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SENATE HANSARD 08 June 2016 vol 25 no 54

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PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Wednesday, 8th June, 2016

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE 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.

          HON. SEN. TAWENGWA: Thank you Madam President.  I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          HON. SEN. MUMVURI:  I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Thursday, 8th June, 2016.

MOTION

DETERIORATION IN THE ROADS AND RAILWAY TRANSPORTATION SYSTEMS

HON.  SEN. MUSAKA: I move the motion standing in my name;

That this House:

CONCERNED at the alarming number of road carnage incidents on our roads which are as a result of dilapidated road infrastructure and obsolete motor vehicles coupled with human error due to flagrant breach of road regulations by unlicensed drivers;

FURTHER CONCERNED of the deterioration in the railway system in the country, a situation which is further compounded by the lack of efficient and economic air transportation system in the country;

ACKNOWLEDGING the need to establish a special budget / fund for upgrading and improving the transportation system in the country;

NOW, THEREFORE, calls upon government to:

(a)  Embark on a robust modernisation infrastructure programme for roads, air and Railways which is user friendly and accommodative of goods services and passengers at large, a situation which will eliminate road carnage substantially.

(b)  Support the development of an efficient and economic air transportation as a matter of urgency.

HON. SEN. CHIPANGA: I second.

HON. SEN. MUSAKA: I thank you Mr. President.  Given the carnage on our roads, I think it is prudent that the Government comes up with a robust infrastructure programme to modernise our railways, roads and airways.  This Mr. President will go a long way to alleviate the carnage on our roads. 

The wish and the desire here, which I call upon the Government to embark on, is to ensure that our road, railways and air are modernised.  Modernity is the approach here which I want to put across.  In modernity, there should the affordability, accessibility, accommodative and comfortable.  The case at the present moment, our roads are antiquated and dilapidated. The highways in particular from Beitbridge – Harare – Chirundu, in fact all our five major highway need modernisation.  It has become almost a ritual Mr. President that nearly every month there is a major road accident and the Government declares a national disaster, this is not pleasing.  So many people die, this is all because as I said our roads need revamping. All other modern societies have embarked on highway reconstruction and construction of safer roads accessible and affordable to all like I said.  This is not the case with us, the roads are narrow and they are causing so many problems. 

In addition, there should be strict legislation regarding the issuing out of competence driving permits to persons to drive on our roads.  Our legislation at the moment regarding the issuing of driving permits are weak to the point that anybody can just drive.  In some cases a lot of them have been found to be driving defective cars.  The importation of used cars is one the aspect which is also causing a lot of problem on our roads.  Some of the imported cars are not road worth they come into the country unchecked without fitness certificates..  There should be strict legislation requiring fitness certificates from the countries where they come from. There should be agreements that any car before it gets into Zimbabwe, it must have a certificate of fitness.  As it is at the moment there are so many cars driven on our road without having gone through the fitness requirement procedure.  Currently, when you drive in any direction in Harare, it is so congested now.  May be people and the economy are doing well, one wonders, there are so many cars but a lot of those cars are defective in one way or the other.  It is either the brakes are not working or the tyres are defective when they go on the roads.  Most of these cars use retreaded old tyres.  As i said earlier on, legislation should strengthen to disallow such tyres to be imported into Zimbabwe.  We should be a bit stricter to arrest this carnage on our roads.  Really it is worrying. We are losing a lot of our loved ones.  It does not pay really for us to go to a funeral all the time.  Really, something has to be done.

In this regard, I call upon the Government to establish a road fund.  There is ZINARA but ZINARA alone looks like it cannot cope.  It must be buttressed by other agents with funding to ensure that the roads are maintained and widened and they are safe.  The railways should be modernised to ensure that they are fast, affordable, accommodative and safe.  The modernisation of railways would facilitate that three quarters of our traffic both passenger and goods is moved to the railway system. It has been done in other countries; you have what you call the magnetic levitation type of railway system like in Japan, England and America. The trains are of such a speed that you move very quickly and they are affordable that people prefer to use them.  A distance from Harare to Bulawayo can be undertaken in one and a half hours. This is all as a result of modernisation.  The railway system should be geared towards carrying the bulk of the passengers.  At the moment we are having lot of problems Mr. President.  It really saddens us because we are losing very skilled people.  The population is already low.  Something has to be done regarding our roads, railways and air transportation.

Funding, I know, the majority of my colleagues here, the Hon. Members will say where is the money going to come from. True there maybe the issue of sanctions here but we are being invited year in, year out.  Recently, in 2014.  There was a delegation that was led by the President of the Senate and I was part of the delegation to Jordan invited by the Parliament Senate of the Arab World.  At the seminar, we were informed that the financial institutions in the Arab world have got a lot of money. If we can actually visit them, they are prepared to give us money for infrastructure and agricultural development. This way we can by-pass the sanctions.  They told us, look, you are our colleagues and if you come, we can give you the money; the money is there, for infrastructure development and agriculture. 

          Mr. President, yesterday Hon. Mumvuri moved a motion here.  They went to Addis Ababa and I think it is the same forum of the Arab World.  Who organised a seminar or summit in Addis Ababa at which they were also told that there is a lot of money and why do you not come to us and we assist you with finance for infrastructure development, agriculture, et cetera.  You do not have to go begging all the time to the IMF and the World Bank who in any case do not like you.  The IMF and World Bank always say look, Zimbabwe, your human rights record is not good because you grabbed the farms owned by whites.  Due to that, the American Government went on to declare ZIDERA.  ZIDERA was imposed on Zimbabwe because their democracy is not democracy in Zimbabwe.  Therefore, we cannot access funds through the established channels.  So, the only other way is going the other route to get the money for development and for infrastructure.

          The issue of sanctions is difficult matter for the American Government, it is not something that they can easily remove like what the EU can do.  The EU is a club of Parliaments.  They can easily make an agreement and do it.  They do not have to go to their National Parliaments to say can you remove sanctions.  They can just agree.  Even then, they have a lot of problems.  England only says we are removing sanctions but they do not. 

For the American Government, everything has to go through Congress.  In Congress will people ask, is there any democracy in Zimbabwe that you now want us to remove sanctions?  Even any President of goodwill; it can be Obama or anybody else will find it very difficult to justify that they remove sanctions.  So, that route of waiting for the IMF and the World Bankto give us money is difficult, I think Mr. President, let us just abandon it.  Let us go to those nations that are friendly.  Those who are willing to give us money are there.  I bear witness; we went to Jordan and the delegation that b went to Addis Ababa a week ago were told by the Arab delegation that money is there for development, I believe that if we follow the necessary procedures and we court our friends in the Arab world.  They should be able to assist us in providing us with funds for building, reconstructing and mordenising our railways, road transport and our air ways. 

Mr. President, it is disheartening sometimes to hear that Air Zimbabwe is now plying the route to Victoria Falls and Dar es Salaam and after a week, we hear they have been grounded again because the equipment at the airport is not working or IATA says you do not comply to IATA regulations.  Last week, the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development went to Dar es Salaam to say Tanzania is our friend, that route is important and we are re-opening it.  This piece meal development or way of doing things is just not good for us Mr. President.  Why do we not just approach this in a comprehensive manner and go to the people who will give us money so that we embark on modernization programmes and substantive development programmes.  Mr. President, I think with those few words, I rest my case.  I thank you.

HON. SEN. CHIPANGA: Thank you Mr. President.  I rise to second this very important motion which was moved by Senator Musaka.  Mr. President, let me start by saying, the operative word here is modernisation of our road network.  The railway lines are there but have not been used for years.  It is saddening to note that every two weeks, we hear that there has been an accident and a number of people died as a result of road accidents.  What is also saddening is the fact that the accidents are head on type of collisions.  What that basically means is that something is wrong.  In my view, what is wrong is that our roads are not up to scratch.  Our roads are too narrow.  In this region, it is in Zimbabwe where you still hear people dying from head-on collisions.  In other countries, they have widened their roads.  Where you hear of a road accident, it is because the driver was speeding or was under the influence of some drink. 

Mr. President, it is therefore the proposal of this motion that the Government looks carefully and looks back into our road network system.  A couple of years ago, we had a train running from Mufakose into the city centre and another one was introduced from Mabvuku into the city centre and it was a noble idea.  If we were to re-introduce that system, the number of accidents that we witness almost every other week would be a thing of the past because that would reduce the number of cars, kombis, mushika – shika and all these types of small cars that now ply our roads.  As it is, you cannot ban these transporters from carrying people into town because there is no sufficient and efficient transport to move them from their areas into the city centre.  Mr. President, the other point which should be considered carefully is the idea which has been raised by Hon. Sen. Musaka, that of a Certificate of Competency.  In other jurisdictions, there are merely known as MOT – Ministry of Transport Certificates.  Every year, every car has to be inspected and certified, particularly the public service vehicles by the Ministry of Transport to ensure that they are in good order.

          The other point Mr. President is that, we have seen our people die like any other time before, is the fact that we are lumped with substandard tyres from all over the world - most of them second hand and those that are not second hand are substandard.  They are substandard because maybe the way they were manufactured was that the climate is cool but when they come in a hot country like Zimbabwe, new as they maybe, they easily burst, resulting in deaths of our people. 

Mr. President, it is also important to look back and say, many years ago, we had our tyres manufactured in this country.  They were tyres which were made and designed to suit the climatic condition of our own country and it is very saddening to note that Dunlop who were the manufacturers of our tyres has now become a shell of its former self.  It is therefore important that, we look and take note of the fact that there is need to revisit the issue of manufacturing of tyres in this country if we want to save the lives of our own people.

          Mr. President, I have already mentioned the idea of the railway as a best means of moving large numbers of people from wherever they reside.  It is important also to note that in this country it is not possible for anyone who lives say, in Kwekwe to come and work in Harare.  Whereas in some areas, people travel several hundreds of kilometers from where they live and come to work and then in the evening go back because there are trains which are fast and efficient.  I am not suggesting that we copy what is happening in Japan where they have these Bullet Trains but for starters, we could start to use our own diesel trains or revisit the idea of electric trains.  We had a train that ran from Gweru to Harare, if that could be extended to Bulawayo, it would then be possible for anyone to live in Bulawayo and come to Harare.  We are suggesting this because we believe that that will then reduce the number of accidents on our roads.

          I also want to venture and suggest that the other major reason why accidents in this country are so common is that most of our cars, kombis for instance, are given to the charge of youngsters.  I am told that the age limit or is it the minimum age for anyone to drive a kombi is 25 years.  Crankily speaking, when I was 25 years of age, I never believed that if I was driving a car, it would get out of my control and bump into a tree or into a bridge because I always thought that I was so efficient. And at any rate, it was something that was not common in my head.

          What I am suggesting therefore Mr. President is that, why do we not consider increasing the age of all those who drive public transport from the current 25 years to 35 years?  I am talking about the minimum age.  I believe that at 35 and I believe that the majority of us and everyone here is over 35.  At 35, you begin to fear and understand that anything can happen and you begin to worry about those who are in your car and about yourself.  But below that age, you just feel that anything is possible.

Mr. President, you will also notice that the majority of the accidents that we have seen even in town, if you were to check the ages of those drivers, they are all youngsters.  This is why there is this suggestion that we should increase the number of years for those who want to drive public service vehicles.  

That we now have a lot of accidents can also be attributed to the increase in our population.  Because the population has increased, we also need to ensure that the roads that we use are also widened and made possible for the number of vehicles that now ply our country.  Let me conclude by saying, whilst it is common knowledge that the Government has no money, I think that we need to look back and say what is it that we want to consider important – the lives of our people or other issues.  I would submit Mr. President that we should look at the lives of our people first before we can think of other issues.  In other words, let us look at the state of our roads in the country and then that way we will be ensured that we save the lives of our people.  I thank you.

*HON. SEN. TAWENGWA: Thank you Mr. President.  I would want to thank the mover of the motion Hon. Sen. Musaka and the seconder, Hon. Sen. Chipanga.  As Hon. Sen. Chipanga was debating, I was thinking that I would not stand up as he was talking about what I also wanted to talk about.  This motion is telling us that deaths due to road accidents are on the increase in our roads.  We used to think this would happen in highways only, but now it is happening everywhere even in towns.  In the last few days, we were talking about the accident at Girls High School where school children were just walking from school, they are grown up, but you see them being knocked down by cars.  This shows that it is no longer the infrastructure that we are talking about but the human aspect as well, which they have referred to as competence. Are they not under the influence of drugs which they think will make them wiser? This motion is welcome because it is also talking about air transportation system.  We are thankful to the fact that our country has a good track record when it comes to air transportation system because we have not experienced fatalities in this sector, save for a few planes that have failed to take off or land due to technical faults. What we want is modernization, so that we get state-of-the-art aeroplanes depending on affordability.

          We want to thank the Government for putting in place the ZINARA Fund which was established for the rehabilitation of our roads. We can see that there is an improvement on our road network although some of the roads are dilapidated. If they remain focused on their task it will be good for us because the roads that they have rehabilitated have attracted the standard of Formula 1 driving where we are seeing drivers speeding because of the good roads. We need more monitoring on our roads by the police to curb road carnage because our people believe in speeding.

Even on the narrow roads, this other day I was travelling on a strip road where ordinarily you drive very carefully but the kombis were speeding as if they are driving on a good road. They do not care about the state of the roads because all they are concerned about is their daily target. There are now more vehicles on our roads but most of them are defective. They are not roadworthy. These are what we call jalopies which are an obsolete ramshackle.

You are all aware that sometime ago Government put a ban on the importation of vehicles which are older than five years but there was a huge outcry in this country. Most people implored the Government to lift the ban since everyone’s dream of owning a car would not be realised. As I speak now, there are some vehicles which operate using a makeshift fuel tank. A plastic container is attached to a vehicle and the owners of these vehicles do not care. Some of the vehicles do not have batteries and starters, they use push-starts and others do not have brakes. They use their legs to stop the vehicles, as if they are riding on a bicycle. Given such a scenario we cannot stop the prevalence of accidents.

          In the evening from 1800 hours, the police will not be patrolling the roads and that is when you see vehicles that do not have headlights and indicators.  They only travel at night. They will be driving recklessly and you do not have to compete with them. We are urging the police to do their work and make sure that there is sanity on our roads.

During our time, we knew that during holidays all buses had to have a fitness certificate from Vehicle Inspection Department before plying their routes. No bus would enter Mbare Musika without a certificate of fitness. The police would be monitoring that but these days anyone can drive on the road with their buses because there is brisk business.

          We now have a lot of kombis on our highways, hence more competition. They are competing with everyone, including small vehicles and buses. I think we need to interrogate and justify whether we need kombis to travel from Bulawayo to Mutare - to and fro. These long distances cause fatigue to drivers which again contributes to accidents. We should look at these laws whether they should continue like this. This issue of human error which they referred to as flagrant breach of road regulations by unlicensed drivers has to be looked into because these ones do not regard regulations as well. In most cities we have one way roads but you see them driving against one way.

          We are always talking about the rule of law only when it comes to issues that concern Government, but it is  aspect for us people - what are we doing in order to realise rule of law? What role are we playing for our country to develop? It is not only about the road or the railway track but what are we doing as a nation? When accidents occur we are only concerned about the National Disaster Fund and whether the Government provided the victims with coffins or whether the people have been compensated.

          We should modernise our roads and teach our people that we should be competent drivers. They have talked about certificate of competence, they are needed everywhere from the driver, the vehicle and the owner of the vehicle. The owner should also be accountable and charged when he gives his vehicles to incompetent drivers. The culprits should  not only be fined but incarcerated.

I want to agree with Senator Chipanga when he referred to the issue of tyres. It has also to do with affordability because Dunlop tyres are expensive. Some of the tyres cost between $200 and $500 and they are out of the reach of many. People end up buying tyres which are around $60. We should look at revamping our industries so that we make our own tyres which are suitable to our own conditions. Due to hot conditions in Beitbridge we have seen the tyres melting because they do not adapt to our conditions. This should be looked into so that we are at peace when our relatives are travelling. You find that some of the vehicles are overloaded, that is why they experience these tyre bursts.  Also, the question of servicing our vehicles, we cannot afford to service our vehicles. 

I am not going to dwell much on the railway lines because the movement of goods and services along the railway lines was of assistance to us, but these days, you find that our industries are not functioning so, there are no goods trains which are plying those areas.  We are however; very happy because yesterday we heard Hon. Chinamasa saying that he is going to revamp our trains.  So, we hope and trust that it will come to be fulfilled.  Also the issue of freedom trains is welcome to Zimbabweans, especially those from Mufakose, Mabvuku and Ruwa.  We just hope that they will be returned because this is what ZIM ASSET is looking at.  So, we will keep on talking until it happens.  Thank you Mr. President.

*HON. SEN. MACHINGAIFA: Thank you Mr. President for giving me the chance to make my contribution on this motion, which was raised by Hon. Musaka and seconded by Hon. Chipanga.  We are looking for ways and means how as Zimbabweans, we can avoid the fatal and destructive accidents which are happening and causing road carnage on our highways.  Are there any other ways of constructing user friendly roads because at the moment, our roads are in a bad state?

Mr. President, this is a very sorry state of affairs.  Hon. Musaka, in his address talked about the many problems we face and the carnage on our roads, but in as far as I am concerned, it is up to us as the people of Zimbabwe.  We are the only ones who can take care and protect ourselves from these road carnages.  Let me take an example of what is occurring in the country of Canada, in North America.  I read in one of the newspapers that there is a law which prohibits people from carrying out window shopping in some areas.  In Canada they call it loitering because they say that by window shopping one is loitering.  You should be organised in such a way that when you leave your home, you go straight to the shop where you want to buy whatever item you want to buy.  People in Canada are now following that and as a result, they are not convicted of that loitering.

The other country I will take as an example is Spain.  There is a place where you can go for a stroll and the people there were so smart that they did not want people to see soiled streets and as a result, whenever horses, cows or any other animals were used as drought power, they were dressed in napkins or diapers so that the dung was collected in diapers and not on the streets.

We also need to look at the drivers who drive our commuter omnibuses.  There should be an age limit such as 30 years, but what we should also consider, besides the age limit is, does the driver have driving experience?  We should also ascertain whether this driver is capable of undertaking night driving.  In the past it was unheard of that a person had been run down by a commuter omnibus.  In the area where I come from, in Sengwe, there was an old lady who was run down by a commuter omnibus, which only shows the recklessness, which is happening in our country.  In as far as I am concerned, our roads are excellent. 

We also have another type of a car which is called the automatic.  Yesterday some of us were praising manual gear changing cars because it is said they keep the driver awake in order to change the gears, but if it is an automatic, you simply start your car and then you move without paying any attention on the road.  The same goes for the good and straight roads in the country.  Drivers become so careless that they simply start the car and go straight wherever they want to go because the roads are good. 

We need to look at the railway system for transportation of our goods instead of the roads.  In developed countries, what I am not sure of is, is it the age of the people, the manufacturers of these items or whether the people are up to date.  We have realised that in these developed countries, the so called trains which are said to be good are now involved in accidents.  Even planes are involved in lots of accidents.  We need to look at the reason why we have all these problems.

Mr. President, I will come back to Zimbabwe.  In Zimbabwe there is unemployment because a lot of companies were shut down as a result of the illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe.  Whenever someone gets money to spend, they buy cars and put them on the road as commuter omnibuses or for ferrying goods, so that they earn a living from that.  I am pleading with the people of Zimbabwe to find ways to tackle this problem and reduce road carnage in our country.  We need to put our heads together.

A commuter omnibus, whenever it stops at a pickup or drop-off point, we need to have police officers who will be carrying out in-loco inspection to check whether the driver is not getting drunk.   We need to look at what is happening because we have people who are dying on the roads. So, we need to look at the reasons why this road carnage is happening.  We have talked of the articulated lorries, especially the Harare to Chirundu roads.  These lorries should be stopped from moving on the roads in the evenings.  You will notice that these drivers get to a bottle store, park their lorries, drink some beer and then proceed on their journey.  So, if we are looking at putting police officers at bus stops, we should respect them as they check if drivers were drinking and then wanting to drive.  The reasons for their action should then be communicated to the driver’s employers.

          *HON. SEN. CHIMHINI: Thank you Mr. President. We need to look at what is happening on our roads.  Motorists have to move at a particular set down speed limit such as 80 kilometers on dead narrow roads and 100 kilometers on wide and tarred roads.  Mr. President, when you observe what is really happening on the road we do not see any bus which is travelling within the speed limit of 80 kilometers or 100 kilometers, but the traffic police will be on the road and they do not punish these drivers.  I think the fines which are paid are not deterrent enough to stop these drivers from travelling beyond the speed limit.  So, we need to put fines which are really effective. 

          The other thing is that as Zimbabweans, we should be aware that when we are travelling at 100 kilometers per hour, we will definitely get to our destination.  Unfortunately, as Zimbabweans, we have heard some people complaining that if the driver is travelling at 100 kilometers or below, they say he is too slow and some even offer to disembark from such a bus. 

          The other unfortunate thing is that we have some bus owners and even Members of Parliament who encourage their drivers to move faster than the stated speed limit.  We need to do something.  We need to educate our drivers not to travel at such high speed and move at the required speed. 

          *HON. SEN. MAKORE: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to make my contribution on this motion, which was raised by Hon. Sen. Chipanga and seconded by Hon. Sen. Musaka.  I will only make a few additions because most of the issues have been raised by my fellow Parliamentarians.  This is not a new motion Mr. President.  We even debated this type of motion in the Seventh Parliament. We said our roads should be people friendly and safe because in the past, our roads were so full of potholes.  They were not only full of potholes but they were also narrow.

 Mr. President, when you look at the Zimbabwean roads, they are not only used by people of Zimbabwe, they are also used by international transporters, with goods being transported from South Africa to Malawi or Angola.  They all use our roads.  We had a motion which was raised by Hon. Sen. Mumvuri, which was talking about Africa developing its infrastructure and not depending on other countries because we have abundant resources in this country. 

We also have organisations like SADC and other bodies which are there in Africa.  Talking about our history of the colonisation of Africa, Cecil John Rhodes had a vision that he wanted to construct roads from Cape to Cairo.  Mr. President, I am urging the countries of Africa to look at the roads within their countries, especially when we talk of the SADC countries.  When we have issues which have to be brought before Parliament, they should include construction of roads.  Let us not only think of borrowing monies or getting monies from western countries.  We need to have institutions which will develop the road infrastructure because these roads do not just belong to the Zimbabweans and are not only used by the Zimbabweans but they are international roads, which are used by other countries. 

We need to have dual carriageways so that cars do not come face to face on the same roads.  Dual carriageways will mean these cars will be on the other side moving on their own direction.  We know that at times some of these accidents happen because of lack of attention.  Again, our roads are so narrow that if a driver does not pay attention, he will get involved in an accident.  An Hon. Senator also raised the issue that we have some of our drivers who are driving and yet they are below the required age limit.  Mr. President, not only that, I have also noticed some people dumping their trash on the roads when driving their cars and yet we know we are not supposed to be dumping rubbish onto our roads. 

We have also noticed that some of these things happen even when our police officers are manning these roads.  We need to impose stiffer penalties on people who dump rubbish on the roads.  We also have pedestrians who are so careless that they will stand on the road and stop the cars so that they can board and go wherever they want but these drivers will simply stop right in the middle of the road to pick up passengers.  They are so careless that they do not care what other drivers will feel about them stopping in such a hazardous manner.  I urge our police officers to quash these bad habits. 

I will now turn to ZIM ASSET;  roads are essential for the development of a country but because of the nature of our roads, we move at a slower pace, in such a way that instead of travelling on a journey within an hour it may take you up to three hours.  We need to construct good roads.  I know some of you will say if the roads are so straight, people will go to sleep but I am saying we do agree that roads are development.  Therefore, we need to have very good infrastructure in the country.

Mr. President, the roads of Africa should be constructed in such a way that they are user friendly.  The countries of Africa should put their heads together and work towards the improvement of the roads.  This is going to enhance the development of our country.  I thank you.

HON. SEN. MUMVURI:  I shall not waste time because most of the points which I wanted to speak on have been debated.  I totally want to thank the mover of the motion Hon. Sen. Musaka and the seconder, Hon. Sen. Chipanga.  Their motion is calling upon us and Government and I quote:

  (a) “to embark on a robust modernisation infrastructure programme for roads, air and railways, which is user friendly and accommodative of goods and services and passengers at large, a situation which will eliminate road carnage substantially.

(b) support the development of an efficient and economic air transportation as a matter of urgency”.    

I totally agree with the aims of the motion.  However, as other people have already spoken, I think these would achieve something in the long term.  In the short term, we have to put something in place as alluded to by the previous speakers.  One thing which I want to point out is that we agree that most of the carnage on our roads at the moment is being caused by human error which includes driving without due care, speeding, poor judgment such as overtaking errors are causing that.  Hon. Sen. Tawengwa rightly pointed out a recent incident in Harare that claimed two innocent lives due to negligent driving.

          Then a special population of drivers is emerging in the urban centers as we are seeing, that is the kombi drivers.  They have been left to illegally takeover the proceedings on most of our roads.  This is really deplorable and something should be done urgently.  I am following with keen interest to find out the punishment that is going to be meted on the 41 years old driver.  He was nabbed after crossing the border, he knew what he did was wrong and I think the penalties should be very stiff so that they deter would be offenders.

          Another thing which we might want to propose in the short term is that there be enough public education and awareness among our people.  The commuters should desist from boarding unroadworthy vehicles.  I think Hon. Senators Tawengwa and Chimhini made reference to those things.  Public awareness is very important for us to also help reduce the road carnages.

          The last speaker made reference to people singing and blowing whistles, thus urging drivers to drive illegally, yet the laws amply state that we must drive safely with due care.  I totally support this motion but I think we must find immediate solutions to what is happening at the moment on our existing roads.  Suffice to say air transportation must be developed, it is an expensive mode of transportation given our current economic situation.  We are not yet at that stage to use air travel.  I think only countries like the United States of America can afford to do that. 

In the immediate future, as we said, the ZIM ASSET sets out exact parameters on what to do.  ZIM ASSET states that things start with you at your home before they spread to district, province and the nation.  That is the way we should go.  I totally support this motion but we must all be participants in it in order to reduce the carnages we are witnessing at the moment.  I thank you.

*HON. SEN. MAWIRE:  Thank you Mr. President for the opportunity you have given me to make my contribution.  I would like to thank the movers of this motion Hon. Sen. Musaka and Hon. Sen. Chipanga.

A previous speaker stated that this is not a new motion and as the problem of road carnage was debated before he even joined Parliament to no avail.  I have just come from a Breakfast Meeting that was held at the Crowne Plaza.  We were informed of Acts and other legal issues and Parliament was accused of being a toothless bulldog.  We are amongst the people who are blaming the Government yet we are also to blame.  It is up to us to be resolute and make a change so that we are not just a talk shop but doers.

The way people are dying due to road carnages really pains me.  Looking from the period January to June 2016, at any given accident, we have deaths of more than 10 to 15 people.  The main perpetrators are the commuter omnibuses and these other small cars.  As stated by Hon. Sen. Makore, the buses plying the Harare to Mutare route are so fast that you cannot believe that they are passenger ferrying buses.  There are so many buses plying the Harare to Mutare route. 

We also have these big haulage trucks plying the same route and the Mushika-shikas that have been removed from the Central Business Districts (CBDs) and are now plying the Harare to Mutare route.  The Elgrands, Noahs and Ipsums should be inspected and given the routes they should follow because we have many people who cannot be ferried by these transporters.  When a bus is on the road, it should be given a permit, public insurance and everything that protects the passengers.  These smaller cars that ferry people are not even able to pay for the treatment of injured passengers, let alone bury the deceased.

As an august House, let us remove the commuter omnibuses and Mushika-shikas from our highways so that they ferry commuters in the CBDs.  Some of our roads such as the Harare, Beitbridge, Mutare and Chirundu roads are good but others are in a deplorable state.  We are always calling for the dualisation of our carriageways.  Some of the big haulage trucks that ply our roads are on overload even if you do not know what overload is, you can tell that the trucks are overloaded.  As a result, it tips over and people are either injured or die and sometimes innocent people suffer due to such recklessness.

We have been following up on the progress by the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development.  He is moving up and down the country conducting in loco inspections of the roads and calling for progress.  The only deterrent factor that may be applied is the imposition of heavy penalties on road traffic offenders.  We also need to look at competency of the surviving drivers because the accident rates are so high. When the driver survives an accident, the vehicle owner should have their operation licence revoked.  In the case of small cars, the driver together with the owner of the car must be penalised.  This is the only successful deterrent measure that we can take.

This used to happen during the Smith regime but as people fighting against colonisation, we thought it was cruelty to human beings but  what we are saying is, please, let us impose heavy penalties or fines on convicted offenders.  I thank you. Mr. President.

          *HON. SEN. MALULEKE: Thank you Mr. President for giving me the opportunity to add my voice on this motion raised by Hon. Musaka.  When I talk of this motion and look at the condition of the roads in Masvingo and the number of vehicles plying on that route, we simply say, this is manna from heaven. When I was coming from my constituency, I got to a police road block along the way and there were cars which were criss-crossing on the roads.  The police officers advised me to pass through but I had to stop and asked the police officers how they had wanted to go through such a road block when cars were criss-crossing the road in such a manner.  I therefore appeal to the people who are responsible for the police that whosoever is in charge of these roads, the cars should be moved out of the road so that the road is clear.  They should not stop cars right in the middle of the roads. 

          The Harare – Beitbridge is one of the worst roads.  It is full of potholes that need to be repaired.  Also, the speed that is used by bus drivers is too much.  At one time I was overtaken by a bus called Inter-Africa.  I was travelling at a speed of 120km per hour but that bus still overtook me.  There is a song that was sang by Chimbetu called “batai munhu”, and I am saying these people should be arrested and receive heavy penalties. 

          The problem with speed control is that, the bus drivers give each other signals that there is a road block in front and therefore, they reduce speed.  Near Beatrice, there is a bridge near the cattle farm.  The place was so full of commuters who wanted to pass through and I just could not pass through. I had to talk to the police men who had to clear the road so that I pass through.  I was informed that there had been an accident; a car had fallen into the river.  I had to plead with the police officers that when such an accident has occurred, policemen should be on the scene to control traffic.  We have situations whereby other drivers may not know what has happened and they come travelling at a speed which may be dangerous to other users of the road. 

          This motion is very vital to avoid road carnage.  Cars should be taken to the Vehicle Inspection Department (VID) and this used to happen.  Cars would be inspected at the VID.  Our cars are now aged and some of these cars which are imported from Japan have been at the sea for quite some time and sea water erodes some car components.  When these youths drive cars, they do not want to be overtaken by a lady and they drive at such speeds as 140 to 160km per hour.  As a result, we lose a lot of lives. 

The same problem occurs during school holidays when there are huge volumes of traffic because of children travelling from schools to their homes and vice-versa.  There are lots of accidents that occur.  People are maimed and die.  We need to look at the cause of these accidents.  We also have problems with commuters of buses or lorries; they urge drivers to drive fast because they want to get to their destinations.  That is putting people in danger.  I therefore have to thank Hon. Musaka and Hon. Chipanga for raising such an emotional motion.  This is very essential.  I thank you. 

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

HON. SEN. CHIPANGA:  I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume:  Thursday, 9th June, 2016.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE DELEGATION TO THE FIRST AFRO-ARAB LEGISLATORS AND BUSINESS SUMMIT

Third Order read:  Adjourned debate on the motion on the report of the First Afro-Arab Legislators and Business Summit held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Question again proposed.

*HON. SEN. MAVHUNGA: Thank you Mr. President for giving me the chance to make my contribution on the report raised by Hon. Sen. Mumvuri.  I would like to say thank you for such a meeting which was held by Members of Parliament from the Pan-African countries and Arabian countries.  There were also business people at that conference.  The aim of this conference was pulling and working together in the development of African countries.  It was also seen that Africa has a lot of natural resources and human resources.  This includes the people of Zimbabwe who are highly rated in education.  Despite such endowment of natural resources, Africa is still a poor continent. 

It was also stated that in Africa, there was no democracy but corruption was rampant.  I believe that Zimbabwe, is one of the countries which is really working hard in fighting all these obstacles.  I will look at the case of anti-corruption.  We have established a Commission so that we can fight this cancer in our society.  In order for us to develop as a country, we need to fight and eradicate corruption.  As Zimbabweans, we have taken a step ahead by developing the Anti-Corruption Commission.  We have also put some systems that will fight this corruption.  What we need now is to implement these policies because policies should not just be a talk show but they should be implemented.  We also want to look at rules and regulations which are existing.  When we want to develop our country, we had come from a workshop in Bulawayo where we were talking of the ease of doing business.  This means that we need to create regulations which will enable even outsiders from coming to invest in Zimbabwe.  This also calls for Zimbabwe to have a rethink on the indigenisation policy because it is said to be deterring outsiders from coming to invest in Zimbabwe. We were told of lack of democracy in other countries but Zimbabwe is practising democracy because we hold elections as per schedule – every five years.  This shows that we are different from other countries.

          Also talking of conflicts, Zimbabwe is one of the very peaceful countries, unlike what is happening in other countries.  Zimbabwe has even afforded the idea of sending our police or military personnel to maintain peace in other countries.  We therefore need to work hard in maintaining the peace and tranquility in our country.  We need to spread this message of peace to other countries and what we need is to work toward the development of our country.  I thank you.

          +HON. SEN. A. MASUKU: Thank you Mr. President.  The report that has been tabled in this Senate has actually brought so many things that we need to take into consideration and might help our country in improving our situation.  One thing that is important that was mentioned in this report is that, it also touches on the meetings that are held in other countries with themes that are so important that can help in improving a country’s economy.   But, we realise that even the resolutions that are passed in those meetings are just blueprint documents and are not implemented.  If we can only implement all the resolutions that are passed in all the conferences that are held.  I hope that Zimbabwe as a nation will follow and implement all the resolutions that are passed so that some of them might help in trying to improve the situation of our economy.

          I realise that the report that was tabled in this Senate also touches on the issue of Africa being a very good continent when it comes to tourism. I realise Mr. President Sir, that there are so many people who come from different countries for tourism especially observing our wild animals.  I also take into consideration that there are some people, especially the tourists who come all the way from their countries to places like the Victoria Falls, Matobo or Great Zimbabwe to view the beauty of our nation.  This is a sign that Africa is a very good continent when it comes to tourism.  I mentioned Zimbabwe only but, generally Africa is a very good continent for tourism.

          Mr. President Sir, I also take into consideration that, this report touched on the issue of batter trade that can be made in our countries within the African continent.  What exactly is it that we are doing in Africa as a continent.  Can we really say we have good quality of the things that we produce in our continent?  One thing that is important is not about producing many things but, about producing things that have good quality when it comes to selling.  This will help to improve our continent and we can sell to each other as countries within the African continent or even extend to other continents.

          The report also touched on the issue of the youth being educated on the work that they can do in trying to improve their lifestyle.  We always mention that we will create so many jobs but one question that I always pose is, as an African continent, what exactly is it that we want?  Do we want Europe to come back and create the jobs for you or as an African continent; we can create the jobs or create opportunities for the young people to have jobs.

          Mr. President Sir, I will be happy if especially in this Senate if we can have one of the Senators standing up to say from my Constituency, there is a project that I am doing where it has created opportunities for jobs for the youth, for example say 100 jobs without the Government getting involved.  Creating job opportunities does not mean that we have to always involve the Government but it is a task for everyone, especially to us as leaders. We are supposed to create job opportunities, especially for our youth.

          Mr. President Sir, it is also important that the youths should learn how to do jobs on their own so that they can create employment for themselves.  They are also supposed to attend the vocational training centrres.  Even in our vocational training centtres, we are supposed to support them so that the lecturers who will be teaching those students in the vocational training centres are able to do-especially the practical works with all the equipment that will be required.  Some years ago, we used to have places for example, at Hlekweni Vocational Training Centre, they used to teach students different practical subjects, for example handicraft or metalwork.  At the end of their studies, they would be given a few of the materials that they can use on their own when they are doing their practicals at home.  This is very important because we can teach them but after they have graduated, they would fail to get the equipment to start the jobs on their own.  Mr. President Sir, it is important that after teaching or training our youth, especially from the vocational training centres, we should give them the materials as well to use on their own. 

It was highlighted again that there is this issue called corruption.  Personally, I would like to say that if a song is being sang over and over again and at the end we will realise that it will lose its value. It will appear as if it is just a chorus that is being sung without a meaning. As a country we are so blessed to have our President who always speaks against corruption. The President has also highlighted that there is need to investigate on the issues to do with corruption and bring the culprits to account for their actions. It is important that all those who are involved in corrupt activities are called to account for their actions.

          I also recognise that the report also touched on Africa as a continent which experiences drought. For example, this year the country did not have enough rainfall. In addition, even those countries that were supporting us during the drought season did not receive enough rainfalls. When we touch on the issue of supporting each other when it comes to drought relief programmes, I am happy to say that I heard Senator Musakwa highlighting that Arab countries are always saying that they have a lot of money and it would be important that we consider what they always - say that they have a lot of money and they want to assist Africa, especially during the drought season.

          I would like to urge everyone that we should not appear as beggars but we take it as assistance to this country. If we are really in need of finances, is it not possible that we can borrow from other counties as a way of trying to mitigate the drought that we have in this country? We also realise that under ZIM ASSET there is the issue of food security and it is important that our Government considers what the Arab countries are saying. Yes, we have those who are against Zimbabwe but we have other countries that want to assist us in the African context and we should consider them.

          It is also important that the laws that we make as a country are investor friendly to the countries that want to assist us with finances. With these few words Mr. President I would like to thank those who travelled to this important meeting and tabled a very good report which would then need to be responded to. Our Ministers should take into consideration-with high priority, especially on the issue that there are other countries that are willing to assist which might help us as a country. I thank you for giving me this opportunity to debate.

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

          HON. SEN. MACHINGAIFA: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Thursday, 9th June, 2016.

          On the motion of HON. SEN. MASUKU, seconded by HON. SEN. B. SIBANDA, the Senate adjourned at Six Minutes past Four O’clock p.m.

 

 

Senate Hansard SENATE HANSARD 08 June 2016 vol 25 no 54