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SENATE HANSARD 08 MARCH 2017 VOL 26 NO 35

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PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Tuesday, 8th March, 2017

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

PRAYERS

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

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE

INVITATION TO A WORKSHOP ON THE NEW EDUCATION CURRICULUM

          THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: I have to inform the Senate that all Hon. Senators are invited by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education to a workshop on the new education curriculum. The workshop will be held on Monday, 13th March, 2017 at 0900 hours at the Harare International Conference Centre.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL SERVICES (HON. ENG. MATANGAIDZE): I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 9 on today’s Order Paper be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 10 has been disposed of.

          Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

FIRST REPORT OF THE THEMATIC COMMITTEE ON GENDER AND DEVELOPMENT ON THE STATUS OF CHILDREN’S HOMES

          Tenth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the First Report of the Thematic Committee on Gender and Development on the Status of Children’s Homes.

          Question again proposed.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL SERVICES (HON. ENG. MATANGAIDZE): Thank you Madam President. Allow me to thank Members of the Thematic Committee on Gender and Development on the detailed work they put in establishing the status of children’s homes across the country. Allow me to extend my Ministry’s appreciation to Hon. Senator Makore and Hon. Senator Buka for respectively moving and seconding this motion.

Madam President, this august Senate was informed that your Thematic Committee visited Matthew Rusike Children’s Home, Irvadole Chirinda, Alpha Cottages, SOS Children’s Village, Midlands Children’s Home, Mary Ward and Kadoma Training Institute which indeed gave the Committee an even spread of homes visited. Accordingly, it is fair to say the report they tabled is largely indicative of the broad status of children’s homes in this country.

Madam President, your Committee’s work was motivated by the need to:

1.    Identify and appreciate the challenges being faced by children accommodated at children’s homes;

2.    Assess the status of the children’s homes;

3.    Explore legislative and policy considerations regarding children’s homes; and

4.    To offer policy recommendations for improvements.

Madam President, your Committee established and tabled the following findings:-

1.    That most homes do not have adequate land for their operations.

2.    That the Government is not consistently disbursing the $15 per child per month grant.

3.    That the Department of Social Welfare might not regularly be monitoring these homes.

4.    That birth certificate registration is not as prompt as it should be.

5.    That there is a general shortage of Government social workers.

6.    That the general practice of discharging children on attaining 18 years of age be reviewed and assessed based on individual circumstances.

Accordingly, your Committee requested that my Ministry looks into:

1.    Considering to assist in availing scholarships such as Presidential Scholarship Schemes to vulnerable children.

2.    Immediately resuming payments of the $15 grants.

3.    Roping in other stakeholders such as NAC and the Ministry of Health and Child Care in a roll-out training in ART, HIV/AIDS services.

4.    Crafting an after care programme to cater for children on attaining 18 years of age.

5.    Employing core and critical staff for children’s homes which should be paid from the fiscus.

6.    Facilitating birth certificate registration.

7.    Decentralising the operation of the Department of Social Welfare and bring some autonomy to the children’s homes, albeit with increased supervision from the Welfare officers – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] –

          Madam President, in an endeavour to adequately respond to the concerns and subsequent recommendations of your Committee and debate in this House, allow me to in the first instance, present the legal framework which governs the operations of Children’s Homes in this country.

          Children’s homes are registered in terms of Section 31 of the Children’s Act (Chapter 5.06).  The Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare has moved from the term orphanage to more child friendly terms such as children’s homes or residential child care institutions.  These terms take into consideration that not all children in these institutions are orphans.  Placement of children in residential child care institutions by the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare is provided for under the Children’s Act (Chapter 5.06).  Section 2 of the Act defines a child who is in need of care who may end up being placed in a registered children’s home for their safety and rehabilitation support.

          Madam President, the Constitution of Zimbabwe defines a child as a person below the age of 18.  As such, children’s homes are administratively limited to taking care of children below the age of 18 unless and until there is a shift in the age of majority upwards.  This however, does not translate to throwing the children out into the streets upon their attaining the age of majority.  The national residential child care standards stipulate that each child’s care and discharge plan should be developed by the Child Welfare Officer and institution for the following reasons:-

(a)             to enable children to continue with their education and training;

(b)            to ensure support and follow up in the case of children with disabilities including those in need of medical, educational, occupational and psycho-social support;

(c)             to allow children to develop and maintain relationships with their peers;

(d)            to assist children in understanding their sexuality and establish positive and caring relationships;

(e)             to help children in overcoming trauma and building self-esteem as well as resilience in case of extreme abuse;

(f)              to assist children in preparing for the world of work and/or for further education and;

(g)            to enhance practical and independent life skills.

Madam President, after leaving the institution, the young adult is

afforded with continuous support, follow up and an open door approach in case they need help.  All this is to make sure they have adjusted and are integrating well in their new life.  Each case is handled individually but the best practice is that before the child turns 18; their case is continuously reviewed for better options.  Most of the institutions have built other shelters for the older children, a reasonable distance away from the established Homes.  These shelters are called Youth Centres or Half Way Homes depending on their management.  The major limitation for Government remains funding as these young adults should graduate under funding from the Children in Difficult Circumstances provision with public assistance paying for their independent living or subsidising support from foster parents and relatives.

          My Ministry is advocating for a quota to be set aside for vulnerable children in institutions to access tertiary education and scholarships including the Presidential Scholarship – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] –

          Madam President, it is important to bring to the fore that the Ministry supports registered children’s homes with the following:-

(a)             a once off administration grant per year of $15.00 per child per registered capacity;

(b)            monthly per capita grant by 12 months as per claim;

(c)             school fees, examination fees and school uniforms per claim.

My Ministry requires a budget of over US$1 million per year to

meet these needs but has only been allocated $200 000.00 per year which is usually not released, therefore making it difficult to support the deserving institutions; a case in point being the 2016 Budget which is still to be released.  As the Ministry receives funding, the available resources are shared using registered capacities to make sure all institutions receive some allocation.  My Ministry’s records however, show that the last disbursement of grants to institutions were made in 2015 from the $100 000.00 released by Treasury for all institutions that had submitted claims and banking details.

          Madam President, to supplement the late releases of funds, my Ministry has also distributed rice, cooking oil, laundry soap and other basic requirements to all these institutions.  My Ministry also partners the business community and churches that also supplement institution needs with donations.  It is however unfortunate that the majority of the well-wishers are reluctant to visit institutions that are outside of urban centres.

          Madam President, the current update on Chirinda Children’s Home is that four children whose relatives were traced and assessed to be safe were reunified with their relatives.  Seven toddlers were also removed from Chirinda Children’s Home after a new institution was registered to take children.

          Unfortunately, older children that are going to school or sitting examinations could not be removed from the institution until new places of safety are found.  Donations have also been directed to the home to meet the homes’ basic needs.  The home is under constant supervision.  Once all children have been removed, the institution will be temporarily closed until management is able to sort out the staff and child care issues – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] –

          Madam President, on different standards for the different children’s homes, let me highlight that the National Residential Child Care Standards (2010) currently under review make it mandatory for all children’s homes to set up family units to decongest and provide one on one, socialisation for children in institutions.  The majority of the 94 registered children’s homes countrywide have now renovated their buildings but due to lack of funding, 40% of the institutions are still to comply.  My Ministry engaged Treasury to fund renovation of all Government institutions.

          Madam President, with regards to supervision and inspection of Children’s Homes;

          Child Welfare Officers from my Ministry are mandated to conduct two major inspections per institution each year and at least one monthly monitoring and support visit to institutions under their jurisdiction.  The Social Worker to child ratio which is estimated to be one social worker per 12 000 children remains a challenge.  We are again appealing to Treasury to avail more funds to help to recruit more social workers.

          The current status where one Child Welfare Officer has to deal with child abuse cases, custody cases, adoption cases, community awareness on child rights, appear in court as a Probation Officer in all cases involving children including children in need of care and children in conflict with the law and in the worst cases where one officer supervises an average of 10 children’s homes in one district is completely untenable. My Ministry therefore, appreciates the Committee on Gender and Development’s recommendation for additional staffing.  However, in the interim, we will continue to make use of available resources in monitoring and supporting the existing institutions.

          Madam President, on the vetting of staff at Children’s Homes;

          To avoid placing children in the hands of criminals, it is a requirement at registration, that the management of the home and all staff members are vetted by the police.  Some cases of abuse are however not reported through the police and therefore we risk employing abusive staff.  Community involvement in the vetting of such cases is important to reduce such risks.   Medical clearance on contagious diseases by all staff that interacts with children is also a requirement.

           Madam President, birth registration falls under the mandate of the Registrar General’s office in terms of the Births and Deaths Registration Act (Chapter 5.02).  The Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare applies for birth certificates from the Registrar General’s office in cases of abandoned children without traceable relatives.  In cases where the child has traceable relatives, the role of the Ministry is to facilitate birth registration awareness raising.  When the Ministry applies for birth certificates as Guardian ad Litem for a child, they also meet set requirements for birth registration as stipulated by the Registrar General’s office.  Efforts are however in progress to register all outstanding children without birth certificates.

          Madam President, with regards capacity building of staff at children’s homes, please note that all institution management and staff are required to receive basic training in child care and protection.  Additional representatives of staff at all institutions have also been trained on the National Residential Child Care Standards, HIV sensitive child protection and project development and fundraising to help them start fund raising projects for the institutions in 2016.  Staff attrition is high, especially when children’s homes are failing to pay institution staff.  Refresher training is therefore always necessary for the benefit of new staff members coming to institutions.

          Madam President, there is a call to decentralise authority for children to leave institutions on field trips.  It is important to highlight that children in institutions have a right to leisure, art and sports.  Permission to leave the institution is decentralised to the district and province, depending on where the child is going.  If the child needs to leave the country, the Director Child Welfare and Protection Services is required to approve in line with the Children’s Act in order to minimise instances of child trafficking.

          Madam President, having fully taken cognisance of your Committee’s report and submissions of this august House, my Ministry accordingly agrees:

a)    That Treasury should release budget allocations timeously for children in difficult circumstances, Government child protection institutions and PSIP projects to improve access to quality service to committed children in institutions and under foster care;

b)   That the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare should be capacitated in terms of human and capital resources to enhance capacity to effectively supervise institutions and have resources to cover emergency situations in institutions;

c)    That a quota be set aside in technical colleges, universities, training schools and scholarships for talented vulnerable children identified by the Ministry in consultation with other relevant line Ministries; and

d)   That birth registration of children within six weeks of age be enforced to reduce statistics of vulnerable children without birth certificates – [HON. MEMBERS:  Hear, hear.]-

Madam President, it is therefore my Ministry’s hope that with the support of the Parliamentary Thematic Committee on Gender and Development to lobby for support for children’s homes, the situation of children in the country will greatly improve.  I thank you.

          THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  I wish to thank the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare – [HON. MEMBERS:  Hear, hear.] – for being the first Ministry to respond to a motion moved in this House.  We really thank and congratulate you.  We look forward to your Ministry keeping it up.  Thank you. 

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

          HON. SEN. MOHADI:  I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

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

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          HON. SEN. MOHADI:  Thank you Madam President.  I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 11 be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 12 has been disposed of. 

          HON. SEN. GOTO:  I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE DELEGATION TO THE 39TH PLENARY ASSEMBLY OF THE SADC PARLIAMENTARY FORUM

          Twelfth Order read:  Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the delegation to the 39th Plenary Assembly of the SADC Parliamentary Forum.

Question again proposed.

          HON. SEN. MOHADI:  Thank you Madam President.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank Hon. Members who contributed on the motion.  On that note, I seek leave of this august House to withdraw the motion on the report of the delegation to the 39th Plenary Assembly of the SADC Parliamentary Forum from the Order Paper.

          Motion; with leave, withdrawn.

MOTION

STATE OF THE NATION ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT

          Second Order read:  Adjourned debate on motion in reply to the State of the Nation address.

          Question again proposed.

          *HON. SEN. GOTO:  Thank you Madam President.  I thank Hon. Chipanga for this motion on the State of the Nation Address by His Excellency.  His Excellency discussed a lot of items in his Speech.  The first item which I would like to debate on is ZIM ASSET.  We are aware that ZIM ASSET has four clusters namely:  food security and nutrition,  value addition and beneficiation, infrastructure and utilities and social services and poverty eradication.  I was very much elated when he talked about that because it included the implementation of the command agriculture.

He talked about it and this year this programme was implemented.  We have a feeling that we are going to have a bumper harvest to such an extent that at the moment, we feel our storage facilities are going to be overwhelmed.  The inputs were delivered on time and whilst we do agree that we had some problems in some areas, I am sure this is going to be ironed out in future.  Some people benefitted from the Presidential scheme, which was also aimed at improving agriculture. 

          The President also talked about women empowerment through a micro-finance bank and we know this bank is in the process of being established.  This is targeting women who are very pro-active and may want to establish some businesses.  Let me give you an example.  We were told that women who can take this country to a higher level are blessed women, very courageous with strong decision making traits which they stick to and they are also balanced.  In other words, it is essential for a woman to be well balanced and well organised.  My feeling is that if this bank is established and starts working, definitely the lives of the people of Zimbabwe will be improved.   We also have social partners who are prepared to work with us to improve the livelihood and the economy of Zimbabwe.  We all need to work in unison and be a team.  When people come from outside, they will learn from us as much as we will also be learning from them. 

Like I said, the President’s speech was very pregnant with ideas.  His Excellency also spoke strongly against gender based violence and encouraged Members of Parliament to give lectures on gender based violence wherever they will be and at every opportune time especially to women, who are the people mostly abused.  So, we need to comply so that people get to know that gender based violence is a disease which is very harmful and needs to be avoided. 

Let me end by thanking Hon. Chipanga for raising such a motion because it is very important and it outlined what had been highlighted by the President, Cde. R. G Mugabe.

*HON. SEN. MANYERUKE:  I also rise to make my contribution to the address by His Excellency Cde. R. G Mugabe.  Let me start by saying that the President’s wishes were granted because he moves around the world seeking assistance so that we do not face starvation in Zimbabwe.  Indeed, the Command agriculture programme and the Presidential input programme have yielded advantages which we can all see.  The country is all green because the people of Zimbabwe are hard working and very creative.  We thank the Lord for answering positively to our prayers.  I also want to thank the traditional leaders because they asked for appeasement from the ancestral spirits and they have been answered and that is why we have these rains. 

The President also talked about the advancement of women through the establishment of a women’s bank which is a step in the right direction.  The President spoke strongly against corruption which is a cancer and a killer.  He did say that as Members of Parliament, we need to speak against corruption in our constituencies, especially in the distribution of Government handouts of whatever needs to be distributed amongst the people.  There should be fairness and we should know that this is our country and all the resources are ours and should be shared equally.  I thank you.

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

HON. SEN. MUMVURI:  I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume:  9th March, 2017.

MOTION

PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS

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

Question again proposed.

*HON. SEN. MATIIRIRA:  Thank you for giving me the opportunity to make my contribution on the statement by His Excellency, Cde R. G. Mugabe.  I also want to thank Hon. Sen. Nyambuya and Hon. Sen Mavhunga for introducing this motion.  The statement by His Excellency, when opening this session had to do with the development of the country.  He touched on a lot of issues which included agriculture.  As far as we know, the Zimbabwe economy is agro-based and by coincidence, Command agriculture and the Presidential input scheme were established.  The Lord answered our prayers by giving us rains although in some areas there were floods but what we know generally is that we are going to have a bumper harvest.

          His Excellency also talked about the realignment of laws to the Constitution of the country so that there will not be any problems. The President also talked about some Bills which are to be introduced in both Houses. One of them is the Marriage Bill and Land Commission Bill. I will turn to the Land Commission Bill which has already been introduced in this august House. We know that Zimbabwe is an agro-based economy and people need to have security of tenure on the land which they are farming. When we talk of the Marriage Bill, this is an important Bill because it is going to be introduced in this House. We know the Vice President said he was going to see to it that this Bill is introduced as soon as possible. This Bill is also going to fight early child marriages because it is a menace. We heard all the members who talked about this Bill saying this Bill should be brought into the House sooner than later.

           I would like to thank His Excellency for his wide ranging speech which was aimed at the development of our country, Zimbabwe. In conclusion, I say congratulations to you, Your Excellency for attaining the age of 93. That is a very ripe age. May the Lord continue being merciful to you. I thank you.

          HON. SENATOR MAKWARIMBA: Thank you very much Mr. President for according me this opportunity to also add my voice to a motion raised by Hon. Senator Rtd. Gen. Nyambuya and his seconder. First of all Mr. President, I want to thank His Excellency the President for his continuous effort to ensure the realignment of laws as expected by the majority of our people.

Mr. President, I am aware that several Bills are going to be brought before this House but I want to single out the Rural District Councils’ Bill, which to me is one of the important Bills that are coming our way. Why do I say it is important Mr. President? It is where 75% of the population of this country resides and these are the people who were neglected by the colonial government over the years. Over and above that Mr. President, these are the people who suffered during the armed struggle because as you are aware, the war was more concentrated in the rural than the urban areas. Therefore, they deserve to enjoy the benefits of the independence of this country.

In terms of Section 276 Mr. President, rural district councils (RDCs) are mandated to run their own affairs using the resources that are under their jurisdiction. The most fundamental thing to do Mr. President is to decentralise power and authority to these local authorities so that the people under them have the right to participate in the development processes in their areas of jurisdiction. This brings about popular participation in decision making processes, hence their involvement from the planning to the implementation stage.

What do we see now Mr. President? We see a situation where some central Government ministries are actually competing in the collection of resources in areas under the rural district councils. I will give an example of the Ministry of Lands Mr. President. The Ministry of Lands collects rent levy in areas under the rural district councils, competing now with the rural district councils which are supposed to collect revenue and use it for the majority of our people.

Mr. President, people often talk about congestion in urban areas and looming numbers of unemployment. If Government provides resources to the growth points that are under the rural district councils, I can assure you that some people will be able to earn their living running their small businesses and making a living without going to urban areas as is the case now. In my own opinion, rural district councils are lower tires of Central Government and should uphold the image of Central Government instead of tarnishing it. We hear all sorts of names that are given to RDCs such as inefficiency, ineffectiveness and so on instead of assisting them to perform well.

In conclusion Mr. President, I would like to request all Hon. Members here present to look closely at this Bill when it is brought to this House and ensure that the Bill provides a conducive environment so that the RDCs can run their affairs, and possibly improve the living standards of our people. I thank you Mr. President.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. SEN. MUZENDA): Mr. President, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

Motion put and agreed to.

 Debate to resume: Thursday, 9th March, 2017.

MOTION

ALIGNMENT OF CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS BY ZIMBABWE ELECTORAL COMMISSION (ZEC)

Fourth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on Alignment of the Electoral Act to the Constitution.

          Question again proposed.

          HON. SENATOR MLOTSHWA: Thank you Mr. President. I wish to take this opportunity to thank Hon. Senator Timveos for bringing this motion to this House. As the seconder, I would like to add a few things that I think she did not mention in her motion.

          Mr. President, in seconding this good motion, I want to start by examining the composition of ZEC and also their mandate. Section 236 of our Constitution outlines the mandate of the Independent Commissions. It says they should be non-political and must not further the interest of any political party and prejudice the lawful interest of any political party, cause or violet the fundamental rights or freedom of any person.  Anyone can read further into that section. 

          Mr. President, I have been privileged to have been involved in the panel of selecting the Commissioners as a member of the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders.  As I speak, I speak from the experiences that I noticed when we put in place the Commissioners by way of interviews.  The selection process, I think I can say is politically pregnant because those that are in the panel of interviewers are politicians and they look to see whether the ZEC Commissioners – since we are talking of ZEC in this motion, are aligned to what they think they will further; this is very true. 

I think it is very difficult for the ZEC Commissioners to find themselves being apolitical as to the requirements of the Constitution because if they do that, then they can never get the job.  The Committee on Standing Rules and Orders, it is stipulated in the Constitution, that in 30 days the person who has been given an opportunity to be a Commissioner must relinquish his or her political position in whichever party that the person belongs to.  In the curriculum vitae, I want to remember and I remember vividly well some of the people had written that they are members of Central Committee and members of this and that in their curriculum vitae.  As I have sat in the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders, I have never seen us as a Committee receiving a letter to declare a person who has been appointed by our interviews through the whole processes of sending to His Excellency the President, appointing and sending back a letter of declaring that he or she is no longer a member of a certain party.  So, I say that it is very difficult for ZEC Commissioners to be apolitical.

Mr. President, the role of Parliament in Section 119, says we must protect the Constitution and promote democratic governance in Zimbabwe, that is our role and that is why we are sitting here trying to discuss and see ways of how we can improve all the processes that we do for the betterment of this country.  I mentioned this because I know it was not mentioned by the mover of the motion when it comes to the alignment of ZEC so as to promote democratic governance. 

Mr. President, I believe very well that voting is a way of endorsing the kind of Government you want, though in most cases in Africa, elections are rigged and the true reflection is just eroded by those in power.  I am speaking to the issue of holding a transparent, free and fair election in 2018, depending on integrity of the voters’ roll as well as an enabling environment.  I am contributing because we all know and witness in certain corners of our country that every time when we prepare for elections, people start to show their muscles against the weaker ones who do not have protection – [MDC-T HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – [ZANU PF HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] - that is exactly what happens and those that are complaining are those that are involved.  

People are at times forced to attend meetings that they are not prepared to attend because in a free Zimbabwe, a person is not supposed to be forced to close shop and attend a rally because a certain political figure is addressing the rally.  That is the conducive environment that we are talking about.  If you want people to vote freely, you start by not forcing them to go to a rally which they are not prepared to go to; that is the conducive environment that we are talking about.

          Mr. President, anybody in Zimbabwe is not supposed to be intimidated by any security forces because the security forces usually are known to be armed and if now they approach the villagers in a manner...

          HON. SEN. CHIPANGA:  On a point of order Mr. President Sir.

          THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE (HON. SEN. TAWENGWA):  What is your point of order?

          HON. SEN. CHIPANGA: Mr. President, the Hon. Senator started by saying she wants to bring up issues which were not raised by the mover of the motion, suggesting therefore, that she does not agree with the motion.  I would sincerely request that she moves a new motion which will look into the appointment of ZEC; how elections are held in this country, intimidation; the fairness and heavy-handedness of the security forces so that we know that we are looking at a new motion.  I have been trying to look closely at the motion here, it looks like she has a new motion altogether.  I thank you.

          THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Thank you Hon. Sen. Chipanga, if you read on page 237, the last aspect of it is about the Constitution and the realignment of laws.      

          HON. SEN. MLOTSHWA: Bathi esi Ndebeleni kusasa kuyizolo and I know that Hon. Sen. Chipanga understands very well what that means.  Mr. President, I am speaking on the need of Government to align the electoral laws with the Constitution and create electoral environment that complies with Article 7 of the African Union Charter on free and fair elections.  So, when I talk about people being forced to go to a meeting, it is election preparedness, it is an election preparation that is being done and I am saying it must be done well – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – We should know that we are different and we should live with our differences.  If you have advantage of having that power, you must not abuse it so that those that do not have that power have no choice in terms of elections.  Mr. President, as Parliamentarians and as I said before, we must not allow a situation where we see in wherever we live people abusing power.  We should make sure that we adhere to the Constitution of our country.  If you read the Constitution properly, you would understand what I am talking about. 

Mr. President, the partners had agreed to acquire the biometric voters’ equipment.  I say so because there is a sub-committee that involves all the parties in Parliament, in the ZEC.  We happen to be in that Committee as a party and we know what exactly happens.  It is unfortunate, may be in other parties you do not share information like we do.  The partners agreed on the plan but just last week, we heard from the newspapers that Government has since taken over the buying of this same equipment.  We suspect Mr. President, that all is not well because we know very well that the economic situation that we are in, is not going to be conducive and allow that the Government buys this equipment.  I am suspecting, as I am debating now that by the last minute, the Government will announce that the status quo will remain for the 2018 elections because we do not have the money.  That is a sure case.  Therefore, the issue that we were always talking about, the issue of the manipulation of elections cannot be avoided.

Mr. President, electoral laws determine women’s ability to access and control positions of leadership at the national and sub national level.  I could not avoid this statement Mr. President, because today being the Women’s Day and me being a woman, in case you thought I was a man, I want to concentrate on that issue.  We are not the only country that has internal conflicts.  We are not the first country to have internal conflicts.  The only determining factor in the case of elections is how we move and adopt the inclusivity of allowing everyone to have a right in terms of elections.  So, we are not the first ones and will not be the only ones to have them.

I would want to use the case of Rwanda.  Rwanda had its divisive internal conflict in 1994 just as we had the Gukurahundi era which our own President describes as the era of madness.  The Rwandans learnt their lessons and now they have aligned their Constitution with electoral laws that promote women and peace.  This is what we must learn to do.  Rwanda is now a shiny example that resides in Africa.  It is a shining example of the world and it has taken over from Sweden.  The women in Rwanda are holding the majority of political leadership positions through elections.  They do not just do it but through elections by making the electoral law conducive for everyone to vote the way they want to vote. 

Mr. President, education, employment and electoral laws affect women’s voices in empowerment.  Women who earn income are less likely to depend on men.  Girls and women’s education is central to women’s access to employment.  Laws like the electoral laws that make sure that women are properly looked after and that make sure that the fight for reforms by women has gains, Mr. President, will make the few women that are in the positions of power take chances to make their voices heard so that there is transformation.  For example, if women are voted into Parliament through the electoral law in Zimbabwe, it means that they will look into all the other spheres where women are supposed to occupy the legal institution, the formal professional associations, Government and civic organisations by having those opportunities through elections.  It means that so many women in the men’s spheres can benefit.

In my conclusion Mr. President, in Zimbabwe, women are not in charge of their political parties.  That is why I said, today being a Women’s Day, I want to look into how women benefit to be in charge of their political parties.  For you to have a position where your voice can be heard so that you benefit other women and girls, you have to be a member of a certain political party.  Their – [HON. SEN. CHIPANGA: Inaudible interjection.]Mr. President, can I have protection from Sen. Chipanga. 

THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  Please proceed.

HON. SEN. MLOTSHWA:  Mr. President, I was saying that the women’s contributions enhance women chances through electoral laws but because they are in the political parties, the women are always waiting to be promoted by the men.  For example, Mr. President, in this House, we moved a motion to have a holiday for this day declared but because women are afraid of men in their parties, they threw away the only chance of them being honoured.  So Mr. President, you can see how much we are being affected by not having the proper voices at the proper places.  I thank you very much Mr. President.

HON. SEN. CHIMHINI:  Thank you Mr. President.  I want to add my voice to the motion presented by Sen. Timveos and start off by saying, our Constitution is very clear about ZEC which is an independent Commission.  I will read two sections; that is 239 (i) and (j), where (i) talks about – “to accredit observers of elections and referendums” and (j) “to give instructions to persons in the employment of the State or of a local authority for the purpose of ensuring the efficient, free, fair, proper and transparent conduct of any election or referendum”.  Mr. President,

H.I                                 st340350                       08 March, 2017

an election is a process where people make choices.  It is important that people make free choices.  When the Legislature came up with the idea of aligning the laws to the Constitution, it was very clear that we wanted to have free, fair and credible elections.  I cannot understand why it has taken us so long for us to align the laws to the Constitution.  We have an election coming next year and we seem not to be prepared for that.  We question - what kind of an election result we are going to have?  It becomes embarrassing to always have a disputed election.

As a country, we also go out to observe elections from other countries, but I wonder what we are learning from those countries because we come back here and do not learn any best practices.  There is no political will on both the Government and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).  The section that speaks on giving instructions to people in the employment of the State also includes the uniformed forces.  Why should the uniformed forces give instructions to ZEC rather than ZEC giving instructions to the uniformed forces?  To have a credible election, we must have confidence in the system and it is very clear that we have not reached that stage.  As we approach the year 2018, many people are questioning what kind of an election we are going to have.  Personally, I want to believe that when we shun international observers, there is something we are hiding –[HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] – If we are doing things properly, we should not be afraid to get other people come and witness what we are doing.

Something that is very clear at the moment is the question of buying the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) kits.  At one time the Government said it did not have the money.  Something like US$9 million was put in the budget and after a short period, we are told that the Government now has US$17 million.  Where are we getting the money when the Government is broke?  We have had almost 35 by-elections in this country, where did we get the money to conduct those elections?  There is no disclosure of funding and people are afraid when we go into elections next year; we may have somebody with a chase somewhere, where we are going to use that money for an election and ZEC may not know the source of that money.  That destroys the credibility of a free and fair election.

Mr. President, people must enjoy going into an election.  If ZEC does what it is mandated to do in the Constitution, definitely, we would have a proper election.  My fear is that, there is a lot of interference that is coming from other quarters.  I will take an example; if you look at the source of funding, nobody knows where we are getting the money from.  If you look at the preparation of the Voters Roll, it is a hide and seek game, nobody knows exactly what is happening.  If you look at the recruitment of personnel, voter education and election regulations, there is no clarity on what we want to do.  So, the point is, as long as we do not realign the laws to the Constitution and follow precisely what is provided, it is a sheer waste of time to have an election.  The question I ask is - why do we spend so much money if we do not want to accept an election result?  If we want to have one person leading this country forever, why do we go for an election? – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] – ZEC should be empowered to make sure that it runs a credible, free and fair election and give the results according to the people’s choices.  It is then that we can be proud to have elections in this country.  Let us align the laws to the Constitution of this country.  I thank you Mr. President.

*HON. SEN. MAWIRE: Thank you Mr. President.  I want to support this motion.  I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Timveos for moving this motion and the seconder, relating to the issue of elections in Zimbabwe.  His Excellency, the Head of State and Government, in his speech talked about aligning the laws to the Constitution and ensure that they are both in sync.  I am very happy that there is peace and democracy in Zimbabwe, and I am ecstatic with the state of affairs.  Today we are able to express ourselves concerning how we wish our elections should be carried out.  I am especially delighted by this debate because, as alluded to by one Hon. Senator, it is not only in Zimbabwe that we have misunderstandings during elections.  It is true and yet I have not witnessed any event where we have been called to observe elections in Europe, be it the Bush, Blair or Clinton administrations.  We have never gone there as observers.

In comparison to what happens in countries like the United States of America, we are blessed here in Zimbabwe because we compete and campaign in elections together.  We all vote and I have not seen anyone who was intimidated – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] – However, if you observe the elections done in European countries, they practice patriarchy where one appoints their nieces and nephews and they have a system of Chibwechitedza, (one partyism), which has not happened in Zimbabwe.

I want to thank the people of Zimbabwe who vote with wisdom of how independence came about – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] -  Where did it come from?  That is why you hear the people of Zimbabwe saying President Mugabe must be a life President – HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear] – because he is the one who brought us freedom from slavery.  He ensured that the land which was taken from our ancestors who were previously allocated poor land was brought back into our hands.  Women - look at us today we are celebrating the Women’s Day through the efforts of our father President Mugabe and those whose blood was shed during the war.  We did not have a day to celebrate as women in Zimbabwe since the colonial era, the 18th century as the woman was looked down upon.  The woman was viewed as a property but through free and fair elections – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] – it is even possible for a woman to be standing in this august House debating on what  we want or do not want to see in terms of the running of our Government. 

We are highly indebted to the Hon. Senator who brought the motion to this august House.  She brought a very good motion – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] – that we want to vote in unity without any kind of conflict.  I understand that everyone is now enlightened and knows that violence is a bad thing through the efforts of our father, President Mugabe who said that he does not want violence or people who burn each other’s houses.  This is because in all the elections which were done for the past years, we have not witnessed violence – [HON. SENATORS: Inaudible interjections] - However from the year 2000, houses were burnt.  Mr. President, I thank you.

          HON. SEN. MAKORE:  Thank you very much Hon. President for giving me this opportunity to add a few words to this very important motion that was raised by Sen. Timveos.  Mr. President, an election is an expression of democracy.  It is also the mandate that was given to ZEC to ensure that democracy prevails during, before, towards the elections themselves or even after.  An element of freedom, fairness, transparency and also accountability - perhaps to be supervised by ZEC itself; hence the call for this one is the respect of ZEC in the jurisdiction that is articulated in the Constitution where there is an advocation for independence of commissions themselves.  ZEC must ensure also in accordance with its mandate that the resources are so much equal to the demands that are needed for the elections themselves. 

The point that is being raised by quite a number of people is the immediate shift to the Biometric Voters’ Roll – its funding, because we are shifting from this manual to the electronic one.  It has been mentioned by my competent Senator here that the amount that was allocated seems to be small.  It was $9 million and that is very true Mr. President.  Now, the question that we have is that there was once a voluntary sponsorship from UNDP that it could also sponsor this one, but we are hearing that at least now there is $17 million which was not ever put on the budget.  Why this raises eye brows is that we are hoping for free and fair elections in the election that is coming next year.  We do not want to continue complaining about the processes of the elections.  We also do not want a repeat of illegitimate elections as a result of the raising of these oppositions.  The complaints that are continually raised are as a result of processes.  Sometimes this process could be marred with violence Mr. President.  The violence is unacceptable in this country and elections are an expression of democracy as I mentioned before, everybody needs to be respected in terms of his right to vote.

  This is also included in the fundamental rights of a person that is in Chapter 4 of the Constitution.  The need to vote is an expression of freedom and no one must be found to avoid somebody from voting or to infringe on that individual’s right to go and vote.  It must be free and it must be interesting because we all agree that this country was fought for and no-one did not participate within those particular wars.  It was generally a national agenda and it was generally acceptable that we were under colonial regime and everybody understands that.  It is also a fact that many people perished as a result of those wars; but they did not perish for elections that are not free or for elections that do not want them to express their freedom as well.

So, the question of elections should not be contested with regards to how the freedom came.  Freedom came as a result of the general complaint of everybody that we have to be free because we were under oppression by the minority regime.  We substituted it with the majority themselves but we must be seen in the independence to be able to respect each other and to enable good and fair elections to take place according to this claim

 Mr. President, we are also talking of the integrity of the Voters Roll itself.  We are now almost, I do not know how many months left, but we have not seen the processes starting so that there could be efficiency in the re-registration.  I understand that we are all going to re-register so that we qualify in the coming voters roll as a result and so that we can also be captured within the Biometric Voters Roll.  However, we have not started those processes and sometimes we start very late or even towards those particular elections.  This means that we will not cover the majority of people who would wish to register and go to vote as well.  Why should we cramp things together Hon. President?  Our wish is that, we start earlier, do our smooth registration and make processes smooth without any hindrance, which is our claim.

We also wish to support ZEC and call for total independence of ZEC without any interference from anybody.  We are not suspicious but history has really shown that the call for some control has existed before. Now we believe that we have to open a new page where elections must be an enjoyable activity; where expressing of independence will be seen in this particular election and where results will be respected by everybody so that we attain the legitimacy of our elections.  To me, that is something which I think generally we all agree that this motion is not put for marking any difference.  We all fought for this particular freedom and we also respect those who were involved in the processes of fighting for freedom.  This is why we say, their expression must be respected in the justice that is supposed to be implemented as is required in these particular processes.  Mr. President, I do not want to waste much of your time.  I want to thank you very much for this opportunity where I aired my views.

+HON. SEN. JUBA:  I thank you Mr. President for affording me this short opportunity to give the little that I have.  We are all in Zimbabwe.  I have four children and my children’s surname starts with an ‘H’ and my surname starts with a ‘J’.  Every time that I go to vote, I find Patience’s, Angie’s and Judy’s names still on the Voters Roll but they are all deceased.  That is not democracy.

My daughter fell pregnant and she had a miscarriage when she was six months pregnant and she died in hospital.  I took the child because they could not bury her because she had not paid.  So, the baby is supposed to be registered.  We tried to find out from them whether that was a child or it was a still-born child?  This is a still-born child who is supposed to be buried by elderly women and not to be buried by men.  So, I asked them - is this a human being when that person never really walked on this earth.  Then, we queried why because women are asked why they cry each time there is a still birth. We tried to find out why women carry pregnancies for six and a half months and at the end of the day they have a still birth.  At times that is why women do not want to waste their time standing in the queues to go and vote.  So can we say that is free and fair?  We cannot say it is free and fair.  Let us accept, if things are wrong they are wrong and they should be rectified so that everyone at the end of the day is happy about what would have happened. 

However, if people have miscarriages, I should not be bothered about going to dig a grave to bury the miscarried fetus.  It should be incinerated because it never survived on this earth.  With these few words, Mr. President, I thank you.

HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI:  I thank you, Mr. President.  I am supporting this important motion.  I would like to thank Hon. Timveos for moving this motion and the Hon. Senators who supported the motion.  This is a very good motion where we may assess ourselves on the progress.  Are we progressing or retrogressive.

I will now want to talk about the alignment of laws to the Constitution of this country.  In his address at the opening of the Fourth Session of the Eighth Parliament, His Excellency emphasised the fact that this is one of the many responsibilities to be faced by this Session, that of aligning laws to the Constitution and we had about 400 laws which had to be aligned.  I know from the progress we have done, there are now less than 400 and I know, as Members of Parliament, we need to work hard so that these laws are aligned before we get to the next year, 2018.

I have heard most of us during this debate saying, Zimbabwe came through the barrel of a gun so that people could be free to select and elect whoever they wanted to rule them.  We know that during the colonial regime, only the whites were allowed to vote and Africans started voting in 1980 after the elections.  As Zimbabweans, you are free to campaign, whether you want to be a councillor, an MP or a President.  You find that the ballot paper will have a lot of people who will be contesting for those positions and I still have to get an election where there are no contesters.  We have freedom of choice because the ballot paper will be made up of many contesting parties and individuals. 

Let me now proudly say, in all the elections which are held here in Africa, we have observers who come from the AU, we also have observers coming from SADC.  These are the people who assess the progress of the elections and they also give us a report on whether the elections were free and fair or not.  The report should not come from contestants because the observers from AU and SADC have that responsibility. 

In Zimbabwe, I do not remember having a case where we had a rerun of the elections and as Zimbabweans I am saying, let us maintain our peace and order because we know in some countries, including African countries, there is havoc.  There are fights and demonstrations, but in Zimbabwe we have the freedom and democracy to elect councillors, Members of Parliament and the President we want.  That is why we are in the process of aligning the laws to the Constitution and the laws include ZEC which we are talking about.

The Vice President, Hon. Mnangagwa, was in this august House just the previous day and he promised that he will speed up the realignment process.  It is the responsibility of the people of Zimbabwe and this Parliament.  I am saying this is a very good motion illustrating that in Zimbabwe, we have peace and tranquility.  I thank you.

HON. SEN. CHIPANGA:  Thank you Mr. President.  I rise to support this very important motion, particularly where it relates to what ZEC is expected to do and particularly where it refers to the need in our country for fair, free and transparent elections.

Mr. President, I just want to raise a few issues here.  Firstly, I want to agree with Hon. Makore who said elections are an expression of democracy.  This is why we have had elections in this country since 1980, because that is an expression of democracy.  The only problem we have in Africa and in the Third World in general, is that elections are free, fair and transparent if I win that election.  That is the only problem – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] -  If I do not win an election, then there was rigging.  I am hopeful, Mr. President, that as we mature politically, we will get to a point where we will not engage into such expressions such as such and such leader should go, but where we simply organise ourselves, our own supporters, to make sure we are voted into power instead of complaining about why we did not win.

Mr. President, a point has been raised and I think in the debate there is need for voter education.  If you look at the section of the Constitution, raised by Hon. Chimhini, I think it is Section 239.  He deliberately, I think, jumped where ZEC has the mandate for voter education and then went on to say, there is no education, implying therefore, that as long as voter education is not conducted by NGOs or some international organisation, then there is no voter education. 

Mr. President, I also want to touch on the issue of observers.  I just want to add a few points, otherwise it has been adequately covered by Hon. Chimbudzi.  Some of us have been out of this country to observe elections.  The AU has in its power and has directed that all the elections in the region shall be observed and that is being done.  There is not one election, for all I know, which was conducted in the region which was not observed by members from the region, but I suppose the problem now is when we say observers, we are talking of international observers.  One Hon. Member raised the issue here and said we have never been invited to go and cover or observe elections in the United States of America, United Kingdom, France and Europe in general. Why then should we be expected to invite them to monitor our own elections? We are a region and we should cover and observe our own elections. When a Government in Africa then refuses observers from the region, that becomes a problem but I am yet to see that. I have observed elections in Namibia, Zambia, South Africa and many other counties in the region. We have SADC PF in addition to AU and Pan African Parliament which sends their observers, which means our elections are being observed and that applies to this country. I do not see where the issue of observers not being invited is coming from.

          The issue of alignment of laws - that has also been covered. The Electoral Act is not the only law that needs to be aligned. There are many of them. I believe this is why ZEC has taken it upon itself to ensure that each time they want to make any move, they invite all parties to their offices so that they can say this is where we are. I am happy to hear that Senator Mlotshwa did say she was involved in the selection of ZEC Commissioners and that her party is always represented whenever ZEC holds its own meetings. We are also represented as ZANU PF. We know what happens there. If I do not hear what is happening there, it is not that nothing is happening. It is only that my party has not yet informed me. The issue of realignment is taking place and we all know where we are now.

          The other issue which I want to bring to the fore before I come to a conclusion is the insinuation that only $9m was put aside for elections then we hear there is $17m, where is the money coming from. The only implication Mr. President is that we do not read the Blue Book. If you go to the Blue Book right now, you will find that each and every year, there is what they call reserved funds. These are funds which are put aside for emergencies. If there are floods like it is now in Matabeleland – because there was never any funds put aside for floods, then they use that money. It is where these monies which were never allocated to any particular Ministry or function are then taken from to be used for that purpose.

          That brings me to another popular issue of biometric which I do not understand very well. What I do know is that as a Government, surely we cannot sit everyday and say we want UNDP or IMF to buy these gadgets for us. Why do we not do it ourselves? If we can, let us do it. If we cannot do it this time, we will get it next time. Yes, I know there are so-called partners who are always quick to jump when it comes to buying these gadgets but when it comes to buying food, they will say they have no money. When it comes to buying gadgets, they are quick to say, we will help you. Why help us with gadgets whose source we are not sure of, whose functions we are not sure of? Government will buy these machines when they get money. I believe these gadgets are going to come for the purposes of this election.

          One Senator raised the issue of registration; I know that everyone is registered except for those who were still in the bellies of their mothers and those who are still very young. To say, we do not know whether registration is taking place, I do not know what we are talking about. Let me conclude by saying, whilst we as Members of Parliament are supposed to ensure by way of oversight that things are going well throughout the Government machinery, it is also important that we know what we are supposed to observe. When we sit here and say ZEC is supposed to ensure that there is peace before, during and after elections, then I think we are missing the point. That very Section would show you the functions of ZEC and there is nowhere in the Constitution of Zimbabwe where ZEC is empowered or expected to ensure that there is peace before and after elections.

Peace and tranquility comes from us as political parties. We need to make sure that our people are educated to accept that elections come and go. If I lose this election, next time I will win. Once we get to that point, then there will be peace. We know that there are countries that surround us where violence is the order of the day. I am not saying because there is violence in these countries we should also do the same. What I am saying is that we need to teach our own people so that they accept and get to know that if I do not win this time around, it will be my turn next time. With these few words Mr. President, I wish to thank you.

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

          HON. SEN. MARAVA: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Thursday, 9th March, 2017.

MOTION

SADC MODEL LAW ON ERADICATING EARLY CHILD MARRIAGES

          Fifth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on SADC Model Law on Eradicating Child Marriages.

          Question again proposed.

          +HON. SEN. NYATHI: Thank you Mr. President for affording me this opportunity to also add a few words to what has already been said by other Senators. What I would like to say is that the motion that was brought by Senator Mohadi is a very good motion which we should all embrace but we first have to look at the SADC Model Law. Our things have to be in order first in our country as well as our economy.  If things are not well economically in our country, then this SADC Model Law cannot be properly implemented because it talks about different things especially in our country.  A lot of Hon. Senators have already spoken about early marriages and all this is caused by the fact that things are not economically well in our country but if our economy starts to tick and the industry starts functioning, everything else will fall into place.

          As it is Mr. President, I would like to talk about something different.  I am talking about these children who engage in early marriages.  It is not that they get into these early marriages because they want to but there are certain reasons why they end up getting into early marriages.  Maybe as elderly people, we are not even aware of those reasons but maybe as Hon. Members of this august House, we have to try and investigate why exactly that is happening.  I come from Hwange in Matabeleland North.  There are some places; they are not really proper places but hotels or houses meant for visitors and those vehicles that we normally call, the gonyetes.  These are long distance heavy duty trucks and these trucks are always parked where there are schools especially at Cross Dete there is Fatima School and other places.  These are teenage children who are at school and staying there on their own without their parents.  We have to consider all this Mr. President. 

Why do we not investigate, as elderly Hon. Senators in this august House, why the drivers of those heavy trucks choose to go and park at such places taking into consideration the fact that the economy in our country is not good?  That is how our children start being mischievous because the drivers of those long distance heavy trucks are men who have been away from their homes for some time.  These teenagers learn from there that is not what they are taught at home but they learn it from such places.  Some children Mr. President get almost everything they want and others do not as they come from different families. 

These elderly truck drivers end up calling these young children, especially an elderly man may call a child who is young enough to be his granddaughter, entice them with money and end up engaging in sexual intercourse with those young children.  They lure them using money and because the child needs some things, she needs money; she ends up doing whatever this elderly person wants.  Mr. President, we really have to investigate why these long distance heavy duty trucks are parked there.  I think as this august House, we should try and find means and ways of having those long distance heavy duty trucks parked some other places where there are no schools because they are causing a lot of confusion.

I come from Mabale, Mr. President Sir.  Some of these young girls end up getting into those long distance heavy duty trucks and go for a drive, only to be returned later by those drivers.  The drivers of these heavy duty long distance trucks should be given rules.  Especially in Mabale at Cross Dete, they just park anyhow near the roads and cause a lot of confusion.  All this happens usually at night, they do not usually stop during the day.  This motion that was tabled by Hon. Sen. Mohadi is good.  We need to start from there because we still have to teach our children.  With these few words, Mr. President, I thank you.

HON. SEN. MASHAVAKURE:  On a point of order Mr. President.  I do not know what the regulations in the Standing Orders say because as far as I am concerned, this motion was responded to yesterday by the relevant Minister yet we are continuing to debate it.  Are we expecting the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Hon. Vice President Mnangagwa to come back to offer another response? – [HON. SENATORS: Inaudible interjections.] – This one, he responded to it yesterday yet we are continuing to debate it.  What do the regulations of the Standing Rules say?

THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  Thank you for that observation Hon. Sen. Mashavakure.  The motion has not been closed by the mover as yet.  So until it is closed, it remains on the Order Paper so it is quite in order.

*HON. SEN. MURONZI:  Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to debate this motion that was tabled by Hon. Sen. Mohadi; thank you Hon. Sen. Mohadi for this articulate motion and your seconder.

I rise to make my contribution … - [HON. SEN. MUSAKA: Inaudible interjections.] – Mr. President, I need your protection please.

THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  Order, order.

HON. SEN. MURONZI:  Yes.

THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  You are distracting her, that is why she is asking for protection.  You may proceed Hon. Senator.

*HON. SEN. MURONZI: I am supporting this motion on the SADC Model Law.  We were told by the Vice President in his capacity as Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs that he is going to talk on the alignment of this Bill.  When the law has been enacted, it does not take authority from parents of looking after their children.

My observation is that as Africans, we have now adopted the western culture.  I will take myself as an example; I was born and bred in the rural areas.  When I hear Hon. Senators saying school children are now leaving school at an early age, I agree with that observation.  During our time, we would go through Sub A, B; Standards 1, 2 and 3 and if you fail to take an entrance test for subsequent standards you would go home.  I am saying that did not make us promiscuous.  We were able to grow and mature before marriage.  Unfortunately, we are misinterpreting some of the laws and borrowing western laws.

Let us talk about the Act that says, do not spank your child.  There is a difference between spanking and murdering your child.  We are saying when your child has erred, definitely as a parent; you are allowed to thrash that child.  I am looking after a child who is in grade three.  After the mother died, I took custody of that child.  What I observed was that even though he was young, that child was a thief.  He would steal coins that would be lying around and many other things.  I started by beating him up and when he continued stealing, I went to the child’s school and sensitised the Headmaster on the behaviuor of this child.  The headmaster did his duty and gave him a beating, not to kill him but to straighten him.  From that time, the child stopped stealing.  Now I can leave money in the open.  I even remember that at one time I deliberately dropped a $20 note and that child picked the money up and brought it to me saying “mum, you dropped this money, here it is.” 

So, I am saying that as parents, let us not negate our parental duties.  It is not only that but we are also disregarding our extended family in such a way that we are no longer giving the aunts and sisters their role to give guidance to our children because we are pinpointing them as witches, which is very wrong. 

          So, we are calling for the punishment of whosoever marries off a child who is under age.  Whoever is seen at that marriage ceremony should be prosecuted but the onus rests on us as parents to encourage morality in our children.

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

          HON. SEN. MARAVA:  I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume:  Thursday, 9th March, 2017.

          On the motion of HON. SEN. MASUKU seconded by HON. SEN. MLOTSHWA, the Senate adjourned at Twenty-five Minutes to Five o’clock p.m.

 

 

 

                   

 

Senate Hansard SENATE HANSARD 08 MARCH 2017 VOL 26 NO 35