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SENATE HANSARD 31 JULY 2019 28-63
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Wednesday, 31st July, 2019
The Senate met at Half-past Two o’clock p.m.
(THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE in the Chair)
PROTECTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT HON. SEN. CHIFAMBA: I move the motion standing in my
COGNISANT that Section 73 of the Constitution obligates the State to protect the environment for the benefit of present and future generations through reasonable legislative and other measures that prevent pollution and ecological degradation, promote conservation and secure ecologically sustainable development and use of natural resources;
ALSO COGNISANT that wild animals depend on the environment
as a habitat and source of food;
CONCERNED that human beings are endangering the survival of wild animals through unsustainable harvesting of wild fruits which results in human and wildlife conflict;
FURTHER CONCERNED that environment management
agencies are failing to adequately protect the environment as indigenous fruit trees continue to be cut indiscriminately, thereby depriving wild animals of their source of food and shelter.
NOW, THEREFORE, resolves to-
- enact a law that prohibits the bulk harvesting and selling of wild fruits and policies that boost agricultural production in order to revive local industry thereby improving citizens source of livelihoods;
- call upon Government to adequately empower the Environmental Management Agency (EMA), including recruitment of a sufficient number of Environmental Officers to enable the agency to effectively execute its mandate;
- recommend to the Ministry of Environment, Tourism and
Hospitality Industry and Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing to strengthen collaborative efforts towards protection of the environment, particularly, to stop the cutting of trees.
HON. SEN. SHOKO: I second.
*HON. SEN. CHIFAMBA: Thank you Madam President. If you
can recall Section 73 of the Constitution speaks to how we treat certain areas. In future, children may never know some of the trees like msasa or muzhanje. What disturbs me mostly is when we get to a time when wild fruits get ripe, we go into the forest to get those wild fruits, thereby depriving wild animals of their source of food. That is why we come across problems of wild animals ending up going into areas where people live because people are finishing all the fruits that wild animals are supposed to eat.
At my age, I have never heard of a baboon going into a house to take food but they are now forced to do this because there will be no wild fruits for them. God gave us fruits to grow for ourselves and wild animals were also given fruits for their survival. We are not forbidden to eat wild fruits but we should limit ourselves. We should use those wild fruits equitably. We should collect just a bucket of mazhanje only and leave some for the wild animals.
Madam President, there is now a conflict between women and wild animals. Therefore, I call upon the Government, especially those responsible for forests especially EMA and those who safeguard trees from being chopped will-nilly to take care of our forests. They are being destroyed. There are a lot of things that are destroying forests right now because of several problems that people are encountering. I suggest that EMA increases its staff complement to monitor cutting of trees because during the time when the wild fruits are ripe, that is when a lot of trees are destroyed and also a lot of holes are dug. Some of these holes become dangerous to human beings because they just dig and leave them there. Sometimes even our domestic animals fall into those holes. I suggest that the laws be strengthened to deter people from going into the bush to harvest wild fruits but we should do it equitably so that wild animals also have food to eat. We are provoking the animals by taking their food and this is the reason why they are also attacking us or destroying our crops.
I am emphasising that EMA should make sure that the forests are safeguarded because when they are not safeguarded, they get destroyed especially when there are no monitors. Madam President, even people who live in rural areas should also monitor and report to the Chiefs if they see anomalies on how wild fruits are harvested. With these few words, thank you Madam President.
HON. SEN. SHOKO: Thank you for giving me this opportunity and also let me thank Hon. Sen. Chifamba for bringing this important motion and Hon. Sen. Timveos for seconding the motion.
This is an issue that talks about protection of the environment. What is happening out there is an unfortunate situation. We now have got what we call artisanal miners or “makorokoza”. The artisanal miners go out there and start cutting trees and start digging and when they leave that place they leave it unprotected because there are big holes that they will have opened. This act on its own is even dangerous to the human beings and animals that we rear. The animals that we rear when we send them out there and because of these traps that are set which are deep, sometimes the animals fall inside and when you look for your animal you might not even get it because it is underground. That on its own is another terrible situation that happens when the environment is grossly degraded.
I understand why they are doing that because there is unemployment which is standing at 95% and I believe it is going up. Therefore they have to eke out a living but we then need to balance the situation with the environment. If you want them to continue doing it what we then need to do is we have to bring them into the formal sector and discuss with them issues of safety. Besides the safety that I am talking about, the safety for themselves is also not very adequate, because sometimes we have heard that a lot of people perished in these particular holes where they go. I remember there was this incident which came up at Battlefields where a lot of people lost their lives. We need to preserve the environment. As said by the mover, we need to preserve the environment for ourselves, future generations and everyone else that comes in our particular country.
The second thing that degrades our environment is burning of grass. If you use the road that I use when going to Bulawayo, you will find that there are a lot of fires that happen in that area. I can say between Selous and Bulawayo, you get a lot of fires happening in those areas. These fires are started either by people that smoke or by people that are looking for mice. Sometimes when you are looking for those tasty small animals we find ourselves burning the grass and digging holes, which is not good to the environment.
When you burn grass, you do not have a measurement to say this grass that I have burnt is only going to get there because you are not in control of the fire. The fire can burn a lot of acres and those acres are used for grazing. That is one issue that we need to look at as a Government and find laws that we can put in place so that we deal with that scourge.
The other thing that happens is tree cutting. My uncle whenever I saw him carrying his axe, I knew he was going to cut a tree. Sometimes he cuts a tree just for the fun of it. I believe that was a way of exercising but it is not environmental friendly.
The issues that I have talked about affect our climate. For example, when we talk about climate change, these things that I have talked about are the ones that cause climate change. Some Hon. Members might ask me and say what do you mean by this causes climate change. Climate change is caused by burning things that go into the sky and penetrate through the ozone layer and that then causes lack of rainfall. You get lack of rainfall if you cut trees. You get lack of rainfall if you burn grass. That is very important for us to understand. You will also see that because of what I am talking about, you get floods happening all over the place. You also get hurricanes happening all over the place. The issue of hurricanes and cyclones – you know the one that struck us in Chipinge, Cyclone Idai. There is a hurricane, tornado and a cyclone. All those things are caused by the issue of degradation of the environment like cutting trees, burning grass and also this business of digging where ever we want. That is a very important issue that we must look at seriously because besides affecting the grass, it also affects human life.
That is very important Madam President.
We would like to see EMA being empowered. EMA can be empowered by law where we put legislative frameworks that allow them to deal with the culprits as quickly as possible. We can also empower our police. The police as you know are the ones that arrest these culprits. Certainly, our traditional leaders are very important in dealing with these issues because they are the ones that stay with the communities. They need also to educate the communities not to burn the grass and also not to dig around and cut tress. That is very important.
It therefore means to say that the issue of empowerment is very important to all the stakeholders that I have talked about. It is also important that empowerment comes from this House, Lower House and a lot of cooperation from the Executive. The Executive also must be aware of what is happening. It is not good to look at these things and we just ignore them. I have seen fires that have been started along the
Bulawayo Road, destroying vast land there and certainly, it does not
only destroy vast land but it destroys even the small animals that are on the land. It destroys ants and whatever is there. When it has destroyed those small things that are there, remember if you look at these things scientifically, all the small insects, animals and small things that you get on the ground, they are there for a particular purpose; the ants are there for a particular purpose.
When they get burnt then the environment is also affected. So it is very important that as Senate, we must stand up and talk about these things; not only talk about these things, we must legislate because our role is to legislate on issues that affect society and the people that we lead. It is not good to hear people complaining about these things and we come here and do nothing. We have been given the opportunity to deal with the things that arise. While this issue is a challenge to this Senate, to us, traditional leaders and the Executive, we must come and deal with this matter. This is a very important motion and we need to deal with it. Madam President, with those few words that I have just said in this Senate, let me thank you for allowing me to stand up and express myself.
*HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA: Thank you Madam President for
giving me this opportunity to contribute to this motion raised by Hon. Sen. Chifamba. It is a very important motion for the preservation of our environment. Let me start with the artisanal miners or small miners. If you see where they dig, of course they contribute to the economy by bringing in money to Government but they destroy the environment because they leave holes uncovered. After digging they look for where there is water to wash gold ore. They say there is a relationship between their digging and water. They wash their gold ore in rivers until some rivers get silted and no longer carry or store water. I suggest that the Government enacts very strong laws that prohibit washing of gold ore in those rivers because human beings, domestic animals and other animals no longer have access to water.
Madam President, let me give you an example of what happens in Mashonaland West at Cricket Mine. Children dug holes in abundance, it rained and water covered all those holes, it was a very sad thing. Our children were stuck and submerged in those holes from Tuesday up to Friday. We went to see and looked for experts to suck out that water. They dig meandering holes such that when we wanted to rescue them the experts could not use pipes that were supposed to extract water because of that. We had to engage experts in this operation so that they do it professionally.
After expert help, we sucked out that water and after 3 to 4 days we then saw some who had survived. We asked how they survived and they said they saw a very big rock where they stood. They then came out with gold which they refused to surrender even to their relatives. They got into the ambulances with their gold. So, it shows that when they dig they do it with passion because it is their way of surviving. What is important is that they should do it in a better way. Let me now look at the subject of veld fires. Veld fires are discussed and debated all the time even in previous Parliaments, that has been debated but nothing tangible was resolved to deter veld fires.
Some people try to stop helplessly veld fires raging on in farms. I put reels at my farm and anyone who sees veld fires and do not act should not be paid. EMA came along and said they could be ticketed or fined for not participating in those veld fires. I think proper laws must be enacted to protect farms from veld fires including enacting fireguards. If Chiefs are given those powers to deal with those issues like veld fires, I know that they can act very effectively. If they enforce their rules, I believe that veld fires will be reduced especially on farms. If farmers are told that they will pay huge fines if veld fires range in their vicinities, I think that will deter them from leaving veld fires unattended. I believe everyone will participate in stopping veld fires. I think we should enact laws that prohibit veld fires.
Wild animals also perish in veld fires because they will be hibernating in the forests and if they see veld fires they run away. They sometimes run crossing roads and people who drive, as soon as they see wild animals are attempted to hit them for relish sake. So, I think veld fires should be stopped because they also disturb the livelihood of wild animals.
These days because of shortage of electricity, we also see people carrying firewood. Laws must be enacted to deter people from carrying wet firewood because at least they should use dry or dead wood. It is better as compared to burning or cutting fresh trees to use as firewood.
There are A1 and A2 farms which have been allocated but we see people building on river banks. There are no clear laws that stop people from building or constructing homesteads along those river banks. There should be a law that should stop people from building homesteads anywhere. There should be clear demarcations to safeguard grazing areas as well as wetlands and rivers.
In conclusion, I would like to say there are wild fruits in the forest that we consume. These are mazhanje, hacha, hute and matohwe. We see people felling the whole tree instead of just fetching the fruit only. They fell the whole branch in order to get these fruits. Laws must be set so that such people can be taken even to the Chief’s court so that they are fined or charged for felling those trees. We also see people dragging tyres or sledges. These also cause soil erosion when the rain comes.
With these few words, I thank you Madam President.
HON. SEN. CHIFAMBA: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. RAMBANEPASI: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 1st August, 2019.
ESTABLISHMENT OF AN EMPOWERED ENTITY TO ADDRESS
CHALLENGES AFFECTING PENSIONERS AND POLICY
Second Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the need for a legislative framework on pensions and insurance benefits.
Question again proposed.
HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI: Thank you Hon. President for allowing me this opportunity to debate an honorous motion from Hon. Sen. Timveos. I think the wisdom that she brings in is that we are looking at this everyday and there is legislation already talking about insurances and pensions but it is not enough. We have not looked at it enough to ensure that the people who insure themselves and insure their health get benefits.
There are several kinds of insurances. Some of them are initiated by central Government or private people. We have got funeral, medical and vehicle insurances but the most critical one that we want to emphasise on is the one on pensions. I think most of us here are waiting for the grave. We will be going to the grave very soon but we do not want to die having nothing, hence we are emphasising on the pension.
What is happening to the people’s pensions? Honestly central Government and us as Members of Parliament have to come together to ensure that pensioners do not struggle to follow up their pensions, let alone them paying enough. When you pay for your pension, you are looking after yourself before you die. This is some form of reserve fund that is also used by central Government in terms of borrowing to do certain projects. Pensions are the biggest reserves of savings for a nation. In any successful economy, insurances are done in such a manner that they protect the insured and Government ensures that it uses those funds wisely for the purposes of capitalisation. Capitalisation means when you save money for the future, you do not just keep it in the bank. You want to put it in a certain pocket so that people make profits by continuously using it.
We have NSSA – look at what is happening to it. There is an outcry but this is a Government department. We have PSMAS. We can talk of other pensions – what is PSMAS doing today? Go to that hospital and you will not get a single tablet there. We are here as contributors to PSMAS but we are doing nothing about it. The other year, someone was earning $500 000 and we are still watching.
I will remain controversial in terms of fighting such deep corruption and ensuring that we do what we would want others to do unto ourselves. We always do wrong things to others and maybe say ndezvake but in reality, we must do things as the Bible says; ‘do to others what you would want them to do to yourself. This Parliament has a duty to ensure that at least PSMAS works. Civil servants are badly paid and they use PSMAS. There is no medication at PSMAS; there is nothing that you get easy at PSMAS. You go and queue at PSMAS and
get nothing ....
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Hon. Sen.
Mudzuri, PSMAS is not a pension.
HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI: It is pension and read this, it is talking about PSMAS and insurances. It is an insurance company. I am not talking about things that I did not research. Doctors do not get paid from PSMAS. I am using it as an example. It is not the only one but I am saying we are benefactors of PSMAS but we are doing nothing about it. We need to talk to PSMAS and have a proper understanding that
PSMAS delivers in particular to public servants.
We need to talk to NSSA because it is directly under our purview to ensure that it delivers. We do not mind Government borrowing and using money to deliver services that work for the common men because that is the purpose of pensions. When you go to NSSA today, they want you to wait to get a picture. It takes you ages – you are already old and you just want to get your pension. There should be processes that give you your pension without straining and there is always re-registration of someone whether you are alive or dead. I do not know whether our registrars are not able to register dead people and make sure that they go to PSMAS as well. There is a whole process that is done when someone is dead and to end up having all the records done at NSSA and all the other pension officers is not proper. It is not only this one – you go to Local Authority Pension Fund, people strain to get their pensions and people get crooked, they spend the money and no one follows them and people have become billionaires or millionaires. It is unfortunate that the dollar has gone but I do not know what sort of billionaires they are.
The funny thing Mr. President is that there is no protection for old people. When I was 59, some few years ago, I went to CIMAS when I noticed that PSMAS was not as good. I was already an MP. I used to have CIMAS insurance and said can I have insurance and it was four days after my birthday, then they said how old are you? I showed them my ID and they said you are above 59 and you cannot get another insurance policy. So, you are condemned at 59 in this country to get insurance. Maybe it could be more expensive but you are condemned. So old people again, while they look at small pensions, they do not get taken care of by other private insurances. You strain when you are above 59. I do not know what should be done when you are 59 and you had forgotten to get insurance but maybe it should be advertised that should you want insurance, you must do it before you are 59. All the years I have insured with CIMAS, I went to the State, I missed some years and when I came back I became a bit relaxed at Parliament. When I noticed that CIMAS was not paying, I went there. So, I lost my time and everything and I cannot get a new insurance. How do we help people who are above 59? I see that South Africa advertises for some people who are above 60 and they can still get insurance but we do not do that.
There are people who insure their children for fees. Honestly, you ensure for fees and what you are trying to do is that you might be saying I might lose my job and I want to ensure my child for fees and there is a written fee. It would be a fee amount to say US$3 000 and they tell you that it is US$3 000 and the day it comes, it is gone and they forget. They now just multiply it, increase it if you want it the next term. So far, this phase of change of currency has killed all our insurances. I do not know who still has one which is valid. When I was insuring my car, they said you can choose to use a dollar or use RTGS. So, I chose the dollar but a few weeks ago, it is no longer a designated currency and where do I go. Who gave them permission to choose these two and it means that Government has allowed them to do that? How do we control such fluidity in terms of manning human beings who are trying to save in different forms? This is a way of saving to say in my hard times, let me get something. They now do not want to pay you but to tell you that it is now different, and your dollar is now 1 RTGS but you have paid for a full term. You have paid up to December in US dollar but now it is RTGS – what are we doing about these manipulations of fees?
There is this death benefit Mr. President. Can you talk when you are dead? I do not know who will talk when they are dead. You go to a funeral parlour and you might be told that that person’s name does not exist. I have had that experience with my mother’ insurance where they could not find my mother’s insurance which I had paid ten years earlier because they used to say for older people, it was Doves. Doves had a casket, and transport policy and so on. I did that for my parents and they said you will pay for five years and after five years, they are finished. They say you can re-activate it and you pay more. It is no longer a polished casket and you are now asked to pay another one and they say keep it alive and keep paying. Then I said I cannot and that policy casket should be enough, with transport, but when my mother died, there was nothing. It took them three weeks to find my mother’s name. They said it was found in Chiredzi because I insisted as a person.
This is what happens to dead people.
All of you, if you have insurances, you are lucky that you might be buried by Government but, if you are not going to be buried by
Government, these insurances will treat you badly when you are dead. So, we need legislation and follow ups on these people who ill treat us when we have paid money and they have used it and they have put up buildings and everything and they have the money – assets. Everyone keeps their money in assets and all these companies have kept their money in assets. I know the other debaters have already said it that most of the buildings here other than this small part which belongs to Government, belong to insurance companies. So, what are we doing about it to ensure that people get the benefit and I want to persuade us that it is not enough just to legislate? It is also enough for us to have the conscience.
It is also important that we have the ethics of governance. I do not think that we have the ethics of governance because ethics tells you to go back to reasonable morality of delivering the justice that everybody we represent deserves. We represent that justice. I might divert Mr. President that there is no administrative justice in this country. The other day I was in the Standard Chartered Bank and they just told me after about 25 years of banking with them and they say we cannot save you and we cannot allow you to bank with us. I asked them for a reason and they said we cannot tell you. I said but we have been married for 25 years and you are telling me that you cannot, where is the reason and they said we cannot. I said but this is my country and if I have done anything wrong, it must be exposed. Should I go to court with it? According to our Constitution, you cannot just illtreat a person you have been with for so many years.
We are actually legislating for other things and we are not legislating for these private companies that might steal from us. They have benefited from me all these years, I have benefitted from them but they would just tell me that you go because you are a politically exposed person. If I am politically exposed, where do I go and live? This is
what is done by insurances and different companies and it is worse. For guys who are in Government, you are lucky and for us in the opposition, we are treated like rubbish everywhere we go. No one wants to give us an opportunity and this is our country. We must help each other to ensure that we belong to one country. We must be one country and we must make sure that there is reasonable justice for all. I thank you Mr.
+HON. SEN. MKWEBU: Thank you Mr. President for affording me this opportunity to add my voice to this motion on the pension issue. They talked about the challenges being faced by pensioners and I am also one of those pensioners. The pension funds assist the old aged who can no longer go to work. The analysts who have been managing the pensions fund managed to build tall buildings in the country using the pensions money of which those who are supposed to be benefiting from the money are facing challenges in accessing their pensions. The expert in this area managed to realise that due to the financial crisis that we face, at the end of the day, the money diminishes in the bank accounts.
So buildings were built so that people could get money for their whole lives. Mr. President, the economic crisis that we are facing affected everything. We can continue to debate and ignore the fact that the economic crisis has affected our monies as well.
Mr. Speaker, I do plead with the Government in this new dispensation to look into this issue and ensure that improvement is done so that people get money that they can use to educate their children.
People also wish to buy groceries with their pension money. Therefore, I do hope that the new dispensation will deal with these difficulties that we have been facing through empowering the Anti-Corruption Commission so that corruption is reduced in our nation. My point of view is that Government will manage to reduce corruption, eliminate it as well as improve our economy. I also hope that those people who are getting salaries that are not enough are attended to. In addition to that, Government is supposed to make a follow up of the projects that are in place. It should monitor and evaluate those projects so that there is transparency and accountability in what happens there. There is need for the projects to benefit the whole nation and not an individual per se so that the pensioners are able to get their monies in the proper way.
Mr. President, it is important that the Government looks after its own people. Most of the things have been said before. As I said before the difficulties faced by pensioners have been mentioned already. There are so many things that are happening in our country that affect pensioners. Therefore, Mr. President, I do hope that the Government will look into this issue and ensure that people access their pensions. With those few words, I thank you.
+HON. SEN. PHUTI: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to add my voice concerning pensions. As I came here on a particular day, I met an old man who gave me a lift and he alerted me that he had gone to Plumtree to get his pension but he did not access it. As I spoke to him I inquired how much value his money had in the past. He informed me that he used to contribute a lot of money which was worth about two cows every month. He told me that the money that he is getting at the moment is worth one loaf of bread. We spoke a lot. I asked him about the kind of person he was as he grew up. He told me that he was very responsible and he said that the ones who were irresponsible are living a better life than him. I should say that I think contributing pension is a waste of time because at the end of the day you will not benefit anything. You end up being like an irresponsible person. You realise that people who parted with their monies actually enjoy better.
As I am sitting here I am looking at my payslip and see the pension that I am contributing and I regret. I would rather use my money and enjoy it whilst I am still alive. Pension is meant for one to use when they retire. However, that is not the case. I believe that is why we have old people between the ages of 70 and 75 who are still working. It is because they know that it is better to be at work than to retire as they will earn about $400 as compared to $4 pension.
In addition I believe that people who worked suffer more as compared to those who were unemployed. In the past, women were not allowed to get employed so currently the people who are suffering are women because the men are no longer receiving their pensions. Others have died and left the situation as it is. The problem is that if the owner of the pension is the husband and if he dies before getting that pension, the wife faces a lot of challenges.
What saddens me is that in our family my grandfather was employed but he is suffering the most, but his brother who used to work in South Africa is receiving a better pension. This is a painful situation. I would rather use my money now whilst I am still living because we can continue to debate about this but it will not be taken up. We are being fooled. So now we are using rands that we get from South Africa, yet there are others who were employed here in Zimbabwe and others participated in the liberation war but they are getting peanuts. Some people borrow money to go and get their pensions and yet they do not get it from banks. At times it means that the money that they get they only use it for transport. I think the past employees when it comes to pensions are a laughing stock because they do not know what they worked for. These days things are expensive. Imagine if one is given $50 at the bank and he would have borrowed $25 to come to town.
Mr. President, the elderly are facing many challenges and we are their hope. As the Senate we should ensure that the issue of pensions is attended to. If we look into that issue we will realise that even the elderly Hon. Members will retire. If we sort out this issue, there will not even be early marriages in our rural areas because people will have enough. Even the grand children will understand that life has become better.
Mr. President we plead with you that you look into this issue. It does not matter how you got the pension but there is need for one to get money that is enough, that they can use in this economic crisis. I thank you.
HON. SEN. TIMVEOS: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. PHUTI: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 1st August 2019.
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. A. DUBE: I want to thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to add my views concerning child marriages. This is a very sad issue because the young girls can make their choices and cannot consent to anything. I think in most cases they are taken advantage of by older men who even have their own wives, who are married. In most cases some of these children drop out of school because they cannot afford school fees. Some of them drop out of school in Grade 7 and because they have nothing to engage them they are taken advantage of by these men. At the end of the day the child opts to get married and they are forced into marriage.
Most of these girl-children get pregnant without even knowing what they are doing. It is important for us as the august House to realise that most of these girl-children are being taken advantage of. There is need to empower the traditional leaders to look into this issue and ensure that the young children are not taken advantage of. Some of them are in poverty and therefore they are given promises by these men. Some of the parents agree to all this because they know they will get food from the men. There is need to deal with these people because they destroy the future of these young children and the future of our nation.
If you go into different hospitals where there are waiting shelters you will realise that there are children with 14 or 15 years who are pregnant and they make most of those numbers. If you look into the issue you will realise that they have been impregnated by older men. The men will then approach the parents and make promises to them so that they are not arrested. When the child has been born they disappear.
These girl-children struggle to give birth because they will be too young. There is need to thoroughly assess this issue because the number of children who are getting pregnant at an early age and getting into marriage at an early age is increasing.
There is need to create awareness and educate these young children if there are any programmes that are assist those who come from poor backgrounds. There is need to ensure that these children are assisted because in most cases when they drop out of school that is when they are taken advantage of by older men who have their own homes. There is need to assist them so that they get proper education. In most cases you find orphaned children living on their own.
Mr. President, where we come from we face challenges of child headed families and so the old men then make promises to take care of these children and by that begin to abuse them. They only assist because they want to benefit from the girl-child and make them their own wife. In most cases these children who head families get pregnant at an early age because they are taken advantage of. However, in the past, orphans used to belong to the whole and all parents in the community would assist. However, nowadays the men are assisting and sleep over there. When we speak of children who get into early marriages and get pregnant at an early stage, we should state that we might not know it exists unless we go into the communities. These children are taken advantage of by older men who destroy their future. When they are impregnated by these men, the men run away from them and their future is destroyed. They end up dropping out of school because they are afraid others will laugh at them. The men who promise to help these girls, take advantage of them and abuse them should be arrested.
This motion that was brought by Hon. Sen. Tongogara in this
Senate is a serious motion. All of us should contribute to it because we come from communities where such things happen. We can debate about it but we need to plead with the Government to find ways of handling this. Where I come from in Tshlolotshlo, there is a nine year old girl who used to stay with the grandmother, who agreed with the man next door to abuse the child and the grandmother used to be paid for that. As I speak now, this child is in the custody of police so that they take her to Social Welfare. There is another one who is 5 years old and I heard this man has started abusing her. We strongly plead with the Government to see what to do with these children abused by older men.
We used to think that it was for ritual purposes, however we noticed that it had nothing to do with rituals. It is just about abuse it has nothing to do with rituals. There is need to create awareness in our communities because many girls aged 13 and 14 years old are abused by older men.
When they go to give birth they are mandated to go for blood tests and it is on record that most of them are infected, this is pure satanism. We plead with the Government to look into ways of assisting these children. There is need for these girls to be educated. In schools, they must receive education on these men that abuse them.
There is need to protect and assist the girl child so that our child and grand children’s future is bright. In the past, it was the grandparents who took care of their grandchildren without abusing them. Some of them do not want to report these cases because they will be receiving groceries from people who are busing the children. I think in this case they will be accomplices and need to be arrested as well. There is need to remember that children have their own future. I thank you Hon.
President for giving me this opportunity.
HON. SEN. MUZENDA: Mr. President, I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. MOHADI: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 1st August, 2019.
DEVELOPMENT OF WATER INFRASTRUCTURE IN TOWNS
AND GROWTH POINTS
Fourth order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the perennial shortage of clean and potable water in most towns and growth points.
Question again proposed.
*HON. SEN. CHINAKE: Thank you Mr. President for giving me
this opportunity to debate on water shortages in Zimbabwe. It is a sad story considering that Zimbabwe has many rivers and dams, small and large but we are failing to maintain these dams and rivers. When Parliament resumed after elections; all the years, there are ministries whose mandate is to look at the water issues but you never hear them saying anything. There are ministries that are allocated this task to deal with water issues but we do not hear them raising motions or issues in Parliament or request for more money. Instead, that issue is only raised by Parliament. We do not hear them complaining about shortage of resources or funding on water but water shortage is very rampant in this country. Almost everyone including the Minister uses private boreholes because there is no running water in taps. Many people are now using bush pumps or boreholes but in the past, these were used in the rural areas. These days it is now common in towns and cities. Harare is now full of those boreholes yet these are supposed to be found in rural areas like Mt. Darwin or Chipinge where there are no taps.
Depletion of forests caused by veld fires, land degradation and soil erosion also contribute to the shortage of water because they contribute to siltation in rivers and dams. I remember sometime when I was still a councillor, I went to Victoria Falls and asked where they draw their water from. It was a few kilometers away from the Zambezi River. It was very good water. We met some Chinese at the Zambezi River who asked us why we were letting plenty of water flow all the way to the Indian Ocean. They said that we were supposed to dig a canal that would divert a little of that water into Zimbabwe so that we access this good water.
If we had invested in such a project of building a canal from the Zambezi River into mainland Zimbabwe, we would have made progress by now. Now we are suffering, people are drinking dirty water mixed with sewerage from Mufakose. Even the fish that we find in Lake
Chivero no longer taste good. The fish easily rot because of pollution. What are we saying as Government because water from Lake Chivero must no longer be used for consumption? If you were to open a tap running with water from Lake Chivero, you would not consume it because it is not good. Just imagine our children playing with that water. After a short space of time that water goes bad and this is happening on a daily basis.
I call upon the Ministers to come up with proposals so that we draw water from the Zambezi River that we can use because there is plenty and good water from the Zambezi River. There is need for a plan to draw water from there.
We have been debating a lot of issues in this House but I am not sure where the issues that we discuss go to. Are they ever regarded? Are they ever taken seriously? We have debated a lot of issues including councils – even before I became Senator; I used to wonder what Senators debate. They debate endlessly but what is going wrong? Why are all these issues that are debated not taken seriously and solutions brought forward? Mr. President Sir, can we get an explanation as to why the motions that are debated here do not go anywhere. They are just written in the Hansard and we do not get the solutions after the debates. If these issues are further considered and taken up as serious matters, Mr. President, please assist us to make a follow up.
In our constituencies, people ask us what we debate and what we are doing because we do not have roads or clean water for drinking and we do not have proper answers. Mr. President, I kindly request you to sensitize me on what happens to issues that we debate here. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. RWAMBIWA: Thank you Mr. President. Firstly, I would like to acknowledge the motion that was raised by Hon. Sen.
Wunganayi on clean water.
If I look at Millennium Goal No. 6, it talks about clean water. All life is drawn from water – be it flora and fauna or wild animals. It is very essential to life, be it wild animals - if they use dirty water, they do not live very well. It is not good for human beings to consume dirty water. We go for some time without water from taps and when that water comes, it will be dirty and will not be good for consumption. Even when you put the water in a bucket, you can see the dirt. We all need clean water.
I do hereby request that we get access to good and clean water. It is good for our health. In some rural areas like Bikita, people go a long way following rivers and streams digging wells to access water and this is not clean water. About ten kilometers away from Zengeya School, teachers travel a long way with scotch carts to do their laundry and to access clean water. They spend a lot of time looking for clean water. I suggest that we have boreholes sunk so that we also get better water. That would be a good thing. I kindly ask that all areas get access to better and clean water because water is essential to life, crops and for human consumption. If also people can get access to clean water for irrigation, that will be good so that they do farming through irrigation and get food security that way. Sometimes we hear a lot of priority being put on boreholes being sunk in urban areas but rural areas also need those boreholes and better water for consumption. I thank you Mr.
*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: I thank you. We all
come from rural areas and I sometimes suggested that such a motion is raised on clean water pertaining to rural areas. I call upon you Hon. Senators to come up with a motion that deals specifically with rural areas seeking to access clean water.
*HON. SEN. CHIEF MAKUMBE: Thank you Mr. President for
giving me this opportunity to debate on water. Indeed, water is very important to human life because, where there is no water, there is no life. If you want to know how important water is, carry your own water for drinking, and that is when you realise how water is important. Even in this august House, we drink water whilst we debate.
So, what is the problem that stops us from accessing better water? The problem with urban water is that, water in the urban areas is driven by machinery and it is also purified using chemicals. It also needs experts in the purification process. So, I think that in this country, we should look at the legislation pertaining to water and most of the times people who need water provision have no knowledge on how work should be done because sometimes, it seems that people who lead in the water provision do not have a plan on how people will get water especially in future. They do not have future plans in terms of water provision. We are growing as a nation but there are no clear plans to cater for water needs of expanded populations.
Even engineers that lead in local authorities, if they are led by other people who might not have knowledge on laws, or proper knowledge on what to do; I would like to give you an example of what happened recently. I heard that there was a Mayor who was supposed to be fired at one of the towns. That capacity, the most important thing is that the laws must be used, must be followed and capacity building is very important so that people who work around water provision should have the expertise and proper knowledge as well as legislation. So, it also starts with legislation. Laws must be scruitnised on how candidates to be elected should be in terms of qualification. There must be a provision on minimum requirements to people who are chosen or elected for public office because we may debate this issue and yet not be able to come up with a solution.
So sometimes we realise that there are some Bills that come up. There must also be a Bill that considers minimum qualifications in certain fields because we expect that people who contribute should also have scientific or better knowledge on certain things. This country needs knowledge in order to be run. What I am saying is, as a Chief, if I should be chosen to lead a board, or to be the Chairman of the ZINWA Board, I should not be selected simply because I am a chief, no. People are going there simply to fill posts yet they will not be effective. Knowledge should be considered and some of the councils or local authorities that we know are run by cattle herders and some do not even know the difference between Mbare and Highlands. The same with legislators, some of them have little knowledge. How are our future children going to deal with these issues that come as a deficiency of the people that are elected into public office?
Of course, our country is said to have 94% literacy rate but of what use is that literacy rate when there are no solutions proffered by such people to the problems that we face in our country? So, I urge all the politicians or leaders to consider that the most important thing is knowledge and not just making up the numbers. We should be here to contribute knowledgeable debates and knowledge is lacking in terms of water solution. I spent 20 years dealing with water issues, and five years it was training and in the rest of the years, I gained a lot of experience. Knowledge is very important but the problem is that people who may be leading that work are very ignorant about water provision. So, I say people who are supposed to lead such work in terms of water provision should be knowledgeable and qualifications must be considered for the selection of those people. I thank you very much Mr. President.
*HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA: Thank you very much Mr.
President for giving me this opportunity to contribute to this debate on the provision of clean water. Mr. President Sir, clean water is important to human life as well as any other life. I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Wunganayi for raising this motion. I happen to be debating soon after the debate by the Chief and I think that my thinking is similar to what the Chief has just said. I realise that in the past, water used to circulate very well. The water reticulation system was functioning well and good but after that, we had problems with water because there was no more water. We also encountered a very big problem of cholera. I realise that some of the homesteads, if not all, had their own wells. Which means that those wells were not deep enough hence the quality of water that people were now accessing was not good.
The issue that the Hon. Sen. Chief just raised that is, emphasising on the need for knowledgeable people to work in those areas is very important. When I worked in the local authorities in the councils, we used to have plans and budgets for provision of water and those plans were considering the future.
Mr. President Sir, water should be provided for and it is important in both urban areas as well as growth points. Sometimes the problem maybe because of old pipes and those pipes must be replaced. As towns and cities expand, the water reticulation system should also be upgraded so that water is continuously accessed by people. There used to be water pumps to supply different residential locations but, what is happening now is that, residential areas are being expanded yet there is no expansion to water reticulation, yet also those residential areas may also affect the system of water reticulation. I suggest that this water problem be considered even in terms of budgeting and planning. Right now, we have a problem of electricity supply. We should also try to consider the issue of using solar. In the past, we also used to see windmills providing water. Windmills do not need electricity. They used to pump water into the tanks. If the windmill continues rotating, even if the tank is full, it will continue pumping, that was technology. Such ideas are very good. They provide solution to water reticulation especially when it is underground water.
The other problem is the shortage of chemicals for water purification. Local authorities need funding to access chemicals for water purification. The problem is people are not doing their work very well. Therefore, we need to have experts who should look into water reticulation provision issues so that they solve this problem.
I also suggest that we have windmills that pump water from the ground into tanks; that can provide water to people where they stay. We should have solutions to water problems so that people access clean water. It is not about having water access on every homestead, no, the most important thing is water must be clean. I do not know how health experts can scrutinise water. It is important that clean water be provided, be it from underground or dams. Let us blame ourselves because we lead local authorities. Let us admit that we have failed. Relevant legislations must be put in place. Even the Minister who leads that, we need to hear from him, what is affecting water provision. We need to understand from him because there are a lot of water sources, do they need developments. There is need to build water reticulation systems and expand provision of water reticulation system. Thank you.
HON. SEN. SHOKO: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. P. NDHLOVU: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 1st August, 2019.
REPORT OF THE THEMATIC COMMITTEE ON GENDER AND
DEVELOPMENT ON CANCER TREATMENT AND CONTROL IN
Fifth Order read: Adjourn debate on motion on the Report of the Thematic Committee on Gender and Development on Cancer Treatment and Control in Zimbabwe.
Question again proposed.
HON. SEN. S. K. MOYO: Thank you Mr. President. I want to thank the Hon. Senator who brought this report. I also want to thank colleagues who participated in the debate of the same. Mr. President, I will be very brief because a lot have been said on this issue. I want to start by saying that this disease called cancer has no respect for any age, gender or race.
Mr. President, cancer is depleting our population at an alarming rate. It can take any form, it does not matter which part of the body we can refer to. There is no part of the body that is safe from this disease.
Unlike other diseases, for instance HIVAIDS, cancer is a silent killer. In most cases, those affected come to know that they are afflicted by this disease when it is at a very advanced stage rendering it very, very difficult to access complete cure.
It is a disease, from what we know, from what we have read and from what we have experienced; whose treatment is very expensive. It is very expensive that the majority of our population cannot afford to access its cure. Mr. President, we have often heard of a number of our compatriots, colleagues, citizens across the country talking about not feeling well but not knowing that they are going through a very tormenting disease because it is silent and that is cancer.
A lot of poverty that is afflicting our people, particularly in rural areas today can be attributed to this disease. There is a lack of modern facilities in our hospitals to treat this disease, lack of expertise in terms of doctors who have specialised in this particular area, caused to a larger extent in rural areas by desperation to find a cure.
When I finished my secondary school at Fletcher High School, I was fortunate to work at Mpilo Hospital in 1967 for a few months as a research assistant in the Cancer Research Unit. Of course, I left the country not long after in 1967 for what you all know. What I discovered during that short period of research was that we can put ourselves into three categories when it comes to some various illnesses, including cancer. Some will immediately or after some time feeling that their system is not performing well, in other words, they are sick, they will immediately visit what in modern times you can call medical doctors.
There are many here I am sure. One of them is next to me here (Hon. Sen. Dr Sekeramayi) to find out what could be worrying them with their system. They will be diagnosed of course, and perhaps necessary treatment be given.
Others will immediately visit a traditional healer and forget about the hospital. Rumour would have gone around that at a certain village there is an expert who is a traditional healer who can cure any type of disease, including cancer. The person will get there and will be assured by the healer after some diagnosis of his own that you have no problem.
‘Your neighbour or your other acquaintance, I can tell is involved in this situation you are in. It is not a problem I can handle it very urgently, but of course you know these days there is nothing for free, I just need five or three cattle’. In that process you will run around to look for what the traditional healer needs. The disease is spreading. I am talking of cancer.
Whilst you leave that place with whatever medication you have been given, go and try whatever treatment you will have been given and see no improvement after some weeks and go back. This is the research we did. You go back to the traditional healer and say no I am not feeling much improvement. One of them in terms of our research was a question to say when you left here did you look behind. The patient of course in desperation said yes I did and the healer says oh that is where the problem is. Never, never look behind when you leave the gate. Here is another medication. Meanwhile the disease is multiplying in the system. That is the second category I am referring to the first one where he went straight to the so called modern medical doctors.
The third one we found Mr President was that whilst you will go to the hospital the relatives will also be busy finding out from other areas whether something also could not be attributed to some other developments. Again, they will also be paying quite a bit there. I am saying this because that type of research led us to believe that sometimes by the time we go to the medical facility we have delayed so much that the doctors may find it difficult to give you an appropriate cure, irrespective of how expensive it is.
We hear these days that our people have left for this country, they have left for that country and this has been going on for years in terms of this cancer disease...
THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT (HON. SEN. CHIEF
CHARUMBIRA): Hon. Senator you are left with five minutes.
HON. SEN. S. K. MOYO: I thought with my height you can
increase but I will definitely take less than that. I am saying this Mr. President because not many of us here can afford to get treatment beyond our borders, let alone get facilities within which can attend to our challenges in terms of this disease. What I want to bring home and appeal to Government is that whilst Government is doing its best to provide facilities, I know at Mpilo and at Parirenyatwa, there is a disturbing development. The late umdhala wethu, the Late Vice President Joshua Nkomo, was disturbed about this development, on this disease called cancer. He built a hospital in Bulawayo called Ekusileni. The idea was to make it a specialist hospital so that our people do not go outside the country for treatment, particularly when it comes to issues like cancer. He passed on saying, ‘I am going but I have not even had access to my hospital’.
Up to today Mr. President, the hospital is a white elephant - for what reason, some of us cannot understand. It will be vital for this
Senate to really take it upon itself to say we want that hospital opened. We want it equipped and we want it to have experts as the founder wished, because I do not believe he will rest in his grave when we are treating such good effort as what we are witnessing today. The hospital is falling apart and we are dying. If that cannot be corrected and cannot be addressed quickly Mr. President, this motion will always be on the Order Paper for very many years to come, until we are no more - all of us – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] – I thank you Mr. President.
THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF SENATE (HON. SEN.
CHIEF CHARUMBIRA): The delivery in the end was very moving and it is not good to continue adding on more into our minds after such a delivery. We need to go and sleep over and digest such good delivery and words. So for now let us adjourn the Senate and adjourn such a good debate.
HON. SEN. SHOKO: Mr. President, I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. CHINAKE: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 31st July,
On the motion of THE MINISTER FOR MASHONALAND EAST PROVINCE (HON. SEN. MUNZVERENGWI), the Senate
adjourned at Twenty Four Minutes to Five o’clock p.m.