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SENATE HANSARD 24 February 2016 25-27
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Wednesday, 24th February, 2016
The Senate met at Half-past Two o’clock p.m.
(THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE in the Chair)
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. SENATOR TAWENGWA: I move that Orders of the Day,
Number 1 and 2 be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the Day have been disposed of.
HON. SENATOR MASUKU: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
TRADITIONAL CHIEFS MANDATE
HON. SENATOR MAWIRE: I move the motion standing in my
name that this House -
ACKNOWLEDGING that Traditional Leaders play a pivotal role in local Government administration and yet they are not given the respect that they deserve, a situation that has led to many illegal activities perpetrated in their areas of jurisdiction;
CONCERNED that such disrespect for our Traditional Leaders has led to unwanted developments such as moral decadence, environmental degradation and child marriages;
NOW THEREFORE calls upon this Government to revisit policies that give Traditional Leaders their mandate so that they can effectively deal with issues of moral decadence, environmental pollution and degradation, children’s rights among communal communities as well as other incidental issues that they may fall under the purview of the
Traditional Chiefs’ Mandate.
HON. SENATOR MANYERUKE: I second.
HON. SENATOR MAWIRE: Madam President, my motion is on
traditional leaders and their mandate. Over the years, traditional leaders have been reduced to just ordinary people in most of our communities including resettlement areas. This has led to poor management and distraction of the environment with many illegal activities being the order of the day. Our morals have also become a cause for concern. It is against this…
HON SENATOR MLOTSHWA: On a point of order Madam
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Give her time to
finish here presentation.
HON. SEN. MAWIRE: Madam President, it is against this background that I call upon this august Senate to revisit policies that lay our powers and the mandate of traditional leaders.
Our chiefs should be given powers like in the past where they would maintain and control activities that were done in their communities. With such powers, these important people can assist Government in the implementation of policies most of which are implemented in their still developing areas. These policies include environmental and agricultural policies and children’s rights just to mention a few. Our chiefs courts should be fully empowered to deal with some of the cases that the courts consider unconstitutional but posing a threat to peace, security and the upholding of good moral values.
We can help to reduce pressure on our courts by allowing chiefs to handle some of the trivial cases brought before the magistrate courts at their courts. There are many rules that have been ignored, some of which have helped conserve our environment in the past. With powers, chiefs can help conserve these rules and formulate new ones that are in line with the developing world’s trends of protecting the environment
and its inhabitants.
We have had a rise in veld fires, poaching, stock theft, child marriages, abuse, suicides, divorces and many other issues which, if our chiefs are empowered and supported with resources can help reduce.
Hon. Senators, chiefs are very important stakeholders in our
communities and if we really want to drive the nation to prosperity especially in our disadvantaged rural communities, then we need to restore their lost value and empower them.
Our ZIM ASSET has very important clusters which touch these disadvantaged communities and success can be recorded if we empower these noble people and use them for the good of the nation. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. MANYERUKE: Thank you Mr. President. I rise in support of the Motion that was moved by Hon. Sen. Mawire concerning the powers of the traditional leaders. Our feeling is that the power of the chiefs should be restored and their dignity and empowerment implemented as in that way, the chiefs will be able to lead in the development of the areas of their jurisdiction.
During the liberation struggle, traditional leaders played a very important role of appeasing the spirits in their areas of operation; that is why we are calling for the re-empowerment of traditional leaders. Such empowerment will enable them to control the behaviour of their subjects, especially the youth. The control by the chiefs will also lead to the recession of divorce rates and drought spells currently being experienced in the country. I say this because if the traditional leaders are empowered, they will be able to carry out successful rainmaking ceremonies. The western culture that we have adopted is able to explain the current climate change that has led to the drought but our chiefs can solve this problem if they are re-empowered and are able to carry out their traditional rainmaking ceremonies.
The young generation has no respect for the traditional leaders. Whenever they meet or mingle with them, they do not show any respect, hence we are saying, as true black Zimbabweans, let us restore the dignity and powers of our traditional leaders, the chiefs. I am aware of the fact that we have adopted a christian culture but this does not overpower our traditional leaders who should be re-empowered and retain their dignity.
*HON. SEN. MASHAVAKURE: Thank you Mr. President for
giving me the opportunity to make my contribution on this motion. This is a very important motion that has a bearing on our livelihood as Africans.
Chiefs are the custodians of our culture and should lead in conducting traditional ceremonies in their areas of jurisdiction. Under the leadership of traditional leaders, we will be able to fend off the bad influence from the invading western culture. I therefore, implore Government to re-empower our traditional leaders so that they regain their due dignity.
I will now turn to the land resettlement programme where I have noticed that people are resettling themselves willy-nilly, without the consent of the traditional leaders. Some of these settlers have even gone to the extent of carrying out agricultural activities on sacred places including river beds and cutting down trees because they are exercising rights that are above the wisdom of the chiefs. They feel that their rights should not be disputed by traditional leaders.
I think if our chiefs are given their rightful powers, they can help the Government in controlling people from doing what they want; thereby causing land degradation by cultivating anywhere they want. If chiefs are given their full powers, they can easily tackle such issues.
Coming to resettlement areas, I know that chiefs know their boundaries before farms were there. This helps in creating order in the resettlement areas so that people live in peace and harmony. We know that trees help us when it comes to climate change because some of our areas are now deserts due to deforestation. Chiefs should be reempowered so that they are able to show would-be wrong doers in their respective areas of jurisdiction that they are the ones in power. As a result, when they are empowered, they will also be able to correct the wrongs of the people.
On trial courts, we need to have a special court system whereby the chief has to try certain cases and these ones are not suitable for them. According to the court system of this country, chiefs have lesser powers and if there are some cases that cannot come before their courts; they refer them to the Magistrates Court. For example, if we take a case of appeasement of the avenging spirits, this type of a case is not in Roman Dutch law which we are following. As a result, it has no basis and if it is brought before the traditional court of the chief, the chief knows how to try such cases and how the sentences are passed on these people because we have people who may be calling for 50 or 100 cattle.
At times, the avenging spirit would want to be appeased with a young girl who has to be married off to the wronged person but we have a case whereby the courts are saying it is child abuse and therefore, nothing should be done. But, if someone had been made to pay 100 cattle that would make up for the young girl who would have to be given away as part of appeasing the avenging spirits. We are saying in our traditional courts, if one is not satisfied with the kind of sentence given on a particular crime, then they can always appeal to the higher courts. If someone is also not satisfied with the imposition of 100 a herd of cattle as fine – they will then proceed to the Magistrates Court. What we are saying is that the chiefs should have specified fines which go according to the crimes committed and they will be using precedents in whatever cases they should use of what will have happened.
I am very pleased by the way our chiefs try their cases. They have no imprisonment as a way of fixing whoever has been found guilty but they make you pay a certain fine. At times, the cases are tried in jest and whosoever would be tried in that court will find that they are fighting a psychological warfare because they would have wronged their community. They will be frowned upon hence we are saying we need to empower these chiefs.
If this person goes to the Magistrates or High Court, they will say this person should go to prison or should be hanged. The people who suffered because of the perpetrated crime will be living in a free Zimbabwe and will be paying taxes. The taxes will then go and feed that convicted person in prison. The prisoner will be eating good food and will be protected. The wronged family does not benefit anything from that sentence, hence if the chiefs are empowered and given the authority to try these traditional cases, then all the two parties will benefit, that is the offended and the offender. Therefore, you will not be able to pay that tax and know that Chikurubi, Khami or Mutimurefu will benefit that person who offended you.
The offender or prisoner is actually treated as a VIP because whenever he is in prison, he is always accompanied by prison officers and is as good as a person who is getting VIP treatment from that treatment.
If you steal one cow, chiefs will make you pay two as compensation to the offended family. We need to empower our chiefs. We need to avoid taking these people to the courts because the courts will simply say, convict the offender, take him to prison and give him VIP treatment of being looked after by the prison officers. The offended family will still be at a loss because they will not get anything out of the conviction given to that person. People need to fork out money. It is an obligation for the people to pay taxes and hence, there is refurbishment of prisons and conditions.
Therefore, when a person is tried in the traditional courts, everybody attending that court will know that if you break the law in one way, you are going to be punished somehow. Unless if that person feels that they want to take their case up, the case will then be taken to the
Magistrates Court. When we are trying in the chiefs’ court, we need to look at a way of solving cases.
This is a very good motion and we need to support it. We need to empower our chiefs. We need to give them a limitless way of trying cases because at the moment, we have schedules of the cases they may try but we are saying, let us not put a limit on that. At the moment, chiefs are dealing with trivial cases and yet we know that from long back chiefs were trying some of these cases. Therefore, their powers should be restored upon them. Should anybody be offended, they are in a free Zimbabwe and should go to the next court.
In addition, chiefs need to be given that dignity such as provision of good cars and houses with electricity. That should give them the dignity. I am appealing to the Government to give due authority and dignity to the chiefs they were deprived of their powers because of the illegal regime which was in power then and wanted to belittle the chiefs.
I am saying; let us restore their power, authority and dignity. Thank you.
*HON. SEN. MAKORE: Thank you Hon. President, for giving me this time to make my contribution on this valid motion. I would like to say thank you Hon. Mawere and Hon. Manyeruke for bringing into this august House such a motion. Traditional leaders are very important in our culture. They are very essential and important in the peace which we are enjoying in the country because chiefs try cases in their traditional courts, hence they create peace and order in the country just like we used to live in the times gone by.
Some of the children born in this modern era never go to the rural areas. As a result, they never realise the importance and dignity of the chiefs. Since a long time ago we realised that the chiefs were the custodians of our culture and whenever one side-tracked, the chiefs would take care of that situation. At times I have had the opportunity to look at the Nigerian movies and I admire the Nigerians because they give their chiefs so much respect, even calling them Igwe, a term which shows they will be referring to somebody who is very important. What interests me most about the Nigerian films is that when they go to their courts to try cases, they demonstrate the kind of lifestyle which they expect to be lived by the people of their country.
When we were growing up we knew that the girl child was taught the traditional way of living their lives when they grew up to be wives and mothers. The same was taught to the young men, emphasis being put on their roles as heads of the family, how to look after their family and what to do as the head of a home. But now, life has changed because we have children who are about 12 years indulging in sexual activities. In the past this was taboo and was frowned upon. Whosoever was responsible for that would be sentenced a heavy fine because the chiefs did not want to have their areas of jurisdiction defiled.
I remember that in one of the contributions made by Hon. Chief Charumbira; he said their powers were now limited because of the current situation. He said they no longer have the same powers that they used to have. Even when we look at land distribution that also used to be done under the guidance of the chiefs. During the war of liberation the ancestral spirits were invoked by the traditional leaders to lead the freedom fighters. These freedom fighters would move at will during the war because the chiefs always asked for guidance and protection from the ancestors, such that the fighters were invisible from the enemy’s sight. Hence the white regime then removed those powers because they knew how powerful they were. Before the advent of the white men, the chiefs were the leaders of the people.
I know we have a ruling that chiefs should not indulge in politics. But that is not so. Chiefs should indulge in politics but they should not practice partisan politics. In our Constitution, Section 281, the Chief does not select who his/her subjects should be, therefore they should not discriminate people because if the chief or traditional leader discriminates, then there will be a problem somewhere. We understand that a chief should not punish indiscriminately people who have not committed any offence. Please understand me my Hon. Colleagues, what I am saying is that chiefs should be involved in politics but they should not be involved in party politics. Every one of us should hold the traditional leaders in high esteem.
Let me also say that we have some problems which we face such as what we call patronage. There are some people who are powerful because of one reason or another and as a result these chiefs are afraid of these powerful people. Hence, when these people do wrong, the chiefs are afraid to challenge them. This is happening Madam President. I remember when I was growing up I used to fear those pugilists because some of them would fight me, but I am glad I was also a fighter and I would fight back. It was only when I came across somebody who was more powerful than myself that I would tell them I would report them to my bigger brother to avenge the ill-treatment they would be meting upon me. What I am trying to say is that the chiefs belong to the highest echelon in our cultural ladder, so we need to have an identity which originates from the chiefs.
I am sure you have heard of communal farming which is done under the command of the chief (zunde ramambo) which, in times of hunger and starvation the chief will be able to distribute to deserving families. So, in our budget there should be an allocation for the chiefs to give to the vulnerable families. We know we are in a drought and we can help by giving some stored food to the chiefs to distribute to their people. I also noticed that even the NGOs which come to give assistance to communities in rural areas overlook the chiefs. The chief is just left to be a by-stander but in-as-far-as I am concerned; the chiefs should be leading in the distribution of food because they are well versed with the welfare of their subjects. They should very much be involved in the selection of those to be given food. What we have seen is that those people who are doing the selection and distribution of food are very corrupt. They disregard the dignity and pride of the people who deserve to get food and that is why we are saying this function should be taken over by the chiefs, because we know they will ensure that all the people under their chiefdom are given the necessary support.
I would like to thank the movers of this motion that we are debating as it helps us to look at ways to empower our chiefs. The chiefs who are in this august House were not elected in a general election like us, but they were appointed to come into this House because of their authority. I wish to point out to the chiefs that when they come into this House, it is not because of political party A or B but you are here on behalf of every citizen of Zimbabwe. Do not practice partisan politics but retain your dignity as you do your work. Regardless of whether a new party comes in to rule, the chiefs should have that automatic right into this House because they give dignity to this House. Let me reiterate that Chiefs are precious and we are proud of them. So as you practice politics, it should not be partisan politics because if you practice partisan politics, you are only humiliating yourselves and reducing your dignity.
Let me conclude by saying that this motion has come at the right time and our request is for chiefs to be given their due respect. They should be given their due dignity and suitable benefits which are their entitlement. People should note that unlike any other position, chiefs are not appointed but chieftainship is inherited and it runs in the family because if your family is a royal family, it will always come to you. We have had people who have tried to usurp the powers of the chiefs and the ancestral spirits will punish such people, at times somebody will die because of trying to impose themselves as chiefs.
I thank the Hon. Senator who raised this motion that we are bringing back the dignity, influence and the superiority complex of the chiefs. We very much uphold the institution of the chiefs. I thank you.
*THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT (SEN. TAWENGWA):
Thank you very much Hon. Senator Makore for your contribution. As Senators, let me point out that the issue which we are debating straddles across many Ministries, hence let us stick to our motion and avoid raising sub motions on this issue. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. CHIDUKU: I rise to make my contribution because you selected me to stand and debate. We have a saying which says that when people are talking about you, you should not contribute because you could be self praising or sourcing for sympathy.
*THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT: Hon. Sen. Chief, if you
want, you may sit down if you feel that you have been forced to make a contribution.
*HON. SEN. CHIDUKU: I would like to thank Senator Mawire for raising this motion which is very pertinent and has something to do with our culture. I am glad because it has been raised amongst the elderly people of the nation. When you talk of traditional leadership and chiefs are talking of the traditional African culture. I know we have some amongst us who lack respect for the traditional leaders and chiefs. When God created heaven and earth, He saw it fit that there should be kings and chiefs - even Jesus Christ said “I am King of kings” and this
shows that the kings and queens have been there since time immemorial.
The mover of this motion wanted to revive the powers of the chiefs and my contribution on this issue is that we do not have much on the chiefs but you find that they do not force people to like them just because they want to retain their powers and therefore this is a very important motion. We do not solicit for respect and dignity but it is our natural right bestowed on us. We all know that the Senate is an august
House whereby to be in this House, you have to be a mature person of 40 years and above and hence this is the august House where we find that we have chiefs as Senators. We have some people who go against
God’s wisdom that there should be kings and chiefs but some do not
Let me now talk of the roles and functions of the chiefs - their powers and areas of jurisdiction. Is it a case of somebody trying to appoint themselves as a chief, no? Chieftainship is inherited, you do not have to appoint yourself as a king or chief, hence when we are talking about chiefs or traditional leaders, we come from a long way because we can also start from where this motion was raised.
During the constitution making process, we talked about the powers of chiefs, their roles, functions, dignity and the Government’s perspective of the traditional leaders. Unfortunately, when it comes to the interpretation of Chapter 15 of the Constitution, there are some omissions. We are glad the Government formulated a chapter on traditional leaders in the Constitution. Chapter 15 has problems in its implementation, especially regarding the respect and recognition of the chiefs. How do you define it? We may ask people who are educated to define the dignity of the chiefs? They may be able to define it, yes, but they cannot implement the dignity which should be given to the chiefs. As chiefs, we are unlike political parties whereby if we feel we have been persecuted or face hardships, we migrate to other countries for greener pastures. As chiefs we endure the hardships with our people. That is why the previous speaker talked about setting up a budget for the chiefs to look after their subjects. My problem is that this is mere rhetoric which is not implemented.
The previous speakers also talked about land redistribution and the jurisdiction of the chiefs. During the constitution making process, people said that the traditional leaders were the custodians of our land and when you look at the current situation, we see these people and they say there is somebody who is distributing the land who is not a chief and yet the people of Zimbabwe who know their culture will come to the chief and ask for a portion of land. The chiefs have no powers to allocate land.
In this time of drought, people are appealing to the chiefs to hold traditional rain making ceremonies but we always blame the false culture given to the people. In our culture, we used to have some sacred places whereby nobody was supposed to cut trees and do anything abominable. What is happening is that in those sacred places, there is a lot of promiscuity and prostitution that is going on in those areas. If you challenge the culprit, they will tell you that you are breaking their constitutional rights and yet that is where we carry out our traditional cleansing ceremonies. When we go there after such diabolic acts, our prayers will not be answered.
In our culture, we also had a way of burying a pregnant woman who dies before giving birth. We used to bury them at particular places but as of now, people are simply saying a dead person is a dead person and a woman who dies pregnant should be buried beside her husband.
Our culture says whosoever has recently given birth or has died pregnant, should not be buried on common burial place. This is taboo but because of the change of attitude or lifestyles, these females are buried anywhere where people feel like, claiming it is their democratic right.
Hon. Chief Charumbira discussed this and in short he said we need to empower our chiefs. When we empower our chiefs, all the cultural problems we are facing, will be taken care of because the traditional leader will be carrying out the traditional ceremonies and even communicating with the Lord. You do not just talk to the Lord as easily as all that because at times there are some people who go before the Lord with dirty hands, hence prayers will not be answered. There are a lot of things which need to be rectified and corrected regarding the traditional chiefs.
We also have a new problem whereby the youngsters of today despise their elderly and yet the Bible states that children should respect their elderly and parents. There is a law that says love your neighbour as you love yourself. What is happening now is that we have a lot of murder cases in the country, what is causing all this menace? We need to appease our ancestral spirits. With these few words, this is my contribution. I thank you Mr. President for giving me a chance to debate on this motion. I also thank the mover of this motion and the seconder. This is not of your own making, it is a divine intervention given to you because kings and chiefs come from the Lord.
*SENATOR MAVHUNGA: Thank you Mr. President for
according me this opportunity to add my voice on this pertinent motion from Senator Mawire. Looking at our tradition and culture, looking at degradation and the climate change which is being caused by the lack of respect of our chiefs; the mover is appealing that their powers should be returned to them so that we go forward as a nation. Firstly, I want to tell you who a chief is and how important the chiefs are in our midst. All of us here have identity cards and on my identity card is my chief’s name and where I come from. It means that when we were going for the liberation struggle, we were recognised by chieftainship, like I would say I come from Chief Dotito. I would then be recognised as someone from Chief Dotito’s area. Chiefs are very important in our midst not as politicians, but as God-chosen.
When we refer to chiefs as traditional leaders, we must start from the grassroots – from the village/kraal head going up to their chiefs. If you cannot respect your village head – how can you start to show respect to the chief, it means you will be missing it somewhere. So, we encourage that all our traditional leadership should be given their respect. I think there have been appeals that there is degradation in our land because there are no people who are enforcing, it is the village head that should be doing that. So, we should respect our leadership so that we move forward as a nation. In this Senate we must agree that the chiefs should arbitrate on our cases in the rural areas; I really want to support the motion.
When we look at murder, when you commit murder, avenging spirits pursue you. According to our Constitution, if you commit murder you are taken to jail; this does not solve anything in our culture or families. It is only the chiefs who can deal with such cases properly.
They know how to deal with it because they will help us in dealing with the avenging spirits. In the same vein, I want to support the idea that the chiefs should get back their powers even in the resettlement areas. The chiefs who are in those areas should also be given powers and they are the ones who should be involved in the allocation of land and the boundary issues should be dealt with by them so that we go forward as a nation.
I want to plead on behalf of the chiefs that for them to do their work properly, their welfare should be looked at properly so that they are given what is due to them. If people go to village courts which are usually under a tree, it is not good. If possible, I suggest the Government should build village courts in the rural areas which are uniform throughout the country so that even the people who go into these courts will find justice.
On hunger, for sure these chiefs are in trouble because when people are hungry they approach the chiefs. So, we should really support the idea of the Zunder Ramambo so that the chiefs can help the people. In conclusion, I want to say that everyone as a Chief’s name written on their identity cards that they move with, in their pockets. I thank you.
*SENATOR CHABUKA: Thank you Mr. President. Firstly, I would want to thank Senator Mawire and her seconder Senator Manyeruke. I think a lot has been said about this motion which is very pertinent, which teaches us about our culture and our tradition. We should respect our chiefs who are in our midst. Even as we were growing up in Masvingo, it was a frightening thing to hear that little children have gone to the chiefs’ courtyard. There was an age limit to go to the chiefs’ village. They would kneel and start clapping before they approach the homestead. There would be a special place used for court sessions or arbitration purposes. You will find that these days there is a lot of change. That is not what used to happen a long time ago when we were growing up. When we were growing up, we used to swim together with our brothers during the 60’s. We were not afraid because of the leadership of our chiefs. They used to have their own way of raising up children. I want to say that, the chiefs that we have are afraid to say what is deep down in their hearts.
Chiefs, you should not be afraid. You should speak out your minds because it is your right. You were born with God-given gifts which are hereditary. However, if you cannot say it out, I think no one will come to your rescue because everyone is your child and you are the custodians of the land.
I want to look at two or three weeks back when people talked about the scarcity of water in Kariba. What should we do? The problem of what should be done, are there no chiefs in our midst? I saw chiefs in Kariba, they danced all night. The ceremonies are supposed be attended by women who have reached menopause. Then after, there were rains in Kariba. What I am saying is that chiefs should express their feelings so that it goes well for us and we receive rains. We also want those springs of water to flow. It was so before because of you chiefs.
I want to give an example of the war veterans. I have heard some war veterans saying the children lying in Chimoio are not happy with what is happening because blood was spilt.
Hon. Senator Chabuka, having been addressing the gallery.
THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Hon.
Senator, can you please address the President of the Senate.
HON. SEN. CHABUKA: Thank you Mr. President. That is exactly what is happening in this country. We do not have rains and food in the country. We shoulder all these issues to you as chiefs. You should look at us your subjects, whom you should feed. There are a lot of accidents happening around the country. There are places where most of these accidents regularly happen and we refer to them as ‘black spots.’ Chiefs should do something about those areas. They should carry out cleansing ceremonies in order to appeal to the ancestors to cleanse those areas. That is the duty of the chiefs.
I want to leave this to you because you are the owners of this land, you control the land and if the ancestors are speaking, we are referred to as birds which you as chiefs have to look after. We are in all this because of you chiefs. You should do what you are supposed to do. The mandate that you were given by your ancestors should be carried out and you should speak out your voice without fearing anyone. You are our leaders, we love you, but we realize that you are silent and if you do that, nothing will move. With these few words, I want to thank you Mr. President.
HON. SEN. MAKONE: I want to debate in Shona today because today’s motion is very touching to me. Mr. President, firstly, I would like to clarify on your objection where you said we are not in sync with what Hon. Sen. Mawire said in her motion. She did not say we should be confined to what was spelt out, she said, such as… If you read from where it is written… “Concerned that such disrespect for our Traditional Leaders has led to unwanted developments such as moral decadence, environmental degradation and child marriages.” These were only examples, she did not say it is confined to those examples. On the last part, where it is written “Now therefore”, you will see where it is written, “as well as other incidental issues that may fall under the purview of the Traditional Chiefs’ Mandate.” I will revert to Shona…
*THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: I am
not willing to engage in a debate with you concerning that issue; just go ahead and debate on the motion. If we dwell into the academics of those issues, you will be unable to keep pace with me.
*HON. SEN. MAKONE: I intend to stick to the motion.
*THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Stick
to the motion and if you fail to follow the motion, I will let you know.
*HON. SEN. MAKONE: I wish to debate other issues that are under the purview of the traditional chiefs’ mandate in terms of the three stipulated items. Mr. President, today I am speaking as the chief’s daughter, I am a princess, Princess Chiweshe. There is nothing more essential to me than being the chief’s daughter. People do not have to go to the polls to vote for it. Even if I am not voted to become a Member of Parliament, it is something which is inborn. It is mine because my father is a chief.
The person who is referred to as a chief is not someone whom you can degrade. A chief is a very important person, whose position in terms of line of heritage is well documented and known. For instance, the chieftainship is passed on with full knowledge that from this family, it will be passed on to that family within the chieftaincy and so on. – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear] – This is different from political power. In politics, it is not possible to predict which political party will take over from the other. There will always be one political party winning over the other. Meanwhile, the one who will be in power over a given period also comes from a particular chieftaincy. His or her identification certificate shows the village and chieftaincy from which he or she comes from. That person is temporary and is different from our chiefs who are permanent. It has always been like that.
However, the chiefs should desist from a habit of following us as politicians. They should team up as chiefs and tell off the politicians when they clutter their jurisdictions. They should tell the politicians that they are not the ones who prescribe the chiefs’ mandate and jurisdiction.
Instead, chiefs should clearly spell their mandated roles to the politicians– [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear] –
I would like to move on to the issue of land allocation Mr.
President. I am at pains to realise that someone from Chivhu or Tsholotsho is allocated land in Chiweshe – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear] – If these issues were being handled professionally, the chiefs should have been granted the opportunity to identify and allocate land to their subjects. The subjects to that particular area should be allocated the land within their ancestral land. It is not a good thing to just allocate land haphazardly. This causes quarrels, confusion and moral decadence. The culture of Masvingo is different from the culture of people in Chiweshe. We have a certain way of doing our things and I think we should try by all means to go back to our tradition so that our country should go back and get to a place where we know that where we know that on 15 October that is when we receive our first rains. If we do not do that, we will not live in peace. However, the people who should spearhead our culture are the chiefs. If you want to control them, nothing will move.
Things that are given to chiefs should not be at the will of Ministers or the Government but they should be written down so that what belongs to them should be given to them as their entitlement, despite who is in control. They should not be fearful of anyone. They should not be afraid of me even if I belong to a different party which is ruling. They should treat me as anyone else because the chief is for everyone who is in their areas of jurisdiction.
I want to support what Senator Makore has said that for things to go well in this country, we should give everything to our chiefs. At the local level, all the powers should be returned to chiefs. If we do that, everything will run smoothly because we will go back to our culture. People will be told that if you come into my area, this is what you do. If you do not subscribe to that, you are not welcome. This will lead to good morals in our people.
I want to end by saying Senator Mawire, what you have done is a good thing because this makes Zimbabwe move forward. Whatever we are doing, we are wasting our time. We should go back to our culture as Zimbabweans. The Western way that we are adopting is not good. We should follow our tradition. As your children, you should give us room to fight on your behalf. If you see us doing the wrong things, you should tell us that you do not participate in bad things because you are chiefs. When you do that, people will know that you are now doing your mandate. As senators, we are going to give you all the respect and we would want to see who is going to remove that from you. Thank you Mr. President.
+HON. SEN. HLALO: Thank you Mr. President for giving me the opportunity to make my contribution on this motion. We should start by identifying ourselves as to who we are. We are Africans, the Bantu and not Europeans. We are people created by God. The Bible also dictates how people should live and defines holy and sacred places amongst a people. The Bible defines that when God created people, he also appointed Kings to rule over them. He also created law and order to guide the people in their everyday life. The law guided the people on one end and people created order in following the law.
We are talking about our chiefs and we should be aware of the fact that they are very important. Since they are so important, their importance is shown by the multiplicity of chiefs in their areas of jurisdiction. These chiefs are also aware of their subjects. When we are looking at the drought and starvation which is currently prevailing in the country, the chiefs will also know about their people, how they live and those who should benefit from the food which is to be distributed. The chiefs should do this in a proper way without jeopardizing anybody because they know it is their duty. In other words, we would call for the fact that when food is distributed by Government or Non-Governmental Organisations, it should be given over to the chiefs who should be responsible for distributing the food. When food is distributed by chiefs, there is no favouritism; chiefs are not corrupt and there is order, which I talked about.
When we look at the British whom we say are the most civilised, they have the Queen who is highly respected. This is because it is their culture which brings them closer to the Lord. As we are not recognizing our chiefs, it means we are drifting away from the Lord because you cannot just go straight to the Lord. There are procedures which have to be followed when you want to communicate with the Lord.
We also noticed that we have people who seek solace from the prophets and pastors. When they go to these people, they go to look for miracles. When we look at what is happening in this country in our everyday life, this is akin to a film. I think the retaining of the chiefs’ powers is one of the things that we should be proud of as Zimbabweans. As such, we will be proud of being Zimbabweans. We should understand that when we go into these areas, they are the Lords or Kings of those areas. I remember when I was growing up, there was a chief who whenever you did something wrong, you would be taken to that chief. The chief would beat you up for that wrong doing and nobody would say there is child abuse. As a result, we had people who stayed in peace because they were controlled by the chiefs.
This is a very important motion and has been brought at a time whereby Zimbabwe needs such leadership as the leadership of the chiefs. I was fortunate to be one of the people responsible for the construction of the new Constitution. We went to a place whereby we had hot springs. We had a pool whereby you would get in and be treated of your illnesses because of the waters which were there. That place was sacred. What has happened now is the chiefs have been deprived of their powers and people are now carrying out washing chores in those areas. The powers of those places have been lost. Therefore, we are saying as people of Zimbabwe and members of this august House, the Hon. Member has brought up a pertinent issue and I wish this would not be just rhetoric but should be a way of trying to restore the powers and dignity of our chiefs so that they can lead us into a better life in future. With those few words, I say let us restore the respect, dignity and the welfare of our traditional leaders so that they can carry out their duties in a proper manner. Mr. President, it is just as we do in our work places; when you get to your workplace, you are given the tools of your trade so that you work in a conducive atmosphere. This will make us proud as Zimbabweans. At the moment, there is full of hatred and suspicion yet the problem we are facing is that whenever there is a misunderstanding amongst the people, we have nowhere to go. In the past, when there was a misunderstanding amongst the people, the chief would call these people and create peace. We need that institution of the chiefs; we need that place because it brings peace and harmony amongst the people.
Mr. President, we need to show that our chiefs are very important. What we know is that every Zimbabwean belongs to some chiefdom somewhere, which means we have to respect these chiefs because they make us who we are. Let us treat this case with the urgency it deserves. If we empower the chiefs, they will give us capable leadership but in our case especially as Members of Parliament, we do it on a rotational business. I am here now, for the next five years and I will be going away, somebody will be coming in but chiefs are there to stay. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. CHIFAMBA: Thank you for giving me the
opportunity to make my contribution on the motion moved by Hon. Sen. Mawire and seconded by Hon. Sen. Manyeruke. We have come to the extent that since the chiefs have been deprived of their powers, we need to re-empower them. There are many things which we are now looking down upon on the powers of the chiefs. We look at a situation where something taboo takes place such as sexual intercourse between a mother and a son, and a sister to sister indulging in sexual activities. During those old days when the chiefs had power, people could be tried and fined accordingly by the chiefs. But as of now a mother is empowered by his son and when you try to bring them to court you are told they are adults, they are consenting, they are practicing their rights. I remember, I did ask why the chiefs were not intervening in such issues and I was told the chiefs were deprived of their powers and in such cases you have an elderly woman, a mother who is impregnated by his son saying I took care of this child and he is now taking care of me and should not support the other families.
Mr. President, we are adopting foreign laws, cultures and customs and these are now coming to torment us. When Ward Courts and Village Courts where introduced in our areas, we were so happy and yet we have forgetting that the people who were leading us, the officers where foreigners in our areas and they go back to their areas on retirement. They were not aware of our sacred places, they were not aware of our taboos and yet as far as our chiefs are concerned, they know that we have sacred places in particular areas and something bad should not be done in those areas. Yet when we talk of land distribution, people are settled even in those sacred placed. At the moment, we have people who are moving semi-naked in rural areas and the chiefs have nothing to do because the mother of that person will say you are depriving my child of her rights. When these girls wear mini-skirts, the elders would chide them; they would ask them to dress properly.
I remember at one time, there was a time when a chief tried to tell people not to wear mini-skirts but there were people in that gathering who were saying you are depriving somebody’s right because they need to practice whatever they want. May I also say at times some of these rape cases are committed because of the way people will be dressed. At times, I believe you need to wear a trouser and when the people are dancing they do whatever they want because of the way they are dressed. At times when you try to control that person, she or he will tell you that he is practicing his or her rights.
Mr. President, we follow foreign cultures even in dressing. We do not have a Zimbabwean way of dressing but we are borrowing from foreign cultures. I wish Zimbabweans would have their own culture of dressing. A good example is that if you see a Malawian woman, Zambian woman, you can tell their country of origin because of the way they dress but with the Zimbabweans, we are putting on trousers and mini-skirts. In the past, whenever somebody impregnates somebody’s child, it is taken as their own fault. People would only indulge in sexual activities after getting married. In the past if a man who denies impregnating somebody’s daughter at a chief’s court, that lady would be asked to remove the pant and hit the young man on the face with that pant but now we have nothing to do with it. Whenever somebody is impregnated, it is the girl child who is at fault but we are saying, let us restore our culture, let us restore our traditional powers. Therefore, we need to give traditional chiefs their powers because some of the things which are happening in this country are caused by the fact that we are not following our cultures. No matter how much we pray, as long we are not following our culture, we will not get anywhere because our culture says, no matter how educated, how you dress or where you live, you will always be an African and a Zimbabwean. You need to stick to your culture. I thank you.
+HON. SEN. D. T. KHUMALO: Thank you Mr. President for
giving me this opportunity to add my voice on the work that is being done by our chiefs. The work that has been done by our chiefs is important. I liked it so much because when we were growing up way back, the chiefs would look at the people from their area and take note whether there is drought or not. If there is drought it was the responsibility of the chief to look, for example cows so that they will provide milk for the children. This is where the issue of having a specific place where the chiefs keep their food stocks comes in.
Today, we realise that there are children who are so slim because of drought, some have stunted growth. During our time, our chiefs used to work so much and we never had such cases. Those who used to experience such cases, they used to take them to other families who were known to be doing well and it was the responsibility again of the chiefs to keep checking whether that child is being taken care of properly or not. If not, they would take the child back to their families. That is why I am saying I love our chiefs for they used to take care of all the children regardless of where they came from.
I know that these days the chiefs are not been given an opportunity to allocate residential areas for people especially in their communities.
There are some people who come from other areas and I know most of them who are coming from different provinces do not listen to the chiefs. Hence, I agree with what Hon. Makone said. I therefore, support the speaker who said that everybody is supposed to be allocated land where they stay according to their culture. As a result, it will be easy for the chiefs to allocate residential areas to the people in their community. I, therefore, ask the Government to empower the chiefs to instill the culture that they want in the people from their community.
One speaker highlighted again on the issue of Chimoio, that they fought so much but we are realising that the people have forgotten about this. I urge all the chiefs from Matebeleland and Midlands that if they can look seriously on the issue of people who died during Gukurahundi. I am urging all the chiefs from Matebeleland so that they can try and rebury all those people who died during Gukurahundi so that they can be given a decent burial…
HON. SEN. MOHADI: My point of order is that I do not think
Mr. President, that this is the right platform or time to talk about
Gukurahundi. I do not think even the chiefs would want to talk about it.
If the member want to talk about Gukurahundi, it would be better if she could move her own motion, not to include it in this motion. I thank you.
THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT (HON. SEN.
TAWENGWA): Agreed, please proceed on other issues.
+HON SEN. KHUMALO: The speaker who just gave a point of order does not want me to continue with the issue of Gukurahundi. However, the chiefs heard what I have been saying. I will, therefore, continue and say, if people are allocated residential areas according to their culture, it would be easy for the chiefs to control them. If you bring people from different provinces who do not know the culture pertaining to that province, they will fail to follow the specific culture for that province or community. If I have migrated and am now living in Mashonaland, for example in Chesa, you realise that I will have to abide by the culture of Chesa people.
I therefore, urge everyone to honour our chiefs for it is within our
Zimbabwean culture that when somebody enters a chief’s homestead, they have to honour them first. To the chiefs, I would like to tell them that they should teach people in their community that they are supposed to honour them, especially when they are coming to their homesteads. After all has been said, I would like to urge every one of us to really support people in their community so as to avoid malnutrition. I thank you.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. SEN. MUZENDA): I
move that the debate do now adjourn.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 25th February, 2016.
PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS
Fourth order read: Adjourned debate on motion in reply to the Presidential Speech.
Question again proposed.
HON. SEN. CHIMHINI: Thank you Mr. President. I just want to make one comment about the presentation by the President. In his last remarks, he mentioned something about peace and I stand very worried about the peace in this country. Last week, we had an incident where there was a clash between the police and the war veterans. In my view, this does not build peace in this country. My concern is that we may be playing with State security and institutions which we may find very difficult to manage. It is not my business to discuss what happens in other political parties, but it is of great concern that we have a situation where everybody finds people who are supposed to be leading the Security Sector in this country clashing in public.
The next issue which I raise, which is of great concern is that the President was one of the first people to come out and actually abhor the conflict or clash. I would expect the same President, every time when we have a situation where the police over-react, to come out and abhor such happenings because what we normally see is that, when other organisations have demonstrations people are beaten up, harassed and nothing really happens. In this case, the President came out very clearly to stop what was happening. To me this was a sign that there was a security threat.
As Senators, I think we must call on the leadership and
Government of this country that we want peace and stability because if we do not do that and allow political parties to fight amongst themselves, it disturbs the stability of this country. I think we are heading nowhere as a country. I thank you Mr. President.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER
DEVELOPMENT (HON. MUZENDA): I move that the debate do now adjourn.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 24th February, 2016.
REPORT OF THE PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE DELEGATION
TO THE 7TH WORLD WATER CONFERENCE
Fifth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the
Parliament of Zimbabwe delegation to the 7th World Water Conference.
Question again proposed.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER
DEVELOPMENT (HON. MUZENDA): I move that the debate do
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 25th February 2016.
On the motion of THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF ENERGY
AND POWER DEVELOPMNENT (HON. MUZENDA), the
Senate adjourned at Twelve Minutes past Four o’clock p.m.