is a death and you are not aware of it, you would hear people crying then you would go and enquire what would have taken place and they would tell you that there is a funeral. That is a way of communication. Some would write letters and those who were not able to write would send children. This means that long back, communication was there but not as advanced as it is in this new generation. Hon. Mavhunga, you were God sent because this is a very pertinent motion which is holding the nation together. I want to thank you for what you have done.
I also want to thank Hon. Sen. Mohadi. She touched on culture and how we used to transmit our messages. Long back, you would hear chiefs ululating. Yes, there are challenges which are there faced with the era that we are in. Of course, people now use Google and it is guiding a lot of people. There is a lot of wisdom. Even if I have my workers at the farm, we just send money there. You can do everything on your phone without any hassles. Long back we used to go to one place but the challenge that we are facing these days is that WhatsApp is full of rumours, some are good and some are bad. What you have to do is just to be wary of the rumours and know whether it is true or false.
You can even come upon pornography. So those things I think should be rectified. We should encourage our Government to train people so that they are aware of that. In schools, the new generation is happy. It has been welcomed in schools, but as old people we are just doing a little and you find that even Grade Ones can operate our phones. This motion was well researched by Hon. Sen. Mavhunga. May God bless you. It is an eye opener, now we have learnt that whatever you will be doing will not be correct. We learn by mistakes. I do not have many words because I do not want to repeat what others have already said. HON. SEN. B. SIBANDA: Thank you Mr. President for the opportunity you have given me to debate. Allow me Mr. President, to thank the mover and seconder of the motion. This is an ICT world and the world is close to one today, so it is important that we as Senators most of us grown up and matured as we are, should become more and more compliant with ICT.
When I was young I read a book which was entitled A Tale of Two Cities which depicted two cities within one environment, one that was developing quite fast and the other that was lagging behind. I am giving this example to encourage us to work on closing the gap between the rural ICT competitiveness and the urban ICT competiveness. We must take practical action to make sure that the divide between the rural and the urban is closed among other things as part of our strategy of stemming rural to urban migration. People like to be modern, people like to enjoy today’s things and if you can find them in town, you will go to town. If you have got to go town in order to send an email, you may have to go town, whereas you could if the ICT infrastructure is adequately developed, you could do it from your rural hut and you would get satisfaction.
I for one even today, have got to climb a tree in order to get network and the testimony is here, my phone fell down and the screen cracked – that is not sufficient. We are saying that the Government has created the environment in which ICT should develop itself from a commercial perspective. All that may be required of Government is that they indicate the deficiency manifesting in the market, but it is among us the commercial people, the technologically advanced. Those who are more technologically advanced, the Econets of this world, the Telone of this world to make sure that every area is accessible to ICT and that underlines the importance of the motion which Senator Mavhunga has raised.
The second thing that I have noted is that there is a direct core relation between the levels of ICT deployment. Today those two things work together; it is a bit painful to spend time somewhere between Harare and Bulawayo waiting for network in order to pay a tollgate fee of $2. Sometimes you spend 30 minutes and at the end of that you have to pay a tollgate fee of $2, if you start costing the 30 minutes that you spend, it then tells you that we have got to move faster.
I know that we want to move in the direction of economic recovery, we will not be able to do that without ICT compliance. I know that we want to constantly improve the quality of our education; the divide between urban children of the same age and rural children of an equal age is too bad for equal development of the two areas, or even equal opportunities.
I was surprised when my little muzukuru came from England, even before she had gone to first level of school, she would carry her laptop around her and using it effectively. That emphasizes that we are not in the same world. We who are in the world behind must accelerate our rate in order for mental development and also broader educational development of our children or grandchildren.
I am aware that a lot of work has been done to improve fibre optic infrastructure but what worries me is that I have seen those lines being dug several times, whether they are fibre optic or some other ICT infrastructure built, I have not understood and appreciated why these efforts cannot be coordinated and the expense associated with that expense reduced by 60% because there are three major operators in this country. The same applies to boosters; I do not understand why we should have three boosters on top of one hill or next to each other when I believe, in my ignorance that one booster could easily carry the requirement of three service providers.
We had the Minister of Home Affairs here and he proudly told us that they will be deploying police at road blocks. I accepted that but quite begrudgingly I said, should we really in this day and age of ICT be deploying physical police persons. Have we not deployed ICT a long ago, studied the traffic flows in our road system and be able to use ICT to control our traffic. I think we can, all we need is to sharpen our minds and make sure that we are as ICT compliant as possible. Mr. President, with those comments I just want to emphasis that let us think faster than we are thinking now. This is the age of ICT which is the age of speed it is not the age of caution.
Finally, yes I understand that there is need to control the flow of information but maybe let us control the social information but let us accelerate the speed of the other areas aside of the social information that we get. Our development, I have emphasized already that it will depend on the level of ICT compliance in this country, region and around this world.
*HON. SEN. MAKORE: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Mavhunga for bringing this motion seconded by Senator Mugabe. Things are changing dynamically, as we were growing up, there were a lot of forests and there were not so many people. We used to herd the cattle and if you lose one, it was very difficult for you to find it. So, when we were in the forest we would really have challenges in finding our cattle. So, if one came across them, then would shout which means that we had problems in communicating. However, these days, if you are heading your cattle, you can use your mobile phone to inquire and tell them that you found the cattle. This means that we are living in a changed world. The world that we are living in has changed, even its structure, that is why they say, we are living in a global village.
This issue of communication is a need and it should be there. We are sorry as the aged because we are not into it. I think we should have schools, we should get some training, there should be schools which train the old like us Hon. Senators. One late Minister once said that ‘I am not familiar with these gadgets.’ I cannot say the name because the Minister is late. That is true because there are certain things which we think we are able to do but we cannot. The most important thing for us is to be trained.
In the rural areas, there should be information centres. It is very important. I think our challenge is that of getting enough money, but if it is possible, it is very helpful. What is called information technology is the right thing. We watch television and we watched our President in
Rwanda, which is communication and that is the trend thing these days. The way we are living in this august House is that the ICT should be inclusive and as leaders who represent our constituents, we are behind because those whom we are supposed to lead are way ahead of us in terms of communication. Those who are skilled in ICT are supposed to lead us, it is very true, they are supposed to teach us and they are doing so. We are lagging behind.
I think if we can get some training sessions at least twice or thrice a week, we can teach each other on how to operate computers. These laptops that we see are loaded with modes of communication but we just watch them passing by. There are some who are computer literate because they are ‘English,’ we say congratulations to them.
Yes, there are disadvantages, as has been alluded to here, but I think society should be educated as well so that we should not abuse our mobile phones. Our children learn a lot of bad things. Our cultures are changing, even the way we dress, you wonder where people are getting it from because they have copied something which is foreign to our culture. As elders, we will be ashamed but we cannot say do not put on those clothes but the way they copy the dressing shows that they are abusing communication. Even when it comes to our WhatsApp, we should be responsible; some use it in a way that is abusive.
I think it should be followed that if we change the way people think and they are taught how to use these things responsibly, it is very good. All things that are good are not treated properly, even food, you find that some people abuse food and overeat. There is need to limit consumption of all the things to show that one can take only so much and not everything.
Mr. President, what we are saying here is that this issue is very important. These are the challenges that we have today but we should be technologically advanced. If we are not aware of that, we are behind in reaching out to the global world so that you can use Skype to communicate with your child in America or Britain. It is very important but it would be good if we get training on how to use it. What I am talking about is not new. I thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to speak.
+HON. SEN. CHIEF GAMPU: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to add my voice on the motion that was raised on ICT. I want to thank Hon. Sen. Mavhunga for bringing this motion and seconded by Hon. Sen. Mugabe. We are talking about a very important issue in this world, which is communication. It is one thing that we cannot live without, communication. It is something that came recently because way back, it was not there and we had our old ways of communication.
There are good and bad things on the communication models that are being used now. We cannot live without the communication models that are being used now but there has to be some control measures or ways of controlling it. There are so many good things about it but there are also negative things about it. For example if there is someone who is not feeling well, it is easy for you to go on WhatsApp and communicate with your next of kin. If you happen to have a breakdown, it is easy for you to pass the message to the next person. It is a very positive thing.
However, if we do not take measures, there are some people who are using it to their advantage in their dirty ways. I can say, maybe it is one of the ways of the devil to bring confusion. Most marriages have been destroyed because of WhatsApp. Our ICT has so many disadvantages if it is not protected. In my own thinking, I think the devil is using this method so that he can destroy most homes. If we do not prioritise this, you will realise that this will be the major method that the devil will use to destroy so many homes. For example, if you open twitter, you will realise that my name is there but I did not open a twitter account. There was someone who was mischievous and opened an account and then the person communicates as if it is Chief Gampu saying so many negative things. Sometimes that person will be insulting the Government or say negative things about the Government especially on the issue of tribalism. Those are the things that I had never used. The twitter account that is being used is not mine, there are people that are just mischievous. They are using their knowledge of the ICT so that they can bring confusion. If you talk about promiscuity for example, even in this House, someone who is married, you will realise that the person will be having an affair. They will communicate using the communication model that is now there and at the end of the day, you will destroy your marriage because of the ICT model we are using.
These are the things that will make us miss Heaven. You will not go to Heaven. I am not judging but that is what the Bible says. We have to be honest people, people that are proud of their culture and people with focus in their lives.
The ICT model that is being used is good and it is easy for us to communicate. Nowadays, you can be home sick but you can talk to your family as if you are next to them. It is a very positive thing but we end up misusing it. We need to teach even our own children that there are negative things about ICT especially, most of the girl children. You will realise that most of them go on internet and some of them put their nude pictures. Jesus Christ will come back for the second time and find them in such a state. If you do such a thing and post it and it goes viral, it will be difficult to erase it. People will be seeing it all over. Those are the ways of the devil. If we do not talk about this in this House, you will realise that we are also on the wrong side for God has appointed us to be the rulers of the Government and we are supposed to check whether things are done properly.
When you read the Bible, we are told about Prophet Daniel, when he saw such a picture or a vision, he collapsed because he was shocked about such pictures. Some of the people living nowadays are not shocked by this because we see it almost everyday. Way back, there used to be boundaries. Children would respect their elders. A child was not allowed to see the nakedness of their mother or their father but now, you will see it on the social media. What is happening is, for example, when an accident happens, someone will take a picture, send it and it goes viral. There are certain things that are respected that are not supposed to be exposed to everyone but most of the times, it is sent to everyone. Where is our country going? You will realise that the devil has taken over and such things are very bad. Let us not allow the devil to do such things, especially as Members of the Senate. We should not allow such things to happen. We should pray together and help each other for what is happening these days is not good.
When I was growing up, when there was death in an area, especially of an elderly person, there will be mysterious things that will happen. A grandmother would take a grinding stone or mortar and pestle and pour water and do their cultural practice but when you compare this with Christianity, there is no linkage. Some of the things that used to happen way back, God used to allow them to happen, especially before people could understand the Bible. There are times, when you are seated in your House, a web will just drop and we used to say, it is significant of a visitor that is coming. For real, the visitor will come. Such things no longer happen for the communication that was used way back has been overtaken by the new communication model that we are using, that is the new ICT that we are using. I thank you.
HON. SEN. TIMVEOS: Thank you Mr. President for affording me this opportunity. I want to thank the mover of the motion, Hon. Sen. Mavhunga, for such a very critical motion. Mr. President, I want to support this motion very strongly because at this moment in time, in the 21st century, ICT is critical and we all have to learn it. I want to highlight that the Ministry of Education had made inroads towards this
ICT because it was mandatory. I think it is part of the new curriculum.
This is one of the things that I had appreciated but I had other things that I had not appreciated in the new curricula. On the ICT side, I appreciate the move that he has done because from Form 1 to Form 6, he has insisted that our children, I am sure in the rural areas, our children and grandchildren have been coming to say, please buy us cell phones because they are needed.
As Government, speaking to the motion, there are things that can be done to protect our citizens towards abusing these ICTs like what the mover of the motion, Hon. Mavhunga said, to speed the Cyber Crime Bill in order to protect the citizens. I want to look at the television that we have at home. It has a lot of adult movies, some movies show people fighting, some show murder and some show sex but there is an application that you can use to configure your television to say, if I am not around, 13 years and below, these are the films that our children are going to watch. It is the same with the cellphones that we have, we can configure them to say, our children can only google these sites but they cannot go to these sites. These are things that can be taught at schools. When this was introduced, I spoke to Dr. Dokora about this and said, oooh my God, he has given our children cellphones without teaching them, and without even teaching the parents how they can protect their children.
I have children and the youngest one is 12. They have been taught at their school how to use cellphones and how to lock them, because there are a lot of channels that are of adult nature. We cannot fight with technology Mr. President. Technology is here to stay and in the urban areas, every child, almost everyone from 16 years and above, those with parents that can afford have cellphones. If your parent cannot afford, that is when you see the challenges of our children going out with boys at a young age because they say I can afford to buy you a cell phone and they buy. You will see your child with a cell phone. If you are given a cell phone by a boyfriend, obviously you are going to do what he bought that cell phone for.
So, Hon. Senators, this is a very important motion and we have to support it fully. What we should be saying as the Senate is that while our children are there at the secondary schools, the secondary schools now have to make sure that our children know how to protect against going to these sites that are not conducive. I am always on the internet researching and doing all sort of things. There is an issue that happened in America whereby this girl was being bullied through a cell phone until she actually killed herself. This guy was asking her out and she said no. She then registered an App using possibly another name and this boy would ask her to take a picture without a bra and he would say I want to see you wearing a pink bra and she would do that.
When this guy showed her that he really wanted to go out with her, this girl said no. This boy took these pictures of her with a pink bra, blue bra, etc printed them out and went to school and hung all the pictures for the whole school where she was to see. So, it really affected her so much that she actually killed herself. This is an issue to say we cannot go to ICT and encourage it. We are 120 years behind America, but we need to teach our children how to use these cell phones, even computers and how to protect themselves. What I have seen is that most private schools are now doing this. So, it is no use fighting with ICT because as I am holding my cell phone, this brick has nothing but this one has a lot like Wifi, and it shows a lot.
We should encourage the schools to make sure that they adopt good policies and Government also adopt and encourage schools to make sure that they protect our children, but we cannot fight with ICT. So, I want to thank Hon. Mavhunga for the motion and I hope as Hon. Members of Parliament, we are going to actually research on this motion and offer solutions to say how do we protect our children from this, but to really stop the ICT, it is a difficult task. I want to thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to also add my voice. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. MAWIRE: Thank you Mr. President for according me this opportunity to add my voice. I am not going to say a lot because I might end up repeating what has been said. I want to thank Hon. Mavhunga for the motion that she brought into this House. The motion is very pertinent. I also want to thank your seconder Hon. Mugabe. You brought in a very good motion which touches on all the people in the country and at all levels. This is very important because it makes people to be aware of ICT.
I heard some saying it has advantages and disadvantages. This issue of ICT and referring to our phones, you find that some people have died. In these homes, some wives are no longer paying attention to their families because they will be on their phones and even the fathers, because of these phones; they are no longer taking care of their families. They will be busy talking to their girlfriends in their homes and people are fighting because of that. I am supporting the others who said that all of us should learn so that we will not lag behind. There should be a control of some sort. As parents, we should also control ourselves when using these phones. You find that friends of either your wife or husband will communicate with a spouse exchanging illicit things. Thank you
*THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Thank you
very much because you have made your contribution brief.
*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHISUNGA: Thank you Mr. President for according me this opportunity. I want to thank Hon. Sen. Mavhunga for bringing in this pertinent issue which helps us in this day and age. We also want to thank Hon. Sen. Mugabe for seconding this motion. You find that the Government should strengthen this idea of communication through ICT. I want to think that worldwide ICT is being given prominence. In other countries like Germany, they are recruiting children from other countries so that they study ICT. This helps us as a country if our Government gives priority to that. It will help us who were born before computers “BBCs” that we will be able to cope with what is happening in the world.
If you look at our building Parliament, you find that now we are using BVR when entering this building, which is technology and people through their phones, using their fingers or their faces that is a security to your phone. Also information from Potraz says that about 14 million people in Zimbabwe are now holders of cell phones, which means that things that have to do with ICT should be strengthened by the Government because our children are growing up and in the rural schools, they should be resourced when it comes to ICT and they should learn what we did not learn. Even when you board aeroplanes, whatever is happening there, it is all ICT and this encourages us to be compliant as a country so that we will be able to help the growth of our economy.
There are other countries which do not engage in agriculture and mining. They are growing their wealth through ICT. So, it can be a source of revamping our economy if our children engage in innovations. I remember one of these years in America when technology was used for aeroplanes to fly. Some preachers said that boarding aeroplanes that time was against the will of God. If God wanted us to fly, He should have given us wings. I think that was an archaic way of thinking. The same people who said that are in the forefront of coming to Africa to preach the word of God. Before we crush every point, I think we should research because some of these things are good for our country. With these few words, I want to thank Hon. Sen. Mavhunga for bringing this good motion.
HON. SEN. D. T. KHUMALO: I really would like to appreciate what Hon. Sen. Mavhunga and Hon. Sen. Mugabe did to make us have the opportunity of discussing ICT. I am only going to mention the good parts of it. For me, it really is a very good thing. While you are in your home, you have animals and whatever you want other people to come and buy, you can sit in your house, take pictures and send all over and say I have grown my flowers in my yard, is there anybody who is interested? If I am keeping pigs or goats and I want the Arabs to come and buy the goats, I will just put them on social media and they will say can you bring so much of whatever you have.
I will also look at the issue of us who like to travel. April is coming and I want to visit my children. I will book a flight to Canada or Australia whilst I am here and tell them I am coming on such a day. I will have accommodation, the flight and everything done for me. For me, ICT is great.
Secondly, I will give an example of what my daughter was doing. My daughter was at the University of Cape Town. She could go away and be in England or Australia visiting her sisters but she would still write her papers and submit them like those who are going to class every day. She would research from whereever she was and submit the written work on time while she is not in Africa. This thing is great if it is used properly.
At the present moment, I have a son who is studying at the Lupane University. When he does not understand some of the topics which the lecturers are giving, he just goes home and make sure there is wifi. What he does is to watch the university lecturers in America lecturing on the subject whilst in the house. I will also give an example on why I like ICT as a health person. When I want people to know on the issues of malnutrition, I will either study or compose what I want and send to my friends who are having different problems and say eat this type of food, rest or exercise. For me, this is great – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
The other reason why I like ICT is when I have problems with going to the city council to pay my bills or pay fees for children of friends I can just sit here and pay the school fees and bills using my gadget. Finally, I would like the Government, having seen all these good things to ensure that it reaches the rural areas and the different corners of Zimbabwe so that they can also have the privilege which we have in the urban areas. I thank you Mr. President.
THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Thank you
Hon. Senators. I have noticed that the motion in ICT has generated much interest and debate is welcome. However, we should not digress on the motion itself and not be repetitive. I thank you.
+HON. SEN. NCUBE: Thank you Mr. President. I have realised that we are closing the Session and maybe by the time we come back in June, the motion might not be there on the Order Paper. I thought let me contribute before we close. Most of the things have been said but what I want to highlight is that I want to thank the mover and the seconder of the motion.
Firstly, I got so pissed off, especially when my bank was forcing me to now use the internet banking. The question that I posed was what about those in rural areas who do not have network and are not able to use such technology? This is more like someone who is at school and is unable to understand a certain subject. There are times when you wish to drop that subject. There are people who have spoken before me who have highlighted on the negative and positives of technology.
The use of computers and phones is very important. It makes the job especially of communication very easy. Sometimes, it takes away someone’s job. For example, in my church we have Sabbath school scriptures that we read every day. I have never bought quarterly but I have the Bible and the hymn book in my phone. All the things that you want, you can carry them in the phone; you simply download it. Hon. Sen. D.T. Khumalo indicated that even in business, there are people who might lose their jobs but the positive thing is as a business person, you can increase your job. I sell vegetables and I can sell my vegetables through the WhatsApp platform. There are so many positive things about it if you know how to use it and negative things when you do not know how to use it as well.
The phones that we have can be used as your stress relief, you can enjoy using it but we should use it in a wise way; you can book a plane in the comfort of your home, make your bill payment and make transfers in the comfort of your own homes. This is a very important motion, what is needed is that there has to be a syllabus in the schools.
We cannot say it should start in secondary school but at least in grade 5. For we know that even primary school kids have the cellphones so that they can teach them whilst they are young for them know the advantages and disadvantages of using internet.
A phone is not for watching pornography but for making your job very easy and assisting you, especially where you might need to Google certain things. The challenge is that we need to have email addresses. Some of us in this House have them and some do not. Most of the women in this Senate got the chance to be taught how to create their email addresses; however, it is very unfortunate that it was an opportunity given to the women parliamentarians only to create these email addresses, although some of the women could not get that opportunity.
In a week’s time, you can learn how to create your own email address. Hon. Members when you are given such an opportunity you should not take it for granted but use it to advance your knowledge. You can make use of these phones to download very important research material and utilise it in the colleges or schools. So, when you are given such an opportunity, please take advantage and do not let it pass you. The only challenge is that you are not able to access internet without money, you need to subscribe for you to browse the internet. However, you can also use Wifi or buy data bundles. I never used to have Wifi at home but when my child went to university, that is when I realised that it was important for me to have WiFi at home. If you pay for example $30 per month and control it in a very proper way, it will be easy and cheaper for you download or browse the internet.
We should learn to always disable data bundles when we are not using What App or browsing the internet it is not wise to be always on line. If one has important issues that they would want to check on What
App, you can go to places where there is free WiFi and do it very well.
I want to thank the mover of this motion for this is a very important motion. However, we need to urge the Government or the Ministry of Education to come up with a syllabus that will cover this area so that children are able to start learning about WiFi at an early age. When we get our war of liberation, we can put classes for people to learn how to use technology. People should be taught for example, maybe for an hour a day. Some people are very willing to learn but they do not have anyone to teach them.
There should also be many free WiFi zones, for example Netone, if you are walking from here to Holiday Inn Hotel, you will realise that there will be so many people standing around that area in order to access free Wifi. Someone can come all the way from his or her home to come and access free Wifi so that they can do all their work that they need to do on line.
This is a very important motion that needs to be seconded and debated well. We need to emphasize that we do not debate and just leave it here; our challenge is that there are times whereby the Ministers do not come to respond questions to this House. However, our term of office is coming to an end, there are certain things that we would have done and at the end of the day they are not implemented. At the end of the day, it will appear as if there is nothing that we did. So I would like to thank the mover for this opportunity that I was given to debate especially over such important matters.
HON. SEN. MAVHUNGA: I move for the adjournment of the debate.
HON. SEN. MAWIRE: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 22nd March, 2018.
CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS OF THE ELDERLY
Fifth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the rights of the elderly as prescribed by Section 82 of the Constitution.
Question again proposed.
HON. SEN. CARTER: Thank you Mr. President. I would like to thank Hon. Sibanda and Hon. Marava for this motion through which we can highlight the plight of the elderly. I would like to particularly focus on Section C, of that motion, if I could just read it. ‘To compensate those elderly who had their retirement annuities and pensions ravaged by rabid inflation’
Mr. President, the elderly are like children, we were helpless when were born and as we grow older we become increasingly helpless until we die, we are as helpless as when we were born. So, the situation that faced the country when we had that rabid inflation, the elderly were helpless, they could not cope with that situation, they were like innocent victims. There was nothing they could do and that left them in a situation where they had to rely on other people to look after them. So, they became like children again and instead of having an old age which was going to be happy, playing with their grandchildren and at peace, they became fearful and anxious. They could no longer pay for their medical bills, often times without food and they ended up dying anxious to the end. That suffering has been going on now for 10 years. It is commendable that now coming before these houses is recognition of the fact that these pensions have been destroyed; pensions are the key to looking after people in their old age.
Pensions are the guarantee that you can die in peace and not worry. Those pensions were destroyed by that period in history. It is the responsibility of the Government. The Government cannot move away from the responsibility of the pension schemes – [HON. SENATORS:
Hear, hear.] – It is squarely and fairly in the hands of the Government. They cannot blame anybody else for that situation. Actually, what should happen is that we should have a national apology to all the old people of this country.
Mr. President, with those few words, I would like to say that the solutions to these problems are not going to happen quickly. We can pass a motion in this House, which I hope will be passed. The Government can introduce a new Bill that is going to take care of that problem and then open the door. However, until we have a much larger economy, free, fair and credible elections and move beyond that time, this problem is going to be with us for some time and the suffering will continue. Thank you Mr. President.
HON. SEN. MUSAKA: I thank you Mr. President. I would also like to thank Hon. Sen. Sibanda and Hon. Sen. Marava for the motion. Mr. President, I open my debate by saying, this is an important motion in the sense that all of us in this room should actually think in terms of going back to the future. Indeed, we are going back to the future, we get younger as has been said by another Hon. Senator. When you get older, you get younger.
So, it is not just the business of the Government, but society as a whole. I do agree with Hon. Sen. Sibanda that the Constitution should be followed. I think we should devise a Constitution that guarantees, maybe address the issues of pensions that were destroyed. There must be a constitutional provision. It does not matter who is in Government, whichever Government comes must take responsibility and must be paid. I lost close to $3 million, with Old Mutual my pension was gone, and Southampton, my pension was gone. You visit them, they open and press a button and ask your ID number, and say, ‘this is no longer money,’ and they say, ‘you can start all over again.’ At this age, I start all over again, no. This should never happen again. We need very strong legislation to say whoever takes over or whoever comes in must actually guarantee that people’s pensions are actually safeguarded and secured – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] – In addition – [HON. SEN.
MARAVA: Dzokorodza ipapo.] – Thank you Hon. Sen. Marava. Mr.
President, in addition to that constitutional provision, strong legal systems that protect us when we get back into the future should be put in place. I am talking philosophically here, when we get back to the future. Indeed, as the Bible says, ‘the kingdom of heaven begins here on earth.’ Let us prepare our future now with the correct legislation. When you get old, you must live comfortably and feel that you are beginning the kingdom of heaven and not live in poverty with almost nothing.
Nothing to eat, no food, it is terrible. This should not be allowed.
Mr. President, the mindset is there already, both in urban and rural areas. When I talk about going back to the future, in the rural areas we should now think in terms of actually devising villages. The thought of our forefathers was great, the idea of a village. Think about it seriously, where you put up a village with nice accommodation, whether you are in town, you live your house or home here and it is just to give you extra money and you go back to the village and build a brilliant home there, a nice and modern village where again, like I said, the kingdom of heaven begins here on earth. You are really living in heaven. The money will be coming from the town where you have your house. You do not think of retiring and go to the old people’s home here in town. Think of the rural areas, a nice village – the way it was constructed by our forefathers, brilliant stuff, the way it was done, but modernised of course. Indeed, with technology – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] – I know that some do not like the technology but the electricity and everything else there.
Mr. President, I think we should start thinking along those lines. In the urban areas, yes, I do agree, I do not condemn the old people’s homes, I encourage them too. The insurance also, there should be legislation that should compel the Insurance Companies not to look after me when I am dead. These Insurance companies like Mashfords, Moonlight and Nyaradzo, they say ‘we will guide your final destination.’ No, guide me comfortably; they should also cater for the elderly. Your insurance policy must be tied to your age when you retire when you go to Dandaro or wherever, the insurance must cater for it. There should be legislation and that is all Mr. President. I think there are a lot of things that should be done in the legislation. In the low density suburbs it is there and in the villages, there are burial societies, brilliant ideas, let us assist them. They should be provided with legislation. They do very well when somebody dies, they cook well and they are well organised. They should look after the elderly. I thank you
*HON. SEN. MURONZI: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this beautiful opportunity. I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Sibanda and his seconder for moving this motion. Mr. President, most of the issues have been discussed to include that of pensions. I stood up to enlighten others on the aspect that when someone is old, they should be taken care of by their families. I dispute such an assertion because the family of that old person may have children who are poor. We live in rural areas and we travel to many areas. You feel pity Mr. President that a parent who gave birth to 12 children will have none of them employed. If they are female children, none of them will be married, they will be bearing babies and bringing them to the same home – [HON. SENATORS:
Inaudible interjections.] –
THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Order, order.
Can we listen to what is being debated.
HON. SEN. MURONZI: The children will be poor and have nothing. I am actually saying, when someone gets old, the Government should do what other governments are doing, it should take care of the elderly [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] – This is because if you say children should take care of parents, I dispute that. There are other people who never gave birth to any children, who will take care of those people? However, some gave birth – I will give an example of myself, in our family, we are many but each time I visit my parents at home I would feel sorry.
My brothers were married and were employed but they could not help my mother. Whenever, I visited my mother, I would feel sorry for her. When I got a seat into Parliament, I had to build a home for my mother but the boys were there and they asked why I was doing that. I am saying the Government should take care of the elderly. It is a sorry state in these rural areas. The Social Welfare is looking after the ablebodied people and the elderly are left behind. Those elderly, when they are given a 50 kg bag of maize, they do not have the 50 cents to go and grind mealimeal and the ablebodied people approach those elderly women so that they can be given a bucket in exchange for 50 cents to take the maize to the grinding mill. If they do not have that, they have to exchange with 5 litre buckets of maize so that the maize will be ground into mealie meal. Many elderly people are dying because of poverty. When I came into this Parliament, I looked like an old person. This motion really touches my heart. Let us be serious with this motion. Do not think that you will be buried with your wealth. Let us put legislation in place for the future so that everyone will thank us. Because we are eating properly, sleeping on nice beds and we are looking better, we forget that people are dying of poverty out there.
Poverty kills. People are dying early because they cannot afford the hospital bills. We should look at each other properly because all of us are representing people. When you get out there, people will approach you with their problems. They do not have even 50 cents Mr. President. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. CHIMHINI: Thank you Mr. President. I stand to support the motion and in so doing, I start by saying, the reason why many people do not want to retire, even in their old age, is because there is no social safety nets. I understand in the past day or two, one of the civil servants refused to give his age. The reason is very clear, he does not want to retire because he knows when he retires, there is nothing out there. I think what this motion is telling us is that we need to make sure that there is safety after you have retired. Nobody would want to continue working after 65 years. Nobody would hide his or her age if you know if I retire, I will get my good pension and I will survive out there. In supporting this motion, I am saying, let us really take it very seriously that the Government must take responsibility and not just allow people to become destitute.
When you get old, particularly in men, there is a disease called prostate, not even prostate cancer but just prostate. In the majority of cases, you have to be operated on and to be operated on, you need blood. Even if blood is now costing $50 per unit, it is still very expensive and unaffordable. This is a clear sign that Government must do something in terms of looking after the old aged. In the rural areas, old people are disadvantaged. There is selective application or distribution of resources from Government. Age does not know any political party. As
Parliamentarians, it is our responsibility to make sure that if there are
Government inputs, everybody qualifies and receives those handouts. There is no proper social safety net for people who are old in the rural areas.
It is also critical Mr. President that Government provides adequate budget. We need a proper budget allocation. When we go to discuss budget allocations, let us put aside something specific for the elderly. Let us not just say, we are going to look at the old people, we are going to ask other people to assist, Government has a duty. It has a responsibility and this is what the motion is calling Government to do. Mr. President, I believe it is affordable for this Government to issue cards that can be used by the elderly for free services. It should be possible. I know at times, you are told, if you are over 60 or 65, you do not stand in the queue, you go in the front. That is not what people are asking for. We are talking about issues that will give better quality life to the elderly. This is what we want Government to do. It is the responsibility of Government and we insist that as Government, we must have adequate funding so that the elderly have a decent life. I thank you
HON. SEN. B. SIBANDA: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. MARAVA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 22nd March, 2018.
PROVISION OF ALTERNATIVE RESETTLEMENT AREAS FOR
ZWEHAMBA, MAHATSHE AND MATANKENI COMMUNITIES
Sixth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the call on the
Executive to provide alternative resettlement areas for communities from
Zwehamba, Mahatshe and Matankeni.
Question again proposed.
HON. SEN. MATHUTHU: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. MOHADI: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 22nd March, 2018.
PROTECTION OF CONSUMERS FROM UNSCRUPULOUS
Seventh Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on protection of consumers from corruption.
Question again proposed.
HON. SEN. MAWIRE: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. MOHADI: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 22nd March, 2018.
On the motion of HON. SEN. MATHUTHU, seconded by HON. SEN. MOHADI, the Senate adjourned at Nineteen Minutes past Four o’clock p.m.