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SENATE HANSARD - 22 JULY 2009 VOL. 18 NO. 23

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Wednesday, 22nd July, 2009

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 wish to remind hon. senators to switch off their cellphones before business commences.

MOTION

HIV/AIDS MARTENAL HEALTH PROGRAMMES

First Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the plight of women due to HIV/AIDS.

Question again proposed.

SENATOR DUBE: I would like to thank Hon Mandava for this important motion. In this important motion, I have a very strong passion about, women, we are most affected by HIV and AIDS. There is a tendency of feminism in HIV and AIDS. The social and other cultural aspects of this pandemic can be attributed to the fact that no males are involved in HIV/AIDS programmes and activities; lack of adequate information on the consequences of AIDS, especially to young women and girls vulnerability. There is a limited access to high quality information relating to essential reproductive health and mobilization of received demands for use in these services. There should be provision of adequate technical and financial support to ensure that structures of vulnerability ,economic empowerment, access to secondary education and prevention of transmission from mother to child, enforcement and monitoring of gender related violence are in place. We are the presidents of the next generation. Capacities for behavioral surveillance, priorities extension and monitoring of the impact of the process should be put in place.

I however commend the government and National Aids Council, NGO's and other companies for taking up this initiative as Hon Mandava said. However, I feel the figures should drop further and I am concerned each time that we do not achieve some of our targets; if the government is not in a position to carry out this mandate of coordinating activities in this country. There are so many AIDS organizations and there is need of monitoring and supervising them. I was reading the AIDS Act, it was not amended. Why did we not amend it so that we give much power to this organization so that there is a systematic way of reporting. Still on NAC, we would also want to control disbursements for organizations like the Global Fund. We know NAC is not a member and is not a recipient of such funds.

Coming back to the HIV/AIDS pandemic, there is an information gap when it comes to women particularly those in the rural areas. A lot of research has been done and at times us women are being taken advantage of . For instance, there is the gel that prevents HIV/AIDS . We have no information on the trials and side effects of that gel, if ever there are any. The same applies to the treatment of cervical cancer which is one of the most killer diseases in women.

Lastly, I implore the government to mainstream HIV to reduce its impact through reducing vulnerability while simultaneously creating an AIDS conscious society in order to mitigate the future impact. This involves putting in place effective policies to curb this.

SENATOR MLOTSHWA: I would also want to thank Senator Mandava for bringing up this motion. HIV affects us women most because of our biological make up and by the nature we were born. That is why we feel we need to protect ourselves effectively because we want to nurture our partners.

Madam President, men refuse to use protection after paying lobola, whereas they are proved to be of high risk because they can not stick to one partner. Also I acknowledge that it is their nature.

I echo Senator Mandava's sentiments that efforts be made to provide the gell for women to use. I propose that we come up with a policy to protect the girl child through traditional leaders . If we have a policy that guides our traditional leaders to protect the acts of indulgence, I think it will go a long way to assist the nation.

Girls should guard their virginity jealously. Our chiefs should put in place structures in the community to protect them . In Nigeria, I observed a certain village attending a wedding of a girl from a certain village. The chiefs witnessed that the girl was a virgin and they slaughtered a beast. Not long ago our communities in Zimbabwe, the bride and groom were given a a white cloth as proof to see if the girl was still a virgin. This was a way of fulfilling a certain price for the girl child. Madam President, HIV/AIDS is a cross cut pandemic that notices no boundaries, no political divide, and it can be spread by the rich to the most poor, by the opposition to the ruling party. Being a Senator representing a rural constituency, I realise that government allows the Notional Aids Council as a regulatory board to disseminate information through media, workshops, public notices and through the PSI, giving information about how to protect ourselves against HIV/AIDS.

On advertising -I also realise that some of the adverts affect us the rural folk. For example, at a certain gathering in my constituency on women's day, a woman kept asking me about an advert that is screened on ZTV that says, "condoms can stretch to one metre and hold 1 litre of water". She wanted to know whether there is a man that can go that far? Those kind of adverts affect the women folk. In a quest to find out whether there is such a man, the women end up contracting HIV. My reply was that, if there was such a man then it should appear in the Guinness book of records.

She continued to say that in the community she knows that there is no man like that. To me it sends shivers that this woman had gone through the men in the community. She said to me senator, since you have traveled widely, have you ever met such kind of man?I said no. I am giving you such an example because if such adverts are allowed to be screened and there are about a hundred women who would then want to find out if there are such men, then HIV will spread.

Therefore, I believe that the regulatory board that screens some HIV/AIDS adverts should take these adverts more seriously, especially to us women because it affects us. I think there should be a policy to the effect that children of primary school going age should be taught about these things because right now, some of them have started doing it. If we teach children at a tender age, maybe we can instill the discipline about virginity that was instilled on us when we were young.

SENATOR CHIMBUDZI: Madam President, I would like to add my voice and speak on theHIV and AIDS Situational Analysis in Zimbabwe.

l The country's total population according to the census population is about 11million.

l The first AIDS case was diagnosed in 1985, and the prevalence rates have varied from 10% in 1980 to between 30-33% up to 2002.

l HIV was declared a national disaster by government in 2002.

l The prevalence rate has been declining and dropped to 23.4% mainly amongst 15-49 age groups and expectant mothers.

l Although the HIV prevalence rate has been dropping from about 23% in 2001 to 15.6% in January 2008, the pandemic remains a challenge to the socio-economic development of the country. NAC survey shows declining trends in HIV prevalence of 25.8% (2002), 20.5% (2004) to 17.3% (2006)

l Incidence rate declined from an estimated peak of 5% (1996) to 1.4% (2007).

HIV and AIDS statistics

Total No. of people living with HIV (2007) -1 320 739

Adults (15-49yrs) -1 085 671

Women (15-49yrs) - 651 402

Children 132 938

Prevalence Rate 15.6%

PRIORITY RESPOSES:

1. HIV Testing and Counseling

Goal- to reduce HIV transmission (prevention) and to facilitate early diagnosis leading to early access to care, treatment and support (reduced morbidity and mortality). Currently only 25% of the population know their status.

Provider Initiated Testing and Counseling

Routine offer for patients who visit health institutions adopted in 2004 to increase access to prevention, treatment, care and support.

2. Prevention of parent to child transmission (PMTCT)Goal- to reduce HIV transmission to children and targeting all pregnant women to have access to PMTCT services by 2010

Sites increased from 3 in 2000 to 920 currently offering comprehensive services and 640 offering minimum services and 4 sites offering early infant diagnosis.

3. Prevention of Sexual Transmission of HIV;

l IEC for behaviour change and communication

l STI prevention and care

l Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health

l Condom promotion and communication

l Post exposure prophylaxis and management of rape

Prevention of occupational transmission of HIV including Universal precautions and Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP)

4. Emerging Prevention Issues

l Male circumcision - observational studies indicate that circumcised men had lower levels of HIV than uncircumcised ones. It is an additional strategy to prevent HIV acquisition in men.

l Vaccine Research - there is currently vaccine research through Africa University and some colleagues in the United States.

l Microbicides - Microbicides are gels that can be used by women to prevent infection.

5. Care and Treatment

Goal - to reduce morbidity and mortality associated with HIV and to improve the quality of life of persons living with HIV and AIDS;

l Universal access to opportunistic infections

l Anti-Retro viral Therapy services to all persons living with AIDS

l All hospitals assessed and accredited to provide opportunist and ART services.

l Prevention and treatment of opportunistic Infections

Anti-Retro viral Therapy 340 000 estimated to be in need of ART. by December 2008 60% of ART patients are female 11 600 (8,3%) are children 107 facilities initiating and 125 providing follow up ART treatment.

FUNDING FOR ART IN 2009

The National Budget

The Aids levy - National Aids Trust Fund

Donor funding - UN agencies, the Global Fund, other NGO's

Private Sector, including Medical Insurance

PARTNER

NO. of patients committed

Funding available US$

US Govt

40 000

4 131 531

Global Fund

54 000

5 577 567

Expanded Support Programme

56 000

5 784 143

Clinton Foundation

21 000

2 412 420

Others

10 000

1 032 887

Govt of Zimbabwe

50 000

1 032 887

Management of HIV complications and cancers

Community Home based care (CHBC)

TB/HIV collaboration

OTHER RESPONSES

Surveillance

Clinical Research

Monitoring and Evaluation

Resource Mobilization

Provide technical expertise to other government departments and NAC

Orphan care - Orphans and vulnerable children

TB and Malaria programme

Anti-Retroviral therapy (ART)

Voluntary counseling and testing

Prevention of parent to child transmission programmes (PMTCT)

ZIMBABWE DECLARATIONS ON HIV

Abuja declaration

Millennium development goals

SADC Maseru Declaration

AU Brazzaville, Universal Declaration

UNGASS Universal Access Declaration

*SENATOR CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: I would like to thank Senator Mandava for raising this motion on AIDS. I would like thank those who have been speaking saying that if children are morally upright it Is good for us but if we really want to look closely in this issue of AIDS, it is about morality issues. What has brought us to this position is because we have forgotten our culture. If we had followed our culture, we would not be looking for funds to cure this disease. We should be open on how AIDS is acquired. These days children are just getting married anyhow but long back one would follow the proper channels. If one follows the traditional proper channels of marriage, it is considered as being primitive and this modality has destroyed us but it is better to be primitive and alive than to be modern and dead. In Rusape Chief Makoni has started a programme of virginity testing which was considered as abuse of the girl child by NGO's but I think Chief Makoni was right. Coming to the issue of circumcision of men, it is true. If you go to African Countries which practice circumcision the HIV prevalence rates are lower for example Ghana's rate is about 2,2% and that is low they still follow their tradition. If we could bring back our tradition we will not have to budget for this and our children will not continue dying.

*SENATOR CHIBAGU: I agree with what Chief Charumbira was saying I was with Dr. Rolland at Chitsunge Mission He explained during a workshop how this disease came about because Zimbabweans have left their tradition.

SENATOR GUTU: I did not want to speak on this one but after listening to various contributions, I was moved by this topic on HIV AIDS. I just want to thank Senator Mandava for bringing this motion.

Most of the time we are in denial and we want to believe that these things can be sorted out by getting that so that the emphasis is on curing rather than preventing. You will note that even most of the advertisements on TV and radio the emphasis on curing. I was going to expect that as members of Parliament, we are role models and as role models why do we not do something very dramatic. Why do we not do something and go for voluntary HIV testing, all of us and set an example for our nation.

SENATOR TAPELA: Thank you Madam President. I think we should go back to our tradition and culture so that we eliminate HIV/AIDS. We must go back to eating muriwo instead of beef. When I grew up, we used to propose love to a girl for close to a month or even a year, achingoti handisati ndafunga - but this time you do not have to propose, she simply says 'let us go home.'

Please go and teach your children, tell them traditional values and give them a good start. These days, the weddings are from church to the court, it is different from our customary marriages. The weddings are never prepared. They are built on sand instead of on a rock.

SENATOR MUCHIHWA: Thank you Madam President. Our children are no longer valuing themselves like what children of yesteryear used to do. This disease was brought to us, it did not originate from here. Those who travel a lot are the ones that brought HIV/AIDS. I was speaking to a white lady telling her how their culture had exposed our girls to prostitution through films. Our girls now wear mini skirts and shorts that they see in movies. She responded to my accusation by saying, as much as you have indecent girls amongst your communities, we also have such among ourselves. So the thing is about indecency. Our girls go to theAvenues to trade themselves for money because sometimes it is about poverty that girls resort to prostitution. A girl would tell a colleague that she made a killing the previous night and the other is lured to follow the next day and the trend becomes hard to break.

I would want to propose that when the new constitution is made, let us propose that girls maturity age be brought further to twenty years, that is when a girl will be old enough to make concrete decisions of even getting married. Some years back, girls used to be tested for virginity every week before they go to church, but now mothers will say, what for, it is all nonsense, there is no need. Girls are no longer afraid, they will just do anything. I think we should start over again and let our children get tested every now and then for virginity as one of the sure way of eliminating HIV and AIDS.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND LEGAL AFFAIRS: I move that the debate do now adjourn.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Thursday 23rd July, 2009

MOTION

GOVERNMENT POLICY ON ARTS, SPORTS AND CULTURE

Second order read: Adjourned debate on motion on lack of a strategic policy on Sport, Arts and Culture in Zimbabwe.

Question again proposed.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND LEGAL AFFAIRS: I move that the debate do now adjourn.

Motion put and agreed to

Debate to resume: Thursday 23rd July, 2009

 

MOTION

PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS

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

Question again proposed.

SENATOR KATYAMAENZA: Mr. President, allow me to read my speech. I would like to begin by expressing my profound gratitude to His Excellency, the President Comrade Robert Gabriel Mugabe for his address in this august House on the occasion of the Opening of the First Session of the Seventh Parliament on the 26th of August 2008.

His Excellency, the President, mentioned that we have now been ushered into an era where a common vision and effort will be pivotal in overcoming the many challenges that have stifled our potential and trammeled our energies. However, I should hasten to say that although we have borne the brunt of the illegal sanctions imposed on us, we have proved that Zimbabweans are a resilient and determined people who can not yield to the whims of the powerful nations. We can subvert the effects of these sanctions if we put our heads together and chart the course of the country's future as a united people. Zimbabweans should be masters of their own destiny. The fact that the enemy has put a seemingly permanent wedge in between us to divide our people does not diminish our strength and potential to rebuild our Zimbabwe, the only territorial inheritance allocated to us by God.

Land and Agriculture

Mr. President, I would like to thank the President for giving back land to the people, although the process is still on going, "i vhu kuvanhu, ivhu inhaka yedu". Agriculture is the bedrock of our economy and the greatest challenge we have is to stem the tide of hunger by investing heavily in agriculture. Food imports are only a stopgap measure that will not sustain us forever. The mechanisation program must go ahead as some areas are still to receive tractors.

I would also like to draw this House's attention to the state of affairs currently obtaining in my constituency. Makonde Senatorial constituency is comprised of Chinhoyi, Mhangura and Makonde constituencies. Makonde has had to contend with an acute shortage of food. The constituents have lived in perpetual famine because the soil is exhausted and the area is climatically characterised by poor rains and has fewer dams.

The eradication of hunger is contingent upon the construction of more dams in communal Makonde and the putting in place of irrigation infrastructure for the utilisation of dams scattered around the Chitomborwizi small scale farming area to ensure that farms are perennially productive.

Indigenisation and Empowerment

Mr. President, his Excellency stated that the empowerment of the formally deprived indigenous majority of our people is the centrepiece of our developmental efforts. Chief among the envisaged indigenisation drive is the intended tabling before Parliament of the Mines and Minerals 
Amendment Bill that would see the indigenous people participating actively in the lucrative mining sector. At this juncture I would like to enlighten this august House on the plight of Alaska and Mhangura copper mines in my constituency that have been lying idle since their closure in 1999. the mines were closed despite the fact that vast deposits of copper were still available. Golden Kopje is still functional but needs financial help from the government. I would like to make an impartial appeal to the government to consider the resuscitation of these mines for the benefit of the community in particular and the entire nation in general.

Health and Schools

Mr. President, more schools and clinics were built but there are no workers and drugs. The problems of health and education are the same countrywide but need attention to bring normalcy to the situation.

Mr. President, allow me to take this opportunity to thank the government for building a huge hospital in Chinhoyi. However, there is need for it to be finished so that people can benefit from it.

In conclusion, let me pay special tribute to Mr. Thabo Mbeki, for his outstanding role as a mediator of the SADC. He brought the agreement, paving the way for an all-inclusive government. Let us work together and put our country's economy at its best. I thank you.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND LEGAL AFFAIRS : I move that the debate do now adjourn.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Thursday, 23 July, 2009.

MOTION

HARNESSING OF RESOURCES FROM ZIMBABWEANS IN THE DIASPORA

Fourth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on Zimbabweans living in the diaspora.

Question again proposed.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND LEGAL AFFAIRS : I move that the debate do now adjourn.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Thursday, 23rd July, 2009.

MOTION

OPERATIONS OF PENSION FUNDS

Fifth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the operations of Pension funds in the clothing industry.

Question again proposed.

*SENATOR MTINGWENDE: Thank you Mr. President. I would like to add my voice on the motion about Pension Funds that Senator Ncube moved and debated. I do support the fact that the issue of pension funds is a very critical one and that a lot of problems have been experienced by pensioners.

I would like to talk - not only about the clothing industry, but to say that pensioners find it difficult to access their money. They have to move from office to office looking for their payments in terms of their pensions. My question is - where do those monies end up? It does not give a good image to our government or country for people to work for their monies and do not get it. They think it is better not to save their money. People do not know where those things will end.

SENATOR CHITSA: I would like to support the motion raised by Senator Ncube on pensions. There are many pensioners that are underpaid from their pension funds. I remember there was an old lady whose husband was working for the railways. She had to come from Rusape to Bulawayo to the Headquarters, of course they are given the vouchers to board the train to Bulawayo. She had to go to Bulawayo to collect a cheque for $1 000 which would not buy anything.

Sometimes she would not go to Bulawayo until after six months so that she would get it as $6 000 so that she could buy a bar of soap or something from that. She would be coming from Rusape to Bulawayo, so you can see how bad this is. It is not only the railways but also most of these pension funds. I think a lot of research has to be done within the pension funds to see how much the pensions are making because most of the pensions funds have bought buildings and a lot of things from the money of pensioners.

It is them who are getting reacher and yet the person who contributed to that money is getting nothing. So, if research is done, you will find that these people are scoring on the pensioners when the pensioners are suffering. Again, on the time when the Governor cut off the zeros, the pensioners could not get anything because their money was all gone. So now, people are saying we do not know what to do and where to go.

NSSA is also included. They are supposed to be helping pensioners but I do not think there is anything yet, NSSA is taking funds from every industry. So people can go and investigate from NSSA what is happening on the monies they are getting from pensioners. The other fund that I know of pensioners is the Zimbabwe Hotel and Catering Workers Union Pension Fund. That industry has negotiated with the National Employment Councils for Pensioners to get something from what they are paying in the pension fund. They have taken the whole industries pension fund and divided it so that whatever is the minimum is the money that is given to pensioners.

So, if you get the money of the person who is working today, and you are sitting at home, it is better.

SENATOR RUGARA: This motion is very important, personally to me because I am a pensioner and also know a number of pension colleagues who are suffering the same as we do. I believe getting a pension should be something to look forward to. Those should be the best years in your life. A person gives 30 or 53 years of his working career and only to get a pension that is like a death sentence.

You will find that a number of pensioners, after they assume their pension years, they do not live long simply because they cannot buy their food. They only have enough to buy food if their children have gone and will be helped by their children. Again they have gone back to be like children. You lose your pride if you are known to have been working for a long time and at the end you have nothing to lean on to support you. It is a shame but I would like to think that our biggest problem is the civil service pension , because any government sets the rules without even declaring them. When a government has a very poor pension system, then the rest of the industries will turn around and say if you are a civil servant and you earn nothing, the little pension we give you, is enough.

I would like to think that government must sort out their pension system so that pensioners are proud to have worked for government. I have worked for this government personally for over 35 years and got promoted up to very high levels but all the same, if I tell you today that my pension is only $45. How do you expect a man to live even if you were alone without a family. How can you live on $45 - you cannot. Many people in my category have given 35 years of quality service and then, in the Lower House I have students I taught at every level, some primary; some secondary or at university. Then you can calculate. I was a principal at a teacher's college and you can work it out and see how much people are getting. They are getting nothing at all. Even the 35 dollars is nothing to go home with. If the government considers a decent pension for its workers, definitely I believe all will follow suit. The industry will look around and see the model. It is this model of getting poor pensions that encourages everyone to say why would I worry - it will be easy for employers to pay less than more .

Mr President, I think our task begins here because the number of people here forget they are going to get old. Some people, when we talk about this think they are stones, they will remain that age. Everybody, that is if you are lucky to live long enough, is going to want pension. We must look forward to having a pension that will pay for your trips or any of your visits. I believe the person who must first fight for a good pension is a young employee because he is going to need it anyway.

I would like to make a strong plea for this House or pass a motion on improvement of the pension system in our government.

THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND LEGAL AFFAIRS: I move that the debate do now adjourn.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Thursday, 23rd July, 2009.

On the motion of THE MINISTER OF LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS, the Senate adjourned at Twenty Five Minutes to Four o'clock p.m.

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Senate Hansard Vol. 18 SENATE HANSARD - 22 JULY 2009 VOL. 18 NO. 23