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SENATE HANSARD 20 MARCH 2018 VOL 27 NO 31

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PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Tuesday, 20th March, 2018

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE

INVITATION TO A CATHOLIC CHURCH SERVICE

          THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: I wish to inform the Senate that there will be a Roman Catholic Church Service tomorrow, Wednesday, 21st March, 2018 at 1200 hours in the Senate Chamber.  All catholic and non-catholic members are invited.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          HON. SEN. TAWENGWA:  Madam President, I move that Order of the Day Number 1 be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the Day have been disposed of.  

          HON. SEN. MOHADI: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.   

MOTION

ICT LITERACY PROGRAMME

          HON. MAVHUNGA:  I move the motion standing in my name that this House;

      ACKNOWLEDGING the preamble of the Constitution of Zimbabwe which among others recognises the need to overcome all challenges and obstacles that impede our progress;

COGNISANT of the fact that the Information Communication Technology (ICT) is becoming an important catalyst for socio-economic development in the global economy;

NOTING the urgent need to address the ICT divide between the rural and urban and the young and the old people in our country;

ALSO NOTING that ICT illiteracy among some sections of our community is hindering economic progress and achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) whose theme is “leave no one behind”;

APPLAUDING Government initiatives to setting up community information centers throughout the country and prioritising ICT literacy from the Early Childhood Development (ECD) level;

NOW, THEREFORE, calls upon the Ministry of Information, Communication Technology and Cyber Security to-

a)    prioritise installation of the fiber optic infrastructure in all rural areas;

b)   roll out an ICT literacy programme targeting the middle aged and rural populace in order to overcome challenges and obstacles that hinder progress;

c)    take appropriate measures to ensure internet services are easily accessible and affordable

d)   expedite the Cyber Crime Bill in order to protect citizens from online abuses.

HON. SEN. MUGABE:  I second.

HON. SEN. MAVHUNGA:  I am sure everyone will agree with me that knowledge is power.  If you want to be successful, you need to have knowledge.  In the Holy Book, the Bible itself in Hosea Chapter Four Verse 6 it says, “my people perish because of lack of knowledge”. Madam President, without knowledge, you are doomed, you have no exposure to know what is happening in the country, region and globe at large.  Knowledge of information, communication and technology is therefore required in order for us, as set out in the preamble of the Constitution, to overcome challenges and obstacles that impede our progress.  For the development of our nation, we need to overcome such challenges.

Madam President, I am mindful of the fact that ICT is the modern means of communication globally.  It is through ICT that we now have mobile phones and can communicate with anyone instantly around the globe, able to communicate on social media, able to search information on different search engines such as google, search news online, listen to radio and hear what is happening globally, watch television and see what is happening globally, and so on.

 Madam President, ICT era has made communication easy, reliable, timeous and user friendly.  Did I say user friendly, Madam President?  Pardon me, if I were to ask in this august House, how many of us here are computer literate – [HON. SENATORS: Inaudible interjections.] – I am talking of basics like googling for news updates or certain issues, communicating via e-mail, skype, facebook, twitter or instagram.  It is so embarrassing when you hear the young and the literate talk about things like youtube or twitter, when you do not know how to even get to youtube or twitter yet you have the gadget that enables that to happen. 

We do not have the capacity to google because we have not been capacitated.  Most of us in this House have expensive smart phones, our children have bought us these phones but we only know how to answer the phone and make outgoing calls.  With WhatsApp now, a number of us can communicate via WhatsApp, but to tell the truth, the smart phones that we own can do amazing things if we only have full knowledge of how these handsets operate.  We are Parliamentarians. When we went to school, this innovation was not there.  We need to be capacitated in using these gadgets that we are under utilising.  Madam President, as I have alluded to, knowledge is power.  The global world is now ICT compliant.  Everything is done online. For example, to apply for a Form 1 place, university admission, job vacancies, visa application and so on. It is now done on line.

Madam President, I have noted that there is an ICT divide between the rural and urban population as well as the young and the middle to old age. This huge gap needs to be addressed. Zimbabwe like other United Nations (UN) states, has adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) whose theme is, “leave no one behind.” This ICT divide between the young and the middle to old age, and urban and rural populace is surely leaving someone behind. 

In order to achieve the SDGs, which we hope to achieve through the 2030 agenda, the rural populace needs to be incorporated because as it stands, it is completely cut from the outside world. They have no access to vital information which they require for their day to day living due to lack of gadgets and infrastructure that supports ICT tools such as the internet which is an important tool for today’s world.

I was saddened when one school leaver was referred to me for assistance. This boy had passed his A level with 11 points in the rural areas. He could not afford university and when I asked him what he wanted to do, he said teaching or joining ZRP or the Army. Those are the only three professions that he was aware of. I later cursed mysef for asking him to go on the internet and seek for opportunities for both tertiary learning and jobs. He said that he did not know anything about computers, and had no idea of how e-mailing works like. This is an A level school leaver I am talking about. In as much as we can say ICT is easy and user friendly, the rural folk remain marginalised in terms of ICT.

Madam President, the global economy now uses e-commerce. Our Constitution, Section 14 talks of Empowerment and Employment Creation and it states that; “The State and all institutions and agencies of the Government at every level must endeavour to facilitate and undertake measures to empower through appropriate, transparent, fair and just affirmative action, all marginalised persons, groups and communities in Zimbabwe.”

It further states that; “at all times the State and all institutions and agencies of Government at every level must ensure that appropriate and adequate measures are undertaken to create employment for all Zimbabweans, especially women and youths.”

Madam President, let me put emphasis on women and youths. Women in rural areas are enterprising. They have products, but do not have the market and have no marketing platforms. Some are into small grain farming, horticulture farming and poultry farming to name a few. If these people are capacitated in ICT, they can market their products on line and embrace e-commerce business. E-Commerce is cheaper and less cumbersome as compared to travelling all the way to find markets, of which you can be referred from one point to the next. That in itself is costly and time consuming. Those in need of products can just google and communicate on line with the person with the product whilst at the same time communicating logistics of getting the product.

Madam President, Zimbabwe is a very rich country in terms of minerals. As indicated recently with officials from the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development at the Mining Indaba, Zimbabwe has over 80 different kinds of minerals, and almost all of these minerals are found in rural areas where the majority of miners are small scale. Market for the mining sector is mainly found in Asia, America and Europe. For the miner in very remote areas to get access to these markets, it is difficult due to lack of ICT facilities.

Most of these mine owners end up losing money to the middlemen who will come and buy their minerals at very low prices and thereafter, smuggle the minerals out of the country. This alone affects the country’s fiscus because most of these middlemen do not pay tax to the Government for exportation. There is need for equipping rural areas with relevant infrastructure suitable for ICT and also roll out capacity building programmes to help educate the rural population on how ICT works.

Madam President, the reason why I am emphasising on the above points is because I have a case study of China. ICT is increasingly wide spreading in rural China and is finding users such as the elderly people, rural women and people with little education or disposable income. These categories of people are engaging in e-commerce and their livelihoods have improved. Besides e-commerce, the ICT use in China is also driven by the desire to find connections and entertainment. Taking a leaf from China, we will empower our rural population to be active participants in the global economy, for example in the mining sector.

Madam President, I do not have the percentage that the rural population contributes to the fiscus but what I know is that it does contribute. According to the World Bank Collection of development indicators compiled from officially recognised sources, rural population was reported at 67.72% in 2016. The majority of this population depends on farming and 45% of the households’ only farm for consumption, while 36% rely on farming for money. Smallholder agriculture sector trading in Zimbabwe is approximately $20 million economy annually. Imagine how much this would be if this population was able to use ICT for e-commerce. ICT as noted in the China case, will not only enhance e-commerce, but it will also provide entertainment.

The other major aspect that the Ministry has to know is that it has a role to ensure that access to ICT tools such as internet is affordable. For example, internet data in some countries such as China is very cheaper compared to Zimbabwe.  1 Gig worth of data in China costs about $0.27, whilst here in Zimbabwe, 1 Gig worth of data cost about $2 (internet data bundles for mobile phones).

          Madam President, the Ministry of ICT and Cyber Security in their client’s charter commits to;

“Develop supportive and enabling communications infrastructure to ensure equitable access to ICTs by ALL citizens, including disadvantaged communities and rural communities.”

          What worries me Madam President is the fact that I see fibre optic cables linking urban areas and have not seen these being extended to the rural communities.  Is the Ministry living up to its commitment?  In most rural areas mobile networks are a challenge.  One has to go up a mountain or a particular spot in order to get network access.  Madam President, as I mentioned before, information is power and people need access to information and the State has an obligation to ensure that this happens in light of the Constitution provision that I quoted earlier.  Furthermore, the Ministry in its charter also commits to;

“Promote the development of ICT products, paying particular attention to the disadvantaged communities and citizens (rural areas, people living with disabilities, women, children and the aged) hence the need for the roll out programme in ICT.”

          Madam President, on a positive note I wish to applaud the Government for introducing ICT in schools from a tender age, ECD level.  Children will grow up being ICT literate, unlike most of us here and the introduction of the subject is a welcome development.  The new curriculum might not be achieved much in rural areas due to lack of various resources ranging from lack of electricity, lack of infrastructure that supports ICT, lack of teachers with knowledge of ICT, lack of the computers, et cetera. 

I call upon the relevant Ministries to start considering the rural population in ICT.  Madam President, as noted the SDGs theme is, “leave no one behind,” and as a nation if we are to achieve these SDGs, let us ensure that we take the rural population on board in terms of ICT.  This is key because it will lead to the achievement of other SDGs to name but just a few:

Goal 1        -        No poverty.  As noted, it will eradicate poverty through empowerment.

Goal 2        -        Zero hunger.  More disposable income and empowerment will enable more economic activities.

Goal 4        -        Quality Education.

Goal 5        -        Gender Equality.

          Madam President, to achieve positive results, there is need to ensure that issues to do with power and energy are dealt with. For an efficient and effective capacity building programmes in rural areas, the Rural Electrification programme needs to be stepped up.  Zimbabwe is blessed with solar energy in abundance and I am sure the Government can utilise this God given resource and increase electricity through solar projects such as the one recently commissioned in Mutoko.  For one to use an ICT gadget, power is of paramount importance.  In rolling out the programme, the Ministry of ICT needs to work closely with the Ministry of Energy and Power Development.

          Madam President, in concluding my motion, I therefore call upon the Government through the relevant Ministries to prioritise rural electrification, digitalization and spearhead the ICT infrastructure development such as satellite, fibre, mobile networks and so on in rural areas so that we leave no one behind in this ICT era.  Secondly, the Ministry of ICT should roll out an ICT literacy programme targeting the rural communities (from village level) and the middle age to old aged people in order to overcome challenges and obstacles that hinder our progress in economic empowerment.  I want to applaud the Women Parliamentary Caucus for the programme where women Parliamentarians are being trained.  For those who have not gone through that course, please go and arrange with the Caucus.  It is so helpful.  It helps you to research so that you can debate with more information.

As mentioned before this will have a direct impact not only on improving livelihoods of the rural populace but also contribute to poverty eradication and the fiscus.  A call is made to the Government to take appropriate measures to ensure ICT infrastructure is set up countrywide, internet service is easily accessible and affordable.  Madam President, lastly the Government needs to expedite the passing of the Cyber Crime Bill in order to protect citizens from online abuse as they begin using the internet.  I thank you Madam President. 

          HON. SEN. MUGABE:  Thank you Madam President. I rise to second Hon. Sen. Mavhunga’s motion on access to ICT by middle to old age and rural population.  Yes Madam President, knowledge is power.  We are really challenged by this motion; it is well researched, informative and well presented – [HON. MEMBERS:  Hear, hear.] – I am one of those people who attended training by the Parliamentary Women’s Caucus.  I am able to type on a computer, google and find a lot of information.  It is very important that we take up that. 

          The most valuable resource is a human being.  So, this human being must have knowledge and information.  A human being must be able to communicate. If we do not communicate, I do not know how we can run this world; we need the communication element.  At this juncture Madam President, I hasten to applaud the Government for the launch of the National ICT policy recently by the President, E. D. Mnangagwa where he expressed support for e-learning. 

          I am seconding this motion because ICT enabler for transforming Zimbabwe into an e-society.  Madam President, this motion comes when the world has moved into the information stage. Communication has advanced from physical postal mail, I think we remember that.  We remember the postman coming to our doors and sometimes giving us the wrong letters where they would also make human errors because those letters had to be sorted by hand, and sometimes by people who not have even gone to school or who would only have learnt how to count 1 to 10, because the letters had box-numbers – we remember that, don’t we?

          Now, communication has advanced from that physical postal mail to telephone, fax transmissions and digital communication through electronic mail.  The private bag of the postman, there was a private bag and postbox.  The private bag; I remember when I was in primary school; the private bag was coming to our school, being collected by one of the teachers from the Post Office. He had to travel by bicycle to collect that box and the key was being kept in the office by the Headmaster.  The Headmaster would open the letters then read out the letters and the children would then take the letters to their parents.  However, I remember one day getting a hiding from my mother because I had dropped the letter when I was crossing a river.  During those days you would cross rivers and as children you would play to cross a river though it was very risky at that time.

          Madam President, technology development also leads to changes in work, job, and organisations of work - for example when we are planning using the modern ways, it will be very easy.  The changes gained means people will have critical thinking even decision making is made easy.  Communication also becomes very effective and there will be teamwork.

          Madam President, ICT is very important in our lives.  It is true that there should be no divide between the young, middle aged and the old, neither should there be between the rural and the urban.  Again, our Government is commended for introducing ICT in schools from ECD level. Being ICT literate means empowerment.  The mover of the motion clearly stated that no one should be left behind in as far as ICT is concerned because taking the entire population including the vulnerable and those living with disabilities leads to the achievement of the SDG’s.

          ICT will keep us informed; using smart phones for emergencies for example when there is fire, we quickly pass on the information.  It can be medical, it can be police - we keep in touch with each other through use of the email.  In business, instant information is required for customers, for sales profits, production, market research as the mover of the motion has explained.  We may also need the employee data and that makes our businesses become successful.  It can also reduce inventory physical records because using our records by physical means may affect production.

          Business without strong ICT is weak because we are now living in the global village which is computerised.  Resources permitting all schools should be computerized. We know there are several schools now in our country which have been computerized but several more need computers.  Some schools do not have electricity, so if we can have electricity, we are investing in the human resource and rural information centers for all districts, I think should be a must because in the information centre you can have the training in the use of computers.  Actually, you can add even more training.  If the old people in our rural areas find somewhere to go, to the information centres, we can even add entertainment there, we can even add games like chase, tsoro, and darts -so the old people having these games will be encouraged, they will live longer, and they will have that strong willpower to live longer.  If they can throw a dart then even if you are 80 years old, you can feel that you are young person.  So, in our information centres, if we add those things I think that will be good.

          I think we should breathe ICT, live ICT and no one should be left behind at all.  Knowledge is power and the most important resource is the human being who needs this knowledge.  I thank you.

          HON. SEN. MUMVURI: Can I use the Shona language, is it permissible now?

          THE HON. PRESIDENT: Our machines are still not working

          HON. SEN. MUMVURI: I wanted to express myself very well in Shona.  I stand Madam President to support the motion which was introduced by Hon. Sen. Mavhunga and seconded by Hon. Sen. Mugabe.  It is a very important topic and motion for discussion.  Gone are the days when we used to have messages being sent in different ways and very slow ones?  I remember, if we go backwards, people used drums to communicate and at times they would use horns and smoke from fire.  If they burnt fire, they meant something.  Those were the old days, but people had their way of communicating and we appreciate that. 

          We moved on to the writing of messages which Hon. Sen. Mugabe was alluding to, writing letters, fax et cetera posting them and when there is death, we sent somebody by bus from here to Chipinge and when he comes back, that is when we get the arrangements going and sometimes the bus does not deliver the letter and it gets lost.  We have gone past that. 

The Post Office Box which the Hon. Senator was referring to as well when we were at school, a private box was somebody’s private box which he/she could come and open and take the letters and go away, but the bag was sealed, it was a bag, a real bag, big one and it could be taken to the school and then opened there.  Other letters which were to be posted were collected from all the people, put in there and taken by the messenger. The messenger did not open the box but it was opened by the Principal at the school.  Again, it was a way of securing our messages to where they were intended and now we have moved fast.  These days, we do not have to send somebody with a bereavement message or illness, we just send through WhatsApp or twitter, even to Britain, it gets there within seconds whilst we are talking here.  That is great and we must all move with these times.

However, ICT has its own advantages and disadvantages – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] – That is my point which I want to say.  Recently, Madam President, if you read the newspapers, it was awash with false rumours which were not substantiated by the police until recently when the Chief Inspector or Spokesperson of the police, Inspector Paul Nyathi disputed those rumours that there are no people who are mugging people and or killing children going to or from school.  They were not there but people were awash with these messages.  People were posting false rumours and I think that must be curtailed.  I do not know how this can be reduced or stopped.

Sometimes you get false rumours from South Africa to say so and so has died, please sent this message home in Muzarabani there, we are looking for relatives.  Sometimes it is not verified.  Naked pictures sometimes come up from WhatsApp platforms and that is not good.  So we must use ICT responsibly, not willy-nilly as other people want to do in spreading those rumours. 

However, there are more advantages of using the ICT, I agree and I want to admit than not using it at all.  We must use it, Government must find a way.  Apart from what Hon. Sen. Mavhunga and Hon. Sen. Mugabe have advocated that Government must promote this. I think we must promote it selectively.  At one time there was uproar on the use of laptops and cellphones in the schools.  That debate has not been concluded until now.  We do not know whether we want our children to use cellphones at school or not.  Dr. Dokora was roasted in here and some people were supporting and he did not give a clear answer, he just said, ‘people need to use it in the exams but how about in the hostels where they are not controlled?  We can use them in the classroom, that is fine, but when they are at the hostels on their own, do you think if the children have free-will, they would not go throughout the night browsing and sending messages at the expense of studying.  We must curtail that in the schools and use the ICT appropriately in the classroom – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – that is my view.

Then, the other point which I want to emphasise is, I have talked about the development of ancient ways of communication coming to the modern ones and so on.  These must be documented clearly so that we do not lose track and sight of them so that our children know that there were other methods which were honourable and noble which were used in the past and they were quite effective so that they know where we started from. We are here and we are going into the future and we must have a base of understanding how methods of communication and carrying messages were developed. 

I think it is important that we must not lose sight of what happened in the past and begin with the ICT.  Some people do not know that the methods were also very effective and the chiefs still cherish them and want to use them, from time to time.

These days we are paying bride price using point of purchase/or sale machines, to swipe because no cash is being carried.  You just go with your mediator and all the people there, you negotiate using words and the money is transferred into the accounts of the in-laws instantly and that is what is happening.  In the past we used to carry goats, hoes and so on as bride price.  However, I think that must be known by our children.  That is the point that I want to make that they should know that where we are, we came from a past which we still cherish to this day, that it was good to do that.  It really cemented our relationships amongst the in-laws, father in-law and son-in law and the daughters, there was something tangible, which we did. 

These days, I do not underestimate or devalue what is happening now but I think we must have a past and it must be documented.  I think I want to support what was said by Hon. Sen. Mugabe.  Hon. Sen. Mavhunga you did very well in your presentation, it is well researched.  I think it provokes everyone of us here to debate on this motion.  I want to thank you Madam President.

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Thank you Hon. Sen. Mumvuri.  I have just been handed a note that the interpretation equipment is now working and you have just finished.

*HON. SEN. CHIMHINI: Thank you Madam President.  I am very grateful for the motion which has been introduced by Hon. Sen. Mavhunga.  The most important aspect of this motion is that Government should work diligently to promote the ICT technology so that we talk of first things first.  I do agree that ICT is a noble idea but if we adopt it in a rush, we may miss important aspects of life. 

When we look at the businesses and you want to open up your business, and you are applying for a premises, you are told to apply through the internet – Let me take a good example of an old man who is in Mahenye rural areas and is supposed to apply through the internet.  What this means is, as this old man has no access to internet, he will end up giving up or not honour up the business.  As stated by Hon. Sen. Mavhunga, when we talk about the introduction of ICT and all the complications, Government should start by educating the people.  Currently, we have been talking about e-banking, and what we mean is, we should start by teaching people how to register through the internet.  When the elderly people in those areas have not been given enough education on e-learning, there will be no progress, hence it is very essential that people should be taught on e-mail.  We have learners who are told to apply for places in other institutions, instead of writing letters of applications, they are told to go through the e-learning process.  I am saying, you are asking the learners who are in rural areas who do not have access to internet, asking them to apply for a form one place in those areas, how will they do it?  Of late, we have people in the banks waiting to do transactions but there is no network.  These people have problems in accessing banking services as stated by Hon. Sen. Mavhunga.  We need to work on the internet. 

I will take a good example of what was happening here in Parliament during the BVR registration.  People will be trying to register and they have problems.  They would get assistance from the IT personnel in Parliament.  What this means is we need to lay out our foundations so that when we launch a programme, it can easily be taken up.  I am saying, we need to take time in laying the foundation, introducing people to the e-learning and internet. Learners have an advantage because they are accessing this knowledge when they are still young.  What about the elderly and the middle aged, how far will they go in attaining this knowledge?  We need to have first things first.  By this I mean to say Government should put learning centres, internet cafes near people so that people get the knowledge of working in the internet world and emailing so that we all have pleasure in doing it.  We have some elderly who were born before computers, unfortunately, they are adopting it at the later stage of their lives but if we put more centres that will impart this knowledge, we will have many people benefiting from the internet and emailing.

*HON. SEN. CHIEF MUSARURWA:  Thank you Mr. President.  I would like to add my voice on the motion raised by Hon. Sen. Mavhunga, seconded by Hon. Sen. Mugabe talking on ICT.  We are very grateful for what the Minister responsible for IT technology has done, the way he is moving around and the way he is introducing the internet system all over the country.  This is making communication easy.  Let me hasten to say, Government should work hard in making enough research so that we have enough equipment in the country.  For instance, IT is the way to go but we now have people communicating through cyber crime.  This is happening because people have access to the ICT technology.  Some people have lost their hard won cash because of the ICT.  We are appealing to Government to look for and introduce mechanisms that will enable to detect any fraud or corruption that may be happening through ICT. 

Let me turn to the banking sector.  We have clients losing money through IT technology.  A client will go to a bank and transfer $500 to another client and you will be told nothing was transferred, yet your account is showing that money has been transferred.  When that happens, it means if your receiver tells you they have not received anything, you will end up transferring several times until there is some $3000 which you end up losing because of that.  Suppose, you would like to transfer school fees to learners in the rural areas if the network is bad, you end up losing and the learners may end up not going to school.  We are asking Government to look for ways that may curb this cyber crime.  I really support this motion because it is relevant and in tandem with what has been happening of late because technology is the way to go.  My call is, we need to fight cyber crime because people indulge in that because of the advancement of technology.

Hon. Sen. Mumvuri talked about the technology and the learners.  There are times whereby if you were to have access to messages in other people’s cellphones, you will find that the images in that message are so bad that you start wondering whether we have to pursue the IT technology.  There were some people who were sending messages of people who have been cruelly tortured and murdered yet these are falsehoods that are peddled by these people using ICT.  We need a law that may state that who so ever disseminates information that may lead to alarm and despondency, there should be a set down fine which is a mandatory sentence that will fight that.  We are saying technology is a noble idea but you are going to have a State capture because of this technology and you will be left out and be foreigners in your own land.  That is why I keep on hammering on this, we need to fight cyber crime, fight those people that are sending falsehoods, false images and fight those people who are spreading alarm and despondency.  I thank you.

HON. SEN. MASHAVAKURE:  Thank you Mr. President.  I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Mavhunga for bringing this motion into the House.  It is a very pertinent issue that she has introduced to us.  I want to zero in on the aspect of fear because I think it is one of the issues that is dragging the country backwards.  We can use some of these technologies to develop ourselves and develop our systems and even develop the economy, if you like.  Because we are afraid, we would rather stick to the barest minimum, may be 19th or 16th century technology because we think that is the kind of thing that protects us. 

I heard some rumours that in the 1980s NASPERS, that is the parent ministry of DStv, the MultiChoice Africa, actually wanted to set up base here and because of the fear element, we were not able to welcome them. So, they ended up setting up shop in South Africa and as of a certain date around 2010 or thereabouts, stories were that South Africa was making more than US$5 000 by selling satellite decoders only. If we had that kind of money based in this country, I think we would not be crying about cash shortages.

          So, sometimes because of fear which is based on ignorance, we tend to throw away a lot of possibilities or opportunities that could actually be enhancing our economy. Not to go very far back, I think about two or so years ago, Kwese TV wanted to set up base here and stories again say that we were not sure what we wanted to do. So, they ended up inaugurating their services elsewhere in West Africa, East Africa and even in South Africa, they got Kwese TV before Zimbabwe.

          The element of fear, I think we should start shaking it off ourselves because it is not helping our lives and our systems. We fear machinery and technology. When I say ‘we’, I mean the Government because we are part of the Government as Parliament. I think it is very important that Government also seizes the opportunity to be computer literate, ICT literate and to understand that some of these things can be used to develop ourselves and our economy.

          For instance, we have this problem that I always read on the internet as well as in the newspapers telling us that we are busy installing the so-called boosters to make sure that mobile networks or the broadcasting services are accessible in certain areas, and before we complete a fifth of the country, those boosters are already out of date or out of fashion. We need to buy new ones and yet we could very easily cover the whole country with the satellite system. This is because once you adopt satellite broadcasting and satellite or whatever you want to call it, even those places behind valleys, mountains and jungles, they  easily get covered at once. You do not have to worry about moving every six centimeters installing a booster.

          In other words, as Government, we should not just encourage our rural folk, women and the disabled in those areas to be ICT literate. We should be ICT literate first in order to be able to lure those guys because if for instance, we cover our systems with satellite technology, it means that when I go into any shop anywhere in this country, I will not face this problem where when I try to pay using mobile money, I am told that  we are off-line or we do not have network because that system automatically covers everything at once and it covers our broadcasting systems at once.

So, as Hon. Sen. Mavhunga was saying, information  and knowledge is power, but how do we provide that power when to begin with, the first port of call whenever you install a booster is from Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru, Mutare and in-between, in the rural areas there is nothing. How do you empower those people if you do not give them the means to restore, receive more information from radios, TVs and you are always broadcasting to your urban people. That is the reason why these people will always be behind because we are not willing to hit the nail on the head and just jump onto the very latest user friendly technologies that we can use to cover the whole country. 

It is very important that we do not keep on wasting a lot of money buying new boosters and transmitters every year trying to cover the whole country when we know that before we even finish installing those things, the machinery will be out of date. Just use satellite technology - we should encourage ourselves as a Government to adopt satellite technology and start broadcasting.

The other time I was travelling to some place and I was in Masvingo. I went to one of my banks and I do not have to name which one, but they told us that because the power was out, the ATMs were not functioning. When I went to the next bank which is called Barclays, the ATMS were working and I asked and they said it is because Barclays Bank was using satellite. So, they had no problems with their ATMS when we are switched out of power or when our electricity supplies went off.  Some of those things, I think as Government, we should not just encourage other citizens to be ICT literate. We should be literate ourselves first, so that we are able to lease those guys. Thank you Mr. President.

          *HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: Thank you Mr. President. I rise to make my contribution in this noble motion which has been introduced by Hon. Sen. Mavhunga which was seconded by Hon. Sen. Mugabe. This is an eye opener and wading all horizons as far as the use of ICT. We are saying ICT is a noble idea. I remember during our times, we did not have computers, but the best we could do was to write letters using a typewriter. We have noticed that our youngsters have quickly caught up with this technology.

Hon. President, we have noticed that even in this House, we have these communication gadgets which are given to us as presents by our children. When this phone rings during the sitting of the House, a Member is mesmerized and confused because you cannot switch it off. I remember there are times whereby Members were asked to go out with that gadget that does make noise. It is not our fault; it is because we were born before computers.

I am saying, as Members of Parliament, we need to be up to date with this technology because part of our duties especially the oversight, we are invited to the international world such as observation of the elections in those countries. So, if you are not up to date with technology, you may end up getting lost in those countries. We need to be jacked up and we need to study and research on the ICT so that we operate at the same level with our contemporaries in other countries.

We are asking that our Parliament be allocated enough funds so that it will take care of ICT knowledge to Hon. Members. At the same time, let me hasten to say when we are using this technology; let us not forget that we have our culture which we have to protect. I am talking especially looking at the women folk because we have realised that there are some people who concentrate on so much on these gadgets doing some WhatsApp. A spouse will come home and you will not be able to welcome him because you are busy communicating on your whats app. This may lead to domestic violence. That is why we are saying at times you are even deprived of your time of carrying out your household chores. Why do I say that? This is because we have had some images especially for nude pictures with women who are doing some raunchy and suggestive dances and who enjoy watching those dances and forget household chores.  These gadgets should really be taken care of and we need to use them in the proper way.  What really worries me is that most of the people who are involved in doing these suggestive dances are women; very few men ever do those suggestive dances.  I am saying – ‘why’?  We need to uphold our marriage vows. 

          I am one of those people who were given a donation of a very big phone.  My relative said let me give it to the Hon. Senator who is highly technological.  I had to go and seek for assistance from the Econet shop so that I could be educated on the operations of this machine.  This young man taught me how to operate that gadget which was very expensive and advanced in technology.  That is why we are calling upon the Government to put up more of these institutions so that people can receive education on ICT and operation of these gadgets. 

Once again, I emphasise, let us uphold our culture.  Let us not use them for staring at nude pictures of people or suggestive dances, but let us use it for spreading the gospel and counseling.  Let us do away with all these things that fight our culture.  This is a very important and pertinent motion.  As a country, let us uphold the use of ICT for the advancement of our socio-economic lives.  I am very grateful to the motion raised by Hon. Sen. Mavhunga and seconded by Hon. Sen. Mugabe.  We are saying this motion challenges us to follow the correct path in utilisation of the ICT.  Let us not indulge in spreading alarm and despondency.  I thank you.

*HON. SEN. SHIRI: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to add my voice on the motion by Hon. Sen. Mavhunga and seconded by Hon. Sen. Mugabe.  We know that ICT helps us a lot and it is very important to us.  We need to adopt ICT as Zimbabweans.  The aim of introducing ICT is to improve our socio-economic lives.  When we look at this motion as stated by the movers, they are saying ICT is embracing each and every one of us.  That is why they are saying “leave no one behind,” which is agenda for 2030.

Let me talk about the elevators that we use in buildings when going up and down. We have some elevators that communicate with us.  They will be telling you, you are on such a floor, the door is opening and the door is closing.  This is specially made for those members who will be using the elevator.  Even if they are visually impaired, they will still be able to listen to the messages being passed on.  We have some areas where people living with disabilities use some electronic gadgets which are there to guide people who cannot communicate.  Whenever there is a problem or some danger, there is a gadget which vibrates or emits some lights so that this person who has impairment can cope up with impending danger.  That is why we are saying ICT is our livelihood.

We are looking at what is happening now.  We are all on the internet searching for information.  At one time in the past, we would invest in buying a lot of newspapers from different organisations but now for a dollar, you can buy your airtime and google through all the newspaper stories which you want.  As stated by Hon. Sen. Mashavakure, we need to access that.  There are a lot of people who have been communicating using their Wi-fi and doing their own business but at the same time, we cannot communicate properly because people are busy with their WhatsApp. 

We have noticed that there are some gadgets which gives guidance whenever you want to move around in your car; there is a gadget which you can use to look for a way around a place.  Even if you give it a map, it will tell you from point A to B.  This can be used in preventing accidents.  We also have some technology which is used for security, looking around for people who could be prowling around your area.  We also have some communication gadgets which have some tracking devices.  When it is stolen, you can easily track it. 

In Zimbabwe, women are the majority and most of these women are now getting into businesses.  We are encouraging them to use ICT in their businesses.  You can get a market for marketing your goods and products.  You can also sell your products through the internet instead of going door to door.  That is why I am saying ICT is very essential in our lives. Through ICT, I was talking to my colleague who is in a far country and we were using video calling.  Through video calling, I could see his face and expression.  You can decipher whether that person is genuine or is simply wiling up time.  I am saying ICT is progress and even members of the same family who are in different countries can hold some tele-conference and you will also be seeing yourselves in that communication.

In our culture, we talk of paying lobola.  We have since introduced the use of technology in this ceremony of marrying whereby people do not have to carry lots of money or hold the court at the same time but through internet, you can communicate whilst in different areas and also make cash transactions through the internet.  We are now using group communications such as sharing information on church activities or funerals.  The message is simply put using this communication gadgets and within a short time, everybody will know what will be happening.  My plea is that these information centres should be properly equipped so that the youths, the women and people living with disabilities may benefit from the communication gadgets.  We are very glad because the new curriculum is encouraging the use of the internet, especially computers from the ECD level.  By so doing, they become computer literate. 

However, we have noticed that some of these gadgets are too expensive, ordinary people cannot afford them.  So, we are asking the Government to lower the tariffs when these gadgets are being imported into the country. My wish is that each household should be able to afford a computer which can be used for communication purposes. 

We also have electronic cash transfers.  When we talk of people in the rural areas, they know that there is financial transaction using EcoCash. Since there are challenges in accessing cash because of liquidity crunch in the country, we can now use these electronic cash transfers.  We also need to have solar power in the country so that in the rural areas, the people, especially our traditional leaders can access information using computers which will be supported by solar power.  If somebody wanted to marry using the current gadget system, the Registrar General is able to track that this person is now committing bigamy because the world is now a global village and we need to embrace it.  Even here at Parliament, we have realised that we are moving along with the ICT, as Hon. Senators, we have also been introduced to ICT. 

          My plea is that each and every one of us should be able to access ICT and use it for the advancement of social economic living.  We have had some talk about people who are abusing ICT, spreading alarm and despondency, this is mainly due to people who cannot fully utilise this gadget hence they end up sending wrong messages, nude photos and spreading false hoods.

 However, if the computers are introduced in the homes, these youngsters will grow into responsible adults because they would have grown with it and they know how to use them.  When we were told that youngsters in the schools should be introduced to these gadgets, we were shocked because we thought that they were going to indulge in the viewing of these diabolic messages, access nude pictures but we have now understood that these gadgets can be used for learning.  If a youngster is introduced to ICT at an early stage, when they grow up, they will not abuse this technology.   Teachers, police and nurses in this country should develop their ICT knowledge for the development of the country and Zimbabwe will be at par with other countries in developmental issues.  I thank you.

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

HON. SEN. MUGABE: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 21st March, 2018.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

HON. SEN. TAWENGWA: I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 3 to 10 on today’s Order Paper be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 11 has been disposed of.

HON. SEN. MARAVA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE DELEGATION TO THE EIGHTH RETREAT OF THE ASSOCIATION OF SENATES, SHOORA AND EQUIVALENT COUNCILS IN AFRICA AND THE ARAB WORLD

Eleventh order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of Parliament of Zimbabwe Delegation to the 8th Retreat of the Association of Senates, Shoora and Equivalent Councils in Africa and the Arab World held from the 20th to the 21st May, 2017 in Addis Ababa Ethiopia.

Question again proposed.

HON. SEN. SINAMPANDE: Thank you Mr. President.  I would like to thank those who contributed towards this motion.  I would want to particularly thank Hon. Sen. Mawire who seconded this motion.  I therefore, withdraw the motion from the order paper. I thank you.

Motion that, this House takes note of the Report of the Parliament of Zimbabwe Delegation to the Eighth Retreat of the Association of Senates, Shoora and Equivalent Councils in Africa and the Arab World (ASSECAA), held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 20th to 21st May 2017, put and adopted.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

HON. SEN. TAWENGWA: I move that we revert to Order of the Day, Number 3 on today’s Order Paper.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE ZIMBABWE DELEGATION TO THE 41ST PLENARY ASSEMBLY OF THE SADC PARLIAMENTARY FORUM

          HON. SEN. MOHADI: Thank you Mr. President.  I move the motion standing in my name that this House takes note of the report of the 41st Plenary Assembly of the SADC-Parliamentary Forum, held in Mahe, Seychelles, from 4th to 15th July, 2017.

          HON. SEN. MAWIRE: I second.

          HON. SEN. MOHADI: Thank you Mr. President.  I want to present a report of the 41st Plenary Assembly of SADC PF which took place in Mahe, Seychelles from the 4th to the 15th July, 2017. 

Introduction

Mr. President, in line with Strategic Goal Number 7, the role of Parliament in National Development, the strategy to analyse and debate policies and legislation for national development, the 41st Plenary Assembly Session of the SADC Parliamentary Forum was convened in Mahe, Seychelles from the 4th to the 15th July 2017 under the theme, “Harnessing Demographic Dividend in SADC Through Investment in Youth”.  

12 countries were represented at the Plenary which included: Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Mr. President, the delegation from Zimbabwe led by  Hon. Advocate J.F. Mudenda, Speaker of the National Assembly, comprised the following Members of Parliament:-

          Hon M. Mutsvangwa, Deputy President of the SADC Parliamentary Forum;

Mr. President, the other delegate was the late Hon. Dr S. Mukanduri, whom we last saw when we went to this Plenary Assembly Session.  By the time he passed on, he was preparing to present this report in the National Assembly – [HON. SENATORS: Inaudible interjections] – protect me Mr. President.

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Order please.

HON. SEN. MOHADI: We will greatly miss him because he was part of the delegation.  He was also a member of the Democratization, Governance and Human Rights Standing Committee.  The other delegates were;

          Hon. T. Mohadi, Chair of the Food, Agriculture, Natural Resources and Infrastructure Standing Committee;

          Hon. I. Gonese, Member of the Trade, Industry, Development and Integration Standing Committee, and

          Hon. J. Toffa, Member of the Human and Social Development and Special Programmes Committee.

Mr. President, the following attended the Plenary Assembly as support staff;

Ms. Helen B. Dingani, Deputy Clerk;

          Mr. C. Gwakwara, Principal External Relations Officer and Secretary to the Delegation;

          Ms. M. Mushandinga, Principal Executive Assistant to the Speaker of Parliament, and;

          Mr. R. Sibanda, Security-Aide to the Speaker.

Official Opening and Keynote address by His Excellency, the President, Hon. Danny Faure, President of Seychelles

          Mr. President, the official opening ceremony and keynote address was done by H.E. President Danny Faure of Seychelles.  H. E. President Danny Faure officially opened the 41st Plenary Session of the SADC Parliamentary Forum and reiterated Seychelles’ commitment to Regional integration and commended the Forum’s contribution in advancing the region’s democracy, governance, peace and development agenda.

In his address, H. E. Faure noted that the youth are an extra-ordinary asset of the region, hence, the need to engage them in harnessing the potential of the next generation.  There is need to open up new horizons for the youths to enable them to transform Africa into an industrialised Continent. President Faure averred that, despite Africa undergoing massive transformation and being home to 7 of the world's 10 largest           growing economies; the continent has a multitude of developmental challenges to overcome and these hurdles need to be tackled urgently.

He appreciated the SADC Parliamentary Forum for its contribution towards advancing the region's democracy, governance, peace and development agenda and reiterated his support for the transformation of the Forum into a Regional Parliament. 

Statement by the Chairperson of the Regional Women’s Parliamentary Caucus (RWPC)

Mr. President, Hon. Dr. Jessie Kabwila noted that sustainable investment in youth cannot be achieved without the inclusion and prioritization of young women in the developmental trajectory. In essence, she advocated for the inclusion of young women by taking their strategic and practical needs and concerns into account. She elicited that the most pressing difficulties include unemployment, teenage and early unplanned pregnancy which need to be addressed expeditiously.

Hon. Dr. Kabwila reiterated the need to change attitudes towards young women with disabilities. She urged the Plenary to be relentless in its endeavour to           transform   attitudes that disable these citizens which essentially entails promoting a social and physical environment that promotes full participation of young women with disabilities in all aspects of society. 

In conclusion, she challenged the Hon. Speakers of the region who have not signed for the ‘HeforSheglobal action for women advancement to stand up and be counted as champions in the fight against the inequitable treatment of women, girls and vulnerable people.

Address by Dr. E. Chiviya, Secretary-General Of The SADC PF

Whilst appreciating Hon. Speaker Pillay for graciously and meticulously making the arrangements for the successful hosting of the 41st Plenary Assembly Session of the SADC PF in the beautiful City of Mahe, Dr. Chiviya applauded the fact that six Delegations were led by Speakers and another six (6) by Members of Parliament constituting an 85%  attendance to the 41st Plenary Assembly Session.

Hon. Fernando Da Piedade Dos Santos’ Statement

Hon. Fernando Da Piedade Dos Santos, SADC PF President and Speaker of the National Assembly of Angola, called for more investment in young people as a tool to spearhead development.

The President clearly outlined the impact of high population growth rates in most of the sub-region’s countries which has resulted in an increased youth and children population thus posing a challenge in terms of the number of people who require support and care .In this regard, he urged politicians to take the youth on board in the political spectrum of the region.

Symposium on the theme: “Harnessing Demographic Dividend in SADC through investment in youth”

Mr. Frederick Okwayo, Population Data Policy Advisor with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in East and Southern Africa informed the Plenary that Africa’s population currently stands at about 1.2 billion and is expected to double by 2050. In East and Southern Africa, adolescents and young people aged between 10 and 24 years represent nearly 33 percent of the total population and is projected       to double by the year 2050. This, he said, can either be an opportunity or a challenge.

The demographic dividend refers to the economic benefits that is realised when a           country has a relatively large proportion of working-age population due to declining   fertility and mortality and effectively invests in their health, empowerment, education and employment through public action and private sector involvement. In this regard, the region has a resource which, when, invested in, can leverage on the           economies of scale.

Essentially, when fertility goes down, the population age structure changes to reflect more people in the working age group population. When that happens, the dependency ratio thus declines.  Mr. Okwayo stressed that demographic dividend, therefore, presents potential for economic growth.

The region should be able to take advantage of demographic dividend using a variety of instruments that include Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and           Agenda 2063.

For Demographic Dividend to become real, duty bearers who include Members of Parliament, development partners and the private sector need to focus on  investments in this area. The working age population needs to be empowered, kept healthy, educated and highly skilled in an environment that offers decent jobs.

SADC countries were encouraged to benefit from the demographic dividend through, increasing or expanding family planning commodities and services to change the population age structure by emulating the commonly referred to as the Asian Tigers in order to realise the benefits of demographic dividends.

Meeting of the Executive Committee (EXCO) and Resolutions of the Plenary Assembly

The Executive Committee met in camera in accordance with Article 12 (2) of the SADC PF Constitution which exclusively stipulates that, “The Executive Committee shall consist of Presiding Officers, Representatives designated by the Members Parliaments and the Chairperson of the Regional Women's Parliamentary Caucas as an ex-officio member” and deliberated on the following matters;

Feasibility and Hosting of Parliamentary Studies Institute (PSI)

After assessing the progress made towards the establishment of the Parliamentary Studies Institute (PSI) and Zimbabwe’s willingness to host, the Executive Committee resolved that the decision on the establishment of the PSI must be informed by a clear understanding of the financial implications and the curriculum offered.

EXCO, therefore, tasked the Finance Sub-Committee to be seized with the cost implications and curricula in liaison with an external consultant and report back to the EXCO.

The Speakers of the National Assemblies of Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe were tasked to work out the modalities of the operationalisation of the PSI.

Secretary- General’s Residence

Noting that the issue had been on the Forum’s agenda for a long time, the Executive Committee resolved that Hon. Professor Katjivivi, Speaker of the National Assembly of Namibia, Hon. Monica Mutsvangwa, Vice –President of the SADC Parliamentary Forum and Hon. Terence Mondon, Treasurer, should proceed to purchase the official residence of the Secretary- General within three months from the 15th of July 2017. Furthermore, payment of Housing Allowance to the Secretary- General should cease immediately after the purchase of the official residence.

Staff Issues at the SADC Parliamentary Forum

The Executive Committee raised a number of issues with regards to the general administration of the Forum and resolved as follows:-

·       That the SADC PF Secretariat with additional responsibilities should not be paid as this is not provided for in contractual obligations. Furthermore, the Legal Sub-Committee was tasked to oversee all issues related to staff with additional responsibilities;

·       The position of the Executive Assistant to the Secretary-General should be filled after advertising through all SADC Parliaments. This process should take place no later than a month after the end of the 41st Plenary Assembly Session, as per established recruitment procedure for Regional positions, taking into account SADC Member Parliaments equity;

·       The SADC PF's organisational structure which was meant to address the challenges of “Operating like a Parliament” be considered further, by the Human Resources and Parliamentary Capacity Development Sub- Committee and the Finance – Sub- Committee.

·       The Executive Committee adopted draft amendments to the Constitution of the SADC Parliamentary Forum to ensure continuity when the President, Vice- President or Treasurer ceased to be members of the respective Parliaments in accordance with Article 11 of the Constitution. Furthermore, Rule 13 of the SADC PF Constitution was amended after clause (2) to provide for a new clause (3) being renumbered as (4) “Immediately after the election of the President and Vice- President, and designation of the Treasurer pursuant to the Constitution, the Executive Committee shall establish Sub- Committees during the same session”.

·       The Plenary adopted the amendment of the Constitution Article 11 (11) to read, “Except as otherwise provided in this Constitution, a Presiding Officer or an ordinary Member who is unable to attend a Session of the Plenary Assembly or any other organ of the Forum or a Sub-Committee thereof,  may be represented by a proxy designated by the Member of Parliament, paying due regard to the requisite credentials for the relevant Committee as set out in the Rules of Procedure”.

The Executive Committee resolved to support the proposal by South Africa to back the candidature of Mozambique, the current Deputy President for the 2018 PAP Presidency and the resolution was unanimously supported.

The Mahe Declaration

The Executive Committee and the Plenary Assembly resolved to adopt the Mahe Declaration which, among other issues, committed Members of 14 Southern African Development Community (SADC) Parliamentary Forum countries to address root causes of the prevalence of HIV among women and young girls by reducing poverty and ensuring access to quality health services and information. The Assembly recommended that women and girls should have access to education, there is need to end child marriages and protect those already in these marriages. The declaration also highlighted the importance of strengthening legislation and policies on human rights and gender, including young people and those living with HIV and reducing stigma and discrimination.

Papua New Guinea Request

On the request by Mr. Octovianus Mote, the Secretary -General of the United Liberation Movement of West Papua Guinea, an organisation fighting against the decolonization of West Papua New Guinea, the Plenary resolved that, whilst committing itself to the liberation of all oppressed people, it further scrutinizes the credentials of the movement before giving it the opportunity to address the Plenary Assembly.

Treasurer’s Report

It is trite to note that most issues had an overarching bearing to the Executive Committee Report of the SADC PF. The Committee deliberated and resolved as follows:-

The Staff salaries of all the employees be assessed in ZAR terms as contracts are denominated in Namibian Dollar (N$);

The Annual Contribution by Member Parliaments should be computed in ZAR and not US Dollar terms. The invoices for Annual Contributions should be sent to all National Parliaments in December of the year proceeding the financial year being invoiced;

Any increment in Annual Member Contributions should be based on an increase in the Forum's administration and operational costs and not on fluctuation of exchange rates between USD and ZAR;

No interest should be charged for any late payment of Annual Contributions so as not to penalise National Parliaments who are already experiencing financial difficulties.

            The United Nations per diem rate for staff should be adopted as a cost saving measure and there should not be a differentiation in the payment of such per diem; and

            A consultant should be engaged to review the Salary structure of the SADC PF Secretariat.

Approval of the Budget of 2017/2018 Budget

          A budget, outlining the estimates of revenue and expenditure for the 2018/19 financial year was approved noting all issues raised by the Plenary Assembly.

Motions adopted during the Plenary Assembly

In tandem with its constitutive mandate, as the policy making and deliberative body of      SADC PF, the 41st Plenary   Assembly discussed and resolved various issues of regional importance and concerns as set out in the Executive Committee Report, reports of the Standing Committees and the Regional Women’s Parliamentary Caucus and SADC PF Members’ motions.                                                                                                                                                

Motion for the Accelerated Implementation of Gender Mainstreaming as a Strategy for Gender Equality

The motion was moved by Hon. Sikhumbuzo Ndlovu of Swaziland and seconded by Hon. Monica Mutsvangwa of Zimbabwe.   The motion, among other things, noted that the SADC Treaty, Article 6 (2) obliged Member States not to discriminate against any person on the grounds of gender, hence urged National Parliaments to adopt gender mainstreaming in order to ensure gender equality in decision-making positions in line           with the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development.

Furthermore, the motion urged National Parliaments and Governments to come up with creative ways of developing, implementing and sustaining gender mainstreaming strategies.

The Plenary Assembly, therefore, adopted the motion taking into account the need to promote closer regional cooperation as a precursor to Gender equity and parity.

Motion on the Adoption of SADC PF Election Observation Mission to the 2017 Lesotho National Assembly Elections

The report on the mission to Lesotho, 26th May to 5th June, 2017, was presented by Hon. Dithapelo Keorapetse, the Mission Leader and Member of Parliament of the National Assembly of Botswana.

With regards to the mission, the Plenary concluded that:-

·    There was constant engagement for all political parties including a 24 -hour call centre to raise queries from the general public;

·    Applauded the existence of a legally binding Electoral Code of Conduct to guide all stakeholders to the electoral process; and

·    Lauded the use of transparent ballot boxes in the elective process; among other issues.

The Mission, therefore, was satisfied that a peaceful and conducive environment existed for the conduct of free and fair elections.

The Plenary also urged the SADC PF Secretariat to prioritize the attendance of Members of Parliament as opposed to the preponderance of domination of the mission by the SADC PF Secretariat as is currently obtaining.  Furthermore, it was resolved that Members of Parliament of the SADC Parliamentary Forum should form part of the election observation missions in the region noting gender parity and political party representation. The report was unanimously adopted.

Motion on Harnessing Demographic Dividend in the SADC Region through Investment in Youth

The motion was moved by Hon. Patricia Kainga, M.P. of Malawi and seconded by Hon. Sikhumbuzo Ndlovu, Member of Parliament from Swaziland.

The motion, as discussed extensively in the Symposium, focused on the strategies of facilitating and improving access to capital and credit by the youth.  Furthermore, the Plenary urged the promotion of youth volunteer programmes and other internship opportunities to enhance their opportunities in education and skills development.

Finally, the Plenary noted the need to proscribe laws that improve the health and well-being of youths, support the increase of budget allocation to reproductive health and commodity security and enact laws that ensure that young people fully participate in the democratic governance at all levels. The motion was adopted.

Motion on the Status Quo of SADC National Women's Caucuses

The motion was moved by Hon. Dr. Jessie Kabwila of Malawi, seconded by Hon. Candida Celeste, M.P of Angola.  The motion, whilst acknowledging the steps that have been taken to ensure that women are elected into Parliament, urged Member Parliaments to do more to ensure that Women's Parliamentary Caucuses are robust and visible in their operations.

The Women's Parliamentary Caucuses should operate independently and, not be subordinate to Portfolio Committees, with adequate funding to embark on missions aimed at lobbying for 50/50 political representation at all levels of Government.  The motion was adopted.

Motion on Gender-Based Violence in the Southern Africa Development Community

The motion was moved by Hon. Masefele Morutoa, MP of South Africa and seconded by Hon. Jasmine Toffa, M.P of Zimbabwe. The motion envisaged the need for Member States to recognize that gender equality and equity is a fundamental human right and thereby urged Parliaments to do all within their means to ensure that proactive legislation is promulgated to end domestic violence, eradicate child marriages and protect those already in marriages.

The motion was adopted on the strength that Parliaments should ensure that budgets for gender-based violence are ring-fenced and that the Executive engages in gender responsive budgeting.

Motion on Severe Increase of Non- communicable Diseases as a Result of Overweight, Obesity and the Excessive Consumption of Sugary Foods and Beverages as Potential Risk to the SADC Region's Full Harnessing of its Demographic Dividend

The motion was moved by Hon. Ahmed Munzoor Shaik Eman, M.P of South Africa and seconded by Hon. Faustina Alves, M.P of Angola. The motion urged the Plenary to note with concern, the prevalence of diabetes and obesity in the region and beyond, thereby encouraging delegates to adopt healthy lifestyles. Furthermore, the motion urged SADC Parliaments to, in line with their mandates, engage their Governments on their national medium to long-term strategies including fiscal policies to address overweight and its associated risks in line with Sustainable Development Goal 3 (SDG) 3: on “Good health and well- being).

Motion on Condemning all Forms of Harassment, Bullying and Abuse of Children in Schools and their Environment in the SADC Region

The motion was moved by Hon. Regina Esparon, MP of Seychelles and seconded by Hon. Patricia Kainga MP of Malawi. 

The motion noted with concern the emergence of cyber bullying, harassment and abuse of children and youth through social media in Schools and institutions of learning.  Mindful of the African Charter on Human and People's Rights, the motion urged Parliamentarians to take appropriate measures to ensure that children and youth are protected from cyber- bullying and physical abuse at Schools and related centres of learning.

The motion pushed for the Member Parliaments to institute a survey at country level to appreciate the magnitude of the problem and take appropriate steps to curb cyber and physical bullying.

Motion for the Adoption of the Report of the Joint Committees on Trade, Industry,  Finance and Investment (TIFI) and that of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources (FANR)

The motion was moved by Hon. Tambudzani Mohadi of Zimbabwe, seconded by Hon. S. Mokgalapa of South Africa.

The report focused on the training of remaining countries in the region on the Model Law on Resource Barometer (SAB) which include Angola, Botswana, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles and Tanzania.  The Plenary urged the Committee to expedite training of these outstanding Member countries.

The Plenary expressed appreciation for the Summer School on Natural Resources Governance held from 24th to 28th October, 2016, in Pretoria, South Africa and encouraged the training of more members.

The Plenary considered the provisions for the Model Law on Private Sector participation in the mining sector and observed the need to improve transparency in that sector and check on the downstream benefits to Governments and the communities at large.

The Plenary Assembly adopted to contract a Legal Drafter to work with the expert on the Model Law to finalise the document.

Motion for the Adoption of the Report of the Committee Joint Sitting of the Human and Social and the Democratisation and Governance Committees

The motion was moved by Hon. A. Shaik –Emam of South Africa seconded by Hon. M. Gobin of South Africa.

The motion called on Member States to continue the re-orientation of Members of Parliament on Sustainable Development Goals and equip them on the accountability cycle.

The Plenary pledged to adopt the “leave no one behind” approach on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Plenary Assembly noted that good governance is the key to attaining Sustainable Development Goals and also noted social accountability as an emerging tool for economic, social and cultural development for SADC citizens.

Motion for the Adoption of the Report of the Standing Committee on Human And Social Development

The motion was moved by Hon. A. M. Shaik –Emam of South Africa and seconded by Hon. J. Toffa of Zimbabwe.

The Plenary resolved to  take a more proactive and inclusive approach to the SRHR programme since most Members of Parliament seem to be in the dark on this critical component of the SADC PF Development Partners Programmes.

The Committee urged SADC Speakers to institute a mechanism for Members of Parliament who constitute the SADC PF delegation to meet regularly and share information in general.

Resolution on the Amendment of the SADC PF Constitution, to establish the Regional Model Laws Oversight Committee

The Executive Committee resolved to establish a Regional Standing Committee on Oversight of Parliamentary Model Laws.

The Committee will be established primarily to strengthen the institutional capacity at regional level to conduct oversight over the implementation of Model Laws developed by the SADC PF.

In essence, the Committee will improve the oversight capacity of the SADC PF and increase accountability of SADC PF Member States in relation to Model Laws proposed.

It is trite to note that the Committee shall draw its resources as may be allocated by the SADC PF, hence will not be an albatross to Member Parliaments. On this strength, the resolution was adopted.

‘HeforShe’ Awards

It is important to note that Hon. Advocate Jacob Francis Mudenda, Speaker of the National Assembly, was honoured as a champion or an advocate of the ‘HeforShe’ Campaign, in recognition of his commitment, together with his peers, to the pledge of achieving tangible results in order to consummate gender equity and equality.

In this regard, Hon. Mudenda outlined the cardinal areas to which Parliament of Zimbabwe will prioritize in propagating the apostolic cause for gender equity and equality in the region which include;

·       Responsive gender mainstreaming Budget processes;

·       Ensuring that gender responsive laws which promote  human rights based women’s full participation in political decision making are aligned to the Zimbabwe Constitution and are adhered to religiously; and

·       To ensure that a raft of Family Laws are harmonised and aligned to the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

For this telling pro-active achievement, the Hon. Speaker together with his colleagues from Malawi, South Africa and Swaziland received awards.

It is important to note that the ZWPC has already begun aligning its action plan to the template provided for by the Hon. Speaker.

Recommendations

 

 

Resolution

Action

Timeline

1.

Support for Mozambique as the Candidate for Pan African Parliament Presidency.

The Plenary pledged to support Mozambique's candidature as the President of PAP.

30 October 2017.

2.

The operationalisation of Parliamentary Studies Institute (PSI).

The SADC Parliamentary Forum tasked the Parliamentary Legal Committee to interrogate the feasibility of setting up the institution with regards to cost and curricula.

Ongoing. The Committee to report during the next Plenary Assembly. To note that the terms of reference of the Committee have since been drafted.

3.

Inclusion of SADC PF Members into Election Observation Missions and maintain gender balance and political representation.

Member Parliaments to adhere to the proposal to maintain gender balance and political balance whilst seconding Members of the SADC PF.

 

Ongoing. All Observer Missions to be configured on the same premise.

4.

Raise Demographic Dividends within the region.

Members of Parliament to hold Workshops on Demographic Dividends to tap on their benefits. Engage the relevant Ministry of Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment. 

To solicit action programmes being implemented the Ministry Youth to tap in on demographic dividends by 30 October 2017.

5.

Consultations with peers before Plenary Assemblies.

The SADC Desk Officer to arrange meetings for consultations among the SADC PF delegation on issues of mutual concern to allow for one voice during Plenary Meetings. 

One meeting  by 30 October  2017

6.

‘HeforShe’ Campaign.

Liaison with the ZWPC on the follow-up to pledged areas of work.

Progress report by 30 October 2017.

7.

Secretary-General’s Residence.

Hon. Peter Katjavivi to convene a meeting to finalise the purchase of the Secretary- General's residence. Hon. Monica Mutsvanga, to be part of the Procurement Committee.

The Vice- President of the SADC PF awaits the convening of this meeting.

8.

Hold Workshops on SDGs to institutionalise them in the work of Members of Parliament.

Liaison with the Ministry of Macroeconomic Planning and Investment Promotion on what is being done at country -level.

-Heartening to note that a Workshop on SDGs was held under the theme “United Nations System and Sustainable Development Goals” at the Sango Conference Centre, Cresta Lodge Msasa on Monday 12 June 2017, with the assistance of the UN family in Zimbabwe.

Have an updated progress report on SDGs by -30 October 2017

9.

 

Mainstream the work of Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) in the work of all Members of Parliament

To hold a Zimbabwe Parliament Staff and Chairpersons Project institutionalisation and capacity development follow-up workshop.


10 and 11 September 2017.

 

10

Survey at Country level to appreciate the magnitude of cyber- bullying, harassment and abuse and take steps to curb the crimes.

Write to the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education to elicit the levels of abuse and harassment.

Request the Portfolio Committee on Primary and Secondary Education  to include the motion in their work-plan.

30 October 2017

Conclusion

The Republic of Seychelles was able to successfully host the 41st SADC Plenary session of the SADC Parliamentary Forum in the Island City of Mahe.  The Plenary Assembly pledged to ensure that resolutions adopted are implemented timeously and reported upon during the next Plenary Assembly.

The Secretariat was tasked to work on the modalities of identifying the venue of the next Plenary Assembly and write to Member Parliaments expeditiously to allow them to make adequate preparations for the calendar meeting.

The Plenary Assembly concluded with a farewell dinner at the Savoy Seychelles Resort and Spa on 14 July 2017.

          *HON. SEN. MAWIRE: Thank you Mr. President for affording me this opportunity to add my voice on this report which was presented by Hon. Sen. Mohadi.  I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Mohadi and the delegation which you went with to the SADC Parliamentary Forum on the 41st Plenary Assembly. 

          Unfortunately, I was not there but I will just add a few words.  I would like to thank those who went on our behalf.  It is very important that if there is anything taking place in the SADC Parliament, we should go and participate so that we move together with others.  We were really blessed by the issues which were raised especially those issues which give us challenges as a nation.  So, by attending, I think we got some good advice from other countries. 

          Hon. Sen. Mohadi talked about adolescent people being abused in schools and also issues to do with HIV/AIDS.  The other thing which touched me is that this Committee on SADC said that they are not enough, that is why they filled up the vacant post of the Secretary General which was vacant.   The report also talked about the challenges that SADC is facing in terms of economic empowerment.  The Plenary did not leave out the women and the youths in their discussions because these are the people who normally face a lot of challenges.  So, I would like to thank the Plenary for bringing out some of those issues in their discussions.

          It is also good to work with others.  We heard that our neighbouring country Mozambique, was voted in favour of the post by all the SADC countries who attended this Plenary Assembly.  I would also like to thank our country because it also voted together with others voting for their neighbouring country that it should get this post.  If Mozambique attains this position, they will also be able to take our problems forward than voting for someone from Seychelles.

          The other thing that makes us happy is that they touched on gender equity issues that the disparity between men and women, for example in this country we are advocating for 50/50 gender balance.  In our country, we have a lot of women with posts who are in the SADC Parliament like the First Lady, Hon. Sen. Mutsvangwa and Hon. Sen. Mohadi.  So, if we continue going there and participating, they will start viewing us with a better eye as Zimbabweans and they will continue giving us positions.  I also noticed that even in the SADC Parliament Committees, Zimbabwe was well represented.  I do not have many issues to say but I will leave for others to also make their contributions, otherwise I will waffle because I was not part of the delegation that went there.  Thank you.

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

          HON. SEN. MAWIRE: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Wednesday, 21st March, 2018.

          On the motion of THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR PRESIDENTIAL AFFAIRS AND MONITORING GOVERNMENT PROGRAMMES (HON. SEN. MUMBENGEGWI) the Senate adjourned at Twenty Seven Minutes to Five o’clock p.m.

Senate Hansard SENATE HANSARD 20 MARCH 2018 VOL 27 NO 31