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SENATE HANSARD 13 OCTOBER 2016 VOL 26 NO 04

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PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Thursday, 13th October, 2016

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

PRAYERS

(THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE in the Chair)

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          HON. SEN. MOHADI:  I move that Questions Without Notice and Order of the Day, Number 1 be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 2 has been disposed of.

          HON. SEN. GOTO: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS

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

          Question again proposed.

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

          HON. SEN. MASHAVAKURE: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Tuesday, 18th October, 2016.

MOTION

RATIFICATION OF THE NAGOYA PROTOCOL ON ACCESS TO GENETIC RESOURCES

          THE MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT, WATER AND CLIMATE (HON. MUCHINGURI): Mr. President Sir, I move the motion standing in my name that;

WHEREAS, Section 327 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that any convention, treaty or agreement acceded to, concluded or executed by or under the authority of the President with one or more foreign states or Governments or international organisations shall be subject to approval by Parliament;

WHEREAS Zimbabwe ratified the convention on Biodiversity on 9 February 1995;

WHEREAS the Conference of the Parties adopted the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their utilisation of the Convention on Biodiversity, at its 10th Meeting held on 29 October 2010, in Nagoya, Japan;

WHEREAS the aforesaid Protocol was open for signature from 2 February, 2010 to 1 February, 2012, in terms of Article 32;

WHEREAS the Protocol entered into force on 12 October 2014, 90 days after the date of deposit of the fiftieth instrument of ratification as stipulated under Paragraph 1 of Article 33;

WHEREAS Zimbabwe is not signatory to the Protocol;

AND WHEREAS Article 33 (2) of the Protocol provides that its entry into force for States which are not signatory to it, is conditional upon such States depositing instruments of accession;

NOW THEREFORE, in terms of Section 327 (2) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, this House resolves that the aforesaid Protocol be and is hereby approved for accession.

          In moving my motion, I would like to inform the House that the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is one of the three conventions which arose from the 1992 United Nations Conference on the Environment and Development (UNCED), commonly known by the name Rio Earth Summit.  The Convention entered into force on 29th December, 1993.  Zimbabwe signed the United Nations Convention on Biodiversity in 1992 and ratified in 1994.  Mr. President Sir, it is important for Zimbabwe to accede to the Nagoya Protocol because the Nagoya Protocol will create greater legal certainty and transparency for both providers and users of genetic resources by:

1)   establishing more predictable conditions for access to genetic resources;

2)    helping to ensure benefit-sharing when genetic resources leave the country providing the genetic resources.

By helping to ensure benefit-sharing, the Nagoya Protocol creates incentives to conserve and sustainably use genetic resources, and therefore enhances the contribution of biodiversity to development and human well-being.  

In more specific terms Mr. President, the Nagoya Protocol provides the following:

1)   It supports compliance with domestic legislation or regulatory requirements of the Party providing genetic resources and contractual obligations reflected in mutually agreed terms are a significant innovation of the Nagoya Protocol.

2)   It helps protect traditional knowledge held by indigenous and local communities when it is associated with genetic resources.  This will strengthen the ability of Zimbabwe’s communities to benefit meaningfully from the use of their indigenous knowledge, innovations and practices.  The benefits can be monetary and also non-monetary.

3)   It offers incentives for the country to conserve its biological diversity which will be fostered by the Protocol through promoting the use of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge.  This will enhance sustainable development and human well-being.

4)   The Protocol firms the framework for the establishment of viable measures to curb bio-piracy.  This should be enacted through policies and also relevant legislation at national levels.

5)   The protocol will enable Zimbabwe to access funds for capacity building and various aspects of access and benefit sharing and facilitate economic and social development.

6)   The protocol will also establish clear rules and procedures for prior informed consent and mutually agreed terms between the contracting parties and the local communities.

More importantly Mr. President Sir, ratification of the Protocol will assist in the realisation of environmental rights as enunciated in Section 73 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe which provides that:

‘every person has the right to;

a)    An environment that is not harmful to their health or wellbeing;

b)   To have the environment protected for the benefit of present and future generations , through reasonable legislative and other measures that;

i)                    Prevent pollution and ecological degradation;

ii)                 It will also promote conservation and

iii)            secure ecologically sustainable development and use of natural resources while promoting economic and social development’.

 

Mr. President Sir, the Nagoya Protocol is binding on those countries that in addition are party to the CBD which have signed and ratified the protocol.  In the SADC region it is only Angola, Tanzania and Zimbabwe which have not ratified the Nagoya Protocol.  In this regard and in line with the dictates of the International Environmental Law, Zimbabwe should join the family of nations that have ratified this protocol.  Senators’ approval of this protocol as encapsulated in Section 327 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, will be a key milestone towards our ratification of this Protocol.  Section 327 (2) (a) and (b) of our Constitution highlights that; an International Treaty which has been concluded or executed by the President or under the President’s authority does not bind Zimbabwe until it has been approved by both Houses and also does not form part of the law of Zimbabwe unless it has been incorporated into the law through an Act of Parliament.  I therefore, seek the permission for approval of this Protocol for accession.

          HON. SEN. MARAVA:  I rise to support the passage of this protocol by this House since it was long overdue.  This protocol is user friendly and Zimbabwe being one of the minority countries that has not yet ratified it, we would be doing our country a great favour if we ratified the protocol.  I thank you.

          HON. SEN MOHADI:  I also rise to support the motion which has been put forward.   I think it is also for our benefit and there is no way we can deny that.  Apart from that, we are among the three countries which have not ratified and I do not think that was a good thing.  It could have been because of some delays of some sort.  So, without much ado, I support the motion.

          HON. SEN. CHIPANGA:  I rise to add my voice in support of the …

An Hon. Member having passed between the Chair and the Hon. Member speaking.

THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Order, Hon Senator, you may not cross between the speaker and the Chair.  For the benefit of others, when an Hon Member is debating, you are supposed to go round and not cross between an Hon Member debating and the Chair.

          HON. SEN. CHIPANGA:  I was saying I rise to support the motion that was moved on the ratification of the Nagoya Protocol.  As alluded to by the previous speaker, all the other countries have already ratified the protocol and it only goes to suggest that we are always behind somehow.  Why that is so, I do not know.  Since the protocol has now come to this House, it is my fervent hope that it will be passed as quickly as possible so that things start moving.  I thank you.

          HON. SEN MUSAKA:  I also rise to thank the Hon. Minister for moving the motion to ratify this particular Protocol.  We just do not have to approve protocols just because others have done so.  However, in this case, we see no reason why we should not approve it.  It is user friendly as has been said by the previous speaker and is a very good Protocol.  I think we should give credit to the Minister for bringing it forth although a bit belated.  There may be other reasons why it was delayed but I support the motion.

          THE MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT, WATER AND CLIMATE (HON. MUCHINGURI):  Mr. President, let me take this opportunity to thank the following Hon. Senators for their support.  Hon. Sen. Marava, Hon. Sen. Chipanga, Hon. Sen. Mohadi and Hon. Sen. Musaka.  Allow me to extend my appreciation for their support on this very important motion.  I appreciate that we presented it last year, before the House but regrettably, we have not been able to debate it.  However, I want to assure the Hon. Senators that already, Zimbabwe has implemented some sections of this particular protocol.  A good example would be the EMA Act which is specifically in Section 61 and addresses the protection of biodiversity.  As Government, we have put in place an organisation which registers those that want to protect their intellectual property through the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.  Zimbabwe is also a member of the World Trade Organisation which also protects intellectual property.  So, yes, better late than never but it is procedural that we need also to make sure that we are part and parcel of the International Organisations.  There are some benefits that come with the ratification of these protocols and conventions.  Thank you once again Hon. Members for supporting the motion. 

Motion put and agreed to.    

          ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE

          HON. SEN. B. SIBANDA: My question is directed to the Minister of Environment, Water and Climate. What is the policy with regards to the release of water from big holding dams downstream, particularly during this season of the year?

          THE MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT, WATER AND CLIMATE (HON. MUCHINGURI): Thank you Mr. President.  I would like to thank Hon. Sibanda for that very important question.  What I want to share with the Senate is that it is the responsibility of ZINWA to mitigate where we have challenges of water, whether it is downstream; whether it is in local government entities, to make sure that the water resource which is a Constitutional right is realised.  So, it is our policy and we have been doing it in Masvingo, with Lake Mutirikwe and in Gwanda we have been releasing water from our dams to make sure that we mitigate where there are serious shortages of water.  We are having challenges of climate change and it is with this in mind that we have set up committees to be able to intervene wherever we are notified about such challenges.  I thank you.

          HON. SEN. B. SIBANDA: Thank you Mr. President.  I thank the Minister for the reply.  However, why should it take us an inordinate amount of time to get water downstream?  It has taken us about three months in the Gwanda region for water to be released from Dondorio.

          HON. MUCHINGURI: Thank you Mr. President.  I am aware that there are challenged between ZINWA and Gwanda City Council.  It arises from a situation where because Gwanda City does not have the capacity to process its own water, that ZINWA has chipped in to release raw water from its dams and also treating it for the benefit of Gwanda Council.  The problem that we have been experiencing is that Gwanda has been selling that water because it has that capacity and responsibility to bill the consumers, but what we have not been receiving is a share of the money that accrues to ZINWA.  So, we have made sure that the two entities meet to discuss their own differences. It is regrettable that whilst the two were disagreeing, in the process people were suffering, but what I know is that we have not been found wanting.  We have provided water to Gwanda and I would encourage the Hon. Member to assist Gwanda to make sure that we continue maintain the dams to ensure that we provide water. We also need the resources to keep ZINWA going.  I thank you.

          HON. SEN. CHIMHINI: Thank you Mr. President.  My question is directed to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education.  What is Government policy regarding payment of school fees and levies, given that heads of schools are not allowed to send away children from school for unpaid fees and can only do that through calling parents for a payment plan, which in most cases is not honoured.  How are schools expected to function efficiently and effectively in the absence of Government grants to cater for free basic education?

          THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. DR. DOKORA): Thank you Mr. President. I thank the Hon. Member for raising the question, although I might be forgiven for hearing a question he did not articulate - to suggest that those that fail to pay should have their children excluded.  I would like to believe that I did not hear that part of it which was unsaid, but quite clearly the Hon. Senator, and I am sure this honourable House is aware of the fact that as a policy we have said children are the innocent in-betweens.  – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – They have not asked to be born, they simply find themselves in this world.  It is us as the Government on the one and part and parents on the other who create the conditions that facilitate their learning.

          So, it is only logical that the parents and the schools should continue in an engaged manner to seek ways in which the parents honour their part of the arrangement.  We have said if payment plans are continuously flouted, the schools through the SDCs can proceed to court to enforce the payment of the same, but in the meantime and all the time, allowing those children to remain in school as children.  The last few years have demonstrated the correctness of this policy; the results have continued to show an upward trend because when learning is not disrupted on the part of the learner, the achievement is assured.  Thank you. 

          HON. SEN. CHIMHINI: Minister – practically, because of the economy we have, a number of parents are not paying.  It is a reality and the schools must continue functioning.  You are saying you continue engaging, the school has to function and the parents are not paying.  So, at the end schools make their own arrangements legally or illegally to find ways of sending back those children so that money is paid.

          HON. SEN. CHIMHINI: Minister I am saying practically, what can be done, because they do not have the means and we are talking about basic education? I thank you.

          HON. DR. DOKORA: Thank you Mr. President. I said earlier that I was not hearing the question that Hon. Senator was not asking. On the one hand, he affirms that parents are unable to pay. On the other, he says that illegally or legally my heads of schools are finding ways to make the parents pay. So, that seems to be a convoluted argument. Therefore, the parents have the capacity to pay. If the parents do as the Hon. Senator is saying, they have the capacity to pay. All I am saying is that my head of schools should use the legal route to ensure hat that rule is enforced and levies are paid.

          HON. SEN. MUMVURI: Thank you Mr. President. My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services. We are inundated with social gadgets-there are advantages and disadvantages. My question is on the disadvantages, we use them very well. What recourse do I have to resort to if by any chance my WhatsApp account is hacked by someone knowingly and he gains access to my private information and communication and I have proof that this happened? What recourse do we have on that?

DEPUTY MINISTER OF INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY, POSTAL AND COURIER SERVICES (HON. MLAMBO): Thank you very much Mr. President. Right now the simple answer is nothing. Unless you manage to identify the hacker, then it is a criminal act that you can take up with the police.  If you fail to do so, currently there is nothing much that can be done.

Mr. President, we have three Bills which are coming which seek to address exactly that. The crimes that are committed using technology we need to have the legal framework in order to arrest the perpetrators. For that to happen we need to have the correct legal framework. Hon. Senators might remember that during opening of the Fourth Session of the Eighth Parliament, the President made mention of these three Bills, Computer and Cyber Crime and Personal Data is another. As we are talking every second, crimes are being committed through the use of these gadgets. These are crimes that the economy and the public are not aware of and the economic or financial hemorrhage is so huge.

We keep on bringing this matter up in order to drum up the urgency of having these Bills approved yesterday so that we save millions of dollars in the Zimbabwean economy. We also approached COMESA to assist us in creating what we call Computer Emergency Response Teams here in Zimbabwe, whose sole job is to monitor the crimes that are committed every second using technology.  Just now during the launch at the HICC where the Vice President was, we met COMESA officials here in Zimbabwe and I reminded them of the urgency of assisting Zimbabwe to create the Computer Emergency Response Teams to address exactly what you have just brought up. Right now there is nothing, but we are working on that.  I thank you Mr. President.

HON. SEN. MUMVURI: The Minister keeps on saying nothing, but I think I clarified on my question that there is proof and indeed you know that somebody did it and he or she admits. What we are trying to avoid now is, can he keep on accessing it because if you are not reporting it to the police, maybe the service provider can do something about it to block his gadget? If there is nothing done, he will keep on accessing   because there is nothing which has been terminated for him not to get into my account. So, here there is evidence and proof and maybe the person on being confronted admits that he did it, but if he apologises – is that enough? I want an assurance that this does not happen again and that he does not get into my account again and to make sure that he is plugged off. I thank you.

HON. MLAMBO: Thank you Mr. President. I think I clarified that where you can identify the perpetrator it is a criminal act and it should be taken up actively because there is proof. The Bills that I have cited are where people are not aware, I also made that clear that they are not aware that crimes are being committed against them. We want to use the legal framework to make the public aware of crimes being committed against them so that again, they are taken up with the courts. Where the evidence is clear, then it should be taken up because it is a criminal act.

Allow me to add Mr. President, just last week I was in Istanbul, Turkey for the 26th Congress of the Universal Postal Union. There we have no roaming facility with Turkey and I wanted a temporary line. They are so strict because they are aware as the developed world about the crimes that are committed. They insisted that they gave me a tourist line which is so limited in use. They tie your name, number, and the serial number of the cellphone because they know you may commit a crime at anytime, so that they can track you down and catch you.

These are developed countries that understand the crimes that are committed through the use of technology and have the means to address that. I said to the Director General of POTRAZ while we were there that we want the same thing to be done here so that we can protect the public against these crimes which they are not aware they are being committed against them.

HON. SEN MUSAKA: I thank you Mr. President. My voice is a bit hoarse; I had a very bad cough. My question is directed to the Minister of Environment, Water and Climate regarding impact assessment reports.  How constitutional is it that I identified a mine or a site to carry out mining? I am then told - oh no we do not want to touch you. EMA will say we do not want to touch you, go to an agent who then says, ‘I want to do your work, give me US$3 000.00’. It is so prohibitive and so limiting. I do not know what are the procedures there is this normal?

THE MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT, WATER AND CLIMATE (HON. MUCHINGURI): Thank you Mr. President. The issue that the Hon. Senator is raising is a cause for concern in our Ministry. EMA was put up to make sure that we protect our environment and this indeed is a constitutional matter. We have a right to protect the environment and we have a right to make sure that we leave the environment secure for future generations and to make sure that we enjoy clean water and also clean environment.  This means that there is a person who is responsible for polluting and also for damaging the environment.  EMA was established to make sure that we protect the environment for future generations.  Yes, I do agree that we have certain rules and regulations that we abide with but just last year we did put in place reasonable tariffs to make sure that those that want to enjoy exploiting resources from the environment should follow those regulations and also pay the minimum tariffs. We reduced those tariffs to make sure that we create a conducive environment and make sure that business continues to grow. 

          Mr. President, if there are situations unknown to us, of some people who are taking over the responsibility of EMA, I would request the Hon. Senator to report to any nearby EMA offices or write to me directly so that we can carry out investigations.  We are there not to inhibit business and growth of our economy but to facilitate and making sure that our indigenous laws are adhered to and that the economy grows.  I thank you. 

          HON. SENATOR MAKORE:  My question is directed to the Minister of Environment, Water and Climate.  I do not know exactly what interventions you can make within the local authorities.  Currently, it is more of a disaster in the area of Chitungwiza, because there is virtually no water.  There is a likelihood that if rains come under this state of affair, cholera is going to spread.  Given this particular situation where we see a lot of houses mushrooming in the whole of Chitungwiza, what are your plans and interventions to assist this very obvious disaster that is prevailing.  Thank you.

          THE MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT, WATER AND CLIMATE (HON. MUCHINGURI):  Thank you Hon. Senator Makore for that very important question, suffice to say that we are aware that Chitungwiza is a problem town because of the shortage of water which arises as a result of the drying up of Seke dam.  What we were doing as a Ministry is that we were taking water from another dam which is upstream, which still has water to make sure that we adequately supply Chitungwiza.  Unfortunately, there are some farmers along the way, in-between who are also stealing water for their benefit and not paying for that resource.  So, we are carrying out investigations to make sure that water reaches Chitungwiza.

          Mr. President, what is also worrying is that we do have some burst pipes also that are not repaired on time. Chitungwiza has a worrying situation where the sewer systems are not working at all.  So, raw sewer ends up getting into our water bodies.  The reticulation systems are not working despite the fact that Government secured funding from ZIMFUND.  So, it is a very serious situation that worries us that these local authorities would want to take over the running of the water services within their jurisdictions but they do not have the capacity to do so.  If the Hon. Senator is from that area, it is important to engage the council.  I am happy that a Cabinet Committee was put in place which is chaired by the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing.  It is not Chitungwiza alone; we do have other cities like Gweru which is depositing raw sewer into water bodies.  We experience a similar situation here in Harare again; it comes from Chitungwiza and it becomes very expensive to treat water in Harare.  It requires nine chemicals whilst that of Mutare and other cities where there is capacity use only one chemical.  That is a worrying situation.  Even where there is water, you have a lot of chemicals being deposited; so there is serious water pollution.  We need to preserve, we need to make sure that water is not polluted. 

          However, we have a long term plan.  We are planning to put up two other dams to supply Chitungwiza city. All we are appealing is that, please, let us protect this resource so that the little water that we have, we conserve it.  It is God-given; let us make sure that future generations will enjoy using this water.  Harare is well resourced but because of water pollution, we are now paying by constructing a new dam which is Kunzvi dam that we are planning to build. People must appreciate that we are living dangerously. So we need to make sure that the little water that we have, we conserve it.  I thank you.

          *HON. SEN. MASHAVAKURE:  My question is directed to the Minister of Environment, Water and Climate.  We have read in the paper that the Minister has declared that our ivory is now worthless because no tourists will carry any trophy from Zimbabwe to their country and therefore cannot be sold.  My suggestion is, let us add value to our ivory so that we create our own goods and hence we will sell our goods and get money.  We have seen Fidelity has a company called Aurex which is utilising gold in this country and creating some capital.  Therefore, we can use our natural resources, the flora and fauna. Will CITES be against us if we use those to our advantage?      

          *THE MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT, WATER AND CLIMATE (HON. MUCHINGURI): Thank you Mr. President.  Hon. Sen. Mashavakure has raised a very important issue.  As a Ministry, we are deeply involved in this because we have more than 96 tonnes of stored ivories.  During the good times when CITES had allowed us to sell our ivory in 1997 and 2004, we benefitted a lot of cash because we sold to outside countries and we benefited as a country.  Unfortunately, after the establishment of the nine-year moratorium where a decision was taken that whosoever is going to do poaching or falsely enter into the books of Government, that they have bought something from that country and want to import it, it is going to disturb the market of that country and we have a decision making mechanism (DMM).  The aim of the decision making mechanism is to try and fight poaching and contraband.  Unfortunately, the people who had been tasked with that DMM did not perform their duties and therefore, no decision was made.

          We, therefore, appeal to CITES to be given and be allowed to sell our goods.  We had 97 countries fighting against us and Namibia - we lost out even after trying to mobilise the European Union (EU) because most of the countries said Zimbabwe and Namibia should not sell their ivory.  Our worst enemies were our fellow African countries like Kenya and Botswana and also the United States of America because they closed their domestic market and do not want to import ivory products into their countries.  Meaning, if we have tourists in our country and they buy ivory products, they are not able to take it back to their countries.  One ivory tusk weighs 45 tonnes.  Therefore, we cannot sell the ivory that we have yet we cannot sell to China that has a population of 1.5 billion people. If these big countries close their markets to Zimbabwe, we suffer.  Not only that, American airlines  are not allowed to ferry ivory to the United States of America and this is a problem because American tourists have trophies or buy souvenirs from Zimbabwe; they cannot take them to their country.  Even artifacts may not be exported to the United States of America because one piece of ivory can produce so many pieces of jewellery like bracelets, necklaces and rings.  We have so much ivory that we can utilise but unfortunately, we cannot do that.

          The prevailing situation is - when a tourist who is in Zimbabwe wants to export any artifact from our wildlife and has to seek permission from their countries of origin and be issued an import permit.  Zimbabwe is also supposed to issue a document authenticating and verifying the originality of that piece of ivory.  This is just a problem that has been created for Zimbabwe. 

          Unfortunately, as Zimbabweans, we do not appreciate our ivory artifacts hence we cannot buy them within the country.  The only people who value such jewellery are foreigners but because of the ban on CITES and this other fight against Zimbabwe, we have a problem that we cannot win because the whites are the only people who value the wildlife products.  Therefore, they are fixing us and imposing sanctions on us.  We managed to work with Hon. Sen. Chief Charumbira and resolved that our Zimbabwean nationals own these elephants and ivory.  As a result, we managed to push our case through.  We were working in conjunction with Namibia and Zambia. It was resolved that the voice of the rural people who own the elephants will enable Zimbabwe to benefit from ivory sales because our rural populace were complaining that they were problem animals.  They were killing them and destroying their fields and other properties, therefore they should get rid of them.

          We need to have our people in the rural areas telling these countries to do something.  I believe that is where we have colonialism but the villagers have been given the chance to talk about the properties and selling of their ivory.  I thank you.

          HON. SEN. CHIEF SIANSALI:  Thank you Mr. President for affording me this opportunity.  My question is directed to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Hon. Dr. Dokora.

          ZIMSEC Circular Number 17 of 2016 spells out that Tonga ‘A’ level examinations will only begin in 2018.  My question now is, what will be the fate of students who are currently in Lower Sixth and are due for examinations next year.  I thank you.

          THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. DR. DOKORA):  Thank you Hon. President of the Senate and I thank Hon. Sen. Chief Siansali for asking the question.  Students who are in Lower Sixth and studying Tonga this year will sit for their ‘A’ level examinations in 2017 in the same way that all other students will be sitting.  I thank you.

          HON. SEN. TIMVEOS:  My question is directed to the Minister of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services, Hon. Mlambo.

          I am seeking clarity on the policy, if you have any, supposing somebody opens an internet website and writes falsehoods about Hon. Members of Parliament, Ministers, the First Lady, et cetera.  I just want clarification of when maybe one decides to get this person arrested for writing this.  The name of the particular person is on the stories.  What is the prevailing policy that ensures that justice is served on the falsehoods?  I just want to understand.  When I came earlier, you were explaining but I did not understand the exact policy framework that you have to protect the innocent. I thank you.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY, POSTAL AND COURIER SERVICES (HON. MLAMBO):  Thank you very much Mr. President and I would like to thank the Hon. Senator for bringing up the question because it assists us in enlightening quite a number of issues pertaining to information communication technology.

          What I seem to grasp from your question Hon. Senator is what should be done if a person abuses personal information about somebody else?  The same question goes to newspapers and other media.  What you cite is cyber media pertaining to computers but the same question I can pose to you and say, what happens if a person abuses somebody in the newspapers?

          Newspapers are one type of media and cyber media another type but all is media.  People can abuse other people in either media, what should be done?  From the ICT point of view, it goes back to the Bills which I said are in the pipeline and we look forward to this august Senate to approve them when they come from the Lower House to try and remind the public that personal information must not be abused because your freedom to write bad things about me curtails upon my own freedom, therefore it is a crime.  The same way people might interrogate the question of what should be done if you abuse somebody in the conventional newspapers.It is bad.  There is a limit to which you can express your own freedom of expression by abusing other people.  This is what we are trying to do as well with the three Bills I have cited on Personal Information or Personal Data Bill that is coming. I thank you Mr. President.

           HON. SEN. MOHADI: Thank you Mr. President. My question goes to the Deputy Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing. Minister, the question is on the redevelopment of houses at Beitbridge which are now an eyesore as they cannot be completed. What are you doing about them?

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, PUBLIC WORKS AND NATIONAL HOUSING (HON. CHINGOSHO): Thank you Hon. President. I would like to thank the Hon. Senator for asking this important question. The policy of the Ministry of Local Government is that all local authorities should complete their projects. They have been given a deadline and Beitbridge is included. So, I think that concern is being taken care of. I thank you.

          *HON. SEN. SHIRI: Thank you Mr. President. My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Local Government. You have the programme of allocating the youth some stands in various parts of the country. Are you also in a position to allocate the same service to the disabled in this country?

          *THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, PUBLIC WORKS AND NATIONAL HOUSING (HON. CHINGOSHO): I thank the Hon. Senator for this question. May I please assure you that when these stands are being handed out to the youth, we also have a quota which has been set aside for the various people in the country and not only the youth, but even the disabled should also be included as long as they are youth. In allocating these stands, this is not done on partisan lines but it is given on deserving cases. We have noticed that people living with disability have been overlooked in previous programmes hence now, they are included. I kindly ask you to think or observe otherwise and approach our office.

          HON. SEN. CHIMHINI: Who is allocating? Is it local authorities or the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing?

          HON. CHINGOSHO: Local authorities are allocating in urban areas. What happens is that the Ministry of Lands allocates land to the responsible Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing and then the Ministry allocates the land to the respective local authorities. Thank you.

          HON. SEN. MARAVA: Thank you Mr. President. I just want you to confirm that when the Ministry has allocated the land to the local authority, the local authority parcels out the stands?

          HON. CHINGOSHO: Thank you Hon. President. Yes, the local authority parcels out the stands - they plan the stands if it has got the capacity, but local authorities have got Physical Planning planners. The responsible department is our Physical Planning department at head office. It supervises the planners in the local authorities. So, it is the local authorities who should, if they have the capacity, parcel out the land.

          *HON. SEN. A. SIBANDA: Hon. Minister, we realised that your Ministry officials came to Bulawayo and they distributed stands giving them to the ZANU PF youth. The allocation was done at the ZANU PF offices. You have told this Senate that distribution of stands should be done by local authorities. You also said your Ministry sold stands to one of our local prophets, Prophet Magaya. The President complained to Hon. Kasukuwere, “saying you have sold our stands for the ZANU PF youth to this prophet”. Can you please explain?

          HON. CHINGOSHO: Hon. President, I would like to thank the Hon. Senator for asking this very important question. First and foremost, as I indicated earlier on that the policy of the Ministry in terms of allocation of stands is non partisan and this is what should happen. If it is happening in those concerned authorities, Hon. Senators, you are asked to bring this to the attention of the Ministry. What happens is that there is a policy but when it comes to implementation down there, people might implement in a wrong way. If you have got specific places where this is happening, I would like to ask Hon. Senators to bring this to the attention of the Ministry.

The second part concerning the allocation of stands to Prophet Magaya - yes, the President alluded to this but I am sure the Minister explained  that he did not allocate stands. If that explanation does not satisfy Hon. Senators, you can still bring that to the attention of the Ministry and we will look into the matter. Thank you.

HON. SEN. MUSAKA: I thank you Mr. President. My question goes to the Deputy Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing. It is (a) and (b) regarding Ngezi District Rural Council. The (a) part of it was...

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: It should only be one question. no. (a), (b), (c) and (d).

HON. SEN. MUSAKA: Okay, it is one question. I thank you Mr. President. The question goes to the Deputy Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing. Ngezi Rural District Council was formed recently. It is almost four years ago and it has no headquarters; it is static. Environment officers are in Chegutu. Forestry officers are somewhere in Zimplats. Housing and Health are somewhere in Lusaka. Sometimes the Chief Executive Officer commutes from Lusaka, it is really tardy.  Can the Ministry do something and organise it properly? 

          The other aspect is the growth points apart from Murewa and Mubaira lack aesthetics, they are poor – a house here, a shop there and a beer hall there.  There is no planning, there are no proper roads.  What is the problem?  Cannot we have something beautiful, neat and nice in the rural areas?  I thank you.

          THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  May I also remind Hon. Senators that if there are specifics, please put that in writing.

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, PUBLIC WORKS AND NATIONAL HOUSING (HON. CHINGOSHO):  Thank you Hon. President.  I would like to thank the Hon. Member for asking this important question.  In fact, they are two.  About Ngezi and lack of accommodation within the centre, yes it is true that is the present situation.  It is because of unavailability of funds to construct the required houses to accommodate staff within Ngezi.  Otherwise, it is an area which is also of concern to the Ministry when it comes to the administration of that local authority.  So, your point is well noted and I think we are together on that one.

          Concerning growth points, it is true that there is no proper planning.  I am sure you have heard my Minister saying we would like proper planning in all our urban set ups.  This is a policy which the Ministry is going to ensure that settlement along the growth points are done properly and then people occupy those stands.  What has been happening is that at growth points, people just come and build wherever they think without planning.  Again on this one Hon. Member, we are together.  Thank you.

          HON. B. SIBANDA:  Thank you Mr. President.  I am not sure whether I got the Minister of Environment correctly.  If I did not, can she clearly tell us what the post mining environmental reclamation policy of the Ministry is?  If she could explain to us what the roadblocks to implementation are, if the policy exists?  I am sure we are going to be left with a Zimbabwe full of numerous holes after the mineral is gone and agriculture will be prejudiced.

          THE MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT, WATER AND CLIMATE (HON. MUCHINGURI):  Thank you Mr. President.  I would like to thank Hon. B. Sibanda once again for that very important question.  The issue of reclaiming the environment which would have been damaged by miners is a cause for concern to us because it is happening along our rivers, despite our efforts to try to arrest and stop them from doing so. 

          What we have done as a Ministry is to identify most of these illegal gold miners working in collaboration with the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development to organise them and impart to them some skills to make sure that the environment is protected.  I am talking about those that are embarking on the exercise and we are catching them young, before they add on to the challenges that we have of damage to our environment and rivers.  So, we are organizing them with the Ministry as I have alluded to and we have added on a requirement that if the Reserve Bank is going to assist with funding, we have to make sure that from an environmental point of view, they satisfy our expectations and that of the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development.  These are the new comers into the area of mining but for those that have been causing a lot of these environmental damages, we have such a situation in Marange and along Odzi river where a lot of alluvial gold panning was happening. 

The first step that we took was to ban alluvial gold mining along our rivers and you may recall that last year when I joined the Ministry, we had such a menace in Mazowe and also Angwa.  So, we stopped the operations and a Cabinet Committee was set up to make sure that if any mining was to take place, it is only Government that is allowed.  We have set up a company which will be responsible for doing that properly.  It involves the Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate, the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, EMA and ZINWA.  We are working together to make sure that we correct that situation. 

As far as the damage that has taken place elsewhere, EMA is using the funds or resources that they collect as tariffs, we are ploughing it back to make sure that we correct the damage that has been caused.  However, some of it has been so enormous to an extent where we are saying to communities, let us work together using food for work programmes to make sure that we correct some of these problems.  Of course, we do have policies in place which, sometimes may not be respected, but we are making every effort and we have established committees to embark on awareness programmes.  So, we are making frantic efforts to make sure that we address this challenge.  I thank you. 

          Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF SENATE in terms of Standing Order Number 62.         

          On the motion of THE MINISTER OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION (HON. DR. DOKORA), the Senate adjourned at Ten Minutes to Four o’clock p.m, until Tuesday, 18th October, 2016. 

 

Senate Hansard SENATE HANSARD 13 OCTOBER 2016 VOL 26 NO 04