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SENATE HANSARD 8 OCTOBER 2013 VOL. 23 NO. 08
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Tuesday, 8th October, 2013.
The Senate met at Half-past Two O’clock p.m.
(MADAM PRESIDENT in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENTS BY MADAM PRESIDENT
MADAM PRESIDENT: May I remind hon. senators who wish to
contribute in vernacular, to do so slowly to allow interpreters to accurately capture your debates.
CORRECTION OF SENATORS’ SPEECHES
MADAM PRESIDENT: Senators are also reminded that drafts
of their speeches will be forwarded to the Senate by the Orderlies, within an hour of their debates for corrections. Senators are reminded that corrections are restricted to grammar and spellings only. Corrected drafts should be returned to the Hansard Department through the Orderlies as soon as possible to facilitate corrections. Senators are therefore, urged not to leave the Chamber before the adjournment of the Senate or not to leave until they have corrected their draft speeches.
INVITATION TO THE DEATH PENALTY DAY
MADAM PRESIDENT: Amnesty International is inviting all
hon. senators to attend the Death Penalty Day at Harare Gardens, in the Bandshelf Pavilion on the 10th of October, 2013 from 12:00 hours. The event is to advocate for the abolition of the death penalty.
INVITATION TO A TEA-PARTY
MADAM PRESIDENT: All women Parliamentarians are invited
to a tea-party to be hosted by Archbishop Dr. Eunor Guti on Wednesday, the 9th of October 2013, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. This will take place at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. Hon. senators are requested to confirm their attendance with the Public Relations Department.
SWITCHING OFF OF CELLPHONES
MADAM PRESIDENT: May I finally remind hon. senators to
please switch off your cellphones.
PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS
First Order Read: Adjourned debate on the motion in reply to the Presidential Speech.
Question again proposed.
SENATOR MAWIRE: Madam President of the Senate, Deputy
President of the Senate and hon. senators, I would like to start by congratulating His Excellency, the President of Zimbabwe and
Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, Cde. Robert
Gabriel Mugabe, for his re-election as the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe. I also extend my congratulations to you all hon. senators, our fellow members in the Lower House and Hon. President Madzongwe for her re-election as President of the Senate.
Ladies and Gentlemen, our people have tasked us to move our nation forward. Trust and faith in us, saw millions of Zimbabweans voting for us into the positions we hold today. It is for this cause that the Eighth Parliament of Zimbabwe was duly opened by His Excellency on the 17th of September, 2013 with the task of aligning the existing various pieces of our legislation to the new Constitution and to deal with outstanding legislative business of the Seventh Parliament.
Hon. senators, His Excellency touched on agriculture, which is the mainstay of our economy. It is true that our agricultural sector is depressed owing mainly to recurrent droughts, erratic rainfall patterns and lack of adequate funding. Our country is blessed with a lot of water sources, which, however, have been under-utilised. For example in my province Manicaland, there is Osborne and Mupudzi Dams which are not being utilised. I thank His Excellency for noticing that we need a ministry which deals with irrigation development. The recurrent droughts that we continue to experience cannot be felt if we utilise these water sources through putting up irrigation infrastructure to aid our farmers and improve food reserves.
Madam President, as pointed out by the President that Government will emphasise increased reliance on irrigation agriculture, it is important that we look at those areas and farms with existing infrastructure which have worn out equipment and help people to revamp their activities.
On funding, our people are faced with financial problems and are failing to fund their farming activities. There is need to fund the farmers so that their production increases. The White farmers were well funded and were able to produce more; they came here with nothing and were funded to run their farms. This is also what is needed by our farmers who were given farms. Some of them had nothing. If well funded, our farmers will produce, and will be able to fund their activities. This calls for what the President termed marketing incentives to motivate the farmers. A lot of farmers are shunning the growing of maize and other grains because they are facing poor market prices. After receiving funding, it will be important to have inputs subsidised and have them on the market timeously. Also, there is need for women to get support in the form of agriculture equipment and funding for their farming
Madam President, turning to indeginisation, our visionary President, His Excellency Cde. R.G. Mugabe should really be honoured for such valuable policies. Our economy has suffered because we are not the ones running it. Key sectors of the economy have foreigners running them and they can easily be influenced. Locals know that if the economy suffers, they also suffer. However, foreigners will just leave and go back to where they came from, leaving us crying. 100% support for indigenisation will help curb the problem of unemployment which has affected our youths and women.
Madam President, His Excellency highlighted that the economy is characterised by declining production levels, high costs of production, company closures and high unemployment. Revival of closed and distressed strategic companies will go a long way in creating employment for our people. In my constituency, companies like Mutare Board and Paper Mills and Karina used to employ over a thousand people. If they are opened, people will benefit a lot. I therefore urge the Government to continue mobilising funds towards this cause.
Madam President, on the education sector, I give credit to the Government for its policies which steered our literacy rate to great heights. Our nation has the highest literacy rate in Africa of 90%. However, a lot needs to be done so that the country moves in a positive direction. There is need to transform the education system in line with the developing societal demands and expectations. We need to see more being done in schools to complement His Excellency’s efforts of providing computers to schools. In this modern world, e-learning has taken the floor in schools, and we need to move with the pace that technology is moving. Our education system should produce excellent products, equipped to meet all the demands of our developing world.
I do appreciate that the Government has, in the past, given grants, but during the past ten years, these grants have not been given to schools. Parents are facing problems which have seen a lot of children dropping out of school. The grants help schools to move forward and offer relevant education. BEAM funds have been received well in primary schools, but the funds are not availed on time. In some secondary schools, BEAM funds have not been received since mid 2011. The Government needs to look into this matter because there are a lot of children who need assistance.
Madam President, teachers’ welfare remains a cause for concern, and it continues to impact negatively on children’s performance. Most teachers are shunning rural areas because of poor infrastructure in these schools and financial constraints. We need to address these issues if we are to improve our children’s performance. A child cannot perform if she or he is taught by three different teachers in a year. Improved welfare for teachers would see rural schools retaining teachers for a greater part of their careers, thereby influencing a positive development in education.
The introduction of teacher incentives tells a story of how the welfare of teachers really needs to be addressed. If one visits schools where incentives are given, those schools have continued to perform, whilst those in rural areas continue to perform poorly.
Madam President, civil servants must also be given Transport and Subsistence allowances for them to improve their performance. In higher and tertiary institutions, the Government needs to chip in and help upgrade the infrastructure in the area of accommodation. This will help protect the girl child. Students face financial problems and failure by some parents to provide for them have seen some of them failing to live properly in the institutions. The girl child is the most affected as she is sometimes exposed to the dangers of prostitution. Therefore, I appeal to the Government to timeously avail allowances for students in order to help them sail through their tertiary life without exposing themselves to dangers associated with sugar daddies and mummies.
Madam President, I wish to look at the welfare of people. The
Government has the Department of Social Welfare and I am really concerned by the number of elderly people and the kind of assistance they need. These people are vulnerable and need us to look into their welfare. This group of people can no longer manage to fend for themselves. Most of these elderly members of the society have chronic diseases, which require them to get drugs, and it needs money to do so. The Social Welfare department should be well funded in order to help these people, in reference to Chapter 2, section 21 of the Constitution, states that, “the State and all Institutions and Agencies of Government, at every level must take responsible measures, including legislative measures, to secure, respect, support and protect elderly persons and to enable them to participate in the communities.”
Madam President, I will go on to speak on the welfare of our veterans of the Liberation Struggle, who continue to lead poor lives after the excellent job they did of fighting for our independence. These men and women really need the assistance of Government and other stakeholders in their day to day activities. They have failed to resist the economic hardships, for most of them are not gainfully employed. We witnessed the white man rewarding his own heroes using our land and we have failed to do the same to our own. I appreciate the other efforts that have been made by the Government but I say, it is not enough for us to see those veterans leading lives which tell a lot of problems, they also need better salaries and houses et cetera.
Madam President, our Health Ministry is one of the ministries which have a big task in Government. This month is the cancer month, cancer has become the leading cause of death in the world surpassing that of HIV/AIDS and malaria combined. This tells us that there is a lot that needs to be done by all stakeholders. The country only has two dialysis machines which are at Parirenyatwa serving the whole nation. If we were to reduce the number of cancer deaths, then we need to go an extra mile in helping cancer patients. We need to continue working hard in as much as we need to have the figures going down. We need to contain all the areas which assist in the spreading of these diseases. Let us encourage our children and let us abstain; only one way truly prevents us and our children from acquiring these diseases. It is 100% more awareness on controlling one’s sexual behavior.
Madam President, talking about this without talking about corruption, one will have left out a thing that has become a concern in our economy. Hon senators, if we come into this House and continue to discuss other issues without addressing this issue, then we are not doing enough. This corruption is destroying our economy day and night. A lot of money is being lost through corrupt activities which we have just looked at and let go. Most people claim that the police institutions which should be helping in preventing and stopping corruption are the ones doing it all.
This claim is being raised from police road blocks where people are paying spot fines. I call upon Government to remove this and go back to that policy where one would be given a ticket and would be asked to pay at any police station within 7 days. People are forced to pay bribes because they do not have money when they get to these roadblocks. Government institutions and Auditors should be well equipped so that they regularly audit offices of finances for our different departments. Our people have continued to be corrupt because there is little being done by the law and Government. If we stop corruption, it will allow the country to move. Thank you, Madam President and makorokoro kuti tirikubata basa redu murunyararo.
+SENATOR MKHWEBU: Thank you Madam President. I
would like to thank Senator Mutsvangwa for moving this motion on the Presidential Speech. I would also like to thank Senator Mumvuri for supporting the motion that was moved by Senator Mutsvangwa.
I would like to say congratulations to the President of the Senate and the Deputy, for being selected to lead us in the 8th Parliament. I would like to thank the President for his Speech in which he spoke about drought relief. Drought is very prevalent in Matabeleland South. The President mentioned that each district should be given nine tonnes of maize, which are not enough for all the wards. It therefore becomes difficult when it comes to allocation, the Government needs to look into this issue. As I have said before, drought is very prevalent from where I come from and I plead with the Government to make sure that there is enough food for everyone.
The President also mentioned the issue of indigenisation; in Matabeleland South we rear cattle. However, it should be noted that there is not enough food for our cattle; again I am appealing to the Government to provide us with loans. In addition, Madam President, I have to state that we do not have enough water for the cattle.
In his Speech, His Excellency also spoke of Manyange Dam. This dam has been appearing on the Blue Book for years now. Everyone is expecting the Government to do something about this dam as there are water woes in Matabeleland. We are expecting that the dam could be used by about three constituencies. There are also boarding schools which could get water from that particular dam as well as the business community. A lot of people could make a living from that dam as there is no water. People from these districts have been facing water challenges for years, if the Government constructs this dam, people could do projects through irrigation from this dam.
Madam President, I would also want to speak about corruption, I would like to urge this House to look into the issue of cattle rustling. I plead that there be brand marks for cattle in each district so as to solve this problem. There is a law that is used by councils, these councils keep cattle for three months and then sell them that is if the owners do not come to claim them. As a result the number of cattle in Gwanda has declined because they sale the cattle after three months. Again people’s cattle get stolen, you find that one person will lose about 100 cattle at the same time and remain with nothing. I am hereby pleading on the issue of brand marks so that each and every district has its own brand mark.
Madam President, I plead that each brand mark be computerised so that people may know which district the cattle belong to. I am pleading with the whole nation on this issue as it is very rife in the whole nation. Madam President, there is a Bill that will soon be coming on mining. I am pleading that, there are a lot of gold panners in Gwanda who do not have the necessary machinery and working capital to start their projects.
I wish that the Government could pass a Bill so that they can be able to work for themselves and get working capital.
Madam President, gold has helped a lot in Gwanda especially during this era of sanctions, it has helped us to survive up to today. We thank His Excellency on that issue.
Lastly Madam President, I would like to speak about the customs that are there in Gwanda. I would like to speak about Njelele in Matopo and Zhilo in Sigodini. Each and every society has its customs and cultures and a way of following them, these areas are under the supervision of Chiefs. Culturally, each and every area has its own leader. They have sent me to let you know that they do not have proper roads to get to Zhilo, they do not have clean water. I am pleading with the Government to help by constructing proper roads and to make sure that they have clean water. There are people who go there from different areas in Zimbabwe for help. They are hoping that the Government will give them a helping hand, especially when it comes to water and food. I thank you.
MADAM PRESIDENT: I also thank you Senator Mkhwebu.
SENATOR MASHAVAKURE: I am a Senator from people
living with disabilities. Thank you Madam President, for affording me this opportunity to contribute to this motion by Hon. Mutsvangwa, on the occasion of the Official Opening of Parliament, by the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Comrade R. G. Mugabe.
In the Constituency that I represent, we are very delighted with the prospect of the alignment of the laws of this country with the new Constitution. This alignment can actually help us a lot in the sense that, for instance, in the disabled Act of 1992, there are issues of accessibility that are spoken of there, especially accessibility to the infrastructure. But it is also, Madam President, our hope that this accessibility issue can be taken further and can be extended so that the Disabled Person’s Act that I am talking about can be aligned with the new Constitution.
The new Constitution this country adopted this year has got a very benevolent spirit towards disability. I can cite a few sections, for instance, on equality and non-discrimination in Section 56 subsection (3) and (4), you can even go to Section 83 which specifically deals with issues of the rights of people with disabilities. You can even proceed to Section 194 (1) (k) which also specifically mentions disabled people among other many sections. But we also have clauses that refer to the marginalised and disadvantaged generally, which in my opinion include the disabled. Again, under the principles of Public Administration and Leadership in Section 194, particularly subsection (1) (d) and (j), even the preamble of Chapter 14 clause (b), actually espouses the broad democratic participation by all Communities in Zimbabwe. That to us sounds like we are included although disability may not be specifically mentioned in some of those places. Actually the spirit is there that everybody in this country, including the disabled, should benefit from whatever is being provided for or whatever is given by the new Constitution.
It is therefore, Madam President, with this in mind that our community, the disabled community also believe that certain omission or apparent omission in Chapter 14 on Metropolitan and Provincial Councils which do not refer specifically to the disabled people actually refers to them indirectly. It is just that the wording was not specifically included. It is therefore, our hope that with the Speech of the President that alluded to the alignment of laws to this country’s Constitution, disability will be accommodated in Sections 268 and 269. That is concerning the Constitution or composition of the Metropolitan Councils and Provincial Councils it just like the Constitution gives us two Senators, we might as well have two representatives of people with disabilities in each of the Metropolitan Councils and in each of the Provincial Councils, following the structure that we have in the Senate, where we have an almost equal number of females and males. I understand from the Constitution that the Government has got the power to formulate legislation which will operationalise these Local Authority
Councils, Metropolitan Councils and the Provincial Councils in Section 273 and 279.
I would like to urge the ministers and ministries responsible and any other official involved with this formulation of legislation not to forget disability in pieces of legislation that are going to be used to constitute and to run these different Councils. In fact, a lot of our people are asking us what the situation really is and we have been telling them that we believe that Government has not forgotten because throughout the Constitution, issues of disability are very clear. They are clearly enunciated and it is our belief and hope that come the process when such pieces of legislation are formulated, definitely we will not be forgotten.
In the same vein Madam President, it is our belief that, with the ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Parliament of Zimbabwe and the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe did undertake in May and June, I think and again from other sources of information, it is our understanding that our
Government has since deposited the instrument of ratification at the United Nations in New York, possibly on the 23rd of September. We strongly believe that it is part of the process of aligning the laws of this country with the new Constitution.
The ratified Convention should be included so that persons with disabilities in this country can benefit from whatever is provided by this Convention. In other words, we are saying the process of domestication or incorporation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities should be part and parcel of this alignment of laws that the President talked about in his Speech.
Madam President, I would like to move on to issues to do with the indigenisation and give due respect and recognition to the fact that the Government of Zimbabwe for instance, has had somebody to represent people with disabilities in the National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board for some years now. I also recognise the fact that a number of disabled people have actually benefitted from the Land Reform and have got plots and even farms in the country.
It is our hope also that we can move on and benefit from other facets of the indigenisation programme, like the President said that Government is going to formulate a mechanism by which civil servants can participate in the indigenisation deal. Our hope is also that we will not be left out. Everybody who is interested, including people with disabilities, will not be left out. I would like to urge Government that whenever and wherever indigenisation is talked about, disability is somewhere around the corner.
A lot of people are actually disabled. It is just that some people do not want to acknowledge the fact that they are disabled. Occasionally, they come out but sometimes they prefer to hide because maybe it is not advantageous enough at that particular moment. If we were to investigate, I think a few of us will be found with one or two disabilities somewhere somehow. I would also like to encourage our traditional Chiefs to take disability seriously. I understand they are some of the major players in the community share ownership schemes in the areas where they come from. I want to urge senators and those that are not in the Senate not to forget your disabled groups, orphans and other vulnerable people; we are there to be served by you.
Madam President, there is also the issue of transport, I think the
President did refer to the development of some of our roads and possible expansions, maybe Chirundu-Harare, Masvingo-Beitbridge roads and so forth. I would like to urge our local authorities to think seriously when they plan some of these things that they do in our towns for instance; at the moment where I stay in Harare, I understand they are building some bus terminus somewhere at the back of the town. That is very good and I think it is a development. My idea of public transport is that it should service the needs of the majority of people in Harare. The majority which I think are workers who for instance, if I work in Mukwati and some of these places in the East and I am dropped off somewhere close to the Harare Agricultural Showgrounds; that is a long distance to cover on foot to reach to the Eastern part of the city. The same applies to people being dropped off at Fourth Street and having to travel to ZANU PF Headquarters or Rainbow Tours Hotel or somewhere in the West.
I think the basic principle of planning transport in an urban area should be to service the interests of the majority first. The motorists, I suppose I am one of the motorists, but I think everybody should be encouraged to use public transport. In other words I am saying the terminus which is being built in the West should actually be used as a parking place for motorists and the rest of the workers should actually be allowed to travel eastwards. An example is, if you are coming from Highfield or Kuwadzana, you should be dropped off at Fourth Street and those from Mabvuku, Tafara and Ruwa should be dropped off at that other terminus that they are building so that people are dropped off near their work places.
I think it is a trend worldwide that you do not encourage myriads of motorists into town. You actually discourage them so that the public transport system can make use of the roads in the central business district. What I am trying to say is that as part of this process, one of the things that we should dream of is probably doing away with the commuter omnibuses that I like travelling in, but I think maybe it is high time that we start resuscitating our ZUPCO buses so that they carry loads of people across town. We can even have our bus stops in the city centre.
Maybe one of the days, if I bring my vehicle, I will leave it at the terminus in order to decongest the city centre. It helps people with disabilities. An example is the Market Square place, there is Bank Street and Mbuya Nehanda Street, where they meet, there used to be robots there but these days they are not functioning. To coincide with the new Constitution which is giving rights to the disabled; the robots have been disabled. What happens is that if you are coming out of that terminus and want to follow Mbuya Nehanda Street towards the place where we get our national identity documents, the cars are coming from the left and the place is noisy. I am talking specifically about people with visual impairment, the people behind you and those in front are making noise and you are not very sure that the car has stopped and you spend a lot of time trying to work out whether to cross or not to cross the road. If the robots are working, you hear the noise of cars coming to a halt, signaling that the cars have stopped and you are able to cross. However, that robot is not working. The next robot, to the right, which is Chinhoyi Street and Bank Street, the robot has not been working for the last two or so years for the reasons best known to the City Fathers.
There are several other places where you find – I cannot call them pot-holes, they are actually gullies, the pavement is dug and left open. If you are visually handicapped and like to move very fast, one day you may find yourself landing in a very deep hole and it may take some cranes to take you out. That problem should be addressed. The City Fathers should start planning for everyone and put projects and plans in place to rectify the situation so that we are all comfortable in our city. The robots should be fixed so that they function normally and everyone will benefit. If I were to walk alone along Nelson Mandela Avenue towards Standard Chartered bank along Sam Nujoma Street, on my left, I would listen to the cars coming from the left. When I hear them stop, I cross the road knowing that no car will turn into Nelson Mandela Avenue because it is one-way. These one-way streets have been beneficial to some disabled people, but the system is not flexible enough because sometimes there is electricity blackout and the robots stop functioning. Under such circumstances, you walk through the road and the cars are all over you hooting.
I would like to move on to the issue of human–trafficking which the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe referred to. He talked about people who are abusing others in this region and therefore the need to …
Senator Mlotshwa having stood up and trying to avoid passing through the Chair and the hon. senator speaking.
MADAM PRESIDENT: Hon. Mlotshwa, I think it is alright; there is no way you are going to make it the other way. You can come through this way.
SENATOR MLOTSHWA: Thank you.
SENATOR MASHAVAKURE: The President talked about the
need to sort out issues of human-trafficking, which cannot continue to happen in our region. I would like to stretch it further and say that, abuse of humanity takes place even on our doorsteps, in our own country. In that respect, I am talking about people with disabilities. Organisations, associations and institutions are formed in the name of disability. However, what is achieved by these bodies is very minimal.
We continue to meet people with disabilities begging and singing while others try to sell fruits. Recently, I received a letter from someone who was complaining that the Municipal Police was harassing them and even breaking their limbs. I hope that is true. They are trying to make ends meet by selling their wares in the city centre.
I do not know where the problem is because we have a lot of bus termini in the city like the Fourth Street, Road Port, Charge Office, Rezende Street South, Copacabana and so on. I thought the City Council would possibly take these people, especially the people with disabilities from my constituency, the deaf and dumb, whom I often meet in town while selling air-time and fruits. Some of them are from the Spinal Injuries Association. These people should be designated in suitable points such as at the Road Port, Fourth Street, Charge Office, Rezende and so on, from which to sell their items. I think orderliness will be maintained if this is done. What I got from the Spinal Injuries Association is that, when they asked for places from which to sell their items, one was placed at Haddon Motors, which is in Eastlea. For the four to five days that he was there, he only sold four to five bananas and the others got rotten. The others were placed at Avondale Shopping Centre, Westgate and so on. Why should people be taken to where there are no customers? The bulk of their customers are found in town, Machipisa Shopping Centre, Lusaka Market, Mbare and so on. Why then can we not place these people where there are customers who can buy their items? Why should we hide them away from the city?
One of the days when I was in England, I was walking with my Professor’s wife and there were people singing. I asked if the people were blind and I was told that they were not but were trying to make money. In America, I understand that these people are called panhandlers. There is nothing new about begging, it is all over the world. Anyone who turns into vending will be trying to avoid begging. We should help them so that they make a decent income without having to steal or do any of these unlawful things. I think that our City Council should help them. In this regard, I would like to appeal to the Minister of Local Government, Doctor Chombo, to empower Councils so that our situation is improved. I hope one day I will be able to talk to Senator Shiri over some of the issues that our people are facing.
In relation to the abuse of the people with disabilities, I think that if Government is able to register organisations and institutions, it should also be empowered to monitor and evaluate whatever these organisations and institutions are doing. They should be monitored on how they expend their finances. I have noted that the Constitution stipulates that the Government has a mandate to formulate legislation that will give powers to the Auditor-General to look into the affairs of certain Government departments. Madam Speaker, I would like to request the authorities that be to also give the powers to the Auditor-General to occasionally, with or without notice, look at the way things are happening…
MADAM PRESIDENT: Order Hon. Senator Mashavakure. In
the Senate we do not have a Speaker; we have the President of the
SENATOR MASHAVAKURE: Sorry, it was a slip of the tongue Madam President. I would like to urge the authorities that, when they make the necessary legislation, they should give powers to the AuditorGeneral to also investigate at his or her own discretion, whatever is happening in an organisation or institution which would have been registered by the Government of Zimbabwe. This would either be a Trust or a private volunteer organization. I think that will stop a lot of mischief that is happening. Organisations are formed in our name, but there will not be a single disabled person in the management of that organisation. How then can someone form an organisation where disabled people cannot participate claim that the organisation is for the benefit of the disabled or is established on their behalf?
Madam President, the next thing is that we have the department of Social Welfare or Social Services, where our people get what is called Public Assistance. At the moment, it is only USD20. Can you imagine travelling from some place in a rural area; you are blind like me or are wheel chaired like someone else, where you need an escort. You pay USD5 for your escort and USD5 for yourself to go and collect the money; you need the same amount to travel back. This means that you will collect the money entirely for the purpose of covering transport expenses. If you borrow the money, you run the risk of not being able to pay it back. I think the Government should, in its own wisdom, consider seriously the possibility of raising that figure so that people can benefit from the goodwill.
MADAM PRESIDENT: Order, Hon. Senator Mashavakure, I
wish to remind you that you only have four minutes left of the time that you are allocated.
SENATOR MASHAVAKURE: Alright, no problem. We also
think that there are other issues that will affect everybody else. For instance, if you had your US$20 and did not spend it all and you put it in a bank, the next time that you go to the bank, you will find out that maybe the money is gone. So, as part of the formulation of laws governing our banking system, that the President alluded to in his speech, I think the issue of bank charges should be addressed seriously.
Four years into the era of this basket of currencies, banks cannot continue to complain that they are having administrative problems and therefore the best thing they can do is to eat into people’s accounts. That is a custom and practice that should now be stopped. Madam President, I would like to thank you for this opportunity.
* SENATOR MANYERUKE: Thank you Madam President. I
would like to start by thanking you for giving me this opportunity to make my contribution on this motion and also congratulate you for being given the opportunity to lead this august Senate. May the lord empower you to be able to communicate with the people at all levels. I would also like to say thank you to Senators elected into this Senate because we know that the elections were quite a contest and winning was quite an effective thing.
I want to congratulate His Excellency for opening up the First Session of the 8th Parliament of Zimbabwe and congratulate him for winning the elections which were held on the 31st of July, 2013. I am also very grateful that the elections were held in a peaceful atmosphere.
Even in the area where I come from, in Muzarabani, which is one of the hottest areas, it was cool as if we had just lost a chief. Therefore the spirits of the land were happy because of that.
His Excellency succeeded in the elections and the observers, who had come from other countries, confirmed that the elections in Zimbabwe were held in a free and fair manner. Even those people who were against the elections felt that the elections were free and fair.
The President also touched on farming and mining and I will only touch on a few things. Since I come from Muzarabani, this is a hot climatic region and we grow mainly the cash crop cotton. Our problem is that the price of cotton is making the farmers give up on growing cotton and they are now going to areas where they prefer to grow tobacco.
Our farmers also feel that they want to grow maize and they look forward to receiving maize seed and as of now, the rains fell some three days ago but unfortunately the seed has not come. I know we are hard working farmers and if we are given enough equipment and seed, we are able to feed our families. I would also like to say thank you to the
President of Zimbabwe and the Commander-In-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces because he is supporting all the provinces of this country, regardless of the people’s affiliation, tribe and religion. In Muzarabani, we appeal to the President so that he gives us small grain seeds, including beans, that we have a bumper harvest. In other areas people prefer growing maize.
We also look forward to ministers, who were elected to lead the country, to do their work properly. I am also glad because they have started doing their work and they are working very hard. In Muzarabani, we have a dam on Mavuradonha Escarpment. We look forward to the construction of this dam. The water flowing from the dam will enable the farmers to grow their crops and thereby avert hunger that is caused by persistent drought.
We say thank you to His Excellency because he empowers us and encourages us to talk of peace and development in our areas. We talked about development in unity and in peace. Thank you, Mr. President for giving us the time to discuss in Peace.
As leaders of this august Senate we should speak in unity as we are doing now, according to the Presidential Speech. We will be able to keep peace and unity in the country. I would like to thank you Hon. President of the Senate for leading us and encouraging us not to miss our sittings, so that we do our work properly according to the mandate given to us by the electorate. Thank you Madam President.
SENATOR CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
SENATOR MOHADI: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 9th October, 2013.
ALIGNMENT OF LAWS TO THE CONSTITUTION
SENATOR MARAVA: I move the motion standing in my name
that this House;
NOTING the people of Zimbabwe voted overwhelmingly at the referendum in favour of the new Constitution on the 16th of March,
WHEREAS Parliament passed the new Constitution in May 2013;
AND WHEREAS the President of Zimbabwe assented to the
Constitutional Bill on the 22nd of May, 2013;
AWARE that some existing legislation has not yet been aligned to the new Constitution;
CONCERNED by commissions and omissions by the Executive
which are likely to breach provisions of the Constitution;
FURTHER CONCERNED by the absence of Bills that seek to harmonise existing legislation with the new Constitution;
NOW, THEREFORE : Calls for the expeditious harmonisation of existing legislation with the Constitution of Zimbabwe and the implementation of the constitutional provisions particularly those that seek to uplift the status of women.
SENATOR MAKORE: I second.
SENATOR MARAVA: Thank you very much Mr. President, my
motion has to do with the alignment of some existing legislations to conform with the new Constitution.
Mr. President Sir, I need not remind Senators that Zimbabwe now has a new Constitution. However, I need to highlight the fact that there are changes that must be made to our statute law immediately to give effect to the new Constitution. Some sections of the Constitution came into effect on the 22nd of May, 2013 when the new Constitution was gazetted. The rest of the Constitution came into effect on 22nd August 2013.
- Declaration of Rights
Mr. President, the Declaration of Rights is already in operation and several statutes should have already been amended to reflect this. (a) Right to life (Section 48 of the new Constitution)
The new Constitution permits the death penalty to be imposed as under the present Constitution, but only in more limited circumstances:
- It can be imposed only for “murder committed in aggravating circumstances”
- It can be imposed only on men between the ages of 21 and 70.
Mr. President, the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act and the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act [Criminal Law Code] will have to be amended to give effect to these restrictions.
(b) Rights of arrested, detained and accused persons [Sections 50 and 70]
Mr. President, the new Constitution gives the following new rights:
- Arrested persons must be allowed, without delay and at the State’s expense, to contact anyone of their choice, including their relatives or legal practitioners.
- Arrested persons must be allowed, without delay though at their own expense, to consult their medical practitioners in addition to their lawyers.
- Arrested persons must be released after 48 hours unless their further detention has been authorized by a “competent court”. Their detention cannot be extended in any other way.
- Accused persons are entitled to legal aid “if substantial injustice would otherwise result” and must be informed of that right.
- Detained persons must be allowed to communicate with and be visited by their relatives, their religious counselors, their lawyers, their medical practitioners and anyone else of their choice.
- Anyone may apply for an order of habeas corpus to obtain the release of a detained person or to ascertain his or her whereabouts; it is not necessary for the applicant to establish locus standi.
Mr. President, none of these rights is provided for in our statute law, which will have to be amended urgently to provide for them. In particular, the following provisions of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act will have to be amended.
(d) Freedom of expression and freedom of the media [Section 61]
Mr. President, the new Constitution expressly protects academic freedom and freedom of the media. It also guarantees freedom of establishment of broadcasting and other electronic media, subject only to licencing procedures that are necessary to regulate the airwaves and are independent of State, political or commercial control. State-owned media must be impartial and allow fair presentation of divergent views and opinions.
The relevant legislation must therefore be amended to reflect this new reality.
(e) Rights of women [Section 80]
Mr. President, the new Constitution prohibits discrimination between men and women, particularly in relation to custody and guardianship of their children.
The Guardianship of Minors Act will need to be revised so that it confers equal rights on mothers and fathers. At present it assumes that fathers are the guardians of children and favours mothers in regard to the custody of children.
The Marriages Act and the Customary Marriages Act also need to be amended to ensure that marriage of girls under 18 is prohibited in both civil and customary law.
Mr. President, the new Constitution has made several changes to our citizenship law which must be reflected in the Citizenship of Zimbabwe Act.
- It has conferred citizenship as an absolute birthright on people born in this country; that is, it permits citizens by birth to hold dual citizenship. This is reflected in Section 42(e) of the new Constitution.
- It has conferred citizenship by birth on people who were born in this country and descended from SADC citizens, so long as they were ordinarily resident in Zimbabwe on 22nd May 2013, as reflected in Section 43(2) of the new Constitution.
- Foundlings, that is, children under 15 who are found in Zimbabwe and whose parentage is unknown are deemed to be citizens by birth as is contained in Section 36(3) of the new Constitution.
- It has lengthened from five to ten years, the period of residence required for citizenship by registration. This is contained in Section 38(2) of the new Constitution.
Mr. President, it is my humble submission that all these changes must be reflected in the Citizenship of Zimbabwe Act.
Mr. President, members would be aware that new provisions came into force on the 22nd May 2013, on how representatives to Parliament and local government would be chosen. Specifically, there is the introduction of proportional representation for the Senate, for extra women’s seats in the National Assembly and for some Provincial
Council seats. Although the new Constitution required that an Act of Parliament must provide for the conduct of elections, alignment of the
Electoral Act with the new Constitution was done by regulations [S.I.
Mr. President, under the Lancaster House Constitution, the Attorney
General was the Government’s chief legal adviser and was also responsible for prosecuting criminal cases on behalf of the State. Under the new Constitution, these two functions are separated. Specifically, the Attorney General continues to give legal advice to the Government [Section 114] but responsibility for criminal prosecutions is transferred to a new National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) established by Section 258 of the Constitution. The NPA is headed by a Prosecutor General (Section 259). Mr. Tomana, who was previously Attorney-General, has become the Prosecutor-General by virtue of paragraph 19(2) of the Sixth
Schedule to the Constitution, which states that “the person who held office as Attorney-General immediately before the effective date continues in office as Prosecutor-General on and after that day”. The post of Attorney-General therefore remains vacant. Mr. President, in the absence of legislation setting out its organizational structure, the NPA’s existence remains largely theoretical. In terms of Section 259 of the
Constitution, an Act of Parliament must provide for the NPA’s organisational structure and the employment of its staff.
- Provincial and Metropolitan Councils
Mr. President, a new Act must be enacted setting up provincial and metropolitan councils in accordance with Chapter 14 of the new Constitution. Strictly speaking, the councils have been established by the new Constitution itself, but until legislation is enacted, the councils will have no venues, no structures, no procedures and no staff. Mr. President, the Act must spell out in clear terms the roles and functions of the provincial chairpersons so as to avoid duplication and conflict with the newly appointed Ministers of State for Provincial Affairs. The Act must also provide for capital grants and other payments to be allocated equitably between provincial and metropolitan councils and local authorities, as required by Section 301 of the Constitution.
- Enabling Acts for the New Constitution
Mr. President, the new Constitution has created three new commissions:
- the Zimbabwe Gender Commission
- the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission
- the Zimbabwe Land Commission
Although the Constitution outlines how they are appointed and their functions, these commissions need enabling Acts to regulate their procedures and staffing, and to confer ancillary functions and powers upon them, in the same way that enabling Acts have been passed for commissions such as the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission and the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission, which were established under the previous Constitution. Mr. President, it is my hope that the members of the Executive under whose jurisdiction the above issues fall, will move with speed to bring the Bills to Parliament. I thank you.
SENATOR MAKORE: Firstly, I want to thank Hon. Marava for
raising this very important motion of the Constitution. I would also like to thank the 7th Parliament for a job well done, where they managed to produce such an important document. I also want to put to this august Senate; it is my opinion or my view that this Constitution must be interpreted in both vernacular languages, so that the citizens understand this document in and out.
Looking into the phases of this Constitution, all sections are fundamentally important. I would like to single out an important section that has been mentioned by Hon. Marava in his presentation. It is the Declaration of Rights. Citizens must be in a position to understand their rights. The rights to me are a treasure that really purposes fully the intentions of war. In the Constitution, in terms of the national objectives of the Constitution, it is to guide all institutions and agencies of State and Government.
The goals set out in Chapter 2, should guide all Government bodies as they exercise their powers, make laws and policy decisions. In general terms, Government authorities should be exercised with the aim to establish and promote a just, free and democratic society in which
people can enjoy prosperous, happy and fulfilled lives. This Section states that the objectives set out in this Chapter, must be considered when interpreting the obligations of the State under the Constitution or any other law.
Mr. President, the Constitution is the supreme law of the country.
It is anticipated that all laws that are below should be aligned to this Constitution. This presentation does not guarantee that at least, that will not be done, but it is only an emphasis that the processes must be speeded up so that we are not found wanting, in terms of the implementation aspect of this particular Constitution. The rights, such as stated here, are very social. For example, those that have been mentioned under the prisoners, they are so social where one can communicate with anybody, request the legal representation, can be visited and be seen by his relatives or friends. These are social clauses. It means that these steps are interpretations to the intended objectives for which the war was fought. It gives guarantees, rights, freedoms, justice and solace in all our processes – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.]-
By the same token, this call is a call for total realignment of all the laws to our Constitution. This process, as was mentioned, must be speeded up. They have mentioned a number of phases and I do not want to sound like a legal persona. I want to touch it from a layman’s approach. Normally, they say, “the voice of the people is the voice of
God”, and we assume that this Constitution was a people driven
Constitution – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear] - and it is their voice. Fundamentally, I do not want to waste much of your time, but this call is meant to quickly realign all our laws to this Constitution. I thank you, Mr. President.
SENATOR CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: I move that the debate do
SENATOR MOHADI: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 9th October, 2013.
On the motion of SENATOR CHIEF CHARUMBIRA seconded by SENATOR MOHADI, the Senate adjourned at One Minute past
Four o’clock p.m.