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SENATE HANSARD 23 AUGUST 2022 VOL 31 NO 60
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Tuesday, 23rdAugust, 2022
The Senate met at Half-past Two o’clock p.m.
(THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE
SLOW AND UNSTABLE INTERNET CONNECTION
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Parliament of Zimbabwe is experiencing slow and unstable internet. We are heavily affected during today’s sitting. TelOne is facing technical challenges so we are going to activate the backup link.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (HON. MATUKE): Thank you Hon. President of Senate. I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 3 on today’s Order Paper be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 4 has been disposed of.
Motion put and agreed to.
REPORT OF THE THEMATIC COMMITTEE ON GENDER AND DEVELOPMENT ON THE BENCHMARKING VISIT TO RWANDA
Fourth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the Thematic Committee on Gender and Development on the benchmarking visit to Rwanda on women participation in leadership, politics, decision making positions and women empowerment in the socio-economic sector.
Question again proposed.
HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: Thank you Mr. President for awarding me this opportunity to add my voice on the report which was presented by the Chairperson of the Gender Development Thematic Committee, Hon. Sen. Ndlovu, seconded by Hon. Sen. Mpofu. Many things have already been mentioned by those who have spoken before me on the trip to Rwanda. Everyone managed to hear what the Government of Rwanda is doing including upliftment of women, politics, economic and social development. This means Rwanda is on top on these issues.
We also heard that Rwanda has got many women in Parliament, which shows that the country is dedicated in uplifting women in politics. We would want to thank that decision by Rwanda because it makes us as a country to copy something good from them. The people in Rwanda are united. They sit together and agree on a certain thing and speak with one voice. This allows development in the country because people will be working together as a country. As Zimbabwe, we must follow these footsteps because the idea of working together and speaking with one voice is very important for the development of the country. It also enables Government policies to be successful because all of us will be working together and there will be development.
Mr. President, in Rwanda, there were clashes between ethnic groups. On this issue, they managed to sit down as a country and came up with good policies to resolve their conflicts. They did not use ideas from other countries. It is something that we should emulate. Rwanda managed to sit down and resolve their problems without involving other countries. They sat down and managed to come up with solutions which are beneficial to their country.
Right now many countries are envying the unity and the development which is happening in Rwanda. There is nothing as bad as ethnic fights in the country. It is something which causes fighting between different people of different ethnic groups and when there is war between different ethnic groups, there is no development. As a country, as Zimbabwe, we must encourage unity among different cultural backgrounds.
From the report, I am also happy that in Rwanda, there are NGOs like many other countries in Africa, but the NGOs that are operating in Rwanda are working together with the Government for the development of the country. It is something I applaud very much. In Rwanda, NGOs are working hand-in-hand with the Government. They support the Government policies and they support even every development which is being brought into the country by the Rwandan Government.
Even here in Zimbabwe, you have NGOs. We hope that these NGOs are going to support the Government in their policies and their developmental programmes. The NGOs must desist from involving themselves in politics because they are not here for politics. We want to say as Zimbabweans, let us be united. We want to thank the New Dispensation and His Excellency Dr. Mnangagwa. There is a lot of development which is happening in the country - the roads, schools in different areas. These programmes need unity of purpose from Zimbabweans so that there is development. I want to thank you Mr. President for awarding me this opportunity. I thank you.
*HON. TONGOGARA: Thank you Mr. President for awarding me this opportunity to add my voice on the report which was presented by the delegation which went to Rwanda. We have been given the report. The report was presented by Sen. C. Ndlovu, seconded by Hon. Sen. Mpofu.
Mr. President, firstly, I want to thank the leaders of this House because we support programmes and delegations to go to different countries which are performing well so that we can go and take notes from these countries and then we can come back and use those good points to develop our country.
From the report, I saw that for Rwanda to be successful, everything they are doing in many policies, they are coming from their constitution. If the constitution of the country has been crafted emulating the issue of uniting people from different cultural backgrounds, it is bound to lead to development because people will be working following the constitution of the country.
Mr. President, we all know that in Rwanda, there was war between different ethnic groups. When they were crafting their constitution, they looked for a way to end these civil wars. What they agreed on in their constitution is what they are following right now. Here in our country Mr. President, I also want to thank what is being done by the Government for the upliftment of women. There are laws which were enacted which are in the Constitution, which is Section 5 on Gender Equality and Empowerment. All these laws are being enacted in an attempt to help women so that they can develop, be uplifted and put in different influential positions so that there is development in the country.
Mr. President, there is Section 17 of the Constitution which talks about gender balance, but that law has not been properly looked into so that the laws can tally with the Constitution so that whenever elections are being done from the councils to the ministries and other different areas, they must make sure that there are equal opportunities between men and women. If we manage to do that Mr. President, we are going to match what has been done by Rwanda or we can surpass that because we will be working using our own Constitution that women must be found in every area of decision making; where there are elections, there should be equality.
I also encourage us as Zimbabweans and as a country that we must make sure that Section 17 of the Constitution must be looked into by the gurus in law so that that section can be applied. If Section 17 is applied, we can see that we will be having equality, 50/50 from council to any other areas like Cabinet and in the august House.
I also want to thank that these issues are being talked about and our President, His Excellency Dr. Mnangagwa is practicing that. If you look at our provinces, we have got 10 provinces, Ministers of State, we have got five women and five men. We must also follow what is being done by His Excellency because right now it is being said and is also included in the Constitution. Hence, I encourage all other areas to follow the 50/50 rule so that our country can develop.
Mr. President, the elders say wisdom is power and it can be borrowed from others. The delegation which went to Rwanda came with a lot of knowledge. May we as a country, emulate or copy from Rwanda so that there is development in the country. May we copy from Rwanda so that our country is also developed in terms of gender equity. I want to thank you Mr. President.
*HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to add my voice to the motion on the report to Rwanda by Hon. Sen. C. Ndlovu, seconded by Hon. Sen. S. Mpofu. I witnessed a fight between the Hutus and Tutsis. If you were a married man who was married to this tribe, you and your entire lineage were beheaded using machetes. As you know, if you are a man who loves his woman, it was so painful to see her being killed. So I do not encourage tribalism and fights between tribes.
Tribalism is not good because those who will be killed will be praying to God the remaining days of their lives asking ‘why did you let my parents and my people be killed?’ They kept the heads as a reminder to remind people that tribalism fight is not good. Even in our country Zimbabwe, if we go to areas where there was war and where our children were buried, it is a very painful situation to visit there. I want to thank the President of the Chiefs’ Council that he sent lawyers to go and try to settle this matter. This did not help and it was decided that they must resolve their own conflict. Chiefs therefore had to sit down to find a solution and they managed to find a solution and now they do not want to hear any source of tribalism.
When our daughters and sons went for war, they did not ask where one comes from; they had one vision of fighting for the liberation struggle and that is a very good example. We must unite in everything that we do. Women occupy the majority of seats in Parliament in Rwanda. We are proud that our women can now occupy leadership positions. Our Zimbabwean women are very hard working, even in the fields they are good farmers. They can also head homes very well in the absence of their husbands. In the case that the father is not there, women carry the burden of looking and fending for their children and that is so much responsibility for the women.
There are some women who are not responsible but the majority of our women are very responsible people, they discourage violence and encourage peace and nation building. They do not want to witness war because they are warm-hearted. It pains them as mothers to see people dying. If we unite, our country will develop. I want to thank the Second Republic; we no longer witness a lot of violence and the rate or incidences of violence are decreasing. Members of Senate have witnessed the ugly side of war and our leaders here in Senate always encourage us to be peaceful and united. Long ago we were not united but now we can discuss and share ideas as the Upper House. We must continue to be united as a country. Rwanda told us that our children can go and work as teachers but as elders and leaders of the country, we will first see if it is safe to let our children go there. There is no single day that passes without me getting messages from our youngsters who want to go to Rwanda. I inform them to go to their provinces so that the travel documents can be facilitated if they qualify for assistance. This is all because Rwanda is peaceful.
We must support our women in their projects because some are doing very well. I also appreciate the support that they are getting from the Women’s Bank. We are proud that our women are now empowered. When I came to Harare in 1966, I saw a board that was written ‘Africans and dogs are now allowed in town’. We were not allowed to visit our relatives; you were supposed to get a permit to be permitted to live with your relatives. We must be united besides the fact that we belong to different political parties.
Mr. President, our President is a President for everyone. He is not a President for people of a certain political persuasion. We should have unity of purpose so that our country may develop. In the New Dispensation, the President represents everyone. Thank you.
+HON. SEN. M. NDLOVU: I would like to thank you for the time you have given me to debate on the report that was brought by the delegation that went to Rwanda. The report says that after the war, the Rwandese reconciled and became one. In the Senate, we have someone from the Opposition deputised by the other party. In Rwanda, they have their national dress - even us here in Zimbabwe, we do have that national dress. It was distributed here in Parliament. People were given that national dress regardless of their political persuasion.
The towns in Rwanda are clean and very hygienic. The President came up with a clean-up campaign for all towns here so that they may be hygienic. You find that if we all participate in those programmes; our differences will be reduced. The Government of Zimbabwe recognised that women should also have political positions. The Senate is presided over by a woman, deputised by a male. We are now recognised as women politicians. We are grateful for the people of Rwanda because they have caused us as Zimbabweans to appreciate having different political persuasion and we should not divide the country.
Part of speech not recorded due to technical fault.
*HON. SEN. CHISOROCHENGWE: Thank you Mr. President for awarding me this opportunity to add my voice on the motion which was moved by Hon. Sen. Chief Ndlovu. I also want to thank the delegates who went to Rwanda to see how other countries are living and how best they are doing their things. I also want to thank all those who debated. Those who went to Rwanda managed to see a lot of things and they have brought the report in this House. Now we have a case study on how other countries are living and surviving in their countries.
We heard that in Rwanda, there are 11 political parties but all these political parties are united and they are doing their things as one country. May we, as Zimbabweans, also have the same stance of being united despite having different political orientation? Even the issue of civil wars, we must have the same concept as Rwanda. Everyone must feel free as Zimbabweans. Let us not segregate each other depending on different languages or cultures. Let us treat each other as Zimbabweans even if we are coming from different political parties, the bottom line is you are a Zimbabwean.
On the issue of respect, in Rwanda they respect women very much compared to Zimbabwe. May we, as Zimbabweans, be able to respect women and include women in many influential positions because women are not corrupt but men are very corrupt? May we have the same issue of leading as women so that men can stay behind because they are very corrupt? May women be given leadership positions?
On the issue of clean environment, in other countries where the cleanup programme is done, there are no cars travelling or any other duties being done. Here in Zimbabwe, when the President is going to do a cleanup in other towns, you see people walking and doing their business but not respecting the issue of that there is a cleanup programme. May we follow the footprints of other countries of doing cleanup campaign?
On the issue of respect, we heard that the people of Rwanda respect each other, whether you are a police officer, a nurse or what, they respect each other. May we also respect each other so that we might not have petty issues and other issues like corruption? They are being caused by lack of respect.
On the issue of youth, youth from other countries are being given the opportunity to lead whilst they are young. I heard that there are some Ministers who are young and there is a Minister who is 22 years. Can we emulate that as Zimbabwe?
On the issue of corruption, we heard that in Rwanda, there is not much corruption because people in Rwanda are united. They work for one common cause and there is not much corruption because people in Rwanda are united. They work for one common goal and they protect their country so that there is order, peace and development. As Zimbabwe, we must respect each other and fight corruption with one common cause. We must put our heads together and eliminate or end corruption because corruption is the root cause of under development of the suffering in Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe is a blessed country – we have all resources but we are failing to manage our resources properly. May we emulate or take notes from other countries to end corruption so that there is peace and development in the country. I heard of the programme of sanitary pads that in Rwanda, every month, they distribute sanitary pads to vulnerable women. May we copy this idea of giving women sanitary pads and apply it to Zimbabwe. Right now in Zimbabwe, there are women who are suffering and others end up using other means when they are in their menstrual cycle, using some materials which are unhealthy.
There is the issue of traditions, they respect their traditional leaders. Let us respect our chiefs and traditional leaders so that there is development in the country. Traditional leaders are the ones who stay with the people most of the time. Thank you very much Hon. President.
*HON. SEN. MUPFUMIRA: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to add my voice on the report which was presented by the delegation that went to Rwanda. They learnt what is happening in Rwanda. They say to do something good is because you have seen others doing it. We are very fortunate enough that we have got a good relationship with Rwanda. We work with Rwanda and we have got lots of cooperation with this country, but there are some areas which differ a bit from Rwanda and this is the area which I want to highlight. Speaking about the issue of representation of women in Parliament, Rwanda is said to be the first country in Africa which has got more women compared to other Parliaments in Africa. In Zimbabwe, we are fortunate that most people of Zimbabwe, when the Constitution was drafted in 2013, it was properly explained on the issue of equality between men and women.
If we manage to get the Founding Principle No. 1 on (g) and (f), (f) speaks about the recognition and equality of all human beings and (g) on the Founding Principles talks about gender equality. We are far much better because these issues are already in the Constitution and the Constitution is the Supreme Law of the land. We have the Constitution. If we go to Section 17, there is an issue of gender balance. In our Constitution, it is clearly defined that the State must promote full participation of women in all spheres of the Zimbabwean society on the basis of gender.
In Rwanda, they are not told just to give women positions, they are following their Constitution. Right now in Zimbabwe, even the issue of being given 30% proportional representation so that the number of women participation is increased, it does not tally to 50/50 representation but when we look at 2013, these women who were contesting on their own, were many compared to when we came to 2018, which means that there was no 50(. There was nothing to talk about because we are lagging behind.
The problem which we have is that we must look or we must craft the law which works hand-in-hand or tallies with the Constitution. We are the ones who must look into the issue and resolve it. We have the Judiciary, the Executive and the Legislature. We must put our heads together and see why the Constitution of the country is not being implemented. Women in Parliament, in the Senate, we are helped by the Zebra system in the Constitution. We are also helped by 60 in the Constitution but we do not reach the equality or the 50/50 because we are not empowered to be able to contest with men since many people are not well informed that women can hold higher positions. At Commissions, that is where the issue of equality is being applied. They are looking at gender equality but when we come here at Parliament, we see that we are not operating following the Constitution. Even if we look at Cabinet, we are not near the gender parity. If we look at the Government parastatals, there is no equality. We are not even matching what is being said by the Constitution.
The Constitution is the supreme law of the land. What we
need is the implementation of what is already there. Right now, many women are trying to be educated so that they are empowered, whether in Parliament, parastatals, et cetera. Why are we failing to follow the Constitution? Whilst Rwanda does not have the provisions in their Constitution but they are recognising women. If the Minister who is responsible for laws was here, we were going to ask him why we are failing to implement that. This Constitution was derived from the contributions of all Zimbabweans but we are not following it. The position in the Constitution says we need equality in terms of representation and positions everywhere. Today, I am saying let us copy from other countries so that we can be at par with them.
Zimbabwe is known as a country with the highest literacy rate. In Rwanda, to show that we are far much better than them, they have requested for teachers from Zimbabwe. They know that Zimbabweans are educated. During independence, there was the issue of adult literacy as a way of uplifting women. Our literacy rate is over 90%. We are being requested to give teachers to Rwanda. They appreciate that Zimbabweans are educated. It is not Rwanda alone, but Sudan and other countries are also requesting Zimbabweans from Public Service and other departments to go and help them in their countries. On this issue of aligning with the supreme law in terms of equality, let us help each other as legislators. I believe that we are going to look into this issue urgently and look for others to help us to find why we are not implementing the Constitution. It is not like we are looking for something which is new but it is something which is already there. What is lacking is implementation.
We have the Constitution and this is the ninth year from 2013 but we have not started to implement what is in our Constitution. We may talk and talk many things but we must work on alignment and implementation of what is in the Constitution. We cannot reach the level where Rwanda is if we do not respect our own Constitution.
The second thing which I want to talk about on the report of Rwanda is hygiene. Rwanda is one of the most hygienic countries in Africa. As Government, we tried to copy what is good from Rwanda and apply it here. When people started to go to Rwanda, they said that Rwanda is too smart; you cannot even throw litter everywhere. They said that the President of that country, every Saturday everyone is compelled to do the cleaning. As a country, we copied that. We said every first Friday of the month, since 5th December, 2018, we started clean up campaigns but there is need for the enactment of a law to make it effective.
There was a declaration that was made that we must clean our environment and everyone must stop working from 8 to 10 a.m. across the country. However, the issue of enforcement is lacking. Between 8 and 10 am, every first Friday of the month, people will be doing business as usual, litter being thrown out of windows and there is litter everywhere. A lot of things are happening but we must come up with enforcement that those who are not doing clean up must be punished. This will make people abide with the clean-up campaign.
Also as legislators, we have a role to play to see that our communities where we stay are abiding with the clean-up campaign. We must show by example, by participating in the clean-up campaign in our areas. We must go to schools and encourage them so that we catch them young and they will get used to this culture of cleaning. There are some schools where pupils do not want to see litter on the ground because they are being taught at school that the issue of littering is disturbing the environment. If we get the opportunity to go to Lake Chivero and see what is inside, it will be difficult to drink water. There is too much dirt at Lake Chivero. I had the opportunity under this clean-up campaign. I am the one who started this programme after seeing it in Rwanda. We invited His Excellency, Dr. Mnangagwa to come to Chivero and see what is there. We are throwing plastics and bottles everywhere. It is littered. The plastics are not bio-degradable and that is how we are killing the aqua life: the fish, crocodiles et cetera.
Local authorities also dispose effluent in the rivers. It is only that God is merciful to us. We are drinking water and eating fish from these water sources such as Lake Chivero and Darwendale. We just buy fish with the hope that we are going to boil them. The level of dirt in these areas is very high. We are not educating people on the disadvantages of littering everywhere. When we were growing up, there were clubs where people were being taught about hygiene and there were competitions. In our constituencies, let us inculcate and encourage people about hygiene in their homes. We should teach children not to throw litter everywhere so that our environment will be protected. Let us follow the footprints of Rwanda in terms of hygiene. Let us also implement Section 1 and Section 17 which talks about the issue of equality, which is being spearheaded by the Government. Thank you Mr. President.
^ HON. SEN. MALULEKE: Thank you Mr. President for awarding me this opportunity to add my voice on the motion by Hon. Sen. C. Ndlovu, seconded by Hon. Sen. Mpofu. They told us something which is very fruitful. We must learn from Rwanda. His Excellency, Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa encourages us to be united, love each other and speak with one voice as a country.
The delegation that went to Rwanda found out that the country faced civil wars in the previous years. They reached a stage where they hired 80 lawyers but they did not manage to solve the civil unrest. They later on got the advice that the traditional leaders can help them in resolving these issues. They later on came back and consulted their traditional leaders. They presented their problems to the traditional leaders and these leaders sat down with the different groups and taught them the correct behaviour and encouraged unity. This led to the end of the civil unrest. Here in Zimbabwe, we encourage that we must be able to sit down and resolve our issues so that there is development.
The other issue which I want to add my voice on Mr. President is that in Rwanda, there are more women in Parliament. The President of Rwanda knows that women are very important. They are people who are respectful, hard working and dedicated. Even here in the Senate, the number of women must be increased. Women have got a big heart. They are people who are dedicated because they are the ones who carry pregnancy for nine months, they are the people who give birth to lives. Right now, we must continue to work hard and be united as a country. I can continue talking whilst emphasising on the issues that have already been mentioned by others.
I also want to talk about the issue of cleanup programmes. Let us work with our councillors and traditional leaders so that once every first Friday of the month, we go and clean different areas so that we can stay in clean areas. Every councillor in all the wards and traditional leaders must work together in cleaning their environment from morning until evening. It will help very much. There is no one who will come to build our country. We must take notes from other countries so that we can be the first country in every aspect in development.
Rwanda managed to identify their weakness of civil wars - they sat down and managed to come up with solutions to end civil unrest. Even us as a country, let us look at our problems, sit down and resolve them. Where we are not doing good, let us find solutions so that we can work together and develop our country. Right now, in this Senate Chamber, we have got men, women and also chiefs. In areas where we come from, there are chiefs also. Let us work together, be united and speak with one voice like what Rwanda is doing. There will be a lot of development in the country. Let us look into ourselves and identify areas we lack so that we can develop in those areas. I thank you Mr. President.
*HON. SEN. SHUMBA: Thank you Mr. President for affording me this opportunity to add one or two words to the report that has already been debated.
*THE DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Order, order. Hon. Sen. Shumba if you can raise your voice.
*HON. SEN. SHUMBA: My apologies Mr. President. I said that I stood to add my voice on the report tabled by Hon. Sen. Ndlovu which has been greatly debated by my colleagues. I thought I would support the report. The issue of Rwanda that has been brought to this House is a matter that is being discussed by everyone. I think it is a very good and important issue. Most people have said that for us to become a good nation, we should take a leaf from what others are doing. They went to Rwanda and they want us to take a leaf from the good that they are doing.
I want to applaud the issue of women but I realised that there is an issue that is quite different from us. It has been a constitutional provision that women should be at decision making level. What is the reason why we have not attained that constitutional provision? In my opinion, I think that if we go to the Bible, Jesus said that if you go to Jerusalem, you will see a donkey that is tied to a tree. Untie that donkey and when they ask you why you want it, tell them the Master wants it’.
People went to the liberation struggle so that we would be independent and as women, we were included so that we could also occupy those decision making positions. Yes, the war was fought and we were liberated but women are still tied to the tree. We are just like the donkey that Jesus rode. The donkey kept on staying in that same area.
The Government loves women. The liberation fighters went to liberate us as Zimbabweans. No one will go and whip women to take up our place. As women, we need to go and encourage our fellow women that it is not bad for us to also take part in decision making. So we are still tied to this mentality. Rwanda is independent and women need to be able to encourage others for us to be part of decision making and governance. We should stand up and claim our space and take up the leadership roles.
In Mwenezi, they speak Chipfumbi and they think that leadership positions are for men. If we have that mentality, we will never progress. So I just stood up to urge my fellow women and even you the men in this House, may you please allow your women to come and take up leadership roles. We have a lot of women who are learned and we even have teachers that are going to other countries including women. They are going to other countries instead of taking leadership positions in Government. So I think because our Constitution has provided that women should be in leadership, the Government cannot go around whipping women to take up leadership positions, but what I urge my fellow women is; let us take a stand and take these leadership positions.
We should be sharing with Rwanda that we have succeeded on the issue of conflict that we always have. Maybe we continue being in conflict because of lack of knowledge and we end up name-calling and there is tribalism as well. You will find the Ndebele not wanting to interact with the Karanga and the Zezuru and there is this thing that as Zezurus, we cannot be governed by the Karanga and that alone is affecting us as a country. Instead of progressing, we are regressing. So I think it is time we do not center on the issue of totems but must be united. Even our President Dr. Mnangagwa is always talking of the issue of uniting just like the way we are united currently in this Parliament because now when we want to debate our issues, even the opposition also debate, we debated the SONA and I can see that this is slowly being addressed. They never say this is not our President, so we will not listen to him. That is the beginning of unity.
I do not know those who are going to be found wanting without uniting with others. I pray that God helps us as women that we have been liberated and God be with us so that we take up leadership positions through God’s help. I thank you.
HON. SEN. C. NDLOVU: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 24th September, 2022.
PROVISION OF FUNDS FOR COMPLETION OF DAM CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS
Fifth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the need for Government to provide adequate funds for the completion of dam projections.
Question again proposed.
HON. SEN. MUZENDA: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 24th September, 2022.
PARENTING AND EMBRACING A RECEPTIVE CULTURE FOR CHILDREN LIVING ON THE STREETS
Sixth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on vulnerable children living on the streets.
Question again proposed.
*HON. SEN. SIPANI-HUNGWE: Thank you Mr. President. I rise to add my voice on the motion that was raised by Sen. S. Mpofu as well as the seconder, concerning street kids in urban centres, who are not staying in their parents’ homes.
It is sad to think of what our nation will become when we have children who live on the streets and we have children known as street kids. There is no road or street that bore a child but we are the parents of the children. When COVID commenced, it happened that I had an opportunity as a Senator representing Harare where I was invited to come and see children. It is because there was an initiative to round up these children and take them to a certain place.
I was shocked that they have street fathers and street mothers. When they were removed from the streets, they were angry saying that you have separated us from our husbands. The males were taken to Chinhoyi and the women were taken to Marondera. I visited all those places and the women there were very angry because they were accusing each other of snatching their boyfriends, this surprised me much.
The children were moved to a road near Masvingo. There were children who were going to school. I saw a child who was doing Form 6, I asked the child what was wrong and the child said my parents divorced and my father proceeded to marry another wife. So the second wife does not want to see me. The child was very bright in school. You can see that this whole situation was caused by parents. This second wife is very evil and does not want to look after another woman’s child.
The Government must make sure that those parents who divorce must be forced to look after their children. Some children had plans of returning back to the streets, they did not like the place they had been taken to. It is surprising Mr. President that some children who are found on the streets have both parents who are alive; the parents are so lazy that they cannot work to provide for their children. The parents will be at home and they will send children to beg in the streets and at the end of the day that child will go back home. As Hon. Senators, we must find a solution to this. I was suggesting that if there are such parents who fail to provide for their own children, those parents must be punished. We cannot call it a country if children with both parents are seen loitering and begging on the streets.
Some of these children, most of them are engaged in drugs; you see small children smoking glue. At first we ignored because drugs mostly were used by streets children but now this has spread even to our children whom we live with. Some children are even running away from their homes and joining the children in the streets. I am pleading that Government must remove those children from the streets, take them to a place far away and train them to do jobs that make them earn a living using their hands. Some of these people are no longer children, we cannot take them back to school because they are now men and women in streets but we must train them to do projects to look after themselves.
Those who are still young must be removed and be send far away where there is a school so that they can be rehabilitated and send back to school. Some of them are now wild. If these children are sent even to Gonarezhou and schools are built there, from there we will come up with some children who will later prosper in life. Some of these kids will turn to thieves if not looked after properly. I witnessed a woman complaining that his son is now involved in drugs and stealing. If he takes drugs, he then goes to steal even in the mother’s house. The Government must find solutions on how to end this problem of street children.
HON. SEN. N. KHUMALO: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to share my views with this august Senate on this very important motion. I want to thank Hon. Sen. S. Mpofu for raising this very pertinent issue pertaining to the plight of the children who live in the streets. I also want to thank the seconder of the motion. I will not say much because already several things have been said. There are several reasons why children opt to stay in the streets rather than stay at their parents’ home. Again, I am not going to dwell into that but I will attempt to give solutions for removing these children from the streets. First and foremost, I would like to express my gratitude to organisations such as the East Out Movement, Yellow Bus Trust, Angel of Good Hope Foundation and churches, for the great work they are doing in trying to uplift and protect street kids. Some organisations have attempted to introduce sexual reproductive health, family planning, provisions of shelter, food, clothing and education.
In spite of all these efforts, these kids keep on going back to the streets because that is the place they are accustomed to. It is difficult to provide sustainable solutions given the prevailing economic situation because after taking them to homes for rehabilitation or reuniting them with their families, they need accommodation, money to start businesses, school fees, jobs and above all the will to start afresh and a society that accepts them.
The challenge that we face as a nation is that we do not have proper transitional or rehabilitation centres for these children and the adults. Government policy for children living at orphanage homes is that at 18 years, they should not continue staying at that home, so where do they go after turning 18, of course in the streets. That is the only place that they can go because no one wants to accommodate them. Some of these children do not have identity documents so where can they find work to sustain themselves. It is sad to have young children abusing drugs. In most cases, they will be given drugs by adults. Some of these children are already addicted to drugs and it will be very difficult for them to have better lives.
Mr. President, the solution is for the Government to arrest all the adults who give these children drugs because they are benefiting, they want money from these children, they want to abuse them especially abusing the big girls and that is why they give them drugs. When a child is drunk, he or she does not think properly, they will just agree to anything. It is very unfortunate.
Therefore, against this background, it is imperative that the Government considers stringent measures that will reduce the number of these kids. Policies must be amended. The Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare which is responsible for these kids must link its policies with other Ministries, for example the Ministry of Health and Child Care for easy access into healthcare; Ministry of National Housing to chip in to construct quarters for these street kids. They must do that in all the provinces. All the provinces have problems of street kids. I wonder how we are able to bear children, children are born by us females but then why should they stay in the streets when us the adults and parents are there? Society can also chip in and adopt these children. It must assist Government to try and control and take off these children from the streets. I thank you Hon. Speaker.
HON. SEN. S. MPOFU: Thank you Mr. President. I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. NKOMO: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 24th August, 2022.
On the motion of HON. SEN. MUZENDA, seconded by HON. SEN. SIPANI-HUNGWE, the Senate adjourned at Five Minutes past Four O’clock p.m.