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SENATE HANSARD 25 NOVEMBER 2020 VOL 30 NO 08

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Wednesday, 25th November, 2020

The Senate met at Half-past Two O’clock p.m.

PRAYERS

(THE DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE

SWITCHING OFF OF CELLPHONES

THE DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Let me remind Hon. Members that you should put your phones on silent or better still, switch them off.

LINKING TO THE VIRTUAL PLATFORM

THE DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Those who are going to rise and make contributions, ensure that you switch on your tablet and use your tablet for the address to enable Hon. Senators who are not in this Chamber to follow your contribution.

I notice that today is the beginning of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence and that is the reason why we have got some colourful dressing in the Chamber. We will be reminded of this very important period as we come to the close of the year every year.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR MASHONALAND EAST PROVINCE (HON. SEN. MUNZVERENGWI): Mr. President Sir, I move that Orders of the Day, Nos. 1 to 4 be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the Day have been disposed of.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS

Fifth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion in reply to the Presidential Speech.

Question again proposed.

HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to support this motion which was moved by Hon. Sen. Dube and seconded…

THE DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: The Presidential Speech.

HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: I am sorry Mr. President, I thought it was the gender-based violence.

THE DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Alright.

HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA: Mr. President Sir, I move for the adjournment of the debate.

HON. SEN. SIPANI-HUNGWE: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Thursday, 26th November, 2020.

MOTION

REPORT ON THE VIRTUAL EXTRAORDINARY SESSION OF THE GOVERNING COUNCIL OF THE INTER-PARLIAMENTARY UNION (IPU)

Sixth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Extraordinary Session of the Governing Council of the Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU).

Question again proposed.

HON. SEN. CHIEF MTSHANE-KHUMALO: Thank you Mr. President for this opportunity to debate the report on the virtual Extraordinary Session of the Governing Council of the Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) which was held between the 1st to the 3rd of November, 2020.

Mr. President Sir, allow me to go straight to the brief report on the outcome of the virtual segment of the Fifth World Conference of Speakers of Parliament…

An Hon. Senator having passed between the Hon. Senator Speaking and the Chair.

THE DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Order. Hon. Chief, you may not cross the line of sight.

HON. SEN. CHIEF MTSHANE-KHUMALO: Thank you Sir. Sorry for the interference Mr. President Sir. I was saying, allow me Mr. President to go straight to the brief report of the outcome of the virtual segment of the Fifth World Conference of Speakers of Parliament and the 13th Summit of Women Speakers of Parliament.

Hon. Advocate Hon. Mudenda, a key member of the preparatory process for the virtual segment of the Fifth World Conference on Speakers of Parliament briefed the Governing Council on the deliberation and positive outcomes of the conference which was attended by 115 top parliamentarians. In his presentation, the Hon. Speaker highlighted the following among others; that the conference discovered a wide range of topics spanning specific multilateralism, robust parliamentary diplomacy, climate change, sustainable development, health, youth and gender, democracy, human mobility, countering terrorism as well as science and technology.

The Conference affirmed the need to generate a strong message on parliamentary leadership and solidarity so as to learn from the lessons of today and join forces to tackle the daunting challenges facing our world at so many levels, not least in terms of global health, environmental and economic vicissitudes predicated on the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic; that the Conference was also a seminal platform in deepening our ties with the United Nations and the IPU’s other partners, in consonant with the theme of more effective multilateralism; participants pledged to reinforce the role of Parliaments in global governance underpinned by enhanced multilateralism and international solidarity anchored on the equality of sovereign nations and invited all parliamentarians around the world to study the Conference publication and reflect on the key outcome messages which should spur us towards working together for a better world.

The Governing Council elected members into the Preparatory Committee of the Fifth World Conference of Speakers of Parliament in person meeting scheduled for July 2021 in Vienna, Austria. The SADC Group put forward Hon. Catherine Gotani Hara of Malawi to replace Hon. Margaret Mensah Williams who is no longer Speaker. Hon. Gotani Hara was duly elected into the Preparatory Committee.

The Governing Council adopted the Report of the Committee on Human Rights of Parliamentarians. Of note, is the case involving Hon. Joana Mamombe on the following alleged Human Rights violations: - abduction; torture; ill treatment and other acts of violence; arbitrary arrest and detention; violation of freedom of opinion and expression; violation of freedom of assembly and association.

The report acknowledged Parliament of Zimbabwe’s response through the Hon. Speaker which elucidated the principle of sub judice which restrains intervention in Hon. Mamombe’s alleged criminal charges which are before the courts. In the spirit of transparency and parliamentary diplomacy, the Hon. Speaker responded to issues raised in the report emphasizing that, in line with the country’s Constitution which enshrines the doctrine of separation of powers, Parliament cannot interfere with the court’s due process. However, Parliament will be on the look-out for any unwarranted violations of Hon. Mamombe’s rights. Furthermore, Parliament will continue engaging the Committee on Human Rights for Parliamentarians on the status of the court case. Furthermore, the Hon. Speaker briefed the Governing Council on the status of the court case highlighting that Hon. Mamombe is out on bail and receiving appropriate treatment after being confirmed mentally unfit to stand trial.

On recommendations Mr. President Sir, it was recommended that the Parliament of Zimbabwe should continue to engage the Committee on Human Rights for Parliamentarians through provision of updates on the status of the case that I have just referred to for Hon. Mamombe; the Parliament of Zimbabwe is to continue engaging Treasury to ensure that subscriptions to the IPU are timeously paid to avoid accruing arrears and the Parliament of Zimbabwe is to continue participating in virtual statutory and ad hoc meetings of the IPU. With those few words Mr. President, thank you Sir.

Mr. President, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

HON. SEN. MATHUTHU: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Thursday, 26th November, 2020.

MOTION

PREVALENCE OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

Seventh Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence.

Question again proposed.

*HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: Thank you Mr. President for according me this opportunity to add my voice to this important debate, which marks the beginning of the 16 Days of activism so that it maps the way forward on how to deal with Gender Based Violence (GBV). We were fortunate to be part of the launch, that is why we are dressed in orange today which is called, ‘Orange the world’, in trying to map the way forward in eradicating violence so that people live in peace wherever they are. This violence includes beating each other up, fist fighting, some are using axes which causes some people to end up being hospitalised. When someone has been injured like that and hospitalised, you will find that it is the relatives who suffer since hospitals want money. The Government is also jeopardised because their workers are now incapacitated and our economy is run down. Mr. President, this violence is most commonly among women but there are some men who are abused by their wives. However, at the end of the day, children suffer because a violent home is not good for these little ones.

In my constituency, there was a woman who used to abuse her mother in-law. Whenever the mother in law visited, she would be housed in the servant’s quarters and was served food in unpleasant dishes. However, the children in this house one of them, a boy grew up witnessing this kind of treatment her grandmother. When this child got married, he relocated to the low density areas where her mother would visit them. This man gave instructions to his wife on how to treat her mother in the same manner her grandmother was treated.

However, one day when this man came back from work her mother complained to him that she was being ill treated by her wife, but the man replied that he was actually the one who had instructed her to do that because that is what he had grown up seeing. So he thought that was the normal way to treat grandmothers.

So, my point is that the violence that is happening in the homes, the children will be watching, so at the end of the day they do not know what is good and what is wrong. They will grow up with a mentality that violence is the way to settle differences. Married couples should learn to communicate properly and iron out their differences and find a common ground. Communication is the starting point and it will solve a lot of issues.

Mr. President, I have observed that violence is mainly caused by poverty, if there is no food in the house, people will fight. I encourage women that it is now past the time that you just sit and wait for the husband to provide food. As a woman, if you have a proper mind and are able bodied, you should find something else to supplement your husband’s earnings. We are very fortunate that this new dispensation is endeavouring to uplift the lives of women through projects and this is being spearheaded through the Ministry of Women Affairs.

A Women’s Development Bank was also opened to that effect, providing loans for those women who want to start income generating projects. One of the requirements for women to be eligible for a loan in this bank is a project proposal. However, there are people who can help facilitate that. Some women are illiterate but that does not mean that they are dull and cannot work. Therefore, it is my plea that we should help and encourage each other to work as women.

Mr. President, we should feel for our children who are growing up in our homes. We should make it a point to bring up our children well. In the rural areas where we come from, our chiefs and headmen are there and they know how we were raised in the past. There is this individualism, the extended family is no longer being recognised, we grew up knowing that if an uncle is no more, the young brother would take over and look after the family but now it is no longer there that is why we are facing all these challenges. Powers should be bestowed back to the chiefs so that they help us in molding our families.

I was very happy when I saw the programme that the First Lady is engaging in, whereby she is working with the chief’s wives. We have chiefs - behind every successful man there is a woman. So if that programme succeeds, it is going to help in curbing violence. Young girls will get good and constructive teachings from elder women and this will lessen the chances of child marriages. We want to encourage our chiefs’ wives with the work that they have been given that they will help us so that our young girls will grow up to be admired. They will get married when they are of age. The chiefs should take us back to our own culture and also teach the people of Zimbabwe so that they respect their traditions. We should shun this idea of importing foreign cultures into our country. This will help us as a nation.

I want to thank the organisers of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence. There are a lot of things that are in place so that we end this GBV. There are One-Stop-Centres which are dotted all over the country so that people would be assisted. Our children will get help and teaching from those centres on how to grow up to become good citizens of Zimbabwe. Mr. President, I want to thank you for the time you gave me, wishing that these 16 days of activism will make a difference in our lives in trying to end GBV in our homes.

+HON. SEN. M. NDLOVU: I would like to thank you Mr. President for according me this opportunity to debate. I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Dube for raising issues to do with gender based violence. Sometimes I wonder why violence is being perpetrated against women. For men to exist is because women gave birth to them. Women were in existence even in the past, now we fail to understand why violence is being perpetrated against women. Women are traditionally a weaker vessel which should be treated well. Also at times we say men abuse us women, yet we abuse one another because for a woman to be abused in a homestead, it is because another woman is perpetrating and perpetuating abuse to another woman.

Sometimes women abuse their men. You will discover that at times a man might be in front of a Traditional Court, then the wife would demean the husband by saying keep quiet and allow other men to speak. I notice that there is a lot of violence that is happening almost everywhere. There is domestic abuse or gender based violence that happens in the work place where women are forced into sexual relationships with their bosses. This is an abomination and this must not be accepted in our society.

Sexual abuse of women – gender based violence in the work place is cascading down to young girls who are taken advantage of by their managers. If we take note of that as Government – our Government has a President who listens. So it is important as Government to listen to the plight of women, particularly considering gender based violence. We know men can also be abused – let me say that a girl child has reached a stage of vulnerability; a stage where they are being abused. You will discover that the father would say, when a girl is being married off, the mother is not allowed to participate in discussions. Women are expected to go to the kitchen. However , it is important to note that as women, we help in raising up these girls and we know better than their fathers. So let us respect each other as a nation. The man is the head of the household and the woman is a helper, not a slave. We need to correct that. If we correct that as a nation, we will discover that our children will copy from us and there will be no abuses in future.

Right now there are a number of issues, particularly disciplining young girls. For instance a 12 year old girl should be molded to be a responsible citizen. So I would like to ask our chiefs to instill good moral values where young children are molded to be responsible citizens because if there are no moral standards in the home, you will discover that our children will be irresponsible. Mr. President, as a nation we want to have responsible children. Right now we are putting on regalia that we got from the Gender Based Violence Workshop – this is what we expect to benefit the nation. My request is that the President, the Head of State of Zimbabwe should consider the plight of women so that women are protected from all forms of abuse. For a woman to be intimate with a man, there must consent. We need to agree as a Black nation with customs that should be respected. The husband is the head of the family and the mother is the deputy. With these few words Mr. President, I thank you.

^^HON. SEN. MOHADI: Thank you Mr. President. In a few words, I would like to speak about gender based violence. Gender based violence figures are increasing every day. This is cascading down to young girls. Let me thank Hon. Sen. Dube for moving this motion, seconded by Hon. Sen. Mpofu. The Hon. Senator considered this motion to be important to move such an issue. Zimbabwean laws are there; we have a Constitution which guides us, which is supported by a number of statutes that ensure that a woman is protected. We have laws and acts of Parliament which guide us so that we see that a woman is protected. We also have some statutes which are found under the auspices of other status with the purpose of protecting women.

Mr. President Sir, the challenge that we face is that there are some gaps that are found and which will be covered so that Gender Based Violence (GBV) is eliminated and so that such issues are corrected. The gaps that are found are that there are inequalities, that is, the gender disparities that are there. This means that at times the interpretation of the law and its application should be done in a proper manner. Sometimes there are question marks in some gaps like these. So, it is important that such issues are put into the hands of the law.

Mr. President Sir, the other gap that I have noted is that these laws that were passed by Parliament as acts are in existence but what lacks is the implementation of these laws. At times these laws are not being implemented. There is a bit of a challenge. It is important to have monitoring to ensure that these laws and the clauses that are found in these laws are implemented. Also there is need for evaluation.

Mr. President Sir, let me end by saying that looking at these gaps, there is injustice that emanates from the fact that there are some who at times sweep issues under the carpet despite the fact that they might be officers of the law. Mr. President Sir, as we talk about Gender Based Violence, disseminating information to the communities might be a challenge. Information in rural areas might not be found permeating into the peripheral areas. Some people do not have access to information. For example, victims may not be able to go and report within 72 hours after that abuse has been perpetrated. In other instances, time would lapse before they go and make that report. Crimes are perpetrated and victims do not have transport to move from their homes to Government offices and responsible authorities to report these crimes.   As a result, they might be disadvantaged.

The other problem is that there is a lot of corruption. There are some people who after reporting their cases, do not get the justice that they want. At times, officers of the law are found disadvantaging victims and at the end of the day, such crimes are swept under the carpet. These cases at times, just die a natural death even after being reported.

Mr. President Sir, we know that when we talk about Gender Based Violence, it is important to also talk about its effects like trauma and diseases. Some people become stressed and some end up getting injured; some with permanent injuries and disabilities. Mr. President Sir, at times we may see that people lose their lives as a result of Gender Based Violence. Some die as a result of being abused. We need to take stern measures and we need to be serious as a Government. When people are affected in their lives, they end up losing their sanity and their mental stability because of the trauma that they have failed to handle. At the end of the day, this affects their psychological well-being. As we talk about Gender Based Violence, it is important that we understand its severity which at times leads to death. People end up suffering because of that. It is important that after experiencing violence, we report these cases.

Mr. President Sir, forgive me because I am talking about a very emotional issue. Let me end by saying our chiefs and our traditional leadership have ways of containing and ending Gender Based Violence because we need to understand that sometimes people might not take it as a criminal case. It is not right that they should be sidelined but they should be engaged and involved in fighting Gender Based Violence. Some issues might be dealt with within that system without going to the courts. Mr. President Sir, thank you very much.

*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: Thank you Hon. President. I would like to thank those who came up with this motion and all those who contributed to this issue. I stood up to say as chiefs and traditional leaders; we look at the issue of culture, traditions and dignity as a people in our community and look at our Constitution which the people voted for to say, those are the duties and roles of a chief. However, there is this issue; when we are talking about gender and violence, looking at the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, we are together in this struggle.

As chiefs, we do not support violence against men or women, that is gender-based violence.   Everywhere you go, please emphasise that as traditional leaders this is what we support and in the House of Senate, we agree. Let us work to end violence between men and women. I stand up to make emphasis on all that you were saying because as chiefs we just want to indicate that we are together in this. Let us not forget those people who are in this House. When the Constitution was being written, there was the issue of 50:50 equality on all positions that were chosen. If you remember very well, as chiefs we stood up and supported this. Whenever we are presented with an opportunity for us to uphold women, we do support them.

Does culture allow women to be abused? I have never met someone who can interpret that very well. Where does culture allow women to be beaten up? It is not there in our culture. If someone goes to drink opaque beer, comes back and threaten a woman, then goes on to beat her and people say it is culture; that is not culture. I would like to emphasise that culture is what people agree upon as a people as they live amongst themselves. If you go to that part of the country, you find people with their own norms and values whilst others have their own norms and values too. If you are to ask any chief on this gender-based violence, you will never find a tradition or culture that women should be beaten up.

There are men who fight when they are drunk and even when they are not drunk. Misunderstanding and shouting is there but for us to dismiss the violence amongst people to say it is culture, it is not true. It is not culture. If you are to look at that particular issue, you find that domestic violence is worldwide. People fight in their homes and what they fight for might differ. The number of people involved in violence differs but for us to say gender-based violence is as a result of culture – we may need a workshop that actually gives us or highlights exactly where this notion came from, to say culture allows to beat up men or women. No one can stand in front of us and lecture us to say culture allows the beating of women. Even in our culture, we condemn such acts of women who beat up men. We do not condone such behaviour. We are not supporting those acts; we are actually making them pay fines traditionally for such acts in our communities.

Others are fugitives in the country because their behaviour is wayward. So people continue to behave awkwardly, hence gender based violence. Let us unite as a people. That is my word and message to this House today as we commemorate 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence. Together when we are done with business in this House; Parliamentary Women’s Caucus let us meet after all these events, gather and discuss the exact truth on what is causing this chaos and what we can do as Senators to help end this problem. That way we can win on this issue. What this issue does not want is for us to be pointing fingers at people who have nothing to do with this issue. Truly speaking, with all these ties and beautiful suits we cannot come looking smart like that to promote gender based violence.

Hon. President, as chiefs representing culture and traditional values, we support the activism against gender based violence and to put an end to that madness. There are very few men who are beaten by women; it was mentioned yesterday by one of the participants. Others were given the opportunity to contribute on gender based violence in the homes. It was a situation where a man was afraid to contribute because he was afraid of being beaten up at home by his wife.

When we talk of development, we are not talking about just eating sadza. In development we are looking at the state of mind of people and having peace wherever they are, waking up in the morning without many worries to say what will I eat today or where will I spend the better part of the day? Where you sleep or live is a life space - the food you eat but your mind is not troubled. There is no development if you are worried all the time to say, what will happen today now that he has gone to drink outside of the home?

Having a good state of mind actually helps a lot and that is development. Even if you buy beautiful cars, if a man is afraid of going home and getting beaten up by the wife or either way – there is no development. Let us come together as traditional and political leaders, in fact leaders everywhere, let us work together to end gender based violence.

*HON. SEN. MOEKETSI: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to say one or two words in response to the motion that was tabled by Hon. Sen. Dube. Firstly, I would like to say that if there is no woman in the homestead of a traditional leader then it is not a home and if a village head has no wife in his homestead then it is not a home and even in a President’s house. All men who are sitting in this House were born of a woman.

I would like to talk about violence against women. Allow me Mr. President, to say that violence against women in communities that we live in is a very painful situation. I would like to mention where I grew up. We were a family of five girls and five boys. My father was not gifted in farming like other men and my mother was the head of the homestead. I want to explain that way back, as I speak I lived in such a homestead. My father was a drunkard and would walk on foot despite the distance in search of beer. I am not speaking evil about my father because he is now late but during that period when he was alive, people thought that an aggressive husband was good for a strong homestead.

Whenever he returned from the beer binges, he would hold one of his daughter’s hands and press aggressively on her finger and in the process ask – what did you eat in my absence? He wanted to establish what meals we ate during his absence, so we grew up in such a scenario. As children, we knew that whenever we went looking for mice, we would prepare the mice and leave some for our father. Sometimes chickens would disappear after being snatched by eagles from the homestead. Initially, we were not aware of the fact that our father would count all the chickens in the homestead before travelling and we would explain to him that the chickens had been snatched by eagles. He did not take that lightly and our mother would be beaten up for eating chicken during his absence.

Mr. President, what I am saying is still happening in some homesteads and some communities. Women are still being abused in these communities. In some instances, other women do not report and end up giving other reasons different from what would have actually transpired – they hide such information. At times when they go to their parents to report, the parents turn back their daughters to their homesteads saying that they should return to their husbands since the parents received lobola for their daughters.

Another time Hon. President, my mother sent my sister to buy some provisions and the women whom she went with delayed coming back. That very day and because of the darkness, my sister could not return home but our father returned on the very day. He was in the habit of calling out all the girls names one by one to establish whether we were all there. This was how he established that my sister was not there but upon my mother mentioning that she was not there, my father just kept quiet. Our mother knew that because when he is quiet, things were not all right and since we were still young we did not know that our mother was being abused.

My sister came back the next day and my mother told her that trouble was brewing, she was going to be beaten up by father. My mother planned together with my sister that the moment she opens the door, my sister would immediately run away. However, my father tried chasing her and failed because he was drunk but instead he caught my mother and glued his hands on her throat.

I had grown up a bit and saw that my mother was dying and had to intervene. I am telling the House what I did myself; it was not done from next door. I hit my father with a big pounding stick so that he would let my mother go because he had his hands glued her throat.

In an effort to catch me, he ran after me, unfortunately there was a trench in the field and he fell inside the trench and I was able to jump over it. My mother managed to gain strength and again took the pounding stick and hit my father. So that was the very last day that we witnessed my father’s violent actions against my mother.

My father was well known for his violent behavior even where he went to drink opaque beer. Many people in the community were so scared of him; they would gather money whenever they saw him in sight so that they could buy him beer and avoid his violent actions.

My mother would only have peace when my father had gone out a distance away from the homestead to drink bear. However, we still have such people in this country abusing women to this extent.

It is my plea hon. President to say we still have a lot of work - women are threatened in their homesteads. Others cannot listen to any good news because of the people they live with. People cannot report such issues even to the police for help.

We kindly ask Mr. President that we still have a lot of work in this country on the ground. I know this campaign against gender based violence is being flighted everywhere, even on the radios but how many people have radios and how many are listening to these debates in this august House? If it is a man who understood that it is referring to him and reprimanding him, they would rather ask you to switch it off. So we still have a lot of work.

Long ago women were forced to go to the fields and were given the most difficult task in ploughing with cattle, a task known to be very dangerous that one can actually die when using cattle for farming for the first time (kupingudza mombe). A chief’s or president’s homestead without a wife is not a homestead - so women are very important and should not be abused.

The term prostitute is the most degrading or heavy word used against women, yet a woman cannot do prostitution without a man. We cannot continue to have the term being used to say women are prostitutes. Mr. President, we still have a lot of work to do for women to be respected in this country.

Thank you Mr. President for saying that traditional leaders are in support of this action, it is very true. We have graves of women who committed suicide because of being abused. With these few words, I thank you.

*HON. SEN. CHIFAMBA: Thank you Mr. President for giving me the opportunity to add my voice to what was said by my fellow Senators. What really touches me is that during the COVID-19 lockdown, a lot of women have been beaten up by men. The figure is quite big and it was recorded by Musasa Project because most women were reporting their cases. However, there are others who did not report abuse and suffered in silence. We need to pray that COVID-19 does not come back to Zimbabwe again because during the lockdown a lot of domestic violence cases were recorded, which we sometimes fail to understand whether it was because men did not have money to buy cigarettes or beer.

So my desire is that this disease should not come for the second time because violence statistics will go up. Those who release statistics say that every day and every hour there is death as a result of gender based violence. Every hour there is a case of rape and there is case of gender based violence against women and girls. The beating up of women is a problem and the social abuse of women and girls needs urgent attention. At times you will find that a 15 year old girl going to school can be raped, why? Even a woman who is innocent can be raped and when they get home they are abused again by their husbands who want to know what caused that man to rape her.

I would like to urge people to love each other because they promised to love each other. At times there are women who feel uncomfortable when their husbands are coming back because of the abuse they get. Even children suffer abuse in the homes at times. I would like to say men, please love your wives as they love you. You need to understand that as a man, your life is in the hands of your wife because she is the one who cooks for you. You should appreciate that women are longsuffering, they are very patient. They even wash and cook for you after you have beaten them up.

I really feel moved to see women being beaten up accused of being prostitutes but there are promiscuous men who are not being beaten up. This pains me because a woman will be going out with a man but you find out that only the woman will be beaten. They should be both beaten up if that is the case. In homes at times when the man is being promiscuous they vent out their anger on their wives. Most women are infected with STIs, this is another form of abuse that affects us as women. At times I will be aware that my man is not behaving well but because as a woman you are not empowered, you do not have the power to address that. Men should love their wives because wives end up suffering psychologically. Some even die and some suffer different forms of depression.

For those who live with disabilities, some men rape them, even those who are mentally ill – our men are heartless. What I know is that it is not possible for men to live without women. At times you find a man bringing a woman to places where they are not allowed because they cannot live alone. Even in camps where single men live, you will find them with women. You will be surprised when you find women being beaten up; what do you really want? My question is why this is happening yet you love women so much? Maybe the wife has offended you, you need to engage her and discuss instead of beating her up.

It is sad when you marry while you have a daughter. After she grew up, your husband falls in love with her or takes advantage of her. Sometimes you wonder how men behave, why they behave the way they behave and how they want to live upon this earth. This results in women seeking revenge, so as a woman it pains to be beaten up. After beating me up, you do not even comfort me, instead I go to my maternal home to seek solace, is this love? All women need to be respected, whether they are single or married. All the men who beat up their wives during the COVID -19 lockdown should love their wives. With these few words Mr. President I would like to thank you.

*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHIKWAKA: Thank you Mr. President for allowing me to add a few words to this debate regarding gender based violence. Let me take a different angle. Our elders have an adage which might be difficult to explain to people who are in this august House. In English the adage goes, nobody is perfect or in Shona, kumuzinda hakuna weko. I am not supporting domestic violence but I would like to criticize strongly some behaviour.

In this august House we heard Hon. Sen. Moeketsi debating about how some men are errant. This cuts both ways Mr. President. Abuse is not just about men but women also abuse men. Let me give you an example, there were two girls who grew up together. One had a boyfriend who was in Harare and the other had a rural boyfriend. The rural girl and her boyfriend exchanged clothes as a promise to marry each other. This boyfriend who was in Harare was selling brooms. When the boyfriend was hungry he went to get some food and he decided to go to Highfield to take his friend so that they would go together to their rural home. He left his girlfriend and her friend at his home. They did all the household chores. The boyfriend came back late around 8 p.m. They told the girls that we are very sorry it is late, let us go and look for private cars to go home. They knew that they could not find any transport at that time. They had to return to the boyfriend’s place and they asked the girls to sleep over so that they would accompany them the following day. Now this girl had made vows with her rural boyfriend. This man who had his girlfriend went to sleep in a different room but this girl who had a rural boyfriend ended up sleeping with the other man and was impregnated. When she went back to the rural areas, she was pregnant and she informed her aunt. She was asked who was responsible for the pregnancy and she explained. She told the aunt that she did not know the man’s name and the aunt played her role Mr. President Sir.

I want you to understand my point that women can be abusers. The girl went to her boyfriend and informed him that she was impregnated by another man who was in Harare. She took back the clothes that they have exchanged as vows. The boyfriend pleaded with the girl not to tell people that the pregnancy was not his because he loved her. This man married that lady and they gave the child the surname of this rural boyfriend.

The first born son went to the liberation struggle and came back after the war. He was given a high position at the Airforce of Zimbabwe. When the father passed away, he bought a casket and met all the costs for the funeral. During the tombstone unveiling, some relatives told the siblings that the first born was not their father’s child. They did so because of issues surrounding inheritance of the late father. They prepared some beer as is a custom in Shona tradition.

The first born son who was working at the Airforce came back to his rural area and he was surprised to find that people were performing that ritual yet he was not informed. He questioned that and his young brother told him to go and confront her mother. That is when he was told that he was not their father’s son. He said I went to the liberation struggle and I am now 45; how can you tell me that? This young man went to the barracks and took an AK47 and went to Murewa centre. He looked for those who run butcheries and said if you want beef you can come with me because I want to slaughter all our cattle. When people were still celebrating, he just went to the kraal and shot all his 14 cows. He told people to take the meat. He told his sibling to destroy the houses that he built. He fired warning shots so that they destroy the houses.

He went and confronted his mother so that she tells him who his father was. He had married five women and they were all leaving him because he was not able to conceive. So, he said I am being told that I do not belong to this family and yet you know who my father is. If you do not tell me then I am going to make sure that this is the end of us all; you, myself and my siblings. After noting all the things that had happened, the mother then informed the son who the father was. This man comes from where I come from and he started looking for his father at 48 years of age. Then he went to his father’s home and all his father’s features were similar to the son’s features since the father also had a long neck. This is when the man discovered his father’s identity but he had suffered for a long time. The mother was hiding this information from him by not disclosing his father’s identity to him.

This is happening Mr. President Sir and even in our contemporary society, we have women who are not disclosing their children’s father’s identities. Sometimes women swear that they brought up their children alone without the fathers. We see cases of abuse with mothers abusing their children. Mr. President, there was a different case that came to my court and I handled it. The woman eventually informed the court that she had a relationship with her brother and conceived. So abuse is not exclusive to men who are said to be beating up women but we also have cases of women who beat up men.

We also have cases of women who abuse children. Step mothers are often found to be abusing their step children. Some children do not even go to school because of abuse. Mr. President, when some girls reach puberty, they do not have support from their step mothers – this is abuse and is a big form of abuse that is being perpetrated by both men and women. So, as a nation, let us not just point fingers at men but let us unite and work together since this issue is an eye opener that we have been tasked to educate people on gender based violence.

Even cases concerning the abuse of children, I witnessed a 48 year old man who was facing different challenges. He could not procreate or keep a marriage and unfortunately passed away last year. Mr. President, I just wanted to explain the fact that domestic violence or gender based violence is not about women only but also men are being abused. I thank you.

*HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA: Thank you very much Mr. President.   I just want to say a few words and contribute a few words to this motion. The issue of violence as mentioned by the previous speaker, I just want to echo the same sentiments and say that this House should put an end to such acts of violence as elderly men and women.

The Chief mentioned our tradition and to all chiefs in the House, let me explain that in our tradition, there is nowhere where it was explained to an extent that it would have helped this country. It means that when we were growing up Hon. President, we were taught on the tradition of how to do things – such things as, what is a woman, were taught about our culture. I would like to testify as I stand in this House.

The issue Mr. President, when I wanted to marry, I informed my grandfathers who brought me up. They informed me that there was a particular day that they were going to listen to my story and they looked for five men. Women were informed to prepare and fill up a basket of food for us. I carried my own basket up the mountain and we spent the whole day with me being taught on the virtues of marriage now that I had expressed my desire to marry. It was an opportunity for me to be taught all about marriage and an opportunity to highlight on issues of marriage. Was that your final option – was the main question. Is she the one that you have chosen?

When you say that you want a woman, she is your helper and if you have found a woman, she is not yours only but for the whole family. Whatever she does as a woman, she will be helping the family – that is what I was taught the whole day. All this had to do with marriage and looking after a woman. They highlighted the importance of a woman to me. Even at churches, the same lesson is there – such values are there. It is an important vow. So, I want to come back to the vow because a lot of people are failing this vow.

As Hon. Senators and as grown ups, we no longer have time to teach our own children about marriage. There was a couple that had divorced for 12 years and after we had highlighted to them on the importance of marriage and giving them advice – they came back together. Hon. President, as elderly people, let us teach our children and give them wisdom on these issues. When our children want to marry, the question should be, is this the person that you have chosen? Our culture states that the bride to be should take money proffered by the groom to indicate truly that this is the partner of her choice – that is our culture. We take time to advice and teach our children on everything to do with marriage that if anything happens to your marriage, it is your fault and not anyone else – that will be the teaching.

We also take opportunity to educate our young boys on the importance of a woman – home needs order. Mr. President, please allow me to tell our women that we love you a lot as men. The violence that you witness is not supposed to be happening – it is actually an accident and nothing else. It is just as a result of failing or misunderstanding. Even in the word of God, we learnt when we were growing up that women should submit themselves to their husbands, your husband is the head of the family but he does not lead the home alone, you work together. You unite to achieve all things by putting together ideas and help each other.

Mr. President, nowadays, a slight mistake then everything erupts into chaos. We were taught on the importance of what happens in the bedroom that it is between two people. Those two people are the ones who looked for each other because of the love they shared for each other. Traditional chiefs are well versed with these issues and are in a better position to teach and counsel these youngsters. Where I come from, traditional chiefs will call me to their traditional courts just to hear their court cases. My question was - what were the problems brought to his court and he said cases of disputes between a daughter in-law and mother in-law.

The main problem lies with the women; they do not play their role correctly. They deny their daughters in-law some of the things that they are supposed to either benefit or have as a woman. Those are some of the experiences I gained from chiefs as I attended their court cases. On the contrary, there is nothing you can also do without a mother in the home. Our children should learn the importance of their marriages; learn to look after each other without violence.

I do not look down upon women but it is my opinion on how I understood equality that our salaries used to differ against those of women. A woman’s salary would not equate with that of a man and it was not supposed to be like that. However, when we drafted the new Constitution it was changed and now emphasis is on equality.

Women in this House are no longer playing their role of advising their daughters in law and children on the right things to do. There is no more respect in homes. As chiefs, you will find that some of the cases are very small issues such that children need advice.

Let me finish by saying the rise in divorce cases is not pleasing. A lot of couples are divorcing and as parents, we should educate them. We have seen a lot as elderly men. We should work together, both men and women to bring sanity amongst our children. I thank you.

*HON. SEN. MATIIRIRA: Thank you Mr. President for according me this opportunity to add my voice on this motion which was raised by Hon. Sen. Dube and her seconder in connection with gender based violence which is rampant amongst women, men and children.

Mr. President, we can spend the whole day talking about violence which is caused by a lot of things. If we look at the four corners of the world, you will see that it is violence all over every day and it is very painful. I think some of the violent activities emanate from poverty but we have other families who are well up yet each and every day there is violence.

I am saying as we have started the 16 days in trying to end the gender based violence, I think we should come up with a very concrete thing so that we end this violence within these 16 days.

Mr. President, we can hold workshops and ideas are coming from this House but my point is that we should start from our homes as husbands and wives. We should have time with our families, even one day a week so that we engage our families. This will help us because words of peace come from the mother and father. Where there is a father and a mother in a family, let us be aware that there is a boy who is going to be a father in future and a girl who is going to be a mother. So when violence emanates from these homes which have destroyed families every day. I think that one of the things that helps us, is if a child comes from a home where people are living together in peace, that child has good moral values. When such children go out and meet with others they can spread peace to their counterparts, which will also help us a nation.

Secondly, we have heard about one stop centres. I wish Government, if it was possible, more of these should be opened in all the structures in our rural areas where we come from. Some of this behaviour is caused by lack of information but if we have these one stop centres, information will be available to everyone even in rural areas. We have Musasa Project which helps us. They cannot cover all areas but with one stop centres even some of the remotest areas will get the information.

As this august House, we should take it upon ourselves to spread this word, helping each other so that we put an end to violence in homes. What pains most Mr. President, is that violence is more on women yet women are the bearers of children. I think men need to understand this for them to stop such behaviours. We also have our headmen and chiefs; those structures will help us to get back to our culture. Long back, the aunt will be with the girl child and the uncle will be with the boy child but today it is not happening. It is now the opposite; the aunt can even cause violence in my home, which shows that women do not support each other. We want to live in peace because peace is healthy. Wherever there are structures, this word of GBV should be preached because some lack knowledge or they grew up in such a family set up.

One Hon. Member alluded to the fact that some people are shy to open up and tell their violent experience in the homes. This does not end violence. What we are saying is, this violence should stop forthwith but we are looking for ways of how to end it because it is doing more harm to our nation than good. Therefore, all of us have got work to do in order to end this violence. Violence does not bring peace to our country.

We know that our President is doing all he can – we have widows and orphans, people living with disabilities and the Ministry of Women’s Affairs are trying their level best. Looking at the projects that are lined up for women so that they can improve their livelihoods, it shows that our Government has got people at heart especially women. However, all this is not bringing violence to an end until we find a solution.

It is very painful Mr. President to find that whatever is women driven will die a natural death. People are dying and mostly it is women this is not a good thing; it shows that homes are not at peace. What this entails is that a woman suffers at the end when homes are not in peace. Children end up not behaving well because of violence. Some will marry early due to violence. Therefore, we should work together wholeheartedly so that we end this GBV. We should talk against it strongly at these one stop centres. They should be found everywhere for people to gain knowledge closer home. With these few words, I thank you Mr. President.

*HON. SEN. FEMAI: Thank you Mr. President. I would like to add my voice to the motion that was moved by Hon. Sen. Dube, seconded by Hon. Sen. Mpofu. Firstly, I would like to say if war has been declared, say for example Zimbabwe against Russia, it will go to the Round Table towards the end. When it goes to the Round Table, they find a mediator, then Russia and Zimbabwe will come to the table and then war is brought to an end.

What do I mean with these words? When we talk about abuse of women, let us also mention men. Let us not only mention women as if they are the only ones who are abused because even men are being abused. Let me tell you that even myself, I might be abused but for me to reveal it to you I am ashamed because you will laugh at me. If you go for a workshop to discuss this issue about what is happening in homes, men will come out to say they are being abused. Some women in the rural communities may not be able to reveal that they are being abused by men but if it is during a workshop, some information can be revealed. They will know where their protection lies. Even chiefs know that there are homesteads where the Chiheras are well known. Homesteads are known to say this homestead is that of “chihera’s”, and not the husband’s surname. That is another form of abuse. There has to be understanding amongst people, including organisations coming as mediators. We saw hats that are being worn in this House. The logo is for women but we are talking of gender. There is no logo that represents men on those hats. We are talking of gender, men and women abusing each other but a workshop is conducted with emphasis on women being abused, nothing is being said about men being abused. If we look closely, amongst all those who participated at the workshop as speakers, there was no man. That is why I am saying let us have a cease fire.

I am one of those men who do not beat their wives. I have never been violent to my wife. I have never beaten my wife and I do not want to hear such issues that a woman has been beaten. I know these issues of women and men being violated. Let me give an example of a truck driver who wanted to go to his rural home. He asked his family what they wanted and he indicated to his wife that he wanted her to prepare him food to eat on his way. He came back the very same day around 11p.m. The information he had was that at Lake Chivero, there was a show from various artists. He knew very well that his wife enjoyed the music of Jah Prayzah and the likes of Aleck Macheso.

When he arrived home around 11p.m, he found the children alone and he went straight to the lake. The wife was busy dancing on the stage and she had a pint of beer glued to her hand. He managed to get close to the woman just to indicate that he had seen her. When she realised that she had been seen by her husband, she ran backstage and disappeared. The husband tried to contact his wife but he failed.

The following day, the husband was called to the police station. The police informed the husband that his crime was that of intimidating his wife with intentions of killing her and a docket was opened. The wife was advised by her friends to pack her things and go as the husband was held in the police cells. Luckily, her relatives advised her to bring back all the stuff that she had taken from the husband’s house. There are many issues of men being arrested when they are not wrong, for example, after catching their wives with other men. Let this issue be put for discussion and both parties should be present.

We are talking about gender and gender does not refer to women only but men also. Let us have both parties into the discussion. We have women who beat up men and vice versa. Even homesteads that are said to belong to the “chihera’s” instead of the family name, let us bring both parties together. Let us not be one sided. Those who will hear such issues will think in Zimbabwe only men are the perpetrators of violence. The difference might be that when women are abused they make a lot of noise, but men do not scream as much as men do.

I have a friend who also had a bad experience. When he got his pension, he surrendered all the money to his wife. He wanted to buy a truck but instead the wife grabbed all the money. The woman went to buy bricks and put a durawall on their home and all the money was finished. Right now as we speak, my friend is glued at home. He is being asked to go and fetch water using a wheel barrow. If he had bought a truck, right now he would be buying food stuffs for the family instead of fetching water every day. Let us put this issue into discussion. Bring both parties involved, men and women. It is not a one-sided issue. Everyone should come together - not only women but men as well. The discussions should not give voice to women only. Just like we are in this House, both men and women are against gender based violence. We should stand together as people. The world will see that this thing is now moving because we have come together. I would like to thank you Hon. President for this opportunity that you have given me.

HON. SEN. A. DUBE: Mr. President, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Thursday, 26th November, 2020.

MOTION

CONDOLENCES ON THE DEATH OF HON. SEN. AIR CHIEF MARSHALL RTD. PERRANCE SHIRI

Eighth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the death of Hon. Sen. Air. Chief Marshal (Rtd) Perence Shiri.

Question again proposed.

HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: Mr. President, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA: I second.

On the motion of HON. SEN. MOHADI, seconded by HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI, the Senate adjourned at Six minutes to Five o’clock p.m.

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