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PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Tuesday, 9th April, 2024

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

PRAYERS

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

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR MASHONALAND EAST PROVINCE (HON. SEN. MUNZVERENGWI):  I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 6 on today’s Order Paper be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the Day have been disposed of.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE NATIONAL PEACE AND

RECONCILIATION COMMISSION FOR THE YEAR 2023 

Seventh Order read:  Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission for the Year 2023.

Question again proposed.

       HON. SEN. MAVENYENGWA: Thank you Mr. President of the Senate for giving me the opportunity. I want to add my voice on the debate on the Report of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission, which motion was brought to this House by the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs. The Peace and Reconciliation Commission is a very important organisation in our country…

       Proceedings in the Senate were disrupted by malfunctioning of the recording system.

         HON. SEN. MAVENYENGWA: I was saying the Peace and Reconciliation Commission is an important organisation in our country as its mandate is to promote peace and solve disputes so that people can live peacefully. No organisation or country can develop without peace. The peace we are witnessing here in Zimbabwe enables our country to develop because there is no fighting and conflict. We can do our work peacefully. Conflict causes loss of life and also damage to property like what is happening in Gaza Palestine region where children, women, disabled and other vulnerable people are being killed indiscriminately because of conflict.

To avoid conflict, organisations like the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission should play an important role and make sure communities remain peaceful by solving any conflicts or disagreements. There are political, land, economic, ethnic and religious domestic conflicts among others which normally arise in many situations where people will have disagreements.  We need this organisation, the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) to come in and assist in solving those conflicts.  In Zimbabwe, political conflicts emerge, especially during or after elections when one party fails to concede defeat.  It is important for political parties to be tolerant and accept the people’s will and avoid conflicts which end up in violence like what happened in 2018.  As a country, we need to avoid such situations by just accepting that one has won over you.

We have violence which erupts, especially where people are not able to accept that whenever there is a race, there must be a winner.  It is not always that when you compete you both win.  One will win while the other one will lose.  So, one has got to accept that.  This must be avoided by all means as life and property will be lost due to violence.  The NPRC noted that they received about 105 new complaints in 2023 alone and have a backlog of about 33 complaints, bringing the total complaints to 138.  They say 47% of these complaints are of a political nature, which were purported to have been committed during the elections as earlier alluded to.  This is from the report of the ZNRC.  The National Peace and Reconciliation Commission did a wonderful job and solved most of these conflicts.  The Commission also set up a conflict early warning and early warning response system to promote the strengthening of internal capacitation of people to solve their differences.  

I had a chance to observe the recently held 2024 elections in Russia.  I witnessed great tolerance by political parties and the citizens of Russia.  The process was so peaceful and no violence was recorded during my stay in Russia.  The presidential losers congratulated the winner President Putin and they shook hands, which is what we also want to happen in our country Zimbabwe.  This will avoid conflict amongst our people.  Our 2023 general elections were very peaceful, thanks to our visionary leader Cde Dr. E D Mnangagwa who preached peace at all his meetings.  Some parties like ZANU-PF heeded the President’s call to shun violence and campaigned peacefully and won resoundingly as people were happy with the leadership style which was being exhibited by its leader Cde E.D Mnangagwa and his followers. 

Drugs are also a cause for conflict in homes, work-places, public and private places. People do not work, but engage in fighting because of drugs.  Drugs also end up causing diseases such as Cancer.  Our youths do not also work if they take these drugs.  This means production will also be affected because of the drugs that the youths are taking.  So I suggest that stiffer penalties be imposed on those selling drugs, just like what is happening to those who steal cattle.  If one steals one beast, he is given a nine year jail term.  That should also apply to drugs.  If one is found selling drugs especially to the youths, the penalty should be very harsh so as to deter people from selling drugs.  Drugs also cause domestic violence.  Normally when one has taken drugs and goes home to find that the wife has not yet cooked anything, the husband will start beating her up.  So, drugs cause domestic violence and we do not want to continue having such conflicts in our country.  I urge families to solve their problems amicably and stop taking drugs because they are harmful and influence some people to engage in violent activities.     

The NPRC partnered with schools, Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services, traditional leaders, the Task Force on Drugs and Substance Abuse among others, to curb the problem so that figures do not result in multiplication of avoidable conflicts.  It is one of the strategies which was used by the NPRC because these drugs are now also being taken in schools as well as in prisons.  So, they have to target those places and ensure that they reduce the use of drugs in schools and prisons.  Traditional leaders also play a pivotal role in fighting drugs.   They were engaged by the NPRC.  
       The Commission was given $11billion in the 2023 budget by Treasury which was not adequate to cover all the resources needed as some personnel left the Commission for greener pastures citing low remuneration.  As Parliament, we need to support the budgetary issues for the NPRC so that the Finance Ministry can increase what they give to the Commission to enable them to do their work properly so that there is no high staff turnover.  There is a lot of work which was done by the Commission during the 2023 period.  As Parliament, we need to support them so that they try to ensure that the country maintains the peace it has and we can continue to see development taking place in our country.  Peace begins with me, peace begins with you and peace begins with all of us, said mdala wethu, the late liberation icon father Zimbabwe, Cde. Dr. Joshua Nkomo.  So, I think everyone in here should make sure there is peace in the country.  Do not incite your supporters to cause violence to ensure the country remains peaceful.  Thank you for the time you have given me Mr. President.

HON. SEN. TSHABANGU: Thank you Mr. President Sir. Mr. President, a very good afternoon. I appreciate the recognition and also want to add on to what the previous speaker said but will digress a little bit. National Peace and Reconciliation Commission, it has to be truth. There was an omission in the Constitution of truth but it is a debate for another day. My point, Mr. President, this country needs healing. This country needs nationhood building. There is no development without peace. There is no development we may see in our generation when our communities are still experiencing violence, not physical violence that the previous speaker has alluded to, but silent violence in communities.

There has not been a closure to those who were victims of the yester-year politics, victims of the politics of exclusion. They are still yearning for peace. Today, these communities in their spaces, commemorate and celebrate the existence of their families in whichever way they do it. They erect the tombstones as families, as societies but overnight, we have some agents who will really remove them through a sense and form of violence by bombs. There are still cracks of Gukurahundi in their graves. Their placards are being removed, not by a form of peace but a form of violence. Violence is still moving and it is still there in the region where I come from.

Mr. President, I rise to say, this Honourable House should make sure that the initiative that is being spearheaded by the Head of State, His Excellency, through the traditional chiefs, must be supported. It must be supported by every Zimbabwean. We cannot have a situation where some elements, agents or sections of people in this country come and ululate for His Excellency during the day yet during the night they go and undo what the President does for this country. We want to build, not a country but a nation and a nation cannot be built but a section of few citizens of this country. It can only be built by us all. There is no minority group. There is no bigger group. There are no Whites, Coloureds, Tongas, Ndebeles or Zezurus, we are all Zimbabweans and we abide by the National Flag. We abide by that symbol which is there, which should make us Zimbabweans.

I rise with a heavy heart, Mr. President, that you make sure to allow the people of Zimbabwe in their spheres, to grieve in their way. When they grieve in their way, they should be protected. Security forces should make sure that when this thing happens, when people of Zimbabwe congregate, meet and commemorate their loved ones who lost their lives fighting for this country, they should be protected in their way. It does not matter that the Government should really - as long as the programme is not run by the Government, then they should not be protected by the security agents.

They should make sure that these people are protected and protect those who have died. We cannot have grenades in the graves of the people who are dead Mr. President Sir, and we are talking about peace. There is no peace in the region of Matabeleland. People are still yearning for that peace. I rise and say, let us buttress Vision 2030. Let us buttress the vision that His Excellency, through the traditional chiefs, has; we want the closure of Gukurahundi in Matabeleland. I will be one of those who would stand and support that vision. I thank you.

*HON. SEN. WUNGANAYI: Thank you Mr. President for affording me this opportunity to add my voice on the issue of peace and reconciliation in the country. I believe that the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission…

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Order Hon. Wunganayi. We are debating the Report of the National Peace and Reconciliation for 2023. You may proceed.

*HON. SEN. WUNGANAYI: Thank you Mr. President. I was getting there. I wanted to thank the Minister, who is the mover of the motion of truth and reconciliation …

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Hon. Wunganayi, you keep going astray. It is not a motion; it is a report.

*HON. SEN. MUZODA: Thank you Mr. President. I want to add my voice on the report which was presented in this House by the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs. The report speaks about peace and reconciliation in the country and other countries, like what they were doing when they sit down and discuss this issue. Firstly, Mr. President, I would want to begin from the issue of the liberation struggle. There was liberation struggle because we wanted to find a better way for peace and reconciliation and live in harmony and have equal treatment. There is no one who is supposed to be superior than the other. This forced us to go to war as Zimbabweans, even you the Hon. President of the Senate, you went to war. You fought tirelessly to make sure that there is peace in the country. The war was fought and people had to sit down and talk to find each other and moved on.  That is what we need in Zimbabwe so that we cannot have a person who mistreats other people or take them for granted or take them to a certain group so that they feel uncomfortable and this will end up causing a lot of problems.  

Mr. President, we have seen a lot of conflicts in different countries.  In 1994, there was war conflict between the Tutsis and the Hutus.  In South Africa, there was war and in DRC, there was war again, but all these countries today formed peace and reconciliation organisations which encourage peace and harmony and we emulate that because it brings peace.  Mr. President, although there are other organisations which are not in support of this, there is peace in those countries.  I am happy that the previous speaker said that peace begins with me, peace begins with you and peace begins with all of us.  

       Mr. President, we need to educate each other on this report.  If you are speaking about the issue of peace and reconciliation, it is an issue which everyone needs to grasp well with truth, without lies or without fear.  We can only talk about peace and reconciliation if there was conflict before.  We have faced a lot of problems in the country and we think that these things must not be repeated again.  I want to touch on what the previous speaker has said when he spoke about the issue of Gukurahundi in Matebeleland.  The issue must be addressed so that it will not continuously come up.  That is the meaning of peace and reconciliation.  If we have come from conferences where we have learnt different things and come up with a report, let us come into this august House and execute what we would have discussed.  

        Mr. President, in 2008, there was an issue of politics, like what others are saying that when there is an election, there must be a winner and also there must be others who congratulate the winner. That did not happen because issues were raised later.  As time went on, people started saying this one is the one who won…..

      THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Order, I have been liberal and allowed people to stray a bit here and there, but I think it is now getting out of hand.  Clerk, do you have a copy of the report, the one we are discussing.  We are discussing the report of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission for the Year 2023 presented in this House in terms of Section 253 and 323 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.  Listen carefully, I am not stifling debate on anything which you want.  You can go to the Journals Office, file for a motion which you want to present to this House, be it on Gukurahundi or anything and then we discuss it.  Now, if I allow Members to stray from the report and discuss particular incidences which happened in 1980, 2008, 1957, you can even go back to 1886 or 1893; we will be regressing in terms of the orders of this House.  I hope you have read this report Hon. Members.  That is what we are debating.  If you want to debate anything else, please go to Mr. Daniel’s Office, file a motion and we come and debate here.  It is getting out of hand.  Senator Wunganayi, if you want to debate on this motion you can continue, but if you have nothing else to say you may sit down.

      *HON. SEN. ZVIDZAI: Thank you very much Mr. President.  Thank you for affording me this opportunity to add my voice on the report on National Peace and Reconciliation.  The National Peace and Reconciliation is a very important Commission.  It was established in 2013 when we wrote the New Constitution.  Mr. President, the statistics given in the report that there is violence and conflict in this country, how they presented and who can address these issues of conflicts in the country.  Most of the conflicts amounting to 105 come from politics, 49 cases come from how we live in the country and how are we going to lead each other.  Some of the conflicts in the country are Gender-based Violence.  

       I am pleased Mr. President that on issues of Gender-Based Violence, all of us agree that from all walks of life, we must fight Gender-Based Violence so that there is peace and harmony in the communities.   That same thing must apply to the whole country, that is what our country needs.  If we say that there is something bad which is being done by someone, let us help that person so that he or she can be able to perceive things the way others perceive the issue.  We agree as all Hon. Members in this House that we must fight Gender-Based Violence so that our country can develop economically.  What is called a country is a summation of all the different households and that is what we call a population of a country.  

       We also agree that we must fight gender-based violence so that there is peace and harmony in households.  That same thing must apply to the whole country.  This is what our country Zimbabwe needs.  If we see that there is something bad that is being done by someone, let us help that person so that he or she can be able to perceive things the way others perceive it.  

We agree as Hon. Senators in this Senate to fight gender-based violence so that our country can move forward and we can develop economically.  We also agree that there is conflict between humans and wildlife.  All of us agree that wild animals are eating people’s crops and harming people.  We must find a better solution to solve this wild-life and human conflict.  There is one area where we do not agree with each other, that is, where others are trying to hide conflicts that are involved in politics.  As a country, we cannot move forward if we are not addressing this issue. If there is conflict in terms of politics, we must not look at who caused the conflict, but let us address the issue as it is.  Is there conflict or not?  We must not argue on something that is bad.  

       People must agree that there must be peace in the country.  We must condone violence during election time as what happened in 2008 elections whereby people’s hands were cut.  Liberation war collaborators like Cde. Tongogara, even the President himself fought for the liberation of this country and we must not force each other to comply with what we think is the best but as a country, we must work for the betterment of the country.

      If we analyse the report, we can see that 23 percent of the 49 cases are coming from Masvingo and the issues of addressing violence must be addressed extensively in Masvingo Province.  Levels of violence must go down like what is being done in Bulawayo and other provinces. People from Masvingo must desist from violence.  They must stop beating each other because that is what is written in this report.  

       Mr. President, I am not addressing people individually, I come from Masvingo but I am rebuking the people of Masvingo to desist from violence.  The politics of the province has something to do with the leaders of the area.  If the place is headed by a violent somebody, most people will be killed.  If an area is headed by someone who is peaceful, people stay peaceful.  Even the Bible says that if an area is headed by evil people, the area is going to experience violence.  

       The area of Masvingo is being headed by an evil person. People from Mashonaland East are the second…

       HON. SEN. MAVENYENGWA: On a point of order Mr. President of Senate.

       THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: What is your point of order?

       *HON. SEN. MAVENYENGWA: Mr. President, the Hon. Senator said that Masvingo is being headed by evil people.  We have many people who come from Masvingo but he is putting everybody in one basket.  I do not agree because there are many good people who come from Masvingo, the Hon. Senator must withdraw his statement.  We have Hon. Sen. Chief Charumbira who has been elected to head Pan African Parliament and that shows that he is a good person; he comes from Masvingo.  May the Hon. Member withdraw his statement.

       THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: He is not out of context, he is debating on the report and he has quoted the statistics, so he is making that statement in the context of the fact that the highest number of cases were in a particular region.  He is not white-washing all the people who come from Masvingo, but those people who committed acts of violence.  

       *HON. SEN. ZVIDZAI: Thank you Hon. President of Senate. Mashonaland East has got a percentage of 17%, but I am also encouraging them that if you are electing or choosing leaders, you must choose people who are not violent so that the country is not headed by violent people. We must move forward as a country.  

Here I am talking about conflict which has to do with politics, that is why I have mentioned something about politics.  Bishops of churches who are involved in violence must desist from that.  I cannot mention the chiefs because they are not allowed to be involved in politics.  The other conflict is on land; that is what we fought for during the liberation struggle and that is where conflict is emanating from.  I am also encouraging the chiefs because they are the custodians of land in this country.  

       If they are looking at issues of land, they must make sure that there is fairness when presenting the issues and to make sure that everyone equally benefits.  This is another way of finding ways to reduce conflict in the country so that when the National Peace and Reconciliation writes their 2024 report, they will mention that conflict of land has been reduced.  That is what we are advocating for, that there must be peace and tranquility in the country.  Where there is no peace, there is no development, even at household level. If rains come and you begin to argue which crop to plant, the rain season will end whilst you are still arguing on which crop to plant.  Hence that is why we want peace in the country, even in our different provinces because devolution and development come when there is peace in the country.  I thank you Hon. President for affording me this opportunity to add my voice.  I also want to thank the Commissioners of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission who did not hide anything but they included everything in the report.  It depends on how we see it, but they tried their level best by giving us some picture, and even the statistics to make sure that we understand where we stand as a country.  Their solo motive was to make sure that there is peace in the country, I thank you.

      THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR MASHONALAND EAST PROVINCE (HON. SEN. MUNZVERENGWI): I move that the debate do now adjourn.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 10th April, 2024.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

HON. SEN. MUZENDA: I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 8 to 14 on today’s Order Paper be stood over until the Order of the Day Number 15 has been disposed of.

HON. SEN. GOTORA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

PROGRAMMES TO CURB DRUG AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE BY THE YOUTHS

       Fifteenth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on drug and substance abuse by youths.

       Question again proposed.

        HON. SEN. CHAPFUDZA:  Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to debate on the motion which was brought by Hon. Sen. Dube on drug and substance abuse by the youth.  I would also like to thank those who debated before me on this motion. The issue of drug and substance abuse is a big issue which is affecting not only the youth, but all of us as Zimbabweans. The youth are coming from families and whenever a family is being affected, the youth inside that family is affected. That will also lead to the village, community, society and the country at large. Zimbabwe is being affected.

We want strong youths who are so determined to build Zimbabwe, but if they are weakened by drug and substance abuse, it means we are having a weaker Zimbabwe. All sectors of Zimbabwe, be it health or defence, are built by the youths. If the youths are affected by the drugs and substance abuse, it means we will not have a strong defence. All sectors are affected if the youths are affected. It is a serious issue that we should discuss and look into how we can prevent drug and substance abuse by the youths.

      For our society to move forward, it depends on the youths. If the youths are weak, we usually have a weak country. It is not only starting from the youths, they are getting these drugs from adults. There are people who are in search of money and living through dirty means, bringing drugs in our country, thereby destroying our own youths. Drug and substance abuse is a real issue. If you go to jail, they will testify that a lot of the people there are jailed because of the issue of drugs and substance abuse.  Even if you go to the cemetery, many young people are dying because of this issue. It is a testimony that young people are dying more than adults because they are abusing drugs. In our hospitals and rehabilitation centres, you find the youths who are sick because of abusing drugs and substances.

       We are recording school dropouts and academic difficulties due to mental health. These are issues which are being caused by drug and substance abuse. It is up to us now that we stand up and fight against this issue. The transmission of HIV is sometimes caused by the injection of the substances into the body through syringes which are not sterilised. This means that the transmission of HIV among the youths is on a high rate.

      There is increase in theft and robberies and this is caused by these youths when they do drug and substance abuse to support this kind of life style which needs money. These youths are not working, so they will resort to crimes and robberies. We should work so that we stop drug and substance abuse in Zimbabwe. We should also look into the issue of accidents. Let us give an example, when a youth is driving a car under the influence of drugs and substances, this will cause unnecessary accidents.

      Some of the laws that we enact as a country have an effect on the future of our country. When we were growing up, our parents used to beat us. Right now, there is a law which prevents the beating of children. You find a child in grade four taking drugs and you cannot take that person to jail. What are you going to do? The teacher is also afraid of this kid. We are destroying our own country through some of the laws that we are putting into effect. Let us not adopt foreign cultures. We have got our own culture and we grew up knowing that if you spare a rod, you spoil the child. Nowadays it is no longer like that.  The children have their own rights in the Constitution.

      It is my advice that whenever we are making these laws, we should also check our culture whether it permits these kinds of laws. These youths, when they are growing up, they are now emulating or looking at foreign artists as their role models. These foreign artists might be into drugs. When you look forward to your role model, you just take whatever the role model is doing thinking that it is the right way. I resonate with the song that was sung by Jah Prayzah when he was talking about, kuchiva rumwe rudzi hurema. We should be proud of ourselves as Zimbabweans. We should stand our ground so that we can carry our culture to the next generation.

      If you look backwards, what we used to do and what we are now doing nowadays is completely different. We are diverting from our culture and norms. We should go back to the drawing board and try to influence laws that support our culture. As part of a solution, our borders are too porous and Government should look into it and support programmes to secure our borders. Most of these drugs are not manufactured in Zimbabwe. They are coming from outside and I believe Government has a role to play in combating drug and substance abuse so that they do not get into our country.

        It is a wise idea that there should be some rollout of test kits so that we test each and every one to see whether they are using drugs or not. I have seen that in sports.  You cannot be a football player if you are not tested of drugs and substance abuse. I think it will be fine for our country so that we also test kids everywhere in schools and companies and everywhere, to test people for drug and substance abuse.  Drug and substance abuse affect everyone.  It might be you or me.  All of us are affected.  It happens that you are driving at night, then you have a tyre puncture and you have to stop.  Then when you stop, these youths who are under the influence of drugs will come and attack you.  So, it is good that we prevent drug and substance abuse.  Let all the perpetrators who are selling drugs be jailed.  I would also want to support the point raised by Hon. Sen Mavenyengwa on stiffer penalties to those found selling drugs to our youths.                   These years we have a lot of suicide cases committed under the influence of drugs and substance abuse.  There are premature deaths among people aged 17 to 20 years.  Yesteryear, we had no records of such young people.  We knew that death only visited the elderly.  It was a scary thing to witness a funeral when we were growing up because it was not a frequent occurrence.  

      As part of a solution to this issue, I talked of enacting laws that resonate with our culture.  I thank you Mr. President.

     *HON. SEN CHIEF CHIKWAKA:  What I do not know is whether I have debated before on this debate.

      THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Please carry on, you did not debate on this motion.

      *HON. SEN CHIEF CHIKWAKA:  Thank you.  I just want to add a few words on the motion raised by Hon. Dube.  It is…

An Hon. Member having passed between the Chair and the Hon. Member debating.

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Order Hon. Senator.  Please go back.  You do not pass in front of an Hon. Member who is debating and the Chair.  I thought you were inducted. Use the other entrance.

*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHIKWAKA:  Thank you Hon. President.  This is an issue that is troubling us.  We all know that in our culture we say there is no garden without weeds, and what these trouble-makers forget is that they are causing trouble for our children.  Our children have taken a bad decision of publicising drugs.  Long back, people used to think drugs were only used by the poor people but now we know that even those in high profile families are also using drugs.  So, when we die, who do we leave our inheritance to?  If we were to be raised from the dead, we would be pained to see our children using drugs.  Children of today even challenge their parents who gave birth to them.  We see our children misbehaving and we wonder where it is coming from but then it is coming from us, the adults.  Just as alluded to by one of the Hon. Members who debated before me, we are enacting laws which tend to backfire, like laws that say children must not be beaten or rebuked.  As a country, where are we going?  

        Mr. President, we did a survey when we went abroad.  We asked the children where they were getting the drugs and the reason why they were taking drugs because we wanted to see how best we could address the issue.  There is an English saying that says, ‘it takes a thief to catch a thief’.  So, we had to talk to the children.  They mentioned that the elders from high profile families are the perpetrators who use children to distribute drugs.  If you analyse this issue, you can see that the drugs are being produced for a ready market.  Long back, the children in the rural areas became the target as they we not going to school due to lack of school fees.  So, they were introduced to drugs.  These same children will grow into being parents and you will see them fathering children everywhere and not being responsible for the children.  They will not marry as they will not have any jobs or the responsibility to settle down and care for their families.  If they are going to try to be responsible, they then get into the project of buying and selling drugs.  In English we then say we produced idiots because these children’s minds only think of drugs and substance abuse.  They cannot be employed because they do not have O’ levels.  At the end of the day, they just indulge in drugs which are very affordable to them.  Mutoriro can be bought for ZAR10, ZAR5 $1 or 50 cents.  When they take these drugs, all they do is sleep or they become violent.  Sometimes they kill their parents.  We do have a lot of incidences, especially in the areas where we come from.  I will give an example of a person who harmed his wife and child. That person took rat poison after a conflict on the issue of land. The father wanted to sell land and the child refused that it was their inheritance. Then the father closed the door and attacked his wife. The wife had two deep cuts and the child was harmed. The elder son managed to escape. If you trace back, you would find that the person had spent the whole day taking mutoriro. I do not know what our laws say because tumbwa and mutoriro are being sold in the beerhalls and bars. Even those who are selling them are also taking in the drugs. If you try to negotiate with them, they cannot listen to you because they would have already been intoxicated. Even if you try to rebuke your child, the law says you cannot rebuke or beat your child. What type of right is that when the Bible encourages parents to rebuke their children from following evil ways?

We are trying to mould our children to be inheritors of the country and of our future, but right now we are suffering trying to build our country for the sake of the future. However, those who are supposed to inherit the country in the future are not doing anything because they are taking in drugs. Right now, this country will end up being inherited by other people who are busy manufacturing drugs and selling locally. Mr. President, as chiefs we are worried and we are imploring the Government to work towards elimination of drug and substance abuse.

It is my wish Mr. President that the laws which we are making in this country must be beneficial to us as a country today and tomorrow and even for our inheritors. The issue of drug and substance abuse which was raised by Hon. Dube…

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: She is Hon. Senator.

HON. SEN. CHIEF CHIKWAKA: Thank you Mr. President Sir. The issue of drug and substance abuse which was brought by Hon. Sen. Dube is a pertinent issue. We must look at the issue and make sure we address it and not to just work without any results. Let us be united and work as a country and make new laws that benefit our country so that our country is protected and our children are protected from drug and substance abuse. The perpetrators who are supplying these drugs to other people’s children must desist from that because those same issues are going to affect their children. Thank you Mr. President.

*THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Thank you Hon. Sen. Chief Chikwaka.  The Hon. Member who wanted to go out, you may leave because you will not be able to leave when another Hon. Member is debating.

HON. SEN. S. NDEBELE: Thank you Mr. President Sir. Thank you for giving me this opportunity. I want to thank the mover of this motion who raised concerns that we all know are a challenge, especially to our children. Thank you for such a good motion which helps us in moulding the future of our children. Most of the Members who spoke before me have raised important points. I will however, add my voice on what has not been hinted by the previous speakers.

The issue to do with drug abuse; you realise that most of the children who have access to the drugs and substance, we need to find out where it is coming from. Who is the source of these drugs that are being sold? We need to deal with the source that brings the drugs into the country and also the parent of the alleged child who is coming home late whilst in possession of drugs. Parents can attest to it that their children are into drugs. These are the other parents that we need to deal with. They need to come up in the open and seek assistance so that these children can get help.

Unfortunately, most of the times especially leaders, you will realise that as parents, you would have seen that your child is going astray and your neighbours will only see when the child is now addicted to the drugs. If only we can come up with a law that will then arrest even the parents who are staying with children who are so addicted to drugs and not taking steps towards that. Most of the times, when we try to investigate or when the law enforcement agents are trying to investigate, you realise that as parents, we stand and defend our children that they are not drug addicts.

Most of the times as parents, we protect our children whilst they are doing wrong things. There is need as Hon. Members, to arrest such acts by admitting when your child is going astray. When your child is now addicted into drugs and they commit murder, the first thing the parent does is to try and get funds so that the child who would have committed the crime escapes the country.

Sometimes it is sad Mr. President Sir, that as parents we can invest in the production of drugs and use escape clauses to say they are being used for traditional use. Even our old aged who are taking tobacco and most of them will be drugs, they would hide behind the finger and say it is usual tobacco when they are drugs. Also, what contributes to drug abuse is the money that we give to our children as pocket money, these monies are used to buy drugs and we need to be aware of that. My emphasis Mr. President Sir, would be that all those who are selling drugs should be arrested. Sometimes as Government or as leaders, we have women who go through gender-based violence.  What is it that we do to someone who is a victim of gender-based violence whilst the perpetrator has done that due to drug abuse?  What are we saying to our children who are exposed to parents who are into drugs?  Sometimes you see parents who are under influence of drugs and they stay with their children. What are we saying to children who are exposed to such? The example I want to give - I am not sure whether I will be off topic, for example we have a boychild in my area – that family is being headed by a mother. When the mother is under the influence of drugs, there are so many things that the boy does.  Sometimes that boy will go to his girlfriend’s place, and when the girlfriend is not there, he will actually ask to be intimate with the grandmother. Mr. President, because of fear, the grandmother will have to agree to be intimate with the boy.  It is so sad that after all that act, the young man will then ask the grandmother to pay him because he considers the act as a noble cause.  Unfortunately, the grandmother had to pay using chickens and that grandmother had to tell the leaders of the community.  Unfortunately, after the use of drugs, the boy had to admit and confessed to the leaders of the community about his actions.  The grandmother who was raped by this boy remains with emotional and psychological challenges.  I therefore plead with us as leaders or NGOs, to engage our traditional leaders and do an awareness campaign.  I believe that is where the problem is and if this can be done village by village and we involve our traditional leaders.  

Let me go back to the issue of parents who stand and fight for their children and deny that their children are drug addicts when it is known that indeed their children are drug addicts.  If there is a way Mr. President, I think this will assist us in a long way, working together with the law enforcers.  We need parents to be involved.  We need traditional leaders to be involved as well, especially those who are the source of the drugs.  I thank you Mr. President Sir.

         HON. SEN. TSHABANGU:  Thank you for giving me this opportunity to express my feelings, views, ideas on this very important subject.  We are talking about the future of this country.  Every one of us in this august House is a father, mother, grandmother and is a grandfather.  No one was born from a tree.  We have these family units, institutions that have made us who we are today.  If today a ten-year old or seven-year old can be affected by this animal which is drug, steroids, cocaine, where is our future?  If a ten-year old child today can walk into a supermarket, bar and is allowed, and he walks about and he buys that drug – Mr. President a ten-year old child!  This is the future; this is where our future lies.  

        Mr. President, we know who these people are.  The drug syndicate is not for a small person, it is not for a mere person walking in Nkayi, Tsholotsho and Dotito.  These are big persons, we know them, we know who they are but we cannot sit in this august House and allow these people to make money at the expense of the future of our country, at the expense of our children.  You may sit there, wherever you are today and hope that because your child is not affected, you are not bothered but you will not be there tomorrow.  This thing is growing Mr. President.  In developed countries like in Asia, when you are found in possession of a drug, that is a life sentence.  Look at how they have developed their countries, why can we not learn from these countries that have developed because they discovered that drugs would destroy economies.  Who is going to respect us today in this august House because drugs are addictive?  They are silent killers.  

        Mr. President, not only that but allow me to say drugs breach the fundamental rights and freedoms of our children.  The right to life is breached, the right to personal liberty is breached, the right to women dignity is breached, the right to health care is breached, all this is enshrined in this Constitution of Zimbabwe that was endorsed by His Excellency, that was endorsed by all of us today.   Should we therefore allow this Parliament to sit and see its tenure coming to an end without resolving this important issue.  Today, if you are a cattle rustler, you know that if the authorities of this land catch up with you; you know your sentence will be nine years and above, it is prescribed.  We are the legislative arm, why not create a law for these animal thieves, for this syndicate that if one is found with a drug, it is 20 years sentence in prison?  Can we not really mitigate? Yes, we have seen stock theft being reduced by that kind of legislation.  

There has been a solemn reduction in stock theft through the chiefs and communities because they know that if you are found, you will go for nine years, there is no question about it.  We are the legislative arm; can we not do that in order to mitigate these issues that I have raised?  

       Mr. President of Senate, we cannot isolate the issue of drug abuse from the economy.  There is a thin line, our youths are yawning in the streets.  I may be out of order, but if you can allow me to express myself and drive the point Mr. President.  I want to bring the issue of drug abuse in a way that as a nation, we may think of everything, but we need change of culture.  As a nation and as people, we need to change.  When I grew up, I only read about cocaine, I never witnessed it and saw it. I never saw it and I do not think I will be able to see it in my life time, but my son knows what cocaine is.  Yesteryear, Mr. President of Senate, when we were walking on the streets, you would see a hearse coming.  When I was in my teenage when you saw a hearse, there are two things you would do. It is either you would run away or you would stand still.  This is what we were told, you would stand still until the hearse passes.  

        That was the culture we were taught.  This cannot be given to the traditional chiefs; it cannot be their responsibility.  It is our responsibility because a traditional chief has got his own family.  I have got my own family so it is the culture or the mindset that we need to change for us to address some of these issues that we are experiencing today.  

       Mr. President of Senate, it is a very contentious debate. There are some of us here who are smokers who believe that smoking is part of their wellbeing.  There are some of us here who speak through to their ancestors through fodya and it works out for them and that is a drug which is different from that which I am talking about today.  This country represents the past, this Parliament represents today; this Parliament represents the present and future. So, it is our responsibility as we represent the present and the future to make sure that drugs are out of our streets to make sure that this country cannot live as long as we have illegal drugs.  This country will never prosper as long as drugs are available in the streets.

        We need a political will, His Excellency the President has the power, he has the mandate which he was given in the past last elections to carry this nation forward.  He was given the mandate by the people of this country to lead this country.  He has that mandate to make sure that drugs are removed from our streets.  That the chains of drugs are broken for him to advance his Vision 2030, he cannot see Vision 2030 as long as drugs are still there in our streets.  

       There is no question of legitimacy as I stand here, elections are gone, let us concentrate on bread and butter issues and these are the fundamental issues that I am talking about.  I thank you very much.

      +HON. SEN. DUBE:  Thank you Mr. President of Senate for giving me this opportunity to thank the Hon. Senate for supporting my motion on drugs and substance abuse.  I am grateful for there is no parent even as Hon. Senators that encounter challenges at home because of drug and substance abuse.  What I am grateful for Hon. President of Senate, is the support that this Hon. Senate gave to this motion where as parents, we were indicating that our children have become wild because of drug and substance abuse.  As such, they no longer respect parents.  We all have a duty as parents because our country is going into doldrums because these children are the future of this country.  

        Presidents are going to come from these youngsters and Hon. Members will come from these youngsters. Therefore, I am grateful for the support you gave to this motion. Government should ensure that we know that, His Excellency our President, Dr. E. Mnangagwa has tried to put in place a Commission that will look into drug and substance abuse.  My plea to this Commission is that they need to increase rehabilitation centres. In my previous debate in this House, I indicated that centres that used to cater for those who were affected by COVID-19 need to be used as rehabilitation centres.

         We continue to pray to God that every other parent needs to look into what they are doing, especially to those cartels that are bringing these drugs into the country.

In this motion, I was looking into the responsible Ministry coming through to hear contributions from Hon. Members. Despite all this Mr. President, I need to indicate that may this motion be adopted because Senators really supported this motion. Even today, we had other Senators that felt that they really needed to continue airing out their views regarding this motion.

We do not need to look much to Government alone because Government is me and you. We need to work hard and ensure that our children behave and respect wherever they are. They need to engage in sports and other developmental activities so that they do not partake in drug and substance abuse. It is not our duty for us to come here and say Government should be doing this and that, we also need to engage in ensuring that drug and substance abuse gets to an end. I move that the motion be adopted

Motion that;

        APPALLED by the unabated drug and substance abuse by youths nationwide;

GRAVELY CONCERNED that the situation is spiralling out of control as the youths spend most of their time idle and consequently end up taking drugs as a pastime;

WORRIED that such substance and drug abuse has extremely devastating and far reaching consequences on our youths and the future generations;

     NOW, THEREFORE, calls upon the Government to;

        a) Come up with programmes to curb drug and substance abuse by youths through self-help projects that ensure youths are fully occupied most of their time thereby keeping them away from drugs. b) Establish rehabilitation centres nationwide to assist youths who are addicted to drugs to the extent of treating substance and drug abuse as an integral part of their lives;

        c) Legislate for much stiffer penalties than before on individuals who are the sources of supply for those substances and drugs which give rise to incidents of this unwanted scourge of drugs in the country leading to this conundrum.

      d) Send to jail all repeat offenders without any option of fines at all and

      e) Take all necessary measures to ensure that law enforcement agents bring to an abrupt halt, incidents of drug and substance abuse as a matter of urgency, put and agreed to.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

        THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR MASHONALAND EAST PROVINCE (HON. SEN. MUNZVERENGWI): I move that we revert to Order of the Day, Number 8 on today’s Order Paper.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE ZIMBABWE ELECTORAL COMMISSION    ON THE 2023 HARMONISED ELECTIONS

       Eighth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission for the 2023 harmonised elections.

Question again proposed.

       HON. SEN. MOHADI:  Thank you for giving me this opportunity to add my voice in this august House on the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Report of 2023. It is without doubt that this report provides a comprehensive overview of the electoral process in our country, highlighting both achievements and challenges encountered during the electoral cycle.

The Constitution of Zimbabwe on Section 67, enshrines the principles of democracy, including the right to free and fair elections. It is our duty as representatives of the people to ensure that the electoral process upholds these principles and is conducted in a transparent and inclusive manner. Furthermore, the NDS1 outlines Government’s vision for the country including goals related to governance and democracy. The ZEC Report should be considered within the context of these developmental objectives and any recommendations should align with the broader goals of NDS1.

          Of particular importance are the recommendations in the ZEC Report which offer concrete steps to improve the electoral process. These recommendations must not be overlooked as they have the potential to enhance the integrity and credibility of our elections. Of particular concern is the issue of voter registration which has been identified as a significant challenge in the report. The low voter registration numbers especially among the youth and marginalised communities, raise questions about the inclusivity and representativeness of our electoral system. It is imperative that we address these issues to ensure that every eligible citizen has the opportunity to participate in the democratic process.

Furthermore, the report contains a number of recommendations aimed at improving the electoral process in Zimbabwe.  These recommendations range from enhancing voter education and awareness campaigns to improving the accessibility of polling stations for persons with disabilities.  It is crucial that we carefully consider these recommendations and take concrete steps to implement them in order to strengthen our electoral system and uphold the democratic principles upon which our nation is founded.

The recommendations from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) Report of 2023 offer several advantages, including:

  • Enhanced credibility; implementing the recommendations can enhance the credibility of the electoral process, leading to greater public trust in the outcomes of elections.
  • Increased inclusivity; the recommendations aim to increase inclusivity in the electoral process particularly among marginalised groups.  This can lead to a more representative government that reflects the diversity of the Zimbabwean population.
  • Improved transparency; implementing the recommendations can improve the transparency of the electoral process, making it easier for stakeholders to understand and scrutinize each step of the process.
  • Stronger democratic Institutions; by addressing key issues identified in the report, such as voter registration challenges and electoral malpractices, the recommendations can contribute to the strengthening of democratic institutions in Zimbabwe.
  • International recognition; implementing the recommendations can enhance Zimbabwe’s reputation internationally, demonstrating a commitment to democratic principles and good governance.
  • Conflict prevention; a fair and transparent electoral process, facilitated by the recommendations can help prevent electoral disputes and conflicts, contributing to overall peace and stability in the country.
  • Citizen empowerment; by improving voter education and awareness, the recommendations can empower citizens to participate more actively in the democratic process, leading to a more engaged and informed electorate.
  • Modernisation of electoral processes: Some recommendations may involve the adoption of modern technology and practices in the electoral process, leading to more efficient and effective elections.

In summation, let us work together to ensure that our electoral process is fair, transparent and in line with the aspirations of the Zimbabwean people.  Overally, implementing the recommendations from the ZEC report of 2023 can bring about significant positive changes to the electoral process in Zimbabwe leading to a more credible, inclusive and transparent democracy.  I thank you.

THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR MASHONALAND EAST PROVINCE (HON. MUNZVERENGWI):  I move that the debate do now adjourn.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume:  Wednesday, 10th April, 2024.

MOTION

REHABILITATION OF CENTRES FOR STREET KIDS

AND PROGRAMMES TO PROMOTE FAMILY

INTEGRATION

 HON. SEN. TONGOGARA:  I move that this House;

 RECOGNISING Government's commitment to vision 2030 of 'leaving no one and no place behind';

 ACKNOWLEDGING Government's endeavours and initiatives to provide children’s shelter for street children;

CONCERNED about the increasing number of children opting to live in the streets;

DISTURBED that these children are exposed to extreme health hazards, crime and abuse;

NOW, THEREFORE, calls upon; a) The Ministry of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion to avail more resources to the Department of Social Welfare to enable rehabilitation centres that will accommodate children living in the streets in recruitment of more social workers; b) The Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Development to invest in programs that improve the livelihood vulnerable families and reduce poverty at the household level; and c) The Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare to promote family integration in all its programmes.

HON. SEN. RUNGANI:  I second.

HON. SEN. TONGOGARA:  Mr. President, I stand before you today to speak about the seemingly invisible children of Zimbabwe – the street kids.  While there are no recent and accurate statistics on the number of children on the streets, it is glaring evidence that their numbers are increasing at an exponential rate, especially in the streets of Harare Central Business District.  Extreme poverty, parental child abuse, remarriages and maltreatment tend to drive children out of their homes to seek solace in the streets.  However, immediate causes range from abuse (sexual or physical), death, abandonment by guardian or parent including family breakdown.  Researchers found out that 90% of children end up on the streets due to abuse from a step-parent.  Some step-mothers refuse to nurture the children of their husbands’ former marriage, thereby depriving them not only of parental love, but of basic necessities such as food, clothing, education etc.  Also, when a woman decides to remarry, usually the children from the previous marriage suffer as they are not easily accepted into the new setup.  So in order to survive, these street children often beg and scavenge.  Many die due to disease and accidents associated with poor sanitary conditions and moldy food.  To survive, a child needs to join a gang.  The gangs however, have established “bases” where they sleep and hang out.  Many gangs hide out behind supermarkets in the alleyways where the rubbish bins are easily accessible and where food is thrown out.  They wait for the moment each day when rotten food or food which has outlived its shelf life is thrown out and then they pick through it, putting anything edible into dirty cardboard boxes for them to share afterwards. Food is a priority, but drugs are often even higher up the priority list.  Studies have revealed that street children have now moved from abusing glue as a substance to the use of emerging hard-core substances such as crystal meth known locally as mutoriro, broncleer, musombodia, codeine, high alcohol liquors such as blue diamond and cane-spirit.  Drug dealers and syndicate leaders are now employing street children to sell drugs and substances, thereby increasing the vulnerability of street children to abusing substances.  

According to a World Health Organisation and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime publication, illicit drug use among adolescents is associated with mental illness, violence and unsafe sexual behaviour as well as increased risks of STIs including HIV/AIDS. Sexually transmitted diseases are rampant amongst those in the streets.  Usually, there are a handful of girls in each gang and they are passed around between the boys.  Many become pregnant whilst they are still minors.  There is a lot of abuse where older boys are forcing younger boys into sex.  The shame and embarrassment mean that it is often only when diseases are at an advanced stage that they have the courage to ask for help.

I was deeply hurt when I read an article in ‘The Herald’ about a serial street kids’ killer who had been in the streets of Harare killing and eating the remains of their victims.  These are the degrees of violence they face in their daily lives. Section 81 of the Constitution recognises the rights of children including their rights to access healthcare, education, nutrition, and shelter.  They also have the right to be protected from economic and sexual exploitation.  The Presidential mantra echoes the same sentiments of leaving no one and no place behind which is also embodied in Vision 2030.  On the contrary, their daily lives are fraught with security, social, economic and health challenges.  They are exposed to violence, exploitation, trafficking, poverty, neglect, and abuse.

We can borrow a leaf from Rwanda which was affected by the 1994 Genocide, which left 85 000 child-headed households, 34% woman-headed households, including 21% headed by widows. Delinquency, hunger and extreme poverty was prevalent among the young children for whom the street had replaced the family.  Almost all those street children were born in troubled families (divorces, repudiation, death of one or both parents, abandonment of the father, absence of the legitimate father, polygamy, et cetera).  The development of Rwanda National Policy for Family Promotion was meant to set up appropriate legislation and institutions for the protection of the family, especially the child and the mother to ensure that the family flourishes.

Rwanda lays such great emphasis on the family because it is considered as an essential element for safeguarding social order, maintaining social cohesion and for reconciling an individual with the society.  It is within the family that a child is conceived, born, educated and given to the community for the good of the society.  It is also within the family that the first interpersonal relationships are tied and exchanged, comparison and identification of opportunities are obtained.  It is therefore pertinent to develop policies designed to strengthen and safeguard the family as an institution, and enhance the quality of family relationships.

Allow me to recognise the sterling work being done by Her Excellency, the First Lady, Amai Dr. Auxillia Mnangagwa, in fighting the street kids’ pandemic through her philanthropic works carried out by the Angel of Hope Foundation which she founded. In addition, the Government has been implementing various social protection programmes like BEAM and Food Deficit Mitigation programme aimed at assisting vulnerable families and potentially prevent children from ending up on the streets.

The Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare also runs rehabilitation centres for street children, offering shelter, food, education and skills training.  However, due to capacity limitations and resource constraints, the centres fail to absorb the growing numbers of the children on the streets. Also, in some instances, these children trickle back to the streets, their usual source of livelihood, because the homes lack a family-oriented support structure.  Being reunited with their families should always be the first priority and sometimes it just needs a social worker to accompany them back to their rural homes and sit down with the relatives.  Sometimes the reason for running away from home is delinquency.  Having a social worker to help them approach those they have wronged and ask for forgiveness often opens the way for a new start. However, where there has been abuse at home, reunification can be a lot more complicated and dangerous for the child.  Sadly, some families are too disintegrated or abusive to be a safe option, hence the need for rehabilitation centres.  Where poverty has been the cause of a child coming to the street, there is need to look at how to support the family so that the same poverty trap does not just repeat itself.

Mr. President in this regard, this House now calls upon

      The Ministry of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion, to avail more resources to the Department of Social Welfare to enable them to expand their rehabilitation centres for street children and employing  more social workers targeted, especially for street kids and their various social programs to limit the number of children flowing back into the streets.

       The Government, through the Ministry of Women Affairs Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development to invest in programmes that tackle poverty at the household level, targeting women and vulnerable families.

       The Ministry of Public Service should integrate family promotion in all its programmes targeting parents and communities, be they developmental or humanitarian.  I thank you Mr. President.

       *HON. SEN. RUNGANI:  Thank you Mr. President.  I rise to second the motion moved by Hon. Sen. Tongogara about children living in the streets.   They are increasing in numbers in urban areas as well as growth points and in rural areas where we do not expect to find them, but now you find them there.  As a country, we realise that young children shift from their rural areas and come into urban areas where there is no accommodation, without clothes and blankets.  We do not even know what they eat or whether they bath or not.  It is painful, but if you look closely, you realise that even for some children, it is out of mischief but most of the causes have to do with the surrounding environment. Sometimes parents separate, sometimes they die or the father marries another woman but they fail to get along although initially they may persevere, but in the end they run away to stay in unpalatable places.  

Mr. President, as mothers, it pains our hearts to see children living in such areas.  This also leads to drug and substance abuse because of the environment they have to live in.  They are even stealing, sometimes they snatch from people who are just walking on the streets be it food, they snatch and run away.  I think as a country, we realised that sometime ago there were rounded up and taken for rehabilitation, but because they are so used to the environment they stay in after being rehabilitated and sent back home, sometimes we fail to take care of them.

Mr. President, on streets kids, we spoil them by giving them money.  I once travelled to another country where it was stated that if we see you giving money to any person or beggar on the street, you will be arrested.  I think we should adopt such laws so that we safeguard and protect them.  Those who are into social welfare who take in such children, but do not have proper facilities need to be empowered so that they go to school and rehabilitated so that they forget about begging and living on the streets and all the habits they have acquired.  

Mr. President, it does not end there, sometimes they end up behaving like parents and they beget children on the streets.  It is a very sad scenario when we talk about children living on the streets.  They abuse drugs and substances; sometimes we have seen them using glues.  I heard one speaker saying they become numb.  It is because of the use of these glues.  Sometimes our children learn it, be it in school and how the children on the streets behave and what they use.  Our children also end up copying that.  Our ages never really saw this phenomenon of children living on the streets.  Even if our parents may have separated, people would persevere and keep on staying at their homes.  

Mr. President, in the past, children were so persevering, but these days children rush into the streets.  Sometimes it is not because they do not have anywhere to live or they do not have homes.  It is because they adopt new habits or cultures, but if we adopt proper culture and we give them proper environment in a family setup, they will stay with the family and stay there.  I expect that as Government and Social Welfare we should look into the issue of children living on the streets.  We need to construct infrastructure and take them away from streets to ensure that they stay on better places.  

Mr. President, it is a very sad scenario that we live in good houses and we eat good food, yet children on the streets will be starving and living under such harsh conditions.  It shows that as a country, we are not considerate to the plight of such children.  We may think that it is only happening in Harare, but it is also happening even in growth points, they leave their rural homes.  Sometimes they shift from one district or province to another, especially where they believe they will not meet their relatives easily.  I think we should debate deeply about this phenomenon.  We need to take them away from the streets and put in place facilities where they should stay.  We do not only see street kids on the streets, sometimes people that live in Epworth come to behave like street children living in the streets in town.  So, I hereby request the Hon. Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion and the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare to come up with a plan and ensure that children living on the streets move away from such living environments and we take good care of them.  Some of the children live with their parents but as mothers, it means we are so cruel, sometimes we live with step fathers who chase away a child after marrying a woman with their own children and this makes the child to go into the streets.

Power outage.

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Sorry for the interruption, Hon. Senator do you still want to continue?

*HON. SEN. RUNGANI: Hon. President of Senate, yes, let me just wind up my debate.   As a country, we need to unite and map a way forward to ensure that we resolve this problem.  Let us construct homes so that we limit or curb the influx of people or children living in the streets.  With these few words, I thank you Hon. President of Senate.

HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: Mr. President of Senate, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

HON. SEN. RUNGANI: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 10th April, 2024.

On the motion of HON. SEN. MUZENDA, seconded by HON. SEN. MOHADI, the Senate adjourned at Five Minutes to Five o’clock. p.m.


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