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SENATE HANSARD 7 JULY 2022 VOL 31 NO 53

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Thursday, 7th July, 2022

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

PRAYERS

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

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE

APOLOGIES RECEIVED FROM MINISTERS

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Today is Thursday and in the Senate we start with Questions Without Notice.  I have a list of Ministers who have tendered apologies and they are as follows:

 Hon. C. D. G. N. Chiwenga, Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care; Hon. O. C. Z. Muchinguri-Kashiri, Minister of Defence and War Veterans Affairs; Hon. J. G. Moyo, Minister of Local Government and Public Works; Hon. Prof. A. Murwira, Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development; Hon. P. Mavima, Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare; Hon. W. Chitando, Minister of Mines and Mining Development; Hon. C. Chiduwa, Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Development; Hon. Prof. M. Ncube, Minister of Finance and Economic Development; Hon. E. Ndlovu, Minister of Primary and Secondary Education; Hon. V. Haritatos, Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement; Hon. A. Masuka, Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement.

The Ministers who are present; we have got Hon. Sen. Mutsvangwa Leader of Government Business in the Senate and Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services; Hon. Dr. K. Coventry, Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation; Hon. Machingura, Deputy Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development; Hon. J. Mhlanga, Deputy Minister of Women Affairs; Hon. Marapira, Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Fisheries and Hon. E. Moyo,  Deputy Minister of Primary and Secondary Education. 

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE

HON. SEN. TONGOGARA:  Thank you Hon. President.  My question was supposed to be directed to the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs but in his absence, I will direct the question to the Leader of the House.  Hon. Minister, the Constitution is the supreme law of the land and as Parliament, it is our mandate to protect and to uphold the Constitution.

Section 17 of the Constitution provides for gender balance.  Noting that the State has a responsibility to put in place some measures to ensure gender balance, what measures is the Government putting in place in line with the provision of Section 17 of the Constitution?  Thank you Mr. President.

THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION, PUBLICITY AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA):  I want to thank Hon. Sen. Tongogara for that very important question.  True to the fact, we have a Constitution which was endorsed in 2013 which was a people driven Constitution.  There was an outreach.  Everybody spoke to it.  Even our traditional chiefs spoke to the importance of gender parity and women empowerment issues and we are happy, especially as the women folk of this country.  It is a document which we are very proud of.  Some actually refer to it as a women’s document.

We know that there   have been a number of laws which needed to be aligned and the Second Republic has been living no stone unturned in making sure that all laws are aligned to the Constitution. It is our Constitution. We need to make sure that it is implemented and that it is enforced. Section 17 which precisely Hon. Tongongara is talking about, talks to gender balance. I think she is right in the sense that we have seen some work and progress taking place but not enough in terms of gender balance. The truth of the matter is in the Second Republic, because of the deliberate efforts made by His Excellency, President E. D. Mnangagwa, we have seen the number of women increasing in decision making positions. Talking about commissions, we have seen a balance. Talking about Provincial Ministers of State in charge of Devolution, we are happy there is gender balance there. We have also seen the issue of extending the quota, the 60 seats which were set aside for women in Parliament. That extension shows exactly the commitment which the Government has in making sure that we have more women in Parliament. We are also seeing even in parastatals, the board, and Government is making sure that there is no board which should be accepted which is not gender balanced.

There is a lot of work. Like all the laws, the enforcement is a more important issue and we work together. You are right; one of this Parliament’s mandate is to make sure that what is in the Constitution is practiced to the dot. There is a lot of work which needs to be done. Parliament has to continue making sure that there is gender balance in all. We are not here talking about just public institutions but also private institutions. We need to see gender balance. As I said, the commitment of the President of the Second Republic has been seen even with Local Government. When we set aside the 60 seats for Parliament, we did not do that in 2018 for local authorities and we ended up with very few women as councillors. The President saw that and when the members of the Council met the President in Victoria Falls, the President did not take time to accept the proposal. We know that it has already been enacted that 30% will be women, even in local Government, which is important because these are the people who deal with the grassroots. We need our mothers to be there and be able to look at all the social issues to make sure that our people’s lives are better.

Yes, there is work to be done. We continuously make sure that what is in the Constitution is implemented. As leaders in this august House, it is our work to always put an eye on where gender balance is not being practiced. I thank you.

HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: Thank you very much Mr. President. Thank you Hon. Leader of the House. Is there any legislation your Ministry is putting in place or is already in place to make sure that Section 17 of the Constitution is fulfilled?

HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA: Thank you very much Mr. President. I would want to thank Sen. Tongogara for the supplementary question. When she said my Ministry, she is talking about the Ministry of Justice and I think that is specific now. What I have said is policy. The Ministry of Justice is working very hard. The Office of the Attorney-General is overwhelmed in making sure that all the laws are aligned to what is in our Constitution. If she has a particular section that she requires, I would kindly ask Sen. Tongogara to put it in writing to my colleague in the Ministry of Justice. I thank you.

HON. SEN. KOMICHI: Thank you Mr. President. The Zimbabwean economy has caused so much pain among its citizens. The Zimbabwean dollar continues to lose value and ordinary people are really suffering. In order to control this situation, the Government introduced the gold coins. Many people do not understand how the gold coins work. Where on earth has this approach been used and has it benefitted anyone? In Zimbabwe, how does the gold coin approach serve the challenges that are being faced by the civil servants, public servants and ordinary gogo, mbuya, grandma who is in Gokwe and Mberengwa? How do they benefit out of this approach, if ever it is an approach that is required to resolve the economic quagmire we are in Zimbabwe? The question is directed to the Leader of the House.

HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA: Thank you very much Mr. President. I want to thank Sen. Komichi for the question which shows that as a leader, he is concerned by the people’s lives and things which make this country a better country. I want to say, first of all, the fundamentals of the economy of this country are in the right place. The issue of gold coins which he has brought about is an issue which the Reserve Bank has come up with. It is a very clear plan to move the economy forward.

The introduction of gold coins is meant to provide a good product for a store of value and to strengthen our local currency and minimise the volatility of the parallel exchange rate. Once I speak about the volatility in the parallel exchange rate, it affects the grassroots, people all the way to the bottom, to any village, any ward and any cell. By introducing the gold coin, they are already dealing with that problem. I want him to understand that the introduction of the gold coins is really meant to minimise that volatility of the parallel market and also to strengthen the local currency.

The suspension of lending is again something which was done to give Government time to investigate and all the speculative lending activities. There has been a lot of dirty work which has been happening in the economy. There is no country in the world where the exchange rate is determined by a private company. In this country, the RBZ will say the exchange rate is so much and then there is another institution or company out there which gives another exchange rate. So, all what Government is doing is to make sure that we promote our local currency. We minimise that pain which is happening because of the volatility in exchange rates. Thank you.

HON. SEN. PHUGENI: Thank you Mr. President for the opportunity. Thank you Minister for the answer. You said the fundamentals of the economy are solid but you and I know that our people continue to languish in poverty. Our people continue to struggle to pay fees which is charged in foreign currency or at a parallel rate. Our children are dying because of malnutrition, reason being that we cannot afford to buy goods from the shops. Everything in this country has become difficult and impossible to achieve because of runaway inflation yet the Minister says fundamentals of the economy are solid.

The question therefore Minister is; what are the fundamentals of the economy that are solid? What is this solid economy which somehow does not help the ordinary person? Not only the ordinary person, our doctors are striking week in and week out, our nurses, our teachers, the parliamentarians are crying, everyone is crying yet the economy is said to be solid. What is this fundamental economy? Thank you Mr. President.

          HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA: Thank you Mr. President, I also want to thank Hon.  Kalpani Phugeni and want to say to this august House, this economy is on the roll and that is the truth about it. When you go outside I understand fully the suffering of our people, that is why I said all what the Government is doing is to make sure that there is stability in the country which is being attacked by the detractors of this country. When I talk about the fundamentals that are there, I think the Second Republic has created an environment where entrepreneurs have been doing extremely well in this country. Just to go outside there and I am not closed, I am a politician myself and know how people are suffering.

When you go outside there and look around what is happening in the country, the roads which are being done which had never been done for so many years, the bridges and dams which have been built, the Gwayi-Shangani Dam is going to increase water supply in Matebeland for example, things which have never been done for the last 42 years. We all know that by having the Gwayi-Shangani Dam, we will have reliable water supply for that region. Once there is that massive water body, projects will then be ignited to make sure that this country has rural industrialisation. That is happening and that is one of the dams but there are so many of them. I am talking about the investment which has been made, especially in electricity.

Look at Hwange Unit 7 and 8, the work which is being done there to make sure that there is electricity. There has been investment which is being done in Hwange and which we did not ask for a cent from Treasury. This is private investors coming to increase electricity which we know is an economic enabler which will make sure that the industries in this country can work. By 2025, in this country, the vision is clear that there will be enough electricity for our industries to open so that our people can be employed – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Order, order! Can we have one Senate sitting? Can we give the Minister the opportunity to respond and then you can ask any other question which you want.

HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA: Thank you very much Mr. President for the protection. I want to go ahead and respond to that issue. You are talking to the Government spokesperson and these are issues which we are always concerned about showing and telling the people about the programmes which are being done by Government. We have seen His Excellency the President continually criss-crossing the ten provinces of the country to make sure that industries value add and beneficiate. This is all being done to make sure that we industrialise this country. Boreholes are being drilled to make sure that people have clean water.

There has been COVID pandemic in this country, where many other countries are actually behind Zimbabwe in terms of what the Government of this country has done to save the lives of the people of this country. The suffering as you clearly said, is actually coming from the issue of volatility in the currency and this is precisely what the Government is dealing with and that is what I explained. I thank you.

HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI: The Hon. Minister has explained that the gold coin is addressing the volatility of the currency and ensures that there is a stable currency. Can she explain how the gold coin is going to address the volatility of the dollar and how it is going to be used by the old granny in Chiendambuya, Malipati and all over where they cannot even access the present Z$ which if you go to the bank, you can only withdraw Z$5 000 as cash which is equivalent to less than US$10. How does this link up with our local currency and the number of currencies that have been allowed to work?

HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA: I want to thank Hon. Sen. Mudzuri but the question is actually connected to what I have already said that the issue of the introduction of gold coins is actually meant to provide a good product for store of wealth. What it means is, who is causing this volatility of currency? This is what is causing inflation and problems which our ordinary people all the way to the grassroots are suffering from. This is why the RBZ has come up with this so that he minimises that volatility. I hope that is clearly understood. As to the details, I think it will be in order for the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to come with a paper in this august House to talk to the details pertaining to the last point. I thank you.

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I want to make a statement that we need the Minister of Finance to come and address the Senate about these issues. This has been outstanding for a long time and I will make sure that we write to the Minister and the next sitting which we have, the Minister of Finance must come and explain these developments and issues which the Hon. Members are raising. It is unfair to ask some of the details which you are asking the Minister of Information, not that you have not done well Minister, you have done extremely well.

HON. SEN. DR. B. MPOFU: My question is directed to the Minister of Transport. I had the privilege of going around the country with one of the Committees to see some of the good work that has taken place in terms of the roads. One of them is when I was in Chiredzi, I saw some new roads being surfaced with tar for the first time. What is the prioritisation matrix that the Ministry is using to surface the roads using tar? The reason being that in smaller towns like Chiredzi which are not capitals of a province they can get surfaced with tar while provisional capitals like Gwanda are still on dust road. I want to understand the prioritisation matrix from the Ministry.

THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHONA): Let me thank Hon. Sen. B. Mpofu for that very important question that he has raised. I thought maybe he was going to give a background to say when I say to Hon. Senators and Members of the National Assembly, we can have bilateral talks of which I happen to have had one with Hon. Senator Mpofu on that particular issue that he has raised when we spoke outside this august House.

Let me elaborate that the issues to do with rehabilitation of roads, the mandate is given to provinces where they sit with various Committees to prioritise their roads. Each province then sits together with the Minister of State in that particular province, District Development Coordinators and traditional leaders so that they ascertain the very important roads in their jurisdictions. You then find that in some cases where they are supposed to move with speed, you might not see that happening, and I cited an example of Chiredzi.

There are quite massive programmes going on in Chiredzi and therefore, we cannot say because of its geographical size as compared to Gwanda then it is not important. However, as much as Chiredzi is important, so is Gwanda. The idea behind is for the revered Hon. Senators in this august House to make sure that whenever there is an exercise of agreeing on roads, they partake in the exercise so that you also make sure that those roads are rehabilitated.  Besides the roads, Hon. Senators are also free to engage the Ministry directly with the roads that are under their purview so that they can request Government to come and rehabilitate.  We also consider the traffic that navigates that road and in such instances we will listen.  So I will still humbly request my brother Senator Bheki to accept our promise to come to Chiredzi to address those anomalies that he has highlighted.  There are Rural District Councils in those areas which you are supposed to approach and give your priority in terms of the road you want rehabilitated

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  The Minister of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry has joined us in the Chamber.

HON. SEN. N. KHUMALO: My question was to do with matters of Finance but then I am no longer going to ask my question till the Minister of Finance gets here.  I thank you.

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  We will try to the best of our ability that at the next question time, the Minister of Finance will be here because he is actually long overdue to visit this Chamber.

HON. SEN. S. MPOFU:  My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Education Hon. E Moyo.  What is Government policy on schools that produce a zero pass rate for Grade 7 examinations?  What is the cause of such and what assistance is given to those schools?  Also, what happens to the teachers who produce those students who do not pass the exams?

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. DR. E MOYO.):  Thank you very much Hon. Senator for that question.  There are schools in this country and there are many of them in all provinces that have previously produced zero percent.  We have gone on to identify the causes and remedies that we need to institute and mitigate that element of zero percent.  On the causes, we have observed that most of these schools that get zero percent are non-established schools which are satellite schools.  These are small schools mainly in farming areas where there is no sufficient infrastructure and the number of teachers are small.  Let me quickly explain that the number of teachers given to a school depends on the enrolment.  The fewer the students in a school, the lower the number of teachers in that particular school.  That then results in composite classes where you find ECD to Grade 7 having less than 50 students.  Subsequently, the pupil to teacher ratio in primary schools is 1:40.  It is that scenario where this non-viable school has around 50 students; you will find that ordinarily there will be one teacher.  But then we have a formulae of calculating teachers in such unviable schools where we say in the primary sector, we would give up to three teachers and that creates composite classes where you may find ECD A, D and Grade 1 being taught by one teacher and Grade 2, 3 and 4 taught by another teacher.  In that composite atmosphere, the quality of education gets compromised.  Also the assistance that we derive from the payment of levies is very weak because of the numbers of students in that school. 

Coming to remedies, we are encouraging parents to support their schools by sending their children to those schools so as to boost the numbers and increase the number of teachers.  We are also assisting them under School Improvement Grant (SIG) which is a grant that is given to such unviable schools for the purposes of procuring furniture and text books and in some instances for infrastructure development.  We also ensure that we try as much as possible to create an attraction through accommodation and other amenities for teachers to go to those schools.  Most of those schools have poor infrastructure and do not attract teachers.  There is high teacher turnover as they just come for a term and seek transfers.

HON. SEN. C. NDLOVU:  The Minister indicated that these are schools that have been recently established and they are in farms.  We however, do have schools that are 20-30 years old and these schools are found in rural areas and equally produce zero percent.  I want to find out if the Minister has done a research on why that is happening in these old schools.

HON. DR. E. MOYO:  Thank you for the supplementary question.  Yes, it is true we have such schools in established communal areas however, they are in the minority.  From our research, those are in the minority and most of those cases we found there is a deficiency in leadership.  So through the cluster system and through supervision strategies that are decided by the districts, those schools are supported and we follow them up.  For example, we have a programme that we are working together on with Lupane University where we are going around these districts and provinces where the zero percent is prevalent and those people are receiving training on how to manage the pass rates and ensure that children get quality education.  In many cases, like I have said, it is deficiency of leadership and we tried to address that with partners like universities and other agencies so that we try and improve the quality of education.

 The other important thing that we need to share is also that the quality of support from parents to a school also determines the outcome or output of the school. So, it is important that we encourage that partnership, that is the school, community and other agencies. Of course you can never get to 100% efficiency levels but we are trying in terms of putting those partnerships to improve on the quality of education in our schools.

          HON. SEN. N. KHUMALO: The Minister says the composite classes depend on the enrolment, does it then mean that when the enrolment does not increase, the children at that school are going to suffer because the enrolment is stagnant?

          HON. DR. E. MOYO: I do not want to say yes but that is the reality because imagine in a school of 50 students with nine classes, you will find that in one of the classes like Grade 1 or 2, there are two students – to assign a teacher to every class of that small size would have a serious budgetary effect on the country in terms of the number of teachers we are going to have. This is why I said that we are trying to avoid that situation by creating attractive schools through infrastructure and also support by the parent community to attract more students and be positive about their schools and bring their children to those schools. Many people do not want to be part of the development; they want to come to schools that are already built and ready. We want to encourage people to say that infrastructure is theirs, they need to build and bring their children there, then the supply of teachers is going to increase.

          In a primary school set-up where the school is classified as unviable, we give a maximum of three teachers; even if there are five students, we still give three teachers for that school. That is the way we are trying to manage this issue of teacher supply in unviable schools. Overally, it is not that as a Ministry we want to see those people suffer, we are taking measures to improve infrastructure so that we can increase the teacher supply in those schools.

          HON. SEN. MANYAU: May you please allow me to ask two different questions to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education. We have people with hearing impairments which many of us know as the deaf people and they sign in American English.  In Zimbabwe, we use British English yet those people are expected to write examinations in British English. My question is - what is being done to correct that because to me they are being denied their constitutional right which is right to education.

          Secondly, we have people with visual impairments, it is sad that we do not have the new curriculum textbooks in braille. Those people are also expected to have educational qualifications in order for them to get proper jobs in the country. What measures are being taken to correct that?

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. DR. E. MOYO): On the issue of hearing impairments and the issue of American and British English, the difference between the two is simply on spellings. Both spellings in as far as I know are acceptable in our system. I am yet to see a situation where both or one of the two is not accepted but normally we do accept spelling, American and British.

          On the area of visual impairments and the availability of braille textbooks, this is currently being done. Granted, it is a very expensive exercise and I know that we are working with partners like UNICEF to develop braille textbooks. We have gone to do some syllabi on braille although it is not enough but then we continue to develop textbooks and syllabi on braille. I thank you.

          HON. SEN. MANYAU: I think we all know that American English is considered broken English in Zimbabwe and to the teachers who mark the examinations, are they told that these papers are from the deaf community? As for the textbooks, I am sorry to say this - there are no textbooks in the new curriculum and it seems we will phase out the new curriculum without them accessing their right to education.

          HON. DR. E. MOYO: Our (CDTS), Curriculum Development and Technical Service in Mt Pleasant is working on this braille programme. It might not have reached the classrooms but they are working on it in partnership with our partners who include UNICEF. They are already working on that.

          On the issue of American and British spellings, I speak from experience having been a marker at “O” and “A” level and marking English. Those two spellings are acceptable. If someone says they are not acceptable, that could be a new thing after I left the system but from experience right from transition from Cambridge to ZIMSEC, I know that we were accepting those two spellings as correct spellings. We do not refer to American English as wrong or colloquial English but we accept the differences in spelling and that people are exposed to different literatures and different audiences. Those two are acceptable.

          *HON. SEN. CHIEF NHEMA: My question is directed to the Minister of Energy and in his absence, to the Leader of the House. What is the policy on rural electrification. As Chiefs, they said they were going to install electricity at our homesteads through the Rural Electrification Programme for free and those institutions like schools and so on along the power lines will benefit.  The problem that we have right now is, we are now being asked to pay for rural electrification.  That money is now being deducted whenever we recharge electricity.   We do not even know when and who exactly agreed to those deductions. When are we going to finish paying for those deductions?

          *THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION, PUBLICITY AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA):  Thank you Mr. President.  I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Chief Nhema for the question.   Our main intention is to close the gap between rural schools and urban schools.  I am sure we all noticed this during lockdown that children from rural schools were experiencing problems.   We wanted to get rid of the gap so that people are on the same platform.  The issue that he mentioned, I think it is something that the Minister from the Ministry of Energy should explain in detail.  If Chiefs were promised to have electricity installed for free, I think that should be fulfilled.  I am not in a better position to answer the question, I will forward the question to the Hon. Minister of Energy to respond to that question in greater detail.  I thank you.

          THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  I just want you to know that I have been advised that according to Standing Rules and Orders of the Senate, this is Part 1, paragraph 1- Minister means Minister of the Government of Zimbabwe and this includes a Deputy Minister.

          HON. SEN. B. MPOFU: Thank you Mr. President, my question is directed to the Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation.  I want to know what is happening towards bringing Zimbabwe back to the international football tournaments. 

         THE MINISTER OF YOUTH, SPORT, ARTS AND RECREATION (HON. DR. COVENTRY): Thank you Hon. President.  I would like to thank the Hon. Senator for the question.  Mr. President, we are in consultations with FIFA which is the continental board and CAF which is the African board.  They are having consultations with the Sports and Recreation Commission, along with the new ZIFA Executive.  Those conversations are continuing and they are continuing in a positive way.  Hopefully we will have an update for you in the next coming weeks.  We have seen some good movement in terms of the recognition of the sexual harassment and abuse that were done to our female referees and the acknowledgement of that by FIFA.  We, as Zimbabwe are taking it as a good first step in recovering the relationship between the country and the governing body. That is what I can say right now.   

          +HON. SEN. PHUGENI: Thank you Mr. President, I will ask in Ndebele so that I can test whether he can now speak Ndebele or not.  When you go to peri-urban areas you realise that people are stealing land and it is affecting even the water level.  At Methodist, St Peters and Robert Siyoka, there is no water whilst there are elderly people who once stayed there.  If you go to Lupane and Tsholotsho, you will realise again there is too much deforestation.  These people come and take everything that they can.  People who are living there, you will realise they are not benefitting anything from the forest that is there.  My question therefore is that our environment is being affected by those people.  What is it that you are therefore doing as a department so that we protect our land and our forests?  What are you doing to protect our environment from these people?  I thank you.   

          +THE MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT, CLIMATE CHANGE, TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY (HON. M. N. NDLOVU): Thank you Mr. President Sir and also I thank the Hon. Member for such an important question, a question that shows the challenges that we face.  I will take this opportunity to explain to the Hon. Members the challenges that we face on different issues that are happening in our communities which are destroying even our communities. All these things that are happening in these areas are first and foremost illegal.  We expect that we can work closely with our communities especially on such things that are happening.  As Government, we have departments that are legalized to arrest such people.  We have policemen; they have the duty to enforce the law and to arrest those who are not abiding by the laws.  We have councillors, those are the people who are responsible for protecting our land.

          I want to urge all Zimbabweans and remind them that we have an obligation to protect our land.  I was in Bulawayo and I saw the bad state of our city that is caused by thieving, if only we can take such matters to the law enforcers, maybe things will be corrected.  As the Ministry of environment, the first challenge that we have is that we are not allowed to arrest those who are not abiding by the law. Some are armed murderers and that is why we are urging everyone to work hand-in-hand with the police. We have done what we call a blitz that is working hand-in-hand with the police, putting roadblocks in different areas, especially looking at those who are causing deforestation. About two to three months back, we arrested so many people and we were hoping that this will bring down the number of crimes.

          I will also touch on the other issues that you highlighted that people from their communities do not benefit anything from the forest that they have. I will indicate that Zimbabwean law allows people to benefit from what they have in their communities.  You are allowed as a community to make use of the natural resources that you have in your area. Those close to the Forestry Commission, please make use of them and visit them to find out what you can do.

          My last contribution is that you are supposed to go to your council and get letters that can allow you to benefit, especially from the soil that is in your community. If you see someone doing such things that are against the law, please indicate to either the Forestry Commission or the police. I thank you.

          THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: We have been joined belatedly by two Ministers - Hon. Muswere, Minister of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services and Hon. Soda, Minister of Energy and Power Development. I think Hon. Sen. Chief Nhema’s question can now be attended to and can you frame your question again Hon. Sen. Chief Nhema.

          *HON. SEN. CHIEF NHEMA: My question was installation that we do on our own and we are now paying for the line. When I recharge my electricity at home, we have a deduction from REA. When we asked about this incident, we were informed that this is being done by REA but we never agreed to this. So we want to know who was there to agree to that deduction? I am an individual who was promised to say installation will be for free. I am paying for the line but when am I going to stop paying for the line? The levy that is being paid for was never explained to us, was never agreed to us and it is not something that we know as individuals. Thank you.

          *THE MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. SODA): The Chief wanted to find out about the policy of Government with regards to payment of installations at chiefs’ homesteads. When it comes to chiefs, electricity installation at their homesteads is for free but electricity that they start using at their homesteads is paid for. Whenever they pay for electricity and whenever they recharge, the Government saw it prudent to say Rural Electrification Fund should be funded continuously and this money will be coming from that which people use.

          As people recharge, this is where the money is coming from. Some of the money goes to REA. The Rural Electrification Agency Fund is used for installation of electricity in the rural areas. What the chief is saying is wrong because what he is paying for is a quarter that is supposed to go to REA. This is the reason why they write to say this money goes to ZESA and this money goes to Rural Electrification Agency. Six percent of the money that you recharge for your own electricity goes to REA. Thank you.

          THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDNET OF SENATE: The Rural Electrification Agency was created by an Act of Parliament and in that Act, it says the agency shall be funded through amongst other things, a levy. Thank you.

          Questions without Notice were interrupted by THE HON. DPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE in terms of Standing Order No. 67.

          HON. SEN. MATHUTHU: Thank you Mr. President. I propose that Questions without Notice be extended by a further fifteen minutes.

          HON. SEN. CHISOROCHENGWE: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDERNT OF SENATE: So the time is extended by fifteen minutes up to Quarter to four o’clock p.m.

          *HON. SEN. RWAMBIWA:  Thank you Mr. President.  My question goes to the Leader of the House.  What is our policy position with regards to civil servants during elections?  Civil servants are deployed to other areas, which is not their polling stations.  However, police officers are given the opportunity to vote before they resume duty in another area. 

          THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION, PUBLICITY AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA):  Thank you Mr. President.  I would also like to thank Hon. Sen. Rwambiwa for her question on those who are deployed to work during elections.  I think it will be prudent for her to put her question in writing and we will respond specifically to that question.  I will inform the Minister of Justice to respond to some of these questions and give details on what really happens when we conduct elections. 

          THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF SENATE (HON. SEN. MOHADI):  Can you bring a written submission so that the Minister can respond to your question fully.  Thank you.

          HON. SEN. MATHUTHU:  Thank you Madam President.  My question is directed to the Minister of Environment, Climate Change, Tourism and Hospitality Industry.  What is the Government doing to resource the National Parks Department?  The problem of poaching has become sophisticated these days.  The poachers are heavily armed and in our case, we find that the rangers that we have do not have enough ammunition.  What is the Government doing?  Thank you. 

          THE MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT, CLIMATE CHANGE, TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY (HON. M. N. NDLOVU):  Thank you Madam President.  I would want to thank the Hon. Senator for the question.  It is a very important question on the state of affairs at our National Parks in as far as fighting poaching is concerned.  Madam President, over the years as a country, we have registered significant successes in fighting poaching, notwithstanding that it is a dangerous exercise because we are fighting against sophisticated poachers, mostly international.  However, we have been able to make use of partnerships with a number of organisations to equip National Parks.  We have also been able to resource National Parks through Government coffers. I must highlight however that we had challenges over the last two years and obviously because of the COVID-19 pandemic.  I cannot at this point say we have a crisis in terms of fighting poaching.  I want to assure this House that we have a unit of specially trained rangers who respond to sophisticated cases.  Also, our rangers in general receive training that equips them to be able to meet the challenges that we face.  Currently, we are happy with our efforts.  Yes, we do experience challenges here and there but we are happy with our anti-poaching efforts that we have been doing.  Thank you Madam President. 

          HON. SEN. MUZENDA:  Thank you Madam President.  My question goes to the Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation.  What is Government policy regarding the infrastructure of different sports facilities?  For example, I am looking at the Chitungwiza Aquatic Complex, Magamba Hockey Stadium and other sports facilities especially golf courses which are now in a sorry state.  It seems a lot of these infrastructures have been neglected for a very long time, which is unfortunate because a lot of money has been put in those infrastructure.  Thank you. 

          THE MINISTER OF YOUTH, SPORT, ARTS AND RECREATION (HON. DR. COVENTRY):  Thank you Madam President and Hon. Senator.  In terms of golf courses, none of them fall under our Ministry, so unfortunately we have no jurisdiction to step in and help.  Most of the golf courses are either run privately or through councils.  As I said, we have no jurisdiction on that.

In terms of the infrastructure, as a Ministry, we never had any infrastructure falling under us until last year when the Aquatic Centre, the National Sports Stadium and the Hockey Stadium were transferred over to us from Local Government.  Still today, that has not been completed.  There are specific departments that sit within Local Government that need to be transferred over to us.  It is an ongoing process but as for those three, there are plans even within the budget and special budget that we set aside for the National Sports Stadium.  Those three will be the focus within our Ministry to ensure that we get adequate funding to get them back to state of the art.  It will take a bit of time. The other sports infrastructure in and around community centres, we have put a policy in place with our youth interact centres where we are working with communities to identify spaces that have sports and arts centres.  The Ministry has a new policy where we will go in, refurbish and build new facilities.  We have the capacity for this year to target 40 of these around the country, four per province.  We will continue pushing for more and more of those recreational spaces to be jointly done, funding coming from the Ministry and oversight coming from the community.  Thank you Madam President. 

Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF SENATE in terms of Standing Order No. 67.    

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE

SILTATION CHALLENGES IN DAMS

 

  1. HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI asked the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries and Rural Resettlement to explain to the House the plans that have been put in place to address siltation challenges in most of the dams in the country.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, WATER, FISHERIES AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. MARAPIRA): Thank you Madam President.  Hon. Sen., siltation of rivers and dams is a major threat to water security in Zimbabwe.  The effect of siltation in our dams and in our rivers gives us a very big problem because they affect storage capacity of mainly our dams, leading to failure to sustain water supplies for domestic, mining, industrial, agricultural and other economic development purpose.

The main causes of siltation in the country are poor agricultural methods, mining activities and deforestation.  The poor agricultural practices include streambank cultivation, ploughing along slopes and poor conservation practices such as non-construction of contour ridges.

Recently, mining activities both legal and illegal have been rampant across the country, especially along the main rivers.  Deforestation has also been a major factor leading to the siltation in the country’s rivers and dams. 

As the population increases, the more need for more land is inevitable, resulting in clearing of forest land for settlement and agricultural practices.   Effective management of sediment in rivers has become increasingly important from an economic-social and environmental perspective.  To curb this threat, there is need for an integrated approach with all players involved in land, water and environmental management.   The principles of integrated water resources management where there is active participation and coordinated development and management of water, land and related resources are a requirement to be strictly followed to curb siltation.

As Government, we have strategies to curb siltation.  Hon. Senator, the Ministry is in the process of drafting a Soil Act to preserve the soil so that the country will not lose the productive soil for agriculture and lose the storage capacity of the dams.  This will strengthen the existing laws such as the Environmental Management Act, Chapter 20.27, Section 20 and Statutory Instrument No. 7 of 2007 which reads, “No person shall without a licence issued by the agent, the proof thereof shall lie upon him or her to cultivate or licence the cultivation or destroy any natural vegetation on or deep up and break up, remove or alter any way the soil or surface of any land, land within 30 metres of the high flood level of any body of water conserved in artificially constructed water storage work or public stream”.

The Ministry is working with other ministries such as those responsible for environment and mining in order to ensure rehabilitation of rivers and dams to make sure that these are done and also to curb mining activities which destroy the land.

To that end, there is joint monitoring with all the parties involved.  The Ministry is also working with other stakeholders such as the traditional leaders to curb poor farming methods and enhance soil conservation among other good farming practices.  Some of the soil conservation programmes being implemented are the Pfumvudza Programme in which planting holes are dug with minimum disturbance of the soil, less disturbance of the soil, less prone to erosion leading to reduction of silt deposited in our rivers and dams.

The pastures programme where the Government is establishing managed common pastures to enhance soil conservation, among other good farming practices.  Some of the soil conservation programmes being implemented are:

  1. The Pfumvudza Programme in which planting holes are dug with minimum disturbance of the soil.  Less disturbance of the soil makes it less prone to erosion, leading to reduction of silt deposited in our rivers and dams. 
  2. The pastures programme where the Government is establishing managed common pastures to enhance soil conservation.
  3. The Presidential Rural Development Programme anchored on one borehole per village and a nutritional garden so that there is no need to establish nutritional gardens close to rivers and dams.

The Ministry is also enforcing the standard practice in the protection of dam bodies and their reservoirs which includes a demarcation of an area surrounding the dam of a minimum of 30 metres offset from the reservoir basin.  It is a high flood level contour.  This area around the reservoir is referred to as the servitude of the dam and it should not be disturbed by human settlement or human activity which could cause siltation or affect the quality of the water in the reservoir.

In terms of desilting dams, the Ministry is working towards acquisition of modern desilting equipment which is economically viable.  In many instances however, desiltation is a very expensive undertaking.  I thank you Madam President.

FARMERS MONITORING OF INPUTS GIVEN TO SMALL SCALE FARMERS UNDER THE PRESIDENTIAL INPUT SCHEME

  1. HON. SEN. TONGOGARA asked the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries and Rural Resettlement to inform the House whether there are any mechanisms in place to monitor the inputs that are given to small scale farmers under the Presidential Input Scheme and whether these inputs are utilised for intended purposes at household level, amid allegations that some individuals sell such inputs.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, WATER, FISHERIES AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. MARAPIRA):  Thank you Madam President.  Hon. Senator, the Ministry has put in place mechanism to monitor distribution and use of inputs under the Presidential Input Scheme through involvement of various stakeholders whose roles and responsibilities are spelt out below: 

  • The Grain Marketing Board must account for all inputs received and distributed;
  • The Grain Marketing Board will facilitate transport of the inputs to the wards to reduce transport costs incurred by the farmer.
  • Distribution Committees involving Ministry of Local Government and Public Works, that is the District Coordinator’s office, local Agricultural Advisory and Rural Services, what used to be AGRITEX staff, traditional leadership, headmen and village heads and the Zimbabwe Republic Police should preside over the distribution of inputs at ward level. What used to be AGRITEX officers;
  • AARDS as secretariat of this ward committee are expected to train, to track and monitor the farmers until they harvest;
  • Registers of recipients will be recorded and kept through the secretariat and GMB and;
  • These records will be captured via a mobile application through AARDS guidelines. What used to be AGRITEX guidelines are as follows;
  1. Farmer registration through mobile application.
  2. Farmer records, that is name of farmer, Identity details, contact details, farm name, village, land ownership, inputs received and utilisation.
  3. Production records, that is land preparation, agronomic practices, area and yield are supposed to be kept.
  • Every household should provide two cell phones numbers for two adults for monitoring purposes. I thank you Madam President.

ACHIEVEMENTS BROUGHT ABOUT BY THE ZUNDE RAMAMBO

  1.   HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI asked the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Resettlement to appraise the House on the achievements brought about by the concept of Zunde raMambo in the country.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, WATER, FISHERIES AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. MARAPIRA):  The concept is ongoing and it has been embraced greatly.  During the previous season, the following input packs were submitted per province to support the same.

PROVINCE

COMPOUND D

TOP

DRESSING

MAIZE SEED

SORGHUM SEED

SOYA BEANS

SEED

PEARL MILLET

SEED

DEMISE

KNAP SACKS

TICK GREASE

(mt)

(mt)

(mt)

(mt)

(mt)

(mt)

200ml

16l

1kg

MASHONALAND CENTRAL

15.600

12.700

1.515

0.145

0.100

0.000

8.000

6.000

11.00

MASHONALAND

EAST

6.800

0.710

0.790

0.030

0.090

0.020

25.000

6.000

3.000

HARARE

0.600

0.000

0.105

0.000

0.000

0.000

0.000

0.000

0.000

MASHONALAND WEST

9.250

2.550

1.440

0.205

0.070

0.000

66.000

10.000

20.000

MANICALAND

2.600

0.500

0.360

0.010

0.005

0.000

24.005

7.000

8.000

MASVINGO

6.200

0.000

1.020

0.015

0.000

0.006

6.000

3.000

0.003

MIDLANDS

6.250

1.500

1.150

0.230

0.011

0.000

91.000

40.000

40.000

MATEBELELAND NORTH

3.000

1.400

0.500

0.230

0.000

0.040

44.000

20.000

0.000

MATEBELELAND SOUTH

2.700

0.900

0.470

0.092

0.030

0.034

43.000

6.000

4.000

TOTAL

53.000

20.260

7.350

0.957

0.306

0.100

307.005

98.000

86.003

The Ministry wishes to advise that the programme will be up scaled to all village heads and sub-chiefs.  In future, AARDS Directorate will carry out crop assessments to directly get figures on production and productivity levels disaggregated to lowest sub- national level.  I thank you.

 

AWARDING OF TENDERS RELATED TO THE NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT AGENDA TO WOMEN

  1. HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI asked the Minister of Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development to explain to the House whether or not women are awarded tenders on programmes relating to the national development agenda.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF WOMEN’S AFFAIRS, COMMUNITY, SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES DEVELOPMENT (HON. MHLANGA): Thank you Madam President. I would like to also thank Hon. Sen. Chimbudzi for raising such a pertinent question as the nation is endeavouring to achieve the National Development Agenda with the inclusion of women on board.

The Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act, Section 29 stipulates that for domestic tenders, suppliers and manufacturers who are women or a predominantly controlled by women, must participate in bids or be sub-contracted to supply goods, construction works or services. We, as a Ministry, have awarded tenders on some of our national development projects to women owned businesses. We will continue to implore and engage our fellow ministries to follow the provisions of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act [Chapter 22:23] and consider more women owned businesses when awarding tenders.

On the motion of the DEPUTY MINISTER OF WOMEN’S AFFAIRS, COMMUNITY, SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES DEVELOPMENT, (HON. MHLANGA), the Senate adjourned at Fourteen Minutes past Four o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 19th July, 2022.

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