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SENATE HANSARD 06 FEBRUARY 2019 VOL 28 NO 29

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PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Wednesday, 6th February, 2019

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

PRAYERS

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

MOTION

PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS

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

          Question again proposed.

          THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR MASHONALAND CENTRAL PROVINCE (HON. SEN. MAVHUNGA): Madam President, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Tuesday, 12th February, 2019.

MOTION

IMPORTANCE OF INTERCROPPING AND GROWING OF SMALL GRAINS

          Second Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the need to educate the nation on the importance of intercropping and growing small grains.

          Question again proposed.

          *HON. SEN. RAMPANEPASI: Thank you Mr. President.  I was very impressed by the motion raised by Hon. Sen. Tongogara and Hon. Sen. Chimbudzi.  When we grew up, we used to eat okra, sorghum, kapenta fish with peanut butter and beans flavored with brown sugar and they looked like baked beans.  Our parents also used to roast pumpkin and water melon seeds that we used as relish, which was very nutritious.

Today’s wives are now cooking food badly and people end up suffering from stomach ache.  We need to eat nutritious food.  As we were growing up, we used to feed on maize which was mixed with pumpkins; this food was put together to create a meal called ravariya.   Mr. President, we were very healthy because we were eating nutritious foods.  As of now, young children are being given junk food.  I am not wrong if I say some of the reasons for the high rate of divorce could be bad cooking.  The husband is given some sadza which is not properly cooked. The sadza is just cooked and served instantly. In our days, we used to simmer sadza for more than fifteen to twenty minutes.  That is why we are now begging for the new generation to go back to our culture and start eating our traditional foods. 

I am talking mainly about the girl child because they are the ones responsible for upholding the household chores.  As a result, you will find that a husband will go and feed at his mother’s house where the food is properly cooked. When he comes to his wife’s food, the food will be junk to the extent that he will not eat.  Mr. President, we have this feeling that the husband is spoiled that is why he keeps on running back to his mother.  In some cases we even say he was given a love portion where he was born.  I am urging my fellow women to be able to cook properly.  Today’s woman is feeding children on junk food which is unhealthy and that is why I am grateful for this motion.  Thank you.

*HON. SEN. MALULEKE:  Thank you Mr. President for giving me the chance to make my contribution on this special motion.  You may find that I may be mixing my language because my ethnic language and Shona are almost the same.  I am also grateful to Hon. Sen. Tongogara and Hon. Sen. Chimbudzi for raising this motion. It is quite a pertinent motion and very essential especially for us in this august House. As far as I am concerned they have given us a role to go and be role models in our constituencies because it is a very constructive motion.  Today’s generation is looking down upon our tradition, our culture and food, yet we grew up healthy and strong because of those traditional foods.  During our generation, our parents would wake you up very early in the morning to do certain chores like going to fields then you would go to school after that. 

          We used to have a seed crop which would grow in a very short space of time, especially when we talk of sorghum and finger millet.  In my area we have a conservative game park called Gonarezhou and that is where we have these birds called the quelea birds and in Tshangani we call them monda.  Nowadays people are growing white sorghum, we also had some red millet which we called gangala umotodi and it needed no pesticides since they were not attacked by pests.  We have different types of sorghum and millets and these could stand any season.  After harvesting, we would put sorghum in mortar and pestle, roast and then starting grinding.  After this preparation the dish would be served with milk as relish.  We also had another kind of a meal which is called gusha picked up from the forests, sometimes we would have fish and other wild vegetables which would gather, and it was very nutritious.  These days we now have Blackjack which we used to take as a treatment for high blood pressure. 

          I am talking about this because we grew up very healthy and we did not have the kind of obesity which is now prevalent in this new generation.  Nowadays our daughters in law are giving us nicknames because we love sugar, so they are calling us glutens.  What I notice is that when you are feeding on sorghum it is that kind of a meal which has no sucrose - as a result, it is recommended that we give it to people who have chronic diseases (diabetics).  We used to eat these kinds of traditional foods which were very nutritious and we were very healthy and active.  At times where need arose, we would dry these vegetables so that in future when there are no green vegetables we would eat those dried.

          In my area we did not grow that finger millet because as soon as you broadcast that, there is a process which you have to follow but in our case we did not grow that because our kind of soil did not allow us to do that, but we grow the sorghum and other forms of millet. 

          Let me point out that some of these crops we used them as cash crops because after growing that kind of a meal you would sell it to your neighbors and even to other districts. You would also use the stock from these crops in feeding your animals and the difference between maize stock and millet stock in feeding the cattle is that the maize stock is quickly devoured by the cattle yet with the stock of millet sorghum lasts.   So, we have got a lot of cattle in our area because we could feed them even in winter.

          Once again, I am grateful to Hon. Sen. Tongogara and Hon. Sen. Chimbudzi and I am urging my fellow members to go and lead by example.  Let us not only leave this task to our traditional leaders.  I thank you.

          *HON. SEN. CHIFAMBA: Thank you Mr. President.  I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Tongogara and Hon. Sen. Chimbudzi for this pertinent motion.  I think this motion has been debated well.  Traditional food is very good for us, many diseases are coming because of the foods that we are eating.  Our wild fruits are very good because they have their natural sugar such as mangoes and peaches.  I remember as we were growing up that we would eat tsombori, maroro, Blackjack and mujakari.  Normally in summer I do not eat these other vegetables, I eat traditional vegetables. My children always laugh at me saying I take it to the extremes but it is very good because it builds our bodies. 

Even Blackjack is very good, it is as good as an antibiotic and it has some iron in it.  Even the health workers are encouraging those patients in hospitals to eat Blackjack since it increases their levels of blood.  Nowadays pints of blood are very expensive and at times one cannot even get it, so Blackjack would be very helpful.  It also helps in soothing the sore throat; these other tablets have side effects but if we use these traditional vegetables you find that we will not have high blood pressure or these other chronic disease because they are caused by some of the foods that we are taking. 

          I am glad that this motion has been raised because we encouraged as parents to urge our children to eat these.  Nowadays if you give children of this generation mbwire mbwire they will laugh at you but long back when we used to eat that, we would spend the whole day with our tummies full.  You can also use the pumpkin leaves as relish as well but you find that these days people shun those things.  Our elders never used to be weaklings because they would eat these wild fruits tsvanzvadziru which have medicinal values in them.

          So, I would like to thank the Hon. Senator for bringing this motion and taking us back on memory lane.  Most of us were now forgetting these foods to an extent that we no longer like sorghum because we are used to eat this white maize which causes us to be unhealthy. As the august House, we should go back and encourage our people. During our meetings when we meet the people, we should encourage them to go back to these traditional foods because they are more healthier than these exotic ones. Thank you.

          +HON. SEN. S. MPOFU: Thank you Mr. President. I want to thank Hon. Sen. Tongogara seconded by Hon. Sen. Chimbudzi for bringing up this motion about our traditional foods that as Zimbabweans, we should go eat traditional foods. These days doctors are encouraging us to eat traditional foods because they do not have fertilizers in them. Matabeleland North is in Regions 4 and 5 where there is very little rain. We notice that people of this region are supposed to be growing these small grains, but we are now addicted to maize hence we end up growing the maize which is not in sync with the climate in our area.

          We need to grow the small grains like sorghum, beans and peas because these are the crops we used to grow in the past. In the past, we used to brew beer in seven days and we would use yeast and rapoko for fermentation. As of now, people are brewing this traditional beer using some of the ingredients which are causing diseases in our bodies.  We now suffer from some chronic illnesses which were not prevalent that time.

          I can give an example where we had people in the past that used to drink a lot of this traditional beer but there were no illnesses which they would encounter. Now, we have people who are drunkards and are suffering from chronic illnesses because the ingredients which are put in these brews are causing all these illnesses. I know of some other forms of sorghum and rapoko which are not attacked by birds because of the way they are created. As the people of Zimbabwe, we are now aware of our climate and therefore let us grow crops which suit our climatic conditions accordingly.

          In the past, we used to grow sweet potatoes and we would have our tea with sweet potatoes. This was very healthy. Now we have made ourselves get used to having tea with bread which is creating health problems in ourselves. We used to have road runners, the traditional chicken but now we are eating chickens which are genetically modified, a bird which is ready for the table in four to five or six weeks. It is because of these genetically modified chemicals implanted in those birds that make them quickly grow. The result is that we get diseases because of those chemicals which are fed into the animals and they end up coming into our bodies hence the chronic illnesses.

We also believe in that cow beans are very precious as a traditional meal. When need arises, you may eat these cow peas and you may eat the leaves as well. Our doctors and health specialists are now encouraging us to eat these vegetables because no fertilizers are used on growing them.

          We are again used to these light cucumbers yet traditionally, we had our own forms of cucumber. We would grow these on fences and they would be very good nutritious food.  I am suggesting that we also encourage our off springs, our children and grandchildren to value these traditional foods.

One other discouraging thing is when you take this sorghum and rapoko and sell it to the Grain Marketing Board, when you compare with the maize, the GMB gives you less money than on maize and yet on the contrary, when the sorghum or rapoko has been processed to mealie-meal and you go to the shops, is more expensive than the maize meal. This is good because they are not genetically modified.

          We are encouraging our Agritex officers to encourage the farmers to grow these traditional crops. What I know is that whosoever grows these traditional crops will never suffer from moisture stress or from hunger because these traditional crops do well where there is little rain and nobody can suffer from hunger. I am grateful to what has been introduced by Hon. Sen. Tongogara and Hon. Sen. Chimbudzi. I thank you.

           *HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA: Thank you Mr. President for affording me this opportunity in support of this motion which was brought in by Hon. Sen. Tongogara, seconded by Hon. Sen. Chimbudzi about the farming of traditional crops. This is a very important issue. If we look back, rapoko, sorghum, finger-millet and ground nuts, were very important. Rapoko has many uses. We brew beer, make sadza and even sorghum and finger-millet also brews beer. So these crops are very important.

          If we look at the sadza from these three things with dried vegetables in peanut butter, it is the reason why ladies stood up supporting this motion because it is their area. I also support that the Government should encourage the farming of the crops that we have talked about in this House. They should come up with ways to provide the seeds because they are scarce. When we go out, we have heard this issue being brought up and you will find that people will want to do their traditional things. 

Let me come back to rapoko.  When people are willowing rapoko they would put all the items needed together.  They would invite people from different villages to come and they do the work together.  This would enable them to meet other people and would sing, women ululating which is no longer common these days.  When people were ullulating it was like a whistle being blown.  This was a way of bringing people together when people are reaping sorghum and rapoko.  You will find that these activities help by providing food and bringing people together.  We should really support this and people should continue with the practice. 

I have noticed that when people are eating these types of foods, they also included wild fruits like tsombori, matamba, tsubvu, et cetera.  All these were wild fruits that our people would depend on.  I really support that this should continue to be propagated so that our country would go further.  With these few words Mr. President, I thank you. 

HON. SEN. MAVETERA:  Thank you Mr. President.  Allow me to add a few words to this very important topic that was brought to the House by Hon. Sen. Tongogara.  Zimbabweans are blessed that we have a very beautiful country which was divided into five agricultural regions.  Each region was specific in terms of the crop production it was offering.  Unfortunately, we have stopped observing that, forcing our people to plant crops that are not suitable for their respective agricultural regions. 

Many people have talked about the nutritional and medicinal values of those small grains and I will not zero in on that.  I will try and emphasise the need to promote the growing of small grains in terms of food security.  Half of our country is in regions 4 and 5 and in these regions, the so called cash crops do not fare well.  We need to start as a Government to promote the growing of small grains.  One example is that at this moment we have Command Agriculture but there is no Command Agriculture for small grains.  We waste resources by giving people in Masvingo, Beitbridge Command Agricultural inputs, starving people who should be given here.  We should have Command Agriculture for the small grains in those respective areas.  We will make sure that we have enough food for our people. 

I grew up in Masvingo and we were growing rapoko, sorghum, mhunga. We never used to know that there is anything called drought.  Our parents would have granaries packed for almost 5 to 10 years, for example rukweza is not affected by zvipfukuto.  They would only dispose it when they have ensured that the new harvest is adequate.  Right now, as Government, we are promoting the growing of maize and even our research and development is focussed on cash crops as if we all depend on cash crops, forgetting to emphasise that more than half our population live in those areas suitable for small grains.  If you ask the agricultural extension officers in our areas, they do not even know about small grains.  They come and preach about maize which do not fare well.  As a result, we now start to think - do we need to focus and put irrigation in places like Beitbridge and Masvingo? I think it is a waste.  We need to focus on irrigation for areas where it is needed.  Drought areas can survive without irrigation if we move that motion and promote small grain production. 

Firstly, small grains are drought resistant.  Even if we had severe drought, they wither but when the rains come, they will sprout.  That is the advantage but we have since forgotten to do that.  People right now do not know about it because we are not promoting it.  I think the pricing structure should be reviewed to make it attractive for people to venture into small grain production.  When we also look at the research and development which is happening in our country in terms of harvesting, people are leaving the farming of these small grains because it is labour intensive.  As a nation, in terms of harvesting and all the other issues related to small grains, we are not doing enough research so that we make it easier for people who are growing small grains to harvest.

This topic which was brought by Hon. Sen. Tongogara is a very important topic to the nation and we need to give it the importance it deserves.  She also raised the issue of intercropping.  A few weeks ago, we were debating a motion on siltation.  When we practice intercropping, one of the advantages is that it prevents soil erosion.  We used not to have that problem because our forefathers were practising intercropping.  It also prolonged the life of the soils.  With those few words Mr. President, I would want the Hon. Senators in here, we are the leaders, when we go to our respective constituencies, to do our programmes, let us engage in programmes that are going to help our people.  If we start by promoting small grain production for those that come from those areas, that is something which is going to change the livelihood of the people rather than make them queue the whole day for maize seed and fertilisers that you know within three months the crops will be dry and the people will not benefit anything. 

I think if we are going to look at the cost benefit analysis of the Command Agriculture in Regions 4 and 5, it is a waste.  However, we do not blame those people that are taking up that command.  We have to blame ourselves as Government and as leaders that we are not promoting the right things that are going to change the lives of the people.  I thank you Mr. President.

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

HON. SEN. SHUMBA:  I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume:  Thursday, 7th February, 2019.

MOTION

SILTATION IN RIVERS AND DAMS

          Third Order read:  Adjourned debate on motion on the level of siltation which is threatening the existence of most rivers and dams.

          Question again proposed.

          HON. SEN. MBOHWA:  I would like to thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to debate on this very important motion.  I would also like to thank Hon. Sen. Chief Chundu who raised this motion in this august Senate and his seconder, Hon. Sen. Chief Chikwaka.

 Mr. President, shortage of water due to diminishing dams and rivers have deprived both human and animals access to the basic commodity, which is water.  Water is very important in our day to day lives as we use it for our domestic uses, especially cleaning, drinking, cooking, washing, bathing, et cetera.  Also due to siltation, loss of biodiversity due to disappearance of river bodies, that is the river pools which have run dry and wetlands which have also run dry.  This has also destroyed the natural beauty of the land.  Mr. President, Zimbabwe used to have beautiful scenic views which would attract tourists but all that is gone. 

On tourism Mr. President, I would like to bring to your attention the issue of game parks.  Due to siltation, our parks are almost empty.  Animals have migrated to nearby settlements in search of water and poachers and the communities have taken advantage of these stray animals and kill them.  I remember in 2017, I accompanied pupils to Hwange National Park.  We were all excited and the pupils were excited but we were surprised when we got there.  We only managed to see three elephants, some kudus, and I do not know the other animal that we saw because the school kids were saying “iyo, iyo.”  It was just behind a bush, a brownish thing and I could not tell what it was.  We were told that it was an eland.  That was after one hour drive.  Virtually, there was nothing that we saw. 

As we were driving in the game park, we came across water points which were almost drying up and you can see how pathetic it is.  All this is caused by the land which has been caused by siltation.  Imagine how disappointed I was as a teacher who had accompanied pupils and how disappointed the pupils were.  I was asking myself, what am I going to tell the parents of these pupils.  They had paid $60 for the transport, $5 to enter into the national park, only to see those few animals which are even common in Gokwe North.  Those who know Gokwe North, there are also stray animals which have migrated from Chirisa and Nyaurungwe.  There were lots of them that we had left in Gokwe North.  For example, we have got stray hyenas, elephants are there in numbers not three, there are zebras, monkies and baboons.  Dai yachingoitwa zvayo national park.” All this has been caused by the dryness of the land. 

We are also losing foreign currency.  Tourists used to come and buy jewellery from shells of crabs but those crabs are now diminishing in numbers, which means we are losing a lot, affecting us economically.  Tourists would come and do fishing but now there are collected points where they can go and fish.  Recreational activities have also been inhibited.  I still remember Mr. President when I was young, I was at Mateta.  There was a small river called Tondoro and there were many pools in there where we would go after school and swim.  We would learn swimming skills like “gege, chamunyurududu” but that is history.  If you visit that small river, it is just like it is now a playing ground.  I am talking of a small river. 

We have big rivers like Sanyati where we used to see people fishing along the river but now it is history.  As soon as the rains go, Sanyati is dry.  I ask myself, if this big river which is supposed to feed Lake Kariba is like this, what would Lake Kariba be in 30 years to come?  What will the future generations see?  That is why this motion is very important because the future generations will never see what we have witnessed ourselves. 

As I have said, siltation inhibits fishing.  If we take people in Binga, they survive on fishing as their source of income and even as food.  It is their staple food.  Imagine if all rivers in Binga get silted, what will happen to those people; disaster.  Even fish farming, it is impossible to do fish farming because there are a few ponds that are left for fishing. 

Mr. President, coming to agriculture, Zimbabwe used to be the bread basket of Africa but are we still in the same position?  No. Our water bodies, I mean the rivers and the dams used to store plenty of water that will be enough for irrigation but now the Government is investing into irrigation, hence losing a lot of money.  ZINWA, instead of just filtering readily available water, it even goes to the extent of extracting water from underground, sometimes 200 metres deep. In 30 years, it will be 400m.  Is this not expensive for the Government?  Last year I think the Government imported rigs because I think they were saying the water tables have gone down so they now needed the rigs which would go 200m deep.  So, we are being affected economically. Even the cloud seeding, it is just an expense to the Government due to siltation because these water bodies- rain used to come through natural processes made by God whereby these river bodies would evaporate, make clouds, condens and come down as rainfall but nowadays Government has to complement and it is expensive for the Government just because the rivers are drying up; all water points are drying up.

          Remember Mr. President that our country is land locked, if we do not move fast enough, we are going to face something very dangerous in the near future.  I would also like to touch on river flooding. Since all rivers are silted, soon after raining, you will find that the river is already flooded and it is a threat to human life, even to the crops like what happened in Kamakuni in Gokwe North where pupils were killed while crossing the river. How many rivers are like Kamakuni?  I think we should stop playing a blame game.  We should join our hands together, vamwe vanoti iwe neni tine basa padevelopment.  I think from my own perspective, the Ministry of Lands and Agriculture should work hand in glove with village heads and traditional leaders and remove those people who are practicing river bank cultivation – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –

          I still remember Hon. Sen. Chief Chikwaka saying instead of saying torapa musoro, sometimes we should find out what has caused that headache, it could be that the headache is detecting something which is wrong in the human system.  So, the best thing that we should do is to deal with the causes of siltation first then we come to the remedy.  Even the Ministry of Local Government should remove all those people who are on wet lands – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – I would also think that Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate, may be through EMA, I do not know its arms, should introduce stiffer penalties for those who willy nilly cut down trees and those who simply burn grass for the sake of burning – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –

          Also the Ministry of Lands, that is my own view of thinking through its officers – I think there is a problem in that Ministry – chinhu chinonzi Makwikwi chakauya chativuraya.  You will find that these officers are only helping farmers who have joined Makwikwi. If you are not in the Makwikwi, they will not attend to your field.  Long ago, there were policemen who used to go field by field, checking whether every field has contour ridges (makandiwa).  They used to conserve water and the ground will remain wet. Nowadays no one checks about that and when it rains, rivers just flows and the water flows away.  That is why you find that even in agriculture, we are having problems because we are not harnessing that water which we are given by God.

          [Time Limit]

          Finally, us as Legislators, I think we should also educate the community on why and how it is important to prevent siltation.  May be the relevant Ministries should also come in and extract those staying on water bodies, I think we will get somewhere.  I thank you Mr. President.

          HON. SEN. MOHADI: Thank you Mr. President.  I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Chief Chundu for bringing this motion to this august House.  Mr. President, water is life. Without water, both fauna and flora will not exist, So we have to prevent anything that prohibits the existence of water.  Siltation has become a threat. Let me give you an example of one of our largest dams in Zimbabwe which is called the Zhove Dam in Beitbridge.  When that dam started, the tail of that dam was at 15km away from the dam wall but if you go there today, you will find that it is all silted.

          Funny enough last year, an elephant tried to cross the river at the far end of the dam, that elephant could not cross the river, it was drowned in the muddy area because there was no sand to cross on.  When it approached the river, it thought it could cross because it could see the level of the water not knowing that deep down, there was only mud.  It had to be killed in that river just because of the siltation.  Our dams are silting now and we have no water.  The capacity for that dam to hold enough water is no more.  All those farmers who are living at the upstream now who used to cultivate along the river cannot do so because they do not have enough water.

          Let me allude to what the other speaker has just said; we have to find, first and foremost the root causes of this siltation.  We cannot look for remedies before we do not even know what causes siltation.  It is not only happening in that dam which is in Beitbridge, I also saw it happening in Mazowe Dam when I visited.  It was not pleasing at all; something has to be done immediately.

          Mr. President, the sledges that we pull in the areas cause a lot of loosening of the soil as a result when rains fall, they will carry all that loose soil into the rivers and our dams. 

          Mr. President, overstocking also is a problem; you find that the cattle will end up creating a small road leading to the water point. As a result when the rains come, the water will also follow those small roads created by our livestock.  There are so many issues that we can talk about that cause siltation.

          Nowadays because of the Climate Change we are experiencing a lot of hailstorms, these hailstorms will pound heavily on the ground and all that water will lead to our reservoirs which are dams and rivers, creating small streams leading to the rivers.  At the end of the day there will be a lot of soil erosion.

          Another great enemy is the human being.  Human beings now searching for food; they are cultivating on the river banks not leaving the recommended measurements expected by extension workers.  They cultivate until they get right inside the river.  Also, the random cutting down of trees, as a result at the end of the day we have a lot of siltation which is beyond repair.  If you look at the repairing of these silting dams it might even cost more than constructing a new dam because scooping the area tends to be very expensive.  Then if it is so, what should be done? Really we ought to come up with a plan on how best we can minimize because it has already happened and we cannot completely stop, we have to at least minimize. We have to at least start realizing that our populations are growing and our country does not grow any further and it does not expand; we have to practice soil conservation in any way that we can.       We should educate our farmers on the importance of constructing contour regions in our fields in order to minimize siltation. 

          Mr. President, we should educate our farmers to avoid veld fires.  These fires are just burnt randomly everywhere, it so disheartening. These veld fires leave the ground bare with no trees and grass which can control the movement of water.  These veld fires also loosen the top soil, when rain comes it all goes to the rivers and our dams.  There should be massive education in order to avoid this.  You also find that we have swampy areas which were meant to conserve water but as of now all those areas have become maize fields.  I do not know if it caused by hunger or maybe it is lack of knowledge.  If it is lack of knowledge, then we have work to do.  We have to educate these farmers, maybe they do not know because in 10-20 years to come, we will leave no legacy for our children.

          Mr. President, I will conclude by giving you a short story about what happened in another country which I will not mention its name.  People in this country had cut all the tress – I am talking about legacy now.  So, when the next generations were born they found that there were no trees.  However, whenever people wanted to go to the bush toilet, just like what our people do in the countryside, they would walk long distances carrying umbrellas.  So, they would use these umbrellas as a shield whilst assisting themselves in the bush toilet.  When the young generation noticed this, they wondered on what was happening until they asked why the country had no trees.  So, they were told that long ago there were big forests within the country and their forefathers used to cut down trees randomly until there was nothing left.  The few parents who were left woke up one morning to find youths who had organised themselves to rebel against their parents.  They went to the graves of their forefathers kicking and rebuking at the graves.

          The youth asked what legacy the parents had left; since they were told that there were so many trees and yet today there is nothing. So, let us take care so that our graves will not be kicked by our children when we are gone for leaving them in the country that is bare without trees, and dams.  They will just be seeing the walls of those dams but without sand and they cannot remove them in any way.  I thank you.

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

          HON. SEN. CHIEF NGEZI: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Thursday, 7th February, 2019.

MOTION

CORRUPTION ALLEGATIONS BY THE ZIMBABWE CRICKET BOARD

          Fourth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the allegations of corruption by the Zimbabwe Cricket Board.

          Question again proposed.

          THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR MASHONALAND CENTRAL PROVINCE (    HON. SEN. MAVHUNGA): I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Thursday, 7th February, 2019.

MOTION

OUTBREAKS OF VELD FIRES

          Fifth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the recurrence of outbreaks of veld fires with devastating effects on the environment.

          Question again proposed.

          *HON. SEN. SHUMBA: Thank you Hon. Sen. Gumpo for moving this motion on veld fires which is done by irresponsible people. When I was listening to the previous Speakers, they talked about the devastating effects of these veld fires because it destroys the entire flora and the fauna. I was born in Mberengwa long time back. We did not see these veld fires as frequently as we do now. We only saw these fires in the sacred place such as the Bukwa Hills. The interpretation was that when we see the fires in the Bukwa Mountain, the rains are about to come, but what is happening is really disturbing because we have veld fires all over the place. What is disturbing about the fires is that we are destroying the pastures for our animals both wild and husbandry.

          We also know of some animals which have their habitat in these grasslands such as snakes and the birds. I was talking to my grandchildren and I asked them if they knew of an animal called a tortoise. I told them that it is an animal which has a hard shell. Whenever it is approached by an enemy or human being, it would quickly roll to seek for its refuge in its hard shell. These have been destroyed because of the wild veld fires which are caused deliberately by arsonists.

          When I look at what is happening, especially in my area in Mberengwa, we say this is the thing which has been westernized and we do not even know the uses of these grasslands and these trees because we knew that when we had these grasses, we had no use for them. In the past, we used to thatch our houses using this grass. Now, because of modernisation, we are using asbestos and zinc sheets, hence we do not see the need for preserving this grass. This is because what is happening now if you thatch a house, it is a sign of poverty and it is a sign of failing to move up with the times. What I have observed is that a thatched house is very cool.

          Of late, I have noticed that tourists prefer going to lodges and motels which are thatched. What is happening now is when we continue burning out these veld fires, tourists will end up not coming to Zimbabwe. Like I have said that some animals like the tortoise have disappeared. I am very grateful to our chiefs in Mwenezi because they still uphold their culture. In the periods of high fire risks in August, September and October, they do not want anybody to go and burn anything in those trees. If you burn any Mopani tree, you are in problems because if you do that, you are taken to the court or the village court. If you are convicted, you pay the fine of a beast, a goat, cow or even chicken.

          When I move around I feel disappointed and I feel that the traditional leaders in other areas should copy what it happening in my home area in Mwenezi. I used to talk to my fellow Hon. Members and telling them that some of the trees will remain stranded because they cannot grow up because they are burnt through the veld fires every year. My wish is that whosoever is convicted on these veld fires or this arson, they should be incarcerated for a very long time. What happens when these trees and grasses are burnt is that they hold together the soils.

          So, what this means is that if they are destroyed and when the rains come, there is soil erosion. This perpetuates soil erosion. In our time, we used to hunt and even poor hunters would be able to catch a hare because when you are moving around within those grass lands, you will find a hare running away and you quickly get hold of it and if you have dogs, they would quickly catch it.

          As stated by Hon. Sen. Tongogara in her speech on nutrition and traditional values, when you have had a catch of a hare, if you use it as biltong and cook it using peanut butter, you would enjoy that nutritious food but now we have been deprived of our traditional nutritious meals because of these arsonists, the ill-mannered people who go about burning the natural resources; diabolic people.  Veld fires are destructive. We all know that cigarette smokers cause some of the fire by simply throwing out the stub out of moving cars or buses.  Some of the people who cause these fires are people who would be looking for mice and some of them will be people harvesting honey.  We have also people who will be fighting a neighbouring farmer in the same area saying he is in their traditional land.  You will end up blaming people harvesting honey. 

I remember in the past we used to have a farmer who fought a war with peasant farmers in the neighbouring farm.  When he sees them harvesting termites, he would take the termites and put all the live termites into those peasants inner garments and they would feel the pain.  People would then seek for vengeance against this farmer.  Sometimes they would go to the people looking for mice and ask them to look for a particular bird called chikwari in Shona, a form of guinea fowl.  They used a very long rope dipped into paraffin or petrol, tied that rope dipped into petrol so that they lit the fire and let that bird go wild.  The white farmer would be surprised to see his farm burning and would wonder why?  It was a way of fixing that person.  Even if that white man sees you moving, he would not know that you have a bird with you.  Therefore, farmers live well with your neighbours and there will not be arsonists.

*THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SEANATE:  Hon. Senator, please address the Chair not fellow Senators.

*HON. SEN. SHUMBA:  Thank you Mr. President.  All I am saying is, you should love your neighbour as you love yourself.  You will find that we have destroyed the grass that we need for thatching and we end up using either zinc or asbestos but if we need cool houses, we have to utilise our grass for thatching.  Let us eat our traditional foods. 

We have animals, snakes and birds that live in the grass, so we must conserve our natural resources.  Our livestock will have food.  I am saying we even miss snakebites because during our time, you would move aware that you do not agitate those grasses but as of now, people are reckless.  We have had some people who are arsonists, who will simply burn the grass because they believe when they do so they will have green grass growing which will be good to cattle feed.  What we know is that green grass that grows after burning causes illness to the cattle. I am saying to these people, please stop it.  Conserve our natural resources, our grasslands, our flora and fauna because we have these people who do not want to conform to the natural ethos of life, tradition and conservative methods.  I am saying chiefs, traditional leaders; please arrest, heavily fine and punish these arsonists.  I wish we had enough knowledge and technology of conserving these natural resources.

I remember talking to my colleagues in South Africa. They said they were putting up watch towers so that people quickly raise alarm that there is a fire if there is any smoke coming up from anywhere.  I think we should adopt this culture in Zimbabwe that whenever we see fire, it should be everybody’s duty, not someone’s.  Peace begins with you, peace begins with me, peace begins with all of us.  If we put together our heads in fighting fire, we will conserve our natural resources, flora and fauna.

HON. SEN. GUMBO:  I move that the debate be adjourned.

HON. SEN. MOHADI: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume:  Thursday, 7th February, 2019.

MOTION

PROTECTION OF CATTLE AGAINST TICK-BORNE DISEASES

Sixth Order read:  Adjourned debate on motion on the call to control tick borne diseases affecting livestock in Zimbabwe.

Question again proposed.

*HON. SEN. MATIIRIRA:  Thank you Mr. President for according me this opportunity to debate the motion raised by Hon. Sen. Chimbudzi.  When talking about the control of tick borne diseases on livestock in Zimbabwe, you know these ticks have caused many diseases to our livestock and we have lost cattle.  In all the four corners of the country, we have lost many cattle and this has occurred mainly in Regions 4 and 5.  As far as you know, according to our culture, our beasts are a source of wealth.  So if you have your cattle dying you  become bankrupt and impoverished.  We know the way these ticks kill the cattle. Some of them cause diseases which make the cattle just drop when you think your herd is healthy.  In the future, we will end up suffering from the diseases which we are not aware of.  I am saying this because some of us will end up taking these cattle as meat or beef and even sold in butcheries.  That way, we will be spreading the diseases. 

          Mr. President, I am saying let us go back to our traditional ways of living.  When we talk of the traditional ways, in the past cattle used to be taken to a communal dip tank and the cattle would dip on different days.  For instance, today we are on a Wednesday, we would have a villager who would go announcing that there is going to be a process of dipping cattle but this has since been stopped.  Some people have moved to resettlement areas and we have people who are really surviving on animal husbandry.  What we know is animal husbandry needs these pastures and water.  When we have these two, we will have a lot of cattle which would be a pride to the farmer.

If we have people who have failed to do any farming because cattle have died and they have no draught power, it is not easy for us to do zero tillage.  Zero tillage can be done properly if you have planned for it but if you are forced to do zero tillage because cattle have died you have a problem.  That is why we are saying we need to conserve our natural resources so that we have our cattle. 

I am saying, may we please go back to the days of the past where we used to have communal dip tanks.  Now, the problem we are facing is that these communal dip tanks cannot be operated because people are saying they do not have the chemicals to put in those dip tanks.  At the same time, communal farmers are not able to create a fund for buying these chemicals for dip tanks.  Of course, we have some people who are now dipping their own cattle using the sprays and not everyone can afford that.  Even if you do that in an area as a lone figure, your cattle will get diseases from others in the communal areas. 

In a village, if the father dies and the wife is left with many cattle, we know the family is going to live a prosperous, healthy and wealthy life and children will even afford going to school.  They become professionals; doctors, teachers, pilots, geologists, metallurgists and everything we may think of.  That is why we are saying, let us bring back those good old times whereby we had communal dip tanks.  I am calling upon the Government to resuscitate these dip tanks and we need to have these chemicals.  If we do not have these communal dip tanks we will continue living in poverty.  According to our culture, if you do not have any cattle herd to your name, you are regarded as a poor person.  Hon. Sen. Chimbudzi, thank you very much for bringing up this motion because cattle are a sign of wealth.  I thank you.

HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA:  Thank you Mr. President for affording me this opportunity to add my voice on this important motion raised by Hon. Sen. Chimbudzi to control tick borne diseases in Zimbabwe.  Mr. President, agriculture is the back bone of Zimbabwe and our economy and livestock is the back bone of agriculture.  Livestock plays a pivotal role in the economy, social, cultural functions for Zimbabwean citizens.  It ensures people’s livelihood through helping on food supply, transport and land tillage amongst others.  Livestock is closely linked with crop production through manure which improves soil structures and are environmentally friendly.

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  Order, order.  It is not your maiden speech,  is it?  The procedure and the orders require that you refer to your notes and not read your notes. So, refer to your notes, use them to refer but do not be captured by your notes.

*HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA:  Thank you Mr. President.  I am talking about this particular disease which is caused by these ticks that has now spread all over the country in such a way that all our herds are destroyed. They will soon be finished off.  What we know is that according to our tradition, our cattle are a source of wealth because we use them as draught power and they also supply us with manure which is a substitute for fertiliser.  Hence we are saying, let us fight this disease and fight these ticks; we know we will win it.  If we are to follow the rules and regulations of this country, the officials from the Veterinary Department were empowered to undertake the process of dipping our cattle because when we dip our cattle, we will be killing these ticks which feed and destroy our cattle.  We also notice that these dip tank officials used to take cattle for dipping every week or in a fortnight.  Unfortunately, we cannot afford buying the chemicals for these dip tanks and hence I am calling upon the Government to put more funds into sourcing these dip tank chemicals so that cattle can start dipping once again. 

In this country, we have dip tanks dotted all over the country and again the other forms of dipping these cattle can be done through spraying.  These systems should be resuscitated, both static and mobile dipping processes as a way of controlling ticks.  I also know that Government empowered Veterinary officials to ensure that cattle are taken to the dip tanks on a regular basis because what we know is that when all the herds of cattle have died off, there will be poverty.  This is because cattle are a symbol of wealth amongst the Africans.  We use them as draught power and when paying lobola, we use them for school fees for our children and food.  I also encourage farmers not to enjoy just viewing these cattle instead of selling them.  I know some people would not sell cattle because they want the numbers but I am saying you can take them to the market. Whatever amount they are bought for is going to be used for the benefit of the family.

          Last year, there were 50 000 head of cattle which died because of tick borne diseases and when I was talking to the experts in animal husbandry on the same situation, we were talking about 2019, they said we could lose about 200 000 head of cattle if we do not resuscitate the process of fighting these ticks, by resuscitating deep tanks and I am calling upon Government through the Ministry of Agriculture so that we resuscitate this process and regain our wealth.

          In conclusion, in the past, we used to use these cattle for labour; cattle are used in many ways.  In the first place, we have relish, secondly we use them as draught power and when we are paying lobola, we also ask for a head of cattle.  When we are paying lobola and nobody calls for a head, we will think there is something wrong.  We also know that it is during this process of lobola that our mothers also get cattle as a token of appreciation for giving birth to a baby girl.  Again we also know that according to our culture, when there is an avenging spirit which is hounding a family, that family has to appease that avenging spirit through paying this head of cattle.  With these few words, I am very grateful to Hon. Sen. Chimbudzi for bringing such a pertinent and important motion in this august House.

          *HON. SEN. CHIEF NTABENI: Thank you Mr. President.  I am very grateful to Hon. Sen. Chimbudzi for the motion which you raised.  I had no intention to debate but I have been motivated by Hon. Sen. Chirongoma.  When we are talking of agriculture, let us not only talk of tobacco but we also know that cattle can bring us foreign currency.  When we were talking about the budget, nobody talked about supplying chemicals to our dip tanks.  So, we need to talk about the importance of cattle.  Even people in the urban areas also want to have their meals with beef; they want to have their tea with milk.  We also want to sell our cattle but in my area, because of these diseases, our area has been quarantined. 

          In our culture as Ndebeles, we say a man is respected if he has a head of cattle. If you do not have cattle, we say you are a woman but at the same time, I am saying at this current rate, men have been emasculated because we are not going to sell our cattle because they have been quarantined because of these diseases.  Therefore, let us call for the money to be added onto the budget for accessing these chemicals for the dip tanks.  I remember discussing this issue with Hon. Sen. Chief Nhema and we talked to the Veterinary officials and they told us that they were not given any money.  As of now, we are no match to a small country like Botswana which has all these chemicals yet Zimbabwe is a very big country. Why should we be no match to Botswana?  Let us lobby for chemicals for our cattle.  Whosoever has the chance to talk to the Minister of Finance, please talk about the chemicals for dipping our cattle.  I thank you.

          *HON. SEN. CHIEF MAKUMBE: Thank you Mr. President.  Let me add my voice onto the fight against these tick borne diseases.  I think you have heard reports saying that in Chief Makumbe’s area in Buhera, cattle were sold for as little as $60.  Our dip tanks have not been supplied with any chemicals for the past three years and as far as we are concerned we are putting the blame squarely on Veterinary Department because instead of buying chemicals for our local dip tanks, they prefer selling these chemicals to people in resettlement areas.  Also people have moved from one area to another with no restrictions.  This is a way of spreading this tick borne disease from one area to another. 

          My colleague has stated that cattle are a sign of wealth according to our culture and we know if one cattle has been attacked by blue tick, the medicine for treating that cow is $140, which is more than any ordinary farmer can afford.  What we also noticed is that we have moved people into these resettlement areas and the people are now moving to these areas willy-nilly and this is spreading these diseases.  I am calling for the law enforcement agents to restrict the movement of cattle.  Not only that, our farms should be fenced off.  May I also propose that when Government is allocating land, they should allocate to people who have the capacity to rear these cattle because what is happening now is we have wild animals like the buffalo which are coming from Gonarezhou into Buhera, such a faraway place but it is happening because we have cattle which are moving willy-nilly because fences have been cut off. 

          In the past when an ox died, you would not take your cattle away before you cut a piece of the ear or a certain portion to the dip tank so that Veterinary officials would check what has caused the death.  Therefore, we need to resuscitate some of these customs because they are there for the benefit of our country.  This motion which we are debating is just as good as the one which we were talking about on the conservation of pastureland from veldfires.

          We also have some destructive practices such as mining, in particular small scale miners.  I am a cousin of the Ndebeles and what we believe in is if you do not have a head of cattle you are not a man of respect, you are just as good as a woman.  If you want to purchase something and you do not have cash, you can confidently say I will pay because I have cattle.  Our Zimbabwean Dollar has no value but if you have a head of cattle, the monetary value is conserved.  I am calling upon the Government to supply enough money for chemicals to be bought for dip tanks.  We need to have a Command Livestock Programme which will include the buying of chemicals for fighting ticks.  We need to quarantine areas so that we do not have to transfer these diseases because people living in those areas will be fighting since these cattle will be in the same area.  Let us really take care of our cattle, they are a source of wealth and they bring foreign currency.  We used to manufacture our own shoes through companies like BATA and GD. 

          Again, in order to be a chief of substance, a chief with respect; when somebody commits a traditional crime in your area of jurisdiction, they pay a fine of a goat or a head of cattle and in that way one would be a Chief of substance.  However, when one commits a traditional crime and they simply go to the Chief and say they do not have cattle to pay a fine, then a chief will not benefit anything.  Cattle is also used as a dowry for lobola and therefore cattle make you somebody with a name and well respected in the community.  So, it is very important to have chemicals for the dip tanks in order to preserve our cattle from diseases. 

          The law enforcement agency should enforce laws on the movements of cattle because people have taken the law into their own hands hence the spread of these diseases.  Are the people who are working on these farms well equipped to take care of these cattle and prevent the spread of diseases?   Are the veterinary officials empowered? When we were growing up, there were about five to six cars which were service vehicles for veterinary official to move from one area to the other supervising the dipping of cattle and movement of cattle.  As far as I am concerned, to date, I have never seen any car from the Veterinary Department patrolling my area; these people need to be capacitated. 

          My wish is that we should resuscitate our European Union Foreign Currency chunk which used to come through the sale of beef.  We should listen to what is being said in this august House and I will also spread it to my constituency because cattle are a source of foreign currency and it is life.  I thank you.

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

          HON. SEN. MOHADI: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume:  Thursday, 7th February, 2019.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE 139TH ASSEMBLY OF THE INTER-PARLIAMENTARY UNION (IPU)

Seventh Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the 139th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union held in Geneva, Switzerland.

Question again proposed.

THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR MASHONALAND CENTRAL PROVINCE (HON. SEN. MAVHUNGA): I move that the debate do now adjourn.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Thursday, 7th February, 2019.

On the motion of THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR MASHONALAND CENTRAL PROVINCE (HON. SEN. MAVHUNGA) the House adjourned at Twenty Five Minutes past Four O’clock p.m.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Senate Hansard SENATE HANSARD 06 FEBRUARY 2019 VOL 28 NO 29