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SENATE HANSARD 02 FEBRUARY 2017 VOL 26 NO 24

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PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Thursday, 2nd February, 2017

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

PRAYERS

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

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE

          HON. SEN. SHIRI:  My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Services, Hon. Eng. Matangaidze.  May the Minister update this House on the latest development on the disability policy and the appointment of the Director of Disability in the Ministry?  Thank you.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL SERVICES (HON. ENG.  MATANGAIDZE): Thank you Madam President.  I am happy to inform the House that significant progress has been made in this regard.  We are now at the stage of drafting the principles; we are formulating the principles so that we take them to Cabinet following the due process.  On the second position the Hon. Senator spoke about, we have applied to the Public Service Commission for the position of Director in the Ministry.  I can tell you that deliberately, our intention is to have a person probably living with a disability to fill in the position.  I thank you.

          *HON. SEN. MUMVURI:  Thank you Madam President.  I am delighted to see the Minister of Energy and Power Development.  We are happy that load shedding is a thing of the past but we are worried that those who are generating electricity want to increase the tariffs for them to get more revenue inflows. We understand that the Ministry or Government is denying them.  May we be assured of sustained supply of electricity in the foreseeable future in the absence of this pending increament? 

My second question is …

          THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  Is it second question or third question?  

HON. SEN. MUMVURI:  Sorry.

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  I am not stopping you from debating.  I am just saying your numbering “hazvisi kunyatsowirirana.

*HON. SEN. MUMVURI:  I asked what the Government is doing to ensure that those who are generating electricity are able to get money from the consumers so that we have sustainable supply of electricity. My other question is, what is the relationship between REA and ZESA?  It seems there is duplication of roles because electricity is put in rural areas and they do not complete the job.  They expect the other department to do it.  So, we want clarification on the matter.  Thank you. 

*THE MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. UNDENGE):  Madam President, I want to thank Hon. Sen. Mumvuri for the question that he posed.  Some years ago, ZESA which is responsible for supplying electricity was restructured.  It now has four companies namely; ZESA Holdings, Zent, the one that manufactures transformers, ZPC responsible for power generation, and ZETDC which is responsible for distributing electricity and also gives the price for electricity and Powertel for communication.  The ZETDC made an application for tariffs to be increased.  They applied to Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA).  After their tariff was considered, it was denied.  Indeed, they had explained that they had a challenge in terms of the revenue that they collected and wanted it increased.  ZERA denied them citing that other measures could be adopted. 

When we also considered it, we realised that the tariffs were low and it would be good for them to increase but those who are responsible for regulation said that when it comes to ease of doing business, it would be difficult for businesses as well as domestic consumers.  Indeed, there is a point that it is better to have expensive power than not to have it at all.  So, this is an issue that we are seized with and we want to balance the revenue that we get from ZESA and ensure that there is a constant supply of electricity because there is nothing for free.  We are working on the issue with the respective parastatals.

Madam President, I will go on to the last question.  The Hon. Member asked about the duties of REA and ZESA and their differences because at times they seem to duplicate duties.  Let me say in 2002, Parliament passed what is known as the REA Act.  It was set to ensure that electricity is made available in rural areas.  It was realised that ZESA was only concentrating in urban areas.  That is why REA was established.  When REA was established, they said that 6% of what you pay for electricity would be used to fund the rural electrification project.  I am sure you are all aware that 6% is deducted when you pay your bills and goes to REA. 

The Government should also allocate money through the National Budget to REA.  So far we raise about $30 million per year.  The money is divided among the eight provinces and not ten.  It is equally distributed and is used in the eight provinces.  Harare and Bulawayo are metropolitan provinces and are excluded by the REA Act.  On the ground, REA brings electricity right up to the household level.  REA does not generate electricity. ZESA takes over and is responsible for installing the meter, and ensuring that you have the supply of electricity in your home and they begin to charge you.  What REA does is that it only ensures that electricity is available in rural areas. 

From the time REA started, it has so far electrified institutions such as schools, clinics and public buildings and more than 8 500 institutions have been electrified to date.  What the Government has decided  that REA should now ensure that they go as far as installing in the households.  Most houses do not have electricity.  I went to Mberengwa at one time to officiate the installation of  electricity  to 100 households by REA.  The chief of that area said what the President is doing  is amazing because the area is now full of ghosts, meaning there is so much electricity now.  Madam President, I think I have explained the differences and demarcated the areas of operation between REA and ZESA.  I thank you.

*HON. SEN. CHABUKA:  Thank you Madam President.  My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Media, Information and Broadcasting Services.  May you explain fully on the issue of media?  Is it policy that was put by your Ministry, the Speaker or the President of Senate because the National Assembly and Senate are different?  We do not see coverage of the Senate on ZTV.  We expect to be covered and be visible in this august House because the people who elected us need to see us debating.  We only see the National Assembly on ZTV.  Does this mean that we are not as powerful as the National Assembly or we are not representing the people.  Thank you Madam President.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF MEDIA, INFORMATION AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. SEN. MATHUTHU):  I want to thank the Hon Member for the question.  I thought I could use any language because I am not so fluent in English, which is not my mother tongue but I will try.  It is not in the statutes of this country that this House should not be covered by media at all.  I am also worried because I would also like to appear on television.  May the Hon. Members in this distinguished House allow me to take this matter further?  When I came in, I thought I saw a lady with a camera coming here so I am equally surprised that our House is not receiving due attention, which we are entitled to as legislators.  So, I will definitely take it up with the Hon. Minister and the CEO of ZBC, Mr. Mavhura.

          HON. SEN. KHUMALO:  Seeing that there is so much rain and the poor people in the rural areas are having their houses washed away by floods, what has the Ministry done in preparation to save these people from hunger and give them relief.  This is in spite of the drought relief which was already there because this is a different situation.  Is Government prepared to give these people relief?

 THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL SERVICES (HON. ENG. MATANGAIDZE):  This issue does not fall under our purview but falls under the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works  and National Housing.  They are the ones who work on disaster interventions.  However, if there are specific examples where people have become vulnerable due to those disasters, the initial point of intervention will be from the Ministry of Public Works.  They are the ones on disaster mitigation.  Thereafter, should the vulnerability levels persist, we intervene and I am happy to say that when we assess people that are vulnerable, it is an on-going exercise.  It is not like we have a cut-off point to say the people we have on our registers are the only people we can reach out to.  Even at any one point, the social welfare officers in those particular areas will ring alarm bells and tell us that there is need for intervention.  If there are specific examples that you think need our urgent intervention, by all means, let us know and we will adequately respond.

HON. SEN. TIMVEOS:  My question goes to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Services.  During our break, I found out that in Zvishavane there are three coordinators that sign from each school.  I tried to find out how many Government schools we have and they are about 5,000.  Their only job is to sign and go back home.  I want to understand from you what their job description is and who supervises them, considering the ballooning wage bill which is taking over 90% of the national revenue.

 THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL SERVICES (HON. ENG. MATANGAIDZE):  The question is relating to a particular area, Zvishavane.  With the Hon. Senator’s indulgence, can I have that question in writing so that I can find out the specific details in relation to that area she is alluding to?

HON. SEN. TIMVEOS:  Actually, this information is applicable throughout the country.

HON. ENG MATANGAIDZE:  My request will still be the same Madam President, so that I can respond to the House in detail in that regard.  I would not want to give you a wish-wash answer but I want to find out all the details before I come back with the response.

HON. SEN MLOTSHWA:  My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.  Why do you as a Ministry still maintain in many missions, ambassadors instead of lower level diplomats when the country can ill afford to pay salaries for so many missions, which is an embarrassment to any already embarrassing Zimbabwe financial situation?

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FORIGN AFFAIRS (HON. MBWEMBWE): The issue of ambassadors throughout the world is a prerogative of His Excellency the President.  Let me also say that the reason why we maintain ambassadors is that in spite of the economic challenges that we have, we still need to be able to relate to the rest of the world.  Their presence is actually in fulfillment of our national Constitution Chapter 2 that we must have a presence to promote and protect the interests of Zimbabwe.  So, the Ministry has of course done everything possible to try and streamline and downsize the structures at the Embassies.  However, at the end of the day His Excellency has the prerogative to determine where we need an ambassador or where we need a charge d’affaires. Thank you very much.

          HON. SEN. MLOTSHWA: Hon. Minister, I want to understand that by so saying you mean that the lower level diplomats cannot perform the duties necessary to promote the country in the globe.

          HON. MBWEMBWE: The reason why we have structures at Embassies and every organisation is because different levels have capacities and competencies to be able to deal with certain level of functions.  The same applies to the issues of our embassies.  Again it depends on what the interest is that we are actually pursuing in that particular part of the world or region. This will determine the level to which we must then be able to lift our embassy. It will then determine whether they will need an ambassador or a charged d’affaires or maybe just a consular.  It is determined by the function that has to be carried out and our interest that we have to pursue.  The level, again, depends on whether its economic interest or political interest, all those factors help us to determine what level of position we should have at the embassy.

          *HON. SEN. MACHINGAIFA: Thank you Madam President.  My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Public Service and Social Welfare, Hon. Matangaidze.  Minister, you are the one who represents the majority of the workers; what does the Government policy say; we have heard in the media that there are workers who are known as sex workers.  In Zimbabwe do we have commercial sex workers, if so, the levies that are paid to the Aids levy and NSSA, do they also contribute towards those funds?

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL SERVICES (HON. ENG. MATANGAIDZE): Government policy does not allow commercial sex work.  So, it is illegal.  Considering that it is illegal, it means it is not allowed, it is an imprisonable offence.  So, we cannot collect taxes on illegal practices. I thank you.

          HON. SEN. CHIMHINI: My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.  It is an open secret that Zimbabwe is funded by countries like EU particularly in terms of election.  What is Government policy regarding the selection of election observers. In the past, we have had situations where they have been barred or banned and yet we receive funding from them towards election processes.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS (HON. MBWEMBWE): Thank you very much Madam President.  I will defer that question to the Minister of Home Affairs.

          THE MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS (HON. DR. CHOMBO): Could the Hon. Member repeat the question.

          HON. SEN. CHMHINI: I thought the question was directed to Foreign Affairs because they do accreditation for observers.  The question is Zimbabwe receives funding from a group of countries like the E.U in terms of some processes of an election process.  When it comes to election accreditation or observation, EU has been barred in the past from sending its observers.  What is Government policy in the selection of the International observers?

          THE MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS (HON. DR. CHOMBO): The Hon. Senator wishes to understand or to know the criteria that is used in inviting NGO’s and other individuals, bodies or organisations to come into our country with the intention to observe the election process.  I am not sure which other organisation he meant in particular but this country, since independence, has always invited all its neighbours first to come and be the Election Observers to learn from each other and to share.  We have invited SADC, the African Union to come and be observers but we have not extended the invitation to countries that have imposed sanctions on us.  It will be folly, unwise to say you have imposed sanctions on me, you do not want to see me, my children but I am so anxious to have you come and see my children.  So, we have imposed sanctions to invite those who have relations with us.  You do not invite those you do not have relations with.

          Furthermore, when certain countries bend together, put money together, create bogus organisations and put them in these countries masquerading as NGO’s in order to effect a regime change, we do not invite them.  We should even reverse the invitation of those bodies that are here to go back to their countries because they are here for no good, to effect a regime change and this we should not accept.  I thank you.

          HON. SEN. CHIMHINI: I asked why then do we receive funds from those countries?  At the moment we have an election process and we know part of the funding   is coming from those countries and we accept their funds.  Why do we accept funds when we end up saying these people are fighting us they have put sanctions but we accept their funds. Can we get answer on that one?

          THE MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS (HON. DR. CHOMBO): Madam President, this country has bilateral relations with many countries. We accept gifts or donations from those who are charitably disposed to give us and the gifts should not come with preconditions that I want to come and observe elections, no? It does not mean that if I have lunch with you I am obligated to invite you to my son’s wedding, no? That argument does not follow but you are also being diplomatic. Tell us clearly which organisations then we will tell you clearly what the issues are. Thank you Madam President.

          HON. SEN. MUSAKA: Thank you Madam President. My question goes to the Minister of Foreign Affairs in relation to international organizations, Zimbabwe’s quota. Is he in a position to tell us  if all our quotas are filled and if so to what level? Secondly, we notice that we do not seem to take an active role in assisting our people to get into those organisation because there is big money. If I may put it in context taxation at the level of P2 or P4 only if I work for the UN I know I have been there my tax is $2 000 to $3 000 and that goes to Zimbabwe’s assist contribution. So, other countries make sure that they facilitate their citizens to get jobs there because that money comes back to the Zimbabwe Government as Zimbabwe’s contribution to the UN and it is income. I thank you.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS (HON. MBWEMBWE): Thank you very much Madam President. I thank the Hon. Sen. a lot for that question. Zimbabwe is always assisting and facilitating Zimbabwean citizens to occupy positions in international organisations right across the board from the United Nations, the AU and regional organisations. We have Zimbabweans present with the assistance of the Government of Zimbabwe and I can give the latest example of course we did not succeed at the latest AU Session where we are trying to put and assist Zimbabwean citizens to occupy positions at AU as commissioners. So, we have Zimbabweans across the board and we dominate in COMESA we have a lot of Zimbabweans in the SADC region and in the UN. Thank you.

          HON. B. SIBANDA: Thank you Madam President. Could I ask the Deputy Minister of Lands and Resettlement to explain to us the policy with regard to consultation with traditional prior to the resettlement of people especially on the prioritisation of locals before people can come in.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER LANDS AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. CHIKWAMA): Thank you Madam President. Thank you to the Hon. who asked a very important question. I think Ministry of Lands have structures which involve leadership. So the leadership is involved in the distribution of land even as we are working together. Since we have district committees and provincial lands committees, those committees also involve the chiefs so that they can deal with the issue of lands. So, we are working with them. –[HON. SENATORS: Hear , hear.]- 

          HON. B. SIBANDA: Thank you Madam President.  I am raising this issue Minister, because I have received complaints and I will give you an example for further research. That in Umzingwane there is resettlement of people which is unknown to the local leadership and everybody is wondering where it came from. So, is that policy adequately supervised?

 HON. CHIKWAMA: It is the problem of the provincial leadership which is not informing the locals that there is resettlement. If those people do not inform the locals, the Ministry cannot verify whether the schedules coming from the district or province were done in consultation with those involved. So, if you have a problem you can put it in writing, giving us a particular area where that thing has happened. I thank you.  – [HON. SENATORS: Hear,hear.]- 

HON. SEN. MASHAVAKURE: Thank you Madam President. My question goes to the Minister of Public Service Labour and Social Services. Parliament and Government of Zimbabwe ratified the UN Conventions on the rights of persons with disability in 2013. Are we likely to see the domestication of this Convention in the life of this Parliament? Thank you.  

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE LABOUR AND SOCIAL SERVICES (HON. ENG. MATANGAIDZE): I thank the Hon .Senator for that question. The work we are currently running through Madam President where we had an outreach to come up with a new Disabilities Act is specifically to address those concerns to ensure that our laws are in sync with the conventions that we have ratified. So, as I alluded to you earlier on that we are now at a stage where we are drafting the principles for this new Act. That surely will be communicated and if there are issues that need to be added on from the principles that we will have put on we will by all means take them on board so that the principles are ready for Cabinet. You know the process after Cabinet approval and we will be allowed to do the Bill. It will again come through this Parliament and at every point we will have an opportunity to check through that indeed we are complying with the conventions and international protocols that we have acceded to. I thank you.  

HON. SEN. A. SIBANDA: My question is directed to the Deputy Minister Foreign Affairs. Minister can you explain why MPs in this country …

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Order, he requested that any questions posed to him be in English, he does not understand Ndebele. I know you can speak English.

HON. SEN. A. SIBANDA: My question goes to the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs. Minister, we have a rumour that Members of Parliament were asking for red passport and the President of this country agreed to give us red passport …

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Order, Hon. Senator. You cannot pose questions on rumour. We want to pose questions on facts please.

HON. SEN. A. SIBANDA: Let me rephrase it. I understand the Speaker of the House of Assembly assured us that we were going to be given red diplomatic passport and we were told that the President of this country agreed to give us – [HON. SENATORS: Inaudible interjections.] - Can you protect me Madam President. I understand the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is the one which is refusing to give us diplomatic passports.  Why is it that the Ministry is not giving us diplomatic passports, like what is happening in neighbouring countries where Members of Parliament have diplomatic passports.  What is going on with the Ministry?  Can you please explain to us so that from today we will know who is refusing.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS (HON. MBWEMBWE): Thank you Madam President.  I would like to thank the Hon. Member for the question on diplomatic passports.  I think the matter keeps coming up in many forums but the decision on who gets or who does not get a diplomatic passport rests with His Excellency, the President.  The Ministry cannot take this decision.  I think on this matter, the position with regards to Members of Parliament would be communicated back to Parliament through the Speaker of Parliament because from previous discussions, the Speaker took it upon himself to discuss the matter with His Excellency and the Minister of Foreign Affairs.  Thank you.

          HON. SEN. BUKA: My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement, Hon. Chikwama.  What measures have you put in place to expedite the issuance of 99 Year Leases to the A2 farmers?

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LANDS AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. CHIKWAMA): Thank you Madam President.  I would like to thank the Hon. Member for asking this very important question.  There are some measures which we are putting in place in our Ministry with regards to 99 Year Leases.

          We used to expect someone to make some developments on the farm in order to get the 99 Year Lease.  Now, due….

          HON. SEN. MLOTSHWA: On a point of order.  Could the Minister speak to the microphone, so that we hear the response?

          HON. CHIKWAMA: Due to the fact that the 99 Year Lease is now a bankable document which enables a farmer to borrow money so that he or she can develop on the farm, we are now allowing all those who have A2 farms to make applications so that we can process and have the surveyor to survey the plots.  It is no longer the issue of making plans or developments.  We now do it speedily and fast.

          *HON. SEN. MAVHUNGA: My question is directed to the Minister of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services.  Minister we thank you for the information areas that are being established in our areas.  I want to be enlightened on whether there is something being done in terms of covering the all the people that are in our communities to access ICT.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY, POSTAL AND COURIER SERVICES (HON. MLAMBO): I request to respond in English because you will end up enjoying Ndau and some of the words that are in Ndau you will not understand. 

          I would like to thank the Hon. Senator for the question.  I think the question is trying to address disability issues in the use of information technology.  Let me first refer to the United Nations General Assembly Resolution (2015) that created 17 sustainable targets which must be met.  One of them addresses the issue of disabilities in the use and adoption of ICT tools.  It is a requirement that whatever we do, we must realise that there are people with disabilities of different forms who must also enjoy technology. 

          When we develop technology in the communications sector, we must pay attention to those people.  It might be the use of a cellphone or deployment of such tools anywhere, she cited communication information centres, we must make sure that people who come and use that centre, if they are disabled they should be able to do so in consistent with the United Nations General Assembly Resolution which I am referring to. Zimbabwe as a country subscribes to the United Nations, particularly International Telecommunication Union has also to meet the 2030 deadline in addressing the issue of disabilities in adoption of ICTs.  Thank you Madam President.

          *HON. SEN. MAKORE: Thank you Madam President.  My question is directed to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Services.  Minister, in children’s homes it has been realised that these children were being given $15 on a monthly basis but we realised that it is no longer being paid and there is hunger.  In your Ministry, what have you done about it and how do you supervise such children’s homes?

          *THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL SERVICES (HON. ENG. MATANGAIDZE): Thank you Senator Makore for the question.  The issue at hand concerning children’s homes is that there are two issues.  We have those that are managed by the Government that we give per capita grants and those that are run by private voluntary organisations who apply to have such facilities and have their own funding.  I think your question is related to the funding that come specifically from the Government.  I agree that with the budgetary constraints that we are facing, the money that is supposed to be availed to those children’s homes is erratic.  It is a big challenge that we have but we will continue to give priority on the matter and request Treasury to continue allocating these funds to ensure that these children are well looked after. 

          What we do as a Ministry is that we have partners whom we also lobby to assist such children’s homes.  Currently, the applications for children’s homes are quite a lot and we only allow them when they have reached certain stages.  We now want children to stay in homes that are family style structures and not dormitories.  So, we should see that the girls bedrooms are here, the boys bedrooms are there and the beds that fit in those homes; how the kitchen is – the stoves, fridges and also the daily menus.  We want to see all those things.  If there are boys and girls, we want to see the bathrooms and the toilets in those houses.  The dining rooms and lounges are also considered.

          What we encourage is that we want children to grow up in a family environment similar to those who are not disadvantaged.  I have heard your concern and yes, it is our priority to ensure that the children’s homes are well funded so that we can keep them running smoothly.  I thank you.

          HON. SEN.  KHUMALO:  Is the Minister aware that if they are not paying, this leads to abuse of children because they cannot complain.  You just find that they are really scared because there is no contribution from the Government and their parents are not contributing anything.

          If you are putting children in that situation, there is abuse because nobody says anything and in some cases, your officers did not even know where the Government social welfare homes were – they were getting lost when we were going with them.  So, supervision is not really done properly

          HON. ENG. MATANGAIDZE:  Thank you Madam President.  I thank you for highlighting that issue.  Obviously, that raises a lot of concern because when we have social welfare officers on the ground, we expect them to go and visit these homes so that if there is need for immediate intervention, it is provided. I certainly can tell you as a Ministry that even if there might not be monetary transfers to the institutions, if there is an immediate requirement for food and other assistance, as a Ministry, we can harness these resources to assist the particular children’s homes that might be negatively affected.

          So as and when, we are appealing to Hon. Members, you come across such incidences and find that our officers are not performing diligently, by all means, please tell us and we will make some interventions.  I thank you.

          Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE, in terms of Standing Order No. 62.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE

ENQUIRY INTO PARTISAN FOOD DISTRIBUTION

          5.  HON. SEN. B. SIBANDA asked the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Services whether the Ministry has ever conducted an independent enquiry into the numerous complaints of partisan food distribution; and if so, what the findings have been.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL SERVICES (HON. ENG. MATANGAIDZE):  Thank you Mr. President.  Mr. President, maybe just to start, we gave a Ministerial Statement on a question very related to this.  So the answer I have here is a brief answer but with your indulgence, if you want to share the Ministerial Statement that we had with the Lower House yesterday, I will oblige because that then gives a lot more detail to the question that you raise but that is time dependent – with your indulgence.

          THE DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  Hon. Minister, can we do that after the questions have been completed.

          HON. ENG. MATANGAIDZE:  Thank you Mr. President, I will proceed to give the abridged answer to the question and then go into detail later on.

          THE DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  Yes.

HON. ENG. MATANGAIDZE:  Mr. President, let me firstly start by stating that currently, Government is distributing 40 463 905 metric tonnes of grain to 809 279 households and a cumulative distribution total of 490 366 063 metric tonnes as at the 18th of January, 2017.  Partners are also complimenting Government efforts by distributing cereals, pulses, cooking oil and cash transfers in some districts. 

It is imperative that I take this opportunity to emphasize the fact that the selection criterion for intended beneficiaries for the drought relief programme is conducted on non-partisan lines.  Please note that applications for assistance with food aid are made through the respective village, ward and District Drought Relief Committees in line with the projections of the ZIMVAC Livelihood Assessment Report of 2016.  As provided for in the policy framework, this procedure is implemented in a non-discriminatory and transparent manner.

This underscores the fact that food distribution is done purely on vulnerability status.  As such, reports of this nature invoke worry to us as authorities and blemish a smooth flowing Government programme.  In this regard, allow me to take great exception to claims suggesting parties and beneficiation in food distribution.  Please take note that officials from my Ministry at national level together with provincial and district Drought Relief Committee members conduct regular monitoring visits in all districts and also carry out investigations when concerns are raised regarding food distribution on partisan lines.

As a Government, we do not condone the use of food or any other social protection strategy for political mileage.  Given the severity of the drought, my Ministry continues to be inundated with distress calls from various sections of the public.  In response, we have instructed that grain be allocated to cover these requests with clear instructions that it should be distributed through the District Drought Relief Committees using verified registers.  This, I believe increases transparency in the food distribution process.

Effective collaboration of all stakeholders in food distribution will see us achieving our goal of feeding the nation without favour or discrimination regardless of gender, creed, colour or political affiliation for that.  I thank you. 

          HON. SEN. B. SIBANDA:  Minister, I would want to point out that the question is asked genuinely and I do not understand why you take exception to any insinuation.  You know that this question has arisen many times in this House and I do not think people in this House will be frivolous to raise that question.  I have had personal experience which I have seen. I have seen other programmes being run very successfully.  All I was asking for is, have you done an independent assessment of the allegations?  I would have been happy with, yes we have done or no, we have not done.  The response in two lines would have been sufficient to me. I repeat, have you done any independent assessment of the allegations?

          HON. ENG. MATANGAIDZE:  Thank you Mr. President.  Hon. Sibanda, the exception was not to you.  It was to media reports insinuating otherwise.  To you, it is with genuine and utmost respect to your answer.  We have indeed done the verification, remember earlier on I said I have a more detailed paper, which will give details and with the indulgence of the House I will gladly submit after Questions With Notice.

MEASURES TO STOP THE SALE OF LAND TO INDIVIDUALS

          10.  HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI asked the Minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement:

a.     To state the measures that have been put in place by the Ministry to stop people from selling land to individuals;

b.    To bring to book those people who unnecessarily cause disputes in the resettlement areas;

c.     To explain the role of the traditional leadership in the resettlement areas. 

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LANDS AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. CHIKWAMA):  Thank you Mr. President.  Thank you Hon. Member for asking a good question.  At the moment as I said, one of the officers who was supposed to take questions from this organisation was transferred yesterday, he is seconded to the Lands Commission.  We are sorry about that.  We are going to provide the answers next time.  I thank you.

THE DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  Hon. Minister, I hope we can have that next week.  Thank you.

MINISTERIAL STATEMENT

GOVERNMENT’S FOOD DEFICIT MITIGATION PROGRAMME

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL SERVICES (HON. ENG. MATANGAIDZE):  Thank you Mr. President Sir.  I thank you again for the opportunity to give a Ministerial Statement on the Government’s Food Deficit Mitigation Programme.  My statement is largely in response to requests by Hon. Members from the Lower House and indeed, the Upper House that we shed light on the structure and the implementation framework of the programme.

We appreciate that the need for explaining has been prompted by disturbing allegations by the various media that the Government’s Food Deficit Mitigation Programme is being run on partisan lines.  It is therefore imperative Mr. President Sir that as I outline this programme, I also give an expose of how it is and has been running over the years.  The Food Deficit Mitigation Programme is a strategy that was adopted by Cabinet as part of the larger Drought Relief Management Programme to assist vulnerable households that include older persons, persons with disabilities, the chronically ill and often children with food hand-outs to mitigate the impact of drought. 

Each year, a crop and livestock assessment is carried out by the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development, followed by rural livelihood assessment carried out by ZIMVAC.  Mr. President Sir, it is the reports of these assessments that form basis of determining which areas are food insecure by percentage of population, in order that the programme targets registered beneficiaries for those areas. 

This assessment process is indicated as follows:  the first round crop and livestock assessment is carried out from November to January each year.  The second round crop and livestock assessment is from February to April.  The ZIMVAC rural livelihoods assessment follows from May to June of the coming months.  The declaration of the national percentage of the rural food insecure population is usually made in the period, July to August of the year.  This is followed by the launch of the drought relief food distribution programme in the rural provinces.  The Provincial Drought Relief Committees (PDRC) and District Drought Relief Committees (DDRC) use these assessments reports to carry out the beneficiary identification and registration. 

Mr. President Sir, issues of drought mitigation require a collective approach with the active involvement of all concerned.  This is therefore implemented in a hierarchical structure following the national development structures, which are the National Committees, Provincial Development Committees, District Development Committees, Ward Development Committees and the Village Development Committees.        The Drought Relief Structures that implement the programme are a different level and are as follows:  at national level, the structure consists of the Cabinet, followed by the Cabinet Committee of Ministers under which the working party officials is composed of Permanent Secretaries of the respective Ministries.  The national level deals with policy issues, giving direction of the programme and implementation modalities.  At provincial level, there is already in existence a development structure called the Provincial Development Committee (PDC), where all line Ministries and Government agency, provincial heads meet and discuss development issues. 

The Provincial Drought Relief Committee (PDRC) is a sub-committee of the PDC and is chaired by the Provincial Administrator.  The traditional leadership representatives at provincial level are automatically members of the PDRC and participate on drought issues in this Committee.  The Department of Social Services is the secretariat.  At district level, there is the District Development Committee (DDC) chaired by the District Administrator.  In the same manner as with the provincial level, the District Drought Relief Committee (DDRC) is chaired by the District Administrator.  The Department of Social Services is the secretariat.  Traditional leaders are automatically members of the DDRC.  At ward level, the chief or the councillor chairs the Ward Drought Relief Committee (WDRC).  The secretariat is provided by the WADCO.  At village level, the Drought Relief Committee (VDRC) is chaired by the kraal head or village head and members of the committee are also determined by the Chair.  The VIDCO provides the secretariat.

Mr. President Sir, the beneficiary selection is carried out by the villagers themselves.  They are fully aware of the vulnerability levels within their communities and are able to distinguish the labour constrained and non-labour constrained households.  The names of vulnerable households are compiled by the village head and submitted through the ward where initial verification is done.  Thereafter, the registers are forwarded to the District Drought Relief Committee through the Department of Social Welfare.

After receiving the registers, the District Drought Relief Committee undertakes a process of verification of the households in the registers before submitting the requirements to the national level through the Provincial Drought Relief Committee.  At no time therefore, during this deliberate and elaborate registration process is political party affiliation ever requested. 

Mr. President Sir, grain is collected from GMB depots and delivered to the various ward distribution points for collection by beneficiaries.  The verified register is the legitimate piece of document that is used during the distribution.  Beneficiaries are requested to produce only their National Identity documents; no political affiliation document is needed to access food.  After the distribution exercise, monitoring teams from the national, provincial and district levels undertake regular monitoring visits in all the provinces.  Where there are reports of food distribution on party lines, these are investigated by all the teams, including the grain importation logistics and distribution task force.

·       However, we have in place a grievance system that can be used by those with complaints related to the grain distribution.  Any aggrieved person has recourse to the village head, social welfare office or to the police.

·       However, we are still using the manual system of tracking down the distribution of food and this poses challenges.  Upgrade to the electronic system for verification and tracking will go a long way towards resolving challenges that are faced from time to time in this programme.

As part of the empowerment of the vulnerable households to mitigate the adverse effects of the drought, Government, this season is distributing agricultural inputs under the Presidential and Vulnerable Households Agricultural Inputs Scheme.  Each vulnerable household receives a 50kg bag of Basal Fertiliser, a 50kg bag of top dressing and a 10kg bag of seed maize.  A cummulative total of 5,432.02mt of basal fertilizer, 15,685.50mt AN and 7,785,48mt of maize seed has been distributed as at 18th January, 2017.  Members of the House, please note that this scheme covers both urban and rural households.

This past year has been particularly unique in that, over and above catering for the traditionally vulnerable members of our society, a lot more households were assessed as food insecure, as a result of succumbing to the negative effects of the drought induced by El Nino.  Accordingly, His Excellence, the President, declared the drought a state of disaster on 3rd February 2016.  Government in turn appealed to the domestic and international communities on the 3rd and 4th February, 2016, for assistance in mitigating the effects of the drought.  Government acknowledges with thanks all the positive interventions and assistance we received from our social partners, both internationally and locally.

     My acknowledgement would not be enough if I did not take time to also thank Hon Members who from time to time availed transport to ferry grain from district depots to ward distribution points.  Thank you very much Hon. Members.

     To buttress this submission, distress calls were also received from peri-urban areas that were also affected by the drought.  In July 2016, Cabinet made a decision that the Food Deficit Mitigation Programme be introduced in Bulawayo and Harare Metropolitan Provinces where 18,937 and 11,094 households are receiving a total of 946.85 and 554.70mt of grain per month respectively. The programme will be rolled out to the other urban areas when the results of the Urban Livelihood Assessment are adopted by Cabinet.

     The assessment of vulnerable households in the past year has been on a continuous basis.  My Ministry has been frequently inundated by distress calls from districts and constituencies appealing for food aid.  In these desperate circumstances, we have had to urgently step in with immediate relief to avert hunger, pending detailed assessments of the vulnerability status of the concerned areas.  It is important to highlight that the ad-hoc responses to distress calls were in all regions of the country, there was not a pattern to them and most importantly, they were not on partisan lines.  My Ministry responded to all distress calls regardless of origin and responded positively, resources permitting.  In the few instances where food distribution appeared to coincide with political activity, it is important to highlight that the food deficit mitigation programme has always been ongoing even in the absence of political activities.  We reiterate Government’s position that the two should never be mixed.

     We have called and continue to call for information wherever people are being denied food on partisan lines.  In the past year, we received six isolated cases in the whole country, which I believe my Ministry staff responded to and corrected.

     The success of this programme has recorded a total of 809,279 households receiving 40,463.95mt of maize grain per month, reflecting a grand total distribution of 490,366.63mt of maize as at 18th January 2017.  10,000mt of rice out of the total received of 19,000mt have been allocated to the country’s 10 provinces.  Additional releases will be dispatched on the province’s successful completion of first distributions.  We recognise the special efforts of all departments which have been involved.

     We continue to advise Hon. Members that food distribution should be done through the recognised established structures.  More often than not, it is when Hon. Members negatively interfere that we hear of partisan alignment which is contrary to Government policy.

     As I conclude, I reiterate that Government’s policy and position on food aid distribution is clearly transparent and non-partisan. Anything to the contrary is wrong, cannot be condoned and will not be allowed.  His Excellency, the President, is on record that “no one and no one should be allowed to starve”  So let us all work together across party lines in upholding this position.  I thank you.

     HON. SEN TIMVEOS: Just last week, in Zvishavane, there was rice that was being given and it was given on partisan lines.  They were asking for ZANU PF members, IDs, phone numbers and other things.  The Hon. Member who is from Zvishavane actually first gave an address and reported what had taken place at the ZANU PF conference.  After he was done, he then started giving out the rice.  So, what must we do when we see such things happening because it is happening right now?

     HON ENG. MATANGAIDZE:  We called for registers of people who will be receiving the rice.  So, the registers simply have to show an ID number and the name of the person who will have received the rice.  The reason why that is being done is because we wanted to ensure that existing people are getting the rice.  That was not supposed to be on partisan lines.  If the rice was issued using ZANU PF cards, I think we need to go and verify that, but I do not think that anyone would have been called to produce a party card for that rice.  It is only the identity card that is required so that there is proof of actual names and IDs of people who will have been given the rice and that procedure is appropriate and above aboard.  But to say that people were asked to produce party cards and party numbers – I think that would create challenges.  I can even tell you that my party is currently processing party cards, so even if we were to use that, it would create problems because there are people who are still waiting for their own party cards.  So, I doubt that he would have done it that way.

     HON SEN. TIMVEOS:  Hon. Minister, so you are saying it is in order for the Hon Member to first call a ZANU PF meeting, address the people and then he gives the rice and takes the register that you are talking about.

     HON.  ENG. MATANGAIDZE:  That is not what I said Mr. President Sir.  I will go back to my Ministerial Statement where I acknowledged the efforts from Hon. Members of Parliament for helping us to ferry the grain to the respective areas.  The distribution process, I clearly outlined and said the person responsible for that distribution process will be the structures as outlined in my report.  So, at no point, if the MP was present, yes by all means let him be present but the distribution process is per the structure that I gave you.  So, Hon. Members, it is when you interfere that we here the issues of partisan lines but if you allow the structures as I outlined them to distribute, then we will all not have problem at all. I thank you.

          *HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: Clarification Mr. President.  I have stood up because what has been said has already been put on record.  I want to say clearly in this House that your Ministry has a circular that you distributed that was directed to the Chiefs.  It says ‘food at ward level would be distributed by the Child Protection Committee.’ In the Committee, there are people who represent different sectors such as health and other sectors.  The traditional chief is not a part of it.  The structures that you have mentioned are not the ones operating. What you said about the traditional leaders is not true.

 As traditional leaders, we are saying, you cannot distribute food in our community without our knowledge.  The civil servant who wrote that, as the Chief’s Council we challenge that, we need to meet because this is a lie.  As Traditional Chiefs we are complaining. We raised it with Minister Mupfumira to say that you are living us behind which is not right.  The food distribution you are talking about is divided into two; there is the Ministry and also the NGO’s.  The Oxfarm does not allow traditional leaders to mobilise people, even if you go with a list, they do not want.  They do it on their own.  They do their own vetting, calling the whole village and do the vetting themselves as officers from Oxfarm.  These are things that we meet every day.  I just want to make it clear that the traditional leaders are not in any way at the moment in the structures that distribute food.  We are being attacked from left, right and centre and we are said to be partisan but we are not part of the process.  We want it to be clear to the Minister that the structure that you read is not the structure on the ground.  I thank you.

*HON. ENG. MATANGAIDZE: Thank you Mr. President.  Chief, I thank you for the clarification that you gave.  That is why we gave the Ministerial Statement that is the structure that we have.  If there are people who are not using this structure, they going against the law.  We cannot go and distribute food in your community without the knowledge of the traditional leader.  You are supposed to be part of that Committee. You are supposed to be in the provincial draught relief committee.  If that is not happening, we need to address that to ensure that the structures incorporate the Chiefs.  That is why we shared the information so that if there is a problem, we should address that.  The structure should be as I said it, if there are people who are making interferences and making changes, we do not allow that.

*THE HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: Minister, can you put it in writing to us because there is a circular that you wrote to us and that is what they are using.  So, can you write another one that will incorporate what you said in the Ministerial Statement and you also avail to us as the Traditional Leaders so that they know that the Ministerial Statement is this one in order for them to withdraw the one that you gave them.

HON. SENATOR KHUMALO: In the urban areas, it is different as well. The councillors or the residents associations are not involved.  The councillors are called by people, come and see they are distributing food this side.  Things are just done on partisan basis.  We have old people who cannot walk who were not given food because they are suspected to be members of certain parties.  Honestly, we need that thing to be corrected because those old people are old.  Those disabled people whose parents may not be disabled need to be given food as I understand it from you.  It is really done on partisan basis. 

HON. SEN. CHIMHINI: From what the Minister has said in the Ministerial Statement, if we were following what you have said, we would not be making all this noise.  It is because there is something that is seriously wrong.  I want to put a suggestion that maybe again the terminology we use, once we start saying Presidential inputs, that alone, people will simply say endai munopihwa na President wenyu if you are not of the ruling part.  That alone is wrong.  Can we look at other names that really can accommodate everybody?  The moment you are calling these inputs ‘presidential inputs,’ the misconception out there is that this belongs to a certain group of people.  I think this has to be addressed, what are we calling ‘presidential inputs’ because the interpretation below is completely wrong. I thank you.

HON. ENG. MATANGAIDZE: Thank you Mr. President Sir.   I am surprised Senator Chimhini says there is confusion when we say ‘presidential Inputs’.  There is only one President and he is on record saying no one of his subject is going to starve.  He never spoke about party affiliation.  So, there can never be any confusion about the name Presidential input.  It was at his instigation that it started.  So, let us be very clear, when we are talking of a President in the country of Zimbabwe, there is only one.  So, that Presidential input scheme applies to all people, if you are Zimbabwean, your President is His Excellency, President Robert Mugabe.  He is on record as saying none of his subjects are going to starve.  The outline I gave you is not on partisan line but provincial administrators, the district administrators.  So, if there are specific examples, in my statement I mentioned that there were six examples that we identified.  You had asked me earlier on Hon. Sibanda whether any exercise has been done; yes it was and six isolated cases in the country were identified.  We have gone into rectifying that, so as and when example of this nature comes through, by all means, there is the re-course procedure that I outlined.  Let us follow that recourse procedure and make sure we address that issue.  However, the good thing is we know on record even people who are not from the ruling party are receiving food aid because obviously we want to bring them on board.  It is actually their right because His Excellency said none of his subjects is going to suffer.  I thank you.

THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT (HON. SEN. Chief CHARUMBIRA): Order, order! When I say order it means everybody should be seated.

HON. SEN. MLOTSHWA: On a point of order, I request that the Minister circulates the statement into our pigeon holes.

THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT: Very reasonable request.  That is fine, it is accepted and it has been recorded in the Hansard. It is in the Hansard and the Minister can also distribute the report for the statement. So we move to Notice of a motion.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF MEDIA, INFORMATION AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. SEN. MATHUTHU): Thank you Mr. President. I move that Order of the Day, Number 1 be stood over until the rest of the Orders have been disposed of.

          Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

SUPPORT FOR THE NATIONAL SCHOOL PLEDGE

Second Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on advocating for unequivocal support for the National School Pledge by all Members of Parliament.

HON. SEN. MLOTSHWA: Thank you Mr. President. I would want to just pose a few words to this good motion by Hon. Sen. Chimbudzi, that is advocating for us Zimbabweans to support the National Pledge. Mr. President, in our supreme law of the land, the Constitution people have rights and those rights are to question some of the things that they do not understand. They have that freedom to question like people did when the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education Hon. Dr. Dokora, introduced the National Pledge.

We as a people, our culture has been polluted by politics. So it is very difficult for people to make a stand alone decision on their culture without querying on the political status. I say so because what she is advocating for, for example, the people that I share the same tribe, language and culture I do not share the same political values and at times they fail to identify with me because I have a complete different political aspiration.  So, it is very difficult that we can then move forward peacefully because I would also stand on the ground that I am standing on because I believe it is my right. But at the same time because I am that then it is difficult to have a common ground with the people that I come from and that we share the same tribe, language and culture.

Mr. President, I hope I am very clear that the motion is very clear because it gave us the opportunity to talk about the things that we do not talk about like the salute of the national flag. The respect of the national flag of our country is written in our Constitution but if I wear something that has the colours of the national flag I am in confrontation with the police.   Then how do I show pratriotism if I am not holding the national flag. – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.]- Mr. President it is very difficult …

HON. SEN. MACHINGAIFA: On a point of order, Mr. President.

THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: What is your point of order?

HON. SEN. MACHINGAIFA: Can she please debate the motion. Thank you.

 THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Sorry come again.

HON. SEN. MACHINGAIFA: Can Hon. Sen. Mlotshwa debate the motion properly than what she is doing. Thank you.

THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Order, specifically what, because we need to know where is she going astray. Can you just pick one? Hon. Sen. Machingaifa, can you help to know which area she is digressing?

HON. SEN. MACHINGAIFA: She can start again Mr. President. – [HON. SENATORS: Inaudible interjections.]-

THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Order, right at the back.

HON. SEN. MLOTSHWA: The motion talks about patriotism, unity of purpose and common desire for equality and justice as mandated by the Constitution. So, when I am talking about the national flag I am talking about patriotism in case you did not know. I was talking about the national flag in relation to where we are going. We have a teapot situation where we have a bigger mouth and a smaller one. The water that goes in through the big mouth comes out as tea through the smaller mouth. We are preaching patriotism but we do not want people to be holding the national flag that they should identify themselves with. – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.]- So, to me that is the kind of a situation that I am taking about.

Mr. President, it goes on to say “cherishing freedom, quality peace, justice, tolerance, prosperity and patriotism” like I said we cannot have peace if we cannot seat across the board and talk about our differences. It is a problem that if I don’t believe what you believe it does not mean    that I am less person than you are. So, tolerance is about accepting that everybody else is different from anyone else but we are all people.  Whatever we do is important, so there is no way you can do things and exclude other people and then expect to have peace because we are going to pull you down every time because we know you want to leave us. So, every time we pull you down so that we are at the same level.

So, we cannot achieve peace Mr. President, the Constitution of Zimbabwe which was put to Referendum in 2013; I am surprised to learn that we still do not have it printed in all the 16 languages so that at least everybody else understands what the National Pledge that is being talked about here.  It is supposed to be the duty of the said Ministry to educate the public.  So, it means that the Constitution must be put to that educational process so that everybody understands it in their own languages.  It should be printed in the 16 languages, which includes the Braille that is supposed to be distributed and affords everybody a chance to understand the National Pledge.

          What is surprising is that I hear that the same Ministry is printing the Islam literature, before it prints the Constitution so that at least everybody would understand it in their own language, which is right.  I really have nothing more because I did not want to lose a chance to contribute to this good motion that will build us.  Even the National Pledge you cannot force us to say, understand it.  You cannot force people to say understand it; want it; but it has to come from within ourselves.  So, if something has to come from within ourselves you should first understand us so that at least on our own we come out and say yes we understand what is being talked about in the Constitution.  May be the issue is not about the National Pledge but it is about that the people do not know what is being talked about.

          The last point I would like to make is that at times people do not like it because it talks about the history, how we came to be as Zimbabweans.  It says, “determined to overcome any challenges that impede our resolve to cherish and uphold the fruits of our hard earned independence.”  We hear in different platforms and documents, at times history is being distorted, people are not talking exactly what happened.  So, at times people are always alert and do not believe in people who are say they want to protect the hard earned independence because the same people are not protecting the true history of what exactly happened so that the children of Zimbabwe would know.

          For example, the relationship between the late Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo and President R. G. Mugabe, who appointed who to a position?  Are we talking about it?  So, how then do you believe all the other things people talk about that they want to protect the people of Zimbabwe from their history? I thank you very much.

          HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA: Thank you Mr. President.  Mr. President, I also rise to commend Hon. Chimbudzi for coming up with such a brilliant motion.  I would like to applaud the Government’s initiative even though belated.  I think we all totally agree that Zimbabwe has been lagging behind in the implementation of this National Pledge.

          Hon. Members, as Zimbabwe this is the time to reflect on ourselves and think about who we are?  Where did we come from?  Where are we and where do we want to go to?  The question of rights or being able to choose what you want, it has got history.  If we do not know our history; if we do not value our history; if we cannot inculcate that in our children about where we are coming from, then we are lost as a nation.  It is important to know that in knowing your rights, it will not disturb the idea of inculcating patriotism. 

          In patriotism, there are differences.  It does not take away the way one sees certain issues.  We can walk towards the same direction as a nation, differently.  What this National Pledge is trying to do, is to bring that unity of purpose and equal desire for equality and justice.  At this point, we are saying we have come late, but it is better late than never.  It is a pity that – personally I had an experience when I went as a diplomat to the United States of America.  My children were studying there.  They knew so much about Christopher Columbus or Boston Tippet and yet they had gone to school in this country but they did not even know about the history of their own parents in house.

          I think it is time as Zimbabweans, we ask ourselves, who are we?  It is critical.  The freedom we talk about did not come on a silver platter.  There are certainly generations and generations who gave their lives to it.  It is important also at this point, to encourage the Government, they have taken this initiative to come up with the National Pledge.   We should also encourage writing of our own history so that we leave a legacy of Zimbabweans who are proud of being Zimbabweans.  Let us never look down upon ourselves.  The fact that we have differences in the way we look at things does not really make us not a nation.  We are one nation, one people. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –

I had an opportunity to live in America.  Whether Republican or Democrat, you have got the same values of where you want to go as an American.  We need to have the same values as Zimbabweans so that we can achieve our target, where we want to go.  In getting there, the freedom of choice is there.  The freedom of expression is there, that will never take that away but it is important.  I want really to thank you Hon. Chimbudzi for coming up with this very important motion.  This is our history.  Without history, we cannot be a nation.  We really thank the Minister, we want more and we want change in the curriculum.  We want our children, before they learn about European or American history, let them learn about Zimbabwean and African history so that they are proud of who they are.  Thank you. 

          *HON. SEN. MAWIRE: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to add my voice on the motion raised by Hon. Chimbudzi.  Hon. Sen. Chimbudzi, I thank you for bringing this motion to this august House.  Truly, the National Pledge is a welcome development.  I do not know what the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education had noticed.  May be it is because we are now in a world of technology, whereby he looked at it and realised the need to change curriculum.  If children know their National Pledge, they will then understand in different ways.  Others understand when the teacher is teaching, others understand through the National Anthem.  It will also inculcate discipline within our children who will have moral values and they will understand the history of the country, where we came from, what happened and why people went to war.  So they understand using different mediums.

          Initially, I did not understand the pledge but when I sat down and attentively listened to it, I realised that we were actually lagging behind.  The National Pledge is good because it helps people to have good national values.  It helps us to have an identity; there is nothing as bad as not having an identity.  The reason why we were the last ones to attain independence in the SADC is because we began by saluting parents who are not our own.  When I grew up, the European did not want me to know my own history but I knew about David Livingstone and others which are things that we look at today and say distorted our history and we did not know about our history.

          Our children today can ask themselves who am I today?  What happened to the nation for us to have independence?  So what are we then looking for in terms of us being independent?  Look at the rights that we talk about today, we abuse some of them today and say they are not being respected.  It is all because of the history of Zimbabwe.  Without that history, we would not know our rights.  As Mawire, I would not know the rights that I have over my land.  So I am saying it was long overdue but as one of the people said, it is not necessary or important. 

We are not the only ones; we have schools and children who also thought it was a good idea to have a national pledge.  If we look nationwide, other countries also have their national pledge and if we look further, we will realise even our white counterparts in their countries have what is known as ‘national service’.  They realised that without national service, the youths will be difficult to control or be able to understand their nation, work with confidence as well as respecting the freedom fighters that liberated their nations.  So, for that reason, we are saying that this national school pledge is very important because when children are disciplined and know their history and values, they will then be able to look after their heritage.  They will understand why people went to church.  They will know that people like David Livingstone were just missionaries who came in but the people who we should applaud are our ancestors and ancestral spirits such as Kaguvi and Nehanda and you will realise that it will not be difficult to control children.

On Monday, we visited the police stations.  We wanted to see how prisoners are being treated and realised that when people are arrested, the way they are treated is different and that person is different from me because they do not understand the beauty of our country and values.  I want to applaud Hon. Sen. Chimbudzi for bringing this motion and do not know how you thought of it. 

This national pledge will bring unity and peace in the nation.  It can be achieved because people understand where their nation comes from and also the struggles that the nation has been through.  I want to thank you Hon. Sen. Chimbudzi.

HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: Mr. President, I move that debate do now adjourn.

HON. SEN. MAWIRE:  I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Tuesday, 7th February, 2017.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LANDS AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. CHIKWAMA):  Mr. President, I seek leave of the House to move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 3 to 7 be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 8 has been disposed of.

Motion put and agreed to.

SECOND READING

 

LAND COMMISSION BILL (H.B.2A, 2016)

          Eighth Order read:  Adjourned debate on motion on the Second Reading of the Land Commission Bill (H. B. 2A, 2016).

          Question again proposed.

        THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LANDS AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. CHIKWAMA):  Mr. President Sir, I stand to make the Second Reading of the Land Commission Bill.  The Land Commission Bill has been necessitated by the enactment of the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment Act, No. 20 (2013)…

          HON. SEN. MLOTSHWA:  Mr. President, on a point of order.  We request that since we have received the Bill now, we have not had a chance to read it.  So, may we debate the Bill next week?

          THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE (HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA):  Hon. Sen. Mlotshwa and of course with the leave of the House, the Minister can move the Bill, no debate this afternoon then when we come back next week, we commence debate.  Just read and listen to the whole purpose of the Bill, study the Bill then next week we debate.  Agreed to? – [HON. SENATORS: Yes!] –

        THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  Thank you.

          HON. CHIKWAMA: Thank you Mr. President Sir.  The Land Commission Bill has been necessitated by the enactment of the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment Act, No. 20 (2013) and in the particular Section 297 (5) and (6) which provide that the State and all institutions and agencies at every level through legislative and other measures must assist the Zimbabwe Land Commission Bill in carrying out its function and must protect its independence, impartiality, integrity and effectiveness.

6.  The Government must make adequate and suitable provision, through legislation and other appropriate means, to ensure that –

a.  the Zimbabwe Land Commission is able to exercise its functions efficiently and independently; and

b.  Persons employed by the Zimbabwe Land Commission carry out their duties conscientiously, fairly and impartially.

Mr. President, the Bill before you is a milestone in a land reform of historic dimensions almost without comparison in the modern era.  It is an achievement long in the making, beginning with our people being dispossessed of their ancestral rights to their land during the colonial era and distinguished by several land marks over many generations, specifically from the First Chimurenga (1896 – 1897), the Second Chimurenga (1966), culminating in our independence in 1980 and finally the decisive phase of the land reform in 2000.

Why do I say that our land reform is “almost without comparison in the modern era?”  In terms of the magnitude of the historical imbalances that needed to be redressed, the size of land transferred, the speed and comprehensiveness of the transfer, the numbers of our people who have benefitted, and the extent of the benefits actually accruing to our people, it is hard to find its peer anywhere in the world in recent times.  Allow me to quote from a recent publication, Zimbabwe Takes Back its Land. 

“In the biggest land reform in Africa, 6000 white farmers have been replaced by 245 000 indigenous farmers.  Zimbabwe’s land reform has not been neat and huge problems remain.  But 245 000 new farmers have received land and most of them are farming it.  They have raised their own standard of living, have already reached production levels of the former whiter farmers and with a bit of support are ready to substantially increase that production.

The area of land redistributed to date stands at 12.6 million hectares.  Such a massive exercise achieved in a relatively short period of time resulted in a number of administrative issues like boundary disputes, double allocation and infrastructure sharing problems amongst others, which need to be addressed holistically.  Hence, the establishment of the Land Commission through Section 296 of the Constitution.

In terms of the legislative background to this Bill, it is the first significant legislative intervention in the sphere of land reform and land tenure since the Land Acquisition Act of 1992 and the various amendments to that Act (the last of which was in 2002).  It also seeks to repeal two colonial era pieces of land settlement and tenure legislation, namely Rural Land Act and the Agricultural Land Settlement Act, which were enacted in 1963 and 1969 respectively.

The Bill will provide for the corporate status of the Commission, the tenure of office and conditions of service of the members of the Commission.  The Bill is also premised on the Commission’s functions as set out in Section 297 of the Constitution and provides for the appointment of an Executive Secretary of the Commission and its secretariat as well as the hiring of experts or consultants where necessary. It upholds the independence and impartiality of the Commission and its members and addresses conflicts of interest on the part of members of the Commission and its staff in the course of discharging their duties. It provides for the submission of reports by the Commission to the Minister and the tabling by the Minister of such reports before Parliament.

The Bill provides for jurisdiction of the Commission to conduct comprehensive inspections and audits of agricultural land, to conduct investigations whenever complaints regarding the supervision, administration and allocation of agricultural land are raised as well as over disputes regarding agricultural land. The manner in which the Commission may conduct investigations and audits is outlined.  Investigations will take the form of public or closed hearings.

Part IV of the Bill incorporates most of the existing provisions in the Rural Land Act, which will be repealed by this Bill.  It relates to the general administration of State land by the Minister responsible for the category of State land in question.

Part VII of the Bill deals with the appellate and dispute settlement functions of the Commission as well as the Commission’s power to make regulations in relation thereto.  It must be read together with the Fifth Schedule.  I wish to draw the House’s attention that in striving to settle land disputes and complaints, the Commission is enjoined to endeavour to employ conciliation and mediation between the disputants as a first resort.  Even where these efforts fail, the disputants are assisted by the Commission to come up with a clear agreed statement on the issues to be decided by the Commission.

          The Bill will provide for the establishment of a Register of Partially Alienated State Land Rights.  Every entry in this register (whether it be a permit, lease or offer letter) will be deemed to be the definitive record of such right and in the event of any inconsistency between such entry and any other record of such right kept in terms of this Bill or otherwise, the entry in the register shall prevail as proof of the partially alienated land right or any particular thereof.

          Under Part IX of the Bill, the Ministry is enabled through its designated officers, to create, vary or cancel statutory servitudes over or in favour of holdings of partially alienated State land. It provides for the reference of disputes in connection with proposed statutory servitudes and the rights, privileges and obligations of interested parties and the hearing of such disputes before the Commission.  Provision is made for the registration of statutory servitudes in the Registry of Partially Alienated State Land Rights and where appropriate, in the Deeds Registry.

          Part XI of the Bill sets forth general provisions of the Bill and deals with the following matters: rentals for state land, the Minister’s authority to give the Commission policy directions, limited immunity against legal proceeding for the Commission or any member of the Commission, Executive Secretary or person acting under the direction of the Commission in pursuance of this Bill and provision for the Provincial, District and other offices of the Commission.

          This Bill should enable the Land Commission to carry out its functions efficiently, effectively and impartially as envisaged by the Constitution. I hope that the foregoing summary of the provision of the Bill adequately explains, for the benefit of Members of this House, what it is that this Bill seeks to achieve and that the measure will receive your support.  I thank you.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LANDS AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. CHIKWAMA): I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Tuesday, 7th February, 2017.

On the motion of  THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF MEDIA,  INFORMATION AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. SEN. MATHUTHU), the House adjourned at Five Minutes to Five o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 7th February, 2017.

 

 

 

Senate Hansard SENATE HANSARD 02 FEBRUARY 2017 VOL 26 NO 24