PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Wednesday, 15th September, 2021
The Senate met at Half-past Two o’clock p.m.
(THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF
ADVERSE REPORT RECEIVED FROM THE PARLIAMENTARY
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I wish to
inform the Senate that I have received an Adverse Report from the Parliamentary Legal Committee on Statutory Instrument 202 of 2021,
High Court Rules 2021.
ANNUAL CHARITY GOLF DAY
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I also have
to inform the Senate that the Annual Charity Golf Day will be held on 1st October, 2021 at the Zimbabwe Republic Police Golf Club and that teeing off will be at 1000 hours. Hon. Members are urged to attend or support the cause, by either participating or sponsoring one of the several packages on offer and contact Mr. Nyamuramba on mobile number 0775 309 209 for further details.
MARRIAGES BILL [H. B. 7A, 2019]
First Order read: Committee Stage: Marriages Bill [H. B. 7 (A)
House in Committee.
On Clause 16:
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you
Madam Chair. The last time we had issues that the Senate wanted to be considered in terms of the way customary marriages are registered and the role of our traditional leaders. We have not yet reached an agreement. My suggestion is that I have the Traditional Leaders Act that is coming through and issues that we have not dealt with and managed to find each other, we can include them in the Traditional Leaders Act, then I can amend the Marriages Bill through the Traditional Leaders
Act. The reason why I am proposing that we proceed, is because there are issues in the Marriages Bill that deal with child marriages that we need to deal with. The more we prolong, it means that as legislators we would have neglected our duty to deal with those issues. My appeal to Hon. Senators is that the issues that you raised were well received but we have another Bill that we can use to amend the Marriages Act and effect the concerns that you are raising. I so submit Madam Chair.
HON. SEN. CHIEF MAKUMBE: Thank you Madam Chair. I
need some clarification on this issue. While we can debate as a House, I think it is prudent that our constituency which had the bulk of problems with this Bill should have been informed and be here so that they can fully participate in this Bill because it has got a lot to do with the traditional leadership portfolio. We are having a workshop on Tuesday next week, specifically to deal with this Bill with Government lawyers and Women Lawyers Organisations. I do not know how we can discuss while we still need to polish up as a caucus of chiefs. I do not know how we can proceed with this one because we are supposed to meet on
Tuesday to iron out on certain pertinent issues to us as chiefs. If we are going to sit and go over it, it will be unfortunate for this constituency. I personally think that we have got a lot to submit as we are the custodians of culture and we stay with people in the communities. I submit Chair.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Madam Chair. In my remarks, it showed a lot of respect for chiefs. If I wanted to follow the procedure, even that very day when I conceded that we wanted to talk, I would have simply said the procedure says we vote and take it back to the National Assembly, but I have indicated that even if you have your meeting on Tuesday, we still have another Bill Hon. Chair which I can use to effect the contributions of chiefs. We are not saying that this is the end of it. I acknowledge, but there are issues that are in the Bill that we feel cannot be delayed any further. That is why I came here to say I acknowledge what the chiefs are saying. I want us to move together but as for now, let us proceed. When you are ready with whatever you want to contribute, we have another Bill that I can use to amend the Marriages Bill. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. CHIEF MAKUMBE: Thank you very much Chair.
I think speaking in Shona would help me. This is a crucial Bill and it is important that we talk about it like the previous time when we debated this Bill. We are promulgating a law that is going to prosecute people, so it is important that we give it the importance it deserves. I believe that the numbers that are in this House are not adequate and because of technology, some might not be able to participate in this debate. My plea is, let us agree that it be debated when everyone is here. Whatever we do together is important as the common addict says ‘nothing for us without us’. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. KOMICHI: Thank you Madam President. I believe
that the Minister’s time is critical. I do not know whether it is possible that what the chief suggested and what was said by the Minister, could be thrown to the House so that the Senate agrees on a common position. Maybe it is important to give him that opportunity so that whatever is planned is done. If that is done, I believe the Bill will get the support that it deserves from the chiefs. On top of that Minister, the Marriages Bill is an important Bill which is full of confusion, not only on Zimbabweans but even the world-over. So it is important. I know of course we were affected by COVID and we could not deliberate on
some Bills, but I believe that the chiefs’ request is very important. If possible we could make it on Tuesday so that these issues are discussed during the next sitting even on the following day on a Wednesday. My request to Members of Parliament is that it is important to go back and relook at the Bill. I believe that most senators were not aware that the Marriages Bill is going to be debated. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. SIPANI-HUNGWE: Thank you Hon. Chairperson.
I would like to say that this is a very important Bill, especially to us as mothers or as women. However, I believe that it is not fair Hon. Minister that we continue with deliberations. It would seem as if we were avoiding our chiefs and fellow Senators. My plea is may we defer the Bill to the next sitting when everyone is in the House. Like what the Hon. Senator suggested, some might not be familiar with the Bill, it is important that Hon. Senators familiarise themselves with the Bill. If we do not understand that we have chiefs who must be part of the Senate – I was just looking at their seats and noticed that there is only one chief. So, for things to be fair, we need to consider that. The most important issue is the role of chiefs because they are also important.
I have a granddaughter who gave birth, despite the fact that she is underage. It is my plea that we should defer this debate or alternatively, tomorrow if Hon. Senators are invited tomorrow so that the issue is deliberated on. I thank you.
*HON. FEMAI: Thank you Madam Chair. I do not have anything new but I believe that I heard that this might take long if we continue thinking about the issue. Hon. Minister, I would like to request that it needs patience and my fellow Senators are requesting that this issue be deferred so that our chiefs become part of the deliberations. Hon. Minister, our chiefs are not here. So, when the chiefs come back to the Senate, they might feel that we sidelined them.
As an Hon. Senate which reveres and honours chiefs, maybe we should give them the opportunity to participate in these deliberations regarding the Marriages Bill. Probably next week after they have completed their meeting, then the Bill could be brought to the Senate. Looking at where they normally sit, the chiefs who are custodians of these issues are not here. How are we going to pass this Bill without the chiefs? On behalf of Hon. Senators, I would like to request – because we all desire that our chiefs should be part of these deliberations. Hon. Minister, it is our request, may you please defer the issue so that chiefs will be part of these deliberations? We need unity in this august House for us to come up with a concrete position. I would like to thank you for whatever will be agreed on. I thank you.
(V)HON. SEN. CHIEF NGUNGUMBANE: Thank you Madam
Chair for offering me this opportunity to have an input on the important Marriages Bill. Whilst I would concur with the Minister that there is urgency to expedite the finalisation of the Bill, I am a bit concerned that if we pass the Bill with contentious issues unresolved, it would therefore mean that issues of lobola will no longer be necessary and will no longer be compelled. For those people who are fighting customary law, this will be a victory for them. Whereas we do not know when the
Traditional Leaders’ Bill will be brought before this House, if ever this
Bill will be brought to this House, will the Minister fulfill his promises? It is a question for another day but I am of the opinion that we have found common ground.
The issue of lobola under customary law, if you look at the other jurisdictions like the recognition of the customary law in South Africa, it states that lobola forms part of that marriage and in Botswana, close to us, the same thing, the Customary Law Act provides for the same. So I am persuading the Minister that there is no harm in adding those clauses and agreeing. We would rather do this Bill once and for all and not to go back and revisit because it is time-consuming and cumbersome.
THE CHAIRPERSON: Order, there is a gadget which is making a lot of noise, if you could reduce the volume.
*HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA: Thank you Madam President for
giving me the opportunity to add my voice to this debate. The Senate is quite a big House and taking note of the fact that most of the Senators are not here, we have chiefs in this House whom we work with on different Bills. We normally deliberate on issues with them and agree and we come to this august House to deliberate on issues. Madam
Chair, that relationship is very important and we want to maintain it and we want unity. As has been alluded to by my fellow Senators, it might seem as if we are sidelining our chiefs.
The Marriages Bill is an issue which should be understood even in rural areas. So Madam Chair, I would like to request our Hon. Minister; it is not the first time that we deliberate on issues with him, he normally understands us. If possible, this debate should be deferred to the next sitting so that as the Senate, we discuss on the Marriages Bill with everyone here. After that, we can pass the Bill together as a Senate. I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you
Madam President. The issues that are being raised are exactly the same points and the rules state that we cannot labour on the same points over and over again. So, maybe I can respond and find a way forward because no one is saying anything that is different. Perhaps the first point is that Senators cannot say that they were not aware that this Bill must be disposed of. When we adjourned on 21st April and since the adjournment, they were to proceed to propose what they think was okay for us to do. We are now towards the end of the Third Session and Government is unhappy with the slow pace at which we are moving with
Since April to September, nobody came to me with any proposal to say that this is what we are proposing, that is the first point. The second point is, nobody is demeaning anyone. I have been very respectful. If I wanted to follow the rules, I would simply have said, okay you want lobola to be included, let us include it. Or if I did not want, I would say let us vote and then you will say what you want and I will take it back to the National Assembly but I never did that. It is a sign of respect. So anyone who said I did not respect, in this particular matter, I decided not to use rules for some reasons. That is the reason why I even said if we miss anything and we realise that – because no laws which we make today and we say it is for eternity. If we find something that is wrong with that law, we will correct. I believe that we had ample time and also to say that some Senators are not here, the rules state that we work with a quorum. Myself, am also constrained because I am answerable to the whole Executive, unless if we are to say that there was no quorum. Then they would ask, so why were you arguing or debating when there was no quorum. It should be recorded that there is no quorum and Senate failed to sit on a Wednesday.
However, for the sake of progress, I would say let us proceed. We input that lobola must be paid and we will take it to the National Assembly because that is the issue that was contentious or else, because I think we are at the Committee Stage where we are allowed to amend. So this is the section that was contentious where we can amend and put whatever you are saying. I agreed to that where it says, “if the Registrar is certified that such a marriage took place, he/she shall record the identity particulars of the parties concerned, date of marriage and brief details of the considerations must be indicated” Or we can actually use the name lobola and briefly describe the details of the marriage or the lobola paid must be indicated which was or to be paid in respect of the marriage so that it reflects what the customary marriage was like previously. I thank you
(v)HON SEN. CHIEF SIANSALI: Thank you Madam President. We have our own issues that we wanted inputted in the Bill. The way you captured, is the reason why we persuaded the Minister to shelve today and we finalise the Bill next week. If the Minister, with the pressure he is putting with the finalisation of the Bill, it would not flow very well with the aspirations of the traditional leaders and may be the population at large because we represent people, we do not represent our individual selves. It will be issues that are coming from our constituents. We could have lobbied the Minister to may be shelve off this week and we proceed next week.
We were not prepared today with the submissions that we had to propose for amendments, again in the language that we wanted. When we make laws, we make laws for posterity. Bills are not made and revised in a short space of time. In an independent Zimbabwe, we should make laws that are very sound with values and customs of our people. Madam Chair, I still persuade that the Minister shelves and may be proceed next week. I so submit. I thank you
HON. ZIYAMBI: Madam Chair, before any debate, there is no provisions in the rules and when we are debating, I take into considering that the chiefs can debate clause by clause and put the amendments that you want. What I will not do is to shift the blame to me. When we adjourned on 21st April, 2021, we were supposed to bring amendments because I have a position, which was the position of the Executive and Government. So at this stage, it is not good and correct to say that I want to coerce anyone or to portray an image as if I am trying to do something that is not right.
I will tell you something Madam President, we have the issue of child marriage, where perpetrators are getting away with it and we have an issue of lobola where 90% of our people currently are not registered under the Customary Marriages Act but they are still paying lobola yet we want to extend this to next week. I doubt if Parliament will be sitting because there is Trade Fair. Thereafter, we have to prepare for the State of the Nation Address and Official Opening of the Third Session. So what we are saying is, we now have to do this in October. When we come back it will be in the First Session, which also has to start by budget consultations, nobody will be here. What it means is, we are now taking the Bill that we packaged in 2019 to 2022. Are we reflecting on ourselves and saying we have done a good thing? This Bill has been on the Order Paper and each one of us knew that when we go to Parliament, we will be called upon to do this particular Bill. Bills are on the Order Paper and motions are on the Order Paper. So, to say that you have been ambushed, I think it is not correct. It reflects badly on me. I am not ambushing people. I had to take a lot of blame for not doing this Bill, largely because of the engagement that I wanted. I even agreed that with all that you would have wanted but I did not want to create a conflict between Houses when I take it there. I want to take the Bill back to the National Assembly, defend what you would have passed here and persuade the National Assembly to accept that so that we have harmony in the Houses.
I stand guided Hon. Chair. We cannot argue that we did not have a quorum and we cannot argue that we were not aware that this Bill must be debated. We can suspend proceedings and indicate that Hon. Senators were unwilling to debate it until further notice but not that they were caught unawares because this Bill was on the Order Paper. We adjourned debate on 21st April. I submit Hon. Chair.
*HON. SEN. CHIEF MAKUMBE: Thank you Madam Chair. I
want the Hon. Minister to understand that no one is blaming him. We were in Level 4 of national lockdown and it means that as the august Senate, it was really difficult for us to sit. It was not possible to have normal sittings. As a nation, we are going through quite a unique period and life is not like what it was before. Let me inform this House that at one time I was called by the late Hon. Rtd. Air Chief Marshall Shiri concerning the same Bill, may his soul rest in peace. It is important to understand the importance of this Bill and how we are living. We are not blaming anyone but the point is that we need to consider such issues. It is not about Hon. Sen. Chief Makumbe but about the 33 chiefs in Manicaland. It is important that we explain that we were affected by the
COVID-19 pandemic. I thank you.
(v)HON. SEN. ENG. MUDZURI: Thank you Hon. Chair. I
understand where the Minister is coming from but it is important that he should be sensitive to what the Hon. Senators are saying. There is need to find a way of ensuring that we do not pass a Bill because of time. We have to pass the Bill because people are happy, otherwise, it would be costly to repeal or try to change it later. Let us work in the manner which is being suggested by the chiefs and Hon. Senators as a whole. I
do not think there is blame game here. It is just that we must have a Bill that is wanted by the nation. We do it for posterity. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. MOEKETSI: Thank you Hon. Chair for giving me
this opportunity. I would like to say a few words to the Hon. Minister. We know what you want to do is a very important thing and this is good for the nation. My request is that we must not do something which is not orderly. It is my request that Hon. Minister if possible, tomorrow Hon. Sen. Chiefs should be in this august Senate. The Hon. Minister is saying it has taken long but if possible, may this august Senate be filled tomorrow so that we debate on this Bill.
Hon. Minister, you are doing a good job but we cannot pass the Bill without the input of the Hon. Sen. Chiefs. The challenges that would be coming out of the Bill will be directed to the chiefs. It may seem as if we are sidelining them and they are not important, so it is important that they be part of the discussions. If you look at the august Senate, you will discover that most chairs are unoccupied because of the pandemic. You said that the Bill has been on the Order Paper since April but you are aware that this is a period when people were affected by COVID-19. Thank you.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Hon. Chair, I am caught in between two
difficult positions. While I hear what Hon. Sen. Chiefs are saying, I am also mindful, like I said, the issue of lobola is actually not a serious issue compared to child marriages. We had a scenario where this has been in the public domain for some time. In the National Assembly, two weeks ago, I was given a torrid time to say why are you not finalising this Bill given what is happening in terms of child marriages. Unless something can be drawn up tonight and those that are around can come up with proposals – I had agreed to say we can put it to them to say that
according to customary marriage, you have to show proof that you have paid lobola because the other marriage we passed it as it is. It is not subject to debate anymore because we agreed that the provision is not necessary.
It is only customary marriages. If you opt to be subjected to a customary marriage, you will have to show proof of having paid lobola. I am agreeing to whatever amendment, unless Hon. Members are saying they still want some time to internalise that beyond the five months that we have given them. If I can get an undertaking that tomorrow, I can proceed and we do away with Question Time; this is because next week Parliament is not sitting. The week after, I am not sure that we will sit because we will start preparing for the State of the Nation Address by His Excellency.
When we come back, the business of budget will commence. So, it will be embarrassing that this Bill will spill over to 2022. If we can have an undertaking that whatever you want, I am agreeing that we can put it there in terms of the Section that deals with customary marriage because I think that is where we have contentious issues. I so submit Hon. Chair, if we can have Hon. Senators coming. I know that we spoke about
COVID and I was also affected by it, but we have been doing some Government business here. We passed Amendment No. 2 this year and so it is very difficult for me to go and justify that we did not do the
Marriages Bill because of COVID when other Bills were passed. I have to accept that while you have concerns as chiefs – I am not running away from them, but I thought that the compromise that I had given would give ample time but if you so wish, maybe tomorrow we can proceed and with the leave of the House, we can suspend Question Time and we deal with the Bill so that we dispose of it and I find time to finalise it before the end of this Session. I submit Hon. Chair.
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (HON. MOHADI):
Maybe you did not get what the Minister was saying correctly. He was suggesting that if possible, we can seek leave to sit again tomorrow and I am saying are we agreeing? I am saying is there anyone who has got an objection to the Minister’s decision? Hon. Sen. Chief Makumbe, did you hear what the Hon. Minister said?
HON. SEN. CHIEF MAKUMBE: No. I was not in.
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: So, can I give you the chance again Hon. Minister?
HON. ZIYAMBI: I was saying that we have had ample time and I have heard the spirited efforts by the chiefs to say there was COVID. We have done several Bills since April, 2021 and I am also caught in between that I have deliverables that must be done. What I can do is because this Bill has been there and the fact that it is on the Order Paper, it is no excuse to say that we did not know. Once it is there, anything that is on the Order Paper when we come to the House, we are required to look at it, study and prepare to debate. There is no question about that. It has been there for the past five months.
My proposal is we can adjourn and seek leave to sit again tomorrow and then you can quickly have a look at the clauses that you want, propose the amendments and we adopt them. At the moment, if we do not do that, next we will not be sitting because of the Trade Fair. The following week I doubt whether we will be sitting again because of the
Agricultural Show. After that, we will now be preparing for the State of the Nation Address by the President and the beginning of the Third Session of the Ninth Parliament.
Once that starts, we have budget preparations and pre-budget seminars and I do not think we will be sitting. Before we know it, it will spill to 2022. If you are agreeable, we can adjourn until tomorrow. Some of us, if we have urgent issues, we do not sleep. Find a few people and put together what you want. Even tomorrow morning, you can come to my office and I can get a law officer that will assist to put your ideas in the correct legal framework and then we present and do it tomorrow and we suspend Question Time. I thank you.
HON. SEN. CHIEF MAKUMBE: Thank you Madam Chair. I
have with me something from our Chief Whip Hon. Sen. Chief Charumbira which we got just before the opening of this afternoon’s deliberations. It says “Good afternoon Sen. Chiefs. Please be advised that there will be a meeting to finalise our input on the Marriages Bill with the officials from the Ministry of Justice, Prof. Madhuku and
Women Lawyers. The meeting will be held on Tuesday 21, September,
2021 at Parliament Building at 11.00 a.m.” From this statement, we were taking it that the Ministry is well informed of our endeavour to also partake in solving the matrix with regards to the Bill, but if the Minister says tomorrow, then it will also give us a bit of sometime to look at it but this is what seems to have been agreed on and it involves his officers. We operate here as Caucuses and this is coming from our
Caucus as Chiefs. Thank you.
HON. ZIYUAMBI: Thank you Hon. Chair. These meetings with
these lawyers have been happening for a long time and they have not been resolving some of these issues. It will continue to be a cycle. I think we need to also appear to be serious in dealing with this issue. It is now an embarrassment, to be honest. While I hear you, that is why I had said openly that we can shelf it for now because I do not want to rush you and then we do not do a proper job and you said you do not want to. We are now delaying everything else that is good in this Bill because of an issue that I agreed that let us put the lobola thing in there. I even offered to say okay, bring whoever you want and I will identify officers and say sit there and agree on the amendment and we do it. I think we must work within timelines and not have something on the Order Paper for almost eternity and then we tell ourselves that we are unprepared. Let us come up with a work plan because the Tuesday that they are talking about, it is also technically going to be very difficult. I do not know which Law Officer they spoke to. Certainly, that correspondence never came through me; I am unaware of that meeting. What I know is Trade Fair is starting next week. The majority of our officers will also go to Trade Fair. We have a Chief Justice Conference in Victoria Falls.
Hon. Chairperson, we may adjourn but I want it to be put on record that the delays in the Marriages Bill was not because of me but it is Senators who failed to engage their lawyers or whoever they want so that they come to me and we finalise. If we put that on record, it becomes very clear that the delay is with the Senators and we were ready to move, even to compromise, then we will wait for them to complete at their own pace. I so submit Hon. Chair.
Hon. Senators having asked for additional time to consider the Bill
HON. ZIYAMBI: Hon. Chairperson, if there is no objection and it is on record that, that is how proceedings went, I propose that we
adjourn and seek leave to sit again at a later date. I ask you to report progress and seek leave to sit again at a later date to be advised.
Committee to resume: Thursday, 16th September, 2021.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I have said
tomorrow but I will be advised by the Committee of Chiefs who want to meet. We have noted that they indicated that they needed time and for the record, I have said tomorrow but they will advise.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE LEGAL AND
PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Mr. President, I
move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 2 and 3 on today’s Order Paper be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the Day have been disposed
Motion put and agreed to.
JOINT REPORT OF THE THEMATIC COMMITTEE ON
SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS AND GENDER AND
DEVELOPMENT ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE
NATIONAL GENDER POLICY IN THE SMALL HOLDER
IRRIGATION REHABILITATION SCHEMES AND
PFUMVUDZA/INTWASA AGRICULTURAL PROGRAMME
Fourth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Joint
Report of the Thematic Committees on Sustainable Development Goals
(SDGs) and Gender and Development on the implementation of the
National Gender Policy in the Small Holder Irrigation Rehabilitation Schemes and Pfumvudza/Intwasa Agricultural Programme aimed at eradicating hunger, Sustainable Development Goal 2.
Question again proposed.
*HON. SEN. DR. SEKERAMAYI: I stand up to speak about
Pfumvudza which was started two or three years ago. It was started during the late Hon. Sen. Shiri’s tenure. The purpose of Pfumvudza is that there should be food security in the country. When you watch the television, Pfumvudza is being showcased and the indications are that it is a success but the report that we got highlighted that there are some things that are not going well.
Hon. President, if possible the Committee members should look at the Pfumvudza report so that they study where it is a success and where there are challenges and what should be done for the programme to be a success. If Government introduces a programme, it does that so that the programme becomesa success. When we discover that it is not a success, then we need to identify the loopholes and highlight them to the Hon. Minister so that they can be corrected. There are a lot of people and we should ascertain how many were there in the Pfumvudza Programme, how many were successful and how many did not succeed in the programme and the reasons behind their failure to succeed. After having highlighted these issues, then the Hon. Minister will be aware of what should be corrected so that as we approach the agricultural season, it will be clear how many kilogrammes of seed, fertiliser and other inputs are needed so that when the Minister embarks on the programme for this current season he will know what is required.
I believe that our colleagues who are in that Committee did a good job. They must present a report to the Minister so that all the loopholes are corrected. When Government starts a programme, it is done so that it succeeds but we know that in life, it happens that sometimes what you focussed on, even with flowers, you would find weeds in the flowers. If you identify such weeds, then this should be highlighted to the Ministry so that when the Pfumvudza Project starts this current season, all the inputs should be on time. It might be that late distribution of inputs affects the output of the programme.
Hon. Members of this Committee should continue with the good work that they are doing so that they write a report or a summary of the recommendations which will be presented to the Hon. Minister so that the grey areas that were observed are not repeated and that the Pfumvudza Programme becomes a success. At times people believe that it is just good things but if there are grey areas, then they should be highlighted so that they are presented to the Minister. These greys areas should be sorted out in time so that come this season, everything is now properly organised on time. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. SIPANI-HUNGWE: Thank you Mr. President. I would also like to thank Hon. Sen. Chief Ndlovu who presented a report. I am one of the Committee members who moved around the country. I would also want to thank the Second Republic for coming up with such a good project on Pfumvudza/Intwasa.
When we were moving around, we discovered that this is a good programme. If I were to quote what the Hon. Sen. who just spoke said, it is true that it was a good programme and there was food security. People had a bumper harvest and our silos are full. We are being told that there will be adequate rains which will come a bit earlier. Farmers should be given inputs early but we know that during the past year, people who received inputs had done what was expected, that is preparing their land. After land preparation, they should be given seed which is not supposed to come in bits and pieces but they should be given a full package of fertilizer (D and top dressing) and seed so that there will not be those who only received seed and some who received fertilizer or that fertilizer will come later.
We are requesting that Government looks into the issue and rectify the anomaly so that since we are in September, proper farming will be done with land preparation in October. We have heard that Government is adding inputs for cotton farmers and those who participated in the programme last year should also take up other crops like groundnuts.
Government should look into the issue so that they correct this issue.
Regarding irrigations, we notice that there is lack of management. What we saw to be quite a challenge is that Government took a lot of strides. Government does not make mistakes but it gave tractors and ploughs to farmers. However, the challenge is that farmers are not managing implements properly because you discover that when a tractor breaks down, it is not repaired. In terms of implements, it is important that there is management of implements or management should be trained. I noticed that sometimes farmers end up apportioning blame to each other because the law says that when farmers are given a tractor or any implements, they must take responsibility of such implements. They know that it is important that they use the implements properly and fix them if they are broken down. The other issue that we noticed is that when looking for hard labour, women work harder than men but at times the husband might be the one who was given implements and inputs yet the woman who works hard does not have anything. As an august
House, we need to educate women to stand alone and get involved in the Pfumvudza project. They can stand alone and identify their portions of land where they are going to till. There is management which you would find dominated by men only and there are no women in management of such programmes. We do not know how this will be done but we need to urge women to take up positions so that things go well. The President did a good thing introducing this programme. We have good security and we will continue doing this. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: Thank you Mr. President Sir. I stood up to thank Hon. Sen. Chief Ndlovu for presenting to the august House the joint Committee report on the progress on the Pfumvudza programme. We wanted to see what was happening regarding the gender policy on irrigation rehabilitation schemes and Pfumvudza. Let me start by thanking and appreciating that the irrigation programmes that were visited were not new programmes. Some were started in 2002 but at the moment we are in 2021, the challenges are not ending, which means that when this programme was started, those who were given irrigation programmes did not fare well. People want to work but they need to be capacitated with implements but you will discover that what is happening in irrigation programmes is not orderly. That is the starting point. We need to see that the Ministry of Lands looks into the issue and comes up with a position on how to resolve the issues that are faced with those irrigation schemes. You will discover that there is no progress and they need assistance on how things should be done. When you look at the land that was given to people, you will discover that there are some people who have point two ha and they are expected to till that land and support their families. At the end of the day, they are also expected to get some income from that but these are small portions of land. It is important to look at such issues because we have noticed that there is not much revenue that is being generated from such small portions. It is important that they are given bigger portions of land so that when someone tills his or her land, they have income for their family.
Mr. President, I always say that we fail because of lack of knowledge. That is why we fail in what we do. People are just told to go and do a project before being taught. For example, if I want to do a project and if I just venture into it without any training and understanding of what is expected, there is a challenge. Lack of knowledge is a problem. You will discover that some have been doing it for a long time but without any substantial progress. We know that the Ministry has agricultural extension officers and that is where our chiefs are also involved. We know that we leave chiefs in most things that we do. What I am talking about does not benefit people mostly if we say we want to teach and educate women on gender issues. Mr. President, gender disparities are there because of the behaviour of men. So educating women alone without men will not solve the challenge.
My suggestion Mr. President is that all people should be involved. All genders, whether it is male or female, whether it is boys or girls, everyone should be educated so that there is progress and at the end of the day there is consensus on implementing Government projects and programmes knowing what is expected and that Government gave us implements and inputs. It is not for girls, it is not for boys, it is not for men but it is important to understand that the challenge is that if people are given implements and inputs without being educated on what to do with them, some may accept them and take ownership of them. It is important for them to take ownership and understand that this is ours. We might face the same challenge until 2030 when you find that people continue doing irrigation programmes but without any progress.
Mr. President, I would like to applaud the initiative that was taken by the late Hon. Shiri. Mr. President, we saw the Hon. Minister going around the country with his work suit and his overall teaching people about Intwasa/Pfumvudza. I believe that wherever he is, when he is looking at what is happening with the progress and success of Pfumvudza, I believe that he would sleep and rest in peace. It is important that Pfumvudza is polished up because we know that every project has teething problems. So, it is important that such issues are ironed out because when we identify grey areas during this coming season, then they will be eliminated.
The challenge that I see in Pfumvudza is mulching because of the fires that we see which are destroying our forests. It is important that we understand that we have huge work of training our people that veld fires are not good because they destroy our grass. It means that our livestock will not have anywhere to graze, even with that in mind, it is important to urge people to continue with Pfumvudza, noting that they would have food security.
We know that the President is adding on to inputs which are going to be given to farmers so that during the next cropping season, they have enough to feed their families and sell, like we mentioned in the small scale irrigation programme. We need to put our hands together as we implement the recommendations which were put in the report so that this information cascades down to the people and the Ministry would explain the position to the nation so that all the grey areas are corrected to ensure food security and that farmers get some revenues from the sales of their grain.
This means that there will not be any imports of grain. Instead, the money that is being used for imports will be allocated to other important programmes because the nation has a lot of needs. We are also aware that the Government might not have an adequate budget for importing food. So it is important for our nation to conserve our resources and it helps us as a nation. I thank you Mr. President.
+HON. SEN. MKHWEBU: Thank you Hon. President Sir, for giving me this opportunity to add my voice on the report presented by Hon. Sen. C. Ndlovu which was well detailed on so many districts by the two Committees which went for the fact-finding visits on agricultural inputs in different districts. Hence, I want to thank the Committees on SDGs and Indigenisation which went on a fact-finding visit in different districts. On this issue, I would like to mostly highlight on irrigation schemes regarding the Pfumvudza/Intwasa Programme which was introduced recently in Zimbabwe.
The challenge that is being faced in our communities is that they are not being educated on farming so that they get sufficient produce for commercial purposes. I will touch so much on Magwe Irrigation
Scheme which is one of the places visited and is near to my homestead.
There have been irrigation schemes in this place but the residents have been crying foul because they are not getting enough outputs for resale. At Magwe, there is plenty of water and many irrigation schemes for farming. The dam has plenty of water and has not been dry in that place but people are failing to produce enough so that they can be able to pay ZESA and ZINWA bills.
I saw it fit to touch mainly on this point because people are not being educated. AGRITEX is not doing its duties in educating the farmers. Thus, if we have an irrigation scheme, we should be able to get sufficient outputs and pay our debts but it is like when these people are doing their farming, they will be waiting for the rain season yet they will be using their irrigation schemes. I am pleading with AGRITEX that they should assist through educating the people on farming. So many people were assisted on Pfumvudza/Intwasa Scheme, especially people in Gwanda but they were crying foul that the rain season was good but they did not harvest enough produce. However, the unfortunate part is, they did not know which compound of fertilizer to use on their farms. It is very important for people to have knowledge on farming, especially in rural areas.
The Government is trying to assist people but people are failing to be independent Mr. President. However, people should know that if the President gives you something, you should work very hard so that you get something from it. In addition, people should also know that the little that they are getting, their neighbour might be getting less than that.
Hence, people should utilise the opportunity that they are given by the President.
I remember the late Hon. Senator who initiated the ARDA Project in Maphisa. ARDA is doing very well and we are in a huge debt with ARDA in Matebeleland region. Mr. President, if we take note of Chelesa Irrigation, it is failing dismally for people to get good harvest from it. However, if we go deep into that, we will notice that people are not getting enough knowledge on farming, hence AGRITEX is not doing its mandate to educate people. So, I urge the President to take note of this parastatal (AGRITEX) so that people get sufficient inputs for farming to bring the economy to its rightful status. With these few words, I thank you Mr. President.
*HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: Thank you Mr. President for giving
me this opportunity to add a few words on the report that was presented by Hon. Sen. C. Ndlovu, who is the Chairperson of the Gender
Development Committee as well as the Sustainable Development Goals. We noted the importance of the programme and the challenges that were faced by these Committees. Let me say that we were overjoyed. You know that when such a programme is taken to the people, some people resist and others accept the programme. This is what happened with Pfumvudza, because Pfumvudza is a new concept. It was new to this country but I would like to appreciate and thank the New Dispensation for coming up with such an initiative. We know that in our country, livestock was affected by diseases. A lot of farmers lost their livestock, so a lot of young people and women accepted and embraced this programme.
We know that in some irrigation schemes, of course in the management committee, there were challenges because some people did not want women to participate in such a programme. There was a challenge that sometimes when inputs were brought to communities they were distributed at night, which was not favourable to women but to men. So we believe that Government programmes, whether it is irrigation or the Pfumvudza Programme, it should be done in an orderly manner. Also, Agricultural Extension Officers should monitor such activities. We noticed that in many areas, it was clear that the relationship between Agritex officers and farmers was not good. It was not good because a lot of people were complaining that Agritex Officers were not assisting them in any way. However, we expect that such anomalies be corrected.
If irrigation programmes and the Pfumvudza Programme are going well, then agriculture will be a successful venture in Zimbabwe.
Looking at Pfumvudza, we were asking women what they got from Pfumvudza, and some said that they harvested a lot of maize. This means that Zimbabwe embraced this Government programme. This is quite commendable. Right now, Pfumvudza has given a good name to Zimbabwe because the programme was embraced properly. A lot of things have been mentioned including that projects like irrigation and Pfumvudza are not really difficult. There are not many challenges but it is important that a full package of inputs be given to farmers. This should be given on time and handed over to farmers. For example, in a certain irrigation scheme, there were weeds in the farm but farmers continued watering their wheat such that eventually weeds grew bigger than their crops. We asked them why they were watering wheat without spraying herbs and they said that they were not given herbicides. They were only given wheat, so they were just watering. This implies that Government should correct that. Our view is that people are interested in working hard. It is so difficult but this should be done with farmers receiving all their inputs on time. Agritex officers – I believe the Ministry of Lands should ensure that their officers are monitored so that they work properly with their communities.
For instance, in a certain centre where irrigation is being done, they were saying that when you invite Extension workers, they will tell you to give them money or incentives, but that is the correct position. An Agricultural Extension worker is supposed to do his job without any kick-backs. So, we do not expect that to happen because at the end of the day the farmer will end up suffering since they would have not received enough expertise from their extension officers. If the Ministry of Agriculture is going to embrace the report of these two Committees, I believe it will correct a lot of challenges that were faced by farmers during the previous year of the Pfumvudza Programme and the Irrigation Programme.
We want that to be corrected since it will cause other countries that are not implementing such a programme to commend the nation. So it will be wise that the Minister looks at this report so that it improves the operations of our farmers. Through reading these reports, the Ministry will understand the grey areas that need to be addressed. We believe that the problems that we highlighted in this report will be corrected.
The different irrigation schemes are going to be a success. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. G. MOYO: Thank you Mr. President. The
Pfumvudza/Intwasa Programme helped the whole country. We want to thank those who brought this programme because there is no difference now for those who have cows to plough and those who do not have. Our granaries are full and people have got food. We are now faced with the farming season and the Government should own up on their promises so that people will plant on time. Those with irrigations should not wait for the onset of the rains. All the irrigation should do something. Our
Government, together with the Ministry of Agriculture should equip the Agritex officers by giving them transport so that they would go into the rural areas to assess progress and train farmers.
*HON. SEN. GWESHE: I want to thank Hon. Sen. Ndlovu for the report that he brought. I was part of the Committee. I went to Midlands and Bulawayo. I am not going to repeat what others have said but I will talk on what touched me. Mr. President, I was touched when we visited Silikiwe Irrigation Scheme in Matabeleland. That area is very far. When we got there, the people there looked like they were afraid of us. They were afraid of even greeting us until the Committee Chairperson, Hon. Sen. Chief Mtshane Khumalo had to summon them to sit in the front. That scheme is headed by a woman. It looks like they had been gagged not to answer. She is the one who was answering. When we got there, at the beginning, she was the one who was answering all the questions. She would answer to all the questions on how they were loaned a tractor by the Government at the sum of $30 000. All the other farmers were not responding. They were asked on how they were servicing the loan and she said they contributed $5 per person. She said they would hire the tractor to the people.
What really touched us at this place is that the Chairperson and the people there did not know the outstanding amount to pay off the loan.
The Agritex officer who is there, we were not happy about the person. He is working with elderly people who do not know what they are doing. I think she was not aware that there were some people who would make a follow up. They did not even know how much they had in their bank account. We had to intervene that the Agritex officer was not supposed to respond because we had come to see the farmers. We were not impressed by that place Mr. President. Thank you.
*HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA: Thank you Mr. President for
according me this opportunity so that I can add a few words to the motion. Let me start by explaining what was challenging us as citizens of Zimbabwe. We are very intelligent people but we are affected by hunger. We know that we import maize and that is not a good thing.
We want to thank the Second Republic and our President, Dr. E.D.
Mnangagwa for supporting the Presidential Input Scheme.
The Pfumvudza/Intwasa Programme has made a mark on the map. This year when people were asked to make holes, they ran around despite the hot season. People dug a lot of holes. Women in our areas are the champions when it comes to farming. The men cannot spend the whole day in the fields because they would go to the drinking halls. Pfumvudza/Intwasa was very helpful. The ploughing that took place was very good and it made us proud. Let me explain by saying we have cooperatives but the knowledge of running cooperatives is very difficult. In the rural areas where we come from, there are a lot of cooperatives but they do not know how to balance the input and output. Our Agritex officers are also people made of flesh. They were allocated land and so they are busy tilling their lands. Now for them to go and help those other people, they cannot help them. There is a challenge there. I think they should have a job description. I am happy because they are now being paid on how they have performed in their areas of jurisdiction. This year you are going to see how people are going to farm. They are going to farm competitively.
Our farmers as well, starting with us Senators, we should help them. Also business people should help them by supplying wheel barrows and shovels as prices for those who come up first in agriculture. The idea of just winning will send good words to the farmers in the rural areas. The Government gives us inputs but we should encourage people to farm well. Coming to the cooperatives, there should be a Constitution which articulates on how to run them. I am not ashamed to say that where I come from, a cooperative there harvested a lot of wheat and the Chairperson was a lady. They took their men to the bank and they had to plead so that they would get their money. They finally got the money but they abused the money.
The following year, they could not go back into the fields because there were no proper channels on how to run the cooperatives. There should be laws in place – a good Constitution to run cooperatives. The tractors that they are given as cooperatives, there are some who are intelligent who hire out the tractors and get the money. The Constitution should articulate all those issues that if a tractor belongs to the cooperative, they should bank the money, report back and they should come up with how they are going to share the profits.
The other thing that is uplifting the lives in the rural areas, the President visits each and every area to access how people are farming. In my area, the President was present and there is also the Minister who also visits each and every area which was not happening in the last dispensation and this motivates people. Coming to field days, they give strengths to our farmers to soldier on. The report that has been articulated by our Chairman, Hon. Sen. Ndlovu was comprehensive on what is happening on the ground.
We have A1 and A2 fields and we have our rural land. There is inbetween, a group known as the small scale farmers. As we grew up, we found these being used by the whites. After that, there was AFC and those organisations would come up with unfriendly books which were written in small letters. The power of the small scale farmers was taken away. When we took up land, we left those who had title deeds. I think the Minister should investigate those farmers. I can name them and their areas because we live with the people.
Those people are not practicing good farming practices. Coming to Pfumvudza/Intwasa, they are like people in the rural areas. Their farms were taken away in 1953 and the fathers have gone. Now, it is the great grand children who are using the land. Those farms are not being used at all. The Minister should investigate those people who have title deeds. They are now just settling on those farms but not engaging in any farming activities.
The other issue Mr. President is that people were not getting Presidential inputs in time and also Pfumvudza inputs were not coming in time. This time the President promised that the inputs would be distributed in time and people are happy. They have welcomed that. We want our country to farm and help us to see that our farming season progresses very well. We want to thank this Committee for bringing out these issues. With these few words, I thank you Mr. President.
HON. SEN. C. NDLOVU: Thank you Mr. President, I would like to wind up the debate. I want to thank the Hon. Senators who contributed to the debate on the Joint Report of the Thematic
Committees on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Gender
Development on the implementation of National Gender Policy in the
Small Holder Irrigation Rehabilitation Schemes and Pfumvudza/Intwasa
Agriculture Programme aimed at eradicating hunger, Sustainable Development Goal 2.
Mr. President, I would specifically want to thank Hon. Sen.
Muzenda, Hon. Sen. Dr. Mavetera, Hon. Sen Mohadi, Hon. Sen.
Chinake, Hon. Sen. Eng. Mudzuri, Hon. Sen. Muronzi, Hon. Sen. Dr.
Sekeramayi, Hon. Sen. Hungwe, Hon. Sen. Tongogara, Hon. Sen.
Mkhwebu, Hon. Sen. Chimbudzi, Hon. Sen. G. Moyo, Hon. Sen. Gweshe and Hon. Sen. Chirongoma. The Hon. Senators debated passionately on this subject and we are blessed to see that we are finding a system as a country and a programme that we all hope is going to improve our agricultural output and get our country working again.
Mr. President, our plea is that the Ministry looks into our recommendations and submissions by the Hon. Senators who are here.
It is our fervent hope that moving forward, the Ministry will address all the issues observed and the recommendations thereof – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] – We have no doubt that we can get our country to be the breadbasket of our region once again. With those few words, I move that the report be adopted.
Motion that this House takes note of the Joint Report of the
Thematic Committees on Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs) and
Gender Development on the implementation of the National Gender
Policy in the Small Holder Irrigation Rehabilitation Schemes and Pfumvudza/Intwasa Agriculture Programme aimed at eradicating hunger, Sustainable Development Goal 2, put and agreed to.
On the motion of HON. SEN. MUZENDA, seconded by HON.
SEN. CHIMBUDZI, the Senate adjourned at a Quarter to Five o’clock p.m.