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SENATE HANSARD 25 SEPTEMBER 2013 VOL. 23 NO. 04
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Wednesday, 25th September, 2013
The Senate met at Half-past Two O’clock p.m.
(MADAM PRESIDENT in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENTS BY MADAM PRESIDENT
MADAM PRESIDENT: I have to inform hon. Senators that there
will be an induction seminar for all Members of Parliament to be held on Monday the 30th September and Tuesday the 1st of October 2013, starting at 08:30 hours. Hon. senators are advised to check in their pigeon holes for the induction programme. The venue will be confirmed in due course.
SWITCHING OFF OF CELLPHONES
MADAM PRESIDENT: May I remind hon. Senators to please
switch off your cellphones before the commencement of business.
PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS
First Order read: Adjourned debate on motion in reply to the Presidential Speech.
Question again proposed.
*SENATOR CHIMBUDZI: Thank you Madam President. I
would like to say thank you Hon. Mutsvangwa for raising this motion, supported by hon. Mumvuri. First and foremost, I would like to congratulate Madam President on behalf of the Mt Darwin Constituency for your selection to be the leader of this House. I also like to congratulate your deputy hon. Senator Chimutengwende, may the Lord be with you and guide you in all your deliberations. Let me also say thank you to his Excellency for the speech he delivered when he opened the 1st Session of the 8th Parliament. He debated on a lot of things including agriculture. We know that agriculture is the back bone of the industry of this country. The President has it in high esteem and he emphasised that it has to be highly supported because it has not been performing well because of various reasons, which include, the bad climatic conditions and the uncalled for sanctions by the West. We also found that we have very little support coming from other countries and this led to the decline of agriculture in the country.
His Excellency also said one of the things which may increase the production in agriculture will be an increment in the irrigation facilities in the country. In that way, we may be able to farm properly. He also emphasised on the need to harness all the waters as much as we can in the country. In my Constituency, we have Ruya Dam which should soon be constructed and I know we are going to establish an irrigation scheme as we have this dam. The President also called for expertise in utilising the harnessed water in such a manner and one of the most important things in raising the standards of agriculture is easy access to inputs by the farmers. Because if they get the support in farming implements and any other things they want, Zimbabwean farmers are hard workers and will perform wonders if they are given enough support. The President also said that he established some areas where A1 farmers and rural farmers are going to be assisted by His Excellency. In my Constituency, in areas like Ruya and Chesa, I am sure if these places receive assistance farmers will be very happy if they get all the assistance they need from the Government in their agricultural projects. I say that because the farms in Chesa and Karuyana have lots of dams which, if fully utilized, will bring food and wealth in the district and the country as a whole. Water from these dams should be harnessed for irrigation schemes, which will lead to a bumper harvest and drive away hunger. Hunger creates diseases, domestic violence and non-progress but if people have a bumper harvest there will be development. I therefore thank His Excellency, for such a well thought progressive speech for the development of agriculture.
In my constituency, Semwa Dam is under construction along the Ruya River and we hope that on its completion, since it is in the dry arid area, it will be fully utilised for agricultural purposes.
His Excellency also discussed problems in transport. I was very happy to hear this topic because in my area, we have the Mkumbura road which leads to the Boarder with Mozambique. This road has never been included in the road budgets since time immemorial and yet it is one of the most important roads in the country. My biggest wish is that, if the Government has enough funds for constructing this road, it should be tarred. This road is important because it is also used by Government services at the Mkumbura Boarder post and all the people at the valley floor. It is the link between this area and the hospitals such as Mt Darwin; a good road network leads to communication amongst the people themselves and other countries such as Mozambique in this case.
The President also discussed education, where he promised to develop the status of education a notch higher. This will be done through improvements in the curriculum. Zimbabwe has a high rate of literacy in Africa and this can only be upheld by improving the quality of education. Before independence, Mt Darwin had very few schools, but this has been improved. Since independence we have had lots of schools being built.
When I talk about education in my constituency, two schools came into mind, which is Mt Darwin Primary, with a population of 1000 pupils and Mt Darwin Secondary which has a population of 1 900 pupils. This is a sign that we need more schools in this area because both these schools are in Mt. Darwin centre. We need to build satellite schools to ease the congestion in these institutions. The ideal situation is that each primary school should feed into a secondary school so that we cut out hot sittings. I hope and trust that ministries involved in education will consider this suggestion seriously so that we develop a worthwhile education system and uphold our educational status in Africa.
The President also discussed peace in the country, as a representative of the Mt. Darwin Constituency; I look forward to peace in the country because peace brings development in our areas and creates good relationship amongst the people. Thank you Madam President.
*SENATOR CHIEF CHIDUKU: Thank you for giving me this
opportunity to make my contribution to this motion which was raised by Hon. Mutsvangwa and supported by Senator Mumvuri. His Excellency touched on a wide range of topics. I would make my contribution on agriculture. Agriculture is the back-borne of development in our constituencies. Bad harvests create disharmony amongst the people. I plead with the Ministers of Agriculture and Finance to create a formidable team which will lead to the development of agriculture.
Inputs should be given to farmers on time before the end of the month of October. Should these inputs such as fertilisers and seeds reach the farmers after these dates, there will be poor harvest. The President based his speech on the ministries he created with different responsibilities. The two ministries I mentioned above are an important element in the development of agriculture.
A good farmer knows crops which are suitable for his geographical area which is determined by the rainfall patterns. These crops include cotton which needs an above average rainfall. Farmers are shunning this crop because of the poor remuneration to farmers. Some farmers will prefer growing maize because of their rainfall patterns but farmers are also shunning maize because of the poor prices that are offered to the farmer. Zimbabwe is now importing maize which is a shame; the simple solution to this problem is to make it an economic viable venture for the farmer so that farmers will go back to these cash and food crops for the development of the country.
The Matabeleland region is not a good crop farming area because of the low rainfall. The best idea for this area is animal husbandry. Therefore, farmers in these areas should be given as much support as possible to carry out their animal farming projects.
There are some issues which have surprised me and kept me wondering whether I am the only one who is aware of such anomalies.
These anomalies include farmers who were allocated arable land by the Government but the land is lying derelict. The Government should encourage these people to fully utilise this land because farming is the mainstay of the Zimbabwean economy. Farming is hard and painful but it leads to the development of people in the country. These people are under-utilising this land despite the good rainfalls. Government should come up with a plan of assessing and evaluating the poor progress by these people and wherever there is a problem, the two ministries I have mentioned above should come up with best intervention measures to assist these farmers who are letting the country down and make an investigation as to why these people are not carrying out their work. Yes we know farming is hard work and we need to work very hard but we know we were given this land so as to fully utilise what is given to us. Therefore let us utilise it for production purposes. Anyone who has been issued a piece of land should fully utilise that land. Each year, they must give an account of what they would have produced. In so doing, we create a healthy position for the Government and the people of Zimbabwe. We will work in an enabling atmosphere because before independence we were placed into the arid lands, unfertile, sandy and unproductive lands, but now the tables have been turned and we have been given land in the best farming areas of the country. I therefore plead with the people allocated these pieces of land to fully utilise them.
Fertiliser must come in time because if a farmer is given farm inputs in November, he will fail in his endeavours. I thank you Mr.
SENATOR SHIRI: It is my singular honour to come before you in this august Senate as I deliver my maiden speech. Not only am I honoured as an individual, but I believe the entire disability fraternity in Zimbabwe is indeed honoured by this historic milestone in the quest for full emancipation of Persons with disabilities in Zimbabwe.
At this juncture, allow me to congratulate His Excellence the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe for winning the July 31st harmonised elections. We have no doubt that our country will move to greater heights under his leadership. I also want to congratulate you Madam President for your re-election as President of the Senate and Comrade Chen Chimutengwende for being elected Deputy President of the Senate.
We agree with His Excellency that agriculture is the mainstay of our economy and we appreciate the commitment of our Government in empowering our local farmers through the various strategies such as provisions of inputs support and marketing incentives. We would like to implore Government to develop a quota system where farmers with disabilities will also benefit from such well thought and productive strategies without discrimination or prejudice. At least 15% should be reserved for farmers with disabilities.
While Government moves towards accelerated prioritisation of the implementation of sustainable pro-poor economic development initiatives, it comes without saying and would need not much reminding that persons with disabilities are the poorest of the poor and as such, we look forward to a more holistic approach in guaranteeing the participation and involvement of persons with disabilities, as both key players and beneficiaries of the various initiatives our Government shall develop. History tells us that persons with disabilities have been left out in most issues of economic development.
While we are basking in the glory of the successful co-hosting of the just ended 20th Session of the UNWTO General Assembly and as we strive to build on the momentum generated from this achievement, we need also to turn our focus on incorporating the need for accessible tourism to enable us to tap into the growing market of persons with disabilities from within Zimbabwe and across the world. They also need to have a fair and deserved chance to experience and enjoy the tourism products Zimbabwe has to offer. We need to also start focusing on making all our tourist attraction areas accessible (barrier free) so that persons with disabilities can enjoy and experience the joy as their able bodied partners.
We welcome the move by Government to have the water and
sanitation infrastructure upgraded as this will improve the lives of urban dwellers and mainly those with disabilities as they will have easy and guaranteed access. The lack of water and sanitary facilities impact negatively on the lives of persons with disabilities as their options are limited since they cannot carry water from long distances, making their lives very difficult.
As we move to consolidate and align the current Occupational Health and Safety legislation to internationally accepted standards, the amendment of the Health Services Act, the Medical Services Act, the
Public Health Act and such other pieces of legislation as mentioned by His Excellency the President of Zimbabwe, I implore this august Senate to consider the plight of persons with disabilities as they have not been having adequate access to health services and assistive devices and technologies.
While we welcome the move by government to promote access to education at all levels including primary, secondary, higher and tertiary level, persons with disabilities still experience systematic discrimination and/or lack of access to education at these levels. As Bills to broaden access to higher and tertiary education are tabled in this august Senate we will need to come up with specific provisions that promote and guarantee that persons with disabilities also benefit without prejudice.
While we welcome the intended introduction of an e-enabled programme that will see the full automation of Government business management, I want to encourage and remind our Government of the need to have disability friendly ICT technologies so that persons with disabilities also benefit.
His Excellency mentioned the plight of civil servants and the various steps Government intends to take to improve the working conditions such as review of salaries and reviving the provision of nonmonetary benefits. To that end I hasten to commend His Excellency and reinforce the need to cast a special eye towards those with disabilities especially when it comes to non-monetary benefits as their needs vary from those without disability.
I believe that persons with disabilities if given the right and necessary support and provisions created they can be major players and drivers of our country’s economy. As such, I support fully the implementation of the country’s Indegenisation and Economic Empowerment law. However, there is need to look critically if the law gives enough provisions for persons with disabilities to equally benefit and participate in empowerment programmes at all levels.
At this juncture, I want to reiterate the fact that Economic Empowerment of persons with disabilities is the backbone of their total development and emancipation in any society. As such I fully support the review of the micro, small and medium policy framework which is currently underway. We encourage that while this is done, the situation of persons with disabilities be put under the microscope and critically considered. It is no doubt that persons with disabilities face discrimination when it comes to employment opportunities as evidenced by numerous cases, some of which have spilled into the courts of law.
I therefore, Madam President, call for the harmonisation in unveiling these opportunities between the mainstream society members and persons with disabilities. I also want to challenge all Government ministries to mainstream disability with specific emphasis in major socio-economic areas such as education, health, accommodation and employment.
To this end Madam President, hon Senators, myself and my colleague shall seek to propel and guide the august Senate’s deliberations to promote, protect and fulfill the rights of persons with disabilities in Zimbabwe as equal citizens through the elimination of all socially determined barriers which aide the exclusion or restriction of persons with disabilities to fully and effectively participate in any society in Zimbabwe. I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR LIAISING ON PSYCHOMOTOR ACTIVITIES IN EDUCATION (SENATOR
HUNGWE): I move that the debate do now adjourn.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 26th September, 2013.
On the motion of THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR LIAISING ON PSYCHOMOTOR ACTIVITIES IN EDUCATION, the Senate
adjourned at Two Minutes past Three o’clock p.m.