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SENATE HANSARD 25 OCTOBER 2016 VOL 26 NO 08

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          PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Tuesday, 25th October, 2016

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

PRAYERS

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

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE

2016 PRE-BUDGET SEMINAR

          THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: I wish to remind all Senators that they are invited to the 2016 Pre-budget Seminar, to be held at the ZITF grounds in Bulawayo from the 2nd to the 6th November, 2016.  Those Senators who have not yet confirmed their attendance with the Public Relations Department are urged to do so to facilitate finalization of logistical arrangements for the seminar.  PR officers will be stationed in the Court Yard from 1400hrs during sitting days or at their offices in Pax House during any other time.          I would urge you to go during sitting, which is easier.  You are also reminded that those Hon. Senators from Masvingo, Matebeleland North, Matebeleland South, Bulawayo and Midlands Provinces are expected to drive to the venue while Hon. Senators from Harare, Manicaland, Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland East and Mashonaland West Provinces are expected to travel to Harare for a flight to Bulawayo.

MOTION

RESTORATION OF THE MOTION ON NUTRITION AMONG URBAN AND RURAL COMMUNITIES ON THE ORDER PAPER

HON. SEN. KHUMALO: Madam President, I move that the motion on Nutrition among Urban and Rural Communities which was superseded by the prorogation of the Third Session of the Eighth Parliament be restored on the Order Paper.

HON. SEN. MAKORE:  I second.          

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS

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

          Question again proposed.

          HON. SEN. MASHAVAKURE:  Thank you Madam President.  I would like to make a few comments on the motion that was raised in the House by Hon. Sen. Nyambuya and seconded by Hon. Sen. Mavhunga in reply to the Presidential Speech at the occasion of the opening of the Fourth Session of the Eighth Parliament of Zimbabwe.

          The Speech touched on a number of issues and I am going to try to add some flesh to some of the points, for instance, the issue of re-aligning the laws of the country with the Constitution of Zimbabwe.  I am aware that the Disabled Persons Act of 1992 is still to be aligned with our new Constitution and it is my fervent hope and the hope of many other persons with disabilities that this is going to take place before the end of this session.  We have been left behind in terms of alignment with the other processes that have taken place but it is our hope that the Fourth Session of the Eighth Parliament will address the issue.

          There is also the issue of the domestication of the United Nations Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities which was ratified by Parliament of Zimbabwe in 2013 and assented to by the President, I think in May 2013 and deposited at the United Nations Headquarters in September, 2013.  I understand from some learned sources that it is possible to domesticate that convention using the present process whereby we are aligning our laws with the Constitution of Zimbabwe.  One suggestion that was made to me by some legal guru is that a section or an article in the new aligning law could be inserted which simply says, “the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities shall be law in Zimbabwe” and that would be it.  So I think this is an opportunity that we can use to incorporate this particular convention into the national law.

          The President also talked about Bills that are going to come to the Houses of Parliament, for instance, the Traditional Leaders Bill.  My take on this, is that we hope the Bill can be used to rationalize the judicial powers of the traditional leaders, especially our chiefs so that they become a powerful court system in their own right so that they can even sentence people to jail if necessary.  I understand that in other countries, they are actually empowered to cane people when they go there.  I hope the new law will ensure that the powers of the chiefs’ courts are rationalized and strengthened so that they do not form a junior court system on the western styles brought to us by colonialists such as the Magistrates and so forth, but that they become a good independently functioning court system by themselves.  This, I think would be part and parcel of the empowerment of our traditional leaders. Of course, if anybody is not happy with the ruling that would have been made, the laws always say there is a possibility of appeal.

          The President also talked about other laws that will come to this House like the Youth Council Bill.  I understand there is the 2016 – 2017 policy strategy on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in our educational system.  There is also a possibility of amending the Public Health Bill, which I understand the current Act was probably put in place almost a hundred years ago in 1924. 

I would like to encourage the Government and those responsible to come up with these Bills, including the Children’s Act, that in the process of drafting these Bills, they should always mainstream disability.  I think it is easy to have disability issues or concerns addressed by the mainstream legislation rather than that we have a system whereby we will require to come up with a different disability law to try and address issues that could otherwise have been dealt with by any other law that is passed by our Government. 

It is important that those in charge of coming up with these Bills take this very seriously and mainstream disability into these things.  I know for instance, with respect to the STEM issue, there have been a lot of arguments in the disability community as to who can and cannot do certain subjects among the various disability types.  I think a well researched policy will address some of the concerns or solve some of the perceived problems and make sure that everybody in this country is able to benefit from the STEM programme as it shall be drafted by our Government. 

In other countries, this is not an issue because everybody can do it.  The equipment, materials and the ideas are there.  I think the most important thing is that the ideas and know-how as to how it can be done should be tapped or utilised to mainstream disability into this particular policy.  President Mugabe also talked about our universities and tertiary institutions and a law that will try to make sure that the mandates of the particular national universities are strengthened by making sure that universities stick to programmes they are supposed to offer.  I also think that universities, apart from just teaching are also centres of knowledge in the form of published knowledge, in other words the results of their researches can be published into books and articles for the benefit of other persons who are not at the particular university or institution or posterity.  

Therefore, I think it is very important that our Government considers establishing a national research fund which can be used to sponsor various researches in different various researchers in different disciplines whether science, literature and so forth at our institutions.  Other countries have similar programmes.  Of course, there is also no harm in individual universities establishing their own research fund facilities, but that can also be used to complement the national research fund so that we have a lot of people doing different types of research for this country for the benefit of the higher education system.

          Madam President, the President’s speech also talked about the amendments to the insurance and pensions laws.  I think a lot of people around my age will remember that the 2000 to 2008 era was an era of the devil. We were sometimes, in my case on three occasions I was invited to come and collect money which I had asked for which pertained to my policies with insurance companies in this country.  I was simply told that that was the amount which they had worked out without consulting me whatsoever because they said otherwise the contributions I was making had been eroded by inflation. 

On one occasion, somebody who was travelling with me was telling me that a particular guy was actually driving a brand new vehicle and I was wondering how they had managed to buy brand new vehicles from contributions by clients, which contributions had been eroded by inflation.  So, the inflation was simply eating up the insurance on my part but not on the part of the insurance company itself.  I think that is something that the amendment laws that are coming to Parliament should try to address and make sure that if possible, even in retrospect, customers can gain an extra dollar.

          Madam President, you realise that even funeral assurance companies - when we took our policies, then we were told that we were simply going to contribute for ten years but when the US dollar came, that changed; we were not even consulted but deductions continued to be made on our policies.  When we asked three years later, we were told that we were trying to compensate for the value of the policies which was eroded by inflation.  When we asked when the deductions were going to end, they said do not worry we will tell you and it goes on and on. I think that is something that the amendments to the law could try to address with legal terms that are permissible. 

          The President also talked about the amendment to Minerals Exploration and Marketing Corporation Bill as well as the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill.  My opinion is that in the past, in some Committees like in the Indigenisation Committee, we have heard some people complaining that it looks like some of these mining laws have a lot of power so much that anybody who is armed with them can come to your house and say I am going to mine gold under your house and you are not supposed to resist.  In other words, our mining laws seem to have priority over everything else including lives in this country and I hope that the amendments that are coming are going to solve that problem.  Somebody told me that we might amend some of these laws but there are other laws like the Gold Act or Precious Stones Act and so forth which more or less have the same force.  So, unless and until we grapple with those as well we may not be solving any problem. 

My hope is that these two Bills that are coming to Parliament are going to be overarching enough to cover all the other mines and mineral laws that might not be specifically named in the President’s speech.  In other words, equal priority should also be given to other facets of Zimbabwean life like residence and agriculture, not just to say because somebody has got a mining licence, they he can tell me to stop farming in my field.  I think that is not good enough.  Maybe in the past, it was used to bulldoze the areas where the majority of people were living by the colonial system and I hope that can stop.  There is also the element of mineral leakages that the President talked about.  I think one of our problems is that these colonial laws are not friendly enough to the people.  I understand that if you are found in possession of gold, that is supposed to be a crime but suppose I picked it in my house or in my field, how does it become a crime?  Is it simply because I am not armed with a mining prospector’s licence or something? 

I think that is wrong and something must be done.  Gold occurs in our areas naturally so it cannot be a crime that I have come across it and picked it.  I think when people dig for the construction of their toilet or drilling boreholes, it is possible that they can come across a precious stone and people should be allowed to take that to Fidelity Printers and say, ‘I have picked this thing, how much is it’ and they get paid go away, as long as they can prove that they have not stolen it from somebody, it should be permissible that people hold a piece of gold in their hands.

Madam President, because our laws are not all that friendly, people find it easier to take that gold outside our borders and sell it there and then we begin to complain that there are mineral leakages when in fact it is our laws which need attention.  We need to panel beat our laws so that we can retain our minerals and give money to our people. 

There is also the issue of the Regional Town and Country Planning Bill which will come to Parliament.  I was very impressed in the last four days because two ideas that I have always talked about were actually given to us at different forums by very important people in our society. The first one occurred on Saturday at the burial of Cde C. G. Msipa when the President said that it is time we probably stopped thinking about expanding our cities but we should start building high rise buildings. That is a very important point and I hope that point can also be captured in the Regional Town and Country Planning Bill that will be brought to Parliament.  This is issue of towns expanding north, south, east-unending is not good enough because we know of the transport challenges that people then begin to experience trying to come from one end of the city to another to visit the CBD or to go to some industrial sites where there are manufacturing companies where people are supposed to work. If you can build upwards it means that the high rise buildings can erected close to the industrial sites or to the CBD so that people are not troubled by transport issues. That also relates even to our rural areas, I think it important that the particular Bill looks at issues in the rural areas. In the past we have heard news where some subsidiary traditional leaders vana sabhuku had settled people in what are supposed to be pasturelands for people and all sorts of conflicts there has arisen.

          It is important that even the settlement pattern in our rural areas should also be addressed by this particular Bill, so that qualified planners can look at some of the rural areas and see how best they can be re-shaped in order to accommodate both the people and the animals. That will address another point raised by the President which relates to the revival of the beef industry. If in our rural areas we can protect our pasturelands it means that we can have more cattle which obviously feed into the beef industry. At the moment, in some areas pastures have just disappeared and that people have been settled all over the place. That also needs to be addressed. Maybe the kind of villages that others see are to be found in South Africa. We may have to start thinking along those lines in order to make sure that we address all the needs of our people, that is pastureland as well as residential land.

          Then the issue of dualisation of the Beit-Bridge-Masvingo-Harare-Chirundu road, I think that is a very good thing.  The President says ‘that potentially makes Zimbabwe a transport hub of the region’ I also think that even as we do that even if we have not started …

          THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: Order. Can the Hon. Sen. Mashavakure wind up? The light is on, that means you have to wind up in 3 minutes.

          HON. SEN. MASHAVAKURE: So, my point is that we should be thinking ahead and even planning the dualisation of other roads like the Nyamapanda-Harare, Mutare-Masvingo  and Mbalambala and so forth. So that we do not have to act in response to emergences when the time comes and we should always be prepared and we should always build our infrastructure on time, that we do not have to be troubled by these things that then come up when we are not probably financially prepared.

          Then there is the working environment for the legislature which the President also talked about, referring to the building of the new Parliament in Mt. Hampden. Of course, that also involves or includes issues to do with the MPs. In that respect, I want to give my gratitude and my very big pam pam to the Zambezi River Authority (ZARA) because for the first time since 2013, when I joined this Parliament I have received a copy of the annual report from the company which is in an accessible format.

Apart from the booklets that they, sent they also put a CD which I can put on my computer-in fact I have done that and heard it for myself, I do not have to wait for somebody’ spare time so that I can read it. I hope that other companies parastatals can follow suit so that as an MP and MPs with visual impairment in future when they come they will find it very easy to be dealing with those documents and I have got that CD at home and I hope other MPs also got that CD from ZARA.

          I want to thank the two co-chairpersons the permanent secretary in Zambia Brigadier General Emelder Chola and our own permanent secretary here in the Ministry of Energy and Power Development. I think that is something that is very good and something to be emulated. I also hope that even Parliament …

          [Time Limit] 

HON. SEN. SHIRI: I propose the extension of time for Hon. Sen. Mashavakure Madam President.

          HON. SEN. MARAVA: I second. 

          HON. SEN. MASHAVAKURE: I am about to finish. I thought it was 5 hours. Thank you Madam President. The other issue that he addressed is the issue of the other law which is going to come to Parliament. The Public Entities Corporate Governance Bill. When this was mentioned by His Excellency, I actually thought of issues surrounding ZESA and ZETDC. I also thought even in this new Bill the Government could start thinking of re-amalgamating some of these companies into one. I understand maybe ZESA is two, maybe three companies which all have to rely on the same source of revenue, which is the domestic and the commercial industrial consumer. It is important that if we could cut down on the manpower by reducing that company into one company, maybe that would solve some of our problems. Madam President, I thank you.

          *HON. SEN. CHIEF CHIDUKU: Thank you Madam President, for giving an opportunity to make my contribution on the Presidential Speech. The Speech was delivered by His Excellency, and I also thank Hon .Sen. Brigadier Nyambuya for raising this motion and it was seconded. The leader of this nation is a God-chosen leader and we realise that he is loved by almost all the people of the world. We realise when we are discussing at international foras, people will be ululating and clapping hands and urging him to continue talking. He is a God- sent leader to the people of Zimbabwe.

          He spoke very well and eloquently. We may not be able to say whatever he said but, what we know is that he spoke intelligently. Some of the issues he touched on were that in august House, we will receive more Bills which are supposed to be aligned to the Constitution. Madam President, I think in both our Houses in this bi-camera system, whenever an MP moves a motion-unfortunately during debate, that Bill is given a partisan approach. As a result, whenever a Member is debating he is labeled along the party lines and hence we will be running away from the truth. I believe in this Senate, we have senior citizens and senior members, so we should be debating as mature people, as opposed to what will be happening in the National Assembly, where one should be 21 years of age and above to qualify, when in this House you have to be 40 years and above.  We will be debating issues according to the dictates of the mover of that motion.  I have notice that at times, one may want to debate but because you are afraid of being labelled a member of that other party, therefore you withhold your contribution.

We are people who were elected by the public of Zimbabwe and we should debate these issues as patriotic as we possibly can.  We know when people are debating and there could be somebody out, people will be surprised at whosoever will be debating because whatever one will be debating, because of the political labelling, you will be forced to waffle.  When people see you, they really get the other side of you, yet we are supposed to be working towards developing our country, working towards the law-making process and representing our people.  I have given a hint that Hon. Senators, when a Bill is introduced, let us avoid to be given partisan inclinations.  If you feel that you cannot talk without taking any political lines, be the king of your silence than a slave of your utterances.  I believe when people look at the Hansard, they will be able to judge our capabilities.  Madam President, I have taken this opportunity to explain myself and encourage fellow members to debate Bills as they should be for the construction and development of the country and not partisan scoring points.  I thank you. 

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

HON. SEN. MARAVA:  I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume:  Wednesday, 26th October, 2016.

MOTION

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

Third 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. MABUGU:  Thank you Mr. President for giving me the opportunity to make my contribution on the state of children’s homes in Zimbabwe.  I will start by thanking Hon. Sen. Makore, the Chairperson of the Gender and Community Development Committee and the seconder of the motion.  We visited a lot of these homes so that we could observe.  The first home which we visited was Matthew Rusike and we observed that it was a well organised home because we have very good impression at first sight.   We realised that they had problems such as not enough farming land because they would like to be self sufficient on food.  They are involved in fishery, they have a garden and they have other areas where they can get their food. 

We noticed that the homes that they are running are typical homes which we have in our homes and they live a normal life.  The problem they were facing was that some of their children could not access birth certificates.  When we looked at their secondary school, they needed equipment in their laboratories and they want some assistance in the children’s education.  They said they were running short of buildings.  If you compare with other homes, this is a better home.

We later visited Edenvale, like I stated, the first impression of a home tells you what is happening at that place because at Edenvale, the children were poorly dressed, even the halls of residents were so poor.  That showed they needed some assistance.  They also had a problem in their feeding programme, hence they relied on assistance from a nearby farmer who also supported them with transport when going to school.  We are pleading with the Government, that if they have pledged to support these orphanages, they should implement that policy because some of the children in these homes are not able to access education because they cannot afford the transport, payment of fees or stationery for these learners.  We know there is supposed to be a prorata given for the maintenance of these children such as $15 per month.  Unfortunately, the Government does not honour its pledge. 

We had the worst scenario at Chirinda Orphanage and I run short of words to describe it.  It is very sympathetic and sorrowful because when we get there, we were told that on that particular day, children did not have food for that day.  They were sorrowful, mournful, very lugubrious because they last had food the previous day.  We are pleading with the powers that be that Government should support these homes so that these children can be fed on regular basis.  We were told that the children used to get their food supplies as leftovers from a nearby hospital and one concludes that the hospital authorities had to underfeed their patients in order for the food to overflow to the orphanages. 

As members of the public and as Hon. Members, we may be able to take care of our families but let us think of these people in orphanages and support them.  When we got there, we had bought some of the provisions such as bananas for our own consumption, but we said there was no need to take the food to our homes and we gave it to the children.  They scrambled for the food.  When we went to the halls of residents, there was some foul smell showing that they lacked the detergents to wash their clothes and even bath. As Zimbabweans, we need to have an introspection as to where are we really failing?  When we have said we want to implement a project, let us implement it in full instead of being a talk-shop because the situation in these homes was really pathetic, very touching, sorrowful, mournful and very lugubrious. 

When we left for other homes we had problems in accepting the situation in those homes.  Some Members of Parliament shed tears of sorrow and I beg Zimbabweans, let us be serious about what we are doing.  In our nation, we are talking of children’s rights and we need to support these children especially these who are in orphanages, who look forward to the community for protection and support.  Let us spread the gospel of supporting these orphanages, let us not be labeled a talk- shop with no implementation.  We need to implement what we talk, let us walk the talk.

          We visited other homes besides these three but the problems they were facing were better than what we had come across because they were talking about the perennial problem of lack of access to documentations such as birth certificate.  I am begging, as a nation we should look at Chirinda and the Edenvale.  These two homes needs to be given some assistances, they need to be given what is due to them.  If Government has promised to assist them, they should give them the assistance to run the homes.  I wish if any of our leaders would visit these homes so that they would support whatever it is we are saying and work towards soliciting for assistance for these homes.

          As Members of this august House, we need to play our oversight role and urge the responsible Ministry to uphold the children’s rights.  When I am talking about this issue, I become so emotional because what I observed causes one to feel the pain.  This is different from being told of what is happening because when you get to that place you feel sorry about those children.  I am about to break into tears, I am very touched by what is happening in those homes.  To tell you the truth, whosoever got to those places was touched by the incidents, the poor support of those homes.  I thank you.

          *HON. SEN. BHOBHO:   Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to make my contribution on the state of affairs in orphanages.  It is a fact that when you move around, you observe, learn and make educative contributions and decisions.  We were touched by what we saw in these homes and we selected a few.  We were observing the state of the homes, the upkeep of these children and also the welfare of the workers and the children. What we saw in Chipinge at the Chirinda orphanages, these children receive assistance from the nearby hospital which gives them the food.  This home is not run by the Ministry or Government but it was a missionary home which they later dumped to the public. We have noticed that male people in the neighborhood are taking advantage of these children and abusing them.  We were told that some of the goods which were given as donations for the running of these homes were taken as personal property by the people who were running these homes.

          His, Excellency the President said nobody should die of hunger in Zimbabwe and it is up to us to go to some of these places and observe the food situation in such homes because we do not expect His Excellency to be at every point in these homes.  I have told you about Chirinda, it is in a sorrowful state.  We need to visit those homes.  We also have some officials from the department of welfare who also went there looking for placement of some children and what happened on that particular day, we made them to be aware that there is going to be some impromptu  inspection on an ad hoc basis so that they look after them well.

          The other problem we observed in these orphanages is that when an inmate attains the age of 18, they have to be discharged from that home.  Unfortunately these children have no access to birth certificates hence they would have nowhere to go.  However, there were some lucky ones where we heard one of the pupils who had grown up, managed to get a birth certificate and he is employed in South Africa.  So, when he is on leave, he comes to the home because that is the only home he knows and supports it. 

          We have also noticed that in the homes the children are also as naughty as those children we have in our homes and yet we want to be exemplary and I beg members of this august House to be able to inculcate some values of responsibility in these children so that they can fit well into the society when they are discharged from those homes.  These homes were started by Missionaries and they were operated by a certain lady but they have since dumped it.

          We visited orphanages in Masvingo where we noticed that the communities in Masvingo were very supportive of their homes.  Members of the public in the neighborhood contributed food according to their abilities.  The principal of the orphanage informed us that they have very good support from the neighborhood.  I am also urging Senators as citizens of Zimbabwe; we are the missionaries who used to run these homes so we should support these orphanages.  Let us visit them, get to know their challenges and give solutions to those problems because this is what His Excellency, the President wants us to do.  We need to spearhead development.  When you take a child to school, you may not be as educated as that child but the child will then advance and go to Advanced level and attain that high status, therefore will assist you. 

          As elected people of Zimbabwe, we should support the people who need our support especially in these orphanages.  We know we have problems but as elected people, one of our functions is representation, therefore we have to represent our constituencies.  When we look into the history books on the development of the country, we will realise that the white members who were senators did some good works.  My colleague had said we had bought some bananas which were left for the children, which when you look at the support needed, it is just peanuts. 

However, as Members of this august House we should do something big which will lead to the development of the home. When you give people bananas, they have a short shelf time. If they stay for a long time, they go bad. Therefore, we need to look for ways of supporting these homes so that when the President is told that Members of Parliament visited such a home, he will be told of the good works which we will have done. I am supporting all the words and the work which was done. I thank you.

*HON. SEN. GOTO: Thank you Mr. President. I would like to make my contribution because I am one of the people who was in that Committee. I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Makore for the leadership and also introducing this motion in this House, seconded by Hon. Sen. Bhuka.  I am saying when you move around, you acquire a lot of knowledge. Let me not repeat what has been said by my predecessors. We started by visiting Mashonaland East Province. When we get to a home, it justifies being a Children’s Home because it will be well taken care of and well managed. 

We had a very good meal at that home and from there, we went to Manicaland where we visited Chirinda. The home is in a pathetic situation because we realised that when you get even in our normal homes or to a place, you have children running to welcome you. Even the cats and dogs come to welcome you. When we got to Chirinda, people were not free to come to us. They thought we were spies and  were not very happy to see us.

When we got there, instead of these people narrating the good things which they have, they started by telling us the problems they have. As an introduction, they gave us the history of that place saying the home was founded by Mrs. Chirinda. From the way we saw, that picture had just been put a short while ago. We asked when the person passed on and they told us. We went on to ask the challenges which they face, and they showed that they were very glad to see us.

They said they get assistance from well wishers and they said that we were amongst the people who had visited that place. They expected us to give them some assistance. They told us that the Government grants meant for running these homes were not coming on time. They really expected us to give them something. We started touring the home starting with the sleeping quarters. It is a pathetic site. We visited the place before winter but we realised that in these sleeping quarters, there were no blankets. Even in the wardrobes, there were no blankets. It showed that the only form of blankets they had were hand knitted.

When the children were asked to stand besides their bed, they were so sad and mournful and one would wonder what was going on because they were in a poor state. We wonder whether the bananas which we left were given to the children. We observed that the sleeping quarters were in a sorry state and that home was managed by a man. As far as I am concerned, we think that home should be run by both men and women so that they can take care of the needs of both sexes. We also realised that the children showed some signs of fear. We had a feeling that they were abused in one way or the other because they were afraid of people.

We were told that they received donations from members of the public. What happens is that the officers in those homes would take the good clothes from the donors and take the old clothes from their homes and substitute them. I felt very sad because what happened with the bananas which we left behind - they were grabbed by other people. We also talked about how the children came into those homes. They had no clear cut answers because they would say some of those children come on their own and others are picked from the streets.

In other words, there is no clear cut policy of taking those children into the homes. They did not have any project which was aimed at the running of those homes. I am saying they should implement some projects such as running a garden because at the moment, those children are fed on leftover food from the hospital. We are saying, let us not rely on the donor syndrome because we need to take care of our own people. Of course, the home is meant to be run by missionaries but they are no longer giving the support. When we asked about the way these children are taken care of in the evening, we were told that these children are guarded by lady workers. So, because of the situation you start wondering whether these children are not abused by people who come in the evening and connive with these workers.

We then went to another home where we saw that it was well organised, that they had projects which they were running and were doing quite well. They told us that the grants from Government may not come on time, but the point is that they are given some help and they are also self-sufficient in as much as they can. As Hon. Senators, I am saying whenever we want to visit such homes, let us source for donations so that we can support these homes. I will not mention some of these homes.

We also got to a place where we had some children who were in a remand home in Mashonaland East. We have some juvenile delinquencies and the boys were at some distance from them because the children have to feed from that same place. Children travel a long distance which is about a kilometre or so to go to the dining hall. We realised that when the girl child is going to the dining hall, they have nobody to support them. When we tried to greet those children, they were not responsive because these are convicted youngsters. We said we would like to examine their homes. What was sorrowful was that when we got into that home, the sleeping quarters is in a poor state because it was smelling and clumsy.

The windows had no window panes but they were covered in plastics and yet we know that they may be convicted; they are naughty and delinquent and need to be protected because we noticed that despite the high protective security fence, these children would also sneak out despite that security measure which is there. We believe in that as leaders, we need to look for ways of supporting these children. We noticed that the girl child is forced to travel a long distance. We say they are put at risk or being abused when travelling to the dining hall for food, regardless of the time especially in the evening.

We noticed that some people should be self-sufficient. As leaders, we should tell the management of these homes that they should look for ways and means of taking care of these homes.  If we are going to rely on hand-outs, we will end up stealing.  Even when we look at our homes, if you are not hard working, you end up being the enemy of the people.  Therefore, there is need to visit these homes and see how they can compile a report on these homes.  This will enable us to see which home has the best upkeep of the children and which provinces have the worst upkeep of these homes. 

          As Members of Parliament, we should visit those homes so that we will be able to assess their needs.  This involves every one of us.  I thank you.

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

          HON. SEN. MARAVA:  I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume:  Wednesday, 26th October, 2016.

MOTION

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

          Fourth 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. MOEKETSI:  Thank you Mr. President for affording me this opportunity to debate on this motion.   Though this motion has been debated for a long time, I also wish to add my voice on early child marriages.  I want to start by giving an example; as I am speaking, in my garden there are a lot of tomatoes but there is not a single day that I have harvested these tomatoes because they are not yet ripe.  I therefore plead with this House that products should be left to get ripe before they are harvested.  I also want to say that the time we are in, is the time when most children are given in marriages if we rely on donors.  I want to plead with the men that are in this House to educate one another not to exchange bags of maize with our daughters.  This is the time when young girls are given to old men who are very happy to take them as their wives.

          This past week, I went to the rural areas in Mhondoro and came to this homestead.  It had a lot of people such that one or two bags of maize are not sufficient to feed that family.  That is why I am stressing that this is the time that you see children being given in marriage because they want to get adequate food for the family.  In other words, we are treating our children as animals.  Let us go and educate our people in the rural areas because there are people who have never heard this, some who are ignorant and others who do not see anything wrong with this custom as the child is theirs and they need to survive.  I am urging this august House to go ahead and preach this issue so that the whole country gets to know that our children need to be given a chance to grow.  Those in polygamous marriages are forced to give their children away in marriage because of the hard times.  Yes, they have done it but we should go back and educate our friends and relatives to regard our children as children.  We should love our children, let them mature to such a stage that they know why they are getting married.  Thank you Mr. President.

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

          HON. SEN. GOTO:  I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to Resume:  Wednesday, 26th October, 2016.

MOTION

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

          Fifth 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. MASUKU:  I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          HON. SEN. MARAVA:  I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to Resume:  Wednesday, 26th October, 2016.

          On the motion of HON. SEN. MASUKU, seconded by HON. SEN. MARAVA, the House adjourned at Ten Minutes to Five O’clock p.m.

 

 

Senate Hansard SENATE HANSARD 25 OCTOBER 2016 VOL 26 NO 08