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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 19 MARCH 2019 VOL 45 NO 43

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PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Tuesday, 19th March, 2019

The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two O’clock p.m.

PRAYERS

(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)

          ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. SPEAKER

MESSAGE OF COMPASSION AND CALL FOR DONATIONS FOR VICTIMS OF CYCLONE IDAI DISASTER

        THE HON. SPEAKER:  I have a following statement to make. The Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Adv. J. F. Mudenda; the President of the Senate, Hon. M. M. Chinomona; the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. T. Gezi; the Deputy President of the Senate, Hon. Rtd. Gen. M. R. Nyambuya; the Clerk of Parliament, Mr. K. M. Chokuda; Members and staff of Parliament join His Excellence the President Hon. E. D. Mnangangwa; the people of Chimanimani; Chipinge, Masvingo and Mutare in mourning the sad loss of 98 precious lives to the ravages of Cyclone Idai.

Our hearts go out to the other 217 Zimbabweans who have been declared missing so far.  We hope and fervently pray that they will be found alive. We also remember the 102 or so who have suffered injuries of varying degrees and pray for their speedy recovery.  Our anxious thoughts and impassioned supplications go out to the 42 or so marooned citizens and retain the abiding hope that the weather will improve and the waters will recede enough to allow them to be rescued on time. 

We commend the Government, civil society organisations, development partners and heroic ordinary citizens of Zimbabwe for coming together during this difficult time to provide relief to the unfortunate victims of this natural disaster.  Difficult times like these do not create heroes but it is during these difficult times that the heroes within us are revealed.  Indeed this is not time for cheap politicking for a natural disaster of this magnitude which knows no partisanship.  It is incumbent upon us therefore as Parliament and as the people’s elected representatives to lead by example, putting aside petty political and ideological differences as we unite as a nation in the face of this untimely adversity. Our national imperative now is to salvage lives and bring about the urgently needed relief to the survivors, search for the missing persons and the reconstruction of the destroyed infrastructure. Our success in helping those affected and returning their lives to some semblance of normalcy will depend on our ability to work together in the unity of purpose to overcome the adversity.

Accordingly, I call upon every member and staff of Parliament to lend a helping hand in cash or kind to assist the victims of cyclone Idai.  No contribution is too small or too unimportant at this critical juncture, because you will never know whose suffering you might be alleviating or indeed whose life you might be saving.  Those willing to assist with cash donations can deposit the amount in the following Parliamentary Charities Account: 

The name of the Account: Parliament of Zimbabwe, CBZ, Kwame Nkurumah Branch.  Account No: 01124931790015.

Those who make cash deposits kindly forward proof of your deposit to our Public Relations Department to facilitate reconciliation.  Those with goods can deposit them into the bins that will be placed by the reception area, clearly marked Cyclone Idai Donations.  For any enquiries, kindly contact Rtd. Major Mbewe - Director, Public Relations on 0712218525 or on landline number 0242700181-9 Ext 2240 or call at his office accordingly.

          May we all rise to observe a minute of silence in honour of the deceased.

          All Hon. Members observed a minute of silence.

ZIMBABWE’S CONTRIBUTION TO THE GLOBAL FUND

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  I wish to inform the House that on 7th March 2019, a request was made in this august House for the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to present a Ministerial Statement on Zimbabwe’s contributions to the Global Fund.  The National Assembly was informed by the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care, Hon. Dr. R. Labode that Zimbabwe stands to lose part of the US$400 million dollars for anti-retroviral drugs from the Global Fund if it fails to pay its contributions to the Global Fund amounting to US$6 million.

 I have engaged the Minister of Finance and Economic Development Hon. Prof. M. Ncube and the Minister has confirmed that Treasury will urgently pay Zimbabwe’s contribution of US$6 million to the Global Fund to ensure that as a country, we do not lose material benefits of being an up-to-date member.  The Minister has also agreed to present a Ministerial Statement on Zimbabwe’s contribution to the Global Fund.

          HON. NDUNA:  Mr. Speaker Sir, I rise on a point of privilege having seen that there are no further notices.  So, if you indulge me Mr. Speaker Sir?

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Can you be brief.

          HON. NDUNA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I request that if it so pleases you, that the Minister of Energy and Power Development comes to this House and gives a Ministerial Statement in terms of the condition that is currently prevailing due to vandalism of both transformers and the copper wire that is transmitting our electricity.  Aware that we have vandalism happening each day ...

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order, tomorrow is question time where Hon. Members can ask policy questions and I think the Hon. Member’s request for point of order on privilege can be covered tomorrow.  The Minister should be in a position to answer accordingly.

I would like to recognise the Hon. Minister of Local Government and national Housing to make a Ministerial Statement. 

MINISTERIAL STATEMENT

UPDATE ON CYCLONE IDAI DISASTER

THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND NATIONAL HOUSING (HON. MOYO):  Thank you Hon. Speaker.  I rise to give a statement on the condition of Cyclone Idai which has affected people in Manicaland and many other provinces and to state what Government is undertaking in order to relieve the pressure that the people in Manicaland as well as in other provinces are having and to elicit Hon. Members of this august House to assist in this endeavour as you have implored them to do Hon. Speaker.

          We have witnessed a very severe calamity caused by this cyclone and it has affected people, mostly in Manicaland but more especially centered in Chimanimani and in particular, Chimanimani East Constituency which is the constituency headed by Hon. Joshua Sacco.  I want to say right from the beginning that if anybody did not value the membership and the tasks that Members of Parliament have, they need to see how we have benefited from the knowledge of the Hon. Member of Chimanimani East; his contact with his people in his constituency and the Members that are resident in that constituency where it has become impossible to access through roads by air because of the weather. 

The people who are in dire need of assistance – there are three centres; there is the Chimanimani Urban Centre which has a place called Ngangu.  This is the most devastated area in Chimanimani East.  Then there is Kopa which is near Rusitu near the Mozambican border; that area has been heavily affected by the cyclone.  Lastly, there is Chikukwa area and to give Members of Parliament an understanding of the difficulty that all of us, Government, cooperating partners, the private sector that is engaged with us and everybody who is helping us has been to reach those three epicentres from Mutare because the bridges have been taken and there is total blockade of reaching that area.

  If you travel from Mutare going to Chimanimani, we have two main routes which are tarred – the first one is, when you get to Wengezi, you turn left and there is a bridge called Mhandarume that has been washed out and part of the bridge has been taken away.  Then the next bridge is at Umvumvumvu that also has been washed out and it is impassible.  You go to the next bridge which is Biriri that also is no longer there – it has been washed out.  You then get to Muusha, another bridge there has been taken out until you reach Skyline where there is a convergence of a road which comes from Chipinge and the one which is going through the bridges which I have mentioned.  That place has a bridge at Skyline and near a mountain that has been washed out and it causes it more difficult because to pass through those two routes, one has to carve out a road in the mountain. 

The next bridge is all the way to either Ngangu or Chimanimani Urban or to Chikwukwa, or to Kopa through Rusitu – all of them have been washed out.  So, we then tried another route which goes from Wengezi to Tanganda and Birchenough Bridge to a place called Rutengeni on our way to Chipinge.  That place is what you would call in Shona, as deketa (wetland).  The actual tarred road is so risky that even a human being is too heavy to be on it and so many buses were rescued or taken out having sunk.  When we tried dozers, some of the dozers were actually sinking.  But, that is the place that we then concentrated on to make sure that we can open a pass way and the army core of engineers working with the engineers from the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development and engineers from well-wishers who are either contractors or companies in the area were able to bring enough equipment so that there is a bypass.  That bypass, they had to dig very deep in order to make sure that the water which was gushing out from the mountain is rechanneled. 

So, we have been able to pass through that avenue to a place called Kopa which is on your way to Chipinge and you turn left and go to the Wattle Company.  As soon as you leave that Wattle Company or within that Wattle Company, there is another bridge which is still holding but our fear is that right now, this afternoon dozers were now starting to move from Rutengeni to aim at Skyline but that bridge is also very precarious.  Even when travelling with normal cars, we had to go through it one by one for fear that it might give in.

So, the engineers are now seized with the issue of first going to fill it up so that it can hold the part that has remained that will give us access to Skyline.  So, that is the difficulty that we are faced with.  Last night, we were informed and it has been confirmed by the Wattle Company people that just after the Wattle Company, there is another gravel road which we are testing or our people are testing right now to see whether we can take that route which can take us to Kopa and Rusitu and back to Ngangu and Chimanimani urban area.

The other route we are testing will take us from again 2 kilo metres out of Chipinge and turn left with a view to go to Kopa.  We think that Kopa now is a more severely afflicted area because either by air or by road, we have not been able to get there.  Communication since Friday was working and we were getting reports from every ward and from most of the villagers both here in Harare at our centre which is manned 24 hours since Friday and at our communication centre in Mutare.  But, since two days ago, because electricity power lines from Chipangayi were disrupted, the 132 Kv line which is at Chipangayi went out of order.  Therefore, the line from Chipangayi to Chipinge, the 33 Kv line was also not working but I am glad to say that was restored by yesterday. 

That having been restored, we are now left with the 11 Kv lines that go to Chimanimani as well as to all the industries, companies, dairy industries, schools in the area, high schools, hospitals, clinics – all those have been disrupted because of that power line which is not working.  Because of that, ZETDC is working very hard throughout the night to try to restore the power lines so that we can open up the clinics.

          While I am saying this, all of us are now aware of the casualties which you have mentioned Mr. Speaker. The number of deaths that you have mentioned, 98 and I cannot right now definitively say that is the total because the total is a moving figure. We started at 23, we moved to 31, immediately we moved to 42, we were at 64, sometime at 72, last night we were at 89, this morning we were talking about the 96 and we can confirm the 98 that we are talking about.

          How is this coming about? We are fortunate that once the army reached skyline and there was no other mode of transport to cover the rest of the mileage to Chimanimani, Gangu or Chikukwa, the army decided to go on foot. A contingency of army engineers as well as private army soldiers were able to reach Gangu two days ago. What they found there obviously is horrific. We were able to bury, with their assistance, the 45 bodies that were in Chimanimani in schools or homes but obviously having no electricity, we had to use traditional methods of preserving, jecha and other methods. We have been able to bury the 45 at Gangu that were there.

          The terrible one is what we are now witnessing at Copper. At some point we were told we were missing 147 people. Now we are hearing that some of the bodies of those who are missing are floating in the river and we are being told by villagers in Mozambique as well as Copper area, even at our command office today as I walked in after coming from Manicaland, people were calling to say more bodies are floating. The army is on its way now and we believe they will be able to rescue those who are at Copper and Rusitu.

          Rusitu itself has become a big pool because of the waters that are there and in the same area near Skyline, you know that there is St Charles Lwanga Secondary School which is run by the Roman Catholic Church. When the children were eating on Friday and the mudslides came, 50 of them were trapped in the dining room. Two of the children perished in there, plus a worker at that school. For two days, we could not rescue the children and take those who were deceased to a safe place. So you can imagine the children together with dead bodies for two days.

          We were able to evacuate the bodies because the mortuary at Chipinge was now working. At the same time, yesterday the army was able to get all the 175 children out. It is an all boys’ boarding school with the girls being day scholars. We were able to meet all the boys that survived the ordeal at Wattle Company and they were being assisted by their headmaster together with the school authorities from Chipinge. They had their first hot meal yesterday and are now in the hands of the Catholics in Mutare.

          I thought I should start with this just to give you the extent of the damage that is there but I can say that Government has done all it can. Certainly, the army has braved the weather as it is raining, foggy and yesterday we were able to have the first flights of three helicopters. Two from air force and one private from Mars which was hired by the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company which had 13 people marooned on a hill that they could not get out of for two days. They were rescued yesterday but the company did not just rescue its own people. They ended up rescuing a number of the villagers who had been taken to safety. The company which hired Mars has put that Mars helicopter to our disposal and it is continuing to evacuate people.

          We had hoped, having been told that the cyclone was disintegrating or in any case had moved towards Malawi that we could go in there by helicopter and be able to assist. Yes, yesterday the helicopter was able to uplift some of the people who are in dire need of medical treatment and we hope that today, that exercise can continue. The situation there requires us to move food, shelter, medicines and sanitary ware to the area, and all the things that are needed by people who have already been displaced but this is very difficult because of the circumstances that I have alluded to.

          We have moved everything close to where we think once we open a place we can go to and food is stationed at Chipinge and some at Skyline. We have said if need be, working with the army they will carry some of the food on foot in order to go and alleviate our people who are in dire need. So, we are continuing with this exercise and as we all know, after the President made his appeal yesterday, and now that he is on his way to Manicaland, we think we can speed up the rescue operation over there.

          The Government has given $50 million and the Ministry of Finance has availed $50 million in order to kick-start the work that is going on. From that $50 million, more than $30 million will be used to repair bridges because access to the area is the most fundamental issue that we are faced with. The rest is spread to Ministries of Health, Local Government because of the Civil Protection Unit, and the other ministries which also give relief including the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company because we now urgently need them to restore electricity in the area.

          We think that Government is doing all it can but I must mention that private companies such as Greenfuels, Masimba Contractors and Breachman World Contractors and a lot of others have given us fuel, others clothes. Our cooperating partners, UNICEF right from the beginning, we took truck loads of non-food items that we believe would give relief. All this work is in Mutare or Chipinge. Now, because it is difficult to get access to Mutambara Hospital which is the major hospital and it is difficult to have access to Chipinge Hospital, the only way we can do it is by airlifting people. That is the pressure that we are having.

          We are quite confident that our people, Zimbabweans, including Members of Parliament, will take this and share the burden with the people who have been affected. While I have spent more time on Chimanimani and Chipinge, we are not losing sight of the fact that the people of Buhera, Masvingo, Zaka, Gutu, Nyanga and Mutasa have all been affected and we are giving warnings to the people in Mutoko because the epicenter has moved to Malawi – they have been affected.  In Chikomba, they have been affected and the cyclone dumped a lot of rain in Mvuma and we think that those people will be affected.

So we call upon Hon. Members of Parliament again, our people  sometime, we transmit through radio and television, I have listened to more radio than I have done in a long time.  They kept on telling people what to do and how to do it.  It is quite amazing how much the radio stations were emphasizing to our people but sometimes word of mouth is better than us listening to the radio or television.  So we urge Members of Parliament to go all out to make sure that people move away from risky areas. 

Before the cyclone, we had put messages out there to say, please those in mountainous areas, particularly Chimanimani and Chipinge, remember there was an earthquake not too long ago and that earthquake must have shaken and loosened the earth such that when this cyclone came, it was very easy for it to destroy.  All over the roads, you can see debris, stones and trees that have gone down and because the houses are under these big trees, people have been swept away.  So, I cannot over emphasise Mr. Speaker, to my colleagues, Members of Parliament, civil society and every Zimbabwean that we need to have a word of mouth to our people so that they take precautions when they are warned about these calamities.  I thank you. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]

HON. MUSHORIWA:  Mr. Speaker, I join you and the rest of

Parliamentarians in conveying our condolences to the bereaved families that suffered from the cyclone.  I would want to take this opportunity to just seek clarification from the Hon. Minister.

          Firstly, I would like to verify with the Hon. Minister, you said that in terms of the treatment and ferrying people to Mutambara Hospital and the other hospital in Chipinge; I was hoping to hear that you have setup a mobile medical centre to cushion people.

          Secondly, I would like to find out from the Hon. Minister on the warnings prior to this terrible disaster.  I hear you Hon. Minister that some messages had been sent but I just want to draw the Hon. Minister’s attention to the fact that this is not the first cyclone that we have had.  We had cyclone Eline in 2000; Japhet in 2003; Cera in 2013 and Dineo in 2017.  I want the Hon. Minister to tell us whether or not the CPU and Government at large offered sufficient information to the people living in the areas that were likely to be affected?

          I say this Hon. Minister, given the fact that our Meteorological Center together with the regional specialised meteorological center in Malaysia had given sufficient notice.  In fact, for the first time, the Meteorological Department gave us about two weeks notice to the extent that I believed the Government, through your Ministry and the CPU could have made use of the time.  I understand that radio does but you will appreciate that when there is impending danger, would it not have been possible Hon. Minister, to sent teams from the Government?  It is even worse, Hon. Minister, because some of the Government workers also perished during the disaster, meaning that in terms of that information, there was not sufficient information.  It is not just the ordinary worker because even the police and other people were affected.

          Then the last aspect that I …

          HON. MATANGIRA:  On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir! – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order, order, Hon. Member, may you complete your points of clarification?

          HON. MUSHORIWA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

          HON. NDUNA:  My point of clarification is also a clarion call that I heard you Hon. Minister, talking about the two helicopters from the army and one from the private sector.  We see, in such calamities, the CPU is often advanced by the military.  Is this not the time that we can use this as a pedestal or platform to call for the unconditional removal of the sanctions on the country?  – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – aware that our military has been under sanctions for a very long time and we do not have hardware to advance the cause of making sure that we rescue our unsuspecting, innocent citizens who are involved in such a calamity? – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]  – Would it not be an opportune time to call for the unconditional removal of these sanctions on our country? – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]

          Mr. Speaker Sir, he is calling me an idiot – that is Hon. Sikhala.  I ask for you to censor him Mr. Speaker Sir. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order, order!  Hon. Mliswa, will you withdraw that statement?

          HON. T. MLISWA:  But he said that, ‘He killed people and I have it as evidence on video – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – He said that he killed people on video – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order, order, Hon. Member, you called him an idiot.

          HON. T. MLISWA:  It was not me.  I was only responding to him saying that someone called him an idiot and I said that but you killed people – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order, order alright you may sit down.  Who called you an idiot Hon. Member?

          HON. NDUNA:  Mr. Speaker Sir, it was Hon. Sikhala – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]

          *HON. SIKHALA:  No, no, Mr. Speaker Sir – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order, order!  We will check with the Hansard.  Thank you.

          *HON. MATANGIRA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker.  As Hon. Members of Parliament, we are leaders and we lead the country - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] I would like to thank the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing.  I would like to thank him for a job well done by opening our ears…

          Hon. Matangira having been improperly dressed was asked to leave the House by the Hon. Speaker    [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order!

          *HON. KAPUYA: Thank you Mr. Speaker.  Thank you for the opportunity that you have given me.  Firstly, I would want to thank the Members of Parliament from Chimanimani and Chipinge for the work that they have done.  We see them on Whatsapp platforms; I was talking to Hon. Sacco a lot of times…

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order! Hon. Members, the Hon. Minister has paid tribute to the respective Members of Parliament who have stood up to their representative role in a manner commendable.  You do not have to repeat that, you must seek points of clarity only.

          *HON. KAPUYA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I would want to add to what the Hon. Minister has said…

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Leader of Government Business, in the absence of the Chief Whip, can you bring this to the attention of the respective Party that Hon. Members in Caucus must learn procedures here in the House, and also - please read your Standing Orders, otherwise I am really agonising when I listen to such contribution.

          HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  My point of clarification that I am seeking from the Hon. Minister is that from his statement, it appears that he has given us directions and difficulties of reaching the epicentre of the disaster.  However, the Hon. Minister did not indicate to the House what effort his Ministry specifically and his Government in general did in the last two weeks that a warning was given that there will be a cyclone that was coming towards these areas. I want also further to find out if the conscience of the Hon. Minister allows him to remain a Cabinet Minister after his Ministry has dismally let down the people of Zimbabwe in the manner that we have witnessed in Chimanimani?  Thank you.

          *HON. MUSABAYANA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I would like to find out from the Minister if we now have the number of the people that could have been affected or displaced because of the floods?  We have learnt that food is now being distributed and other such things into the affected areas, are there programmes to ensure that clean water is also distributed because cholera and other water borne diseases follow in the footsteps of such cyclones.  So it is wiser to also ensure that people get clean water.  I thank you.

          HON. CHOMBO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  Thank you Hon. Minister for the Ministerial Statement, shedding light on what transpired in Manicaland.  You mentioned how the 175 pupils were traumatised being stuck with three dead bodies and finally they are in safe hands in Mutare.  Are there any plans for the Ministry or the Ministry of Health through your Ministry to try to counsel the children who went through such trauma because it is going to affect them throughout their lives.

          *HON. MUTSEYAMI: Thank you Mr. Speaker.  I would like to say condolences to the relatives; my kith and kin in Chipinge in Chimanimani.  May their souls rest in peace?  Those that do not have places to sleep, may the Lord protect them so that life can go on. 

          Hon. Minister, when the disaster was coming to Chimanimani, we have such places like Hlabiso, Mutsvangwa, Kurwaisimba, Koba and Ndima, these are in plains; when it was known that there was this Cyclone Idai - as Government, you knew that once there is a cyclone there will be floods; a lot of rainfall and the rainfall will affect the people that live in low-lying areas, what measures did your Government take to evacuate people from such areas before the cyclone occurred so that they could be taken on to higher ground?  Why were such measures not taken?

          Secondly, Hon. Minister, as Government, in life as we build our homesteads, what measures are you going to take in future to avoid the occurrence of such disasters?  What measures are you going to take so that in future construction of homesteads is safe and secure, such that they will not be destroyed and people would not lose life.  Thirdly, what I would want you to clarify is that when the programme seemed imminent, we have noted that the Malawians and Mozambicans observed that they could not shoulder the problem on their own, they appealed for helicopters from South Africa.  We are seeing the helicopters in motion, even before the cyclone had subsided.  I am aware that we have an old fleet of helicopters.  They are old models and are not adaptable to these adverse weather conditions.  What measures did you put in place as Zimbabweans to ensure that our neighbour South Africa could assist us in that regard?  For once, we needed to have swallowed our pride so that our country could benefit.  Was it not better to ask for helicopters from South Africa and even America which I have heard that they are on standby to assist us?  Thank you.

          HON. BITI:  Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir.  I seek clarification from the Hon. Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing.  Firstly, I would like to thank you Hon. Speaker for expressing on our behalf as Hon. Members our solidarity with the affected masses of Zimbabwe in Manicaland, particularly in Chimanimani and Chipinge and also to support your call for greater appeal and assistance to those people. 

Hon. Speaker, my question gets back to our disaster management and disaster preparation.  In the 2019 Budget for instance, only the sum of $3 million was set aside for the Civil Protection Unit, which Hon. Speaker with great respect, is a drop in the ocean - given the foreseeable natural disasters we are facing.  For instance right now, we have got a drought appeal affecting seven million people that is running into a budget of over $1 billion, so to allocate $3 million to Civil Protection Unit is simply not good enough.  We have had the disasters of cholera and typhoid in the urban areas. 

With regards to these cyclones Hon. Speaker Sir, this is not the first time we have had these cyclones.  What concerns us as Hon. Members is that Cyclone Idai first hit Mozambique.  It then hit Malawi and caused unbelievable floods.  We could see that happening.  Why did we not embark on a programme of disaster management preparedness, mitigation and responsiveness?  Why for instance were children not evicted from places like St. Charles so that by the time that the cyclone hit Zimbabwe, our people had been secured?  We are asking clarification from the Minister.  The disaster and the cyclone was not a sudden emergency; it was foreseeable.  We had seen it in Malawi and Mozambique.  Why were we not ready and why did we allow the over 200 people to perish?  I thank you Hon. Speaker Sir. 

*HON. MADIWA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker.  My point of clarity is that wherever I am moving around, I hear people fund raising towards Cyclone Idai.  I want to find out if systems have been put in place to ensure that what is being fund raised gets to the correct recipients.  I even hear people in salons talking about donations for this disaster.  Is this activity well-coordinated?  I thank you Mr. Speaker.

HON. MARKHAM:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I seek a point of clarity on a couple of issues.  Hon. Biti mentioned schools. I do not know why schools are not closed before a cyclone comes.  Similarly, I do not know why roads were not closed.  Could the Minister clarify if we have learnt from this terrible cyclone for the future?  This is happening in neighbouring countries where they closed roads and schools, particularly those in low lying areas which has been brought up by almost every MP so far.  I would also like to understand why we are so behest with the issue of helicopters.  Helicopters cannot fly in bad weather but drones can.  There are people in this country who own drones who are quite happy to help us but there seems to be no response from us to help with drones.  Finally, my last thing which I do urgently request is the issue of international aid.  To what extent have we approached international agencies to help us like they are doing in Malawi and Mozambique? Thank you. 

*HON. MAKONYA:  I am asking the Minister to clarify.  He says that children spent two days facing the corpses of their colleagues.  After spending such two days, what became of these corpses?  What was used to ferry these corpses to the mortuary?  I thank you. 

*HON. MATAMBANADZO:  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for affording me this opportunity.  I want to first and foremost thank the Minister for the Ministerial Statement on the problem that we are facing.  We have heard that through radios and televisions in our constituencies.  I am glad that you have done your work by going to the scene of the cyclone.  You said the Army has assisted us and three helicopters were made available.  I would want to say only three helicopters for the entire country are not enough.  We should have several helicopters in place or all the fleet of helicopters that we have in this country.  We cannot have only three helicopters in the Army.  Why should we have three helicopters only?  Pupils were marooned in classrooms and so forth and they were staying with corpses and it is going to affect them psychologically. 

We should have sophisticated helicopters that are able to rescue Zimbabwean people in future.  It is time that as Zimbabweans we are able to demonstrate that the Army is capable of taking care of its own people to show that we are well-informed and not just to go to war.  We know Minister you are in big trouble but you did not talk about the Zimbabwe Republic Police.  We see the ZRP coming all over town chasing after vendors.  Did they go there?  They have the aqua unit in their department to also assist the victims.  Furthermore, the Army has medical doctors.  Have they opened up temporary medical clinics or tents so that people can be assisted?  Recently, I observed that when there was a cholera outbreak, we had such infrastructure as places for emergency purposes to assist the victims. 

Lastly, Hon. Minister, Idai is a cyclone. It is not the first time that we have had a cyclone, and it appeared eminent that this cyclone was going to come upon us. You said Hon. Members should alert their own constituents if such cyclones seem eminent and that they are supposed to vacate people from low lying places to places of high ground – yes we agree with you Hon. Minister.  However, do you have places to send the proposed victims of such cyclones because it is known that if cyclone comes it affects certain areas with certain features? So do you have centres in various areas where people can be evacuated in preparation for the oncoming cyclone?  You want to make this a blame game with Members of Parliament when you do not have designated places to send those people. There must be such kind of plan for future purposes.  I thank you.

          *THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, PUBLIC WORKS AND NATIONAL HOUSING (HON. J. MOYO): Thank you Mr. Speaker.  It is correct that medical issues require equipment but I have said that from Wengezi even up to Nedziwa let alone to Mutambara, you cannot go across; the road is impassible.  There is no way you can send a mobile unit in the affected areas. Even on the issue of ambulances, Chipinge have beefed up the fleet of ambulances but they cannot go anywhere.  We cannot take them to Mutambara. We have mobilised for ambulances from various areas but the roads are impassible.  Those that have been able to go there are the military that have walked on foot – no one else can reach that area except the army. 

Yes, we had already been informed about the cyclone. We had a Disaster Management Committee that comprises of Ministers, civil servants, cooperating partners and stakeholders.  Some of them came to teach us about GIS so that we can monitor; they helped us to come up with Disaster Management Centres.  High Life Foundation is assisting us in setting up a Disaster Management Centre.  All these things are being put in place but what I would want to say is that we did not just deal with the radio. We wrote to the Provincial Disaster Management Committees and this was cascaded to the districts.  The majority of them went to the villages but they did not force them to leave their homesteads, that is why we have had a disaster of this magnitude. The  people who listened to that advice survived; those who were in the low lying areas survived by their homes were swept away.

The Management Committee covered the length and breadth of the affected areas. We had written communication and it was disseminated through the structures.  Even some of the Hon. Members did the dissemination.  All I am asking is that in future, once we hear about such warnings there are certain Members of Parliament that come from these areas, some from Mutare, Chipinge and various areas where houses were swept away.  As Members of Parliament, we should encourage our people to take heed of warnings, vacate low lying areas and move to high ground.

On the issue of helicopters, it is true; the Air force of Zimbabwe has helicopters. The other Hon. Member talked about sanctions – some of the helicopters do not have spare parts - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] - You may not like it but the effects of sanctions are real and things have now reached to such an extent.  As a country, we should go ahead and assist with the development of our country. 

In terms of what efforts were made by the Government; it did not start now.  It is true that we have experienced cyclones before; there was once an earthquake which shook a lot of places. 

          Yes, water is needed; I have just mentioned that cooperating partners have given us water and a lot of other things.  We have tablets that we can use for treating water that flows so that it can be purified.  Where we went to Skyline, people were drawing flowing water from the stream.  Some of the flowing water has a lot of debris, so it needs to be purified using tablets.  Those from the army are moving around giving people water purifying tablets so that people cannot succumb to water borne diseases. 

          The helicopter was not going to access the school which is on the verge of a mountain but our army went on foot to that place.  I am sure you saw those posts on social media that they constructed a temporal bridge so that the children could across.  They were being assisted by the army and certain well wishers.  The army assisted the children to cross and they were picked up by buses from the Wattle Company using buses that came from Chipinge.  So there was coordination between Chimanimani and Chipinge.    We could not at the material time have rescued the children but when opportunity availed itself and it became safer, the army went and picked up the corpses [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] -

          THE HON. SPEAKER: It is either you listen to the answers or if you are not prepared to listen, please leave the House. Listen to the answer and you can then ask further questions for clarification.  The Hon. Minister should be heard in silence.

          HON. SIKHALA: On a point of order!  The Minister must know and understand that when he is answering these questions, some of the Hon. Members of Parliament here present are also coming from those areas; they have got details on their finger tips of exactly what happened.  So, it is an insult for the Minister to mislead the House by saying falsehoods of what exactly transpired on the ground.  For example, the Minister is misleading this House that the army is the one that later went and carried bodies from the school.  He is misleading this House.  The bodies were carried by other students and the headmaster from the school.  Hon. Minister, respect us as Members of Parliament by saying the truth.  Do not mislead this House.  We are not kids.  This is a national crisis.  Take it as it is and not play jokes.

          THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order, you can ask supplementary questions to make sure that the truth you allege can be mentioned under supplementary questions – [HON. BITI: Muri munhu mukuru Minister.]         THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, PUBLIC WORKS AND NATIONAL HOUSING (HON. J. MOYO):  Mr. Speaker Sir, I think it is an insult to say zvinotaurwa naHon. Biti.    

          *THE HON. SPEAKER:  Hon. Biti,  muri munhu mukuru musadaro, may you withdraw that statement - [Laughter.] -

          *HON. BITI:  I withdraw but munhu mukuru zveshuwa

- [Laughter.] -

THE HON SPEAKER:  Order, order.  A withdrawal has no but, please.

*HON. BITI:  Hon. July Moyo, hamusi munhu mukuru.  I with draw – [Laughter.] –

THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order.  The Chair studied English and he is quite aware of sarcasm. Hon. Biti, please withdraw that later statement.

HON. BITI:  I withdraw everything Hon. Speaker.

THE HON. SPEAKER:   Thank you.

*HON. J. MOYO:  Mr. Speaker, let me proceed.  It will be an unfortunate day when I can just stand and start telling this House lies which I do not intend to do and I am fully aware will not help the situation we are faced with. When I am talking about the army, I am saying before the army reached those places, nobody could move.  There was no structure that could make those children to come out of that place.  Therefore, the assistance of the army, which army we met when they brought the children was essential for that rescue operation.  That should be clear to anybody who is willing to go and check on the ground not to listen to hearsay or social media which might lie about those things.

I want to say Hon. Mutseyami, what did we do? We told all the people not only through radio, television or newspapers but through the structures that are in place and responsible for disaster management.  The structures go up to village heads.  We have over 28 000 village heads.  If we information the PA, he has his Committee which has various ministries.  NGOs that are also operating in the area are also informed because they also constitute part of the civil protection organisation at provincial level. At district level, all the NGOs that are in there at the ministries and the traditional leadership structures including the chiefs and village heads are also informed.  That information is disseminated right to the grassroots.  As Zimbabweans, we must know that when our people are informed including some Members of Parliament, they do not listen.  They do not vacate these dangerous places.  That is the earnest truth.  We can cry about it but we have to go and mobilise our people so that they take action in future when there is need.

On helicopter assistance, we have a standing rule that is applied by our SADC forces or aid agencies.  When there is such a disaster, they inform each other.  That is why you will see assistance coming from South Africa, Tanzania or Zambia; we request in order to alleviate problems but if you see what is happening in Mozambique which was more devastated by us, they have already moved in and we are no exception.  We do not shy away from asking for help because we also help Malawi, Zambia or Namibia when we are not faced with a calamity.  Those working situations are in place and I am sure you will know that our Minister of Foreign Affairs has contacted his counterparts but even in South Africa, they have to prioritise on where to go.  The South Africans also prioritise the destination after they have been informed.  The entire SADC region has been alerted that we require assistance not only of material and other things but including transportation networks.

On bridges, there is what we call bell bridges.  We do not have that type of bridges.  We have asked those in the region that have such bridges to provide us with some so that we can be able to go across our rivers.  We asked for such assistance because we really need it.  There is no need for us to be shy because we know that our colleagues have these things that we do not have.

Disaster preparedness Cde Biti, did I say Comrade or Hon. Biti; Comrade – [AN HON. MEMBER: Withdraw that?] - I will not withdraw – [Laughter.] - Hon. Biti, as former Minister of Finance, you understand and know about disaster preparedness.  There are certain things that will come unprepared even if you are prepared.  It is risk and calamity.  It is risk management. There is no one who is able to eliminate all the risks alone such that people will not die.  You cannot find people who are prepared on this planet or even in developed countries.  That is why even in the most developed countries, you still hear that people die.  Even in America, they have had calamities such as hurricanes over and over again but they still die.

We are not condoning anybody who does not prepare well.  We are saying to our structures all the time - these structures at national or provincial level must be prepared.  Yes, the Minister of Finance can answer on the three million but all I can say is that we are setting up structures so that our predictability of what happens can be more accurate and we will have information of where this happened.  That information is sometimes lacking. So the Minister of Finance can answer that one.

On the fund raising system, we have been telling our people not to use this opportunity to enrich themselves.  They should use this opportunity to raise funds or materials that will help Zimbabweans.  As a result, we have consistently said and the President said it way back; when we have a calamity like this, cholera or whatever, we want full accountability.  Any cash transfers from an individual who wants to help Zimbabwe and embassies, NGOs and individuals have been doing so  - that money goes to the Ministry of Finance.  They are the ones who have an account that they monitor and give to the ministries that need to take action or give to organisations that need to take action.  In the Ministry, we do not encourage monies to be sent to us.  They are sent to the Ministry of Finance and there is an account number which we can provide for anybody who is helping and we have been providing it.  Further to that, material things should be coordinated because if we do not coordinate, you will end up giving those in Chikukwa instead of those at Copper where there is a problem.  So coordination is of utmost importance.  Even if we are in Mutare, we said aid agencies need to coordinate.  Come and tell the centre where you are taking these things to. 

So all materials go to the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, either here in Harare and they can be transported to points of risk and that is not only in Manicaland as I have said.  I have details of where all these other points of risk are taking place right now or you can go to the provincial offices of the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing.  They have holding facilities.  In Mutare, working with Word Vision, all the materials are being looked after at Word Vision.

If you are supporting us with fuel, that fuel is going to CMED and is being accounted for.  So accountability is necessary.  In districts, you take the material to the District Administrator.  We again do not encourage people to take their donations directly without recording.  Sometimes we just need recording but the individual…

HON. SIKHALA:  On a point of order, Mr. Speaker Sir.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  I am not allowing that unless you are seeking further clarification.

HON. J. MOYO:  Now there is a point that has been made and I think it is well understood - why did schools not close?  That point we take as a lesson.  Even the President last night said we must derive lessons learnt from each one of these.  Lessons learnt from any situation must be there.  So the lessons that we have learnt about schools is true.  If we had closed those schools, we would have saved at least those two lives, but there are schools that are still going on and the Minister of Finance and Economic Development has provided funding for primary and secondary schools in the area so that they can be revived.  Right now, most of the schools are not in danger except that they need to restore water, they need to restore electricity and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development has already provided funding for it in the $50 million that I have talked about.

The issue of the bodies of the children who are deceased, I have talked about it and also the helicopters, as raised by Hon. Matambanadzo.  The Zimbabwe Republic Police - ZRP is part and parcel.  In fact they are the first on the spot.  Whether we have a calamity such as in mining or anywhere, the ZRP are there.  They are responsible for maintaining the bodies and making sure that the bodies of people who are deceased, if they have to go for post mortem, they are the ones who are responsible for it.  So the police, apart from keeping order, they are part and parcel of this disaster management and they are there in full force.  After all, when you are looking at defence and security organisations, the ZRP is more decentralised than the other security agencies.  So we rely very heavily on them to give us accurate information working with the communities and they have been doing so.

On shelter, yes shelter is a challenge.  When we say that there will be a disaster, we will be having points where people will assemble.  In Chimanimani, we were saying that people should go to schools, church buildings and they ended up being there, some of them.  Some of us, we would have said it but we cannot force our people.  That is the only way we can succeed.  I thank you.

HON. SIKHALA:  Hon. Minister, thank you very much for mentioning, especially in terms of transparency, how resource mobilisation towards the calamities is being done.  However, what are you doing about almost everyone who is currently mobilising resources claiming that they want to go and donate them in Manicaland?  Even if you would check on the social media, both on the whatsapp groups, facebook, twitter and others, there is a group of ZANU-PF youths who are asking the citizens of this country to donate money through their ecocash accounts.  How are those monies going to be accounted for?  How will we know that the people who are donating to these ZANU-PF youths through their ecocash numbers, that the money will reach its destinations?

Secondly, Hon. Minister, you indicated that the Government has allocated $50 million towards disaster management in Manicaland. 

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order Hon. Sikhala, you are not debating a motion, you are seeking clarification.

HON. SIKHALA:  I was seeking two clarifications, Mr. Speaker Sir.

THE HON. SPEAKER:  You should wind up.

HON. SIKHALA:  I am winding up.  So the $50 million which the man seated next to you has given to Government for the disaster management, is it enough?

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order, order.  Hon. Sikhala, there is no man sitting next to Hon. Minister Moyo.  Withdraw that statement.

HON. SIKHALA:  Withdrawn, Mr. Speaker Sir.  I reconstruct it.  The Minister of Finance and Economic Development seated next to you, how would he allocate $50 million, RTGS, for such kind of a disaster?  Minister, clarify on those issues.

*HON. KARENYI:  Let me say our heartfelt condolences to those that perished.  My points of clarity to the Minister are as follows.  Hon. Speaker, firstly I wanted to find out from the Minister if he has confirmed the information that helicopters have been deployed and that these helicopters are on the ground?  We have relatives that are on mountains in the Kurwaisimba area – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-

THE HON. SPEAKER:  Order Hon. Members.  Order!  There is only one Chair here.  Thank you.

*HON. KARENYI:  I wanted to the Minister to find out and understand if there are any ambulances in the Kurwaisimba area?  Our relatives reported that there is only one Mars helicopter that is in the Kurwaisimba area.  We would want the Minister to do a follow up to find out if the reports that he is receiving are what is actually prevailing on the ground.

Secondly, Minister there are chiefs that are in Mozambique who are saying that they have some Zimbabweans that were swept on to the Mozambican territory.  What measures are being put in place to make sure that corpses that have drifted to Mozambique be repatriated back to Zimbabwe?  I thank you – [AN HON. MEMBER: If you are not the member you better keep quiet.]

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Member, address the Chair.  Your last point of clarification.

          *HON. KARENYI: Mr. Speaker, I would also want to find out from the Minister - firstly, may I be given time because I come from that particular area and my heart bleeds because of what has happened in that area.  I have a lot of issues that I want to seek clarity on.  There are also others that also want to seek clarity. 

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Please join you questions.

          *HON. KARENYI: Secondly, I would want to find out from the Minister, on burial - yesterday I met a relative who said that people are being buried in mass graves.  Is that true?  A mother and a child were buried in a single grave, is that happening?  Furthermore, we have some bodies that were found drifted along the river and were taken to Nyanyadzi clinic. The mortuary at Nyanyadzi is not fully functional so we fear the bodies will start to decompose.  We have children from Mutambara and Nedziwa that were at Wengezi, now that the rains have subsided and helicopters are now able to reach those areas, what plans are in place to ensure that the children are taken back to their schools or homesteads?

          You said an awareness campaign was conducted, I suggest if you had come to Parliament before the disaster and given an appeal, it would have made better impact because we only saw this on television and radio.  In future, please come and appeal to your Members of Parliament. There was not even a single warning to ZTV to say that people must leave these low lying areas and move to the high ground.  I would want Government to accept the blame because there was no such appeal.

          Lastly, at Biriwiri Hospital, some of the people that were severely injured are there but since there is no much flooding like in Chimanimani, helicopters are able to reach that area.  Can those that are seriously ill be transferred from that area to other hospitals?  What plans have you put in place to ensure such activities do take place so that they can be treated? 

          Mr. Speaker, I am happy to have seen one of the families of the children of St Charles Lwanga; rehabilitation and counselling is required for both children and their teachers.  The children are said to have carried their own colleague’s body on a raft. It is a long way from the school to the bridge where the soldiers made this raft.  If the soldiers assisted, it was too late because the children were nearing the destination already.  So, it is important that the children, teachers and headmaster receive proper counselling.  I thank you.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Members, Cabinet is supposed to be sitting now and the Hon. Minister J. G. Moyo is supposed to be briefing Cabinet on the same as he has done here.  I am seeking your indulgence that we have only question from Hon. Mliswa and then the Hon. Minister – [HON. MEMBERS: Zvimbuya izvi] – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Order, then the Hon. Minister will respond and the intervention from Hon. Mliswa, I am instructing it to be brief.  After that, we will excuse the Hon. Minister of Local Government to proceed to Cabinet.  The Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development will respond to some other issues relating to finance.  Hon. Minister you can briefly respond and if need be, we might call the Hon. Minister on Thursday because tomorrow he has to go...

          An Hon. Member having stood up.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Why are you standing up? Tomorrow the Hon. Minister must go back to base and do the coordination there.  I thank you.  Hon. Mliswa can you be brief please.

          HON. T. MLISWA: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker.  I want to seek clarity in terms of the structures of communication that the Minister alluded to.  The Minister spoke about the various Government organisations that were involved.  Mr. Speaker Sir, this is indicative of the fact that Members of Parliament are a nonentity in this country. There is no effective communication that can be done without a Member of Parliament being told at all.  So, it just shows the poor communication in that Members of Parliament were never told, neither did we receive anything in the pigeon holes to go and alert the people and have meetings with the councillors in the constituencies.  Members of Parliament are at all not considered in this regard.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: You have made your point.

          HON. T. MLISWA: The second one, the communication that he is talking about which they used; they told people to move but they did not move.  Was it not time for the army to intervene because prevention is better than cure?  So, we have a situation where the communication that they are talking about failed to work because people are stubborn.  Was it not important for the law enforcement agents to then come in and say you must move to these areas?  They spoke about Mutoko where this cyclone is also attacking people but there are no specific areas in which Members of Parliament could have gone to have immediate meetings with.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Point made.

          HON. MLISWA: The other, the last one.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: No, no, the Minister must go.

          HON. T. MLISWA: The last one is we have got the police unit called Sub-aqua Unit that specifically deals with water accidents.  How capacitated is it and when last were they send anywhere for training to prepare for such instances?  I thank you.

          THE HON. SPEAKER: Just as a reminder Hon. Minister, the question on trauma, if you could deal with that please.

          HON. J. G. MOYO: Thank you Mr. Speaker. On the question of donations that Hon. Sikhala spoke about, I have heard of ZANU PF youths who were collecting money and they also confirmed that RTGS$11 000 was deposited in the accounts in Manicaland coming from that source. We encourage youths who can collect money but deposit it in accounts that are designated. So, I want to confirm.

          I wanted to answer the Hon. Member who is leaving the House because I wanted to give her the points that she has mentioned which we have plotted and what we are dealing with in each of these places. What I have drawn from experience is that at Kurwaisimba, there is a small weir that has been taken out. I have mentioned that there is a small causeway that has been affected, but the army has been able to reach that place. We are aware that there are people who are marooned and we have not been able to do anything to access them because we are still concentrating on the more seriously injured, and people are calling from all over. So, the demands are there and the distress phone calls are coming from all over. We are trying to attend to them in the best way we can.

          Kurwaisimba area is one of the areas that we are dealing with. The helicopters, sure Mars came much later than the Air Force one. The Air Force one had been running trips to pick people and I told you when we were at Skyline, we saw it going back and forth. We spent quite a bit of time there. I might add that there was another small helicopter owned by private people, but it was not carrying patients. It carried one doctor who they wanted to take to one of the hospitals and we interacted with them when we were at Skyline. So, the helicopters are there.

          I have already mentioned that the bodies in Mozambique at Copa, that is where people were swept away by the rains and some of the bodies we are being told by the people of Mozambique that they believe that those bodies are from Zimbabwe. We are doing everything to go and take those bodies and try to identify those bodies. At Nyanyadzi mortuary, it has been affected by electricity and we are also trying to get diesel so that they can run generators if they have them. If they do not have the generators, we are trying to send generators there.

          I have already said there are people who have donated diesel so that it can be accessed at Mutare. I am not sure that we are getting constant communication although we passed through Nyanyadzi yesterday and the other day, we did not stop because we were did not get distress calls at Nyanyadzi. I was there yesterday twice, but we did not get distress calls. At Wengezi, that is where you turn to the other road which is much more stressed. We were there yesterday again but because we did not get any distress calls, we did not stop there.  The area that we were trying to concentrate on is to the east of Wengezi. On our part, we have learnt a lesson, but we did not come to appeal to parliamentarians to go and take action. Those are some of the lessons learnt and as we write this history about what to do and we will do it.

          At Biriri hospital, that is where the doctor who was in the white plane which landed at Skyline was going and it took the Army Commander of Three Brigade and they were trying to see distressed areas. That one doctor who they were carrying was going to go to Biriri hospital. So everything is being done to ensure that something happens.

          On rehabilitation, I should have answered an Hon. Member who had asked this queastion. When we have a distress situation like this, if you go to Mutare today, we have a centre which is manned by the Department of Social Welfare. We have counselling officials who have come from the Ministry of Education who are also assisting. Any Counselling Agencies, Child Line - they are part of that unit that is  doing counselling, not only for children but when I got there for instance on Saturday morning, the parent of a child who was late comes from Marondera. They were already there and we were sending them to that Counselling Centre.

          Even when the children came to the Catholic Centre in Mutare and we had been talking with the Priest who is there, we sent counselling people to where the children were being kept. So we are aware that anybody who goes through that calamity has to have counselling. We have set up a Counselling Centre in Mutare. Once we get to Chimanimani, we will definitely set a Counselling Centre there but I am sure that even now, since the Committee has been meeting, they will use the counselling people who are at Social Welfare offices who in Chimanimani and others who can do counselling. That is a standard for all disaster management situations.

          On the issue of mass graves, yes we got information that everybody was being buried in one grave, all 40 of them. That is what we had heard. I quickly sent a message to say unless you have definitely consulted with families, because the families have to bury. We cannot bury ourselves. We cannot use our own people to bury without families being there. So if a child and their mother were buried in one grave and I heard that before I left, it could only be with the consent of the parents. It is not us as Government who can say let us bury two or three people or mass graves. We cannot do that.

          Consultations must have taken place. The digging and the coffins, we got all the coffins. Remember that as Government we have a standing instruction on calamities like this. Once it happens, we support with the coffins and some money for food and transportation. So, we were prepared and the Ministry of Finance released funds immediately which we sent to Chimanimani. We did not even keep it in Mutare, but we sent it to Chimanimani so that if there were parents maybe who were closer to Ngangwi especially who wanted to go and bury their beloved ones at their home, the provisions to carry them were there. We have heard about the burials of two mostly, but not mass graves. When we heard that we gave instruction that it should not happen, certainly not from Government.

          Hon. Mliswa, on the issue of structures, we are not just doing it as Government. We are doing it as a Committee. The Committee that I am talking about at officials levels, we have UNDP coordinating all the Embassies, international organisations and all the NGOs that are willing to come and assist with management of this. Those ones we also inform but I will concede that we did not tell Parliament. I repeat, these are lessons learnt. We should next time put in your pegion holes because we actually printed what we wanted to go out about preparedness and specific to Chipinge and Chimanimani, printed those, but we did not send them to pegion holes. The army is there all the time, the Aqua Unit to help people were marooned.  Two women went fishing with their husbands, when the floods came, the husbands swam and left their wives who had to be rescued by the Aqua Unit – [Laughter.] – so, the army is there.  I cannot remember whether that Aqua Unit was from the army or the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP).  However, both the army and Aqua Unit of ZRP are there. Even the crossing that I am talking about, you could not cross some of these ferocious rivers, they had to use ropes and all kinds of army tactics in order to cross.  That is why we were not encouraging any civilian to cross some of those rivers.  So, yes, we think the situation can be contained.  I thank you Mr. Speaker – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]

THE HON. SPEAKER: I think the House will agree with me that the Hon. Minister is really on the ground with his team and we wish you well Hon. Minister and your team in the coordination of this disaster that has afflicted us as a nation.  Thank you for your indulgence. 

THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. M. NCUBE):  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  Two questions were raised by two Hon. Members regarding the adequacy of RTGS$3 million for the Civil Protection Unit (CPU).  The second question was on the adequacy of the RTGS$50 million.  Let me start by saying, the $3 million, by the nature of the CPU, is adequate because whenever a disaster occurs, we do not draw from the reserves of Treasury to fund that disaster and this is what happened on this occasion.  The budget was $3 million but lo and behold, we have found $50 million from elsewhere, especially from the reserve side to finance and fund this operation.  So, we are able to meet the budgetary requirement should any disaster occur without any difficulty.

This is the nature of the business because it is a contingent and probabilistic event; we do not know for sure what is going to occur.  I think Members of the House will agree that sitting here six months ago, we did not know that this Cyclone Idai was going to occur and cause so much havoc to at least 20 000 families in Manicaland Province.

Coming to the adequacy of the $50 million, it is adequate.  This is a result of the costing we have received so far in terms of the immediate needs from the Committee which is working on this, chaired by Hon. July Moyo.  However, we stand ready to review any resource requirement, especially for building infrastructure going forward.  This is a very important issue and we take it very seriously.

Let me hasten to say that the financial planning is very detailed.  I can actually give you school by school, how much we have budgeted for each school.  At the risk of talking too much, I will just give you an example of two schools; for example, if you look at St. Charles Lwanga Secondary School, where the dining hall was destroyed and dormitories collapsed, we have earmarked $255 000 and we have told them that it is just the beginning, let us see what else is needed and we will stand ready to allocate more.  At Chimanimani High School, 50 toilets collapsed and one teacher’s house roof was blown off, we have allocated $127 000.  At Mutsvangwa Secondary school, six classroom blocks roofs were blown off and eight squat-hole toilets collapsed and we have allocated $87 000 to deal with that issue.

I could go on and mention other areas but it is a very detailed financial planning in response to a very detailed logistic planning which Hon. Moyo has presented.  I must also say, what we have done is to ask ZIMRA to look into the goods that it has confiscated, blankets and so, which are often piled in some warehouse where we have heard that the warehouse had been burnt.  So, we would rather find a way to get these items to those who need them in Manicaland and make use of them in trying time.

I shall endeavour to engage our colleagues in the World Bank to see if we can tap into some of the Climate Insurance Funds.  I have tried this already, but of course the issue of arrears clearance came up and we could not access the climate funds to be able to deal with such a disaster.  Tomorrow I will be ready to give a statement regarding issues around the global fund and give responses to the other questions I have received.  Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

HON. T. MLISWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, I stand to be guided.  Why would you still go and build in an area which is already said to be endangered?  Is it not time to resettle these people?  I am not an engineer, but I am just saying that what guarantee do we have that this will not happen again, yet we still put more money there?  Can we not create a better place for them with that $50 million?

HON. M. NCUBE: Thank you Hon. Mliswa for that question.  Of course, I am not the best person to answer such a question in terms of resettlement issues, but it is a point well made as to whether we will not be taking the same level of risk by going back to the same places to rebuild.  However, that is what those in charge of planning have to look into.  I am sure they are listening and they will look into that, perhaps we may have to move people elsewhere and build there.  The issue I was dealing with was that of adequacy of budget, which is that, on the budget fund we do not have a constraint as yet in terms of the needs that we have been asked to meet and we stand ready to meet them.  I thank you.

Hon. Members having stood up to seek further clarifications.

THE HON. SPEAKER: We will proceed on, the Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development will be there tomorrow and on Thursday.  So, you can get ready with the questions accordingly. 

MOTION

RATIFICATION OF THE AFRICAN CHARTER ON DEMOCRACY, ELECTIONS AND GOVERNANCE

          First Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the approval of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance.

          Question again proposed.

THE MINISTEROF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I rise to present to Parliament the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance for ratification.  Mr. Speaker Sir, the Charter was adopted by Eighth Ordinary Session of the Assembly held in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia on the 30th January 2007.  It came into force on 15th February 2012 after ratification by 15 States.  The Charter was motivated by the need to enhance the quality of elections in Africa, promote human rights, strengthen the rule of law, improve political, economic and social governance and address the recurrent issues relating to unconstitutional changes of Government in the continent. 

Madam Speaker, the African Charter of Democracy, Elections and Governance was signed by the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, His Excellency Hon. E. D. Mnangagwa on the 21st of March, 2018 in Rwanda.  The signing was ahead of our harmonised elections which were held on the 31st of July, 2018.  The signing was so as to enhance the quality of our own elections, among other objectives.  Mindful of the provisions of Section 327 (2) (a) of the Constitution which provides that an international treaty which has been concluded or executed by the President does not bind Zimbabwe until it has been approved by Parliament. The Charter was submitted to Parliament for ratification before.

          The Charter binds State parties to promote democracy, rule of law and human rights.  It obligates State parties to take necessary measures to promote constitutional transfer of power. It also binds the State parties to guarantee rights of women, migrants, ethnic minorities, people with disabilities and other vulnerable social groups.

          Madam Speaker, the Charter obligates State parties to establish and entrench a culture of democracy and peace through legislative measures.  The Charter binds State parties to institutionalise constitutional civilian control over the armed and security forces to ensure consolidation of democracy and constitutional order. State parties are also obligated to take legislative and regulatory measures to ensure that those who attempt to remove an elected Government are dealt with in accordance with the law.  Madam Speaker, State parties are sanctioned by the Charter to commit to regular holding of transparent, free and fair elections in accordance with the union’s declaration on the principles governing democratic elections in Africa.

Madam Speaker, some of the provisions, I think I have already presented them to this august House.  Therefore, I move that Parliament ratifies the Charter.  I so submit Madam Speaker.

HON. PHULU:  Madam Speaker, I have further debate but I was looking at the time and I do not know if the Hon. Minister would agree.  Would we be able to commence debate now?  It is an important Instrument - are we able to complete it now but I am ready to proceed.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Hon. Member, if you want to debate the motion, you can go ahead.

HON. PHULU:  I would like to thank the Government for presenting this Instrument to this House in order for us to consider and approve it.  In fact, if one takes into account that the Charter has been in force amongst members who have adopted it since 2012, I think it is timely that we are considering this Instrument now.  Government did move swiftly since it came in to adopt it within a year. 

If one looks at the contents of our future piece of legislation, I think it is a good move, especially in light of the topical issues around elections.  Indeed, if you look at the Order Paper now, you will see there are a number of motions that raise a number of issues around elections.  I hope that this is a sign that we will begin to take issues around elections very serious.  The content of the Charter are very progressive and will enable Government to become more transparent in how they conduct elections and enable different stakeholders to know exactly what should happen and when elections are going to take place.  There are a number of issues that are raised in the Charter such as predictability in terms of when elections will be held.  An undertaking that elections will be held regularly, undertaking that even in terms of media, the participation of everybody is going to be on a fair and equal ground.

I am not going to go through the contents in detail but I am worried for I saw details around extradition.  The Hon. Minister will be able to have an extradition treaty with Kenya as soon as we approve this Instrument but I suppose in the whole frame of things, it makes sense but we hope that eventually when this treaty is domesticated, Parliament will have ample time; I do not know whether we have to domesticate it as it is.  I am sure we are allowed to make a few modifications after debate but on the whole, I think the piece of legislation is very progressive. 

I support that the House moves to approve this piece of legislation very quickly.  I would like Madam Speaker, to remind the Hon. Minister that as soon as we approve it, we hope they do not take another two years before they present their articles of ratification to the relevant forum.  It would be nice to hear some assurances from the Hon. Minister that they will move quickly to ensure that it is ratified and we bring it back to this House for domestication.  If this could be done within a year, I think people in this House will be elated and Zimbabweans, including those in Nkulumane will be served very well by this Government and by Members of this House should they move to approve this Instrument.  I thank you Madam Speaker. 

          THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI):  Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am.  I want to thank the Hon. Member for commending the Government for bringing this progressive charter for ratification. Indeed, we need to move with the rest of Africa to ensure that we democratise and bring in instruments that will help us grow our democracy, and this is one of those that we felt we need to include. 

So, I want to thank him for the comments that he gave and we will continue in that direction as we move in to do our political and legislative reforms in areas to do with governance and electoral reform seeing that everyone is satisfied with the charter. I move that the charter do now be ratified by the House.  I thank you. 

          Motion put and agreed to.

          On the motion of THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI), the House adjourned at Twenty Two Minutes to Five o’clock p.m.

 

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National Assembly Hansard NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 19 MARCH 2019 VOL 45 NO 43