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SENATE HANSARD 12 OCTOBER 2016 VOL 23 NO 03

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PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Wednesday, 12th October, 2016

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. 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. MAWIRE: Thank you Madam President for giving me the opportunity to make my contribution on this motion which is based on the Presidential Speech on the official opening of the Fourth Session of the Eighth Parliament of Zimbabwe.  Madam President, I am very grateful to the hon. members who raised this motion; Hon. Sen. Nyambuya seconded by Hon. Sen. Mavhunga. 

Madam President, the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, in his speech, I was very much pleased because of the wide ranging issues that he raised.  He is a man who is very proud of his country and wants to protect it.  He also protects the people’s culture, especially when he talked about the Traditional Leaders Bill, saying this should be in alignment with the new Constitution of the country which was drafted during the COPAC period.  This shows that the President is a man of the people.  He is a man who recognises the importance of our traditional leaders because they are the custodians of our culture.  We will be very pleased to see this Bill being brought to this august Senate as it is the Upper House because we need to raise the status of our chiefs.  As people who live in the SADC region, we have realised that in other countries, traditional leaders are held in high esteem.  This does not mean that our traditional leaders in Zimbabwe are not held in high esteem, they have a high status and we are very pleased to see that in our case, we have traditional leaders in the Senate.  It is our wish that there should also be chiefs in the National Assembly. 

          The President also talked about early marriages, whereby girls are married off while they are still young.  Young men are also forced into early marriages.  By so doing, we are destroying the future of our children if we continue with this type of custom.  It is also against our culture to marry off these young people.  We need to curtail this culture. 

          There is also the issue of traditional foods such as vegetables and small grains which we used to have and are very good for our health.  I remember at one time my grandmother would give us sour water which had herbs for health reasons.  If you look at us, we are very healthy but if you look at the young people of today, they are weaklings because they are not given these traditional herbs.  We have noticed that the people of Zimbabwe used to be of big stature but unfortunately, now we are getting smaller because of marrying off our little girls who are unable to carry their pregnancy to full term.  As a result the babies they give birth to are getting to be dwarfs, yet by nature, Zimbabweans were counted as giants.  We should be prepared to debate this Bill so that we enforce it in such a manner that whoever indulges in this custom is convicted and sentenced to incarceration. 

The President also has a wish that everybody should be able to access electricity, hence the slogan “electricity to everybody.”  The aim is to ensure that there is no difference in the life style of people in the rural areas and those in the urban areas.  This is going to curb the rural to urban migration.  The availability of electricity will help in preserving our forests because currently people are cutting down trees for firewood.

The President also encouraged people to use solar energy which is clean energy.  China is one country which is using solar energy.  We are currently importing electricity from countries like Mozambique; why do we not create more of these energy generation stations so that people can easily access electricity in their residential areas.  We need to be creative.  There is another energy source – bio gas, which comes from cow dung or dung from other domesticated animals.  If we use bio gas, we will stop cutting down trees for firewood.  The victims of such a scenario are women who have to travel long distances to fetch firewood.  As they travel these long distances, they expose themselves to rapists and other indecent assaults.  So when electricity is availed to them, life will be easier. 

          Let me now turn to command farming.  His Excellency put emphasis on command farming, which will lead to the introduction of irrigation schemes. More dams will be made, people will plough more to feed the nation and we will get back our status of being the bread basket of Africa.  He also talked about the importance of water which is going to be pumped using electricity.  However, we are faced with climate change and we have updated information on the weather patterns.  When we have that information, we will be able to prepare for the impending drought by constructing more water bodies in order to have more electricity and more food for our domestic animals.  We no longer have pastures because of the resettlement programmes which were implemented.  These have eaten into the pastures that we used to have.  Therefore, we urge our Government to think of introducing irrigation schemes in areas where we can grow cattle fodder for our domestic animals during discussions on climate change.   

          The President touched on a lot of issues but my last contribution on His Excellency’s speech is on the introduction of the bond notes.  We have some mischievous people who are already talking against these bond notes yet we have people who are also supposed to be giving information on these bond notes.  I am pleading with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, to hold awareness programmes in both electronic and print media to educate people on the introduction of these bond notes. Currently, the issue is a mystery yet people should get information on how the bond note is going to alleviate the liquidity crunch which the country is faced with.

          Let me leave other points for other Members to contribute because I know my fellow Senators are itching to make their own contributions.  I thank you.

 

          *HON. SEN. MACHINGAIFA:  Thank you Madam President for giving me this chance to make my contribution on this motion, which was raised by Hon. Retd, Brigadier Nyambuya, seconded by Hon. Mavhunga.  They were speaking on the opening of the Fourth Session of the Eighth Parliament of Zimbabwe by His Excellency, President R. G Mugabe, in his capacity as the President of the country and the Commander in Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces.   He touched on a lot of issues and I will touch on a few of the issues which he spoke on in laying the groundwork for this session of Parliament.  I will talk about the Prison Bill regarding the Correctional Services.  We realise that there are some works done by prisoners which can be considered as ill treatment but in the past, prisoners used to work on farms - they were ill treated and abused, which was a lesson for the future.   Currently, prisoners are being taught how to sing and other arts but this has led to starvation in the prisons because no farming is taking place.  When they do not have food, we say it is ill treatment.

          I also beg this House that when women are in jail, they should not be in hand and leg irons but should be treated with lenience.  They are supposed to be given items which relate to their call of nature like sanitary wear when they are in their menstrual cycles. Madam President, we have read in the media both print and electronic that there are some Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) who have the intention of assisting convicted prisoners by giving them condoms.  As Zimbabweans, we are against that idea because this will promote them to be in gay and lesbian relationships.  We do not support this as Zimbabweans. In some cases, these people might be married, therefore I advocate for those incarcerated to be given a chance once in a while to be visited by their spouses and given space for them to be intimate so that their relationship remain intact.

          We once discussed this issue of traditional leaders where we said they should be empowered.  We agreed that they are very important in the running of the country.  Whenever we are debating issues regarding traditional leaders, we should look at factors which are of benefit to our traditional leaders but at times we do not seem to take it seriously because the issues which involve traditional leaders are not handled in the proper manner which they deserve.  As Zimbabweans, we need to give due respect to our traditional leaders.

          His Excellency also talked about the Marriage Bill. We have debated this issue severally and our hope is that the Eighth Parliament is going to take this to a conclusion and will never see it coming up again.  We should fight tirelessly against the marrying of underage girls.  This is diabolic, it should never be allowed in our society.  Whoever has married a young girl and the parent or guardian, who married off that girl, should be arrested, investigated, tried in a court and incarcerated.  The traditional leaders in rural areas should be involved in investigating such cases of early marriages.  In the cities, the councilors should be involved in the investigations so as to find the people responsible.  Thank you Madam President.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF MEDIA, INFORMATION AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. SEN. MATHUTHU): I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Thursday, 13th October, 2016.

          On the motion of THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF MEDIA, INFORMATION AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. SEN. MATHUTHU), the Senate adjourned at Four Minutes to Three o’clock p.m.

 

 

Senate Hansard SENATE HANSARD 12 OCTOBER 2016 VOL 23 NO 03