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SENATE HANSARD 25 AUGUST 2022 VOL 31 NO 62
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Thursday, 25thAugust, 2022
The Senate met at Half-past Two o’clock p.m.
(THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE
SWITCHING OFF OF CELL PHONES
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Hon. Senators are reminded to put their phones on silent or switch them off.
APOLOGIES RECEIVED FROM MINISTERS
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Today is Thursday and in Senate, it is the day for Questions without Notice and later, Questions with Notice. I do have here a list of Hon. Ministers who have tendered their apologies as follows:
Hon. D. Musabayana, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade;
Hon. W. Chitando, Minister of Mines and Mining Development;
Hon. P. Mavima, Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare and
Hon. K. Kazembe, Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage.
So far, we do have three Hon. Ministers present as follows:
Hon. F. Mhona, Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development;
Hon. C. Chiduwa, Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Development;
Hon. R. Machingura, Deputy Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
HON. SEN. CHIEF NGUNGUMBANE: Thank you Hon. President. I would want to direct my question to the Hon. Minister of Transport, Hon. Mhona. Does the Minister have in place any plans for NRZ to introduce intercity travel since Government has eased most of the COVID-19 restrictions? I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): Thank you Mr. President Sir. Let me also thank Hon. Sen. Chief Ngungumbane for that very important question, which also gives me this platform to elaborate and appraise the august Senate on what we are currently doing through NRZ. Mr. President Sir, the Hon. Senator has raised a very important question. We know that we stopped the intercity facility because of COVID-19. Now, with the relaxation of those restrictions, we are also going to introduce the intercity again whereby in terms of cost management, it is cheap to use train. Above all Mr. President Sir, we are seized as a Ministry, in trying to procure what we call Diesel Multiple Units (DMUs) that will facilitate the ease movement of passengers unlike the archaic locomotives and wagons that we are currently using. I must also commend the Second Republic in trying to move with speed in that regard. To answer Hon. Senator’s question, yes we will soon be introducing the intercity. To ease pressure within our communities in terms of cities, we will also be introducing that service so that we lessen the burden and the demand for public transport by the commuters. This is something that we are working with other stakeholders and I am glad to say in the near future Mr. President Sir, you will see the new branded NRZ back on track. Thank you Mr. President Sir.
HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: Thank you Mr. President. I would want to ask my supplementary question to the Hon. Minister. He has answered very well in that things are being sorted out so that NRZ re-gains its glory. As we all know, it used to be working very well. Since they put in measures to ensure that it regains its original status, they should put in place measures to ensure that the infrastructure is not vandalised by those that were responsible for destroying the previous NRZ. Thank you.
HON. MHONA: Thank Hon. President of the Senate. Thank you Hon. Sen. Tongogara for raising that pertinent question. It is true that it was very popular in terms of moving goods and in terms of employment. This has gone down. We are grateful that we now have a visionary leader, His Excellency, the President, Dr. Mnangagwa. A lot of infrastructure that had gone down the drain is now being resuscitated and among those, many things that I have made reference to, we used to know that our railway lines used to carry passengers. Some of the infrastructure was now being destroyed by the employees and above all, because of the corruption that we were seeing, the President is against corruption and unscrupulous means.
So as we come up with new infrastructure and new stock in the form of wagons and locomotives, the employees are expected to look after this infrastructure in a proper manner and be proud as Zimbabweans that we build our own country and as a result, we should also look after our own infrastructure. So when this new infrastructure comes on board, it is our duty as the august House to go back to the people and explain to them Government policies through our oversight as well as representative functions. As we come here, we should also be alive to that.
I do not believe it should end there. If it is the Government, there are also Government departments, ministries or agents that are responsible for the public relations between the people, stakeholders and the Government departments. As the Senate, we should be alive to ensure that we carry oversight and safeguard Government’s properties. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. CHIEF. NTABENI: My supplementary question goes to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development. Many of our roads have been destroyed and are now full of potholes as a result of the movement of heavy trucks. When you have resuscitated our railway system, will you remove those heavy trucks from our roads and rehabilitate the roads? I thank you.
*HON. MHONA: Yes, it is true that if our roads are well maintained, there are certain types of vehicles that may be overloaded or maybe illegal. Once we have well running rail infrastructure, goods that are now being found on the roads will now be transported by the railways. It will then mean that as we maintain our roads, our work is made much lighter. As you have rightly pointed out, the majority of the goods that used to be transported by railway line are now being put on the road. If we look at our railway network, we have 2 800km, which means that we have railway transport system unlike in other countries. We know that 260km are what we have as cracks. On roads, we say potholes but those cracks need to be relooked and also be made functional so that our goods and locomotives can move smoothly.
This also gives us a chance to also repair our roads that would have been damaged for a long time. We should also know that we draw from one source in terms of funding and we may not meet the pace that the public expects us to be moving, but the truth of the matter is, once our railways are in place, our roads are going to have lighter motor vehicles and the burden placed on them is going to become better. Road and rail transport are all linked. Goods should be transported along the railways. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. KOMICHI: Thank you Mr. President. My question is directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development. I believe that Zimbabwean people would want to know about the issue mentioned earlier. You said you are going to restore the railway system to its former glory. When do we expect that to be done? The chief has said that the railway lines are now in a bad state. As you strive towards doing that, how much do you require to ensure that this project can take off? Do you now have partners that can assist you to ensure that this good work is done?
*HON. MHONA: Thank you Mr. President. The truth of the matter is, if you look at the debates that are taking place in the National Assembly and in Senate, we are looking at the supplementary budget so that we are able to buy some of the equipment and accessories that I am talking about. If you look at the Mid-term Fiscal Statement, it states that the NRZ should buy five locomotives. These are DMUs and that should happen during this year.
What I am making a reference to is in the Government’s plans and I urge that as you look at the supplementary budget, the faster that you allow the Minister the faster things will come on board as agreed to. In the statement by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, there is US$115 million that is required. That is what we are working with now. I believe that if we buy these things, we will move much faster. It is something we are already working on. It is not something that we envisage will be done. We are discussing with those that can repair, make or build these locomotives and fixing the engines. I thank you.
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: We have been joined by three more Ministers and they are as follows;- Hon. Garwe, Minister of National Housing and Social Amenities; Hon. Nyoni, Minister of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development and Hon. Maboyi, the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage.
HON. SEN. MOHADI: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity. My question goes to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development. Before I ask my question, I would like to thank him for the work being done along the Masvingo-Beitbridge Road, sikutshayela ihlombe, you are doing a wonderful job. We do not know when you are going to finish but it is a good job. My question is on the Beitbridge-Bulawayo Road, do you have any plans of working on that road, if so when?
THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): Thank you Mr. President. I would also like to thank Hon. Sen. Mohadi for the compliments and I also need to commend the Second Republic for also making sure that we listen to the request and the people of Zimbabwe to make sure that they have a happy living conducive environment to do their business through effective and robust road network. Mr. President Sir, Bulawayo- Beitbridge Road is one of our emotional roads and I want to thank the Hon. Sen. for bringing that.
As we are rehabilitating the Beitbridge-Harare Road, now already the contractor is on site and we are busy we have started again to work on the Beitbridge-Bulawayo waiting for a bigger partner to work on that particular stretch. Currently, in the next month, you will see us opening part of that road. We have already started doing the Beitbridge-Bulawayo but the desired state is to make sure that we do the entire stretch. Right now we can do 5km but it is nothing as compared to the distance that has to be covered. What we have, initially we had one suitor for that road and apparently we were not happy with the structure. We have taken it upon ourselves to start working on the road whilst we are also pursuing other partners so that we rehabilitate that road.
What I want to assure Hon. Sen. Mohadi is that we have started and she cited the Harare/Beitbridge road, we are certain that we will be through come next year and the entire stretch will be done. Not only Beitbridge-Bulawayo, we also have Bulawayo-Tsholotsho, Bulawayo-Nkayi Roads, those are also major roads that we are seized with as a Ministry. I want to assure the Hon. Senator that we have started and also to say in the near future, you will see us depending heavily on that particular stretch which is in a sorry state, I need to concur.
His Excellency the President of Zimbabwe is saying there is no one and no place that is going to be left behind inter-alia that road she has mentioned is one of those roads.
HON. SEN. MANYAU: Thank you Mr. President, my question is; we have too many potholes in the locations where we live...
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: That is not a supplementary question. I will right your name down for a fresh question.
HON. SEN. KAMBIZI: Thank you Mr. President, it is by mere coincidence that most of the questions are directed to the Minister of Transport; accordingly mine is also directed to him. Mr. President, the capital city is over flooded by vehicles; vehicles of all types to an extent that there is no longer a peak hour. When it comes to Harare, every hour is a peak hour. From a layman’s perspective, our roads have been overwhelmed by the volume of traffic. Therefore Hon. Minister, what plans does Government have to ensure there is no longer over flooding of vehicles in the capital city that has seen accidents occurring regularly? I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): Thank you Mr. President Sir and let me also thank Hon. Sen. Kambizi. Indeed Mr. President Sir, the chaotic situation that we are witnessing in our cities is something that needs to be addressed with speed. I do agree with Hon. Sen. Kambizi, we know that the issue to do with urban mass transport system falls under the purview of local authorities and in this particular instance, Local Government. From a policy perspective Mr. President, the issues to do with mass urban transportation are at the centre of the Second Republic. The issues to do with congestion, we must take cognisance of the fact that roads were designed years back where in terms of the traffic, as we speak we are looking close to 1.5 million vehicles plying our roads and during those days they were targeting less than a 500 000 vehicles. You can imagine all these years we did not witness rehabilitation and expansion of our roads which has actually impacted negatively and resulted in the chaos that has been alluded to by the Hon. Senator. So my response is; we are in a process of widening, coming up to widen our roads as we speak and I will cite one good example that you will see us even right from Mbudzi interchange straight to Harare Post Office where we are dualising, widening our roads, trying to decongest some of our roads. We are also coming up with Harare ring road so that we decongest some of the vehicles plying straight into the city centre, of which they are not supposed to be passing through the city centre. So I do agree that the chaos that we have and we are also trying to engage a player in the transportation system to have an organized Committee where they also take charge. I can cite a good example; we have got the chovhamubaiwa, very organized in terms of picking passengers which is also a plea to those plying City of Harare in particular, so that we have organized association and we do not have chaos. It also comes to the indiscipline and failure to exercise patience. Everyone wants to be the first whether the robot is green or red, you will find someone even driving facing oncoming traffic, which is also a wakeup call to the citizenry to say, let us uphold the rules and regulations of our roads. Let us also bear with one another because this is something that comes from an individual that the indiscipline that we are witnessing is scary, what we can do in the shortest space of time that we have as a nation whilst we are waiting also for the DMUs. The DMUs that I talked about, if you look at our status quo for our railway line, it actually passes through heavy industries and through locations, so already the infrastructure is there. You will see that instead of everyone driving into town you will now have an option to drive during weekends because we will be having a robust alternative transport facility. So this is what we are working on and I want to thank the Hon. Sen. that it is a journey that we have started. Also bear with us as we partake into this very important trajectory. I thank you Mr. President.
*HON. SEN. SIPANI-HUNGWE: Thank you Mr. President. My question is directed to the Minister of Energy and Power Development. What is Government policy regarding electricity and the issue of motor vehicles and so on? Some of these are caused by street lights that are now working. I want to also point out that the road that leads to the airport is very important to the nation, I was receiving a guest and there were no street lights, it was dark. Do we have people that see that street lights from the airport to the city are functional?
Again, people out there want to know about the issue of electricity, every day there is load shedding, they get electricity well after 2000 hours. What is Government’s position? I thank you.
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Hon. Sen. Hungwe, you mentioned I think the issue of street lights on the airport road and then the last part of the question I think it is to do with the availability of electricity to the nation. What are you asking about? I do not know if street lighting is under the Minister’s purview, I suspect it might not be.
HON. SIPANI-HUNGWE: Thank you Mr. President, I mentioned the issue of street lights because they are not functioning well because sometimes there will be no electricity. Street lights normally function using electricity.
*THE MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. SODA): Thank you Hon. President. Let me thank Hon. Sen. Sipani-Hungwe for posing the question. There might be several questions but let me try and answer the question by saying that we do have a shortage of electricity which has now led us to going into agreements with the neighbouring countries such as Mozambique and South Africa to provide us with electricity. A short while ago, ZESA made an arrangement to source electricity of 100 megawatts from Zambia. All these measures are being put in place as we wait for the coming on board of unit 7 at Hwange so that it can bring 300 megawatts into the grid. We believe that by November, that power generator will have come on board and January 2023, the other one that will bring in another 300 megawatts.
What we are doing is short term and others are long term. As I explained earlier on, at Hwange Power Station, there is an expansion programme taking place. Government did not end there, the problems that we are facing are coming from the fact that from unit 1 to unit 6, the infrastructure is now very old and they are constantly breaking down. It was then decided that those units should be refurbished, so as we start getting electricity from unit 7 and 8, we will have a chance to switch off some of these older units so that they can be refurbished. As they are refurbished, it is our wish that they should give us 920 megawatts from those six units, which is the installed capacity of the existing power station.
Mr. President, this also includes private investors that are coming on board as independent power producers. We do have several of those that are putting up electricity on to our national grid. Those that are harnessing solar energy and putting it into the grid are also assisting the Government in ensuring that power shortage is eliminated. The country and economy cannot develop without power. There should be a relationship between the development of the country and the amount of electricity available.
Mr. President, I will go back to the issue of the CBD, that there are power outages and that motor vehicles cannot utilise traffic lights because traffic lights will not be functioning as a result of there being no electricity. One of the causes is vandalism. This vandalism is caused by criminals and we have observed that power lines will have been stolen or transformers will have been affected and this leads to power outages. Government gives priority to most of the CBD businesses so that they are able to manufacture. In the cities, even if we have power outages, we do not do load shedding. If there is no electricity, it will be a power outage or it would be vandalism or some of the accessories will have been stolen.
The Hon. Senator gave an example of the road that leads to the airport, that it will be dark, and that will not give a good image. Such an issue needs cooperation so that the street lights which fall under the city councils, especially the City of Harare, should be able to look into that issue and ensure that there is street lightning in those roads unless there is a fault but they work hand-in-glove with ZESA so that there will be electricity. Thank you.
*HON. SEN. KOMICHI: My supplementary question is that the Minister said with unit 7 and 8, we will be producing adequate electricity in February 2023. Are we then going to have a relief as a result of that? Are we going to have adequate electricity? Furthermore, what is the deficit that you are currently having in terms of demand as well as how much are you importing, when do you expect to reach the level where this country is going to have sufficient electricity? I thank you.
*THE MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. SODA): Thank you Hon. Sen. Komichi for the question. I have explained that we are not only waiting for the arrival of the month of February that we should have adequate electricity. The explanation that I gave in the previous question, I mentioned that in August, we have put in place measures to receive 100 megawatts from Zambia (ZESCO). We are not just waiting that come February everything will have been attended to because things that I have made reference to are going to be maintained so that Zimbabwean population can get adequate electricity in mining, farming and other industries. This is news that we are waiting for February to end our plights. Work is being currently done but we have put in place short term measures and we also have long term measures to ensure that we have adequate electricity.
I have already explained what the Government has done. The Government has a vision and that vision looks at becoming an upper middle class society by 2030 and hence we have put in place measures to ensure that, that can be done and we do that by ensuring that there is an expansion of Hwange through Unit 7 and 8 and refurbishment of the old units. So, we are going further in saying what type of development will be required in this country and what quantities of electricity are we going to have if Unit 7 and 8 is going to provide adequate electricity. ZESA is constantly carrying out research to find out in terms of NDS1 so that by the time we reach 2025, what will be the required amount of electricity that will be adequate. We even take it further to 2030. We have a blue print that addresses such issues in terms of where we are going to get electricity from so that the country has adequate electricity. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. MANYAU: Thank you Mr. President. I now pose my question to the Minister of National Housing and Social Amenities. There are a lot of disabled people in Zimbabwe who are on the waiting list. Some of these people have been on this waiting list for over ten years and whenever they approach your offices, they are told that they have not been on the waiting list for ten years. Those that have organisations are informed that the stands are available for USD7 000 which is beyond the reach of the majority of these people. If one is disabled, are they discriminated by disability when they come to your offices? I thank you.
*THE MINISTER OF NATIONAL HOUSING AND SOCIAL AMENITIES (HON. GARWE): Thank you Mr. President. Let me thank Hon. Sen. Manyau for the question. I have understood the question to be too pronged. The first one requires that you have to put the question in writing so that we carry out our research and so that we give a satisfactory answer. The second part is that in the new dispensation led by His Excellency the President, Dr. Mnangagwa, no place and no one is going to be left behind; the youth, the disabled, women and men, everyone should have accommodation. Please put it in writing so that we can look into the question closely. I thank you.
+HON. SEN. NKOMO: Thank you Mr. President. My question is directed to the Minister of Home Affairs. The Government is doing a very good job and it is approaching all those without documentation. My question is on those other people who are referred to as street kids - how does your Ministry operate? I thank you.
+THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND CULTURAL HERITAGE (HON. MAVHUNGU-MABOYI): I thank Hon. Sen. Nkomo. Yes, we appreciate that you have commended us that we are doing a good job. For street kids, we have no programme at the moment to look into their issues and to find out where they come from, but I see that the First Lady is trying to make sure that community is gathered but us as a Ministry, we have not yet heard that from her. We are grateful that you have told us about that and we also realise that it is a feasible programme for the street kids.
We have some other organisations which have tried to gather that community, be they adults or kids, that they be gathered at one place to find out where they come from. Now that you have told us, we will comply and see how we can handle that matter as a Ministry because these street kids come from somewhere. So, if we undertake that programme, their relatives will come back and try to coax them. We will look into that. Thank you.
+HON. SEN. S. MPOFU: Thank Mr. President Sir. My question is directed to the Minister of Home Affairs. Of late, there was this issue that passports were no longer being printed. What had gone wrong that caused you to cease printing of passports? Have you since started producing those passports? I thank you.
+THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND CULTURAL HERITAGE (HON. MAVHUNGA-MABOYI): Thank you Mr. President Sir. Yes, our machine was down and now the machines are up and running. The passports are now being produced. You can pass through and inquire from the people. I also got feedback that things are working quite well. I thank you.
HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI: Thank you Hon. President. My question is directed to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development. The banks today are giving cash of about ZWD5 000 a week. That is maybe equivalent to US$10 at ZWD500 but if you go to the ATM or foreign currency, you will get USD1000. Is it the policy of the Ministry to strangle people to buy local goods because when you want to buy, you cannot use ZWD 5000 to buy anything from the market? For the person without an ATM card; ecocash is restricted. It is not easy for an ordinary person to be able to access money to use to buy ordinary goods on the streets.
If you go on the street, you will find cash being waved around but when you get to the bank you would not wave around because it will be little. What is the Government policy in trying to address the access to local currency by ordinary citizens?
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHIDUWA): Thank you Mr. President Sir. I would also like to thank Hon. Sen. Mudzuri. Let me first correct the Hon. Senator when he said - is it Government policy to strangle people. It is not the policy of Government. The policy of Government is to ensure that people get their money freely. With regards to the ZWD5 000 limit, the policy of Government with regards to financial inclusion is to use multiple products that can be used for transacting. One such is the usage of cash but if you check in terms of international best practice and what is happening globally, we are moving away from the use of hard cash.
Yes for us, our peculiar case is, we are still heavily dependent on the use of cash but what we have done as Government is to adjust the limits in line with inflation. So going forward, we will continue to review. We will look at what is coming from the consumer associations. They also do similar submissions as what you have done. We also consult the Bankers Association of Zimbabwe and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ). These limits are normally announced in the Monetary Policy Statement. So what I can assure you Hon. Sen. Is, the limits will continue to be reviewed.
Meanwhile, we also encourage our transacting public to make use of other platforms like the one which you have mentioned to say, it is somehow limited where people can make use of mobile platforms. I may also want to tell the House that we may also try looking at what are called Central Bank digital currencies. This again is a shift that is going to happen in line with international trends where we are moving away from the use of hard cash. I thank you.
HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI: Thank you Mr. President. My supplementary question is around the use of other platforms. If you go into shops you do not use any other currency, you cannot swipe. You can only swipe ZWD. It is actually giving people to trade in the USD outside the normal currency because USD is more transacted outside the streets than our local currency. You cannot swipe the USD or any other currency. So, how do you interpret your explanation that you must be using other platforms? *You said we can also use what we call mobile platforms but there is my grandmother who is at home who sells tomatoes and she wants to receive her hard cash. She only has a phone that allows her to receive phone calls from grandchildren. How do you expect these people to use $10 per week? If they want to buy a goat, they should raise $10 per week. You said you were going to review it. How long is it going to take for you to see that the limit that you are giving is now worthless?
HON. CHIDUWA: Thank you Hon. President. I would want to thank the Hon. Senator for the supplementary question. I am very happy when you said if we go in our shops, it appears like the only currency where the swipe facility is available is for the Zimbabwe dollar.
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Order. Hon. Minister, your gadget is no longer connected.
HON. CHIDUWA: I am happy Hon. Senator to say if the currency that is available on the swipe facility is the local currency, then that is the policy trajectory that we have. We would want to promote the use of our local currency. We have said it before that as a country, in order for us to move forward, we need to transact and make use of the Zimbabwe dollar. If you check the development that we have done as a country, let us look at the roads, dams, infrastructure development when it comes to airports, hospitals and clinics, all this is happening because of the use of the local currency. I have been speaking to friends and said, guys at that time when we were using the US dollar, can you please point to me one project that we did as a country...
HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI: Point of Order, Mr. President.
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: There is no point of order. He is speaking his mind. He is explaining what you asked him. You can make a follow up question. Hon. Minister, you may continue.
HON. CHIDUWA: Thank you Mr. President. My submission is, it is very important that we make use of the local currency. From the Hon. Senator’s submission, it appears like there is something that should be done so that when it comes to swiping, facilities should be there not only for the local currency but even for the other currencies such as the US dollar. I think this is a matter of preference because if you go to shops, they give you the choice. You can use the local currency or you can use the US dollar. I am not sure how best we can then go to shops to say if there is that facility to use the local currency, you should also ensure that where people have US dollar, you should have swipe facilities. We have said, both the US dollar and the local currency are legal tender and as a matter of policy, both should be availed when it comes to transacting. I would say this is the position. If there is that facility for the local currency, I think this is good news for us.
HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI: I move that time for Questions without Notice be extended by 15 minutes.
HON. SEN. PHUGENI: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI: Thank you Mr. President. My question comes as a supplementary but what I wanted to say is, there is no interchange. If you go to Zambia, Mozambique, France, UK there is a swipe machine you use with a foreign currency card. You can transact both currencies, which means if I go to South Africa and I have got a foreign currency card, if I swipe, it will interchange immediately,. that is no existent in this country. So the platform he is talking about is not there. That is why I wanted him to explain why there is no interchange if he wants us to use multi-currency. He was telling us about projects but I wanted him to answer how the common person in the rural areas will be able to transact when they do not have the gadgets. They need the cash at least at a reasonable amount that they can use.
*HON. CHIDUWA: Thank you Hon. Sen. Mudzuri. If I look at leading retail outlets, they all have swipe machines. They transact in both the Zimbabwe dollar and the US dollar. For the rural area, this is again where we have a challenge because some shops are still at those levels where they are not in a position to have swipe machines for Visa and US dollars. As part of our financial inclusion, we are saying let us make use of the cash which I said we are going to review. Let us make use of other platforms that can assist our people to be able to transact in addition to the swipe machines that might be limited in the rural areas. As I said, this is work in progress but the issue of limits is going to be reviewed. Thank you.
HON. SEN. CHIEF NGUNGUMBANE: Thank you Mr. President for offering me this opportunity. I would want to direct my question to the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs. Mr. President, we have seen lawlessness gripping our society today, especially on the roads where people now park cars willy-nilly and break the law as they want. We have seen police officers turning a blind eye on that. I wanted to find out from the Minister what the Government policy is in ensuring that the Police maintain law and order in our roads. I thank you.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND CULTURAL HERITAGE (HON. MAVHUNGA-MABOYI): Thank you Mr. President. Thank you Hon. Sen. Ngungumbane. It is very true, as we also drive from here going to Beitbridge, we sometimes are greeted by that situation and we say the situation has not always been like that. Yes, we have our police officers. Those are our children who are at times stubborn no matter how you tell them, no matter how they know the laws since they are policemen. They sometimes ignore that one, but I just wanted to say Hon. Senators, with due respect, wherever you get a situation where the police are doing that, can you please help us.
We are saying yes, they are doing that. At times when I am travelling in a police car, they know it and if they have made people to stand like they want to make sure they are taking something, you find they just try to hide their faces. Those are policemen. We are not rejecting that but we are trying by all means that they should follow the laws of the country.
Yes, we have that situation. I will try to go and talk to my principal that Hon. Senators really are not happy and we are also not happy. We are seeing the situation. At times it is unbearable, but let us try to correct the situation. We can do that by probably just parking your car, Hon. Sen. Ngungumbane and showing them that you are a Senator and what they are doing is not correct. You are not insulting them but you are giving them the real issue. This is what we come across yes.
I remember the other time I saw these young policemen putting their heads inside the cars when there is this COVID. I just parked the car and asked what type of policing they were doing. Now they were a bit scared and I told them that I am the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs. Do you mean that you are very safe when you are putting your head inside the car which you do not even know where it is coming from? So we have that problem. We have to accept but it is not all of them who are doing that. Thank you very much.
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Thank you Minister. If I can just assist, Minister crack your whip. There is too much lawlessness on the roads. That question which has been raised by the Hon. Sen. Chief is very relevant. If we do not nip this in the bud, it will get out of hand. So I think you need to crack the whip and get people to obey the law of the land in terms of traffic. There are people who are driving against one ways. They are doing all sorts of illegal things. So please Minister, you must whip the people in line so that they follow the country’s laws.
HON. MAVHUNGA-MABOYI: We also want to say we will try by all means. We are working with our young policemen who are a bit stubborn as I said, but we will crack the whip. Thank you.
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Do not be afraid, you have the power.
*HON. SEN. CHIEF NHEMA: Thank you Mr. President. My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Development. What has the gold coin helped us as a country, especially those of us who are in the communal lands; for example, the old lady who is selling tomatoes? I thought that after the coming on board of the gold coin, the 2% would be removed. What has the gold coin helped us, especially to the people in the rural areas? Thank you.
*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHIDUWA): Thank you Hon. President. The major problem that I should state is that we were having incessant price rises or inflation. This inflation, when we looked at it, we observed that it was being caused by too much liquidity in the market, so we then decided to come up with a way of mopping up this excess liquidity in the market, then yes, we brought in the gold coin.
The purpose of the gold coin is two pronged; first, that there are some people who have money and they would want to store value on their money. As a result of inflation, our currency could not be used as a storage value. So those elite who have a lot of money, we then decided that it would be used as a store of value for those with their monies.
Of the gold coins that we have sold, we have used ZWL4 billion. Of the ZWL4 billion, we have taken that money off the market. People are going to keep that gold coin for six months and we will also be holding on to ZWL 4 billion. If you go on the market to look for this ZWL4 billion, you will not access it. It has helped on the ground in that at the moment, the volatility of the prices is no longer there. The person who has gold now wants Zimbabwean dollar and it is not easily available. That we have created a demand for our local currency has now stabilised. No one now wants to part with their Zimbabwean dollars. Even the black market rate is now around 600 to 650. It is almost closer to the upper bid rates of the auction.
It has helped the ordinary man and woman on the street that our prices are now stable, prices are going down. That is the benefit that we have now derived, Hon. Sen. Chief Nhema. I thank you.
Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE in terms of Standing Order No. 67.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Questions No. 1 up to 7 are deferred up to next week.
HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI: On a point of order, before the Ministers leave.
THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: My point of order is, last week we were promised that we are likely to get a Ministerial Statement on gold coins this week, the Hon. Minister is still here, he might disappear before he tells us what is going on.
THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Hon. Minister, did you promise that?
HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI: Hon. President, you are the one who said the Minister of Finance and Economic Development is coming this week.
THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I was hoping the Hon. Minister would come for the Budget this week. Unfortunately, the Minister of Finance is held up in the National Assembly and it looks like we will debate next week. The issue of gold coins will then be debated in detail next week.
HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI: What we need is a statement which explains everything before we debate.
THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I do not know about the statement but I know that in the budget he will talk about gold coins. You can remind him to say something on gold coins when he comes. Otherwise he could not come this week because there were challenges in the National Assembly.
HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI: Why I am asking this is we are legislators, we have to explain to our constituencies. We cannot continue to be ignorant and say we are going to debate this during the budget. We need background information and understand what it means so that we can also explain when we go out there. Yes, we can debate the budget but when we do not understand what it means, does it make sense? We want to know what it means first then we will be able to debate that. We will then be able to contribute knowing what will be going on.
THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I think that is fair, Hon. Deputy Minister of Finance take note of that.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. SEN. MATHUTHU: Mr. President, I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 and 2 be stood over until Order No. 3 has been disposed of.
HON. SEN. N. NDLOVU: I second.
Motion put and agreed to
REPORT OF THE THEMATIC COMMITTEE ON GENDER AND DEVELOPMENT ON THE INQUIRY INTO THE STATUS AND WELFARE OF CHILDREN ACCOMPANYING INCARCERATED MOTHERS AND ACCESS TO ANTE-NATAL CARE FOR PREGNANT WOMEN IN PRISONS
Third Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the Thematic Committee on Gender and Development on the Inquiry into the Status and Welfare of Children Accompanying Incarcerated Mothers.
Question again proposed.
*HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: Thank you Mr. President for affording me the opportunity to add my voice to the report that was tabled by the Thematic Committee on Gender and Development and was read in this august Senate by Hon. Sen. Ndlovu. Madam President, they gave us a report that described how they conducted their business. They visited prisons where women who are breast feeding, who have children below two years and those who are pregnant are incarcerated. Pregnant women who are arrested when they are pregnant will be imprisoned and they will give birth whilst in prison. Our Constitution in sections 18 and 91 give rights to the children. We also observed that such rights are enshrined in the Constitution and in section 58 of the Prison Act, it allows children to live with their mothers inside.
Madam President, in terms of the children’s rights that they should also be in the company of their mothers, these children face some challenges. When the Committee visited various prisons, the problems that they saw include that children that are with their mothers in prisons are not getting adequate medication. There are medical personnel but they were not resourced and as a result this tended to neglect the right of the children. It was also observed that women who are pregnant whilst they are incarcerated in these prisons face some challenges; even if they are midwives it was observed that they lacked necessary medication to help these women. The care givers then find it very difficult to perform their duties in the absence of necessary tools of trade. It was observed that these children are allowed to live with their mothers for 18 months, thereafter they are removed from breastfeeding but there arises a problem. Once they have been weaned off breast milk,, no relative is forthcoming to take that child so that they can look after that child since the mother would still be serving her sentence.
Furthermore, if there is no one who is willing to take or adopt the children and such children cannot benefit from any environment outside the prison. It was also observed that though the Social Welfare can assist some children they are unable to take away the children. It was observed that when they are taken to Social Welfare, there is no form of assistance which is good that they receive so that when they are taken to Social Welfare, there is no form of assistance which is good that they receive so when they go out, they have no means of sustaining themselves outside the institution.
It was also observed that sanitary wear is difficult to come by. We are aware that our Government came up with a law that sanitary wear should be given to women, especially school children but it was observed that there is a problem Madam President. The issue is that school children are not regularly receiving the sanitary wear and there is no sanitary wear to talk about in prison that is coming from the Government. They get assistance from well-wishers but here is the problem, the well-wisher will say I was assisting you but I am now unable to do that, which means they will have to tear the bed sheets that they are supposed to use as bedding to use as sanitary wear. These are challenges that need to be looked into.
Madam President, I urge the Minister of Finance to try and ensure that women that are incarcerated also receive funding through the prisons so that the lives of these incarcerated women will be improved because sanitary wear is important. It is a natural process that everyone goes through no matter their location. Government should come on board and assist us so that prisons are allocated sufficient funding to ensure that they buy sanitary wear for women.
Madam President, I would want to express my gratitude to the Government for coming up with open prisons which are now being constructed. Once all our provinces have these open prisons, they now have better accommodation and they will not be over crowded because there will be seven or ten in a small room. This is a good project. It also restores the dignity of these incarcerated women. It is my plea that the Ministry of Lands gives farms to prisons so that those incarcerated prisoners can grow their own food. It will mean that the food shortages that we have in prison will be a thing of the past because there will be self-sustenance through farming ventures. We are all aware that those that have been allocated land should know that farming is a business and one should commercially farm and should not be used for subsistence purposes. Gone are the days when subsistence farming should be the in thing and once we also grow to feed the nation, this will ensure that prisoners that are incarcerated will grow their own food and become self-sustaining. Prisons can raise their own monies from farming ventures through hard work and harvesting sufficient quantities that exceed their requirements and ending up selling the surplus. From the cash raised, they can end up providing for other things that are in shortage at prisons.
I want to thank the Committee that conducted these visits to prisons, who then give us a detailed report and also came up with how the conditions of prisons can be improved and that of women that are incarcerated. Thank you Madam President.
+HON. SEN. C. NDLOVU: Thank you Madam President. I am one of those people who visited prisons looking at the welfare of women in prisons especially those with children. We went all around Matabeleland and also in Masvingo. I was hurt by three things: the first one is that when children are in prison with their parents, it means the child is being incarcerated for a crime that he/she did not commit. This will be a young child. Looking at the life that the mother will be leading with children, this then affects the child when they are grown up. Children will think that they should emulate the life that was experienced by their mothers in prison. The child then grows up living a very difficult life.
Madam President, Government should feel pity for these young children especially the toddlers who can manage to walk or managing on their own without their mothers. They should be placed at a certain place which is more like a preschool where the mother can just go and visit them and may be breastfeed them there. The mother will be just going there to check on them every now and again. I think that would be better instead of them staying with their mothers in those crowded prisons like what has been alluded to by other Hon. Senators. There will be about ten adults staying in a very small room. We were told at Khami Prison that at times there are squabbles in those rooms, especially with those who are mentally disturbed, they end up fighting and this is bad for the child to see such things.
I was also hurt, it was said that these ladies are staying crowded and when we went there, it was very cold. They did not have any blankets. I noticed that one of the ladies was covering herself with a blanket. Those are not proper blankets, the very bad ones. These blankets are still in the same prisons that were there during the colonial era but when you go where there are white prisoners, they lead more or less normal life. It is actually a correctional prison. They were staying in prisons which were more of apartments or flats and they were trained a lot of things on how to make shoes, cook and to make clothes and uniforms. They were under training and each one had a bed in the room. Although they were locked up, you could see that that is a nice place for someone to stay although it is someone who would have committed an offence. With us here, we have been independent for over 40 years and we are still using the old prisons that were there during the colonial era. Why do we not change these prisons?
Even if someone is in prison, one has to know that they have wronged the nation but we are hardening them by placing them in such places because when they are released from prison, they will tell us that they have been hardened by the prison. So they are no longer afraid of committing other offences but when they go to these prisons where they are trained and taught how to use their own hands to survive, others will tell you that I managed to do a course in prison and now I can stand on my own. You find that some people can survive that way.
We cannot all be the same but my main request just like what had been said by other Hon. Senators is, may the Minister of Finance please try to develop these prisons so that they can change completely? These should be rehabilitation centres and it should be clear that these are prisons where people are independent. They should not survive like people in a kraal because that is what used to hurt us a lot when you saw someone in prison.
Whites used to oppress us and it used to hurt us a lot and we thought that was going to change but it never changed. Nothing has changed in the prisons from my own observation because that is what I used to see when I was still young, and that is the same thing I am still seeing after forty years plus after independence. There should be a difference and we are now being ruled by Africans. They should not continue hating other blacks the same way that whites used to hate us. They should just correct them properly.
There is a way of correcting someone and there is another way of hardening and that is why most of these people who come out of prison come out as hardened criminals. Coming to these women with children in prison, it really hates seeing children in those places. They were not too many, but they should construct a room, maybe half the size of this room and get someone to look after the children and cook for them.
At some places where we visited, we were told that there was no food for children but children were eating whatever the mother was eating. We know that in prison, people eat cabbage and soup and such food is what is given to children who are eight months or a year old. The mothers were crying saying that they are given porridge in the morning but the porridge will not have sugar. We know that they are trying to punish the offenders but why are they punishing the children as well?
We were hurt as women when we saw that because we realised that children were really suffering and that is a life that they will never forget in their lives. So our request is that we would like to remind the Minister of Finance to build places for young children in prisons or they can build a school or a crèche for them because these children learn from a young age. So if you do not teach them whilst they are still young, then you will not manage them when they are old. That is what I also wanted to add to what has already been said.
Our main request is that these women be given blankets as I said that they are given these small rough blankets and those are the blankets that they use together with the children. We know that we had a very cold spell this winter but for them to be given one blanket is not good. Madam President, our plea is that you talk to the Ministers and the President because we also want to know what the Government is doing about those people in prison who only have one blanket in winter time and yet some of us still feel cold when we have so many blankets. Thank you Madam President.
HON. SEN. C. NDLOVU: Thank you Madam President. I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Tuesday, 30 August, 2022.
REPORT OF THE THEMATIC COMMITTEE ON GENDER AND DEVELOPMENT ON THE BENCHMARKING VISIT TO RWANDA
Fourth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the Thematic Committee on Gender and Development on the benchmarking visit to Rwanda.
Question again proposed.
HON. SEN. PHUGENI: Thank you Madam President for giving
me the opportunity to debate on the report of the Thematic Committee on Gender and Development on their benchmarking visit to Rwanda on women participation in leadership, politics, decision making and women empowerment in the socio-economic sector from 26th to 31st March, 2022.
In debating this report, I would like to draw inspiration from the Word of God. The Book of Jeremiah 6:16 reads, “Stand at the crossroads and look. Ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is and walk in it and will find rest for your soul”.
The question may be asked, what is benchmarking? Google says benchmarking is to evaluate something by comparison with a standard. I will be the first one to concede that Rwanda is not the gold standard but I am sure that everyone agrees with me that their standard will be great progress on our part. The trip to Rwanda by the Thematic Committee on Gender and Development came at a great cost to our national fiscus and it will be a great shame if the lessons learnt there were to come to naught.
The Word of God said, “ask where the good way is and walk in it”. In other words, it is not enough only to find a good thing or a good path and then just ignore it. Rwanda, like Zimbabwe, is a landlocked country of just over 12.6 million inhabitants situated in Central Africa. In 1994, it suffered a genocide in which over a million people died. There could be no better country to benchmark Zimbabwe than Rwanda, considering our past as a nation also.
The Constitution of Zimbabwe envisages a situation whereby there is gender parity in the composition of Parliament and in decision making structures of our governance. Unfortunately, the currency composition falls far short of this Constitutional imperative. The Constitution Amendment Number 2 was not helpful also in this regard as it maintains this unfair and unjust low numbers of women in Parliament for the next 10 years.
If we are benchmarking ourselves as a nation against Rwanda, then we have a long way to go because women in Rwanda constitute the majority in their Parliament. To be precise, women are 61% in that Parliament. The question then therefore, is how did they achieve such an impressive feat? The United Nations on Women says, the road for women’ s increased participation in politics in Rwanda was paved by the 2003 Constitution, which set aside a quarter of 30% women in all decision making organs, including 24 of the 80 seats in the Lower House of Parliament.
Those seats are elected by Innovative, which is the operative whip, Innovative Special Electoral College, composed of voters from local women councils and district councils. Besides the two reserved seats, women candidates won 26 other seats of the 53 available. In other words, if we are to bring women into the mainstream of politics, we need to design and craft our laws in a manner that encourages them and that makes it possible for us to attain this progressive goal.
It is clear that the people of Rwanda did not pay only lip service to this important issue of gender parity. Their Electoral Act and other related legislation and election processes and procedures are geared towards making gender parity more than just a slogan but to achieve this noble reality. If Zimbabwe was to achieve this benchmark, it must without questioning, revise its laws so that it can give effect to this important matter.
Madam President, following the much publicised gruesome genocide of 1994, the Government of Rwanda enacted laws criminalising genocide ideology, which can include intimidation, defamatory speeches, genocide denial and mocking of victims. If we as a nation were to achieve the levels of national unity and harmony which Rwanda has, it will be important to emulate such measures following the Gukurahundi atrocities of 1983 to 1987. We see in intraparty elections and discussions this willy-nilly mocking of victims of Gukurahundi with impunity in this country. We see opposing members being threatened with Gukurahundi every now and then, mostly in opposition parties. This undermines this goal which we have set for ourselves as the thematic committee gave its report.
Rwanda, the country which we are benchmarking ourselves on enacted laws which criminalise genocide and in this case, we can say Gukurahundi ideology, intimidation, defamatory speeches around Gukurahundi and those that deny and mock victims of Gukurahundi. Rwanda did not stop there Madam President. It went further and established what is called reconciliation barometer. The latest report was released in 2020, which is an assessment of the status of reconciliation in Rwanda from 2016 to 2020. This report seeks to assess how much effort the Government, development partners, the civil society, the media, as well as those of private business have succeeded in bringing about unity and reconciliation among Rwandans since 1994.
As a country, we are yet to embark on such rigorous and deliberate initiatives to measure as to how far we have gone with reconciliation since the atrocities if we are serious. This work is not only work which is exclusive to Government. Our chosen nation to benchmark shows us that Government, developmental partners, civil society together with the media and private sector have a role to play.
In 2010, the National Unity Reconciliation Commission undertook a national survey in Rwanda that formed the basis of the first national reconciliation barometer. A subsequent addition of the national reconciliation barometer was presented in 2015. The 2015 report highlighted the gains made since 2010, as well as challenges to reconciliation that needed special attention. Factors that hindered reconciliation as indicated in the report included ethnic based stereotypes at 27.9% lingering genocide ideologies at 25.8% and wounds resulting from past divisions and genocide not fully healed.
We must not be discouraged or deterred in going down this path because of some failures. It is possible that the road will be difficult, steep and resisted by certain unreformed elements of our Gukurahundi. As a nation, as we have already started the journey by going to benchmark against Rwanda, we must take this unavoidable initiative and see this journey through.
Madam President, another important benchmark which has been debated a lot also is the inclusive nature of Rwanda’s Parliament and Governance structures. Almost similar to what we had here in Zimbabwe during the GNU era, 2009 to 2013, the politics of winner takes all has left us poorer and more divided and frankly a laughing stock in the region. This cannot be amply emphasised than what we have just experienced in the last 24 hours to 48 hours in South Africa when one of our citizens ailing and in need of an operation was mocked by no more than a member of the provincial administration in South Africa.
It is important Madam President that this country appreciates that together and united, we are winners but the winner takes all mentality where the one that wins is the one that enjoys the protection and the benefits of the Constitution is not good for us. Those that constitute the members of the opposition are viewed in demeaning eyes and speech and are classified as sellers and people responsible for the negative outcomes, economic and sociological problems which our people are experiencing.
Our country needs to come up with a governance structure such as the one which we experienced in Rwanda where the opposition members can also be Presiding Officers in Parliament. The opposition members make up also the administrative arm of Government. To be in opposition is not to be an enemy. It is a good and worthy contribution to a multi-party democratic dispensation.
In closing Madam President Ma’am, the rights enshrined in the Constitution accrue to all Zimbabweans without regard for gender, ethnicity and race amongst other considerations. In this regard, I am firmly focusing my attention on the plight of intersex children that are born amongst us. The children that are born with this condition are normally subjected to unfair …
THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Order. If you can wind up, your time has lapsed.
HON. SEN. PHUGENI: Thank you Madam President. I am reading the last part. The plight of the intersex children demands our overdue attention. The forced so-called corrective surgery is not only cruel but inhumane and outright evil. These surgeries have a lasting and damaging impact upon these precious souls that most of them end up committing suicide or end up with permanent physical and mental trauma. The text said, stand at the cross-roads and look, ask for the ancient parts, ask where the good way is and walk in it and you will find rest to your souls but you said we will not walk. Let it not be said of Zimbabwe but you said we will not walk in it. Thank you Madam President.
HON. SEN. C. NDLOVU: Thank you Madam President, I would like to thank you for allowing me to conclude the report on the benchmark visit to Rwanda by the Thematic Committee on Gender and Development. I would also like to thank the Hon. Senators for robustly debating and making submissions. The majority of Senators sitting here today debated the report. I was taking down the number of Senators and it is almost 24 Senators that debated this report and I would really like to thank you. It is our fervent hope that the submissions made by the Hon. Senators who passionately debated, the lessons learnt from the visit in Rwanda are not going to be in vain. We are hoping that the responsible ministries are going to take appropriate measures to address some of the concerns which were raised by Hon. Senators in this august House.
There are important lessons to be learnt from their submissions, there are important lessons to be extracted from their submissions and from the report itself. I therefore seek leave of the House for the withdrawal of the motion Madam President.
Motion that this House takes note of the Report of the Thematic Committee on Gender and Development on the benchmarking visit to Rwanda on women participation in leadership, politics, decision-making positions and women empowerment in the socio-economic sector, with leave, withdrawn.
On the motion of HON. SEN. MATHUTHU, seconded by HON. SEN. CHISOROCHENGWE, the Senate adjourned at Sixteen minutes to Five o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 30th August 2022.