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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 26 SE[TEMBER 2017 VOL 44 NO 05

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PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Tuesday, 26th September, 2017

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER

NON-ADVERSE REPORTS RECEIVED FROM THE PARLIAMENTARY LEGAL COMMITTEE

        THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  I have to inform the House that I have received Non-Adverse Reports from the Parliamentary Legal Committee on the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission Bill [H. B. 10, 2016 and the Insolvency Bill [H. B. 11, 2016].

HON. MLISWA:  On a point of order Madam Speaker.  Good afternoon, Madam Speaker.  I came fully prepared to discharge my duties as a Member of Parliament but there are no enough Order Papers.  Is the economic situation that bad that we do not have Order Papers for Members of Parliament?

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  I have heard you Hon. Member, our Administration will look into that.

HON. MUTSEYAMI:  On a point of order Madam Speaker, good afternoon.  My point of order is in terms of Order No. 69 (d), as enshrined in our Standing Rules and Orders Book.  I request through you Madam Speaker that the Hon. Minister responsible for Industry and Commerce, in conjunction with the Hon. Minister responsible for Finance and Economic Development should come up with a joint statement to give us reasons and factors as to why we have had this sudden increase in prices which shoot up to 300%.  I want them to bring us a justification as well for us – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – I seek your protection Madam Speaker.

                  Hon. Mliswa and Hon. Mutseyami having raised points of order during time for Notices of Motions.

                  THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Order, order, Hon. Mliswa please.  Hon. Members, we have procedures to follow in this House.  I am asking for Notices of Motions but you start by raising points of order.  Please, can I finish my procedure, then you can always come in, there is no need to rush.

                  *HON. MUTSEYAMI:  My point of order is a plea through you so that we could be assisted by the Minister of Industry and Commerce and the Minister of Finance and Economic development by giving us a joint statement that explains to this august House and the country why in the previous two days, our basic foods have sky rocketed by more than 200%.  We want Members of Parliament to be afforded a chance to pose questions.  We urge the Ministers to go to the suppliers to find out why there has been that increase and how they are going to be addressing that point.  I thank you.

          HON. GONESE:  On a point of order Madam Speaker.  It is a matter on privilege.  There was an issue raised by Hon. Mliswa regarding the absence of the Order Paper.  I am not sure whether I got the response.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  I answered him and said administration is looking into that.

HON. GONESE:  Oh! I had not got the response.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  It is because you are not listening and you are making a lot of noise.

HON. GONESE:  No, I am listening Madam Speaker.  I had not got the response and I just wanted clarity so that I know. – [AN HON MEMBER: Inaudible interjection.] -

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Why are you saying that, do you want me to send you out?  Why are you saying that? I think you need to behave yourself as a woman MP.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

           THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF MINES AND MINING DEVELOPMENT (HON. F. MOYO):  I move that the Second Reading of the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill be stood over until the rest of the business is disposed of.

           HON. DR. SHUMBA:  On a point of order Madam Speaker.  Good afternoon Madam Speaker.  I rise as the Chairperson of the Mines and Energy Portfolio Committee and object to the standing over of the Mines and Energy Bill.  In fact Madam Speaker, we have written to the Minister and cited the constitutional provision Section 141, that indeed the Committee is engaged in consultations with the Minister and that the Minister has prematurely reinstated the motion on the Order Paper.  We have made consultations and I move that in fact, the Minister withdraws the motion until we have exhausted provisions provided for under Section 141 of the Constitution.  Madam Speaker, mainly because the Committee has indicated and the Minister has agreed that he was going to invite the Committee for consultations, which consultations have been aborted on two occasions.  Madam Speaker, certain aspects of what the Minister proposes to sneak in have in fact, been resolved unanimously by the Committee that we should seek the Minister to withdraw the motion. 

           THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Hon. Shumba, I heard the Minister saying he is just standing over this motion, meaning that he does not want to debate it now but not that he is not going to debate the motion.  So, I take it that at the moment we are standing over this motion and we go to other motions.  So, I think you can talk to each other about that.

           HON. DR. SHUMBA:  That is exactly what I am objecting to Madam Speaker.

           THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Ah! Hon. Shumba, the Minister …

           HON. DR. SHUMBA: Can you hear me out Madam Speaker?

           THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  No, no, no, you sit down.  I am giving a ruling.  Hon. Shumba, the Minister is allowed to prepare himself to bring in the Bill.  You cannot force him to debate the Bill now – no! So, we cannot have that.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          THE MINISTER OF LANDS AND RURAL RESETLEMENT (HON. DR. MOMBESHORA): I move that Order of the Day Number 1, on today’s Order Paper, be stood over until Order of the Day Number 2 has been dealt with.

          Motion put and agreed to.

CONSIDERATION STAGE

ZEP-RE (MEMBERSHIP OF ZIMBABWE BRANCH OFFICE) BILL [H.B.9, 2016]

           Second Order read: Consideration Stage: ZEP-RE (Membership of Zimbabwe Branch Office) [H. B. 9, 2016].

           Amendment in the Preamble put and agreed to.

          Bill as amended, adopted.

          Third Reading: With leave, forthwith.

THIRD READING

ZEP-RE (MEMBERSHIP OF ZIMBABWE BRANCH OFFICE) BILL [H.B.9, 2016]

          THE MINISTER OF LANDS AND RURAL RESETLEMENT (HON. DR. MOMBESHORA) On behalf of THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): I move that the Bill be read the third time.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Bill read a third time.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          THE MINISTER OF LANDS AND RURAL RESETLEMENT (HON. DR. MOMBESHORA): Madam Speaker, I move that Orders of the Day, Number 3 to 4, on today’s Order Paper, be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the Day have been disposed of.

          Motion put and agreed to.

COMMITTEE STAGE

CONSIDERATION OF AN ADVERSE REPORT ON THE SHOP LICENCES AMENDMENT BILL [H.B. 10, 2016]

           Fifth Order read: Committee Stage: Consideration of an Adverse Report by the Parliamentary Legal Committee on the Shop Licences Amendment Bill.

           House in Committee.

           HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Mr. Chairman.  In pursuit of its constitutional mandate as provided for in Section 152 (2) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, the Parliamentary Legal Committee met on the 22nd of August, 2017, at 1115hrs to consider the Shop Licences Amendment Bill [HB, 10 of 2016].  After deliberations, the Committee resolved that an Adverse Report be issued in respect of Clause 7 of the Bill, amending Section 13 of the Shop Licences Act and Clause 8 of the Bill, repealing Section 14 of Chapter 14:17. In compliance with Standing Order 32(3), all members of the Committee legally qualified as envisaged by Section 152 (2) of the Constitution, agreed that the Bill contained provisions that if enacted, would violate the Constitution.

           On Clause 7;

            Clause 7 amends Section 13 (2C) of the Principle Act, which provides fixing of fees to the effect that local authorities must incorporate every licencing fee into their annual budget.  Such budgets shall be approved by the Minister.  The approval of annual budgets of local authorities by the Minister violates Section 276 of the Constitution, which gives local authorities the right to govern on their own initiatives and the power to make by-laws regulations and the power to levy rates and taxes in order to raise their own revenue. 

          Mr. Chairman, the involvement of the Minister in local authority business has reduced local authorities to appendages of Central Government.  The Minister’s power to approve local authorities’ budgets is inconsistent with the devolution principles set out in Chapter 14 of the Constitution.  The devolution principles grant local authorities new powers and responsibilities in three dimensions, that is, political, administrative and fiscal.  These dimensions give local governments discretional space and they should not be unconstitutionally limited.  The practice proposed in the Bill is inconsistent with the spirit of the Constitution, leading to serious shortcomings in the administration of Local Government.

          Further, Section 129 of the Urban Councils Act provides the Minister the powers to approve by-laws.  This is inconsistent with the Constitution, which advocates for independence of local authorities in governing their initiatives and the power to make by-laws, regulations and the power to levy rates and taxes in order to raise their own revenue.  The amendment to Section 13 (2) (c) of the Shop Licences Act takes away the authority conferred by Section 264 (1), which stipulates that “whenever appropriate, governmental –

          Hon. Members having been making a lot of noise.

          THE CHAIRPERSON (HON. MARUMAHOKO):  Order, Hon. Members.  Order please.  There are some senior Members here who are making noise.  Very soon I may ask one of you to go out.  You may proceed Hon. Ziyambi.

          HON. ZIYAMBI:  Thank you Mr. Chair.  Section 264 of the Constitution states that, “whenever appropriate, governmental powers and responsibilities must be devolved to provincial and metropolitan councils and local authorities which are competent to carry out those responsibilities efficiently and effectively.”  It is prudent to note that the local authorities are competent to levy rates without interference by the Minister.  The interference by the Minister defeats the whole purpose of devolution of powers and Section 5 of the Constitution, which establishes three tiers of Government namely; national Government, provincial and local authorities.  It also affects effectiveness of local authorities.

          The Committee is of the opinion that the role of the Minister must be limited to facilitating co-ordination between Central Government and local authorities on policy issues, and should be a vehicle which facilitates the publishing or gazetting of such budgets.  The Act of Parliament envisaged in Section 265 (3) of the Constitution must further provide appropriate mechanisms and procedures to facilitate co-ordination between Central Government, provincial and metropolitan councils and local authorities.

          On Clause 8; 

          Mr. Chair, Clause 8 seeks to repeal Section 14 of the Principal Act, which provides for the publication of intention to apply for a shop licence and the lodging of objections to such an application. 

          THE CHAIRPERSON:  Order Hon. Members.  This is my last warning.  It may be you – [HON. P. D. SIBANDA:  Who?] - Hon. Sibanda, may you withdraw that.

          HON. P. D. SIBANDA:  Withdrawn.

          THE CHAIRPERSON:  Order Hon. Members.  You may resume your debate.

          HON. ZIYAMBI:  Thank you Mr. Chair.  Clause 8 seeks to repeal Section 14 of the Principal Act, which provides for the publication of intention to apply for a shop licence and the lodging of objections to such an application.  The publication is done in a local newspaper circulating in the area –

          THE CHAIRPERSON:  Hon. Labode, I think sarcastically I said there are some senior Members making noise and it was one of you.  May we please maintain silence in this Chamber. 

          HON. ZIYAMBI:  Thank you Mr. Chairman.  The publication is done in a local newspaper circulating in the area and there are requirements that have to be met, including a waiting period of 56 days in total before the application is considered in order to allow the authority to receive objections, if any from any third party.  The Bill is seeking to do away with this prolonged cumbersome procedure by repealing the requirement, and removing the lodging of objections.  It is prudent to note that the purpose of the Shop Licences Amendment Bill is to create an environment of ease of doing business so as to ensure that local businesses are also globally competent.  It should be noted that though this mandate is essential for the economic growth, it has to be achieved through a means which align with the supreme law of the land, which is the Constitution. 

          The publication of applications and lodging of objections ensures that interested parties are well informed about the applications that have been made and would enable such persons to raise their concerns.  This is in line with Section 68 (1) of the Constitution, which guarantees the right to administrative justice.  Section 68 (1) of the Constitution provides that, “every person has a right to administrative conduct that is lawful, prompt, efficient, reasonable, proportionate, impartial and both substantively and procedurally fair.”  The repealing of Section 14 of the Principal Act in Clause 8 is inconsistent with Section 68 (1) of the Constitution as it limits a procedurally fairness process and also offends Section 3 (2) of the Administration of Justice Act. 

          Mr. Chairman, the decision of a local authority to issue a shop licence or deny the applicant the licence is an administrative conduct envisaged in Section 68 of the Constitution that affects the applicant and the citizen’s resident under the edification of the local authority.  The administrative conduct must be both substantively and procedurally fair.  The current Section 14 of the Principal Act which the Bill seeks to repeal in Clause 8 complies with the requirements for fulfilling and promoting the right to administrative justice in Section 68 of the Constitution.  The principle procedural fairness has been clearly articulated by the courts in the case of CLEOPHAS PARIDZIRA V MINISTRY OF LANDS AND ANOR HH 376/15, where Justice Zhou stated that: “Procedural fairness entails that the opportunity to make representations be afforded to a person adversely affected by administrative conduct ….. (Section 3 (2) (a) and (b) of the Administrative Justice Act (requires) an administrative authority making decision which is adverse to the right, interest and legitimate expectation of a person to give adequate notice of the nature and purpose of the proposed action and a reasonable opportunity to the affected person to make adequate representations …”

          The courts through several decided cases have also exhibited a liberal attitude in interpreting the provisions regarding the right to procedural fairness.  In the recent case of AG V MUDISI AND ORS S-48-15 the court held that “one of the fundamental precepts of natural justice encapsulated in the maxim audi alteram partem is the right of every person to be heard or afforded an opportunity to make representations before any decision is taken that might impinge upon his or her rights, interests or legitimate expectations. This precept of the common law forms part of the larger duty imposed upon every administrative authority to act legally, rationally and procedurally and is now codified in Section 3 (1)(a) of the Administrative Justice Act [Chapter 10:28] as the duty to “act lawfully, reasonably and in a fair manner”. The obligation to act in a fair manner is further expanded in Section 3 (2) to require the giving of “adequate notice of the nature and purpose of the proposed action” and “a reasonable opportunity to make adequate representations” as well as “adequate notice of any right of review or appeal where applicable”.

          It is imperative to note that to satisfy the requirement of acting in a manner that is substantively and procedurally, the authorities must give the concerned parties adequate notice and reasonable opportunity to make adequate representations or objections. Thus Section 68 of the Constitution will be grossly violated by repealing 14 of the Principal Act and will not afford the concerned parties the legal avenue to air out their disaffection and objections concerning the issuing of the shop licence in question.

          The right can only be limited after weighing all the factors listed in Section 86 of the Constitution which provides that the fundamental rights and freedoms are not absolute in the sense that they have to be exercised with due regard to the rights and freedoms of others. These rights may be limited only in terms of law of general applications, to the extent that the particular limitation is fair, reasonable, necessary and justifiable in a democratic society based on openness, justice, human dignity, equality and freedom, taking into account all factors. The provisions of Section 86 must be interpreted generously in favour of the rights rather than in favour of their restriction. Thus nature of the right provided in Section 68 of the Constitution cannot be limited for the purposes of ease of doing business. However, the prolonged and cumbersome processes in legislation can be eliminated in a manner that does not violate the constitutionally entrenched rights. The process can be shortened so as to promote easy of doing business, instead of completely doing away with it.

          In conclusion, as stated in the preamble of the Constitution, the spirit entrenched is to ensure that there are founded values of fairness and justice to all. There is need to maintain the progressive steps in protecting the fundamental rights and freedoms. The amendment of Section 13 of the Principal Act would also strip the local authorities of their constitutional powers and mandate. Repealing Section 14 of the Principal Act would be undermining the administrative justice system and will be in contravention of the Constitution, hence Section 2 would apply, invalidating the inconsistency. It is the collective wisdom of the Committee that the two provisions, Clauses 7 and 8 of the Bill, if enacted, would contravene the provisions of the Constitution.

          Due to the aforesaid, the Committee resolved on a majority of 4:0 to issue an adverse report on the Bill. I thank you.

House resumed.

Progress reported.

Committee to resume: Wednesday, 27th September 2017.

COMMITTEE STAGE

CONSIDERATION OF AN ADVERSE REPORT ON STATUTORY INSTRUMENT NO. 74 OF 2017 POLICE (ASSOCIATION) REGULATIONS, 2017

           Sixth Order read: Committee Stage: Consideration of an Adverse Report on Statutory Instrument No. 74 of 2017 Police (Association) Regulations 2017

      House in Committee.

           HON. GONESE: Thank you Mr. Chairman.  It is my honour and pleasure to present the report of the Parliamentary Legal Committee (PLC). In pursuit of its Constitutional mandate as provided for in Section 152 of the Constitution, the Parliamentary Legal Committee (hereinafter referred to as “the Committee”) met on the 18th July, 2017. On its agenda was the analysis of Statutory Instrument 74 of 2017, Police (Association) Regulations, 2017, gazetted on the 9th of June 2017. After deliberations, the Committee unanimously resolved that an Adverse Report be issued in respect of the Statutory Instrument, due to the following considerations:-

1.    Section 3: Purpose and functions of the Zimbabwe Republic Police Association.

           The purpose of setting up the Association and its functions thereof are provided for in Section 72 (2) (m) of the Police Act as read with Section 3 (2) of the Regulations as regulating all matters affecting the welfare and efficiency of members. The Constitution, in Section 222, establishes a Police Service Commission whose functions are articulated in Section 223. One of the functions of the Commission is to ensure the general well being and good administration of the Police Service and its maintenance in a high state of efficiency”. This function refers to matters affecting the welfare and efficiency of the members of the Police force which are being regulated for under these Regulations. It is the constitutional mandate of the Commission to look into the issues of the welfare and efficiency of members not the Commissioner-General of Police as provided for in the Regulations. As a result, the Regulations are parallel with the functions of the Commission and seek to usurp the powers of the Commission thereby violating Section 222 and 223 of the Constitution.

           In addition, the Commission may make Regulations for any of the purposes in Section 223, and in this case the Regulations makes no reference or mention of the Police Service Commission. In contrast the Regulations in Section 3 (2) states that all issues shall be brought to the notice of the Commissioner-General of Police. There is no mention of referral of the matters upon receipt to the Police Service Commission.

2.    Section 3 (3) Affiliation and Membership

           The affiliation of an Association may be voluntary and by choice of an individual member. Section 3 (3) of the Statutory Instrument provides that the association shall consist of members of the Police Service. The wording of the provision is not clear whether membership is voluntary or compulsory and automatic by virtue of one being a duly attested member of the Zimbabwe Republic Police. If the latter is true, the provision is in contravention of the right; that is the freedom of assembly and association guaranteed in Section 58 of the Constitution. Section 58 provides that;

(1)            Every person has the right to freedom of assembly and association, and the right not to assemble or associate with others.

(2)            No person may be compelled to belong to an association or to attend a meeting or gathering.  The net result Mr. Chairman is that the regulations, as formulated make it compulsory and actually violate those rights which I have outlined.  

           Members of the Police Service must be given a choice to join the Association or not. There is no mention in the enabling Act that the Association is an extension of the constitutional mandate of the Police Service as provided in Section 219 of the Constitution. It is also not clear if the public is welcome to join the Association – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -

           THE CHAIRPERSON (HON. MARUMAHOKO): Order Hon. Members, shall I continue to say order Hon. Members? – [AN HON. MEMEBR: Yes.]- Who is saying yes. We are here for serious business Hon. Members.

           HON. GONESE: Members of the Police Force must be given a choice to join the Association or not. There is no mention in the enabling Act that the Association is an extension of the constitutional mandate of the police service as provided in Section 219 of the Constitution. It is also not clear if the public is welcome to join the Association or it is only confined to the Police Service.

3.    Section 6: Powers of the Commissioner-General of Police.

           The powers given to the Commissioner-General of the Police in terms of Section 6 of the regulations are excessive and encroach on the members’ right to freedom of association the members’ right to freedom of association as members may want to choose their leaders amongst themselves who chair and spearhead the work of the association but are not afforded this opportunity since the Commissioner General appoints the individuals mentioned above.

In addition, his powers as earlier mentioned contravene Section 223 of the Constitution as he is taking the powers and functions of the Commission, thereby usurping the powers of the Police Service Commission.

The enactment of the regulations by the Minister violates Section 223 (2) of the Constitution in that the Constitution empowers the Police Service Commission to make regulations with the approval of the Minister for any of the purposes in Section 223 of which the issue of welfare is part of the matters mentioned.  In terms of Section 117 (2) (c) as read with 134 of the Constitution, Parliament confers subordinate legislative powers upon a body or authority within the scope laid out in the enabling Act.  These regulations should have been cited as having been made by the Police Service Commission with the approval of the Minister.  There is no mention or reference to the Commission in the regulations at all, thus they are in contravention of Section 223 (2)

Hon. Chairman, it is therefore the collective wisdom of the Committee that the Statutory Instrument contains provisions that contravene the provisions of the Constitution and accordingly, the Committee unanimously resolved to issue an adverse report on the Statutory Instrument.  I therefore lay the report before the Committee of the whole House Hon. Chairman.  I thank you.

HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Hon. Chairman.  I just want to support what our Acting Chair for the day said regarding these regulations.  What is disturbing Hon. Chairman is that every police officer will be compelled to join this association and when they have joined, the fees that they have to pay are determined by the Commissioner General.  Clearly, if you look at the Constitution on the right to association and what this Statutory Instrument is trying to achieve, there is no freedom whatsoever.  They are given a chairperson, they are told what to do.  All they have to do is to provide their hard earned money.  I do not believe our police officers are earning a lot of money, some of them may actually be grumbling and do not have any way out.  I think in terms of the Constitution and the way the association’s operation is being proposed, it is grossly unconstitutional.  I thank you.

*HON. MUTSEYAMI: Thank you Hon. Chairman.  My contribution is that our Constitution is very clear because everyone has the freedom of association from the bottom of their hearts.  Focusing on this Statutory Instrument, I do not support the fact that the Commissioner becomes the owner, chair and supervisor in everything.  Looking at issues like Kuyedza Club, it is an issue that I feel should never be associated with police officers.  This is because police officers are crying foul over this issue, they are forced to buy a cloth printed the words ‘Kuyedza Club’ which if you visit the fabric shops, costs US$7 but when the words ‘Kuyedza Club’ are imprinted upon it, it will be sold at fifty something dollars.  It is another way of gross extortion.

In addition, every police officer is given raffle tickets to be sold and it is mandatory that the raffle tickets within the booklet should be sold out.  If police officers fail to sell off the tickets, they are supposed to use their own money to buy off the tickets.  These are some of the raffle tickets (showing off some raffle tickets).  Police officers persuade us to buy these raffle tickets pleading with us that if we do not buy them, it may lead to their dismissal from work.  Therefore, this should be stopped.  We do not even know whether the cars to the raffle tickets are ever won or if they are won, are they going to be driven away?  It has been a long time since I started buying these raffle tickets but I have never been told that I have lost – [Laughter.] – I have never been called or even heard of the winner, I have not heard of him/her. 

I stand here to bail out police officers from this captivity of the Kuyedza Club.  This should be banned.  If they are willing to pursue it, every officer who is interested should do it in the privacy of their homes and not at police camps.  There should be an urgent plan to free these police officers in Zimbabwe from having their money extorted throughout the country.  This programme should be stopped and anyone who thinks otherwise should establish a trust fund which has nothing to do with police officers.  With the little time you gave me, I would like to thank you Hon. Chair.  I also want to say to police officers, we have tried to stand for your cause so that you are freed from this captivity.  I thank you.

*HON. MAONDERA: Thank you Hon. Chairman.  I would want to add my voice regarding this Statutory Instrument pertaining to the welfare of the police.  I do not see this association bringing joy to police officers.  The police officers are living in Government houses in places like Tomlison Depot and the state is deplorable.  The Committee on Local Government was urging people to ensure that they complete the construction of those houses.  Rose Camp in Bulawayo, the residence is pathetic; it is not fit for human accommodation.  The welfare of the police should not be dealt with by an association. 

The Government should be looking at the welfare of police officers.  The police officers are earning very little and from that meager earnings which is about US$400, they are also ordered to pay everyday to ensure that the money is given to other people who do not use the money properly.  This has made the Police Commissioner General not to do his core duties of arresting thieves and reducing the crime rate.  The welfare of the police should be taken care of by the Government through the Ministry of Home Affairs and not by the Commissioner General.  I am in agreement with the adverse report that has been given by the Parliamentary Legal Committee. 

We are not in agreement with this Statutory Instrument.  What then happens is that once police officers are forced to join this association, they will be forced to do illegal things and violating people’s rights.  This is because they will be threatened in one way or the other and if the police officers are under the welfare of the Government and not an individual, they will discharge their duties in a non partisan way. I thank you.

*HON. MAHOKA:  Thank you Mr. Chairman.  I would also want to add my voice to what has been said.  I believe that it is a noble idea that there should be an association.  However, it is the modalities that need to be looked at.  They should choose their own chairpersons freely and voluntarily. The chairperson should not be handpicked.  When they sell the raffle tickets, it is a good thing for them to develop themselves.  Once an association is formed, it is set up to ensure that it achieves certain objectives and it should be in compliance with the Constitution.  They should have office bearers who are freely elected.  Membership should not be compulsory, they should freely and voluntarily join the organisations.  You should not be forced to do things that are contrary to what you believe in.  I believe they are doing a good thing. It should go ahead and that is my view. It should have better and more meaningful clauses. I thank you.

          *HON. ENG. MUDZURI: I would want to add my voice and say let us support the adverse report because what is contained in this report is likened to a teacher who gives a rule in a classroom. The children would be duty bound to follow what the teacher has said because he is the one who deals with them or the abuse of the school children will come from the person who is in control. The Commissioner General should have a hands-off approach in terms of the association. This association should be formed by the Commission and should report to the police.     Mostly, if you meet the police officers, they will say that they are forced into doing things through the command structure but once it gets to their pockets, and if the Police General is now dealing with the welfare of the police who will audit their books, if they have not freely joined or voluntarily…

          THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Order Hon. Members and Hon. Sibanda, he is your Vice President but you are busy making noise.

          *HON. ENG. MUDZURI: This association should just be the same as any other association such as burial societies putting up their monies together so that they can buy a property or home, which is what women normally do. As the august House, we should not allow a single person to control the people. I thank you.

          HON. NDUNA: Over and above this association that needs to be formed, I ask Mr. Chair that it be coupled with other issues that are bedeviling Government and quasi-Government departments, in particular where there is a Government deficit Mr. Speaker, which void needs to be plugged by other initiatives. Why do I speak like this? Mr. Speaker, your Committee on Transport and Infrastructure Development which I Chair, has got a void in terms of a budget deficit in the police force which has seen the Minister of Finance giving assent to usage of 100% of spot fines. This has given an insistent appetite to the police force to make sure that there are targets that mitigate and plug the budget deficit. 

          Mr. Speaker Sir, I am saying whatever budget deficit there is in the police force …

          THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Order! You are addressing the Hon. Chairperson, not Mr. Speaker.

          HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Chairman of Committees, not Mr. Speaker Sir but Mr. Speaker Sir, I speak like that because I am used to you seated there but I will address you accordingly.

          Mr. Chair, I am quite aware that there are a lot of Government departments which have been allowed to keep monies that they are collecting irrespective that they are going to the central …

          HON. GONESE: On a point of order Mr. Chair. I am trying to follow the debate of the Hon. Member and when I look at the report which I have presented on behalf of the Parliamentary Legal Committee, what it is dealing with Mr. Chairman, is the issue of the voluntary or non-voluntary nature of the proposed association. I am trying to understand the point which is being put across by the Hon. Member. It appears to me that the debate is not on point and that is the point of order that he is not responding to the contents of the report.

          THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Hon. Member, may you stick to the issues that are raised in the report.

          HON. NDUNA: Mr. Chair, I ask that there be patience. The slow approach of a leopard does not signify its weakness. Let me come exactly to where you want me to come. Kukwira gomo hupoterera Mr. Chair. If he has a direct contact or direct bearing to a certain point, let him wait and find that point that he is wanting me to get to easily…

          THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Hon. Member, to the point please.

          HON. NDUNA: Yes, Mr. Chair. I am just trying to equate what is in that report to what is obtaining in other Government and quasi-Government departments. I have been in the force for about 10 years and there used to be an association that was called ZDFBF, which was Zimbabwe Defence Forces Benefit Fund. The fund was attached to a housing association where members voluntarily contributed towards a housing scheme. Why do I speak like that? I am saying they should not be prohibited as long as it is voluntary so that they can mitigate on a Government budget deficit. If we disallow them to be embedded in an association which can benefit them individually as policemen whilst they are subsisting in the police force during which time their tenure or contract is subsisting, we are shooting them in the foot. It should be voluntary and they should be allowed to join whichever association they so wish.

So, if that clause does not say ‘voluntary’, that clause should be in there. However Mr. Chairman Sir, I spoke about the appetite that is going to give the police force to have a plethora of road blocks on the highway.  Because of that association, they have. …

THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: The owner of a Ford Ranger, ADL 8880 is blocking others. Can the owner of that vehicle go and remove it please.

HON. NDUNA: Mr. Chair, as we finance the budget deficit, I just want to maybe make sure that the police force and other Government departments either get land, till it, have production and there be Command Agriculture on the land, and also get mines Mr. Chair; aware that we are endowed as a nation with ubiquitous amount of mineral wealth so that we can get them off the road and on to the mines that they can be more productive …

HON. ZIYAMBI: On a point of order Mr. Chairman. I think the Hon. Member clarified the issue that we were dealing with the issue as a Committee. We were looking at the formation of an association which has to look into the welfare of police officers. Our argument was, should it be an association where you do not join voluntarily or you join voluntarily. All the other issues are not part of the discussion. The issue that we presented that we require members to debate is the issue of whether this association is really necessary, mindful also that the function that this association is supposed to do; that of the welfare of members is a function that has been given to the Police Service Commission by the new Constitution. So, do we need to create an association to look into issues that deal with the welfare of police officers when this has been dealt with by the Constitution and the Police Service Commission has been mandated to look into the issue of welfare of the police officers.  So, I think our debate Hon. Chair, should be confined to those areas.  Do we need to have regulations passed by this House that infringe on freedom of association?  Do we need regulations that have to be passed that take away the function of the Police Service Commission in so far as the welfare of the police officers is concerned?

          THE CHAIRPERSON: Order, order Hon. Sibanda.  Hon. Nduna, there is no Command Agriculture whatsoever in this debate.  So stick to the debate and relevant issues.

          *HON. CHINOTIMBA: On a point of order.  My point of order Mr. Speaker – I was asking my Chairperson of the Committee on Defence and Home Affairs.  Maybe I may not know but once a Statutory Instrument comes from PLC, can it be debated in this august House when the relevant Portfolio Committee dealt with the welfare of the police officers a few days ago.  We are unaware of the Statutory Instrument and as a Committee we have not dealt with it.   Maybe it is out of ignorance.  Can this be debated?  We are seeking clarity on whether the Statutory Instrument can be accepted as it is or not?  If that was the point, then if anyone comes with their association and brings it before this august House we pass it.  I just wanted to find out what the position is.  Is that permissible to be brought before this august House before the Committee deals with it?  I thank you.

          THE CHAIRPERSON:  Hon. Chinotimba, you are out of order.  There will be a debate on the police service delivery and that is when you put all your issues.  It does not apply to this issue.

          HON. NDUNA: On a point of order.

                THE CHAIRPERSON:  Hon. Nduna, go to the point or relevant matters and not Command Agriculture and others.

          HON. NDUNA:  Thank you Mr. Chairman, you make it very difficult for me to respond to issues that have been raised against my way of debate.

          THE CHAIRPERSON:  Speak to the Chair, you do not have to respond to those people who have raised issues.  You debate relevant issues.

          HON. NDUNA:  Mr. Chair, I believe in all honesty that my point has been ventilated in so far as the issue of freedom of association is concerned.  I think as the Hon. Chair of the PLC stood up, he thought I was not barking at the right tree.

          THE CHAIRPERSON:  Hon. Nduna, please do not respond to what was raised by Hon. Members.  You debate the issues that you stood up to debate.

          HON. NDUNA:  As I conclude, all associations including those that have not come are okay because there has been due diligence by the Commissioner, in my view, before he brought this association.  Let us allow as long as there is freedom of association Mr. Speaker Sir.

          THE CHAIRPERSON:  Order, the three Hon. Members to my right, if you have issues to discuss there is a Lobby behind you.  Hon. Ziyambi, I am talking to you, the three of you. If you have a very important issue to discuss please just move out to the Lobby.

          HON. NDUNA: We do not know how this association originated but let us just make sure that we allow freedom of association because to try and debate on the how, whys and where it originated will take us the whole day and come in the next day.  The issue I want vociferously and effectively put to bear is to let there be freedom of association.  Beyond that, let us make sure that this association is allowed to continue.

          HON. MLISWA:  I think Hon. Chair, as the House, we must ensure that we abide by the Constitution of this country where people have a right to freedom of association.  You have the Commissioner General whose task is quite clear in terms of how far he must go and I think in a way these officers or members are already under a command through the role that he plays as Commissioner General.   They cannot equally be under command through an association again, which is voluntary at the end of the day.  There is the Police Service Commission which is responsible for the welfare of the police officers through the various channels that they have.  As you know, our ZRP is well structured from the Officer in Charge to the Officer Commanding District to the Officer Commanding of the Province as well as to the Commissioner General himself.  Those are the various stages that any grievances to do with the welfare can come through. 

What I see is a situation where it is in direct conflict of people’s rights and the Commissioner General cannot usurp powers of the Police Service Commission.  I see it as him trying to usurp the powers of the Police Service Commission which must be able to do its job from a constitutional point of view with the mandate that they have.  It is in no question - because what also comes clear is that they do not have elections, but they are appointed by the Commissioner General.  So a process where there are no elections becomes dictatorial, and as such how do people express themselves?  So, to me it is important that we run away from a culture of dictators at every level where the Commissioner General wants to also ensure that he has a parallel structure.  I think it is important that he confines himself to the Constitution as regards to how it must function at the end of the day.  I think what is important is – especially in view of what is happening in the Zimbabwe police force right now where even those women groups – when you hear these police officers talking to you, they are forced to do certain things that they do not want to do.  So, as Parliament, we cannot rubber stamp such things because we already have information. 

I am a Member of Parliament in a constituency which has police officers.  Already they are really under siege and are forced to do things that they are not supposed to do for fear of being victimized or fired.  So, why should this House allow such a thing to happen when we are supposed to be protecting the rights of the people?  For me, it is important that the Constitution is clear, where it defines the functions of the Commissioner General and the Police Service Commission.  Why would he then want to create something which is really unconstitutional at the end of the day?  We cannot be a House that will rubber stamp unconstitutional associations coming through.  Okay, in the event that Parliament says yes to it, how do we know that the next Commissioner General will not – because these are offices that people change.  So, yes, it could have very good intentions and we do not have any problems with Commissioner General Chihuri, but what if somebody comes in one day who is not like him, what will then happen?  So, we must be very clear in coming up with things which are consistent at the end of the day so that they do not infringe on people’s lives.  So, it is my take that in terms of whether the police is suffering or not, it is the role of the Minister of Finance to also contribute to the police.  Fiscus is there to do a lot of things and because the economy is in a mess, we are now creating many other things. So the critical issue is to have discipline on the fiscus and every department.  Every Government Department would be given its money, as they want and as so forth.  The aspect of money too, has a lot to do with what is going on, but let us stick to the Constitution and allow the Treasury to also play its role in looking after them.  All these committees that we have mean nothing.  The Police Service Commission is paid, there is so much that it is doing.  At the end of the day, if somebody is doing their job, what is it that they are doing?  Surely, I think it only makes sense that this report and this association does not deserve to be even debated in this Parliament where we represent people.  It must find itself somewhere else, not in this Parliament.  I thank you.

HON. MANDIPAKA:  Thank you.  I just want to assist Hon. Members in this august House on what has been the practice and perhaps people will pick it up from there.  I want to talk from experience. My understanding has been that the Police Association comprises of three branches, branch C, branch B and branch A.  Branch A would be for the Assistant Commissioners, Senior Assistant Commissioners, Commissioners and the Commissioner General himself.  Branch B would be middle management where we are talking about Superintendents and Chief Superintendent and branch C would be the Constable and the Sergeant, Assistant Inspector and the Inspector, the lowest rank. 

The practice has been that these branches, we have a representative from each wing to represent the issues, particularly welfare issues of members of the organisation.  At the end of the day, those issues discussed at branch C, branch B and branch A would be taken to the Police Service Commission.  We also appreciate that the Police Service Commission would consist of other members who are not within the police force, who might have been retired from the police force or have experienced what goes on in the security sector.  The bone of contention as I hear it from this august House is that, when the Association is there, it is in existence - because those people are elected.  There is some election exercise that takes place in each particular branch, branch A, B and C.  That has been the practice and is still the practice – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] –

THE CHAIRPERSON:  Order.  I have given you a chance to debate and I have gave him the chance to debate.

HON. MANDIPAKA:  I am speaking from experience.  Members in A branch, B branch and C branch are elected by other police officers from various police stations.  Thereafter, they go and sit. 

HON. MLISWA:  On a point of order Mr. Chairman.

THE CHAIRPERSON:  Order.  What is your point of order?

HON. MLISWA:  The point of order is that with due respect, Hon. Mandipaka was in the police force and is no longer in the police force.  I think it is important.  If he is talking about the experience, he is talking about the past experience, not the experience of the now.  We are talking about the current experience – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] –

THE CHAIRPERSON:  Order.  Let us hear words of wisdom from Hon. Mandipaka.

HON. MANDIPAKA:  If we are an educated Parliament, we must accept skills that come in this House – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] – Yes, we must accept skills.  That is why we have lawyers like him.  That is why we have economists like him.  I am talking from experience, I have been in the force. 

THE CHAIRPERSON:  Would you proceed Honourable.

HON. MANDIPAKA:  All I am saying is that the Commissioner General does not appoint these members; they are elected in their various branches.  The bone of contention as I understand it is that, where I agree ...

HON. GONESE:  On a point of order.  I think it is important Mr. Chairman for Members to acquaint themselves with the regulations.  What I was going to suggest Mr. Chairman is that perhaps now, we should adjourn the debate, because most of the Members have not acquainted themselves with the provisions of the regulations we are talking about.  These are regulations that were gazetted in terms of a Statutory Instrument.  I think it is important for Members, firstly to read the Statutory Instrument in question so that they can have an appreciation of the legal point that has been articulated in the report of the Parliamentary Legal Committee. 

Whilst I wanted to allow some debate to flow, I am noticing that a lot of the debate is going off somewhat at a tangent - simply because Members have just got the report in front of them but they have not gone through the regulations.  For instance, what Hon. Mandipaka is saying is clearly the point that is being made in the report that there is lack of clarity, that the Commissioner General seems to have been given the powers to appoint members of the committee.  This is where the bone of contention is.  The issue about the freedom of association is what is at stake.  It is not about whether there should be an association or not, but whether members of the police service should be made compulsorily to become members.  That is the essence of our report. 

I want to believe that it would be more useful for us as an august House to have that appreciation so that we have got meaningful debate as opposed to a situation where we are talking of general matters which have nothing to do with the essence of the report. 

I see a lot of Members in their debates, are talking about whether there should be an association or otherwise, which is not what our report is talking about.  What our report is talking about is that, in terms of the Constitution, there is freedom of association, there is freedom of assembly and therefore whatever association is set up in terms of whatever regulations, should have that clarity that members are not compelled to become members of that association by virtue of being police officers.  That is the point and that is the reason why I believe at this point in time Mr. Chairman, it may not be the best for us to continue with this debate when some Members are not clear, or rather are not familiar with the actual regulations we are talking about.

THE CHAIRPERSON:  Thank you Hon. Gonese.  I had earlier on made an announcement of vehicle Ford Ranger, red, that is blocking other people, ADL 8880.  Can the owner please move out and remove that vehicle, it is blocking others.  Hon. Mandipaka, you may continue with your debate.

HON. MANDIPAKA:   Thank you very much Mr. Chairman.  I am exactly coming to what is contained in the report that has been presented by the Parliamentary Legal Committee.  What I intended to do was to give flesh and light so that I come to where the bone of contention is.  I am quite clear about the where the bone of contention is.  The bone of contention is, we have given so much power to the Commissioner General to appoint the Chair of that association.  That is where the argument is.  If I get this report clearly – [HON. MEMBERS:  Inaudible interjections.] –   It is ....

THE CHAIRPERSON:  Order.  Hon. Mandipaka address the Chair.  Order Hon. Ndebele.  I may ask you to go back where you were before.

HON. MANDIPAKA:   My view Mr. Chairman is that I agree with what is contained in the Constitution that we must protect, freedom of association, fair and fine.  All I am saying is that members are not forced into this association.  The bone of contention is whether the Commissioner should be the one who should nominate or appoint a Chair.  In my view, I think it is in the best interest of the association itself to come up with its leader.  If we are to observe the contents in the Constitution that allows for freedom of association.  That is where I was trying to drive at.  I thank you. 

HON. MUDEREDZWA:  Thank you Mr. Chairman for the opportunity...

THE CHAIRPERSON:  Order Hon. Members.  Hon. Muderedzwa would be the last to debate on this motion.  The Minister would want to make a Ministerial Statement.  You may proceed Hon. Muderedzwa.

          HON. MUDEREDZWA: Thank you for the opportunity to make a contribution on this Statutory Instrument.  First and foremost, I totally agree with Hon. Gonese that Hon. Members are not conversant with the contents of the Statutory Instrument.  Out of that, we are likely to debate things outside the scope of the Statutory Instrument but I would like to make a contribution along this line. 

          The purpose of an association in an organisation such as the Zimbabwe Republic Police is for the purposes of constructing social facilities for example a canteen or police mess, club for golf or football.  If members of the Republic Police are not influenced to join, there is no way you can exclude that member to go to the canteen once it is constructed from the proceeds of the contribution that would be made by members.  These are the challenges because these are collective properties of members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police.  So, there is a challenge, I know there is a contradiction that is coming from the Constitution to suggest that there should be freedom of association.

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

          THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Order - [HON. NDEBELE: Constitution haiite contradiction, it is the supreme law of the country.]- I am not contesting the Constitution, Mr. Chairman.

HON. MUDEREDZWA: I am saying the purpose of this association is to ensure that at least the welfare of members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police improves by creating social amenities or facilities.  It is impossible then if a member of the ZRP does not choose to be one, to exclude that person to go to the canteen, to the shop and to any of these places.

          What is important is for us to ensure that the Commissioner General of Police is not given any leeway in terms of control of this association.  I totally agree with Hon. Members who are proposing that the Police Service Commission should be the overseer of the welfare activities of the organisation.  However, to say that it should be by choice to be a member, it would be a difficult of exclusion of those who are not members, who can then go to the canteen and buy or go to the sports facilities and enjoy them.  I think that is where we need to scrutinise and see how we can push the agenda forward.  I thank you.

          HON. GONESE.  Thank you very much Mr. Chairperson.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank all Hon. Members who contributed.  However, before we adjourn the debate, I just thought that it would be important to remind Hon. Members of the role of the Parliamentary Legal Committee.  I noticed through some of the contributions and the point of order raised by Hon. Chinotimba, that perhaps there is that lack of appreciation of what the role of the PLC is.

          So, I just thought it is important to remind Hon. Members of the functions of the PLC as set out in terms of 152 of our Constitution.  I will not go into details suffice to say that the PLC is mandated to examine every Statutory Instrument among other things which is published in the Gazette and to present a report to Parliament on whether it considers any provision of that Statutory Instrument to be in contravention of the Constitution if enacted.

          So, perhaps when we resume the debate, the Executive will have an opportunity to respond to the report of the Committee and other members who may want to contribute will do so from a more informed position after acquainting themselves with the actual Statutory Instrument in question.  On this note, Mr. Chairman, I therefore move that you report progress and seek leave to seat again.  I thank you.

          House resumed.

          Progress reported.

          Committee to resume: Wednesday, 27th September, 2017.

MINISTERIAL STATEMENT

RAINWATER HARVESTING, PROTECTION AND PRESERVATION OF OUR ENVIRONMENT

          THE MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT, WATER AND CLIMATE (HON. MUCHINGURI): Thank you Madam Speaker.  Firstly, allow me to take this opportunity to share with you the hydrological forecast for the 2017/18 rainfall season.  Our forecast is that we are expecting mostly normal to above normal rains culminating in high river flows and high in flows into our dams as well as high recharge to groundwater aquifers.  The country is expected to generate between 18 to 24 billion cubic metres of water yet our nation at dam storage capacity is standing at 14 billion cubic metres against a situation where most of the dams are at nearly 70% full, at a time when they should be at 50% full as we approach the new season.

          Madam Speaker, this implies that due to the excessive rains experienced during the 2016/17 rain season, we are standing at above normal water storage levels and most of the 2017 to 18 runoff water will end up flowing to the oceans.  The chances of flooding like we encountered in the 2016/17 season are very high and we need to strengthen our early warning systems in areas like Tsholotsho, Malipati, Gokwe, Muzarabani, Middle Sabi and Chikwalakwala – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] -

          THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, order Hon. Members, your voices are competing with the Minister’s Ministerial statement.  Can you please lower your voices?

          HON. MUCHINGURI: Madam Speaker, bearing in mind this potential disastrous situation we are faced with, my Ministry has seen the need to vigorously pursue an ambitious command water harvesting programme.  This programme is deliberated aimed at improving the lives of people at grassroots level across the country through the construction of small weirs on our rivers in order to harness the water which will be used during the dry season.  The programme also entails the repair of small community dams, de-siltation of dams and weirs, drilling of boreholes, putting up household roof tops and rock top rain water harvesting equipment.

          This programme Madam Speaker, is being spearheaded by ZINWA, which is the Government’s water resource management lead agency.  ZINWA is providing technical assistance such as designs and supervision during the construction period while communities, under the guidance of their local leadership structures will mobilise resources such as cement, rocks, labour and other materials.  The local leadership structures will also be critical in the identification of areas in their respective wards, where the weirs will be built.  The target is having a weir in every ward.

          I am happy to announce to this august House Madam Speaker that my Ministry has secured funding to the tune of $2 million to support this programme, and has an allocation of $3 million to support the drilling of boreholes across the country.  Madam Speaker, you may recall that at the height of the drought that we experienced last year, we requested Hon. Members to submit their lists of possible areas where we can sink boreholes.  I want to assure Hon. Members that it is that list that we will use as we implement this programme – [HON. MEMBERS:  Hear, hear.] –

I shall be embarking on a countrywide tour meeting provincial stakeholders including Members of Parliament for the effective coordination and mobilization of this programme, coupled with discussing environmental challenges bedeviling our beautiful country.  Next week on Friday, 29th September, 2017, I shall be leading my Ministry team to Mtshabezi Dam in Matabeleland South Province, where we will be meeting stakeholders and commissioning the Mtshabezi offtakes water supply projects.  From there, on Wednesday, 4th October, 2017 we will proceed to Matabeleland North Province, then to Midlands Province on Thursday, 5th October, 2017.  On Friday, 6th October, 2017, we will end that week with a similar exercise in Masvingo Province. 

Madam Speaker, the purpose of these stakeholder meetings is to raise public awareness on pertinent environmental issues and the efforts my Ministry is imploring in addressing the environmental challenges.  We also want to educate stakeholders on our mandate as a Ministry and mobilize stakeholders to partner with us in rolling out our programmes.  It is from the above background Madam Speaker that I cordially invite Hon. Members to join me and participate in my Ministry’s stakeholders meetings and water harvesting programmes.

Turning to the environmental challenges bedeviling our country Madam Speaker, Section 73 of our Constitution enshrines environmental rights to our citizens and advocates us to ensure that we do not impact on future generation’s access to a clean, healthy and safe environment.  Government went on to provide for several pieces of legislation that complement this constitutional provision such as the Environmental Management Act, the Forestry Act and the Parks and Wildlife Management Act.  However, despite our efforts to enforce the provisions of these Acts and also provide an enabling environment for different sectors to address these provisions, we have seen an increase in environmental problems over the years.

Madam Speaker, first and foremost is the issue of veld fires that are a major environmental challenge.  These veld fires destroy the environment, life and property and over the years, an average of one million hectares are destroyed annually.  In 2016 alone, 1 197 335 hectares of land were burnt.  Furthermore, a total of 102 people lost their lives due to veld fires from 2010 to date.  The major cause of these veld fires is the negative attitude and lack of behaviour change of our people.  Fires lit for land clearance are left unattended and they become wild.  Fires have gone on to destroy our environment, disrupting normal ecosystem functions.  It is also sad to note that as a country, we lack the adequate fire fighting resources such as aerial fire fighters in the form of helicopters, as well as, the simple hand held tools such as fire beaters. 

I therefore appeal to this august House to assist us with engaging the relevant authorities and line Ministries that can assist us with resource mobilisation and awareness raising.  Over the years, our fire prediction tools have indicated high rates of veld fires in resettlement and communal lands bringing us to the issue of linkages of land tenure and land use to fire.  I am kindly requesting Parliament to engage the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing and the Ministry of Lands and Rural Resettlement in addressing the issue of land titles.

In addressing the challenge of veld fires as a Ministry, we launched the Command Veld Fire Management Programme as a strategy to prevent veld fires.  It is envisaged that the engagement of Parliament and traditional leaders will see a reduction in the occurrence of veld fires as together we can increase awareness on the causes and dangers of fires and how communities can work together to prevent them.

Waste management, Madam Speaker, has also become one of the major environmental challenges that the country is facing.  Thousands of tonnes of solid waste are generated daily in the country and estimates show that in the year 2011, urban centres in Zimbabwe generated 1.65 million tonnes of waste.  This is exacerbated by the increasing urban population, consumerism, negative attitudes and poor waste management system.  Most of this waste ends up as litter and on open illegal dumps and on wetlands; thereby contaminating surface and ground water and posing major health hazards.

The bad practice of open defecation is also generally on the rise and human waste has been found on illegal dumps and bushy areas.  As the rains come, this has greatly exposed the general public to disease outbreaks and epidemics recorded in recent years.  I kindly implore Parliament to engage the Ministry of Health and Child Care and Local Government, Public Works and National Housing to ensure that proper sanitation facilities are provided for every citizen and that health hazards are dealt with.

In response to the challenge of litter and waste disposal, my Ministry is currently organizing a waste management conference themed: Zero Tolerance to Litter Everyone’s Responsibility which will be held from 11th to 13th October, 2017.  The conference is expected to be officiated by His Excellency, the President.

Mr. Speaker Sir, as a build up to this conference, we are organizing a one day clean up per week, in which all Zimbabweans must participate and we are kindly requesting Parliament to lead as a sector and embrace the clean-up day. After the conference, this will be scaled up to a dedicated one day per month clean-up which His Excellency will officially launch at the conference.

          On such a day, all Zimbabweans will be expected to take time to clean up their immediate environment and dispose waste properly. We are taking a cue from sister countries such as Rwanda and Namibia which have sound waste management practices in place. It is my sincere hope that all sectors will embrace this move towards making our country a clean and habitable place.

          Mr. Speaker Sir, stream bank cultivation has also not spared our environment causing soil loss, river and dam siltation and gully formation. A total of 1872 rivers are affected by stream bank cultivation in Zimbabwe while a cumulative stretch of 2162km are being affected and the estimated areas affected by gully erosion in the country is 13 390.15ha. The main rivers affected include Inyazure, Nyamaguru, Mazowe, Mudzi, Nyadire, Tugwi, Gwayi, Murufudzi, Mukumbura and Manyame River. River bed cultivation is common in Mashonaland Central along Musengezi River, in Muzarabani and Mwenzamutanda River in Mbire District. Stream bank cultivation also fuels deforestation and propagation of lantana camara as approximately 80% of the gardens will be fenced by either brushwood or lantana camara.

          My Ministry has embarked on environmental protection through an afforestation programme to enhance vegetation density and diversity around dams and other water bodies. This is done to ensure that surface run-off into water bodies is reduced in order to curb siltation. The majority of our water bodies are heavily silted and with the expected high inflows, we risk experiencing flooding if necessary measures are not put in place.

          My Ministry has also established consolidated community gardens through advocating for people to move away from stream bank cultivation in order to curb stream cultivation and tree cutting. EMA is assisting with the establishment of these gardens through encouraging creation of gardens 30m away from water body’s high flood level.

          Last but not least, the environment is being altered remarkably by illegal mining activities particularly gold panning along rivers and in protected areas. The techniques that are used by artisanal miners are inefficient, hence gold mines, especially artisanal gold mines, are a major contributor to land degradation. Some mining entities have been fined for operating without EIAs as they pose a huge threat to the integrity of our environment. Out of the seven major catchments in Zimbabwe, namely Gwayi, Manyame, Mazowe, Mzingwane, Runde, Sanyati and Save, the impacts of artisanal mining on land degradation are hypothesised to be pronounced in the Mazowe catchment because of its extensive gold deposits.

          I would like to implore the Ministry of Mines, through you Mr. Speaker Sir, to assist my Ministry in dealing with culprits who are not only damaging the environment but also causing severe losses of foreign currency through unregulated and illegal mining. Lately, there were reports of illegal gold mining in Chimanimani and I dispatched a team of Ministry, ZimParks and EMA officials to look into the matter and stringent measures have since been in place to prevent such activities from occurring.

          Ladies and gentlemen, please note the soil erosion (gully erosion) veldt fires and illegal mineral extraction are national indicators that give a picture of land degradation and we therefore need to safeguard our environment from them.

          Coming to the issues of forestry that are under the jurisdiction of the Forestry Commission, FAO estimated that we are losing 350 000ha of forest land each year due to tobacco curing, wood poaching, land clearance, veldt fires and expansion of settlements. In order to reverse these losses, we launched a Command Agro-forestry programme which seeks to plant 15 million trees, mostly fruit trees nationwide per year.

          It is our endevour to increase the hectarage under timber production whilst continuing to uphold the ban on hardwood timber exports enacted in 2002 under Statutory Instrument 112 of 2001 in order to protect our forests. I would like to encourage you all to raise awareness in your constituencies against deforestation and land degradation and to encourage most of our young people to add value to our timber so that we target the export market.

          Conservation and preservation practices should be at the helm of all our programmes in our communities. It is with this background that I call upon Parliament to partner with my Ministry to build a green economy, green jobs which protect the future of our children. I thank you.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          HON. MATUKE: I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 7 and 8 on today’s Order Paper be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 9 has been disposed of.

          HON. RUNGANI: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

ABUSE OF CHILDREN UNDER THE GUISE OF SELLING SEX

          HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: I move the motion standing in my name that this House:

          ALARMED by the number of children who are reported to be abused under the “guise” of selling sex.

          CONCERNED that Government’s response has been targeted at those that have exposed this evil practice.

          NOW THEREFORE calls upon the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare to immediately give a Ministerial Statement on this matter.

AND FURTHER calls upon the Inter-Ministerial Task Force set by the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare to expeditiously investigate the matter and report be tabled in Parliament by the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare.

          HON. NDUNA: I second.

          HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. As I move this motion, let me preface it by thanking first the Hon. Speaker for having prioritised this particular motion. Initially, he had suggested that this motion come in as an urgent motion and then proposed that it is put on the Order Paper and it is given priority.  Secondly, let me then thank our Government Chief Whips for allowing me to have priority and to raise this motion.

          I raise this motion with the heaviest of hearts. This motion speaks about children who are reported to being abused under the guise of selling sex. Before I get into the merit of this particular motion, let me just say I worry about how we as a nation prioritise certain things. I was at a police station this morning, my sister has been involved in an accident and as I sat in that police station, I heard how police were being deployed to go and organise the queues where people are waiting to get fuel. Immediately I said to myself, why is it that when there is something that affects us as adults, we are very quick to address it and yet when we hear something that is as horrendous as what we have been subjected to in the past two to four weeks, nothing has been done. We have not heard a Ministerial Statement that comes to this House and says we are shocked that this is happening in this particular country.

          Let me explain what I am talking about. On the 14th August 2017, I was invited by a group called Katswe Sisterhood. They had invited me to come and hear the stories of children who were engaged in sex. When I went to this meeting myself and Hon Maridadi who is supposed to be seconder of this motion, I had assumed that perhaps I was going to see children who are about 17 or 16 years. I was shocked as I sat in that room. These were not children that were coming from one particular community, they were children coming from different parts of this country. I sat there and looked at babies. I looked at children who are 8 and 9 years describing what it is that it means to be in the streets as they get paid 25c mostly by men who are about 60 or 65 years. I sat in that room and for two hours, I did nothing but cry my eyes out because as you looked at these children, most of them had lost their mothers and fathers. It was clear that the majority of them were sick. So, as we were being told that this is a six year old or an eight year old child, they looked more like four or five year olds because of their stunted growth. We know that this is happening in our communities. There are men that are going and picking these children and most of them hardly have breasts.

          I looked at these kids and I said to myself, if a man comes in and says I want to sleep with this person, what are you sleeping with because there is nothing in there that says this is a woman. What was more hurtful is when they described to you how they would get to that point to which they got abused. Most of them were children that were coming from rural communities. They would be invited and somebody would say now that you are an orphan, come and work in my house as a house maid.

          So, she walks into this home and the first person who abuses her is the man of that house. She is found being abused by the man of that house and the woman of that house kicks her out and says wakatobhadharwa because you have been sleeping with my husband. She ends up being in the street. Many of us have been driving in these roads. I want you to look at every young girl who comes by your window and says amai ndokumbirawo ten cents. That is the same child who goes out in the night and is being paid 25 cents by some man who is driving a Mercedes Benz coming from somewhere.

          It is not as if we do not know Mr. Speaker. The police in this country know what is happening to these kids every other day. We know the places in which this is happening. When you go to Mabvuku/Tafara for example, those places where there are beer halls, they have now got into a point where they ask these kids to go with contracts to their parents so that the parents can sign and say you as the owner of this particular beer hall can allow this girl to strip dancing. Men from our homesteads go to these places to watch these babies dance and when they are done, they pick these kids and go and sleep with them.

          I am not talking just about those that are in my opinion born HIV positive. I am talking about those that have been lucky enough to not be born HIV positive, but who are subjected to every other day to these sexual activities. I am not talking about just sex, I am talking about these kids describing the most horrendous kinds of sex that they are subjected to these men. We sat in there and there were Ministry of Health officials. They were saying to them, what can we do? Can there be condoms that can be offered? This child says, how do I even begin to negotiate for condoms with this kind of a man. He will say he wants to have oral sex, anal and penetrative sex with me.

          So, when men sit down in this very sickening thing, they go and find these places to which they can deal with pedophilias. It is not difficult to deal with this particular issue. We just can take a few policemen and I personally today can walk with you and say, let us go in that particular street in Epworth, Mabvuku/Tafara and Gwanda and you will find these people and we will arrest them. We need to just arrest 10 to 15 men and put them in jail for the rest of their lives for every man to know that you do not touch a baby.

          Mr. Speaker, if you go internationally, pedophilia is the most horrendous crime. If you are a pedophilia, you cannot exist in a society. In fact, if you are a pedophilia, you are sexually marked that you cannot get a job in any space where there are children, but we have pedophilias here. The reason why I am upset about this particular motion is that KATSWE brings this out. What happened to KATSWE? Firstly, Social Welfare swoops on KATSWE not to ask them where these children are and where this is happening. They swoop to KATSWE to say, why are you bringing out things like this. Immediately they are picked up and they are arrested for publishing falsehood.

          So, when I heard that they had been arrested, I was rushing to the police station because I wanted to say, please come and arrest me because I am one of those that have been speaking about these children. I know that I am covered by immunity but trust me, even as I go outside there, I am going to be speaking about this. I also want the same police that picked KATSWE to come and pick some of us because it is ridiculous for a nation to want to run around people who are telling you about a crime than to deal with criminals. As we speak right now, KATSWE has become the criminals. KATSWE has now been banned doing work in those communities.

          If I had done this motion last week, I had spoken to the Speaker and I had said I was going to bring these kids, not to put them in the Gallery but to put them in a particular room so that every other Member of Parliament who is sitting in this House would go and look at those children. I wanted one of them to come out and say it is okay for us to be sitting in this room while that is happening to the babies that are going out there. I am disappointed that the Minister of Social Welfare is not here because she is a woman and I wanted to look at her in the face and say to her, did you really think that the most important thing to do when you saw these babies that I saw and bowed my eyes out, that the most important thing was to go and pick up KATSWE?

          I now understand that they went particularly to Epworth and they picked close to about 45 kids and put them in a safe house. The point is, no one thought it was important to come to this House and explain. I have picked up 45 kids and what does this mean? What about the other 100 children that are out there that we now know are being abused? What we have done by banning and arresting KATSWE, we have driven these young babies under the table. When I said to them, I want you to come and meet Members of Parliament, they said tinotya, tinozosungwa instead of them saying I want to see Members of Parliament because they will be able to help me and find me space to go and stay.

          Mr. Speaker, this Constitution speaks to the issues around children’s rights and it calls upon us and gives access to have a responsibility to protect these children. Each one of us who are sitting either has a child or you have a grandchild. If I say to you, this nine year or seven year old child baby that you love to bits and pieces has a man who is dragging them under a tree and forcing them to have  sex and pay them 25 cents, would you still go, sleep and go to bed?

          So, the question that I am asking to Members of Parliament who are still in this House, is that as we debate this motion, which is why a lot of people came to me and said let us not move it today and I said I cannot take another two weeks of sleeping after what I saw. It is very clear what we need to do. We need to make a decision in this House that says police needs to go to those places where we know children are being abused. The first thing is to arrest the criminals and secondly, to take those children and put them in places of safety, but we need a long term solution to this process. We cannot have a social welfare system that knows we have orphans that are coming from HIV/AIDS that have absolutely no plan about how we deal with those children.

          In other areas, we would be having a Call Centre where anyone who knows that there is an orphan can come in and phone and say there is a problem here, but we should be having a system in which these kids can be reintegrated into families because one thing that is good about our African process is that you never get a child that does not have a village and family. The reason why most of these families are unable to look after these children is that sometimes they are so poor that it makes it difficult for them to come and take those children.  So, you tell me that in a country like ours, where we have these types of cars that we are driving, we are unable to make a decision to put aside a certain amount of money that will take care of the children in this particular country? 

You know how selfish we are as a people, when HIV/AIDS started hitting on us, when people started dying, we immediately came up with an AIDS Fund so that we can go and buy drugs for ourselves because we want to live.  Seventy-six percent of the people who are sitting in this House are living with HIV/AIDS and are taking ARVs but we are unable to – [AN HON. MEMBER: Inaudible interjection.]yes, very true.  You are unable to take out a little bit of money and put it aside so that it can be used to take care of these children, it is sad Mr. Speaker. It is sad, I am not saying it to other Members of Parliament only but I speak for myself too, because it is not right that I come and sit here and there is a child who is eight or nine years old and is being raped every day and abused.

You know what?  What is sad is that, as I sat in that room with Hon. Maridadi, when he asked each one of them why they were doing it, they said, ‘I have a little sister of mine who is two or three years and we live in a shack.  If I do not go and get the 25 cents, and put it together so that I can buy bread tomorrow, she may actually die of hunger.’  We as a people think it is alright that we can spend money travelling and doing the things that we are doing, yet we cannot afford to put aside a little bit money so that these children can be looked after.

In conclusion Mr. Speaker, mine is very simple.  As I said, we make a decision because we can do that as Parliament; that we instruct the police to go to those places instead of instructing the police to go and sort out the queues of fuels and a problem that we have created for ourselves.  Let us send the police to go and pick these kids who need help, not tomorrow but tonight. 

Secondly Mr. Speaker, the Minister needs to come here, she needs to come and give us a Ministerial Statement and explain to us.  After she heard about the things that were happening, what have they done around the reports of Katswe.  Thirdly, we need to deal with and stop the abuse that is going on around Katswe Sisterhood.

In July, Members of Parliament were taken by Katswe to Hopley House.  They went and saw those nine-year olds.  I will not forgive the group of people who went to that place because if you have gone there and seen what I saw, the first thing you would have done was to come to this House and say something needed to stop.  However, we did not do that, we need to deal with it, and we need to address that issue and Katswe need to be allowed to do the work that they are doing.  It is shameful that today Katswe holds letter from provincial administrators, I do not know from what legal perspective, but provincial administrators in this particular country who have said Katswe cannot operate.  What is their crime?  They exposed children who are being abused.  It is shameful and sad that we as a nation, a Government and a people are allowing that to happen.  I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

HON. MARIDADI: Thank you Mr. Speaker for this opportunity.  Let me start my debate by saying that I am a father and a brother.  I have four sisters from the same father and mother all older than me.  I have two daughters, my first and second born children.  I have said, if there is anything that I am prepared to go to jail for, is protection of my daughters.  Girls need to be protected.  I was going through the Bible, there are more than 44 verses in the Bible, King James Version, which talks about the protection of children.  I have got them here and I shall not burden this House by going through them because I know you understand the Bible.

Mr. Speaker, when I was taken by this organisation called Katswe Sisterhood to go and see the children who are being abused, every woman in the house after listening to their testimonies including Hon. Misihairabwi – Mushonga and the former Deputy Minister of Health, Mai Tsungirirai Hungwe, started crying.  I also cried, not because of what the children were saying but because of the way the ladies were crying.  I tried to console Mai Hungwe and I could not.  In the process of trying to console Mai Hungwe, I also started crying and could not be consoled.  Two days later, I heard through radio that the ladies from Katswe were arrested.  I said, what is going on in this country? 

I spoke to all of the abused girls individually and Mr. Speaker Sir, the trend is that most of them are from Mabvuku, Epworth, Hatcliffe and Dzivarasekwa.  I will tell you the reason; these are areas which were inhabited mostly by people of foreign origin, migrant workers from Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia.  I think 98% of them are of foreign descent, their parents are migrant workers, mostly, they are first generation Zimbabweans and come from poor backgrounds. 

There is this nine-year old and at the very most, she is 10 years old.  She stood up to give a testimony to say that; ‘I sleep with men.’  I asked how old some of those men are and she said, ‘some of them are bigger than you.’  When she said that, she was talking of stature not maybe my age, ‘some of them are bigger than you.’  I asked how much money she gets and she said, ‘at times I get 50 cents if he is a good man, but some of them will not give you money and they will beat you up.’  My heart sank, I was so angry with myself and everything.  I was angry with even the Almighty, the creator of heaven and earth that how do you create a man who is 45 years old, who takes a nine-year old girl to a room and have sex with her and thinks he will get satisfaction.

  In the United States of America, if you are arrested for rape and you go to a penitentiary, in prison, if you dare tell other prisoners that you were arrested for a sexual offence, they will kill you.  Worse still, if it filters in that prison that you abused a 10-year old girl, you will not be able to last two days in that prison, other inmates will kill you.  That is how bad the offence of the abuse of children is.

Mr. Speaker Sir, I asked the nine –year old when asked why she had taken this and she said, ‘my mother died and she left me when I was seven years old and my young sister was three years old.  My father married another woman and we went to stay with our step mother.  Our step mother abused us so much and I thought I should just go out into the streets.’  Then she came across I think somebody who was 18 years old who told her ‘look, if you come with me, I can organise for men whom you can have sex with and they will give you money.’

Mr. Speaker, I was talking to Hon. Misihairabwi – Mushonga when I gave a speech at that function that, why is it that all these girls who have a problem, it appears there must be a woman somewhere in their lives who will have caused a problem?  As if that was not enough, the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Services, who is a woman, instead of dealing with the problem of those girls, goes ahead and causes the arrest of those women who are helping those girls.  She is not only a woman, she is a mother.  I know some of her children, she is a mother and a grandmother. She causes the arrest of those women that are helping these vulnerable children.

There is somebody in an office somewhere who is called a Provincial Administrator who generates a letter to say this organisation which is helping these girls is not allowed to operate, and you leave it at that. I heard that there was a debate on radio where somebody then went out to say no, those abused girls are actually not nine but eleven years old. What difference does it make? One of the guys, a prospective Member of Parliament says Katswe Sisters are exaggerating things, these girls I want to see them and the girl that they were saying is nine years old, I actually spoke to her and I think she is ten years six months, almost turning eleven. I almost broke my radio and said so what difference does it make.

A person who is abusing a nine year old girl and a person who is abusing a 14 year old girl, where is the difference? A girl who is 14 years old is not capable of having sex. It does not really matter what it is. a girl who is 14 years old even if she says yes, she is not capable of consenting to sex and a man who is reasonable, men that want to have sex if you have sex with a 14 year old girl we do not call that sex. If you want to have sex, have it with a 25 year old woman and they are so many of them who are willing to have sex without even payment, for free. This issue is so serious. When one of these girls was talking, incidentally she shares a first name with my daughter and I was sitting there saying if it so happens that one of these men who has being abusing these girls is identified, I will probably spend the rest of my life in prison because I will kill them with my own hands.

Mr. Speaker, what we need to do as Parliament is instruct the police to go tonight and make sure that those girls that are being abused are picked. It is not like we do not know where they are. In Mabvuku, I have gone to every household where they live and I know where they live. I have made a report to the police but nothing has been done. I know where they live and I almost know the men that patronise those houses to abuse those girls but what can you do. I have made a report to the police and the Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services was here.

All they do at ZBC which makes me so unhappy is that they go and parade those girls in front of the cameras and ask them how many times they have had sex in a week. This girl says I am 11 years old, having sex with old and getting paid money but they do not do anything about it. You parade young children on television, 14 year olds are telling you they are having sex and you think you have good programming. That is our ZBC. In other jurisdictions Mr. Speaker, there is no way that you can take a 14 year old and parade them on television to tell you how many men she has slept with in the past two days. You cannot do that. It is against the Constitution and you are violating the rights of children but it happens here with our poor ZBC, understandably so. The Minister is not here but I would have wanted to tell the Minister to go to ZBC and tell them to stop what they are doing. Tell them to stop parading eleven year olds in front of the television telling us how many times you have slept with men because it does not give good programming. That is not good programming.

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Services, Hon. Mupfumira must give a Ministerial Statement to this House and say exactly what she has done and what she intends to do. Ever since she was taken to those girls that are being abused, what has she done and what does she intend to do as Government? She has not done that. Mr. Speaker, I cannot understand for the life of me how an adult; a mother, father or grandparent would see five girls who are all below the age of 14 that are being abused by men every night. You see them, talk to them and you go back home, have your supper and you sleep. How do you sleep?

How on earth do you sleep; because in my case, I used to hear my mother saying ah ndaona mwana arohwa nemota, nyoka dzangu dzemudumbu dzarira. Those are the kinds of situations dzinofanira kuridza madzimai nyoka dzemudumbu if you hear that an eleven year old is having sex. Kana nyoka dzemudumbu dzaMinister dzisina kurira neizvozvo it means nyoka dzacho dzemudumbu havana because nyoka dzaMinister dzinofanira kunge dzakarira, manheru iwayo vakatorara vaenda kumba kwaPresident kunoti President situation yandaona kumba uku haiite. Something must be done nhasi and something should have been done on that particular day, but what are we doing? Those sisters or ladies from Katswe were at Central Police Station. When I heard about it I was in Bulawayo and I said, look I am going to drive to the Central Police Station have them release those ladies and arrest me instead. What wrong have they done? They have seen a problem in our society and are trying to assist with the little resources and expertise and what do you do, you arrest them. What are we doing?

Mr. Speaker, I think I have said enough, but what I want to put on the table is that 11, 14 and 15 year old girls cannot have sex. They are not capable of having sex and if you are having sex with a 15 year old, you are raping them. I do not think it is actually called rape. I do not know what it must be called. Rape is when you have sex which is non-consensual with somebody who is capable of having sex, which means somebody who has reached the legal age of majority but if it is somebody who is 11 years old, I do not know what it is called. Government must do something about it and I enjoin the Minister to give a statement and also the Minister of Health, because under his portfolio there is child welfare and child welfare means 11 year olds must be protected from men that abuse them. I thank you Mr. Speaker.

 HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker for giving me an opportunity. It should also be put on record that I have been itching to debate here all afternoon after Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga, the last day last week when she came through to me to say she needed to debate on this one. So, I went and looked at the Order Paper and really sought to know the merits and demerits of the motion and I saw that there was no demerit whatsoever. I was really itching for this day to come. So, when nobody stood up to say they are seconding this is why I stood up Mr. Speaker to say I am seconding and I am here. Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate her for bringing this motion to the House and debating on it. From the time she was debating, I also took notes and I see it relates to a certain constituency in Mabvuku-Tafara and all that.

Be that as it may, I will give it a broader perspective in particular, will also hasten to say further to the clarion call and the prayer that is embedded here, I would want to say Mr. Speaker let there be a schooling of all people that are engaged with children in the rural, urban areas and every other place or facet of society Mr. Speaker which people and adults should include the artisanal miners, youth officers, AREX officers, Women’s Affairs, labour officers, registration officer, police, headmaster, councilors and Members of Parliament. There has to be a workshop somehow somewhere that inculcates into these people some form of responsibility, what it is that they need to do in order to take care of our children, mindful of the fact that it is not all of the people in our society that are gifted with a gift of giving birth to a child. Some have no children Mr. Speaker - not because of their own wanting, but it is God given. Those that have children some do not have a girl-child in their family Mr. Speaker Sir. It is very important and prudent that to add on to the prayer, they also need to be inculcated with knowledge of how to keep children and how to take care of girl children in particular and boy children also in general; those people which list I have mentioned.

          Further to that, it is now time to call a spade a spade; we need to follow what Cabinet has put in place in terms of trying to incarcerate somebody that rapes a minor for 60 years without an option of a fine.  We need to take a bold step as Parliament and also say this is exactly what we want to occur and to happen in our society;  mindful that at some point when there was rampant corruption in China, they arrayed those corrupt officials and they fired at them using a firing squad.   This is exactly what we should be doing and for now, we should say yes, there is a call for incarceration of these perpetrators of injustice on children to the tune of 60 years without an option of a fine.  Further to that, we need to do more especially for people that are in positions of authority, the people that were being spoken about here in particular by Hon. Maridadi, those pot-bellied, big bodied fat lumps of shit. 

          Mr. Speaker, it boggles one’s mind why people of such stature would go about hunting for the girl child, the minors.  I will give a little story.  I was in Dodoma in Dar-es-Salaam recently. I am quite sure Hon. Khupe would know why, in Tanzania, sorry after going through Dar-es- Salaam, I went to Dodoma.  Whilst I was there, my daughter called me. She is in Upper Six in Bulawayo at girls’ college.  She called and she is 19 years.  She called me and said daddy, I know you are in a foreign land, I have seen the type of dress that I want for my last dance in Upper Six I have not found the material and if you have got an alternative there, bring some material, I have got a tailor and she can make a dress for me for my last dance.  

          Mr. Speaker, the last dance means she has to dance with a boy - [AN HON. MEMBER: Inaudible interjection.] – Yes, she has to dance with a boy.  I did not sleep that night saying but my daughter wants to dance with a boy, her last dance.  I am still not prepared to give her away because to me she is still a minor.  This is a 19 head old I am talking about and that night I did not sleep; I was scratching my head saying ohh my God, what is going to happen after the dance?  What is going to happen before the dance, what boy is this?  How did she even get to meet this boy?   The mother and myself do not know.  This is the sort of mind boggling issues that I had to content with the whole night, let alone the children that I heard Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga and Hon. Maridadi speak about Mr. Speaker. 

          Those people that indulge in sex with those minors should be sentenced to hang.  They should be sentenced to be arrayed before a firing squad and be shot by a marksman.  By the way Mr. Speaker, I am a marksman of note, I have got a two inch grouping that I attended at Four Brigade Mr. Speaker.  So, I would certainly come in handy when such a task is given because as long as you have a child and you have a child who is a girl and this occurs to your child, like Hon. Maridadi said, the only thing that you want to do is to put your hands around the neck of the perpetrator of such injustice like an albatross and see their lifeless body on the floor.

          Mr. Speaker Sir, further to that as I conclude, I would also say we owe it to posterity and to future generations.  As we speak, we are mortgaging our future, the future of this country and the future of our children.  These children, as she has alluded to, are of stunted growth nature.  I go further to say, they will not go beyond 15 years.  It is said by the gurus in the health sector, if a child is HIV positive, nine times out of 10, they will not grow beyond the age of five years.  This is what the people in the health sector have said.  If a child is HIV positive coupled and amalgamated by the issue of abuse and rape and selling sex that we have heard about, they certainly will not go beyond the age of 10 if they manage to go beyond the age of five, let alone the age of 15.

          So, here Mr. Speaker Sir, I ask those that do not have girl children to come together with me and Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga, Hon. Maridadi and speak with one voice.  I have got in my constituency, cases that fuel the issue of child sex, rape and abuse, the girl child in particular.  It is sharing one room, lack of accommodation; baba, sekuru, muzukuru, mbuya, ambuya, mukuwasha in that same room, divided into four rooms using a curtain.  There cannot be procreation there, and there cannot be copulation.  What is it that the children are seeing the adults doing? This is going to fuel the much rampant abuse as they go out.  They start wanting to seek what they saw the adults engaging in.  As long as we do not engage in ameliorating the issue of lack of accommodation, we are fueling rampant child abuse.  The girl child would want to be engaged in what she is seeing the adults doing.   It is not their fault but the fault of the adults who are not dealing with a housing backlog issue, Mr. Speaker Sir. I have given you an example of exactly what happens in Chegutu. 

Now, I have another example of a former councillor in Chegutu, who is engaged in co-procreation, copulation and sex with his daughter.  This is termed nholowizana, it used to be in Plumtree and I make a clarion call that this should come to an end.  In this day and age where there is DNA, this person together with the prayer of getting the police to go and arrest the perpetrators, I called for the police to immediately go and arrest this person who was a former Councillor in Chegutu and make sure they are incarcerated without an option of a fine.

HON. MLILO:  On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MARUMAHOKO):  What is your point of order?

HON. MLILO: I do appreciate the marvelous and spirit of the debate that the Hon. Member is giving but let us shun away from him drawing a wrong impression.  In Kalanga when they talk about the nholowizana, it is actually a father sleeping with a daughter-in-law not a father sleeping with his own daughter.  Yes, it is wrong but let us correct the statement.

THE HON. TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  I thank you. 

HON. NDUNA: Mr. Speaker, I thank Hon. Mlilo for the correction –[THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: You are not familiar with the language] – yes, it is called nholowizana and also Mr. Speaker, still two wrongs do not make a right and we are trying to right wrongs here, that should be completely eradicated. It should be completely eradicated and I agree with him Mr. Speaker, it is just the terminology and issue of semantics but it means the same Mr. Speaker – [THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER:  Well heard Hon. Member, please proceed] – So, Mr. Speaker Sir, further to that, as though Chegutu Town Council is hounded, there is a present councillor, who goes around in Chegutu sleeping with every school child, without looking at their birth certificates or registration certificates and they are calling themselves a councillor.  It should be noted that for you to be a councillor or a Member of Parliament, you should have a clean track record.  No record of child, women, wife abuse and bartering.  That should be on record – Hon. Misihairabwi says then there would not be any Hon. Members of Parliament who are male, this is an opportunity for women Parliamentarians to up the stakes from 35% women representation to 100%, if it is so Mr. Speaker Sir.

          Lastly, I want to applaud the First Lady.  She has taken the bull by the horns and has led the way in terms of making sure that she takes care of orphans including girl children.  Therefore, organisations out there and everybody else who has got the capacity should also take a cue from her in order that we annihilate completely the scourge of child abuse, in particular the girl child.  I want to repeat this phrase that what men can do, women can do better.  Now we are mortgaging our future by stunting women growth in all facets and all assets of life.  I thank you.

          HON. MANGAMI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I would like to thank Hon. Misihairabwi for bringing this up.  I have been listening.  I am not part of the group that has had that experience to visit the Non-Governmental Organisation by the name Katswe.  From the stories I have heard as they elaborated, it is quite pathetic that there are such groups of men who would go out with children. 

          It is just this morning when I was reading one of the newspapers where the father and mother were sleeping in the same room with their three daughters.  The father, when the wife was asleep sneaked from their blankets to rape their 12 year daughter.  The child cried out and the mother was awakened by the noise and the matter was reported to the police.  Imagine the father did not even fear the mother who was together with him.  This means some of these things happen and are not reported.  What we are witnessing is the tip of the iceberg.  These stories are many.

          I am going to dwell much on suggestions.  We have heard the problem is quite huge – like the President had said that the Bill that is going to come, is going to have a mandatory rape sentence.  When that Bill comes, I urge all Hon. Members to fine tune that Bill so that no one will ever sleep with anyone who is within the stipulated age.  It is unfortunate that it is about the fathers.  Yes, there is abuse from mothers, I agree but the abuse that comes from the fathers is really embarrassing.  Now I wonder if ever children will respect their own fathers, if their own fathers are raping them.

          I was not clear on why Katswe Sisterhood were taken to police, I did not get it quite clearly when you explained but I feel that when there are such organisations that are protecting children, we should support them – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – One of the days it will be about your relative or your own child, that is when it will matter.  We would actually want to ask the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare to quickly bring the Bill to the House so that we deal with this one as a matter of urgency.  Already we have got an Instrument which the President has given to say the Bill is going to come.  So, if that is fast tracked, we fine tune it so that we look at all the loopholes that may come up.

          I am also worried with the issue of children who are in the streets.  There are some children who come from their own homes and get into beer halls for that purpose.  I wonder what type of homes they are, where parents actually allow children to do that.  I think within the same Bill, there should be some sentence for such parents who misguide; who leave children to do what they please to such an extent that they even go to the beer halls and drink – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – At the end of the day they will accept parcels which they would bring to them.  It is unfortunate that we have got such parents in our communities.  Therefore, in the Bill we should include something for the parents.  They should also be arrested for that.  Why should they not protect those children?

          I also think that the Committee which has oversight on social welfare should carry out a study.  If my memory serves me right, when you get to the border post of Zambia, you would see something written in big words to say do not give alms to beggars.  If ever you have seen that, if my memory serves me right.  I asked what it meant when I went through that border.  The explanation to that was when you get there, people who begs in the streets, if you are seen giving them any token you will be arrested.  They should go to particular areas where they should get assistance because by so doing you are encouraging everybody to be in the streets. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –

Even those who are able bodied are also seen begging.  What it means is that we will end up having everybody in the streets.  Whilst we may want to help them, we should find ways of assisting them.  At the end of the day, some children go to streets to beg because they have seen it as a method of living even those that have got decent families.  Just last week, one of my councillors was complaining to say his nephew did not want to go to a school which was nearer to their home, living with his biological parents.  He just said I no longer want to learn here, can I accompany you there.  When they refused, he had to walk 20 km to go and stay with the uncle.  What happened to that scenario, people were afraid that nowadays people can hang themselves if they feel that they are tormented?  Look at the children of today.  I think we should also enforce some discipline within the children.  Hon. Members, I think we should take this motion seriously and ask for the Bill to come to the House – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] -

          HON. DR. LABODE: Thank you Mr. Speaker.  I would like to thank the mover of this motion.  This is a very important area and I was saddened when I heard about Katswe Sisters being arrested and being sanctioned not to operate.  It is an open secret in Zimbabwe that children are having sex at the age of ten.  Hon. Minister Dokora told us in his speech one time here that 4500 girls did not manage to go to form one because they were pregnant.  How old are grade seven children?  That alone, as a Government and a Parliament, should have been a warning bell that there is a disaster out there.  That should have told us that something is wrong. 

It is not only my Comrades Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga, Hon. Maridadi and the other Hon. Members who went to Epworth or wherever they went; the Committee on Health and Child Care also visited Ngundu.  We met with young sex workers in Ngundu.  They were aged 13 and 14.  The older sex workers complained to us as a Committee that they now have a problem that varume vakuda ava vadiki.  Are you listening to this?  This is a norm in Zimbabwe if you do not know.  Let us not pretend. It is shocking that the Minister can actually stand up, instead of taking the bull by the horns; she wants to victimize a civil society organisation.  This is why a lot of other civil society organisations have said to us that in Zimbabwe it is ‘see no evil, talk no evil’.  This means that if you see a bad thing, keep quiet and go under.  Those people are helping us.  They have identified an issue.  What we need to do is to ask ourselves how we have to deal with it.  We cannot deny that the reason we have a child sex worker is because of poverty.   If we have an unemployment rate of 90%, what do we expect?

Some of you are asking - where are these children’s parents when they go out; the mother is a vendor and sells tomatoes until 10 pm.  Vana varikupi?  Of course, they are having sex so that they are able to buy bread or drink.  Zimbabwe is now loaded with illegal abortions.  Do you know why?  These are the very small children who are taken to n’angas; when they get pregnant and something is inserted in her; she then dies or ends up in the system. There is evidence to this effect. 

The Ministry of Health produced a report that said 16% of the contribution to maternal mortality is coming from illegal abortion.  What has Zimbabwe done?  We are hiding under the table and saying that we do not have a law of abortion.  Abortion irikuitika in full force because of these things.  Let us wake up and do something about our issues.  I am urging the Minister of Health and Child Care to go and tell the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Services to let go of Katswe Sisters.  Please, let go of Katswe!  Ah aah!  What is this?

HON. ZINDI: Thank you Mr. Speaker.  I also rise to echo my views in support of the motion that has been moved by Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga and supported by Hon. Maridadi. 

I am not going to say much but perhaps just to highlight what the Child Rights Convention says.  The Convention on the Rights of the Child which is a United Nations Convention is a Human Rights Treaty which sets out the civil, political, economic, social, health and cultural rights of children.  The Convention defines a child as any human being under the age of eighteen unless the age of majority is attained earlier under the national legislation.

Most of us saw on social media the nine year old girl who was talking with her back to the camera but we all heard the audio.  This is a nine year old who is engaging in sexual activities and we have this Child Rights Convention.  I need to pose a question and say, as a Zimbabwean Government, have we gone a step further to ratify and domesticate this convention?  If not, as this Bill that has been proposed to come into the House and through that statement which we are proposing to come and make; we need to raise questions to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Services if she has ever heard of the Child Rights Convention and that it should be domesticated and ratified by the Zimbabwean Government like other 196 countries which have since ratified it. It talks about child labour, sexual harassment, rape and all violations with regards to children.  We need to question the Minister when she comes to make her statement and then we ensure that the rights of the children are protected sexually as well as we are reading in the papers.

I also need to make a comment on what has been raised by Hon. Mangami, of fathers who are sleeping with their own children.  I am sure all Hon. Members here read newspapers. It is almost like an everyday practice and it is almost like we have since accepted it because this issue had never been raised in this House – not even during question and answer policy questions that we ask our Ministers in terms of what is being done to the issues or matters that we are reading almost every day. 

You can read four, five or six cases of fathers who are raping their own daughter or sodomising their own sons.  As we read in the press, this is related to rituals to do with riches; to make one’s family rich.  As Hon. Labode has said, the economic situation is exacerbating all these things because if somebody starts thinking that if I go and rape or sodomize my own son, then I automatically become rich – it means perhaps there are no other means of survival and they are now believing in witchcraft.  We have heard about witchcraft. They are now believing in witchcraft that suddenly they turn around and make fortunes for their families but we need to question what has gone wrong with our own fathers in terms of the rape cases that we read in the press, raping as young as a two year old, six months or his own daughter. This is unheard of. 

What is it that you touch?  When the penis erects, how do you insert it into the vagina of a two year old or a six months old daughter? How do you do it?  A mother comes from fetching water and finds a child crying.  If my memory serves me right, I think it happened somewhere in Plumtree.  A mother finds a baby crying and then on opening the napkin, she finds that the baby has been raped and she is bleeding with semen all over and the father had bolted.  God knows where he had gone to.  What is going wrong in our minds, men?  What is it? 

We need to be dramatic about these things as they are happening so that we can appreciate where as women - Hon. Maridadi has said it, nyoka dzinorwadza, dzinorira.  As you read the newspaper, you really wonder what this man is thinking.  This man is left to look after the child as the mother goes to fetch water to cook, but he stays behind to commit such a heinous act.  What is it?  Hon. Speaker, we need to interrogate these questions.

There is another Hon. Member who raised the issue of sharing the same room.  Here we are as a Zimbabwean Government, we have the Matapi flats.  This is 37 years after independence and we are still having families and children living in the Matapi flats and we have not really taken it upon ourselves as a Government, with that moral fabric in our society to maintain it; to have held the bull by its horns and said, this is not fit for family dwelling or for raising a family; they must be demolished or renovated.  We still keep saying people should continue to stay in the Matapi flats where rooms are divided by curtains.  I have never been inside, but we know this is what is happening.  That kind of accommodation was meant for single men. 

I remember that even in Sakubva where I grew up, there is a section called ‘Singles’ or ‘Matida’.  That is where single men used to stay.  When we were growing up they used to have inspections which were colloquially referred to as ‘spaction’.  Our relatives who used to stay in these Matida or Single sections would come and temporarily stay with us in Sakubva in the marriage quarters because of these inspections and then return to their homes.  That is what used to happen during that time, but we are still continuing with the same system. 

I think it is high time we should hold the bull by its horns.  Either we renovate, demolish or we have to come with a system of how we can normalise in order to raise a good family, a good society. You should not rejoice when misfortune befalls others for tomorrow it will be your turn, either personally or through your relatives.

Hon. Speaker, the issue of economy actually embraces all these symptoms.  They are coming from the issue of our economy.  I think as Zimbabweans, we need to be serious particularly when we are looking at our Executive which gives the guide, which gives the light in terms of shaping the economy of this country.  We need to work as a team.  We need to put our minds together.  This idea of showing off our wealth as individuals, I do not think it will take us anywhere as a nation.  What we basically need to do is to say, if everybody can become an employer and create employment, we should lay the opportunities of creating employment on the table and let everyone have an opportunity to pick which opportunity he or she can implement and be successful.  It is the role of the Executive to do that – lay opportunities on the table. Let everyone have an opportunity, grab and create employment if they can, if she can - that lady there. 

That is the situation we want in this country not this situation of hiding information to do with economic opportunities where employment can be created and can be a preserve for a few who can actually get connected or those who are well connected are the only ones who get the information and opportunity.  Let everyone be a player in his or her own way and contribute to the growth of this economy.  There are so many opportunities if we are serious, Hon. Speaker.  All these symptoms that we are talking about will be a thing of the past.  I thank you.

HON. DR. KHUPE:  Thank you very much Mr. Speaker for affording me this opportunity to also add my voice in support of the motion which was raised by Hon. Misihairabwi, seconded by Hon. Maridadi.  I would like to thank Hon. Misihairabwi for bringing this motion to this House.  As she was sitting she was saying to me, I want to debate it today because this is an urgent matter.  As she was speaking, I then realised that indeed, this is an urgent matter.

Mr. Speaker Sir, if you remember some few months ago, Hon. Misihairabwi debated a report where Zimbabwean girls were being abused in Kuwait and she proposed that as women Members of Parliament, we must sit on the floor until such time that the girls are returned home and we did exactly that.  The second time, Mr. Speaker Sir, we debated another motion where young girls came to this House – 9 years and 10 years old.  Mr. Speaker, they were pregnant.  As Hon. Misihairabwi was speaking, my stomach started crying.  It is crying right now because I felt birth pains to say nine year olds – you do not know what I am feeling right now.

Mr. Speaker Sir, as women, we go through a torrid time.  We carry babies for nine months.  Those nine months are not easy.  That is the most terrible time for a woman in her lifetime, carrying a baby for nine months.  Mr. Speaker Sir, we go through birth pains when we are giving birth.  I cannot explain the kind of pain that I went through when I gave birth to my children.  I cannot explain it to anybody.  That is the most difficult time for a woman in her lifetime. 

After giving birth to those children, Mr. Speaker Sir, we nurture them.  We have got dreams for those children to say, I want my child to grow up and go to school so that she becomes a lawyer.  I have a daughter.  When I gave birth to her I had a dream for her.  She is 23 years old and she is a lawyer as I speak right now. My heart is bleeding as I stand in front of this House to imagine that somebody else’s child, a 9 year old, her life, her future has been shattered completely.  It is gone Mr. Speaker Sir.  They are as good as dead.

How does a normal man stand up, go to a street and pick up a nine year old child?  I am speaking to those men right now, Mr. Speaker Sir.  I cried with Hon. Misihairabwi when she sat down and I said now, I want to speak to those men, Mr. Speaker Sir.  They leave their homes and their grandchildren who are nine years old and they go out there and sleep with a nine year old child.  They go back to their homes and they look at that nine year old – what are they saying?  What is going through their minds?

You are going to abuse another person’s child out there.  You go into your own house, you have got a grandchild who is nine years old and you are looking at her.  What goes into your mind?  This is a serious matter, Mr. Speaker Sir.  I am very emotional about it because this is not on and I think as this Parliament, we must make sure that something happens to these men.  The Katswe Sisterhood – they must let go of them right now as we speak and tomorrow, we want to hear reports that those women are free.  They must be supported.  They must be supported because they have realised that there is a situation here and they have come in to say, we want to help and somebody says they must be arrested.  Mr. Speaker Sir, this is not right.

Mr. Speaker Sir, I think it is important, other Hon. Members have said it that the Minister must come here and give a Ministerial Statement but not only that Mr. Speaker Sir, something must be done.  These men must be arrested.  Hon. Misihairabwi said, policemen were being deployed to go to queues, they must be deployed where these girls are being picked.  They must be arrested and they belong behind bars.  They do not belong to this society Mr. Speaker Sir.  Hon. Misihairabwi was telling me horrendous stories that these little girls were saying these men would come and remove – I want to say this, they will remove their thing and you can see that it has got sores all over but these men would just put it into their mouths Mr. Speaker Sir.  Their thing with sores, what kind of nonsense is this.  I have to say this, it is not right Mr. Speaker Sir.  We need to protect our children.  Our children must be protected.

I would like to propose this to Government Mr. Speaker Sir.  This is why we have always been saying education from Grade 1 to Grade 7 must be free.  The reason why we are saying this is to allow all these children to go to school so that their parents are then able to save for their secondary education, but every child will at least go to school for free from Grade 1 to Grade 7.  Zimbabwe is a very rich country, endowed with enormous resources.  If our resources were to be managed properly, as a country we can afford to do this.  It happened in 1980, I think it can happen right now, Mr. Speaker Sir. 

I would like to conclude by saying, like what the Honourable said, thank you very much for bringing this motion, but the Minister must come to this House.  At the same time as Parliament, we must do something, because some of these things do not need a budget.  You do not need a budget to go and arrest those people, for somebody to say, we do not have money and so on.  Those men must be arrested.  We want to see them arrested.  They do not belong to society, they belong behind bars.  Hon. Maridadi said, they must be hanged.  Mr. Speaker Sir, I rest my case but I am very angry – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –

*HON. MAHOKA:  Thank you Mr. Speaker.  Let me start by thanking the mover of such a painful motion, Hon. Misiharibwi and her seconder, Hon. Maridadi.  The motion under debate is painful but I can take comfort in the fact that the Hon. Members that are in this august House have rallied behind the motion.  If they remain steadfast behind such a motion, they will be exemplary to the wayward men that are out there.  If they show their distaste of the kind of behaviour by the wayward men, we may be able to realise results very soon.  I would want to believe that the time this Bill will be brought before this Parliament, it should not take more than five minutes of discussion.  It should be fast tracked so that men out there would know that we now have a law in place.

There is also the issue of rape.  There is a mandatory sentence of rape which is nine years, but whenever men are arrested, they go to court and get a bail.  When they are out on bail, they do as they please because they have a lawyer.  They will still continue committing further offences.  They would even go to the extent of raping their own children because they would know that their end is near.  Even if he is suffering from a disease, he would go out and spread while on bail.  When the proposed law comes before this House, we must say that whoever is accused of rape, whether the complainant is a young girl or elder woman, they should have their private parts exterminated so that they do not have anything to use to rape the small children.

Mr. Speaker, we want this country to ensure that every girl should go to school for free from Grade 1 up to Grade 7.  These small girls will develop this country.  These men should be castrated.  The police should waylay these men and wear the suits so that they can apprehend these men.  These girls have become sexually active and it is difficult for them to stop.  The police should arrest about twenty men per day and imprison them.  The law should not allow these men to be released and we use them as an example to others.  I would want to believe that the law as regards rape has a lot of lacunas that are ensuring that men are getting away with murder.  They are not behind bars and they are roaming the streets freely. 

The Minister is a mother and has felt the labour pains that a woman experiences.  Even if a woman is barren, a woman is created in such a way that she feels the pain inside the stomach.  Such a thing should hurt everyone.  The first form of fund is with the Social Welfare Department that ensures that these children are looked after properly, including the children that are in the streets.  If possible, the Minister should ensure that all these children are taken to children’s homes and see how they could take care of them.  Some of these children are from able-bodied parents who are just lazy.  They go and sit in the shade while the child is begging on the streets.  If you go and see through traffic lights, you would find they are women.  She would be breastfeeding her child, monitoring that whatever the child is given is put into the pocket.  They are begging because of the love of money.  Others have acquired many properties through funds raised by such children.

I urge the Minister to take away all the children from the streets.  We have many police officers in Zimbabwe and they are hard working, we want them to show their expertise.  We are proud of the way they conduct their work.  We want them to show us that they can clear the street of all the street children and arrest these men.  The previous speaker said, there are beer halls and clubs where children are allowed to striptease and the men then appreciate them.  Thereafter they go and abuse them.  The bar owners should be arrested and licenses withdrawn.  They should be given their due rewards because this is a bad way of raising money.  Why are they not using their children and abuse them as dancers? 

There was also mention of some children that face abuse because the parents would have separated and the stepmother would not be able to look after the children, I wish they could be arrested.  The law stipulates that one year old to 18 year olds should be in the custody of their mother.  The fathers should pay maintenance to ensure responsibility upon their own children.  The child is born out of love of the parents. If a woman becomes a step mother, she must properly take care of these children, if not she should be arrested.

          I have heard that about 70% of Members of Parliament here are HIV positive.  Let me say that the Hon. Members that are in this august House, that if they get tested, there is a fund that gives them free drugs.  So, they should behave and not go about spreading the disease.  As legislators they should lead by example.  If there is corruption, we would want to see who is perpetuating it, if they are leaders, they should be given deterrent sentences.  If a Member of Parliament infects an innocent person, that Member should be killed and that would be a lesson to likeminded persons.

          An 18 year old girl is still immature as well as one to 10 year olds.  These children will be abused by these men; they will innocently accept everything that is suggested by these ruthless men.  The economy at the moment is not good and it also contributes to the abuse of children by men.  These young girls would believe that if they accept whatever is being asked by these big men, they would buy half a loaf of bread because they are street kids.

          However, the parents of these girl children in the streets should be arrested if ever they are identified because they are abusing their children. Such type of women should not be pardoned.  We should have a law that has deterrent sentences.   A lot of these girls were in the streets during the past few days buying bond notes and changing them into US dollars.  If this game is put to a stop since the President is back in the country, where are those children going to be? They will actually go back to the streets where they will be sexually abused for nothing by these men. Anyone who abuses a child should be arrested so that no one can take this issue lightly

          Corruption; anyone can freely do it because there are lawyers.  If a person is granted bail at court house, it is very rare for them to go back.  If they go back it means somehow they are blind, once they have been granted bail-out, the case is further remanded for 10 years.   Even on the case for Hon. Kereke, if it had not been raised in this august House, he could have been enjoying himself just like an innocent person like us.  We should always ensure that law is maintained.

There should be a fund for children which should be strictly set aside for assisting our children just as there is a funding for those that would have contacted HIV whilst enjoying themselves. It is important to ensure that we protect our children from such mis-happenings.  I do not know if the police force is able to go and arrest 10 people and if possible bring them to this august House to show that these are the wayward fathers who abused children.  These are not ordinary fathers.  If a man has a Mercedes Benz it shows he has money, so how then can he enjoy sexual pleasure with a small girl.  It is better that they do it with their own granddaughter and not someone else’s, it is painful. If we would be asked to bring our girl children for men to have sexual pleasure with them; all of us would have a heart attack here.  In fact, there will be by-elections because of women parliamentarians who would have collapsed because of that.

We want questions asked to the Hon. Minister as to what exactly she is doing in her Ministry because Zimbabwe is not poor.  We have milk and honey in our country.  Songs are still being sung that were used to be sung that say this is a land of milk and honey.  However, there are other people that misuse their positions so that other people cannot prosper.  We had problems with the availability of fuel but since the Head of State is back it is now awash.  The police need to be all over and carry out this exercise throughout the country.

Our children have grown so weary in Magunje because of these evil deeds that are being done to them.  They should arrest these evil men.  I would like to thank Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga and the Hon. Speaker for affording me the opportunity to debate on such a painful motion.

*HON. MACHINGURA: Thank you Mr. Speaker for this opportunity that you have granted me.  I would want to thank those that have spoken before me.  I have observed that this is an emotional issue and we are disturbed by such happenings in our country as regards the abuse of children.

I want to say this motion is very emotional.  I saw Hon. Maridadi almost breaking into tears because of that issue.  However, I would like to encourage that the origins of this case be looked at.  We should not deal with the symptoms.  If the symptoms are treated, the disease will not go away.  I would like to give you three reasons that I have observed in Norton, in 1995.  There was a certain couple who had a very good life.  Their eldest child although young, had her own bedroom.  This child would remove the burglar bars during the night and go out.  She would come to Harare and enjoy herself.  This child was being well

looked after by her parents, she had everything that she would desire.  However, it was only discovered one night when the parents tried to wake her up that she was not in. That child was just mischievous; there was no issue of poverty.

          On the second issue, I gave a lift to a woman who was going to Rusape, she said that when her child came back from school, she asked for a new pillow.  When they were taking her back to school, she looked into the pillow and found that there were some drugs in that pillow.  She was a drug queen at the institution although the parents had everything. 

          After giving such examples Mr. Speaker Sir, I know that this is being done to people that are poor, as well as, those that are not poor.  Now they say it is a difficult situation for one to sleep in a house where there are fleas.  We no longer have values Mr. Speaker.  The law now says it is an offence for a parent to assault their child at home.  At school, teachers no longer hit children.  As they grow up in that mode, there is no one who can control them.  They are now grown up and we want the Police to go and assist these children.  Tame them young they always say.  You cannot teach an old dog new tricks.  In the olden days, a child belonged to everyone.  Anyone could just hit anyone’s child who was behaving in a wayward manner.  If I were to assault your child, you would report me to the authorities for having offended you. 

It would appear as if the men are the ones that are ensuring that they are abusing the children but history does not show that.  If you go to the origin, Adam did say that it was the woman that you gave me that has led me to these problems.  The man complained that the woman had caused this position.  Lot had left with his girls but the girls drugged him so that they could have sexual intercourse with him.  In Potiphar’s house Mr. Speaker Sir, Potiphar observed that Joseph was blessed.  He put him in charge of that household but Potiphar’s wife saw Joseph as a man and it was his wife who attempted to rape Joseph.  We should be careful of the words that come from women. 

It is true Mr. Speaker that what is happening is disgusting, distasteful and pathetic but we should go to the root cause and start making amends from there.  I thank you.

HON. GONESE:  Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir.  I think that this is a very important debate and I want to congratulate Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga for her tenacity to ensure that this motion is moved today.  At one time I was whispering when I was seated next to her and she was really worried that she was not going to have an opportunity to move the motion.  She wanted to move the motion last week on Thursday but it did not happen. 

I want to say that for those Members who are still in this august House, I really want to thank you for the support that you have shown for this important debate.  This debate had been going quite well Mr. Speaker and I believe that across the political divide, the voices that were coming out were very clear that all of us have been touched.  What Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga said in her presentation buttressed by Hon. Maridadi from their personal experiences or rather in interviewing these girls and so on, it is something which is really moving and I would have expected that all of us were going to really take it to heart.  I would have expected that the nature of this debate must be premised on the experiences which we have gone through, which have happened recently in respect of these very young girls who are being abused. 

It is unfortunate Mr. Speaker that as the motion was being moved, it was quite clear that unfortunately, the relevant Ministry and the law enforcement agencies, instead of dealing with the culprits or perpetrators, felt that they will deal with the Katswe Sisterhood.  I will come to that aspect later.  Be that as it may, what is really of bigger concern is part of the debate which has just taken place before I stood up.  There were certain sentiments which were being expressed which are of great concern to me. 

First and foremost, I want to say that this motion is not about women, it is about all of us.  For some of us, I want to say that women are very important in my life, firstly, because of the obvious reason that my mother is a woman, I have got a wife who is obviously a woman, I also have a sister but over and above that I have got three daughters.  Out of my four children, three of them are girls and I really believe that we must appreciate that some of the abuses which are taking place, the majority of the victims are actually women.  Whilst there may be a few cases where boys are also victims, the majority of the cases even when we look at the statistics are women. 

It is therefore unfortunate when you start making biblical references which I believe have no real relevance to what we are supposed to be talking about.  I think what we are supposed to be talking about Mr. Speaker is to look for real solutions.  In my view, sometimes when we make some of those unfortunate references to biblical situations, we are taking them out of context, that is the first point.  Most of the time, it is not pertinent or relevant to what we should be talking about.

Having said that Mr. Speaker, I believe that what is critical is for us when we are speaking with one voice to have concrete actions to be taken.  I agree to what is being suggested in this motion that let us have a Ministerial Statement so that we can interrogate the Hon. Minister on what transpired after the exposure of this case.  This is where I want to go back to the issue of the Katswe Sisterhood. I  had an interaction with them when we had the SADC Plenary Assembly here at Rainbow Towers in November, last year.  What they did Mr. Speaker, we were debating the issue of eradicating child marriage and protecting those already in marriage, they came and made a very good presentation and that is when I really had that interaction with them.  From that interaction, I am very convinced that they have been doing a good job.  Obviously, I do not have personal knowledge of what transpired in this particular case other than what has been said in the movement of this motion and also what I have read in the press. 

It is really alarming Mr. Speaker, that we can have a scenario where people who are doing their level best to expose some of these things end up being prohibited from operating.  I think it is something which we really need the Minister to come here, not next week but tomorrow or Thursday.  This is why I believe that on this motion I think we have had sufficient debate and it is important that it be wound up so that it can be implemented immediately.  Practically I say tomorrow or Thursday at the latest so that we can now deal with the real issues which we must grapple with. 

Mr. Speaker, I also want to talk about other issues. It is not just about legislation.  I believe that what is more important is attitude.  When Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga was moving the motion, a lot of things went through my mind.  Obviously when you drive around, you all see a lot of these young girls begging for whatever you can give to them. However, I did not know that afterwards they are forced into a situation where some men and I am really embarrassed if we have men who do that.  I am really embarrassed for being a man if I have got counterparts or other people who do the sort of things which were being described by Hon. Mushonga and Hon. Maridadi.  I believe that the starting point is really to change our mindset.  I think that is where the problem is.  Obviously there is need to improve on the legislation that we have and I agree whole heartedly with that. We need to have stiffer penalties, we need to have an amendment to the provisions which say that the age of consent is 16 and we need that to be raised to 18 years. All those things have got to be done. We also need to have the mandatory sentences, I agree with that. However, if we do all that without a change of attitude, sometimes it does not make a very big difference because a lot of the time Mr. Speaker and here I am talking as a lawyer, you find that a lot of people will commit crimes simply because they do not think that they will be caught.  No matter what kind of mandatory sentence you come up with  or even if you say that there is going to be castration but if somebody believes that they are not going to be apprehended or convicted, they will not stop. I believe that this is the message that should go out that if you commit those crimes, firstly people are conscientised and sensitised so that you have got more and more reports being made and you have the police having the sort of attitude that they expeditiously deal with such reports so that the suspects are apprehended expeditiously. We also need to increase our technology so that the rate of conviction also goes up. It is only then that you can then say you can seriously deal with the scourge.

          I also want to say that when it comes to the issue of children and I want to thank Hon. Zindi who made reference to the CRC. I want to say that even here in Africa, we also have got the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. In terms of the African Charter, it deals with the issue of economic and sexual exploitation of children. It also talks about the prohibition of marriage or betrothals involving children. It also talks about the prohibition of the use of children as beggars which are some of the things which result in the sexual exploitation of the young girls. It also talks about protection from pedophiles. I want to dwell on this aspect in extenso.

          When you go to some of those countries where pornography is legal, there is a caveat. When it comes to child pornography it is a crime and just for watching child pornography, if you are apprehended, you actually go to jail. I want to give an example of one of the famous musicians, I think it is Gary Glitter – I am not 100% sure but there is a prominent musician who was arrested just for watching and not doing the abuse we are talking about here. Just for watching child pornography, you go to jail even in those jurisdictions where pornography or watching pornography is not a crime. A line is drawn in the sand that yes you can watch adults but you cannot watch children either being abused or engaging in such activities.

          When it comes to the issue of homosexuals, I do not condone it but there are some of those countries where perhaps it is not illegal for people to be in a homosexual relationship. But when it comes to having a relationship with someone who is below the age of 18, that is a crime and it is really taken seriously. I want to say it is critical that we draw a distinction – yes people may have different views and attitudes about prostitution but there should be a no, no, no, where it involves children whether they are boys or girls it is a no, no, no. The only way we can do it is when we take some of these issues seriously.

          I know that a lot of the Hon. Members have gone and I think for today for a change, we have actually gone beyond 6 o’clock and it is because it is an important motion and there are those of us who have decided that let us wait and debate this. Others have said let us listen to this. No one has even thought of saying do we have a quorum or we do not have a quorum. What is important is to ensure that we do justice to this very important motion. I want to take it a step further and say let us wind it up perhaps if it is possible so that concrete decision is done and the Hon. Minister is informed that she must appear before us here, make a Ministerial Statement and then we can interrogate her on what her Ministry is supposed to have done. What they have done to the Katswe Sisterhood when actually they are dealing with people who are trying to protect the victims of this scourge and protecting those people who are the perpetrators. With these words, I want to once again thank you to Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga. I rest my case.

          *HON. MATUKE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, let me just add a few words. This is a good motion and since the other Chief Whip has debated, I believe it is a good thing for me to support him. I would want to say that when the law is being crafted, it should take on board some of the issues which I am going to highlight which cause this kind of a problem.  We want to look at the positives and I would want to say that culture itself is very important. There was an Hon. Member who said that someone’s child is yours and if we were to treat them that way and we rebuke those that are wayward, I think it may help us a lot.  Let us go back to our culture of yesteryear whereby if you saw an elderly person, whether it is a father or mother they were able to give advice to children despite them not being biological parents. We should go back to that scenario and we may be able to look after these children.

          Children should be taught by the parents that whenever they see elders, they should respect them so that they are able to be remonstrated with. What may be a problem is our economy because you can find a father, mother, boys and girls sharing a room and a curtain just separates them. When the parents become intimate, the children also become interested. When they leave that house, they would also want to go and experiment. Most of the time the brother or sister will end up indulging in sex. Such issues should be looked into by the Government in order to address such kind of a situation.  We had such a situation in my constituency where the father, mother, the son and daughter-in-law would sleep in the same room. We proposed that a two roomed house be constructed for them after we had observed that this is contrary to our African culture. It was a difficult situation in terms of the way we live. Yes, there are certain situations that we find in our everyday life. The leadership, especially the Members of Parliament should also look and see how the electorate lives in the constituencies where they represent so that they can ensure that people are assisted either through social welfare. If we come up with laws then that might help us because they will know that there is now poverty which is causing these things and as a result children are now being abused.

          As we deal with this case, we should also involve the church. The churches are still forcing children into child marriages. Arranged marriages are also becoming the order of the day in churches where false prophesy is rife and children are taken as girls in the name of the church. The law should be very strict and come up with deterrent sentences. It should be observed whether there are no such offenders in these churches especially those children of the ages that we are making reference to.

          We heard earlier on that the children could become orphans and the last thing is that they will be looking for survival and how to look after themselves and they think that through that way they can raise 20c and be able to buy maputi and have water and eventually they become mischievous because sex is enjoyable. In the end they will lose their way. This is a difficult issue to deal with but the men are the most mischievous. The men are the chief culprits. There are those that believe in black magic and because they will not have learnt about business administration and accounting, they believe that if you have sexual intercourse with a small child you will have more money. They could be artisanal miners and who would believe in that. Education is power and through the media, we should be educating our people either on radio or on broadcasting forums. There should be a budget and not a fund to ensure that people are taught on how they live with their children.

          They ought to know that they should give them a chance to grow because if you want chickens, you do not boil the eggs but you allow the eggs to hatch into chickens so that we can have these chickens. There are fathers and mothers who send their children to do that so that they can have an easy way of raising money which they would dispose of quickly.  I have heard that there are women that will be a distance away observing their children raising the money.

At places like OK near Belvedere, there is a man who sends his children to school up to university level by going to that area to work. He wears rags and old clothes and would raise a lot of money to send his children to school. In the evening, he goes and looks for something different. We have different people such as the mothers. We need the DSNS or life imprisonment for people who do that. He is a man who will have done that. On castration, a lot of people are innocently serving time in jail. So, it is important that there be no castration.

We need to look at whatever will be done because once he is castrated, there is no way of reversing that process. We should have castration for men and also have strong needles and thread to sew women’s private parts because there are few women who are also abusing children. We used to have a woman in Gutu called Magumbo. She would be in her house and secondary school children stood in a queue waiting to service the woman.  They had biscuits or a piece of soap that they left as payment. It is known and it is still happening up to now that Form Ones and Form Threes queue at different places in these areas.  The boys would take ten minutes turns. So, we have wayward women who have made business out of this just as much as men are doing it. I am not attacking women, they have come up with a good motion but we should have laws that are equally applied.  Let us sew their private parts, both the men and women and only leave a small portion so that they are able to urinate. This is a non political issue which needs to be supported.

We should agree on the urgency of the matter as a country so that the Government can intervene and assist so that all the children that are abused in such a manner get relief after an investigation of how best to tackle this issue. It is important to have statistics in our constituencies of potential victims so that the problem is nipped in the bud.  I want to say that this is an important motion and we need not belabour the point. I would want to thank Mr. Speaker and the movers of the motion.  They have helped the country and not themselves only. I thank you Mr. Speaker.

HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: The fact that we have other Members that are sitting here is a sign of the importance that they put onto this. I want to thank them very much. I know there are other Members who still wanted to debate but the reason why we are moving it is that we want to make sure that we can adopt it and we can have the Minister coming in. I think if the Minister comes in for the Ministerial Statement, we will have an opportunity to have a proper conversation. So the debate and discussion can still continue. I know that Members have stayed for a long time and I will not keep them by going back to a proper rounding off except to just thank you and to hope that we adopt the motion and that we immediately call the Minister to come and give a Ministerial Statement and give other Hon. Members an opportunity to engage with the Minister directly. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.  I move that the motion that;

ALARMED by the number of children who are reported to be abused under the “guise” of selling sex.

          CONCERNED that Government’s response has been targeted at those that have exposed this evil practice.

          NOW THEREFORE calls upon the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare to immediately give a Ministerial Statement on this matter.

AND FURTHER calls upon the Inter-Ministerial Task Force set by the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare to expeditiously investigate the matter and report be tabled in Parliament by the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, be now adopted.

Motion put and adopted.

On the motion of HON. MATUKE seconded by HON. RUNGANI, the House adjourned at Twenty-Four Minutes past Six o’clock p.m.  

 

 

 

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