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SENATE HANSARD 06 APRIL 2016 VOL 25 NO 39

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PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Wednesday, 6th April, 2016

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

PRAYERS

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

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: I move that Order of the Day No 1, be stood over until all the other Orders of the Day have been disposed of.

          HON. SEN. MARAVA: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

 

 

MOTION

PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS

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

Question again proposed.

HON. SEN. TAWENGWA: I move that the debate be now adjourned.

HON. SEN. MARAVA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Thursday, 7th April, 2016.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE 133RD ASSEMBLY OF THE INTERPARLIAMENTARY UNION (IPU)

Third Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Zimbabwe Delegation Report on the 133rd Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

Question again proposed.

HON. SEN. SIANSALI: I move that the debate be now adjourned.

HON. SEN. MARAVA: I second.

Motion put and agreed.

          Debate to resume: Thursday, 7th April, 2016.

MOTION

REHABILITATION OF WAR SHRINES AND RECOGNITION OF DEPARTED WAR LIBERATORS

Fourth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion calling for rehabilitation and maintenance of War Shrines.

Question again proposed.

          HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: I move that the debate be now adjourned.

          HON. SEN. TAWENGWA: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Thursday, 7th April, 2016.

MOTION

CONGRATULATORY MESSAGE TO HIS EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT AS CHAIRMAN OF AFRICAN UNION

Fifth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion to congratulate His Excellency, the President, Cde. R.G. Mugabe and the Government of Zimbabwe on successfully leading the African Union (AU) and Southern African Development Community (SADC) as Chairperson.

Question again proposed.

 

HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: I move that the debate be now adjourned.

          HON. SEN. MARAVA: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Thursday, 7th April, 2016.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE ZIMBABWE DELEGATION TO THE 38TH PLENARY ASSEMBLY OF THE SADC PARLIAMENTARY FORUM

          Sixth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Zimbabwe Delegation Report on the 38th Plenary Assembly of the SADC Parliamentary Forum.

          Question again proposed.

          HON. SENATOR CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          HON. SENATOR TAWENGWA: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Thursday, 7th April, 2016.

MOTION

TRADITIONAL CHIEFS MANDATE

          Seventh Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the role of traditional leaders.

          Question again proposed.

          *HON. SENATOR CHIEF CHISUNGA: Thank you Mr. President, for giving me the opportunity to make my contribution to this motion and I also want to thank Hon. Senator Mawire for bringing this motion. This is an excellent motion which is talking of the restoration of the powers of the chiefs as the custodians of our culture. As a country, if we put everything into perspective there is going to be progress and peace in the country.

The most important aspect which is topical in the role of the traditional chiefs is that as traditional leaders, chiefs and headmen, our first and foremost highest role is that maybe at times people in the country may not understand our roles and functions. That is why people have this view that chieftainship is a department of convenience, especially when they want something and want to mobilise people, they call upon the chiefs to do so. We are saying this is one of those small, tiny roles of the chiefs. Hence, we are calling upon the upholding of chieftainship, giving it the respect which it deserves.

During the colonial era, the chiefs had some of their rights usurped. What I believe is that, if that had not been done we would be meeting somewhere and not in Parliament as chiefs. The settlers deprived the chiefs of their powers and were belittled to an extent that they became nonentities. What is now happening is that as chiefs, we are fighting for what is due to us and was deprived of us because we were told in this august House that if chiefs are empowered and given their roles and functions, they will be free from any influence from anyone because they are so important.

When we look at the Constitution, we are informed that chieftainship should be apolitical. Chiefs should not be involved in party politics. At times you find that chiefs are forced to get into politics because they want to benefit from the convenience and they feel if they do not belong to a particular party, they will be deprived of some right or privileges. We appeal to the Government to please uphold the custodian of chiefs because if they are put in their rightful place, there will not be any need to come to Parliament to make these political debates.

As chiefs, we are saying if these powers are restored the chiefs will stay in their areas or chiefdoms such that they will not be forced to attend rallies but let their subjects to go and partake in politics and do whatever it is they want to do. Chiefs will be apolitical. We feel chiefs are being used by politicians and held like a puppet on a string. These chiefs are denied of some of their privileges and rights. During the politicking towards elections, the chiefs are then given those things which were due to them because they are now being enticed into campaigning for the party.

Sometime back, chiefs would be given up to four tonnes of seed maize and agricultural inputs for drought relief because they wanted to use them during the election period. After the elections, the chiefs were set aside and now during the distribution of food or agricultural inputs, the chiefs are nowhere to be seen because they are no longer useful. We are saying, if we read Chapter 15 of the Constitution, we are told of the roles and functions of the chiefs. Many people do not even know the roles and functions of the chiefs and they wonder what chiefs are there for but there are lots of things which have to be done by the chiefs in their areas of jurisdiction.

Hon. Chief Charumbira, the President of the Chiefs Council has said again and again that the Chief’s Court is trusted more than the Magistrate’s Court because going to that court is not very expensive. The chief’s judgment is instant, not delayed and justice is done. People would feel it right to be tried in the Chief’s Court. I wish we could go back to the COPAC document which led to the Constitution because people talked a lot on what they want these people to put on. As an example, people were saying the status of chiefs should be raised to that of a Minister and that the chiefs should wear gold crowns and labels. When a chief has been given that treatment, he or she will not interfere with the political affairs of the country.

Therefore, we are appealing to you Hon. Members that chiefs should be empowered and be given what is due to them according to the Constitution and our culture. As chiefs, we should merely be observers in political activities and not be players and substitutes in the political game. A chief should be apolitical. I thank you.

          *HON. SEN. KOMICHI: Thank you Honourable President of the Senate. Thank you Honourable Senator Mawire for raising this motion which is under debate. The Honourable Chief who has just delivered his speech, I support your speech 100%. We should give due respect to our chiefs. The chiefs should be given what is due them and again their status should be raised. Chiefs should not be threatened by officials from Government who come into their areas as District Administrators, Provincial Administrators or politicians. Chiefs are above all those people.

          As far as our culture is concerned, our chiefs should be living a lavish life. When we go to our history and look at our chiefs such as Munhumutapa, Lobengula and Mzilikazi, they were the highest people in the country in their jurisdiction and we also want our chiefs to take that status in the country. When we look at the history of the chiefs, they were tortured and humiliated by the Smith regime when he declared the Unilateral Declaration of Independence in 1965. The chiefs were humiliated and given rules which were against their chieftainship. When we had the War of Liberation, Ian Smith further aggravated the situation of the chiefs by dividing them. At the end of it all, the chiefs ran away from their areas of jurisdiction and went to seek refuge in the cities like Harare, Bulawayo and others because of the cruelty of the Smith regime.

          The War of Liberation was fought to liberate everybody in this country - including the chiefs who were humiliated, tormented and tortured by Ian Smith. To support the speech given, chiefs should be given the role which they should play. Their status should be elevated. They should be given what is due to them, their privileges and rights. We should know that it is a sin against God to put our chiefs into political manipulation. The chief has people who are under his chiefdom especially when you talk of the people who could be in the rural areas or in the cities, they belong to one chief or the other. So, when we are looking at the tenets of democracy, we see that the chiefs should be empowered so that they reinforce democracy in the country. The chiefs should be empowered to resolve the conflicts of the people in their jurisdiction in rural areas without any political affiliation.

          We have noticed that when a Government is coming into power, the first people they subjugate and humiliate are the chiefs. The Chiefs Council should be an institution which is independent and apolitical. It should be an institution which is given its own Vote from the Treasury and these chiefs should employ their own secretariat which is not under the Public Service Commission. The chiefs should be running their institution according to the traditions and culture of their areas and hence the chiefs should have all the data on the chieftainship and culture of those people. All the people who belong to that chieftainship should have all the data at the Chiefs Council so that when people want to appoint a chief, it will be easy to make reference to the Chiefs Council. But what is happening is that when a new Minister of Local Government and Public Works takes over the first idea that comes into that Minister’s head is to manipulate the chiefs so that they toe his line.

          When we are watching the Nigerian soap operas, when they talk of an Igwe, they talk of somebody who is powerful. An Igwe is an Igwe but when we come to Zimbabwe, Honourable Senator Chief Charumbira is not given the power that is due him and yet you know that Chief Charumbira is the chief of chiefs and should be given that respect because of what belongs to him. Let us treasure and nurture that culture of holding our chiefs in high esteem. If we uphold the status of our chiefs, we will live in a peaceful and prosperous country.

          I believe in that and if chiefs are given whatever is due them, people will be envying their status because they will be saying, I want to be a chief because of the privileges which are due them like a good mansion with electricity, running water, flashing up toilet and borehole. A chief should not be subjected to drinking water from contaminated sources. A chief should be travelling in a Mercedes Benz or an off road vehicle so that when he is going to see his people, they should be a people of status. When chiefs are coming to Parliament, they should have a special place built for them like the public gallery which should be a raised platform where they can sit and look down at us as we debate in this august Senate. Chiefs, I love you. I adore you and it is my wish that you be given all the privileges and powers. I believe in that and should my party get into power, we will definitely make a change in your lives by raising your status so that you are the envy of your chieftainship. I thank you.

*HON. SEN. MACHINGAIFA: Thank you Mr. President for according me this opportunity to debate on the motion which was raised by Senator Mawire and seconded by Senator Manyeruke about the roles and functions of chiefs in Zimbabwe. As I stand to debate on this very important motion, when we say chief, we are talking of Zimbabwe as a country. The chiefs are the custodians of Zimbabwe as a country.

When I was growing up Mr. President, what I saw during that time and what is happening today, there is a huge difference. I do not know whether it is because we are all blacks, because a person referred to as a magistrate would leave his office and visit a chief in the rural area. He would spend days there till what he had travelled for is completed. These days you find that the chief is expected to travel by bus to visit the District Administrator. This is very disheartening Mr. President. When chiefs get into the bus, they are referred to as staff but if the bus is full, they are made to stand because they do not pay money. So, the chief is expected to stand and give his seat to those who are paying. This is not respecting a chief.

Mr. President, I remember the other year when my brother was a chief. He went to Chinhoyi for a meeting and there was an official at the meeting who told the chief that the DA is below him. When my brother came back, he told me that the DA left us behind because he was told that we are above him. The buses that day demanded bus fare from them. So, they had a terrible time. When we grew up, honour was given to chiefs, even in the mines and farms. I grew up in the Zisco Steel area. There were foreign chiefs by Mupezeni or Karindawara, but the big chief was Nyashanu. Even in the compound, they knew that there was a chief who would arbitrate between people so that they do not forget their culture. These days, there is nothing like that.

I do not know why it is dying because if I go back, our President bestowed great honour on the chiefs. During the times of pangolins, many people brought the pangolins to the President but he said these pangolins should not be given to him but to the chiefs. This other day when I went for a celebration in Zvimba, the chiefs were there. I saw a Government official giving a hard time to the chiefs that he was drunk. He said he wanted to remove the chief’s badge. So, I thought if he is a Government official, how could he say that he would remove the badge from the chief - simply because he is a Government worker. I was troubled by that.

During the COPAC Outreach, we dwelt much on the chiefs’ welfare that they should get the respect that they deserve. If it were possible, houses should be constructed for them that there should be an official house so that anyone who has the turn to rule, should leave their homes and stay in that official home which is electrified. Even where they come from, they should be electrified as well. You could distinguish a chief because they were big. If they were dark in complexion it was good, and those who were light, their complexion would also look very good, which was a sign of prosperity. That is how our chiefs were viewed.

Mr. President, we are appealing and it is an outcry. We do not know how to go about it because during one of our outreach programmes, the President of the chiefs was pleading that we should be given a Commissioner of chiefs who is a chief as well to lead us because he knows how chieftainship comes about, instead of having someone who is not a chief to lead us. We see that as we go further, there are people who are called for culture. What they have is more than what the chiefs have, but the culture that he is spearheading, is the culture of the chiefs. Instead of the chiefs being the director of chiefs because he is the custodian of the culture, we do not learn culture from universities. It is a traditional thing with different chieftainships. It is not like a soccer uniform. There are different cultures.

We are appealing that the powers or the respect which was removed from the chiefs, those who have the powers should return them so that we go forward. The other year when I was reading a booklet which was written by Mrs. Macleans from the Internal Affairs during the Smith Regime, she was saying those who know that they belong to the chieftainship, are the ones who should read this book so that they know about chiefs. It had 88 pages which meant that the person called a chief should know about the church, culture as well as politics because he is a leader. His politics are to show the way to his subordinates that wherever I point, it is in the right direction.

I appeal to that those who are withholding those powers. What we see on TVs is true. In Nigeria you can distinguish a chief from the house that he is staying, clothing of people surrounding him, you can see that they are really following their culture. This issue is very important. We seek the intervention of the Lord so that chiefs in this country should be respected and be given their respect, that they should not be troubled by these young people. Where I come from there are five chiefs, they arbitrated on one of them and barred him from entering the area, but that person is seen roaming in that area because chiefs do not have any powers. I think if we respect chiefs, if you see the powers that chiefs in Botswana and South Africa have, you will see that there is a difference as compared to Zimbabwe. Even how they are treated in Government, there is a difference - they do not get such benefits. Here in Zimbabwe, there is only a Chief’s Council, there are no committees headed by chiefs. Such things bring dishonor to them as chiefs.

          A chief should not be respected simply because he has a degree. A chief should not be forced to go to school but should be respected as he is. What is of importance are traditional issues not educational qualifications. Thank you Mr. President.

          *HON. SEN. MURONZI: Thank you Mr President, for giving me the opportunity to make my contribution on the motion raised by Hon. Sen. Mawire. This is a very important motion. I also thank Hon. Sen. Manyeruke for seconding this motion. Hon. Sen. Mawire, when you raised this motion, it was because you realised what has happened in this country, the El Nino-induced drought, hence, you decided to raise this motion so that we can see the importance of chiefs in our lives and culture.

          The chiefs are the rulers in this country. I also support the fact that the chiefs should be bestowed the powers which are due to them and the respect and aura they deserve. I also thank members who made contributions to this motion on the support which should be given to chiefs.

          My husband’s family is that of chieftainship. He belongs to the Chief Mutumba clan. We went to the chief to ask for adjudication because our cattle had been driven out of the grazing land by other people. The chief told us openly that he had no jurisdiction, it was beyond his powers to try such. Therefore, as traditional leaders, we are appealing to the powers that be that chiefs should not be forced to participate in partisan politics.

          Chiefs are very important and in their area of jurisdiction, they also have traditional and spiritual leaders. I have noticed that the chiefs are not divided; they are not very sure on whether to follow Christianity and ignore traditional cultures. I belong to the Mutoko clan and my father went to fetch firewood in a place which is sacred, the Dzimbahwe. He was taken to the chiefs’ court for trial and was fined two cattle because of defiling a sacred place.

          I have had contributions in this House that we have people in the chief’s jurisdiction who are invading the sacred place and going there for picnic, they cannot be tried because the chiefs have no jurisdiction. I also believe that these chiefs are aware of the spiritual leaders in their areas of jurisdiction. They are the people who are consulted during times of problems.

          During the war of liberation, we had a spiritual leader who was called Nyamhanga who said that none of my people will get into protected villages, called ‘Keeps’ during the colonial era. Even when that ‘Keep-holding cell’ was constructed in Mutoko, nobody was taken there because the spiritual leader had set that rule and nobody could abrogate it.

          We are saying, as chiefs, whether you belong to a Christian community, you should be able to identify cultural beliefs and separate them from Christianity. You know some of the taboos which lead to starvation or shortage of rains in the area. You should abhor those cultural beliefs so that your area has the blessings from the Lord. I thank you very much.

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

          HON. SEN. MARAVA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Thursday, 7th April, 2016.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE DELEGATION TO THE 7TH WORLD WATER CONFERENCE

          Eighth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the Parliament of Zimbabwe Delegation to the 7th World Water Conference.  

          Question again proposed.

          HON. SEN. MLOTSHWA: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity. I think it is time for me to wind up this report. It is unfortunate if there are some Hon. Senators who still wanted to debate. Through listening to the debates in response to this report, it showed that Hon. Senators realise and know that water is life. I wish the Minister could have responded to this motion because of its importance.

          Hon. Senators raised fundamental points, but it is unfortunate that maybe, the Minister will not take on board what the members were saying in creating policies. Mr. President, I will not mention the names of Hon. Senators who contributed because I do not have all the records and I would not like to offend my fellow colleagues. However, I know that all that was said is on Parliamentary record.

          Mr. President, I would like the Hon. Senators to revisit the report that was circulated, particularly on the launch of a help-desk and the objectives that it provides in the pigeon holes in order to read on 3.1. The objectives of the Help desk are:

  • To provide specialised technical services related to adoption, development and implementation of water legislation and budget allocation;
  • Enable knowledge sharing between MPs and water legislation experts in different countries;
  • Develop and present examples of best practices around water legislation.

Mr. President, I think this is very important and I also want to add information that for the Southern Africa, it was presented to us on that forum, that South Africa is the one that is holding the Help desk for the Southern Africa Water Forum. I wish to give information to my colleagues that if they google and want to understand everything about the Help desk, they might find out that South Africa is holding the position until the next Water Forum.

Mr. President, in the vein of Section 77 that I mentioned in the report, I also want to urge Members to look into the Constitution on exactly what it means. Every person has a right to safe, clean portable water and sufficient food. The State must take reasonable legislative and other measures within the limits of the resources available to it, to achieve the progressive realisation of this right. It seems to me that it is continuous. It has to continue in our lives, in our present Parliament and the next Parliament. Even if we are out of this Parliament, it must be remembered every time that the State must afford people clean water.

If you go back to my report, it says “overcoming challenges of water security in so far as harnessing rain water, ground water, river basins, water sheds and wetlands”. I thought it was important that I remind my fellow colleagues about what we discussed on this forum. Also, in the mining sector, the mining of river basins is disadvantaging people waiting for water on the other end. I got reports from many people who were saying that rivers are no longer bringing the water to where they are because of mining activities on the river banks, depriving people of the precious liquid. Mr. President, with these few words, I move for the adoption of the report: -

That this House takes note of the Report of the Parliament of Zimbabwe Delegation to the 7th Water Conference held in Gyeongju, Republic of Korea from 13th to 16th April, 2015.

Motion put and adopted.

On the motion of HON. SENATOR MASUKU seconded by HON. SENATOR MLOTSHWA, the Senate adjourned at Twenty Five Minutes past Three o’clock p.m.

Senate Hansard SENATE HANSARD 06 APRIL 2016 VOL 25 NO 39