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SENATE HANSARD 21 MAY 2019 VOL 28 NO 43

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PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Tuesday, 21st May, 2019

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

PRAYERS

(THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. PRSIDENT OF SENATE

INVITATION TO A CATHOLIC CHURCH SERVICE

          THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I wish to inform the Senate that there will be a Roman Catholic Church service tomorrow, Wednesday, 22nd May, 2019 at 1230 hours in the Senate Chamber.  All Catholic and non-Catholic Members are invited. 

ADMINISTERING OF THE SECOND CHOLERA VACCINATION

          THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I also wish to inform the House that Parliament Clinic, in partnership with the City of Harare Health Services Department is administering the cholera vaccine to those who received the initial vaccine.  Those Members who missed the initial exercise are also welcome.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          HON. SEN. S. K. MOYO: Madam President, I move that Order of the Day, No. 1 be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the Day on the Order Paper have been disposed of.

          HON. SEN. MUZENDA:  I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS

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

          Question again proposed.

          HON. SEN. S. K. MOYO: Madam President, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          HON. SEN. MUZENDA: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Wednesday, 22nd May, 2019.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE 44TH PLENARY ASSEMBLY OF SADC PARLIAMENTARY FORUM

          Third Order read: Adjourned debate on the report of the delegation to the 44th Plenary Assembly of the SADC Parliamentary Forum.

          Question again proposed. 

          *HON. SEN. TIMVEOS: Thank you Madam President for giving me an opportunity to add my voice to this debate.  I would want to thank Hon. Sen. Mohadi in absentia for moving this motion and also her seconder.

          When she was reading this report, I was really touched by the issue of child marriages but I am glad that there at the SADC Parliamentary Forum, this issue is being looked at.  They are seeing that it is very important for all nations to unite and fight this issue of child marriages which is bedeviling all countries.  The girl child, because of our economies in the SADC countries, especially in this country where they are getting married early.  Madam President, eighteen years and above shows some sort of maturity but what is at stake is that we should really look at the recommendations given at SADC.  The recommendations which were given are very important.  I also want to support the SADC Parliament; it needs our support and our subscriptions as Zimbabwe.  We should make sure that we pay our subscriptions to SADC Parliament so that our things go well.

This issue of child marriages - I was looking at the draft Bill of marriage, I am really disappointed about the issue because I think we have to look at it in such a way that women and children are protected.  There are a lot of children on the streets.  As I was in the Committee of HIV and AIDS, we travelled countrywide and engaged 36 workers. We talked to homeless women.  What they articulated is that their husbands were dead and their properties were taken.  So, the laws that are coming should focus on how children and women in the homes are protected.  I think these are some of the issues that need to be considered because I heard that there is a Bill coming to Parliament which we should scrutinise.

          I want to thank Hon. Sen. Mohadi for bringing this voluminous report. What really touched me is this issue of child marriages and so, we should fight as Parliament.  Up to now, we are still waiting for the Bill to come. It should be enacted as quickly as possible so that men and women know that our children are important.  With these few words, thank you – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.]  -

          *HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI:  Thank you Madam President for affording me this opportunity to add my voice on this report which was tabled by Senator Mohadi. We want to thank her and her seconder.  I was touched by the Parliamentary Women’s Caucus which is very important because that organ is now being strengthened by the SADC.  As women of Zimbabwe, we are happy that the issue which was touched on was the HeforShe Campaign that was put in place by the United Nations and it looks at bridging the gap between men and women which is very important. 

We are all aware that the opportunities availed to men and not to women were some of the issues articulated by the Parliamentary Forum.  But for that to succeed, we should work together as men and women for that bridge to be abridged.  They also talked about domestic violence which is also rampant here in Zimbabwe but I am happy that in that SADC Forum, they talked about it and it was discovered that this touches the whole of Africa; we have that challenge.  

          Madam President, as Africa, we should work together to curb violence since it is now being talked about in different fora.  There is no country which can succeed if there is violence.  I also want to thank Hon. Sen. Mutsvangwa who was standing in for the Vice President in the SADC Forum but she left us since her term came to an end.  During her era as Chairperson of the Women’s Caucus in Zimbabwe, we witnessed many women being sent to other countries to learn what other women are doing.  I am one of those who went to Tanzania and we saw the Parliament in Dodoma. We engaged the women there on the issue of child marriages like what Hon. Sen. Timveos has alluded to.  This problem was also there in Tanzania but they have laws in place to lower child marriages.  So, we asked them whether the laws that they have in place have an effect on reducing child marriages and they said it was working for them.  So if we have stringent laws, it means that we can lower child marriages. 

          I want to thank the team that went to the SADC Parliamentary Forum because they brought very good issues that are good for men and women.  Thank you.

          *HON. SEN. TONGOGARA:  Madam President, I want to thank Hon. Sen. Mohadi for the report which she tabled in Parliament.  On this report, I learnt about food, agriculture, land and natural resources.  It is a very good to know that as a nation, we are moving together with SADC.  Looking at the challenges that we face, they are not unique to Zimbabwe only but also our neighbouring countries in the SADC region.  We face the same challenges.  We all know that in this country, because of drought food is scarce. People are starving and the Government is trying its level best to look for food to give to the people.  Also, the natural resources being referred to, we want people who have minerals in their countries to benefit from those minerals so that they help the citizens of that country.  What I want to say is, it is a good thing that we are working together; looking at the challenges that are facing us.  We can see that in other countries they share the same challenges and they put laws in place in order to curb those challenges. 

          Madam Speaker, we have heard from the previous speaker that the law that was put in Tanzania is now helping in lowering child marriages.  So in Africa, let us work together, looking at challenges which are common in other countries and look at the laws that they have in place which are reducing their challenges because they say that people should learn from what other people are doing.  I think it will help us Madam President. Thank you.

          *HON. SEN. MAVETERA:  Thank you Madam President. I rise to make my contribution on this report which was tabled by Hon. Mohadi.  In her report, she introduced a lot of issues, especially of what was happening in that meeting. I am therefore going to touch on one of the issues.

She said when the Treasurer was making his contributions on subscriptions for this organisation; Zimbabwe was one of the countries which were very much indebted to the organisation. As proud Zimbabweans, we are therefore pleading with the Government to be committed to pay all the affiliation fees so that whenever we gather, we are not ashamed because of having defaulted in our payments. It shows that we are not really supporting some of these organisations which are aimed at helping in the development of the countries in Southern Africa. I am therefore appealing to the Minister of Finance to look into the issue of paying all our financial obligations to affiliations so that when we are in these gatherings we can hold our heads up high because we will be Zimbabweans who honour their obligations.

Hon. Sen. Mohadi also added that there are some issues or behaviours which we carry out as Zimbabweans and when they are good we should really carry these things out. One of the things which we were praised about was the quarter system for the women. When we talked about this quarter system, we said this will end in 2023 but we are noticing that some of these countries are now envying us. They are admiring us. I am pleading with the powers that be that this arrangement of a proportional representation be reviewed. This quarter should really be upheld. Let it not be terminated when the time allocated comes because when we do that we will show that Zimbabwe has some things which we do which really need to be praised.  In most cases, we only receive negative reports about Zimbabwe and when we are doing something good, please let us uphold it. I am therefore calling upon this august House of seniors that when we have such actions which are to be upheld, let us support these motions.

I now turn to elections. There were some anomalies which need to be rectified. We noticed that SADC discarded on cutting down on observer missions to member states. We feel this should be carried out. If we want peace and development in the SADC region, we need to hold credible elections so that people in those countries are happy because of these elections. We have instances where some countries do not have enough money to run these elections. I therefore call upon SADC to create a budget which is going to be used for financing these elections so that we have minimum standards of elections which we expect and to be upheld by SADC countries. If we do not do that some countries are going to do some short cuts into carrying out these elections and this will be a shame.

Hon. Sen. Mohadi also gave us some recommendations and some of these are that we need to create a college or learning institution which is going to teach Members of Parliament on the roles and functions of Parliament. As far as I am concerned, I think this should have been done long back. I say so because when we are elected or appointed into these Houses, we are given the chance of legislating but we have never been trained on how the legislative process is carried out. This is not an event but a process where people have to be trained in the law making process.

I am glad because the Parliament of Zimbabwe has said they will make an arrangement of engaging the universities in this country so that there could be roles and functions of Parliament at that level. I encourage this to be done because when people are educated they make informed contributions and make useful laws, and the electorate will be glad because we will be productive in our legislative process. With those few words, I am very grateful to Hon. Sen. Mohadi because of the report she brought to us. I thank you.

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

HON. SEN. MKWEBU: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 22nd May, 2019.

MOTION

HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS SUFFERED BY ZIMBABWEANS

Fourth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the First

Report of the Thematic Committee on   Human Rights on the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Annual Report.

          Question again proposed.

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

HON. SEN. CHIRONGOMA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 22nd May, 2019.

MOTION

OUTBREAKS OF VELD FIRES

Fifth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the recurrence of outbreaks of veld fires with devastating effects on the environment.

Question again proposed.

          HON. SEN. SHOKO: Thank you Madam President.  I have realised that there are only two days left for this motion to be removed from of the Order Paper; so I thought I need to put my voice too on this motion. 

          Madam President, this is a very important motion because veld fires are completely destroying the pastures that are used by our cattle to graze.  What it means is that for example, this year when we do not have rains the grass that was destroyed by the veld fires will not grow.  Therefore, our cattle will perish because of that carelessness that is being practiced by the culprits that we are not dealing with.  My confusion comes in that we have never had the State or the media reporting that a person who caused the fire in the area between Chegutu and Harare has been arrested and has been sent to jail for some period to serve.  We wonder why that is happening; are we saying these fires are being caused by unknown causes but certainly it is not unknown causes.  It is the people who are hunting for rates and hares.  They want to eat rates and forget that the grass is for the animals that we need so much.

          What is needed is for the same people to understand what benefits we get from the animals that we are talking about.  We always talk about lack of foreign currency.  I understand that Zimbabwean beef is needed in the European Union and we are not even matching our own quota.  If we allow these people to destroy the pastures that we have, it means to say we are not going to earn foreign currency from the animals that we are going to sell.  If I have got my daughter who is going to be married by your son, I will certainly need you to pay lobola in form of cattle but because of these veld fires, your cattle are going to die and when you come to me, I will say I need you to pay lobola in form of cattle form and you will not be able. 

          Traditionally, you will then find that we certainly have a problem. I was talking about foreign currency and people might not understand that foreign currency comes from outside but when I am talking about the issue for paying lobola, I believe people will understand it better because I am talking about our culture.   I am being indigenous when I was talking about foreign currency, I was being external.  So, that is very important, that we understand that the grass that we destroy, the little things that we destroy are also causing other effects that we do not know. 

          Mr. President, sometimes when I stood up in this House, I said, there is something called climate change; it is certainly caused by these veld fires.  They will burn the ants, any other small insect that you get.  All these insects were created for a purpose, they were created for a purpose and if we burn them, you will be causing another problem.  So fire is one cause of climate change.

          We need to urge our Ministry of Home Affairs to deal with this scourge. Let us not allow people to destroy what we have built, what our ancestors have built for us. If we allow that, the children that we have are going to blame it on us.  My son always says Mhadhara ndimi munouraya nyika and I do not want him to say that.  I want him to say madhara murikutiitira zvakanaka.  I believe that if we deal with this scourge, this will be a good sign, we should show the society that the things that we have built should not be destroyed willy nilly.

          The issue of veld fires, Mr. President should be seriously thought about. As Senators, when we go to our constituencies, either rural or urban, we need to educate our constituents. In many instances, these fires are caused by urban people when they drive along the roads, they smoke and throw the cigarette stubs into the grass and it burns.  We need to talk about the veld fires.  We need to seriously look at this thing, educate our own constituencies about the dangers of veld fires.  When you cause veld fires, it does not only affect you, it affects everyone and it affects the whole population of this country.

          Mr. President this is a very important subject and we need to look at it with the seriousness that it deserves.   I thank you.

          *HON. SEN. MOEKETSI: Thank you Mr. President for giving me the opportunity to say a few words on veld fires.  I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Gumpo who moved the motion. 

          Mr. President, it is so painful to see that in our country, we seem to take some things so casually whilst they are very important issues.  Veld fires have destroyed a lot of homes.  Fire has destroyed lives and it has also destroyed children left sleeping in houses.  Children are burnt by fire whilst they are asleep and alone, it is very painful.  I think the laws that we are enacting in this country are not very strong.  The laws that we are enacting are as if they are just meant to just threaten, just like how kids are threatened by belts when they play with utensils. However, if the kids are not punished, they will continue to play with the utensils

          We have livestock that have lost grazing places in this country because of fire.  We also have wild life that is supposed to be a source of income in this country that also loses their livelihood because of these veld fires – that is sad.  Last week, a couple that we used to stay with in Chegutu but are now based in Beitbridge, came to cut grass because it is unavailable in Beitbridge.  They stocked their grass in the fields but when they came back on Friday, they found it burnt.  The couple wasted their resources after travelling all the way from Beitbridge but lost the grass. 

As a country, let us enact laws to safeguard important things to our livelihood.  One of my neighbours also lost blankets to fire after their neighbour disposed hot ashes which were later blown by the wind.  We must enact meaningful laws because we are the citizens and these will also help future generations.  Therefore, I insist that as Senators, let us enact these important laws in our country.  I thank you.

HON. SEN. CHIEF CHUNDU: Thank you Mr. President.  I just want to thank Hon. Sen. Gumpo for bringing up this motion about veld fires.  May I be allowed to read because I have got some figures written down.

THE DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE:  You may go ahead.

HON. SEN. CHIEF CHUNDU:  Thank you.  Fire plays a vital role in Zimbabwe’s natural ecosystem and they are the oldest and fastest method of clearing land for agricultural use, used by communities all over the country.  They also cause the much needed disturbance to the ecosystem which then prompts natural regeneration.  However, on recent years, the abuse of fire has often led to blazes which get out of control in the process affecting flora and fauna. This has negatively impacted on rural communities’ livelihood options as the fires have caused substantial damage of key assets of the sustainable livelihood framework.

Like where I come from Mashonaland West Province has been the worst affected over the years in terms of incidences and hectarage lost.  The province has got all the natural regions from natural region 1 to natural region 5.  Therefore the province has got a unique microclimate that results in the existence of high biomass due to the relatively high rainfall that characterise the province.  The province also has got national parks and safari areas in Hurungwe, Mhondoro Ngezi, Chegutu, Sanyati, Kariba and Makonde Districts. These areas also have high veld fire prevalence due to the poaching and vast veld in such areas.

The province also has got a high number of resettlement areas than the communal areas in the whole country.  According to the fire analysis done by the Environmental Management Agency, these resettlement areas also experience a lot of veld fires as compared to the communal areas.  The emergence of veld fires in Mashonaland West Province therefore could be attributed to a number of factors including the high biomass levels and the existence of unproductive farming areas in the resettlement areas as well as the vast veld in the National Parks and Safari Areas.  However, the main cause of veld fires in the province was observed to be land clearance, especially for agricultural purposes.

Taking fire information from the year 2013 to 2016, the following could be seen over these years on the total area burnt per each year for Mashonaland West Province. 

YEAR

TOTAL AREA BURNT

PERCENTAGE AREA BURNT

FATALITIES

2013

475 244.91

8.23

0

2014

534 137.84

9.25

2

2015

534 754.35

9.26

4

2016

631 622.87

10.93

4

         

I think we should have some control measures by empowering the community.  Ongoing environmental education and awareness is key in buttressing community knowledge, behaviour, perception and attitude on veld fires.  Local communities should be empowered to manage fire programmes on their own volition, even in the absence of law enforcement agents.  Some stakeholders who have been instrumental on this drive include the EMA, ZRP, local authorities, traditional leaders, environmental monitors, judiciary, environmental committees and sub-committees.

          However, the fight against fires has been faced with many challenges, chief of which include the land tenure system, lack of pre-suppression measures, shortage of fire-fighting equipment and the mindset of the public in fire response.  Land ownership at A1 farms is communal and this has created an ownership vacuum where farmers are not taking responsibility for the communally owned areas.  The absence of traditional leadership in the A1 system has compounded the problem whereby traditional leaders are generally more respected than the Chairperson of the committees.

          A2 farms also have their challenges whereby the absence of the 99-year leases does not provide security of tenure.  They still view their stay as temporary, thus they are not as responsible as they should be; hence they do not put adequate fire suppression measures at times.

My recommendations are mandatory jail sentence for fire offenders.  The challenge of stock theft decreased dramatically on the introduction of mandatory jail sentences and it is anticipated that introduction of these sentences will greatly decrease fire offences. 

Traditional leaders need to be capacitated to handle fire issues and these include the extension of jurisdiction of traditional leaders’ areas of governance to include resettlement areas.  Traditional leaders are resident in the area and are more likely to be privy to information that state enforcement agents are not. They are more likely to get information from local communities on fire offenders and to meet justice that is more accepted in the local community.  Traditional leaders are closer to the community and are thus able to deliver justice quicker and more efficiently.

As legislators and leaders, we should be on the forefront of ensuring that our subjects are adequately prepared for the fire season.  Let us encourage them to construct standard fireguards, resuscitate fire-fighting teams and venture into income generating projects through harvesting grass.  These projects include hay baling, thatch grass combing and bee keeping. With these words, I thank you Mr. President Sir.

HON. SEN GUMPO: I move that the motion be adjourned.

HON. SEN. A. DUBE:  I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume:  Thursday, 23rd May, 2019.

MOTION

IMPORTANCE OF INTERCROPPING AND GROWING OF SMALL GRAINS

Sixth Order read:  Adjourned debate on motion on the need to educate the nation on the importance of intercropping and growing of small grains.

Question again proposed.

HON. SEN. TONGOGARA:  Thank you Mr. President for affording me this opportunity to wind up my motion.  Firstly, I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Chimbudzi who seconded my motion.  I would also like to thank all Hon. Senators across the political divide for their valuable contributions.  Mr. President, it was my wish and expectation that the Minister of Agriculture would come and address this august House on this very important motion.  This is because of the climate change where the staple food is failing due to diminished rainfall.  Mr. President, I also hope that the Minister would advise His Excellency, the President, on which crops to distribute to the communities according to their ecological regions, that is the Presidential Input Scheme.  It is pleasing Mr. President, to note that a company which is working and researching on how to grow small grains in this country is the International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics found in Matopos and the address is; Research Institution, P. O. Box 776, Bulawayo. 

Mr. President, those Hon. Senators who are interested in pursuing and promoting the growing of small grains in their areas, feel free to contact the following people on the listed numbers;  Dr. K. Mazvivanavi, Tel:  0712622581; 0782745195 and this number is on WhatsApp.  The other contact is Dr. C. Murendo, 0712262578; 0778198923 and it is also on WhatsApp. 

Mr. President, a study conducted by the Institute revealed that small grain value chain in Zimbabwe is multi-sectoral whereby it is involving stakeholders.  Therefore, improving small grain uptake in the country requires addressing all facades of the small grain value chain.  Mr. President, the study also revealed that each of the sections of the small grain value chain is affected by one or more barriers. 

On input provision, the highlight and barrier is lack of quality seed among stapled households.  There are many reasons given for this low access to seed and these include distance to the seed market, treated seeds being very expensive and in some areas no access to treated seeds at all.  In the production section, major barriers include labour shortages, challenges with birds, animals, lack of viable markets and limited access to extension services.  Pre-processing and shortage of small grain in Zimbabwe is mainly affected by lack of drying facilities as well as challenges with pests.

Mr. President, consumption and trading are mainly affected by no palatability of small grain products to some members of households.  Lastly, the value addition and retail of small grain products is mainly affected by lack of market of finished products and these are the views of the private players in the field. So, the researchers recommended that the farmers value the importance of small grain to counter climate viability, thus this presents opportunities to promote and improve the uptake of small grain. The bridges highlighted in the study are not exhaustive but they represent a broad range of activities that will directly work on removing the identified barrier.

          Interventions that can overcome the barriers to small grain production include availing better varieties that are tolerant to birds, improved processing methods and equipment, better post harvest management, improved access to markets for both inputs and outputs. While this work may not apply to all districts of Zimbabwe, this will largely apply to the drought prone districts of the country which mainly falls in the natural regions 4 and 5. Selected innovative solutions to these barriers will be presented in the fall-up publication, innovative solutions to barriers to small grain value chains in Zimbabwe which the numbers I have given you will be able to assist where to get this innovative solution grain chain report.

          Mr. President, I hope the chiefs will be on the forefront to pursue this matter since they are the custodians of our culture and heritage, and we all know that most of the people live in the rural areas where our chiefs are the leaders of the communities. I thank you Mr. President. I now move for the adoption of this motion.

Motion that:

          RECALLING that before independence people used to engage in traditional ways of farming called intercropping which ensured the harvesting of a variety of crops and prevention of malnutrition;

          RECOGNISING that with the ushering in of new and modern farming methods of cash crops, the growing of small grains and intercropping have diminished;

          CONCERNED that since the phenomenon of climate change, cash crops are not performing well in all regions without irrigation infrastructure;

          NOW, THEREFORE, calls upon Government to educate the nation on the importance of intercropping and growing of small grains especially in drought-stricken areas, put and adopted.

          On the motion of the MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, WATER, CLIMATE AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (HON. RTD. AIR CHIEF MARSHALL SHIRI), the Senate adjourned at Twenty Minutes to Four o’clock p.m.

 

 

 

Senate Hansard SENATE HANSARD 21 MAY 2019 VOL 28 NO 43