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SENATE HANSARD 22 SEPTEMBER 2020 VOL 29 NO 50

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Tuesday, 22nd September 2020.

The Senate met at Half-past Two O’clock p.m.

PRAYERS

(THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE in the Chair)

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Order, order Hon. Senators. Before we go on with our Business, may I remind you on social distancing please? You can leave a chair in between so that you are far away from each other.

ANNOUNCMENTS BY THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE

SENATE SITTING ARRANEGMENT

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE:I wish to inform the Senate that the Senate will be sitting in the Senate Chamber this week. Senators are advised to come to the Senate Chamber in order to register their attendance.

CONTRIBUTIONS BY HON. SENATORS

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: To ensure maintenance of social distancing in the Senate, in line with World Health Organisation Guidelines on COVID – 19, as advised by the Ministry of Health and Child Care, Senators are advised to sit in the Gallery as guided by your Chief Whips. Senators are encouraged to follow proceeding in their hotel rooms or from wherever they are. Senators are also reminded to connect to their devices whenever they take part in the debate.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. PROF. MAVIMA): Thank you Madam President. I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 3 be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the Day have been disposed of.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE 46TH PLENARY ASSEMBLY SESSION OF SADC PARLIAMENTARY FORUM

         HON. SEN. MOHADI: I move the motion standing in my name that this House takes note of the Report of the 46th Plenary Assembly Session of SADC Parliamentary Forum held from 10th to 17th December, 2019 at Swakomund, Namibia.

HON. SEN. RAMBANEPASI: I second.

HON. SEN. MOHADI: Thank you Madam President for giving

me this opportunity to give my report on the 46th Plenary Assembly Session of the SADC Parliamentary Forum which was convened in Swakopmund, Namibia from 10 to 17 December 2019 under the theme: “The Role of SADC Parliaments in ensuring Universal Health Coverage by the year 2030”. Thirteen (13) Member Parliaments were represented at the Plenary Assembly, namely, Angola; Botswana; Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC); The Kingdom of Eswatini; Malawi; Mozambique; Lesotho; Namibia; Seychelles; Tanzania; South Africa; Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The Speaker’s delegation from Zimbabwe was led by Hon.

Advocate Jacob Francis Mudenda, Speaker of the National Assembly, and it comprised the following Members and Officers of Parliament: -

  • Tambudzani Mohadi, Member of the Standing Committee on Food, Agriculture, Natural Resources and Infrastructure;
  • Goodlucky Kwaramba, Member of the Standing Committee on Gender Equality, Women Advancement and Youth Development and Chairperson of the Zimbabwe Women’s Parliamentary Caucus;
  • Dought Ndiweni, incoming Member of the Standing Committee on Democratization, Governance and Human Rights;
  • Anele Ndebele, Member of the Standing Committee on Trade, Industry, Finance and Investment; and
  • Bacillia Majaya, Member of the Standing Committee on Human and Social Development and Special Programmes.

The following attended the Plenary Assembly as support staff: -

  • Mr Kennedy Mugove Chokuda, Clerk of Parliament;
  • Ndamuka Marimo, Director in the Clerk’s Office;
  • Frank Mike Nyamahowa, Director in the Hon. Speaker’s Office;
  • Cleophas Gwakwara, Principal External Relations Officer and Secretary to the Delegation;
  • Martha Mushandinga, Principal Executive Assistant; and
  • Clive Zvimekria Mukushwa, Security – Aide to the Speaker.

         Official Opening Ceremony

The 46th Plenary Assembly was officially opened on Friday 13

December 2019 at the Swakopmund Entertainment Centre, with the

Vice-President of the Republic of Namibia, His Excellency, Nangolo

Mbumba, as Guest of Honour.

         Hon. Vice-President Mbumba, welcomed delegates to Namibia,

affectionately and popularly known as the “Land of the brave’. The

Vice–President explained that Namibia is the driest country in the

whole of the SADC Region. He further pointed out that Namibia was the

last country to fight two colonial Governments, namely, the German

Government, and the old South African Government with unmatched

fortitude.

Hon. Vice- President Mbumba appreciated the role SADC played

in Namibia’s fight for independence and pointed out that the country

was delighted to host those who supported her quest for freedom

and independence. It was an imperative for Namibia to actively support

the transformation of the SADC Parliamentary Forum into a SADC

regional Parliament.

The President of SADC PF and Speaker of the National Assembly

of Mozambique, Hon. Veronica Nataniel Macamo Dlhovo, thanked the

Hon. Vice- President for officially opening the Plenary Assembly and

welcomed the delegates by firstly, congratulating Namibia for

holding peaceful elections and acceding to host the Plenary Assembly

shortly thereafter. Hon. Dlhovo emphasised the need to upscale the

lobbying process for the transformation of the SADC PF into a

Regional Parliament.

 

         SYMPOSIUM: THE ROLE OF SADC PARLIAMENTS IN ENSURING UNIVERSAL HEALTH COVERAGE (UHC), BY 2030

The Speaker of the National Assembly of Namibia, Hon Professor

Peter Katjavivi, chaired the Symposium. The broad definition of

Universal Health Coverage is a deliberate endeavour to ensure that all

people have access to health care and have no financial risk or hardship

in doing so. It was noted that measures to eliminate Malaria, Tuberculosis and HIV and AIDS can only succeed within the context of Universal Health Coverage. Thus, UHC must be viewed in its broadest context as a developmental agenda, a driver of socio-economic development. UHC is indeed a worthwhile investment.

The Symposium was also addressed by Mrs Katjivena, Deputy Executive Director, Department on Policy Development and Resources Management in Namibia, outlining that since independence, the country’s mission has been to promote integrated, affordable, accessible, quality, equitable health and social services that are responsive to the needs of the population. The country continued to work towards achieving Universal Health Coverage through this mission. Namibia has adopted the Primary Health Care approach as a cost-effective method of delivering health services and bringing health care closer and cost-effectively to the people.

It was noted that there are an infinite range of ways of delivering services in health, but no country in the world has reached the apex in UHC. The idea is to come up with new technologies and cost effective means of delivering health services. In this regard, most of the countries that have started making progress have started looking at what is currently available in the health delivery system and trying to define explicitly a set of services that will give the most favourable results on health services.

         The Symposium was informed that since independence in 1980, Zimbabwe has facilitated the drafting of strategies, policies and laws to promote UHC. Amongst these, the Legislature came up with a Patients’ Charter in 1996, which provides information on the rights and responsibilities of patients and health providers.

         The Parliament of Zimbabwe has passed multiple legislation that govern various components of health financing functions and the delivery of health care. The main legislation for health being the Constitution, which guarantees health as a right for all citizens. The Constitution of Zimbabwe, in Section 76, clearly states that: “(a) every citizen and permanent resident of Zimbabwe has the right to access basic health care services including health service; (b) every person living with a chronic illness has the right to have access to basic health care services for the illness; (c) No person can be refused medical treatment in any health care institution; (d) the State must take responsible legislative and other measures within limits of the resources available to it to achieve the progressive realisation of the rights set out in the Constitution.”

Zimbabwe also takes pride in having a sustained policy of directing resources to prevention of diseases and maintenance of primary health care. The country also boasts of having a flagship programme, the AIDS levy and National Aids Trust Fund that were established in 1999. Naturally, the programme may have contributed to the tax burden the country’s citizens, but the value of its fruits far outweigh the negatives. The trickle down effects of the programme have so far resulted in reduction in incidences of HIV/AIDS cases.

The Symposium concluded that, whilst UHC is difficult to achieve, most countries are looking at new technologies and interventions which are aimed at achieving the most favourable results using a cost-effective approach.

         THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE REPORT

The Executive Committee (EXCO) of the SADC Parliamentary Forum (SADC PF) submitted its report for consideration and adoption. The Executive Committee met on 6th and 7th November 2019, at 54 Bath, Rosebank, Johannesburg, South Africa and again on 11th and 12th December 2019, at the Swakopmund Hotel and Entertainment Centre.

As a result of the report, the Plenary Assembly expressed profound gratitude to the National Assembly of Namibia for hosting the Plenary Assembly less than a month after holding their general elections. The Plenary Assembly noted that this noble gesture demonstrated the steadfast and exemplary commitment by the Republic of Namibia to the promotion of inter-parliamentary cooperation. In the same vein, the Plenary Assembly adopted a Hosting Calendar, with the pledge by the Democratic Republic of Congo to host the 47th Plenary Assembly in June 2020.

         APPRECIATION OF THE THEME

EXCO expressed its gratitude that the theme for the Plenary Assembly resonated with the contemporary global developmental discourse as evidenced by the adoption of the Political Declaration on Universal Health Coverage by the United Nations General Assembly at the seventy fourth (74th) Session of the United Nations General Assembly High Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage held on 23rd September 2019 as well as the adoption of a similar theme by the International Parliamentary Union (IPU) at its 141st Assembly held in Belgrade, Serbia in October 2019.

The proposed theme thus confirmed that the Forum remained attuned to the global development agenda. Additionally, it was opportune to adopt the theme during the Plenary, given the impending official commencement of the SRHR, HIV and AIDS Governance Project (2019-2022) which has a dedicated focus area on universal health coverage.

         ELECTION OBSERVATION MISSIONS (EOMS)

The Plenary Assembly noted with concern that the Forum is failing to sponsor election observation missions to Member Parliaments’ elections. The Assembly urged the Secretariat and Member Parliaments to do everything possible to ensure that the region tells its own story on elections than to be rated by outsiders such as the European Union and Commonwealth observers.

Furthermore, the Plenary Assembly urged the Secretariat to produce an analytical report, drawn from reports of the various observer missions that details the experiences of the different SADC countries in conducting elections and the recommended best practices drawn from these experiences in the context of the SADC Model Law on Elections. In that way, the Forum would create a niche for itself as a leading voice for democratic elections in the region despite the budgetary constraints which continue to hamper the fielding of EOMs.

 

         Implementation of Phase II of the SRHR, HIV and AIDS Governance Project

The EXCO reported with gratitude the renewed funding of the project by Sweden for a further three years commencing on 1st July 2019 to 30th June 2022. Pursuant to this, the Secretariat had officially written to national Parliaments on 02 August 2019, inviting each Parliament to participate in the Project by signing Project Implementation Agreements and appointing SRHR Researchers. However, the EXCO reported with concern that to date, Project Implementation Agreements had been signed by only eight (8) national Parliaments, namely, the DRC, the Kingdom of Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia, Mauritius, Seychelles, Zambia and Zimbabwe as confirmation of their commitment to implement the Project. Tanzania opted not to participate in the current project, electing to join the programme in its third phase.

         Admission of the Parliament of Madagascar as SADC PF Member

The Plenary Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution for the admission of Madagascar into the SADC PF. The Plenary Assembly made a grandiose and highly-publicised welcome debate on the return of Madagascar to the Forum with the Hon. Speaker, Advocate Jacob Francis Mudenda, making a leading and impassioned speech to welcome Madagascar as a fully-fledged Member of SADC PF.

         Update on Transformation of the Forum into a SADC Regional Parliament

Pursuant to the negative perceptions in some countries on the Transformation Agenda, the Plenary Assembly resolved that all Member Parliaments should play their part in ensuring that the Heads of State and Government as well as Ministers of Foreign Affairs do support the transformation of the Forum into a SADC Regional Parliament. To this end, the Plenary adopted the following strategies:

  1. A Committee of Speakers, comprising the Hon. Speakers of Angola, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe, be reconstituted without delay to spearhead lobbying efforts to targeted Heads of State and Government;
  2. The SADC PF Secretariat in liaison with Hon. Speaker Professor Peter Katjavivi (Namibia) and Hon. Speaker Advocate Jacob Francis Mudenda (Zimbabwe) must expeditiously produce an advocacy strategy detailing how the Committee is going to operate and the revised approach to the transformation which addresses all the concerns of the Heads of State and Government and Council of Ministers; and
  • The Parliamentary Model and Roadmap for Transformation would be discarded since an expensive similar exercise had already been undertaken. The report was submitted to the SADC Secretariat. The Plenary Assembly believed that no positive purpose would be served by repeating the Roadmap. What needs to be done is to produce a script roadmap accompanied by a draft Constitutive Protocol and a revised SADC Treaty which incorporates the transformation protocol as the Parliamentary Model and Roadmap.

         Adoption of the Resolution to set up a Trust Fund

Plenary Assembly noted with concern the over-reliance of the Forum on Members’ annual contributions, some of which were not paid timeously thus adversely affecting the Forum’s balance sheet.

To this end, the Plenary Assembly adopted the recommendation by the EXCO to explore innovative financing strategies to fund the activities of the Forum such as the creation of a Trust Fund for Parliamentary Capacity Development where donors, who uphold the values of Parliaments and inter-parliamentary cooperation, have an avenue to donate funds to be used for this purpose. The Plenary Assembly noted that this was the prevailing practice worldwide as international organisations develop Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) in the mode of a Trust. The Plenary Assembly tasked the EXCO in liaison with the Secretariat to work on the legal modalities to establish the Trust.

4.7    Motivation for a Model Law on Public Financial         Management

The Plenary Assembly received a report on the dire need to enhance the management of public finances in the SADC region by developing a Model Law on Public Financial Management that seeks to reinforce the powers of Parliament with regards to its sacrosanct budgetary function and ensure that SADC Parliaments can properly exercise their oversight function over the use of public funds. Accordingly, the Plenary Assembly requested the Secretariat to explore appropriate donor agencies and international financial institutions that could assist in the development of this Model Law.

         Increasing the Visibility of the Forum

         The Plenary Assembly expressed grave concern over the absence of a dedicated communication strategy to make the work of the Forum visible at a time when efforts to transform SADC PF into a SADC Regional Parliament were gaining momentum. The Plenary Assembly acknowledged that lately, a lot of important programmes and activities were being conducted under the auspices of the Forum without being adequately publicised. Accordingly, the Plenary Assembly adopted a resolution that the Forum considers enhancing its visibility through engaging a communication specialist, working closely with mainstream media in Member States as well as through other approaches such as the production of a regular e-newsletter which would be circulated to Member Parliaments, regional and international Parliamentary organisations and interested stakeholders.

The Plenary Assembly also requested the Secretariat to utilise the social media, the Forum’s website and any other means of information dissemination that would enhance the visibility of the Forum.

         TREASURER’S REPORT

The Plenary Assembly noted that Zimbabwe, among other Member Parliaments, had fully paid her subscriptions up to 2020. This payment has assisted in raising Zimbabwe’s standing in the regional body since the country is a critical player in most of the initiatives at the Forum. It was noted, with appreciation, that there was no country that was in arrears for more than 12 months. Member Parliaments still in arrears were urged to pay up.

         MOTIONS ADOPTED DURING PLENARY ASSEMBLY

In tandem with its constitutive mandate, as the policy making and deliberative body of   SADC PF, the 45th Plenary Assembly discussed and resolved on various issues raised in the motions.

     Motion for the adoption of the Report of the Regional Parliamentary Model Laws Oversight Committee

The Plenary Assembly adopted the motion’s resolution in order to enhance accountability in the legislative processes of the SADC Forum’s Parliamentary practices.

The Plenary Assembly further stressed the need for a reporting mechanism to ensure the monitoring and evaluation of the progress being made in respective Parliaments when model laws come into force.

         Motion and debate on the Report of the Joint Session of SADC PF Standing Committees in the SADC Region

The Plenary Session adopted the theme of the 46th Plenary Assembly which resonated with the Sustainable Development Goals as well as the Political Declaration on Universal Health Coverage issued by the United Nations General Assembly on 23rd September 2019.

Plenary Assembly endorsed the need to do everything possible in the region to lead advocacy at the regional and international level for the national budgets to finance key health issues, especially those targeted at young women.

         Motion and debate for the adoption of the Report of the Standing Committee on Gender Equality, Women Advancement and Youth Development

The Plenary Assembly commended the progress made towards the implementation of the youth programmes by Member Parliaments. However, it was noted that some SADC-PF Member Parliaments are still hesitant to include young Members in their delegations to the SADC-PF. A deliberate amendment to the Constitution would be made in this regard to provide for a youth quota in SADC PF delegations.

         Motion and debate for the adoption of the Report of the Standing Committee on Democratisation, Governance and Human Rights

The Plenary Assembly resolved as follows: -

SADC PF and national Parliaments should not lose momentum on the commendable work done since 1999, when election observation missions were commenced in the region. While elections do not equate to democracy, they remain a critical pillar for the enhancement of democracy. The Model Law is, therefore, a critical tool in democracy building as it covers the entire election cycle.

The region must focus its efforts towards the incorporation of progressive initiatives such as the Model Law on Elections into the national legal and policy frameworks to ensure that the region is in sync with best practices. The Plenary Assembly resolved to task Presiding Officers to champion the adoption of the model law in their respective Parliaments.

Adoption of the Report of the Standing Committee on Human and Social Development and Special Programmes

         The Plenary Assembly resolved that:

-       Universal Health Coverage be is intricately intertwined with the SRHR Agenda in order to promote holistic health service delivery with adequate financial resources and human capital.

         Motion and debate for the adoption of the Report of the Standing Committee on Trade, Industry, Finance and Infrastructure (TIFI)

         The TIFI Standing Committee reported on the African Free Trade Area issues with regard to the digital economy, sovereign debt, illicit financial flaws, mining sector, renewable energy, access to medicine and public health. The Plenary Assembly urged the national Portfolio Committees in each Parliament to drive the TIFI agenda.

Motion and Debate for the Adoption of the Report of the Regional Women’s Parliamentary Caucus

         The Plenary Assembly resolved as follows: -

  • That the Model Law on Gender Based Violence (GBV) be adopted by SADC Member States and domesticated into municipal laws to combat the scourge of gender-based violence.

         Motion and Debate for the Adoption of the Report of the Food, Agriculture Committee (FANR)

The Plenary Assembly adopted the call on developed countries to deliver on their commitments to provide adequate and additional climate finance in order to maintain the sustainability of the Green Climate Fund.

The Plenary Assembly further resolved that there is a need for SADC Governments to ensure the facilitation of the participation of the affected communities in the design, implementation and monitoring of all climate change interventions in the region.

         DEBATES ON MOTIONS BY MEMBER PARLIAMENTS

         Developing Cross-border Agricultural Value Chains in SADC as a Catalyst for Successful Implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AFCFTA)

SADC-PF Member Parliaments were encouraged to robustly interrogate and debate the merits and modalities of regional agricultural value chains as a priority area for SADC’s integration   as an enabler towards the successful implementation of the AFCFTA.

        Motion on the Lifting of Economic Sanctions Imposed against the Republic of Zimbabwe

In a motion moved by Angola and seconded by Malawi, the Plenary Assembly debated a motion condemning, in the strongest possible terms, the illegal and unjustified economic sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the United States of America, the European Union, and their western allies, and called for their immediate and unconditional removal.

The SADC region spoke with one voice in condemning the unjust and illegal sanctions which violate international law and have caused untold suffering to the people of Zimbabwe.

The Plenary Assembly opined that the illegal sanctions undermined Zimbabwe’s efforts to attract investment and realise its national development goals. Furthermore, the lifting of sanctions imposed against Zimbabwe and the evident regional and continental solidarity has the potential to return the country to its former glory of being ‘the breadbasket’ of the SADC Region.

After the robust debate on the motion, it was resolved that:

  1. The SADC Parliamentary Forum issues a statement condemning the illegal sanctions

imposed on the   people of Zimbabwe.

  1. SADC PF Member countries should embark on a sustained move to champion debate   in their respective Parliaments on the removal of illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe.
  2. The SADC Parliamentary Forum must draft an emergency item calling for the unconditional removal of sanctions to be placed on agenda for the 142nd Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly and Related Meetings.
  3. The region must buttress Zimbabwe’s Parliamentary Diplomacy efforts by engaging in missions in their own jurisdictions championing the need to remove sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe.

The SADC Parliamentary Forum should affirm its intentions and collective voice clear that the unwarranted, unjust and illegal sanctions imposed on the people of Zimbabwe are stunting economic growth in the region and should be removed immediately and unconditionally.

 

8.0       RECOMMENDATIONS

Recommendation Action Timeline
8.1 Debate on lifting of Sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe -The Hon. Speaker to write and remind SADC PF President Members on the need to debate the matter in their Assemblies.

-Parliament to institute a deliberate communication strategy that speaks to the effects of the sanctions on the country.

- A Deliberate study by the Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and the Thematic Committee on Human Rights on the effects of the present sanctions regime against Zimbabwe which started in December 2001, when the United States Congress passed the Zimbabwe Democracy and Recovery Act (ZIDERA). Deliberate study on the provisions of the Act which opposes extension of loans or debt cancellations from Multilateral Financial Institutions (IMF, World Bank and AfDB) to Zimbabwe in the context of reengament.

April 2020

 

 

 

8.2 Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Welfare to debate on action plan to assist the country achieve Universal Health Care (UHC) -Line Ministry to meet with Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Welfare to discuss resolutions adopted on Universal Health Coverage.

- Parliament of Zimbabwe, through the Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care, to play its oversight role by assessing the factors mitigating against the achievement of UHC and making recommendations that will propel the attainment of UHC

March 2020
8.3 Transformation of the SADC PF into a Regional Parliament SADC PF Secretariat in liaison with Hon. Speaker Professor Peter Katjavivi (Namibia) and Hon. Advocate Jacob Francis Mudenda, Speaker of the National Assembly (Zimbabwe) to expeditiously produce an advocacy strategy detailing how the Committee is going to operate and the revised approach to the transformation which addresses all the concerns and misconceptions of the Heads of State and Government and Council of Ministers. March 2020
8.4 SADC Member States to develop comprehensive domestic laws to combat the scourge of gender-based violence which reflect international and regional human rights standards.

 

-Members of Parliament in the SADC PF delegation to discuss

key points on the model law and propagate them to other Members of Parliament through a motion.

March 2020

 

 

 

 

8.5 The need to deliver on commitments to provide adequate and additional climate finance in order to maintain the sustainability of the Green Climate Fund.

 

-Sustained debate led by Members of Parliament in all Portfolio Committees including those who participate in COP Meetings. A deliberate effort should be made to ensure that all Members are party to debate on the effects of Climate Change

- Oversight on the implementation of the National Climate Change Response Strategy by the Portfolio Committee on Environment.

 

March 2020
8.6 Domestication of the Model Law on Elections

 

Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to engage the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to make action plans on the necessary steps to domesticate the model law through a motion sponsored by a member of the SADC PF delegation. March 2020
8.7 Mobilisation effort on Election Observation Missions -Parliament of Zimbabwe, liaise with donors, stakeholders on the need to mobilise resources for election observation missions

 

February 2020
8.8 Motivation for a Model Law on Public Financial Management The Public Accounts Committee in liaison with the Portfolio Committee on Justice Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to research on important aspects of developing a Model Law on Public Financial Management that seeks to reinforce the powers of Parliament with regards to its sacrosanct budgetary function and ensure that Parliament can properly exercise its oversight function over the use of public finance.

 

April 2020

 

 

            CONCLUSION

The Plenary Assembly appreciated the excellent hosting arrangements made by the National Assembly of Namibia, and rendered its gratitude to host Speaker, Professor Katjavivi.

Parliament of Zimbabwe stands to benefit by adopting resolutions of the 46th Plenary Assembly as they summarise the collective concerns of citizens in the region.

Once again, the delegation from Zimbabwe was able to fly the national flag high as they made many pointed and evidence-based contributions on various issues of regional concern. I thank you.

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

HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday 23rd September, 2020.

MOTION

DISCHARGE OF CHILDREN UNDER CHILD CARE FACILITIES

HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: I move the motion standing in my name That this House;

MINDFUL that children under Child Care Facilities are discharged from such Institutions upon attainment of 18 years of age,

ALSO MINDFUL that the United Nations Guidelines and Zimbabwe’s National Residential Child Care Standard 6, recommends for a Discharge Plan for each child before leaving the Child Care Facility,

CONCERNED at the inadequacy of follow up programmes by the Department of Social Welfare in monitoring the discharged youths as a way of preventing them from aimlessly roaming the streets;

NOW, THEREFORE, calls upon Government to partner with other stakeholders and private sector to alleviate the challenges associated with such decisions.

HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA: I second.

HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: Thank you Mr. President.

Background:

Mr. President, the Government of Zimbabwe has ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in 19190. The Government also ratified the Africa Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child in 1990.    These ratifications are statements of the Government’s commitment to the enjoyment, realisation and fulfillment of children’s rights.

Mr. President, albeit ratification of the UNCR and African Charter on the rights and welfare of the child, the plight of a Zimbabwean child still leaves a lot to be desired. From a general perspective, it is only said that the child protection system in our country has not been effective in providing quality care and protection for these children.

In as much as there are several legislative and policy frameworks in place, these are failing to ameliorate the plight of the Zimbabwean child. Interventions such as BEAM, National African Plan for orphans and vulnerable children, the Victim Friendly Initiative and AMTO are needful Interventions but are not funded enough to take care of the needy children.

Admission to the institutional care facility.

Mr. President, even though the Children’s Act, the Government has made the process of placement of children very clear. Section 14 from the Children’s Act subsection(1) reads that any police officer, health officer, education officer or probation officer may remove a child or young person from any place to a place of safety if he/she is in the opinion of that officer, health care, education officer or probation officer, a child in need of care or if there are reasonable grounds for believing that an offence specified in the first schedule is being or has been committed upon or in connection with the child or young person.

This process is premised on the understanding that all children belong to the State and this means whenever a guardian or parent ill - treats a child or abuses them in any form or manner, the state using its officers, has the authority to take that child to a place of safety. However, the processes of replacement has to follow a protocol that is established from the identification to the placement of a child into an institution. Many steps and procedures have to be taken and fulfilled, for instance, placing a child in a place of safety for 14 days whilst the guardian or relative of the child is being looked for or is immediately committed to the institution. When a child is found having been abandoned, neglected, abused or in danger, the department of Social Welfare is notified about it.

Local police are conducted to investigate the circumstances that the child lives in – taking the place report to the Department of Social Welfare and depending on the circumstances and age of the child, he/she is taken to a hospital for a health check up. The police report, probation officer’s report, plus the medical report, and medical record are kept in the child’s file by the institution. The care plan is developed using information in determining whether the child should be placed in a safe place or should be placed in an available suitable institution.

Mr. President, let me acknowledge that the care plan must be done in the best interest of the child such as removing a child from abusive parents as a matter of urgency or ensuring that the child is placed in a specified care centre. The process of admission of children in residential care facilities in Zimbabwe has been simplified by the National Residential Child Care standards as follows:

All children to be placed in a residential care facility shall be formally committed through the Department of Social Welfare with Section 14, 15 and 16 of the Children’s Act Chapter 5.06. On admission, a development plan for each child shall be written. This development plan shall be drawn on the basis of each child’s needs, life situation, origin and social environment. The plan is developed in consultation with the child and his/her family. The probation officer and care giver will include the arrangements that are made for the child’s day to day care, health, education, physical, emotional as well as his/her cultural religious owned linguistic needs.

The department plan will also address the child’s longer term care needs and aim for an eventual family placement. The department plan shall be reviewed regularly but not less than every six months.      Preparation for support for living institutional care.

Upon reaching the age of majority which is 18 years, children are discharged from institutions as per Section 24 of the Children’s Act (Chapter 5.06). In Zimbabwe, there are two principles that bind the Institution as to prepare a discharge plan for every child. These are the UN Guidelines and the National Child Care Standards which I will explain briefly below:

The UN Guidelines

         The UN guidelines provide clear instructions of how the preparation for a child to leave a care facility should happen. For instance:

-       Guideline 132 states that special efforts should be made to allocate to each child, whenever possible, a specialised person who can facilitate his/her independence when leaving care.

-       Guideline 133 recommends that aftercare should be prepared as early as possible in the placement and, in any case, well before the child leaves care setting.

-       Guideline 134 states that ongoing educational and vocational training opportunities should be imparted as part of the life skill education to young people leaving care in order to help them to become financially independent and generate their own income and;

-       Guideline 135 also recommends that access to social, legal and health services, together with appropriate financial support, should also be provided to young people leaving care and during aftercare.

National Residential Child Care Standards (Zimbabwe)

         Mr. President, The Government of Zimbabwe proactively responded to the U N Guidelines by coming up with the National Residential Child Care Standards which provide an enunciated plan of how children in a residential child care facility have to be prepared before leaving the facility. This is elucidated through Standard Six, which notes: A Discharge Plan shall be prepared for each child ready to leave care and is to be based on the individual care plan of the particular child. It will detail the process through which a child will become independent, returns to his or her family of origin or moves into another placement’ - section 37 of the Children’s Act, [Chapter 5.06].

Mr. President, let me explain the criteria recommended by that standard 6. Standard 6.1 states that “residential child care facility in consultation with the child and the department of Social Welfare shall plan and implement the discharge plan which shall outcome the following arrangements”;

  1. The continuing education, training or work.
  2. Support and follow up for children living with disability including medical, educational, occupational and psychological.
  3. Support to enable the child to set up and maintain an independent home where living with a standard family or friends is not an option.
  4. Providing information on available social services benefits for future use and these may include public assistance, health care and other specialist services as may be required by the child.
  5. Creating and maintaining networks of advice and information in order to support the child in decision making during the discharge process.
  6. Ensuring an effective and realistic plan is in place for family and community care and that follow up arrangements are in place.

Standard 6.2 states that “particular attention should be paid to ensure that children are prepared to develop and maintain relationships with others; understand their sexuality and establish positive and caring relationships; overcome trauma and establish self esteem and resilience; prepare for the world of work and/or for further education, develop practical and independent life skills”.

Life after leaving care facility

Mr. President, according to the Government policy, living care preparation should be an ongoing process. The child should start being prepared for life after care way before they reach the age of 18. As has been noted earlier, the Government provides that when an individual reaches the age of 18 the individual will no longer be applicable for Government grants and therefore should leave a child care facility.

Mr. President, it is very painful to report to this House that the preparation for discharge policy is not being followed in most care facilities. The Government generally does not have a mechanism to follow up on the young people who would have been discharged. In essence, their argument is that these would be adults able to assert themselves and find a way to survive. The Government and care institution position is also that they are continuously overwhelmed by the numbers of children in need of help, let alone focus on adults who have had a chance.

On the other hand, some of the young people who would have been weaned off find it difficult out there. This results in unwanted situations like early marriages for the girls and others sometimes roam the streets as streets youths. Mr. President, there is not enough preparation that is being done to make sure that the children when they go out they will be able to fit into different communities. Some of the care facilities are creating artificial lifestyles for the children since they are not allowed to work and the caregivers do all the work. This kind of setting has created what would be called a sense of entitlement by the children where they always expect to receive from people without doing anything. Such a mindset makes them unable to fit into the communities where they are expected to work.

Mr. President, at national level, no convincing data can be found on the outcomes of children who have left the alternative care system. Even at the institutions, some do not have any information of the whereabouts of the children who have left their care facility. This therefore points to a fact that there are inadequate resources and programmes to follow up on children, the youths who are discharged from institutional care. In short Mr. President, the Government does not have programmes specifically made for children upon discharge from the residential care and this is a long standing issue which needs critical consideration in our National Social Welfare Policy Framework.

Some of these children if not properly discharged, may find themselves back on the streets and they end up being street kids. There is therefore need to come up with an effective after care policy. Government should partner with other stakeholders and private sector to solve this problem since it is failing to do so alone.

Recommendations

My recommendation is that Government and the residential child care facilities must have a clear policy in line with the national residential child care standards and carry out agreed procedures relating to the planned and unplanned conclusion of their work with children to ensure appropriate after care and/or follow up throughout the period of care. The residential child care facilities should systematically aim at preparing the child to assume self reliance and to integrate fully into the community, notably through acquisition of social life skills which are fostered by participation in the life of the local community. This calls for the Government to tailor some programmes that keep tracking the life of the youth after discharge from institutional care. I thank you Mr. President.

^^HON. SEN. MOHADI: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity so that I second and support the motion which is before this august House. Firstly I will talk about the kids who are put in secluded places, like orphans where they are taken care of by other people. Those children lack parental care and love. When those children leave those places,we find them roaming the streets where they would not be having enough food or shelter. They will not even afford to further their education, actually they would not have anyone to take care of them. This is very painful – each and every child has the right to education, health, shelter and enjoy social life but with these children it is very difficult for them to enjoy these rights. They do not have anyone who will respect those rights. They end up being taken to different homes where they are facing different challenges again.

At those homes, children do not have close monitoring and they end up being mischievous. Some of them end up running away from those homes and no one makes a follow up to find where they went because those homes do not have proper statistics of children living in those homes. They do not have any means of checking who is not there and the like. These children are supposed to have someone who takes good care of them whilst in those homes. When they are in these homes, I urge the Department of Social Welfare to look after these children to know the statistics so that they are able to tell so and so is missing.

Mr. President, I urge all parents to take care of their children. It is disheartening to meet these children whereby they will be asking for food aid in the streets. They ask for assistance from anyone in the streets because there is no one who takes care of them. Some elderly people take advantage of these little boys and girls who are living in the street so that they get assistance through them. They do not see that this is not healthy for these kids to be found sleeping in the streets. Even if it is raining, they would not be having proper shelter.

The Department of Social Welfare should record details of those children when they are admitting them into those centres so that they will be able to follow up. This becomes very challenging, especially those who have friends and relatives who will be visiting them and they would ask more about the child and where they will be when they visit them. In addition I want to urge the Department of Social Welfare, which is a medium or long term solution. These children need to be seen going to school, they need to prepare to go for vocational training centres; they need to further their education after reaching the age 18. I am also looking forward to seeing these children; these little boys and girls having counsellors who will be working with these children whereby they will be doing interviews with them, trying to shape their lives. In these centres or homes, they will be having food, whereby they will be given assistance, but when they are comparing the life in the homes and the life on the streets, they will be free to do whatever they want to do.

So these children need to be taken care of. Mr. President Sir, I think I have said a lot about these children who grew up in the centres or homes for quite a long time. I urge all legislators, some of us stay here in towns and they come from different constituencies. I urge all the legislators from different constituencies to help or assist these street kids or street children, especially if they are asking for help. We need to help them as parents. Sometimes you need to have time to ask or listen to his or her story – why are you not going to school and things like that. We need to shape them as our children. By giving time to these street kids, I think we can help one or two of them not to go back to the homes or institutions, but they will end up changing their life. I thank you.

HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: Mr. President Sir, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

HON. SEN. MOHADI: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 23rd September, 2020.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR MIDLANDS PROVINCE (HON. SEN. MAVIMA): I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 6 and 7 be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the Day have been disposed of.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

ABOLITION OF DEATH PENALTY

Eighth Order read: Adjourned debate on the motion on the repeal of the death sentence and the provisions in the Criminal Law and Codification Act [Chapter 9:23] and other statutes.

Question again proposed.

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

HON. SEN. CHIFAMBA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 23rd September, 2020.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE WOMEN POLITICAL LEADERS GLOBAL FORUM HELD IN ICELAND

Ninth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the Women Political Leaders Global Forum.

         Question again proposed.

HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: Mr. President Sir, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

HON. MOHADI: I second.

Motion put and agreed.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 23rd September, 2020.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE THIRD WORLD PARLIAMENTARY FORUM ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS HELD IN BALI

Tenth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the 3rd World Parliamentary Forum on Sustainable Development Goals.

Question again proposed.

^^HON. SEN. MOHADI: Thank you Mr. President for giving me the opportunity to add a few words on this motion. It is a very important motion which talks about the SDG’s. We need to know about the meaning of the SDG’s; the most important thing is that Zimbabwe as a country signed a memorandum of understanding about these SDG’s whereby poverty eradication is supposed to have been eliminated after some years. We have to follow each and every step of our SDGs and it will help us in understanding all those rules. As Zimbabwe, we need to know what it means following all these steps.

When we are talking about equal rights, we will be looking at men and women. However, we still have to know a lot about it and not just knowing about the signing of those equal rights between men and women. We need to do more investigation and monitoring concerning these SDG’s. This will assist us as a country to ascertain where we are going - whether we are achieving or we need to do more about these.

With regards to these SDG’s and the gender issue, we will be looking at these millennium development goals whereby we could not make it when we were following those steps and rules. Now that we are coming back to the SDG’s - are we following, is there any assessment with regards to poverty eradication? What have we done in achieving our goals? When we are looking at these SDG’s they do have time limits; do they have time limits?

When we are looking at the health sector we should be able to know about the achievements, we should have the records on where we are achieving and if there are any challenges, they should be taken care of.

Looking at the motion where we were debating about the children’s rights and health issues. Are we achieving these rights? If not, what are we doing about these? Every legislator in this august House needs to be pioneering in these programmes and we should be in a position whereby we are working together with our communities. If we are not involving them in these programmes, it will just be like a person who is walking and looking at their shadow. This person will end up walking alone because there is no one who will be helping them. As a country we need to involve the communities when doing such programmes. I thank you.

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

HON. SEN. MOHADI: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 23 September, 2020.

MOTION

REPORT ON THE 74TH SESSION OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF THE AFRICAN PARLIAMENTARY UNION (APU) HELD IN BANGUI

Eleventh Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the 74th Session of the Executive Committee of the African Parliamentary Union held from 14th June, 2019 in Bangui, Central African Republic.

Question again proposed.

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

HON. SEN. RAMBANEPASI: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 23rd September, 2020.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE 2019 ST. PETERSBURG INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC FORUM (SPIEFG) HELD IN RUSSIA

Twelfth Order read: Adjourned debate on Report of the 2019 St Petersburg International Economic Forum.

Question again proposed.

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

HON. SEN. RAMBANEPASI: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 23rd September, 2020.

On the motion of THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR MIDLANDS PROVINCE (HON. SEN. MAVIMA), the Senate adjourned at Four o’clock p.m.

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