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SENATE HANSARD - 21 MARCH 2012 VOL. 21 NO. 23

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

 

Wednesday, 21st March 2012.

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

 

PRAYERS

(MADAM PRESIDENT in the Chair)

 

ANNOUNCEMENT BY MADAM PRESIDENT

 

SWITCHING OFF OF CELLPHONES

 

MADAM PRESIDENT: I have to remind hon. senators to

 

switch off their cellphones before the commencement of business.

 

MOTION

 

MEASURES TO CURB DROUGHT

SENATOR MOHADI: Madam Speaker, I move the motion standing in my name that;

COGNISANT of the harsh climatic conditions in region 5 with record temperatures of over 40 degrees celsius;

AWARE that the unreliable rainfall patterns often result in severe food shortages emanating from chronic droughts;

CONCERNED at the inadequacy of drought relief assistance by Government through the Grain Marketing Board;

NOW THEREFORE urges Government to take immediate steps to:

i) increase the level of relief assistance beyond the current four months cover;

ii) extend loan facilities to farmers for livestock production thereby avoiding the depletion of the national herd; and

iii) develop irrigation schemes and rehabilitate existing ones.

SENATOR CHIEF NGUNGUMBANE: I second.

SENATOR MOHADI: Thank you Madam President, my motion will mostly dwell on the food situation, the relief assistance, livestock production and irrigation scheme. Madam President, you will find that in our country Zimbabwe, we have been affected by climate change and as a result you will find that those areas that are in region 5, which have low rainfall, and more still the rainfall is unevenly distributed are facing challenges, and the climate changes have worsened the situation. In region 5 we sometimes get 40 - 45 degrees Celsius temperatures and instead of crops getting dry in these areas they are scotched because the heat is just above normal. There is no food in these areas and there are surveys that have been carried to find out how best these people can survive. As a result 15 - 25% of the dry areas are along the Zambezi Valley, Matabeleland North and South, some parts in Mashonaland Central, and areas in Mashonaland West Provinces, Rushinga District, the northen parts of Mashonaland East Provinces, northern parts of Nyanga district, the southern tip of Chipinge district and the central parts of Manicaland provinces covering Buhera, Mutare and Chimanimani districts and the central and northern parts of Masvingo provinces.

These areas have been greatly affected and I put it across this august House that we have to come up with measures that can assist these areas as they are facing starvation. We all know that the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development was not given sufficient money, I appeal to the Ministry of Finance if they could put aside a special grant for the Ministry of Agriculture in order for them to alleviate the issue of hunger. I would like to thank Government's efforts for trying to combat hunger in these areas by giving the grain loan for four months. I would like to emphasize on the point that if these people are to survive, the grain loan has to continue up to the next harvesting season because as of now these people have nothing to eat. I would also extend to what I said that I would be looking at about four issues. I would also like to extend that these loan facilities should go as far as to the livestock production because as we are looking at the condition at the moment, there is nothing that our cattle can live on.

We would also urge Government to put more money into the irrigation schemes so that they develop. Those that are already there are to be rehabilitated and the new ones are to be constructed.

Madam President, you will find that when we talk about the irrigation schemes, you will find that in all, we have got about seventeen irrigation schemes that where started during the year 2002, and up to date these irrigation schemes are not yet finished. If at all these irrigation schemes where finished, you would find that we would be talking about something like some supplementary feeding not total feeding per-se.

If we look at the dam in Beitbridge, it has a capacity of over 33 million cubic metres of water and irrigable land of more than 1000 hectares and it was completed between 1998 - 1999, and if it had an irrigation scheme, we would be talking about more than enough food in Beitbridge which would avert hunger as well.

If we take for example, Tokwe-Mkhorsi, if it was completed from the time it was started, we would be talking about something else. Kunzwi and others only to mention a few. There are so many of them.

We encourage that the Ministry of Agriculture be given more money so that these projects, which where started long time ago will be completed. May be we would be talking about food on other areas.

I have got a list of these dams that I have been talking about, but the list is too long and I will skip the list without mentioning them. We would want ...

MADAM PRESIDENT: You can submit the list so that it is reflected in the Hansard.

SENATOR MOHADI: Thank you Madam President. Looking at these dams and other small irrigation schemes, these small irrigation schemes are not being used in full capacity.

Let me take for example the irrigation scheme I am familiar with, the Shashe irrigation scheme in Beitbridge with a capacity of over 120 hectares meant for irrigation, but at the moment it is only utilising something like 40 hectares of which it does not even help at all.

Looking at the livestock production, you will find that areas like Matabeleland North, South and part of Masvingo, depend solely on livestock and looking at the condition at present, Madam President, it is pathetic because when I mention these areas, there is not single grass that you will get at this point.

If we are talking about March, what about the time when we will get to October. I do not know if our livestock will be there.

I urge the Government to look into this matter seriously because the national heard will be gone by that time. We need supplementary feeding.

If our irrigation schemes were working properly, there would be options. We would grow grass like lucerne for feeding livestock but as of now, I do not know what would happen. I think members of this august House who are from such areas, will support me because it looks like outside there.

Still on the livestock production issue, if we had our cattle like we used to have during the previous years, we were looking at beef production being done here locally. You will remember Madam President, some time in the past in Matabeleland when we had the beef production at West Nicholson where beef was produced here and sold all over the world.

It made this industry grow.

We are looking at companies like Cold Storage to be assisted because they already have structures which are intact, but they are just white elephants because they have nothing to put there. If we look into these issues, maybe our beef industry would grow also.

Looking at the drought relief, you will find that we are no longer talking about the maize crop. It has been declared a write-off so the Government should put more effort on this issue so that our people will survive. Madam President, these were the sentiments that I thought I should put across when looking at these areas that were badly hit by the drought so that we could put our heads together and find a solution to combat the issue of hunger.

Dams for Irrigation

Dam

Full Supply Net Capacity, 103m3

Provonce

District

Potential Irrigation ha

Bindura

46000

Mashonaland Central

Bindura

12400

Siolverstroom

140 000

Mashonaland Central

Centenary

2000

Kudu

1551400

Midlands/Mash West

Kadoma/Gokwe

25000

Mhondoro

15700

Mashonaland West

Chegutu

6700

Leopard

80000

Mashonaland West

Kadoma

650

Kunzwi

157930

Mashonaland East

Goromonzi/Murewa

600

Muda

98000

MashonalandEast

Harare

2700

Chivhu

22800

Mashonaland East

Chivhu

 

GWAYI-sHANGANI

634270

Matabeleland North

Hwange

 

BubuiLupane

40230

Matabeleland North

Lupane

 

Ziminya

94000

Matabeleland North

Nkayi

3000

Tuli-Moswa

419000

Matabeleland South

Gwanda

2000

Gwayi-Mguza

195000

Matabeleland North

Tsholotsho

 

Tuli-Manyange

33000

Matabeleland South

Gwanda

2400

Chitowe

1542000

Manicaland

Chipinge/Chiredzi

35700

Kondo

3565000

Manicaland

Mutare

72000

Marovanyati

5000

Manicaland

Buhera

1250

Lundi-Tende

2000000

Masvingo

Chivi/Mwenezi

2400

SENATOR CHIEF NGUNGUMBANE: Thank you Madam President. I rise to support the motion moved by Senator Mohadi. Let me begin by saying, according to human psychologist like Abraham Maslow, food is a basic need for survival and if as humans we do not get food for survival, then the other basic needs that are highlighted by this psychologist are likely not to be fulfilled.

Madam President, a poor harvest will result in food shortages. Not only does this affect human beings but it also affect animals in that they die, crops wield and there is displacement as a result of this and this has serious implications on our economy. If you look at regions four and five that is where we have our majority of tourist attractions and, if these animals die as a result of drought and hunger, this obviously affects our tourism. If you look at agriculture, Government will be forced to spend more than what it had budgeted for, because we have to come up with mitigation measures that will be needed to curtail the issues of food shortages.

People especially women with children at their backs have to walk long distances to scramble for those few water sources that still have water, and they scramble together with wild animals. You could think of an individual getting to a water source with a donkey taking a bath and the next thing you have to collect that water and use it for human consumption and that is how bad drought can expose us.

Madam President, the issue of drought is not a new phenomenon. The issue of Global Warming is not also a new phenomenon, it is just because we have only realised its impact. However, if you look at the history of this country Madam President, especially region four, drought is not a new thing. Allow me, Madam President, although I am not privy to refer to my notes but for the sake of statistics 1820-1830, we had a drought in this country a severe one, 1844-1849, 1921-1930, 1946-1947, some will recall because some of you were already born. In 1981-1982, 1991-1992,2000 up to-date. If you look at the 1991 drought Madam President, according to statistics the country lost more than one million heard of cattle and with that it becomes difficult to recover such large sums of cattle bearing in mind that we have people who are very poor, who could not afford. What does a drought do to us? it puts pressure Madam President, on our infrastructure. If ever there is a drought there is an increase of rural to urban migration and this puts pressure on the cities and towns infrastructure. But as an august House, I think the honours is on us to therefore come up with mitigation measures that could be used when we have drought.

I think first and foremost we need to harvest rain water, the problem we have as a country is we are not harvesting rain water,. It rains, but we do not harvest, we do not store much of this water, it goes down the drain. Secondly, Madam President, the dams and rivers that we have, seriously need to be rehabilitated because we have a serious problem of siltation and the activities of gold panners are taking their toll on the country's rivers and dams. We know there are insufficient funds but as a Government, we seriously need to build more dams and rivers in regions four and five that are characterised by very low rainfall. I think harvesting rainfall, Madam President, will assist in food security because we are able to use that water in the period that we do not have rain falling. The main challenge that we have as Senator Mohadi has indicated is hat we have irrigation schemes that are there, some which are multifunctional. Those that are functional have got serious problems, the first problem that is on the ground is electricity, you would need pumps to draw water into these gardens and most of the time electricity is not there. If it is there the farmers do not practise farming because ZESA is coming to cut down supplies for non-payment or other reasons.

If we are to seriously address this issue Madam President, I think it is important that we do a willy nilly situation where the power utility and the farmer could both benefit. It is also important, Madam President that we recycle water because we can not just recycle water to drink. Water can be used in most areas like industries. Instead of using the scarce water that is in our dams, we could recycle water and it is used there.

Madam President, we seriously need to come with a mechanism that will determine any warning signs. We only react when there is a disaster, but before that disaster attacks us we seem to relax. So, we need to come up with serious warning sings. If we can detect the following year we will have a drought we should start planning and finding a way of improving food production before the drought actually takes place. I know the whether personnel have often given us a wrong preview of the rain season, in most years we are told we will have a normal to above normal rain season, but the opposite is normally the order of the day when the rain season starts. We seriously need to practise a water conservation, soil conservation in order to address the issue of drought.

I will turn to the issue of Global Warming Madam President, we need international experts for global monitoring. Global warming is not about drought and lack of water only. In certain areas, we have excessive rains that bring destruction to the infrastructure, to the human life, and at the end of the day people harvest virtually nothing. When we have a situation like the one we have in our country where the rain comes, it is concentrated for a week or two, it goes away for the next two months, and by the time it comes back, the crops will have already wielt. So we seriously need to come up with a monitoring mechanism. It is also important Madam President, to educate and conscientise people about the effects of Global Warming. If you ask a man in the street about what is Global Warming, very few will actually give you a definition of what global warming is. It is therefore important that we educate, conscientise and challenge the curricular developers to change the curriculum to move with global trends and one of those trends is global warming. We seriously need to learn about the effects of what global warming is so that the community at large is aware of what global warming is. Madam President, I cannot talk of re-afforestation and deforestation. We know we have got problems of electricity, most people are chopping down trees for firewood, but that practice is also increasing the effects of global warming. So we need to come up with re-afforestation programmes and not to wait for the first Saturday of December where we hold our national tree planting day where we will start planting trees and then for the rest of the 364 days we forget about tree planting. I believe tree planting should be an ongoing programme.

Madam President, I would want to thank the Government of Zimbabwe for the grain loan scheme. It has not waited until April when people normally finish their harvesting because this year people in regions 4 and 5 have nothing to harvest. So, it is important that Government comes in. We appreciate that, but we challenge the Government, if funds permitting to improve the allocation of grain loan scheme to those areas. Madam President, with those few words I would want to add my support to the mover of the motion. I thank you.

+SENATOR S. NCUBE: Thank you Madam President. I also thank Senator Mohadi for moving such a motion which has been supported by Senator Ngungumbane. I do not stay in Matabeleland South in Ngungumbane, but I realise that these areas have got problems and this has affected half the population of Matabeleland. You will find that even the people who do gardening and farming in Bulawayo are also facing this problem. The Chief has told us that we have had a lot of times where drought has been persistent. We are appealing to Government to come and assist in these areas. We also know that there are people moving around scouting for areas where there is drought. When we were going to a funeral in Ratanyana, we met with a team of people who were identifying areas that were faced with drought. They also come and try to capitalise on the drought in those areas and they sell their food. Three years ago we had people coming to that drought stricken area with 50kgs of mealie-meal after realising that the people had gone without food for some days. This person will batter this 50kgs bag of mealie-meal with a beast. In regions 4 and 5, animals are a symbol of wealth. Therefore we are pleading and appealing to the Government to take remedial measures to assist the people in the Matabeleland area. We know traditionally and conditionally Matabeleland is a drought prone area, therefore, what does it mean when somebody comes to an area of people with such problems selling them a 50kg bag of mealie-meal as batter trade with a beast. As Government may you please look for some corrective measures to assist these people so that the people who come to those areas do not take advantage of them. If you look at Matabeleland South, it has cattle that sell for minimum price for a beast of $500 and at times up to $800.

So, my fellow members what does it mean when you trade a cow worth $800 for a bag of maize. Is it really fair? We know that Matabeleland South has no rain year in year out, but we know that the people have lots of cattle. Unfortunately, if they are faced with hunger they have to barter trade their cattle for mealie-meal. Therefore, we ask the powers that be to intervene and assist these people so that they are not taken advantage of by these tricksters and fraudsters who take advantage and profiteer on the hunger faced by people. We need to look at this issue carefully. I thank you.

SENATOR CHITAKA: I would like to thank the mover of this important motion, Senator Mohadi. I will start by recalling part of my childhood. I remember when I was in Sub A and Sub B, we used to be required to draw a map. The first map you were asked to draw was the map of Great Britain, the colonial power then. If you did not know how to draw the map of Great Britain, you would get into trouble. Secondly, you were required to draw the map of Africa and you then graduated to draw the maps of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. We were not required to know how to draw the map of America or Europe, so we were very competent. You had to be competent to know how to draw first the United Kingdom that is Great Britain, then Africa and then Rhodesia and Nyasaland.

As I grew older, although Ian Smith had succeeded from the United Kingdom, and had his own Unilateral Declaration of Independence, you were now more and more required to know how to draw in greater detail the map of Rhodesia. I am saying this because as I grew older and went to secondary school, in Geography lessons, you were required to draw again in much more detail. What I have realised from primary school to secondary school and now in my old age, the map of Zimbabwe now has never changed. Of course, as I was not an artist there were some corners which were not wrong but the map as it is defined by the experts has never changed. The land that God gave us as Zimbabwe remains fixed and never changed. We can pray, tobika doro, nothing will change, it will remain as it is.

Senator Chief Ngungumbane mentioned about the history of droughts. Yes, I can confirm, when we were young we used to be told there was drought of gore rendongwe, those who come from Manicaland will know, the year of locusts. So droughts like the Senator Chief Ngungumbane said have been with us since time immemorial. What has changed is the frequency, the years. You used to be able to see one or two droughts in one generation, then as I grow up every 10 years you could experience a drought. Now we are experiencing a drought in some areas almost every year. What is the message I am trying to say? I am saying Nyika yeZimbabwe remains fixed. That is the land that God gave us. Droughts are now with us. We cannot pray and wish them away. In fact, global warming is telling us that it is actually going to get worse. Region 5 is likely to become region 6. How then do we survive? I am saying we must first admit that we cannot change the land that God gave us. Zimbabwe has got Region 1 - 5, which is a big blessing which we cannot change. We must also accept that droughts are with us. We must now learn to adapt and change.

I disagree with this thing that year in, year out, we give drought relief. I am not saying people should not be given drought relief but as a policy it is only short term. We need to come up with long term measures. We will always be Zimbabweans. Region 5 is going to get worse to become region 6. How then must we adapt? We must look at other countries. Look at Namibia they have got deserts there. Look at Israel, it is a country that is basically a desert but they have the highest in terms of production of agriculture. How can a desert country like Israel be one of the top producers of food. They do not import food. They make their own food and export.

We only have a small part, not the whole of Zimbabwe that is prone to droughts. Why are we not surviving like Israel. We look up North, our brothers who are in the deserts. They have lived in the deserts and have survived in the deserts. It is not new. For us we only have a small portion that is prone to droughts. Why then are we not surviving? It is because we are failing to change our way of life.

I drove to Bulawayo after several years, and along the way I started seeing maize fields. I said what is going on? Bulawayo, when I used to go there I used to know all the way from Gweru to Shangani, it used to be cows, donkeys, goats but now people are trying to grow maize in Matabeleland. What are we trying to do? We will not succeed. There are a lot of things that can be done. I think Senator Mohadi did mention the livestock programme. Yes, that can be done in region 5, but we must not try to impose a model. A model that everyone must grow maize or these other crops. That is where we go wrong.

Even the dams that Senator Mohadi was talking about. She has said we are not harvesting enough water. I beg to differ. Zimbabwe has got a lot of dams and we harvest a lot of water. The problem is that the dams are in the wrong place. I give you an example of Osbourne dam which is in my area. Useless. What was it built for? Nothing. It is just lots of water for crocodiles to enjoy themselves. You can go round and observe how many dams are fully utilised in Zimbabwe. I know my Hon. Governor will bear me out. Yes, we can have more dams in Matabeleland in the region, but until we change the way we do business, those dams will always be lying idle. They will build a dam but there is no infrastructure to use that dam. Let us change the way we live.

The people in Region 5 should not try to farm like the people in Region 1. The people who live in Region 5 should not be forced to live like people in Region 1. Takasiyana. If we accept that and say let us let us adapt and find ways of living. Look at Australia, only a small part of the country is good, the rest is desert but the people in the desert do not want even to move from their desert because they have their life style.How did they survive. Isusu we now frown upon - if you go back in history, the ancient way people used to live in these same areas. It is now different. We are saying ha izvi hazviiti. This is primitive. You must have a plot, dig a borehole and grow maize to eat. Why? We must get away from that.

What I want to say is, let us change the way we view our problems. Let us accept that this country was given to us as it is. Desert or no desert. That is how it was given to us. Let us also accept that we can survive, adapt and live in those parts of the country. Let us also learn from our brothers and sisters up north in the desert. Let us learn how Israel, how they have survived so that we can use the same experiences for us to develop sustainable solutions for our own region 5.

SENATOR HLALO: I would want to start my conteribution by thanking Sen Mohadi for highlighting the plight which the people from Matabeleland South are in, but my angle is going to be a bit different. I am going to talk on behalf of the cattle. I am trying to be an ox or a cow. We seem to lose focus on what exactly the problem which Region 5 has.

We have got unscrupulous business people who prey on situations like this. Just last week at Gwanda Cattle Sales, cattle were going for as little as $200 only to surface in Bulawayo for resale and the cattle would search about $600 - 700. What I think the Hon. Senator missed the point is that Region 5 does not need cattle production at the moment. It needs sort of disaster area for cattle because those people in Matabeleland South, their bank is cattle.

If you talk about how wealthy a person is, you talk about goats and cows but it is on record that Matabeleland South is now lagging behind in terms of cattle numbers. There was a report to the effect that there are more donkeys in Matabeleland South than cattle. From what I can get from the records which have been recorded and part of the information which I will just speak about now was alluded to by Senator Chief Ngungumbane who said at one point one million cattle perished. If you were to talk about a million cattle, it means many households were left poor and that is the only source of interaction that the people of Matabeleland South have with the economy. It is on record that Matabeleland South from what I get from the records which have been given is that, and part of the information was alluded to by Senator Chief Ngungumbane, who said at one point I million cattle perished. If you talk about the million cattle, it means many house holds were left poor because that is, their only source of interaction. The people of Matabeleland South have an interest in the economy of their country. I would also want to say when Senator Ncube referred to Batanyani, that is where my uncles are and what he said is exactly the truth. The people in those areas look to anyone who can help them and in the process they fall prey to the unscrupulous business people who are always there, and say this is the time they know there is a drought and they cash in on that. They cash in on animals they never looked after. All they do is keep money, go out there and offer whatever they can offer and the villagers will take it. They will take the cattle for nothing... (Cellphone rings) Sorry Madam, the phone just offended I just switched it off. -[laughter]-

MADAM PRESIDENT: Hlambe Itokoloshi -[laughter]-

SENATOR HLALO: So Madam President, what this august Senate should do is to come up with something which should be may be termed a marshal plan because it is no use to stand up here and say words which won't impact positively on the people affected. My submission will be that if it is possible, this august Senate focuses on the Ministry which is relevant in this case and get that Ministry to do something extraordinary, something which has never been done, something which makes the people of Matabeleland South to embrace the Government because this would have never happened. I know people have Operation Save Region Five as Government policy. I think that will be appreciated by the people affected because right now my cousin was asking if I could look for land where he could bring his 70 head of cattle. He can not sleep because he will be thinking of how he can feed 70 head of cattle everyday. That is a situation, and its just like when we are told that thieves are going to rob our banks, I think this is how the person feels like. He thinks of the 70 head of cattle. How can I save it? In one year you will be a person who will be reasonably reduced to a pauper. That is the situation in which these people are. I would want us in this august Senate Madam President, through your leadership, if we can do something through this debate in the direction of saving the plight of the cattle which as I stand, I am also throwing myself as a cattle to say save us... -[Laughter]- We also need the Gwai-Shangani dam to be a reality and once it is put in place it becomes a green belt like and it would save plants. I would want to say, why can't we as a Government do something? We put our money where our mouths are, I mean once we say something must happen, it must happen so that we save our people and also our selves. I thank you.

SENATOR MAKORE: I want to thank you Madam President, for the time you have given me to add a few words to the debate that has been presented by Senator Mohadi. I want to thank Senator Mohadi for giving us this concern for the hunger and poverty that is in region five. Mostly we hear people in the rural areas giving their side of the story and theirs is different from those given by their urban counterparts. Those in the rural areas ask each other whether there are any rains, whether they have been farming in the land. They ask whether there was hunger last year and how the situation is at that particular time. I would like to say that these are the issues concerning life which are discussed in these debates.

On this motion we are really touched because singers say, their hunger is something that is very bitter, hunger actually causes diseases and it leads to early marriages. In most cases parents give their children for them to get food this is why polygamy is rampant in our economy, all because of hunger, such things we should be aware off. We are not saying that it was caused by this, but it becomes difficult with time. If we want our country to be in a better state we need to address these. As was mentioned, we want dams, but this is not helping, what we want to add is to encourage most of us, where there is nothing more should be given to those and those areas which have no resources should be given and those areas who are not as privileged with the resources should engaged in serious farming so that food security is addressed in this country. I think there was an issue that a person could actually swop a cow for a 50 kg bag of maize, it is sad, but I want to say that we can not be perpetual beggars those who have them.

We have agricultural inputs. We have got the land and there are so many things that we can do that can assist us to have a better standing in the world. I only stood up to add these few words that we can actually do a lot of things to assist each other to work hard and assist those in Region 5 and also that the little that we get, we have to build our dams and engage in irrigation schemes to ensure that those in these areas can have their lives changed for the better.

I want to thank Senator Mohadi who moved a very good motion and I appeal to all our mothers and fathers in this land to look into that fact.

SENATOR CHIEF NYAMUKOHO: Madam President, I am forced to stand up and speak today for a reason. I am used to speaking to people in Church at times and one of the things I learnt was that if you know something that is right and you do not do that, it is called a sin.

I was born and bred in a region that has got situations that we are talking about today. I am actually 11 years as Chief now, but I know back there I have been worrying and I am worrying and up to now, I am worrying of certain problems that certain people met.

In many cases, I have felt my duty to correct them. I have lived a life that is so unsatisfied but now, even if I have to die today, I will be happy. I was born happy, lived happily and I have to die happy. The only problem comes when I do not speak the truth; I worry.

I was born in an area that we are talking about today, Region 5. The worry I had back then, I am happy that I have corrected it and I am a happy man today. Let me give you an example of what I have done.

When you are talking about living a life, we mean how much we did and that is living a life. Having been born and bred where people suffered of hunger in Mudzi, I came up with an idea and have solved the problem today. It raised the standard of our life and we have done what we wanted to do. I do not say it all the time but because that is a sin.

I came up with a programme as the Chief and say every household have to be recorded in my books. I have over 200 villages and they have got registers. They get everybody in a register where I will in the end get in my computer and strike a button and say so and so have got so much households, so many people and so many men and women, school going age from 6 - 17 years and 0-5 years. I have got that and I will see that one when I strike my button on the computer.

At the end of it, I have a record of households in my area. I said to village heads, I want you to give me a result of every household's farming produce every season. I started by saying a household should produce two bags of mhunga per year and they would cry that we want maize food and this and that.

The second year, the same households that had two bags, we said, now we are going to plant Mhunga, mapfunde and others. I said if grass can grow in my area, there is no reason why mhunga can not grow.

I noticed that there was no single year that we had no grass and cattle there is as big as this. Nature is also taking its course. As the Chief, I am talking about my own way.

I never lived in a town. I grew up in the rural areas and today I can not see a family that could not produce up to 11 bags of crops and I am not limiting this to one crop but rice, mhunga, mapfunde and whatsoever. Ever since we started, the worst family will not have less than 11 bags of mhunga or something.

Today the Government is helping us greatly, but the idea I am saying is that if all of us here senators and all the Members of Parliament could create ideas of how to make more in the areas they were born, let us see how you will improve next year because as I have said, we all live to eat and it is just eating that we want. This food comes from our work. Food comes from what we work for. The women we marry come up from what we work for and they live on what we work for. I do not look for food handouts from the Government in my area. Some are busy blaming other people, but if we can ask, what you have done for yourselves? I am so sure Madam President, if all, all Zimbabweans could realise as somebody has said in this House, there is no way we are going to change our way of life. We were born in that country, we are going to live for the next thousand years in that country, we have children behind us in that country and our duty as elders, as those born before them is to create ideas of how they will also live better than we have lived ourselves.

Unfortunately, colonisation came to destroy us like the devil came to this world, not to build but to destroy and maybe it is the devil who is piercing these ideas of ours of, ndipowo ndipowo ndipowo. If you had nobody to give you how were you going to live in this world? If God had created you alone and say now here is Zimbabwe, you are the president you are the everything yourself, how are you going to live? With these few words I would like to thank you Madam President for the time you have availed to me.

THE PROVINCIAL GOVERNOR FOR MANICALAND: I move that the debate be now adjourned.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Thursday 22nd March, 2012.

MOTION

FIRST REPORT ON THEMATIC COMMITTEE ON MILLENIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS ON THE PROVISION OF EDUCATION IN RESETTLED AREAS

Second Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the First Report of the Thematic Committee on Millennium Development Goals on the Provision of Education in Resettled Areas.

Question again proposed.

SENATOR CHIEF MTSHANE: First of all, I would like to thank Senator Chitaka who moved the motion on Provision of Education in Resettled areas. In that report there were several issues that were raised but I just want to dwell on two issues. The first one was the lack of teachers accommodation in those resettled areas. The second one was lack of classroom infrastructure in those!

Mr. President Sir, I think it is obvious that we may not achieve goal number two which is an achievement of an universal primary education by the year 2015. If three years down the line we still have no infrastructure to talk about in resettlement areas it is a pit. I also realised that the children affected in these areas are the same children who had been deprived of education during colonial era and they continue to be deprived education as we speak today, it is a very unfortunate situation. If you move around Zimbabwe there are several primary and secondary schools and some of them very beautiful. However, those schools were built through the efforts of communities and the government only came to compliment those communities. I think we should create a similar environment in resettlement areas because these resettlement areas have been in place for the last 12 years and there is no reason why there should be no development in their areas. No one wants to believe that they are now permanent and if they are any other people who still believe that they are not permanent in those areas, I think I can only urge them to get out of those areas and live those people who are genuine, to develop those areas for the purposes of posterity.

Mr. President Sir, no development comes in a silver plate, this is why I am saying to these people in rural areas, that they come from de-congestion in communal areas. They know what development is all about, so why should they not revive the same attitude that they build schools in communal areas in newly resettled areas. So I urge hon. senators to urge the community in resettlement areas to build whatever infrastructural development in their area and government can only come in to compliment that. Mr. President, I do not want to repeat what other people have already said yesterday but I wanted to say those few words. Once again, I would like to thank my collogues who moved this motion.

+SENATOR A. SIBANDA: I would like to thank Senator Chitaka for the motion that he moved. I think a lot was said yesterday but what really touched me Mr. President is that people almost stayed for 12 years in those resettled areas and yet they are not implementing any developmental plans. My understanding of these resettled areas is that various ministries go and inspect what is good for that area like the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Water and all other Ministries come together to view the area and inspect before people are resettled. Checking whether there is water in the area, whether the people resettled in that area are sitting in a suitable place. It surprises me that people have come to settle in lands which have no water.

Mr. President, I want to say in some of these resettlement areas we have dedicated teachers who are prepared to teach in these areas where there are no proper roads. There is no public transport and they travel up to 26km to go to school. What a dedication. You then find that when such a teacher asks for some incentive and water so that they have a better life, they get nothing. I also plead with the Ministry of Education to give more incentives and allowances to these teachers who are prepared to sweat in these arid areas. These teachers should not be a burden to the parents who are already over burdened in these resettlement areas by paying the teachers' incentives. May I also say thank you to this committee on Education which has moved around looking for such information.

Madam President, your committee has moved around and made investigations and consultations and I feel very much touched by some of the conditions under which some people are living. Therefore, I urge the Government to take action so that they rectify this anomaly and improve education of these people so that tomorrow they do not blame our Government. I know some of us were in good schools and got good education, so I also wish the same for our children. May you push this information so that it reaches our President. I know that in some cases, the President is not aware of what is in the country which he is leading. According to him, he may believe that we are all living pretty well. I also urge this House which is made up of elderly man, let us really implement these investigations so that we continue being a pride in Africa in education.

My plea is, if people are going to be resettled in an area, there should be some measures taken to establish roads, hospitals and water system so that people are settled up properly. I thank you.

*SENATOR CHABUKA: Thank you Mr. President, for giving me this opportunity to express my views on this motion on the MDGs. I also want to thank Senator Chitaka who moved this painful motion. I did not know we still had such areas in our country. I want to speak to this House as people who are leaders of the nation and people who were elected by the people, that we are the Government and lawmakers of Zimbabwe. I want to thank the Committee for the work they did and all other Committees that are under this roof that we are developing this nation by going out there and finding out how people are living here in Zimbabwe.

Mr. President, I was pained yesterday as I heard that there are places where children are given bushes as toilets. They are divided so that this particular section is for the girls and this for the boys. In a country with leaders, a country that is so rich as Zimbabwe, we forget that the children are the future leaders. We are living today for the sake of those children and I think because of this motion, we have been given the mandate the to go to the ministers and carry our oversight function. We have to take these ministers to those areas affected. We should stand up as leaders elected by the people to talk to the President of this country and make him aware that we have children who are still using bushes as their toilets. We also have got teachers with deplorable accommodation that they make beds using tree branches and they walk long distances to school. We need to address that.

I am happy that we have the Resident Minister of Manicaland where the money is coming from. We need to know how the children in this country are living and what they are being educated on. Zimbabwe has a high standard of education. If our people go to the diaspora, they are preferred over others from other countries. Mr. President, I was pained and up to today it is still paining me. Senators we need to work hard because we are the leaders, let us take the Minister of Education so that he can witness the state of affairs in these areas.

Mr. President, I am deeply touched that teachers are being raped as they walk these long distances to work. I am happy again that you as the President of Chiefs, you are here. Areas led by the Chiefs should inform their people that in such such areas, there are men raping women and children are being abused. It is your mandate to call your Chiefs and visit these areas and see how children are being made victims of HIV and see distances these children are made to travel to school. If a child travels such long distances, what is that child going to learn whilst that child is tired. Our country is very rich and has got minerals and diamonds that can be used to build infrastructure for the schools. We as a House should ensure that the President of the country is aware that in some of the areas children sit on bricks in class. We have teachers walking 26km to go to work. We have areas where teachers only teach two days a week because of the accommodation crisis. On the issue of accommodation, we have a Minister of National Housing and that Minister should know that such areas need housing for the teachers. I do not have much to say, but this House should know that we are the eyes of the people out there and we have a lot of work to do. We do not have another Government, we are the Government. I want to thank you for the time that you have given me.

SENATOR NCUBE: Thank you for giving me this opportunity so that I add my voice and thank you Sen. Chitaka for moving this motion. I will not repeat what has been said by others. .... - [part of speech not recorded due to technical fault] - when we talk of problems and we have lots of problems that we face, I think we should not be seen to be looking down on what is happening in some areas. As leaders, whenever there is a mistake we are supposed to point out that, there is a problem, but where there is something which is worthy praising, let us praise it so that our children may get the best of education.

Sometime ago, when I was still very young, what the teacher used to tell us, when we were in grades 6/7 and about to go to secondary, we would say I want to be a nurse and somebody would say, when I grow up I want to be a teacher or like whatever because we were saying things which will be in you and were doing something good in that profession because we know each one of us has a different gift given to us. What is happening now, we are saying we want our teachers to be well equiped so that they can have good places of accommodation and have furniture in their classrooms.

In our current situation, we have different teachers who are different from the teachers who taught us. What is happening, is this, the teacher used to be a teacher because it was what he wanted and it was a calling. What is happening to the current teacher is that they are not called, but they are people who are coming into the profession for the sake of money. Even in the nursing field, people do nursing so that they can earn a living and not because they have got a calling. I noticed that the teachers of today do not come to their classes.

I am going to talk about resettlement schools in those resettlement areas. You will find that the teachers are not attending to their lessons on time and are absent for three days a week. The student will come and tell you that our teacher is not coming to school. They will also tell you that the teacher yesterday was not there. Even on the third day they will also tell you that the teacher was not at school.

You will also find that some of these teachers are vendors. They are vending sweets, biscuits and all these other small things. In that class, the teacher's wish is for everyone of these learners to buy from him or her. Therefore, you find a learner coming home and saying my teacher is asking me when I will buy something from his merchandise. As the leaders and the legislaters we need to work for the improvement of the salaries of teachers so that they can teach well.

In the current scenario, some parents can afford to give their children food when they are going to school, but the teacher will not be happy of that scenario. The teacher is asking that child why they do not buy their merchandise. Teachers are no longer interested in teaching and are more of money mongers. They do not go for teaching because it is a calling. You find that if a child comes from a family which is unable to pay teachers' incentives, they do not benefit. Teachers expect an incentive of $2 per child. You find that some of these teachers are also having extra lessons at their homes. As legislators, if we want our children to have some better future, we need teachers who are better paid and who are not going to be moonlighting.

We also found that parents are paying school fees and incentives but teachers do not turn up for lessons especially when they are going towards pay day and children stay for three days without a teacher because the teacher is away on some business.

I grew up in a rural set up and our home was near the school. When I was in Grade 6/7, you would find that people would look around and see the children who would have done well in their performance. I remember my grandmother who was trying to deny me the chance to do some sports because she was saying we are Seventh Day Adventist. Therefore, one of my teachers said if I did not do anything my class is going to lose. I need to compete and my school was going to improve.

The relationship between the techers and the parents those days was really very interesting. The parents would give their harvest to the teachers because they were very grateful of what the teachers were doing. As legislators let us work for the improvement of the teachers' salaries and also plead with the teachers to do their work properly so that it justifies the improvement of their payments. There are also problems were there is no water, electricity and children have no school uniforms.

We also thank the Prime Minister who did approach UNICEF for stationery and books. We now have teachers who do not do their jobs properly because they want the children to come to their homes for extra lessons. Teachers, I know of the fact that we want them to have high salaries they can live on but on their part they have the obligation of showing that they are in love with their job, their job is a calling. What I urge them is that if they feel they are not getting enough from the schools they should move out, because most of the people if they do not like what they are doing they are moving on to the job that they do best. If they are prepared to stay on the job, they do the best.

SENATOR MANDABA: I would like to thank Senator Chitaka for presenting this report on our behalf. I would just want to remind the House that the report that was presented by Senator Chitaka is about education in the resettlement areas and we should remember that resettlement areas are there to improve communal lands and not of A2 farmers who are economically better. So when we debate we must remember that, when we visited we did not visit A1 but A2 farmers. I am saying this, so that we look at the parents as farmers of some sort.

I am sure all of us here, some of us were educated with parents selling their cattle or brewing beer kundari to get us to schoolThis is perhaps whats you also should be instilling. I am sure one speaker said that parents themselves should be eager, should appreciate the education of their children. In Shona we say, chirere chogokurerawo. Most of us are looking after our parents because they educated us.

The A2 farmers should change their attitudes towards educating their children because if we expect Government to be doing everything, sometimes we will never get there. The school fees in resettlement areas is about $10 per term. Surely, if you sell two chickens you will be able to pay that school fees. But parents are not even paying that $10 which means they do not appreciate the education of their children. One speaker spoke about Falcon College which is very very advanced, but if you dig into the history of the college, you will find that the parents are also doing a lot of contribution towards the upkeep of the school to bring it to what it is.

We cannot be that college, but surely we can contribute to the improvements of our schools. There are some things that Government can do, but I think parents in these resettled areas should be motivated to contribute to the development of their children's schools. As legislators, preachers, ex teachers and nurses, we should be motivating parents and be role models so that they know. When I go out, I usually tell young children that it is because I got educated that I became a senator. The young children emulate saying that perhaps I will be like Mai Mandava one day.

Next to Falcon College there is a building where the children are supposed to be schooling. It shows that it used to be someone's mansion but now it is so dilapidated. The parents have allowed their cattle and goats to move into the building and imagine a mansion like the ones in Borrowdale where cattle and goats are going through. Parents are expecting that one day a school is going to be built for their children. If they had kept that building neat and had improved that building we would not be talking of it as the worst scenario, but this is where the children are actually sitting and writing on bricks. The other thing that surprised us when we went for this tour was that there is such a high turn over of teachers at that school, a class is taken by three to four teachers per year and one child is taught by up to twenty teachers from grade one to seven and that contributes to the quality of education that our children are going through especially in these resettled areas.

The conditions of teachers are so poor that teachers have to sell things at the school, trying to make up a living. Their conditions are very bad. As legislators we should urge relevant Ministries to look into these resettled areas. On the other day there was the issue about incentives in the urban teachers and the next day there was an uproar in the papers teachers saying we urban teachers we have bus fares, electricity this and that. Teachers in the rural areas and resettled areas must also be given better incentives. In discussing with the Ministry officials we heard about ZABEC, it is about educating adults who would have left school without achieving any reasonable certificate to do anything. The ZABEC programme is not going on because there is no money or because the allowance could not be paid. We should be encouraging this because if people are enlightened, they act reasonably for the betterment of their lives or those of their children. We know that some people or parents/children have difficulties in getting birth certificates.

They cannot have national identity cards or write grade 7 examinations because they do not have birth certificates and, going through the process of getting birth certificates is a night mare for a lot of parents. This demotivates even the children because they know that I do not have a birth certificate, so why should I go to school and end up not writing grade 7 examination. These are some of the things we should be looking into to relax some of these stringent regulations as legislators.

I am not going to labour much on the recommendations because they were clearly said in the hon. member's report and this should not end up in this House, but should go further and should be resolved sooner than expected. I thank you.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION: I move that the debate do now adjourn.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Thursday, 22nd March, 2012.

THE DEPUTY PRESIDENT: I want to inform the senators that there is a blue umbrella and a cellphone that have been lost within the Parliament building. If there is anyone who is looking for these items, can you please contact the Police at Parliament.

On the motion of THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, the Senate adjourned at Nineteen Minutes past Four O'clock p.m.

 

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Senate Hansard Vol. 21 SENATE HANSARD - 21 MARCH 2012 VOL. 21 NO. 23