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SENATE HANSARD 15 OCTOBER 2016 VOL 26 NO 11

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Tuesday, 15th November, 2016.

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

DEATH OF HON. VIRGINIA MUCHENJE

          THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: It is with profound sorrow that I have to inform the House of the death on Friday, 28th October, 2016 of the Senator for Mashonaland West Province, Hon. Senator Virginia Muchenje. I invite Hon. Senators to rise and observe a Minute of silence in respect of the late Hon. Member.

          All Hon. Members observed a minute of silence.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE DELEGATION TO THE 68TH SESSION OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF THE AFRICAN PARLIAMENTARY UNION

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

          That this House takes note of the Report of the Delegation to the 68th Session of the Executive Committee of the African Parliamentary Union held from 2nd to 3rd June, 2016, in Khartoum, Sudan.

          HON. SEN. CHIEF DANDAWA: I second.

          HON. SEN. GOTO: I rise to present the report of the Parliament of Zimbabwe delegation to the 68th Session of the Executive Committee of the African Parliamentary Union held from 2nd to 3rd June, 2016, in Khartoum, Sudan.

          INTRODUCTION

          The 68th Session of the Executive Committee of the African Parliamentary Union held from 2nd to 3rd June, 2016, in Khartoum, Sudan at the National Assembly of Parliament of Sudan. The President of the Senate Hon. Edna Madzongwe led the delegation from Parliament of Zimbabwe to the session. The delegation was made up of Hon. Senator Chief Dandawa, Hon. Senator Goto and Hon. Bheki Sibanda.

          PARTICIPATION

          The 68th Session of the Executive Committee was presided over by Hon. Speaker of the House of Representatives of Morocco, who is the current Chairperson of the Executive Committee of the      African Parliamentary Union. The President of the Executive Committee of the African Parliamentary Union was the host, Hon. Ibrahim Ahmed Omer, Speaker of the National Assembly of Sudan. Hon. Ali Soubaned Atteyeh, Member of the National Assembly of Djibouti, the Rapporteur of the Executive Committee and Mr. Kofi N’ZI, Secretary-General of the African Parliamentary Union were present.

Delegations from 24 out of the 40-member Parliaments participated in the conference. They were from the following countries: Algeria, Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Equatorial Guinea, Mali, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Sudan, South Sudan, Togo and Zimbabwe.

OPENING SESSION

The 68th Opening Session of the Executive Committee received two speeches, one by the Speaker of the National Assembly of Sudan, and the other by the Chairman of the A.P.U. Executive Committee.

In his welcoming address, the Speaker of the National Assembly of Sudan, welcomed the delegates to the 68th Session that aimed to strengthen solidarity, brotherhood and prosperity of our continent.

He reminded the conference that:

·       The African Continent has suffered much from colonialism and exploitation because of the abundant natural and economic resources.

·       Colonialism has caused discord amongst citizens and between some neighbouring countries in Africa.

 

·       We should praise the role played by the founding fathers of the Organisation of African Unity, now African Union, in their unification of the African vision to promote peace and security in Africa.

·       It was still very important for the continent to have a united vision because colonialism still appears in various forms, targeting African leaders by tarnishing the reputation of those African States, which took a strong African position for their people.

·       The changeover from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) requires our African countries to work hard for peace and security based on an agreement of common values that reject violence and use of power.

·       Legislators were encouraged to focus on policies whose values respect and foster the independence and sovereignty of our states.

·       Parliamentarians must note the benefits of consolidating all APU member parliaments’ efforts against threats of terrorism. Extremism and organised crime.

·       Parliaments must not shake their responsibility to legislate for ways of strengthening democracy, promoting of good governance, rule of law, human rights and greater participation of women and youth in national affairs.

He went on to remind the delegates that, National Parliaments have a crucial role to play in meeting these challenges through the joint work undertaken within the African Parliamentary Union, to have a common position on common issues affecting African Parliaments.

In his opening remarks, the Chairperson of the Executive Committee of the APU, the Hon. Speaker of the House of Representatives of Morocco;

·       Highlighted the importance of Africa’s cultural linguistic, religious, ethnic and social diversities and the importance of preserving our cultural heritage, as already affirmed at the APU meeting in 2006 in Bujumbura.

·       Encouraged parliamentarians to safeguard the importance of our African Parliamentary Union framework that gives us the base to promote joint reflection, dialogue, exchanges, cooperation and solidarity.

·       Congratulated the member Parliaments of APU for their clear commitment and unwavering support for peace, security and stability in their countries.  This contributes to conflict resolution, strengthening of democracy, promotion of good governance, political and cultural development as well as the promotion of good citizenship.

3.  ADOPTION AND CONSIDERATION OF ITEMS OF THE AGENDA

a)  Admission and readmission

The Secretary-General informed the members of the Executive Committee that there were no new membership admissions.  However, there were some contacts that were made by the Parliament of Madagascar on how to apply for APU membership.

b)  Implementation of the decisions and recommendations of the Conference.

The conference noted the none observance of Article 14 and Article 16 of the Statutes of APU, which require;

·       The Chairperson of the Women’s Committee to sit as a member of the Bureau; and

·       Regional balance within the permanent or temporary organs of the Union respectively and demanded for corrections to be made.

Other decisions that had been made were to promote the exchange of information between parliaments and the Secretary-General by using information Communication Technology (ICTs), including e-mail.

c)  Consideration of the audited management accounts for the 2015 financial year.

The Secretary-General presented the management accounts for the 2015 financial year.

Members of the Executive Committee noted with concern the large volume of subscription arrears of several countries including the Parliament of Zimbabwe.  We owe 28 371 Euros for 2014, 26 973 Euros for 2015 and for the budget of 2016, we owe 26 973 Euros in member subscriptions.

However, while noting the economic challenges faced by some member countries, the meeting stressed the urgent need for all debtors to make their financial contributions so that the APU can pursue and implement its work programmes.

d)  Presentation of the draft agenda of the 39th Conference.

The Secretary-General presented the draft agenda as follows;

1.                                        Report of the Chairman of the Executive Committee.

2.                                        Activity Report of the Secretary General.

3.                                        Amendments to the Statutes and rules of procedure.

4.                                        Report of the Committee of Women Parliamentarians.

5.                Committee debate on “Participation of citizens, especially of young people in promoting democracy’.

6.      Committee on “The role of African Parliaments in realising the Sustainable Development Goals”.

7.      Committee debate on “The fight against terrorism in Africa”.

8.      Election of the members of the Executive Committee.

9.      Date and venue of the 40th Conference.

d. (i) Appointment of Rapporteurs

The Executive Committee appointed:

·       Ali Osman (Ethiopia) as rapporteur of the Committee for item (5) of the agenda.

·       Mr. Mohamed Ahmed Hamid Al Shayeb (Sudan) as rapporteur of the Committee for item (6) of the agenda; and

·       Mr Ngayap Pierre Flambeau (Cameron) as rapporteur of the Committee for item 7 of the agenda.

The Executive Committee also took note that the women parliamentarians still have to choose a theme to be discussed at their upcoming meeting on the occasion of the 39th Conference.

e)      Draft Agenda for the 69th Session of the Executive Committee was presented and adopted.

f)       Date and venue of the 69th Session of the Executive Committee.

          The next session of the Executive Committee will be held in Rabat, Morocco  on 1st and 2nd November 2016, followed by the 39th Conference on 4th and 5th November, 2016 before the COP 22 that will be held in Marrakech as from 7th November, 2016.

5.      Conclusion

i.       In concluding the session, the meeting observed a minute of silence for all those civilians and soldiers who fell victim to terrorism on the continent.

ii.      Khartoum Declaration

          The Chairperson of the Executive Committee of the African Parliamentary Union, Hon. Rashid Talbi El Alami, Speaker of the House of Representatives of Morocco issued the Khartoum Declaration in which he deplored all manner of intolerance and terrorism. He went on to call for the lifting of all illegal sanctions that have been imposed on Mali, Sudan and Zimbabwe. I thank you.

          HON. SEN. CHIEF DANDAWA: Thank you Mr. President. As the seconder of the motion moved by Hon. Sen. Goto, I think I am just going to give a brief summary of the report.

          The 68th session of the Executive Committee of the African Parliamentary Union (APU) was held on the 2nd and 3rd June, 2016 in Khartoum, Sudan at the National Assembly, with Hon. Rashid Talbi El Alami, Speaker  of the House of Representatives of Morocco, Chairman of the Executive Committee alongside Hon. Ahmed Omer, Speaker of the National Assembly of Sudan, Hon. Ali Soubaneh Atteyeh, member of the National Assembly of Djibouti, rapporteur of the Executive Committee and Mr. Kofi N’zi, Secretary General of the African Parliamentary Union.

          The session consisted of 25 Parliaments of the following; Algeria, Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameron, Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, Sudan and Zimbabwe.

          The opening session was marked by two speeches. The first one was from Professor Ibrahim Amed Omer, Speaker of the National Assembly of Sudan who welcomed the delegates and briefly recalled that the continent had much suffered from colonialism due to available natural and economic resources. On colonisation he also mentioned that it appears in other forms, targeting especially the African leaders through false allegations of the International Criminal Court that is affecting the reputation of the Africa States which showed a strong African position.

          He also said that the changeover from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) requires working for peace and security in African countries. The National Parliaments have a crucial role to play through the joint work undertaken within the African Parliamentary Union created in 1976 so he said.

          The second speech was from Hon. Rashid Talbi El Alami, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the APU. He extended a warm welcome to the participants and all protocols observed for the valuable efforts made to organise the meeting. He mentioned that there is need to emphasise  the importance of our African Parliamentary framework like other Inter Parliamentary forums in order to promote joint reflection, dialogue exchanges, cooperation and solidarity. He also strongly supported the idea of maintaining peace, security and stability.

          The Secretary General was then invited by Hon. Rashid Talbi El Alami to read the points of the agenda. The agenda was presented as follows:

1.    Admissions and readmissions.

2.    Consideration of the implementation of the decisions and recommendations of the conference.

3.    Consideration of the audited management accounts for the 2015 financial year.

4.    Preparation of the draft agenda of 39th conference.

5.    Draft agenda of 69th session of the Executive Committee.

6.    Date and venue of the 69th session of the Executive Committee.

The 69th session of the Executive Committee will be held in Rabat, Morocco. The Chairman of the Executive Committee, Hon. Rashid Talbi El Alami said the session will be held on 1st and 2nd November followed by the 39th Conference on 4th and 5th November, 2016 before the COP 22 that would be held on the Marrakech from 7th  November, 2016.  This marks the end of the report for the 68th Session of the Executive Committee.  With this brief history, I thank you Mr. President for affording me this opportunity.

          HON. SEN. GOTO: I move that the debate do no adjourn.

          HON. SEN. CHIEF DANDAWA: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Wednesday, 16th November, 2016.

MOTION

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

          Second 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.

          *HON. SEN. MATIIRIRA: Thank you Mr. President for affording me this opportunity and I thank our Chairperson Hon. Sen. Makore.  As a Committee, we decided to go around and witness the state of affairs as regards the orphans.  Our objective was to find out the manner in which they were living and the challenges that they may be facing.

          We want to believe that we are all aware that most of the children’s homes are made up of orphans that are picked up.  Our first port of call was Matthew Rusike in Harare.  It was self evident that the children were being well looked after.  So, the projects that they were undertaking seem to be doing quite well, although they have some challenges but, in the majority of cases, they seem to be organised. 

We also went to Mashonaland West and we went to the juvenile probation.  There, they have problems.  You know that these are juvenile delinquency and they range from thieves to murderers but we observed that since these ones are young adults, they do not have sufficient rooms and they are cramped.  They have fields and they till the land but the challenge was that they do not have implements and the seeds.  They indicated that once those ones are delivered, they will be able to become self sustaining and they would come up with spacious rooms that can accommodate these children.  We observed that they have the potential to do that.

          Our last port of call was Chirinda Children’s Home.  That orphanage has very small children who need to be looked after properly.  We enquired into the history of that Children’s Home.  We were told that it was initially started by others.  The new administration came on board and they do not have sufficient resources to look after these children.  They rely mostly on handouts from others and their benevolence is not self sustaining.  The housing units are not good and the clothing and the bedrooms are in a sorry state.  If it were possible, the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Services should look into such issues.  It is not an orphanage that is up to the correct standards.  You will find that it would be wanting in most of its activities and even clothing items such as jerseys and so on were missing.

          Furthermore, there is the issue of a child who then becomes 18 years old and where he/she would go to.  They do not seem to have a place where they would send these children to but other homes that are organised have places where they send such children so that they can pursue their life or education.  We also enquired into how they get the children and they said they get them from the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Services and that the children get their birth certificates through the aid of the Social Welfare Department. We were happy that children might get these birth certificates, though there are other cases that are extreme because there may be no one who knows about the background of that child.  These are the issues that we observed as a Committee.  I thank you Mr. President.

          HON. SEN. MUSAKA:  Thank you Mr. President for affording me the opportunity to make a contribution to the debate.  I wish to thank Hon. Sen. Makore seconded by Hon. Sen. Buka for the motion.  Hon. Sen. Makore and your Committee, I thank you so much for the work you did to take a chance to look at the situation of the children’s homes.

          Mr. President, my submission is this; I wish to tell you that I am prolife.  All the money that is being spent by the NGOs or whoever is promoting birth control should be channeled to supporting life.  Here is life.  Zimbabwe is under populated.  We have no people and we cannot develop – we need people.  Mr. President, development is a question of numbers – take it seriously.  With our small population of 14 or 16 million or whatever, even if you add the three million which is exaggerated to about 20 million, there is very little that we can do.  You can take the whole of Zimbabwe into London and you still cannot fill it.  Mr. President, we need people.  Here is a chance and whatever happened and however these children were born or came into being, they must be supported.  That is my view.  I think that we should as a Government take steps.  As I said earlier, all the monies that are channeled into saying, ‘have no children or few children’, must be channeled to promoting life and we need more people in Zimbabwe.  Here is a chance to thank those girls or women who have these children.  So, that is the situation and these are hard facts on the ground.  We should look at that situation and save life.  Like I said earlier, I am pro-life, therefore, I urge the Government, the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Services and this august House to make laws that promote life not discourage life, not to have children, that is anti-development.  We cannot develop, it promotes colonialism.  There is somebody with an agenda to come and take our space, Zimbabwe is empty, and I will tell you the truth.  The whole of Southern Africa, in fact, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Angola, there are no people.  Travel to other countries, there is no way development can take place Mr. President.  I thank you.

          *HON. SEN. A. CHABUKA: Thank you Mr. President.  I want to add a few words on the motion moved by Hon. Sen. Makore. I thank you Hon. Sen. Makore and your Committee for embarking on this visit to establish the status of children’s homes because we know that the children are our future leaders.  They will be the presidents, senators and they will be the parents of tomorrow.  We expect that when we are gone, those children will take our legacy further.  The Government should look after these children and as the august House; we should investigate the manner in which the children are living. 

If our abundant natural resources are well looked after, we should be able to look after these orphans.  They should even be given a mine for their welfare because we have abundant natural resources.  I believe that Government, acting in conjunction with both houses, the National Assembly and the Senate, will look after ways and means to be able to fund-raise or seek for resources to look after such disadvantaged and vulnerable children. Some of the homes are deplorable, the children do not have sufficient clothing, especially during winter and they end up being susceptible to diseases.  They might die from diseases such as pneumonia. 

We urge Government to implement the reports that this august House passes.  I urge Hon. Sen. Makore as the Chairperson, to visit other places they did not visit to find out what the situation is like regarding other children’s homes.  If possible, Hon. Mupfumira’s Ministry should deliver maize to such orphanages.  It is quite painful that there are children who are gathered in these orphanage Homes and they go to bed without a meal.  There are others who are adults but may not see our country in good light as they feel that they may be neglected by the Government.  The responsible Committee and members, I urge you through Hon. Sen. Makore to investigate on other issues because the children could even be abused.  These are children who should be looked after so that they may have a brighter future.  I thank you, the Committee on Gender and Development.  Thank you Mr. President.

+HON. SEN. A. SIBANDA: Thank you Mr. President Sir.  I want to make my contribution to this motion which was moved by Hon. Sen. Makore.  We are grateful that they looked into the issues and realised that there is another centre for children without parents and they visited those homes to see what transpires there.  Now that the Committee has done so, the problem is that our contributions and wishes will be known to the responsible Ministry and yet they will disregard what we would have said as Parliament.  We therefore request that the Minister should come before Parliament and explain.

In my constituency, I have such children who are orphaned, yet in some places they are being taken care of very well but in others they face difficulties.  I now say those who are facing problems should not be in such a situation and they should not miss their parents.  Such children should be well taken care off during the time when they are still growing up.  I do not know how this kind of situation is handled in other countries.  Those of you who travel, have you ever met such situations in other countries? As Africans, we do not know this issue called adoption.  In our community in Luveve, where we have a Children’s Home, the community was requested to come and take care of the children.  However, as Africans we do not have a culture of adopting children yet it is a good thing.

If parents neglect their children, other parents should take over.  The children are being looked after and they are aware that they were neglected by their parents.  It is our wish as a Committee that the children should be looked after well and properly so that those who are not talented in academics should be given opportunities to use their hands.  They should also be encouraged to participate in sporting activities.  If a child is talented in sport, they should be groomed and encouraged to participate in such sporting activities as soccer or athletics so that the child’s livelihood can be enhanced since they will be orphaned. 

It is my personal wish that Government would have an amnesty for the parents who would have neglected their children.  Some of these children have parents who neglected them and if the Government provides amnesty and give an incentive to any of the parents who decides to take care of their children whom they neglected in the past.  Another contributor here said, we have a low population here in Zimbabwe.  Some parents neglect their children due to the problems they will be facing, particularly mothers.  If you find a mother dumping a child, even if that child is crying, it means that there is an insurmountable problem.  These children’s homes are good, but we should encourage our people not to dump their children.  If a child has been dumped, that parent should write that he or she wants the child to be given a name and totem because the mother will be aware of the father of that child.  It is something which is painful to have a child with a totem totally different from his original one.  We do not encourage dumping but if you have a problem and there is temptation to do so, write down on paper the name of the child so that sometimes when an amnesty is declared for such parents, you can go and reunite with your child.  Whether you are rich or poor, you will always look for your child.  We request that parents should not dump children.

These situations where babies are dumped in pit latrines are painful.  Sometimes the babies are dumped in bins and they are affected by toxins.  Mothers should be encouraged not to dump children.  If these young girls get pregnant, tell them to go to their rural homes to leave the baby with the grandparents because children in homes do not even know where their parents are.  They do not even know their totems.  The Government does not have enough resources to look after these children in homes. A child who has been dumped faces problems in a children’s home

Let us be a nation that has its own values and realises that God will bless us.  A child is a blessing from God. If Government can afford, it should cut some priorities and channel such resources to children’s homes so that the homes can be self sufficient. 

Government should also stop this policy which states that when a child is 18 years old, he or she should leave the children’s home. What will the girl child do after 18 years?  She will engage in prostitution.  Therefore, let us come up with some other polices particularly for the girl child because they face problems.  The boys also will have nowhere to go.  Even if the child is educated even up to university level, he or she may get a job and marries.  That child for example who grew up in the home will not have any relatives or parents to celebrate his or her wedding with.

We request that this Committee should not stop.  I should also engage the Minister responsible (Hon. Mupfumira) and give a report of what they saw so that the Minister is aware and will take the relevant steps.  The Minister can also approach other ministries to assist.  This will enable us to be a united nation. 

At the children’s home, children have various talents that are God given.  You may find a good mother from that home being a representative in the country.  We do not want children to be abused, they should be looked after.  They should be allowed to go to school.  They should not be neglected when they turn 18 years.  Government should continue taking care of them up to the time when they have their own homes and they are gainfully employed as well so that they cannot always remember the problems they faced when they were still children.

Some are now street kids.  When these children are no longer wanted at the home, they go into the streets.  The community cannot take them in as well.  It is therefore Government’s responsibility to look after these children well so that they can have a better life.  Thank you Mr. President.

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

SEN. MARAVA:  I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 15th November, 2016.

MOTION

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

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

Question again proposed.

+SEN. NCUBE:  Thank you Hon. President of the Senate for giving me this opportunity to contribute to this important motion brought to this House by Senator Makore and his Committee.

This motion is about early child marriages and the girl child is affected before she is mature.  This is a painful matter which we have been debating again and again.  It is a matter which should be heard and people should understand particularly men because they are the ones who marry these immature girls.

We have debated this issue again and again.  It is important that we always repeat when debating this issue because it is a problem matter.  It has been observed that amongst girls, one in three is married before she has turned eighteen.  We have discussed the causes of this in many occasions.  It is caused by the fact that some of the families that these children come from are poor.  This causes the parents to push the child into an early marriage.  Most of these children are married off to families that are rich.  The child will be sent to stay there so that the parents realise some beasts from that family so that they can also be rich.

          There are people in some religions that have these beliefs that the girl-child should be married say when the prophet says I have prophesied being married to that young girl. Then there are beliefs that these diseases that we suffer from and a prophet may say, if you want to be cured from this disease, go and have sex with an underage girl. These are the things that cause these minor girls TO end up being mothers and us to continue talking about such matters.

          This issue is not a problem only for Zimbabwe but is all over the world. It is a painful matter for us mothers who carry babies through te gestation period. When a child is in Grade Seven, you expect that child to be still growing up. Most of them are 12 or 13 years but you find children at that age dropping from school when they are forced into marriage by some men who turn them into wives. We are happy with this Committee that has brought this matter here. Our nation should understand and people should be educated that minors should be allowed to grow and develop just like the banners we see all over.

          We should implore people to say, no, stop, leave children to mature. In 2013, when we were doing our Constitution and discussing about marriages, people talked clearly that a girl-child should be a child at what age. Contributions were that when a child reaches the age of 16, she can be married but right now we have agreed that the Constitutional Court of Zimbabwe clearly states that a girl-child should enter into marriage only when the child attains the age of 18. As of now, parents come into an agreement even when the child is 16 and she can be married.

This report has come at the right time because many organisations are saying Zimbabwe should know that a child who should be married is only someone who has attained the age of 18. That one can be married. If that is not what is obtaining, it means the child should know that when parents say go and get married when one is still a minor because we are saying a minor is a child, is below the age of 18 and is still continuing with her education. She is still a child.

Of late, in some policies during Rhodesia, they said a minor is a child below the age of 18. If we were to follow such policies, you would find that a child aged 18 years, is now mature enough to sustain a home or family but still, at 18 she can still be attending school. Children who get abused are those from poverty stricken families because when that child is 18 and has nothing to do at home, that child will aspire to have a family. We are therefore of the view that this report which has been brought into this august House should be taken seriously.

Our Members of Parliament and Senators when you are giving your feedbacks, we request that the order of the day of this early child marriages we should talk about it because it is very important. There are no other fora that we can use to talk about these issues to the people. We should always talk about this so that the world is straight. The Hansard should also be distributed to the people so that they know what we debate on and what we think about these matters that children below the age of 18 cannot be mature enough to be mothers. Some of the information can be accessed through the internet and newspapers. If they cannot access the information through the internet or newspapers, the Hansard can be given to them so that they know the Parliament of Zimbabwe does not want that. It is not something good for the child.

Even though she is not at school at a tender age of 14, it does not mean she can be married, no. Those religious groups like the apostolic sects are a problem. Most of them marry minors. Let us talk to them to say that is very wrong. If such things are happening, it means people do not know that we have a law. Let us teach our people that our Constitution gives a child the right to have her parents arrested if they marry her off or abuse her in any way when she still wants to continue with her education. Children should report when they are being approached by men when they are still minors and wanting to continue with their education. People should be educated because they do not know where to go when they have problems.

Senator Makore and your Committee, we would like to thank you for your report. For us as women, it is painful for us. Your Committee has two Orders of the Day which are more or less the same. The one on children’s homes has a link to the one on early child marriages because when a child ends up with a child, that places a burden on the child causing the child to dump the child which ends up being taken to a children’s homes. In the children’s home there are problems of food and other stuff. I would like to say your two reports are more or less the same, they are very important.  Let us take the message to our people and tell them no, a child is a child up to the time she attains 18, but if the child is 18 years old and is still in school, she is still a minor.  Men, please do not disturb the girl child.

Our chiefs are here; our traditional leaders who are here, we request you to take this matter which we have been tasked with.  Go and report to our constituents, particularly the rural constituents.  That is where this is more prevalent.  In your traditional courts, please tell the people what is obtaining.  Please, take this message.  Remove this burden which you are being given by men and tell them to leave them until they are mature up to a time the child feels no, I am now ready to be a mother.  With those words I thank you.

HON. SEN. MUSAKA:  I thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to contribute to this topic.  I also wish to thank Senator Makore, seconded by Senator Masuku on this topic.

Mr. President, I agree it is not right that children should be married early.  I will start with the Shona adage, ‘Varume, regai dzive hanga mazai haana muto’.  In the traditional African set up, you get that statement.  It is very profound.  That is the teaching, preaching to the society that do not marry a child before the expected age.  Read your folklore, your stories.  Fire side stories nana sekuru nana mbuya.  You will hear what they say about marriage.  There is nowhere anywhere you will find they will encourage the actual marrying of a child before a certain age.

Unonzwa vachiti airoorwa yavetsikombi.  They tell you get your traditions, get your culture correct.  All these things are coming as a result of wrong teachings. It is the God of Abraham; sorry to those who may feel offended, who has this habit of violence.  You see, the God of Abraham must be a male.  I think he does not like women, he is racist, and he is violent right through.  Read your Bible, those of you who read the Bible.  Everywhere, all he does, the God of Abraham, he mimics to say my God has said sacrifice your child and then meanwhile he has tied a sheep somewhere.  He goes with the child and now he says, oh no, God said no and it is the boy he is saving.  Read again the book of Judges.  Go there and see what happens to a girl who was sacrificed.  A man says okay, if I win a war then I will give you the best I can; human sacrifice.  Read Judges and you will see what happens.  It is all women.  When King David gets very old, oh no he needs a woman, a young one who can make him warm.  Again, this is the God of Abraham.

You Shonas do not worship the God of Abraham.  He is racist.  Right now all the violence you can see in the Middle East everywhere, it is actually that God.  Namatai mwari musikivanhu, mwari wemadzitateguru edu.  Once you go that route, we are on the right track.  This early childhood marriage – the other speaker Mr. President, talked of mapostori.  Again this is coming from this idea of this God of Abraham.  It is nothing to do with us.  In our culture it does not happen.  I have just told you the saying, regai dzive hanga mazai haana muto.  Organise all societies, everyone you know, vana tete.  They will know there is a girl child at the Machingaifa homestead.

The whole idea, Mr. President of rape – again; it is coming with this religion, this thing as a weapon of war to punish, to violate, to make sure that we dominate you.  There is no such thing in our Shona culture.  Once you want to marry somebody, you do not rape for the sake of defiling, for the sake of humiliating anybody.  You marry to actually enhance hukama. You marry in order that actually we do not kill each other, to enhance, to increase population.  Security was embedded in numbers.  Mr. President, I entirely agree.  Let us go back to our traditions.  Things will be alright.  I thank you.

HON. SEN. MOHADI:  Thank you Mr. President.  I also want to add my voice on this motion which was presented by Senator Makore on behalf of his Committee…

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  Order, order.  Sen. Mohadi: just to remind you that you are debating this motion for the second time.  Do you agree that you are debating for the second time?

HON. SEN. MOHADI:  No.  Last time when I wanted to debate I was told the same story and I said I had not debated on this motion.  Today again, it is the same thing.  So, I do not know, maybe you do not want me to debate on it.

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  I am advised that you spoke on 28th July, 2016 on the same motion.  We are in a democratic society so we will give you an opportunity.  What do you say to the fact that you debated on this date?  Do you dispute this?

HON. SEN. MOHADI:  I did not debate on this motion.

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  Okay, technically if you appear twice, that will be a breach of the rules.  I will ask the staff to research in the Hansard and if then it is proved that you did not debate, you will be given an opportunity to debate, but you cannot debate twice on the same motion.

*HON. SEN. MURWIRA:  Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to debate on this motion moved by Senator Makore on early child marriages.

Right now we are no longer able to teach our children on issues of sex because long ago children would be taught by their aunts, grandmothers and grandfathers, but because of the breakdown in the extended family unit, there is no one to teach such issue to these young children. We are told that these sugar daddies are blessers and that we should behave as good people. As parents, I urge both the fathers and sons to be friendly to our mothers and daughters respectively. In the past, at the birth of a child, the mother would sprinkle some breast milk on the child’s genitals so as to moderate their desire for sex. This used to work and I urge all of us to keep up with some of these practices.

          As Members of Parliament, let us go to where children gather and impart these traditional norms and practices so that they are not abused as young children. They are our future leaders. I urge that we desist from this habit of abusing children. Parents should send their children to school. I thank you Mr. President for the opportunity that you have granted me.

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

          HON. SEN. MUMVURI: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Wednesday, 16th November, 2016.

MOTION

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

          Fourth 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: I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          HON. SEN. MUMVURI: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Wednesday, 16th November, 2016.

MOTION

PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS

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

          Question again proposed.

          HON. SEN. MUSAKA: Thank you Mr. President. I would like to make a contribution to the Presidential Speech as proposed by Emeritus General Nyambuya. Emeritus simply means retired. The President raised a number of issues in his speech; I just want to dwell on some of the aspects especially the prisons.  All along, we have been informed that the prisons are in a very socially and economically poor state. I personally did not join the team that went there but colleagues told me that the food and accommodation is so bad. In fact, everything is so bad; the reason being that they are underfunded and they have big farms and they could not get development partners.

          Now that there is command agriculture, I do hope maybe one of the silos in Banket or Norton should be given to one prison or two prisons to fill those silos now that a development partner has been found. Mr. President, this notion that oh no, we are now correctional, we are no longer punishing, well we are playing with words Mr. President. When you go to prison, hard labour or correctional, people should work there. They should produce food. Now, that everything is there, this notion that it is correctional – correctional means you should be able to fill one silo then we know you have been corrected. You can work and you are no longer a thief. You are not going to steal. It is not a wedding, hakusi kuenda kumuchato. I still believe the prisons from now onwards should actually work. They should provide us with food. A quarter of the bread that we eat should come from the prisons. So much on prisons and I think that is my observation.

          Equally the same with the military, at the Pre-Budget Seminar, we were told by the Minister of Defence that oh no our soldiers go ploughing – kunochera nzungu so that we can have food. That is not the job of the military. The job of the solider is to be fit, to go into battle field fit and fresh and not carrying nzungu and so forth. That is not the job of the military. The core business of the military is to make sure that they are properly fed. Their sister facility, the prisons now have the farms and I hope things will be corrected. Even them too were saying they do not have a development partner, now that the development partners are there, then we wish to see and we want real serious production in those two institutions.  I thank you.

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

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Wednesday, 16th November, 2016.

On the motion of THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. SEN. MUZENDA), the Senate adjourned at One Minute to Four o’clock p.m.

 

 

 

Senate Hansard SENATE HANSARD 15 OCTOBER 2016 VOL 26 NO 11