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SENATE HANSARD 25 JULY 2017 26-72
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Tuesday 25th July, 2017
The Senate met at Half-past Two o’clock p.m.
(THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE
INVITATION TO THE ZIMBABWE PARLIAMENTARIANS ON
HIV AND AIDS (ZIPAH) MEETING
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: I wish to inform
the Senate that the Zimbabwe Parliamentarians on HIV and AIDS (ZIPAH) Executive is inviting all ZIPAH Members to a meeting to be held on Wednesday, 26th July, 2017 at 1200 hours in the Government Caucus room.
INVITATION TO A CATHOLIC CHURCH SERVICE
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I also wish to inform
the House that there will be a Catholic Service tomorrow, Wednesday, the 26th July, 2017 at 1200 hours in the Senate Chamber. All members who are Catholics and those who are not Catholics are invited.
STATE OF THE NATION ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY THE
First Order read: Adjourned debate on motion in reply to the State of the Nation Address.
Question again proposed.
HON. SEN. CHIPANGA: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. MUMVURI: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 26th July, 2017.
FIRST REPORT OF THE THEMATIC COMMITTEE ON PEACE
AND SECURITY ON THE PREPAREDNESS OF THE GRAIN MARKETING BOARD ON HANDLING THE 2016/2017 CROP
DELIVERIES AND THE SUCCESS OF THE COMMAND
HON. SEN. MUMVURI: I move the motion standing in my name
that this House takes note of the First Report of the Thematic Committee on Peace and Security on the Preparedness of the Grain Marketing Board to handle the 2016/2017 Crop Deliveries and the Success of the Command Agriculture Programme.
HON. SEN. MAKONE: I second.
HON. SEN MUMVURI:
The Command Agriculture Programme, an import substitution-led industrialisation concept deliberately is meant to empower local producers of cereal crops particularly maize so as to achieve national food security and in the process, boosting capacity of farmers as well as the creation of employment for thousands of people in the sector. Introduced for the 2016/17 agricultural summer season, the programme is expected to produce maize bumper harvest. From 28 May 2017 to 2 June 2017, the Thematic Committee on Peace and Security conducted fact finding visits to selected Command Agriculture Programme beneficiaries to ascertain the success of the programme.
The Committee also toured selected GMB depots in the provinces to assess their state of preparedness to handle the expected 2016/2017 bumper harvest. This report provides the
Committee's major findings, conclusions and recommendations.
2.0 OBJECTIVES OF CONDUCTING THE TOURS
The Committee's fact finding visit was guided by the following objectives:
- To assess GMB’s state of preparedness to handle the expected 2016/2017 bumper harvest.
- To ascertain the success of the Command Agriculture contracted farmers in producing the expected maize.
- To appreciate the challenges affecting the smooth
implementation of Command Agriculture Programme in the provinces.
On the 2nd March 2017, the Thematic Committee on Peace and Security received oral submissions from the Ministry
Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development. From 28 May to 2 June 2017, the Committee visited, received submissions, and toured the GMB depots and farms in the following provinces: GMB Gweru Depot - Go Beer Farm (Midlands Province); GMB
Mvuma - Ziro Farm (Midlands Province); GMB Masvingo Depot
- Lamonde Farm and Bushmit Farm; Nyika GMB Depot
(Masvingo Province); GMB Rusape – Gijima Farm (Manicaland
Province); GMB Timbermills Depot – Merrifield Farm and
Pirsevale Farm (Mashonaland East); GMB Lionsden – Mavuso
Mudau Farm and Chipfundi Farm (Mashonaland West); GMB
Banket – Nyatimhenyu Farm (Mashonaland West); GMB
Concession – Belford Estate North Farm and Zanadu Farm; GMB
Bindura – Chawagona ZPS Farm; and GMB Aspindale.
Agriculture is the backbone of Zimbabwe’s economy.
Zimbabweans remain largely a rural people who derive their livelihood from agriculture and other related economic activities. At its peak, the sector provides employment and income for 6070% of the population, supplies 60% of the raw materials required by the industrial sector and contributes 40% of total export earnings. Be that as it may, in the previous years, cereal productivity in the farms, resettlement and communal areas, have not been at optimum level. In 2014/2015, Zimbabwe was one of the worst affected countries by the driest year in decades in Southern Africa - including Malawi, Zambia and South Africa.
This made the country food insecure.
The Government was compelled to spend over US$200 million on food imports to take care of food requirements of at least 2.4million citizens. Secondly, failure to prepare land and plant on time because of the shortages of or failure to procure seeds and fertilizers by farmers, and or due to lack of machinery, resulted in dwindling crop yields for some time in the country.
As stipulated in the Comprehensive Agricultural Policy
Framework (2012-2032), the main challenges facing the agricultural sector include, but not limited to: (i) low productivity; (ii) low level of farming skills amongst farmers; (iii) high production costs; (iv) lack of and/or limited availability of suitable finance schemes from commercial banks; and (v) shortages of crop inputs such as fertilizer; just to mention a few. These challenges compromised GMB's mandate to maintain minimum strategic reserves of at least 500 000 tonnes of grain in physical stock. National maize requirements for consumption are 1 800 000 tonnes/annum. Wheat, another strategic grain food crop, its consumption requirements are in the range of 350 000 –
450 000 tonnes /annum.
Against this backdrop, the Zimbabwe's Special Maize
Programme Production for Import Substitution (also referred to as Command Agriculture) was introduced in the 2016/17 agricultural season, to among other things: ensure food security and maize supply self-sufficiency. The $500 million Command Agriculture Scheme, is projected to produce in excess of 2 million tonnes of maize on 400 000 hectares of land. To ascertain the achievements of the Command Agriculture Programme by its beneficiaries, the Thematic Committee on Peace and Security conducted the fact finding visits and tour of the selected GMB depots and farms in seven provinces as outlined above.
5.0 COMMITTEE FINDINGS
5.1 GMB DEPOTS PREPAREDNESS
The Committee was pleased to note that GMB depots in the provinces were fully prepared to receive the anticipated bumper harvest, both from farmers contracted under Command
Agriculture and other farmers. GMB depots visited by the
Committee, Gweru GMB, Mvuma GMB, and other depots in
Masvingo, Nyika Growth Point, Rusape and Timbermills GMB in Mashonaland East were receiving new rail slippers and tarpaulin covering material for outdoor maize storage (hard surface storage). In addition, the silos at Lionsden GMB Depot, Concession GMB Depot and GMB Aspindale had undergone overhaul refurbishment, except water proofing which is due for completion by August before the rain season.
5.2 MAIZE BUMBER HARVEST
The Committee was further pleased to note that due to
Command Agriculture Programme, most if not all GMB depots are anticipating to receive huge maize deliveries from contracted farmers. At Bindura GMB Depot, Mashonaland Central, the Committee was informed that the province was allocated an area of 105 000 hectares under Command Agriculture.
In terms of harvest, command maize production was estimated to be at 141 176 tonnes, in a province that requires 130 776 tonnes for food requirements per annum. Thus, there is a surplus of 10 400 tonnes in the province. At Lionsden, GMB Depot, Mashonaland West, the Committee was informed that 40 515.727 metric tonnes were expected, up from 10 118.388 metric tonnes received during the 2015/2016 summer season. At Timber Mills GMB Depot, Mashonaland East, it was reported that 15 000 metric tonnes were expected from farmers contracted under Command Agriculture alone. The Committee thus, was of the view that despite challenges that are referred to below, the Command Agriculture Programme resulted in the tremendous expansion of hectares under maize and like to result in a bumper harvest that will surpass 2million tonnes.
5.3 SHORTAGES OF INPUTS
In all the provinces, and at all the GMB depots visited by the
Committee, late supply or no supply of inputs (basal fertilizer, top dressing fertilizer, herbicides and fuel) and inadequate supply of the right variety of seed maize to contracted farmers, was mentioned as the main challenge of the Command Agriculture
In Masvingo Province at Lamonde Farm and Bushmit Farm, the Committee was informed that instead of providing fuel at the rate of 100 litres per hectare, farmers were given at reduced rate of 60 litres per hectare. Command Agriculture Programme still owes these farmers the standing balance of fuel that was supposed to have been supplied for land tillage services. Farmers whose farms were toured by the Committee reported that they had to plant maize seed variety that they could lay hands on or that had been supplied under Command Agriculture. In most cases, the
727 variety was in short supply and farmers ended up planting 637 variety. Depending on the region, the shortage of appropriate seed compromised the yield per hectare.
In Mashonaland Central, at Concession GMB Depot, the
Committee was informed that long delays at fertilizer factories in Harare took much of farmers' time. This then gave rise to corruption, and also that Agritex Extension workers spent too much time at command centres instead of giving instruction and training farmers in the fields. In addition, the Committee was told at Lionsden GMB Depot and in Mashonaland East that billing and costing of inputs given to contracted farmers was slowed and complicated by the fact that farmers in the same district were taking inputs from different collection points: some farmers were collecting inputs at Lionsden GMB Depot, others from Harare, and also from inputs suppliers like Sable Chemical in Kwekwe, Midlands, and lime was collected from Rushinga in Mashonaland
5.4 PAPER WORK AND SLOW RELEASE OF CONTRACT FORMS
The Committee was informed that the process of farms selection for Command Agriculture and related documentation was riddled with too much manual paper work. In particular, it was mentioned to the Committee that there was slow release of contract forms, and that 6 vouchers were needed per input during distribution.
5.5 AGRICULTURAL EQUIPMENT SHORTAGES The Committee was also concerned about the challenge related to shortage of tillage tractors and other critical equipment. While lack of tractors delayed land preparation and planting process, the Committee observed that shortage of combine harvesters and driers is delaying harvest process in all provinces. The slow maize harvests is delaying winter wheat planting since maize fields are not being freed for wheat planting. At
Chawagona ZPS Farm, Bindura, Mashonaland Central, the Committee was informed that using manual labour, it would take up to October to harvest the 120 hectares of maize. The Committee was further concerned that the late payment of tillage services by Command Agriculture was a drawback.
The Committee was informed that in light of the machinery shortages, Command Agriculture Programme is in the process of equipping farmers with critical machinery, although a lot need to be done in this regard. In Manicaland Province at Gijima Farm, the Committee was informed that a mechanisation programme was underway to repair 15 combine harvesters and 8 centre pivots in the province. To address shortage of agricultural equipment in the farms, the Committee was further informed that plans were at an advanced stage to set up a pivot manufacturing plant in Msasa,
6.0 COMMITTEE OBSERVATIONS
- That all GMB silos had undergone refurbishment, except waterproofing which would be completed by August 2017.
- That Mashonaland Central anticipated a surplus of about 10 000 tonnes of maize due to Command Agriculture.
- That the Command Agriculture Programme has
resulted in a tremendous expansion of hectares under maize from previous years.
- That there was inadequate supply of the right variety of maize seed to contracted farmers.
- That during the current season, Agritex Officers spent
too much time at command centres instead of training and advising farmers on the ground.
- That billing and costing of inputs given to contracted farmers was slowed and complicated by the fact that farmers from the same district were taking inputs from different collection points.
- That the programme’s documentation and processes were riddled with too much manual paper work.
- That the programme witnessed a shortage of tillage tractors and other critical equipment.
- That GMB paid farmers on time that delivered their maize during the 2015/16 season.
- That weevils’ had already begun attacking maize still in the field in some areas like Chawagona ZPS farm in Bindura.
- That Government was subsidising at the output level of the chain of production instead of the input level.
Considering the speed with which the Command Agriculture was rolled out and its expected maize production projected to be in excess of two million metric tonnes, the programme is to a greater extent, successful in accomplishing its objectives. Under the programme, hectarage under maize was tremendously expanded to close to the anticipated 400 000 hectares, both dry and irrigated land. The objective of the programme, namely: to produce maize locally and reduce grain imports, was achieved.
However, the Committee concluded that a number of challenges continue to constrain the full realisation of the targets of the programme: late supply or no supply of inputs to contracted farmers; shortage of tillage tractors and other key equipment including combine harvesters, driers and pivots; late payment of rendered services such as payment of tillage services; and shortage of transport for the programme officers, just to mention the main ones.
8.0 COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATIONS
Given the Committee findings and the conclusion derived, the following recommendations are pertinent in order to ensure the success of the forthcoming second phase of the programme.
- Inputs for the 2017/18 summer farming season should be with the farmers as a full package by the end of September 2017. This will ensure that farmers plant in time. Early planting, in turn, will allow all maize variety adequate time to mature.
- The Command Agriculture Programme should have mechanisation as its critical component. Farmers should be assisted to get equipment: tractors, planters, combine harvesters, driers, and irrigation equipment, among others. This can best be achieved through affordable loan facilities since most farmers have demonstrated capacity to purchase their equipment once they produce and are paid on time. In the meantime, critical equipment which include combine harvesters and driers can be deployed at central GMB or collection points so that farmers in the vicinity can make use of such machineries at a fee. In addition, there are a lot of equipment in the farms with minor mechanical defects that are lying idle. The department of mechanisation, through Command Agriculture team on the ground, should locate such equipment and repair them so that farmers can make use of them in the forthcoming summer season. To make this possible, the Public Service Commission should decentralize the department of irrigation and mechanisation since they are currently based at provinces making it expensive for them to offer services to districts.
- The Command Agriculture Programme team, in particular the
AGRITEX extension officers, should be provided with adequate vehicles and motor cycles to make them efficiently mobile by the time the second phase begins. This is critical to ensure that they attend to farmers in need of information, assistance and monitoring services. Provision should be made so that all ministerial vehicles that are being used for Command Agriculture Programme duties should be urgently serviced to improve general mobility of responsible officers.
- Command Agriculture should improve its inputs distributive efficiency to the full benefits of all farmers, big and small. All essential inputs in their varieties, should be delivered at central GMB distribution points timely for collection by farmers. This is vital to avoid a situation where farmers end up going to Harare or to suppliers such as Sable Chemicals in Kwekwe, to collect seeds and fertilizers, and or Rushinga to collect lime at their own cost. Collection of inputs by farmers from the same central point will greatly improve the billing and costing and the reconciliation of financial records by the Command Agriculture team in provinces. Currently, documentation and billing of inputs given to farmers is proving difficult since farmers in the same district took inputs from different collection points.
- That contracted farmers, and indeed farmers on other programmes, should conduct soil tests on their farms to ascertain the type and precise quantities of fertilizer blends to apply and provide the results before they are given inputs for the second phase.
- The Command Agriculture Programme staff who under difficult circumstances and shortage of motor vehicles and other equipment continue to work even during weekends and holidays with unwavering dedication to duty, should be given incentives by giving them traveling and subsistence allowances beginning the 2017/18 farming season.
- Government should provide farmers with the right maize seed varieties and required inputs quantities for the 2017/18 farming season.
- GMB depots should maintain the momentum gathered in paying contracted farmers within 14 days of the delivery of their produce. This will enable them to embark on winter crop and also acquire the critical inputs in preparation for the next summer crop. Above all, prompt payment will inject confidence in farmers interested in engaging with the Command Agriculture Programme.
- In order to achieve the recommendations stipulated above, there is need to put in place a cropping calendar. Among other things, the calendar shall provide guidance to contracted farmers, Command Agriculture provincial teams, and inputs manufacturers and suppliers: (i) dates for the supply of inputs (fertilizers, chemicals, lime, seeds) to farmers by August for summer crop; (ii) timely accessing of ploughing, disking and harrowing services; coordinated and effective application of pesticides to eradicate pests; (iii) timed harvesting and collection of maize to free irrigation fields for winter wheat crop. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. MAVHUNGA: Thank you Madam President for
giving me the opportunity to add my voice to the report that was tabled by the Peace and Security Committee which investigated the preparedness of our Grain Marketing Boards in receiving grain from the Command Agriculture project, as well as going round to assess whether the Command Agriculture was a success.
Madam President, I would like to thank the foresight that the country had especially reflecting on four years of drought followed by rains, which was a result of climate change. The country experienced challenges to the extent that agriculture became a challenge and we ended up importing maize. I really want to appreciate the Command Agriculture project and also coupled by the heavy rains that we had, the
Command Agriculture project was a success.
In terms of peace and security, the country was at risk. I am sure that you are aware that if a person is hungry, it is difficult to control that person. If a person is hungry, he or she is susceptible to anything. So, the Command scheme brought in a lot of progress and alleviated poverty. The two million tonnes that had been projected by the
Command Agriculture has been surpassed. I am a beneficiary of the Command Agriculture project and I am really surprised when I look at the maize in my field. I think this will assist us in terms of peace and security. This will also reduce the brain drain that has been happening whereby people would cross to other countries in order to look for employment.
I would now want to focus on the preparedness of the GMB. We want to thank them for informing us they are well prepared. The challenge of the moisture content that farmers are facing should be addressed by the GMB in that they should have driers to ensure that they reach the moisture content that they want.
We also realised that corruption has also creeped in. People are forced to sell their maize at cheaper prices because of the moisture content which is condemned by the GMB; middlemen come in and buy the maize at a lower price. This has a bearing in terms of returning the loan that one was given for Command Agriculture. The loan needs to be repaid. Side marketing is a challenge, and paying back the loan is a challenge. When I come back in the next Parliament, you expect to see me well groomed and healthy because of the money that I will have got from the harvested grains.
Our GMB depots should have driers to ensure that our crop is taken to the GMB earlier so that when we take our crops, the agricultural land can be used for other crops. We had a lot of challenges in the last season. If a project is initiated, it meets different challenges. The 7 series should have been planted in October. Even the irrigation crops should have ploughed in October. Those under irrigation were being given the 7Cs; 7Cs is a challenge if we delay in planting it but we thank the almighty for the rains that we had that helped us to get a lot of grain.
The drying of the 7Cs crops also takes long hence GMB should have dryers. I think what we need to do now is to ensure that all the inputs are available so that when a farmer comes he is given all his inputs at the same time. This will assist because if you spend a lot of time waiting for the inputs, you waste a lot of time whilst nothing is taking place on the agricultural land. So inputs must be readily available.
The communities we represent have also been urged to come and register for the project and they are encouraged to register even those without much land. For those without land, they can also be subcontracted pieces of land by those with the land; the owner of the farm has to write an affidavit to ensure that they get inputs. I also want to support what was said in this Senate that those who support us with extension services who are the research extension officers should be availed resources to do their work. They know their work and they know how to go about in land preparation and know which soil is suitable for what. If these people do not come, we end up putting a lot of seed thinking that we will harvest a lot of grain then we end up putting a lot of fertiliser and in the end the produce is reduced per hectare. When you were expecting high yields, you end up getting very
So, I stood up to say that this project was successful and it assisted us and I am hoping that it will be extended to the production of small grains, even the seed for small grains and other projects that are coming in like livestock, command fisheries; this should be extended to the populace of Zimbabwe. With these words, I thank you Mr. President.
HON. SEN. MOHADI: Thank you Mr. President, I also want to add my voice to this motion which was moved by Hon. Sen. Mumvuri and I cannot remember the seconder. Mr. President, I am also a member of this Committee. Let me tell you that Command Agriculture is a great success. Wherever we went, there was enough maize that was produced even though farmers had challenges here and there. Those who did not engage in the Command Agriculture, I now urge them to join and do so because it is open to each and every member so that we have sufficient food in the country.
Mr. President, this Command Agriculture had its own problems as it was just starting, those who have come before me alluded to that. It was just because everything was starting and no one was very sure of what was happening. Let me tell you that I was very much impressed in Mashonaland West because the farmers were busy and they had enough maize. You find that the farmers in Mashonaland where other farmers could not manage - having problems of draught power or having problems of fertilisers, those who had fertilisers and draught power could assist in ploughing and planting for them which was a good gesture.
Mr. President, in Mashonaland West, maybe it was my first time to see a field which was full of maize where you could manage to see where it is starting but you could not see where it is ending, it was really good. There was a challenge of the fall worm, you find that those who planted their maize late were affected by the fall army worm and there was no one who was prepared to give them pesticides for the fall army worm. According to the information given on this worm, it is said that it can go on for three years and as we speak you find that even though the maize is dry now, it can just stay in the maize stalks and then come next season it starts again. So, there is need for farmers to remove all their stalks from the field to make preparations for the coming season for those who were affected.
Another great problem which was faced by other farmers is a problem of a natural phenomenon like floods. You find that some of the farmers who had gone for the Command Agriculture, all their maize was swept away by floods because the rain was too much in other areas and they ended up losing some of their crops. Another problem which was also said by others is the challenge of combine harvesters. Farmers did not have combine harvesters which is a problem even now. Some farmers have not even finished harvesting their maize just because some have big fields of which they could not even harvest using manpower or any other small things or maize shellers. So, they had to wait for the few combine harvesters so that each and everyone could get a chance of which it is a challenge really. Also from these challenges that I have talked of, you will find that the price of maize, including the small grains, is very reasonable. Taking into consideration that Zimbabwe is paying US$390 per tonne for both maize and small grains, I think it is the highest paying country in the SADC region - [HON. SENATORS:
Hear, hear.] –
Why so, it is trying to avoid this problem of importing maize every year. We have to produce our own food and we have to live within our own means as Zimbabweans and avoid importing because all the money which was supposed to be used for other projects was not going towards the importation of maize. If we continue producing our own maize, maybe we will end up having a surplus that we can also sell to other countries which is commendable.
Mr. President, I also encourage Government to put into use, we have heard about the Command Livestock but it has not really come to the people. People who are in areas like Region 5 do not harvest a lot of maize. They specialise mostly on livestock. Let the Command Livestock be implemented as soon as possible because they are patiently waiting for those cattle so that they also produce. We cannot just say maize alone because sometimes as did happen this year, it was augmented by the heavy rains that were received, but if there are no rains, those living in the low rainfall areas might not harvest anything but with livestock, I know that they can sail through.
Let me end up by saying, those who are engaged in the Command Agriculture dealing with maize, please let us make sure that we pay back so that this programme continues. The programme cannot continue if we just take the inputs and do not pay back. There are also other farmers who are waiting and want to join this Command Agriculture. If we do not pay back, these farmers will not be able to get inputs and also the combine harvesters that we are talking about. With these few words Mr. President, I thank you.
*HON. SEN. BHOBHO: Thank you Mr. President for giving me
an opportunity to speak this afternoon to add a few words on this motion moved by Hon. Sen. Mumvuri and his seconder on the field visits that they conducted in terms of the Command Agriculture Scheme. I would want to thank the Committee for having gone on this field trip. It also educates us and we also enlighten our constituents where we are based that this is a good project. We are quite strong about preaching the good gospel about the Command Agriculture because the results are self evident. They literary stare you in the face. In certain areas, the
Command Agriculture’s take off was slow and it is in those areas where there was a slow uptake of the project that we are urging people to start doing so.
God also blessed us with heavy rains and we have a bumper harvest. You go to the GMB depots and you observe this bumper harvest. In earnest, we are quite grateful for that and we thank the Committee for going round and informing people. Field visits enable our people to know what is happening in this country. This is a good economic project. A lot of people have done farming and they are sending maize to the GMB. We thank the Government and the Committee for having gone round and for the investigations. I believe you also did a prudent job in carrying out thorough research.
Our country is very rich. We should go onto the land. We have seen quite clearly the wealth that we have in Zimbabwe through farming. They were occasions when people never used to have sufficient inputs. Our Government gave the lowest of the low inputs even to those that are able to sustain themselves. Those that were not part of the
Command Agriculture are also being allowed to send their maize to GMB at the same price as those that are on the Government Command Agriculture.
We want to thank our Government for having done a very good job. If I have a large field and my friend were to ask for two hectares, I will give them so that they are also able to plough and sell and reap rewards from such an enterprise. This year, the Zimbabwean people have given the President time off from extending the begging bowl. I thank you for having done a good piece of work. We would want to thank the Government for this took place in our country. These are the few words that I have decided to use in support of the Committee that carried out these investigations on how well the people of Zimbabwe worked. Thank you so much to the Committee and keep up the good work. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: I would want to support the report tabled by the Chairman of the Thematic Committee on Peace and Security who was seconded by Hon. Sen. Makone on the field visits that they conducted in review of the Command Agriculture. We are quite happy. In truth, I am a member of that particular Committee and our entire Committee was happy to see that this was development at a large scale in our country. The members that were involved in the observation were quite happy.
If you look at the GMB before the introduction of the Command Agriculture, the silos were in a state of disrepair. When we went round, we observed that they had repaired the silos and in some cases, the workers were finishing off the painting work and silos were now being put into good use instead of them being left to lie idle. At one particular GMB, we were told that they were expecting visitors from Namibia that were coming to witness what the Command Agriculture could achieve.
It means that our neighbours are now emulating our example and would want to carry it out in their own countries. We want to thank the Zimbabwean people for having worked hard.
Let me say that a lot of things have already been said. Even if farmers have plenty of maize, they wished they could remove their maize crop so that they could plant wheat but because of the moisture content which was too high, they could not do so. The other problem that they face is the non-availability of combine harvesters and as a result, there are delays in the planting of wheat. In Mashonaland Central, most of the farmers that we were seeing were youths. I even envy them that I should have taken my youths from Mashonaland Central to Mashonaland West so that they can learn. A hard worker eats very little and one who does not work eats a lot. If you have money, it controls you. Command agriculture is there to eradicate poverty amongst the populace. Let me say that I also saw, as the Chairman has earlier on stated, that the problem of disused equipment or that cannot be repaired such as combined harvesters, tractors and other equipment, we saw that the majority of the equipment was not being used. We urge Government to assist the farmers in the repairs of the machinery so that they are put to good use. Spare parts are difficult to get for farmers who do not know where they can acquire the spares. It takes them a lot of time to acquire these spares. May the Government assist in that regard? This is my plea, the farmer will not have their machinery repaired for free. That is what I would want to say.
When we got to Banket, the General Manager was quite proud that in Mashonaland West, Banket was the busiest Grain Marketing Board. There were several 30 tonne trucks that were delivering their grain. This meant that the farmers were ready to deliver their produce. We saw some conmen who had their tents pitched nearby and I think there should be a law to protect the command agriculture produce. It should not be diverted to these conmen. The maize is going to assist us.
We had floods problem in Matabeleland North and the command agricultural produce will help us feed those farmers that were affected by floods in Matabeleland North and other areas. If we had such a bumper harvest, we should be able to distribute it nationally so that no one will starve. We are proud that many countries are now coming here to witness the command agriculture. There is drought in South Africa and President Zuma has declared a state of emergency as a result of the drought. In Uganda, there is also hunger and so, they will come and buy from us. Our economy will improve and our Members of Parliament are going be paid their salaries because the country will be having funds.
We thank the Committee for the good work that they did. Your report is going to be taken by Government so that they can continuously improve. We urge the Ministry of Agriculture to help the Agricultural Extension officers by providing them with transport so that they can advise the farmer on the ground. I thank you Mr. President.
HON. SEN. MUMVURI: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. MOHADI: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 26th July, 2017.
REALIGNMENT OF LEGISLATION TO THE CONSTITUTION
HON. SEN. MAKORE: I move the motion standing in my name
that this House –
NOTING with concern the slow pace of the realignment of legislation to the Constitution;
EXALTING and upholding the spirit enshrined in the Preamble of the Constitution which embraces the brave men and women who sacrificed their lives to liberate all people in Zimbabwe regardless of race, colour, tribe or creed;
COGNISANT of the role played by our fore fathers and compatriots who contributed enormously towards the independence and democratic processes in our country;
REAFFIRMING our commitment to upholding the rule of law, transparency and accountability in Zimbabwe;
NOW, THEREFORE, resolves that:
- Unity of purpose and goodwill be upheld by all people of
- Institutions be apolitical in all respects.
- The outstanding provisions of the Constitution be implemented by 30 November, 2017.
HON. SEN. B. SIBANDA: I second.
HON. SEN. MAKORE: Mr. President, the motion intends to address gaps that create wrong perception within our society. We are an independent State and are one people. Our combined efforts contributed to the obtaining of independence from the colonial regime. Our constitutional Preamble captures the actual vision. If I may be allowed to quote Mr. President, ‘United in our diversity by a common desire for freedom, justice and equality and our heroic resistant to colonialism, racism and all forms of domination and oppression; Exalting and extolling the brave men and women who sacrificed their lives during the chimurenga/umvukela and liberation struggles; Honouring our forebears and compatriots who told for the progress of our country; Recognising the need to entrench democracy, good, transparent and accountable governance and the rule of law; Reaffirming our commitment to upholding and defending fundamental human rights and freedoms”. The boldness of the vision is in itself a call for unity and goodwill among all Zimbabweans irrespective of colour, tribe or political affiliation and religion.
Mr. President, the motion seeks to draw attention of all
Zimbabweans to respect our Constitution, a supreme law of the country by respecting individual rights of our fellow Zimbabweans. We should also put in mind Chapter 4 of the Constitution, Fundamental Rights.
Section 119 (1) of the Constitution gives Parliament power to protect the
Constitution and promote democratic governance in Zimbabwe. Section
119 (2), Parliament has power to ensure that provisions of this Constitution are upheld and that the State and all institutions and agencies of Government at every level act constitutionally and in the national interest.
It is therefore, the duty of this Parliament to satisfactorily ensure that State agencies, institutions including our chiefs are in compliance with the Constitution. Section 61 (5) (b) of the Constitution, our freedom of expression does not in any way tolerate advocacy for hatred or hate speech that incite violence among the people of Zimbabwe. It should not be treated as an offence to attend any party rally anywhere else in this country. If any authority bars people from attending, it will be a breach of fundamental rights and freedoms, either of expression or of association, according to the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
Section 281 (1) (c) requires chiefs to treat all persons within their areas equally and fairly. Subsection 2 (a) of Section 281 says, traditional leaders must not be members of political parties or in any way participate in partisan politics or (b) act in a partisan manner.
Mr. President, our humble request is to ask traditional leaders to desist from partisan association and become neutral. In the Election Observation Report 2013: Harmonised Elections, the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP), on page 11 of their report, it is indicated that traditional leaders used their influence to force communities to support their political parties by organising meetings where they will tell villagers to vote for a political party, otherwise they will not receive humanitarian aid. They will be beaten, killed, have their homes burnt or they will be evicted from their villages. In some areas, political activists instruct their opponents to pretend to have blindness or illiteracy so as to be assisted to vote by known political supporters.
Mr. President, the report findings indicate that agents and civil servants were forced to form grass root structures for a political party.
That is a recipe that shows unpreparedness for democratic elections.
This election is calling for political correctness in order to respect our Constitution which we put in operation on 22nd May, 2013. We call upon all civil servants to relinquish from party politics and become professionals. Also, we are bound to stand guided by the Constitution for our political correctness.
As Parliament, we should set a tone which quells violence brought about through emotions, opportunism and patronage in a bid to gain favour or position as Members of Parliament.
The motion is calling for equality of treatment despite party affiliation. Section 3, (a) on founding values and principles says,
Zimbabwe is a multi party democratic political system.
Mr. President, my considered view is that our institutions should not be found conflicting with the Constitution by way of victimising, intimidating and continuously inflicting fears among people. Mechanisms of regaining freedom, confidence in our Government, processes for peace and good citizenship should be entrusted to our Constitution to avoid infringement of rights in order to build a culture of harmony in our societies.
Partisan behaviour has created barriers to the highly talented and professionally qualified people from getting employed or accorded opportunities of doing business, be it agricultural or other prenuaral activities because of their political affiliation.
The kind of developing culture, if not stopped, will not in any way assist in quelling violence and instil the spirit of unity and goodwill among our societies.
Politics should be separated from economic activities. We therefore expect to see people being regarded or given opportunities based on merit, abilities and creativeness in an equal and flexible manner irrespective of their colour, tribe or political affiliation.
Mr. President, we should treat politics as a hobby and understand that politicians are a few policy makers. The rest of the people are followers or political supporters in their own right. They should not be made to suffer by putting their support on a political principle brought by politicians.
The need for people in our societies is to find a solution to their social requirements; that is jobs, running water, food and shelter, social amenities for their children, education and expansion of the economy facilitated by politicians.
Violence, divisions or selectiveness does not build our nation. The nation needs to be united, productive, depoliticised, and resourceful in order to enjoy their independence. Mr. President, we are looking for a proud nation with a lot of love for each other, respect and dignity for its people, a nation that creates peace and good visions for generations to come.
Mr. President, we are expected to shape the future of our children with full understanding that the current crop of people perish leaving generations behind. These generations should enjoy our legacy and also continue to be creative for the next generations.
It is my humble call to initiate political correctness as dictated by our Constitution for equality and confidence of our nation. I thank you Mr. President.
HON. SEN. B. SIBANDA: I am privileged to support a very eloquently put across motion by Hon. Sen. Makore. I thank Sen. Makore for bringing before this House pertinent issues that create Zimbabwe and do not dismember Zimbabwe.
My basis of support, Mr. President, is based on four fundamental values specified in our Constitution. These values include the supremacy of the Constitution that we created ourselves as a nation and a people of Zimbabwe. The Constitution is the pillar, Mr. President. The behaviour of people of the nation or any of its constituent elements are the support pillars. Therefore, this pillar must be respected to the extent that any law which may not have been aligned to the Constitution, but is superseded in quality and strength by the components of the Constitution, should subject itself to that Constitution. This is my opinion. I accept, Mr. President, I could be a bush lawyer, but this bush lawyer is talking common sense.
The second fundamental element which is the basis of support for the motion, are the prescribed human rights and freedoms that are enshrined in our Constitution. I am told that they are comprehensive. They are representative of a nation that thinks of itself, thinks of its today and thinks of its future. Therefore, they form the platform on which we can build a better Zimbabwe.
The third fundamental that I will look at is the liberation struggle. The liberation struggle prosecuted by our own nationals, maybe a liberation struggle that in vigour and strength, is not surpassed by any liberation struggle within the southern region. It was the most fought and the most energetic liberation struggle. The souls that we laid or laid the foundation of our independence should, if they had an opportunity, stand up and say we value the input that we made. Our compatriots and our children are benefiting from that input.
Mr. President, we should be a nation proud of its history, we should be a nation proud of laying a solid foundation for their future. Therefore, blessed with a very correct and respected Constitution, we should be able to move this nation forward.
The fourth and last fundamental is the constitutional call for good governance. The constitutional call for good governance is designed to offer Zimbabweans a life they can enjoy today; a foundation they can set up for their children tomorrow and indeed, for the many generations that will come in future.
Mr. President, let me go back a bit to the liberation struggle and the sacrifice. When you sacrifice, you forgo personal privilege for the future or for the benefit of others that have not necessarily done so. It is therefore lost opportunity for those souls. It is those souls that we should exalt, respect and endevour to show that alive or dead, we respect their contribution. Therefore, history should not be selective.
I was recently approached by somebody who told me about one of the history textbooks that amount to glorifying not all political prosecutors of the struggle but certain individuals. What I am saying is, that would not be showing respect for the souls that lie restless in all the corners of this nation. We need an accurate version of history. We need a history that tells Zimbabwe as it is; a history that exalts every individual who contributed in the struggle. Even if it is silent on those who did not actually hold the gun, but it must put history in its correct perspective. I therefore say that in order to fulfill the demands and wishes of our Constitution, we should all endeavour to build that history.
On political institutions, it is the quality of political institutions that we put into place that fertilize and nurture all our capacities. Specifically here, critical political institutions that we have include traditional institutions, the civil service, the security sector and I could name a few more. I am glad that the President of this country eventually recognised that the security sector cannot be a political player. We have previously allowed – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – We have previously allowed institutions that are supposed to be independent to interfere with political system. We have previously abused institutions that are fundamental to our development and growth to engage in politics.
All I can tell you, having been in the game of politics for many years, I know no truth tellers in politics; no respecters of fundamental rights in politics, I only know of people who chop and change. When those people infiltrate the institutions, the institutions are spoiled and start rotting. Therefore, the institutions must be de-politicised. I make a strong call Mr. President for the de-politicisation of the traditional institutions, civil service, thesecurity sector and any other institution.
I have just read a book which says, the growth and development of a nation is directly related to the quality of its institutions. Let us not create institutions that will move Zimbabwe backwards instead of moving her forward. I was saddened to learn that we have moved Zimbabwe backwards, maybe by two decades. Two decades is an understatement, we have actually moved Zimbabwe four decades back.
It is largely because we have politicised institutions that should be helping us with technical information to develop.
Today’s world is not a world that develops around political talk. It is not a situation where people develop around political pronouncements. It is the technical institutions that give guidance and political systems only validate that guidance. For me it is very important that we strengthen positive institutions, that we recognise the capacity of technocrats to move this nation forward.
Lastly, a public office demands transparency, accountability and fair mindedness. Politics in general lacks these attributes. In short, political systems must validate our liberation values and expectations. It is with that view that I say we must exalt pre-independence actors. We must exalt our current intellectual thinkers or create a ground that is going to exalt the behaviour and performance of coming generations.
Why am I saying this when we are pursuing this debate? This is because I think it is important that we align the entirety of our political behaviour, systems, operating and administrating systems to the Constitutions in order to give strength and development to this nation. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: Thank you Mr. President. I would
like to support the motion raised by Hon. Sen. Makore, seconded by Hon. Sen. Sibanda. I would like to thank you for bringing this motion to this House. We have heard what you said. I am addressing my mind to your first point, on unity. Unity is important, if you listen to the speech of His Excellency the President when he presents the Official Opening of Parliament; he always talks of unity. He respects and honours that there be unity.
The problem is with us Members of Parliament when it is election time. It is not the problem of the voters but us Members of Parliament.
I was hoping that Hon. Sen. Makore’s good report should have gone further to say, as we look forward to the 2018 elections; since you have already given us what your views are, you could just add that any Member of Parliament who causes violence in his/her constituency, should be disqualified there and then, because such an MP is not a good leader. It is not the chief who has caused the violence. The chief has a role to play in an area under his/her jurisdiction, which is to vote. For one to be a chief he has to vote. So, it is not the duty of chiefs to end violence.
Members of Parliament, the ball is in our court. It is us who gang up with youths to go and attack rival candidates. My proposition is that there should be fewer men and more women for Parliamentary seats. Men are a problem; we will come here with chiefs. If this House is full of women there will be no violence. Men cannot control each other. Why should we have to wait for CCJP to remonstrate with you? Put your house in order. It is men who cause violence. You must introspect.
CCJP, gave their opinion regarding chiefs, did they discuss with them. Did they discuss with political parties in those areas to find who causes the violence. My opinion is more women in Parliament than men. We want this Parliament to be full of women. Men should go home and keep themselves busy. Let us keep the peace. No one loves violence, we all love peace. Even in a family when parents are violent, there is no development. Children do not go to school and the mother is not properly clothed because the husband is violent. If the majority of our MPs are women, there will be peace. You know that we can put you in check, that is what you left out in your motion that this Parliament should be full of women so that there will be peace. We do not want violence. We have talked about it and we have said it is not good as Members of Parliament. Any Member of Parliament who is involved in violence should be disqualified from taking their seat in Parliament. He should not take his seat in Parliament because he is not an exemplary leader. Let us have more women in Parliament. I thank you.
HON. SEN. MAKORE: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. KHUMALO: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Tuesday, 25th July, 2017.
REPORT OF THE 40TH PLENARY SESSION OF THE SADC – PARLIAMENTARY FORUM
Fourth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the 40th Plenary Session of the SADC Parliamentary Forum held in Harare, Zimbabwe from 3rd to 15th November 2016.
Question again proposed.
*HON. SEN. SHIRI: Thank you Mr. President. I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Mohadi for the report that she tabled. I will add just a few words to this motion that there be a regional Parliament that will include Zimbabwe as a Member of SADC.
We debated the SADC Model Law extensively in this Senate. We are quite happy that the issues of rape now attract sentences that we are happy with. Those that will have raped children should be given forty years. We are happy because our efforts were not in vain. We are observing that our laws have now been enhanced.
I would also like to add that the question of 50-50 should also be implemented. I encourage women in this Chamber to assist one another to ensure that we have more women, including the disabled. I would also want to urge Hon. Sen. Mohadi that when you are at foras like these, please ensure that Senators are represented and those that represent the disabled are also present so that whatever we want to come up with as a region, we are also included.
Without wasting time, I would like to say thank you and that this is a good report. We support you. Thank you Mr. President.
HON. SEN. MOHADI: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. MLOTSHWA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Tuesday, 25th July, 2017.
FIRST REPORT OF THE THEMATIC COMMITTEE ON
INDIGENISATION AND EMPOWERMENT ON THE
CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING THE NON-ESTABLISHMENT OF THE COMMUNITY SHARE OWNERSHIP TRUSTS
Fifth Order read: Adjourned debate on the First Report of the Thematic Committee on Indigenisation and Empowerment on the circumstances surrounding the non-establishment of Community Share Ownership Trusts in Mudzi and Mutoko Districts.
Question again proposed.
HON. SEN. MUSEKA: Thank you Mr. President for giving me the opportunity to also put my input to the Thematic Report by Hon.
Sen. Tavengwa seconded by Hon. Sen. Chief Dandawa.
I read the report and I think it is sad because there is not much activity in that area. I think it is quite apparent when you read the report that it is a bit difficult to establish a Community Share Ownership Scheme. Since the report was just about noting, I also want to give it a comparison to where it has worked. For example the Mhondoro-Ngezi, Chegutu and Zvimba Community Share Ownership Scheme; noting from that report, we need what is called critical mass or critical production for a Community Share Ownership Scheme to be viable.
There is no critical production in Mutoko.
The granite stone that is being talked about, when it is quantified, it is difficult to establish a serious Community Share Ownership Scheme as compared to Mhondoro-Ngezi, Chegutu and Zvimba – ZIMPLATS where they are mining the famous ore. It is working very well. Schools and roads are being built. Right now, I think they have moved to the second stage of trying to establish a Community Share Ownership different from Community Trusts, but Community Share Ownership. It is because the mining or extraction has what we call ‘critical mass’. The volumes are large, coupled with good management; the selection of the management at ZIMPLATS…
HON. SEN. MLOTSHWA: On a point of order Mr. President Sir.
THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT (HON. SEN. CHIEF
CHARUMBIRA): What is your point of order?
HON. SEN. MLOTSHWA: My point of order is I am reading a new report from what the Hon. Member is debating because the report here is not talking about what he is now moving.
THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT: Ndichambofunga. The Hon.
Sen. is saying this report is about Mudzi and Mutoko, you have moved from there, you are now in Mhondoro-Ngezi. That is the point of order raised, please proceed.
HON. SEN. MUSAKA: I thank you Mr. President. Perhaps the
Hon. Senator was not listening when I started, I said I will read the report and I want to give comparison where it can work and give illustrations of how it is working elsewhere and the reasons why it is not working. Probably the Hon. Senator was not listening. However, Mr. President, I sympathise, it is true the establishment of an ownership scheme in Mutoko is a bit difficult because there is not very much production going on there. I thank you – [Laughter.] –
HON. SEN. MASUKU: Mr. President, I move that the debated do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. SHIRI: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 26th July, 2017.
FIRST REPORT OF THE THEMATIC COMMITTEE ON
SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS ON SDG NO. 3
Sixth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the First Report of the Thematic Committee on Sustainable Development Goals on SDG
Question again proposed.
*HON. SEN. SHIRI: Thank you Mr. President for affording me this opportunity. I would want to thank Hon. Sen. Chief Mtshane and the report that he tabled, I am a member of that Committee. We went to Murewa, Marondera and visited hospitals to establish what their status is and how people are accessing health facilities.
If we look at SDG 3, it expresses that people should have good
health from children to the elderly covering a wide spectrum of those that are in the communal lands and urban centres. We observed that the people that are in the communal lands are facing a lot of problems as they go to the hospitals. Yes, we know that our people start from the clinics go to the district hospitals and then to provincial hospitals. If we look at other problems such as cancer, it is now on the increase and we observe that in clinics, they do not have adequate machinery to test for cervical cancer. People have to walk long distances to access such treatment or travel longer distances to access treatment. For those that are mentally disturbed, their medication is not readily accessed in hospitals. Those that are mentally challenged, the majority of them are involved in violent acts because they are failing to access proper drugs and the drugs are expensive when they are available.
So, the issue of the health fund should be fully supported for it will help us to ensure that our people access drugs. We also urge that this project should be run from the clinics up to the central hospitals in the entire country. Some people are failing to even raise bus fare to access these health institutions. The health care fund is going to be sustained and the funding is going to be raised from taxation on airtime. This is a good project if it is put to good use; it is sympathetic to witness that when one goes to hospital to carry out a national duty of giving birth, if they fail to pay hospital fees, they are detained in hospital.
I was saying that women should be given free maternal health because they will be performing national duty of aiding the population of the country. Looking at health issues, women must not die giving birth. We read it in the newspapers that a lot of women are actually dying as they give birth. Let us have waiting mother’s shelters at rural hospitals and clinics so that they can utilise this when they are nearing delivering. We went to the labour ward; the beds that are there are a problem to the disabled, they are too high. People have different kinds of disability. I went there and observed what these beds are like and there is a serious challenge to this regard. If it were possible, we would want this issue addressed so that everyone can access such hospitals.
These hospitals should not discriminate other people; disabled women have a right to giving birth and right to receive medication.
We went round with doctors and we saw that those that are dumb or who have hearing impairments have problems in accessing hospitals because there is no one who can communicate using sign language. We asked how they assist such people; they said they have a difficulty in assisting such persons. We urge that all nurses and all medical personnel be taught sign language. They are doing sign language but they require refresher courses so that they remain competent in communicating with people that are deaf and dumb. In other areas, you will hear that wrong medication was dispensed due to lack of communication between the patient who is deaf and dumb and the doctor. There are a lot of people that have hearing impairments even if they do not have high qualifications, they should be used as general hands so that they can assist in communicating. If you have such a person in your employment, you will be able to learn what good morning and good afternoon is in sign language. We request that such persons be employed in such hospitals so that should there be a patient, they will be able to assist in communicating with the patient.
We hear of cases that people failed to understand what the communication was all about and ended up deeming someone to be insane. Everyone should be taken care of and in health issues; we should get to that stage. They say we should be HIV free by 2030 so we would want all programmes that are going to be coming on board to also address the plight of the disabled and specifically those that are mainly in communal lands. People should be able to get assistance at hospitals or clinics as it is expensive to travel from the local clinic to the referral centres because they do not have the money. Let me reiterate that in hospitals, we want people’s well-being at all levels cutting across from the children when they have immune injections, assistive devices such as clutches and wheelchairs for use by the disabled which are not readily available. Some use their arms and limps to drag themselves as a way of being mobile. People require these aids so that their lives are made much easier.
With those few words Mr. President, as a country I urge us to pull in the same direction so that we place a lot of importance on health issues so that there will be health care for all especially as we look at the issue of cancer. People need to be taught about it so that they can quickly go and be tested because we hear that four women are dying every day of cancer. It shows that it is now worse than HIV/AIDS. Let us enlighten our people in time because a stitch in time saves nine. We all have experiences of our relatives dying from cancer. We should quickly have examinations done and it should be for free for those that suffer from cancer.
I also read and observed that part of the HIV fund is going to be used for AIDS patients. This should be quickly done so that those who are in the communal lands and urban centres get the required assistance so that more people do not die. Thank you Mr. President for the opportunity that you have given me.
HON. SEN. CHIEF MTSHANE: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. CHIEF SIANSALI: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 26th July, 2017.
FIRST REPORT OF THE THEMATIC COMMITTEE ON HIV AND
AIDS ON HIV AND AIDS IN INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER
LEARNING IN ZIMBABWE
Seventh Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the First Report of the Thematic Committee on HIV and AIDS on HIV and AIDS in Institutions of Higher Learning in Zimbabwe.
Question again proposed.
HON. SEN. CHIEF NGUNGUMBANE: Thank you Mr.
President for according me this opportunity to debate on the report by the HIV Thematic Committee on the institutions of higher learning in Zimbabwe. Mr. President, the students that are in these institutions are the future leaders of the society tomorrow. We expect that some of them will become members of Parliament, chiefs, business people and the list is endless. If you look at the scourge of AIDS Mr. President, it is taking away those future leaders. It is robbing us of potential skilled labour that we so desire as a nation.
I would want to thank this Committee for undertaking this trip to various institutions of higher learning because Mr. President, if you read the Journal of the International Aids Society, it indicates that institutions in sub-Sahara Africa of higher learning have become the new HIV/AIDS hotspot. So this Committee was spot-on Mr. President in visiting those institutions to find out the prevalence of HIV among students in tertiary institutions.
One fundamental issue that was raised in the report was that there was no prior education for these students when they came to these institutions and as such, institutions of higher learning did not take the subject matter seriously. It is taught at induction and soon after that it is forgotten. We encourage the relevant authority to ensure that issues of sex are taught at an earlier stage on a serious note, not just to acknowledge that there is HIV/AIDS and end there. You know the society that we live in; our kids have become so innovative. They can now teach us on issues of sex and sexuality when it should be the other way round. So, we should design our curriculum to address the needs of these students Mr. President.
What touched me Mr. President was a recommendation by the SRC from the University of Zimbabwe saying that they have to travel outside the campus for them to access recreational facilities. They were recommending that the UZ should have recreational facilities like bars and so forth. I am of a different opinion Mr. President. I think when we go to school we should not forget our core values. What are we there for? Number one is education. These other things come later but if you find our students prioritising recreational facilities like bars, I am a bit concerned. Those that know UZ very well, if you go some few years back, we had incidences of violence as a result of students who were highly intoxicated at these institutions of higher learning. We encourage that students and universities should take learning as the core value and the other things will follow later Mr. President.
On the issue of campus clinics Mr. President, it is sad to note that most of the clinics that we visited are not fully capacitated. There are shortages of nurses, no doctors and drugs but it is important to note that institutions of higher learning like the UZ, MSU and NUST have taken a significant role in ensuring that the right to health care to these institutions is realised. What is further disappointing is that there is no clear guideline on whose responsibility between the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Higher Education in the hiring of nurses is.
I would recommend Mr. President, that the hiring of nurses to these institutions should be the responsibility of the Ministry of Health because the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education will tell you that it is not their core business to be hiring nurses. The Ministry of Health should ensure that nurses are hired. Furthermore, these institutions of higher learning should have doctors. If you look at the pollution there, for example at MSU, they have over 23 thousand students and there is no doctor. They have to go out and scramble for services with the people out there. I would recommend that the Ministry, as a matter of policy, that these clinics should be manned by full time registered nurses and by doctors. These clinics must be registered also.
Mr. President, I would want to complement NUST for the good work that they are doing. We were informed that NUST through the Department of Allied Biology and Biochemistry has initiated viral load testing on its compass. We would want to complement NUST for leading the way in ensuring that access to health is a reality to everybody because such services, you had to go to private institutions or outside the country to access them. I would also want to thank the same university for rendering DNA testing when we had the Mvuma bus disaster that claimed 31 people. All the people perished and were burnt beyond recognition but this department assisted in identifying the charred remains of those people who perished. We would want to challenge other institutions of higher learning to be innovative and come up with other ways that could assist people with the burden of accessing health services outside the border which is very expensive.
Such innovation Mr. President, would lead to the creation of employment and student attachments. Students are having problems going on attachments because our economy is not ticking and industries are closing down. I will challenge other institutions to industrialise. Students will go to a college or university and they can go there for attachment so that when they leave university, they are a polished product. Mr. President, I think I have said much.
I now come to the recommendations. Some of those, we came across situations where we had volunteers who were peer educators and these are students teaching other students. I think an incentive should be offered to these students so that they encourage and teach other students about HIV and AIDS because with time these students will be burnt out and will leave such good work.
The other problem that we came across is that access to ART is free. However, if you look at these other opportunistic infections that come through with the disease, that treatment is not free. Patients have to pay for those and how many of us can afford to pay? It denies people the access to treatment. Some of those that are on treatment and have these opportunistic infections are bound to stop taking their tablets and are bound to fail to access treatment.
Mr. President, in summary, some of the students are still young. When we talk of sex, it is something meant for the old and mature people. We have enacted a Bill of Rights like what Hon. Sen. Makore has debated upon in his earlier motion. We are saying, we should have rights and they have been there long back, they are still here but I am saying, let us teach as much as we teach these children about rights. Let us teach them to be responsible. Students are encouraged at all cost and given a chance, to delay their sexual debut. Kakubaleki funda uqede uzakuthola kukumelele but if you rush Mr. President – you know some students have spoiled their career because they rushed for the forbidden fruit and forgot their core business. Given a chance Mr. President, I would conscientise the students that they should wait. They will have it abundantly after they have finished their tertiary education. With those few words Mr. President, I would want to thank the mover of this motion, Hon. Sen. Timveos in absentia, and say thank you.
HON. SEN. MASUKU: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. MOHADI: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 26th July, 2017.
On the motion of HON. SEN. MASUKU, seconded by HON. SEN. MOHADI, the Senate adjourned at Twenty-One Minutes to Five o’clock p.m