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Senate Hansard 23 February 2016 Vol 25 No 26

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

Tuesday, 23rd February, 2016

 

PRAYERS

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

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE

BILLS RECEIVED FROM THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

          THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I have to inform the Senate that I have received the following Bills from the National Assembly:

  1. The General Laws Amendment Bill (H. B. 3A 2015).
  2. The Criminal Procedure and Evidence Amendment Bill (H.B. 2B 2015).

CHANGES AND APPOINTMENTS TO THEMATIC COMMITTEE MEMBERSHIP

          THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: I also have to inform the Senate that the following Hon. Senators have been nominated to serve in Thematic Committees as follows: Hon. Senator T. S. Chipanga - Human Rights as well as Peace and Security and Hon. Senator Makwarimba - Human Rights as well as Millennium Development Goals.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

          THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF MEDIA, INFORMATION

AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. SENATOR MATHUTHU): I move that Order Number 1 be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the Day have been disposed of.

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

          HON. SEN. MASUKU: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Wednesday, 24th February, 2016.

MOTION

DECLINING SOCIO-ECONOMIC CONDITIONS IN THE COUNTRY

          Third Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the socio-economic conditions in the country.

          Question again proposed.

HON. SENATOR B. SIBANDA: Thank you Madam President. I want to believe that many Senators have expressed their opinions on the Motion. I would like to extend my sincere thanks to all the Senators across the political divide. I will not mention them by name but will recognise that over 20 Senators contributed to this Motion.

          I respect the diversity of views expressed, when two economists meet, they never agree. When many lay-economists meet, they are likely to disagree more. I am not offended by views that were contrary to my views because I believe that is the society that we should build in Zimbabwe where there is accommodation for various views. I want to sincerely thank all the Senators for the robust debate. I am sure that the more robust we are about examining our problems, a better Zimbabwe we will build.

          Now, I want to move on Madam President and apologise for one error in my presentation. It was not an error of fixation of mind but an error of presentation where I stated that the national herd had stabilized around three million and at the same time, stated that the national herd stands at five million but it had not increased. A close analysis of my statement will show that, that was some minor confusion in my statement. Besides that, I have no apology for any content in my presentation because I believe the rest of it was factual.

          I have been challenged or it has been challenged that what I stated was exactly what was covered by the President. I accept that and also want to state that I know of no provision in this country, neither in the Constitution nor elsewhere where statements by the President cannot be further developed or where they are sacrosanct because they have been stated by the President. I was giving effect to statements made by the President when I said that the State needs to invigorate their efforts towards FDIs (Foreign Direct Investments) and I make no apology about that.

          I further want to make some observation. I stated that we have had ten policy statements in a space of 35 years and I insist that if you have ten policy statements in a space of 35 years and there are no positive results from any of those then there have been various levels of incompetence which are either at the development, implementation or at both those stages.

          Madam President, I recognise that during debate, utterances tended to point at me personally. I acknowledge that a few Senators came to my defence. I also acknowledge that I did not raise a Point of Order because I respect the right of any individual to express his/her opinion without interruption. However, I must clearly mention that my name is Bheki Sibanda. I am not in any way associated with Tendai Biti or his statements. Therefore, gesturing at me when you are emphasizing Tendai’s points of views, I consider irrelevant. It reminds me of a fight between Mike Tyson and I think, Evander Holyfield where Mike Tyson went for Holyfield’s ear forgetting that the subject was boxing. I insist that the subject on that day was economics and had absolutely nothing to do with my personality.

          Madam President, I want to explore a few myths that were raised. It was raised during debate that the economic decline in this nation is largely due to sanctions. I dispute that. We first had ESAP (Economic Structural Adjustment Programme) in the early 90s, almost a decade before the so called sanctions were imposed. I, therefore, feel that Zimbabwe must face up to the facts …

          MADAM PRESIDENT: Order, order hon. Senator. I do not think you can, with a straight face, say ‘so called’ because they are there.

          HON. SEN. B. SIBANDA: Madam President, I believe that the ruling from the Chair is final but quite sincerely, I believe that the negative performance of our economy is due to a laissez faire attitude, corruption, our failure to listen to each other and also due to incompetence because I emphasise, if you wrote an examination ten times and did not pass it eight to ten times, you have failed to do your job.

          It was also raised during debate that we need to prove that there is corruption in this country. I urge all Senators to regularly refer to the Auditor-General’s Report on the goings on at Air Zimbabwe, the Willowgate scandal where it was explained that the Ministers were punished by being demoted. I am sorry that most of us in this country believe that the punishment did not equal the offence.

I also believe that we cannot question the existence of corruption in this county after the Vice President and Chief Justice of this country participated in an anti-corruption launch. In IsiNdebele we say that, you cannot query whether a goat is male or female because it is obvious. Therefore, I do not see any reason why anybody should be asked to prove that there is corruption in this county.

Now, I will move on and talk about the issue of questioning the usefulness of the GNU (Government of National Unity). I will not argue the case for the GNU as I did not actively participate in the GNU. Those who participated in the GNU have put a clear case about how helpful the GNU was. I will only quote what the President said. The President in an interview with CNN said, “The Inclusive Government is a real power-sharing agreement, do not denigrate it.” I will end there.

What are the future prospects of our economic thrust? Madam President, I want to believe that it is within the capacity of Zimbabweans to re-engineer and redirect this economy. We are capable, history says we are capable, as we have overcome numerous problems to deal with issues in this nation. I insist that unless we put our heads together, come together and recognise that the Zimbabwean society is bigger than the three to four political parties that may be involved, we are not likely to get out of this economic quandary.

I therefore urge that my two suggestions that we should get together sit down and explore all the possibilities about redirecting our economy. I will skip the second suggestion but having made those observations, I would like to propose that this Senate adopts the Motion that I raised and once again I would like to sincerely thank the entire Senate and encourage the Senate to engage in more robust debate each time issues of national importance are raised. I thank you Madam President. – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear] -

MADAM PRESIDENT: Could you move that your Motion be adopted.

HON. SEN. B. SIBANDA: Thank you Madam President. I move That this House –

CONCERNED about the socio – economic conditions in the nation which are direct   result of: (a) A heavily underperforming agricultural sector; (b) A collapsed and continually collapsing industrial sector; (c) Unchecked corruption perpetrated at the higher echelons of society;

NOTING that there have been no concerted and consistent

efforts over the past 20 years to stem economic decline, except during the brief period of the inclusive government, in spite the numerous economic blueprints produced by government including ZIMASSET;

         WORRIED about the looming food shortages especially in the southern and eastern regions as a result of inter alia, continued poor performance in the agricultural sector;

         ALARMED by the number of organisations, including the private sector, parastatal and government itself, that are either downsizing or downright closing down;

 

FURTHER CONCERNED about the collapse of the formal sector

and close to total substitution of this sector by the informal sector;

         NOW THEREFORE calls upon government to; (a) Convene a national stake holders Indaba to address these critical national economic challenges; (b) Stop high level corruption which will emasculate recovery programs; (c) Make concerted efforts to resuscitate international FDI and domestic investment to jump start the economy; and (d) Improve domestic productivity through export incentive and productivity based remuneration.

         Motion put and adopted.     

MOTION

REPORT OF THE PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE DELEGATION TO THE 7TH WORLD WATER CONFERENCE

                Fourth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Report of the Parliament of Zimbabwe Delegation to the 7th World Water Conference.

         Question again proposed.

+HON. SEN. NDHLOVU: Thank you Madam President for giving me the opportunity to contribute on the motion raised by Hon. Sen. Mlotshwa from Matabeleland South. I will make a few contribution. We come from the same constituency which has a problem of water. Matabeleland South has serious predicaments on matters of water. We should put our ideas together so that we can find out what we can do for water to be available.

For water to be available, there should be rains. When we have rains, we should have ways to harvest the rain so as to help the people and the animals. In my constituency, it is difficult to get water. There is no dam. There are boreholes in some areas and none in others. People walk about ten kilometers to fetch water.

For children to bath before they go to school, each child has to bring five litres after school then walk ten kilometers on the following day in the morning having taken a bath.

Looking at expecting mothers, there is a woman who has ran away from her husband because of this water crisis. She had no intention of doing this but because of the difficulty in finding water, she had to leave. When one is a daughter in law, one is expected to carry out such chores but when you are not used to it, it is difficult.

School children need water to drink because they are involved in a lot of activities but they cannot access that water. A child brings 400 or 500 ml of water to school – that water will be hot in the afternoon when they want to drink it. We are therefore requesting that if there are Non Governmental Organisations or those who can look at water matters should look at the country holistically. There are no boreholes, no dams and cattle are dying. For the beasts to access water they also have to walk ten kilometers.

I therefore request that boreholes be dug so that we can access water in this constituency. That is my contribution Madam President. I thank you.

+HON. SEN. NCUBE: Thank you Madam President for giving me this opportunity for me to contribute to this important motion. My colleagues have raised a number of things and I would like to add that water is life. Without water, everything is difficult.

On earth, there is a lot of water that was created by God. If we read the Bible, we find that the percentage of dry land is smaller than that which is under water. Right now we are talking of portable water for use in agriculture and to generate electricity. For us to have light, we depend on generated or idle electricity.

When we were growing up and when it was time for the rains, people would pray. Others have said we would go and request for rain at the right time. There are a lot of things that happen during that rainy season. When the rains were just about to come, it was not a problem to be rained when you were in the bush. Even when you were at home, you would go out in the yard to be bathed by the raining water. It showed that you were lucky. Those days the rains were good and it was raining very well. The rains would come with a lot of thunderstorms but there were not damages at all. This problem of water has affected the whole world.

At this conference where Senator Mlotshwa went to and made a report to us here – the important thing on this matter is that since water is a problem, how can we preserve water since water is important? There are ways of conserving water by making dams, boreholes and so on. Long ago, people would just go into the river base and dig for water there. We also had wetlands a long time ago. We, as a people, we are a problem Madam President. When we were growing up, we would listen to advise given to us by our elders. We would believe such advise and that would make the world move properly. Now, if we give our children some instructions, they tend to disagree.

I have observed that there are wetlands which have been there since our birth but now these are getting dry now. There is no water anymore. Those were natural things created by God. But people have defiled on such places. There are a lot of things that happen and cause water not to be there. We are talking of water under the earth, created by God for a purpose but we also get rains from the heavens to help us have food and water to drink as well as all those other things that we know. We are no longer receiving the same type of rains like we used to. When we get rains we get thunderstorms and winds that cause damages. Now, when people see the rains coming, they are no longer happy because they fear destruction.

This Conference happened so as to pool ideas on water from the whole world. Now, on our own, in this august House, what are our views? What do we wish our people to know so that they know what is there to help us? The rains do come but it is said that we should go and request the rains at the right time, which is from October to September. Yes, there is climate change, but we also have gone astray because we have been told that the chiefs who are in charge of these things have a problem. Chiefs, it is your responsibility as leaders, particularly in communal areas where there are a lot of things going wrong, such as people being struck by lightning. Please go there and help the people so that they do not do things that will cause problems. At weddings people cut down trees so as to stop the rains. No, you cannot be chasing the rains away. Remember that the rains come at their own prescribed time. When you then want those rains to come, will you be able to make them come?

The responsibility is on you traditional leaders. You have people

behind you and when you have your meetings - we know you are still respected and we also respect you here; we request that you take this matter to your people because there are a lot of things that are happening. Even though some of the things are not that obvious, rain comes from God and comes at the right time. When that rain is supposed to come, people should not interfere by engaging in matters that will cause the rains not to come. People should also not cause others to be struck by lightning. There are a lot of things that are done by people that cause the rains not to come down. Yesterday, I heard on the radio the narration on the El Nino heat wave. It is so hot and that heat has caused the levels of water to deplete to such an extent that even the water that we had, which should have lasted up to three years, cannot get us that far. The water table has gone down.

So, it is important that we have traditional leaders in this House. We request them to take this issue to the people and request them not to engage in acts that cause problems for us, in terms of rains. God wishes us well by giving us rains at the right time. Those who travel by air, you have observed that when you go up, it appears as though there are no clouds but you will find that there are a lot of clouds with a lot of water but that water is not coming down. God loves us and gives us rains but we are a problem. We have our science, which is so advanced and is against what God wishes for us. That causes heavy rains to be destructive. This issue is important and there is need for us to engage each other on this matter. I refer this matter back to our traditional leaders who are the people who can take this message to the people not to build on wetlands.

No taboo matters should be tolerated because they chase away the rains. God will not be happy to see his people perish from something that is not supposed to kill them. Hence the bible says that at the end of the times there will be this and that, but God wishes us well by giving us rains at the right time so that we have enough food.

I would like to thank all those who brought this report to this House because it is very important. Initially, it was not all that important to me but as the debate unfolded, I realised that we cannot live without water to bathe and look presentable. If we begin to ration our water – I know that Kariba only has a few days left for it not to have electricity generated from there. We request therefore that if this matter is being debated, it should be given the importance that it deserves. We should also pray. There is no need to go and congregate elsewhere but to simply make a prayer request for the rains to come at the right time. We cannot get rains in June. This is the time for the rains which should start from September and end in April. Winter is winter, though nothing is impossible with God. We would like our traditional leaders to have something to discuss with their people. I thank you Madam President.

          *HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: Thank you Madam President for giving me this opportunity to make my contribution. I had not prepared to debate on the rainfall but I have listened to the debate by previous speakers on this topic and this has urged me to make my contribution.

The last speaker talked a lot about traditional leaders and I felt really touched about that responsibility. I do agree that I am one of them, especially with my position as the President of the Chief’s Council. We have been urged to encourage the general populace of Zimbabwe to adopt best practices regarding the rain. This takes me back to the debate raised by Hon. Sen. Mawire. These motions do resonate to empower us. I had a meeting with the traditional leaders in my area and we spent almost five hours looking at the cultural reasons why the rains are not falling as they do normally. By coincidence, when we concluded our discussions, there were a lot of rains and that really surprised us. In that discussion, people also talked about some taboos which we are indulging in. The female members in the discussion talked about premature babies and there are a lot of things that are happening in those areas. When the preterm babies are buried there is a certain way which should be followed and in that way we will be able to sustain our normal rainfall patterns.

          I also go to church and we have heard of climate change as discussed by the scientists. As chiefs we had a meeting with Dr. Makarau who is the head of the Meteorological Department in Zimbabwe. He urged that there should be cooperation between the traditional leaders and scientists so that we rescue the country from drought and it shows that chiefs have a lot of things to be done, especially if you are to talk about climate change. Even when I got into this House, Hon. Sen. Tawengwa also asked me whether we had done some rain making ceremonies. We have also noticed that people are cutting down forests at an alarming rate and we need to do something to conserve our climate. We are glad because people have now realised that as traditional leaders we have other responsibilities which are due to us. Even when talking to the ordinary man in the street, they really feel there is something which has to be done by traditional leaders so that we bring back our normal climate.

          I am saying the motion raised by Hon. Sen. Mawire is really important. We need to look into it, scrutinise it and make constructive debate.

          *HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Order! You cannot debate another motion which has already been closed.

          *HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: I am not yet debating that motion, I was just mentioning it in reference to. There are times when we feel that the traditional leaders are not working as hard as they should be doing. The main reason is that - I will liken this to an individual who in the past was well content because he had everything he wanted like shoes, clothes, food and a car, but because of poverty that person has nothing. That person would be required to drive and get to Bulawayo in the next six hours. In the past he was to do so because he drove a Mercedes Benz but this person who is impoverished no longer travels in a Mercedes Benz but on a bicycle.

I am saying some of the responsibilities that you are giving us date back to pre-1890 when we were accorded so much respect and authority. What is happening is that you are putting more pressure on traditional leaders to meet their obligations but during the colonial era, the powers of the chiefs were usurped. As subjects of the chiefs you had some roles which you played that you are no longer doing. Therefore, this reverts me back to the motion on the expectations on the role of the traditional leaders. We do accept our responsibility, but we are also begging you to support us. Give us some of the powers and rights which we also need to discharge and be able to perform to our utmost best. Therefore, we feel if we are given enough support - I am sure when you look at the chiefs in this august House, they are people who are reasonable who can perform to the best of their ability when given enough support. I thank you.

          *HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: I thank you Hon. Sen. Chief Charumbira for making your contribution on this motion raised by Hon. Sen. Ncube. What really pleases me is that in your capacity as the President of the Chiefs Council you have made your contribution and this is great.

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

          HON. SEN. MARAVA: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Wednesday, 24th February, 2016.

On the motion of THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF MEDIA, INFORMATION AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. SEN. MATHUTHU), the Senate adjourned at Eighteen Minutes past Three o’clock p.m.

 

Senate Hansard Senate Hansard 23 February 2016 Vol 25 No 26