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SENATE HANSARD 24 NOVEMBER 2020 VOL 30 NO 07
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Tuesday 24th November, 2020
The Senate met at Half-past Two O’clock p.m.
(THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE
INVITATION TO A DIALOGUE ON THE COMMEMORATION OF THE 16 DAYS OF ACTIVISM AGAINST GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I have to inform the Senate that the Zimbabwe Women Parliamentary Caucus, together with the Portfolio Committee on Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development and the Thematic Committee on Gender and Development, is inviting all Hon. Senators to a dialogue on the commemoration of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence. The commemoration will be held tomorrow, Wednesday, 25 November, 2020 at Rainbow Towers from 0800 hours to 1300 hours. Hon. Senators who are not able to attend physically can join the dialogue virtually on a link that will be provided by the Information and Communication Technology Department (ICT).
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. SEN. MUZENDA: Madam President Ma’am, I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 2 be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the Day have been disposed of.
HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA: I second.
PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS
Third Order read: Adjourned debate on motion in reply to the Presidential Speech.
Question again proposed.
HON. SEN. KAMBIZI: Thank you Madam President. I seek authority to read through my speech which coincidentally is my maiden speech in this House.
I rise to add my voice to the State of the Nation Address by His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe. Firstly, allow me to thank you Madam President for the time you have given me. Secondly, I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Chirongoma for coming up with the motion that was seconded by Hon. Sen. Dube. Allow me to also thank Hon. Members who thoroughly debated before me, a sign of the desire to move the country forward. Madam President, I want to thank the Almighty God for affording me this very rare opportunity to serve in this Upper House as a Member of the Senate.
Madam President, His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Hon. E. D. Mnangagwa raised an issue with regard to the deadly COVID-19 pandemic which has affected all countries, Zimbabwe included. In this regard, I would like to thank the President for all the effort and all the steps taken to contain the pandemic, hence the low figures in our country when compared to other countries. I am glad Madam President that there was unity and co-operation among all Zimbabweans in fighting COVID-19. On this note, allow me Madam President to pay my condolences to all those who lost their loved ones as a result of COVID-19. It is very disturbing to learn that the figures are beginning to rise again at a time we expected them to fall. What is most worrisome is that the pandemic has started to affect school children at a time when schools opened countrywide. An example of what is disheartening is that of John Tallach Secondary School in Bulawayo, where 100 school children tested positive to COVID-19. As I speak, the school has been closed. I would like to advise everyone that this calls for a strict adherence to safety regulations prescribed by World Health Organisation (WHO), to put on masks, exercise social distancing, wash hands and sanitise.
Madam President, His Excellency spoke about issues to do with development, referring to, among other things, the basic needs which are food, shelter, health, education, water and sanitation, energy and jobs. This is a clear sign of the President’s love for this country and its citizens. Madam President, Food Security as defined by the United Nations Committee on World Food Security means that all people, at all times have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their food preferences and dietary needs for an active and healthy life. This is the President’s thrust Madam President and the same goes for all the basic needs I mentioned. So, I shall not lecture this House on all that His Excellency endeavours to do. We need to unite as a country, work together with His Excellency and ensure that we push the President’s development agenda that ensures every Zimbabwean has a better life.
Madam President, His Excellency spoke about Agriculture in general and at some point Pfumvudza in particular in relation to food security in the country. Access to quality, nutritious and sufficient food in the country is fundamental to human existence and necessary to every Zimbabwean’s happiness. Secure access to food produces wide ranging impacts, including economic growth and job creation. Madam President, Agriculture used to be the backbone of this country, providing employment to over 60% of Zimbabweans. It produced raw materials for our industries contributing about 40% of export earnings but all that was put off rail by the illegal economic sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe.
At this juncture, allow me to thank His Excellency for coming up with various initiatives to breach these sanctions; the Pfumvudza concept which he talked about, the Command Agriculture, Farm Mechanisation and establishment and revival of Irrigation Schemes to ensure food sufficiency and reclaim our tag as the breadbasket of Africa.
Madam President, His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Hon. E.D. Mnangagwa strongly spoke against corruption, a cancer which has become an enemy of the economy and development. There is need to reduce corruption by ensuring speedy prosecution and resolution of all corruption cases. We should all embrace the zero-tolerance to corruption mantra as stressed by the President. I also want to commend His Excellency for stressing the need to capacitate further, institutions of transparency and accountability such as ZACC, National Prosecuting Authority and Zimbabwe Republic Police as well as the Judiciary to ensure uncompromised implementation of justice. Madam President, we should all as Zimbabweans collectively unite and gang up to strongly fight corruption. It should be everybody’s role, Government included to ensure we dismantle and eradicate all signs of corruption whenever found. I would like to thank His Excellency the President for clearly spelling it out that no one will be spared and deterrent sentences shall be given to those found guilty.
His Excellency spoke about devolution. In 2020 which is this current year, Government approved the Devolution and Decentralisation Policy which will guide the implementation of devolution and decentralisation process. The President spoke about devolving power to sub-national structures to enable a faster, efficient and effective response to challenges of the delivery of public services, development, democracy as well as the imperative of sustaining national unity and peace.
Madam President, devolution will not only involve the transfer of political power but will also be augmented by the delivery of fiscal powers which will enable provincial, metropolitan councils and local authorities to spearhead economic and social development in their respective jurisdictions using leveraged local revenues which will be enhanced by mandatory transfers of national fiscal resources to devolved entities. Madam President, devolution allows equal development in all provinces; it also enhances community participation and decision making. This then calls for a speedy passing of Bills to allow provincial councils the opportunity to start functioning.
His Excellency also talked about improving the working conditions for Government workers. I am quite happy and would like to thank His Excellency the President for assuring the nation that Government acknowledges calls for better working conditions for all civil servants, a call being made loudly by teachers and health workers, in particular the public service in general. His Excellency also stressed that the Government would do what is practically possible to ameliorate the workers concerns. Madam President, true to his words we have seen civil servants salaries this year 2020 only raised by over 1000%, a clear sign of care and respect for the workers. Allow me to thank His Excellency for such a gesture.
Madam President, I want to thank His Excellency for coming up and adhering to the Transitional Stabilization Programme (TSP). The TSP (October, 2018 to December, 2020) was implemented as a first step of a three phase process to attain His Excellency the President’s Vision 2030 outcomes. Through the Transitional Stabilisation Programme, the President sought to strengthen key priorities that form the foundation for the implementation of medium term plans. It was aimed at stabilising the macro economy and financial sector, introducing necessary policy and institutional reforms to transform the economy to a private sector led economy as well as launching quick wins to stimulate growth.
Madam President, the TSP was crafted to deal with distortions and challenges that would retard the growth of the economy in the long run. Examples are persistent and unsustainable budget deficits, inflationary pressures, uncontrolled domestic borrowing and unsustainable debt levels. It is quite clear Madam President that the TSP period was very painful although very necessary but has come to pass. I also want to applaud the President for announcing that the country is now moving into the First Five Year National Development Strategy (2021-2025).
Madam President, as I round off my maiden speech, I did not touch on all that the President spoke about. I omitted other issues that I felt Hon. Senators who spoke before me did justice by having adequately dealt with them. Madam President and Hon. Members, I want to end by acknowledging that our President, His Excellency Cde. E. D. Mnangagwa has people of this country at heart as evidenced by a series of measures taken by his Government in an endevour to improve everybody’s and every Zimbabwean’s life. Thank you Madam President, thank you Hon. Members.
HON. SEN. N. KHUMALO: Thank you Madam President Ma’am, for according me this opportunity to add my voice to the Presidential Speech. I hail from Matabeleland South and want to thank the people from my province for giving me another chance to represent them in Parliament. I was in Parliament in the past years and it shows that the people from Matabeleland South appreciate the sterling job that I did on their behalf, hence the reason why they saw it fit that I come back and continue serving them. Last time I was serving in the Lower House and voted Deputy Speaker and remained in that position from 2010 to 2013.
Madam President, I would now want to venture into the Presidential Speech. In his speech, the President talked about COVID-19, that this pandemic has retarded the growth of the economy since the country had come to a standstill. Companies were closed and people could not go to work as businesses were shut down. Children had to remain at home and this affected their learning very much. Up to now, children have remained at home and are missing out on their education. Only a few children are attending classes. It will now be very difficult for children to write their examinations and proceed to the next classes since they have not completed their syllabi. Teachers were also affected as some of them became victims of this deadly pandemic. COVID-19 has affected all our sectors and is a big setback.
Even the health sector has been highly affected as it could not cope with the outbreak. Government must enforce the COVID-19 regulations, be very strict and punish all the offenders. Government must give all Government schools, hospitals and clinics sanitisers, face masks and supply hospitals with ventilators. These measures will help curb the surge of the pandemic and all businesses must also follow suit. COVID-19 is real and it kills. Social Services Department must also be resuscitated to help the poor families with food and essentials to curb infections.
Madam President, the President also expressed zero tolerance to corruption. Despite the fact that the President has stated that there must be zero tolerance to corruption, there are individuals who have been arrested for corruption, brought before the courts of law but were never charged. They have gone scot-free. In order to end corruption anyone found guilty despite their positions in society must be brought before the courts and charged.
The Government wants to compensate white farmers who lost their farms during the land invasion, whilst this is a noble idea, current priority must be given to urgent matters like the teachers and nurse’ salaries. Teachers have been on strike for a long time and children are not learning because they say their salaries are not enough. Compensating the farmers must come later after the issue of salaries has been resolved.
Whilst Government farm input is a noble idea, my concern is on the Pfumvudza/Intwasa scheme. The way the woman and children till the land is too labour intense. Imagine a pregnant woman with a baby strapped to her back digging holes and adding manure or fertilizers to those holes then putting seeds, that is just too much for a pregnant women, even if she is not pregnant, that is just too much for a women. After a long day of hard labour the women goes back home to fetch water and firewood, starts cooking for the family and do other chores. The worst part is that most men do not till the land neither does they help the woman who also has to look after the children. Whilst the women labour like this some men would be drinking beer or just relaxing. Come night time, men will go to bed earlier leaving the women to wash plates and pots.
The woman retires to bed very exhausted yet once in her bedroom she has another duty to fulfill. The moment she complains about exhaustion all hell will break lose. We are saying no to this barbaric treatment of our women, after all, they are men’s better halves. I ask the Government to intervene, buy tractors and plow for communities so that the women may use these and stop working like slaves.
Madam President, the resuscitation of irrigation schemes is plausible. The irrigation can help people avert hunger as they will have food on their table and be able to sell part of their produce to cater for essentials like buying clothes and paying schools fees for their children.
The Government must fulfill its promises of building more dams so as to harvest water for irrigation. Currently, our major dams are full of siltation and needs scooping so as to preserve water. The amount of water in our dams is not real because of siltation. We need water for our domestic use, livestock and wild animals need water. Water is life. Government has to take charge and clean all our major dams before the onset of each rain season especially where water would have gone down.
Our roads are in a sorry state. The Bulawayo-Beitbridge and Bulawayo-Victoria Falls roads need to be urgently repaired. These two roads bring a lot of money into the Government coffers yet they are neglected and do not get adequate attention. Some of our major roads are being dualised and repaired. I must applaud the Government for this even though the pace is rather slow.
Madam President, gender representation in some of the sectors is very poor. The case in point is that of our chiefs, only male chiefs are represented in Senators whilst there is not even one female chief represented here. Government has done very well in the lower House where there is proportional representation even in Senate we have women who came through an easy system. As long as there is no mechanism to help female chiefs to be represented the current situation will always prevail. The male chiefs will always vote for each other as they dominate their field living their counterparts out. Government has to intervene and put a quarter systems to assist the female chiefs so that they are also represented.
I also agree with the Government that children should not be abused, there is too much abuse of our children, and they are being raped and murdered. The ill treatment of children is very bad and painful. We do not support that. We also say no to early child marriages. Children must be really protected as they cannot protect themselves. All culprits must be put in jail and keys thrown into the sea so that no one would find those keys. We cannot have fathers and uncles who see wives in their Keith and keen. When a father or an uncle looks at a baby and see a wife – that is very bad.
Our laws say women cannot be hanged which is fine but I think there must be exceptional cases. Those women who murder their children must be hanged so that they stop this bad habit. I thank you.
HON. SEN. C. NDLOVU: I thank you for granting me this opportunity. This being my maiden speech, I would ask that you allow me to read through.
I do realise that my name has caused a bit of confusion, as I came into this august House, I realised that there are a lot of Hon. Senators who are chiefs. Chief is my name not my title.
Madam President I come from Matabeleland North Province that is in the Western Zimbabwe. Matabeleland North is an area of 75 025 square kilometers with 7 administrative districts, that is Binga, Bubi, Hwange, Nkayi, Lupane, Tsholotsho and Umguza. There are 10 local authorities as well as 193 wards. The province boarders Midlands, Mashonaland West, Bulawayo Metropolitan and Matabeleland South and two international boarders that is Zambia, Botswana to the north and west respectively. Matabeleland North has a population of about 749 017 as at the 2012 population census.
Madam President, I would like to take this opportunity to also thank my party, the MDC T under the capable leadership of Dr. T. Khupe which has made it possible that I give a voice representing the people of Matabeleland North this day and contribute to the State of the Nation Address (SONA) debate. My debate derives and hinges on the address to our nation by His Excellency the President E. D. Mnangagwa. I found it speaking to a lot of issues which affects Matabeleland North, therefore giving me among others, the opportunity to contribute to a meaningful debate. At the risk of mentioning and pointing out issues that have been spoken about and pointed out by others who came before me, allow me to repeat these issues and as I repeat them, if it is a repetition, it is because these issues have not been resolved and I would like to appeal that the plight and cry of the people of Matabeleland North be looked into and brought to a logical conclusion.
Mr. President Sir, His Excellency President E. D. Mnangagwa, mentioned in his SONA a wide range of issue covering resources, energy, education, infrastructure and devolution among others. Matabeleland North is endowed with various natural resources. Timber that comes from Lupane, Tsholotsho and Nkayi is of high quality and is highly sought after nationally and internationally, yet there is not a single major furniture company in that area. There is not a single processing plant in that area. The few that have established themselves before in that province have long gone; they have closed shop. The forestry Commission estimates that in 2019 alone, the value of timber harvested in Matabeleland North Forestry Concessions is worthy about US$146 million, yet communities in these concessions have nothing to show of it. Job opportunities that could have been created in Tsholotsho, Nkayi and Lupane are being exported to other province and even out of the country.
Mr. President Sir, we have coal in Hwange, yet very little economic activity is happening compared to other countries like South Africa who have established cities like Emalahleni, a vibrant mining city, creating jobs and economies for those local communities. Zimbabwe is producing nearly 3 million tonnes of coal per annum and yet communities around Hwange remain underdeveloped. Hwange has the largest thermal station in the country, yet schools and clinics in that district do not have electricity.
We have the Mighty Zambezi River, running through the province, as well as Hwange National Parks Wild Life Sanctuaries attracting international tourists, yet our people have got very little to show. I may sound as if I am complaining; I need to draw the attention of the plight of the people of Matabeleland because at this stage, I am representing their interests and I would be happy if they are looked into. The Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project has to come to life. It has been years since this was touted and it now sounds like a fork tale. Research has shown that there are more benefits than disadvantages in the Zambezi Water Project. It boggles the mind why such a project has taken so long to commence.
We have numerous other resources like Methane Gas in Lupane. My understanding is that there is about 40 trillion cubic feet of gas in that area spanning to Lubimbi. This could easily be the biggest natural gas reserve in Southern Africa, which can benefit the people of that region and our country as a whole. However, nothing has materialised so far commercially in terms of trying to use those reserves for extraction. As a country, we need to try and find suitable investors to harvest the gas. Is it our policies that are hindering investment? Is it the corruption that is spoken so many times? Is it the sanctions that we have in our country?
Mr. President, I propose that we have a National Gas Policy. A National Gas Policy is very fundamental for any serious investors and for as long as we do not have one, we will not be considered to be serious about developing the gas industry in Zimbabwe. The CBM (Coal Bed Methane) Industry needs hundreds of millions of dollars in investment and to attract such huge investments, we need to come up with proper policies and incentives. We are hoping that Government can quickly resolve the issue of exorbitant ground rentals which we inherited from the previous Government so as to attract huge investment that is needed in this industry.
Matabeleland is a dry province and it is disheartening to note that Government has not made any efforts to drill boreholes in that region. People share water with cattle and donkeys. In 2018 after the elections, I had a personal experience when I needed to fetch water; we are still fetching water from the river. I found a donkey drinking water where we needed to get water and this is the reality we are living through, people of Lupane are living through and this cannot be accepted 40 years into our independence. There is water underground, I know of an area called Nkuba where people have successfully drilled boreholes for themselves. If there is will on the part of Government, all villagers can have access to clean water and this is a fundamental right. We appeal that Government looks into this issue.
Over the last 40 years, Central Government has not made any efforts to provide clean and safe water in Matabeleland North region as far as we are concerned. The Second Republic should live according to its new narrative and work towards changing the lives of the people in my region. I am happy that we have got a listening President and I am sure he will listen to the plight of the people of Matabeleland North.
Mr. President Sir, if the province of Matabeleland North is to develop, the poverty in that region must be addressed. There is an urgent need for local communities to benefit from natural resources extracted from their areas. One good example in this region of Southern Africa is Bakwena tribe in South Africa, which is arguably one of the richest tribes in Africa because of how the economy and investments have been structured to benefit that community. We have the Marange diamond, if we had the policy structure to benefit the community, those communities would have had opportunities to benefit from their natural resources.
This brings me to the issue of devolution, I grew up in Matabeleland North. As a young boy, everything looked bigger than what it in fact is and looked glamorous than what it was, but those memories always make me smile and believe that we make Zimbabwe and Matabeleland North great considering the resources we have, they can benefit the region and the country at large. We used to be called the Breadbasket of Africa and we can easily get back to that. I specifically come from an area 200 km from Bulawayo. The road that I use is the Bulawayo-Nkayi –Gokwe road. That road is increasingly looking like a death trap. There has been an attempt to tar the road; it is a 160 km stretch and for the last 40 years, only 38 km have been tarred, making an average of 1 km per annum over the last 40 years. I think there is no seriousness in terms of rehabilitating the road. We are still using a strip that was left by the Smith regime and it is not really showing any seriousness on the part of Government. Mr. President, those that are plying the route are charging exorbitant prices and we would want to appeal that if there is any growth that has to happen in the region, can we have proper infrastructure in place and at least those people would benefit from what the Government has called the Second Republic.
Mr. President, the underdevelopment in Matabeleland North has even created a notion or perception that people from that region are backward and do not want to go to school. Nothing could be further from the truth. The region is so forgotten that over the last 40 years, it has seen an influx of primary school teachers who come from other provinces and cannot speak the local language. Up to now, the issue has not been resolved and no plausible explanation or proper analysis of the problem has been given. The question is why Matabeleland North cannot produce its own teachers.
As far as history is concerned, before independence, we had United College of Education in Bulawayo that was training teachers for that particular region. It no longer has teachers and no one is really prepared to look into why we no longer have teachers who come from that region training at that particular college. We have got teachers that are coming from all over the country and it is depriving children of Matabeleland. Our understanding is that a child benefits immensely at lower grades, that is, ECD up to Grade four.
Mr. President, I come from a painful past, the past that includes the Gukurahundi era. I am a survivor; I lost my brother. My father is 96 years old and Government has embarked on a process where it is trying to address these issues. Our plight is that Government is not speaking to those that are most affected. We cannot have people representing our interests when they do not know what we have gone through and how we feel. However, as a nation, we need closure. I think my father who is now 96 years old would rest well if he knew where his child has been lying all along. I think he will rest well if there is closure and he is told that this is what happened to him. We appeal to Government to have a national register and register all the relatives of those that claim that they are survivors. If there is indeed exhumation of graves, let it be compared to those that are survivors so that we bring closure. We cannot have people who were not affected speaking on our behalf. They do not know what we have gone through. We need to heal as a nation and this can only happen if we have a sincere effort to address the past wrongs that were committed. I thank you Mr. President.
THE DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: May I remind Hon. Senators that if you are going to contribute, you should use your device so that those who are outside can benefit from your contributions. I am aware that some of the new Members might not have the tablets which they are supposed to have but the older Members, use your devices. We have got IT people here and they will set it up for you so that our colleague Senators who are outside can see and hear you contribute.
HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. MATHUTHU: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 25th November, 2020.
REPORT ON THE VIRTUAL EXTRAORDINARY SESSION OF THE GOVERNING COUNCIL OF THE INTER-PARLIAMENTARY UNION (IPU)
HON. SEN. MUZENDA: I move the motion standing in my name that this House takes note of the Report on the Virtual Extraordinary Session of the Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) conducted from 1 to 3 November, 2020.
HON. SEN. CHIEF MTSHANE: I second.
HON. SEN. MUZENDA: Thank you Mr. President Sir.
The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) convened a virtual session of the Governing Council from 1st to 3rd November 2020 to discuss and take decisions on pressing issues relating to the functioning of the organisation, including the adoption of the IPU budget and programme of work for 2021 and the election of the IPU President. The decision to meet virtually was made in light of the constraints imposed by the COVID-19 global pandemic.
This decision was in line with Article 17.2 of the IPU Statutes, which provides that “The Governing Council shall be convened in extraordinary session by the President if the latter or the Executive Committee deems this necessary, or a quarter of the Governing Council’s members so request”.
Parliament of Zimbabwe’s delegation to the Governing Council comprised of three Governing Council Members led by Hon. Advocate Jacob Francis Nzwidamilimo Mudenda, Speaker of the National Assembly. The other Governing Council Members in attendance are as indicated below:-
Hon. Tsitsi Veronica Muzenda and Hon. Vincent Tsvangirai.
The Meeting was chaired by the Acting President, Hon. G. Chen of the People’s Republic of China. At the recommendation of the IPU Secretariat, Hon. Advocate Mudenda chaired the Session in instances of technical challenges with Hon. Chen’s connectivity from China.
2.0 Election of the President of the IPU
The IPU received four candidatures as follows:
- M.S. Sanjrani (Pakistan, Asia- Pacific Geopolitical Group)
- D. Pacheco (Portugal, Twelve-Plus Geopolitical Group)
- A. Saidov (Uzbekistan, Eurasia Geopolitical Group)
- S. Ataullahjan (Canada, Twelve Plus Group)
Parliament of Zimbabwe supported the candidature of Mr. Pacheco of Portugal. This was in keeping with the motion adopted by the SADC PF to rally behind Mr. Pacheco given his extensive experience in the operations and functions of the IPU. It is imperative to note that Hon. Advocate Mudenda moved the motion which was adopted unanimously by the 47th Plenary Assembly of the SADC PF held from 9 to 11 October 2020.
In an unprecedented online vote with a voter turnout of 97%, Hon. Duarte Pacheco of Portugal was overwhelmingly elected President of the IPU for a three year period. In this regard, Parliament of Zimbabwe wishes him a successful tenure in office and pledges its full support during his term.
3.0 IPU’s Honourary President’s Report
In her report, Hon. Gabriella Cuevas Baron, former President of the IPU articulated activities undertaken during her three year tenure as President of the Assembly. The outgoing President’s main thrust was to engage in Parliamentary diplomacy and build strong synergies for the IPU.
Under her Presidency, the IPU strengthened relations with the United Nations, implemented a robust Strategic Plan and introduced positive initiatives such as the Leadership Training Programme for Young Parliamentarians.
Hon. Gabriella urged the IPU to continue on this trajectory to ensure that the voice of Parliaments is heard in collective solutions for global challenges.
Members extended their appreciation for her energetic and visionary leadership throughout her tenure as President of the IPU. More importantly, they observed her unwavering commitment which ensured that the IPU continued executing its mandate even with the advent of COVID 19 pandemic.
4.0 Financial Results for 2019
The Governing Council approved the accounts for 2019 after consideration of the reports of the findings of the External Auditors from the Swiss Federal Audit Office and Internal Auditor which noted that IPU statements were in compliance with International Sector Accounting Standards and that the IPU is in sound financial health.
5.0 2021 Draft Consolidated Budget
The Governing Council approved the 2021 Draft Consolidated Budget. Of note is that the assessed contributions by Member Parliaments will be maintained at the current levels. Accordingly Member Parliaments were encouraged to pay their assessed contributions to enable the IPU to implement its programmes.
The Secretariat will continue to source for voluntary funding from traditional partners (International Organisations and Member Parliaments) as well as engaging new partners. Member Parliaments were called upon to consider providing voluntary funding towards specific areas of interest.
6.0 Elections to the Executive Committee
Ms. Laurence Fehlmann Rielle of Switzerland, representing the Twelve Plus Geopolitical Group as well as Ms. Beatriz Argimon of Uruguay, representing the GRULAC Geopolitical Group were duly elected into the Executive Committee.
7.0 Brief Report on the Outcome of the Virtual Segment of the Fifth World Conference of Speakers of Parliament and the 13th Summit of Women Speakers of Parliament
Hon. Advocate Mudenda, a key member of the preparatory process for the virtual segment of the Fifth World Conference of Speakers of Parliament briefed the Governing Council on the deliberations and the positive outcomes of the Conference which was attended by 115 top Legislators. In his presentation, he highlighted the following:-
- That the Conference discussed a wide range of topics spanning effective multilateralism, robust parliamentary diplomacy, climate change, sustainable development, health, youth and gender, democracy, human mobility, countering terrorism, as well as science and technology.
- That the Conference affirmed the need to generate a strong message of parliamentary leadership and solidarity so as to learn from the lessons of today and join forces to tackle the daunting challenges facing our world at so many levels not least in terms of global health, environmental and economic vicissitudes predicated on the unprecedented impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic.
- That the Conference was also a seminal platform in deepening our ties with the United Nations and the IPU’s other partners, in consonant with our theme of more effective multilateralism.
- Participants pledged to reinforce the role of parliaments in global governance underpinned by enhanced multilateralism and international solidarity anchored on the equality of sovereign nations.
- Invited all Parliamentarians around the world to study the Conference publication and reflect on the key outcome messages which should spur us towards working together for a better world.
The Governing Council elected members into the Preparatory Committee of the Fifth World Conference of Speakers of Parliament in person Meeting scheduled for July 2021 in Vienna, Austria. The SADC Group put forward, Hon. Catherine Gotani Hara of Malawi to replace Hon. Margaret Mensah Williams who is no longer Speaker. Hon. Gotani was duly elected into the Preparatory Committee.
8.0 Brief Report on the Committee on Human Rights of Parliamentarians
The Governing Council adopted the Report of the Committee on Human Rights of Parliamentarians.
Of note is the case involving Hon. Joana Mamombe on the following alleged human rights violations:
- ill-treatment and other acts of violence
- Arbitrary arrest and detention
- Violation of freedom of opinion and expression
- Violation of freedom of assembly and association
The Report acknowledges Parliament of Zimbabwe’s response through the Hon. Speaker which elucidates that the principle of sub judice limits Parliament’s possibilities of engaging for the resolution of this case.
In the spirit of transparency and Parliamentary diplomacy, the Hon Speaker responded to issues raised in the report emphasising that, in line with the country’s Constitution which enshrines the doctrine of separation of powers, Parliament cannot interfere with due process. However, Parliament will be on the lookout for any violations of Hon. Mamombe’s rights. Furthermore, Parliament will continue engaging the Committee on Human Rights of Parliamentarians on the status of the court case.
The Hon. Speaker briefed the Governing Council on the status of the court case highlighting that Hon. Mamombe is out on bail and receiving appropriate treatment after being confirmed mentally unfit to stand trial.
9.0 Future Meetings of the IPU
The Governing Council approved the schedule of Future Meetings of the IPU. Of particular note is that the 142nd Assembly is scheduled for May 2021 in Geneva, Switzerland while the October Assembly is scheduled for Kigali, Rwanda.
10.0 Questions Relating to the IPU Membership: The Specific Situation in Mali
On 18 August 2020, a group of Officers staged a coup d’état and proceeded to arrest the main political leaders, namely President Keïta, his son and Parliamentarian Karim Keïta, his Prime Minister Boubou Cissé, and the President of the National Assembly Moussa Timbiné. The putschists, acting under the banner of the National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP), claimed they planned a three-year transfer of power period to review the foundations of the Malian State. During the night of 18 August, President Keïta resigned.
Following ECOWAS sponsored negotiations, the process of normalisation has been initiated and should result in the reinstatement of the constitutional order as recommended by the entire international community.
In this context, the Governing Council approved the proposal from the Executive Committee to take note of the ongoing progress, give its support to the initiatives aimed at reinstating the constitutional order and recommend the provision of technical assistance to the Transition National Council.
The Secretary General is expected to take steps to this effect and set a roadmap with the transitional authorities.
The Parliament of Zimbabwe should continue to engage the Committee on Human Rights of Parliamentarians through provision of updates on the status of the case of Hon. Mamombe.
The Parliament of Zimbabwe to continue engaging Treasury to ensure that subscriptions to the IPU are timeously paid to avoid accruing arrears.
The Parliament of Zimbabwe to continue participating in virtual statutory and ad hoc Meetings of the IPU. Mr. President Sir, I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. MATHUTHU: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 25th November, 2020.
PREVALENCE OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
Fifth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence.
Question again proposed.
*HON. SEN. SHUMBA: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to speak to this motion that has been tabled in this august House during this COVID-19 pandemic pertaining to violence in homes. I would like to thank those who seconded the motion and condemn violence in homes since there is nothing good about it.
I would like to encourage peace in homes because if there is always violence in homes, it will disturb children a lot. I am of the view that the issue of violence in homes is an important issue and as Members of Parliament, we should rise and educate our constituents on this matter. Violence does not resolve issues and having people fighting in their homes because of misunderstandings. A lot of people fight in their homes but all it needs is for us to educate people so that we highlight the fact that there is nothing good about violence as it only leaves them in very bad situations.
I would want to talk about these 16 Days of Activism, which means that tomorrow the 25th, we should sit down and talk about these issues seriously since this is a serious matter. A lot of people are killing each other unnecessarily as we have witnessed cases of people stabbing each other. The question is; what exactly is causing this? When I looked at this situation, misunderstandings in homes like what was being shared in this House – men may not want to work but the wife does not acknowledge it or the other way. Those are some of the causes that bring about the problems in homes.
It is not only women who are being violated – even men also are being abused. The challenge we have in this scenario is that when people are violated, some are afraid or ashamed to go and report. Even when we look at men, some men are afraid to go and report. They are ashamed that the community will laugh at them and say, ‘you were beaten by your own wife or a woman’. People will view him as a coward. So the particular woman will continue to beat him up and abuse him. It is time for men to stand up, rise and report such cases so that there is intervention. If people are ashamed of being laughed at then they should be able to confide in someone amongst the police officers. There are police officers who actually deal with such cases and so people should request for them – that is another issue.
The other issue is that for women, they are ashamed or afraid to report their husbands for some men rape their own daughters. The women are afraid to report because the husband would be the breadwinner and if he is jailed, they will starve to death. When I look at that issue of women thinking they will suffer or wallow in poverty instead of reporting cases, it is a very disturbing issue. Women should be empowered to do projects and go to school in order to empower themselves so that they can sustain themselves when they get rid of criminals in their lives. This is the reason why women are engaging in a lot of projects, for example baking projects.
I was looking at a certain situation where women were giving each other pots. When you are empowered, it is easy for you to leave such a situation and when you are empowered you can find courage to report such cases of abuses. Tomorrow on the 25th, let us stand together as men and women to discuss this issue extensively. Let us unite against the issue of violence. A lot of people are dying and killing their children for rituals purposes. Recently, there was the Tapiwa Makore killing just because of money. There is yet another story of a woman who murdered her own children because she had suffered abuse from her husband for a long time. To her, it was better to kill her own children but violence does not resolve problems. The solution is to sit down, discuss and come to an understanding through seeking assistance from well trained people on sustainable solutions.
We have organisations like the Msasa Project. Let us encourage people visit organisations like Musasa Project and if they are ashamed, they can go to the police. My word of advice is that people should not be ashamed to go and report abuse cases. Let us make use of the law in order to curb this issue.
I rose to emphasize and encourage ourselves that tomorrow the 25th November - the 16 Days against Gender Based Violence starts tomorrow. Let us all go and talk about this issue. From here, let us preach the gospel of peace in homes, let us not fight over money, and let us encourage men and women not to commit suicide or be ashamed to report such cases. Let us go the victim friendly unit within the police; they are there to help us. There are also organisations that are willing to assist people in such situations.
Even amongst ourselves, we might be having people who are ashamed to report themselves. When Parliament is on recess, some are even finding it difficult to go back home in the rural areas where they are being abused – let us not be afraid to report such cases. Let us stand up together as Parliamentarians and see to it that the violence in homes has been brought to an end. Men and women, let us find ourselves occupied with activities to help stop this violence. Even girls in schools, let them be empowered and be in a position to know what to do.
We went to Hatcliffe to assess the water situation, we were troubled a lot, girls are the ones who go to fetch water and there is only one borehole in Hatcliffe. When they get there, there are a lot of men and boys who say if you have not fallen in love with me, you will not get water but because they want access to water, they are only left with the option of succumbing to the demand of these men. Let us teach men to help women in the home to respect children’s rights. When they come to the borehole, let the children get water and not take that as an opportunity to abuse young girls or boys. Let us teach others about gender based violence. That is my opinion of this debate; tomorrow let us all stand up.
HON. SEN. DUBE: I move that this debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. MPOFU: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 25th November 2020.
CONDOLENCES ON THE DEATH OF HON. SEN. AIR CHIEF MARSHALL RTD. PERRANCE SHIRI
Sixth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the death of Hon. Sen. Rtd. Air Chief Marshal Perrence Shiri.
Question again proposed.
*HON. SEN. HUNGWE: Thank you Mr. President for affording me the opportunity to add my voice on the motion of the late Hon. Sen. P. Shiri who was the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement.
Some of us here know who he was from his background that he fought for this country and he came back alive. He came back and lived with us for quite a time and worked with us. He was a well known person and had a very good personality.
We had other Ministers before him who did not contribute meaningfully to the agriculture sector but Hon. Sen. P. Shiri engaged in training people in how to grow food crops. He was a Minister but also worked as an agriculture extension officer (mudhumeni). He would teach and encourage people on how to farm in order for the majority of Zimbabweans to get food on their tables.
Someone talked about Pfumvudza/Intwasa; the idea behind this programme is that we should engage more in farming so that families get access to food. Pfumvudza/Intwasa is for a period, it resembles spring time so if crops are grown like that, it is so attractive. So, we should encourage people who have ideas on how we can farm. What makes us talk about these issues is that we cannot continue to go and ask for food from other countries. It is a shameful thing because we are able bodied people. Some people think that we do not deserve to live on Planet Earth when they see us begging for food year in year out. So we should help each other on how to farm and produce enough food, that is why we have the Ministry of Agriculture. I have made an appointment with the new Minister of Agriculture so that I can assess him against Rtd Air Marshall Perrance Shiri, whether he will be able to do what Rtd Air Marshall Perrance Shiri did, because Hon. Shiri was a farmer before he joined Parliament. He was a well known farmer and a successful one. He left us while we still wanted to know what his plans were for us to have enough food in this country.
Many of us were shocked because we just heard about his death and not his illness. He was someone who had put a mark in our nation so that we would not go hungry. Hunger is not good, it makes someone behave like a mad person. I remember my mother used to go and beg for food, but she would sing and dance (singing), so that she could be given food. She did not want to steal – to those who are listening it is a shame but she would do it because of hunger in the home. If I was in the justice system, I would lessen the penalty of those who steal because of hunger. I think that is why the Lord put people with a sound mind to be Judges and not me. We should understand that our time is limited here on earth, but the most important thing is that we should get food in our country. That is what makes us remember Rtd Air Marshall Perrance Shiri. I thank you.
HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 25th November, 2020.
On the motion of HON. SEN. MUZENDA seconded by HON. SEN. S. MPOFU, the House adjourned at Five Minutes to Four O’clock p.m.