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SENATE HANSARD 03 MAY 2017 VOL 26 NO 50

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PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Wednesday, 3rd May, 2017

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

PRAYERS

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

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE

INVITATION TO THE ZIMBABWE WOMEN’S PARLIAMENTARY CAUCUS ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

          THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  I have to inform all members of the Women’s Parliamentary Caucus that the annual General Meeting will be held on Friday, 5th May 2017, in the Senate Chamber at 0900 hours.  All documents pertaining to the meeting have been placed in the members’ pigeon holes.  All members are urged to attend and to bring the required documents to the meeting.

APPOINTMENT AS CHAIRPERMSON TO THE THEMATIC COMMITTEE ON INDEGINISATION AND EMPOWERMENT

          THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  I have to inform the House that Hon. Sen. Mavhunga has been appointed Chairperson of the Thematic Committee on Indigenisation and Empowerment – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] -

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          THE MINISTER OF DEFENCE (HON. SEN. DR. SEKERAMAYI): Madam President, I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 3 be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the Day have been disposed of.

          Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

STATE OF THE NATION ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT

          Fourth Order read:  Adjourned debate on motion in reply to the State of the Nation Address.

Question again proposed.

          THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  Before this motion goes into adjournment, I would like to appeal to the Ministers here present and those who will read the Hansard, that the mover of this motion Hon. Sen. Chipanga and the mover of the other motion Hon. Sen. Nyambuya, cannot conclude their motions until Cabinet Ministers have responded to these motions.  As you are aware, when they do conclude, we then forward the responses to His Excellency the President and we cannot forward the conclusions without responses from respective Cabinet Ministers.  So, I am appealing to Cabinet Ministers to respond to the debates that emanated on these motions from this particular House.  I thank you.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF MEDIA, INFORMATION AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. SEN. MATHUTHU):  I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume:  Thursday, 4th   May, 2017.

MOTION

PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH:  DEBATE ON ADDRESS

          Fifth Order read:  Adjourned debate on motion in reply to the Presidential Speech.

Question again proposed.

          HON. SEN. NYAMBUYA: I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          HON. SEN. MUMVURI: I second.      

 Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Thursday, 4th May, 2017.

MOTION

FIRST REPORT OF THE THEMATIC COMMITTEE ON HIV AND AIDS ON HIV AND AIDS IN INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER LEARNING IN ZIMBABWE

          HON. SEN. TIMVEOS: I move the motion standing in my name that this House takes note of the First Report of the Thematic Committee on HIV and AIDS on HIV and AIDS in Institutions of Higher Learning in Zimbabwe.

          HON. SEN. MASUKU: I second.

          HON. SEN. TIMVEOS:

1.0    INTRODUCTION

The Thematic Committee on HIV and AIDS was concerned by reports that the incidence of HIV and AIDS was on the rise in the age group of 15 to 24 years, while it was declining for the rest of the population. National AIDS Council confirmed that the key population at risk was in the age group of 15 to 24 years for females and 19 to 29 years for males.

1.1           OBJECTIVES

In order to understand the causes, interventions in place and recommend solutions, the Committee sought to engage institutions of higher learning as a big percentage of this age group is found in these institutions.  The Committee wanted to find out what National AIDS Council in conjunction with tertiary institutions was doing to address the problem.  The Committee then embarked into an inquiry into HIV and AIDS education, information dissemination and management in tertiary institutions.

2.0           METHODOLOGY

The Committee decided to visit different universities and colleges in order to get a good representation of issues and views from around the country. It was agreed that in each institution, the Committee would interview officials and student representatives.  University and College officials took oath and gave information to the Committee.  Student representatives from each university and college were interviewed.   Officials were interviewed on their own and students were interviewed in the absence of officials.  The Committee also heard oral evidence from officials from National AIDS Council who gave information on the work NAC carries out at tertiary institutions.

2.1    Institutions of higher learning the Committee interfaced with.

The following institutions in Harare were toured in March 2016; Seke Teachers’ College, Catholic University, Belvedere Teachers’ College and University of Zimbabwe.

In October 2016, the Committee visited the following institutions of higher learning; Great Zimbabwe University, Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Polytechnic (Gwanda), Gwanda University, National University of Science and Technology, Lupane University, Hillside Teachers’ College, Midlands State University and Mkoba Teachers’ College. 

3.0           Findings

3.1    Key Drivers of HIV infection

In each institution visited, the Committee asked both officials and students what they considered to be major drivers of HIV infection.  Below are the facts captured by the Committee;

a)    Student Poverty

Unemployment levels are high in the country and most parents cannot afford to adequately support their children in tertiary institutions.  This results in cross generational relationships which mostly affect female students who get into relationships with older men in exchange for money.  The older men are not always willing to use protection, leaving the students vulnerable.  It was reported that some students become prostitutes to make ends meet.

At Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Polytechnic, the Committee was informed that desperate female students engage in sexual relationships with artisanal miners in the area. Some of the miners are married or have multiple sexual relationships. 

Student poverty has also resulted in “semester marriages”, which are entered into by students who want to cut costs by sharing living quarters and expenses.  This arrangement is responsible for the spread of HIV as students in these ‘marriages’ only use condoms for the first few times of sexual interaction and then abandon them later.  Both students and officials in all universities attested the existence of the ‘marriages’.  However, the ‘married’ students may also have other relationships in which they are sexually active.

b)   “Ugly Condoms”

Students were unhappy with a particular brand of condom distributed in all institutions visited, these were dubbed ‘panther condoms’.  The condom is given by NAC and other partners.  Students reported that they did not like the look or smell of it and therefore, do not use it.

c)    Peer pressure and hormones

A common thread of thought that ran through all the institutions visited was that the age group of 15 to 24 years is one most susceptible to peer pressure and to giving in to hormonal urges.  Recommendations from students and lecturers was that sex education should be taught from as early as primary school so that people are aware of developments in their bodies and have sufficient knowledge on how to deal with said developments.

d)   Lack of Information and HIV and AIDS awareness prior to tertiary Education

It was reported by students from different institutions that they had no prior education or information on sex, sexuality and HIV and AIDS in secondary school.  Apart from this gap, some parents do not discuss issues related to HIV and AIDS with their children.  There were those who reported that certain students who acquired HIV from their mothers at birth did not know they were positive, but their parents/guardians just gave them medication without explaining what it was for. This was also responsible for defaulting in the taking of anti-retrovirals by  adolescents who had no idea what the medication was nor what it was treating.

 

e)    Inadequate information and Sexual reproductive health services in Clinics and Hospitals

Hospitals and clinics do not offer information and services on SRHR to adolescents easily.  They are looked upon as being morally decadent when they go to hospitals or clinics to seek such assistance. Few tertiary institutions have fully equipped and functional clinics to help students with information and health services.

f)     Lack of Accommodation on Campus and ‘New Found Freedom’

Most tertiary institutions are unable to accommodate all their students on campus where they can be monitored and chaperoned to some extent.  A case in point was Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Polytechnic which had over a thousand students enrolled, but the hostels only house a few students, that is, 100 female students in the new site and 200 in the old site. Construction of hostels was left unfinished by Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing. Mkoba Teachers’ College reported that most students lived off campus because they could not afford the residence fees.  Midlands State University enrols huge numbers, such that the institution is unable to offer all of them accommodation.

Even those on campus sometimes engage in risky behaviour because of the ‘new found freedom’ away from parental restriction.

g)    Abuse of Alcohol and drugs

Many reported the use of drugs and alcohol as leading to lowered inhibitions which lead to risky behaviour. Adolescents are exposed to drugs and alcohol which are consumed/used to excess without the usual restriction from parents or guardians.  Students in every institution stated that abuse of alcohol and drugs was a big contributor to HIV infection. 

h)   Unavailability of constructive entertainment on Campus

Unavailability of entertainment on campus exposes students to risky behaviour when they seek it off campus.  Some students expressed frustration at the lack of entertainment on campus as search for relaxation and recreational activities off campus usually resulted in risky behaviour. Students from the University of Zimbabwe complained that the college did not offer them much recreational and relaxation options on campus, resulting in students going to night clubs in the city where risky behaviour was rampant.

3.2         interventions BY Tertiary Institutions

3.2.1      HIV and AIDS awareness Campaigns

The Committee noted that the levels of intervention of tertiary institutions differed depending on the leadership and resources. All the universities and colleges toured informed the Committee that they hold awareness campaigns at the beginning of each semester in conjunction with National AIDS Council (NAC) and other supporting partners such as SAYWHAT, Population Services International (PSI), Zimbabwe National Family Planning Council (ZNFPC), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), New Start Centre, SAFAIDS, Ministry of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development and Ministry of Health and Child Care.  The awareness campaigns ensure that all new intakes receive information on HIV and AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections.

The Committee was highly impressed with Seke Teachers’ College which, despite shortage of resources exhibited a strong HIV and AIDS awareness programme, where awareness campaigns were conducted regularly throughout the semester.

The University of Zimbabwe and Midlands State University have a robust programme on HIV and AIDS in terms of HIV and AIDS awareness.  They also provide literature on HIV and AIDS to their students, which is accessible all year round.

All institutions interviewed reported that they hold candle light memorials at least once a year in memory of those who had died from AIDS.  This served as an HIV and AIDS awareness tool.  Midlands State University, National University of Science and Technology and Seke Teachers’ College students and officials informed the Committee that they also use what they call ‘edutainment’, where entertainment such as drama and music were used to communicate how HIV is contracted and how it can be prevented.  Sports events have been used by many tertiary institutions to run HIV and AIDS awareness campaigns, where they pitch tents and invite technical partners in the field to assist with information dissemination on HIV and AIDS, counselling and testing.

The Committee, however, fears that HIV and AIDS awareness campaigns held only at the beginning of semesters are grossly inadequate to deal with the issue of HIV and AIDS awareness.  The Committee was also concerned by the fact that since the awareness campaigns were not compulsory, a good number of students were not captured by the campaigns.

The interaction of the Committee with some tertiary institutions officials revealed that the awareness campaigns needed to target staff as well.   There were no reported efforts at HIV and AIDS awareness campaigns aimed at all tertiary institutions lecturers and other key staff. 

The Committee was pleased to note that all the teachers’ colleges visited held more HIV and AIDS initiatives for students preparing for teaching practice.  The practice is useful as it reinforces the students’ knowledge on HIV and AIDS, which protects them from risky behaviour during teaching practice.

Not all tertiary institutions were aggressively carrying out HIV and AIDS awareness campaigns. For example, the Catholic University did not consider teaching students about HIV and AIDS a necessity as the institution taught good morals only as prevention of HIV infection.

3.2.2 The Life Skills Course

Government policy compels all tertiary institutions to address the issue of HIV and AIDS and hence the Life Skills Course taught in all institutions of higher learning.  The Committee was impressed to note that the University of Zimbabwe developed a manual dedicated to teaching students about HIV and AIDS.  The institutions of higher learning visited all reported that HIV and AIDS is taught as part of the Life Skills course, which was an examinable compulsory subject. However, HIV and AIDS was a topic among many others related to life skills.  The Committee was of the opinion that a subject dedicated entirely to HIV and AIDS may reiterate the direness of the matter of HIV and AIDS and the urgent response it requires.

The Committee noted with concern that in Polytechnic and teachers’ colleges, students who were taking science courses were not offered the Life Skills Course. This creates a gap in knowledge which leaves the students concerned vulnerable to HIV infection.

3.3.3 Peer Educators

All the institutions visited have initiated the ‘institution’ of peer educators to disseminate information on HIV and AIDS to other students. Peer educators are clubs consisting of volunteer students who engage in information dissemination and peer to peer counselling.  They get information on HIV and AIDS, sexual reproductive health and other health matters from their clinics and technical partners.

It is believed that students receive information on HIV and AIDS and sexual reproductive health from other students more readily than from adults.  Peers are also better communicators of this information as they are in the similar circumstance of age and tertiary education.

Midlands State University reported that its peer educators were planning to produce a movie and musical CDs and videos to convey the dangers of HIV and AIDS and what can be done to prevent it. 

The peer educators are volunteers and effective, but few in numbers, as was reported in every institution toured.  These are fellow students who are also pressed for time.  The Committee found this intervention of tertiary institutions to be commendable, but needing incentives to increase the numbers.

3.3.4 Provision of Free Meals

The Committee sadly heard tales of struggle for financial resources by many students at every tertiary institution visited. At Mkoba Teachers’ College, the officials’ biggest concern was that most students cannot afford food and the college cannot afford to give them free meals.  HIV positive students from underprivileged families on ART cannot take their medication on empty stomachs.  It was heart rending for Committee Members to listen to tales of how some students survive on maputi (popocorn),while others only managed to exist on one meal per day. Mkoba Teachers’ College had worked with a Non-Governmental Organisation to feed the underprivileged students, but the NGO had since ceased operating.  The college officials informed the Committee that they were actively seeking partnerships with organisations which could assist to ensure students on ART were properly fed.

Officials at Mkoba Teachers’ College also informed the Committee that students who are HIV positive suffer deteriorating health because of lack of decent food and some even die when they go out to teaching practice because they cannot afford food.  The Committee was horror-struck that a generation was being lost and that it made no sense to train people who would serve for a year or two then die.  However, the Committee was impressed by efforts made by Seke Teachers’ College to ensure that all underprivileged students who were taking medication for any chronic illness received at least one free meal per day. 

3.3.5      HIV and AIDS Policy

The Committee found that generally institutions of higher learning who had operational institutional HIV and AIDS policies had good programmes running.  Institutions that had HIV and AIDs policies of note were the University of Zimbabwe, Midlands State University, Seke Teachers’ College and National University of Science and Technology.  Some of the institutions reported that they had drafted policies, but these had not been approved by their boards’, e.g. Lupane State University.  Other institutions had policies but did not effectively communicate them to their students as evidenced by the fact that the students were unaware that such policies existed.  Great Zimbabwe University and Hillside Teachers’ College were cases in point.

The only private university interviewed, i.e. Catholic University had no HIV and AIDS policy at the time of the Committee’s visit. 

The Committee is of the view that an HIV and AIDS policy is important for such institutions as it spells out intervention measures and captures implementation strategies.

3.3.6 Campus Clinics

The Committee was pleased to note the lengths that MSU, UZ and NUST went to in providing health care services to its students.  They have fully functional and well-staffed clinics which offer HIV counselling and testing services and also initiate ART.  Great Zimbabwe University reported that it began initiating ART in July, 2016 and at the time of the Committee’s visit, the facility was unknown to students.  MSU offers 24 hour services in their clinics where students can be tested, counselled and initiated on ART.

In all the institutions visited, there was a clinic on campus except Gwanda University which became operational in September 2016.  The Committee noted with concern that all the colleges had small clinics which were poorly staffed.  Most of them had one nurse each and no doctors.  It was reported that they also had no capacity to initiate ART. 

Students interviewed informed the Committee that their peers who were HIV positive had to go back to their home health centres to get their antiretroviral medication because they needed transfer letters in order to obtain ART from their college clinics. The Committee was distressed to hear that students sometimes miss lectures and tests in order to go back to their home clinics and hospitals to replenish their ART supplies.  This is an added expense on students who are already struggling to make ends meet. It was not clear why the transfer letters are difficult to obtain.  Some students feared stigmatisation when they visit clinics and hospitals off campus to get ART services as these have designated areas/rooms for attending to opportunistic infections and collection of anti-retrovirals.

4.0              National AIDS Council Involvement

All the institutions visited reported that they conducted HIV and AIDS awareness campaigns where they invited National AIDS Council (NAC) to participate at the beginning of each new Semester/ term.    NAC works with technical partners who donate their human resources for information dissemination and literature and condom distribution.  Organisations such as UNFPA, Population Services International, Zimbabwe National Family Planning Council  and New Start Centre donate condoms and offer HIV counselling and testing services, voluntary medical male circumcision and in some cases, screening for cervical cancer.  National AIDS Council cooperates with the Ministries of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development and Youth, Indigenisation and Empowerment.  NAC also collaborates with a youth organisation named SAYWHAT who have officers permanently stationed at tertiary institutions.

4.1    NAC informed the Committee that in 2015, $400 000 was budgeted for tertiary institutions and in 2017, one and a half million dollars has been targeted towards the same. Activities carried out by NAC in colleges and universities include awareness campaigns, training of peer educators, condom distribution and coordinating various activities by different partners.  National AIDS Council works in conjunction with experts from the Ministry of Health and Child Care and other partners who carry out voluntary male circumcision, cervical cancer screening and HIV counselling and testing.  NAC supports exhibitions and competitions in numerous tertiary institutions such as quizzes and musical expos which were reported to be popular with the youth.  The Committee was pleased with the efforts of NAC who sometimes use mobile networks to send bulk messages with information on HIV and STIs. 

4.2    The Committee had fears about funding for HIV running out, but NAC announced that it was working on a proposal for Global Fund finances.  Global Fund had given indications that it had set aside funds targeted at young women and girls in the age group that the Committee is concerned about.

4.3    The Committee was pleased to hear that National AIDS Council also works with  vocational training centres, army, police and prison training centres, where they have trained focal persons who can hold continuous dialogues with students on issues of HIV and sexual and reproductive health.

5.0           CHALLENGES

5.1    The Committee found that most tertiary institutions have no capacity to initiate Anti-Retroviral Therapy because they were not registered with NAC, while most were understaffed and under resourced. None of the institutions received financial assistance from Government in order to deal with HIV and AIDS in students in colleges.

5.2    Information gathered pointed to the fact that most parents in Zimbabwe do not share any information relating to HIV and AIDS with their children.  There were reports of students who only discovered at college that they were HIV positive, but had been taking ARVs all their lives without knowing what they were being treated for.  This exposed the students to re-infection and then infecting others without knowing. 

5.3    The Committee found that in most institutions of higher learning, HIV and AIDS was not treated with the seriousness and urgency it deserved.

6.0 RECOMMENDATIONS

6.1    Government should give students grants / loans to protect them from the risk posed by poverty.  This item should be budgeted for in the 2018 budget.

6.2           Government, through the Ministry of Health and Child Care, should create one stop health centres at all universities by end of 2017 and these should provide sexual reproductive health services as well as HIV and HIV related health services.

6.3           Every tertiary institution should have a well-resourced clinic, with adequate staff and drugs starting from the next semester for universities (September 2017) and next term for colleges (May 2017). Clinics should have free testing and counselling and must have all the necessities to run an HIV and AIDS programme. 

6.4           The Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing must make it a priority to build hostels for all tertiary institutions in order to safeguard particularly the female student, e.g at J. M. Nkomo, the Ministry should complete the building of hostels by end of 2018.

6.5           Truck drivers and artisanal miners should be exposed to HIV and AIDS awareness campaigns as this population is part of the key populations interacting with students.  National AIDS should begin work in the affected areas forthwith.

6.6           All service providers must have coordinating mechanisms so that they offer institutions of higher learning complementary services instead of duplicating them.

6.7           All clinics in institutions of higher learning should create awareness in students on testing and treating sexually transmitted infections, TB and cancer on enrolment beginning in the next term in May 2017 for colleges and the next semester in September 2017 for universities.

6.8           Universities and colleges must ensure that HIV and AIDS is not only talked about at orientation but throughout the student’s life at college.  There should be a meeting discussing HIV related matters at least once a month.

6.9           Government must ensure that students’ lives are saved by including HIV and AIDS as a topic in every college, including faculties of science to increase HIV and AIDS awareness starting next term in May 2017 for colleges and next semester in September 2017.

6.10              Students should use the available condoms until they get the desired ones in order to avoid HIV infection while institutions of higher learning should spread awareness of the female condom.

6.11     All tertiary institutions must take advantage of available resources in order to maximise interactions between students and NAC and other relevant partners.

6.12     Government should only register institutions of higher learning who have adequate health facilities to cater for the health of students.  Starting from 2018, every tertiary institution should have a clinic. 

7.0 CONCLUSION

The Committee is convinced that a holistic approach to dealing with HIV and AIDS in the population in institutions of higher learning will see the country eradicating AIDS by 2030. This requires parents playing their part in teaching morals, behaviour change and talking to their children about HIV and AIDS, it also calls for schools from primary to secondary education to teach children about sexuality and HIV and AIDS and also for Government to make policies that will ensure that institutions of higher learning adequately care for students’ health. I thank you.          

          +HON. SEN. MASUKU:  Thank you Mr. President. I stand in support of the report that was tabled by Hon. Sen. Timveos on HIV and Aids.

          The Hon. Senator alluded to all the challenges that your Committee noted when it toured these institutions of higher learning.  Mr. President, I will just emphasise on the salient areas like poverty.  It was quite pitiful, as your Committee was conducting discussions with students at these institutions, to be serious with their education as they lead difficult lives.  This is why your Committee recommends that Government should offer student grants and loans to enable underprivileged children to acquire higher education like their privileged counterparts.  It was also pitiful to note the lack of food at these institutions.  Your Committee asked itself, as parents, whether the parents or guardians of these children had adequately prepared for the children before sending them off to college, particularly those who are affected by HIV and Aids. At some institutions, students would spend the day on popcorn only.  In some places where there are artisanal miners and truck drivers, the students end up being abused by artisanal miners and truck drivers, all in a bid to raise money to buy food.

          Mr. President Sir, your Committee also noted the lack of vocational recreational centres at most of these institutions where they can engage in various sporting activities so that they do not end up in undesirable places.  Your Committee also noted the lack of medical facilities in most of these higher learning institutions and students have to seek for these services outside the institutions.  Do the Ministries of Health and Child Care and Higher and Tertiary Education concur to such a scenario?  As such Mr. President, your Committee recommends the availability of clinics at all institutions of higher learning, not just walls but properly functioning clinics with the relevant material and other resources, particularly availability of drugs.

          Mr. President Sir, she said that there are not enough hostels.  It is a pity for these colleges, for example Midlands State University.  Your Committee was shown that some of the students learn at a functional mine complex in Zvishavane.  This place is not suitable for learning purposes but it is because of lack of infrastructure.  We feel that the students must not be accommodated at such a learning complex that put the children in a very difficult situation because of the very environment they are in.   Mr. President, the other thing that was seen by your Committee is on the discussion and teaching on HIV and AIDS, where should it end?

          When children go to school they should be told that there is this scourge.  We do not stop there – no. Your Committee resolved that there should be ways that these children should be reminded that this scourge or endemic is there and it is not something that can be cured.  We need to be morally upright for us to survive.  It is a pity what was said by the mover that some would go into sinister marriages which are not proper in order to get educated.  It is important that when students go to institutions like that, people should put their heads together.  The Government must realise that those children are not put into a precarious situation because of the environment they are in and because of lack of other things that are necessary. 

          Your Committee also looked at ways of how this disease can be prevented in learning institutions.   It is the responsibility of us all because these children said we have truck drivers who take advantage of our poverty and abuse us.  Not only men, there are also sugar mummies; fathers and mothers who abuse children because of their poverty.  That is a pitiful situation.  If we have such parents, really will they do that to their own children?  It is the responsibility of everyone that students must be protected so that they can finish their education.  What does it mean for a nation of Zimbabwe to have literate or educated people more than other nations because when they are not protected, this will shorten their life span? 

Your Committee saw it important that HIV/AIDS is something that should be protected against at such institutions so that students are gainfully employed after leaving school.  When they leave school infected with this virus they will spread it and education will be useless because their life span would have been curtailed.

          Mr. President, just as I have said, the mover of this motion Hon. Timveos looked at almost everything that your Committee saw.  Your Committee resolved that Government should take it seriously to protect institutions of higher learning so as to protect the nation of Zimbabwe.  When we talk of Zimbabwe, we talk of these youths who are at higher learning institutions; these are the people we are talking about.  We are at the sunset of our lives but the nation of Zimbabwe – the youths who are still at school should be protected.  Government should look at such matters seriously so that the literacy rate and our life span goes hand in hand and that there is a balance. 

With that Mr. President, I summarise by saying your Committee has a lot of work in order to curtail this HIV/AIDS pandemic.  It is therefore a lesson that this Committee be resourced because it is important.  It should be supported when it has a programme to run on HIV\AIDS.  With that Mr. President, I would like to thank you for giving me this opportunity.  I thank you.

HON. SEN. CHIMHINI:  Thank you Mr. President.  I wish to make a few comments on the motion before the House and start by saying it was shocking to hear some students talking of being worried about getting pregnant other than to get HIV/AIDS.  One would wonder where this is coming from but as indicated by the mover of the motion, this is all emanating from the poverty levels that are experienced in the institutions of higher learning.  As Parliament, we need to take that very seriously so that we do not expose our young girls in the tertiary institutions.  It is also important that we take the issue of HIV/AIDS seriously and make sure that once the students have been detected that they are positive, they must take their drugs, compliance becomes critical.  This information was not coming up clearly that they are fully aware that once you are positive, you can survive if you are taking the drugs.  This simply means that there is not much education being given to the students. 

It is also necessary to realise that most of the students, because of the newly acquired freedom in the institutions, they do things without seriously thinking of the consequences.  So again, it is important as indicated by the mover, if we could provided accommodation in most of the institutions of higher learning, we may reduce that freedom where the students have to go out, get their own accommodation and do whatever they want.

Mr. President, it is also important that all the students realise the importance of testing because for one to know their status is helpful.  In most cases, people believe that it is better not to know but in this day and age, it is important that they appreciate that everybody has to know his or her status.  Once you know your status, you go on treatment and when you are on treatment, you comply.  However, one critical issue which was very clear is that there are no mechanisms to help the students to get their viral load testing.  Institutions of higher learning do not have that facility and if you have to go out to get that facility, it is prohibitive in terms of costs.  So, it is critical that the Government takes serious measures to make sure that viral load testing is actually provided for us to reach the 90/90/90.

Mr. President, one good thing we noticed is that discrimination and stigma are no longer issues.  People can now talk freely about HIV and AIDS.  However, I think what is important is not just about talking, it is about us trying to live positively and make sure that if you have sex, it is safe.  Mr. President, it is important to constantly remind the students and the nation at large that HIV and AIDS are not death sentences.  It is also important for people to appreciate that HIV and AIDS are two different issues; these are stages.  So once somebody is HIV, it does not necessarily mean that they have AIDS.  This information was very clear in the colleges that nobody seriously talks about it. If you say you want to discuss HIV and AIDS, people will say we are aware of HIV and AIDS issues, and you ask what the issues are.  This simply means that there is lack of education about HIV and AIDS.  Mr. President, I want to say that the insights we got when we went out should enlighten us as Parliamentarians that when we go back into our communities – these students come from communities, we need to continuously talk about the effect of HIV and AIDS. This is because that is where we get our labour  force and when we have students who are affected in their early years of life, then we have a problem.  I thank you Mr. President.

HON. SEN. TIMVEOS: I move that the debate do now adjourn.

HON. SEN. CHIMHINI: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Thursday, 4th May, 2017.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY, POSTAL AND COURIER SERVICES (HON. MANDIWANZIRA): I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 8 to 14 be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 1 has been disposed of.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

RATIFICATION OF THE BILATERAL AGREEMENT WITH MOZAMBIQUE ON THE PUNGWE WATERCOURSE

          THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY, POSTAL AND COURIER SERVICES (HON. MANDIWANZIRA) on behalf of THE MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT, WATER AND CLIMATE (HON. MUCHINGURI): I move the motion standing in the name of the Hon. Minister of Environment, Water and Climate;

          THAT WHEREAS Section 327(2) (a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that any convention, treaty or agreement acceded to, concluded or executed by or under the authority of the President with one or more foreign states or governments or international organisations shall be subject to approval by Parliament;

          AND WHEREAS Article 22 (1) of the Agreement provides that it shall enter into force thirty (30) days after the deposit of the instrument of ratification by parties;

          NOW THEREFORE, in terms of Section 327 (2) (a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe and Mozambique on the Pungwe Watercourse be and is hereby approved for acceptance.

          Mr. President, the Pungwe River flows from Mount Nyangani in Eastern Highlands and drains into the Indian Ocean, having passed through Mozambique.  This watercourse is currently managed under the Pungwe Basin Trans-boundary Integrated Water Resources Management and Development Programme, a joint initiative between the Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe and the Government of the Republic of Mozambique.

          The two Governments now propose to enter into a bilateral agreement to promote effective management of the Pungwe Basin.

          OVERVIEW

          Mr. President, the Agreement outlines measures jointly adopted by the parties for the sustainable utilisation of the Pungwe Watercourse, which measures include;

i)  the joint responsibility to prevent, reduce as well as to control the pollution of both surface and ground water, for purposes of enhancing the quality of the waters and the surrounding ecosystems;

ii) the obligation to exchange data and information, including rainfall figures, floods and river flow data; and

iii) the adherence to the flow regime agreed upon by the parties, which limits abstractions from the Pungwe Watercourse to the stipulated levels.

The Agreement therefore, seeks to provide criterion for the conservation, allocation and sustainable utilisation of the Pungwe Water Resource.

JUSTIFICATION FOR THE AGREEMENT

Mr. President, this agreement will, among others, enhance the ability;

i)  to safeguard Zimbabwe’s interests in the sustainable supply of water to the City of Mutare, as well as the utilisation of water from the Pungwe River Basin in general, for afforestation, livestock management and tourism;

ii) to minimise potential water-related conflicts between the two countries; and

iii) to create opportunities for other forms of cooperation in different sectors.

Mr. President, in addition to the existing good relations, Zimbabwe has with our neighbour Mozambique, the cooperation on the Pungwe River demonstrates the importance of transboundary river basin management for economic and social development.

I therefore plead with the august House to approve the Agreement between Zimbabwe and Mozambique on Co-operation on the Development, Management and Sustainable Utilisation of the Water Resources of the Pungwe Watercourse.  I thank you.

          HON. SEN. CHIPANGA: Thank you Mr. President. I rise to thank the Minister for having achieved an agreement between our two countries. Whilst in this region we take water for granted, water in some areas is a very emotive issue. Even in Southern Africa, some years ago before the 90s, South Africa threatened that if they were not given access to Zambezi water they were prepared to go to war. This was only averted when they got an agreement with Lesotho which allowed them to access water from Lesotho highlands. That only shows you that water is important. This is why I wish to thank the Minister for having succeeded in negotiating with our neighbor, Mozambique. For that reason, I support the adoption of the motion. I thank you.

          HON. SEN. CHIEF CHISUNGA: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to congratulate the Minister for bringing this agreement to do with the integrated management of our water resources sustainably. I want to thank the Minister for coming up with this proposal because on several occasions it rains in our country and the water goes straight to the Indian Ocean and if we do not make use of that water, it is a resource which has been wasted. As a nation it is prudent that we accept this proposal and support it so that our communities can continue to benefit from the use of the water resources which are beneficial for the purposes of irrigation and doing several projects such as electricity generation. This can enhance the development of our economy. I think it can also stimulate activities which generate employment for our people. I want to congratulate the Minister for coming up with this agreement. I thank you.

          HON. SEN. MUSAKA: I also wish to thank the Minister for bringing up this agreement. My understanding is that the President has already signed this agreement. The reading is not clear. Once that has been done, Parliament should just approve. We wholeheartedly agree in this House that whatever has been done should be with the approval of Parliament. It is a noble cause. It is part of Zimbabwe as a matter of fact. Sorry I am not trying to make subversive statements but if you look at the map - having agreed Hon. Minister that we should go ahead, I strongly feel that it was part of Zimbabwe anyway. This is testimony of the ugly face of colonialism. The Berlin Conference Agreement should be reviewed so that we fight colonialism right through because the Zambezi, Pungwe and Limpopo Rivers get into the Indian Ocean and we have no access. This is where I think the Berlin Conference negotiations need to be taken back. I know that some people may say no, no, do not touch what the colonial masters did, if touch it midzimu yacho inozodii ikadii. This must be reviewed. I thank you Mr. President.

          HON. SEN. MOHADI: I also want to add my voice on this motion which has been brought in by the Minister of Water Resources. I want to thank this Ministry for the agreement that has been made between the two countries. It is of great importance really because water is life. Without water we cannot survive. We know very well that Zimbabwe is a landlocked country and we do not have water that is available. Most of our water just comes and flows into the Indian Ocean. So there is need for us as a country to harness as much water as possible so that we can have life in our country.

          Another issue that I want to add after this agreement which I support fully, there is also an issue with Limpopo River which flows from where it comes up to the Indian Ocean. It bypasses some areas that are in Region 5 where there is very little or no sufficient water. If that water is harnessed, there can be a belt along the river for irrigation purposes. You find that across South Africa, they have irrigation schemes whereby they grow a lot of citrus fruits and they are really getting a lot of money for the country through that river. Whereas us as Zimbabweans we are getting nothing. So, it is a good idea which I support. Even our livestock would not be suffering because they would be having sufficient water as the Limpopo River flows perennially. If water is harnessed there would be a lot of activities that would be taking place along that river. With these few words Mr. President I support the motion. I thank you.

          HON. SEN. MAKORE: I would want to thank the Minister for the development aspect which he brought in this House. The aspect of water is beyond question in terms of asking whether people want it or not. The agreement over Pungwe River to us is a benefit to Zimbabwe. We call it a benefit in the sense that we are in the process of demanding development everywhere in Zimbabwe.  The question of water, as was mentioned by the previous speaker is life.  The question of water is also energy, food and employment.   Therefore, now that this very desirable instrument is brought in this House; you have an excellent regard in terms of the consent of this House, that we desire growth, expansion of even our energies elsewhere.  It is much of the benefit to the nearest city which is Mutare and ultimately everywhere else.  There is no other word that I can add other than those few ones I have said.  I thank you.

          HON. SEN. CHIMHINI: Thank you Mr. President.  I have no qualms with the agreement, it is already signed, but I wish to say to the Minister, I will be very selfish in my contribution as a person who comes from the constituency where we have the Pungwe River; we do not want a situation which we have at Osborne Dam where water goes to the lowveld and is not supporting the local communities.

Minister, it would be critical if it is made possible to discuss with local communities to understand what the agreement is all about.  Like everybody has said, the importance of water, we cannot overemphasise that, but I think the benefit to the local community in the management of this agreement would be definitely be critical.  I thank you.

HON. SEN. KHUMALO: I think as it has been said already, the agreement is fully appreciated because nobody can deny the fact that water is necessary in a country and in the region.  Minister, there are rivers on which it has been stated that they are going to have dams, particularly the Gwai/Shangani, those waters are going to Zambezi and Zambezi is not being used by the local people.  For how long will those people be in need of water? It has been said that water is life, so why can it not bring life on the other side of the country; can we do something with this water system?  It has been indicated that electricity is going to be there, it promotes agriculture and economic development of the area.

As far as I can see that Gwai/Shangani will not only look at the area, it can be distributed to cover a lot of other areas.  Why is   it neglected so much? As far as I know, this Pungwe agreement means within a few years, we will see activities there.  Why can we not see activities in Gwai\Shangani for such a long time? What you have brought to this House is well appreciated, Hon. Minister.  People in those areas in the western side of this country also need employment, economic development as well as food security and nutrition like everywhere else.  Thank you.

HON. SEN. MASUKU: Mr. President I want to thank you for giving me this opportunity to say a few words on this agreement.  I also want to congratulate the Minister and thank him for bringing this very important topic to this august House.

 Mr. President, Hon. Senators have mentioned that water is life.  It is a right to people and I appreciate that when we talk of one area, we are talking of Zimbabwe.  If one area is developed, Zimbabwe is developed; I want to congratulate the people from Manicaland that development has come because without water there is no development.  As we know, water cuts across, now when we talk of industries, you talk of agriculture and many other things - you will be talking of water.

Mr. President, in support of this motion, I would like to remind the Minister of an outstanding project that has been on the cards for quite some time that is the Zambezi water project.  In view of the heavy rains that we got this year, all the water that could be harnessed to develop part of Zimbabwe which is not only Matabeleland, because the Zambezi water would cut across the region - it could go as far as Masvingo and so forth.  It has been on the cards for a long time and especially with this project that the Government has come up with, that is Command Agriculture and I heard the Vice President talking about the livestock project under the Command Agriculture.  How does that project succeed if there is no water like in the Matabeleland region?  Government can provide whatever resources it can in the form of seed, animals but if there is no water, all that goes down the drain.

I would like to urge the Minister to consider speeding up the Zambezi water project so that Zimbabwe will go back to its initial status to be the bread basket of Africa.  Mr. President, I support 100% this motion and request consideration of the Zambezi Water Project to be speeded up so that there is balance in the development of Zimbabwe.  I thank you. 

HON. SEN. B. SIBANDA: Thank you Mr. President.  I stand to lend support to this project. A lot of what I would have cried about has been said.  I only want to make one sentence and a very short one.  It is commendable that we are taking preventive action.  Oftentimes we wait until there is a crisis and then we endeavor to make agreements.  With those few words, I lend my support to the signed agreement.

*HON. SEN. MACHINGAIFA: Thank you Mr. President.  I rise to thank the Minister for the motion which he introduced in this house.  Minister, you are very welcome into this House and you have come to talk about the importance of water.  Water is an essentiality; it is life.  Just this past week, I was in Hurungwe North at a farm in Hon. Marumahoko’s constituency and they were saying the white employer was advising them to drink water from the Zambezi River.  This employer told them that if they were to dig a well in their area, the water would be salty and hard so they should rather drink from the Zambezi River.

          The other week, we were with the Minister of State for Matabeleland North Province, Hon. Mathema and he was educating us that westerners sunk boreholes that they referred to as bush pumps.  When we say we want to drain water inland from big rivers such as the Zambezi River to the Zambezi waterworks, we do not applaud such ideas but only want to applaud ideas from westerners. Therefore, I thank you Minister and I am in support of this project.  Whenever we can have any waterbody, let us preserve it and keep our water for use on irrigation as there is life whereever there is irrigation.  So, it is not going to benefit us if we allow this water to be drained to the oceans.

          I remember sometime back, our former colonisers who we disempowered and are different from us as Africans, fear crossing flooded rivers.  They let the water flow to the oceans hence the flooding of the Sengwe and Limpopo Rivers.  A few months down the line, the Africans search for water for their projects and so, it is vital for us to harness all the rain water in our country for development.  I thank you.

          THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY, POSTAL AND COURIER SERVICES (HON. MANDIWANZIRA) on behalf of THE MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT, WATER AND CLIMATE (HON. MUCHINGURI):  Thank you Mr. President.  Allow me to express my very deep gratitude and sincere thanks to this august House for this overwhelming support to the ratification of the said Agreement.  I particularly wish to single out Hon. Sen. Chipanga, Hon. Sen. Chief Chisunga, Hon. Sen. Musaka, Hon. Sen. Mohadi, Hon. Sen. Makore, Hon. Sen, Chimhini who is a beneficiary, Hon. Sen. Khumalo, Hon. Sen. Masuku and  Hon. Sen. B. Sibanda and Hon. Sen. Machingaifa who have just spoken for their voiced support for the Agreement and wish to thank all the Hon. Senators who did not add their voices but I know that they are in support because they did not object – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] – So, I wish to thank everyone.

          I wish to acknowledge the point raised that indeed this Agreement was signed on the 11th of July 2016, but our law is very clear that our signatures mean nothing until the National Assembly and the Senate have ratified that Agreement.  So we were just holding meaningless pieces of paper until your voices today and I thank you for that. – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] – I acknowledge all the contributions that have been made particularly the points that were raised about other river basins that we could be using effectively as a country and not allowing this water to flow to the seas yet communities around these rivers are dying of hunger or struggling to make ends meet yet they could actually be undertaking sustainable agricultural projects using water from these rivers but we have not started harvesting these waters.

          I acknowledge the outcry from Hon. Sen. Masuku regarding the Zambezi Water Project.  It is one that has been on the cards for the longest of times.  It serves a huge and productive community of our country that produces some of our finest beef that  went on some of the finest tables in Europe because of that sustainable wildlife as well as ongoing livestock agriculture in that region.  The Hon. Senator is correct that under the current Command Agriculture programme, livestock is a major focus and therefore it is important that the project be attended to as it will provide water for the sustenance of the successful livestock project in that region.  I wish to advise the House that the Ministry will do all it can despite limited resources to ensure that this and many other similar projects in the country are pushed for the success of our country.  It has become very clear to all of us that as a country, we must first of all look to ourselves for emancipation before we look elsewhere.  The support will only come when they realise correct things in self sustenance. When we are hungry and lacking, they assist only a few but what to assist once they realise our development for their own benefit.

          I thank you for your support and am going to take all your ideas and spread them to fellow ministries so that we introduce these projects because they are developmental – harnessing water is very important.  I thank you for supporting this Agreement that we signed but could not be implemented in full before your support.

Motion;

THAT WHEREAS Section 327(2) (a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that any convention, treaty or agreement acceded to, concluded or executed by or under the authority of the President with one or more foreign states or governments or international organisations shall be subject to approval by Parliament;

AND WHEREAS Article 22 (1) of the Agreement provides that it shall enter into force thirty (30) days after the deposit of the instrument of ratification by parties; 

NOW THEREFORE, calls upon this House to approve the Bilateral Agreement with Mozambique on the Pungwe Watercourse, put and agreed to.

          On the motion of THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY, POSTAL AND COURIER SERVICES (HON. MANDIWANZIRA), the Senate adjourned at Four o’clock p.m.  

Last modified on Thursday, 04 May 2017 14:18
Senate Hansard SENATE HANSARD 03 MAY 2017 VOL 26 NO 50