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SENATE HANSARD 30 July 2019 28-62

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Tuesday, 30th July, 2019

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE in the Chair)

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

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

HON. SEN. PHUTHI:  I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

ESTABLISHMENT OF AN EMPOWERED ENTITY TO ADDRESS

CHALLENGES AFFECTING PENSIONERS AND POLICY

HOLDERS

Second Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the need for a legislative framework on pensions and insurance benefits.

Question again proposed.

**HON. SEN. SINAMPANDE:  Thank you Madam President

for giving me this opportunity.  I would like to debate briefly on pensions, especially on NSSA.  I hereby request that NSSA should deposit the money that they deduct from people into their bank accounts so that they can use cards to swipe especially in shops instead of them going to the banks where they have to stand in long queues.  So, this is my request that pensioners who receive money from NSSA should get their money through their bank accounts.  I also understand that the leaders especially Ministers request money from NSSA because NSSA has a lot of money which is not being used properly. So the Ministers request that money to use it for their personal benefit. I hereby request that should be stopped. It must not be done because the rightful beneficiaries should earn better money that can sustain their families.

I also would like to speak about Old Mutual.  Old Mutual has a lot of big buildings that they rent out and they get a lot of money out of that, but the people who contributed that money are not getting anything – they are getting very little money. Old Mutual is constructing buildings that they rent out whilst those who contributed so that they can be taken care of when they retire are not benefiting. I hereby request that pension earnings be increased and should not remain at Z$100 because Z$100 cannot buy anything these days - I am talking about Z$100 and not US$100. I request that these earnings be increased so that pensioners are able to take care of their families. I thank you.

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

HON. SEN. SHOKO: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 31st July 2019.

MOTION

CULTURAL VALUES ON ENDING CHILD MARRIAGES

Third Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the need of the enforcement of the law on child marriages.

Question again proposed.

HON. SEN. MAKONE: Thank you Madam President for

affording me the opportunity to debate on this motion which was put forward by Hon. Sen. Tongogara. I want to thank her very much for this very sensitive question which I think most of us would agree with. I am very perturbed that in the new Marriages Bill, the one that is causing so much consternation to the whole country, inside there they have put the Child Marriages Act inside the Bill to do with multiple partners. I fail to understand the purpose for that. Why could the Government not have a separate Bill as suggested here by the Hon. Senator which stands alone, just to do with marriages.

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I do not think you can

debate what is in the Bill which has not yet been tabled.

HON. SEN. MAKONE: I agree with you Madam President but

now that it is out there it is already on the public platform.

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: We wait for it to come

because maybe what is being said out there has nothing to do with what is not yet tabled. When it is tabled then we will be in a position to understand what is actually in the Bill.

HON. SEN. MAKONE: I hope that what I have seen is not

correct but if it is correct then we shall still deal with it. I agree with you Madam President and I agree with the Hon. Senator. This is a matter which is very urgent. We, as a country are speaking with a double tongue on this one. Who are we calling a child and who is not a child. On the one hand we are saying people can only be married when they turn 18. On the other hand we are saying that children of 16 can have sexual relations. Surely, is a 16 year old not a child? I would have thought that a child is a child and a 16 year old is a child.

I would hope that Government will actually be explicit….

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Hon Member I do not

know how to explain to you. Actually you are debating the Bill.

HON. SEN. MAKONE: Anyway I do not know which children

we are talking about. If we are talking about children that she is talking about, the Child Marriages Bill should not even exist because we should not have children being allowed to marry in this country. The children I am talking about are children under the age of 18. I am hoping that something is going to be done; and that is being done, and that we will never see in this House a situation where we are debating the marriages of children.

I think that what was driving the Senator is that children are being given to older men to be married by them and that she was discouraging that. I do not think that she was talking about people over 18. She was talking about people under the age of 18. This is exactly what I am trying to drive towards. Even if they were not being given over because they themselves cannot make that decision and neither can anyone make that decision on their behalf, therefore a Bill that comes to this

House should be very clear on who it is that we are calling a child. The Hon. Senator is very clear on what she is talking about here that in this country we should not countenance the idea of children being married off to anyone before they turn 18. I thank you.

HON. SEN. TIMVEOS: Thank you Madam President for giving

me this opportunity to debate this very important motion. I want to thank Hon. Sen. Tongogara and her seconder for moving such a very critical motion. From the last Parliament, we have been crying out as parliamentarians on the issue of the girl child. What we are crying out for is for the girl child to be given an opportunity to grow. I am sure you saw our netball national team, the “Gems” how well they did in the United Kingdom. Imagine if all our girl children were given that opportunity, I am sure that this country would be a better country because our girls will be highly education.  Madam President, this issue about the law to protect a girl child is long overdue.  Because of the economic difficulties, communities prefer to give away a girl child or marry them at a young age.  The law should be clear on this issue and those that commit such crimes must be arrested. We should not choose to say who did what.  Whoever is involved in marrying our girl child, a law has to be put in place.

Madam President, as I was researching on this motion, I found out that young girls who marry and get pregnant will develop complications and the percentage of losing those children are very high.  Their chances of becoming mothers again are very low because of the complications. They are not physically and mentally ready on giving birth and to be in relationships.  Most of our girl children who are married off early end up being single mothers and are not able to even look after those children.  So as a country, we should not allow that to happen.

I was actually discussing with one of the Chiefs in my area who was saying that during the war if a man impregnated a girl, he would run away to join the liberation struggle because he feared that the community would turn against him.  Now, in this day and age, it is like fashion whereby our men actually show off saying ‘I have got my yellow born’, this is what they call young girls, ndineka yellow born kangu.  It is no longer an embarrassment for an old man to be seen with young girls; they actually think it is a plus for them.

Madam President, surely this issue should be discouraged and our laws, like Hon. Sen. Tongogara has said, have to protect our young girls and together with Government obviously we cannot do it alone.  We also have to work with our Chiefs and our churches.  Unfortunately, our churches now are a playground as well for that type of abuse on our girl children.  The girls that are in the choir, from what I learnt during my research, they now belong to the pastor.  The pastor actually sends out messages to say that make sure the girls that are in the choir are below 16 or they are 17 so that he can actually get one or two from there.  Our churches are no longer that haven where we feel that our children are safe.  You might say I am happy my child is going to church but most girls are likely to be abused there – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] – Madam President, our laws have to be clear.  We are the Senate; we have to make sure that our laws protect the girl child.  Our girl children have a lot of issues that need to be dealt with, among them is sanitary wear and we must give them first priority.

The laws that we make must actually discourage whoever goes after young girls.  I have heard some of us saying it is the way the girls dress these days, this is why our girls are being married off early.  Look backwards - if you look at our history, taipfeka nhembe, and our girls were respected.  If we go through our history our girls were respected. There was nothing wrong, no one was abused but why now?  I think it is because of our laws and our laws have to protect the girl child.

So, I am going to support this motion fully and thank Hon. Sen.

Tongogara.  I know a lot of things have been said by other Hon. Senators and they have been very much supportive of this motion.  I just stood up also to support the motion and appeal to Government to make laws that protect the girl child so that the girl child can fulfill their dreams to succeed in our communities.  There is no way we can protect our girl children if we allow the law to abuse them and if we allow laws to be passed that allow such anomalies to happen.

So, Madam President, I pray that as a country, we keep our ubuntu. The only thing that we have in this country or any other country is just that ubuntu that we have; the ubuntu we pray about every Sunday or Saturday when we go to church to say please God, look after the families and us so that we stay true to your word.  We must never ever because we are a God fearing country, we cannot make laws that are against that.  I thank you Madam President.

HON. SEN. MOHADI: Thank you Madam President, can I be

allowed only today to debate in my mother language.

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Only today? If you feel

like that, there is no need to ask for permission.

^^HON. SEN. MOHADI: Thank you Madam President for

giving me this opportunity to air my views, looking at the issue which was discussed by Hon. Sen. Tongogara especially when we are looking at child marriages.  Looking at those who are getting married under the age of 17, these girls need to be protected.  These girls we are talking about are still young and they know nothing about marriage.  They are still looking upon their parents or guardians for any major decisions.  When we are talking about these young girls, we still need to talk to people like Chiefs so that we help or assist each other in protecting the girl child.

When looking at these young girls, they need to learn more especially when we are looking at our culture, these girls need to know more about being a mother.  If we look at the fact that we are talking about girls who are under 17 and how their lives are disturbed if they marry early - during labour when admitted and at the time of the labour, they get disturbed in terms of health.  They get infected with so many diseases especially sexually transmitted diseases and HIV and they end up giving birth to premature babies.  Some of these babies will not be health because these girls know nothing about caring for themselves.  They are still young and need to be at school doing secondary education.  When you look at these girls, they are shy when they meet others.  She is ashamed of what is happening to her and she gets disturbed in everything she does.

When we talk about girl child marriages, we need to be educated, especially these old men.  They need to know more about the dangers of sleeping with these young girls.  It is not allowed under our Government.  These old men do not marry these girls because they already have their wives at home.

Madam President, can you allow me to say that in our culture, some of people were using these girl child marriages to appease ngozi  and it is not allowed under this Government.  When you are talking to these old men, even if they still have it in their minds that if you go and sleep with a young girl whilst you are infected with HIV/AIDS, you will be healed – it is not allowed.

Some apostolic churches look at these young girls especially if they want to marry more wives.  Why can they not just look at the old women and leave the young girls?  If a child is seventeen years, she is not supposed to get married and if anyone is found doing this – both parents should be arrested because it is not allowed.  Thank you Madam Speaker for allowing me to talk about this issue of young girls who are getting married to old men.   

*HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA:  Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to debate on this good motion which was raised by Hon. Sen. Tongogara.  

The issue of young girls being married before the rightful age affects us as their grandfathers. Long back, this did not exist.  What has gone wrong with our children? Even if you see them, they like these early marriages.  Let me go further and say long back even today, we say the woman is the owner of the home.  If the woman is very strong, the home is also very strong.  I am not ashamed to say as men, we are under the control of our wives.  They have power over us.  A girl child in our culture will have the mother’s eyes.  Our boy child has the eyes of the father.  Usually, the mother is always looking at how her girl child behaves.  That is very helpful to keep the girl child safe.

Hon. women Senators, I am not scolding you but you no longer have authority over your girl children.  You see a child at crèche level having a fancy hairstyle.  You make sure that your girl child looks well.  Why are we forcing our girl children to grow faster before the rightful time? It is painful and bad for old people to take young girls as wives. The mother and father have to assist each other in keeping an eye on their children.

Long back, we used to protect our children.  Children were not allowed to go away from home without a proper explanation.  Six o’clock was the cut off time for the children to be at home.  Our traditional leaders had a lot of work in terms of protecting children. Even where girl children were abused, chiefs were very much concerned, protected and they took action against such kind of behaviour.  If a boy was found to have abused a girl, the chiefs would warn the parents that if that continues, he will be dealt with effectively.

The people who encourage the girl child to be married are mothers, especially in certain churches.  They even distribute their daughters to different people who are elders in the church.  If a mother does not agree that her child be married at an early age, that will not happen even if the father had agreed and the mother disagrees – it will not happen.  So, as a mother, you are supposed to protect the children, especially the girl child.  These churches have a habit of giving away young girls, brainwash the young girl that she becomes happy that she had been seen in a dream by a man that can marry her.

Let us give authority to our chiefs, the kraal heads, the grand fathers and mothers should have authority which was taken away.  Mothers would advise each other over the issue of advising their young girls.  Fathers also did the same.  If the mother is well advised, she would be able to talk to her girl child.  The issue of raping underage girls – I know women when you meet in your organisations like you did yesterday, you talk strongly about this issue and you are the ones who are supposed to put laws which are very deterrent so that the girl child is not abused.

Long back, we would have mature girlfriends and we would swim together with older girls but nothing would happen between us.  We would go together as boys and girls even when gathering wild fruits and nothing would happen.  We used to be playing together as boys and girls and I tell you, I met a woman at the age of 25 years and that is

what used to happen.  We would meet with our grandfathers and they would advise us about life.  A few days ago, there was a house girl who talks a language which I do not understand and she could not even greet anyone but we taught her.  My son had a wedding here in Harare and at the wedding, there was a person who came from our home area.  He saw very beautiful women and he asked to say what is it that is needed for someone to have a wedding.  He was advised that you should not play in a wrong way with a person of the opposite sex and for a very long time, we taught him and also took him to church and after our teaching, he promised that he wanted a wedding and that happened and we celebrated.  That man that whom we taught is now married. This is the teaching which I want to see being done by mothers.

You fathers who marry young girls, you will see your system blocking because you took the wrong blood.  I have seen a lot of older men crying after blocking their systems.  Mr. President, you hear that someone has a blocked system, it is because of that.  I had an old man who had a blocked system and they had to extract a lot of urine from his bladder.  So, if you continue taking young girls, you will block your system and it will be very dangerous.

I also warn the mothers to take care of young girls and fathers, you have to look after your wives and no one is supposed to be married before the rightful time and the mothers you have that power to ensure that the girl child is not married early.  Whatever you say, as our wives, us as husbands, we do not have the power but it is you who know the rightful age of your girls and you advise accordingly.  We have to take that teaching to our homes and chiefs and kraal heads stamp the authority.  Let us avoid child marriages.

I left something.  Mothers, you are the ones who take care of your children at home but at school, the teachers are responsible.  You need also to go to those schools and talk to teachers in terms of taking care of the girl child.  If you teach your girl child very well, even boys will run away from that girl because they know that they do not have a chance with her.  I am very critical about people who get married before their time and for those old men who take or who marry young girls, the Government will put a tough law and the end is not well.  Thank you Mr. President.

+HON. SEN. P. NDHLOVU:  Thank you Mr. President for

giving me this opportunity to also add my voice on the same issue.  It is very difficult for a woman to raise a girl child properly.  All those teachings that were being done to a girl child in the olden days are no longer the same as today.  Today’s generation has access to different social media platforms, telephones, televisions and they can view pornography and staff like that. We really agree to the issue that as women, our role is to make sure that we bring up our girl children the proper way.  If as a parent I am saying to my girl child do not go to church, the child is bound to tell me that no, I am not going to allow you to distract me or to refuse me the opportunity to go to church just because I have rights.  That on its own is a challenge to us as parents.

I recently went to Lupane and visited the hospital.  When I got there, I realised that all the girl children who were pregnant there were below the age of 19 years.  The wards were so full with these girl children.  Then I asked them that you girl children, where are your husbands and they told me that they do not have husbands.  I asked them to say who then impregnated you and they gave differing answers to that question.  I then asked them that with such challenges how then are you going to get maybe pads that you will require when you give birth.  Some told me that this is exactly what they are asking for from me as a Member of Parliament that you assist us with pads for use as we give birth.  I really feel pity for the challenges that these girl children are facing.

Mr. President, one girl child told me a story; she said she was impregnated by an artisanal miner; she is eight months pregnant, she will be giving birth very soon and she really needs help.  So, the issue of rights is also an issue which is distracting us as parents to be able to make sure that these children abide by the laws.  Let us all as parents play the role of being mothers and fathers so  that we bring them up in the best way possible.  Let us give them the necessary teachings that each and every home should give.

Mr. President, the other challenge is that these days it is difficult to come across proper men to take care of these girls because they also want to get married to those who work.  They want women who bring money home.  So, if these young girls are not employed, not doing anything to bring some income to their homes, then they will not be able to get any man who will be able to take care of them.  No man respects these young girls.  Thank you.

*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA:  Thank you Mr.

President.  I wanted to debate for longer but most of the issues have been presented very well.  We are good at speaking without action.  This motion is saying in English, the issue of child marriage was a rare occurrence before Zimbabwe’s Independence; it has been supported by everyone.  Hon. Sen. Chirongoma went deeper with this issue and that

is the truth.

Our extended families were very important in terms of protecting our children.  It was said traditional leaders and church leaders have to help, this is the truth but why are we failing to control our kids as families.  Do we still have these controlled families, what has destroyed extended families?  As Parliament, we are supposed to find a day for a workshop to look at these issues.  We want a workshop where we can investigate and debate because here the time is limited but in a workshop we can still share ideas.  We have started a very good debate.

We need a workshop where we can go deeper in discussing these issues.  What has killed the extended families, why do we not still have the extended families?  We should look at that deeply, extended families help to protect our children.  We want extended families to be back.

We saw the Pope talking about the issue families, including extended families.  He spoke very well.  He said that families act as a sanctuary, it is like a hospital that is the first school.  Education starts in a family before you go to school.  That is what we are supposed to protect but that has been destroyed.  Mr. President, we need to fix the issue of extended families and to look at why the extended families have been destroyed.

We are forgetting also that Parliament is the one which is destroying the extended families.  Some of the laws which have been legislated by Parliament are the ones which are destroying families which we passed as Parliament.  We forget that we are going to have another workshop about values.  There are certain things which we do which are of European origin and we have to avoid that.

It was said that Chiefs are supposed to enforce the laws against perpetrators.  They forget when they are talking about traditional leaders that still that we belong to you, we are your servants.  Of course we are supposed to fix that which is affecting you but our problem is that there are two states in our mind when we are talking.  We have a country of traditional leaders and kraal heads, that is the first thing.  On the other side we forget that there are things which we did and are still doing which have removed the authority of chiefs. We have different views of chieftainship.  In the afternoon we believe in certain values of chiefs and during the night we have another view of traditional chiefs.

The person who destroyed the chieftainship is the white man who came to this country. All the work that you give us as chiefs came from God.

A lot of people forgot that there was a time when the chiefs powers were removed. In 1896 when native regulations were passed in this country, these are the laws which removed the authority of chiefs and it was done by the white people. Those things are well documented and they were written by white people in order to drive the people away from chiefs. It is written that we should not turn the natives away from looking to the chief as a source of authority. We should turn them to look to the District Native Commissioner as a source of authority. These laws had removed the powers of the chiefs.  We need a workshop on that. Let us meet for two days and look at this issue to see what went wrong.

After independence we did not get time to look at these issues which destroyed our chieftainship. We became so busy with other things and we forgot about restoring the authority of chiefs. We did not investigate on how chiefs could get their powers. We need to go back and look at this issue. We need to introspect on this issue. We are still following the laws left by the white man and we are still following those laws.  Professor Manfred Frisk from Harvard wrote a book

“Struggling with a Demon”. He talks about all these issues. For example, why are things going so wrong, why are we having the girl child being impregnated? We are not saying some laws have been destroyed which protect these girls, we need to remove this demon to fix our chieftainship. Our chieftainship is meant to fix our country and it is able to fix the country, but it has been undermined.

In our culture there is no one who is allowed to marry a minor. In workshops we mislead each other. There is no culture which allows a girl to be married before 18.  We have elders like Hon. Sen. Hungwe here, they know that long back there was nothing like that. A girl-child was not allowed to be married. Whether you go to Shangani, Karanga, Zezuru, Nambya and Ndebele, there is nothing like that. If there is someone who says that culture is there, may we meet after this sitting and we will drive where this is practiced.  There are a lot of crooks amongst us who masquerade as well meaning people under the guise of culture. We have a lot of people who do things hiding behind culture as black people and they say it is our culture. Just because it is black people who are doing it, that is not culture. These are perverts because there is no culture which allows marriage of young girls. I thank you.

 

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF

SENATE

 OFFICIAL HANDOVER OF CYCLONE IDAI DONATIONS

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: The

Presiding Officers of Parliament cordially invite all Members of the Committee on Standing Rules and Order, Members of the

Chairperson’s Panel and Chairpersons of Committees to the official handover of Cyclone Idai relief to the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, Hon, J. Moyo on Wednesday, 31st

July 2019 to be held in the Members Dining Room at 0900 hours.        +HON. SEN. PHUTI: Thank you Mr. President for the opportunity that you have given me to raise my issue concerning the motion that has been moved. In my view the economic situation in the country has created these problems that are being faced by the girl children. In most cases these children who will be coming from poor households, if they see old men who are rich and driving good cars, they will then give in to that because they will be thinking that this is the best way to make sure that they remove poverty from their family. Parents in such situations in most cases accept such actions as they think this is the best way to move out of poverty.

Nowadays people with money are the gold panners who in most cases are prying on these young girls. In addition, other people that also come through with money are politicians, just because they will be showing money before everything else and they take advantage of the girl-children.

The other issue that I have observed that has come as a challenge to this issue is our culture which says when a girl child is born they are given to a certain man or guy whilst they are still young and there are some people who are still following those cultural practices. It also comes out in certain churches where prophets come up with prophecies that say I saw your girl-child being married to this old man and they then want to get that prophesy to fruition and they make sure that those kids are married to those old men.

The other issue pertains to greediness. Men easily get carried away girls dressed in a modern way, especially children who will be dressed in hipstars - I do not know why men are behaving like this whether it is tablets or what, I really do not know. I also would like to blame our country’s law because they are not stringent to people who get married to young girls. There are stringent measures which are supposed to be given to all those people that are still engaged in such things whereby long jail terms should be given to such people.  People who will be showing their money to these young girls then approach these girls yet after all they are already infected with HIV/AIDS and they are on treatment.  These girls after engaging in sexual activities with such people, quickly get into challenges whereby they also get infected with the same diseases.

We continue to urge men to desist from doing this because they are really infecting our girls with diseases like HIV/AIDS.  Other challenges that come with marriage of girls at a young age are divorces.

There are so many divorces because at a later stage, the young girl will get to realise that the old man is just too old for her and then think of getting married to someone younger.   Some men take advantage of their housemaids, those girls will be trying to earn a living but then men take advantage of such children. So, please men we really need to make sure that we treat those children as our children and not act irresponsibly.  For men who continue to marry young girls, I am of the view that if there is need for government to introduce a way of using a burdizzo to such men, please let it be so.

For men who continue to marry young children, this is something that we really need to make sure that we get that stopped.   The girl child must be protected by us as parents.  The economic challenges that parents are facing are also contributing very gravely to those challenges whereby parents go out of the country living their children with other people to take care of them.  When those children grow in the absence of their parents, there are bound to be such challenges. We really need to be responsible as parents.

HON. SEN. DR. PARIRENYATWA: Thank you Mr. President,

I want to thank Hon. Sen. Tongogara for bringing up this motion. It is because internationally, the UN has taken up the issue of child marriages very seriously and I think Zimbabwe should not be left out or left behind.  It is so important that this Bill has come up at this point in time and through its agencies, UNFPA, UNICEF, WHO, UNAIDS, the issue of child marriage is now very current and so, it is important that we have taken it on board.  We need now to say to ourselves in our society, what is the cause of those early marriages?  In medicine, we always want to find the cause so that you can treat properly, that is the job that we must do in this Senate, to find out the causes of early marriages.  The simple answer, common denominator is poverty.  Poverty is causing early marriages. We want to find out those communities where child marriages are rampant, those communities that are doing that have a high rate of poverty.

We do not want to dwell too much on religion but it is aligned to that as well.  It is important that as Senators, we must pick the main causes. In fact, you will find that in this community the issue of early marriages is more related to early sex and pregnancies in teenagers.  It is not so much early marriages, vana vedu havasi kukurumidza iyezvino kuroorwa except in certain communities.  What is happening is early sex; you will see a nine year old who is sexually active - that is the problem now.  Therefore, a lot of teenage pregnancies are happening and the pregnancies will then force them to marry.  So, let us look at those issues and see how our television and social media impact on our children’s lives.  We must address those things. What are our social media and televisions inciting in our children, what are they going beyond what we can manage, how do we deal with this?

Like what Hon. Sen. Chief Charumbira has said, what are we going to do? I think these are the things we need to look at - how do we address this issue that a child will be alone in hisher bedroom and opening prohibited sites to under age.  They will then be subjected to things that even us as adults do not know. How do we address these things?  I think this is what our society and community is saying.  Why do we discourage early marriages?  Firstly, the child has not grown up psychologically and the child is being taken advantage of. You have spoken on this earlier on in this Senate.  That is why they can be tempted into doing a lot of things.  The child can be infected with a lot of diseases particularly HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted infections, fungal infections on their genitals; they become really rampant and we now know that the highest HIV prevalence is among our teenagers.  That is where the prevalence rate is high. I think we need to take this issue very seriously but align this to early sex and teenage pregnancies.

The fact that the children will get married early – yes, and again another issue is to align the age of consent and the age of majority which is now 18 years.  The age of consent used to be 16 years; if the child says yes then it is okay because of the issue of statutory rape.  We must be clear in our minds what we are saying about 16 and 18 years and about statutory rape. Those things, I think should come in very strongly as we debate this issue. There are people who are lobbying saying what do we do with a thirteen year old child who comes to a clinic looking for contraceptives.  These are the issues that we should discuss. Do we then say that if that child goes to a nurse, the nurse is supposed to give contraceptives or condoms to that child?  I think these are issues which we should take seriously as Senators.  What has been said about having a workshop where we discuss and come up with a paper and say this is what has come from Zimbabwe and that if it is taken outside, it is known that it is our position in Zimbabwe. With these few words, I add to what has been said by other Hon. Senators who debated before me.

         *HON. SEN. HUNGWE:  Thank you Hon. President of Senate.  I would like to thank Amai Tongogara for raising this motion.

Tongogara.  That name alone – we will stay even if it is hot or bad, that is where this woman belongs.

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Order, it is

Hon. Sen. Tongogara and not ‘amai

*HON. SEN. HUNGWE:  That is true, I am not used to speaking in this House.  I have heard you Mr. President.  I beg your pardon.

Hon. Sen. Tongogara – I do not know if I am also a Senator -

[Laughter.]-

I want to support what has been debated by other Hon. Senators in this House.  We have been listening and this is not the first time this has been debated.  We have been hearing this debate from the National

Assembly up to this House.  Like what others have been saying, Hon. Sen. Chief Charumbira was now going deeper with this issue but he stopped along the way, everything has been said and written down.

What is left is what we should do.

If you want to go for a workshop, do not bother us about what we know about children; we need to talk about how we can stop this issue.  As I see it, this issue of child marriages is caused by uncontrolled appetite of men.  That appetite is the issue we are supposed to deal with.  We need to find ways of dealing with those who are greedy. There is greediness of the highest level – we need to stop greediness if we are going to go to a workshop as suggested by Hon. Sen. Chief Charumbira.

There is another Hon. woman Senator sitting across, I can see that she is sad about this issue – we need to know what we have to do with those who are greedy.  That is the only issue Mr. President. You have not seen that greediness is not a need.  It is not because I love the woman, you cannot control someone with excessive appetite if you have not removed the greediness in his mind.  It comes from the mind.  Hon. Senators, let us have a workshop to resolve this issue of excessive appetite (makaro) - [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] -  This greediness is the one which causes all these problems.

I came into this Parliament in 1985 and this issue was discussed but like what Hon. Sen. Charumbira has said, nothing has been done.  Let us know what should be done to someone who is greedy.  If someone is greedy, he even takes other people’s food and not his. Greediness causes one to eat other people’s children and not yours.  We need to agree Mr. President, that if we go there, let us go and find ways of stopping greediness.  As has been said by former Minister Hon. Sen.

Parirenyatwa that poverty is the main cause – we were born poor, there is no relationship. Greediness is the issue.  Thank you Mr. President.

*HON. FEMAI: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to debate on the motion raised by Hon. Sen. Tongogara which is very important.  It is important to us here because some of us here are grandfathers, fathers, mothers and grandmothers of these young girls who are being abused.   I have seen it important that I put my voice on people who are greedy.

Firstly, I would like to thank Sen. Charumbira who thought wisely that we have been talking about this issue for a long time.  May be this needs a workshop because at a workshop you will come up with resolutions that we have agreed that a person who is greedy should be arrested, it is better.  I want to support this idea of a workshop. If it is possible Mr. President, you should take it upon yourself to make sure that this workshop happens. I know you will not fail because you are capable.  We can have a workshop where we can come up with resolutions about people who are greedy.

I want to say long back, greedy people were punished.  We would hear that something taboo has been done and someone was made to pay for it.  These things were limited because if you were poor, you would know that you will not get cattle to settle the matter.  This is what the chiefs used to do.  Now that chiefs are crying that they no longer have the authority, I know that their authority has been removed.  I have not heard a chief who has arrested someone for taboo activities.  If chiefs were given the authority to preside over these issues, they would stop this problem.  If you go where nyawo dances are done, when you see a nyawo dancer dancing, those women who will be cheering it up are young girls of 15 years of age and they will be having babies on their backs.  As someone who would have invited a chinyawo, as an MP enjoying himself when the Nyawo are dancing whilst the cheering young girls are having babies on their backs, it means that they have been abused and that is very problematic.  We have to see what we can do about this issue where we are inviting people who are perpetrators of child abuse to perform at our functions.

If you go to apostolic sects, you will see the apostolic members who are very greedy.  If you see the number of the under 16 and under 12 wives belonging to this member, he will be walking and young girls will be following behind him – what will happen at the church?  You will see an older person at the church wearing a garment and is officiating at a function where young girls have been abused as a leader and you are now blessing that.  You have gone to bless where girls are being abused.  If you do not go there as a leader, they will know that what we are doing is bad.

These are the things which are affecting us in life and we need to have workshops and investigate that as elders and leaders, we must go where abuse is being done.  Do not touch a door which has been broken into because your fingerprints will be found on that door and you will be accused of a crime.  I am asking that this workshop be done and this time we are supposed to come up with resolutions on what we would do about this issue.  We have to come up with a resolution after the workshop to arrest people who abuse young girls and those who marry young girls need to be punished.

Some of them use the name of God and say God has said I have to marry a young girl.  That is abuse and young girls because of lack of knowledge, they think that it has come from God when we know that these are just earthly greediness.  I want to say that what has been brought up by Hon. Tongogara is very important and it should succeed. Greedy people should be arrested, as was said by the Hon. Member who spoke just before me.  Thank you.

*HON. SEN. M. R. DUBE:  Thank you Mr. President.  I want to support the motion moved by Hon. Tongagara and it is a good motion.  It is very painful because some of us are the ones who abuse our children.  Our relatives are the ones who are using young girls.

I want to talk about what happened to me.  When my father came from selling his cattle and met my aunt who asked for me to visit her; my father told my mother that my aunt wanted me to visit her.  When I got to my aunt’s place, she said that she was being abused among the six wives of her husband.  She was the first wife but she was complaining that she was being abused.  She said that the other wives were bringing their young sisters and they were happy at the home but now she was being abused because she was failing to bring her young sister and she wanted me to be the wife to her husband.  She said that I had gone to school and I was the better person compared to others.  She said I was going to be driving the car, to run the shops and drive the car to Bulawayo.

I was troubled and I wanted to find a way to go back home.  If I wanted to play with other kids, she would say do not go anywhere because you are a wife here and you have to remain at home.  That is very painful.  It is very painful to know that you are being abused by your relative when you are protecting yourself or keeping yourself for your husband.  My aunt asked what I thought about it and I made a plan and pretended to agree as she had said that I would be driving.

I knew that the bus at our home area came at around 12 and the dogs were vicious at that home.  So, I asked for bones to give to the dogs so that they get used to me.  So I always kept these bones and one night at about 10 o’clock, I told myself that since I had enough bones, I would get out of the house.  So, I gave the bones to these dogs and I walked out of the yard.  So, I left those dogs eating those bones and I left and went.  I got into the bus at midnight and I did not pay the fare because the conductors knew me.  So, I told my mother what I had experienced at my aunt’s place and my father said if the husband and my sister ever come here, I will axe them but, if I had not planned how I was going to get out of that situation, I was going to be the bones for that husband.

After realising that children are being abused, as a counsellor at Victoria Falls, I went off to Namibia and there I found very young children and asked what they were doing in Namibia and they said that it was not well at home.  They said we are from the apostolic sect but, as young girls, we are being given to old men at the church.  So, we saw it fit to run away to another country.  Some of them ran away from this country because they were being abused.  Those children used to sleep at an open area where it is very cold because it is near the sea and you cannot be comfortable there.

I asked one of the kids and she said that she comes from Manicaland.  She said I left because my mother and father who are my parents agreed that I get married to one old man at church since she was taking care of them.  So, I ran away and they threatened me that if I ran away, that man was going to pray that I die but I realised that they were lying that anyone can pray for someone’s death.  So I ran away to Namibia.  Three other people who came from Manicaland who found this girl said that that man is looking for that young lady.  That young girl said she was going to die in Namibia.  She is not alone Mr.

President.

A lot of young girls are running away from this country because of greedy men.  I think that a castration is needed for men who abuse young girls because young girls are in trouble.  Another girl was saying that I was the twelfth of his wives.

*HON. SEN. M. DUBE (Speaking)… Another girl was saying

that I was the twelfth of his wives.  She said that I used to bath my husband.  If you look at the age of that girl, she was very young but she was made to bath an old man and that girl said she was going to die in Namibia.   These young girls are not going outside as refugees to look for work but they are running away from abuse.  Some of them leave this country sick and they die outside there because they do not get health support in the foreign lands.  This should stop.

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

HON. SEN. MOHADI: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume:  Wednesday, 31st July, 2019.

MOTION

DEVELOPMENT OF WATER INFRASTRUCTURE IN

TOWNS AND GROWTH POINTS

Fourth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the perennial shortages of clean and potable water in most towns and growth points.

Question again proposed.

HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI: Thank you Hon. President.  I want to thank Hon. Wunganayi for bringing this motion to this House.  Mr. President, most of the gentlemen who have been in Government since 1980…

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Order, they

are not gentlemen, they are Hon. Senators.  Withdraw the word gentlemen.

HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI: Okay, I withdraw.  Mr. President, Hon. Senators who have been in this Parliament since 1980 are aware of the problem of water in this country. The problem of water, like what Hon. Sen. Chief Charumbira said, is similar to what has been going on.  What are we doing about supply of water, not just in cities but even our villages?  What are we doing about supply of clean and potable water to our cities, villages and every Zimbabwean citizen?  It is a human right that we should have water. I want to highlight the situation of Harare for instance, since 1980, there have been plans that there will be a dam to be built in Harare to augment supplies of water. I remember the time of Minister Kangai, I think he was one of the Ministers who tried to put tenders on Kunzvi project, some years back.  I was an Engineer at City of Harare.  There were plans to build Kunzvi Dam, Musami Dam, and to build a dam around Mupfure River so that we bring water to Harare.  Up to today, there is nothing in spite of all those plans that have happened to Harare to ensure that we get water.

Mr. President, let us not be ashamed of ourselves.  We are one country, one nation and we are one people.  It is never correct to say it is them against us.  When we speak from the Opposition sometimes it is like we are speaking fibs.  We must be correcting each other.  We must correct this anomaly where we have so many projects that we have put in place and nothing has happened up to now.  We have no power today because we have just failed to do a simple thing to build a power plant.

I want to give you an example.  I was the Minister of Energy, the mess that we did is, we went and built something in Kariba which was not necessary. You can never exceed the supply of 750 kilowatts at Kariba because of water supply, the size of the dam and the rest.  The priority should have been somewhere but because people just want to do wrong projects, they do them wrongly.  Today we want foreign currency, we had US dollars all these ten years and we could have done a lot with those US dollars.  We had a designated currency which could have been used to buy a new plant which could use coal.

On water itself, we could have done a new plant at City of Harare. We could have done a new dam at Kunzvi but today we are all speaking about easy of doing business, we are all speaking about austerity measures.  What sort of austerity do we talk about when we punish ourselves, when we cannot do a simple thing?  You know Musikavanhu God, has given us a gift. If we were living in a country with bad weather like Europe, we will all be dead. We cannot plan for a simple thing like our own water.  This is the Capital City, this is where we say everyone who wants to come will do business but we cannot built an extra dam, there is no water in this city.

You talk of Bulawayo, there is one aquifer that was identified long back.  There has been talk of Zambezi Water Project, there has been a Committee on Zambezi Water Project but what has happened to those committees and those boards that were created, nothing.  So, what is the job of this Parliament?  We have forgotten that we have an oversight role.  When I speak of oversight role, it means we have the best mandate as Parliament to check and balance.  We are the only people who can stop a Government.  Yes, we can pretend that we are trying to make things work. If we are not careful, we do what we call work avoidance.  Work avoidance is avoiding doing the difficult thing, telling Hon. Mudzuri that you are rapping your own daughter – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] – You must tell me that what you are doing is wrong.  What we are doing today is wrong, all of us, because we are not speaking the truth to each other. When you speak truth to power, you are helping your country. You are more of a nationalist. I have told you that since 1980.  What are we doing to correct this ill? There is not a single city with adequate water and it is a shame that if I speak of Harare, the extra plans that we are doing to say we want to build dams – now we are living on wells.

Most of you have been given stands in Harare, where is the water going to come from? What is the plant sewerage system? Harare is built upstream of its water treatment plant, that is, Lake Chivero and Lake Manyame. If you go to Lake Manyame now you should be able to pump water from Lake Manyame to bring it up to mix with water from Lake Chivero which highly retroficated. There is no plan anymore. In the past, Government used to aid councils by borrowing money from EIB and World Bank, but today there is nothing. How do we supply this water when we speak of shortage of foreign currency and nothing is being delivered?

Honestly Hon. Sen. Wunganayi has done a good job but when we speak here who listens? There is not a single Minister who comes to listen to us. We are all debating amongst ourselves. Whom are we telling this story of shortage of water, abuse of children and the rest of the things? Today’s debate was very interesting. Today the Senate has been lively, especially on this debate on child marriages. It was very exciting. We can talk of a workshop but a workshop does not make a Bill. We do not make rules for a simple thing. We do not legislative for every mistake. We must correct our culture. We must sit like a nation and address some of these ills together.

You want to speak to a Minister it is like it is a war. They do not want to see us. They will tell you I will see you. You do not see them. What sort of a country is this? We can differ but we should be able to talk about the future of this country. Where are we headed without water? Who will come and invest? The first thing a person wants to see is water and power. If you fly across this country there is no fuel. There are queues. You cannot even run a generator to do business. What ease of doing business are we talking about if we have no water?  I am urging Government that if we do not work towards supply of water, we are doomed. All these diseases – the former Minister of Health if here.

He is just there to treat. Prevention is better than cure. How are we preventing this shortage of water? Tell me how many dams were built after independence. How long has it taken to build Tokwe-Mukorsi?  It was closed, tenders were not done properly and there was so much corruption which was done by our people which we cannot curb. No one curbs that because we are always arresting the wrong people.

I was told when I was fired as a mayor that people who go to prison are the honest ones. Those who are normally charged are just charged but the real culprits will be known and they will survive. The high percentage goes to prison because they are used as a shield to protect those who might have done the bigger game.

We need to be more serious about stopping this corruption. From 1980 we have failed to build enough dams to supply Harare, Bulawayo and Masvingo with water. Most of the boreholes were done by the NGOs. Of late, I hear there are some boreholes which were being done and they are going a bit deeper. I remember the Minister of Water last time saying we are going beyond 70m. There is nothing like going beyond 70m if you have not studied the aquifer of that area. If you go beyond 70m you might even chase the water away.  Some of us we are engineers.  I will be honest with you, no one wants to use your brain.

They want to use a foreigner’s brain.

When you call consultants, sometimes you want to use foreigners.

I remember when I was an engineer at City of Harare. We had a report on Kunzvi. I think Hon. Sen. Chief Charumbira was Deputy Minister and I was an engineer then. I had to travel to Germany to Dusseldorf to write a report so that a German would seem like he has brought a report because what we had written was not being accepted by our own people. If I write a report on engineering things that let us do this, you do not agree that I have the stuff. You want to agree on a foreigner who will write a report, but why do you not allow me to experiment. It passed the mark and those people had to use me to say you are just idle. When reports are written by Germans then it has come from real experts.

Let us be serious as a nation. Let us put our money where our mouth is. Let us make sure that all these small cities and towns are well catered for. Let us bring in water. Let us do proper studies to make sure that we do a scientific process to ensure that water comes in. We always say God will intervene. God will not intervene in matters of science. There is no way you and me can reproduce a child, Mr President.  I am saying science cannot be changed because God has already told us what to do. If you want water you have to bring it to your place.

Botswana has done better than us. When we became independent Botswana was far away from us but when you look at Botswana they have used their resources for purposes of developing their country. When you do macroeconomic formula, which I believe should be done in this country – I want us to ask the Minister of Finance this time when he does his Budget – he must plug his macroeconomic formula and say how are you going to plug those things. To build these dams we need savings. We were debating about insurances which are part of savings..

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Hon Sen.

Eng. Mudzuri, the people who are recording your speech are complaining, can you use one language. It is difficult for them to hop from one language to the other.

HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI: Thank you very much Mr

President but sometimes if I was writing, I was going to put quotes.

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  But you are

not writing.

HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI: If I was writing I was going to

put quotes. Some of these words have been put into English in terms of speech because it is difficult. You have disturbed my line of thought.

My conclusion to this debate is that let us embrace what Hon. Sen.

Wunganayi has said. Let us insist - the Minister of Finance and this Parliament, we have enough supplies of raw water to all our cities and secondly proper treatment and supply of chemicals that make us drink potable water. If we do not do it, we are dying slowly, especially those in Harare. We are going to die because there are so many diseases we are contracting from partially treated water because of lack of foreign currency and proper treatment.  I thank you.

^^HON. SEN. MOHADI: Thank you Mr. President for giving

me this opportunity to debate. Without water there is no life even fish need water and any other animal.  Can you allow me to talk about water, and not water alone, but I will also talk about clean water.  We are facing so many challenges, our rivers and dams are drying.  Looking at the big dam in Beitbridge, by the time we were young, this dam was always full of water.  As we are talking right now, the water levels are very low.  In big towns like Harare and Bulawayo, people are facing challenges because there is no water.  People are spending almost a week without water and there are reports saying that water is being sold in these towns.

If people are selling water, who knows the cleanliness of this water which is being sold in these towns? There is a danger of diseases like typhoid and diarrhea that thrive in dirty water.  I will first talk about things that cause waters bodies to be dirty.  Irrigation, in our area most people are doing irrigation - people are no longer doing irrigation projects properly.  Some of them especially those in region 5 have livestock and they do not have water.  People are now digging wells to try and find water for irrigation, but there is no water and people are no longer doing irrigation projects.

I will talk about the Zhove Dam in Beitbridge - that is a very big dam.  This dam has never run out of water but looking at the situation as we are talking right now, people are facing challenges.  There is no water for livestock and irrigation, what are people going to do?  The water table is now very low and on boreholes people are having difficulties because some are being sunk for more than 100 metres but still there is no water.   Women and these young girls whom you have been talking about are facing challenges because they spend a lot of time fetching water.  These are the same people who are pained the most by this issue because they need water to bath, bath their children and cook.   What are they going to do? How are we going to solve this problem?   We are always talking about access to clean water.  When we look at women, every child who wants water will always run to the mother, she will have to go and look for water. Women also fetch water for the whole family, water for their husbands and children to bath.

Looking at electricity, people are facing challenges, what are we going to do to solve this issue?  Why can everyone not use the solar system in order to solve this electricity problem? If we use the solar system this will help us ease some of the challenges we are facing.  Solar energy will help us pump water from the boreholes. On major towns like Harare and Bulawayo and some small towns, we are appealing to the Government to help us with chemicals to clean our water.

Without wasting much time, our Government needs to have a solution regarding the water challenges.  What is the Government doing in order to address this situation?  We must drill boreholes so that people will continue to have clean safe water for drinking in order to prevent diseases which will be affecting the people.  Thank you very much Mr. President for giving me this time.

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

HON. SEN. MUZENDA:  I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 31st July, 2019.

On the motion of HON.  SEN. MUZENDA, seconded by HON. SEN. MOHADI, the House adjourned at Eighteen Minutes to Five

o’clock p.m. 

 

 

 

 

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