You are here:Home>Senate Hansard>Vol. 21>SENATE HANSARD - 19 JULY 2012 VOL. 21 NO. 42

SENATE HANSARD - 19 JULY 2012 VOL. 21 NO. 42

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Tuesday, 19th July, 2012.

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

 

PRAYERS

(MADAM PRESIDENT in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENT BY MADAM PRESIDENT

SWITCHING OFF OF CELLPHONES

MADAM PRESIDENT: May I remind hon. senators to switch off your cell phones or put them on silent before commencement of business. Thank you.

MOTION

LEAVE TO MOVE SUSPENSION OF STANDING ORDERS NUMBER 22 AND 98

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND LEGAL AFFAIRS: I seek leave of the Senate to move that provisions of Standing Orders Number 22 and 98 regarding the automatic adjournment of the Senate at 5 Minutes to 7 O'clock pm and at 25 Minutes Past 1 O'clock pm on a Friday and the Stages of Bills respectively, be suspended in respect of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Bill [H.B. 2, 2011] and the Electoral Amendment Bill [H.B. 3, 2011].

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

SUSPENSION OF STANDING ORDERS NUMBER 22 AND 98

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND LEGAL AFFAIRS: I move that provisions of Standing Orders Number 22 and 98 regarding the automatic adjournment of the Senate at 5 Minutes to 7 O'clock pm and at 25 Minutes Past 1 O'clock pm on a Friday and the Stages of Bills respectively, be suspended in respect of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Bill [H.B. 2, 2011] and the Electoral Amendment Bill [H.B. 3B, 2011].

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE SENATE

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND LEGAL AFFAIRS: I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 4 be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 5 has been disposed of.

MADAM PRESIDENT: May I call the attention of the Minister to the fact that here in the Senate, Thursday is Private Members' Day. Therefore, we do Questions first before we go into the Orders as you have requested.

Motion accordingly negatived.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT

NOTICE

SENATOR MUMVURI: Thank you Madam President. My question is directed to the Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs. The recent court ruling directed that elections be held in the three constituencies which are contested in Matabeleland. What implications does this have to the already in place road map towards the harmonised elections. Thank you.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND LEGAL AFFAIRS (SENATOR CHINAMASA): Thank you Madam President. I am grateful to the hon. senator for posing that question. In response I have an answer for the first part of the question and I do not have an answer for the second part. In respect of the first part I think what the hon. august Senate needs to know is that countrywide we do not have three vacancies. Countrywide, the vacancies are 38 and we are talking there of vacancies in the Senate and also vacancies in the House of Assembly. In total we have about 38. I will need to verify the exact figure. Also, countrywide, as you know, we run a harmonised system so we have numerous vacancies in local authorities. The implication of the judgment is that the situations in the 38 constituencies are similar to the situations in the vacancies in relation to which the litigation was about. The implication is that we cannot hold elections only in three, but we have to look at the prospect of holding elections countrywide in 38 constituencies and also to fill the vacancies in the local authorities.

I am still consulting and also have to comprehend the full implications of that judgment. Obviously, the rule of law requires that we abide by the judgment. The rule of law also requires that we respect the decisions of our courts. What I think is important is that the full implications must be explored. I will have to consult and also analyse and see what this means for a cash strapped Government. I think I have done my best, Madam President to respond to the question.

MADAM PRESIDENT: I would like to remind hon. senators that your questions have to be policy related.

SENATOR MARAVA: Thank you Madam President, my question is directed to the Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs. There is so much talk now, hon. Minister, about elections in our country, which is a normal thing. I want to find out from you whether all the outstanding issues which are being talked about would have been complied with by the time we go for elections. Thank you.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND LEGAL AFFAIRS (SENATOR CHINAMASA): Madam President, I would wish that the question be put as a written question, but for now, all I can say is that when elections will be conducted, it is in the prerogative of the President. He is the one who can advise as to when he considers that elections should be conducted.

*SENATOR MAKAMURE: Thank you Madam President. My question is directed to the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare. We want to talk about what is being said in our residential areas, especially when people are talking about the disbursement of goods for social welfareaimed at the destitute and the vulnerable groups. We find that the people who are responsible for identifying the people who are supposed to be beneficiaries who are they, especially in our residential areas at district level? I do not know whether I have asked a clear question.

*THE MINISTER OF LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (MS. MPARIWA): Thank you Madam President. I want to thank Senator Makamure for asking this question about the disbursement of products from the GMB, and I am also happy to announce that this question is not new in both Houses of Parliament. Many a time this question has been asked because hunger is a problem which is being faced by the Government. It is the Government's responsibility to look after the poor and vulnerable groups in society and as Government we also believe in the welfare of people of the country because they are people in our country. I hope that Senator Makamure is talking about the disbursement of grain.

Madam President, it has been noted by the Government that we have many districts in this country which are faced with starvation and drought and because of that we had learnt our lesson from 2011, last year. The Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare used to move around the different areas coordinating the distribution of foods in different areas but this year we have five provinces which are in famine and they are in the disaster situation and we are saying even those reserve grains should also be taken to the people who are starving. As we are talking we have 250 000 households which are in dire need of food and as individuals we have about 1000 000 who are in starvation.

Therefore, as Government we created a committee which is chaired by hon. Made, myself, the Minister of Labour - Mpariwa, the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Energy, Minister of Economic Planning and the Minister of Transport. They are part of that committee who will oversee the disbursement of food to the vulnerable groups. As you know I am also the Minister of Social Services and what this means is that, I receive goodies from other people and I have to distribute. When we are talking about these vulnerable groups, we are talking of the elderly, orphans, starving children, child-headed families. We also look at the elderly people who are now looking after their orphaned grand children and these people just have to survive. We also assist the disabled people. These are the people who we are talking about as my Ministry is responsible for looking after them. We are also aware of that the Grain Marketing Board is under the Ministry of Agriculture under Minister Made, that is why he is the Minister of this Committee. The amount of grain given to me to take care of the groups I have to take care of, I have to receive my allocation from the Minister of Agriculture through the GMB. I do not administer the Act on farming. It was seen that there is better coordination between the social welfare and labour.

We have a category 2 which talks about people who have to work for their food. They do not receive handouts like the vulnerable groups like widows and orphans. These receive what is termed Grain Loan Schemes. The Grain Loan Schemes work this way. The family that is in need of food has to go and work and as payment they are given. Whenever this food is being disbursed, it is not distributed on partisan lines. It is given to all the people of Zimbabwe. We also have separation which we apply as individuals whereby we talk of the churches but we do not discriminate when we are giving our food.

You asked a pertinent question when you asked about who identifies these beneficiaries? We are saying even at provincial levels we have people who are telling us that we have people who are querying the lists which have been made and people are being divided on partisan lines. The cabinet is also worried about this trend because people impose their new laws. As far as Cabinet is concerned, everybody should benefit from the Grain Loan Scheme or any food which is given by the Government.

We have also seen that when some people are in the queues, they are told that they are not supposed to benefit from the scheme because they belong to this party or this tribe. Therefore, the committee that I have talked about was asked to come up with the ideas on how the assistance could be given to the vulnerable groups. In June, as a committee we recommended that we wanted to see that councilors, Members of Parliament, members of both Houses the House of Assembly and the Senate, they should be told and informed that food is coming to a certain point at a growth point at what time, date and place so that these people will also be there to be observers in the distribution of the grains and other foods.

Therefore, my hope is that whenever these groups are going to sit down, we are going to find a solution which will look at the distribution mechanism which is non partisan. You find that in some of these provinces we have DAs, PAs, Agritex Officers, social services people because they are the people who are approached by individuals or the community naming the people who are supposed to be benefiting. We believe in that only the community can identify its poor and vulnerable. That is the people who are supposed to benefit. The problem that we have found is that we have in our society is that whenever people are supposed to work for food that is where you find that there is controversy.

I am also encouraging this Senate that whenever we have sent food in our different areas, when this food is coming from the Government for the people it has to be given to all who are supposed to benefit from that. They should be no party politics in the distribution of this food. Everybody who deserves to be assisted by the State should be given because the Government belongs to everybody else. Chairperson, Presiding Officer, I am sure I have made myself clear in answering this question.

MADAM PRESIDENT: We thank you minister for your explanation because you have also empowered us that as the elected people of the people we could go and be observers at distribution points where food is being distributed and make our inputs.

SENATOR CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: Minister Mpariwa, I will not trend on what you have already said. We thank you for the food which you give us because people are now getting food. We notice that whenever we are talking about food distribution in the districts, you find that there are problems which are there. You find that the conception of the Grain Loan Scheme, when you hear it from the towns you would think that there is manna being given in the rural areas but when you go to the ground to see what is happening you find that there are problems in the distribution of this grain.

As you are talking Minister, you are saying…

MADAM PRESIDENT: Order, Hon. Chief Charumbira, may you please ask your question?

SENATOR CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: The policy which is there is, people whom you are leaving out 465 out of 2 000, you find that the food is not coming. The policy says every month people should be given a 50kg bag but when we are talking of areas like Masvingo, in 7 months people have only been 2 bags instead of the 7 bags they are supposed to be give. My plea to the Minister is, may you please put into practice what is in theory. At the moment the distribution is skilled.

MS. MPARIWA: I would like to thank the Hon. Senator Chief Charumbira, whom we worked together in the committees and we have also been meeting here. May I also explain that when we are talking of 465 we have people who are supposed to be supported? If you have 2000 people in and area and you give 465, you find that you cannot assist them all.

What is happening is that the people who are supposed to be responsible for the distribution, they are the people who are doing what they feel is good for them. Now that I have come into this House and be told about the distribution facts, I will take this up to the committee. I will tell them that I have been with the Senate and this is what they told me. The truth is that people in Masvingo as stated by Hon. Chief Charumbira, there is definitely starvation. I personally, moved around those places and saw that these people are really hungry. Therefore, these areas which were declared disaster areas you cannot have only 465 people benefit. There is an anomaly somewhere and we need to have a distribution channel which can be followed. You find that there are people who are taking advantage of the situation. If you are only give 465 what is happening to those other thousands of people who are supposed to be benefiting from the Grain Loan Scheme.

SENATOR FEMAI: I have a small question. In the structure which you have discussed which is responsible for disbursement of the grain loan scheme. May you please include Chiefs in those Committees.

*THE MINISTER OF LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (MS. MPARIWA): Thank you Senator Femai for that question, you know as a Government we hold the chiefs in high esteem. When we get to those places we want to see our Chiefs and I come from Mashonaland and when I get into that area, first of all, we look for the Chiefs, Headmen and the Kraal Head because if you do not do that, that is taboo.

So what I am saying shortly is, we have to meet with the Chiefs because they are the people on the ground, they are the people who are working with the people. You find that even the councillors and Members of Parliament should also give the information on starvation to the Chiefs. I agree with Hon. Senator Femai that we have to hold our Chiefs in high esteem and let them play their role and when we talk of the Zunde raMambo communal farming, the Chiefs are an essential part of that set up. Therefore in the distribution of food the Chiefs have to be included.

*SENATOR MARAVA: Thank you Madam President, my question is directed to the hon. Minister. In 2009 there was a Convention on Internally Displaced People (IDP) in Kampala, my question is do we have IDP's in Zimbabwe?

*THE MIMNISTER OF LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (MS. MPARIWA): Thank you Madam President, I would like to thank Senator Marava for this question on the Convention of 2009. May I also explain that this convention was sent to Cabinet and was well received and it is in a Committee which is chaired by Senator Chinamasa.

We have some plans which are afoot so that we may know how people are working. I am also the Minister who is responsible for the Act of Refugees in Zimbabwe, where we have people who are refugees in Tongogara Refugee Camp. Maybe some of you have not been there, it is 500km from here but you also find that in this area we have refugees who come from Burundi, Rwanda, DRC, Tanzania and Ghana but there are also a few people who are at Tongogara Refugee Camp who are Zimbabweans.

SENATOR MOHADI: My question goes to the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare on the aspect of food. The policy was saying the food will reach people at ward level but till now the little food that we get is still at the district level and I do not know where it shall get to the ward level as we speak right now. I would like to know of that, thank you.

THE MINISTER OF LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (MS. MPARIWA): Thank you Madam President, yes I want to thank Senator Mohadi for her question on food distribution. In draught prone areas, for example she represents Beitbridge and it has come to our notice and knowledge that food is actually distributed at district level and cannot be accessed by those that cannot walk long distances to access it. Again, there is an element of transportation in terms of where do they then get this money if they cannot fend for themselves. So, we are in discussion with WFP which has actually offered transportation of maize from district level and the other various GMB's in every province to actually locate them to distribution points where it is nearer to the people who are supposed to be the beneficiaries. I hope this will not take very long and I will also share with my colleague ministers, especially the Minister of Agriculture, who is also the Chair of a task force on drought mitigation. Thank you.

SENATOR CHITAKA: Thank you Madam President, my question is still directed to the Minister of Labor and Social Welfare. What is the policy on beggars or begging? I ask this in view of the mushrooming of so many beggars, especially in Harare and some of these beggars are very small children. It looks like entire families now have made begging a profession or an enterprise and some of the beggars are now making more money than formally employed people. So what is the Ministry's policy on beggars and what are they doing to clear Harare of these beggars before it becomes similar to what I have seen in some countries where there are more beggars on the road than cars?

THE MINISTER OF LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE (MS. MPARIWA): I want to thank Senator Chitaka for his very important question on the policy on beggars. As a Government we will not allow our own to actually be on the streets and of course, we have street children, street mothers, street fathers. I have said as a Minister who administers the Act on displaced persons, because these are also displaced persons; it is a mixture of Acts because when you have the children, then it is the Children's Act. When you have the indigent person then it is also to do with social services but the good thing is that as a Government, we have what we call removal and rehabilitation of people. Those who are actually indigent persons in the streets include children, men and women and also that are mentally retarded and disabled persons who have actually littered the streets of Harare mostly. But even if you go to Bulawayo, Mutare you will still find these people.

It has actually been very difficult for Government to have them permanently in the institutions of rehabilitation. We have institutions where we actually put them in hostels, for example the small boys and girls that you see may have committed crimes and they will be loitering, we take them to the rehabilitation hostels. When we see the old persons and those that are mentally retarded, we also take them to various institutions owned by Government. Moreover, we also have NGOs for example, 'Streets Ahead'- an organisation that caters for the welfare of children that litter the streets and many other institutions, NGO's that look after the interest of the children in terms of food, clothing and education.

However, I call upon society, when you are close to a dam and you throw some bait into the water, the fish will dance around but if you do not give them, then they will be attracted to go to the institutions. For example, when I was working in first street, I activated two boys to say you must come and work in my work place, the next morning I found one, the other one did not come. Two days later, the small boy came to my office to say, no, I am getting more money on the streets than I would get if I was formally employed. So, let us not feed or give them money, but actually advise them of where to go. There is an increase in orphans, poverty and unemployment, and some of them might have lost everything but the Government is there and has the responsibility to look after its own people.

*SENATOR CHIEF MUSARURWA : We understand during the immunization programme some children fell ill after being immunised. Do you scrutinise these drugs before you use them in this country?

*THE MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD WELFARE (DR. MADZORERA): Thank you for asking a relevant question which is in the people's minds. We are receiving lots of reports from the newspapers though some of these papers have no evidence. Whenever we have immunised children in different areas we gather all the data on that immunisation campaign, and compile a report to present to the Government and all stakeholders. Whenever we vaccinate a child, we are introducing a foreign antigen into the body to stimulate, a reaction, to form soldiers for the body's protection, that we call antibodies. We do not want to see these children being attacked by diseases which are preventable and therefore when we are working on national immunisation we vaccinate many children. In this particular exercise we aimed at vaccinating 1.9 million children.

Vaccination prevents child killer diseases, and the adverse effects following immunisation are negligible compared to the mortality that follows disease outbreaks, e.g. over 500 babies died in the last measles outbreak. There is no amount of adverse events following vaccination that can equal that devastation.

We have standard protocols to follow following the national immunisation days, to gather information from all health centres and report comprehensively on all adverse events. Because we are vaccinating 1.9 million children at one time, we may also expect to see more adverse events at one time in absolute numbers.

A report will be availed to Government as soon as the post immunisation survey is complete.

SENATOR S. NCUBE: What is Government's policy on building of clinics because I represent a constituency which has existed for 15 years without a clinic?

THE MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD WELFARE (DR. MADZORERA): There is not one model for building clinics. In fact, we are very impressed by some communities who have come together under the leadership of their Councillors, Member of Parliament or Chief and build their own clinic. They then call us to see the structure. If it is not yet complete, they have in the past asked Government to do the finishing touches, and Government has often obliged.

The best way to get Government to act is to start something and then say, we are at roof level and have run out of money, then we can run around and see what we can do. Others finish the building and ask us to equip it and give them nurses and we do that. I could give many examples, we have opened clinics that were built as community initiated projects and it has gone very well. So, I would like to encourage you to go that route as a community.

We have just completed a national integrated health facilities assessment that tells us where all the clinics are and we want everybody in Zimbabwe to live within a distance of about 8kms from the nearest clinic. So, that assessment is going to tell us where people are walking 40kms to get to a clinic and Government is obligated to put clinics everywhere, where people are walking long distances. You will however appreciate that this is the long term and you may not want to wait for that. So, I encourage the hon. senator to start a community project and build a clinic in her constituency.

SENATOR HLALO: There has been a lot of talk about spot fines which motorists have to endure. I would want to know from the Minister the exact position and maybe also say that, motorists are finding it difficult to be made to pay a spot fine because if they do not have money, their cars are impounded. How is it that citizens can be subjected to such a law?

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND LEGAL AFFAIRS (SENATOR CHINAMASA): I am indebted to Senator Hlalo for raising this very pertinent question which has been in the public domain for quite some time. Concerns have been raised as to the propriety of demanding spot fines. So, this gives me an opportunity to clarify this issue. Spot fines are legal and constitutional, but we must understand that a spot fine is an admission of guilt. When you are in a situation where you are alleged to have speeded and you admit it you are made to pay a spot fine. The ticket that you sign actually says you are admitting to the guilt. If you have no money, you can insist that you pay at the nearest police station. The ticket actually allows you to do that. So it is important that we should be very clear that the police can levy spot fines which are admission of guilt fines. If you are admitting, you pay, if you have got the money. You may also admit but may not have the money but you insist you pay to the nearest police station, that you are permitted to do. I will have further occasion to clarify this position with respect to levies which are being imposed by municipal officials and I am sure these are matters which are on the Order Paper. I will have occasion, I have had consultation with the Parliamentary Legal Committee and we have reached some agreement as to which of those Instruments are invalid because what they are purporting to do is ultra vires the enabling Act. I must mention that those who levy these fines must be people who are properly empowered to do so. Not everyone should be in a position to come and levy spot fines. Only police officers. In this case, if you are not a police officer, you have no right to levy any fine. Further with respect to spot fines they are only allowed up to a certain level. I think off the cuff, I think they are entitled to impose or to demand spot fines up to level three. I am not sure exactly, I think it is $20.00. So anything else beyond that, they are required to give you a ticket and for you to appear before a magistrate. Also, on the subject of spot fines, also to further clarify all deposit fines, all admission of guilty fines which you call spot fines, copies of those vouchers must be submitted to the magistrate for review, as a check to ensure that what the police officers are doing is in line with the law. So they eventually go for review before a magistrate I thought I should clarify that. I thank you.

+SENATOR A. SIBANDA: My question is directed to Hon. Chinamasa.

MADAM PRESIDENT: Order , Order Senator, I do not know whether he understands Ndebele?

+SENATOR A. SIBANDA: I want to find out what he has to say concerning the police and the Kombi drivers. Are they allowed to smash the windscreens, especially the Kombies?

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND LEGAL AFFAIRS (SENATOR CHINAMASA): Clearly, there is no one with authority to harass anybody. It is unlawful, it is intimidation actually. No one is permitted, whether you are an Hon. Senator or a Member of Parliament or you are whoever, no one has a right to harass people. Also no one has a right to break other people's property, so if there are instances where any police officers have broken or damaged any person's property, they are entitled, those who are affected or those who are aggrieved are entitled to take those matters to a civil court and sue the police for damages. Those are your rights and you should be able to enforce your rights. So there is no person who has a right to damage anybody's property and when that happens, you are entitled to take that matter up with the courts and sue for damages.

MADAM PRESIDENT: Senator Hlalo, your second question? You know we still have Bills before we go home.

SENATOR HLALO: Madam President, I heard the Minister say that you can go to the nearest police station when I have the money, because the problem is that they say if you do not have the money, you leave your vehicle until you have got the money. I admit I have offended the law, but I do not have money, then they take my car as surety that I must come back and pay. That is what I wanted to hear from the Minister.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND LEGAL AFFAIRS (SENATOR CHINAMASA): Well, the aspect of the question had not been raised in the first question but I will attempt to answer it. I think the august House needs to know that the regime of fines whether demanded or and received by the police or by municipal officials or by wild parks officials is very necessary to maintain in order to avoid congestion in our courts. If all small fines and petty offences are to come to the courts for collection and imposition, that will make the judiciary almost unworkable and would undermine the efficiency of our court system. As far as our Ministry is concerned, we do encourage the imposition of spot fines because where the accused has admitted his crime, there is no point for that person to come and congest the court system: that kind of crime is dealt with away from the court system. So, we do encourage petty matters to be dealt away from the court, otherwise if these were to come before the courts, that will inundate the court system and cause it to actually break down. To come to your question in respect of what powers they have where you do not have money to pay for spot fines. I need to look at that, but off the cuff, I would not think that they have got the power to impound, but I will need to look into that. My off the cuff answer is that, they do not have that power but I could be wrong. I need to find out because I do not find the justification for impounding the while motor vehicle worth twenty thousand for a spot fine of twenty dollars: it is so disproportionate. Having said that, let me also say that the concern of the police is that when they stop you for speeding, I am sure Senator Hlalo you come from Bulawayo area, you are travelling to Mutare. You are caught up in a speed trap just outside Mutare and it is twenty dollars and you do not have the money. Their problem is one which we will have to look into. How can they ensure that when you go back to Bulawayo, you are going to pay to the nearest police station in Bulawayo? On the whole, 99% of those who are given these tickets ignore them and they do not pay. That is basically the headache the police have. If you do not follow up a crime and you do not enforce, it will lead to contempt of the law. It means they will not care whether they are caught in a speed trap or not, which again is not good for our country, so what I think is that the police would have to find ways to track you down to Bulawayo if they would have arrested you and have agreed to pay the fine in Mutare. I think that is the challenge that as legislators we should be alive to. But, I think the short answer to your question as to whether they have power to impound or not, I think, off the cuff, I do not think they do have but I could be mistaken. Thank you.

Oral answers to Questions Without Notice interrupted by MADAM PRESIDENT, in terms of Standing Order No. 34.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE

CAUSES OF TYPHOID

4. SENATOR CHIMBUDZI asked the Minister of Health and Child Welfare to explain to the House the causes of typhoid in the country.

THE MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD WELFARE (DR. MADZORERA): Thank you Madam President. The Senate would like to know the causes of typhoid in the country.

The biological cause of typhoid is a bacterium called Salmonella Typhi. It is generally passed on from person to person in unhygienic conditions of poor sanitation and unsafe water. Transmission is therefore via food and water.

Harare has just emerged from a big typhoid outbreak and we have indications that we have a potential outbreak in Chitungwiza as we speak. Let me use the Harare situation to try and explain why we have typhoid.

Behind the biological cause lies some fundamental underlying causes. These are water safety, waste management and personal hygiene practice. We are all aware of the perennial water challenges faced by Harare. Harare City is getting far less water that is needed for domestic and industrial use per day. The reasons I leave to the City Fathers to explain in detail. When people do not have an adequate supply of safe water they resort to alternative unsafe sources. Unprotected wells have mushroomed in Harare Suburbs and the risk of contamination to these is very high. This risk is compounded by the poor waste management in the city. Sewage treatment is inadequate; sewage bursts in residential areas are common. Untreated sewage finds its way into water sources and hence contamination occurs. Typhoid and other diarrheal diseases are spread this way. Add to this unhygienic practice at individual level and you have a good recipe for outbreaks. Food vending in such situations provides further conducive environments for typhoid spread.

The solution is a guaranteed adequate supply of safe water, good waste management and proper hygiene practices by the community. As you can see these are issues that go way beyond the mandate of my Ministry and requires a well coordinated multi-sectoral effort. If this does not happen the outbreaks occur and the burden of caring for the affected unfortunately falls on my Ministry.

SUPPLY OF ANTI-RETROVIRALS (ARVs)

5. SENATOR CHIMBUDZI asked the Minister of Health and Child Welfare whether the Ministry has the capacity to supply Anti-retrovirals (ARVs) to the nation considering the fact that donors may withdraw their support in the future.

THE MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD WELFARE (DR. MADZORERA): Currently the country has slightly over 400 000 clients on ARVs mostly in the public sector. The need for this year stands at about 560 000, we hope to have put about cumulatively 479 000 people on treatment by the end of 2012. We are facing challenges in getting to this because of funding issues.

An analysis of the proportions of patient support in 2012 reveals the following figures:

The Global Fund Round 8 funding is supporting 42% of our patients on anti-retrovirals;

The United States Government is supporting 17%;

DFID is supporting 9%;

The Expanded Support Programme is supporting 5%; and

The Government of Zimbabwe through the National AIDS Trust Fund and Budget is supporting 27%.

In other words, 73% of our ARV needs are supported by partner funding. It is an unhealthy situation in that partner support is time limited and as we speak, support from ESP has come to an end, Round 8 of the Global Fund is due to close in 2014. As this support ends we need to find replacement. As you may know Global fund cancelled Round 11. This therefore calls for Government to come up with home grown solutions for sustainable health care financing, not only to meet HIV/AIDS needs but the whole Health Care Sector in general. My Ministry will in the near future be making concrete proposals as to how this can be done.

We cannot have outsiders coming to take care of our own very private things. I will not give an example I gave earlier in the day to the Council of Ministers, but let me just say in passing, you do not want your neighbor buying private clothes for your wife. That is not a good thing. We have allowed donors to do these very important things for us, we have really given them entry into our very private lives and it is alright as long as it is working but the day that they will pull the plug on you, you are in big trouble.

So, we need to now, start generating our domestic financing mechanisms to take care of the most basic essentials like treatment, like antiretroviral therapy for ourselves. I am pleased to report Madam President, that the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare is looking into the issue of more comprehensive health care financing, domestic health care financing and we will be bringing our proposals to the House very soon. I thank you.

Oral Answers to Questions With Notice interrupted by MADAM PRESIDENT in terms of Standing Order No. 34.

MOTION

SIGNING OF THE AFRICAN CHARTER ON DEMOCRACY, ELECTIONS AND GOVERNANCE

Second Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance.

Question again proposed.

SENATOR MARAVA: Thank you very much. I rise to wind up my motion on the African Charter on democracy, elections and governance. Madam President, as you may recall, this topic raised quite a good debate and hon. senators enjoyed debating about this whole thing. This motion was special in the sense that it aims at uniting Zimbabwean citizens at all levels, especially at election times.

It also encourages good governance which is a need in our country right now. Many thanks go to all the hon. senators who participated, especially those who were listening. I am happy to single out some of the hon. senators like Hon. Senator Makunde, Senator Hlalo and Senator Makore. I want to thank them very much for contributing to this special motion which I am sure everybody was happy to hear about.

I hereby, Madam President, seek leave of the House to withdraw this motion from the Order Paper and ask for adoption of same.

Motion, with leave; withdrawn.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE SENATE

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND LEGAL AFFAIRS: With the leave of the House, I move that Order of the Day, Number 4 be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 5 has been disposed of.

Motion put and agreed to.

SECOND READING

OLDER PERSONS BILL [H.B. 1, 2011]

Fifth Order read: Second Reading: Older Persons Bill [H.B. 1, 2011].

THE MINISTER OF LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE: Thank you Madam President, if I could have been given a chance, I could have started presenting this Bill in this House because of the very reason and the title of this Bill, Older Persons Bill. Following the First World Assembly on Aging in Austria Vienna in 1982, an international plan of action on the aging was proposed. This initiative sought to cover areas such as housing, health, education, employment and income security and social welfare. Zimbabwe adopted this plan of action.

The Vienna Assembly was followed by the Second World Assembly on the aging in Madrid Spain in 2002; a political declaration and international plan of action on the aging to implement the declaration were adopted. As in the First Assembly, our country also adopted the declaration and its plan of action. A Bill has been drafted to cater for the needs, rights and interests of old persons. This Bill serves to provide for the well being of older persons, to provide for the appointment and functions of a Director of Older Persons Affairs and the establishment and functions of an Older Persons Board and provide for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

The key objective is to enact legislation that facilitates the provision of accessible, equitable and affordable services to older persons and empowers them to continue to live meaningfully and constructively in a society that recognises them as a source of employment and expertise. It is also important to note that older persons are a critical vulnerable group whose welfare is not yet legislated for. The disabled have the Disabled Persons Act, Chapter 17:01, whilst children are catered for by the Children's Act, Chapter 5:06. It is therefore imperative that this Bill be supported in the Senate and be enacted so as to protect the interests and rights of older persons. I thank you Madam President.

*SENATOR JACOB: Thank you Madam President, thank you Minister for moving this Bill on the elderly. This may have come late because you know that the elderly have been with us ever since and they have been looked down upon by the society. Now that you have moved this motion, I am assured that they are going to get some assistance because you find that there are laws that protect the youngsters and we also have laws that protect the disabled. The only missing law was this one which looks after the elderly. Minister I thank you because this Bill is going to assist the people of Zimbabwe.

*SENATOR FEMAI: Thank you Madam President, let me make my contribution by thanking the minister for introducing this Bill into this House today. I am privileged, together with other members of this august Senate because we know that as we are aging, we find that there is a Bill which is in place, which means when this becomes an Act, we will benefit from the Act. We may have very few privileges from this Act but we will be getting something at least. It is quite my pleasure to debate this Bill because I am one of the aged. As stated in this Senate, we have a lot of the aged on the streets and these are now called street people and beggars.

SENATOR HLALO: Thank you Madam President. Will this Bill be looking at the older persons like it is done in other countries where the older persons are given money so that they can help themselves? In my constituency the elderly people come and ask when this Bill will be passed. They always want to know if the Bill will cater for them as it does with the elderly in Botswana and South Africa where they are helped with finances.

THE MINISTER OF LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE: Thank you Madam President. I want to thank the hon. senators for their input. Most of them have been comments actually appreciating the move to bring in a Bill to cater for the older persons. Perhaps to respond to one specific area that has been touched by Senator Hlalo, on whether this Bill would also cater for those communities which are located in the urban areas, yes, this Bill is not even selective nor even targeted for those that are only Zimbabweans but all older persons that are residing in Zimbabwe. This Bill will not discriminate against whether one is in the town or of a Malawian origin, but they are now residing in Zimbabwe. I believe his concerns will be taken care of and I really want to appreciate that he really thinks back home to say are all the people taken on board if this law was to be passed by the President.

Madam President, I move that the Bill be now read a second time.

Motion put and agreed to.

Bill read a second time.

Committee: With leave; forthwith.

COMMITTEE STAGE

OLDER PERSONS BILL [H.B. 1, 2012]

Senate in Committee.

Clauses 1 to 14 put and agreed to.

Senate resumed.

Bill reported without amendments.

Third Reading: With leave; forthwith.

THIRD READING

OLDER PERSONS BILL [H.B. 1, 2011]

THE MINISTER LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE: I move that the Bill be now read the third time.

Motion put and agreed to.

Bill read the third time.

SECONG READING

ZIMBABWE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION BILL [H.B. 2, 2011]

Fourth Order read: Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Bill [H.B. 2, 2011].

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND LEGAL AFFAIRS: Madam President, the Bill before the Honourable Senate seeks to provide for the operationalisation of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission, which was established under section 100R of The Constitution. The House will recall that members of the Commission were sworn in by His Excellency, the President Cde. R.G. Mugabe in March 2010. However, the Commission is not operative for the lack of legislation.

Madam President, the legislation to operationalise the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission has taken us more than 2 years to craft and hon. senators are entitled to ask the question: Why this inordinate delay? The matter took so long because, given the nature of the subject matter, I had to consult widely. Inevitably, the process became rather protracted. I first took the principles of the Bill to Cabinet which, because of its contentious nature, and in its wisdom, referred the matter to the team negotiators. After agreeing to the principles of the Bill at the level of negotiators, I referred the matter back to Cabinet for its endorsement. Cabinet gave its approval to the work of the negotiating team and instructions were given for the drafting of legislation. The Draft legislation underwent extensive discussion and debate, firstly, among the team of negotiators, then with relevant stakeholders which included the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission. The Bill before hon. senators is a product of wide ranging consultations among stakeholders. The Bill has also been amended during the Committee Stage of the Bill in the House of Assembly. These amendments have helped to improve the text of the Bill. Allow me now Madam President, to outline the salient features in this Bill.

Functions and Powers of the Commission

Madam President, Section 100R (5) of the Constitution provides for the function of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission as follows:

· To promote awareness of and respect for human rights and freedoms at all levels of society;

· To promote the development of human rights and freedom;

· To monitor and assess the observance of human rights in Zimbabwe; to recommend to Parliament effective measures to promote human rights and freedoms;

· To investigate the conduct of any authority or person, where it is alleged that any rights in the Declaration of Rights has been violated by that authority or person; and to assist the Minister referred to in Section 100R (8) to prepare any report to be submitted to any regional or international body constituted or appointed for the purpose of receiving such reports under any human rights convention, treaty or agreement to which Zimbabwe is a State party.

Madam President, the Bill repeats these functions in the Preamble.

Madam President, Section 100R (7) of the Constitution provides that the Commission shall have power to:-

· Take over and continue any investigation that has been instituted by the Public Protector in terms of section 108 (1) of the Constitution, where it determines that the dominant question in issue involves a matter pertinent to its functions referred to in subsection (5)(e);

· Refer to Public Protector for investigation in terms of section 108(1), any matter in respect of which it determines that the dominant question in issue involves a matter pertinent to the functions of the Public Protector.

These additional powers are also incorporated in the Bill.

Further, Section 100R (6) of the Constitution provides that the Commission may require any person, body, organ, agency or institution, whether belonging to or employed by the State, a local or otherwise, to provide the Commission annually with such information as it may need for purposes of preparing and submitting any report required to be submitted to any regional or international body, constituted or appointed for the purpose of receiving such reports under human rights convention, treaty or agreement to which Zimbabwe is a state party.

Madam President, the import of this Section 100 R (60) of the Constitution has adequately been provided for in the Bill.

Additional Powers

Madam President, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Bill further seeks to confer on the Commission, the following additional powers and functions permitted it by Section 100 R (8) of the Constitution:

- to conduct investigations on its own initiative or on receipt of complaints;

- to visit and inspect prisons, places of detention, refugee camps and related facilities in order to ascertain the conditions under which inmates are kept there, and to make recommendations regarding those conditions to the Minister responsible for administering the law relating to those places or detention facilities.

- to visit places where mentally disordered or intellectually handicapped persons are detained under any law in order to ascertain the conditions under which those persons are kept there, and to make recommendations regarding those conditions to the Minister responsible of administering the law relating to those places; and

- to secure or provide appropriate redress for violations of human rights and injustices;

Madam President, in addition to the powers permitted by the Constitution, the Bill seeks to empower the Commission to deal with violations occurring in the public, private or commercial Sectors. In other words, human rights should have both vertical and horizontal application and the Commission should exercise jurisdiction in respect of all situations. This will include possible violations resulting from the provisions of legislative instruments.

To enable the Commission to effectively execute its mandate to promote the development of human rights freedoms, it is proposed to empower the Commission to comment on Bills that may in one way or the other violate the human rights principles contained in the Constitution or international treaties to which Zimbabwe is a state party. The Bill will mandate the Commission to work in consultation with the Parliamentary Legal Committee in this regard. Further, the Bill will empower the Commission to engage the services of individuals or institutions with expertise in specified areas that are before them for their consideration.

Extent of the Commission's Jurisdiction

Madam president, in the exercise of its power to secure or provide appropriate redress for injustices and violations of human rights, the Bill makes provision for the Commission to communicate its decision to the authority or person alleged to have committed the injustice of violation and to make such recommendations' as it considers fit. The Bill will require the Commission to submit a copy of its recommendations to the complainant.

The Bill empowers the Commission through conciliation, mediation and negotiation to resolve disputes. To this end, it can require any person to appear before it and to respond to questions under oath on a matter under investigation. If however, in the opinion of the Commission, no appropriate or adequate action is taken within three months of its decision, the Commission may, after considering comments, if any, made by the authority or person against whom the complaint was made, as well as those by the Complainant bring an action before the High Court, seeking such remedy as may be appropriate for the enforcement of the recommendations of the Commission. Provided that, where, in the opinion of the Commission, the matter requires urgent action the Commission mash institute proceedings in the High Court immediately upon realisation that no adequate or appropriate action has been taken and after considering comments, if any, made by the authority or person against whom the complaint was made, as well as those by the Complainant.

Appeals against the decision of the Commission that would have been enforced by the High Court shall lie to the Supreme Court.

Madam President, the Bill, however makes provision for the exclusion from the jurisdiction of the Commission such matters as:

- those pending before courts of law or any quasi-judicial tribunal;

- Those relating to the prerogative of mercy;

- Those that occurred prior to the 19th Amendment of the Constitution of Zimbabwe save for human rights violations which remained continuing subsequently; and

- Complaints lodged with the Office of the Public Protector.

Further, the Bill excludes from the jurisdiction of the Commission such matters as those involving relations or dealings between Government and the Government of any foreign State or international organizations, as well as those that occur outside Zimbabwe, except if committed by Zimbabwean individuals or authorities.

Operational Provisions

Madam President, this House will note that the Constitution provides for the establishment of the Commission as comprising a Chairperson and eight other Commissioners. However, the Constitution is silent on the position of Deputy Chairperson, leaving room for a vacuum in the operations of the Commission should the Chairperson be absent from duty for one reason or another. This Bill seeks to provide for the position of Deputy Chairperson; which shall be occupied by a person of the opposite sex to the Chairperson, in an effort to promote gender equality. The Bill will provide for the appointment of the Deputy Chairperson by the president, from among the members of the Commission.

The Bill seeks to empower the Commission to establish working groups based on the different human rights thematic areas and any other relevant issues on the general protection and promotion of human rights treaties to which Zimbabwe is a party, including the following:-

- Children's Rights;

- Gender Equality and Women's Rights

- Economic, Social and Cultural Rights;

- Civil and Political Rights; and

- Duties of the Individual (The African Charter on Human and peoples' Rights provides for the duties of the individual)

Cooperation with Government Institutions

Madam President, the Bill will empower the Commission to establish collaboratory relations with Government Institutions (such as the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, whose mandate is to prepare State Party Reports). This will be pursuant to its constitutional mandate to assist the Government perform its State Party reporting function.

Assistance from Government Agencies

In the exercise of its mandate, the Commission may, where appropriate, seek the assistance of Government agencies and the Bill shall oblige such agencies, such as the Police, to provide the requested assistance.

Other National Human Rights Institutions

The Commission is also empowered to engage other National Human Rights Institutions from other States and seek affiliation with regional or international bodies whose mandate is in line with the promotion and protection of human rights.

Administrative Modalities

Madam President, the Bill seeks to establish a "Secretariat," as an administrative structure for the Commission. The Bill establishes a Secretariat for the Commission. The Bill establishes a Secretariat for the Commission, which shall carry out its duties in an impartial manner without any fear or favour and in terms of the law. In this regard, there shall be an Executive Secretary who shall be the Head of the Secretariat and shall be appointed by the Commission. The Executive Secretary shall be subject to the Commission's general control.

It is proposed that the Executive Secretary be a legal practitioner qualified for appointment as a judge of the High Court. The Executive Secretary shall assist the Commission in the execution of its functions. He or she shall serve as intermediary for all the communications concerning the Commission and shall be the custodian of the Commission's records, ensuring confidentiality where appropriate. The Executive Secretary shall be required to attend the meetings of the Commission without any right to vote. He or she shall cause the proceedings of the meeting to be recorded.

The Commission shall develop the structure of the Secretariat, which will include officers with experience in the different thematic areas of human rights.

As Head of Secretariat, the Executive Secretary shall have authority to supervise and coordinate the work of the staff of the Secretariat.

Offices of the Commission

The Commission will have power to establish its principal office and such other offices, in Zimbabwe, as it may deem necessary for the effective performance of its functions. Provided that every effort will be made to ensure that there is an office in every Province to promote equitable access.

Financial Matters

Madam President, Hon. Members of this august Senate, the Constitution provides for the allocation of funds to the Commission by Parliament or from budgetary allocations by Treasury. This Bill will empower the Commission to seek and receive grants and donations from other sources, subject to the approval of the Minister. In a bid to promote transparency, the Commission shall be mandated to disclose the source and purpose of the additional funds in its annual reports, as a way of avoiding the possibility of it being influenced in its decisions.

The Commission shall operate Bank accounts and engage in investment activities as appropriate for the effective execution of its mandate. Its Financial Year shall be aligned to the provisions of the Finance Act. The Bill provides for auditing procedures for the Commission's funds.

Reporting Procedures

Madam President, the Bill seeks to mandate the Commission to submit annual reports to Parliament through the Minister responsible for its administration. The Commission may prepare any other report based on a specific activity.

Finally Madam President, the Bill provides for the formulation of regulations providing for all matters which will be required or permitted to be prescribed or which will be necessary or convenient to be prescribed for carrying out or giving effect to the Act, including:-

· The Commission's ability to formulate its own procedures for meetings as well as operational guidelines and rules of procedure within the framework of the enabling legislation and the Constitution with the approval of the Minister responsible for the administration of the Act; and

· The prescription of the date upon which the Act shall come into operation.

Madam President, hon. Members will recall that it is the intention of Section 109 of the Constitution to accord the Commission independence from interference, direction or control of any authority or person. To this end, the Bill seeks to provide for such other matters as the immunity status of the Commission, the Commissioners, members of the Secretariat where they act in good faith and in pursuance of the Act, as well as the persons who file complaints with the Commission or provide the Commission with information relevant for the conduct of its functions, where such persons act in terms of the law.

It is proposed that the Bill confers on the Commission, the status of corporate body with powers and duties of such a body.

Regulations

The Bill will further empower the Commission, with the approval of the Minister responsible for its administration, to make regulations providing for all matters which will be required or permitted to be prescribed or which, in its opinion, will be necessary or convenient to be prescribed for carrying out or giving effect to the Act, including formulation of the Commission's own procedures for the meetings, as well as operational guidelines and rules of procedure within the framework of the enabling legislation and the Constitution.

Madam President, it is now my honour and privilege to commend this Bill to the Senate and to move that the Bill be now read a second time.

SENATOR CHIEF MUSARURWA: Thank you Madam President. Thank you hon. Minister for introducing the Bill on Human Rights to this august Senate. This is a great job which you are doing for the nation so that the country is in tandem with what is happening in the world. May I also plead with the powers that be and the Commission that is being established, that the Human Rights Bill incorporates the fact that homosexuals should not be included in the human rights activities. This is for the reason that, if homosexuals are given a free reign and included in the human rights, our country will become the Biblical Sodom and Gomorrah.

Madam President, when the Minister was giving his speech, he talked about the terms of reference and terms and operations of the Commission. Hon. Minister, I plead with you that we should also strongly emphasise that whenever we talk about human rights, we should not include the human rights of homosexuals because homosexuality is taboo in Zimbabwe. Thank you.

SENATOR CHIMBUDZI: Thank you Madam President. I would like to thank the Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs hon. Chinamasa for introducing this Bill in this august Senate. He has explained what this whole Bill entails on the terms and conditions of the operation of the Commission. What I found to be of interest is that, the Bill is gender-sensitive especially on the part where they talk of the leadership of this Commission. They said that, in the leadership, the Chairperson should be a woman. It was also said that the Secretary of this Commission should be somebody who has legal knowledge who is going to put his legal input, so that the law is followed in toto. This shows that the composition of this commission is going to be a blessed one and receive blessings from this House and we saw that there is going to be no any interference in the operations of this commission. As women we thank you very much for being gender sensitive.

*SENATOR CHABUKA: Thank you Madam President. I mean to thank the hon. Minister for introducing this Bill in this august House, the Senate. Yes, I am very pleased about what he has narrated so far and the amendments that he has made as a Minister, but as a woman I am not very pleased about the fact that it was said the deputy should be a deputy chairperson because women, we were not born to be deputies. Women would like to be in high positions. We should not be looked down upon as people who just have to be supportive and have supportive roles. We also want to be given decision making roles. Thank you Madam President.

+SENATOR S. NCUBE: Thank you hon. President for giving me time to speak on the Human Rights Commission Bill. Personally, I will not support this Bill. It will pass through this Senate because some senators support it. What I know is that the Bill has a cut off date. What will happen to those who were killed during Gukurahundi? Nothing, it just passed. However, as people of this nation we are supposed to take note of other peoples deaths. What do you say about those people whose relatives where killed and this Bill is suggesting that we have to start from 2009. How about those things which happened before 2009? Do we have to forget and say, it is past? Of course, this Bill will pass through this House and people will support it but personally I do not support it at all. Thank you.

SENATOR HLALO: Thank you, Madam President. I will start by saying that I am very grateful that this day has come where we discuss or pass a Bill about human rights or rather the provision for the commission to start its work. I would want to say that this could well be the foundation stone which has been put for the total removal of sanctions. Why I say so is because those people who put sanctions would talk about rights and human rights. This thing has happened because of the Inclusive Government, which has made it possible for us today to have somewhere where if a person is not satisfied with the way they are treated by judicial officers, they can at least go and report and these are the freedoms which ZAPU and ZANU fought.

I want to commend Zimbabwe, that we did not have to spill any blood for this to happen. We did not have to get into a situation where someone has an egg in his face for something to happen. This is a true Zimbabwean spirit, which I think this House, Madam President, has to celebrate. We are now seeing each other as Zimbabweans. We are now seeing each other as children, women and men from the same country. I would like to applaud that because with freedom of expression, movement and association a nation prospers. Freedom is the key to unlocking the talents and skills of the Zimbabweans both inside Zimbabwe and in the diaspora. For this to happen today, I think the day this law is going to be enacted that the commission starts work. I think most of us will be very happy. I can, maybe give an example, Madam President, of why I am so happy that we could be free to be doing things that we like. Just two weeks ago I was supposed to attend a meeting where a cooperative, which I am the patron, had a working day and I could not attend it because the police thought that I would say political statements. The cooperative members could not invite me because I was taken to be a politician who might go out of the way and say something political. All these regulations are the causes which make people to be in conflict. So, if these conditions are removed then I might say at last we are free to do as we please.

You might think it is not real but it is real. We live with it. If I have to call for a meeting in the constituency, we have to apply to the police and the police have the prerogative to say no, you cannot have that meeting and so in a sense I do not have the freedom. Once this Bill is enacted, I think we will have time to say for those who have been using the legislation, which is contrary to our rights will have no way they can carry on because we will challenge them and we will then be free to do as we please under the law because all the things we do, we do under the law.

So, I am very happy to stand in this august House to say this Bill is way over due and I hope that it is fast tracked, that it becomes law tomorrow so that all these other laws which come in the way of our freedom are taken away and once again we will be happy to say I am truly a Zimbabwean and I am free. I think with this contribution I will urge the minister to make sure that once this Bill comes out of this House it is fast tracked that the Commission starts work tomorrow. I thank you.

SENATOR MARAVA: Mine is just but a very short one. I would like to have a clarification from the Minister of Justice, while we are happy that now the Commission is going to start work, work has to be started anyway because we have to forge and go ahead, even the United Nations High Commissioner, Madam Navanethem Pillay recommended that work has to go on. We cannot sweep some things under the carpet; we need clarity especially from the Minister, on the issues of how this country will manage issues that occurred prior to the 13th February 2009. I think this is caused by the cutoff date. I am sure that probably the Minister might have a provision for that already.

My part B of the question is that, on reporting conditions of the Commission, while we are happy that the Commission will definitely enjoy being assisted here and there by the Minister, Number 8, Section 3 which reads here, "the minister shall table before Parliament any report submitted to him or her by the Commission under subsection 1 and 2 no later than……….." my point is would it be too much Hon Minister for the Commission to table its issues to Parliament and seek guidance from the Minister. What we are trying to avoid is a situation which might look like the Commission is an appendage or department of the Ministry.

*SENATOR KOMICHI: Thank you madam President for affording me the opportunity to make some contributions. Thank you Minister, for introducing this Bill to this House. What has been brought by the Minister are some of the products of the Government of National Unity. As a country, we have a history which led to the production of such documents. We had negotiators who looked at the plight and fears of the people of Zimbabwe. We find that this Bill is based on the fact that we have a lot of people of Zimbabwe who were maimed, injured and some killed. This led to the introduction of such a Bill. This Bill should also be conscious and encourage people to respect each other.

It pains me very much to find that we have some people who may not want to implement this Bill because of fear of what they did. You find that some of these people who act in these situations are state organs which need to be educated about what human rights are. We also find, we have political parties who run around with cars and cellphones and politicians sending youngsters and other people inciting violence, killing innocent people. Therefore, we should be aware of the fact that it is a sin and abominable to destroy somebody's property and lives leaving widows and orphans behind. We are supposed to live peacefully and avoid killing and maiming each other.

In the residential areas where we come from and in the country side, no matter how much the President may talk, no matter how much the politicians may speak, we have youngster who are so ignorant and daft that they continue killing people despite the fact that the country is now preaching the gospel of peace. We also find that we have some groups of people in our country, such as war veterans. They need a thorough education through their leader Jabulani Sibanda. Sit down with them and hold workshops and seminares. The President should take his time to talk to them. Other principals should be involved in encouraging peace. My plea is let us sit down with them, educate them and give them a new orientation of peace. I am not insulting the war veterans. These are some of the things I encourage. The Bill must be taken down to the people.

Let us tell each other the truth. I will give a good example, if my zip is open, please tell me. Say Senator Komichi, your zip is open, you are naked. The period which we are approaching, let us not be ashamed of telling the truth. Let us tell the truth so that we rectify any anomalies which may be occurring. We are in this House sitting together because of the negotiations which we made that led to the GNU. We are now mature people when we look back we look at the bad things and say we are not going to repeat them. Hon Ncube said she is not going to support this because of the cut of date which was mentioned in the Bill. Therefore, we need to look at this issue very carefully so that we have a way forward.

Now that we are looking forward to having the elections, let us shun violence, any destructive tendencies amongst us because I know as human beings, some of us have traits of violence and are murderers. Let us leave all those bad behaviours behind and be born again. Elections should be like a game, whereby when we are through with our elections, other countries should be surprised at the peaceful way in which we would have held our elections. Even those people who impose sanctions on us, are basing them on the lack of human rights in our country, but we should know that if we peacefully hold our elections, they will remove the sanctions. Remember after the elections, we will be staying together, we are neighbours, we are one people. As said by the other senators we need to stay in peace from now on and forever. Other countries will admire us. When we are in a peaceful country, our economy will grow. If we respect this Bill our economy will grow because foreign investors will flock into Zimbabwe because it is a peaceful country. People will know that we are now the same people and we rule peacefully, Senator Madzore will be the next leader, the next time somebody takes over, Senator Hlalo will take the leadership of the country some other time. I therefore commend that this Bill should be implemented as fast as possible. We look at places like Uzumba Maramba Pfungwe, Bikita and Chiredzi where people should be educated. People will know that we are living in peace, this Bill is very essential to the peaceful living of Zimbabweans.

MADAM PRESIDENT: I am advised there is a Committee going on and the only person whom I have to chair when the Committee is taking place is the Chief Charumbira and he is wanted there so we have limited time.

*SENATOR CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: I think this Bill should be passed, Senator Komichi has made a contribution and he is a very senior member and other members have also made their contributions. We are now repeating and going in circles, let us propose for the passing of this Bill. Minister we know we are now going ahead. There are no rights without a culture and what this means is that whenever we are talking of rights we are talking of people. Chiefs should automatically be represented on the Commission.

We also find that if this Commission which is proposed does not have a Chief then it means it is very retrogressive. I thank you.

THE MINISTER JUSTICE AND LEGAL AFFAIRS (SENATOR CHINAMASA): I want to thank the contributions of hon. senators and I am very grateful to you for the very positive contributions which are supporting the passage of the Bill, and which, except for Senator Ncube all said that it is long overdue. Allow me Madam Speaker to answer the specific contributions by hon. senators.

*Senator Chief Charumbira, let me say that our right as Zimbabweans are enshrined in the Constitution of the country. If you have not put that right in the Constitution the Commission is powerless to move in a direction which runs contrary to the Constitution and therefore your contribution on homosexuals shows that in our current Constitution we do not have homosexual rights.

*In this Constitution which is under construction by COPAC, which is going to be attended by Hon. Senator Chief Charumbira, we found that homosexuals have no right and this is not a right for the homosexuals to do what they want and therefore we want this rights commission to uphold all those rights. Senator Chimbudzi, thank you for supporting this Bill, I thank you very much especially on your contribution which was agreed by Senator Chabuka who said that women are only being taken as deputies. I did not say that women can only be deputies; all I said was that if the Chairperson of the Commission is a man then the deputy shall be a woman and if the Chair is a woman then the deputy shall be a male. As far as this is concerned they will be no need for discrimination on gender basis.

Our women are equally-able so they are empowered. Senator Ncube, I understand where you are coming from, and I respect your contribution, which is dealing with the present and the future. A bad law is one which talks about the past, I am talking from experience as a lawyer, which is 'retrospective', that is a bad law. As far as this matter is concerned we negotiated and we agreed that instead of the Commission getting down with issues of the past let's make its jurisdiction present and prospective. Even when you talk of the issues of the past, how far you can go without opening old wounds, some will even suggest to colonial days and the mischievous will suggest before colonialism as to how we were treating each other as black people.

Once you start that discussion it tends to divide people so we then decided that we have to lay a foundation so that the conflicts of the past must be prevented. The focus should be on preventing conflicts, we must have early warning systems that tell us potential occurrence of conflicts but all of us here will agree, once a conflict has started it is like a fire, it assumes a life of its own. You will find that even the most powerful will find it difficult to put a stop to it. So what is important is not to allow conflict to arise but to prevent them and that is what we have set up; I hope that the draft that we negotiated as Management Committee which is now given to the Select Committee; if it is adopted we have allowed in that draft the creation of a National Peace and Reconciliation Commission, whose task is basically to mediate, foresee, focus, scan political environment and see where possible conflicts are likely to arise so as to intervene timeously.

If that takes place I am confident that at least that the quarrels of the past cannot be repeated. What is important is that what happened in the past, in whatever periods of time, should not be repeated. I also need to say that a violation of human rights is criminal, and a lot of us may not know that criminal law is in essence combating human rights violation. Very few of us when we are talking about human rights violation think of robbery and theft. House breaking is a violation of my property rights and also my rights to privacy. If you come through my window and not through the door you are violating my privacy.

Raping of women is a violation of their dignity and personal integrity, it is a violation of human rights and murderers are taking life so it is a violation of human rights. I want us to understand that there is that connection between human rights violation and criminal law. A lot of us do not think of indecent assaults, rape and so forth as a violation of human rights because this is happening between ourselves and it is happening everyday and we do not think much about it, but it is a violation of human rights. We only get concerned where violations are politically motivated, but the bottom line is that all the violations are criminal. If you burn a house, it is a violation of my property rights, it is arson. The motivation is different in the case of ordinary criminal law; the motivation could be that it could be village jealous or village conflicts which have nothing to do with politics. At the end of the day whether it is politically motivated or not, any crime or violation should be criminal and should be fought as such.

Whenever there is a violation it is important to accept and to know that the first point of call is to report it to the police, whatever violation because the bottom line of any violation is a crime, so it is important for the public to be aware that the first port of call is the police. The quicker it is reported, the quicker it is possible to investigate it and also to establish who the witnesses are and to go to the scene of crime before it is disturbed and the evidence is destroyed. Once the scene of crime is tampered with and the evidence is destroyed, we can go on shouting about this violation but it will be very difficult to investigate, establish the cause and to identify the perpetrator. So, it is very important that we should timeously report to the police. It is also important and I want to urge hon. senators that let us not politicise human rights violations.

What I mean by politicising is if an occurrence has happened which can even be politically motivated and someone has been assaulted, do not call it murder when in fact the crime is assault and do not report falsely because once you politicise to gain political mileage you are basically undermining the investigation of that crime. People then take positions and do not care anymore about who the victim is, when essentially the responsibility of investigators or all of us is that any perpetrator should be established so that he can be brought to book. However, once you politicise it people then take different positions and if you exaggerate and it is found not true you are undermining future reports and the credibility of witnesses who may want to come forward. They then may be afraid because the whole thing is now politicised.

So, it is very important Madam President, that we do not politicise human rights violations. Let us objectively report them and identify witnesses. Do not report without witnesses because they are very important as at the end of the day the establishment of the truth is the responsibility of the courts. Generally people do not understand or know that it is very difficult to know what the truth is.

For some of you who have attended court hearings on ordinary murder, you will wonder whether both sides are talking about the same event and it is worse if in fact the witnesses have been compromised, and the evidence has been destroyed because what you did when you were a witness to a commission of crime you went on a hill to shout about it. The perpetrators will go back and destroy the evidence. Quietly go to the police and report so that the matters are investigated on time.

Hon. Senator Hlalo, thank you very much for your support. I agree with you that what we are seeking to do here is a small step, but a very important one as we are laying the foundation, stone by stone of a structure which will add up eventually to tolerance of each other's divergent views. That has been the problem in Zimbabwe, no tolerance of each other's divergent views. For that we need a process because it can not be achieved overnight but we need the support and cooperation of everyone.

With the establishment of this Commission we will now have a forum where individuals can go and resources permitting, I hope that the Commission can, to start with, set up provincial offices so that those who have complaints can go and report. But do not confuse this Commission with the police force; the institution on the forefront of combating crime and human rights violations is the police. So, I would suggest that first you go to the police and if you have no luck then you can go to the Commission. We have given the Commission here, power to direct the Commissioner General to investigate any complaints that are presented to it.

Thank you for seeking that this Bill be fast tracked and that is exactly what we are doing. Senator Marava, I want to thank you very much for your support for the Bill. You asked for clarity and I think I have already answered that. I would want to see more cooperation between this Commission and the Thematic Committees of the Senate; which I am happy to say were eventually set up after a lot of resistance from hon. senators. I am sure that those who have served on them now understand the cross cutting nature of human rights and also the complexity of human rights. You can be rest assured that my Ministry will always fully cooperate with those thematic Committees because we are doing this not just for ourselves. Some people may think that they are immune from violation of their rights but violations can happen to anybody and when that occurs you want to be in a position to say that the matter was adequately attended to your satisfaction.

On reporting procedures of the Commission; you know it is important to know that the Minister will not direct what is to go into a report. The Commission does the report but for it to be tabled here, you need the Minister responsible to do it. Otherwise the Chairperson of the Commission has no right to stand where I am standing and in fact if they are to be adequately dealt with by the Senate you need the Minister to move a take note motion of the report. In the light of that motion it can be debated here and we can see whether or not the Commission is doing what we set it up to do.

*Hon. Senator Komichi, thank you for supporting this Bill. I think in my talk I did discuss about the violation of rights such as destruction of property and killing of other people. My wish is that we should try and prevent that. In Manicaland we have a saying which encourages us to run away as soon as one sees the storm gathering. So, do not be engulfed by the storm because by having this Bill we are running away from the storm.

You discussed the issue of war veterans and I did not really understand when you talked about them but all I can say is we should try to understand these war veterans and where they are coming from. They are people who lived in the bush for quite some time fighting for the country and they witnessed some of their colleagues in the armed struggle dying without any burial. These people were fighting for a certain cause and then if they find that what they fought for is being compromised and no longer being appreciated, they think that we are trying to introduce oppression.

We are saying as the Inclusive Government, we should all agree on the basic reasons for the armed struggle whereby we talked about the land redistribution. We would not want to get somebody who when campaigning in next elections will talk about the returning the land to the whites. Therefore we did agree that we are not going to take back the land to the whites. Can somebody in his normal sense campaign and say we should return the land to the whites? How would a freedom fighter feel about such a speech? What we would like to see is empathy towards the freedom fighters and conditions under which they operated and then you find that you have a Zimbabwean who stands up and say the freedom you think you brought us is not really worthwhile and therefore they will be looking down upon other people by saying they fought for nothing. In these few words, I support Senator Komichi. Madam President, it is now my pleasure to move that the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Bill be now read a second time.

Motion put and agreed to.

Bill read a second time.

Committee: With leave; forthwith.

COMMITTEE STAGE

ZIMBABWE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION BLL [H.B. 2, 2011]

Senate in Committee.

Clauses 1 to 23 put and agreed to.

Schedule put and agreed to.

Senate resumed.

Bill reported without amendments.

Third Reading: With leave; forthwith.

THIRD READING

ZIMBABWE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION BILL [H.B. 2, 2011]

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND LEGAL AFFAIRS: I move that the Bill be now read the third time.

Motion put and agreed to.

Bill read the third time.

SECOND READING

ELECTORAL AMENDMENT BILL [H.B.3, 2011]

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND LEGAL AFFAIRS: Madam President, on 21st July 2009, as Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, I submitted a Memorandum of Principles on Proposed Amendments to the Electoral Act for approval by Cabinet. Cabinet referred the Proposed Amendments to a Cabinet Committee made up of the Forum of the six negotiators in the Inter-Party dialogue and tasked the Committee to look into all aspects of the Electoral Act requiring to be amended and bring recommendations for consideration and approval by Cabinet by the end of August 2009.

The Cabinet Committee of negotiators met on several occasions over a period of nearly two years to consider amendments proposed by the Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs. The Committee also made proposals for amendments to the Electoral Act additional to those by the Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs.

The deliberations and conclusions of the Forum of Negotiators subsequently approved by Cabinet form the substance of the Bill which is before this august House. It is a great honour for me to outline the proposed amendments, some of which are of historic significance.

Proposed Amendments to Section 38 of the Electoral Act

Madam President, Section 38 of the Electoral Act currently provides that the period within which an election should be held after nomination day should be a period not less than 28 days and not more than 50 days. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission appealed to us and argued that this period is too short considering the preparatory tasks that need to be carried out before polling day. The proposal before the House is to alter that period so that polling day may be between 42 and 63 days after nomination day. Clause 11 of the Bill seeks to effect this amendment as well as requiring the President to specify the date on which a run off poll must be held in a presidential election if none of the candidates succeed in getting more than the 50% +1 of the votes cast in the first round.

Transmission of Results from Polling Station to Appropriate Collation Centre

Madam President, Section 64 (2) of the Electoral Act provides for the direct transmission of results of House of Assembly election results from the polling station to the appropriate constituency centre. There is no provision for the transmission of results for Local Authority, Senatorial and Presidential Elections. To address this short coming, the Bill contains a similar provision for the transmission of Local Authority, Senatorial and Presidential Elections. Furthermore to achieve greater transparency in the collation and transmission of poll results, the Bill is seeking four things namely:-

Firstly, the creation of Ward Centre for collation of results in the Ward for Councillors: House of Assembly Constituency Centre for collation of results in the House of Assembly Constituency for Members of Parliament; Senatorial Constituency Centre for collation of results in the House of Assembly constituency for Members of Parliament; Senatorial Constituency Centre for collation of results in the Senatorial constituency for Senators; Presidential Constituency centre to collate Presidential results at the House of Assembly Constituency Centre;

Secondly, legislating for the requirement for polling officers to post election results outside polling stations; to post local authority results outside ward centre; to post House of Assembly Constituency centre return outside House of Assembly Constituency Centre; to post Senatorial election results outside Senatorial Constituency Centre and to post Presidential Election Return at the House of Assembly Constituency Centre;

Thirdly, the Bill provides:

· Direct transmission of Local Authority Election results from the polling station to the Ward Centre and for record purposes, to the appropriate House of Assembly Constituency Centre;

· Direct transmission of House of Assembly election results from the polling station to the appropriate House of Assembly constituency centre;

· It also provides direct transmission of Senatorial election results from polling stations to appropriate Senatorial Constituency Centre;

· Direct transmission of Presidential results from polling stations to appropriate House of Assembly Constituency Centre;

· Direct transmission of House of Assembly Constituency Centre return of Senatorial results in that constituency to the Senatorial Constituency Centre;

· Direct transmission of Presidential results return from the House of Assembly Constituency Centre to the Provincial Command Centre en route to the National Command Centre.

Fourthly, legislating for the requirement for Polling Officers at Polling Stations, Ward Centre, House of Assembly Constituency Centre and Senatorial Constituency Centre and also to provide candidates or their polling agents with copies of returns and at the House of Assembly Constituency Centre, Senatorial Constituency Centre and Presidential Constituency Centre and also, to capture returns data in a computer for transmission to the National Command Centre.

There is amendment to postal voting. Part XIV of the Act deals with postal voting. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is of the view that processes involved in processing postal ballots are cumbersome and difficult to administer. Moreover, a number of polling officers who ideally would be eligible for postal ballots fail to do so because they only get to know that they will be away from their wards or polling stations after the closure of the period of receiving application for postal ballots. Some of the officers such as security offers are highly mobile and while they may apply for a postal ballot, they may change location by the time it is sent to them. The Commission therefore requested that all officers participating in elections as polling officers or security officers and those on state duty within the country be permitted to cast their votes at designated polling stations within the wards. The postal ballot system will be maintained for those officers serving outside the country on state duty. This proposal was accepted. Accordingly in this regard provides as follows:

· Postal ballot system is being limited only to those officers outside the country on state duty.

· Polling officers, security officers and any state person involved in the running of the election will be permitted to vote within a specified period before polling day. The voting to be done at designated polling stations throughout the country.

· The ballots cast in terms of the preceding paragraphs should be sent to the relevant respective polling stations together with a schedule of those who have voted in advance in terms of this amendment.

· Presiding Officers in the presence of the candidates or their polling agents and before commencement of voting are required to cross out from the Voters Roll, the name of those who have voted as appearing on the schedule coming from ZEC.

3.4 Amendment to section 125 of the Electoral Act

Section 125 (3) of the Electoral Act provides that those who desire to be nominated as councillors should lodge a written certificate of clearance from the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the relevant local authority council. The provision has proved to be cumbersome to ZEC with a number of candidates not adhering to the requirements on the basis that ZRP clearance certificates are obtainable only from Harare. Candidates have also alleged that it is difficult to obtain clearance certificates from councils. The provision was repealed through the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measure) (Amendment of Electoral Act) regulations, 2008, S.I. 13B of 2008. The said regulations lapsed after the regulated 6 months period. It is therefore, proposed that the provision doing away with clearance certificates whether from ZRP or from Local Authorities be entrenched in the Electoral Act. Accordingly, the Bill amends the Electoral Act to make provision similar to the one enacted under Presidential Powers (Temporary Measure) (Amendment of Electoral Act) regulations, 2008, gazetted under S.I. 13B of 2008 doing away with clearance certificates from ZRP or from Local Authorities. I must hasten to add that the fact of doing away with the Police Clearance or Local Authority Clearance does not mean the disqualifications will go away. These remain and can be raised against the member even after elections.

3.5 Amendment of section 15A of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Act in Section 15A provides for the conduct of voter education for a period of 90 days before polling day. The Commission has submitted that it is difficult to implement this provision as in most cases they will not be aware of when the pools will take place until the publication of the dates through a Proclamation. The period from the date of proclamation to the date of the election is usually less than the stipulated 90 days. The Bill therefore, provides for voter education to commence a week after the date of publication of the Proclamation.

3.6 ZEC to be the sole lawful Authority to announce election Results and Insertion of Period within which Presidential Results must be announced.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission proposed that a Provision be included in the Electoral act [Chapter 2:13] prohibiting political parties from announcing the results of an election as this is the duty of the Commission. The announcement of results by a political party in the past caused damage to the integrity of the Commission locally and internationally. The Commission would therefore want a provision which states that it should have the sole responsibility to announce the results of any election. Accordingly, the Bill before you recognizes that the responsibility to declare and announce the election results is that of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and not political parties.

Furthermore, the Bill obliges ZEC to declare and announce the Presidential results by not later than 5 days fr5om the day after the final date of voting.

3.7 Polling station Specific Voter Registration. Voters Roll

Since March 2008, Zimbabwe has been using a Ward based Voter Registration/Voters Roll System. There are approximately 5 Polling Stations per Ward, under which the voter can cast his/her ballot at any one of the stations. In this system, the voter's name is duplicated in the copies of the Voters Roll which is often bulky as it contains all names of the voters in the Ward. It is proposed that a Polling Station Specific Voter Registration/Voters Roll be adopted to come into effect in the Elections to be held subsequent to the Harmonised Elections to be held anytime from now. During election time, only the voters registered at that particular polling station vote at that station. The proposed system can help in the easy identification of deceased voters whose names still appear on the voters roll. It can also help eliminate or minimise the risk of double voting. The polling station specific voter registration is more decentralised as voters can register to vote at the polling station in their locality. The system, when adopted, will also enable voting to be quicker as the number of voters on the voters' roll is reduced considerably, thereby facilitating easy identification of voters by the polling officers.

While the parties adopted the proposal for the establishment of a voter polling station, Specific Voter Registration/Voters Roll and the proposal is contained in the Bill before you there was subsequently a rethink over this issue so as to retain the current Ward based voters roll and defer the introduction of the polling station specific voter registration to the elections that are held subsequent to the next harmonized election. An amendment will be introduced at the Committee stage of the Bill to reflect this understanding.

Madam President, Section 125 of the Electoral Act provides that a candidate for an election shall be nominated by means of a Nomination Paper, which is to be signed by 5 people, whose names appear on the voters roll. The form is also to be countersigned by the candidate or an agent, indicating consent to the nomination. In the past, there have been cases of candidates purporting to be representing a Party without the consent of the authorised person in a Political Party on whose behalf the Candidate purports to represent. It is proposed that an additional requirement be added requiring the nominated candidate to have his forms signed by an authorised person from the Political Party he or she is purporting to represent. This will eliminate instances where a number of people claim to be representing one Political Party in a constituency. The Bill is therefore providing as follows to simplify nomination procedures:

· Nomination of candidates supported by Political Parties registered and benefitting under the Political Parties (Finance) Act [Chapter 2:04] , shall be by way of a Nomination Form, must bear the signature of the candidate to signify his/her acceptance of the nomination. There will be no need for such candidate to seek the nomination of 5 people whose names appear on the Voters' Roll;

· Each Political Party should appoint and submit to ZEC not more than 3 persons authorised to make nominations of candidates on its behalf. The Statement submitting the 3 individuals should indicate whether the authority is to be exercised collectively or individually.

· Independent candidates or candidates of Political Parties not yet registered under the Political Parties (Finance) Act should remain obliged to support the nomination of their candidate by 5 persons whose names appear on the Voters' Roll in the relevant constituency.

Madam President, the Electoral Act provides that the winner of the Presidential Election should win by a majority, which is 50 percent + 1, failing which there shall be a second election-Run-Off. It is recommended that this provision should be maintained in the future elections. There is therefore no provision amending this current requirement.

Madam President, prior to the 2007 Amendment to the Electoral Act, a police officer on duty was one of those persons who could not be excluded from a polling station. The amendment to Section 55 of the Electoral Act removed a police officer from the list of such persons. Presidential Powers Regulations restored a police officer to the list in 2008, but these regulations expired in 2009 and is being re-enacted in this Bill through an Amendment to be introduced at the Committee stage of the Bill. The presence of a police officer in a polling station is requirement in South Africa, Botswana and Zambia. The proposed amendment therefore seeks:-

· To re-enact the Presidential Powers Regulations;

· To make it clear that police officers are at a polling station to keep law and order and that inside the polling station they will do so only upon the direction and instruction of the presiding officer and outside polling station, on their own initiative;

· To further make it clear that police officers at a polling station should not take part or interfere with the electoral process;

· To clarify that the Police Commissioner General should establish at every polling station, a police post.

Madam President, the Bill is proposing amendments to the Electoral Act to make it clear that Parties are entitled to 2 election agents at the polling station, one inside the polling station and the alternative, outside. In the case of the absence of the election agent who is inside eh polling station, the alternative will substitute and stand in.

Section 59 and 60 of the Electoral Act currently provide that voters who require assistance should be assisted by the presiding officer in the presence of two electoral officers. During the 2008 elections, assisted voters were permitted to be assisted by any person of their choice in the presence of a presiding officer and two electoral officers and a police officer on duty. It is proposed that the Electoral Act be amended to provide that assisted voters such as the blind, be assisted by any person of their choice but in the presence of only the presiding officer so as to verify and ensure that the person chosen to assist the voter, fulfills the choice of the voter. Presence of Presiding Officer obviates subverting the will of the voter.

The Bill therefore is providing the following amendments:-

A physically incapacitated voter who is unable to vote but is literate is to be permitted to vote with the assistance of a person of his or her choice and above the age of 18 years and without the presence of the presiding office or polling officers.

A visually impaired voter is to be permitted to be assisted by a person of his or her choice and above the years of 18 years but is to exercise his/her right to vote in the presence of the presiding officer who is there to verify and ensure that the will of the voter is inspected and complied with by the person assisting.

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Act [Chapter 2:12]

Madam President, the Bill provides for the repeal of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Act and for its provisions to be incorporated and consolidated into the Electoral Act, Chapter 2:13.

Madam President, for greater transparency relating to printing and distribution of ballots the Bill contains a provision amending the Electoral Act to require the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to give information to Political Parties and candidates participating in an election, the total number of ballots printed and ballots distributed to each polling station.

Amendment to Section 21 of the Electoral Act (availability and accessibility of the Voters Roll).

Madam President, furthermore the Bill seeks the following two amendments;

1. Amend section 21(4) so as to provide that upon request, electronic copies may be given to Political Parties and candidates contesting in an election, free of charge, ensuring though that the CD, while open and capable of electronic analysis cannot be tampered with.

2. Amend section 21 to provide that ZEC can, for a prescribed fee, make available a Voters Roll in a print form, photocopies thereof or electronic copy capable of electronic analysis that cannot be tampered with.

Presidential Run-Off

We noted a glaring omission in the cross referencing of the Second Schedule to Section 110 of the Electoral Act and have agreed to amend Section 110 to indicate it as the enabling provision for the Second Schedule to reflect in it the provisions of section 110 accurately and correctly and making it clear that where there are more than two candidates, there would be a Presidential Run-Off if no one candidate is able to master votes which are greater than the totality of votes cast for his/her rivals.

The bill also provides that the Proclamation dissolving Parliament and setting the date of elections should allow for the eventuality of a Run-Off by fixing a date of the Run- Off.

Amending of Section 23 of the Electoral Act (Residence Qualification of Voters)

Madam President, the Bill provides for a situation whereby the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is to be permitted to prescribe documents that will suffice for proof of residence of persons intending to register as voters. Such documents to include affidavits sworn by the person intending to vote or a class of persons with some authority in the community who can vouch for the residence of the voter in the given Ward.

Amendment of section 6 of the Electoral Act: Election Observers.

The Bill seeks the following amendments to section 6 of the Electoral Laws.

1. In the proviso to section 6(4)(a), to amend so as to give the Minister of Foreign Affairs the right to raise any objection to a proposed accreditation and to remove the right of the Minister to veto;

2. To remove the proviso to section 6(4)(b);

3. To remove the proviso to section 6(4)( c);

Politically Motivated Violence.

There has been extensive discussions over what appropriate measures to take to deal with the menace of politically motivated violence during the campaign and the post election period. To address this evil the Bill seeks to incorporate into the Electoral Law the following amendments;

1. Set up a special body to receive complaints or allegations of politically motivated acts of violence, to monitor and to carry out investigations of such reports;

2. To refer these allegations to the Zimbabwe Republic Police for expeditious investigations and for possible prosecution ;

3. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to be empowered to summon candidates, election agents or political parties against whom allegations of violence have been made or on their own initiative where they believe or have reason to believe that acts of violence have been perpetrated by such Political Parties, candidates or agents;

4. ZEC to be empowered to warn candidates, election agents or Political Parties against acts of violence perpetrated on their behalf by their supporters;

5. Set up special courts at the Magistrates' level to try cases of politically motivated violence committed during the election period;

6. Request the Attorney General to set up a special unit in his Office dedicated to prosecution of cases of politically motivated acts of violence committed during the election period;

7. Provide for the law that upon conviction by special courts, the court can make a special order banning candidates from further participation in the election process;

8. Special body to closely liaise with the police and with Multi-Party Liaison Committee.

Amendment of Section 161 of the Electoral Act

In order to give the Electoral Court some teeth the Bill seeks to make the following amendments:

1. The Electoral Court is to be given review powers over administrative decisions taken by officers of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission in terms of the Electoral Act;

2. The Electoral Court is to be empowered to hear appeals on election matters against decisions from special courts;

3. Make it clear that all disputes to do with electoral matters are to go to the Electoral Court. In other words, the Electoral Court is to have monopoly jurisdiction;

4. to hear appeals and petitions in terms of the Electoral Act;

5. to review decisions of ZEC or any other person, purporting to be made under the Electoral Act.

6. to have such power to hand out judgements, orders, directions in those matters relating to election matters as currently coming under the purview of the jurisdiction of the High Court.

7. judgements, orders and terms of the Electoral Court to be enforceable in the same way as judgements, orders or directions of the High Court.

8. Madam President, it is my singular honour that the Electoral Amendment Bill, [H.B. 3, 2011] be now read a second time.

*SENATOR KABAYANJIRI: Thank you Madam President. I rise to thank Hon. Minister Chinamasa for bringing in such a good Bill. I would like to comment in brief that we have been holding elections since independence in 1980. For the Minister to come up with an amendment to the Electoral Act we were using means that the hon. Minister has come across a number of issues about the way elections were being conducted.

I would want to thank him so much because he is trying to modernize or to spruce up the Electoral Act despite the conflicts that were there. What I would want to thank him mostly about is that even if we are in the Senate, we have mature members who can accept and appreciate work that has to be done. You will observe Minister that your presentation was conscious and clear which was well received by everyone and no one was asleep and no one was taken aback by what you presented. This shows that through the exhortation that you were giving, you were bringing a good motion.

What I will comment on mostly is that as a mature august Senate, we want to make it our objective that it is nation building that we seek. The problem that we have is that when we have notices of such Bills, we convert them into political issues. I believe this is what then tends to cast us in bad light as senators. I urge members to stand as senators and see what it is that we want to achieve. It is the same as with the previous Bill, when you were explaining to us that there are people who give their opinions independently. I would like to thank Hon. Senator Ncube for giving an opinion about the investigations and the research that was given by Hon. Senator Chinamasa. I think that it will give us a good Constitution and a good Bill in the conduct of good elections.

What I think causes problems is that we fail to appreciate the manner in which we craft this Bill and before we go to our constituencies and properly explain to them. As a result of that, misunderstandings will arise and there will be disharmony or disunity. I would want to thank the hon. minister for coming up with this Bill which is meant for nation building. It is a good Bill, I commend you for that.

*SENATOR MAKORE: Thank you Hon President. I would want to thank you very much Hon. Senator Chinamasa for presenting such a Bill in this august House. The Bill that has been presented touches on human rights in the forth coming elections.

I want to be enlightened on the issue of polling station based elections. I say so because I am afraid of interference on reports made by people. Maybe there may know that John and Tabeth are obviously at such a point. I am talking about this in light of the violence that should be avoided. They may then think that as we got 7 or 5 out of ten, the persons who participated at this polling station are so and so and hence they may be victimised. I urge you to look into that. This comes out as a result of persons in an area knowing what their political affiliations are. The issue of a polling station based voters role has been brought up and is part of the amendment, but my perception is that polling station based voting does interfere with the secrecy of the vote.

Nevertheless Minister, you did very well. You told us that all ballot papers will be audited and that all material should be audited at each polling station. We observe that when people go to vote - when the person cast this/her vote, the voter has to show it to the presiding officer. Maybe he would want to see the water mark of a ballot paper as part of the audited material. I believe this is an interference in the secrecy of the ballot because people's mindsets do not quickly shift. We know of those unfortunate days we had and people are still in that mindset. They may not have had a paradigm shift and then they will be told that if you were to show that water mark we will see which party you have voted for, and that on its own will be an interference of the secrecy of the ballot.

In our democracy it is our wish that a person should freely go and cast their vote at their own volition and secretly. There should be security of the secrecy of the vote. I thank you hon. minister because the people that we previously saw were saying they were illiterate and that they need assistance. We then saw some headmasters - there was one who taught me at school in the 50s, I will not disclose his name, he said he was illiterate and I was taken aback by that. What I was saying hon. minister is that it is important because everyone wants to know about the security of their vote so that they can freely express themselves. I question the issue of raising the water mark. Apart from that, I would want to thank you for coming up with such a good Bill. I thank you.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND LEGAL AFFAIRS: I thank all those who rose to support the Electoral Amendment Bill. The fundamental issue in elections is that it is like a race; it is like a game. For a game to be played fairly, we need to first agree on the rules of the game. If the rules of the game are not clear on what a score is and what a goal is, this will lead to people getting at each other's throat.

You remember when we play football without the cross bar, if the ball is scored, people would claim too high! This would then cause problems; then one says too high then how high is it. So we must agree on the rules of the elections. Once laws of engagement are followed, then it will achieve the fundamental issue. We do not want this habit of losers who had clearly lost, claim that they have not lost. So let us agree on the rules of the game so that after the agreement of the rules of the game; the rules of the game would be followed to the later. If the ball has been scored; meaning if you have lost, you should be the first one to congratulate the winner. This is my aim; this is what we are aspiring to do.

I thank you Hon. Senator Kabayanjiri for supporting us in this regard. Senator Makore, you touched on three issues that I will respond to. The first issue was you need clarity on polling station based registration; we are not going to do it this time around, during this election, we are not going to have this. We want to give ZEC sufficient time of 5 years for them to have spruced up this system. Polling specific voters' roll is only going to come after 5 years. At the moment the elections we are going to conduct are going to be ward based voters roll. As we know Hon Senator Makore, those who vote in each ward in the village or in rural constituencies, there will be 5 polling stations; those people who vote at a polling station are from within that area; if you see someone walking for 10 km; getting up early in the morning to go and cast their vote, they are up to some mischief, but this is allowed because this is ward based. Our perception is that 99.9% of those people who vote at a polling station are from within the surrounding areas unless if someone had visited their friend and then they would say since there is a vote; election is taking place I will then exercise it.

I know that it is an issue that you raise but eventually you will find that when we do this, no one is going to complain that things are not being done properly because we would have ensured that there would not be too many deceased persons appearing on the voters' roll, which also means that double voting will have been eliminated because your name will only appear at the polling station where you are registered and not anywhere else. At the moment, your name can appear at several polling stations and one can leave one polling station and go to the next; we do not know what they do to the indelible ink. This will then lead to people complaining that the elections had not been properly conducted. These are the anomalies that we are trying to eliminate so that we do not quarrel about the outcome of the vote.

The issue of the water mark on the ballot paper came up in the House of Assembly and I promised them that I was going to look into the issue and find out the best practice the world over. I am not yet through with my research but all the countries do this; they do it so that a paper you would have brought inside your pocket cannot be launched into the ballot box. We should be sure that this is the same ballot paper that has been issued to you. Secondly, we want to know it is not the fake one that you might have brought from your pocket; that it is the authentic one that has been issued from that polling station. If we remove that rule, we will be embarrassed when ballot papers are going to be found in the ballot that has not been issued from that particular polling station. Then we would start quarrelling and pointing fingers; accusations and those who are good at talking then make statements and then the conflict will then arise. We do not want that thing.

I am going to look further into this issue to find out if it is possible that the ballot paper is transparent to the effect that the X can be seen because the law says after you have cast your vote, you fold it; you do not present it openly. You only show the side where the water mark is. We should not quickly change things that may lead into conflict. My perception is that it might be a serious problem and in that it may undermine the integrity of the electoral system for the ballot box to have ballots that were not issued by ZEC. It will then become difficult to remedy this anomaly. It is an issue that I believe we will certainly get to the bottom of. I know what to do a balancing Act; we are trying to balance the interests about the secrecy of the ballot and as well as the integrity of the electoral system. We will see what would suit us best so as to serve ourselves from embarrassment. In our country, we do not have much problems because I do not believe that someone can be forced to vote for a particular individual; educated as we are, because we all know that once you are in the polling booth the decision is yours. We are enlightened enough to know that. I do not see that some of the reasons that we proffer being valid for the elimination of such acts. I will look into this issue.

The issue of your Headmaster; you should have embarrassed him. You should have told him that he is the one who enlightened you by writing on the blackboard, but we are now saying you cannot write, what has happened to you.

So, I want to say that there is no way that we can address that, save to say that the headmaster is not qualified to be headmaster in the first place because it shows that he has a webbed mind.

With these few words, I move that the Bill be now read a second time.

Motion put and agreed to.

Bill read a second time.

Committee: With leave; forthwith.

COMMITTEE STAGE

ELECTORAL AMENDMENT BILL [H.B. 3, 2011]

Senate in Committee

Clauses 1 to 44 and Schedule put and agreed to.

Senate resumed.

Bill reported without amendment.

Third Reading: With leave; forthwith.

THIRD READING

ELECTORAL AMENDMENT BILL [H.B. 3, 2011]

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND LEGAL AFFAIRS: I move that the Bill be now read the third time.

Motion put and agreed to.

Bill read the third time.

On the motion of THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND LEGAL AFFAIRS, the Senate adjourned at Eight Minutes past Six o'clock p.m. until Tuesday, 24th July, 2012.

Last modified on Tuesday, 19 November 2013 11:15
BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS
Senate Hansard Vol. 21 SENATE HANSARD - 19 JULY 2012 VOL. 21 NO. 42