You are here:Home>Senate Hansard>SENATE HANSARD 22 FEBRUARY 2017 VOL 26 N NO 32

SENATE HANSARD 22 FEBRUARY 2017 VOL 26 N NO 32

Download attachments:

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Wednesday, 22nd February, 2017

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

PRAYERS

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

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

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

HON. SEN. TAWENGWA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

STATE OF THE NATION ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT

 Second Order read:  Adjourned debate on motion in reply to the State of the Nation Address.

Question again proposed.

*HON. SEN. MAVHUNGA: Thank you Madam President for according me this opportunity to add my voice on this motion which was tabled by Hon. Sen. Chipanga on the State of the Nation Address to Parliament.  I want to thank the President; on his address, he pointed out things that would move us forward as a nation in reference to ZIM ASSET. He said that in line with this programme, we should see that agriculture, mining and tourism are spearheaded because these will bring change to our country.

Looking at agriculture, the President, Cde. R. G. Mugabe said that the Government has put in place command agriculture which will look at empowering our country in getting two million metric tonnes of grain by supporting A1 and A2 farmers.  He also talked about the Presidential Scheme which is targeting about 800 000 communal farmers. We are all aware that people who are hungry are ungovernable. Even at home, when children are hungry there is no peace.  I really want to thank this programme because where we come from; this is going on very well. People were given enough inputs although the fertilizers were not enough.  We received good rains this year.  The first crop is near harvest and even if people get fertilizers, it will be of no use. For the late crops, we are still receiving rains and if the Government could put plans in place for people to get fertilizers, it would help.

Right now, people are having the wheat programme but I think they should complete the maize programme so that all the crops get fertilizer. The President also said they are going to support our cotton growers.  We know that cotton spearheads industries. Many people will be employed and our industries will start ticking because we can make wool from the cotton.  We really want to thank the Government for these plans.

The President did not leave out the issue of corruption.  He also touched on corruption that we should nip corruption in the bud.  He urged us not to engage in corruption and also spearhead our ubuntu culture.  We know that as Senate, we bemoan the practice of early marriages.  He also encouraged us to follow our culture as a nation.  With these few words, I want to thank His Excellency the President for his speech.  I thank you.

          *HON. SEN. MACHINGAIFA:  Thank you Madam President, how are you this afternoon?  I want to thank you for the opportunity that you have given me to support the motion that was tabled by Hon. Sen. Chipanga in reply to the State of the Nation Address which was delivered by His Excellency the President and Commander-in-chief who is our leader in this country, an able leader who is capable of looking after his children. 

          We want to thank him for bringing the two Houses together when he was delivering his speech, thus showing us the way to go for the betterment of our lives.  I was happy when he spoke about the Command Agriculture.  Still on that Madam President, this programme was quite successful in some areas and it faced challenges in other areas.  Like where I come from in Hurungwe, when I got to a place where people were being given the command agriculture seed, others were getting diesel coupons.  Those who got coupons when they went to collect the diesel, they failed to access it.  I thought since we have enemies of progress, when we got our land, it is an open secret that illegal sanctions were imposed on us.  They did not want this programme to succeed.  So, all those who got coupons did not receive the diesel allocations.

          Also those who were distributing, I think this has been talked about for a long time.  Through my personal investigations, if this had been done secretly, people would have been given Command Agriculture commodities in one place instead of getting them from different points where others would receive coupons, seed or fertilizers.  Further down in Nyamhunga rural areas, 250 registered farmers received seed but they were only given 30 bags of top fertiliser out of the 250 who received seed.  Meaning, it is very difficult for the programme to succeed as our enemies hampered the progress of this programme.

          The Lord was happy with this programme hence these rains.  Even up to now, it is still raining.   I received a call advising me that there is a lot of rain in Magunje.  Those with late crops are still looking for fertilisers and cannot find it.  As a small farmer, I do not celebrate when the crops are still in the fields but only do so after harvesting.  Right now, the crops are not ready as some fields are being washed away by floods.  When I asked others, they advised that they failed to plough all their hectares as inputs came late.  So they kept the surplus inputs as evidence. 

We were not happy to learn that some people received fertilisers and seeds but sold them.  Those who sold their implements should face the wrath of the law because it was wrong for them to sell their implements in order to buy cars as this hamper the programme.  These people should be punished.  Those who got fertilisers in place of seed should keep the fertilisers as proof that they did not use it since they failed to get the seed.

          The other thing that made me happy, Hon. Sen. Mavhunga mentioned the issue of corruption.  I want to support that one as well because our President is always talking about it.  In this country, corruption is like murder.  From my own understanding and the people I represent, anyone who is caught on the wrong side of the law should be prosecuted because they tend to continue if you just warn them and there will be no end to corruption.  It is like an everyday song about corruption.  Perpetrators should be named and shamed and even prosecuted as a lesson to would–be offenders just like what happens to children when they steal.  They are punished in order to teach them that stealing is bad.  I thank you.

          HON. SEN. CHIEF. CHARUMBIRA:  Madam President, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          HON. SEN. TAWENGWA:  I second.

          Motion put and agreed.

          Debate to resume:  Thursday, 23rd February, 2017.

MOTION

PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS

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

          Question again proposed.

          HON. SEN. NYAMBUYA:  Madam President, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          HON. SEN. MUMVURI: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to

          Debate to resume: Thursday, 23rd February, 2017.

MOTION

ALIGNMENT OF CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS BY ZIMBABWE ELECTORAL COMMISSION (ZEC)

          HON.SEN. TIMVEOS: I move the motion standing in my name that this House:

ACKNOWLEDGING the progress made by the Zimbabwe

Electoral Commission(ZEC) towards assuming its Constitutional mandate of ensuring that elections are conducted efficiently, freely, fairly, transparently and in accordance with the law;

FURTHER ACKNOWLEDGING the financial restrictions facing ZEC due to scarcity of resources allocated by the Treasury and the interest from the international donors, including UNDP, to assist in supporting ZEC as a key pillar of democracy;

AWARE that the desire by government to engage the International Community as  economic partners for the development of Zimbabwe will also be enhanced by inviting the widest range of international players to observe and monitor  our national  elections;

AWARE that the holding of a transparent, free and fair election in 2018 will depend on the integrity of the voters roll as well as an enabling environment;

NOTING the slow process of aligning the Electoral Act to the Constitution means that there are areas wherein ZEC is acting unconstitutionally and that there have been actions by ZEC which have not been aligned even to the Electoral Act;

NOW, THERFORE, calls upon

a)    The Government to expeditiously align the provisions on ZEC to the Constitution;

b)   ZEC to urgently engage with partners to implement the biometric voters roll in order to fulfill the Constitutional mandate; and

c)    Government to align the Electoral Act with the Constitution and create an electoral environment that complies with Article 17 of the African Union Charter on free and fair elections.

HON. SEN. B. SIBANDA: I second.

HON. SEN. TIMVEOS: Thank you Madam President for giving me this opportunity to debate my motion. Madam President, the purpose of this motion is to fulfill our legislative mandate of oversight with regard to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. we need to investigate closely where the Electoral Act is not aligning to the Constitution.

          Mr. President, we also need to examine certain decisions and actions taken by ZEC which are not in line with the law and as legislators, our Constitution requires us to raise awareness on aspects of the political, economic and administrative environments which inhibit ZEC from fulfilling its mandate. We rate the environment in Zimbabwe based on the SADC Charter, principles and guidelines governing democratic elections as well as the AU Charter.

          Mr. President, as Zimbabwe we are part of SADC and we should implement, sign, ratify and domesticate the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance. This should be done as a matter of urgency. Mr. President, in my research I realised that there is quite a few countries that had signed this Treaty, for example Algeria, Kenya, Ghana, Lesotho, Malawi, Nigeria, just to name a few Mr. President and why should Zimbabwe be left behind. Zimbabwe is part of SADC and we should not be left behind in signing these treaties.

          The general constitutional mandate of ZEC is to ensure that elections are conducted efficiently, freely, fairly, transparently and in accordance with the law. The General Laws Amendment (GLA) Bill denies the vote to certain citizens, for examples the diaspora, prisoners and those in hospitals. Let us say you are in hospital, you are not given an opportunity to vote. With regards to the diaspora, some countries have provisions to vote at embassies and consulates abroad.

Mr. President, the Electoral Court is also full of High Court Judges  whereas Section 183 of the Constitution states that Judges cannot be appointed to sit in more than one court. The constitutional independence of ZEC is guaranteed by Section 235 yet this is compromised by Section 12 of the Electoral Act which requires ZEC to seek approval from the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs before accepting any donation. It is further compromised by Section 192 (6) of the Electoral Act which provides that regulations made by ZEC must be approved by the Minister as well.

Postal voting, Mr. President is allowed for security forces, personnel engaged in election duties but does not provide safeguards for their votes to be made freely and fairly without intimidation from their superior officers. I realise that teachers should also be given the same opportunity because they also conduct elections during election time. They also work as election officers at all times and should actually be given an opportunity to vote as well. Mr. President, the Constitution also states that voter registration should be continuous and this should be followed at all costs.

I just want to ask the House how conducive the political, economic and administrative environment is to a free, fair and transparent election. Mr. President, we need political tolerance. We are all Zimbabweans and violence should not be allowed at all cost during elections. We need equal access to State media by all political parties before and during elections. ZBC continues to shun other political parties and surely this should not be allowed because the Constitution is so clear on this matter.

I also want to really sympathise today with our traditional leaders for being forced to frog-match people to vote against their will like we have seen in the past. This should not happen in an independent Zimbabwe. Our traditional leaders should be given all the respect and never be used by politicians.

Our Government should be well resourced as well for elections. The AU Charter Article 15 (4) reads that ‘State parties shall provide the national independent and impartial electoral bodies with resources to perform their assigned missions efficiently and effectively’. So, in general Mr. President, it is clear that the current environment is not conducive to a transparent free and fair election. However, we welcome the biometric voting system and we hope our people will be taught well so that they adapt well to the new system.

Finally Mr. President, I call on the Government of Zimbabwe to give real freedom to the people of Zimbabwe by creating an enabling electoral environment, come 2018. I thank you so much Mr. President.

HON. SEN. B. SIBANDA: Mr. President, I stand to support the motion moved by Sen. Timveos. I will endeavour to deal with three or four points on this motion.

The Constitution of Zimbabwe does provide us with the opportunity to vote freely and express our will as we wish in a voting situation. In that process Mr. President, the referee is ZEC. ZEC is the referee before, during and after the voting. I therefore call upon ZEC to exercise that constitutional privilege which they have been given by our National Charter in order to ensure that if there are delays of six week after the vote, that should apply when the Government wins or loses. If there are no delays, they should similarly apply when the Government wins or loses. That is what we would consider to be an equitable refereeing.

The second point that I want to deal with is on the diaspora vote. We are advised that part of the problem that inhibits the conduct of the diaspora vote is the unavailability of funds. We know that we do not have money. I for one do not know what happened to the money that we had. However, we were made to understand initially that the UNDP was going to toolkit the biometric system equipment.  Subsequently we understood that we as a Government are taking that over. I have a suggestion for Government, you have got a financier for the equipment, it will not compromise our sovereignty if we were sponsored by the UNDP.  They sponsor us on a day to day basis and I do not see how it will compromise our status as a nation.  I therefore, suggest that that money goes ahead and is used to toolkit the biometric system and the money that Government has found be redirected it to the registration of diasporans, particularly in the SADC region.      

          I do not believe that it will be difficult to register people in South Africa Botswana and Mozambique if we limit it to those states if we do not have money; at least we will be showing goodwill and affording the people in the diaspora an opportunity to vote.  On a daily basis I talk to people in the diaspora, their hearts bleed for a vote, they would want to vote.  However, they are afraid of two things that the system may not be fluid when they come home to vote and they will either travel into the country and arrive after the voting system is over.  Once again ZEC should be an arbiter in that situation and make sure that all the nationals of Zimbabwe are allowed the opportunity to vote.  It is an exciting experience to vote.  Everybody yearns to vote, and we should endeavour to fulfill that wish.

          Mr. President, I also noticed that Judge Justice Makarau has stated that one of her problems with running ZEC is the staff, some of whom she inherited from the past and others that were seconded.  If indeed there are people who were seconded from other Ministries – everybody must be happy about the situation around ZEC.  If people are not happy about the situation then I suggest those who may be found unsuitable should return to where they came from.  The establishment is being increased on a daily basis in certain ministries, they should be able to find places for them.  Alternatively, if they are unsuitable - retrench them.  I am sure there would be people who are over 55 years of age, who would cherish to be retired at an early age in order to facilitate the so much needed transparency that  all of us should require in ZEC.

          The last point I want to make is the deployment of those people who run elections.  The mover of the motion Hon. Sen. Timveos has referred to that situation.  Mr. President, I suggest that one way to deal with that situation is to allow teachers to vote around where they have registered instead of deploying them all over the country where generally they are unable to vote.  If anybody doubts my sincerity, I have talked to teachers, and to people who mann voting stations - they yearn to vote Mr. President.  Let us maximize the opportunity to allow them to vote.

          Last but not least, we are operation in a global village, it is critical that our elections are not only free and fair but they are seen to be free and fair.  If we have nothing to hide, I do not understand why we should be too selective about who watches over our elections.  It is important we want investment, we need relations with the international community, let us take the necessary steps to ensure ZEC can execute its mandate professionally and as freely as they possibly can, only for the benefit of Zimbabwe. Mr. President of the Senate with those remarks, I thank you.

          HON. SEN. CARTER:  Thank you Mr. President of the Senate for the opportunity to speak on the motion.   As outlined in the motion the holding of a transparent free and fair election depends on the integrity of the voters’ roll as well as an enabling environment.  I would like to focus on these two things, integrity and the enabling environment.  Firstly the integrity of ZEC, for the people to trust the voters’ roll, they need to trust ZEC, can we trust ZEC?  For the people of Zimbabwe to trust ZEC, several things should have been done already to build that trust. 

          The first one has been mentioned already but I will mention it again.  The Government should have aligned all electoral laws with the Constitution of Zimbabwe and they have not done this. Why would they choose not to do this?  It is difficult for anyone to understand the reason.  These issues were not addressed, the process of voter registration, voter education, compilation and access to the voters’ roll and the diaspora vote.  Moreso the electoral court has not been reformed in line with Section 183.  So, the necessary laws to empower ZEC have not been done. 

          Secondly, on the integrity side, ZEC needs to be an independent Commission; the lack of independence of ZEC is illustrated by the Government continuing to control the voters’ roll.  It is a constitutional requirement for ZEC to supply opposition parties with an electronic version of the voters’ roll.  The one that was used in 2013 and this, they failed to do; they said the computer is broken.  This has been the answer for four years.  There is a court order saying the 2013 roll must be supplied as soon as the Registrar General’s computer equipment is working.  ZEC clearly has access to the 2013 electronic roll because it has been used in bi-elections and the 2013 has been supplied for constituencies where bi-elections has been held. 

          An application by civil society for the current electronic voters’ roll and that will be the 2013 roll as well as the bi-elections updates got the response that it would be supplied as soon as possible and everybody’s hopes went up, but that never happened.  ZEC is controlled by a former Major in the Zimbabwe National Army Captain Utoile Silaigwana.  He has admitted to withholding the 2013 roll on orders from somewhere.  It will not be possible to properly order the 2018 role unless the 2013 roll is made available for comparison.  When you ask ZEC for the 2013 roll…

          HON. SEN. MAVHUNGA:  On a point of order Mr. President of the Senate.

          THE DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  What is your point of order?

          HON. SEN. MAVHUNGA: The Hon. Senator is reading.

          HON. SEN. CARTER:  I am referring to notes.

          THE DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  Go on.

          HON. SEN. CARTER:  Thank you.  So, when you ask ZEC for the 2013 voters’ roll they will direct you to the Registrar General and when you ask the Registrar-General for the 2013 voters’ roll he says he has nothing to do with registration anymore.  Therefore, control of the voters’ roll is at the core of the control that is needed by Government. So, Government is not following the law in producing the voters’ roll and when a Government does not follow its own law then public trust collapses.  So, the independence of ZEC is a crucial thing and I need to illustrate it with one more example.  It is about the biometric voters’ roll. So, the UNDP, as you have heard mentioned, agreed to provide technical services around the Biometric Voters’ Roll.  They also agreed to pay for the procurement of the equipment and a Procurement Equipment Committee was set up consisting of five people from UNDP and four from ZEC, led by Captain Silaigwana.  Once the tenders came in for evaluation, Government, through ZEC realised that they could not control the tender process because there were more UNDP people on the committee.  So, the only way to keep control therefore, was to abandon the relationship with UNDP.

          HON. SEN. CHIPANGA: Is that a fact or opinion that Government realised that they had no control?

          HON. SEN. CARTER:  As far as I know, it is factual Mr. President, but the point is that we have been informed that they have abandoned the UNDP.  Is that a fact or opinion?  How do we verify that?  However, the fact, I am told, is that they have abandoned UNDP.  So, Government will now take control of the BVR and roll it out.  This is not a fact but I understand that it will be through the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.  I only say that because I have heard that, so if it is not true, we can discuss that but if it is true - because there is no other way they can do it, then this is another contradiction of ZECs independence.  So, the independence of ZEC has totally collapsed into a branch of Government.

Talking further about the integrity, as we have already heard, ZEC should be well funded but I see in the budget $9.7 million allocated to ZEC.  $6 million of that amount is for employment and $3.6 million is for operations, leaving $100,000 for capital.  So there is no money for funding the BVR.  When Government went into this relationship with UNDP, it was meant to put in $17 million.  Where will the money for the budget come from?   I am afraid that the lack of funding and budgetary money that has been allocated again undermines the integrity and trust that people have for ZEC.  There are three more requirements needed to build the integrity of ZEC.  They should adhere to regional principles of voter registration, voting and results management.  They should be involved in continuous voter education and they should extend the right to vote to all eligible citizens.  But because ZEC lacks independence, integrity, transparency and funding, it is fatally flawed and unable to adhere to these regional principles.

I will now move on to the environment.  As I outlined in the beginning, the holding of a transparent, free and fair election depends on the integrity of the voters roll and the enabling environment.  Allow me to read a few lines from this report.  This report is from the Counselling Services Unit and is referring to the political violence that happened in January this year.  Government and ZEC should have zero tolerance of political violence.  In January this year CSU reported that; there continues to be reports of politically motivated attacks on opposition supporters in both rural and urban constituencies.  In all the cases in January, ZANU PF supporters were alleged to be the main perpetrators.  A worrying aspect of the ZANU PF instigated political violence is that the ZRP officers refused to assist the victims.  On 19th January, 2017 two days before the by election of the Bikita West House of Assembly seat, the NCA candidate was attacked by armed ZANU PF supporters and left for dead.  Now that the ZRP know that ZEC has issued a statement, are they taking any action against these blatant violations of electoral regulations?  My point is, it is often difficult to know who did it but ZEC should have stood up and condemned it.  That is the main point I am trying to make.

The second part on environment is equitable media coverage which also has been mentioned and is very clear that there is no access to media coverage for all political parties.  It is just obvious that it is the case but ZEC remains silent.  Before any by-election, it should be speaking out on that matter but it is not speaking out.  So, in no sense can anyone claim that we have an enabling media environment.  It is simply not true. 

Now, moving on to election observers, a framework for long term election observation should be established.  If we want Foreign Direct Investment to come into this country, it starts with bringing in people to see how we operate, see our elections and if everything works before they say yes, we trust this process. That will encourage investment, but if we keep people out and we have already been told that unfriendly countries will not be invited- I presume they were referring to America and the European Union.  You are restricting them so they will not be keen to invest.  It is as if there is something to hide and this is the opposite of an enabling observer environment.  On these three issues, it is simple to see that we lack the enabling environment that is necessary. 

In conclusion therefore, we are left with a situation where ZEC is clearly unable to deliver a free and fair election.  ZEC is a State captured institution which will not allow the necessary reforms required and as a country, we are imprisoning ourselves.  I thank you Mr. President.

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

HON. SEN. MARAVA:  I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume:  Thursday, 23rd February, 2017.

MOTION

SADC MODEL LAW ON ERADICATING EARLY CHILD MARRIAGES

Fifth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on SADC Model Law on Eradicating Child Marriages.

Question again proposed.

HON. SEN. D. T. KHUMALO:  The SADC Model Law which was moved by Senator Mohadi is a very useful motion in that it says, let us agree that the girl child should grow.  At the present moment we have different laws which do not make it clear whether we want the girl child to grow. We have at the present moment, a law which says when a girl is 16 years, she can go around and have sex but she cannot get married. Our own Constitution says anybody under the age of 18 years is a child and cannot get married but we are saying, a 16 year old child can have sex but cannot get married. Therefore, we are allowing these unscrupulous people to have sex and give these children babies, and leave them because they cannot marry them.

          We are saying that should not be allowed. Let us accept what the SADC Model Law says. It says no child under 18 years can consent to anything. Can Zimbabwe also accept that? The SADC Model Law says if there is anybody who gets married, wherever the person gets married, that marriage must be registered. The offices for registration of marriages are very far. The rural people are not able to have access because they will need to have money and it is difficult to have money.

          Therefore, they end up having unregistered marriages. I am suggesting that the marriages must be registered. We have our traditional people, our traditional chiefs and their village heads, should be part of witnessing those marriages and have the books to register those marriages so that there is nobody without a registered marriage. If it is not registered, it is not recognised. Can everybody have a recognised marriage which can be registered by the village heads who will take it to the chief and the chief is the final person to make sure that within his area, who is married and who is not married.

This is because we will end up with people having two marriages. They have the lobola and agree to have five wives or they get married in the church and everybody knows that they were married in the church, but at the end, they go and marry another one secretly. If this was done at the local level, the chiefs would know that this person is cheating this young woman whom he now wants to marry yet he has another marriage. Is this one he is marrying as the second wife consenting to be the second wife? Cheating will not be that much if the chiefs were involved in the registration of marriages.

If in any case there is a marriage which takes place in the rural areas which is for a person who is under 18 years, you know traditionally that we invite people like aunties and gogos for that marriage ceremony to make sure that they are celebrating the marriage. Can these elderly people who are witnesses to a marriage of an under 18 year old be arrested. Can we inform the police that down there,  is a wedding for a girl who is under 18 years and all those people are witnesses. I would recommend that those people be arrested as well. If they are arrested, they will be a different judgement.

For example, the elderly people who are there should do what is called community service. They should cut grass in the community so that everybody asks as to why they are cutting grass. They will then say it is because I was at a wedding of my muroora or whoever it is, so that they are embarrassed and next time, people are not going to do that. The parents of this girl who is getting married should go to jail so that next time, they know that you are not supposed to allow a child who is under 18 years to get married. It will be a deterrent because everybody is going to talk about it and say do you know that Mai So and So and Baba So and So are in jail because they were marrying their daughter at a younger age. Everybody will be afraid of marrying children who are under 18 years.

The other thing that I thought was interesting about the SADC Model Law is that it collected all the information from different international statutes so that it brings everything together like the African Charter, Maputo Protocol and the 1979 CEDOW. They are all put together to make sure that everything has been put together. I am therefore asking this House to help on what Senator Mohadi has said. Can we ratify the SADC Model Law so that we can use most of it and follow it as a country and as a nation so that we are proud that we are the signatories and therefore, we are going to follow what is in the SADC Model Law? I thank you Mr. President and I hope this House will support this SADC Model Law. Thank you.   

*HON. SENATOR MAKORE: Thank you Mr. President for giving me the opportunity to make my contribution on this motion raised by Hon. Senator Mohadi. The SADC Model Law can also be referred to as an agreement which has to be ratified by other countries. I believe as Zimbabwean Parliament, we have debated this motion at length and it has also been debated in the region. It has even gone international. The marrying off of young girls is a problem in a country like Zimbabwe. We have heard some Members who made contributions saying this is a law which is aimed at protecting these young children because we need to give these youngsters time to mature and get into a marriage knowing what they are getting into.

If an under age girl gets married, she will still be immature and this is a disadvantage to the country. We are debating the issue because we are saying the developing or education of this young girl is disturbed. When you disturb her education, you are also disturbing the development of the country. We know a housewife is the backbone of a home, but if this young girl gets into an early marriage, she has no clue and has not matured mentally. At times, these girls are married off to elderly men and yet despite the fact that being mature, their physic is also not ready for the household chores which she has to face. I believe we debated this at length and it is our wish that the Minister responsible for this Ministry comes and responds because we would like to hear what she is going to say. Would she talk about child marriages? We also debated the case of some orphanages where inmates are ill-treated or the homes are underfunded.

          This is a problem in the country because these early marriages have led some children to be parents. Some were made pregnant while still at school and their lives have been disturbed. What we are saying is that we are begging that these people should look for ways of looking after the affected young girls. We need to sit down as a country and craft ways and means of protecting these young girls and do away with early marriages.

          What is painful is that some men who marry these young girls are also old men. We have a feeling that there should be some control mechanisms which build in controlling the behaviour of these children. As parents, we should control the movements of our children especially coming home late at night. We have some homes where there is no rule of law. The children there only behave as they want and they come in and go out as much as they want. The big question is - where did you borrow this culture from or where did you get these ways of living? We believe that these young stars who are left to roam at will with no parental guidance are the ones who indulge in early marriages and early sexual activities, hence have children who are either dumped or taken to the orphanages. 

          We need to be as parents. Follow what the Bible says and according to Proverbs, it says spare the rod and spoil the child because we know that some of us when we were growing up, our parents did not spare the rod.  Whenever you made anything against the rules of the home you were really thrashed. Our children are being protected because of the human rights. You are supposed to do what is good for a child? The child has rights. If you thrash your child for misdemeanor you can even be prosecuted, but in the past the father or mother would punish that child and nobody would say you are committing an offence. 

          We then wonder what kind of a world we are living in you ask if this Zimbabwean is a whiteman or a blackman because of the cultures. You look at it and make a similarity of somebody who is travelling on a foot path across a bridge because it will be swaying to and from; it is not steady.

We also said our chiefs should be empowered so that they lead people in the resettlement areas. This is the kind of a culture we need to adopt of controlling our children. If it means we have to thrash them, let us thrash do so and let us not follow these international rules on children’s rights because we are suffering a lot. Our resources are not adequate to take care of these children. We need to take ways of protecting our culture and children hence the future of Zimbabwe, I thank you. –[HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.]-  

          HON. SEN CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: Mr. President, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          HON. SEN. TAWENGWA: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Thursday, 23rd February, 2017. 

MOTION

SUPPORT FOR THE NATIONAL SCHOOL PLEDGE

 

Sixth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on advocating for unequivocal support for the National School Pledge by all Members of Parliament.

Question again proposed.

*HON. SEN. MANYERUKE: Thank you Mr. President forgiving me the opportunity to debate this motion regarding the National Pledge which is to be recited by learners at school. I also want to thank Hon. Dr. Dokora for introducing this pledge because the aim is for the children to inculcate a culture of patriotism, unity of purpose and a common desire for equating justice according to the Constitution. We know that learners or children should understand their culture and they should know how we as the African people of Zimbabwe are supposed to live. We also asked as members of the Senate, that we should encourage the children to know the aims and importance of education. They should also know that the natural resources of the country belong to them and it is for the development of their country.

During our time when went to school, we used to go to school barefooted and yet Bata Shoe company was in existence but we could not afford to buy those school shoes. In some instances, children were not allowed to put on those shoes. Talking about the toilet, we could get into the toilet barefooted in badly constructed toilets with floors which were similar to trench toilets but we simply used them and we developed.  

We got to a stage where we had to fight for the liberation of our country. We have children of Zimbabwe, some of whom died and others  were maimed in the war of liberation. We also had a case whereby the schools we attended, were inspected by White inspectors yet we used to teach the children the history and the culture of our country. When we were going to school there was an organisation called the Girls Guides and the Boys Scouts.  We had to make a pledge according to the Scouts supporting the Rhodesian Government and this was done from Sub A to Standard 6. Hence as people of an independent Zimbabwe, we should teach our children to be patriotic and be culturally oriented.

          Let me recite the pledge that we used to recite during my school days because I still know it.  There was war and shots being fired but we kept on fighting for the liberation of the country despite all the wars that were going on around us because we believed in patriotism and independence of our country.  Currently, our children go to school putting on shoes and refuse to attend school without shoes.  There was a time when it was compulsory for school children to wear shoes called, ‘Toughies’.  These days some children will not even attend school without a lunchbox.  We should acknowledge that our Government is taking care of the welfare of the people in a better way than what used to be done by the Smith regime. 

This is the pledge that we used to recite, “I promise on my own and it is my duty to do my best and to uphold …” This is the pledge that we used to recite as Girl Guides and the Boy Scouts also had their own pledge.  As parents, we need to inculcate these values of patriotism because we need to talk about the independence of our country and uphold our sovereignty.  We have an intelligent Minister in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education and we should support him. I know children are children and there may be some delinquencies but when we have inculcated some moral values in them, they will definitely be good citizens.  We need to protect them by creating this culture of patriotism.

Our Constitution, as the supreme law of the country, guides where we are going.  Some people tell their children that we are now putting on ties, walking on pavements and driving cars but all these came through the attainment of independence because there were some forbidden areas during the Smith regime.  For example, in the farms there were schools which only ended at Sub A and Sub B.  These were meant to educate the Africans in the agriculture language because they were not a threat when they were not educated. The whites used to believe that an educated African was difficult to govern. 

We had companies such as David Whitehead and Bata Shoes, despite the fact that people were working there, there was still oppression.  We liberated the country with the onset of the liberation struggle.  Upon attaining independence, those who intended to return to school did so freely.  So, let us be like the children of Israel who fought for their independence by moving from Egypt to Israel, a land of milk and honey. We are in a land of milk and honey, Zimbabwe.  I thank you.

*HON. SEN. CHIEF MUSARURWA:   Thank you Mr. President Sir. I would like to add my voice to this motion that was tabled by Hon. Sen. Chimbudzi regarding the national pledge that is being recited in schools because our children should know the history of their country.  Hence we will be inculcating the values of patriotism. 

We support fully this initiative by the Hon. Minister, Dr. Dokora and support the upholding of this national pledge as it upholds the principles of patriotism.  I am sure of the fact that when the Hon. Minister introduced this national pledge, he had researched thoroughly.  I say so because I fully support the contribution by the previous Senator. Hon. Sen. Manyeruke.  When we were in school, during the Smith or the colonial regime, education was aimed at creating a soft and obedient African and it was very painful.  I had a personal experience when I was beaten by a teacher after failing to respond to the question - Who is the mother colony of your country Rhodesia?  I failed that and was beaten because the answer was - the mother colony was Britain and America.  So you can imagine the cruelty that was perpetrated by the colonialists.  I am saying; let us inculcate the spirit of patriotism and our African culture.

How can one be expected to uphold the name of one’s oppressor?  For instance, during our hay days, we would talk about who discovered India, Vasco Da Gama yet we did not know anything about our Chief Chingaira.  We would talk about the Magellans and Vasco Da Gamas’.  Therefore, what the motion raises in this pledge should be supported by this august House.  I remember some of our children talking about the Prince Charles’s son; they would google the picture on WhatsApp and kiss it.  Kissing the royalty yet when a child is born in the chieftainship such as Mambo Musarurwa or Mambo Chiduku, nobody would kiss that picture.  

If we inculcate the values of patriotism and our African culture, they would know what this all means when we talk about chieftainship like Chief Musarurwa or Mambo Ngungubane.  Even the current topical issue of early marriages, we would be following our culture and know that this is wrong.  I am saying let us be patriotic.  Love your country as much as you love yourself.  I know there is no British or American child who does not know how to recite their Constitution   because this is inculcated in them in schools.  I am saying, as members of this august Senate; let us support the recitation of the national pledge and the history of our country and culture.

As stated by Hon. Sen. Makore, that was very pertinent and we should support that.  I am pleading with this House to support this motion fully because this is the backbone of the Zimbabwean culture.  This is the backbone of the history of Zimbabwe and opening up of our minds that all the natural resources, the fauna and flora belong to the people of Zimbabwe.  We should preserve them for the development of our country.  This is why I said, I need to make some inclusions and additions in support of this motion because it is a very pertinent, important and essential motion. I believe that through working on the pledges and history of our country, we will be able to inculcate the values of patriotism, hunhuism, ubuntu and we will know why we have Chiefs where we are going and where we are coming from. I thank you.

          HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: Thank you Mr. President. I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          HON. SEN. TAWENGWA: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Thursday, 23rd February, 2017.

MOTION

MEASURES TO CURB VIOLENCE PERPETRATED BY POLITICAL PARTIES

          Seventh Order read: adjourned debate on motion on violence that has become a socio-political way of life among the people of Zimbabwe.

          Question again proposed.

          HON. SEN. SINAMPANDE: I rise to support the motion which was raised by Hon. Senator B. Sibanda and seconded by Hon. S. Ncube. This motion talks of violence in its context as the application of force by one party on another in order to achieve negative objectives. Mr. President, the country is still heavily infested with violence, mainly socio and political with the political violators and politically violated.

          Mr. President, you only need to go into communal areas and see how politics is applied on almost everything, including food distribution which falls under the District Administrators’ office, presidential inputs distribution, Chinese rice and many other things. There is violence against the stomachs of citizens – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.].

          Mr. President, such practice where only one party benefits at the expense of all other parties does not augur well with the gospel that we preach on a daily basis. We do have a Peace and Security Committee in this august House and this is a serious infringement on other individuals’ peace and security rights which we as Senators are supposed to protect.

          Mr. President, this country must do everything in its power to enable its citizens to live harmoniously in a politically violent free Zimbabwe. With these few words Mr. President, I thank you.

          *HON. SEN. CHIFAMBA: Thank you Mr. President for giving me the opportunity to support the motion raised by Hon. Sibanda and seconded by Hon. Ncube. Really, violence is a pain in the life of people. Let us take a look at domestic violence. When the parents are fighting, the stability of the children is disturbed because of what will be happening. It even disturbs their progress at school. I remember when we were growing up being told that in the areas of Chihota and Seke, they were places which were no go areas, especially in the evenings or if you were a foreigner. At times, when one was at the age of marriage and you go and tell your parents that I want to marry somebody from Seke or Chihota, people would be very much unsettled because these places were notorious.

          It is also likely that if you live in a family where there is always domestic violence, when you say you want to marry into that family there is always a problem from your family because they know that you will be importing violence into their family. Of all the forms of violence, the worst is political violence because we have some people who think when we talk of political violence people may forget. What has really happened is in political violence; if you are violated or assaulted you will never forget. We have people who have assaulted other people and forgotten about it.

          We have a mass grave in Marondera where people were buried in 2008. A lot of bodies had been dumped in Wenimbe Dam and the bodies were retrieved from there. These people died due to political violence. The people were buried in this unmarked grave. We are saying political violence is a scourge. I remember during those days if you were to go for whatever reason visiting Marondera Mortuary, you would feel the pain and be terrified because of the bodies thrown around. Some of the bodies were throwing out some pungent smell and a lot of maggots. These were the bodies of people who had died during that political turmoil.

As a result, we are saying as human beings let us respect each other’s political beliefs because it comes even to a case where we have some street kids fighting. As a person, you are really touched by that …

HON. SEN. CHIPANGA: My point of order is that the Hon. Member makes a very interesting statement that there is a mass grave somewhere in Marondera. If this is a fact Mr. President, could we be favoured with evidence or a report that was made to the police so that the issue is put to rest? I thank you.

*HON. SEN. CHIFAMBA: This is very true that there is a mass grave because it is near a gum tree plantation. If you want to exhume, I can lead the people for exhumation of those bodies because I have some tangible evidence on the existence of such a grave.

THE TEMPORARY PRESIDENT: Order, Senator Chifamba address the Chair please.

*HON. SEN. CHIFAMBA: Like I have said, this is the place that I know. It is not hearsay and I can tell you that even if you were to blindfold me I can lead you to that place. If you were to exhume, you would find a lot of bodies which were buried there. These bodies were retrieved from the Wenimbe Dam. That is why I am saying violence in all its forms, is very diabolic and satanic because when I saw these people who were retrieved and put at Marondera Mortuary, I became emotional.

Hon. Chief Musarurwa advised that whenever people are coming for an organisation meeting or whatever, they should first of all seek the permission of the traditional leader.  I sympathise with you Hon. Sen. Chief because if you had to give us the permission to hold a political rally as an opposition you will definitely be in problems.  This is a fact because in Zimbabwe the Chief should not allow you to hold our rally if you do not belong to the correct party - regardless of where you go, even if you go to the police and seek for permission to hold a political rally in that area, you are told that the place where you want to hold your rally has already been booked and therefore you need to have ways of being a delinquent and hold that meeting without permission.

          HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA: Thank you Mr. President of the Senate.  I rise to support the motion which was moved by Hon. Sen. B. Sibanda.  I would like to support the fact that violence is an integral part of our social political way in life.  I am going to debate more on the violence which I have got detailed statistics on - gender based violence, which is among our society and this has got to be dealt with.  Gender based violence is one of the most common yet unacknowledged - not even documented.  It is a serious human rights violation in our society that we as Members of Parliament need to seriously look at and see how we can stop it. Yes, it is true our Government has come up with quite a number of laws, Domestic Violence Act to protect the survivors but the question is the number of gender based violence cases is still going up. What is it that we can do as people who have been elected by the people to defend them? 

          We need police stations which are highly friendly so that those who are victims can get their cases across and be helped.  The victim friendly units of the police - we need more of those and also to make sure that they are actually giving the privacy which the victims would want when they are talking about gender based violence.  The most commonly reported form of violence is actually against women by their intimate partner; what is referred to as intimate partner violence. 

          Mr. President of the Senate, a married woman can report violence against her husband and that should be taken seriously because there is no sane wife who would report her husband being violent on her when that husband loves her.  So, this is something we need to seriously teach our people and also make sure that the police take them very seriously.  We have been given statistics again and again how serious gender based violence is.  We know that Mashonaland Central Province has got the highest percentage of violence and we know that Matabeleland South, Midlands and Harare becomes the eighth highest. 

          The prevalence of all these forms of violence against women, there are especially physical, sexual or even kutuka pabasa - it is violence, it makes people feel uncomfortable in their own country.  The question which I am asking this august Senate what is that we can do, a lot more has been done.  The legal framework is there, the Constitution is a female document, is there implementation about what is on those documents?  It is not enough to have this Constitution which has got all these wonderful provisions to protect the women and girls and yet nothing is being done.  There is not implementation.  The question is it is us as Members of Parliament who should uphold everything which is in that Constitution.  So, what can we do to make sure that what is in the Constitution is implemented so that at least we can live as a progressive developing nation where both men and women live nicely?

          The research which was done by ZIMSTARTS found that 68% of the women whom they interviewed about 3326 women had experienced some form of gender based violence in their life time.  So, you can see when we speak of gender based violence, it is a very serious issue in our society.  On the other hand, 3274 men who were interviewed, 46% actually admitted to having perpetrated some of violence to their partners.  So, this is something we need to serious look at.  The most dominate form of GBV as I have said, is actually young people being abused by elderly men. 

          When we visited Musasa Project; we saw young girls 9, 10 and 11 years who have been impregnated by a relative within the families they live in.  Our people instead of looking after their children – in our society if I die today, my children are my sister’s children are my brother’s children. It is no longer the case today and what has happened to the moral fabric, what can we do to restore that so that we look after our children so that we have good leaders of tomorrow.

          Mr. President, women with secondary education experience less violence, so the question of pushing for the girl child to go to school, the question of making sure that girls just do not end at primary level, they go to secondary level and to tertiary level is also very important.  Statistics show that most of the women who experience violence are less educated, so education itself is a protective factor for women.  Really as Members of Parliament, we need to make sure that our girl children, our women are educated - even those who are in marriage, that is why the model SADC law is talking about protecting those young girls who are in marriage so that they go back to school and education becomes a protective factor in society. 

          We also want Government to expedite the development of mandatory sentences to perpetrators.  A lot has been said - some have been even talking about having them jailed for life, for 30 or 40 years.  We need a mandatory sentence for those perpetrators.  We also want the period which they are going to be jailed stated somehow in the Act of Parliament.  This will make gender based violence a crime that is very serious.  We want a sentence which is deterrent, it is too lenient people think it is okay, I can do it and I can get away with it.  I am saying we need really serious mandatory sentencing.  We would also want current costs of protection orders that applicants pay to be reduced, because a lot of victims fail to raise that amount.  So, if that can be reduced more and more victims will be able to go to the police and report.  Mr. President, as I say education, education can bring the number of victims down.  I thank you Mr. President.

          HON. SEN. B. SIBANDA:  Mr. President, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          HON. MARAVA:  I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.   

          Debate to resume: Thursday, 23rd February, 2017.

MOTION

PROMOTION OF POPULATION GROWTH IN ZIMBABWE

Eighth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on Zimbabwe’s low population.

          Question again proposed.

MOTION

PROMOTION OF POPULATION GROWTH IN ZIMBABWE

Eighth Order read:  Adjourned debate on motion on Zimbabwe’s low population.

 Question again proposed.

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

HON. SEN. MUMVURI:  I second

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume:  Thursday, 23rd February, 2017.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE DELEGATION TO THE 68TH SESSION OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF THE AFRICAN PARLIAMENTARY UNION

 

Ninth Order read:  Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the Delegation to the 68th Session of the Executive Committee of the African Parliamentary Union.

Question again proposed.

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

HON. SEN. MARAVA:  I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume:  Thursday, 23rd February, 2017.

MOTION

FIRST REPORT OF THE THEMATIC COMMITTEE ON GENDER AND DEVELOPMENT ON THE STATUS OF CHILDREN’S HOMES

          Tenth Order read:  Adjourned debate on motion on the First Report of the Thematic Committee on Gender and Development on the Status of Children’s Homes.

Question again proposed.

 

 

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

          HON. SEN. MARAVA: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume:  Thursday, 23rd February, 2017.

MOTION

SECOND REPORT OF THE THEMATIC COMMITTEE ON GENDER AND DEVELOPMENT ON EARLY CHILD MARRIAGES

                Eleventh Order read:   Adjourned debate on motion on the Second Report of the Thematic Committee on Gender and Development on Early Child Marriages.

Question again proposed

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

          HON. SEN. MARAVA: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume:  Thursday, 23rd February, 2017

MOTION

REPORT OF THE DELEGATION TO THE 39TH PLENARY ASSEMBLY OF THE SADC PARLIAMENTARY FORUM

Twelfth Order read:  Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the Delegation to the 39th Plenary Assembly of the SADC Parliamentary Forum.

Question again proposed.

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

          HON. SEN. MARAVA: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume:  Thursday, 23rd February, 2017

On the motion of HON. SEN. MUMVURI seconded by HON. SEN MARAVA, the Senate adjourned at Sixteen Minutes past Four o’clock p.m.

 

 

Senate Hansard SENATE HANSARD 22 FEBRUARY 2017 VOL 26 N NO 32