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SENATE HANSARD 31 AUGUST 2022 VOL 31 NO 64

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Wednesday, 31st August, 2022

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

PRAYERS

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

SWITCHING OFF OF CELLPHONES

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

MOTION

LEAVE TO MOVE FOR THE SUSPENSION OF STANDING ORDERS NO. 32 (6), 52, 65 (2), 67 (5) AND 137

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHIDUWA): Mr. President, I seek leave of the House to move that the provisions of Standing Orders No. 32 (6), 52, 65 (2), 67 (5) and 137 regarding the reporting period of the Parliamentary Legal Committee, the Automatic Adjournment of the House at Five Minutes to Seven o’clock p.m. and at Twenty-five Minutes past One o’clock p.m. on a Friday, Private Members motions taking precedence on Thursdays after question time, that question time shall be on Thursdays and stages of Bills respectively, be suspended until business relating to the supplementary budget has been disposed of.

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Minister, what is the reason for the suspension?

HON. CHIDUWA: The main reason is for us to expedite the Budget Debate process because we are still in the Lower House and we are hoping to finish the Finance Bill today.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

SUSPENSION OF STANDING ORDERS NO. 32 (6), 52, 65 (2), 67 (5) AND 137

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHIDUWA): Mr. President, I move that the provisions of Standing Orders No. 32 (6), 52, 65 (2), 67 (5) and 137 regarding the reporting period of the Parliamentary Legal Committee, the Automatic Adjournment of the House at Five Minutes to Seven o’clock p.m. and at Twenty-five Minutes past One o’clock p.m. on a Friday, Private Members motions taking precedence on Thursdays after question time, that question time shall be on Thursdays and stages of Bills respectively, be suspended until business relating to the supplementary budget has been disposed of.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

HON. SEN. MUZENDA: I move that Orders of the Day, Nos 1 to 3 be stood over until Order of the Day No. 4 has been disposed of.

HON. SEN. KAMBIZI: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE THEMATIC COMMITTEE ON GENDER AND DEVELOPMENT ON THE INQUIRY INTO THE STATUS AND WELFARE OF CHILDREN ACCOMPANYING INCARCERATED MOTHERS AND ACCESS TO ANTE-NATAL CARE FOR PREGNANT WOMEN IN PRISONS

          Fourth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the Thematic Committee on Gender and Development on the inquiry into the status and welfare of children accompanying incarcerated mothers.

          Question again proposed.

          *HON. SEN. CHIEF MAKUMBE:  Thank you Mr. President Sir, for giving me the opportunity to support the motion which was moved by Hon. Sen. Ndlovu regarding the livelihood of children of incarcerated mothers.  Indeed, such children are suffering and it appears they are also incacerated in jails.  People face different jail terms emanating from different cases like stealing from people, abortion, murder for example that Chivhu woman who killed children and other offences like stock theft and concealment of evidence.  Mr. President, what happens when prisoners meet is that they socialise in their own way; for instance they use their mother language and at times the kind of language that is used in prisons is vulgar, which does not build but destroys a child at a tender age.  With that in mind, that kind of a culture negatively influences the upbringing of a child.  So, it is prudent that when a parent has committed an offence, then the child should be taken to a safe place where they will grow up under normal circumstances and not under prison conditions. 

The other thing is that when we are introduced into society, a child is taught how to communicate with both parents and it is difficult for a child to grow up without a father and without relating to the father.  So, it is important that they are brought up in neutral places where they can have access to their fathers so that they get moral support.  As they grow up, they have rights just like any other children such as the right to education.  I know this was mentioned by other Senators.  The education of children is found in different sources like day care centres when we look at international standards of bringing up children.  It is equally important to mold them, honouring their rights and not bringing them up in a way which will compromise even their future.  So, I would like to implore Government to establish centres where children can be attended to in day care centres even from such a tender age.   A neutral community where they are taught basic ethos will be good for them because allowing them to grow up in prison, you would find that they will learn vulgar language, a lot of negative influence and some of that influence sticks to these children and it might compromise even their adulthood.  So, my request is that such children should be given a safe and conducive environment.  Their health is important. 

We know that women who are incarcerated sometimes are looked after by female prison officers, so it is important that their children go to the same schools and associate with children of prison officers so that they get positive influence.  It is not right for a child to know that their parents are in jail but there are some things that we grew up not knowing as we were growing up, things that we discovered when we were grown up.  If we were told when we were young, they might have influenced us negatively.  So as this august House, we need to deliberate on issues which build moral values which will mold our children to make them responsible citizens, whether Chiefs, Senators or Members of Parliament or those from royal families who might stand a chance to be chiefs.  With these few words, I want to appreciate the opportunity because as a chief, my responsibility is to encourage the well-being of a family.  There is no chief without people and for a chief to be there, his subjects should be having positive livelihoods.  I thank you.

*HON. SEN. MURONZI: Thank you Mr. President for giving me the opportunity to add my voice to this motion although a lot has been said regarding incarcerated pregnant women or those that have minor children.  Indeed, our Committee moved around different prisons and what did not please me is that in the prisons which we toured, we discovered that most prisons were built during the Smith regime and they were meant to punish the black men.  In these jails, you find that there are toilets in that prison cell. It is not good to be arrested.  I was once arrested at Bindura Prison. There are some senior prisoners who give you rules; for instance, relieving yourself late at night is not allowed because there is no water.  My request is that there should be proper facilities because even at home, you find that we have separate toilets. It is not healthy to have a prison cell with a toilet within the cell.  The toilet should be outside.

The other thing which concerns me is that the mentally ill prisoners stay together with those who are sane.  To me, this is not right.  My request is that Government intervenes.  We are the Government and this is what we are talking about.  I have been in this august House since 2013.  We talk about these things but implementation is lacking.  This is really discouraging.  This is why sometimes we do not debate because whether you debate or not, nothing is implemented.  Women live like slaves in prisons.  Their children grow up as wild animals because when a child is weaned from the mother, that child should be taken out of prison but you find the children growing up to four to five years and still they continue to live in jail.  That is not good.  With these few words, this is what prompted me to stand up.  I thank you. 

*HON. SEN. DR. SEKERAMAYI: Hon. President, I stand up to debate about children who are incarcerated by default because their mothers are in prison.  These children grow up in a prison environment and that is not good.  We need to look at our prisons whether it is in Bulawayo, Harare and other towns and the statistics of the children who are in prisons.  This will allow us to come up with a proper plan of establishing proper facilities which will set our children free.  We need specialists on child care so that we know that children whose mothers are incarcerated grow up under a conducive environment.  We can say a lot but we need to understand that in the next six months or so, we should have established proper centres.  If there are no such plans, then we will continue to have that problem. 

We need to engage the relevant Minister so that such facilities are constructed where such children can be housed.  These facilities should be good where our children can learn a lot of skills.  They leave such centres and are at par with their peers who are in other schools.  We need to have a scheme which will be monitored and we will report progress to this House with relevant statistics. I thank you.

*HON. SEN. GWESHE: Thank you Mr. President.  I would like to add my voice to the motion regarding children who grow up in prisons.  I was once incarcerated at Chikurubi Maximum Prison and I was there for almost six months.  I have first-hand experience and it is not easy.

Children live with their mothers in a specific side that is set for mothers with children.  They are given donated napkins to prisons and there are fights over napkins, toiletries and other basic amenities.  When a mother is arrested, she will be given a prison sentence and goes to work with other women for a number of hours whilst the children are not monitored.  The senior prisoners are given the task of looking after the children.  When one person looks after many children then they are not able to look after them properly.  Sometimes you find them sending a person to call the mother of a specific child if the child continues crying. Sometimes we could not assist these old women because if you are not giving that task, you are not allowed to do that.  This is difficult.

At one time, a Chinese national was arrested and she had a baby.  That child was brought to where we were incarcerated and she was not aware of what was taking place.  She was quite comfortable in the environment but her mother was crying.  This implies that if she knew what was happening then she might have reacted differently.  You would find people eating porridge without sugar and you would wonder what kind of porridge is given to prisoners and their children. So inmates are forced to eat that without any choice.  I did not see the toddlers but I heard that they are taken to Tongogara where there are crèches and nurseries.  At Chikurubi Female Prison, they share facilities with adults and this is difficult.  The prison authorities do not allow visitors to bring sugar or salt for prisoners even a spoon.  You would find children eating porridge with their fingers.  This is from a personal experience; it is important for people to visit Chikurubi Prison just to ascertain what is happening.  I thank you.

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

          HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA:  I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Thursday, 1st September, 2022.

MOTION

PROVISION OF FUNDS FOR COMPLETION OF DAM CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS

          Fifth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the need for Government to provide adequate funds for the completion of dam projects.

          Question again proposed.

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

          HON. SEN. SIPANI-HUNGWE:  I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Thursday, 1st September, 2022.

MOTION

PARENTING AND EMBRACING A RECEPTIVE CULTURE FOR CHILDREN LIVING IN THE STREETS

Sixth Order read:  Adjourned debate on the motion on vulnerable

children living in the streets.

          Question again proposed.

          +HON. SEN. C. NDLOVU:  Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity.  I also want to add my voice to the motion that was tabled in the House that I seconded.  A lot has been said Mr. President concerning street kids.

          The debate that we are talking about Mr. President concerns children.  We are a nation that is putting its hope that our children are the future for tomorrow.  A lot has been said that sometimes our children find themselves in different situations but as a nation and as Government, we have a duty to ensure that our children know that they are our future generation.  There is a saying that says,   ‘it takes a village to raise a child.’  That saying reflects that everyone of us has a responsibility to make sure that inasmuch as a child may not be your biological child, you have a responsibility in raising that child.

          I want to compare Mr. President, as someone who grew up in the rural areas, and also as someone who resides in rural areas; those children that we refer to as street kids, you will realise that they are not found in rural areas.  We find most of the street kids in urban areas.  My question therefore Mr. President is, as a society, why is it that there is a difference in raising our children?  In rural areas we have children and most people in our country reside in rural areas.  Why therefore, do we not have street kids in rural areas?  Why do we not see these street kids at rural shops?  We should have a relook at the way we used to live as Africans whereby it would be your responsibility as a parent to see how a child is raised, even your neighbour’s child.  Why can we not do the same even in urban areas?

          We should note that when we go to urban areas, when coming from rural areas, there is need for us to value our culture and remain true to our values.  In the past, you would realise that whenever you came across someone you will greet them whether you know them or not. That is common in rural areas but in urban areas you can pass someone without even greeting them. This is indication of how we have diverted from our norms and cultures. We have adapted to some wrong and bad cultures. That is why we have street kids Mr. President. This is now a problem and we are therefore requesting that Government, working together with the Ministry of Social Welfare, should take note that our tomorrow is based on the generation of our children that we have. We are pleading with Government that since it was raised before on the issue of children’s homes where they can be taught on how to behave and become future leaders, we realise that every child, when they come to the teenage stage, most of them sometimes fail to stay with their parents.

We have got street kids who are aged six or seven but most of them are at teenage age. We are therefore thinking that it is best for the Government to take note that most of the times, most of the children when they get to teenage stage, they resort to stay in the streets. Most of the children raised in the rural areas, when they go to urban areas, they face such challenges. This can be the only way we can correct the behaviour of our children. Because of that behavioural change, nowadays there are so many street kids, which is something that we never had before. Some of the street kids smoke glue. If as Government we strategise on how to stop this, what is it that we are going to do?

What kind of a nation are we going to be? We will end up having more of street kids. We are therefore asking, as highlighted by my other Hon. Members as well as Sen. Sekeramayi, that we should have a programme or a strategy as a nation on measures that can be implored.

We can keep debating but as long as there is nothing being implemented on what we debate as Senate or National Assembly, we are going nowhere. We should come up with a way of making follow ups on issues that we debate on. Why should we keep on requesting things from the Government and we are not seeing any implementation? We need tangible evidence of results. We are requesting that Government should take note of the things we are requesting. Some of the things we request because we will be talking from experience and know that will cause problems in the future. With these few words Mr. President Sir, I am kindly requesting that we see tangible results or at least implementation of the things that we are requesting. I thank you Mr. President.

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

HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Thursday, 1st September, 2022.

On the motion of HON. SEN. MUZENDA, seconded by HON. SEN. KAMBIZI, the House adjourned at Seventeen Minutes past Three o’clock p.m.

 

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