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SENATE HANSARD 3 APRIL 2024 VOL 33 NO 38

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Wednesday, 3rd April, 2024

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

PRAYERS

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

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

HON. SEN. MUZENDA: Madam President, I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 5 be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the Day have been disposed of.

HON. SEN. GOTORA:  I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE NATIONAL PEACE AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION FOR THE YEAR 2023

Sixth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission for the year 2022, presented to this House of Parliament in terms of Sections 253 and 323 (1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

          Question again proposed.

HON. SEN. CHINYANGA: Mr. President, I rise to present my contribution on the topic of peace and security. It is very evident that peace and tranquillity prevail in our country with much thanks to the sterling work by our uniformed forces. I shall focus on the prevailing peace in the country before, during and after the 2023 harmonised elections and the work being done by the Zimbabwe Defence Forces to preserve peace and security within the country.

          Mr. President, the run up to the 2023 harmonised elections was largely peaceful. Everyone had their campaigns peacefully both in urban and rural areas, which is a sign of political maturity for the people of the Republic of Zimbabwe. A few instances of violence were timeously contained but did not really have an impact on the general peaceful environment that was prevailing in the country.

          Mr. President, even during the elections, there were no cases of violence within the country. People voted peacefully across the length and breadth of the country. In some places where polling was delayed, the citizens were patient with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) such that they did not resort to violence. Such pleasing behaviour should be highly applauded as our people have shown that peace and tolerance can be embraced in our nation despite different political views.

          I would like to comment on the environment that prevailed in the post-election period. During results collation and announcement, we experienced a peaceful environment in our nation with no cases of violence. While the detractors anticipated an uprising, our people proved beyond measure that we are a peace-loving nation and heeded the call by the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, His Excellency, Dr. Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, to embrace peace and tranquillity within our nation of Zimbabwe.

          Mr. President, allow me to applaud the great work done by members of the Zimbabwe uniformed forces in maintaining peace and security within our beloved nation. They have been proactive in quelling any disturbances and as such, we experienced peace that we have today. The uniformed forces have been able to promote peace and security in our nation and we applaud them for such a superb job. Moreover, Zimbabwe busks as the exemplary country in maintaining peace and security because of the utmost dedication of the men and women of the defence forces. We do not forget the work done by the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) in timeous reactions and apprehending all malcontents, criminals and peddlers of violence. The ZRP was able to contain any cases of suspected violence and held awareness campaigns in major cities during the election season, warning people to desist from any violent activities.

          Mr. President, I also want to commend the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission for promoting peace and security from grassroot and community level. The Commission was able to manoeuvre into communities holding interfaces with relevant stakeholders and implementing programmes that are aimed at fostering peace and security within the beloved nation of Zimbabwe.

          Lastly, I would like to thank the citizens of Zimbabwe in general, for being mature enough to embrace peace and shun violence. The people have shown great resilience in upholding peace and today we boast of peace, tranquillity and security because of our peace-loving citizens.

          In conclusion, I urge all people to remain peaceful and tolerant. We want peace in our nation in order to attain Vision 2030. Let us all join hands and ensure that we work together towards making Vision 2030 a reality through enforcing peace and security within our nation. I thank you.   

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

          HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Thursday, 4th April, 2024.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE ZIMBABWE ELECTORAL COMMISSION ON

THE 2023 HARMONISED ELECTIONS

Seventh Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission for the 2023 Harmonised Elections.

Question again proposed.

+HON. SEN. H. MOYO: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to add my voice to the motion which was brought before this august House by the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.

Mr. President, the people who were appointed to be in the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission did their work diligently though there was a slow movement for the delimitation of boundaries.  As I go further, The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission conducted educational visits and awareness campaigns, educating people on how to vote, and it was impressive.  People voted very well, there was not any prejudice or favour, and no matters were taken to the courts challenging the elections.

Furthermore, we went to the nomination court, and there were no challenges. The work went on very smoothly and all our names sailed through the nomination court.  ZEC invited the observers, who at the end, were very satisfied with what the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission had done.  I thank you.

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

  HON. SEN. FANUEL: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Thursday, 4th April, 2024.

MOTION

ENACTMENT OF A LEGAL FRAMEWORK FOR THE FUNCTIONALITY OF PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENTS

Eighth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the need to enact an enabling law for the functionality of the Provincial Governments tier.

Question again proposed.

+HON. SEN. MLOTSHWA: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to add my voice to this motion brought to this august House by Hon. Sen. Zvidzai.

Mr. President Sir, Hon. Sen. Zvidzai indicated to us that in 2013, the people of Zimbabwe enacted some laws that it should be central government, provincial government and local authorities, which means that what we are debating on in this august House is that it has not fulfilled that to be the law.

          Mr. President Sir, we have noticed that as we go toward elections, there is an expense on election.  There is money that is paid so that the provincial council can be voted for. There is Government money which is used.  Mr. President, from the time of the last elections, those who were voted for have not yet been sworn in up to now, hence firstly we should be aware that if those people have not been sworn into office, it means that they would not have started doing their work in their provinces, districts and local areas.  Mr. President, if a person is presented properly in his province or district, it means there are some funds which will also be deposited into the central government. That is not happening because those people who were elected have not yet been sworn in. 

Mr. President, there are some resources which we are supposed to benefit from in our regions where we come from, but unfortunately there are some people who are using those resources in a criminal manner and leaving some of us suffering when we are supposed to benefit.  Mr. President, this is so painful but if this motion which was brought to the august House by Hon. Sen. Zvidzai becomes a law, we would be speaking a different language.

Mr. President, during the budget time, there are some devolution funds which are disbursed by Treasury, hence if you look closely at that, we would notice that those funds are no longer catering for the provincial, district and local authorities’ level.  Right now, as I am speaking, in Mahongola area, we are very rich in minerals like lithium but the riches that we are getting from lithium are not equal to our standard of living. 

Mr. President, if we were going to get something from the devolution fund, it was going to show that we were going to get something from the central government.  From the minerals that we have in our areas, it shows that there are some funds that we would be disbursing at the central government, but it is very unfortunate that some  people do not want to follow the law.  Mr. President, the Constitution is stated as the supreme book of the Law.  It means there is no one who is above that law and we are the ones who enacted those laws.

Mr. President, the national pillar is the devolution, but some people want to misuse this devolution.  Mr. President, there is a motion which is before the House which states that people should keep the environment clean in their districts and local places. It is not the filthiness of papers that we find in our areas, but there are also some people who are using cyanide to explore our minerals, which is very dangerous.  They also pour that cyanide into our water bodies and they do not care about their area.

There is also an Hon. Member who once debated about people who travel from different districts to educate our students, meaning to say some people dwelling in their own districts are losing their culture. We do not condone that. In this august House, we have chiefs whom we respect in their own jurisdiction as chiefs.  How will the chiefs take it, for example we have Hon. Sen. Chief Mathema, then Hon. Sen. Ndlovu presides over another chief’s rural province.  We should conduct ourselves properly within our culture and places that we stay in.

I will end by saying Treasury disbursed some funds on elections but the provincial councils have not yet commenced their work, hence this august House should expedite this motion so that it becomes a law and that the devolution funds are used properly. I thank you.

HON. SEN. GOTORA:  Thank you very much Mr. President.  I rise to put my views on the issue of the third tier or the middle tier of local Government in the country.

The history of the local government in this country has had a very checkered background going back to the Munhumutapa days of the rulership of this country.  However, during the federal days, councils in this country were divided in relation to the chieftainships and above that, there was a middle tier of governance.  So, the history is highly political in the sense that even after independence, it was not easy for us to come up with the provincial council because of different views.

If you will remember, the 2000 Constitution local authorities demanded that there be constitutionalisation of local government but it was not easily accepted.  However, the local government was then put under Chapter 9 of the then Draft Constitution which was rejected. 

After that, there was also an attempt to come up with what was popularly known as the Kariba Draft of the Constitution.  Again, it was not easy for us to come up with a constitutionalised local government system.  However, in 2009, another Commission called COPAC was put in place so that we come up with a draft Constitution of the country.  COPAC then divided the country into eight provinces where Harare was put back to Mashonaland East, and Bulawayo back to Matabeleland North. This was not an easy thing to be accepted, but with the help of people like the Late Cyril Ndebele, and the now High Court Judge Mr. Hlatshwayo, we then agreed at that particular time that it was necessary for us to have the big urban areas as Metropolitan Provinces and that is when the problem arose on who was to be who. 

The Constitution, as was drafted, clearly spelt out what was supposed to be done, and we agreed that there was need for us to have a 3-tier Local Government system, that is the Central Government, Provincial Council Government and the Local Authorities.  Later on, it was also agreed that it was necessary for us to have what we now call the Metropolitan Councils, and these councils were then designed in such a way that it was automatic for the Mayors of Harare and Bulawayo to be automatic chairpersons of those Metropolitan Councils. 

In addition, there was a huge legal mistake that was made, and the mistake was that Members of the Senate and House of Assembly were also supposed to be Members of the Provincial Councils, which created a situation where there was double dipping.  There was a lot of hanahana in between the local authorities, the Central Government to a point where the Members of Parliament and Senators, the Mayors of Harare and Bulawayo were removed by a constitutional amendment. It was then necessary for us to come up with a fresh law of Local Government.  It was agreed that there was need for us to have a new Local Government Act, making sure that both urban and rural local authorities were supposed to have one Act. 

Again, as has been the practice in the country, people started arguing over what was supposed to be done.  A draft Local Government piece of legislation was done led by the Midlands State University.  Again, it did not see the order of the day, until such a way that it was then agreed to make sure that there was no need for Members of Parliament and Senators to become Members of the Provincial and Metropolitan Councils. There was also no need to have automatic chairmanship of Harare and Bulawayo as chairs of the Metropolitan Councils.

Therefore, the debate started on who was going to be doing what.  There are several Local Government Acts in the country, starting from the Traditional Leaders Act, the Communal Lands Act, the Regional Town and Country Planning Act and so on.  It was agreed that it was necessary for us not to have completely new laws, but to amend the exiting legislation.  The amendments were then made, principles of which were accepted by Cabinet, and then moved to the Ministry of Justice, under the Attorney-General’s Office.   The new problem on who was going to do what started.  A lot of staff in the Attorney-General’s Office who were manning the Law Development Commission Office resigned.  Unfortunately, the head Mr. Joel Zowa passed on, that is where another big problem came on who was then going to make sure that the law was going to be put in place as was required.

We discovered at that point in time that there was need for us to recruit new officers in the Attorney-General’s Office to oversee the Law Development Commission and we were stuck at that stage.  After the approval of the principles by Cabinet, it is stuck in that office now where there is one old white man who is dealing with legislation as far as coming up with legislation.  That one man is overwhelmed and when we debated the issue of…

THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT: Order, Hon. Senator do not describe him as one old white man.  Let us not have racism in reverse.

HON. SEN. GOTORA: My apologies Hon. President of Senate.   It was then necessary for us when we debated it here, when we were talking about the role of ZEC, that it is necessary for the Ministry of Justice to either recruit new people, and bond them so that it is expedited in coming up with new laws or alternatively it was necessary for us to again engage universities, particularly those universities which have law degrees as part of their curriculum. 

Therefore, this is where we are having a problem. My suggestion Mr. President, is that the Ministry of Justice engages universities so that we have a team of people who will expedite the creation of laws because for now, like Hon. Sen. Zvidzai said, we have had three elections using the 2013 Constitution, but the elected Councillors were never sworn in for them to be able to undertake what is in Chapter 14 of the new Constitution, the 2013 Constitution. 

My view is that Parliament should assist or urge the Hon.  Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, to create a special Commission that is going to make sure that we expedite the creation of a law that will make sure that the Provincial Councils, as agreed and as amended in the original Constitution of 2013, that there be legally binding Provincial Councils and Metropolitan Councils because if you look at the original 2013 Constitution, you will find that we are talking more of Provincial Councils, but ignoring the Metropolitan Councils, that brings in another problem.

The issue of the Devolution Fund that was talked about earlier on had to be pushed to Chapter 17 of the Constitution, which makes it a bit cumbersome because it looks like we are going back to the situation where we are still having what used to be grants from the Ministry of Local Government to make sure that the devolution funds are then put into use.

For now, as I stand here, there are no devolution funds in the country, we are calling them devolution funds Mr. President for lack of words, otherwise we are still using the old system where grants were given for specific projects and programmes.  If we continue doing that, we are going to face a situation where urban local authorities are going to be denied access to those funds because they are not rural local authorities as per the Constitution. Therefore, my suggestion and wish is that we expedite, coming up with a Special Commission that is going to make sure that we expedite the amendments of the several Local Government Acts and the major one being the Urban Councils Act, the Rural District Council Act, the Regional Town and Country Planning Act which, for the purposes of running this country, that law has become completely archaic. 

What is being called a region, for instance, the Mashonaland Region is starting from Kariba up to Mutare, and yet the authorities in between those areas are more than 30. Therefore, at the end of the day the Regional Town and Council Planning Act has to be amended to accommodate the new dispensation. The Provincial Councils and Administration Act again need overhauling in the sense that we now have to elect ten people for Provincial Council and also an elected chairman who will have been nominated by the party that has the majority in the given province for us to be able to run a real local authority structure in between the local and the top. Therefore, we have these laws that require urgent amendments which is faster than coming up with new laws. I thank you, Mr. President.

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

          HON. SEN. CHAKABUDA: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Thursday, 4th April, 2024.

MOTION

ENACTMENT OF STRINGENT LAWS TO ADDRESS THE

PLIGHT OF WIDOWS

          Ninth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the plight of Zimbabwean widows who are routinely evicted from their homes by relatives.

          Question again proposed.

          +HON. SEN. KABONDO: Thank you Mr. President. I would like to add my voice to this motion which has a devastating statement that touches mostly on women. I would like to touch on how frustrating and difficult it is for a woman who becomes a widow.

Yesterday, Hon. Sen. Fanuel touched on some parts of the matter but there is something that was left. When a person becomes a widow, she is supposed to be remarried to the brother-in-law. I am talking about the widow who will be in a miserable state and the in-laws try by all means to see to it that that person is married again within their family. They will have engaged her to be remarried again in such a sorry state.

          This is abuse but because of culture, that is how it happens. Some other sacred cultures are good and some are bad. If the Government could adopt good cultural relations and leave those which are bad, maybe that would serve the widows.

I want to touch on what happens where I come from. They will select a person for you to get married to. The aunties will be seated and when they enter your room, all they want to hear is that you are now getting into a marriage, but you will still be mourning and they say that that should happen instantly, which to me is abuse. 

          We ask the Government to look further into this issue. What men do to us is not good at all. Most of the time people who pass on are men than women. As the Bible says when Adam was created, the Lord said I want to give you someone like Eve to support you. If a person gets married, they say that you are getting into early marriage but you are not that young. We should support our counterparts and let us learn to help each other so that we live a long life. I thank you.

          *HON. SEN. CHAKABUDA: Thank you for giving me this opportunity. I would like to debate on this motion which was brought by Hon. Sen. Tsomondo. During mourning time, it is a very important time that orphans and widows get enough support because of the situation they will be in. Their reasoning is affected and that is the time that we expect them to get adequate comfort and support. It is my wish that widows and orphans would get enough awareness and education so that they do not lose their property. I thank you.

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

          HON. SEN. MUPFUMIRA: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Thursday, 4th April, 2024.

MOTION

PROGRAMME ON CLIMATE SMART AGRICULTURE

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

          Question again proposed.

          +HON. SEN. NYATHI: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to debate on the motion tabled by Hon. Sen. Mohadi on climate change. I realise that this motion is very important because it refers to how livelihoods of people as well as livestock are affected. In Zimbabwe, many people survive on agriculture, and becomes their major source of income because many people turn to agriculture during the rainy season.

          We realise that most Zimbabweans enjoy keeping livestock, be it cattle, goats and the like. They also engage in gold mining, especially where I come from in Matebeleland South. So people enjoy gold mining as well as agriculture and livestock production. We realise that due to poor rainfall, since the old adage says, water is life - it affects everything. When there is sufficient water, people have peace of mind, but they are affected by a lot of health problems when there is lack of water. So we realise that this may lead to a lot of deaths because the livestock producers will not be able to feed their livestock. They will also not be able to afford stockfeed due to hyper-inflation.

          Mr. President, even gold miners will not be able to get water to process their gold.  In the past, when we were growing up, whenever people encountered such problems of drought, the elders would gather and try to come up with solutions. They would either consult traditional leaders or spirit mediums at sacred shrines like Njelele to ask for rain. Due to this international phenomenon of climate change that affects everyone, the Government will be forced to work harder in order to feed the nation, and adequate stock feed will have to be procured. Failure of which, the country will incur a lot of distraction.

          There is also the problem of siltation of dams that the Government is trying to deal with as a way of increasing the dams’ holding capacities. We also realised that there is installation of solar-powered boreholes so that women may engage in horticultural projects. I thank you.

          +HON. SEN. SIBANDA: Thank you Mr. President for affording me this opportunity to add my voice to this very important debate. Climate change is critical in that we need to tackle a number of issues as Zimbabweans because of the low rainfall. We need to plant crops that resonate with the different farming regions. For example, maize requires a lot of rain, but small grains like sorghum and millet thrive in dry weather conditions. So you will realise that these crops can be planted in such areas. For example, we can introduce these crops to families because our children do not know that you can produce mealie meal for sadza from sorghum and millet. They only know of white maize meal.

          Mr. President Sir, we need to consider the introduction of small grains due to this climate change. This will also help us in eradicating different diseases. Currently, many people suffer from chronic diseases such as Cancer, Diabetes and kidney ailments. Doctors often encourage such people to consider alternative diets. Instead of consuming white maize meal, they are encouraged to consume either sorghum or millet meal. Such programmes are important in educating people in terms of coming up with healthy diets of small grains. I thank you.

          +HON. SEN. PHUTHI: Thank you Hon. President of the Senate.  I would want to debate on the motion raised by the Hon. Sen. Mohadi on climate change.  A lot of things have already been said, but I want to talk about women and other things that have not been touched on.

          Women face a lot of challenges, even as I stand here, there are a lot of issues that need my attention as a woman.  The drought that is before us came as a result of climate change.  Last week during the Question Time Session, the Hon. Minister responded to Senators saying that ‘you are lucky if your crops have been affected by the lack of rains, it means you can still take your maize stalks and create stock feeds’. 

I request that Members of Parliament visit such areas we are talking about, the drought-prone areas and see what is on the ground.  Where I come from, our crops did not do well, they wilted at an early stage yet someone says you should take such crops and make stock feed.  According to me, this does not show some seriousness. If possible, I could bring the evidence to this august House so that the Minister could see what we are talking about.  This is not child’s play.  I am talking about people’s livelihoods and not livestock.

          In irrigation schemes, they tried a bit but the crops have withered.  So, people must get food aid as soon as possible. The Hon. Minister spoke about it saying they are going to work with village heads.  As a Member of the Opposition, I believe that it is not fair for us to be given food aid by village heads because they will consider one’s political affiliation.  If no one has food, I am talking of food that is produced on the farms and the report says people shall be selected to benefit from food aid. It is not a good report because a report is a result of what you would have observed.  In Harare, it is better but where I come from, in Matabeleland South, our crops did not do well, there is nothing. So, I request that this issue be looked into as a matter of urgency.

  How will women survive? We were debating a motion regarding widows and how they survive.  So, there is an adage in Ndebele that says ‘If it can affect a tree, how about a dead log’?  So, I believe that if it were up to me, the SADC Summit could be put on halt for some time so that the money is channeled to benefit people.  I cannot support people in my constituency who come to my home with their plight, and it pains me.

The present drought is not for a specific family, but it is a national calamity.  How about school-going children who are fainting at school because of hunger?  When they are hungry, they cry and even resist going to school.  During this time of drought, thieves will be stealing basic commodities, especially mealie meal.

When I was listening to facilitators at a Climate Change Workshop two weeks ago, they talked about the depletion of the Ozone Layer causing cyclones and other calamities. I noted that the rate of destruction of trees is quite alarming.  Some people sell axes and if one buys an axe, they will start chopping trees.  I believe that people should stop selling axes because some would want to test how sharp their axes are by cutting down trees. 

I also note that along this beautiful road which is being refurbished, there are a lot of trees that people have been harvesting firewood but I have not seen anyone planting small trees to replace the trees that have been chopped yet we talk about climate change.

I also noted that those who were teaching us about climate change told us about exhaust fumes from cars, dust, and other things.  From my observation, the dust that is being raised along this Mt. Hampden road might also contribute to the depletion of the Ozone Layer.  When you look closely Hon. Members of Parliament, the Mt. Hampden road is being watered to reduce the dust, which is a good thing for preventing the depletion of the Ozone Layer.

  So, from my observation, I believe that Hon. Members should go back to the drawing board.  Hon. Prof. Mthuli Ncube, the Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion should give us devolution funds so that we sink boreholes and plant trees.  Reforestation should be a daily event.  As Hon. Members, we should set targets for tree planting and give villagers prizes to motivate them.  They must be incentivised.  As an individual, I cannot just wake up and start planting trees but if motivated, then I will take it as a responsibility not because I want to plant trees but because of the incentive.  So, it is our responsibility to go back to our constituencies, through the Government’s assistance, unite with EMA and plant trees.   

Let me also touch on livestock.  In the Matabeleland region, we have a big challenge. These days when you have ten cattle, you sell two and save eight which is quite a challenge. Imagine a big heifer being bought for 2000 Rands which is equivalent to 150 USD.  These days, the cattle are not being bought because they are plenty, but there is a risk of running a loss due to shortage of water caused by the drought which has prevailed in our country. 

However, I want to applaud those who have constructed dams.  Mr. President, these dams were spoken about last year.  We had requested dams.  If Government was listening to us, we were not going to face the challenges that we are going to be facing.  Indeed, boreholes are going to be sunk, but they will just be white elephants.  The water table has been depleted.  Sometimes we have to dig 100m to reach the water table where I come from.  In August or in September, how deep will we then go?  If Government had listened to us, we might be having dams with water reserves.  Maybe we might end up failing to come to this august House because we will not be able to bath as we will not have water.

          I also want to talk about chiefs, who I want to give a task.  I want to blame them to a certain extent.  I am 47, and I have never seen chiefs teaching people how traditional foods were prepared.  In 1947, we hear that there was a famine.  My grandmother tells us that they were surviving by making meals from roots of different trees.  Therefore, we want our elders to teach us these alternative traditional and religious foods because such porridge and such meals are something that I do not know of, but our elders know.  I do not know; maybe Hon. Sen. Mohadi may assist.  Maybe she knows. They might teach us as young people how such meals are prepared.  Indeed this year, we tried to plant sorghum and millet, but we did not get a good harvest.  All the efforts were in vain. 

So we need to know how in the past people used to live.  We need such a workshop which will teach us how it is done.  Unfortunately, where I come from, some of these foods are not there.  I hear about some traditional foods where people used to prepare such foods which I do not even know as an individual.  There are some rituals that were done.  For instance, the picking up of bones before the rain season, to cleanse our environment. 

          I want to implore our chiefs to consider educating people about their traditions because culture is quite important.  We need to pick bones.  You find people committing suicide and such bones are found in the bushes.  You will find cattle and donkeys dying in those ponds, and their bones are just lying idle everywhere.  We need to consider all those things.

          I am a person who loves farming.  I move around the farm looking at what is happening.  Maybe God is not happy with the bones and the other things that are found in our bushes.  May our traditional leaders teach us about indigenous knowledge systems, cultures and rain making ceremonies?  Maybe this will help us to receive rain. 

Mr. President, indeed we were facing a drought, but why is Government not sinking or building dams so that people benefit from such dams, and when the rains come, then we should have dams because if the rains come for two days, all that water would be washed away.  It will just flow away.  It will go to streams and we are not doing any water harvesting.  I thank you Mr. President for these few words.

  *HON. S. NDEBELE:  Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to debate on this motion brought to this august House.  I realise that there are many things that we can talk about, but we may end up repeating because we seem to have a common agreement or view, but in short, many people proffer that people will struggle, especially a lot of women would be affected by drought.  Indeed, it is very dry out there, especially to the women because they are the ones who face the brunt. 

There are youths who were allocated homesteads recently.  Some of them were allocated farms.  Those are some of the people we look forward to because most of us have reached the twilight of our age, but they have a lot more years to live ahead.  Where they are residing, there are no dams or schools.  There will be no source of food for them.

As I speak, there is a place that I saw recently, where there were people who were going around assessing how they can give assistance, but those youths who were allocated farms recently are far away from roads so those assessing in order to give food aid will not be accessed.  They will be left behind because they believe since they are youths, they are able to work, but right now, they will not be able to fend for their families because there are no resources.  They may have little resources.  Some of them may try to go out and venture into mining, and yet they will only salvage very little, not enough to feed their families.

The other problem is when there is a drought, prices tend to go up.  Even a bucket of maize may be sold at US$10.  That will increase poverty or problems to the youths.  We are encouraging them every time to venture into farming and such programmes, but they will not be able to access irrigation schemes because they were allocated way back.  Therefore, in my view, I think these youths need to be assisted to get all adequate resources while we encourage them to get into agricultural farming.  They need support in terms of inputs.  That way they can be self-reliant.  That way they may be able to venture into fish farming, livestock or poultry, but those areas need water.  So those youths need support in order to realise their rights.  There is no progress where they are residing.  Those dams that we talk about where they are being scoped or being rehabilitated.  Those are dams found in old resettlement areas. These youths that I am talking about do not reside there but their parents.  So, the surveyors must consider prospects of resources such as dams and water sources before allocating people because water sources are only found in older resettlement areas.  So, here I represent youths although they are younger than me but this time, I am debating on behalf of them.  I thank you.

          +HON. SEN. MLOTSHWA: Thank you Hon. President of the Senate. I want to add a few words to the motion regarding climate change.  Indeed those who spoke before me have said a lot of things regarding climate change.  If we look at region 5 especially where I come from, there is no rainfall.  Hon. President of the Senate, I want to bring a different view that as Senate, we need to prepare ourselves.  How prepared are we as Zimbabweans because if we are looking at technology, we cannot talk about WhatsApp only?  There are so many ways of using technology to help us prepare ourselves. 

          Hon. President of Senate Sir, the plight of the people especially during the climate change era is not new to our region but we have been facing these challenges in the past because we were not prepared enough; drought comes at a time when we are not prepared. I believe that we can be prototypes of how to prepare ourselves during droughts.  If this was done in the past, in dry regions, we could have come up with ways of harvesting water, making use of reservoirs and dams which can store water up to three years. We can then supply water to livestock and people like what Hon. Sen. Phuthi said that the water table is very low. The little rains we have sometimes fill up dams and an example is Antelope Dam. In two days, Antelope Dam was filled to the brim.  

          So, I believe that we need to have alternative dams which can be used interchangeably because it is hot.  Let me also say that climate change, particularly in dry areas, needs investment in terms of innovation hubs in universities which can produce hybrid seeds that mature early.   Universities should come up with studies which will influence policy in Parliament.  Universities, particularly in region 5, should generate seedlings or grass because at NUST, there should be seedlings of grass which can be used for stock feed.  These are dry areas which need hybrid seeds, whether it is millet, sorghum or stock feeds. 

          I watched a certain programme which shows how Dubai, despite the high temperatures, has come up with technologies of creating precipitation which makes rain to fall. We need to come up with such technology as Zimbabwe. We are a country which is proud of its level of education; we say that we are educated as Zimbabweans.  Our education should improve the technology that we have as a nation through climate change.

          We are not just talking about the erratic rainfalls but we are also talking about excess rains and flooding, we are talking about cold winters, this is climate change.  All these things need us to be prepared so that we do not become victims of calamities when we face hunger as a result of drought; we must be prepared.  If we are prepared, then we will not be complaining much.  Let me add on to say what Hon. Sen. Phuthi said regarding the chopping down of trees in our forests. We have heard those who cut trees and dig large pits which end up killing and destroying our livestock saying that they have rights which supersede other people’s rights. I do not believe this is right as a nation, that our natural resources or our mineral resources be extracted without thinking of posterity.

          They must be used in a sustainable way. There is a saying which says that you consume money as if you are consuming rat poison. You find rats consuming fast and this is what we are doing. We are consuming our resources as if we are consuming rat poison. Those who dig minerals destroy our trees and they destroy our environment and the nation is not benefitting, but as individuals, they are collecting money from that. After that, you find that they do not restore what would have destroyed. Our environment is then degraded and there is no reforestation or afforestation to restore our forests. Our children and even generations to come will ask where we were and what we did about the degradation of the land and the environment.

          So I believe that we need to go back to the drawing board and introspect that someone is in Lupane, Nkayi and someone is in Godhlwayo. What works in that particular area and what works in Matopos and in Binga should be considered? I also said earlier that not being prepared would make us waste our resources, and we will not be able to use our resources properly. I spoke about a certain dam in Lupango which is not being fully utilised.

          This dam is full, but there is no irrigation programme. People are dying of hunger but the water is being under-used. Government should consider the people and understand their plight. For example, the formerly marginalised regions which are facing adverse hunger, we need an immediate intervention which will result in the investment of new technologies using our natural resources to produce enough food for everyone. This is because we can get food aid, but aid is not a concern because no one can give you aid of what you desire or what you want.

          I might prefer sorghum meal to maize meal, but those who give food aid would not ask you what you like. They give you what is available. This means climate change and the lack of innovation and investment in technologies will take away our livelihoods because you find people spending the whole day queueing for aid, and sometimes seated under trees in the bare sun waiting to receive food aid. It takes away your self-pride.

With those few words, I wanted to add my voice to the motion on climate change, and the thrust of my debate is that we need solutions, innovations and key result areas. In dry regions, even in areas where there is adequate rain, we need to think of solutions because in such regions where mass production of food is done, then food should be distributed to the less fortunate regions.

We are losing livestock, cattle, goats and other domestic animals because we do not have water and stock feeds. Stock feeds are quite difficult, especially when feeding goats and cattle. It is different from feeding people. We are really concerned as Matabeleland that if it has been declared a national disaster, then the rains should come when we are prepared. I thank you.

HON. SEN. MOHADI: Thank you Mr. President Sir. I move that the debate do now adjourn.

HON. SEN. TSOMONDO: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Thursday 4th April, 2024.

On the motion of HON. SEN. MUZENDA, seconded by HON. SEN. GOTORA the Senate adjourned at Five Minutes past Four o’clock p.m.

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