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SENATE HANSARD 16 November 2016 Vol 26 No 12

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PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Wednesday, 16th November, 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. NYAMBUYA:  I move that the debate do now adjourn.

HON. SEN. MUMVURI:  I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Thursday, 17th November, 2016.

MOTION

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

Second Order read:  Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the delegation to the 68th Session of the Executive Committee of the African Parliamentary Union.

Question again proposed.

HON. SEN. B. SIBANDA:  Thank you Madam President.  I would like to add my voice to the issue raised by Senator Goto and seconded by Sen. Chief Dandawa with regard to our attendance to the 68th Session of the Executive Committee of the APU in Khartoum, Sudan.

First of all, I would like to express our gratitude as a team to you for asking us to accompany you to go and execute your duty in Sudan.  In the same vein, I want to believe that we gave you the support that you deserved as the leader of the delegation.  I know a lot of area has been covered by the mover and the seconder, but I would like to bring to the attention of this House to the areas that were discussed at this conference.  My list may not be totally exclusive, but I will do my best to cover the areas.

Some of the things that were discussed include the founding principles of the AU, which was the OAU at that time when they defined them.  The conference took us back into history to remind us largely of where we came from.  The second thing that was discussed was the remnants of the impact of colonialism on the African continent and I am sure we all realise that we still have remnants of colonialism which I believe if we made maximum efforts, we would have extricated ourselves from that.

Thirdly, the conference examined the state of governance.  This is a topical subject in Africa today and I think it challenges us as to the future that we must move ourselves to. The fourth thing that was discussed was the call of the rule of law in Africa in order to enhance our status and to develop our identity as a continent.

The fifth thing was the need for Parliamentarians to adopt common approaches whenever they have got common subjects. It is not useful if we go in different directions. We lose the African agenda.

The sixth thing that was discussed was the need to preserve our rich cultural heritage. Africa has got one of the richest cultural heritages in the world and often times we tend to lose those values to other values. The session reminded us of this richness.

The seventh thing that we looked at was the financial report as presented by the Secretary General of the organisation. We also discussed the involvement of youth and women in politics. It is important to observe that the Executive Committee did observe the critical nature of the need for us to involve our youth for the future and our women as inseparable compatriots for whatever agenda we have.

The last thing which was considered was the threat of extremist ideologies and its impact on our political platform. It was emphasised, which would be my last point of discussion that Africa needs to gladiate towards SDGs as that is the topical issue today.

          Madam President, allow me to share some notes with this Senate to buttress the issues that have been raised by the mover and the seconder of the motion. The first thing I would like to bring to the attention of this Senate is that I had not been on any conference for a very long time on behalf of this nation but I realised that we still enjoy a lot of respect in the public eye. I therefore, encourage all of us as Zimbabweans to remember that and not let that respect be lost – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.]- I saw that when our team leader who is the President of the Senate raised issues and the constant reference to Zimbabwe as a reference point.  I do not need to urge us to remember what I have said. However, that dignified position was diluted when we dealt with finances when it was discovered that we are one of those nations who are behind in payment. I think we need to sustain out status. It is an imperative that we do at all occasions.

The next issue that I would like to deal with is the issue of governance. I think the topic of governance which maybe has been an anathema to a lot of nations is now sweet music to all of us. What I would like to say is, let us turn that sweet music into sweet political action. It is the level of governance that is going to determine our future progression as a country and as a continent. I think we need to bring political will both as a country and as a continent in order to approach or to decimate the challenges that face us. I would like to emphasise also that the conference was aware that we have got a lot of common values. We are one people. Africa is the cradle of human development and also the cradle of human civilisation. We should never forget that and therefore we should not lag behind.

It happens in history that those who are initiators are sometimes left behind by technology and opportunity but it is clever nations that seize the opportunity to redefine their position in history. I believe that both Zimbabwe and Africa have that capacity to redefine our position.

The one issue where I want to believe that Zimbabwe did very well was the issue of our honourable women taking their place in the leadership of the politics of the African Union. We noticed during the conference that Vice Chairperson who was supposed to be sitting at the high table had either conveniently or unintentionally been omitted. That put our delegation leader on driving gear. She insisted and insisted that the lady Vice President should take her place and nobody could stop her until she took her place. I believe that we did very well in that situation.

It is also important that Africa recognises that their youth are the future of this continent. They are such a future that when I have got a technological problem with my computer or even with my cellphone, I do not waste time thinking about how to solve that problem. You give it to a youth, even your child who is in Grade 7 or Grade 4, they sort it out. The future of nations in Africa and in the entire world will be determined by the level of technological expertise that we have. It is very important as far as we should be concerned that we give the youth their space in the political arena.

I do not have the authority to remind the President of the Senate but if she did not notice how well she did on the subject of elevating women to their rightful place, I would like to say she did so well –[HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] - Before I deal with finance, there is the threat of extremism. There is a direct correlation between the level of poverty in the nations and the ability of extremist organisation to infiltrate that nation. We are the leaders, the Executive Committee were the leaders on that day and they were the leaders of African Parliaments, it is the responsibility in their opinion and my opinion and I think in our delegation’s opinion that the leadership in any nation in this continent must champion the direction to diffuse the impact of extremist ideologies. We have seen what extremist ideologies can do and it would be folly of us as a leadership to wait until it happens. I would encourage us to pre-empt that stance.

The final issue that I would like to report to this Senate is the issue of financial position of the AU. While off-hand I do not precisely remember how the accounts stood, I remember that Monsieur le Secretary General was subjected to significant financial quizzing. However, it was not negative financial quizzing but it was financial quizzing that sought him to explain how the finances of the AU had been handled. I think eventually he did manage to convince everybody that whatever our omission there appear to have been, it was mainly based on oversight. The most important thing which was a development from that discussion is that the Executive Committee agreed that they will review and reflect on the statues that the guide financial management in the African Parliamentary Union and at the next conference in Rabat, they will then review and ratify those statutes in order to give proper guidelines to the Secretary General. Madam President on that note, I think I have shared with my colleague senators what transpired at the Conference and while many years ago, I had developed an opinion that the APU might have been useless and I personally walked out of that Conference feeling that the impact of the organisation is great in shaping us today and in shaping us for tomorrow.  Madam President, I thank you.

          THE MINISTER OF DEFENCE (HON. SEN. SEKERAMAYI): Madam President, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Thursday, 17th November, 2016.

MOTION

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

          Third 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. S. NCUBE:  I thank you Madam President for giving me this opportunity that I contribute on the motion which was moved by Hon. Sen. Makore who chairs the Committee which moved around looking at children’s homes.  I would like to say something in connection with the report made. 

They mentioned two major things which are important.  They talked about birth certificates for the children who are being looked after at these children’s homes.  It is a big job that these children should access birth certificates and it is not easy for them to have access to those birth certificates.  They also spoke on food and I have observed that there are many places where these children are being kept probably throughout Zimbabwe.  On these children’s homes, I observed that there are ten which are actually suitable and are commendable that you can take children to.  Such places are church led homes and where do these children in children’s homes come from?  Most of them come from the Social Welfare Department.  The Social Welfare Department should be looking after these children because they are many.  There are some other people who are also prepared to chip in and help.  The Social Welfare Department is no longer playing its role of looking after these children and they are now taking them to some other places and it is no longer helping the situation.

          There is the Harare Children’s Home which has 60 children who were referred to them by the Social Welfare Department.  Some of these children were dumped and they are quite small.  For boys, they look after them until up to ten years and for the girls, they look after them up to 20 years.  When they reach those levels, they are taught skills of survival.  It is the Department of Social Welfare’s responsibility to look after them.  It seems here that the Social Welfare Department should contribute about $15 monthly for a child and how much does a child consume on a daily basis?  And, a child throughout the month, say 30 days – it means that the child should eat 50 cents per day.  There have been three or five years when the Social Welfare Department has not been giving some resources to these children so that they can have food.

          That makes it very difficult for those people running those homes.  The people looking after these children now want these children to have birth certificates.  The birth certificates issue is Government’s or Department of Social Welfare’s responsibility.  Before I even go to the matter of birth certificates, let me go back to the issue of food.  Other contributors yesterday said that the Social Welfare Department should help.  It is my opinion that, there is a lot of food which comes into the country.  Some of it we buy in the country and some of it comes in as a donation and such food should be channeled to these homes.  And, some of it is used as a campaigning tool to give to able bodied people because we have an interest with the place where we are taking these donations to and we forget about these children’s homes.  We should not have such scenarios.  One day when you are old, when you fail to get food, what will you say when you look back and see that you were taking food to some other people.  There are some old people who need food from the Department of Social Welfare.  We have Entembeni Old People’s Home where such people need food as well and as Government, let us look at such matters and address them. 

I have observed that as a country, we do not have many children who are in trouble.  We are not in a list of countries with many children who are suffering.  Some countries channel their food to these children or to their old people properly and what is the problem with us?  These children should also attend school and get an education but they do not have birth certificates.  Why is it that they do not have these birth registration certificates?  Social Welfare is a Government Department.  Orphans of that nature should have birth certificates.  Batches of birth records of such children should be taken to the Registrar General so that they can have birth certificates.  It seems as if we do not have love for these children, we do not care.  The responsible Ministry should do something so that we should not just discuss about a motion as a talk show, we should implement.  This is the reason why we have this motion; these are matters that should be addressed.

          It is the right of these children to go to school.  On the school fees of these children, I realised that when children reach secondary school, they need a uniform, shoes, jerseys and food.  At primary level, the cost is US$90, we agree that when children are at school, we know what they need.  US$90 is required for a primary school child per term.  For a secondary school child, US$160 is needed, what is Government doing about this?  We enjoy waking up, bathing and eating, thinking that all is well outside there.  This report has opened our eyes.  It has actually informed us that there are some people who are vulnerable and need blankets and food just like us. They need to be educated like any other child.  They also need to get all what is theirs by right.  I want to thank the Committee for the report. 

I am simply supporting this because it really affected me to note that there are vulnerable children out there who are suffering.  I therefore request the responsible Ministry not to throw away this report.  The Ministry should feel obligated to work on it and take the relevant steps towards these children who have no parents.  I thank you.

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE

MEETING OF CHAIRPERSONS OF COMMITTEES

          THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE (HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA): I wish to inform all Chairpersons of Committees that they are invited to a meeting tomorrow, 17th November, 2016 at 0930 hours in the Senate Chamber.

RULING BY THE SPEAKER OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ON THE ALLEGED DEATH THREATS ON MDC-T HON. MEMBERS

THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: I have to inform the House that subsequent to Hon. Chamisa’s submission on alleged death threats received by MDC-T Members of Parliament, the Chair in the National Assembly, ruled that there exists a prima facie case of Contempt of Parliament in the alleged threats and that the matter be referred to a Privileges Committee to be appointed by the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders in line with Standing Order Number 24.  Accordingly, the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders resolved to appoint the following Members to the Privileges Committee: Hon. Chief F. Z. Charumbira, Chairperson, Hon. P. Mpariwa, Hon. Z. Ziyambi, Hon. G. Chimanikire, Hon. P. Chakona and Hon. N. Mlilo.

          HON. SEN. B. SIBANDA: Thank you Mr. President.  I stand to support this motion which was brought before the House.  I will start off by giving you an experience.  In 1992 and around 1994, I was Vice Chairman of an organisation in Harare and we decided to collect some money to donate on one of the children’s homes.  As we entered the children’s home, one child came out of the group and ran directly to me and said ‘baba vangu uyu,’ she kept on running until she got to me.  We were all surprised about this child.  However, when I sat down and thought about it, there was a great moral lesson that this child was at a place where she was short of fatherly attention.  That was the moral lesson, there was no chance that she could be mine.  However – [HON. SENATORS: Inaudible interjections.] – I thought the Hon. Senators would applaud me for having one more child – [HON. SENATORS: Inaudible interjections.] –

          THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Order please, let him justify his position that he is not the father.

          HON. SEN. B. SIBANDA: Mr. President, I am saying this in earnest on the reflection that I and my team realised that this child was lacking something.  I think it is an indictment on an African society to have children grouped up in a place where they are missing individual fatherly and motherly attention.  I know this topic has been discussed a lot and at length but I have looked at two main areas;

1.     What are the causes of us having children in children’s homes that are not adequately taken care of?

The first one is the moral decadence that we have allowed to permeate our societies.  If we still have an intact traditional African society, we could be only having a limited number of children in children’s homes.  I am sure these children’s homes would have the capacity to cater for that limited number.  I am talking about the death of moral decadence which results in unwanted children, which the fathers or mothers cannot support. 

2.    The death of the core of African culture

3.    The third reason is as a result of urbanisation that is not supported by proportionate economic development. 

Once again, that is a challenge to us, we are the leaders in this nation and we cannot continue to have a situation where institutions are burdened by lack of access to resources and we are doing very little.  What can we do?  It is important that we as a legislature apply maximum pressure on the Executive to create a positive environment so that the less privileged in our society can be supported.

The second thing that I think can be done at various levels particularly at leadership level; it is our duty, more often than not, we as black people look for a donor from Europe or America or somewhere.  Why are we not donors ourselves?   Why can we not support our own children’s homes that are in dire straits? 

I have a suggestion for us here.  We are a Senate with approximately 80 members.  If we contribute US$2 per person per month – for men US$2 is not enough when we get into the pub, we spend US$20 or US$40.  US$2 a month multiplied by 80 that is US$160.  US$160 multiplied by 12 we get about US$1 800.  This is not much but if we decided to renovate a block in a children’s home, we could have done a great favour.  It would also define who we are.  The big question is who are we? 

We can cry about the state of our children’s homes – they are our children.  The African culture says every child born of you or your neighbour is your child.  I think it is incumbent upon us to develop leadership systems that sustain our own institutions.  That way we can demonstrate good leadership.  I know US$2 sounds frivolously small but we cannot contribute US$2, it means we cannot contribute US$10 and this is my challenge. 

If we set a target that each year, we adopt one children’s home as a Senate and decide that we will do something to support that home, I am sure at the end of a term, we would have supported a minimum of five children’s homes and life would be a lot better in these homes than it currently is.  I do not want to take a lot of time.  I believe that the topic has been exhausted significantly.  With those many words, I thank you for the opportunity you gave me to debate. 

HON. SEN. NYATHI spoke in Nambya

THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT (HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA):  Sen. Nyathi, it is your constitutional right to debate in any language of your choice and we are actually enjoying your Nambya already, but please note that your debate will not be recorded in the Hansard because we do not have translators.

+HON. SEN. NYATHI:  I thank you.  I would like to thank Sen. Makore and Sen. Buka who moved this motion.  This issue has been debated quite a number of times but we forget these children.  These children are future parents and they should be looked after.  Let us put our heads together so that we take care of these homeless children.  It is our responsibility.  It is said that these children do not have parents or the parents are poor yet some of these children are talented.  Such talent should not be put to waste.  If these children are taken care of and put in the right place, they will do wonders.  They will even drive the development of Zimbabwe. 

What I would like to say Mr. President Sir is, if it is possible, we should address this matter as Senators instead of reading about these matters in the newspapers.  There should be implementation after we debate in this august House.  People should see that we debate about such issues.

Some of these children who have been dumped - some of their parents are living.  Some of these children do not know their parents.  About two weeks ago in Matabeleland North, there is an incident that took place.  There were two children who were staying on their own at a homestead and looking after themselves.  Because of the situation in our country, this hunger and poverty, there is someone who was using these children for his own gains. When food is being distributed, we should look at the vulnerable.  We should not be partisan. 

The person who was using these children, invited the them to go and fetch food at a school where food was being distributed.  These children went and took the food with a scotch-cart. Thereafter, that person threatened these children that once they divulge that he is the one who had sent them to take the food he would deal with them.  These children had two houses, hens and goats.  They burnt their house, killed chicken and goats.  The other child hanged himself.  The second one wrote a note which had an arrow pointing to where the culprit stayed.  He also committed suicide

This is quite disturbing.  It is our responsibility as leaders to take care of these vulnerable children.  It is also the responsibility of traditional leaders as well that they look into such issues too. 

When we were growing up, when we were doing grade one – we knew traditional leaders names and where they come from.  Where has that gone Mr. President Sir?  Traditional leaders should be given their powers to curb all these things, it is their responsibility.  Even people who are in urban centres belong to the traditional leaders.  A traditional leader is important.  I say this because I am looking at someone who is sitting in front of me.  I am saying we are requesting Government to give traditional leaders their rightful place so that they can work to curb all these things. Traditional leaders are important.  Look at what is happening within your community, where you live.  You need a traditional leader.

I thank Senator Makore for bringing up this motion.  Zimbabwe has many resources.  If these resources were properly used, these children would not be suffering.  Even schools would be built so that they get educated at primary level and even move further on and people will see what is going on, but all that is not transpiring. 

We may debate and debate.  I remember Mr. President saying, those of the previous Parliament used to debate about this matter.  So, when is this going to stop?  If we debate it, it should be implemented.  If something has been debated, it should be implemented.  If it was simply writing only, we should implement.

Mr. President Sir, it hurts me, that which we are witnessing where we come from.  When we come here to debate, the Ministry should come here and hear some of the things that we are experiencing in all the constituencies all over Zimbabwe.  The Ministers do not go there.  We are their eyes.  They should see all this.  As of now, the Committees that went to these places did not mind to reach all the corners which are far off. 

If possible, the Committee should continue with these outreaches and look at the matters of these children because these children are the future parents and adults.  These children are the future mothers.  I will repeat, these are the fathers of tomorrow, we will not be there.  They will remain and they should know what to do.  Let us teach them because someone without a parent did not drop from nowhere.  They were brought by some parents.  Some parents do not look after their children.  So those children should be looked after.

Last week I was in Hwange.  When I woke up in the morning going to the toilet facilities, I came across a small child.  The child said mother, may I ask you a question and I said go ahead.  It was early in the morning.  The child said can you give me direction to the truck stop and I said what is there and the child said there are friends of mine there.  I am coming from another friend of mine in Chibondo. Then I said you, you are here?  When did you stop going to school?   The child said I do not have any parents so I just join others and move with them from place to place because I have nothing to do.  I do not even know where my parents are.

Such children should be taken.  Those in the streets, those who ask for R10, they should be taken.  Let us put our heads together so that we should not continue with this situation.  The fact that Zimbabwe is known as a country that is quite literate, we should not just leave our children to sleep in the street with nothing to do when we have resources, national parks like Victoria Falls.  We have mines; we have Chiyadzwa - those resources, just like the previous speaker has said.  Even if we take out US$500 from these to cater for these children so that they can be helped, so that we do not have orphans.  They should go to school so that we have a better future as a country, as we are known that we are a very literate country.  With those words, I thank you Mr. President.

*HON. SEN. CHIFAMBA:  Thank you Mr. President for affording me the opportunity to add my voice to the motion raised by Hon. Makore, seconded by Hon. Buka.  I feel pained by the situation of the orphans that are in these orphanages.  I thank the Committee for having conducted such a facility visit.  If all men and women could feel for these orphans, that they deserve to be loved and they deserve fatherly and motherly love, as mentioned by Senator Sibanda.

Are there no Hon. Members who can adopt these children so that they can enjoy this fatherly and motherly love? – [HON. SENATOR: Inaudible interjection.] - Please Senator, do not disturb me.  They will accept such arrangements.  I have a child who is under my care.  I took that child when she was going to be looked after by a certain elderly woman.  You would not be able to tell the difference between that child and my other children. 

I urge us Senators, that if we can, we should go to the orphanages where there is insufficient food and other resources.  There are those that throw away a lot of food at their houses, why not just take one child and look after her.  According to our culture we say we would have invited an avenging spirit by bringing someone who is not a blood relative, but I do not believe in that.  Others, yes, wanted to deter me from looking after that child.  They said I would have created problems for myself, but I felt that I should look after this child.

Men, I urge you to go and take your children that you have had from your illicit affairs.  There are those mothers that dump children.  I urge you ladies to go and get one child because you dumped your single child and replace that child with another from the orphanage because you no longer know where you lost or you dumped that child.  Maybe, you conceived in Nkayi or in Bulawayo.  Just collect one from Harare which is near you because we shall forever be talking about these orphanages.

I get pained by the state of the girl child.  What about when she cannot have food, what is she going to do when she menstruates?  I heard a certain chief say that pumpkin leaves are also used as sanitary wear by these unfortunate girls.  A pumpkin leaf is so irritating to the skin, what more if you put it on ones private parts. 

The children are kept in an orphanage until they reach a certain age.  Once they have reached 18 years of age, they go on to the streets without any skills and they will create more babies and create more problems.  Even if we were to contribute money and give them the money, that child would run towards you, is your own child Hon. Senator because the mother had informed her that you were the father. Mothers have a serious problem in looking after the children when they become pregnant. I also urge our women folk to have contraceptives so that they do not bear babies will nilly. Such problems can be avoided if we properly plan our families because there is a song by Jah Prayzah which talks about the mother who dumped her child. You dump a child who will be a president, a senator, a chief executive officer and when you dump that baby you will not know what talent that child has. I thank you.

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

          HON. SEN. MARAVA: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Thursday, 17th November, 2016.

MOTION

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

          Fourth 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.

          HON. SEN. MAKORE: May I give notice that if there are those who have not debated, I will be closing this motion by next week. I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          HON. SEN. MARAVA: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Thursday, 17th November, 2016.

MOTION

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

          Fifth 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. TAWENGWA: I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          HON. SEN. MASUKU: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Thursday, 17th November, 2016.

On the motion of SENATOR TAWENGWA seconded by SENATOR MASUKU, the Senate adjourned at Twenty Five Minutes to Four o’clock p.m.

 

 

 

Senate Hansard SENATE HANSARD 16 November 2016 Vol 26 No 12