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SENATE HANSARD 29 NOVEMBER 2023 VOL 33 NO 17

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Wednesday, 29th November, 2023

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

PRAYERS

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

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE

POST BUDGET SEMINAR

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I wish to inform the Senate that following the presentation of the 2024 National Budget by the Minister of Finance and Investment Promotion on Thursday 30th November, 2023 in the National Assembly, Parliament will hold a half day Post Budget Seminar for all Members of Parliament on Monday, 4th December, 2023. It starts at 0800 hours in the Multi -Purpose Hall here at the New Parliament Building.

POST BUDGET CONSULTATIVE MEETINGS

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Secondly, I also wish to inform the Senate that Portfolio Committees will hold Post Budget Consultative Meetings from Monday, 4th December, 2023 in the afternoon to Thursday, 7th December, 2023. Hon. Senators are urged to join Portfolio Committees of their choice. The schedule for the Committee Meetings will be circulated in due course.

SWITCHING OFF OF CELLPHONES

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Hon. Senators are reminded once again to put your phones on silent or switch them off.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

HON. SEN. MUZENDA: Mr. President Sir, I move that Order of the Day, No. 1 be stood over until the rest of the Orders have been disposed of.

HON. SEN. GOTORA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE ZIMBABWE ANTI-CORRUPTION COMMISSION FOR THE YEAR 2022

Second Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission for the year 2022.

Question again proposed.

HON. SEN TONGOGARA: Mr. President, I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to debate regarding the Anti-Corruption Commission report. Firstly, I want to thank His Excellency, President E. D. Mnangagwa for his vision which noted the upsurge in corruption and that is done by a wise person who wants the country to be in the right trajectory. I want to thank the Chairperson of the Commission for the report. The report that the Chairperson brought to this august House is quite comprehensive but firstly, the report was done in line with the Constitution of Zimbabwe, Section 323, Amendment No. 20 of 2103 and Section 15 of the Anti-Corruption Commission, Chapter 2.22.

Mr. President Sir, when a Committee is set and the Committee produces such a report…  

 Hon Makamba having passed between the Chair and the Hon. Member speaking.

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Order Hon. Senator.  You are not allowed to pass between the Chair and the Member on the floor. 

HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: Thank you Mr. President, l was saying that when such a Committee is elected, this is done in line with the Constitution so that when they exhibit their duties, they do not do so without due diligence, but they do so adhering to the Constitution. I appreciate that and thanking the Chairperson of the Commission because the Commission has been operating legally. 

Mr. President, it then reflects that when the Commission was given a task to do their work, they performed well and they opened offices in different parts of the country in provinces like Harare, Bulawayo, Midlands and other places so that when they execute their duties, they have representatives in every area who live in particular localities so that they can give reports and they monitor the whole country. If they are headquartered in Harare, it will be difficult. So, I appreciate that this was done through the decentralisation programme where activities are done in communities in which the people are, because they noted that they cannot cover all provinces.

Mr. President, they opened offices in all provinces, instead of moving to Harare all the time which is quite difficult.  In this report, we had 157 cases, which is 62%.  In those cases, 134 represent 53%, which they handed over to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), so that these cases are taken up and those people be persecuted.  This is what is always anticipated, when the Commission was set up, after people have been caught on corruption allegations, they should go through the court process so that the law takes its course.

          The Committee was not at all looking at positions or social status of a perpetrator.  The report clearly stated that a former Permanent Secretary of Mines was arrested.  Senior officers at VID were arrested and a Provincial Magistrate was also arrested.  This means that when they were doing their duties, there were no sacred cows; there was no favouritism.  They were not selectively applying the law.  This is quite pleasing because when we are given a task, you must do it diligently.  I applaud them for a good job. 

          Whilst they were doing their job, they met a number of challenges, where there were some witnesses who had evidence of crimes, but it was quite difficult for them to be forthcoming because there was victimisation of witnesses.  Some were intimidated and that is why they brought a suggestion that there be a Bill that protects witnesses.  This is quite commendable because no one was going to inform the authorities of the crime. They must be protected and whistleblowers should be protected so that information regarding different crimes is brought forth to the responsible authorities.  If that is done, witnesses and whistleblowers will come forward because they know they are protected and will not be afraid to be intimidated at night or being killed.

The Commission had their AGM on 16th June in line with Section 33.3 of Public Entities and Corporate Governance Act.  Like what I said before, all these things that are in the report are quite clear.  This is what is happening and transpiring.  It is within the confines of the law.  So, I appreciate the report and what is contained in the report which is in line with the law. The other point is that they had provincial campaign awareness programmes which are quite important because people should be informed.  They should be taught so that they know what corruption is and to understand that there is a commission which has been set up to teach people about corruption.  This means that what they have been doing has been quite helpful.  When we look at province by province, you will discover that table 5 is clear that Harare tops the list followed by Bulawayo. We also noted in the report that in Matabeleland South, there were two cases. In Matabeleland North there was one case of corruption. This is quite commendable.  Those who have a few cases of corruption, it means the awareness campaigns and the lessons that were taught were effective. It was also noted that corruption was quite prevalent in Local Authorities and in Municipal Authorities.  There is an issue of the illegal parceling out of stands, the selling of stands and land without due diligence. When stands are sold, there are considerations for places allocated to schools, clinics and football pitches where the young people can participate in recreational activities. This will help in taking them off the streets and drug abuse.  You will find that land barons were seen to be in the forefront of corrupting Council officials, bribing them, which eventually leads to corruption in the selling of wetlands and other protected areas.  This causes Government to be in a difficult situation in order to rectify the anomaly, where they find that people have been allocated stands on wet lands.  When rains come, you will find people being washed away by floods because they were settled in places which are not meant to be residential areas.

So, I want to thank the Commission for bringing out such issues of land barons and this will bring sanity. Let me say that the report was quite pleasing and it was submitted 4 years after the Chairperson was given that office. I want to urge the Commission to continue with the good job so that at a certain stage, we would say that indeed we have weeded out corruption. You find office bearers doing their jobs without requesting for bribes, and when that happens, the Commission would bring sanity and there will be economic growth in the country. I thank you.  

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

          HON. GOTORA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Tuesday, 12th December, 2023.

MOTION

REPORT ON THE NATIONAL PROSECUTING AUTHORITY FOR THE YEAR 2022

          Third Order read. Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the National Prosecuting Authority for the year 2022.

          Question again proposed.

HON. SEN. MACKENZIE:  Thank you Mr. President.  I would like to add a few words on the National Prosecuting Authority.  Firstly, I would like to congratulate the new Prosecutor General, Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo for her recent appointment.  More-so, that is, she is coming from being the Chairperson of the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission. She has already started changing processes within this institution.  Mr. President, this report afforded me the opportunity to get some insight and some deep understanding on the work of the National Prosecuting Authority.  This is a very important institution which is actually a creature of our Constitution, particularly Sections 259 to 263. The people who work within the institution are supposed to be people of integrity, people who cannot be tempted to do things in certain ways, they have got to keep to the letter of the law. To do that, the investigations which are supposed to be done mostly by the police have got to be thorough so that the interpretation which is going to be made by the officials of the National Prosecuting Authority can be water-tight. 

On the same note Mr. President, there is need for these people to be properly remunerated.  You cannot be earning $500 a month or $300 a month and you are prosecuting somebody who has actually perpetrated a fraud of $50 million or $40 million.  You get tempted if they come with a bunch of money.  It is pleasing that the authority does not fall under the Civil Service.  So, it is required of us to ensure that it is properly funded. 

I see also within the report that they receive every quarter an average of 45 000 cases and they dispose almost two-thirds of that, about 66%, around thirty thousand cases.  It is important that all those things must be done timeously because justice delayed is justice denied.  There is always a backlog at the end of every quarter.  However, when you compare the report of the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission and that one of the National Prosecuting Authority, the one for ZACC was much more detailed, which is why I am commending the processes which have been put in place by the new Prosecutor General.

The migration to e-documentation, the paperless culture which is also being introduced in Parliament in order to expedite some of the cases; in some cases, a crime is perpetrated and investigation is done by the police, sometimes half-heartedly, with the prosecuting authority or the official take-over from the NPA also doing the job half-heartedly.  It is then passed on to the Magistrate or the High Court, and then you find that the people who have actually committed the crime walk scot-free.  It is important when you actually look in detail at the work and mandate of the authority, that they should not consider who you are or where you come from.  They should do their work without fear or favour and impartially. 

There are many cases of corruption within the report and you can see the MOU which was signed with the Transparency International so that they can appreciate the harm which is being done by corruption in this country and the methods of investigating corruption cases.  Corruption cases, by their very nature, are very complicated and you need sharp minds and officials who are well remunerated. 

On that note Mr. President, I end by saying, let us do whatever we can to capacitate the National Prosecuting Authority in terms of funding and budget provisions.  Tomorrow, there is the budget presentation and let us see how much they are going to get so that we do not compromise the justice delivery system within our country. I thank you.

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

HON. SEN.  GOTORA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Tuesday, 12th December, 2023.

 

MOTION

GBV AWARENESS PROGRAMMES TO PROMOTE POSITIVE SOCIAL AND CULTURAL CHANGE

          Fourth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Commemorations to mark the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence. 

          Question again proposed. 

          HON. SEN. TSOMONDO: Thank you Mr. President for allowing me to stand and debate about GBV. A motion which was raised by Hon. Sen. Mbohwa. Mr. President, embarking on the Gender Based Violence awareness programmes in all districts of the country would be an important step in combating GBV and its negative effects.  Communities can become better equipped to identify and support victims.

          These programmes can also help to dispel myths and lack of understanding about GBV, and to promote a culture of zero tolerance for violence against women and girls. In addition, such programmes can help to build the capacity of local authorities and providers in their area of jurisdiction to effectively respond to GBV cases. Ultimately, GBV awareness programmes can play a role in creating safer environment for women.

          Investing in programmes that prevent violence against women and girls through promoting positive social and cultural change is important to reduce gender-based violence. By tackling the underlying causes of violence, such as harmful gender norms, these programmes can help to create a culture that rejects violence and promotes equality. Such programmes can include initiatives that educate and empower women and girls, engage men and boys as allies in ending violence, and building the capacity of communities to address GBV. They can also involve working with media and other stakeholders to promote positive gender norms and change attitudes towards GBV. Overally, investing in these programmes can make a lasting impact in reducing GBV Mr. President.

          There are many effects of gender-based violence in Zimbabwe, including physical, mental effects which can include depression, and low self-esteem. Social effects can include isolation, poverty, and loss of social status.  Gender-based violence also has a negative impact on economic development as it increases health costs, reduces productivity and decreases participation in the workforce.

          Therefore, in conclusion Mr. President, Parliament should continue increasing cooperation with various institutions such as Civic Societies, Correctional Services, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development. Hence this will compliment Government efforts to achieve gender equality and to eliminate all forms of gender-based violence (GBV).  Thank you Mr. President.     

         +HON. SEN. M. NDLOVU: Thank you Mr. President Sir.  First of all, I would like to thank Senator Shiri for the motion.  We want to prevent the abuse of children, mothers, fathers and the vulnerable.  Gender-based violence is something very new such that when we were growing up, it was not there at all.  Right now it is prevalent and it is being perpetrated by relatives.  Fathers are raping their own children.  I do not know if mothers are also being raped.  When a woman is being raped, she is instructed on what to expect.  Also, some rapes are fake since we have moved away from our culture, and also nowadays chiefs are the custodians of the culture and laws.  These negative issues are happening of which chiefs are aware but they have no power to intervene.  Last year, there were some cases of children being raped by their fathers to the extent of impregnating them and that was taboo.  My question is, what has gone wrong with our culture because it should prevent some of these things?

Mr. President, again l would like to say Government should put stiffer sentences for such perpetrators because people do commit such acts.  You find that perpetrators will be laughing at you after they have been released without being charged.  I am requesting that there be deterrent sentences of up to 20 years or more so that they will never commit such crimes again.   

Mr. President, there are child headed families and that is where most of these things are happening.  There is a family in my constituency, you find that police always visit that family and that means we are failing to prevent such activities as a country.  There are also women who abuse husbands, it is difficult for men to report such matters. Even us as mothers, when a child is abused by the father, we fear to make a report.  It is taboo for such matters to happen.  I am suggesting that there be a workshop where we involve children, mothers and fathers to conscientise them. When these matters are raised the truth will prevail.  We also have a request that organisations that deal with those issues assist communities.  I request the Government to intervene and traditional leaders as well.  I thank you.

          +HON. S. MOYO: Thank you very much Mr. President. We are very happy on the women issue that they are putting their problems here in this House. The problem we face is that you do not ask difficult questions, yet fundamental questions are needed. Why is it that women and girls are being abused every hour in Zimbabwe? Let us give true meaning and refer back to independence where we need proper channels of communication, where victims can report and be protected and not told to go back home by police. When they go back, they are killed. We need our police to be accountable and not to be instructed to do violence, but help the abused women.

          Abuse of women and girls is bad not only today, but also for the future generations to come. What women and girls will be doing years from now, what future mothers will we have? We need straight laws for perpetrators of abuse. Ministers and various Commissions must tell us what measures are being taken to address this cancer of abuse. On the vulnerable social situation, the Government is failing to assist our women who are failing to put daily bread on the table. They get into drugs to forget their suffering. They even fail to pay university fees. The women are vulnerable to pregnancy in order to have food and shelters, given the situation in this country.

          We need to come up with solutions and not policies that only look good on paper. I ask that we need full involvement of women in national building. This House and the justice system must investigate what type of people are being given licences to take care of our women and children. We need to vet them before commissioning them. What is happening is that those organisations like DREAMS use children to get money from the Government and donors. The targeted market, the fund is not assisting the victims.

          We have grand-children going out there to sell their bodies so that they can have their daily bread. The other problem is the CALA issue, where the girl child might not have the resources to complete the project like printing, photocopying, et cetera. The teachers will say I will do the CALA for you if you sleep with me in the storeroom. We need the Minister of Education to address this CALA issue, hence they resort to drugs due to too much pressure. Most of you do not care because your children go to private schools. What about the majority that go to public or Government schools? What are we saying about them?

          Mr. President, we are fathers and mothers and therefore we need to take a stand against abuse of women and children. We need to mentor young people because we have lived longer, made mistakes and we let them know that we did this wrong. We need to improve on their lives and we need accountability on men and women from village level to national level so that we stop this cancer which is destroying our nation and our women.  So, we need assistance from the Government to make sure that they look on those issues. Thank you.

          HON. SEN. MLOTSHWA: Thank you Hon. President. I want to thank Hon. Sen. Mbohwa for bringing this motion to this House. I want to add my voice to the GBV motion. Normally, when we look at gender, people focus on women, but where I come from in the rural areas, I have noted that even small boys are abused. As we speak, there are young boys who are being exploited in child labour. These are young boys who are in manual labour. So, this is a culture which has been taken up by people where you find small boys without parents being employed as cattle herders. This means that when they grow up, they grow knowing that this is what they do. When gender roles are defined, you find that for them, they will also follow this, but as Hon. Members of this House, it is important that we note the importance of gender balance.  We need to introspect.  Let me add that these programmes that are being spoken of are only in urban areas, they do not permeate into peripheral areas.  These are programmes which should be taken up by people in different districts.  You would find that men know the way to deal with their women, but you find them beating up the women.  This is not right.  Let us not abuse each other.

The other point is, I have noted that in rural areas, police stations are quite far.  Where I come from, you would need to drive for a long distance.  When you are abused, whether you are raped, it will take quite some time.  So, Government has a big role to play in building police stations, particularly in rural areas.  These are just police stations where you walk in, whether the issue is sensitive, but you will find that there is no Victim Friendly Unit. So, in rural areas, it is important to put Victim Friendly Units. I will give an example of where I come from in Matopo, the police station is Maphisa, you might be at Ratanyana, which is quite a distance from Maphisa. You will find that some police stations are quite a distance. So, I do not know what should be done so that there are sub-stations to address concerns of abused women and the young children where they can report their cases. Let me also mention that there are some men who are being abused and there are men who are being beaten up. Now, I want to say to women who beat their men, please do not do so. I thank you.

          THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Thank you Hon. Sen. Mlotshwa, I missed a part which seems to be very interesting.  I am going to work very hard to polish my Ndebele. I tried to use this, but unfortunately it did not work.

          +HON. SEN. MOYO: Thank you President of the Senate, for giving me this opportunity.  I also want to thank the Hon. Senator who moved this motion which is quite painful, where you find that this is done by a normal human being.  I do not know why, but for psychiatrists, it is important to check such people to find whether they would be in their normal state.  These people who do bad things are people who are supposed to be prosecuted.  Now, it will be easier when the laws are quite punitive.  The issue which is being addressed here is an issue which points at men. You would find that when people are abusing each other – let us not make it one-sided.  It is not about men only or women only, but this is quite an all-cutting issue. 

The law should be punitive enough and on perpetrators of gender-based violence, the law should be applied.  We have chiefs who live in communities, they should enforce the laws.  Perpetrators need to be punished because if the law is not punitive enough, then gender-based violence will not end.   you would find that men could marry five women in the past, but there were no cases of abuse.  Now, that is difficult.  Women do not welcome other women in the same marriage.  Sometimes a man might have a need for conjugal rights, so what I am saying is, let us address the issue behind abuse.  What causes people to take advantage of each other?  Some say it is because of sexual deprivation.  I do not know whether it is deprivation in that regard, but you would find that young people are being abused in their homes through sexual deprivation.  I do not know why this is happening, whether it is about rituals or what.  Maybe some people are doing this after being prompted by traditional healers.  However, my desire is that such issues should be dealt with and the law should be quite punitive.  There should be a mark, possibly in other cases, there should be application of the Sharia Law, where you find that a person has a part amputated or otherwise.  This is happening where male adults abuse young girls.  You also find older women taking young boys and abusing them sexually.  So, we need to address why this is happening.  Thank you.

*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: Thank you Mr. President for this opportunity. When I came to this august House, I did not think that I would debate but having listened to the discourse in the House, I decided to participate. Firstly, there were quite a number of points raised regarding the participation of chiefs – thank you for that recognition. I want to thank you for recognising the participation of traditional leaders. Indeed, as chiefs, we want to fight gender-based violence. We do not want violence.

Sometimes you would find people saying that when you go to a doctor and you have a headache, the diagnosis would actually try to determine the actual cause of the headache. We can debate but as long as we do not address the source, we will have challenges. There are some who leave the issue and divert it. Some would say it is a cultural thing of beating wives. Whatever culture you refer to, it is not allowed to beat a woman. That is our culture. But of course, you can use the other whip which was mentioned by the previous speaker. This is our culture. Whether you are in Chipinge, Hwange, Plumtree or any other part of the country, women should not be beaten up. Then you ask why they are being beaten up and what is causing that. You find that some were saying remove lobola because the payment of lobola is like buying a person. It is like commodification of a woman. So, we need to understand what lobola is.

Mr. President, I want to share that from our research and other experiences from Uganda, about 10 years ago, there was a non-governmental organisation called Mikumi which took this issue to the courts. They advocated for the abolishment of lobola saying that it is the cause of commodification of women. The case went through High Court and there were five High Court Judges on the bench who included four females and one male in the system. After the judgement was out, there was one person who was for the abolishment of lobola and four were against it. The judges who were against the abolishment of lobola said that research from the Philippines and other countries, the statistics reflected that the top countries in gender-based violence have nothing to do with lobola. They do not pay dowry. The research which was found indicates that where violence is prevalent, there is no lobola. Judges said that there is no evidence that lobola causes violence according to the information that was given to the court. Only one person said he wanted lobola to be scrapped. The majority of four agreed that lobola should be retained. It was the male judge who said lobola should be scrapped.

I want this House to know that there are some people who come with funding in order to change other people’s culture. We were approached by Msasa Project and they said that gender-based violence is prevalent and so we need to go out and hold meetings in all towns to debate the causes of gender-based violence. Up to now, I learnt a lot. We went to places like Masvingo, Mashonaland Central and different parts of the country. The common issue which emanated from the deliberations is that women were saying that what is causing domestic violence is more to do with conjugal rights. A lot of women were saying men just come home and sleep without giving their spouses their conjugal rights. Women in turn accuse their men of infidelity because they will be giving their conjugal rights to other women, hence would respond by beating up their wives.

It was agreed that the number one cause is that men are now weak. The reason of the weakness maybe caused by small houses as  men fail to deliver when they go to their spouses. I am saying that the issue to do with gender-based violence is that we might look at the wrong challenges running away from the real issues.

I want to thank Hon. Sen. Shiri for moving this motion. We want to stand together so that within five years, we resolve or address gender-based violence. Let us not pay lip service debating only. You find a motion is on the Order Paper, then it comes back in the next Parliament without any implementation. The mover of this motion should follow up on the issue so that it is expedited. I thank you.

*HON. SEN. NGWENA:  Mr President, I want to talk about gender-based violence which is becoming a scourge. Indeed, I want to focus on women. I heard what was debated by other Hon. Senators that men say that they paid lobola for the women. I want to suggest that there is need for protection of women.

*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: On a point of order. For record purposes, I did not say what the Hon. Senator is saying. Indeed, this would be captured in the Hansard. That is not what I said.

*HON. SEN. NGWENA: My apologies to Hon. Sen. Chief Charumbira but this is the background to an explanation that I wanted to make. We have the HIV pandemic which is prevalent in the country and you will find that as a woman, I might be HIV positive because the man who married me forces me to have sexual intercourse with him. We need to see that women are protected. When you face such challenges then you need to know where to go.

There is a lot of abuse which is happening to our children. Young children are being abused by older men. Some would come saying that I want to assist the child with school fees as a way of taking advantage of these young children. We need organisations which support vulnerable children and orphans so that they are protected from men who take advantage of them. Indeed, we need that to happen and this is what I wanted to emphasise on. I thank you.

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

HON. SEN. MOHADI: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Tuesday, 12th December, 2023.

MOTION

PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS

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

          Question again proposed.

          HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: Mr. President, thank you for giving me this opportunity to add my voice to the SONA presented by our President His Excellency Honourable E. D. Mnangagwa. I am so proud to debate in this magnificent building.

          Thanks to him for a job well done!

          The President talked about water. Clean water provision is one of the goals under NDSI and SDG6 and in line with this access to potable water for the ordinary people is one of the Second Republic’s major endeavours.  The Government has started a campaign of drilling boreholes as it forges ahead with its vision to improve livelihood and it improves the economy. Mr. President, 117 boreholes have been drilled in Midlands Province, for instance, bringing convenience to the beneficiaries as they come with tapped water instead of the old model bush pump borehole.

          This has improved the livelihoods of people.  People have also established nutrition gardens which improves their general health. Agriculture has been transformed to produce enough food at household level.  This has been made possible through the Pfumvudza/ Intwasa Presidential Scheme. Thanks to the President’s vision.

          The President also talked about mining, USD10 million loan for small-scale miners was unveiled to boost production. The facility comes at a time when investment in the mining sector to scale up production is limited.  Most investors are reluctant to support the artisanal and small scale-miners due to the inherent risk and complex way of doing business by these miners. As such, this USD10 million facility is meant to provide support to small-scale gold miners as they are underfunded. The funds will be used in the construction of six gold service centers to improve access to critical facilities by artisanal gold small-scale miners and to invest in machinery that could enable the miners to operate even during the rainy season.

          Mr. President, let me now move to devolution. The Government of Zimbabwe identified devolution as key pillar of achieving an upper- middle income economy status by 2030. The policy on Devolution and Decentralisation is one of the major anchors of our unity which encompasses inclusive development. Notwithstanding outstanding requisite legislatives alignments to the constitutions, sub-national tiers of the Government have already begun to embrace devolution aspirations in tandem with relevant provisions contained in the 2013 Constitutional dispensation on the devolution of state for state power and responsibilities. This is evidenced by the Ministers of state for Provincial and Devolution Affairs who champion development programmes in their respective Provinces.

          NDS1 seeks to facilitate rapid, equitable and balanced development of rural and urban areas without leaving anyone behind and it provides for devolution and decentralisation as espoused under Vision 2030.  In this regard, devolution, if it is properly implemented, could yield significant dividends. The e-passport applications are now being processed at provincial and district registry offices in Bulawayo, Gwanda, Gweru, Lupane, Marondera, Beitbridge, Chitungwiza, Hwange, Mazowe, Murewa and Zvishavane.

          Mr. President, let me move on to energy. In line with the drive to remove barriers to investment in the energy sector, the Second Republic has opened the area for more private business to meet power shortages through investments that will enhance power generation. Let me say 68 % of the projected investment value for all licences were issued in the energy sector. For instance, there is a new 50 megawatt solar station in Bulawayo and major upgrade of the national grid in Bikita. These two investments from private investors through public private partnerships, will see Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) and Bulawayo City Council benefiting from a solar power station that it will eventually own and Bikita Mineral from the construction of 113km, 132 kilovolt power line from the existing Tokwe substation to the proposed Bikita Mineral substation.  The solar power plant in Bulawayo will address the perennial power challenges at the Bulawayo water pumping station and also provide power to Bulawayo industries in designed special economic zones, thereby providing an alternative stream for the City Council.

          Mr. President, let me move to road infrastructure. Road transport is indispensable to economic and social development in any country.  This has a significant implication on development and the economy of our nation.  Thus, the rehabilitation and maintenance of roads to an acceptable standard is a prerequisite as roads also play a crucial role in determining the competitiveness of exports and imports on international and regional markets. More than 50 000km of roads have so far been rehabilitated and reconstructed countrywide since the start of the Emergency Road and Rehabilitation Programme in 2021.

          Under Heritage Based education 5.0 module, institutions of Higher and Tertiary Education are expected to champion teaching, research, community services, innovation and industrialisation. Mr. President, 16 industries have been established, contributing to economic growth. Mutare Teachers College has established a food processing industry for the beneficiation of indigenous fruits. Lupane State University Agro Innovation Park is providing extension service to local farmers in goat production.

          Mr. President, beneficiation is part of Zimbabwe’s economy diversification. The Second Republic is putting emphasis on value addition and beneficiation of natural resources for optimum profits and benefit of local communities. The setting up of lithium processing hubs, particularly lithium battery companies in Zimbabwe will immensely benefit the country. Establishment of the processing plant at Prospect Lithium Zimbabwe is in tandem with the Government’s stance to position the country as a lithium hub. The masawu fruit which is abundant in the Zambezi Valley is a classic example of the beneficiation of natural resources and industries are shaping up in Mashonaland Central for mass production and ultimate exports. Villagers in Mwenezi and surrounding areas are pocketing at least USD5million annually, from selling the indigenous mapfura/marula fruit for production at a local Mwenezi mapfura/marula processing and value addition plant. Small scale farmers in Mutoko and surrounding areas are also benefiting from the fruit and vegetable processing plant commissioned by His Excellency, which is expected to contribute to crop value addition in line with Vision 2030 supported by NDSI. The establishment of manufacturing plants, processing facilities and value-added industries are positioning the country for economic development and addressing inequalities, creating opportunities for job creation, infrastructure development and improved living standards.

          This is a clear extrapolation of the heritage theme which underpins the Education 5.0 strategy. It is a revolutionary call to look inwards and transform our economy through processing all our heritage, including taming and domesticating our flora and fauna for competitive exports. More Government funding needs to be secured to grow and take to the next level, the innovations coming as a result of Education 5.0.

          Access to Health

          Towards universal access to healthcare, every district in the country should have quality healthcare services that have the latest equipment and specialist medical officers. This is critical in the attainment of Vision 2030 to become an Upper Middle-Class Economy as articulated in the NDS I. In Mhondoro, His Excellency commissioned a refurbished Mubaira Rural District Hospital which was constructed through a public-private partnership with Zimplats. More than 47 clinics and hospitals have been built since 2018 with many more upgraded and repaired. Cowdray Park Health Centre in Bulawayo, a 20-bed state of the art health facility was commissioned by His Excellency. This is the second facility of its nature, the first one being Stoneridge in Harare South. Another clinic of the same nature has been constructed in Mataga, Zvishavane and the model is being replicated across the country.

Over 200 boreholes have been drilled at the health facilities, while 1000 old and new facilities had solar power installed. The upgrades in the health system are part of the Government’s quest to ensure local health standards match best international practice.

          His Excellency concluded his address by encouraging all the Parliamentarians in both houses to work together and achieve continued unity of purpose to build our motherland. He also encourages us to wholeheartedly participate in the enactment of laws that will improve quality of life of our people. By doing this, we will fulfill one of our mandates of representation. I thank you.

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

HON. SEN. GOTORA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Tuesday, 12th December, 2023.

          THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Tomorrow, there is going to be a budget presentation.  The budget, in terms of the Constitution is presented to the National Assembly.  Under normal circumstances, if our gadgets here, were connected to the National Assembly, we would have come, start the Session, adjourn and listen to the budget presentation from here.  Unfortunately, our gadgets are not yet connected with the National Assembly.  So, there is no point in coming here.

          In terms of the Constitution, anyway the budget is presented to the National Assembly.  So, tomorrow we urge you to listen to the budget as it is being presented and take note of the main issues which are going to be made by the Minister of Finance.

          Today we will adjourn, up to the 12th as per sitting of the Senate but on Monday, you are all required to come back here in the morning at 0800 a.m.  We will hold a Post-Budget Seminar where we are going to analyse, in fact we will bring in experts who will analyse the budget.  We will debate it from 0800 a.m. up to 1 o’clock p. m.  In the afternoon, Senators will then join Portfolio Committees for Post-Budget consultations up to Thursday.  So, you are required to be here next week, even though officially we are adjourning to the 12th of December.  So, the whole of next week, you are required to be here at work.  I hope this clarifies the issues at stake.

          On the motion of HON. SEN. MUZENDA, seconded by HON. SEN. GOTORA, the Senate adjourned at Four Minutes past Four o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 12th December, 2023.

 

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