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SENATE HANSARD 07 JUNE 2017 VOL 26 NO 58

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PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Wednesday, 7th June, 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

ERROR ON THE ORDER PAPER

          THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  I have to draw the attention of the House to an error on the Order Paper where the date on today’s Order Paper is reflected as Tuesday, 6th June, 2017, instead of Wednesday, the 7th of June, 2017.  Please make that correction.

INVITATION TO A CAPACITY BUILDING WORKSHOP ON THE UN SYSTEMS AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS

          THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: I have to inform the House that all Hon. Members of Parliament are invited to a capacity building workshop, convened by Parliament in collaboration with the United Nations Agencies in Zimbabwe on the United Nations System and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the Sango Conference Centre, Cresta Lodge in Msasa on Monday, 12th June, 2017.  Transport will be provided from Nelson Mandela Avenue entrance to Parliament at 0730 hours.  I suppose those who have their own transport can drive there.   

PARLIAMENT OPEN DAY REMINDER

          THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: I also wish to remind the House that Parliament will be holding an Open Day from Thursday, 8th June, 2017 to Friday, 9th June, 2017.  There will be exhibitions in the Car Park.  Hon. Senators with vehicles parked in the Car Park are kindly requested to remove them to facilitate the pitching up of tents and erection of exhibition booths. 

Hon. Members are requested to park their vehicles at their respective hotels and to utilise shuttle buses being offered by the hotels. Parking space will be available on the southern side of Nelson Mandela Avenue between Sam Nujoma Avenue and 3rd Street, along 3rd Street up to Simon Vengai Muzenda Street (formerly 4th Street). 

Further, I wish to advise Hon. Senators that they will be provided with accommodation in Harare on Thursday, 8th June, 2017 and Friday, 9th June, 2017 in order to facilitate their participation in the Open Day activities. 

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA:  Madam President, I move that Order of the Day, Number 1 on today’s Order Paper be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the Day have been disposed of.

          HON. SEN. TAWENGWA:  I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Thursday, 8th June, 2017.

MOTION

PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS

Second 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. TAWENGWA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Thursday, 8th June, 2017.

MOTION

STATE OF THE NATION ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT

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

          Question again proposed.    

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

HON. SEN. TAWENGWA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Thursday, 8th June, 2017.

MOTION

MEASURES TO CURB VIOLENCE PERPETRATED BY POLITICAL PARTIES

Fourth Order read:  Adjourned debate on motion on violence that had become a socio-political way of life among the people of Zimbabwe.

Question again proposed.

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

HON. SEN. TAWENGWA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Thursday, 8th June, 2017.

 

 

MOTION

PROMOTION OF POPULATION GROWTH IN ZIMBABWE

Fifth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on Zimbabwe’s low population.

          Question again proposed.    

          +HON. SEN. CHIEF GAMPU:  Thank you Madam President for affording me this opportunity to debate.  I would like to support the motion that was brought to this Senate by Hon. Sen. Musaka on the low population within the country. 

As a Chief, I think this motion is very important.  If we look at the Bible, it says that we should multiply.  Therefore, why should we go against what the Bible says?  We should give birth as many times as we can as a fulfilment of what the Bible says. 

We take note of diseases such as HIV and AIDS which have increased the death toll especially in Zimbabwe or in Africa as a region. Diabetes and cancer have also increased the death toll in the country.  When we look back, what used to increase the death toll was war but nowadays it is a different issue.  It is now increased by the diseases that I have mentioned.  I therefore agree to what the mover of this motion said that if someone is able to give birth to ten children, we should allow that so that the Government can have many people to employ.  Each and every woman will be allowed to give birth to as many children as they can. 

I support the motion that we should give birth to as many children as we can. However, there are boundaries that we should put such as putting up family units that are recognised by the Government.  We realise even when God created a human being, the first thing that he started with was family; the family that was put in the Garden of Eden – Adam and Eve.  That is where the family originated from.  Therefore, I am emphasising that the issue of family unit be prioritised and people should give birth to as many children as they can.  Proper programmes should also be put up so that they support the family unit.  The family unit can contribute in building a proper community.  With these few words, I thank you.

*HON. SEN. MURONZVI: Thank you Madam President.  I would like to add a few words.  I have a terrible flue and I am also coughing.  I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Musaka for bringing this motion.  This is a very pertinent motion to us in this august House but unfortunately, we can no longer bear children.  It is good for us here but we can no longer bear children.  If you tell our children out there, no matter what language you use, they will not understand that it is important to bear a number of children.  They will ask you questions like; what do you want me to give all these children because life is difficult. 

It is good to have a number of children.  In our family we are eight and it is a polygamous marriage.  My father’s first wife had about six children.  In our family we were eight; five girls and three boys.  My father was the only one in his family.  I like this motion because I see its importance, that it is good to have siblings.  I will look at both sides of this issue.  I am saying that those who want to bear more children should do so.  I am saying that those who agree should do that.  When we look at our children today, none of them is in agreement. 

My father was the only one in his family.  He married his first wife and had one son as well.  He then married my mother and had three boys, bringing the number of boys to three and five girls.  I am the last born.  I buried my mother on Saturday.  She was 124 years old.  She was so proud and she used to tell the people each time they came to see her about her children.  People were always asking how many children she had and she would get angry.  I advise people to have more children.  My mother always told people that my last born daughter is looking after me, so it is very important because the last born can be given certain gifts.  I was given a gift that I was able to be a Member of this House and it enabled me to look after my mother, so she died a happy woman.  So, Madam President, if you tell modern young men and women to bear more children, they will tell you that life has become so difficult, they cannot have a lot of children, but if this country had available jobs, we would bear more children.  A person decides to bear children because the economy is also doing well.  I want to thank you Madam President.

HON. SEN. MUSAKA:  Madam President, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

HON. SEN. CHIEF MUSARURWA:  I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Thursday, 8th June, 2017.

MOTION

ALIGNMENT OF CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS BY ZIMBABWE ELECTORAL COMMISSION (ZEC)

Sixth Order read:  Adjourned debate on motion on alignment of the Electoral Act to the Constitution.

Question again proposed.

HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA:  Madam President, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

HON. SEN. TAVENGWA:  I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Thursday, 8th June, 2017.

MOTION

ALIGNMENT OF THE EDUCATION ACT TO THE CONSTITUTION

Seventh Order read:  Adjourned debate on motion on funds controlled by School Development Committees and School (SDCs) and School Development Associations (SDAs).

Question again proposed.

*HON. SEN. MAKWARIMBA:  Thank you Madam President for according me this opportunity.  I also want to add my voice to the motion that was raised by Hon. Sen. Khumalo and the seconder that talks about funds that are controlled by School Development Associations in schools.  Madam President, it is prudent that everything should have checks and balances, especially funds that are coming from parents.  They should be accounted for to the parents so that those who are paying can be satisfied that the funds contributed are being utilised in the proper way.

Madam President, I was thinking that the professionals in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education should continue doing their professional work and also the parents who were given the responsibility to maintain the schools should maintain the schools and build their schools so that all the money is not taken to Government.  Why is it that the Government wants to get monies that are paid by the parents and yet those funds that you had are there?

We realise that schools are being built in the proper way without any conflicts because the money is being used in the proper way.  Now, when the money is being controlled at the centre, it is not different from centralising the money to the Government and yet decentralisation should move funds from the central Government to the people.  Decentralisation is good because it enables people to account for the use of their funds, but once it goes to Government, it is a challenge because Government has its systems and procedures whereby, you have to wait for procedures, auditors coming and all, but at the SDCs, you can call parents and explain to the parents who will understand and push them the pay more money for the maintenance of the schools.

We realised, Mr. President, if you are to look at the past, the teachers were being remunerated by the parents.  That is why our wage bill was not so huge because the parents used to pay 15% towards the salaries of the teachers and hence the salaries bill for the Government was low.  We saw it going from the parents to the rural district councils and we realised that this was a good system.  What is important is they need to know how the funds are being utilised.  So the challenge now is for us to get that money from the parents and take it to the Government.

Although it may be good, I do not think the issue of transparency will be taken into consideration.  The parents should explain to each other and appoint each other to committees on their own than for them to go to the headmaster to account for the funds.  All you can do is watch monies being abused and you cannot do anything about it.  The money that is with the teachers is being misused.  What has caused the SDC funds to be taken to the central Government?  Why is this the case?  I think that the motion that was brought by Hon. Khumalo is a good motion and I support it because we have a clear understanding of it.  With those few words I want to thank you Madam President.

*HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA:  Thank you Mr. President.  I also stood to support the motion raised by Hon. Sen. Khumalo.  When considering the issue of schools in this country, there are so many schools and they have increased since 1980.  The commitment that came from the parents working together just after independence, they were war veterans who had come from war.  They came into the communities and assisted the parents when the Government had said build schools and we will give you teachers as well as other resources to ensure that children have schools that are accessible to their communities.  So, the parents expressed commitment to this and they worked hard to build schools in their areas.

          The issue of them looking for funding to mould bricks, where they did not have money, they gave their labour, demonstrating their commitment and the value they placed on the education of their children.  Now, the issue to say that if there are one or two SDC members who abused or misused money, then they bring in a policy to remove money from all SDCs; I think we are now hurting the parents who view the schools as theirs.  So, people should not be punished in a blanket manner.  If there are SDC members who misappropriated funds, they should be dealt with so that the money is brought back to the parents and they can demand accountability from the Heads of schools.  If money is taken to where they do not have control, then it means we have taken away the will of people.  So it should go to where they can institute control.  I thank you.

          *HON. SEN. MACHINGAIFA: Thank you Mr. President.  I rise to add my voice to the motion that was raised by Sen. Khumalo.  It is a pertinent issue indeed on our schools that are being run by the teachers and parents.  I support what my colleagues have said, it is true that parents wherever they are - if they are helping, they want to be seen that they are assisting by their commitment.  If there is a matter that had gone wrong, it should be addressed.  Before they change the policy, those who are responsible for the education should go on public hearings to find out the concerns and views of parents.  If money has been misused, abused or fraud has taken place, it is mostly those who are not educated and those without computers who are losing funds.  Even those with computers; the computers are fed information by a person and they are also stealing, despite these machines.

          Therefore, the parents should be given an opportunity if only the Ministry responsible could go on public hearings to solicit views from the parents.  I think this is a topic that needs discussion.  I am sure there are other SDCs and SDAs that have done well.  Some have even bought vehicles.  So, if we want to remove the funds, what have they done wrong; what is happening? 

          I have an example of the village heads and the council.  The council says money from the village heads, the money collected for that ward is given to the councillor to perform development projects but those who give money are supposed to give the money to the village head.  So, he is given funds according to the contributions.  So some people drift backwards in paying such funds.  My view and where I come from, the people in the areas are happy that SDCs and SDAs as well as teachers should work together for the schools to develop.  I thank you Mr. President.

          *HON. SEN. MASHAVAKURE: Thank you Mr. President.  I also want to add a few words to the motion raised by Hon. Sen. Khumalo.  I think there is an Hon. Senator who once mentioned that the remuneration of teachers was taken to the teachers then councils and so on.  At one stage in our history, the churches also came in.  The challenge in my opinion was that the Government acted cowardly in the 1980s-90s because when we joined teaching in the 1980s, we were deployed and went to United Teaching Service.  We were not under Public Service.  I was at a Mission School.  As time moved, the Government took over and we were all put in the Public Service.  That is where the challenge started because everyone was now under the wage bill of the Government. 

          They removed the groundsmen and the caretakers and that is what brought in the Statutory Instrument that brought in SDCs and SDAs.  When this was done, there were no consultations with anyone.  It was just an instruction, but now people want consultations to be done yet when they brought in the SDCs and SDAs there were no consultations.  I think that is debatable.  

          The issue that happened is that the Government itself was afraid of hiking schools fees.  The reasons are best known to them. They could hike schools fees to say every child should pay $20.00 with no levies.  Now, after 30 years they have now gained confidence, if they tell people to pay so much, they will pay because this is what the parents have been doing.  However, we should not forget that long back, there were Parents-Teachers Associations.  They used to do whatever they used to do and paid 25c and 50 c at that time.  After independence, the new ones had confidence and they charged a lot of levies about $300 to $500.  Some were known as former group A schools and paid quite a lot. 

          So, I think the Government acted cowardly, now they want to push this issue to others.  They are the ones who said that a child cannot be chased away from school for not paying levy but for school fees only.  In a school where I once worked, the Head was not supposed to chase away a child because of school fees - but if it was levy, a child could be chased away.  That is why so many children, especially here in town where most people are in the informal sector, most children do not pay levies.  They do not pay because they know that levy will not warrant the school authorities to chase a child away from school.  I think it was a tactic or technique to encourage parents to pay levy first before school fees.  So, if a child is chased away, they will tell you that we chased him away because he did not pay school fees and they would not mention levy.  Even up to today that is what is happening.  That is why I said that the Government acted cowardly to say pay so much money.

          Now, that they have realised that people can pay those money, they are now saying that the levy should now come to the same basket as the fees.  I said that nowadays, we are now crying that people should be consulted but we know historically, when this was done, people were not consulted.   People were just pushed to say this is what will be happening.  I am sure there are so many things that are happening and others talked about maladministration of funds in other schools.  Some also said that the headmasters could also claim cell phone allowances and land line allowances from SSF and also from the SDC.  So, he could claim fuel from the Government and from SDC.  There was a challenge in that others were able to defraud the SDCs. 

          Now, coupled with the issues of maladministration and fraudulent activities, the Government has seen it fit to bring these funds into one basket.  Even when auditing, these funds are audited differently. There was an auditor who came to audit the SSF funds and also the SDC funds.  This enabled them to show the challenges at the SSF after the audit and also for the SDC. So the reports were two.  It needed those with power and understanding to understand those audit reports.  I was never a headmaster but what I know is that the audits were done twice a year.  Even in schools, there were other unions of teachers who said that having two administrations in schools is a challenge, SDA and bursar; the bursar is appointed by the Government, et cetera. 

          I remember one year when my children were in school, I wanted to deposit money in the bank and the bank said no, take the money to the school.  They said you have a bursar that is employed by the school to do that.  So, they said to me if you just deposit and give them the receipt, why are you paying the bursar?  He gave an example of a school whereby the bursar was not aware of whether a child had paid fees or not.  The teacher is the one who knew whether the child had paid because they had a register and will be given a receipt number.  The bursar himself could not get information on whether a child had paid the school or not.  Many schools, if a child had paid, to prove that, children are either asked to bring receipts from home, which means the records of the bursar are not important.

          Now you have all those records but all of them are not effective.  It takes time for the bursar to produce proof that a child has paid.  I think it needs the child to go back to the parents to get a receipt.  If the Government must move to have one central administration, it would affect development.  Secondly, you will need to use computers.  We know that if a computer is programmed, it does not take time to retrieve information, if they are 30 Mashavakure’s, the initial will help you retrieve the name you want.  The issue at hand here is that the Ministry should inform us where exactly they want to go in terms of direction.  Do they want SDCs and SDAs to work as they were?  They should be transparent because right now they are hiding behind a finger; they need to tell us what their intention is? 

          Do they think the SDA should lose most of its power in terms of funding or we go back to the PTAs that were there long back that they would group and the Government would call the shot on what needed to be done or what is it they want to do.  To say the SDCs should be given their powers, the truth is power corrupts and they were enjoying the powers.  Before, probably these issues were not being complained about, but now, the Ministry who is the father wants his powers and the children do not want to surrender that power.  I think that is where the issue is.  I want to thank you Mr. President.

          *HON. SEN. MAKORE: Thank you Mr. President for the opportunity that you have given me.  I want to thank Hon. Sen. Khumalo for this very important motion.  Mr. President, the issue of schools is an issue that was encouraging the communities in the rural areas because they consider their schools as theirs; that is an important issue. It was mentioned here by one speaker that people would give their labour by molding bricks with the Government assisting, but they reflected on the effort and commitment to build schools.  That assisted us a lot because that was participation of the parents in building their schools.

          Mr. President, I think centralising the administration of the schools to go to the school service fund is going to be difficult for them because they are so many schools, there is going to be quite a lot of conflict.  I want to make reference of what the mover has said that if they are any issues that were not properly handled, there was need to come up with a Committee to see how things needed to be done; that will be good for us.  There is no problem without a solution, even the School Development Committees and Associations have their challenges as well but the challenges are not solved by removing those Committees and starting on a virtually new system.  As the previous speaker has said, it is regressive. What we encourage is a participatory approach in building schools for you to be there in school development communities.  Even children who could pay that money, the Committees encouraged each other and would discuss these issues considering the challenges of the country.

          They know the challenges that are at the school better than a distant manager that is not at the school.  They are close to the school and they understand and share the challenges of that school.  Another issue that we realise is that the School Development Committees have been encouraging the growth and the building of these schools.  So, now, if they are centralised in these service Committees, it means other schools will not develop at the same rate because the Government already has challenges.  We realise that there are a lot of challenges within Government itself. 

          If we are to look at it, some Government schools are lagging behind.  So now to add more responsibilities on the responsibilities that they have, it means that it will derail on the schools they were building.  So, it is not only regressive but we will come to a halt.  Participation is important and that is why in our Committees, especially the Gender Committee, we advocate for the participation of women in all sectors, meaning that we are encouraging and uplifting women in those areas.  The issue of participation is growth on its own.  The issue to say leave it for us and we will do it ourselves has detrimental effects.  I am talking about gender because I understand it.  Women are used to being onlookers while the men do everything and now we are saying women should also participate but it is a slow process because it is something that has been in existence and it will take long because of these patriarch societies.

          So Mr. President, what we encourage is that we need to work together as has been said here by the mover of the motion that if only this could be halted for now so that we continue working as we have been doing as SDCs and SDAs.  I do not want to say much because other things have already been said by my colleagues.  I thank you Mr. President.

          *HON. SEN. SHIRI: Thank you Mr. President.  I also want to thank the mover of the motion, Hon. Sen. Khumalo and I would want to add a few words to say that, this motion is good for us as leaders of Zimbabwe.  When we look at the schools, we realise that the School Development Committees have been working hard to uplift the standard of education and as well as maintenance of the schools.  If we look at it today, most schools have buses that they use as transport to different areas like coming here to Parliament and they are able to go on tours when they visit places like Kariba and other tourist resort areas and that has assisted most schools.  We realise that schools are actually competing when it comes to the buying of buses and the parents who are working with the schools, as what has been said before, have made a commitment because they have realised that these things are theirs for them to uplift the standards of their children.  We can give an example of many schools – in terms of infrastructure, they have built a lot.  We realise that in other schools where we went to, SDCs in a school where there are disabled persons, it does not take time for them to sit down and discuss and ensure that the school is user friendly even to those who are disabled.  So, I think that if the powers of the SDCs are left intact, our schools will develop.  Even in our previous schools where we did our education, we go there to support because we know that the schools are in the hands of the communities.  I do not know if there are any of us who are not part of the old students’ associations to help in the schools that they went to.  I encourage them to go back and assist.

We realise if the SDCs are done away with and the money is taken to Government – you know the process of getting money from the Government, it will take long for the schools to get those funds.  It is different from the fact that the parents and the headmaster can sit down when there is a challenge and address it promptly.  So, I would want to support that Government should maintain the status quo.  If they want to come up with a policy or legislation, they can come up with it to ensure that there is no maladministration and fraudulent activities and probably give regulatory guidelines for the chairpersons of the SDCs.  I think that this is good for the children and the parents.  The dura-walls and the fences that are built around schools – in rural areas, they have something like a neighbourhood watch and they go on duty and if they see a person breaking in, they encourage one another to look after the place and they protect their community.  They are all happy and they want their areas to develop.  So, I think that if these monies are taken to Government, yes it is good but it will also present challenges in that what is happening at the school on a daily basis can be affected.  The parents were running the schools well in terms of maintenance and building the schools.  If you go around and look at most schools, the children have furniture and parents are actually engaging teachers who are taking children for computers.  The Government can say we are not enrolling more teachers because we do not have money but the parents source for these teachers.  So, they have been doing well.  With these few words Mr. President, I want to say that parents should maintain their power in these schools and also the administration of their levies.  I thank you.

THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT:  I have an announcement to make.  The owner of vehicle Registration number ADL 6603 parked along Nelson Mandela Street near ZimNat building is blocking other vehicles.  Please have it removed.

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

HON. SEN. MLOTSHWA:  I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Thursday, 8th June, 2017.

MOTION

FIRST REPORT OF THE THEMATIC COMMITTEE ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS ON SDG NO. 3

Eighth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the First report of the Thematic Committee on Sustainable Development Goals on SDG No. 3.

Question again proposed.

HON. SEN. MOHADI: Thank you Mr. President.  I rise to support this report of the Thematic Committee on Sustainable Development Goals particularising only on SDG No. 3, which was reported by Hon. Sen. Chief Mtshane in this august House.  Mr. President, when we deal with SDGs, you will find that they are similar in many ways, especially when we are looking at the SDG on poverty eradication.

First and foremost, we will have to see to it that poverty has been reduced because as long as we have poverty, you will find that the health is also affected.  Also, if we look at the SDG on education, it has the same purpose because if you look at the schools that we have, especially in the resettlement areas, they are very far apart from each other and as a result of that, children have to walk long distances to school.  By doing so, their health is affected as they will be walking long distances.  Mr. President, when we talked about ‘health for all’ including the aged, we meant to say that the health facilities should be nearer to the people.  People must not walk long distances.  This is also found in the resettlement areas whereby people have to walk more than 20km to the nearest clinic.  As a result, parents or communities suffer.  They cannot have good health at all.

As I said earlier on, if we look at the poverty eradication SDG, you will find that it emphasises that food with nutrition value should be available because we cannot only talk about food without the addition of nutrition value.  You will find that at the end of the day, especially the school going age, they might have kwashiorkor because of lack of nutrition.  The old age might also have poor health because they are not having sufficient food with the right nutrition value.  When we look at good health for all, you will find that we will be talking about the reduction of the epidemic on HIV/AIDS in all the people.  There should be some means and aims to look at these issues so that everybody has the right to live, not only life but good health as well.  If we look at these, there should be reduction on child mortality.  There should be awareness and creation of promotional education material for the people so that people know about health issues and we reduce child mortality. 

Mr. President, I could add and add because when we talk about health issues, it is a very touching issue.  We have to look at all the issues concerning the health of the people.  I would like to thank this Committee; I am not a member of the Committee but it affects me and the other people.  Everybody needs to be healthy.  Mr. President, with these few words, I would like to thank the mover of this report and the Committee as well.  I thank you.

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

HON. SEN. MOHADI:  I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume:  Thursday, 7th June, 2017.

MOTION

ADOPTION OF A DRAFT PROTOCOL ON THE AFRICAN CHARTER ON HUMAN AND PEOPLE’S RIGHTS ON THE RIGHT TO NATIONALITY AND THE ERADICATION OF STATELESSNESS IN AFRICA

Ninth Order read:  Adjourned debate on motion on resolving situations of statelessness in our country.

Question again proposed.

HON. SEN. KHUMALO:  Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to add a few words on the motion of statelessness.  Zimbabwe is a member of the SADC Community that is encouraging countries to ensure that there are no people who are stateless within their countries.  I am sure we are aware that our country from 1998 to 1999, just before the elections, many people whose origins were from Malawi and Zambia became stateless and declared non-Zimbabweans.  Most of those people were born in Zimbabwe.  Some of them did not know they are Zambians or Malawians because they did not have relatives there.  These people have been in trouble because they did not know what to do after being born in Zimbabwe.  Their grandfathers are the ones that came here and they have no relationship with what is said to be their countries of origins. 

I am happy that now maybe SADC itself is discussing about the issue of statelessness.  These people can easily gain back their statuses of being Zimbabweans because they are neither Malawians nor Zambians; they are Zimbabweans.  I wish there could be a way of ensuring that these people get back their statuses.  It is becoming another process to go back.  Yes, the Government has agreed now that they can become Zimbabweans again but the process that they are going through is very difficult.  I think Government should devise a system to make those people who have lost their statuses easily get it back.  Can the processes be simplified for these people?  Within the SADC community, they have been attending meetings and it has been said that Parliaments should be the ones that should come up with ways of making people not to be stateless. I wish we would really look into it and ensure that most of these people who are not Zimbabwean, Malawian or Zambian get back their status. Those children are Zimbabweans and are going to grow up poor.

In the UN, particularly the SDGs, it should state the point of removing remove poverty in our countries but if we are having those Zimbabweans without status, their children are not able to write examinations and are going to have uneducated families. We need to ensure that Zimbabwe continues with its high status in the education of its citizens. Can we have these citizens who are now stateless to have their status? Remember, any woman who has a child without status, that child becomes stateless because you need to have a birth certificate that says you are a Zimbabwean.

I am asking this House to assist in ensuring that all the Zimbabwean children, those born outside and within Zimbabwe all have birth certificates and IDs so that they can be fully accepted. They can also visit the different areas they would want to visit. Remember that our country Zimbabwe is very much interested in sports. We have some of our children who are very good sportsmen but cannot go out because their parents have been denied the status of being Zimbabweans while they are truly Zimbabweans. The Government has agreed that they are now Zimbabweans but because it is difficult to get the status, I am asking this Parliament to help the Ministry of Social Welfare to ensure that the processing of these people’s papers is made easier and they become wholly Zimbabweans who can get their education, get into the sporting sector and can travel anywhere else. I thank you.

+HON. SEN. CHIPANGA: Mr. President, I want to say a few words concerning the issue of statelessness that was raised in this House. Firstly Mr. President, I want to start by explaining how a person gets to be stateless. I see there are different understandings of the term ‘statelessness’. Wherever a person is born, that is his nation. In terms of international law, if you are born on a plane on your way to United States of America, you are deemed to be Zimbabwean. So, if that is the case, how can someone be said to be stateless?

I heard others saying there are people who came here from other countries without their citizenship. Before we get there Mr. President, I want to say that a person cannot say that he stays in Chief Sithole’s area and then he can also be said to stay in the country belonging to Chief Chiduku. If you see a person doing that then there is a challenge. That is where statelessness comes in. If there is a conflict between Chief Chiduku and Chief Sithole, where will this person’s allegiance lie? That is when you then say I cannot leave the Sitholes to be defeated or killed by the Chidukus and you give information. You are then arrested and that is when the Government says go to wherever you want to go. If you look at the Constitution Section 39, that is where you find that the Government can revoke your citizenship because they see that you are not a straightforward person and you do not have anywhere to stay. It then goes back to say what should be done.

It takes us back to the issue that we want a person to belong to one country, not to have dual citizenship. Dual citizenship is what causes statelessness. Mr. President, I want us to go back to the issue that for us not to have such a situation, the issue of dual citizenship is what has caused this challenge. What I know is that in the rural areas during the outreach programmes on the writing of the Constitution, people said that they want a person to be a citizen of one country. So, I do not know where dual citizenship came from and that is where the challenge is.

For that reason, I would want us to go back to the drawing board and say that if a person is Zimbabwean, he should be a citizen of Zimbabwe if that person was born in Zimbabwe and it does not matter where the parents come from. If they were born in Zimbabwe they are Zimbabweans, not for a person to choose to say my parents are from Australia and so, I want to have Australian citizenship; I was born in Zimbabwe and I am now a citizen of Zimbabwe. If you go and work in Britain and spend five years without committing any crime, you can apply for citizenship. That is what causes challenges. If you are engaging in criminal activities here and there, you end up not having any citizenship. So, I was thinking that we should focus on this issue that we did not look into carefully, that a person should be a citizen of one nation not dual citizenship.

Mr. President, let me go back to the issue that was mentioned in this House that there are people who came from other countries where they were chased away and came to find somewhere to stay. From what I know, the people from Malawi and Zambia for example, came in the 1920s and 1930s and worked at the railways. They lived there and most of them died here. Their children are here and were given identity documents but the challenge that occurred was that others maintained the links with their countries without knowing that tomorrow it would be a challenge and they consider themselves Malawians. They took national identity cards that were written non-citizen.  Once one’s identity card says non-citizen, it does not mean you cannot stay in that nation.  You can stay there.  In Zimbabwe, you can stay but you do not have voting rights or the right to contest in an election but no one is questioned why they are still in Zimbabwe.

          Now, the current laws say that if you decide that you want to be a Zimbabwean, you have to go to the immigration office and submit your forms – within a short time, you are advised that you are now a citizen and are eligible to vote.  No-one is expelled from this nation but I know that there are people who when things were difficult, went and threw their passports at the Registrar General’s office.  Those who were in Parliament in 2003-2005, you will remember that Mr. Mudede came here with a box of passports and said that people had surrendered their passports and said they no longer wanted to be called Zimbabweans.  If they travelled with the Zimbabwean passport, the British would deport them.  So, they went back to their countries to get their passports.  When they got to their countries, they faced challenges and came back and said ‘my mother is from Hwedza and my father if from Malawi. I was born in such an area and I am a Zimbabwean’.  That is where we find challenges in Zimbabwe.  People are in problems. As far as I know, there is no situation whereby a person does not have anywhere to stay.

Let me conclude by saying that to end statelessness is to say if a person is Zimbabwean, they should maintain their citizenship as Zimbabwean; no matter what criminal activities they may do and whatever, that person is Zimbabwean and cannot be sent anywhere.  But if a person has other citizenship, that is where you find a person is chased away from that country and sent back to his country.  When you get to Zimbabwe, people want to know where you used to stay and they will tell you that because of your criminal behaviour, we do not want you in Zimbabwe.  Let us go back to the situation whereby a person only has one citizenship.  I thank you.

THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR   MIDLANDS PROVINCE (HON. SEN. J. MACHAYA):  I move that the debate do now adjourn.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume:  Thursday, 8th June, 2017.

MOTION

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

          Tenth Order read:  Adjourned debate on the First Report of the Thematic Committee on HIV and AIDS and AIDS in Institutions of Higher Learning in Zimbabwe.

          Question again proposed.

          *HON. SEN. GOTO: Thank you Mr. President.  I stand to support the pertinent report that was presented to this Senate by Hon. Sen. Timveos a few days ago.  For people to be healthy, they do not need all those diseases.  They said that they went around with the Thematic Committee and went to different institutions.  I want to thank them. 

They mentioned that they came across many challenges but I have realised that I need to say one or two things.  The institutions that they visited are our family as well.  HIV and AIDS that they talked about and consulted the children soliciting their views on challenges and realizing that the situation in institutions was not good; I do not know where we are going with this issue.  When we are talking about this issue of giving birth to a number of children; I am sure others will be borne whilst others are dying.  The issue of having more children will assist but what we are saying is that the students no longer have moral values and they no longer value themselves.  They have no respect of their lecturers. They have so many rights and think they have become adults.  They build their homes there. 

This uncontrollable nature of students is because we are no longer considering our cultural norms and values.  Long ago, it was taboo for a girl and boy child to play together.  Our children are now talking about ‘blessers’ who are the men who give them what they want.  These children say they do not want to use condoms.  I think the Government did a good thing to avail condoms.  Condoms did not only start when HIV and AIDS came in but they started long back when they were used to prevent STIs and for family planning purposes.  Most people survived because of the condoms.  Today the condoms are still there but our children are saying they do not want to use them.  They say they cannot eat a wrapped sweet.  If the sweet is wrapped, they cannot enjoy it.  They feel that if they use condoms, they will not enjoy the intimacy.

I realised that to end this, we need our cultural norms and values.  Traditional leaders here present can confirm that there are certain things that we used to do when a child was born.  If it is a boy child, you would do something to ensure that the child does not become sexually active and concentrate on women.  Even when the child became mature, he would not be interested in women. 

I am sure that the women here know what I am talking about.   If it is a girl child, there were certain things that you needed to do to ensure that that child does not have the passion for men.  The Chiefs know that they used to sit with the boys at night around a fire and advise the young boys.  My request to the traditional leaders is that we go back to our traditional norms and cultural values and encourage the men in your areas to interrogate such issues.  We are told that they take drugs and they do not care what they are doing.  So, what we are saying is they should stop taking drugs.  That is why I am saying that the children tell you that they do not care about HIV/AIDS because ARVs are there and they can prolong life.  So, all I want to say is that we need to go back to our cultural norms and values.  We have aunties and also elderly men.

Long ago, the diseases were there, but it was not as bad as it is today.  I heard one Hon. Member saying that her mother was 122 years old.  It is not an age that is easy for us to attain.  We cannot attain such an age because we have lost our morals and also us, as the mothers, we do not have time for our children.  As mothers, we are all going different directions.  We have no time with our children.  You see a child coming with a box of groceries and you actually thank the child, but you do not actually know where the groceries came from.  That child will continue being immoral because they know you are appreciating the groceries.  So, we need to teach our children.  I therefore thought I would support Hon. Timveos with the report that she gave. 

Those with ears have heard - if we continue to teach them, they will also understand.  Even the teachers right now are getting into relationships with our children.  If your child is caught with a teacher how would you feel?  Hence, we need to educate our teachers that you cannot have sexual relationships with school children.  In most schools there are so many problems that have become popular.  Children now have become sexually active and it has become a menace in our nation.

Hon. Timveos, we thank you for the motion.  We will also talk to our children and those with ears will understand.  It is not about children not having money, you need to value yourselves.  When children go to school they have a lot of money, but because of the rise in such cases, children are engaging in this not for money, but because they do not just listen.  I want to thank you, Mr. President, for this opportunity.  I have children and I have grandchildren and my wish is that they grow up with morals as well.  I thank you Mr. President.

*HON. SEN. MAWIRE:  Thank you Mr. President.  I stood up to say one or two words and also to thank the Thematic Committee on HIV/AIDS that went on tours to institutions of higher learning to witness what is happening in our institutions.  Surely if we were to sit in this House and not going out on tours to see what is happening, especially the living conditions and the activities our children are engaging in at higher institutions, we would not be leaders.

If you hear a girl child telling you that ‘I cannot have a sweet that is wrapped’, it means that child has gone astray and cannot be controlled.  So, what I was thinking is that other issues that were mentioned on this issue - it is just that our Ministers are always tied up with other official business, but what I do not know whether the deputies are equally tied up.  We would want them to come here and hear us debate and probably they would hear what we are saying in this House.

What they only get is the Hansard.  The Hansard does not get to other areas.  In other areas you cannot take that Hansard because it is only in English, it is not in vernacular.  So, even if you take it to the rural areas, others are not as educated and cannot read the Hansard in English, but if it was in vernacular, we would then say that our message is being taken to different areas and communities and also be assured that the students are hearing about it and they would also know that whatever they told us is being discussed in Parliament.  I am sure they would change their behaviour.

My request is that the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development and the Ministry of Health and Child Care should assist us because it is an issue that will further handicap us in the future, because if children are now refusing to use some of the preventive measures to avoid HIV infections, it is a challenge.  It will cost us a lot as a Government in the near future because children will now be infected with HIV/Aids and others will get married being infected by the disease already.  So, we realise that when they get sick, the Government will need funds to get medication or ARVs to ensure that they prolong the lives of these students.  So, I think these two Ministries should come and address this issue and find ways of talking to the children. 

I agree with Hon. Goto that we understand what you are saying.  We are reading it in the papers in the areas where we are.  A child who is 10 years old - you hear of teachers raping girl children.  The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education should talk to their teachers and ensure that they do not have relationships with minors.  When the teacher went and took an oath to be a teacher, these things were not there, but now the teachers are doing it.  The teachers are there to assist the girl children rather than rape them.  That is why I was requesting that the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education be here.  They can assist us by talking to the teachers.  The teachers, as well, can raise awareness, not only in schools, but also in the communities. 

In the community it is difficult.  There are other people who are given a hearing and others who are not.  In rural areas, people will listen to teachers and drivers.  If a teacher says anything, they will listen.  If a nurse says something, they understand.  Our request is that those Ministries assist us.  I do not have a lot of words to say.  I might spoil the motion that was well debated by all those who debated on it.  I want to thank you Mr. President.

THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR MIDLANDS PROVINCE (HON. SEN. MACHAYA):  Mr. President, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Thursday, 8th June, 2017.

MOTION

SECOND REPORT OF THE THEMATIC COMMITTEE ON GENDER AND DEVELOPMENT ON EARLY CHILD MARRIAGE

Eleventh Order read:  Adjourned debate on motion on the Second Report of the Thematic Committee on Gender and Development on Early Child Marriages.

Question again proposed.

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

HON. SEN. GOTO:  I second.

          Motion put and agreed to. 

          Debate to resume: Thursday, 8th June, 2017.

On the motion of THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR MIDLANDS PROVINCE (HON. SEN. MACHAYA) the Senate adjourned at Eleven Minutes past Four o’clock p.m.

Senate Hansard SENATE HANSARD 07 JUNE 2017 VOL 26 NO 58