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SENATE HANSARD - 20 NOVEMBER 2013 VOL. 23 NO. 18

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Wednesday, 20th November, 2013

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

 

PRAYERS

(MADAM PRESIDENT in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY MADAM PRESIDENT

WOMEN’S PARLIAMENTARY CAUCUS WORKSHOP

MADAM PRESIDENT: I wish to inform the Senate that the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development is inviting all members of the Women’s Parliamentary Caucus to a half day workshop on the prevention of rape and sexual abuse on Thursday, 21st November, 2013 at Rainbow Towers, Jacaranda Room, from 0800 hours to 1300 hours.

SWITCHING OFF OF CELLPHONES

MADAM PRESIDENT: May I remind hon. senators to put their cellphones on silent.

MOTION

PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS

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

Question again proposed.

SENATOR MOHADI: I move that the debate do now adjourn.

SENATOR MUMVURI: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Thursday, 21st November, 2013.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE SENATE

SENATOR NCUBE: Thank you Madam President. I move that Order of the Day, Number 2 be stood over …

An hon. member having passed between the member speaking and the Chair.

MADAM PRESIDENT: Order, order. We need to remember our regulations all the time. You may not move between a debater and the Chair.

SENATOR NCUBE: Madam President, I move that Order of the Day, Number 2 be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the Day have been disposed of.

SENATOR W. SIBANDA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

ALIGNMENT OF LAWS TO THE CONSTITUTION

Third Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the harmonisation of existing legislation with the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

Question again proposed.

SENATOR NCUBE: Thank you Madam President for giving me this opportunity to debate on the motion that was moved by Senator Marava. Hon. senators should be reminded from the onset that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land and any other law is ultra-vires and is null and void. It is therefore critical that the first port of call is the Constitution itself that we did address in the Seventh Parliament as the first and most critical stage of our legislative process, which we did for the just government of men.

A nation worth its salt is inclined to put in place laws that protect its citizens. This entails any measures and regulations that the nation may deem fit for the peace, order and good governance of the country. Among the list of such measures, the Government must uphold the sanctity of organisations to which it is designatory to, particularly in regional and international declarations, which require the protection and upholding of human rights, furthermore or legislative. Instruments and programmes must meet the standards that fulfill the rights of women, children and other vulnerable groups as provided for in our Constitution.

As alluded to by the mover of the motion, the justice system must enhance the welfare and democratic rights of all its citizens in a transparent and comprehensive manner, which must be devoid of any intimidation. Hindrance laws related to such policy should be aligned such that the salient issues that do not conform to the Constitution are addressed as paramount. Cognisance should be taken of the fact that the Government has in the past made strenuous efforts to coordinate policy reforms and their implementation. These did not go far enough as there were always some glaring loopholes such as lack of stakeholder participation, which in most cases was not done.

For example, in cases of domestic violence, sexual abuses, capital punishment, stock thefts and other related offences, there are glaring omissions which need to be aligned to the Constitution as a matter of urgency. It is in this regard to guarantee the rights and comprehensive support and care of the citizens. The mover of the motion alluded to the fact that some sections of the Constitution came into effect on the 22nd of May 2013, when the new Constitution was gazetted. The rest of the Constitution came into effect on the 22nd August 2013. He singled out specific provisions such as the right to life as provided in Section 48 of the Constitution. It violates the Constitution in that it can only be imposed on man between the ages of 21 and 70. It does not include women who may be convicted of murder in aggravating circumstances.

Firstly, the law should not be selective, it must apply comprehensively, regardless of gender. Secondly, the death penalty itself is medieval and we would rather not apply it to our citizens at all. Other forms of punishment should be considered, in this regard the act of depriving someone of his life as punishment would have been addressed. The other provision that the Senator cited was on the rights of arrested, detained and accused persons, as provided for in Sections 50 and 70 of the Constitution.

The relevant pieces of legislation should be aligned to each other so that they address all the mischief that makes them ultra vires to the Constitution of Zimbabwe. I call upon this august Senate to expeditiously address the issue of aligning our laws to the Constitution and that this motion be supported in its entirety. I thank you Madam President.

SENATOR MOHADI: Thank you Madam President. I wish to thank the movers of this motion. Madam President, if we were all there at the Official Opening of the Eighth Parliament by the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, you will find that he talked mostly about these alignments. Madam President, if you can allow me to quote him, he said that “The Eighth Parliament of Zimbabwe is seized with the task of aligning the existing various pieces of legislation to the new Constitution. There is need to come up with new legislation to give legal underpinning to the new structures and institutions provided for in the Constitution. Additionally, the Eighth Parliament is expected to deal with outstanding legislative business of the Seventh Parliament”.

This is the end of the quote and taking into consideration what he said, if ever we were all there, it is never too late because he mentioned it. We went for the Referendum leading to the new Constitution in February and from there we were busy with the elections. After elections, our new Executive, that is the Ministers, assumed their offices less than three months ago and we cannot expect miracles because miracles are done by prophets and many others.

The new Executive is also still doing its induction, aligning themselves with their ministries and we cannot expect them to do wonders so soon. As long as it has been said, according to me everything is in order, that will be done as per order and there are procedures to be followed. Apart from that there ought to be some gazettes and many other things and we cannot expect the Executive to do all those things in a month’s time. I thank you Madam President.

*SENATOR MAHOFA: Thank you Madam President for giving me this opportunity, I expect that this august Senate works as one of the three arms of the State and that the three arms of the State work together, specifically the Executive and the Legislature. If I recall this motion was put on the Order Paper and that led us to invite the Minister of Justice. He came to this Senate and he conceded that indeed what Senators were posing as questions was the correct position. That is what their ministry was looking into so that they can align these laws to be brought before the Legislature. I believe that there is no better explanation than that. As a result of that, all of us who contributed to this motion then kept quiet. I thank you.

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

SENATOR MOHADI: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Thursday, 21st November, 2013.

MOTION

CANCER TREATMENT POLICY

Fourth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on cancers.

Question again proposed.

+SENATOR MLOTSHWA: Thank you Madam President, I stand up to contribute on this motion. In Ndebele cancer in Ndebele is called Mvukuzani that is its proper name. Madam President, I stand up to speak about cancer as it is a motion that was brought to this Senate by Senator Timveous and supported by Senator Marava. The issue of cancer is a very important matter and it is our duty as hon. senators to speak about everything. It is our duty to speak about them when they are brought to this Senate.

Madam President, I am touched by the issue of cancer because my mother died of throat cancer in 2006 and my husband died of cancer in 2004. I wonder if people really realise that cancer is a big problem and that it is a terrible disease. Madam President, the Government should realise that as women, this disease attacks us in different ways and in different places. It could be on the breast, womb, throat and as I have said before, anywhere else.

Madam President, cancer is a very big problem to women, therefore I stood up to urge the Government to make sure that whenever one is attacked by cancer, they are helped by the Government, because as an individual no one can manage it. If you look at it closely, cancer comes when you are unaware, there is no way you can prevent it. Most of the time it is passed on genetically; it comes with the family tree. It is my wish that the Government looks at the issue of chronic diseases, like cancer, diabetes and asthma, so that they are given enough funds like the funds that are allocated to HIV. HIV is given enough funds, time for campaigns and support, yet at times people get HIV when they are enjoying themselves, whereas cancer and diabetes just come when you are unaware. Therefore, since we have come to a stage where everyone knows about HIV, how you get it and how you prevent it, I urge the Government to take a look at these other diseases.

Madam President, women need to be helped by the Government on this issue of cancer. Older women should be encouraged to go for check-ups in hospitals because if cancer is in the womb and is noticed at an early stage, it can be removed. They can go on with their lives without the womb and no one will realise that they had their womb removed. Usually, they will not even be using it. They continue with their lives without this disease spreading all over their bodies.

If women are helped at an early stage of contracting breast cancer and the cancer together with the breast is removed, they continue with their lives without facing any difficulties or problems and there will not be any disease in their bodies. Madam President, cancer, as I said earlier, killed my mother and my husband. As a result, I am an orphan because of cancer; if you do not have a husband then you are an orphan.

There is insurance, whereby people contribute over time so that at a certain stage, one gets that money back. If only the Government could look at that issue, such that people can prepare themselves because this cancer usually attacks people at a later stage. It would be better for one to save small amounts of money and as time goes by one can use the funds towards the treatment of the disease. If the Government has not developed a policy on this issue and one has not used the money, upon death the money can be used by the children. That would be wisdom, if at a younger age people save money and then when they are older, that money can be used when such diseases attack them.

The upkeep of someone who has cancer is very difficult and expensive. With throat cancer, there are boils that develop inside the throat such that someone cannot swallow anything. In the hospitals, they create a hole on the neck for food to go through. After about 14 days another boil develops on that hole. Even when one wants to drink water, they cannot drink it because they cannot even swallow their own saliva. I guess you can all imagine that, especially when someone is old and they are going through such a situation. Worst of all, there will not be enough money. I hope that the Government allocates enough funds to diseases like cancer, so that it supports all the people who suffer from this disease or that there be an insurance policy set up to encourage everyone to save money so that when they are attacked by such chronic diseases, they will have money to go to the hospital and for those people who are looking after the people who are sick.

If you come from a poor background no one comes to help the family so that the person who is sick is taken to hospital. However, if there is enough money, the family is willing to help and everyone is willing to take part. Madam President, with thosefew words, I would like to emphasise that the issue of cancer and other chronic diseases like diabetes be taken seriously so that when we talk about it we do not consider race or political affiliation but we have to take into account that one day you could be attached by these diseases and suffer from them. Thank you Madam President.

SENATOR MUTSVANGWA : Thank you very much Madam President. I would also want to thank the movers of this wonderful motion, Hon. Senator Timveos and seconded by Hon. Senator Marava. This is a very important motion because we are at a time in Zimbabwe where cancer is actually killing more than HIV/AIDS and many other communicable diseases combined. This is the time we should be talking about a clear policy document in respect of awareness of this disease, counselling, screening, treatment and charges of this disease, it is also important that we need to look at our cultural beliefs. It is also important as senators, as representatives of the people what is it that we can do to make people aware of cancer and its biggest problems.

Cancer is a non-communicable disease and it has become deadly like I said; HIV and all the other pandemics remain behind. Whilst for HIV/ Aids there is an Aids Levy in this country yet no cancer levy, what it means is that a lot of these NGOs have rushed to put money into HIV/AIDS and not much money has been put into cancer.

We would also like to look at the statistics themselves which are given by the National Cancer Registry, they were last taken in 2007, and it is because there is no funding which is going through. We want to say, whilst this is taking a lot of Zimbabweans, there is still a lot of ignoring cancer. Cancer is not something which the Ministry of Health should be just concerned about alone, but all stakeholders, ministries, corporate companies and individuals should come to think of it. If Zimbabweans are aware of the dangers of cancer and if everybody has got to pay a dollar, that will go a long way to treat the poor.

Medication of cancer is available, the drugs are available but obviously our people are poor. In a country where people are surviving on a dollar per day, you can imagine what it is like when you need to be treated. It takes about US$100 up to US$1000 for a cycle of treatment of chemotherapy and radiotherapy and it shows the amount of problems being faced by our people. We are aware of the fact that there are only two hospitals, Parirenyatwa and Mpilo Hospitals that are at the moment screening cancer and treating it. The truth of the matter is that there are lots of people who are not even aware that what they are suffering from is cancer.

I feel as Parliamentarians, we have to work very hard to make sure that we take a very aggressive awareness campaign out there in our communities so that people understand that cancer is a deadly disease and that it is not witchcraft. Cancer will make your husband divorce you or your family deny you entry into their homes, because this is a general myth out there. These are some of the cultural beliefs that we need take out from the people. We need to educate women to go for a pap smear because it is recommended that women should go at least every six months or every year depending on the age of the women. It is also important to teach our people out there that multiple sexual partnerships will cause cancer. Early onset of sexual activity by some children these days beginning to have sex from the age of nine is a dangerous thing because that will cause cancer. Yes, we grow tobacco but smoking also is actually one of the reasons of getting cancer. Multiple child birth - that it is why it is important for our women out there to know the importance of family planning and if there are so many of them, that also can cause cancer.

It is actually us as senators who need to educate the communities; the peoples’ expectations are always looking forward to their representatives in Parliament. Our people need to know exactly what cancer is all about and that it is killing more than HIV/Aids. When you walk into a hospital and diagnosed with cancer you are worse off than the person who is diagnose with HIV/AIDS.

The cost of chemotherapy alone, Madam President, and radiotherapy is US$1000 and yet many of our people will not be able to afford that, hence we are saying all stakeholders must come in. Yes, we know that our Government is going through a very difficult time economically but we need everyone to get involved. We need corporate companies and individuals to also get involved so that we can certainly put a stop to this pandemic.

I want to say, Madam President to this august Senate that cancer is a very big burden for this country and the world over and there is no way we can no longer afford to ignore the disease. We need to seriously deal with cancer as soon as possible and I think as senators, it is our mandate to get out there and take an aggressive awareness campaign. People need to quickly get detected. If you are screened and cancer is found in you before it is on stages three and four it can be treated. So we can save lives if people know. Although we have two hospitals we would like our Government to come up with more decentralised hospitals so that at least people will have access to more hospitals where they can be detected but the fact of the matter is, do our people know that it is cancer? Most of the times a lot of people change doctors. They spend a lot of time going to this doctor and saying, ‘oh! this doctor said there is nothing wrong with me’ and you go to many of them. So we would like to make our people understand that this cancer if detected early will save lives. Thank you.

*SENATOR MACHINGAIFA: Thank you Madam President, for giving me this opportunity to make my contribution on this debate. We are really saddened by the death of women who are the bearers of the human race, women who entertain us and keep us alive, it is very painful.

As I am standing here, I have a brother who died because of cancer in 2000. So when I am talking, I am doing so from experience not from hearsay. In those years the country was under a steady economy, we had doctors visiting us, making home visits and they belonged to the Cancer Association of Zimbabwe but I do not think that situation still prevails. Yes, we may have our machines which are used in the treatment of cancer and we may go about telling people about cancer but the biggest problem in the treatment of cancer is the cash to buy medication. When I was growing up, I used to see people who belonged to the Rotary Club and other companies, who used to make donations for the treatment of cancer to the people who could not afford treatment. As senators, let us speak with one voice and look for ways of assisting people affected and infected because our Government is in problems. The donors who used to give assistance are the companies and industries. As we speak now, these industries have been shut down; they no longer function fully because of sanctions. You can only get money if these sanctions are removed and the companies start to be progressive and then the Government can start getting money. Dear friends and colleagues let us work together and fight for the removal of sanctions. We need these sanctions to be removed so that we can get donors and business assistance because we know we need money. There are very few people being employed, all we get are vendors, people are vending in order to sustain their livelihood.

Madam President, it is really pathetic, I thank the people who moved this motion Hon. Timveos and Hon. Marava. Thank you very much for this motion which you have raised. My request to you is, my colleagues when there are people who want to refer to debate, you need to refer to what the President said when he was opening up the Parliament. The President is the father and you know that in any home you need to have a father and a mother and we are talking about the Head of State and therefore, when we are debating this issue we need to refer to his contribution. I thank you Madam President.

*MADAM PRESIDENT: Tinotenda Hon. Machingaifa. Hon. Marava marumwa muchifuridzirwa ka - [HON MEMBERS: Hear, hear]-

*SENATOR CHIZEMA: Madam President, I also want to make my contribution on this pandemic of cancer. Most of the problems that are said to be emanating from the Government or people, are placing more emphasis or putting pressure on Government on what is supposed to be done. The recent speaker talked about what happened to the Rotarians. You find that whenever they have a problem, they put their heads together. But, unfortunately, as the black people of Zimbabwe, we are failing to work as a cooperative. Let us not talk about cancer, there are institutions where those with money have made contributions because they did not want their children to be street kids. But, you find that as Africans, regardless of our wealth we are not able to put our money together and assist those of us who are in such a situation. We have people who, as we speak, have seven cars in their car ports. Even if you go to their houses they have cars ranging from five to eight. Yet you find that these people, when there is a beggar who comes asking for assistance from them, they do not give a thing. We need to change our culture; and be sympathetic with our people. We are the people who are living in this world we need to be assisting each other.

When people have cancer we need to create institutions such as Island Hospice, they were started by the whites who had seen that there were people who were suffering from cancer. These people are contributing monthly for the sustenance of people who are suffering from cancer. But, as Africans we are not able to give support to that. As Africans whenever we see these things, we end up saying oh! this problem is going from bad to worse. As far as I am concerned, this problem has nothing to do with sanctions but the problem is that few people are working. But I am saying when we say there are sanctions, I expect that people who have so many cars should be putting their minds together to help the unfortunate in our communities especially cancer patients.

MADAM PRESIDENT: Thank you very much Senator Chizema for your contribution.

*SENATOR CHIMBUDZI: Thank you Madam President, let me make my contribution on this interesting topic. Cancer cannot be a problem of those in our society but it is a problem of all people in Zimbabwe. As Zimbabweans, let us be known to speak in unison, speak with one voice so that we can solve our problems. If we join hands together as the people of Zimbabwe, we can solve all our problems. We have a collective job which we have to do, especially as Senators, we need to give education to people in rural areas. You will find that there are people out there who are suffering from cancer but they are not aware that they are suffering from cancer. So, what we need to do is to roll out a programme, just like what we did when we were in the COPAC. We need to help people from all the parties, and listen to what the people say and they are going to give us their opinion. As people of Zimbabwe let us work together and teach our people to be aware of this cancer. You find that even these people who are suffering from cancer, they go to the prophets who claim that they can heal such a problem. Therefore, we need to be aware; we need to teach people, we need to create awareness as the people of Zimbabwe. We find that cancer is not discriminatory.

Whether you are white, black, rich or poor whatever, it will attack you. But, we need people to stand together as people of Zimbabwe let us learn to speak with one voice. We have a Government, to support whatever you are saying especially when you speak with one voice. You are the Government, whenever Zimbabwe is given a bad name, you are the people who are being insulted because you are the people in Zimbabwe who are Zimbabweans. I appeal to the people, let us speak together let us find ways of beating this problem because we need to put our heads together and create this awareness and how to solve this problem. At times we need to eliminate this problem but we may have something to alleviate the problem faced by the sufferers and their families.

*SENATOR MANYERUKE: Thank you Madam President, I also want to put my views on this motion which was moved and seconded by Hon. Marava. I would like to thank the hon. members who raised this motion regarding the people of Zimbabwe. But, I would like to make this announcement to people regarding cancer, this is an illness which has been there before and even during the time of our forefathers. When the whites came in 1890, they prevented us from using our traditional medicine and that was a turning point from bad to worse because you will find that people were no longer using traditional medicine but trying to use European medicine.

Let me further say because of this pandemic, we started leaving all things which we used traditionally and we went to the clinics to get treatment. But, we were surviving from herbs but this is not a new disease it is not a new ailment. When we say cancer in English it is an abbreviation when we talk of cancer. Cancer in Ndebele is called imvukuzane and in Shona it is called mhuka, nhuta and some people call it mvukemvuke, it had so many names because there were people who were able to treat it. As we speak, these traditional healers are still there but the problem we face is that, there are people who are saying we cannot use this traditional medicine. But, in our Constitution we have since urged people to use something in their environment so that we look for traditionalist who are able to use this. I know there is somebody who can use this and there is somebody in Dande who can also be able to treat this cancer. You find that people need thousands of dollars for this treatment and traditional healers only ask for a chicken or a goat, which people we have got and this really we can afford in treating this disease. As of now, we are looking for sponsors, who can sponsor the treatment, including the medication. As the Upper House, let us put our heads together and look for ways of treating this ailment. We should talk to the Minister of Health, Dr. Parirenyatwa who can make a list of traditional healers who can treat cancer. When he has them, patients can be referred to them so that they get treatment.

I found out that in hospitals, people are just put on chemotherapy and other means but we need them to be treated. What happens with cancer is that when it is treated on the leg, if that part is treated by those other means it spreads to other parts of the body, yet we know that with somebody who has been treated by traditional means, the cancer goes away. Let us use both ways of treatment, we are people of Zimbabwe; the black people of Zimbabwe; let us use our traditional ways of treating cancer. As senators, let us have an outreach to encourage our people to use traditional ways. We have traditional healers who belong to ZINATHA; we need to work with them. That is my contribution, thank you Madam President.

SENATOR MUSAKA: Thank you Madam President. I also want to make a very brief contribution to the debate. I agree with all the contributions made, but there is one essential aspect left out. That is research and development into cancer to enhance all that has been said. Thank you.

*SENATOR MAWIRE: Thank you Madam President. I thank the mover of this motion, on cancer. This emanated from the speech delivered by His Excellency when he was officially opening the First Session of the 8th Parliament of Zimbabwe. We have noted that as a country, we are very much affected by this ailment. Therefore, we should make a resolution as Senate, since we are the upper House, we need to make clear and concise resolutions. Some people are talking of introducing a fund, whereby people would make contributions for the treatment of this ailment, others recommended that we should talk to the Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr. Parirenyatwa so that he can look for ways and means to contact traditionalists who will be able to treat this ailment. I am supporting what has been said, and take all suggestions as resolutions which should be implemented. This should be done immediately, without delay.

My apologies Madam President I may seem to be going out of topic.

MADAM PRESIDENT: We do not want people who go out of topic deliberately.

*SENATOR MAWIRE: Let me make my further contribution, we should not feel hurt, especially when people are talking on sanctions. The sanctions are hurting - [MADAM PRESIDENT: You are right, you knew, you were going to debate on a new topic, a creation of your own]-

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

SENATOR MODADI: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 21st November, 2013.

On the motion of SENATOR TAWENGWA seconded by SENATOR MOHADI, the Senate adjourned at Twenty Minutes past Three o’clock p.m.

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Senate Hansard Vol. 23 SENATE HANSARD - 20 NOVEMBER 2013 VOL. 23 NO. 18