PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Thursday, 21st October, 2021
The Senate met at Half-past Two O’clock p.m.
(THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I wish to remind the House that the 2021 Pre-Budget Seminar will be held from 22nd to 26th October, 2021, at the Elephant Hills Hotel in Victoria Falls. Hon. Senators who have not yet confirmed their attendance with the Public Relations Department must do so. Officers from the department will be stationed at the Members Dining Room today, 21st October, 2021.
Hon. Members from Bulawayo, Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South, Midlands and Masvingo Provinces will drive to Victoria Falls while those from Harare, Manicaland, Mashonaland West, Mashonaland East and Mashonaland Central Provinces will travel by charter flight. Please note that the departure time from the Robert Mugabe International Airport is 1400 hours on 22nd October, 2021 and the expected arrival time in Victoria Falls is 1500hrs. Members will be picked from Parliament and respective hotels at 1200hrs. The return charter flight will leave Victoria Falls on 26th October at 0700hrs and arrives in Harare at 0800hrs.
In order to comply with COVID-19 regulations and to ensure the safety and health of participants, Hon. Members are required to have a COVID-19 test undertaken within 48 hrs of the conference. COVID-19 testing facilities shall be provided in Parliament Courtyard today, 21st and tomorrow, 22nd October, 2021. Members travelling by road who fail to be tested in Harare shall be tested at the Elephant Hills Hotel upon arrival. Members traveling by air should be tested in Harare as the COVID-19 test results will be required on boarding the flight. Members are therefore, required to bring their National Identification cards and COVID-19 test results.
I just want to welcome the two ministers who are here, the Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care and the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs. Welcome Hon. Ministers, so maybe we just deal with what is there – [Laughter.] – Welcome, I am happy because you come from Mashonaland East, very disciplined members of the Cabinet.
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
*HON. SEN. CHINAKE: Thank you Madam President for according me this opportunity. I do not know to whom I should direct my question?
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I think you can see that the Leader of the House is not here.
*HON. SEN. CHINAKE: Madam President, my question pertains to our children on the issue of drug abuse. What are we doing in order that the drugs do not find their way into our country so that we preserve our children’s future?
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care, maybe you can help us?
*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. DR. MANGWIRO): I want to thank you for your pertinent question concerning drug abuse by our youths. As Ministry of Health and Child Care…
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Order, Order, it seems you are not connected Hon. Minister.
*HON. DR. MANGWIRO: Thank you Madam President and thank you Hon. Chief Chinake …
THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: He is just sitting in the chiefs seating area, he is not a chief but Hon. Sen. Chinake.
HON. DR. MANGWIRO: I am sorry Hon. Sen. Chinake. Let me say that as a nation we are not used to it but now it is with us. Our national policy says that the drugs that are not licenced are not allowed in the country. So they are illegally brought into the country. Government, together with the Ministry of Home Affairs, are busy trying to curb and also find out who is importing these drugs with the help of the police who are investigating.
Many children even those in schools are using drugs. As Government, we are saying we cannot just watch but we are investigating this matter. As Government, we planned that we should come up with places where we rehabilitate these children per district and per province. A suggestion has come up that even those beerhalls should be turned into rehabilitation centres and homes as well so that these children can get help. They must be re-integrated back into the society because we are losing a whole generation.
We are fighting drug abuse. It is not easy to just give up because the body will be used to the drugs. If we immediately withdraw them from the drugs without counseling and giving proper medication, they will be affected health-wise. Government together with other institutions should look at ways on how to rehabilitate these children. We should come up with awareness campaigns on the dangers of drug abuse. Some are engaging in this because they do not know the outcome.
We will try by all means to explain so that children will understand and know how dangerous drugs are. We are losing a lot of our young people to these drugs.
*HON. SEN. FEMAI: Thank you Hon. President, my supplementary question is on these illegal drugs. Now the drugs coming from out of the country are few, but we have a problem of drugs that are being manufactured here in our country. Long back, we did not have liquor which was sold in quarter bottles and is now being made by African Distillers; it is being delivered to supermarkets and the cost is US$0.50. Those are some of the drugs that are bought by our children. It is cheaper to them if they get US$1, they buy two and share. Is there anything that can be done by the Ministry of Health that these small bottles should not be manufactured? They must manufacture something with a higher price so that it can be beyond the reach of the youths.
HON. DR. MANGWIRO: Thank you Madam President and Hon. Member for explaining how we can curb this as a nation. We will explain to the police and all the stakeholders if this is being brewed in this country. These children are not only taking beer but they are being introduced to drugs like crystal meth. When you hear them say ‘sticking’, it means when they take those drugs and they will just sit for three days without feeling hungry or doing anything. We are also hearing that they are now going after diapers, even used ones. We heard diapers contain substances which if taken orally will make someone drunk.
We have heard this from doctors when some patients come to the clinic or hospitals. They wash and boil the diapers and drink the residue. We heard that they are also using fertiliser. We are going to sit down and find solutions to this. Many children even those at secondary school are taking drugs. We used to hear that this was prevalent in low density residential areas but now this has spread to high density suburbs. We agree with what you have said and we will do everything within our means so that youths will stop using drugs. They will end up stealing household gadgets from their parents because they want to use that money to purchase drugs. They can do anything when they are drunk.
*HON. SEN. KOMICHI: Thank you Madam President. My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Health but before I ask, I would like to thank you very much for the wonderful job you are doing in fighting COVID-19. My question is; in order for our country to be considered safe from COVID-19, we are supposed to have 10 million people vaccinated. Do you think we will achieve this number in the shortest possible time?
The other question is; are people being vaccinated now or they are now relaxed? Are you doing something to continue encouraging people to get vaccinated?
HON. DR. MANGWIRO: Thank you Madam President. Indeed, we realized that there was a time where we used to vaccinate about 100 000 per day but we have seen that these days we are vaccinating around 30 000 or below. Yesterday, the Minister of Health and Vice President, Hon. Dr. Rtd Gen. G.D.N Chiwenga, including Ministers of State and Provincial Health Directors, mapped a way forward in order for us to work with Senators so that when you go to your constituencies, you may help us in creating awareness. I would like to reiterate that in other countries there is now a fourth wave of the COVID 19 pandemic and it is discovered that it is more deadly than the previous waves because it kills very fast, hence we need to go back to the drawing board and include all major stakeholders, including Members of Parliament, Senators, traditional leaders and religious leaders.
Tomorrow we will be meeting with the DAs as well as the doctors to start again the campaign. If we delay, we may not be able to reach the herd immunity; so this effort is meant to just reinforce what we began. Indeed, it is a fact like you pointed out that there is reluctance now. Initially we thought after the first 3 months it will be over but the waves continue. If we go back to history, in around 1840 and 1922, we realised that such pandemics survive in society for about 5 years before it can be eradicated. So let us not fool ourselves and think that it is over, it is still there, so we need to continue creating awareness so that if the 4th wave comes, it will find us prepared. It will not end on the 4th wave; it may go up to 5th or 6th wave because that pandemic indeed may go up to 2023 or 2024.
So the important thing is that the President said let us rely on research science. We are following research science because vaccination is the way to go. All other things are not scientifically proven. What was discovered scientifically is vaccination; so that is what we want to encourage everyone to do. We need to encourage each other to stop being complacent because we are not yet done with that issue. I thank you.
HON. SEN. CHIEF CHUNDU: I would like to find out from the Hon. Minister – there are some people who were vaccinated with the first dose, they then got another dose different from the one they first got. So, how can they be helped? Again, there are some other people who only got vaccinated the first jab but the vaccination programme did not proceed for them to be able to get the second jab. I thank you.
HON. DR. MANGWIRO: Thank you Madam President. I think the Hon. Senator is referring to Covaccine which came from India. Indeed, it ran out before other people got their second jabs. Our rule is we follow science on how it is, hence all those who got their first jab will go back to the clinics or hospitals to find out whether they were adequately vaccinated and if the specialist discovers that you need another dose, then it will be administered. Therefore, we are encouraging that people should go to hospitals to ascertain their real status.
We also do not say if you got a jab at a certain place like Gutu or Mutoko, one can still get the other vaccine elsewhere if you go for the second jab at a different station. All the health care people would need are your details so that they request for the second jabs. So we will be able to get assistance from the clinic because we do not want to leave anyone out or to only administer one jab. We want to make sure that they follow all the procedures. I thank you.
*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHUNDU: My question is directed to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. Most of the heads of traditional leaders and spirit mediums are still outside the country. According to our culture, it is not supposed to be that way. Everyone belongs to a certain ancestry, so they are supposed to be where they belong. I do not know how you can arrange so that they are all united in terms of the remains. I thank you.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE (HON. MUSABAYANA): I would like to thank the Hon. Senator Chief for that question which is related to the remains of our traditional leaders. Most of them were leaders of the heroes of the 1st and 2nd Chimurenga who refused and opposed colonial rule.
Indeed, there were some people who found it fit that at that time, those heroes who opposed colonial rule, who were defeated because at that time, the colonialist used sophisticated weapons. Most of them were beheaded and they were taken as trophies at that time; for those who liked hunting of wild animals like lions and elephants. So their sculls were regarded as trophies in order to show that they indeed conquered those people who were stubborn.
So, after independence in 1980, steps were taken in order for us to recover all those lost things, including the remains of our traditional leaders. The Zimbabwe Bird is a very important symbol of our country. There was an agreement between these countries but there are still outstanding issues because they are still saying those sculls were not put all together under Government authority but some took them to private museums or to private storages. So those countries do not have power to recover them because it is considered as private properties and they respect that rule, hence that is the problem, but negotiations are still underway. For example, in DRC, there is an event that happened recently. They also had lost the remains of the leader of their party where only a tooth remained. So the tooth was returned to DRC. Therefore we are also fighting in order to get the remains of our traditional leaders as well as other properties that were looted during the liberation war. You will agree that indeed, it is a process and it may not be taken overnight. So, President Mnangagwa is the Chief Diplomat in this regard because every time he meets those leaders, he negotiates and talks about those issues so that we recover the remains of our traditional leaders. I thank you Madam President.
*HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: Thank you Madam President for giving me this opportunity to ask my question. Before I do so, I would like to congratulate you Madam President for being elected the Vice President of the African Parliamentary Union. We are proud because that is also our seat here as Senate and we also appreciate that a woman was given that Chair. We wish you all the best in that office.
My question is directed to the Minister of Health. What is Government’s future policy for children aged between 9 and 15 in terms of being vaccinated against COVID-19 so that we do not remain behind as a country? Thank you Madam President.
*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. DR. MANGWIRO): Thank you Madam President and thank you Hon. Sen. Chimbudzi. Children are the future of our country. As a country, we rely on scientific research. Most of the times, when new things are being done, we do not want to involve children. That is why you realise that on children aged 17 and below, we had not vaccinated them. Now we have a programme because according to research, some of the children who got vaccinated at that age; it may work and it may be effective. Right now, we are working with pediatricians so that they work on the protocols of vaccinating children between the ages of 12 and 17. We may as well go down to those aged three.
We know that vaccinations were mainly meant for young children but as we know that this was a new pandemic, we did not want to rush. However, as we speak, our experts as well as the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe (MCAZ) are working on the protocols so that we also determine who is fit enough to receive the jab, signs and symptoms that can be used by medical experts and parents. We also want to ascertain how long the anti-bodies remain in the system so that if children react negatively, we will be prepared for that. What we are saying is; we are working on the protocols to start that programme but the most important thing is that we follow scientific research, we do not want to do it haphazardly. We want it to be effective so that when we start, it works properly and that our children may be vaccinated and are well protected from the pandemic. I thank you.
HON. SEN. SIPANI-HUNGWE: Before I ask my question Madam President, I think we should show our gratitude. We want to thank our Government because there are people who expected some to die in the country but it did not happen that way. I want the Minister of Health to take a message on our behalf, to the Vice-President who is the Minister of Health and Child Care, congratulating him on the way he handled the COVID-19 pandemic. We know that there are others who do not want to be vaccinated but it is our desire and wish that all the families get vaccinated.
My question is directed to you the Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care. There is a young adult who came crying because she had lost her vaccination card because it got stolen together with her phone and identification documents. We know that identification documents can be replaced but when it comes to the vaccination card, is there a plan in place for those who would have lost it to have it replaced? How do they get it replaced or do they go back to be re-vaccinated? There are a lot of places where you cannot access without producing the COVID-19 vaccination card. We want to know from you if there is a plan to replace stolen vaccination cards? Someone may get hold of those cards and use them. Are there plans to curb that?
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. DR. MANGWIRO): Thank you Madam President. It is very true that these cards can be stolen just like any other cards. Firstly, when people are being vaccinated, we write down the information in terms of gender, age, residential address and so on. So, for the girl who lost her vaccination card, if she goes to the place where she got vaccinated, it is now computerised, even the batch number is there, she can be given a new card. It is now all computerised and the batch number is there. We have captured everything.
When this programme started, we were issuing out cards which did not have any watermarks. There are a lot of things that we can use the watermark to find out if that person has been vaccinated. Even those who have old cards can go back and be given bar-coded cards which can be used even when they are flying. So, those who lost their cards or have old cards can go back and get replacement cards because for sure in the future, those cards will be required in most places.
*HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: Firstly, I would want to remind you that we moved a motion here concerning Mbuya Nehanda and your name was there. I want to thank you because you are uplifting us as women. From there, I want to go to the Ministry of Health. I remember when the Vice President was appointed as the Minister of Health, people complained that he did not have any medical background but look at what is happening now. I think we should thank him.
Coming to my question directed to the Deputy Minister of Health, the recruitment of nurse training is done online but there is a problem in the rural areas because most people do not have smart phones and they have no electricity. How are you helping those people who want to train as nurses but cannot apply online?
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. DR. MANGWIRO): I want to clarify on how we recruit nurses because there are people who are facing challenges as they have no computers. Our Minister of Health who is the Vice President acknowledged that they had noticed that when it was not done online people were corrupt. When we started the online system we were trying to curb corruption but we have seen that those in urban areas are at an advantage but those in the rural areas like Nharira and Madamombe are disadvantaged.
We have come up with a plan that in the future, we will strategise so that everyone gets a chance. We are now decentralising so that each and every candidate gets a chance to get into nursing. What will happen is that if we want to take 300 candidates, we will look at our ten provinces and each province should give us about 30 candidates. From that province, if the province has ten districts, it means that every district should give us three candidates. We want to give each and everyone a chance, which means they will write their examinations from their districts. We will take all the candidates from the districts and train them to be nurses. It is a new thing so that all candidates will get a chance to be trained as nurses. Thank you.
*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHUNDU: My supplementary to the Minister is; what happens to the students who are being trained if they do not pass one of the subjects? As Government, what plan do you have so that these children can supplement without any hassles because we want nurses?
*HON. DR. MANGWIRO: Your question if I heard clearly is that a person who is under nurse training and in their final or mid-exams does not pass one of the subjects they are told to stop. As a country, we follow science and teaching nurses or students in college, we know that they can fail one subject and do well in other subjects. As a Government, we have a policy that a child who does not do well is not withdrawn there and then but are given a chance to repeat. I will find out how many times they are allowed to repeat. They are given a chance to re-write. That is our policy.
Why we do that is because we would have seen that the child, probably he or she is not really capturing what others are saying perhaps because he/she is a slow learner in that area, which means they need more time. So as lecturers, we know that if a child fails three times, it means that there is something wrong, probably he/she cannot comprehend the concepts. So we say that if a person who cannot comprehend theory, we cannot push them to do practicals. We make them repeat and make sure that we have done our best. Mostly they do well after repeating but if there is someone whom you know who has challenges, I will be happy to know what really transpired because we face different challenges. I will be very happy to help because our parents will be looking forward to that child and many times we try to make sure the student passes and if it occurs, we find ways to deal with it. Thank you.
*HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA: Madam President, let us continue in the Ninth Parliament to applaud you for the elevation. My question to the Minister of Health is; from all our respective areas where we stay, people are allowed, including in this House, to speak in their own languages. I was in Siakobvu recently and there are some people who can hardly speak Shona for us to communicate properly, so we had to look for a translator. In those areas, I would like to say those areas are remaining behind. If people from those areas wish to become nurses, if they go to hospitals, those old women in their areas should be able to explain to them in their own languages like Tonga. What plan do you have as a Ministry, of training those people speaking in their own languages so that they go back and be able to treat and talk to people in their own languages?
*HON. DR. MANGWIRO: Thank you Hon. Senator for that question. I said it that there may be children in some rural areas like Siakobvu and they may not get access to be recruited as nurses. I explained that the recruitment policy must be decentralised. For example, looking at Midlands Province, if we say we want 400 candidates, we expect the province to give us 40 representatives from districts so that they are recruited and trained at various institutions around the country. After completion of their training, if we realise that there is a need in a certain area or language spoken, they are deployed to that place. What is important is that we want to give them an opportunity to be trained as nurses. As we move on, we encourage them to work in areas close to their spouses so that we try to improve the working conditions for that person.
HON. SEN. KOMICHI: I would like to congratulate you Madam President for being at the helm of Senate. My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs. There are two things that are destroying the economy of this country. The first one is corruption and the second one is sanctions. The citizens of this country have suffered enough because of these two things. This country has set up a Commission that is trying hard to fight corruption, it may be difficult but there is great effort that has been put across. What I have not realised is an effort which is tangible with regards to dealing with sanctions. What is Government doing in order to ensure that sanctions are removed by the EU and its allies? The people who were on the sanctions list were the former President including his family and the Zimbabwe Defence Industries. Yes, there may be efforts on the media platforms to remove the sanctions but to me that is not enough. Is there anything else that is happening behind closed doors so that those issues outlined in ZIDERA are addressed? From my own point of view, most of the issues outlined under ZIDERA can be addressed.
*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE (HON. DR. MUSABAYANA): I would like to thank Hon. Senator Komichi for the question that he asked. First of all, I want to draw his attention to the fact that one of the aspirations that the citizens of this country waged a war of liberation for was the land question. That is one of the things that was discussed at the Lancaster House Conference. One of the key issues discussed there was about returning the land to the rightful citizens. There was an agreement that Britain and America would assist the rightful citizens get their land back and they promised that they would assist in the payment of compensation of those who had taken the land.
From 1980 to 2000, there was not much that was done under the willing-buyer willing-seller concept. Nothing much happened because Britain and America did not fulfill their pledge. That is when we realised that some opposition parties and organisations who were opposed to this ensured that they opposed the taking back of the land. That is what led to the imposition of sanctions and Britain was at the forefront. The EU was involved because Britain was still in the EU. We negotiated with the EU and some of the conditions were relaxed up to where we are right now. Some of the conditions were suspended but not totally removed. The conditions may have been relaxed but they may be taken back, depending on the situation. The process of purchasing arms of war has not shifted. We are still discussing with the EU.
The fact that we have sanctions is not good at all. It deters potential investors because it is a bad omen to the country. As we speak, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade spent three weeks in Europe discussing the issue of sanctions, normalising and restoring relations – that is what they were discussing. As we speak and before I came here, he was also updating me on the fact that there is good news coming from Europe, especially from the European Union. They want to restore good relations, including Britain. This is why His Excellency the President will be allowed in the United Kingdom to meet with other leaders for the Global Summit on the Environment. Those are some of the efforts that are being done.
As far as the United States of America is concerned, at the beginning, the United States of America got themselves unnecessarily involved in this issue; it was more or less like acting in solidarity with their kith and kin. Although we may not lay too much blame on them, the problem is Zimbabwean citizens who went to the United States of America to beg for the imposition of those sanctions so that the leadership that was in the country at that time which was based on liberation struggle ideologies is removed. So they recommended that it would be better that we get sanctions in order to pursue a regime change agenda. This was the reason why the United States of America put ZIDERA as a law which is now renewed annually. In February, that law affects relations between Zimbabwe and the United States of America. Because of that, we are negotiating with the United States of America and that is the reason why you realise that from a distance, they are coming up.
For example, the investment in Batoka which is four point something billion dollar, they also came on board through the John Deere facility. We heard that the former United States of America Ambassador will go and encourage American investors to invest in Zimbabwe but here is the problem. Those sanctions that were begged for by parties that want to get into power are now continuing to demonstrate and act in such a way that will ensure that the sanctions are not removed. They continue acting, for example whenever they hear that there is a global or important summit, they start acting, for example portraying the country in bad light through faking abductions or violence.
Like what we did in an endeavour to normalise relations with the European Union where we formed dialogue; we are now working on formalising and making a platform by having dialogue between Zimbabwe and the United States of America. What is disturbing us is that right now, they are changing goal posts but that is simply due to the fact that some of our citizens are continuously disrupting our efforts by sending bad signals. Most of the people that we meet are surprised when they come here, they always ask that what we hear and what we see are totally different things. So my word of advice is, it is not only the President or Government that should do that – all of us as citizens have the duty to ensure that these sanctions are removed, that is what we have done as SADC and the African Union.
On 25th October, we will all call for the removal of the sanctions against Zimbabwe. The initiative was started by the late President of Tanzania, Dr. Magufuli – may his soul rest in peace. So next week on 25th October, we will also be commemorating that day and calling for the removal of sanctions. In addition, we have a United Nations rapporteur who is examining the impact of sanctions on Zimbabwe because the other problem with the lies that are being peddled is that they are saying those sanctions are targeted on certain individuals and are not affecting everyone but we saw one representative from America who spoke last year that if those sanctions are affecting everyone, SADC is calling for the removal of those sanctions. The African Union is also calling for the removal of those sanctions and at the moment, as you can see, the United Nations is also coming on board to ensure that they call for the removal of the sanctions. So we are working tirelessly to ensure that those sanctions are removed. I thank you.
Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE in terms of Standing Order Number 67. MOTION
PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS
Question again proposed.
HON. SEN. KAMBIZI: Thank you Mr. President. I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. TONGOGARA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Tuesday, 26th October, 2021.
HON. SEN. MATHUTHU: Mr. President, I move that the Senate do now adjourn.
HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
On the motion of HON. SEN. MATHUTHU seconded by HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI, the Senate adjourned at Nineteen Minutes to Four o’clock. p.m. until Tuesday, 2nd November, 2021.