You are here:Home>Senate Hansard>SENATE HANSARD 28 OCTOBER 2015 VOL 23 NO 13

SENATE HANSARD 28 OCTOBER 2015 VOL 23 NO 13

Download attachments:

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Wednesday, 28th October, 2015

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

PRAYERS

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

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE (HON. SEN. TAWENGWA)

SUSPENSION OF COMMITTEE BUSINESS

          THE HON. ACTING PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: I wish to advise the Senate that business of Committees will be suspended from tomorrow 29th October until Monday, 16th November, 2015.

MOTION

ACHIEVEMENTS IN THE EDUCATION SECTOR

          First Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on great strides made by Government in raising literacy rates in the country.

          Question again proposed.

          *HON. SEN. SHIRI: Thank you Hon. President of the Senate for affording me this opportunity to debate on this motion. Firstly, I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Goto and her seconder Hon. Sen. Bhobho for bringing such a motion. I am most grateful that this country of Zimbabwe is way above in terms of the literacy rates in the African continent. We now have lots of schools so as to enable each and every one of us to access education. Our education system starts at three year olds, commonly referred to as Early Childhood Development (E.C.D). Back then children used to go to crèche but we now have laws in place which dictate that children must go for E.C.D starting from three years to four years.

          When schools were being built plans were not put in place to put buildings at primary schools to cater for the E.C.D because children would go to private educational centres commonly known as crèche. It is now mandatory that children should go for their E.C.D education in primary schools; it is good because children will have the chance to be prepared for their actual education carrier. The children need proper E.C.D infrastructure and facilities so that they can play and learn at the same time. The teacher-pupil ratio....

          THE HON. ACTING PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: I am sorry to interrupt your speech. There is no interpretation from above so there will be no record of your contribution. If I may ask if you are comfortable to address the Senate in English, if you do not mind. If you do mind you can continue with Shona but there will be no record of this.

          HON. SEN. SHIRI: No, I will address in English. Thank you Hon. President of the Senate. The Early Childhood Development in the primary schools, these children do not have the facilities which are user friendly which they use at these schools. Children learn through play or through games at schools. So, we encourage the S.D.Cs and the school heads to create or built the classrooms which are user friendly to the kids. At these schools, the pupils or children, some of them are forced to learn materials of – sorry Hon. President of the Senate, I had written my speech in Shona. So to do simultaneous translation of Shona to English is not easy. It was going to be easy if I had written my speech in English. There is a clash between the school policy and the curricula. Children at this level are supposed to learn the games, the pictures, language and not the actual Mathematics and other subjects. At schools, the headmasters force the teachers to teach these children to write their names, that is against their curricula.

          We also want to encourage Government to make sure that there is inclusive education in all these schools. Some of the children who are physically challenged can interact and learn at these normal schools though there are some who need special schools. Those with hearing impairments can also learn in mainstream schools, as long as the teachers are well versed with the sign language.

We encourage colleges to enroll sign language interpreters and tutors so that the teachers are also versatile with sign language skills and the use of Braille. We encourage the SDCs, through the WASH programmes, to renovate the schools so that they are user-friendly to the children who are physically challenged. The service providers should also make sure that their services are easily accessible to persons with disabilities. Education should be easily accessible to children with disabilities through the use of ICT. During examinations, children with albinism cannot read the small print on examination sheets because they are short-sighted. The examinations should be in large print to accommodate these children. We encourage Government to exempt mathematics and science to those with hearing impairment whenever they apply for college because it is very difficult to teach a visually impaired person these subjects. Some of them may have passed 5 ‘O’ levels but without mathematics, they cannot proceed to colleges.

          Furthermore, we want to encourage Government to make sure that practical subjects are introduced early in primary schools. I am in full support of the psychomotor skills because some children are not academically gifted but they can do very well in areas to do with their hands.

          On looking at universities, for instance Midlands State University, there are about 35 000 students enrolled there. The curriculum should also provide sports. MSU is a leader in ICT. They use the gold card to swipe and gain access to the examination rooms, to make mail payments and accessing the library. Wi-Fi is just linked to one’s personal E-learning. In addition, I can access my child’s results from home. Nevertheless, we want them to have long distance online degrees so that people can learn from home just like in other countries. I would like to commend Prof. Nyagura, for promoting students with disabilities at the University of Zimbabwe and also urge other universities to do the same.

In conclusion, I would like to say that Zimbabwe is leading in quality education. I would like to persuade all of us here to be part and parcel of the development of our schools in our constituencies. I thank you Mr. President.

HON. SEN. B. SIBANDA: Mr. President, I want to thank you for affording me the opportunity to contribute on this debate. Let me start by thanking the mover and seconder of the debate. I would also like to register my voice that Zimbabwe has distinguished itself in providing its population with education, which is respectable. I do not have a lot to say on the subject but I have a plea. For our national development, it is essential that science education, including Mathematics, be given priority.

Around 2009 and 2010, I did some research in Gwanda where I looked at about 14 rural secondary schools. Out of these, only 2 offered science facilities. Our future as a nation is dependent on the quality of science knowledge that we have. Research is going to be based on the quality of science education that we give our children. Universities like NUST are going to benefit from the background that our children may have in science education, particularly at the earliest levels. I urge Government to take very seriously the introduction of science subjects at all our schools. On the same subject of tertiary education, I want to acknowledge that university education is an investment.

On this note I would like to be a little jocular. I am a graduate of the University of Sierra Leone, a distinguished university. Now, for the benefit of Senators, at any one time, there were 200 Zimbabweans seconded from Mozambique, Zambia or from the refugee camps in one of these countries. So, I would urge that we take some of these universities seriously. One of the distinguished people from that university is Prof. Ngwabi Bhebhe. So, let us respect the qualitative education offered at that particular centre.

Anyway, that is not what I was debating. What I was saying is that education is an investment. It is no use or it is not very helpful for this nation to invest in tertiary education and cease to convert that investment into labour that we can reap from. I know there is talk about exporting labour. I frown at that because we did not initially invest in education in order to export but in order to develop this nation. So, once again, I urge Government to enhance, particularly our Polytechnical Colleges, the capacity to develop an educated cadre who is an investment into Zimbabwe and not into other countries.

You will remember that certain countries in West Africa have actually exported labour extensively and later gone back to plead with the same labour force, to the extent that I know certain expatriates who have been hired to come back to certain countries. That is not healthy for any country. With those words, I would like to urge Government to take seriously the investment that they make and to make sure that they reap the best return for the good of Zimbabwe and not for other countries.

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

HON. SEN MAWIRE: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Thursday, 29th October, 2015.

MOTION

PROMOTION OF SPORTS DEVELOPMENT

          Second Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the need to promote sports development in Zimbabwe.

          Question again proposed.

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

          HON. SEN. HLALO: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Thursday, 29th October, 2015.

MOTION

PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS

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

      Question again proposed.

HON. SEN. RTD. GEN. NYAMBUYA: Thank you very much Mr. President. I would like to start my intervention by thanking the mover of this motion who is none other than yourself, seconded by I think Hon. Sen. Mumvuri for moving this very important motion which is basically centering on the address which was presented to this august House by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe.

Mr. President, the address was very comprehensive and it gave a road map in terms of the legislative agenda of the Third Session. Let me just comment on a few items which are of interest and which are very close to my heart. We are talking Mr. President, day in day out about the importance of stimulating the economy. We are talking day in and day out about the need to encourage both local investment as well as Foreign Direct Investment. It is in this light therefore, that I welcome the impending overhaul of the Company Act. The Act as we have it in its present form is actually obsolete not in sync with the current trends which are prevailing throughout the world. Therefore, the proposal of overhauling this Act is going to make our country an attractive destination for investment. The proposal also to turn the Zimbabwean Investment Authority into a One-Stop-Shop is welcome and it can only allow us to market our country in such a way that investors will feel that it is not a burden to come and invest in this country. But, they will feel the relative ease if indeed we make this happen as expeditiously as possible.

The next item Mr. President, concerns the State Procurement Amendment. This again is very important and there are so many examples which I can give about how our amendment procedures in this country have really drawn us back. We know the sagas which have affected the solar tender, electricity metres and the list is endless. Of late, we have heard the Comptroller and Auditor-General describing the sorry state in which the State Procurement Board is. Its structure again is not reflecting the modern trends and the need in which we must act, in particular to eliminate the sluggishness which exists. I think it is in one of her reports that the Comptroller and Auditor-General describes a class of people who have emerged and she calls them ‘Tenderpronours’ people who specialize in putting together tender papers in such a way that these papers are rosy and they appear as if they are in full control. They can provide whatever is being asked for when in reality they are just whiz kids who have just mastered the art of putting tender papers together.

What they then do is that after they win the tender, they go to somebody who has got money the real person who is supposed to win that tender, thereby increasing the cost of procurement. Therefore, the proposed amendment of this very important Act is going to go a long way in reducing the cost of doing business, in enabling companies in this country in particular those in the public domain to be able to procure more efficiently and speedily.

The economic revival of this country, goes without saying that it is hinged on two particular areas, that agriculture and we know why-that is because more than 70% of the population in this country depends on agriculture. The second area is mining because we do have the resources.   I think we have got over 40 minerals in this country, if my memory serves me right. The challenge which we have is that we do not know how much we have by way of those different minerals. We do not know where those minerals are exactly in terms of location. We do not know what exactly, even though we have a rough figure of knowing that they are around 40. So, there is a very big requirement of introducing a Mineral Exploration Company through the relevant Bill, which we are told is going to be brought before this House. What we have been doing as a country is like a boxer who is very heavily built and he throws punches at an unknown enemy you will – you will not win.

Therefore, the proposal to introduce a Mineral Exploration Company is going to go a long way in enabling us as a country to know exactly what we have in terms of diamonds. How much alluvial diamonds we have, kimberlitic diamonds, platinum, coal and all those important commodities which boast about but which we do not know how much in terms of quantities. So, we look forward to receiving this very important Bill from the relevant Minister.

I will also make a few comments on the importance of having the National Boarder Ports Authority which again we have been advised is going to come before the House. It is important that we have the National Border Posts Authority Bill, which promotes free movement of tourists, investors, goods and services. This will improve the ease of doing business in this great country.

My prayer Mr. President is that, those who are charged with the task of bringing these Bills before Parliament do so with speed. We have been waiting for quite some time for alignment of the various pieces of legislation, over 400 we are told. We need to move with speed so that these pieces of legislation are brought to the House and we align these laws with our Constitution. Similarly, we hope these pieces of legislation are going to come as quickly as possible. I thank you for giving me this opportunity Mr. President.

HON. SEN. MOHADI: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to also add my voice to the Presidential Speech. First of all, I would like to thank the mover, Hon. Sen. Tawengwa being seconded by Hon. Sen. Mumvuri …

THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: If I may correct that. The seconder was Hon. Sen. Masuku.

HON. SEN. MOHADI: Ooh, thank you. The President on the occasion of the Official Opening of the Third Session of the Eighth Parliament of Zimbabwe dealt with many issues relating to the legislative agenda and other important matters affecting our nation. However, within the space of time that is available, it is not possible to cover all of them. I am therefore going to highlight a few issues which in my opinion are most important.

Mr. President, for a long time would be investors have complained about the cumbersome bureaucratic procedures that they have to go through in order to set up shop in the country. The result has been that a lot of them have turned to other countries where the processes are streamlined. It is against this background that we welcome the pronouncement by the President that the Companies Act and related pieces of legislation will be overhauled in order to improve the business environment in the country.

The State Procurement Board (SPB) has been operating in an opaque manner for a long time and in the process, has raised a lot of concerns relating to corrupt activities in the awarding of tenders. We have heard of instances where major tenders have been awarded to briefcase business people without the capacity to undertake the projects in question. For example Mr. President, if I can refer you to the Harare –Masvingo – Beitbridge tender, which was given to such people and it never took off because those people did not have enough money. The result has been the mushrooming of tenderpreneurs. We therefore welcome the indications by His Excellency that the State Procurement Amendment Bill, which seeks to improve efficiency in the public procurement system, will be tabled during this Session.

We also welcome the announcement by His Excellency that the Special Economic Zones Bill, which seeks to promote exports, boost industrilisation and enhance skills transfer, will be tabled during this Session. For a long time, there has been talk of establishing these zones but the legislative framework has not been put in place. This is indeed a welcome development.

Mr. President, we also welcome the indication by His Excellency that the Government is ready and willing to include the concerns of social partners in any future amendments of the Labour Relations Act.

His Excellency the President also alluded to the establishment of the Land Commission as provided for in Section 296 of the Constitution. Again, we welcome this development since there are many issues related to the Land Reform Programme that need to be addressed urgently. The issues include the issue of multiple ownership of farms, maximum farm sizes, and that of productivity on the land. I thank you.

          THE MINISTER OF DEFENCE (HON. SEN. DR. SEKERAMAYI): I move that the debate do now adjourn.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Thursday, 29th October, 2015.

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE

PRE-BUDGET SEMINAR INFORMATION CIRCULARS

          THE ACTING PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: All Members of Parliament are advised to collect information circulars pertaining to the Pre-Budget Seminar from their pigeon holes as soon as the House adjourns.

          On the motion of HON. SEN DR. SEKERAMAYI, the House adjourned at Eight minutes past Three o’clock p.m until Tuesday, 17th November, 2015.

 

 

 

Senate Hansard SENATE HANSARD 28 OCTOBER 2015 VOL 23 NO 13