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SENATE HANSARD 9 JUNE 2022 VOL 31 NO 47

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Thursday, 9th June, 2022

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

PRAYERS

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

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE

APOLOGIES RECEIVED FROM MINISTERS

          THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Today is a Thursday and in accordance with the Standing Orders of Parliament, we are supposed to start with Questions without Notice. I do have a list of Ministers who have tendered their apologies and they are as follows: -

          Hon. Dr. C. D. G. N. Chiwenga, Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care;

          Hon. O. C. Z. Muchinguri-Kashiri, Minister of Defence and War Veterans Affairs;

          Hon. Sen. M. Mutsvangwa, Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services;

          Hon. J. G. Moyo, Minister of Local Government and Public Works;

          Hon. Prof. Mavima, Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare;

          Hon. W. Chitando, Minister of Mines and Mining Development;

          Hon. Prof. Murwira, Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development;

          Hon. Kazembe, Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage;

          Hon. Muswere, Minister of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services;

          Hon. Dr. Coventry, Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation;

          Hon. E. Ndlovu, Minister of Primary and Secondary Education;

          Hon. Chiduwa, Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Development;

          Hon. Mavhunga-Maboyi, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage;

          Hon. Kambamura, Deputy Minister of Mines and Mining Development;

          Hon. E. Moyo, Deputy Minister of Primary and Secondary Education; and

          Hon. M. N. Ndlovu, Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry.

In light of the fact that I do not see any Minister present, I am going to ask Hon. Members to allow us to move to debate our own motions.

The Clerk will read the First Order of the Day.

Hon. Sen. Eng. Mudzuri having stood up

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Hon. Sen. Mudzuri, I had already ruled that there is no point in having Question Time because there is only one Minister present. The message is going to reach where it is supposed to go.

HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI: I feel it is not enough that we do not speak to you but it is really disappointing that you can rule but we have talked about this so many times here in this august House that Ministers must come. You can rule that we go to the next item but it is becoming routine that Ministers do not come. Are we going to let it go and we just keep quiet? What are we taking ourselves for? This is your House and I think you should be more emotional than us that Ministers do not take this business seriously. Yes, we can debate but still when we debate, we need Ministers to take notes to ensure that what we are debating gets to Government. They are still not coming, so I am not sure whether we are here to spend the tax payers’ money debating to ourselves and listening to ourselves without Ministers. I do not know what you can do other than going to the President and ask him to ensure that these people come because these are his appointees.

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Thank you Hon. Sen. Mudzuri, that is exactly my point other than repeating or regurgitating what we did two weeks ago, I do not see what else we can do besides seeking an audience with the highest authority in the land and advising them that this is most disastrous and unacceptable.

We now have two Ministers.

HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI: I propose that we ask questions to the Leader of the House rather than going to debate motions even though you have ruled.

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Yes, I am told that we expect a few more Ministers to come but still we have registered our displeasure at the turn-out and the apparent lack of seriousness in terms of observing question time in the Senate. We will proceed with the two Ministers whilst we wait for the other Ministers to come.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE

          HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI: Thank you Mr. President for allowing me this opportunity. My question goes to the Leader of the House. Leader of the House, is it now Government policy to allow the monetary runaway inflation that is taking place daily and allowing people as near to this Parliament as possible, waving money in the street to sell and nothing happens? They are waving and if you want us to go with the President today, we will see them waving money to sell. I do not know whether it is Government policy to allow people to be where they are and marketing money? At the end of the day, the common man in Chiendambuya and in my village in Zaka are suffering. They cannot manage the dollar that they are using. 

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr. President Sir. I believe that issue requires the Minister of Finance to give a detailed comprehensive statement so that it can be exhausted. So, my suggestion to Hon. Sen. Mudzuri through you is, if the Minister can be requested if it pleases him to come here so that he can articulate the state the Ministry is doing together with RBZ authorities to ensure that the economy stabilises. I thank you.

          THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I think that makes sense. It is long overdue for the Minister of Finance to come and advise this august House as to what steps he is taking to stabilise the economy. The points which we have made are valid and I think we can only benefit from a detailed statement from the Minister of Finance on that.

          HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI: Sorry Hon. President. My question is expanded to the activities of selling money which the Minister of Finance is not the only one responsible...

          THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I think that is relaying to the economy.

          HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI: The Minister of Finance is not the only one responsible but it extends to the Government policy on allowing such things to happen in the streets.

          HON. ZIYAMBI: My response is that the Minister should come and give a comprehensive statement still stands. It is a manifestation of an underlying condition where you see people waving money in the streets. The measures that are being taken can only be articulated well so that Hon. Members can benefit when the Minister comes and issues a statement as to what they are doing. At policy level, there is no Government that would want runaway inflation to happen.

          So at policy level, I can tell you that there is no policy of Government that such a thing should happen but it requires the Minister to give a detailed response why we are seeing a manifestation of what is happening like you allude to, of people waving money in the streets. I believe that would be for the benefit of Members of Parliament and Hon. Senators so that you can also explain to your constituents what is happening. You will benefit more from the technical person rather than from a policy perspective if he comes and gives a statement. I thank you. 

          *HON. SEN. CHIEF CHUNDU: Thank you Mr. President. My question is directed to the Minister of Education and in his absence the Leader of Government Business will assist me. BEAM is assisting us very much in the rural areas especially in the upcoming schools. What is Government policy in terms of timeous disbursement of funds because the funds are taking too long and disbursement is very slow? I thank you.

          *THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you very much Mr. President and also the Hon. Sen. for the good question. The question is explaining some of the problems that are being faced in the disbursement of BEAM funds that are meant to assist school children but the most important thing is that there is Government policy on BEAM that is meant to alleviate the plight of needy children in schools. So his additional dimension of the school is just a need for administration to be properly carried out to fulfill that policy. They are the ones that are supposed to ensure that the money is disbursed from Treasury and on time to the respective beneficiaries. I thank you.

          *HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA: Thank you Mr. President. My question is directed to the Leader of the House on the issue of maize being transported to GMB for USD90. Is it a policy or what is the correct position with regards to the fee that was announced on radio or it is just for bringing people forth to submit their grains?

          *THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Chirongoma for his question. He is from Mashonaland West and I understand very well where he comes from. They are into maize growing and he is very concerned on the issue of price. Talking about the producer price which was announced last year, our currency was at USD80 to USD90 thereabouts, but when we started selling maize it was around USD300 and we had a lot of complaints from farmers because the money that was being disbursed could not get them back to farming. I know the money that was going to be paid to farmers was announced towards last year but due to fluctuations in  the rates and complaints from the farmers, we paid attention to that because they could not continue farming due to the rising prices. The President suggested we look closely at this issue and he gave a directive together with the Ministry of Finance looking at the prices that are always escalating and we said those who come first will be first served for bringing their grains to GMB and will get a bonus of USD90. The price will remain at 75 and a bonus of USD 90.  He also further said on USD 90, the surrender rate for those farmers who are going to be paid using their banks will be 20%.

          So the USD 90 is actually a bonus for those who would have brought grain to GMB and the deadline for paying that USD90 to farmers is on the 31st of July this year.  If ever we are going to increase the money that is going to be paid to farmers on top of that USD90, it will be allowed but for now we are working with the deadline of the 31st of July.

          HON. SEN. RWAMBIWA: My question goes to the Leader of Government business.  We are seeing a lot of grass on the roads, what exactly are we supposed to do so that we have our roads clear and we are able to move without any hindrances? A lot of accidents are happening as a result of these things.  I am a victim of this tall grass. 

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you very much Senator Rwambiwa for the question. The tall grass on our high way roads has become a hindrance to all motorists.  It is very true that it is not supposed to be looking like that on our roads.  It should be made easy for our motorists on the roads. 

          If it is Harare and the urban areas, it is the responsibility of City Councils; they are the ones that are supposed to be working on those roads making sure that grass has been cut.  However, if it is a highway, then it becomes the responsibility of the Government to make sure that there is clarity for motorists, there is visibility and all the obstacles are removed.

          HON. SEN. DENGA: Thank you very much Mr. President. My question sought a response from the Minister of Transport but since he is not in the House, I will direct it to the leader of the House.  What arrangements does Government have with regard to the expansions being done on the highways from Harare to Beitbridge?  We have seen that our roads have widened but the ridges are still narrow, we are seeing a lot of accidents on these roads.  What is it that Government has in place to rectify that because bridges remain narrow whilst roads are being widened?

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Denga for his question.  I am happy with his observation that roads have been widened; a lot of great work has been done on the widening of the road.  We saw it fit to fix the issue of widening roads, now we are moving on to fix the bridges which are of concern to motorists. We are happy that we have widened roads and now we are going to embark on rectifying the issue of widening bridges. 

          Our plan as Government going forward is to work on those bridges as well so that we have everything finished and motorists are not left with any hindrance on the highway.

          HON. SEN. SHUMBA: Thank you very much Mr. President, I will continue to direct my questions to the leader of the House. If I remember very well in Bulawayo, it looked as if the President was commissioning new trains but up to this day we have not seen any.  As Government, what are you seeing on this issue where we are seeing no trains on the railways?  People are paying a lot of money for transport; they are being swindled by private transporters.  We are seeing a lot of trucks going up and down on highways instead of seeing trains like we used to do back in the day. These trucks are actually damaging our roads.

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Hon. Speaker. The Hon. Sen. alluded to the fact that for development to take place in a country, our railway system should be functional. Indeed road trucks destroy the road network, so some of the goods that we are transporting by road are supposed to be transported by railway.  Government is really eager to ensure that our railway system is functional.  In 2017, we sought to work with DIDG for the resuscitation of railway infrastructure network with our diaspora children but they failed to raise the required funds.  We gave them an opportunity to put their house in order but they failed to rise to the occasion.  As we speak, the Ministry of Transport is working on that.  Right now, we have this new steel plant at Manhize.  We need a functional railway system because that steel is supposed to be exported.  I am talking about the businesses that Hon. Minister Mutsvangwa is always talking about.  We need to resuscitate our railway network so that it is functional.  We have those plants and the Minister of Transport will tell us very soon on their plans.  I thank you. 

          *HON. SEN. MUPFUMIRA:  Thank you Hon. President for giving me this opportunity.  My question is directed to the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement.  As Government, how prepared are you in terms of food security?  You referred to incentives that were given to farmers, especially grain farmers.  Is there any difference now in terms of grain delivered to the GMB?  We hear that at some point, our GMB reserves had gone down.  Do we have any mitigatory plans in case our harvest is very low so that we avert starvation?  Thank you. 

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Mupfumira for that important question.  For you to be called a person, you need to have food.  What I would like to tell the Hon. Senators is that before we even started receiving this year’s harvest, we had enough stocks in our strategic reserves.  We are not starting from zero.  We still had grain in our silos.  So what we are saying is we do not want to consume the strategic grain reserve but we want to add to what we have.  This is because we do not know what will happen in future.  It is a bonus because the President has given us a target to fill our silos, so the Ministry of Lands is encouraging production. 

As we speak, the hectarage of wheat right now has surpassed last farming season’s hectarage by 2%.  I am talking about the hectarage that has been planted by Monday.  We are saying the plan is we should not starve.  We have enough maize, as well as enough wheat.  We are also being encouraged, through the Ministry of Lands, to plant sunflower so that we have cooking oil.  The research that has been done is that it is easier to get cooking oil from sunflower than soya beans.  That is why we introduced that programme to encourage farmers to grow sunflower.  In terms of starvation, we need to applaud Government and the President for the plans that he put in place.  We will have sufficient food until the next farming season.  I thank you. 

*HON. SEN. MANYAWU:  Thank you Mr. President.  My question is directed to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development.  We see buses that are being bought in the country have steps but there are no facilities for disabled people to either embark/disembark from those buses.  What is Government plan to address that problem that the disabled people are facing?  Thank you. 

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  Thank you Mr. President.  I would like to thank the Hon. Senator for that important question.  If you look at our disability policy, it says that all constructions or buildings should have facilities or ramps for people with disabilities to access them easily.  I really got the question on buses.  I will talk to the Minister of Transport to say, yes you are bringing in a lot of buses but you are forgetting the plight of people with disabilities.  They are supposed to facilitate easy access for people with disabilities and it should be in line with the policies that we launched as Government.  I thank you. 

*HON. SEN. TONGOGARA:  Thank you Mr. President.  My question is directed to the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement.  The Government came with a programme to scale down on farms and also give to those who do not have access to land.  Some of the farmers who had their farms downsized are refusing to vacate the farms because they say their cases are under the courts.  What is Government doing to address the issue?

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  Thank you Mr. President.  Our system functions in a way that we have the three arms of the State namely, the Executive, Judiciary and the Legislature.  They all report to the President.  Our laws allow people to appeal to the courts when they feel they are wronged.  Counter appeals can be made until the issue is resolved totally by the courts.  Until the courts finalise those issues, we are supposed to accept their rulings.  That is what we call rule of the law.  We cannot do anything besides appealing for the expeditious resolution of those cases so that they are resolved amicably.  Thank you.  

HON. SEN. TONGOGARA:  I would like to thank the Hon. Minister for the explanation that he gave.  It is within the legal framework.  My question is, such people who were legally allocated the land, what can they do to get their rightful benefits. 

HON. ZIYAMBI:  Thank you Mr. President.  The issue is not about the latest beneficiaries.  The issue is between the earlier beneficiary and the Government.  The one who receives the land as a second beneficiary has to wait for the resolution of the dispute.  Until the issue is resolved, the initial beneficiary has power of that land. Thank you.

*HON. SEN. DENGA: Thank you Mr. President Sir.  My question is directed to the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.  Is it legal for farmers who grow their crops and Government puts a Statutory Instrument (SI) stopping the farmer from selling their grain to buyers of their choice?

          *THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr. President.  The Hon. Sen. asked that question but they are the ones who put in place that SI.  The Parliamentary Legal Committee (PLC) looked into that SI and they agreed that it does not violate the Constitution.  What happens is, it starts working with effect from the day it is announced but it is brought to Parliament because they are the ones who have the power to enact that law.  As Government, we are only given power to enforce the SI but the PLC is the one that has the power to scrutinise that SI.  If you give it a green light, it will work but if you want it to be debated, it will go through that process and voting can take place until its finalisation.  Hon. Senators. you are the ones who gave us that SI. I thank you.

          *HON. SEN. DENGA: Thank you Minister for your response.  What I would like to say is, that SI has not been brought to the National Assembly or the Senate for debate.  So, …

          THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Order, order Hon. Sen. Denga, SIs do not come to the Lower House or to the Upper House.  SIs are written to Parliament and referred to the PLC and the procedure which the Minister has explained that the PLC scrutinises the SI and if it deems that that SI is not contrary to the Constitution, you will hear the President of Senate and the Speaker announcing that this month we have received SI so and so and they are not against the Constitution.

          *HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA: Thank you Mr. President.  I wanted my question to go to the Minister of Agriculture.  In his absence I refer it to the Leader of the House.  My question is; our Cold Storage Commission depots (CSC) - are they going to function like they used to work in the past or that is the end of them?

          *THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr. President.  I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Chirongoma for his question.  CSC is coming back in full force.  Government has since found a partner, through the Ministry of Agriculture.  The company is called CSC Boustead.  It is working on final preparations which will ensure that CSC goes back to its golden days.  So as Government, we are working on rooting out all unscrupulous dealers who were in the agricultural sector, be it in production or market chain.  There were people who were monopolising meat industry, so we want to rectify all that so that CSC functions properly.  I thank you.

          *HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA: I would like to thank the Minister for the response.  The President of this country, Hon. E. D. Mnangagwa repeatedly says the country will be built by its rightful owners.  The Minister is talking about CSC but the infrastructure has been destroyed.  There are some companies that are running their businesses there and there is a lot of vandalism.  I went somewhere where even the fence was destroyed.  Can Government not protect the infrastructure to ensure that it is well looked after?  If Government has such plans to resuscitate it, it will be good to have the infrastructure well kept.  I thank you.

          HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Mr. President.  I think that is what is now happening because the companies have started working.  They are now looking at the CSC assets.  So, I hope that in the shortest possible time, you will be seeing progress.  I thank you.

          *HON. SEN. CHIEF MAKUMBE: Thank you Mr. President. My question is directed to the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.  Our jails are full and there are juvenile prisoners in these jails. What plans are there to get rid of some lighter issues, given the issue of diseases that are found in jails so that we may reduce the number of prisoners? Our jails are too full of prisoners and the space is very small. What plan do you have to decongest the prisons?

          *THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I would like to thank you Mr. President and Hon. Sen. Chief for the question. This is a very good question and my response is as follows; In my own perspective, I do not think he has said anything wrong. We have 42 years of independence. We do not have access to justice that gets to village courts that we inherited from the whites. As it stands, if people in the rural communities; if someone steals your chickens, you will part with a lot of money trying to come to terms with getting justice. It is something that can be brought before chiefs and they can deal with such issues. Some small matters if brought to the courts - they will deal with them, but when we are dealing with the traditional courts,  may we allow ourselves as a people to say can that be factored into the legislative framework that we are working on so that we decongest and have a smooth running of what you just mentioned.

          *HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: Thank you very much Hon. President. Allow me to thank the Minister of Justice. The Marriages Bill was gazetted last week and so I want to thank him for that. In my supplementary question, the Traditional Leaders Act is not the Executive positive. You are the one who is supposed to look for that amendment. We expect you to bring the amendments to us. We are waiting for you to work on that legislative framework. Thank you. 

          * HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Mr. President. My response remains the same to say all the chiefs and all the citizens in the country, may we come together and decide what is it that we want? Do we want to continue with the status quo or we generate a high breed? So I would like to encourage the chief to say yes you have said exactly with clarity but it needs dialogue amongst us all so that we come up with something that is solid and something that gets it easy for everyone as citizens in this country.

          *HON. SEN. GWESHE: My question is directed to the Leader of Government Business. I use Charter Road which is now Simon Mazorodze when going home and I was so pained seeing a police officer sitting at the back of a truck and people laughing at him. What plans do you have for them in order to restore their dignity? It is not safe for them to continue living amongst us and people laughing at them. Thank you.

          *THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Hon. Sen. for the question. This is a very important issue. Police are not allowed to be engaging. We have a programme already in place but the problem we have is that we could not expand financial pace. Homes are being built for police personnel and transport is being worked on. If you look on the roads, you will see new vehicles. A lot is being done towards rectifying this situation but we do not wake up and we find a house already in place. It is a process. If our Committee on Defence was to go around the country, they will see that there are a lot of infrastructural developments going around at different police stations. There are a lot of changes happening like cars and homes being built. The desire is there but it was agreed that we will work within the confines of our money and we will not go beyond. We cannot stretch our pace. Thank you.

          HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI: My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care, Hon. Dr. Mangwiro.  If you look around this House, you will see that everyone is wearing a mask.  I was watching BBC, the American Senate and everywhere else in Europe and America are no longer wearing face masks once they have been vaccinated.  What is our Government policy around people wearing these masks? I understand even in UK and other countries; they are adapting to conditions of COVID.  What is our policy in continuing everyday to be wearing masks in buses, this august House, Parliament and other institutions?

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. DR. MANGWIRO): Thank you Hon. Chair.  I want to thank the Hon. Sen. Mudzuri for the inquisitiveness of his question.  Yes, a few days ago I was in Europe, you find they no longer put on masks.  Yes, people have different approaches, in China right now, they have lockdowns, and of course people have got different aspects.  As the Government, pertaining to COVID-19, those who are in doubt, if you saw the number of people who died in Europe and those who died here, you find that it was more there than here.

          So, as Government, we are saying we stick to science, we want to follow science which is now there.  We do not necessarily follow what is trending on television or on Facebook.  We normally stick to science; science says for now, vaccination is the solution so that we prevent any further deaths or illnesses that might happen.  Definitely, we want to continue to encourage people to get vaccinated.  Now some people are getting the 3rd, some are getting 4th jabs; we want to continue doing that. 

          We still believe and we also know that the virus is lethal; we cannot take it for granted. We follow science as scientists in Zimbabwe; we have committees that sit down every Monday to discuss the COVID-19, we have a chief director that runs the COVID-19 pandemic so I definitely want to encourage Hon. Members to continue doing what the Ministry of Health is encouraging because we all know that the virus spreads by breathing like what I am doing, goes into the nostril so masks will help prevent the spread of the disease. 

          I want to encourage even people with hypertension, blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, those on HIV treatment everyone to get vaccinated.  Let the people know that we are vaccinating from the age of 12 upwards so that people get protected from the virus.

          The Senators’ question helps us clarify the situation about the COVID-19 virus. We are all aware that it is a lethal virus, it has killed people we know, and it has killed people in Europe, China and everywhere.  The best prevention method is vaccination and like I was saying, we are a scientific community and therefore we follow science.  This is what we are continue doing until we see that things have improved to the extent that we do not have COVID-19.

          If you check statistics, yesterday we had a death, people are still dying one or two, even if the numbers are less, the President said no one must die of this virus but we are still finding their death.  Yesterday we had 111 people infected and we know this virus just needs one person to be infected to have this thing spread.

          We definitely want to encourage people to continue putting on their masks and we do not encourage people to follow what is trending in other countries because we do not know what science they have, how much they have vaccinated their people and what else they are doing that we are not doing.  What we are seeing is that we find it necessary that people continue to get protected against the virus.  We are now vaccinating from the age of 12 up wards, we are also vaccinating those with hypertension, high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus, cancer, asthmatic and even the old age we are vaccinating.  We are going up to the 4th jab and some are still on 3rd jab.  So, we want to continue to encourage people to get vaccinated and continue to put on masks as before until we get evidence scientifically that we should now put down our guard but for now, we want to continue following science which protected us in the past.  I thank you.

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

          HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI: I move that the time for Questions without notice be extended.

          HON. SEN. CHINAKE: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI: Hon. Minister, you had your own explanation. You have touched on the fact that the high blood pressure people, the diabetic people must get vaccinated and that as a nation, we are following science.  I want to follow up on this issue, how far is the Ministry assisting the elderly, those with blood pressure and other chronic diseases that might be affected by this vaccination to ensure that they get their drugs which will sustain them?  Right now, I take drugs which take USD 100 just for blood pressure.

 

          HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI:  I am asking.

          THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  You are debating now; can you ask your question.

          HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI:  The question is, how far are they helping these elderly people who might be having …

          Cell phone rang.

          THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Can you please switch off your phone.  The ten minutes is going up. 

          HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI:  Mr. President, I am sorry.  My point is, how far is the Ministry assisting with social safety nets to ensure that the elderly and those with conditions can get medication?  Right now medication is going for a torrid price in RTGs where a dollar is over 500 rtgs.  There are a lot of pensioners who might need this help.  While we follow science by wearing masks, we are not following enough science to have social safety nets for people who might need medication by assisting them so that they continue not to have challenges around COVID. 

          HON. DR. MANGWIRO:  Thank you Mr. President.  Thank you Hon. Sen. Mudzuri for the concern for the elderly.  I am sure the Hon. Senator is aware that the over 65s get their medications and treatment for free.  During COVID, we had outreach teams that were going to visit the elderly in their homes.  The policy of the Government is that when people are going for outreaches, they are not just going for COVID.  We have these Village Health Workers who also help to identify the elderly who cannot help themselves so that when a team goes out into the area, they take those medications for such people. 

          Also as Government, we are in the process of encouraging local production of medicines.  We are empowering local companies to manufacture drugs locally so that we make the prices cheaper.  In the past, medicines used to go through a long chain to procure.  As Government, our policy is that we buy from the manufacturer whatever medicines that we are unable to manufacture locally.  It is very important that we are trying to do these things and our hospitals and clinics are encouraged to make sure that the elderly are catered for in terms of the law.  When it comes to COVID, we have said to them and it is natural that if it is an elderly patient or someone who cannot help themselves, our teams go there, give them their jabs and look after them to make sure they have their medicines.  Our policy is to make sure that they are provided for with the means that I have just mentioned above.  I thank you. 

          HON. SEN. TONGOGARA:  Thank you Mr. President.  My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care.  It is said that 70% of bed occupants in mental health institutions is occupied by people who use drugs.  Why are they being housed in the mental health institutions instead of rehabilitation centres?  Thank you.

          THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Did you get that Hon. Minister?

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. DR. MANGWIRO):  Yes Mr. President.  The Hon. Member is saying that 70% of mental institution centres are those with drug use problems.  Why should they be there because they must be at rehabilitation centres?  Thank you very much Hon. Senator for the enquiry.  It is quite a pertinent one in that we are aware that drugs are a problem to the young ones who are in the habit of using them.  When we say a person is on drug use, what it means is; the general normal function of their brain changes permanently to mimic the use of the drug.  Their thinking becomes different from what they were.  They will be behaving in a manner that you will say this is now untoward.  We may end up sending them to these institutions because they can be violent and harmful to themselves or to the society. 

When they get better, as Government, we are creating what we call halfway homes which my Minister, the Vice President has said that all central hospitals, provincial hospitals and district hospitals must have wards for the Psychiatric Department.  Each province, district and various areas must also have what we call halfway homes.  When these people leave the mental institutions, they go to these halfway homes to be rehabilitated in terms of reducing their frequency of drugs usage, being given other ways of survival other than going back to the bad habits.  Finally, they can go to where they are taught skills.  It is a policy that would be established up to village level where we have village health centres.  It is not that they are going there to try and wean them from the drugs only.  The drugs cause permanent change to the brain function to the extent that they now get described as either psychotic, they become schizophrenic, paranoid, suicidal and all that.  So, they go there. 

Also, we have said the old disused beerhalls and all those council places are being renovated.  You saw the Vice President opening the first one in Kwekwe to make sure we have in the locations and everywhere rehabilitation centres where we can try and reduce accumulation of the patients into our psychiatric units.  Besides that, we are expanding this whole thing countrywide.  I thank you.

Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE in terms of Standing Order Number 67. 

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS(HON. ZIYAMBI):  Thank you Mr. President.  I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 11 be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 12 has been disposed of. 

Motion put and agreed to.

SECOND READING

ZIMBABWE INDEPENDENT COMPLAINTS COMMISSION BILL [H. B. 5A, 2021]

          Twelfth Order read:  Second Reading: Zimbabwe Independent Complaints Commission Bill [H. B. 5A, 2021].

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  Thank you Mr. President.  I rise to present my Second Reading Speech for the Zimbabwe Independent Complaints Commission Bill.  This Bill is a very beneficial measure that Government is putting in place in compliance with the Constitution.  Its enactment is not only demanded by Section 210 of our Constitution. It also commends itself to our country for being the right and moral thing to do. In saying so, please do not think I am attacking the honour and integrity of our security services.  Without them, the peace and safety of our beloved country will be impossible.  Many members of the security sector have paid with their lives to keep our people safe and in our home country.

          The words of a certain famous epitaph are true of our heroes “when you go home, tell them of us” and Mr. President Sir, let me take this opportunity to thank them for their priceless service to our country.  I want to invite Hon. Members of this country to do the same.  I think they deserve a pampam for the work they are doing to keep us safe – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – If you can give a round of applause for our security services for what they do to ensure that we are safe, I am sure Hon. Members will agree that this is one of the safest countries in Southern Africa and we owe it to those great men and women who keep us safe. 

          I will not go into the particulars of this Bill, which are adequately addressed in the explanatory memorandum thereto.  I urge Hon. Members to have a look at the explanatory memorandum and appreciate what the Bill says.  I wish here to advert to certain very pertinent concerns expressed to me by the security service themselves in order to put their minds at ease.

          Firstly, as a matter of a general principle, let me say what we all know, each one of us is not the best judge of our own conduct.  Psychologists and scientists of human behaviour have studied the phenomenon of what are called cognitive biases at great length.  These biases affect institutions as well as individuals.  We need each other to tell each other where we are going astray.

          This is what friends do and I put it to you that the Zimbabwe Independent Complaints Commission, if it discharges its mandate faithfully and properly, will be a friend to the security services and not an adversary.  It is not in the interest of the security services themselves that there should be within their ranks a single individual who dishonours their reputation by his or her misbehaviour towards any fellow service members or towards any member of the public they are supposed to serve.

          The perennial problem of who will guard the guardians - the guards, will never leave entirely. Over the millennium, one solution that societies have come up with to cope with this problem is to appoint other guardians so that the guardians guard each other as well as themselves.  This is the basis of the constitutional doctrine of the separation of powers.  Each one of the three branches of Government may blunder but if any one of them does, either or both of the other branches can step in as a remedy or check on the straying branch.  In this way, the peace of the State and social harmony and progress are secured for the benefit of us all.

          It has been properly represented again to me that allowing the Commission to be the place of first resort with regards to complaints against the security services may not be appropriate, practicable or desirable in any case.  It would in many cases mean that the security sector is unjustly deprived of its power of discipline and self regulation over its own members.  I accept this but would only add that this right or privilege of the security service must not be abused.

          In conclusion, I urge you Hon. Members to pass this law and in doing so, raise another important milestone in the development of our democracy.  I therefore move that the Zimbabwe Independent Complaints Commission Bill [H. B. 5, 2020] be now read   a second time.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Bill read a second time

          Committee Stage: Tuesday, 14th June, 2022.

          On the motion of THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI), the House adjourned at Three Minutes to Four O’clock p.m., until Tuesday, 14th June, 2022.

 

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