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SENATE HANSARD 28 NOVEMBER 2023 VOL 33 NO 16

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Tuesday, 28th November, 2023

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE in the Chair)

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

HON. SEN. MUZENDA: Thank you Madam President. I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 3 be stood over until Order of the Day, No. 4 has been disposed of.

HON. GOTORA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

GENDER BASED VIOLENCE AWARENESS PROGRAMMES TO PROMOTE POSITIVE SOCIAL AND CULTURAL CHANGE

HON. SEN. SHIRI: Thank you Madam President. Before I begin, I want to call upon us all to observe a minute of silence in remembrance of women and girls who lost their lives due to gender based violence.

All Hon. Senators observed a minute of silence.

HON. SEN. SHIRI: Madam President, let me start by thanking you for giving me this opportunity to table this motion on behalf of the Chairperson of the Zimbabwe Women Parliamentary Caucus (ZWPC), Hon. Maybe Mbohwa, who is currently away on official business. As the Women’s Caucus, we are honoured to join the rest of the international community commemorating the 16-Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence. This is a global campaign aimed at raising awareness of the negative effects of violence against women and girls. Since the campaign started in 1991, we have witnessed significant progress being made by many countries in terms of raising awareness and protecting women and girls’ rights. Surprisingly, we have continued to witness an increased number of GBV cases instead of a decrease. This is actually worrisome and calls for reflection on this matter. We may need to go back on the drawing board and restrategise as Parliament, as an organisation and the representative of the people in this country.   

This year’s commemorations are being held under the theme, “UNiTE! Invest to prevent violence against women and girls.” This is a call for the national governments to prioritise and invest resources to fight this scourge. Indeed, violence against women and girls is a human rights issue which must be taken seriously by us all. We are all affected in one way or another.

Let me prefix my motion by defining gender-based violence as violence that is directed at an individual based on his or her biological sex or gender identity. It is one of the most extreme of unequal gender relations in society. It is first and foremost, a violation of human rights and a global health issue that cuts across boundaries of economic wealth, culture, religion, age and sexual orientation. It has become a global health problem that has severe consequences for the global village at large.

Gender-based violence is mostly perpetrated by males and predominantly affects women and girls but can also affect men and boys. Intimate partners mostly perpetrate GBV. Intimate partner violence refers to behaviour by an intimate partner or ex-partner that causes physical, sexual coercion, psychological abuse and controlling behaviours.

Studies have indicated the widespread gender-based violence globally, which approximates that about 35% of women (1 in 3 women) globally have experienced physical and or row sexual violence at some point in their lives. That is more than one billion women and girls facing physical or sexual abuse. Seven percent of women have suffered sexual assault from another person other than their partner. Murders of women committed by an intimate partner (crimes of passion) are up to 38%. We recently read in the newspapers about a woman who was murdered by his boyfriend in Marondera. A great number of women up to 200 million have experienced female genital mutilation.

It is important to note that GBV has a cost to society and government, which significantly impacts national development. The WB predicts that violence against women and girls is estimated to cost countries up to 3.7% of their GDP, which is more than double what most governments spend on education budgets. This is so because survivors suffer physical, psychological and social consequences, which have both short and long term effects. Such effects include mental health issues, a rise in suicidal cases and drug abuse, sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancies and many more cases rising in our global village which have health related implications. Sad, is it not? Imagine, if the resources we are spending on fighting GBV can be utilised elsewhere?

Gender based violence comes in different forms which include among others harmful traditional practices, physical, psychological, economic, child marriages, honour killings, human trafficking, and sexual violence which includes Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) and female genital mutilation.

Coming closer to home, GBV is a prevalent matter in Zimbabwe and it affects women and girls nationwide. GBV in Zimbabwe has been exacerbated by increasing poverty levels, societal norms and values that keep alive gender inequalities and cultural practices, economic disparities, loopholes in the legal framework, displacements and disasters, religion and conflict and of late, now there is technology or cyber-related violence against women and girls.

The statistics I have here are traumatising and most studies indicate a high rate of intimate partner violence, sexual abuse, child marriages, domestic violence and other types of gender-based violence.

According to the Afro barometer findings, the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency and UNICEF (2019), revealed that 40% of women between the ages of 15-49 encounter physical and or sexual abuse from an intimate partner. It is also important to note that violence is also being perpetrated on the young children, both boys and girls and on the elderly women.

According to a MICS survey, the top three provinces where women reported having experienced all forms of spousal violence were Mashonaland East (55%), Masvingo (54%) and Manicaland 53%. Thirty nine percent of women aged between 15-49 years reported that they had experienced the violence in the last 12 months. Twelve percent of women reported ever having experienced sexual violence whilst 5% reported having experienced in the last months. About one in two women aged 15-49 years had experienced emotional, physical or sexual abuse committed by their current or last husband or partner in their lifetime. In the last 12 months, the most prevalent form of abuse was emotional.

I will not have done justice to this motion, if I do not make reference to the challenging life faced by women with disability, especially in relation to GBV. Do you know that disability is more prevalent amongst women than men? The world report on disability estimates that, globally, 19% of women have a disability relative to 12% men. Women with disability are almost ten times likely to experience violence, compared to men or women and men without disabilities. Additionally, they experience higher rates of all forms of violence due to factors related to dependence on others for support, mistrust, social and physical isolation.

Women and girls with disabilities may experience multiple forms of violence, including psychological and emotional violence, neglect, financial abuse or exploitation, and physical or sexual abuse. Additionally, many women and girls with disabilities face structural barriers in accessing education, health and social services. In addition, of importance to note is that most safe places for women and girls with disability remain inaccessible to those with disabilities.

 Having highlighted some of the challenges faced by women and girls in general, let me hasten to mention that Zimbabwe is a signatory to a number of international and regional instruments that relate to discrimination and gender based violence such as the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (1995), the  Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the International Covenant on Civil  and Political Rights, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development, which have put in place national legislations and policies aimed at protecting women and girls. Sadly, women and girls continue to face discrimination, violence and many other forms of human rights violations. What does this mean for us the policy makers or legislators?  We need to go back to the drawing board and redesign our strategies and interventions. It is time to unite and invest to prevent violence against women and girls.

At the national level, we have our Constitution, which is very progressive in terms of recognising gender equality and protecting every citizen, especially women on Sections, 3, 17, 25(b) 52, 56, 78, 79 and 80.  Section 52 aptly states that and I quote, “Every person has the right to bodily and psychological integrity, which includes the right to freedom from all forms of violence from public or private, sources…” Section 56 prohibits any form of discrimination based on sex and gender, among others. These provisions among others, strengthen the Government commitment on curbing GBV.

Domestic policies are also in place such as the National Gender Policy (NGP). The NGP recognises Gender-Based Violence and in particular, violence against women, as one of the biggest obstacles to women’s participation in decision making and severely limits their ability to participate in economic and social activities. In 2007, Zimbabwe enacted the Domestic Violence Act which was a game changer in the region and beyond because it broke the conservative barriers of GBV which were deeply rooted in many homesteads and communities. The Domestic Violence Act also introduced the Anti-Domestic Violence Council, which has not been functional and yet it is a very strategic organ for fighting GBV. This organ has been shifted from one Ministry to another and is currently housed in the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs. As Women’s Caucus, we are not bothered as to which Ministry or Government department houses the Anti – Domestic Violence Council. No! Our concern is on its functionality. This organ has not been funded and yet it is strategic in fighting and curbing GBV in Zimbabwe.

          The ZWPC, as an advocacy group, believes in safe spaces for all human race, regardless of sex or sex orientation. Therefore, we will not continue to sit on our laurels and watch the rights of women and girls in Zimbabwe being violated.  We believe that women and girls have the right to participate fully in the mainstream economy without any fear, be it young women, the elderly, women with disability, young girls, employed or unemployed, married or not married, poor or rich. 

In short, as the ZWPC, we are saying, that no women must be discriminated against and face any form of violence in Zimbabwe. If we are to achieve our country’s vision, to become an upper middle income economy by 2030 as well as attain our SDG target by 2030, we must ensure that we leave no one and no place behind.  Curbing GBV has implications on our national goals. A happy population whereby every citizen enjoys and exercise his or her rights would go a long way in creating safe spaces in the informal sector, workplace, public and private sectors for expressing oneself without fear of victimisation or having one’s rights being violated.

As I conclude, I wish to focus on a few strategies that I believe the Government must adopt, prioritise and provide adequate resources to curb GBV in Zimbabwe.  As we enter the 2024 budget season, it is important to support this year’s theme, “Unite, invest to prevent violence against women and girls” As ZWPC, we call upon Government to prioritise the following:

-Finalising the alignment of GBV – related laws with the Constitution, especially, child marriage laws, particularly harmonisation of the age of consent and legal age marriage, including the introduction of punitive and deterrent sentences to perpetrators of all forms of gender-based violence.  Central to this is the adoption and implementation of the SADC Model Law on eradicating child marriage and protecting children already in marriage as a blueprint for managing child marriages.

-Review of labour laws so that sexual harassment is legally recognised and criminal sanctions and compensations provided for through the enactment of the Sextual Harassment Act.

-Adequately fund the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprise Development so that it can perform its mandate effectively.  A budget of less than 1% for a ministry that oversees about 52% of the country’s population is worrisome.  It is our prayer as the ZWPC that the 2024 budget provides the Ministry and other gender machineries, including the ZWPC with adequate resources so that all effectively discharge their mandate.

Let me conclude by thanking Parliament of Zimbabwe for funding the Sensitisation Workshop on Gender-Based-Violence for all the Members of Parliament.  This workshop indeed is an eye-opener in terms of raising awareness of gender-based-violence issues among the male and female Parliamentarians so that they become gender-based violence change champions.  As the Zimbabwe Women Parliamentary Caucus, we continue to call on the Government to fully fund our activities so that we remain proactive in Parliament and beyond.  Thank you Madam President. 

 HON. SEN. MOHADI:  Mr. President, I would want to thank Hon. Sen. Mbohwa for allowing me this opportunity to second her motion which seeks to raise awareness and debate on the effects of gender-based violence in Zimbabwe. This motion cannot be as timely as it is today as we enter the fourth day of the 2023 commemorations which are being observed from 25 November to 10 December under the campaign theme- “UNITE! Invest to Prevent Violence against Women and Girls.”

Over the years, the Zimbabwe Women’s Parliamentary Caucus has always participated in this campaign by undertaking various activities, including tabling a motion on the topic. As the seconder of the motion, l will only buttress what the first speaker has said and then zero in on three other forms of gender-based violence which l feel are very important.

Let me start by highlighting that gender-based violence in Zimbabwe has its roots in cultural and social factors such as patriarchal structure, harmful traditional practices, gender inequality resulting in unequal power relations, gender norms that deliberately ignore violence against women, poverty, limited access to health and education, conflict, and displacement due to disasters.

While we applaud the Government of Zimbabwe for constitutional reforms that led to the enactment of the new Constitution of 2013 which was very progressive and supportive of women and girls empowerment,  I have no doubt that as a country, we have made significant progress in domesticating international and regional conventions such as CEDAW, Human Rights for women.

          My focus today will be on human trafficking as a form of GBV.  Women and girls are being exploited and subjected to all types of gender-based violence because of the push-and-pull factors present in the economy.  This human trafficking can be in two forms; internal trafficking, which involves the movement of victims outside national borders.  However, human trafficking outside of Zimbabwe’ borders has been one of the main challenges women have suffered in Zimbabwe, for example, women who have been trafficked to Kuwait and Oman. 

          Let me hasten to mention that within our borders, we must recognise the value of education for women and girls and continue to empower them.  Locally in Zimbabwe, children from low-income families who drop out of school are moved to cities to work as illegal domestic workers to support their families.  Child labour has been on the rise in Zimbabwe and as Parliament, we must strive to legislate to end this practice.  Perpetrators among them being relatives or close family friends who are traffickers at times are being released back into communities free because victims are afraid of being humiliated and ridiculed for denouncing their families.  Therefore, fear of speaking out causes the victims to continuously suffer gender-based violence in silence. 

          Mr. President, violence against female students in educational institutions has been on the increase.  In Zimbabwe’s higher education institutions, female students continue to demand action against sexual harassment and gender-based violence on campus.  Sexual harassment of female students by male professors, fellow male students, and non-academic male personnel is still rampant on campus. Types of gender-based violence faced by these female students include, among others:

-Sexual harassment by male professors and non-academic staff,

- Rape by older men (lecturers and non-academic staff) and male students,

- Unprotected and forced sexual intercourse with lecturers, non-academic staff, and other students

-Unwanted physical contact, touching, fondling, and hugging.

-Being forced to use drugs during a date and then being sexually abused.

- Being victim of a man who gives gifts in return for sex favours and many more forms of gender-based violence. 

          It is an unethical practice that has mushroomed in tertiary institutions where students are cohabiting and has led to age discrepancy partnerships. It has exposed the girl child to experience all forms of gender-based violence. This practice has been motivated mainly by poverty.

          Therefore, as the Women’s Caucus, we are advocating for the Government to prioritise the theme of this campaign and provide adequate resources to stop the scourge of GBV as expounded by the theme “Unite! Invest to Prevent Violence against Women and Girls.”

          Mr. President, with the support from Parliament, GBV must be curtailed through the enactment of important laws such as the Sexual Harassment Act, Gender Equality Act and the domestication of regional laws as the SADC Model Law.

          As the ZWPC, we can continue to advocate for women’s and children’s rights through a continuous review of policies and laws that govern our nation in the fight against gender-based violence. As the Women Caucus, we feel more work remains to be done to fight for women’s and girls’ human rights and to put an end to all forms of gender-based violence.

          As a result, we must continue our struggle against GBV. It is important to constantly raise awareness on the need to stop human trafficking through featured plays, poems, community talks and digital platform shows.

          The Caucus’s intention, with support from stakeholders, is to continuously raise anti-human trafficking awareness through interactions with traditional leaders, women and girls in schools and tertiary institutions through roadshows and reach out to learning institutions.

Furthermore, as we begin our debate on the 2024 National Budget, let us all come unite and ensure that adequate funds are set aside to support women and girls’ empowerment and initiatives that will be associated with gender-based violence. “a debt free model of development challenged us to self-finance our progress, brick upon brick, stone upon stone”. I thank you.

          +HON. SEN. PHUTI: I thank you Mr. President of the Senate. I want to add a few words to this motion which was moved by Hon. Mbohwa. On this very pertinent matter, what I have observed is, I am grateful for the topic that has been raised. People are being abused in various ways. The other thing that is happening now is, you find that in a child headed family, abuse is prone. This is happening in Matabeleland. Such families leave a pathetic life and the parents are in the diaspora trying to make a living for the children.

These children are being abused. You find a ten-year-old child heading a family of children who are six years or so. Sometimes these children go without food. At the end of the day, some good Samaritans go there. These children are being fooled with some goodies and they end up being impregnated and that is abuse of human rights. Now, these children are being murdered. I would also want to thank women here at Parliament.

Our economic situation here is another factor that is pushing people into such abusing situations. For example, we have child marriages. You find a 9-year-old child being married to a 70-year-old; that is very bad. You will see this happening and some do it under religious guise. Some two or so years ago, there was a child who died whilst giving birth at a shrine.  We also see that children are being killed for ritual purposes.  I therefore request Government to put stiffer sentences for murderers and those who violate other people’s rights. 

          Again, children are being abused through social media, through what they broadcast.  Children are being mischievous because of these social media platforms.  When they see such dirty things on those platforms, they end up practising such.  Another thing is that I once heard someone saying that in Masvingo and other places, there is a certain percent of girl children and women being abused by men.  In 2019, 20% of women and girls were murdered.  The percentage of about 40% of women and girls disappeared just like that.  You find people who commit such crimes walking scot-free.  We therefore request Government to put deterrent sentences for those who murder with intent. 

          Again, my observation, women are being abused sexually. Sex is a voluntary act.  Some women end up being killed because they refused to have sex and they leave children orphaned.  As women, we should actually support this motion from Hon. Mbohwa.  This issue affects everyone, it does not matter where you come from.  As Members of Parliament, we have left our girl children at home, tomorrow we may wake up in this situation.  I therefore, request that whoever moves a motion of this nature, we should all stand up and put our views.  It does not matter who would have moved the motion.  We are all equally affected. As women, we are being abused by men in various ways.  

          Some people are abused and silenced by threats by the perpetrators.  Some may end up with diseases and end up dying leaving children behind. In conclusion, Government should increase resources so that we engage in awareness campaigns, sensitising all people to report any forms of abuse.  Everyone needs to be involved and men should also stand up to say, let us not abuse women.  As women, we request Government to help with road shows or whatever, to conscientise people so that they also report anyone who abuses women and girls. 

In Mangwe, we have an organisation with a theme ‘Rudo Harurwadzi’.  Such organisations should be allowed to engage in sensitisation so that all of us are well informed.  About ten years back, I saw on news, six men having raped a six months old baby.  Such an act cannot be done by normal people.   Such acts are caused by rituals.  At the end, that child was physically affected.  We do not want such situations.  With those words, I thank you.

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE

USE OF HEADPHONES

          THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Starting from tomorrow, Hon. Senators who desire to use headphones so as to listen to the debate which is being made in a language which they are not conversant with, Ndebele or Shona, may be able to get headphones at the main entrance in exchange for an Identity Card.

          HON. SEN. SHIRI: I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          HON. SEN. MOHADI: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Wednesday, 29th November, 2023.

MOTION

PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRES

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

          Question again proposed.

          HON. SEN. MAKAMBA:  It is with great honour and privilege that l stand before you today as we gather to address the important matters that impact our nation. As leaders entrusted with the responsibility of shaping the future of our country, it is crucial that we unite in our efforts and work together for the betterment of our people. Our roles are defined not only by the titles we hold, but by the dedication and commitment we exhibit towards the welfare of the citizens we serve.

          As we convene in this esteemed Assembly, l am reminded of the immense responsibility that rests upon our shoulders. It is imperative that we harness the power of co-operation, collaboration and make decisions that will shape the destiny of our great nation.

          Fellow Parliamentarians, Zimbabwe has been in good hands ever since 2017 to date, with a visionary leader who gives pertinence to the aspect of development. A man without a vision easily loses focus. The opposite happens to be true as evidenced by the approach of His Excellency, Cde. Dr. E.D Mnangagwa to governance issues.  In his foreword in the Vision 2030, His Excellency penned and I quote, “Under this new Dispensation, our Government is working towards building a new Zimbabwe, a country with a thriving and open economy, capable of creating opportunities for investors and employment. In this regard, our Government will leave no stone unturned in transforming Zimbabwe into a knowledge driven and industrialising Upper Middle-Income Economy by 2030.”

          In his bid to fulfil the promise written in the above quoted foreword, His Excellency has since embarked on youth employment and empowerment agenda. The creation of innovation hubs in almost all tertiary institutions in the country has enabled a fraction of the youths in academic circles to work and study, therefore improving their livelihood. Education 5.0, a landmark initiative towards youth empowerment has since been brewing innovation and creativeness amongst the youths as they are now thinking outside the box and coming up with various initiatives in the country.

          The President has envisioned the vision of creating innovation hubs. As it is rightly said, young people need to be innovative for the country to prosper, thus there is need for innovation facilities. The skill of thinking more unique development ideas and contributing to the country’s GDP is a need for young people. With the introduction of the innovation hubs, young people have an opportunity to express themselves ideologically and promote meaningful research and implement efficient methods of development.

          Just pay a visit to the National University of Science and Technology, (NUST), the Midlands State University (MSU), the University of Zimbabwe, Harare Institute of Technology (HIT), Bindura University of Science Education, Lupane State University and Chinhoyi University of Technology. You will realise that gone are the days when these institutions churned out half-baked graduates whose only ambition was to become employees, and not employers. All Zimbabwe’s State Universities are fast becoming engines for economic growth.

          Fellow Parliamentarians, it is important to assert that our President has since made it a point that a country is built by its owners. This mantra emphasises the importance of the nation being built by its own people, and President Mnangagwa’s vision aligns with supporting the youth, women, and infrastructure development. As people of Zimbabwe, we rally behind this vision and support the efforts to empower the youth and women, as well as develop the infrastructure of our nation. We believe that through these efforts, we can work towards a stronger and more prosperous future for our country.

          We as people of Zimbabwe, also applaud His Excellency in his vision on climate issues, for example those addressed at the 78th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York. He further articulated that Zimbabwe has not been spared from the negative impact of climate change, hence our Government continues to make the requisite investment in infrastructure to mitigate and build dams across the country such as Semwa Dam, Marovanyati, Tuli-Manyange Dam, Gwayi-Shangani Dam and Bindura Dam, to mention just a few. Through the Ministry of Environment, a model has been developed for safer schools with resilient services like proper waste management systems, hence inclusion of the climate agenda within Zimbabwe’s development agenda. Also, the provision of climate finance for small scale farmers has been prioritised, with farmers being provided with inputs for agricultural development. The Second Republic remains unwavering in its commitment to create opportunities in agriculture that must drive that development for Vision 2030 to be achieved, mining, tourism, and infrastructure development and information communication technologies.

Moving on, we are applauding our President for finding ways of creating employment. The development of new jobs for young people has been notably recorded from the year 2017 to date. Employment opportunities have also been harnessed by Education 5.0 which has mainstreamed practically in the stream of learning and allowed students to acquire the skill to research and positively impact the society. Overally, education 5.0 has not just boosted the educational sector but has also boosted health and the economy at large.

Fellow parliamentarians, it is important to acknowledge and appreciate the efforts of our President in addressing critical issues that impact our society. Gender balance, climate change and drug abuse are pressing concerns that require strong leadership and proactive measures. President E. D. Mnangagwa’s dedication to tackling these issues is indeed commendable. His vision and commitment to finding sustainable solutions to these complex problems are vital for the well-being and progress of our nation.

As a Senator, I stand in full support of initiatives that promote gender equality, environmental protection and efforts to combat drug abuse. I am committed to working collaboratively with the President and other stakeholders to address these issues and make meaningful contributions towards building a better future for all our citizens. This means that both men and women have a task to work towards advancing the nation’s interests. Recently, we have witnessed the appointment of first female Prosecutor-General, Dr. Loice Matanda-Moyo as well as the appointment of Mrs. Virginia Mabhiza as the new Zimbabwe Attorney-General. We also witnessed the appointment of Chipo Mutasa, another esteemed woman to be the Chairperson of the inaugural Mutapa Investment Fund. This is a walk on one of the Vision 2030 cross-cutting themes that is of gender equality and women empowerment.

The President has also made strides in promoting women inclusion, making sure that all women in the country are being mainstreamed in decision making platforms. That is why even in the Parliament, we have the women’s quota and youth quota. This move was to give women the ability to express themselves and also participate in the formulation of decisions that affect them. Through the Ministry of Finance, women empowerment has also been prioritised. With the support of Zimbabwe Women’s Bank that has been offering micro-finance loans to young women to enhance their businesses, women have been empowered economically. That is why we have prominent women who are now in business and are contributing to the country’s GDP.

Lastly, the programme of devolution is meant to bring a harbinger for a new dawn of development, resuscitation of worn-out facilities and revival of dilapidated infrastructure to regain its lustre. To facilitate these developments, the Central Government has allocated devolution funds to all the country’s ten provinces to ensure that no areas are left behind towards the betterment of our cities and transformation of rural areas to urbanisation. The Government is currently working on the road rehabilitation projects in major cities and locations. Roads are being rehabilitated, among them are Bindura-Matepatepa Road, Mt. Darwin-Mukumbura Road and Mahuhwe to Kanyemba Road rehabilitation. Also dams erected for irrigation such as Kanyemba Irrigation Scheme, Bindura and Semwa Dams are progressing well. Food security is also being guaranteed through Pfumvudza.

It is crucial for all Zimbabweans to come together in a spirit of patriotism and solidarity, working towards the common goal of building a better, more prosperous future for our beloved motherland. By uniting, our efforts and working collaboratively, we can overcome challenges and contribute to the growth and development of our nation. Let us strive to build a strong, united Zimbabwe, one that we can all be proud of, and one that offers opportunity and hope for generations to come. United in purpose and driven by a common goal.

Mr. President, as I move around the corridors, the dining room and talk to colleagues, they are always asking me, Makamba, do you still have it? I said what! They said what you used to do on radio. Can you just give us an example? So, Mr. President, here you are - NDIKATI NZVEEE, KWAAMATO, WANDIONA! Thank you.

HON. SEN. KADUNGURE: Thank you Madam President for affording me this opportunity to debate on the State of the Nation Address (SONA) that was presented by His Excellency the President. May I take this opportunity to congratulate the President of the Senate Hon. M. Chinomona and her Deputy, Hon. M. Nyambuya on their reappointment to lead this House. Most importantly, allow me to congratulate the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe on his re-election to lead Zimbabwe.

Madam President, let me start speaking about measures put in place by the Government to enhance agricultural productivity as outlined by His Excellency the President in the SONA. Agriculture is the backbone to our economic growth. Construction of dams has seen sustainable irrigation projects taking place in many areas on our nation.  Food security has become a reality, our people are now able to produce crops all year round, also promoting income generation starting from household levels. The Second Republic as outlined by His Excellency has begun drilling of boreholes which has made life easier for our people to access clean and safe water. Watering of gardens becomes viable at local levels especially rural areas. Our people become food sufficient.

The mining sector also as outlined by His Excellency the President, E. D. Mnangagwa is a pillar to our economic growth. I want to appreciate its growth to USD12 billion which is evident of the Government support to this industry. The USD10 million Mining Industry Loan Fund put in place by the Government for small scale and artisanal miners will enhance the growth of this sector.  This will equip this sector with essential tools to promote better working conditions and practice safety conditions as this will also help avoid disasters.  Rolling out of more gold centres will see employment creation, mostly for our youths, as many of our young generation are actively involved in mining activities nationwide.

          His Excellency, the President in his SONA, also talked about the power supply improvement.  Indeed, allow me to emulate the Second Republic for its efforts to put in place measures to improve power supply to the whole nation.  As we move towards Vision 2030 middle-income economy, industries become more vibrant due to improved power supply.  This allows steady supply to produce from our industries which produce goods and services.

          In the SONA, also the President Hon. E. D. Mnangagwa spoke about enhancing connectivity through upgrading road networks.  It is evident across the country, the robust efforts by the Second Republic to rehabilitate road networks.  Roads are very necessary to economic growth as many services to economic growth require good roads.  Now there is much improved easy supply of goods and services from producers to consumers because of good road networks.  I believe that because of this initiative by Government, the rest of other remaining areas in remote places will also be completed as the President says in his mantra, “leaving no one and no place behind.”

          Let me also turn to education 5.0 Model, as His Excellency highlighted in the SONA.  This is aimed at producing goods and services.  It is an initiative towards economic growth as it focuses on innovation and industrialisation. Education 5.0 will go a long way in equipping learners to become innovative.

          These are some of the issues which are highlighted by His Excellency, the President Hon. E. D Mnangagwa. I thank you for this opportunity to debate on some of the items.  May we all work together with one spirit for the development of our nation, as we emulate the efforts by His Excellency and the Second Republi; hence his mantra, “nyika inovakwa, igotongwa, igonamatirwa nevene vayo”. I thank you.

HON. SEN. MUZENDA:  I move that the debate do now adjourn.

HON. SEN. SHIRI: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 29th November 2023.

On the motion of THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF VETERANS OF THE LIBERATION STRUGGLE (HON. SEN. MAVHUNGA),

the Senate adjourned at a Quarter to Four O’clock p.m.

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