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SENATE HANSARD 23 JULY 2020 VOL 29 NO 45
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Thursday, 23rd July, 2020
The Senate met at Half-past Two o’clock p.m.
(THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE in the Chair)
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
HON. SEN. MWONZORA: Thank you Madam President. My question goes to any Minister who is leading the Senate at this present moment I am not very sure who it is. Hon. Minister, we have seen the arrest of journalist, Mr. Hopewell Chin’ono and the Transform Zimbabwe President, Mr. Jacob Ngarivhume. These people have been critical of the Government for years and they were not arrested for their being critical of Government. Recently, they have spoken openly and fearlessly I must say, against corruption. They were then arrested, detained and have had their bail applications opposed. Can you please explain this coincidence? They have now spoken against corruption and they have been arrested. Married to that question is how serious then is the Government’s fight against the scourge of corruption?
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Thank you Hon. Sen. Mwonzora for asking that question but unfortunately we do not have a Leader of Government Business and we are not allowed to elect or choose any amongst us.
The Hon. Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs having walked in.
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: For the benefit of the Hon. Minister, I will ask the Hon. Senator to repeat his question.
Hon. Sen. Mwonzora repeated his question.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Madam President. I believe that we have separation of powers. We have the Parliament, the Executive and the Judiciary. They all have their own roles to play. I believe everyone agrees that each and every arm of Government must be given its own space; having said that, the said individuals, I am not aware that they were arrested for speaking out against corruption. They have allegations that have been leveled against them. It is up to the courts, as an independent arm of the State, to deal with those issues and it will not be proper for me to start commenting in that regard. As to the question regarding the fight of corruption, I know that His Excellency the President has spoken very well about the need to eradicate corruption. At some point he even agonised that I wish I was a prosecutor. So, I am not sure where the assertion that Government does not have appetite to fight corruption is coming from. Even the case in point that he is referring to that he is saying that the so called journalists exposed; the Anti-Corruption Commission was already investigating and the said individuals were arrested. Beyond that, I do not know what he expects the Executive to do. Suffice to say that at this juncture Madam President, I would not want to comment on issues that are before the courts. Let us allow the various arms of the State to do their duty.
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I think I do agree with what the Hon. Minister has explained and we all agree that we cannot debate on issues which are in the courts. I thank you, can we proceed with questions without notice.
HON. SEN. S. MPOFU: Thank you Madam President. My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement. Hon. Minister, now that we are approaching the 2021 farming season, how prepared is the Ministry in terms of inputs and tractors for tillage? Has the Ministry been in touch with the Ministry of Energy on the availability of fuel for tillage purposes?
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. HARITATOS): I am happy to inform you that preparations for the new farming season have already started as far back as April 2020. You will note that despite the lockdown which did give us many disturbances we have caught up and we are ready for the new farming season which is approaching us. Right now as we speak, Presidential Input Scheme inputs have almost been completely procured and should start going to the provinces as of late August. Command Agriculture now falls under the financial institutions.
With regards to the Hon. Senator’s question on the tractors for tillage, you will note that we have the John Deere facility which was launched not so long ago and we have the upcoming Belarusian facility next month which will be launched by His Excellency. We are fairly confident that these two programmes will certainly have a great impact on the agricultural sector at large.
On the last question with regards to the Ministry of Energy, I would like to thank them for coming to the table this season, under wheat they have certainly lifted our hopes. You will notice from the season that considerable amount of hectarage is under wheat because we have had guaranteed supply of electricity. With regards to fuel, certainly fuel has been a major issue for everyone including us as parliamentarians. It is an ongoing discussion with the Ministry of Energy but unfortunately as you know fuel is an import and certainly requires foreign currency. Whilst we move forward, we will certainly continue to liaise with our colleagues at the Ministry of Energy to ensure that we do have a ready and steady supply of fuel.
*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHIKWAKA: May you allow me to direct my question to the Acting Minister of Health. Before I ask the question, may I thank the President for the lockdown measures to curb COVID-19. If you look carefully in the rural areas there are a lot of problems that we are facing. There are a lot of people who come to Zimbabwe through border jumping, so it is a time bomb. When we asked the Ministry officials they said they do not have the capacity or resources to take those people to quarantine centres. It means there are a lot of people who slip back into the country in abundance yet it would be difficult to ascertain the danger that they pose to the communities. What measures is the Ministry taking to educate people on the dangers and spread of COVID-19. As I speak, there is a case which happened three days ago whereby a person ran away from Botswana and slipped back into the country.
*THE ACTING MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. PROF MURWIRA): I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Chikwaka for the question. Our law with regards to quarantine is very clear, that everyone who comes back into the country must stay in quarantine centres for a specified period of time. The law further says if there is anyone who escapes from quarantine centres and goes back to the communities everyone has the duty to report to the police so that the person can be taken to quarantine centres. If there is a particular case, it is very important that we expose such people so that they may be taken to quarantine centres. In terms of the policy, it is very clear on what we are supposed to do.
There may be shortcomings here and there but our wish is that everyone who comes back into the country must go through quarantine centres. The law is very clear on that although the implementation may have shortcomings but we are trying by all means to prevent the disease. It is incumbent on every citizen in this country that we observe those health regulations and report anyone who may be breaking those regulations because it is the duty of everyone to maintain good health. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHIKWAKA: My supplementary question is that the person is known and the person comes from Marufu village in Chikwaka. For the past four days, that person has been at the homestead. When I spoke to the District Medical Officer, he said they do not have the means to go to that place but they would find a motorbike to go that place to collect samples from the person in question for testing. That poses a big problem because according to our culture we interact and embrace each other and that may spread the disease. I thank you.
*HON. PROF. MURWIRA: It is now very clear. The Hon. Senator was very clear and he specified on the DMO and I believe the DMO is Goromonzi. I heard you and you will get feedback. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. KOMICHI: Thank you Madam President. The Chief spoke about the country not having sufficient test kits. I would like to confirm this because last week we were on Parliament Portfolio Committee outreach. Indeed, we heard different Provincial Medical Officers saying blood samples are taken to Harare, hence the results go back very late - which ends up leading to people running away from quarantine centres. It actually shows that these figures that we have at the moment are very minimal, because I believe there are many more cases. What can we do to improve the tests turnaround time for us to get a realistic figure? I thank you.
*HON. PROF. MURWIRA: I want to thank the Hon. Senator for the supplementary question. The world over, we do not have enough test kits, but our policy is we must buy a lot of test kits. As we speak, we are currently procuring many test kits but we have to wait or join the queue for the procurement, but we are going to get there.
We also procure PCR machines because we should also take into consideration that the pandemic took everyone by surprise but we are trying by all means to test people. Looking at what measure that can be taken, what we can do as a matter of importance is let us consider anyone as a potentially infected person, including ourselves. Tested people are considered as sample so what it means is that a sample does not include everyone but just a cross section.
Mr. President, what it means is that if you meet someone, talk to them a metre away, even if they claim to be not infected, including yourself. Even if we were to test each other and know whether one is positive or negative, the response remains the same. Stay apart from each other, maintain social distance and sanitise your hands, put on your mask because the disease is incurable. So, we are trying by all means, to the best of our capabilities, but we are not saying we are doing everything, but we are trying hard. In addition, we want to test as many people as possible, but people should take it that everyone is infected so people should sanitise their hands, check temperature whilst we continue testing.
We ordered quite a number of test kits, last week we got 30 000 that were procured from China. We also procured 200 000 so we are expecting them. Whilst we wait for their arrival, let us not sleep and let us know that this disease is airborne, so let us not relax. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. KOMICHI: How much would it cost to test all MPs, is it a problem, we are kindly asking to be tested?
Hon. Prof. Murwira having stood up to reply to Hon. Sen. Komichi’s question.
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Hon. Minister, you have stood up but that is not entirely a supplementary question, that is actually a new question, but I will allow him to get away with it.
*THE ACTING MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. PROF. MURWIRA): Thank you Mr. President. I would not know how much will it cost, but I think it is a very good thing, we will talk to the officials so that we look at the implementation plan.
*HON. SEN. CHIEF NTABENI: Thank you Mr. President, a friend in need is a friend in indeed. My question is directed to the Hon. Acting Minister of Health and Child Care. I come from the rural area and people are being tested, are they being given documents to show that they have been tested. May they be given documents so that we know who was tested and who was not tested? Every day we meet a lot of people. I will be going to the rural areas today but I will not know who is infected and who is not infected.
* THE ACTING MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. PROF. MURWIRA): Thank you Mr. President. If a person was tested, there is a slip that is dispensed by the machine and that slip may be given to that person. I want to emphasise that you may test negative right now but two hours later you may become positive. So, let us know that that disease is real, when interacting just maintain social distance. I thank you.
HON. SEN. DR. MAVETERA: My question is directed to the Acting Minister of Health and Child Care. Mr. President, recently we learnt that the Chief Executive Officers of Public institutions like Parirenyatwa, Harare and Chitungwiza were relieved of their duties. At the moment majority of the health staff are complaining because of PPEs. My question is, the health sector has always complained about the operations of the Health Services Board for years and nothing has been done. And now these Chief Executive Officers were recruited recently by the same Health Services Board but within three weeks, they were all sacked. I think it needs explanation as to the justification of it. We are in the middle of a pandemic, the crisis at tertiary institutions is dire and we are working with people who are acting throughout. The last bit, I think the Minister is aware that we have got a lot of health workers who have been infected and are being infected. What is the Ministry doing because right now they are going on a go slow because they are trying to protect themselves and I do not think as a nation, we can take a lackadaisical approach to this important issue. Thank you Mr. President.
THE ACTING MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. PROF. MURWIRA): Thank you Hon. President. I wish to thank Hon. Sen. Mavetera for the question and the concern that we share. Hon. President, the problem of the health sector in this country has been a configuration problem. When we say it is a configuration problem we mean you can have four nice fat oxen, ngavi, but for them to plough, you need a yoke, ...
Hon. Ministers having sat too close to each other.
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Order, order. Hon. Ministers, I am really concerned about your social distancing. Yes that is better. Carry on Minister.
HON. PROF. MURWIRA: Thank you Hon. President. I wish to thank Hon. Sen. Mavetera for the question and the concern and I do say the concerns that we all share. When you see problems being persistent from time to time, they cease to be individually driven. They are configuration problems in the way the whole system is arranged. What I am trying to say is that; I was giving an example of cattle. You can have four oxen, fat and fit but for them to plough, you need a yoke or two yokes each one nechitoropo and then you need to drive them in a certain direction in order for ploughing to happen but if one or two of the cows start pushing in different directions, at the end of the day, it is not about the fatness of the oxen. It is about how they are arranged to do a job.
So what we are looking at in the Ministry of Health and Child Care is there has been a lot of toxicity in the Ministry over many years and I am sure that the Hon. Senators and others are aware that this did not start with COVID-19. It has been a long drawn problem. The Ministry of Health and Child Care has got very good experts in this country, talking about fat cattle, very experienced health personnel and very good clinicians. However, they buy everything from what they wear to beds to cleaning material to every medicine that we use in this country. Hatigadziri kana dondoro in this country. We do not make a thing. We buy everything. Why am I saying this? Then it becomes a buying Ministry, then we spend about US$1 billion buying beds, sheets, paracetamol and water which we call drip. It is 5% salt and 95% water - putting it in big planes, bringing water into this country, distilled water.
So, at the end of the day as a country, we really have to look at ourselves and reconfigure ourselves for effectiveness, otherwise we might spend time tichingodyungana so. This is a serious matter. What therefore that means is we are looking at restructuring the Ministry of Health and Child Care so that all the money that we spend importing things could be used for developmental purposes that also include remuneration. So what are we saying? In order to reorganise it, we must have aims - efficiency, effectiveness and integrity so that not every office or everyone goes to the Ministry of Health to try and procure something. Procurement has become a business. When it is a business, it means what we are buying, there are a lot of leakages and it is the leakages that people are after.
We really have to be serious about this. Therefore what does it mean in terms of this? We know the CEOs have been relieved of their duties, five of them by the HSB because it is part of the reorganisation. You know when you have made an error, we cannot pretend stability by saying no let us show that we thought about it by not rectifying it. Let us spend three years being shy from our own mistake. If we made a mistake two minutes ago, it is a strength to change that decision if it does not work. So it is not about individuals. That is what I am trying to say. However, if you are losing or you are having a problem in a war, it is not a problem to change the generals so that you can be able to do things.
What we are trying to say here is we are looking forward to a lot of support from the generality of the Zimbabweans to make sure that we reconfigure our Ministry of Health and Child Care for its effectiveness to serve ourselves. How can we have a Ministry that spends US$1 billion every year importing everything including little caps made of plastic? What I am trying to say Hon. President is, there is need to do brave things and in doing those brave things, we need a lot of support. It is about fixing ourselves and our country to serve ourselves. I thank you.
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Thank you Hon. Minister but I do not think you answered the second part of his question which was about PPEs if I am not mistaken.
HON. PROF. MURWIRA: Thank you Hon. President. In terms of PPEs, we have been procuring PPEs. Just yesterday, I asked the Permanent Secretary and the pharmaceutical department to look at the levels of PPEs across all our operational units so that we make it available for our workers to the best of our ability because we cannot be protected by people that are not protected in the first place. So it is a priority and it is important that we do so and as I said, whatever we are talking about, excuses should never be a way through which we operate. There can be errors here and there but the intention is to make sure that we are so selfish as Zimbabweans that we want to save ourselves. So, I am saying let us be selfish enough to protect our workers so that they protect us. So the issue is, we are trying in very difficult circumstances to make sure that everything happens the way we want but the Ministry of Health and Child Care has to change in configuration. It cannot be buying water and importing water. Many haulage trucks are coming or a lot of water is being imported and we clear them at the borders – water!
HON. SEN. DR. MAVETERA: Thank you Mr. President. I want to thank the Minister for the good answer but I would also want him to extend his bravery because it is the same Health Services Board which has been a permanent structure in the Ministry of Health and Child Care for the past 10 years and they are the very same people who recruited these CEOs and within three months, they sack everyone at the middle of the COVID- 19 pandemic. I am saying that probably as the Legislature, part of our duty is to oversee the performance of the Executive and how they do their work. The problem is, I have been in Health and working for the public sector for the past 27 years...
THE DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Order Hon. Senator, you ask your question and you should not start debating. We know that you have an opinion and you are entitled to that. You can debate when we are at the relevant stage. We are doing Questions Without Notice, so ask your supplementary straight and to the point.
HON. SEN. DR. MAVETERA: Thank you Mr. President Sir. Hon. Minister, our problem is the Health Services Board. What is being done to configure the Health Services Board so that we can have smooth sailing of the health delivery system in the country because that is where the problem is and nothing more? Thank you.
HON. PROF. MURWIRA: Thank you Hon. President and I wish to thank Hon. Sen. Mavetera for the question. I just want to answer to him first of all by saying, there is something more to that. It is not only the Health Services Board but it is the whole health delivery system. In the design Hon. President, of a colonial health system which we never disturbed, it is designed in such a way that you remain clinicians but you have to buy all the medicine from the metropole. It is a business model and you have to buy all the equipment from the metropole. All what you have to say is penicillin is finished and the planeload comes and you buy. So, it is a nice economic model for those ones who are driving that economic model but a national health system of an independent State cannot run like that. It means you have to have basic manufacturing capability of your things and that is why I am saying that there is something more than only people.
So no matter what we do, if we do not address the issue of even making drip which is normal saline which is some salt with water and just imagine that you are bringing a planeload of 30 tonnes of water coming from everywhere. The issue at the end of the day as I say, it is not a blame game of pointing fingers but the issue is we are importing it and we must do something about it. That is why I am saying there is more. So in terms of efficiency, effectiveness and integrity and when we are looking at the whole configuration of the whole thing; it means we will also look at the Health Services Board. It means everything but once we are piecemeal and we start picking as if it is people, you will remove people and then you will see that there is still a problem because of the way things are configured.
So, we are looking at everything and we will be happy to have even more information if there is more information and help to make sure that this health system works for us for the protection of this nation founded by ourselves. Thank you.
HON. SEN. A. DUBE: Thank you Mr. President. My question is directed to the Acting Minister of Health and Child Care. Hon. Minister, under the current COVID- 19 lockdown, how can Government facilitate access for ARVs to Zimbabweans living in South Africa since they cannot come for their reviews?
THE TEMPORATY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Hon. Senator, you are asking about Zimbabweans in South Africa.
HON. SEN. A. DUBE: Yes, people living with HIV in South Africa.
THE ACTING MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. PROF. MURWIRA): Hon. President, I wish to thank the Hon. Senator for the Question but, we are sympathetic about any Zimbabwean who lives anywhere. However, the system that we are operating is a system that is within the territory of Zimbabwe. When people are in South Africa, we expect that if they have any problems, they will be able to contact our embassy which is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade to seek any specific help that they might need. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. ENG MUDZURI: My question is directed to the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement. Minister, what is your policy to livestock such as piggery and cattle, especially looking at the current drought situation. I personally scaled down my livestock number because we can no longer get stockfeed. Right now Triple C is giving out small piglets because they no longer have feeds. People want food and the livestock also wants food. So, right now we are only keeping livestock for breeding.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL RESTEELEMENT (HON. KARORO): Thank you Mr. President and I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Mudzuri for such a wonderful question. Government policy with regards to livestock is that Government wants people to restock and increase the number of livestock because we know that our livestock was so much affected and depleted due to the drought that he referred to. However, we are aware that drought is going on and that is a hindrance to the success of Government’s restocking programme. You spoke very well that the current grain stock that we have is being competed for between people and livestock. So, it would have been good if people can downsize the livestock that we have so that we preserve the breeds. If we want to increase right now, we will not be able to get stock feeds because as humans we are also struggling to get grain for food. So I think that at the moment, it is wise to downsize our livestock for sustainability but Government is also trying by all means to implement a programme to safeguard the livestock that we have especially looking at water because our livestock needs water.
Those programmes cater for both humans and livestock. Where boreholes are being sunk for human consumption, we are also building water troughs for livestock to be able to access drinking water. As for stock feeds, we are also appealing to people to preserve and stop veld fires so that we get grazing areas for our livestock. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI: Thank you Mr. President. You responded well Hon. Minister but my question is - are there any designated areas such as if it is Triple C that is supposed to preserve stocks for breeding after drought? When you just say, ‘downsize’ yet there will not be any organisation or specific programme for breeding purposes, what sort of programme do you have after destocking and then what will happen? We will not be able to get seed for restocking – that is my question.
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Hon. Minister, the Hon. Member is asking whether we have any contingent plans so that we save some amount of livestock with a view that when the drought is over we can sufficiently restock from the resources within the country.
*HON. KARORO: Thank you Mr. President for that clarification. It is true that Government launched a livestock programme through His Excellency President E. D. Mnangagwa. So there are measures that we have to import livestock breeds but due to the prevailing circumstances, we are going to stop the importation of those livestock. After those circumstances, the imported livestock breeds will be able to come in so that we proceed with the programme. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. CHIEF NGEZI: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity. My question is directed to the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement. What policy do you have in place for the reallocation of land? We understand that there is a programme of downsizing big farms. What criteria is currently in place? Who is supposed to benefit because we understand that there are names that are coming from Harare to the District Land Commission for reallocation of downsized farms? I thank you.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. HARITATOS): Sorry Hon. President Sir, we did not catch the question – my apologies.
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Alright, Hon. Sen. Chief Ngezi, rephrase or re-introduce your question.
*HON. SEN. CHIEF NGEZI: Thank you Mr. President. My question is with regards to the current downsizing of farms. Who chooses beneficiaries for the reallocation of those farms? Who is supposed to benefit from those farms because the problem that we have is that the DLC is being overpowered by higher authorities who impose the names for farm allocations whilst locals are unable to get the farms.
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Hon. Minister, did you understand the question this time around or I have to rephrase it for you?
*HON. KARORO: I understood the question. Thank you Mr. President, I understood the question very well. I would like to thank the Hon. Senator for the question.
With regards to who is supposed to benefit from the current downsizing of farms, the answer is that we have structures in place that look at land administration. He referred to Provincial Land Commissions (PLCs) as well as District Land Committees (DLCs) – all these structures are involved in the recommendation of beneficiaries but they are supposed to get the names from those on the waiting lists. So, I do not think that it is proper for names to come from the top in order to benefit but we will have to look into that. I thank you.
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Hon. Sen. Chief Ngezi, if you have got a specific incident which you are aware of by all means, put it down on paper and send it to the Ministry. Thank you.
*HON. SEN. KOMICHI: Thank you Hon. President. My question is directed to the Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services. Hon. Minister, the Zimbabwean citizens would be happy if they could have a private broadcaster. Zimbabwe is more than 40 years old yet we have one public broadcaster. Does it mean that as a country we are not interested in inviting other public broadcasters to come and run these broadcasting stations? Are there any specific challenges because this has gone on for a long time? My belief is that it is one of the reforms that we want and it would even improve the economy of the country if such a development were to be done in Zimbabwe. We require independent television stations. I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION, PUBLICITY AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA): Thank you Mr. President. I would want to thank Hon. Sen. Komichi for his pertinent question. First and foremost, I would want to agree with him that we are among the pioneers of the television stations to be operated in Africa. Be that as it may, we still have a single television broadcasting but during the outset of the Second Republic, we recognise that our children are well educated and this is recognised by UNESCO. As a result of that, we should give them a diverse content; whether it is in terms of sport, education or even cultural issues. It is important that there be that diversity so that people have a wide variety of programmes ranging from sport to culture. This is the main task that my Ministry is seized with. At the outset of the Second Republic, these are some of the objectives that we have.
We have also come up with the required processes, the statutory body that issues licences in the form of Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ). It now has a board and has members in place. It is now fully constituted and they are now looking into the process of issuing the participants. Advertisements have been made, inviting people to come and take tender for these licences. There are about 12 applicants who have submitted their applications. It is work in progress. We are very keen to have diverse content. We are endowed in terms of talent, whether plays, films and other forms of media so that we can be able to tap out talent in all the various areas in Zimbabwe. We are even going further than that to ensure that our people in the communities have licences for community radio stations. All this is being done in fulfillment of the constitutional requirements that give access of information to everyone as a right. So, it is important that we have these television stations. Before the advent of COVID 19, I would have given you the number of licences that were going to be issued but about 15 have applied for commercial television stations. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA: Thank you Mr. President. My question is directed to the Minister of Health and Child Care. For those of us that are in the communal lands with rural constituencies, we have observed that the State President has tried to ensure that the numbers of people that gather and live together is minimized so that infections will not increase. Allow me to say what we are observing.
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Hon. Senator, I do not want to describe what you are seeing. I want you to direct your question to the Minister.
*HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA: Thank you Mr. President. In the communal lands, at funerals more than 50 people are gathering. People are not behaving well. What is the Ministry doing to ensure that numbers are maintained at a minimum in line with COVID regulations? We say that the evil that man does always lives after him. Hon. Minister, what measures are you going to take so as to ensure that the numbers in gatherings decrease? Furthermore, in terms of our African culture, once one dies he spends the night lying in state in their home and they are buried the following morning. How best can we deal with this problem? Thank you.
THE ACTING MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. PROF. MURWIRA): The Government came up with a law to help us in preventing the spread of COVID-19. Among these laws is that there should not be any gatherings. We should have small gatherings, wear masks, sanitize and wash our hands and so on. Zimbabwean citizens should know that there is no law that the Minister or any police officer can come and cause you to wear a mask. It is difficult. The point is, we shall take measures through information dissemination so that it is engraved in the minds of the people that these laws that have been enacted are there for the good of our own health. Therefore, it would be in our interest as individuals to take care of our own health so that the Government cannot be on a manhunt for the people that are flouting these regulations or laws.
The Minister of Home Affairs, Hon. Kazembe is on record as often saying that the police officer should not be there to give directions to how people should act. We would want to reiterate that this open question that has been asked will be answered in an open space to the people who are listening. We cannot go and force you to wear your mask or to cause you to wear your mask. You are not a child. As an individual, you should know that if you do not wear your mask you run the risk of dying. If you do not wash or sanitise your hands, you shall fall sick. So, I believe that such a plea would help us and furthermore say that you should not be involved in public gatherings; you die. We need to reinforce such messages because the traditional leaders or chiefs in their areas need to disseminate the information. It would not be good to have masks covering our faces because we were not born in that manner but it is for our good health.
Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE in terms of Standing Order No. 62.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE
INTAKES FOR NURSING SCHOOLS
- HON. SEN. S. MPOFU asked the Minister of Health and Child Care to explain Government’s position regarding decentralization of nursing recruitment in the spirit of devolution of power as enshrined in Section 264 of the Constitution.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. MANGWIRO): E-recruitment is a national programmes and HQ IT Department has the capacity to run the e-recruitment system and provide appropriate servers. There are so many issues to be addressed by IT specialists. Decentralisation has already started and shortlisting which is done on rotational basis at institutions with schools involved and interviews are done at different schools of nursing, the national team is there to co-ordinate the process. Deployment is then done and candidates posted to schools as per location.
WRITTEN SUBMISSIONS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE
POLICY REGARDING PROVISION OF TUITION FEE SUBSIDIES TO UNIVERSITY STUDENTS
- HON. SEN. TONGOGARA asked the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development to explain Government policy regarding provision of tuition fee subsidies considering high university dropouts.
THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA): Thank you Hon. Senator for the question. As you may recall, Section 27 of the 2013 Constitution of Zimbabwe states that “The State must take all practical measures to promote access to higher and tertiary education. In this regard, Government of Zimbabwe through the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development has created safety nets to protect vulnerable students currently pursuing their studies in various education and training institutions through the Government backed Student Loan Facility; and University student vacation part-time employment arrangements and Midlands State University are doing very well in this regard. Hon. Senator, furthermore, the Government has reduced tuition fees of students on industrial attachment and teaching practice by 40% to promote access to inclusive and quality education in line with Vision 2030. The objective of providing the Government backed Student Loan Facility is to ensure that no student is left behind. The loan facility is available and I do not know of any student who has applied and was denied the loan. Therefore, as a Ministry, we are not expecting any dropouts since Government has created a fall back plan through the Government backed student loan facility.
MANAGING OF NURSING APPLICATIONS BY CHINHOYI UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY
- HON. SEN. TONGOGARA asked the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development to explain why Chinhoyi University of Science and Technology manages the nursing applications platform when there is a Department of Information Technologies in the Ministry of Health and Child Care
THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA): Thank you Hon. Sen. for the question. Firstly, it is not a fact that Chinhoyi University of Science and Technology (CUT) manages the nursing applications platform on behalf of the Department of Information Technologies in the Ministry of Health and Child Care. The correct position is that the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development through it its Science and Technology Division is mandated to assist public or private institutions in creating technologies and in this regard, ICT technology.
The Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development, through CUT assisted in developing the application for managing recruitment of nurses. This application was handed over to the Ministry of Health and Child Care on completion of the development process. CUT is not involved in any way in the day to day management of the said system for managing recruitment of nurses. I thank you.
Questions with Notice were interrupted by THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT in terms of Standing Order No. 62.
BUSINESS OF THE DAY
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I move that Orders of the Day Numbers 1 to 9 be stood over until Order Number 10 has been disposed of.
Motion put and agreed to.
CONSTITUTIONAL COURT AMENDMENT BILL [H. B. 11A, 2019]
Tenth Order read: Second Reading: Constitutional Court Amendment Bill.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr. President. I rise to present my Second reading speech on the Constitutional Court Bill 2019.
Mr. President, the Bill before you, the Constitutional Court Bill is a long overdue piece of legislation whose delay can be explained by the need for extensive consultation with stakeholders, most importantly with the judiciary itself who have expressed themselves to be satisfied with the end product before you.
Additional considerations lend urgency to this Bill as I will explain below. Hon. Senators are aware that the Constitution Amendment No. 20 Act which gave birth to the present Constitution was assented to by the President and promulgated on the 22nd May, 2013. On the same day the Constitutional Court came into being. Under the terms of the Sixth Schedule to the new Constitution, this Court has the same composition as the Supreme Court for a period of seven years ending on the 22nd May, 2020, at which date the Constructional Court and the Supreme Court must become separate courts. As this date has already passed, vacancies in the High Court caused by the elevation of judges to the Supreme Court are being filled on an acting basis in terms of Section 181 of the Constitution as read with paragraph 18 (3) of the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution.
Up to this date the Constitutional Court has been able to operate smoothly in its constitutional court capacity and as the Supreme Court. In 2016 separate rules for the Constitutional Court were published in Statutory Instrument 61 of 2016, enacted by virtue of paragraph 18 (4) (a) of the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution. However, with the split of the Supreme Court from the Constitutional Court the need for a separate Constitutional Court Act has become ever more salient and pertinent.
The Memorandum to the Bill helpfully sets forth all the most conspicuous features of the proposed legislation and I will not rehearse them for you, except to draw your attention to two clauses of the Bill in particular; Clause 22 of the Bill carries over into this Bill the provisions of Section 24 subsection (5) and (6) of the previous Constitution, relating to the invalidation of a law. As Hon. Senators will know, only the Constitutional Court may make a final decision whether an Act of Parliament is constitutional and must confirm any order of constitutional invalidity made by another court before that order has any force (see Section 167 (3) of the Constitution). Litigants in the recent past have on several occasions approached the Constitutional Court to invalidate this or that the law as being unconstitutional, without giving the Attorney-General adequate notice of such proceedings. The Attorney-General being responsible, among other things, for the drafting of legislation, is a vitally interested party whenever it is sought to show that a law was improperly or invalidly enacted for any reason. Clause 22 makes it clear that the Attorney-General has an automatic right to be heard by the court on that issue.
The next Clause I want to revert to is Clause 23 of the Bill. This Clause embodies the two important principles of “constitutional avoidance” and of “subsidiarity” recently adopted by our Constitutional Court. These are salutary principles of judicial restraint that the court exercises whenever it determines constitutional applications seeking remedies from it that are also availed by statute. They are salutary because consistently with the doctrine of the separation of powers, they give due respect to Parliament’s statutory remedies for civil wrongs if these are seen to be adequate to the case before the Constitutional Court. Firstly, the principle of avoidance states that “remedies should be found in legislation before resorting to constitutional remedies”; secondly, the principle of subsidiarity states that “norms of greater specificity should be relied on before resorting to norms of greater abstraction” (per Malaba DCJ in Zinyemba versus Minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement and Yakub Mohamed CCZ3/2016). The principle of avoidance is in effect a restatement of the following proviso to section 24(4) of the old Constitution:
“The Supreme Court may decline to exercise its powers [of intervention] under this subsection if it is satisfied that adequate means of redress for the contravention alleged are or have been available to the person concerned under other provisions of this Constitution or under any other law.”
In conclusion Mr. President Sir, I urge you, Hon. Senators, to pass this law and in doing so, raise another important milestone in the ongoing process of the alignment of our laws to the Constitution. I thank you Mr. President Sir and I move that the Bill be now read a second time.
Motion put and agreed to.
Bill read a second time.
Committee Stage: Tuesday, 4th August, 2020
On the motion of THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS, the Senate adjourned at Four Minutes to Four o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 4rd August, 2020.