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SENATE HANSARD 30 SEPTEMBER 2020 VOL 29 NO 54
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Wednesday, 30th September, 2020
The Senate met at Half-past Two o’clock p.m.
(THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE
INVITATION TO A ZIMBABWE WOMEN PARLIAMENTARY CAUCUS HALF-DAY WORKSHOP
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I have to inform the Senate that all Hon. Members of the Zimbabwe Women Parliamentary Caucus are invited to a half day workshop for the validation of the Zimbabwe Women Parliamentary Caucus 50/50 Position Paper at the Rainbow Towers tomorrow, Thursday, 1st October, 2020 at 0900 hours. The bus will leave Parliament Building at 0830 hours.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR MASHONALAND EAST PROVINCE (HON. SEN. MUNZVERENGWI): I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 3 on today’s Order Paper be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 4 has been disposed of.
Motion put and agreed to.
ANNUAL REPORT OF THE NATIONAL PEACE AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION FOR THE YEAR 2019
Fourth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion that this House takes note of the Annual Report of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission for the year 2019, presented to Parliament in terms of Section 323 (1) of the Constitution f Zimbabwe.
Question again proposed.
+HON. SEN. MKHWEBU: I thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity that I contribute on the report which was moved by the Hon Vice President Mohadi, on the Commission on National Peace and Reconciliation. It was the first report from the Commission to be tabled before this House, if I am not mistaken. There was a lot of talk all over the country and His Excellency saw it fit that the Vice President should move or table a report before this House on peace and reconciliation on communities around the country, particularly in the southern region of the country, that is Matabeleland.
There was a lot of debate and talk about Gukurahundi. It was immediately after Independence and it was not easy because there were a lot of struggles. What impressed me is that communities have been engaged and there has been reconciliation so that people can live peacefully in communities. It was not only the Gukurahundi issue but there are a lot of things that caused commotion in the communities. People were not living peacefully because there were differences and animosities. People killed each other over grazing pastures and boundaries. It is important that there is reconciliation.
As a result Mr. President, I saw it fit that I make a brief contribution on this matter on reconciliation. Right now, we are on a different stage of COVID-19. People are not shaking hands. When things were good, people would sit down in their communities and engage on what they wanted. With those few words, I thank you Mr. President.
ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE
SWITCHING OFF OF CELLPHONES
THE HON DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I wish to remind Hon Senators that you should put your phones on silent. Secondly, if you are going to speak, I am requesting you to switch on your gadgets so that Hon. Senators who are outside this Chamber can follow the proceedings. As you know, some of the Senators are following this session virtually.
THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR MASHONALAND EAST PROVINCE (HON. SEN. MUNZVERENGWI): I move that the debate do now adjourn.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 1st October 2020.
ANNUAL REPORT OF THE FIRST SESSION OF THE NINTH PARLIAMENT FOR THE LIAISON AND COORDINATION COMMITTEE
HON. SEN. MUZENDA: I move the motion standing in my name that this House takes note of the Annual Report of the First Session of the Ninth Parliament for the Liaison and Coordination Committee.
HON SEN. RAMBANEPASI: I second.
HON. SEN. MUZENDA: Mr. President, thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to present the Annual Report of the First Session of the 9th Parliament of Zimbabwe to this august Senate. I am going to be looking at mostly the recommendations which were suggested for that session.
You are aware that this report covers both Houses; I am just going to concentrate on issues which affect the Senate. Of the 80 Senators in the Senate, 41 were in the Eighth Parliament while 39 were new members. This represents about 48.75%, again Mr. President Sir, in terms of reference for Thematic Committees, I am aware that Hon. Senators do not usual carry their books for Standing Rules and Orders, but the Thematic Committees are subject to Standing Orders - meaning that a Thematic Committee must examine Government policies which fall under or relate to the designated theme or themes and other matters falling under the jurisdiction.
I think when We had that meeting in Bulawayo, that point was highlighted that we should know exactly what we are discussing in our different Thematic Committees. However, one hopes that the most critical issues that were not finished in this session which are alignment of laws to the 2013 Constitution and enactment of laws to improve the easy of doing business in Zimbabwe, will be looked at in the next session.
It is therefore critical to enhance the capacity of Committees; examine the complexity of Government processes. Mr. President Sir, the sector specific training, parliamentarians require having various skills to effectively hold Government to account and to ensure that effective service delivery is done. In this report, the recommendations concerning that which again Sir, I will ask you to allow me to read.
Recommendation one was that the administration of Parliament should, as a matter of urgency, facilitate sector specific training for all the CommitteeS those found wanting here and there. This will enhance the performance of members of the various Committees in their oversight mandate.
Secondly, in view of the budgetary constraints, at least nine Committees should be prioritized for benchmarking visits during the 2020 financial year.
The other recommendations were specifically looking at the Bills that were passed in the last session. There were 10 Bills which were submitted and of those 10 Bills submitted, only two were not passed during the last Session.
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Hon. Senators whose phone is ringing, I will send that person out because I have already made an announcement that I will now allow phone calls in this Senate.
HON. SEN. MUZENDA: Thank you Mr. President Sir, I was just saying that only 2 out of 10 ten Bills had not been passed during the session we are discussion, that is the Education Amendment Bill and also the Zimbabwe Investment Development Agency Bill which I am aware that has been done later in the term. I now want to specifically look at the recommendations on Bills,
HON. SEN. MUZENDA: Mr. President Sir, I am continually being disturbed by the phone I do not know what to do but I will try to shout. On the Bills recommendation, there is need for Parliament to enhance the capacity of Committees and its members in the analysis of Bills. This is part of the strategies in the ISP of 2018 to 2023 to ensure the timely passage of Bills and this should be given high priority.
Secondly, Committees this was against emphasised to make sure that monthly, quarterly and annually we have to follow up with the relevant ministries and ensure Bills outlined by His Excellency the President in the legislative agenda during the State of the Nation Address are brought to Parliament on time.
The third recommendation, the Ministry of Justice should as a matter of urgency review the capacity in the Attorney General’s Office in respect of legislative drafting skills and ensure the capacity is enhanced. The other area covered was the Government systems enhanced here, it was felt that in order for members to be more articulate and relevant, it is being recommended that in future if it is feasible one member should only belong to one Committee.
There were also recommendations regarding the budget oversight by Committees, I have already talked to that monthly, quarterly and annually, we should be looking at that. The recommendations on the budget oversight by Committees, especially us as Thematic Committees, Portfolio Committee should religiously follow up with ministries and ensure that monthly, quarterly and annually-financial reports are submitted to Parliament within the stipulated timeframes provided for in the Public Finance Management Act.
In order for Members to be more articulate and relevant, it is recommended that in future, if it is feasible, one Member should belong only to one Committee. There were also recommendations regarding the Budget oversight by Committees, I have already talked about that. Monthly, quarterly and annually, we should be looking at that. The recommendations on the budget oversight by Committees, especially ourselves with Thematic Committees - Portfolio Committees should religiously follow up with ministries and ensure that monthly, quarterly and annual financial reports are submitted to Parliament within the stipulated timeframes provided for in the Public Finance Management Act. Maybe we do not do that because we do not even know what the timeframe is.
The second recommendation was that, Portfolio Committees should religiously scrutinise quarterly and annual financial reports and table reports in the House without fail. So, our Thematic Committees should in future do that.
Lastly, the recommendation on the Budget oversight – the Administration of Parliament should prioritise the training of Budget Analysis during the Second Session of the 9th Parliament.
President Sir, in conclusion, I wish to say that, it is expected that more reports could be tabled during the Second Session because this was lacking in the First Session. Reports should be timeously presented in both Houses. The Senate is encouraged to utilise the sitting times and avoid adjourning the business early. Committees are also urged to follow up with ministries under their purview and other public entities.
Mr. President Sir, before I sit down, I hope that whatever outstanding business which we might not have dealt with in the First Session will be expeditiously looked into in the Second Session. I thank you Mr. President Sir.
HON. SEN. DR. MAVETERA: Thank you Mr. President Sir for giving me this opportunity to second the motion which has been brought forward to this august House by Hon. Sen. Muzenda. Mr. President Sir, this Report is very pertinent and I urge Members in this august House to go through the Report because it touches on the issue to do with our business as Parliamentarians. Just to echo what Hon. Muzenda has said in the Report that; we need to have more induction and training of new Members of Parliament as we have seen that about 50% of the Members who are seated in here are new and the duty to scrutinise, analyse and track Government performance and policies cannot be assumed because the dangers in such assumptions Mr. President Sir, is that we are going to shortchange the nation. Parliament’s duty is to scrutinise and appraise the performance of the Executive. If the people who are supposed to appraise are not empowered enough, then I think we will have problems. I think that was a very important point which was raised in this Report Mr. President.
During the State of the Nation Address, when the President presented his address, one of the issues which he raised was to make sure that we comply with what the Constitution mandates us to do, that is aligning laws to the 2013 Constitution. It goes without saying Mr. President that each Thematic Committee should therefore be appraised with the laws which are relevant to the area which they overlook and provide oversight and then make sure that the respective ministries are held to account and bring those Bills for alignment in time. I think this is one of the problems which we always find even the public attacking the Legislature in that we are almost seven years after the adoption of this progressive Constitution but we have done very little to align the relevant laws to the Constitution.
I think Hon. Sen. Muzenda raised the point that one of the most important points that came out of the Report is the failure of the Legislature to align was mainly due to shortage of staff in the Attorney-General’s Office. I hope with the Bills passed by Parliament to have appointment of the Attorney-General’s Deputies, I think this will help to fast track and help us to make sure that the drafting of laws is done timeously and we can be able to bring most of our statutes in alignment with supreme law of the land. I hope as the Legislature, we will also be looking at our programme of action and evaluate ourselves as we go in. I think one of the skills which we lack as the Legislature is to know how to evaluate, to provide the ongoing evaluation on our performance. We wait until at the end of the Session then we start to say, we failed to achieve this and that instead of us providing the information in time but suffice to say it does not come without training. That emphasises the need to empower our Members to be able to provide that important function. So, we really need training as Members of the Legislature.
The importance of training Mr. President – I think as we sit here in this august House, we look at the National Budget, very few of us have got skills to analyse and critique the National Budget but as we know that is the most important document if we want to put it as a document because it spells out how the Government is going to perform. This is because it allocates resources to various functions of the Government. If we are not capable of critically analysing those and miss that important stage Mr. President, it means whatever we do throughout the year, will not be very useful, we will be missing the target. As these very important weaknesses have been highlighted, I hope the relevant Administration of Parliament will see it fit to make sure that these are addressed timeously so that the next report will not highlight these again.
For those who have gone through the report, I think there was a very important section of the report which was actually appraisal of us as Members of Parliament to our attendance of our respective Committees that we choose. It is important for each one of us to be given that report and see how we have performed individually and then also see how we can improve at individual levels but suffice to say there are Members who performed very well who have got almost 80-90% attendance but there are also Members who have not performed very well.
One of the issues which has been raised – I hope the Administration of Parliament will look into it because it affects the performance of these Committees. This is membership to various Committees. I think the current scenario where members can belong to two Committees – some belong to three Committees, is very difficult for these Members to actually give attention to all those Committees. I think it is very important that we harmonise and make sure that we put all these Committees and people do not belong to Committees which actually do conflict in some of the cases because there were also reports where some Committees which were supposed to do outreach failed to do that because they would not constitute a quorum because the Members were belonging to so many Committees. When it comes to going for the outreach programmes, members would have the discretion to choose which Committees they do want to go.
Unfortunately, as we all know, some of the meetings are sponsored by outsiders and those tend to attract Members at the detriment of other Committees which are run by Parliament. That is a very important issue which we need to address and as we go on, it is a good recommendation which I think Members – I know it may not come out very positive to some Members but if we are to be honest with ourselves, we need to be giving much more effort to our Committees. With the little experience we have had because we are new to this august House; we have seen that belonging to more than one Committee has got a negative effect on our performance because if you go, you miss one – the next time you do not know what they have been doing. You will end up following without contributing positively to the discourse of the Committee.
Like I said Mr. President, I hope these areas which have been identified which impact negatively on our performance as members of the Legislature who are mandated by the Constitution to supervise and superintend on Government and Executive performance will be addressed.
With these few words, I would want to conclude by saying, training, training, training is important. If we are not trained Mr. President. Some of us may not even know the importance or gravity of the duties which are bestowed on us. We should be providing oversight but how many of the Committees are giving necessary pressures to the respective Ministry to provide reports timeously so that we can be able to do our duties. I am sure that from that report, there were some Commissions which are established by the Constitution which are supposed to give periodic reports and even Ministries which are supposed to be giving periodic reports also go for a year without giving reports. Where does it lead us to?
That scenario reveals two things that we the people who are supposed to be providing that oversight actually do not know. We are not equipped to know that it is something which is mandatory; quarterly or periodically. We should be demanding those reports because they are the ones that enable us to perform our duties. In our various Committees, we should be – from this report; learn that we need periodic information given by the respective Ministry so that we can analyse. That is the only way we can represent the country effectively. Infact, the duty of the Legislature, that is us, is much more honorous than the duties of the Executive. The Executive work under pressure and sometimes they may not be able to scrutinise what they are doing. That was the wisdom of creating these Committees? We need to be providing that backup and direction to the Executive for the betterment of the performance of our country. Thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to contribute to this important motion which has been brought by Hon Sen. Muzenda.
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: May I remind Hon. Senators to wear your masks – Senator Charumbira and all of you Hon. Senators. Wear your masks properly. You should cover your nose. Treat everybody as if they have COVID including yourself. All of us have to fight this pandemic and we are leaders in this House.
HON. SEN. MUZENDA: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. A. DUBE: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 1st October, 2020.
Hon. Sen. Chief NgunguMbane having removed his mask to drink water.
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I do not think you are taking me seriously.
THIRD REPORT OF THE THEMATIC COMMITTEE ON HUMAN RIGHTS ON DOMESTICATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
Sixth Order Read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Third Report of the Thematic Committee on Human Rights on domestication of the United Nations Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities
Question again proposed.
*HON. SEN. TIMIRE: Thank you very much Mr. President for allowing me to debate on the motion. I want to thank Sen. Muzenda with the motion which she raised about the Convention of Rights for people with disability. This convention explains well the rights of a disabled person. People are designing programmes which are for disabled people and they see how they are going to do it because they will be taking these things from a written document which explains very well. I want to thank mostly the Government because we did not have the policy for many years but now they managed to have the policy. It is not yet tabled but we are expecting that it will be tabled soon.
We are also grateful that the Disability Act of 1992 was amended and we now have the Bill. It has not come to Parliament because it is unique but it has already come to the disabled community. We have seen the Bill and we have put our input. We are waiting for it to be completed so that it will come put into law.
Mr. President, I want to stress some points on the motion raised yesterday. It was said that people who are disabled face many challenges that make them not fit properly in the society in terms of developing our country. I also look at the term disabled. What is disabled? Is it how people see me? It does not mean that. If I am explaining disability, I explain it as something which prevents me to do my day to day work. These are barriers which prevent me to perform the duties that I want to do every day. I am also a human being like everyone and have the rights like everyone has. There are no other rights which can be removed for the disabled person but it is the barriers.
I will give an example, yesterday a person with albinism wanted to buy in one big shop in Masvingo. When the person reached the supermarket she said her skin reacts to sanitizers because she is albino. The shop owners did not understand that and the person was sent away and did not manage to buy. The albino person asked for water and soap to wash her hands and they could not understand because they do not know what it means to be disabled. If you put a chemical on a skin of an albino person and you react, you are can get cancer. All of us know that if someone reacts and have cancer we know how it is going to end – death. This person did not manage to buy and she went home. Her children might have slept hungry. If she wanted to buy some sanitary pads she could not manage.
Looking at other barriers, everyone of us wants to vote but there is no one looking at our polling stations to see if they cater for disabled persons. There is no one looking at those barriers but we are talking about people who constitute about 10% of our country’s population. I did disability accessibility assessment in Zvimba, Makonde and Hurungwe while some other people worked in other provinces. In all the polling stations I managed to reach, I saw five polling stations that were accessible. Other polling stations are not accessible because they need lights as there are other people who have challenges in seeing properly. All those things were not properly done. It shows that something is lacking and that needs to be promoted and done adequately. The disabled persons have the right to vote and choose whom they want. The barrier is when I go into the voting booth, it is difficult and painful. Since 99% of our polling stations are schools.
How are the disabled children going to school? It is another barrier. It means they are lagging behind and their right to education is being violated. The Convention on the Right of Persons with Disability signed by our country in 2013 shows that all those barriers are things which make the person with disability to be removed so that the person is not able to do whatever he or she wants. If those barriers are removed, it means a disabled person can be able to access every service. They can go to school or to work. If you look at work places you will find that people with disabilities are very few. The reason is the state of our infrastructure. There are certain institutions that when you want to go to another area – I will give an example of our Parliament. If I wish to go to second floor, the lift does not stop in the second floor but I am not be able to use the stairs. My term might end and I may not be able to reach second floor. What is the state of the offices and everything, I have seen a barrier which has prevented me and it is something which is painful and difficult in our lives.
I also want to say disability is not how you see me but what makes me disabled is how you have received me. Right now, I am very happy that Parliament has employed someone who does sign language. I know that the person is around because I have seen him and I was not told by anyone but it is because I know him. When I was voted in, it is because they want to hear what I say and it was painful for the past years sitting here. The person who voted does not know what we are talking about. When you come to the rallies, he does not hear what you are saying.
When Government talks about development doing all programmes, the deaf person does not hear anything; what they are saying, meaning that the person is lagging behind on Vision 2030 because he has no proper information. Right now we have Covid 19, the Ministry had no jobs but where are the disabled people? What are their needs because there is no database? There are no statistics. We just know that there is someone who is there to distribute resources to people you do not know which is difficult and does not come out properly.
Looking at the Taskforce for COVID 19, there was no disabled person. Knowing what is really needed by the people who are disabled, no one really knows because the person who feels the pain is the one who is in that situation. It is something which is very difficult and painful that we do not have a database. So where are we? We go for the budget process, we go to Victoria Falls and when we are there, how many people are we budgeting for who are disabled - we do not know. How much resources are we putting, it does not come out properly.
Looking at our Constitution which is the supreme law of the land, it does not give us our right as it must be given to us. It is written “if the resources are available” that is when it will happen. The reason why these people rate us down is that they do not know how many people they are budgeting or doing that for. If they have a database and knowing that when you go to Parliament, that 1,5 or 2 million people is easy to do.
Mr. President, I want to say the issue of disability is painful. We see even in the laws it does not come out clearly although we have the rights. We see that the Constitution is being amended on the issue of 50/50 for women and youths, but there is nothing about disability being discussed. Not even one thing has been said but we are there as the disabled youths and women. There is a small portion on youths that is being talked about from the disabled people.
In this House, it is only myself and Hon. Sen. Khupe and every day we are asked - which one is your constituency? The whole nation - is that realistic? Is it true, the whole nation with two people representing two million people? It is not possible. We are requesting for at least one per person per province so that each province is represented. For us to be able to unite the whole country whilst everyone is running back to their constituencies is very difficult. Those who have many people, it is about three hundred something thousand when I as an individual am expected to have a constituency which covers about 1,5 to 2 million people.
We are overwhelmed even if you look at our phones, myself and Hon. Senator Khupe; they are full of messages detailing challenges being faced by the disabled people. For us to be able to fulfil all this while it is just the two of us is difficult. It must be scrutinised and looked into, so we know how best we can do it even if we can get a portion to enable development in the country.
I want to say the disabled people are people who have many talents. If you go to where they manufacture furniture at Morgenster that is the one we buy in many shops which is very beautiful. They have talents, real talents. If you give them beads they will make very beautiful African beads which can be exported, which means disabled people are a resource that helps develop the country and our economy will improve if we are given the opportunity. I always say the right of a disabled person is a right for everyone. Thank you Mr. President.
HON. SEN. DR. MAVETERA: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to contribute on this motion. When this motion was introduced in the House, I think there are very important statistics which were said but I am sure that those statistics might have escaped most of us. We missed them and as such, we might not be in a position to attach any significance to those statistics. I would want to contribute to this motion first by zeroing in on those statistics. I may not be very specific on the figure but from the presentation, we were told that about 1,4 million people in Zimbabwe are people living with disabilities.
We apologies for continuously saying people with disabilities because we should not be using that term. We should be using a better term. I think this is one of the first points where discrimination is coming in. We have never been described or referred to as the fatty, shorter or tall one but why should we continuously refer to people who are challenged as people with disability. If you look in a dictionary, disability means you cannot do anything. As such Mr. President, you have even made those people who are not challenged to ignore people who are living with different challenges because they are disabled. They cannot do anything or fight for their rights. Mr. President, I would want us to refine our terminology when we refer to these probably for it will change our attitude.
Our Constitution is very clear and I think it was crafted in such a way that it included everyone but the unfortunate bit Mr. President, is that we do not approach our Constitution and look at it in a holistic manner. Allow me to just say “tinoita sevanhu vaya vaya vanoti vanonotsvaga verse remuBhaibheri rokuti anotora chidimbu kuti ringoita zvaanoda asi akatarisa Bhaibheri rese zvaanenge achitaura zvinenge zvisingapindirane nezvaari kutaura”.
I think this is what we are doing with our Constitution. Our Constitution says we are all equal but can we ask as we sit here, are we really honest that we are all equal? The situation obtaining on the ground - does it resonate with that which the Constitution has said? I would answer it with a big NO. As such, I think we need to address the very basic things. We are all equal and we should be treated fairly.
Our Constitution has got various sections where it tries to convey that very same message that we are all equal. If you go to Section 56 (3) of the Constitution it says “every person has a right not to be treated in an unfairly discriminatory manner on such grounds as nationality, race, colour, tribe, place of birth, ethnic, social origin, language, class, religion, political affiliation, opinion, custom, culture, sex, gender, marital status, age, pregnancy, disability or economic or social status”. I underline in bold disability. If we look at how we are practicing or how we are running as a country, it is important to highlight that. We look at the makeup of the legislature. Ten percentage of our population are people who are living with physical or mental or all challenges that are labelled disabled. How many Members represent that constituent? We have 210 Members of Parliament and it would be fair that at least 10% of those Members should be people living with various forms of disability. In the Lower House there are two but we have less than five who are representing 10% of the constituencies.
As we look on amendments of our Constitution, those are the issues which we should address first before we go to any other amendments. Like Hon Senator Timire said, right now we were talking about extension of the life of the proportional representation, we are actually extending that but what about the people living with disability. This is an opportunity when that Constitutional Amendment Bill comes, we should actually stand to say this is one of the additions which should be there if we are to pass that Constitution. At least we should have a target which we should achieve so that the people living with disability are reasonably represented.
She was rightly correct when she said like here in Parliament, only two people represent the whole country. Honestly, who can perform all that? It is not possible. Those are some of the issues which we need to address. As a Government we cannot be seen to be practicing a discriminatory role, because our policies are very much discriminatory. This provision was signed a long time ago but they are taking long to come in. Those are issues which should be treated with the urgency they deserve.
In Shona there is an idiom which says “seka urema wafa”. As we are seated in here, within a day or week we can be labelled as people living with disability. Those challenges which are being faced by our fellow citizens who are disabled will actually be knocking at our door. Unfortunately, we will have missed the opportunity. Let us be fair and enact laws which cater for everyone. In other words I do not think I will very far away from the truth if I say, the way we live as a nation is actually the life of the jungle which is survival of the fittest. As long as one section of the community is weak no one will talk for them. Is that the type of Zimbabwe we want? I answer to all of us is a big NO. Let us walk the talk and let us enact laws which will make us equal before God because our Constitution says we are all equal.
If you look at allocation of resources in the budget, there is money set aside for various activities like small scale farmers, but we do not set aside money to assist people living with disability and empower them so that they become self reliant. That is gross injustice which unfortunately we are looking at. We need to start lobbying the President when he chooses his Cabinet. We should have Ministry of Disability or whatever term so that we have a specific ministry looking at this important constituency. That should be the starting point, because right now it is under the Ministry of Social Welfare. I do not think that is proper. We should unite as Members of the legislature to push this very important agenda. It is worth it and it shows us that we are walking the talk, rather than what we are doing at the moment.
I can go on and on repeating the same message. Allow me to end by reminding legislators that life of people with disability matters. We should start to show that. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. MOEKETSI: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to add one or two words on the motion that was raised by Hon Sen. Muzenda. I want to thank you Senator for your motion. I also want to thank the seconder of the motion, it is an important motion. Mr. President, I do not want to say a lot. My introduction is that as august Senate, let us come to an understanding that each province should have people with disabilities who represent them in this august Senate and we want our traditional leaders to support this issue. We should not be talking about this matter anymore. If we are to honestly look at this issue, the numbers of people who are voting are people with disability. Our request is that they should be accorded their rights. This Senate should unite, it is a matter that was supposed to be included in the Constitution -not for us to reiterate this issue now and again.
They are our relatives and children, no one was born out of the process of carrying a baby for 9 months, they were all carried for 9 months. So, my request Mr. President is probably as time moves on, what we request is that each province should have a representative of people living with disability be it in the Senate or National Assembly. These people are even more knowledgeable than us and have wisdom. Some of us when we leave this Senate, get words of wisdom from them. We have different forms of disability, one day I was watching a certain movie and there was a very strong white man, he was very obese, to an extent that it can be referred to as a disability. As that person was on the TV screen, I did not know that the day old chicks were under his chin, which is disability, we all have different disabilities.
Mr. President, this is not an issue to say a lot of words but we are saying we have our traditional leaders who are the custodians of our communities. Traditional leaders do not need anyone’s votes, you know the areas that you preside under and you know the challenges that are being faced. You know the Bills that are coming here and you are passing those laws, yet you are forgetting our fellow relatives living with disability. It is a point of concern Mr. President because these people are able to do certain things.
I have an uncle who lives in Chegutu, he has completed preparing for farming and has done what is required for the Pfumvudza project, he has done preparations for a whole hectare. He has even put manure in holes so these people are able to do a lot of things, meaning we are just the same with them, disability is not inability. Our request Mr. President to the traditional leaders, His Excellency the President and the Hon. Senators is that this matter should be addressed once and for all. I thank you Mr. President.
HON. SEN. MUZENDA: Mr. President, I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. A. DUBE: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 30th September, 2020.
PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS
Seventh Order read: Adjourned debate on motion in reply to the Presidential Speech.
Question again proposed.
HON. SEN. MUZENDA: Mr. President, I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. MATHUTHU: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday 30th September, 2020.
REPORT OF THE THEMATIC COMMITTEE ON HUMAN RIGHTS, SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS (SDGs) AND GENDER DEVELOPMENT ON THE ENQUIRY INTO PEOPLE’S ACCESS TO CLEAN, SAFE AND PORTABLE WATER
Eighth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the Thematic Committees on Human Rights, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Gender Development on the enquiry into people’s access to clean, safe and potable water.
*HON. SEN. RWAMBIWA: Thank you Mr. President. I am grateful for the motion that was moved by Hon. Sen. Khupe. This is an important motion. Looking at Chapter 77 of the Constitution, it provides that water is life, everyone has the right to clean water. So, it is important to look at it and have clean water. If you are not clean or putting on clean clothes, you are not seen as a normal person. Since water is life, we want everyone to use clean water. Water for our livestock and vegetation, they also require water. All those things require water.
When we look at what is around us, we realise that water is a challenge in most areas. At Mwenezi Clinic, there is a deplorable challenge of water. Even those people in rural areas have challenges in accessing clean water. As you know, water from the river that would have dried up is full of insects and other dead animals This is what is being used by the people and that water is not safe. The distance that people have to travel to get this kind of water is about 20 kilometres just to get a bucket of water. For those people with scotch-carts, it is easier but not all of us are privileged to have scotch-carts. So, you need to carry that water on your head. It is difficult for women and the girl child because we travel long distances in order to access water for everyone in the household to be able to get it. On average, a person uses 40 litres per day for cooking, bathing and drinking. Getting water is a challenge for the women and our hope is that Government will do something about it.
Where we visited, their hope is that the Government would resuscitate boreholes. Even when it comes to health facilities like clinics, everyone needs water for them to be assisted, especially the pregnant women. A woman without clean water will have her dignity destroyed. So we need boreholes in all areas. If you look at Masvingo, it is a sorry sight because in most areas, there is inadequate rainfall. If you look at areas like Mashoko and Mukaro –Zengeya, it is a sorry sight because there is no water at all in those areas. Even when the rainfall season approaches, these areas do not receive adequate rainfall. What then do we do to ensure that the people in these areas have access to clean water? That is why you see that people from those areas, when they come to urban centres, they do not want to go back to the rural areas because they would have experienced a new way of life. This is because they also consider the way of living, the difficult ways of life they would have lived in the rural areas. Some even engage in prostitution. So, let us address such issues to ensure that people have access to a good life. Mr. President, we wish everyone could get all these basics.
In urban areas where we visited around, the water that is being supplied by ZINWA is dirty and people complained that they are getting dirty water and there are water cuts and rationing which denies people access to clean water. Let us not only consider and value ourselves as we give each other clean bottled mineral water and yet the majority of people are drinking dirty water. I thank you Mr. President.
HON. SEN. KHUPE: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 1st October, 2020.
REPORT OF THE 46TH PLENARY ASSEMBLY SESSION OF THE SADC PARLIAMENTARY FORUM HELD IN NAMIBIA
Ninth Order Read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the 46th Plenary Assembly Session of the SADC Parliamentary Forum.
Question again proposed.
THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR MASHONALAND EAST PROVINCE (HON. MUNZVERENGWI): I move that the debate do now adjourn.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 1st October, 2020.
DISCHARGE OF CHILDREN UNDER CHILD CARE FACILITIES
Tenth Order Read: Adjourned debate on motion on the need to alleviate challenges associated with the early discharge of youths from child care facilities.
Question again proposed.
*HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: Thank you Mr. President for affording me this opportunity to add my voice to the motion that was raised by Hon. Sen. Tongogara and the seconder of the motion on the issue of children being looked after in orphanages. That motion is important and looks at the challenges that are being faced so that the nation can address them so that these children grow up with their rights being fulfilled.
We also realise that after 18 years, a child leaves the orphanage and it is a challenge because after attaining the age of 18, those children are told to leave the orphanage and it is not clear where they will go. So, I think it is important for the Government to come up with a solution as to how they can assist these orphans when they attain the age of 18 by empowering them and give them a source of livelihood like taking them to vocational training centres. We have a lot of those vocational training centres that are equipping the young people on different skills. A child can choose the course that she wants to do that will assist to alleviate the challenge of street children, especially the girl children because they end up getting married at a tender age. What is happening in the vocational training centres is that children are being equipped and have a source of livelihood and it avoids unnecessary loitering.
They should be accorded the opportunity to learn different skills in the vocational training centres. It will also deal with the issue of the rising crime rate because once a person has a source of livelihood; they will not embark on criminal activities. I want to thank the Hon. Senator for that motion because it leaves us with a question as to how we can assist these children in orphanages. I thank you Mr. President.
*HON. SEN. MUZENDA: I would also want to add a few words on the issue that was raised by Hon. Sen. Tongogara considering children who live in orphanages or children’s homes. As a nation, I think we are not seriously taking this matter into consideration. We need to sit down and enlighten each other on the matter. In this august House, we are blessed to have our traditional leaders. We need to get wisdom from them as to why children end up in orphanages.
My mother was troubled when she moved around in Harare, Gweru and Gutu. She used to ask me if the people who are on the street do not have relatives. I would respond that I do not know and she would say what are you doing in Parliament if you are not looking into such matters. In short I can say – where has our integrity gone because if you are to seriously consider this matter, there is need to look at the root cause of the problem.
As the situation stands now, it is similar to the debate where we said we need to be aware of what these children are doing, province by province. We have written documents and statistics of children in those areas. I agree with those who spoke before me that it would be good that if they finish school, they should be given skills to ensure that they become empowered and can look after themselves. Like now, if we had foresight, probably there were some who wanted to engage in agriculture. As a Government, we could have given them probably an acre each and encouraged them to embark on farming. They would also get title deeds. I think this would assist.
I am also of the opinion that companies that are able should employ these children with skills. If the companies are approached by the Government to take a certain percentage of children from such background, it would assist and also have tax rebates for such companies.
I also think that it is important for us to carry out benchmarking visits in Africa because the challenges that we face as Africa are more or less similar. I have never been to Rwanda but I think they do not have such a challenge. We need to find out how they are addressing the challenges of orphans.
What I also think might assist us as a nation is that – if children are in these orphanages, for example in Harare; I do not know how many orphanages we have. For those who are able, is it possible that as the children grow up – because we know that some end up in the orphanages as babies; is it possible that when they start going to school from ECD, could they be other people who can commit themselves and take some of these children during holidays and live with them if they have children of the same age and keep them as their biological children during the holidays. This will assist them not to confine themselves to the children’s homes.
These are the few suggestions that I have and honestly, I think we need to consider and see how we can address this issue because it is not good at all. As a Government, we need to bring this to an end. We do not want to see such things recurring in the next ten or twenty years because if we do not address it, it will be a big challenge for the nation. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. M.R. DUBE: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity. I will look at the children, parents and the Government. The issue under debate is a painful issue. We see street kids begging for money and usually they will be on the middle of the road.
I would like to explain what I witnessed Mr. President. At one time I walked around sunset. I wanted to check where these street children get their food and where they sleep. I went with another Hon. Member and asked the children if they had someone who takes you to go and look after you and give you a better livelihood – some of them said they will not go because one had an experience whereby he was taken to Borrowdale. He used to work and do a lot of things and get money as well but they never wanted to buy him broncho which was what he wanted. She ran away and decided to go back to town because there was no broncho in Borrowdale.
Then there was a girl, considering the age of that child, she was only twelve years. I did not see her face but the girl said that if you remove me from the street and you take me to Glen Norah and take the boy to Kambuzuma, I cannot be separated from my boyfriend. If you want to take one of us, then you have to take both of us so that we go and live there. So it means that the 10 and 12 year olds are already husband and wife. I asked him – where is your girlfriend and he said that she had gone to see her aunt in Chitungwiza. He had beaten her for infidelity. I asked an elderly woman who was there why she was not addressing and helping the children. She was told to sit down and not say anything because she is disabled. She was told that she is the one who was using most of the money that they begged for. Sometimes the Social Welfare takes those children. The Government is trying to get these children but as they are put in those orphanages they run away. For those who are in Bindura, they say that they were adopted by their mothers’ relatives, so he ran away because the uncle had made him a herd boy. It did not auger well with him to be a herd boy since the cattle he was looking after were not his. He said living in the streets was beneficial for him because he earned some money. He said that little money was a lot to him.
Mr. President, it is a difficult issue under discussion. We want to assist these children. A child who is 10 or 12 years tells you he wants to go with his wife. We asked them - what is it that you are able to do since you call her a wife and he said that they prevent pregnancy by using condoms supplied to them by the HIV people. He was not even afraid of HIV because he uses protection no matter how drunk or how high he is; he will never forget to put on a condom. I do not know where we can start from Mr. President. You can see that some of them are taken and looked after and are given accommodation, food and clothes but because there is no bronco, they run away. I thank you Mr. President.
*HON. SEN. MUPFUMIRA: Thank you Mr. President for affording me this opportunity to contribute to the debate before the House. I also want to thank Sen. Tongogara for bringing such a motion in this House which is important to us as humans. As I was listening to the debate on the issue of children who after turning the age of 18 should leave the orphanages, with the discussion at hand, there are two issues. Firstly, once the children in institutions attain the age of 18 they have to leave those institutions. Secondly, we are discussing about children in the streets whom we call street children or street kids or children who will have become addicted to bronco. I want us to look at the reasons why we have children in the streets or in the orphanages.
In my opinion, there are bad things that we used to do before in our society. As we were growing up, I myself know that we never stayed as a nuclear family but we lived as extended family. We ate from the same plate and we even used to share the clothes that we wore. Every child had guardians, even in a situation where a person had lost his parents, a child would have guardians. Nowadays we have become selfish to the extent that we do not want to assist our relatives. After attaining 12 and the child is used to bronco, he will not bring sanity. It is the families as well as churches role to address this matter. What are we doing to address this matter, especially when the children lose their parents?
We also want to look at children that are in children’s homes. Most of them have been dumped and some of them are being found in toilets, the reason being that as parents we think that if a child gets pregnant that is the worst. We do not want to accept children when they face such kind of challenges. Because they want to please their parents, they end up baby dumping or they just throw them along the road for someone to pick them up. As parents, we need to assist our children. I am not saying we should encourage them to have children before marriage but unfortunate circumstances happen. When it happens, let us accept our children to ensure that they do not throw away their children.
Furthermore, the divorce rate has gone up and children end up being victims while others end up in orphanages. I am saying we need to address this issue especially those in religion. Where is the love that was there before? Where has it gone to? We have homes and big houses. Sometimes you ask yourself who lives in these houses. Next door you find there are street kids but those homes do not have any people. We will not be surprised if one day those children decide to revolt seeking social justice that they also want a decent living. We need to ask ourselves where the extended family system went to? Yes the Government can assist; the children in institutions are very few compared to children in the streets. Can we boast and say the Government should take these people into the institutions?
As individuals, we should show love. It is our duty to ensure that these children have a good upbringing. After the age of 18, the children are removed from the homes. Most of us here are parents but who has decided that once a child has attained 18 even after attaining a degree, how many of us say you can go because you have attained 18? Sometimes they even get to the point of getting married and you end up staying with them. Even if they have attained 18, we have children who are in their 20s whom we are living with, so we can stay with them.
Institutions need to be assisted because we may take them to tertiary institutions for vocational training but there is a likelihood that some of them will not get jobs. We need a broader policy to see what we can do with these children. Should they stay in those institutions and are they getting their per capita grants of children in institutions? It is something that needs to be considered because from my knowledge, the money that is given to children’s homes from the Government is very little and inadequate to look after the children. When the budget is presented, we need to consider the amount of money that is channelled towards these institutions. We need to lobby for more funds.
There is also an issue of other children under street kids category, the child sex workers. I saw them - 8, 9, 10 and 11 years old. The greatest challenge we have as women is that the women are the ones termed as sex workers as if they were doing it on their own. Such children are so many in Harare, in Hopley and Epworth. Mr. President, you become concerned and do not know what to do. You ask the child - why are you here and why are you not in school? They tell you that they are looking for money. They tell you that after 6 p.m. men come driving their vehicles and put them in a single file. They are taken to an area they are entertained. Imagine an 11 year old child if you ask them why they left home, they will tell you that my parents divorced or my parents passed away and I could not live with my aunties. This matter still comes back to us because we cannot look after the children.
We need to look at our social fabric which has now been torn into pieces. Yes, the Government can assist but initially let us look at how this was dealt with in the past. When we are talking of long ago we are looking at maybe 20 – 30 years ago. There were no street children but currently street children are full in the streets. Let us ask ourselves what we are doing. As families, are we playing our part as extended families. Nowadays, people are giving birth to very few children unlike long ago but no one would go to bed hungry. We used to stay with children and they would still go to school. Even in this august House, is there anything that we are doing in our families to ensure that our relatives do not go to children’s homes?
I thank you Mr. President for this opportunity. This is a very important issue and I think the issue of benchmarking is a good idea but I am saying in our culture, how do we address these issues. Do we not have relatives in the streets? Thank you.
HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 1st October, 2020.
On the motion of THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR MASHONALAND EAST PROVINCE (HON. SEN. MUNZVERENGWI), the House adjourned at Twenty Five Minutes to Five o’clock p.m.