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SENATE HANSARD 29 MARCH 2023 VOL 32 NO 23

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Wednesday, 29th March, 2023

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

PRAYERS

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

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE

SWITCHING OFF OF CELLPHONES

          THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Good afternoon Hon. Senators.  Hon. Senators are reminded to put their phones on silent or switch them off.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          HON. SEN. MUZENDA:  Thank you Mr. President.  I move that Orders of the Day Numbers 1 to 2 on today’s Order Paper, be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the Day have been disposed of.

          HON. SEN. TONGONGARA:  I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS

          Third Order read:  Adjourned debate on motion in reply to the Presidential speech.

          Question again proposed.

          *HON. SEN. SIPANI-HUNGWE: Thank you Mr. President. I want to add my voice on the motion which was raised by Senator Mpofu.  The President touched on quite a lot of things in his speech.  He talked about the children and he was worried about drug abuse among the youth, for example the use of mutoriro, pampers and so forth.  As leaders here, let us go back to the electorate and talk to them about our children.  What are we going to achieve if we have youths who are addicts in a few years to come?  I suggest that we invite the Lord to be with us in trying to control these children.  Let us set aside days to pray for God’s intervention since the situation is now out of hand.  I heard the previous speakers saying boys and girls go out and have private time on their own which never happened during our heydays.  I am requesting Hon. Senators to seek God’s intervention by way of praying and fasting     and those who believe in ancestors can also seek intervention so that we have a good country. 

          The President talked about the rehabilitation of roads.  We can see that Government is trying to rehabilitate the roads.  Quite a number of roads right now are full of potholes.  It is not Government’s fault. We are grateful that God gave us enough rains and there was no way roads could have been rehabilitated during the rain season.  Now that the rains are gone, may those roads be rehabilitated.  I commend again the Government for realising that the local authorities are not seriously committed to rehabilitate the roads within their jurisdiction.  The Government has now intervened to rehabilitate those roads.  Now that the rains have ceased, those roads are being rehabilitated. 

          He even improved on quite a lot of things in education.  The President spoke of Bills and we would like to thank him for that.  He said most of the Bills should be attended to.  We are now about to go for elections, so we should ensure that we have attended to those outstanding Bills before we come to the end of the life of this Parliament.  Ministers should bring the Bills so that we attend to them.  When we leave, we should have cleared all the Bills, we do not want to leave any outstanding matters.   

          We are having elections this year. Let us all be peaceful - those were some of the words in his speech.  We all belong to this country.  It does not matter that you support Dynamos or CAPS, when we go home,  we sit at the same table because we belong to the same country.  It is just that we want to choose those who are better able to lead for the next five years.  It is not a way.  We should not fight over this.  Let us go as elders and tell our children on the ground that the President does not want any violence and that if anyone engages in violence, they should be arrested and prosecuted.  We want a country that is peaceful.  With those few words, I thank you Mr. President.

          *HON. SEN. CHIFAMBA:  Thank you very much Mr. President.  My apologies, I responded to you while I was walking.  I would like to thank His Excellency the President of this country, His Excellency Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa, for leading the infrastructure development of the new Parliament building.  This is something that brought joy to us as children of this country.  It is very difficult to live in a country and you do not have something you can point at to say this is ours.  It was built with the image of this country and we are very happy.  We would like to express joy and acknowledge that indeed a great job was done.  We can now point at the new Parliament building as our new home. 

We are very grateful for the Beitbridge Border Post infrastructure development.  It is with joy we talk about the Beitbridge Border Post.  It can actually show that a lot of work is being done in this country.  Allow us to speak of the great things that are happening in this country as Zimbabwean children.  We are very happy.  You can actually see the smooth flow of traffic at Beitbridge Border Post as well as people who are coming in and out.  You can navigate with ease from Zimbabwe to the other side, the South African side.  Way back, in the old days, we used to sleep at the border, but it is now different with the development of the border post. 

We are very happy with women who are being uplifted within the army.  We used to think that the army was only for men but again, you can see that women are war liberators.  They participated in the war to liberate this country.  Everyone stood for their country.  May they continue to do that and uplift women within the army and give them high ranks.  Even those within the police should also be given high ranks. 

We are very happy as women in this country.  Society thought the army and police was only for men, but you can actually see that women are being uplifted, women are being given high ranks.  Even amongst pilots in this country, we now have women and also others are driving trucks and buses.  Women are doing great things, something that was thought to be for men only.  So even at work, people think there is a difference between men and women but it is now the same. 

We are very happy with the Government programme of Pfumvudza despite having delays of not receiving these inputs in time.  Going to the road infrastructure in the country, we are impressed with the road works that are being done in this country but again, we would like to mention that there are other roads in this country, for example in Murewa.  Those roads need urgent attention.  Just like the previous speaker has mentioned, some of the roads in the country are in a bad state.  We cannot continue with such a state of the road network.  It is very bad.  Our vehicles are being affected now and then because of the bad state of the roads in the country.

We are not encouraging people to speed on these roads but people should pay attention to the state of the roads in the country.  We acknowledge some of them were actually done very well, we are impressed.  We are now looking forward to seeing roads being given attention in the rural areas.  We kindly ask for attention on these roads.  Talking about kombi drivers, in most cases, these drivers are very reckless.  Thank you very much Mr. President, I do not have much to say.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  I move that the debate do now adjourn.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume:  Thursday, 30th March, 2023.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  Thank you Mr. President.  I move that we revert to Order of the Day, Number 1 on today’s Order Paper.

          Motion put and agreed to.

SECOND READING

CHILD JUSTICE BILL [H. B. 11, 2021]

          First Order read:  Adjourned debate on Second Reading of the Child Justice Bill [H. B. 11, 2021].

          Question again proposed.

          *HON. SEN. CHISOROCHENGWE:  Thank you Mr. President.  I just want to add a few words on this Bill.  This is a very difficult Bill and the issue of children is a troubling one.  As we speak right now Mr. President, we are now taking blood pressure tablets because of these children.  For us to rest our spirits and not to be troubled by these children, we should bring back the issue of corporal punishment.

          If children are given corporal punishment at school and back at home, they will never give us a problem in our life.  Way back in the old days, they knew with this law that back home and at school they will be beaten up.  We are now afraid of these children that we gave birth to.  Imagine being told that if you have beaten up your own child you are taken to the police, but when I gave birth to this child, no-one was there, no one even helped me.  We should bring back the corporal punishment law.

I was happy when I heard His Excellency mentioning that we should clap these youngsters and instill discipline in them.  Let us bring back that law so that we do not live in fear afraid of our own children.  Imagine at 8 years these children are taking hard drugs because there is nothing to hinder them from doing so.

          I would also like to blame parents because we are not doing much to reprimand our own children.  If you get him arrested, you go again to that same police station and get the docket closed.  We should put our heads together and make sure that we discipline our children.  If a child of 12 years commits a crime, they should be arrested.  If possible, police should make use of leg irons so that the society and other children will see that it is a serious issue to committee a crime.  If they see that surely the message would have been sent.  When they are sent to prison, those 12 to 15 years should be in their own facility not in the same place with adults.  Mentally and psychologically, they can be ruined but there should be an opportunity for them to be exposed to adults so that they know that it is not pleasure or entertainment but it is a serious issue to reprimand them.  I thank you.

          **HON. SEN. NYATHI: Thank you Mr. President for this opportunity that you gave me to debate on the Bill that was brought by the Minister.  What I want to say is that Hon. Minister, you did not take much into consideration on this Bill. So many people have mentioned that the children that we give birth to nowadays are abusing parents. The children are acting unlawfully, they no longer respect their parents.  What I know is that you respect your mother as old as you are, but I do not know how it came to be when it was said that when a child is 18 years old, he or she is no longer a child but an adult.

          If we take into consideration nowadays how children from the 1980s were raised, there were no suicides by young people. Now children are committing suicide because they believe that they are not supposed to be told what to do.  Even if a child is disciplined in the house, they no longer respect the parent, they talk back.  If you try to discipline them, the following day they will commit suicide.

          IAs Senators, if you look back during our time, when we met our elders on the way, we would respect them whether we knew them or not.  Nowadays, the children are no longer doing that.  They act unlawfully.  As a parent, if I see a child doing something bad in public, if I try to reprimand him or her, the child does not take heed of that.  Some children will report to their parents, especially if I hit them, even if they were taking drugs or drinking alcohol, the parents will come for me fuming. 

          Nowadays, you see children from school in our streets taking drugs.  When they reach home, they will be violent because of those drugs.  If the parent tries to reprimand them, the child will report to the police. They will fabricate some other issues saying things like the parent tried to rape me.  If we are airing our voices in this House, let those voices be taken into account for the public to know.  Nowadays the teachers are not even disciplining children in schools. The age group between the 1980s and those of today is different.  With those few words, I thank you.

          *HON. SEN. CHIFAMBA:  Thank you Mr. President. I followed this Bill from the Zoom platform being explained by Hon. Sen. Chief Charumbira. I was so touched as a parent who has grandchildren.  Hon. Minister, some of these laws, if you take them and put them next to us, they are reeling our children. Our children are no longer disciplined and no longer listening to us because of the age issue which is 18 years. In Zimbabwe, this started a lot of trouble for us. As parents, we actually cry because of our children’s behaviour.

          We grew up without knowing that a boy would hold your waist in public. We would run away back in the days but children of this day are no longer afraid to have someone holding their waist, clad in school uniforms, they are no longer afraid of such things. They do not even run away even if they see elders. They continue with what they are doing. We grew up being taught that as long as some people are elders to you, you ought to respect them but these children of ours are not afraid and they do not even run away.

          They carry extra clothes in their satchels just to change soon after school and they put on those casual clothes simply because they are now 18 years. As a parent, I am the one who is paying schools fees for this child. If they do not listen to the one who is paying school fees, who is going to pay for them? Is the age of 18 going to pay fees for them or they still need our assistance? All the way up to university or any other course they may think of, they are still under my purview. They are still in my house despite attaining the age of 18 years.

          If they so wish, let them practice the age of 18 and survive outside my house. How can a child that you gave birth to stand up to you? In English they say ‘do not answer me back’, but our children are responding to us, which is something foreign to our culture. Way back in the day, if a parent laid her eyes on you, you would know that it is now trouble. The moment those visitors leave your house, you know that I am going to be in trouble.

          As we speak, 12-year-olds are now indulging. We have a child who died at Godfrey Huggins at a very young age. That boy was buried. I am talking about a Grade 6 child who was inhaling gas. Imagine a boy as young as six years, children are indulging in drugs. My humble plea Hon. Minister is we kindly ask you to give us the power to discipline these children. We are the ones who give them food and clothing. These children in school should be beaten up and given corporal punishment. That should be done as a way of disciplining them. Today, it is because they know that the teacher will never do anything to them.

          We hear a lot of stories that children are doing as they wish in schools in front of the headmasters. The children should be afraid that they have met someone who is older than them. If we give them freedom, we are bringing trouble. I was reported to the police and my own child took me to the police. I took her there because she was now a problem to me. I actually asked her to go to school looking like that with bruises because I promised her that the next time she gives me a problem, I would take her to the police station.

          A child is not an egg and I will never kill my child. We have cases of parents who are killing their own children. It is possible and it is happening but we will never go to that extent. We are Zimbabweans and some of these laws are not meant for us. We are Africans, dark skinned people and we should discipline our children. How do I discipline such a child? The problem is I will never get tired to discipline these children. When they grow up, they will be regretting because I will never get a chance to talk to my own child. Even a boy child will just go to their in-laws and behave disrespectfully.

          Eighteen years is a curse on us. The age is actually going down. Kindly assist us as parents. You can assign chiefs roles in their respective areas so that they discipline these children. In rural areas, we are embarrassed as parents. You wonder where this child is coming from but they should not be wondering like animals that have no direction and have no place of fixed aboard. They should be disciplined and we should create and initiate a cap on their behaviour. We should put an end to errant behaviour by these youngsters.

          Imagine all this will be happening inside my own house. I give them clothing and food and what do I get? I get an in disciplined child in return. Imagine a Grade 6 child, a boy and very young inhaling gas. Our children are smoking marijuana and they spend the whole day glued on a bridge. In Samora Machel, our kids are displaying and flushing their bodies which is such an embarrassing act.

Let us not allow these kids to do as they wish.  Where are these kids coming from at 6p.m. - you find someone coming back home from playing. That is not normal. Imagine if that child is impregnated, I have to take care of my daughter and I have to take care of the grandchild because the husband cannot take care of the mother and the child. Thank you very much Mr. President.  

          *THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you very much Mr. President. I just wanted to bring clarification on what the Bill is all about. It is not about child delinquency but instead, we are saying children should have their own courts different from those subjected to adults. That is what the Bill is all about. There is another Bill coming that is the Children’s Amendment Bill. That one you can express yourselves as you are doing now. Thank you.

*HON. SEN. SIPANI-HUNGWE:  Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to debate on this Bill. I was listening when debate took place yesterday.  When a child commits an offence at the age of 12 years, the child must not be sent to the same prison with adults as this will actually ruin their future. I would like to acknowledge that children are committing crimes at a very tender age.  The ages of 5 to 8 years are committing crimes. May the Hon. Minister look into this issue?

The children must not be mixed with adults, they should not be mixed with those who commit serious crimes. We must find a plan on what we are going to do with these children. I read the Bill, understood it and I support it. I thank you.

*THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Hungwe for her contribution.  The law right now states that children aged 12 years and above are the ones who can be taken before a judge or magistrate. Those below the age of 12 cannot be said to have committed a crime.  This Bill is focusing on children who are from the ages of 12 years to 18 years.  This is a very good Bill; it allows our children who would have committed a crime the ability to be rehabilitated.  When they grow up, they will be reformed, they will be new people and would have been moved away from misbehaving.  This is the main objective of this Bill.  I would like to thank all the Hon. Senators who have contributed to this Bill.

With those remarks, I now move that the Child Justice Bill [H.B. 11, 2021] be now read a second time.

Motion put and agreed to.

Bill read a second time

Committee Stage: With leave, forthwith.

COMMITTEE STAGE

CHILD JUSTICE BILL [H. B. 11, 2021]

House in Committee.

Clauses 1 to 90 put and agreed to.

          On clause 91:

          *HON. SEN. TONGOGARA:  Thank you Mr. President.  I want to ask the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs about the Community Court.  At what age are they starting?  Are those ages 12 to 18 years and also the children who are below those ages, do they qualify for community service?  Thank you.

*THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND

PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  Thank you      Mr. Chairman.  What clause 91 is saying is what is there.  We do not ask general questions about the Bill so the question should focus on that clause which we are talking about, not any other things.

*THE CHAIRMAN:  Did you get that Sen. Tongogara?  You should be specific, whether it is clause 1 where exactly in clause 1, which subclause.  You should be specific that this word is left out or there is something that has been left out, we need to add something.

          Clause 91 put and agreed to.

          Clause 92 to 93 put and agreed to.

          House resumed.

          Bill reported without amendments.   

          Third Reading, With leave, forthwith.

THIRD READING

CHILD JUSTICE BILL [H. B. 11: 2021]

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I move that the Bill be now read the third time.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Bill read the third time.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I move that the rest of the Orders of the Day be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 9 has been disposed of.

          Motion put and agreed to.

         

MOTION

CONSTRUCTION OF SCHOOL INFRASTRUCTURE AND RECRUITMENT OF ECD TEACHERS

Nineth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the challenges affecting early child learning.

Question again proposed.

*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to add a few words on access to early childhood learning.  Firstly, the challenge of not having electricity in rural areas while those in urban areas have creates a huge gap.  You will notice that in urban centres, a child who is not even in grade zero can play around with electric gadgets but those in rural areas, even those in secondary schools are not familiar with technology.  So, I think the issue of electricity should be addressed.

The other thing which hampers this idea of early childhood learning is the issue of family.  If the parents are separated or if parents work far away and children are being looked after by relatives or workers, it is another issue which should be looked into seriously because there is no-one who is taking much care of these children.  Also, if the parents are divorced, if someone has a child and they are not staying together, you will find that for a woman to take the child to school and monitor as well will be a struggle.  Those children’s start is not very good, which means that when they go forward up to grade seven to secondary level, they will lag behind.  So, I am appealing to people that when you decide to have children, you should not divorce.  You should stay together so that you look after your children. Divorce may be caused by trivial issues because you will be just looking at yourselves not thinking about the well-being of the children.  This will not help the children for them to assist you in the future.  I thank you.

  HON. SEN. MABIKA: Thank you Mr. President.  I would like to thank everyone who contributed towards this motion.  I now move that the House adopts this motion.  I thank you.

Motion that this House –

ACKNOWLEDGING, that education is a right for every citizen and permanent resident in Zimbabwe;

COGNISANT, that the State, through reasonable legislative and other measures, must ensure that education is progressively available and accessible even to adults as constitutionally obligated;

FURTHER ACKNOWLEDGING, the importance of Early Child Development (ECD) in laying the foundation for children through education;

CONCERNED, that Early Child Development (ECD) is confronted with a myriad of challenges such as inadequate funding, shortage of classrooms, Information Communication Technology (ICT) equipment, teachers and reading materials, among others;

This House calls upon –

  • The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education to prioritise the construction of school infrastructure and recruitment of teachers for Early Child Development (ECD); and
  • The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development to provide adequate financial resources for Early Child Development programmes, put and agreed to.

          On the motion of HON. SEN. MUZENDA seconded by HON. SEN. CHISOROCHENGWE, the Senate adjourned at Ten Minutes to Four o’clock p.m. 

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