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SENATE HANSARD - 29 JANUARY 2014 VOL. 23 NO. 28

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Wednesday 29th, January, 2014

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

 

 

PRAYERS

(MADAM PRESIDENT in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY MADAM PRESIDENT

ERROR ON THE ORDER PAPER

MADAM PRESIDENT : I wish to bring to the attention of the Senate, an error on today’s Order Paper, where item number 1 on page 152, which is yesterday’s proceedings, should in fact be reflected as Order number 1, on today’s Order Paper. So we need to re-number our Orders for today so that the item number one on page 152 is our item number 1 on today’s Order Paper. Therefore, item number 1 on today’s Order Paper becomes number 2 and we keep changing to the end.

BILL RECEIVED FROM THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

MADAM PRESIDENT: I also wish to advise that I have received the Finance Bill [HB1 2014] from the National Assembly.

CHANGES TO COMMITTEE MEMBERSHIP

MADAM PRESIDENT: I further wish to inform the Senate of the changes to committee membership where Senator Chabuka moves from the Committee on Indigenisation and Empowerment to the Committee on Peace and Security. Senator Chief Musarurwa moves from Indigenisation and Empowerment to Gender and Development, whilst Senator Chief Nembire moves from Peace and Security to Indigenisation and Empowerment.

FACILITIES FOR DISABLED PEOPLE AT PARLIAMENT

MADAM PRESIDENT: Yesterday during debate on the motion on the need for enacting legislation on Special Needs Education moved by Senator Mashavakure, Senator Mahofa urged senators to start by looking at the facilities at Parliament for the disabled persons. She indicated that the machines, the wheel chair lifters, were installed sometime back and were no longer functional. I therefore, wish to draw the attention of hon. senators to the fact that all the wheel chair lifters in the building are functional and these are regularly serviced in line with the requirements of our quality management system.

The institution also placed access ramps on strategic places to facilitate accessibility of the building by disabled persons. We know we could do more but we took at the initiative to provide these facilities in line with international best practice. Members may also recall that in September last year; a motion was moved by Hon. D.N.E Mutasa in both Houses to allow aides of disabled Members of Parliament, to sit with them in committees and the Chamber for the sole purpose of rendering assistance to the members. In addition, Parliament is also catering for the travel and accommodation of the aides, as a way of facilitating work of the disabled members. As an institution, we will continue with the limited resources we have to take the necessary steps to ensure the needs of our disabled Members of Parliament and the public are taken care of.

SWITCHING OFF OF CELLPHONES

MADAM PRESIDENT: I wish to remind hon. senators to switch off their cellphones before commencement of business.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE SENATE

THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR LIAISING ON PSYCHOMOTOR ACTIVITIES IN EDUCATION: I move that Order of the day, Number 1 be stood over until all the Orders o the Day on today’s Order Paper 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.

THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR LIAISING ON PSYCHOMOTOR ACTIVITIES IN EDUCATION (MR HUNGWE): I move that the debate do now adjourn.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Thursday, 30th January, 2014.

MOTION

POLICY ON SPECIAL NEEDS EDUCATION

Third Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the need for enacting legislation for the development of special needs education.

Question again proposed.

*SENATOR MUCHENJE: Thank you Madam President, for giving me this opportunity. We support this motion as it has been moved by Senator Mashavakure seconded by Senator Shiri. I felt very much touched by the way they explained what is happening in the country as to the demonising treatment which is given to people living with disabilities. I urge everyone of us to take care of the fact that many of us would not beg the Lord to give us a baby with deformities, but a child is a gift from God.

If God has given me a gift regardless of its body malfunctions, that is a gift from God. What we need to do is to love that person, love that child or even the parents of that child. Let us not hide these youngsters behind closed doors. We need to give them freedom to interact freely with other able-bodied children. Even in schools they should be involved in core education and with such integration, we make them useful citizens tomorrow. You may find out that some people may have disabilities but intelligence will be their gift from God. What this means is that they will be able to live an independent life. As is said, those who live in glass houses should not throw stones. You may be born able bodied but during the course of life, you may suffer from certain illness or involved in some accident which will result in you being disabled. Therefore, we should appreciate that disability is not voluntary. Such a person who has become disabled will also need the assistance of other people surrounding him. This means that we need to love members of our society who are living with disabilities. In most cases, if you do not assist those in need, when you have some catastrophe, people will also say you also did not care for other people’s needs and they will let you suffer on your own.

As a country, we should realise that we need to work together. We need to look into our education system in such a way that teachers are trained so that they can cope with children with disabilities. We also need that all institutes of learning have special facilities for the disabled. These should include; the ablution blocks, ramps and rails to get into the houses. If these refurbishments and facilities are made available, the learners with disability will be able to interact fully with other children.

Let me recount what is happening in my neighbourhood, we are living with a deaf child. You find that my missus has found it easy to cooperate with this deaf child. As of now, they are able to communicate with this child. When they come to see the child, they ask about the sign language that is supposed to be used by that deaf child. Through interaction with that child during play, they are able to learn the language. In the same way, the disabled child is also able to communicate with his colleagues.

Another problem that we have in Zimbabwe which used to happen in the western countries; you would find that the elderly were taken into rooms. This is now creeping into Zimbabwe. When one has grown old, he or she will now become someone with disability because sometimes you get blind or cannot walk or you suffer from Parkinson’s disease and therefore, when we move these elderly people and take them into nursing homes amongst people who are not aware of his culture; it totally changes our culture. Let us love our elderly people and those with disabilities. We need to stay with them in our homes and give assistance whenever it is necessary.

We also have our Department of Social Services, we hope that if people living with disabilities are known, the department should give them some allocation so that they can be given some assistance especially in places they are living with their families. If we do that, life will be very smooth and easy for these people. Truly speaking, nobody likes to live with disability or the disabled. If you ignore or mock these people, remember, tomorrow you could also be living with a disability in one way or another. I thank you Madam President.

*SENATOR CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: Thank you Madam President for affording me this opportunity to debate this motion on disability which was raised by Senator Mashavakure, seconded by Senator Shiri. I have been listening and following these debates on disability. Members are articulating this issue of disability well and it shows that we are moving together.

I wanted to debate yesterday but I thought I should give my colleagues a chance. We are encouraging people who are not in this Senate to listen to our debates and share their vision with us. We keep on looking at some of the issues read by Senator Mahofa whereby she deplored the state of facilities at Parliament. We have been given an explanation of what is going on. So, the question before this Senate is; what is happening to these people who are outside. These debates should be aired on television so that people will learn of what is happening in this Senate. We need to have the media in this Senate so that whatever is happening is captured and taken to the people.

In the PSMAS saga where Cuthbert Dube was earning that obscene salary, it was raised by the media; the next day this man was fired. We are now debating this articulate issue but no one is from the ministry or media. When we are debating these issues, they should reach the people but when we do not have support of the press, we are simply talking and no action may be taken. What we want is to call the minister to come into this Senate and give a response to this motion.

Looking at what is happening in this country, cultural wise, you find that people just ignore whatever is happening. I remember that when an issue was raised whereby the disabled where going to be given some token, a lot of people came out in the open that they had some disability and yet all along they had been hiding that they were disabled. We need to develop a culture of accepting people living with disability that they are just as good as the able bodied and they need our care and support.

I have lived for a long time with people with disability and people are not aware that those with disabilities are more advanced mentally than those with ability. As far as I am concerned, people living with disability are more advanced technologically than those who are able bodied.

During my days at the University of Zimbabwe, we had a lecturer, Pearson Nherera; he was more intelligent than the rest. In my Constituency; Charumbira, I have a headmaster who is visually impaired but he is an expert. He manages and administers the school better than what is happening in other schools. In the Attorney General’s office, one of the experts is visually impaired. He articulates issues very well.

Therefore, this means that these people may have disabilities but intellectually, they are well gifted. It is us who are letting down people with disabilities because we are not giving them the assistance which is due to them so that they develop intellectually.

There are a lot of things we can do in order to assist them. On education, we need to look at the special needs. They need to have assistance such as paying fees for the disabled in schools. This will show that even if people who are reluctant to bring these learners to school, the community will be paying for their fees. The people living with disabilities should also be given a chance to go into institutions of different learning situations. But, then, we know we can look at situations and say people should be at all the places.

Let us look at our institution here at Parliament and look at the number of disabled persons who are employed by Parliament, we may find that they are none existent. This shows that, as institutions, are not giving people with disabilities chances of employment in our institutions. We need to give them errands which are commensurate with their disabilities. We find that the Chairman of an institution of people with disabilities is not disabled and we are saying, a person leading an institution with people living with disabilities should be somebody with disability. Because if you lead these people, you would fight for them genuinely you are only doing it and not empathise with them because in normal situations, in ZANU PF in the league, you cannot be a leader of that organisation if you are not a member of that organisation. We need people living with disabilities to lead their organisations.

As far as I am concerned, it is a suggestion that we have a ministry for people living with disabilities led by a minister who has some form of disability because he will not only empathise but will be living the life of people with disabilities. We know we can have constraints of finances in having these ministries but it is my wish that we have such a ministry.

The other problem that we face culturally is that we have that mentality that people living with disability should be taken care of by the Ministry of Health or Department of Social Welfare. What we do not know is that the Department of Social Welfare is as broke as a church mouse or poor as a church mouse. There is nothing there. I have heard people coming to me from that department seeking assistance from me saying, chief can you give us assistance in the form of mealie-meal, because we have nothing in our coffers. For instance, someone living some 100 km away - in places like Nyajena has to pay $10 to go to Masvingo to seek for assistance. When they get to Social Welfare, after selling three chickens to get the fares they are told there is nothing in the coffers for them. So, my request is for us to develop a culture in the Ministry because the Department of Welfare has nothing in the coffers. As individuals, we are the social welfare. Let us take care of the welfare of our people living with disabilities. I know even if I am to ask my colleague from Kariba, he will tell us that there is no assistance given.

One thing which will also happen is that, as Africans we have also departed from our culture. We used to live a communal life whereby the disabled used to live within the family but now we are institutionalising them; we need to uphold the family unit. Let us take care of each other. We have been become westernized to an extent whereby the elderly or people living with disabilities are put in institutions. Hon. Senators, we will never go to heaven as long as we have these attitudes of instutitionalising people living with disabilities.

The worst part of it, having sent our elderly to these institutions we do not visit them even at Christmas times. We were having debate in this Senate chiefs were asked to take care of people living with disabilities within their jurisdiction. Yes, as chiefs we are trying our best but like I have stated, you are the people and you are the welfare. In our case, assistance is given by a Chief called Zunde raMambo and what this means is that all the assistance should be channeled through the chief who will distribute to the people in need in his jurisdiction. This is a way of promoting community and the communal life. Anybody who has a problem the first place they run to is to the chief.

A practical example of what we do as people believing in communal ownership and life is that when one of us is bereaved, we visit him/her. Mourners will carry whatever they can to assist the bereaved, for example mealie-meal, some money, bread, whatever one can give.

I plead with you senators to support the welfare projects which are guided by the chiefs so that whenever we have people with problems of any kind, people will know that the chief supports. I support these recommendations Hon. Senator Mashavakure has said that we need to have a policy on special need. You also said we need to have a policy on education and this should be promulgated.

SENATOR A. SIBANDA: I also thank Hon. Senator Mashavakure for moving this motion and seconded by Hon. Senator Shiri. Firstly, I would like to thank this Senate. I appreciate the fact that we now have people representing the disabled persons in this Senate because it took a very long time to achieve that.

Secondly, Hon. President I am saddened by the fact that Zimbabwe attained independence 34 years ago. At this stage, we should not be discussing what we are discussing now. It should have started long back. Disabled persons were supposed to be given some seats. It is good when disabled persons are doing a splendid job. The Government should work hand in hand with chiefs. It is not degrading for one to have a disabled child but in the communities that we come from, people hide their disabled children. They prevent them from going to play with other children because they feel they are being degraded. But, when the Government said everyone who has a disabled child has to be given some grants a lot of people then came forward that is very bad and even God does not like that. I think there should be a policy that every disabled child should attend school. If we do that, we will be encouraging that all the disabled children should go to school. We have seen children walking with their blind mothers. We have seen some of them seated and singing with their begging bowls. If they go to school, these children can be employable. I think Government should make it a policy that, all educated disabled people should find some form of work, because there are some companies that do not want to employ disabled people.

These disabled children should also go for teachers’ training. A lot of them should go for teachers’ training so that we do not have to find people who can teach the disabled people. They should also be taken as teachers, nurses and so forth. They must be employed as teachers and they should be able to teach others. People should know that a teacher can teach even whilst seated on a wheelchair.

Madam President, there is a lot that can be said about the disabled people. What I am saying is that, as a country, we should know that it is not an offence for anyone to have a disabled child. It is not a curse from God, but this is something that the Government has to look into seriously. In Bulawayo, I have seen people from Jairos Jiri going to the banks. At times they fail to get their money but, these are people who should be able to get their money every month from the banks. I thank you.

*SENATOR GOTO: Thank you Madam President, for affording me this opportunity to make my contribution. I would like to thank Senator Mashavakure for moving this motion seconded by Senator Shiri. I know that I am making a contribution at a time when a lot has been said by other hon. senators. I feel touched by this topic. Senator Mashavakure, this motion which you have moved was supposed to have been moved by us who are able bodied, to show that we really take care and think of people living with disability.

I know this is a tough situation. One of the contributors before me has said that, you can only mock the disabled when you are dead. As long as you are alive, there could be some situation which could lead to your disability. I remember seeing something about this issue when I was in the National Assembly. I was very much touched by the census I held in my area, when we were looking at the people living with disabilities. There were parents who were denying their children because of the disability which the children had.

At one time, parents gave birth to a child who had no bones but only flesh. That child had to live up to the age of 19 years because the parents loved that child living with disability. When we are talking of people living with disability, we should know that when we talk of going to school, we are talking of people who can afford that. As chiefs, we need to go to our areas and support people living with disabilities.

Whenever I go to my area in Hwedza, I will also pass on this information to other chiefs in my area so that, enough care is given to people living with disabilities. There are some elderly people who are also living with disability. In my area, we had one person who was living alone with such a disability. Nobody was giving him support so that he can live. This situation touched me and what we did was that, we had to look around for the relatives of this person. They had to come and take care of this person. This person is so deformed in such a way that he cannot move to go anywhere. He cannot take himself to the toilet or go anywhere. He is simply closed in a house and everything is done for him in that house.

I remember there are some good Samaritans who came and donated a wheelchair to that person. Unfortunately, that person living with disability cannot rise to sit on the chair. He has to be picked up and sit on the chair. What is now happening is that; the care giver is now misusing that wheelchair. He is leaving the disabled person enclosed in the house and then he takes the wheelchair to the bar for beer drinking.

There was a man who was married to a disabled woman. The woman tells a sad story that when she was married, the in-laws were up in arms against her. They were saying their son had brought a monster into their home. But, they managed to live together as people who love each other. These people are excellent farmers in our area. Therefore, we need to support them. In this House, we need to talk seriously about the issue of the disabled. For the first time in the life of this Parliament, we are taking the right steps by leading by example. So, wherever we go out there as senators, we can also look around and give education on the care which is necessary for people living with disability.

Some people may say this issue does not concern us because they are not living with disability, neither do they have friends living with disability. You never know in life, you may find yourself getting disabled. During the time of COPAC, we went to areas whereby we met people who were living with disability. We were taught that we should not say; there is that disabled person. We were taught that we should say; that is a person living with disability. When we are talking of somebody who is blind, we do not say that, there is the blind person, but, we talk of such a person as someone with an impaired vision.

Therefore, we need to work together in supporting people living with disability. Let me give a good example. I am using these spectacles and it shows that I also have got some disability because these spectacles make me see properly. The other problem is that we are afraid of coming up because of our disability for people will take us as a mockery. We also need to thank our Government for taking steps towards alleviating the problems of people living with disability.

In my home, I took part in introducing sports in my village and some of the people whom I introduced to sports were people living with disabilities. They were very happy to partake in these athletics. As I debate, I find that I am touched by what we are debating, especially when we are looking at one of us who is an hon. senator, Senator Shiri, who is living with disability, moving on one leg.

Therefore, we need to talk about this. I told you about the lady who is disabled in my area. She is so disabled that she does not walk but crawls. Despite this, she is a very good farmer. Therefore, I am pleading that they should be accommodated in transport and in terms of toilets, there should also be facilities which enable them easy access into these toilet facilities.

I am looking forward to the time when there is going to be a policy which is going to lead to an improvement in the welfare of people living with disabilities. Hon. Mashavakure and Hon. Shiri, you are working for the future generation. I know we will die but definitely, you have initiated a cause which is meant for the welfare of people living with disabilities. I thank you.

SENATOR CHIEF NYAMUKOHO: I stand to speak on this motion raised by Senator Mashavakure and seconded by Senator Shiri. I feel very sad to speak on this issue because it brings to me a vision of what I have really seen and gone through with the people under my jurisdiction at home. My talk will be very short because it is directed to my fellow chiefs. I am glad that the President of the Chief’s Council, has said all and it is so real.

As I said, I will not say much but let me repeat words that I have heard and that always touch me. I make it a joking case, in fact, when I hear our songster, Oliver Mutukudzi, say ‘your sound is okay, but it is the look you need to work on’. I am speaking to my fellow chiefs. From several observations in my area, I came to decide and have made it a reality, to record all that I have known and seen among disabled people. This is why I am forced to stand today and show you by example what I am trying to say. I am saying to my fellow chiefs that I have a register for all the people under my jurisdiction. I mean a true register that records all the disabled people in my area. To prove to you, these are the registers I use together with my village heads. Every village head has a register which records everyone. There is the Government census you take but for Nyamukoho, I have my own and this is the one.

Let me emphasise the state of the disabled before I can talk of anything else. At least I have shown you the register and the book. You can imagine what is in this book. This book carries the total number of people of all sorts under my jurisdiction, but I am emphasising on the disabled. I have an example of a case, I hope many of you here have noticed on the television, of a man called Ndowa. He has a wife and two children. The eldest now is 30 years old and the younger one is 27 years old. One is a boy and the other is a girl. I thank God that we have some people that are ready made by God to be what they are. This man is carrying the burden of all it means to be a family and they are living together up to now.

I had not known of this man. Image, for over the 12 years I have been a chief, I have never come across him or known him but for an advert I got to know of this man. My wife and I went to see this man. He lives in one round hut which he shares with his wife, who is now disabled as well and the two children they have are also disabled. They cannot walk or talk. That is when I strongly came to this idea. I knew I had a lot to know about the people that are under my jurisdiction.

As I said from the beginning, I will not say much but I am trying to speak to my fellow chiefs. It is so real that the truth about people in the rural areas is the worst in Zimbabwe that we can ever talk of but it has never been put into any real consideration. I am sorry to say that as we sit here as legislators, we talk of all things that are very important but thank God, through Senator Mashavakure this issue has come up.

For example, I have about 200 village heads and from only this particular village, we have statistics about everyone. When I say everyone, I mean we have registered all age groups. Let me read from the book so that I do not make a blunder. We have women aged 18 years and above, we have men 18 years and above, we have school going aged children 6 years to 17 years, we have zero age to 5 years. We have a record of household and their harvests every year and as I have said, we have the disabled, the war veterans and we have even gone on to say the highest educated person in that particular village. We have recorded talented artists and those orphaned children. We have gone on to record certain things you would think are unnecessary, but are necessary for our reasons. After we had noted the disabled in the rural areas, we had to put distances from the village to the nearest clinic, school, church, dip tank and all that concerns a normal person. That was necessitated by the realization of the disabled.

Now, I gave you an example of this Ndowa family, with a man who has a disabled wife and two disabled children. He does all the work for these people. He does the cooking and everything needed for a family alone. Now, when I had gone to see this family for the first time, it drew our family to realising that it could have been me. It does not matter what I am today. I quote the saying of Oliver Mtukudzi with a point, “your sound is okay, but it is the look you need to work on.” I am saying to my fellow chiefs, I know we are probably the lowest paid chiefs. I am not talking about salaries, please excuse me if you ever think I am going to talk about that. I am saying, we are poor.

Realising this, we have built a five-roomed house for this family with all the simple furniture of a rural area. I am not saying every chief can manage that, but I am saying let us have an image of such a picture of disabled people living with us. I could have said much more with the record of this register. I could have read from here all what I am trying to say, but let me not say much. After having had over 200 village heads in this particular village here, if I look on the page where it concerns the disabled, this particular village has got eight disabled people and I said we have 200 villages. Of course, it does not necessarily mean that every village has got eight. Some are there with five, two, and even none. Imagine a number like that in the rural areas.

We are all here sitting as legislators and I wonder what will be the first question if we go up there where they say we go. How will we answer it? They will say, how are those disabled people down there in your chieftainship? I will say they are alright, meaning they are alright as they are. I want to conclude by saying, if everyone of us in here can realise that it is a blessing to have a soul. Everybody has a soul. Every born person has got a soul. I have proved it.

All the women in here will agree with me. You have babies born today and just try to leave the baby? What happens! The baby will show you with a good sign that I have got a soul. The baby will show a sign that you will wonder who told him there is death. The child will show you a sign that I am alive, I have a soul and I am living. It does not matter whether the child is disabled or not. There is a sign that you will see, the child fears if it drops on the ground, it will die. Who told the child that you are going to die? Who told the child that there is death? That is a good sign that every person on earth has got a soul. That soul from creation – the chiefs in here, it is your responsibility. That is why you are a chief. The Bible tells us that it is God’s appointment to have a chief. Well, we do not believe that much. We have noticed and met it. We are content with what we meet in Zimbabwe.

I want to have my greatest and sincere thanks to Senator Mashavakure, for bringing up this motion into this Senate, whereby you make regulations and laws for the fairness of a living of a people. I want to thank Madam President, for even allowing me to have this chance to speak.

I will go out of this Senate happy because I have shown my heart. Fellow chiefs, there is a simple example. Let us make this, the first project in our villages. Let us go and record the disabled. When we record them – you can have one paper, you do not have to record them on a big book like this. It costs money and I know we do not have the money to do that. You cannot ask our Government to help you on things like this. Thank God, I have managed 200 villages, each village with a complete record of the statistics of what we need.

We go further, the number of boreholes and the distance from the borehole to the particular home. Even the construction of the house itself, whether it is built by brick or whatever is on the roof, the hectarage the individual household is holding. The total statistics of births and deaths of the particular village and then the total statistics of my whole area of jurisdiction, you will see it in this book.

As I said, it is the disabled I am concerned with because this book was created after we had seen the Ndowa home. We have up to this minute, a family with two grown up children where the father of the home carries the girl, boy and the mother to the toilet. I am glad that certain people from Harare came to testify about the truth of what I am saying and that touched our family. I am putting this to the burden of the chiefs and I know that you do not have facilities to do all what I am saying now, but have the look on you. The sound is okay, but the look.

+SENATOR MASUKU : I want to thank Madam President for affording me this opportunity and I also like to thank the hon. senators for bringing this motion to this Senate, this very important motion about some of our fellow citizens. I would like to talk about the disabled people. I will start from the family background. When I talk of family, I am talking about the time when one gets pregnant and one is pregnant for about nine months. We will all be living the same lifestyle, then comes time for delivery, we all go into labour the same way. Then we see the child after the child has been born. It does not matter whether this is an able bodied child or a disabled child, it is called a child because that child has a soul and that child has to be loved. A parent who is not happy to have such a child should not be a parent at all because that parent will be blaming God for what God would have given him/her.

Coming to the community, you will notice that children on their own are not ashamed of disability. They love one another but it is us the parents who then plant this hatred into the children because we are the ones who then say, do not play with so and so because he/she is disabled.

On the education of the disabled, the Government of Zimbabwe tried to put in place teachers who are trained to teach such children but there are very few schools, especially in the rural areas, that cater for the disabled children. Secondly, there is no equipment in those schools for the children to use.

Looking at our country, is there a possibility that those children can be taken good care of in the way we wish we could? I am saying, that is not possible, what can help is if the Government could get a loan from banks so that we could try and assist our disabled children. I am saying that sanctions should go so that the Government can be able to acquire funds and be able to look after the disabled people. Disabled people are also important in as much as we, the able bodied people are.

I would also want to say that there is a Ndebele saying that says, disability does not wait for anyone. This means that you can be able bodied today but you do not know what the future has in store for you. So, we should not be laughing at the disabled people. When we talk about the crippled or the blind, where do we place the full stop? Where do we say disability starts from here and goes up to there? Where is the demarcation? The reason why I say so is that maybe, some of us in this august Senate are disabled in one way or the other because for some of us, we cannot read. I cannot read this piece of paper that is in front of me without my glasses. So, it means that I am disabled because without the glasses I am disabled. We should all be careful and notice all that.

Before our country attained 34 years of independence, are we saying that the Government had forgotten about the disabled people? My answer to that is no, Government did not forget the disabled persons. What has Parliament done for the disabled? I think you will agree with me Madam President, that in the 90s we installed these machines here at Parliament. The machines are for the disabled to assist them in their movement. I remember that there was a lady called Ronah Moyo and because Government was so concerned about the disabled, that is why we had that machine installed. How many other Government buildings have such machines?

I would like to thank this Upper House and I would also like to thank you as Parliament to those who are assisting the disabled. I would like to thank Parliament for allowing those who lead our disabled to also sit in the House with them. I know that as Parliament, we are trying to make the conditions better for them but because of sanctions, we are failing to assist the disabled that much. Yes, we can come up with laws but if there is no money to be used, maybe in constructing other buildings or to be used in some other forms; how then can we assist? I am saying that sanctions should be lifted.

I would also like to say that for the Government to be able to assist properly, Government should know how many disabled people are in each district. I would like to thank the last speaker for what he said I would urge that each and every province have such statistics indicating how many disabled people are in each province. That would be easy for Government to come up with strategies.

Now, coming to those who are taking care of the disabled people, these people should be assisted. They should be assisted in one way or the other, not just by leading the disabled to go to the bank. What happens is that when they go to the bank they fail to get their money and there is no money because of sanctions. That is the reason I am saying sanctions should go. What I am saying is that these people should be assisted by creating jobs for them. They could meet in their provinces or they could embark in market gardening so that they can earn their own money and also assist those disabled people they are taking care of. That is my wish. I think it will be better if we could have statistics of how many disabled people there are.

I think that should not be the duty of the chiefs alone but chiefs should also be assisted by Government councilors, District Administrators and those in the social welfare so that the burden will be easier for them. Chiefs are not there to work for us but are there to supervise that we are carrying out our duties properly. Maybe each district or province should keep records and statistics of how many disabled people there are in their areas. It will be easier because there will come a time that Government will be allowed to go and borrow money from some places to build proper buildings in order to assist the disabled.

I would also want to say to the disabled and those who are disabled just as I am, we should teach them, we should teach people that they should not laugh at the disabled or the crippled because when we were young we also used to think that it would not happen to us but it has happened to us now. Thank you.

*SENATOR MAKORE: Thank you Mr. President, for affording me this opportunity to make my contribution on this motion which was raised by Senator Mashavakure seconded by Senator Shiri. Let me start by congratulating the Constitution which created posts for people living with disabilities to be part of this august Senate because people with disabilities are representing themselves. I also want to thank the Zimbabweans because we need to look at both the ups and downs of our Constitution. We know there are a lot of things that are happening because of the change of culture, especially regarding people living with disability.

If we were to look into the Bible and talk about King David he called Jonathan’s son so that he could inherit his father’s empire. He called somebody who has a queer name called Mephibosheth. People were surprised to find that King David was sharing a table with a disabled, Mephibosheth and he gave him the inheritance and the estate of his father. This shows that all people are equal, able bodied or disabled. This is a good example given to us by the Bible.

I will now turn to what is happening to our culture. One of us in this august Senate showered praises to Mr. Jairos Jiri for establishing a care centre for people living with disabilities. It only shows that people are changing their attitudes. I believe people living with disabilities in Zimbabwe are happy because they have seen that there is some progress towards their welfare. This is only the beginning of their welfare. We should only be looking at situations and say, we are moving forward. Yes, on a positive note we have moved a step ahead. We now have people living with disability representing themselves and giving us guidance on these discussions.

Mr. President, we need to look into the future towards the development of the love for people living with disability. We need to look at their needs socially. If we look around this Senate, we also have the women folk amongst us and yet culturally, women were not supposed to be in this Senate. They were looked down upon; they were segregated as if they were people who could not make important decisions in institutions and homes. Women were people who were supposed to be found in the kitchen looking for fire wood and giving birth to children. What we have noticed is that we have women and because of the SADC Protocol, they have now come into the Senate and that is a development. We have an equal number of women in Parliament and if my memory serves me right, we have more women than men because of the proportional representation which led to the coming in of women uncontested –[HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear]- Thank you for clapping hands for me because I have said a very valid point and this shows that this is development which we have seen in the gender sector, which means the same modus operandi should be used in upholding the lives of people living with disabilities. We need to engage researchers who go to different countries and to research in those countries and see how they are assisting in improving the lives of people living with disabilities. When we have done that, we come and incorporate those ideas into our living methods in Zimbabwe, so that we uphold the lives of people with disability in this country.

People who are able-bodied must be able to cope with what is happening to people living with disabilities, such as the ability to read and use sign language or use Braille. People with disabilities are very intelligent, what God did not give them in body, he gave them in intelligence. In my experience, I am an old man; I have had lots of experiences in life. I have known that this is really achievable and what I also know is that the Chiefs have their programme whereby they assist people who are in their areas. According to our African culture, we accept anybody from any class or any rank and this includes people living with disability. We do not discriminate, unless if we are borrowing from other cultures.

Senator Mashavakure, thank you very much for the motion you raised, you have opened our eyes. Yes, I know we do not need to think that we are slow in raising this motion but what we know is that we have started on this project and we have to see it through. We need to have finances to uphold these projects. I know if we incorporate all these ideas, we will be able to improve the living standards of our people and change our cultures.

SENATOR CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: I move that the debate do now adjourn.

SENATOR MATHUTHU: I second

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Thursday, 30th January, 2014.

MOTION

PROHIBITION OF HEAVY DUTY TRUCKS ON HIGHWAYS

Fourth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the need for stricter traffic regulations to curb road carnage on the country’s major roads.

Question again proposed.

SENATOR SINAMPANDE: Thank you Mr. President for according me this opportunity to contribute to the motion by Senator S. Ncube, seconded by Senator W. Sibanda. Mr. President, part of Government’s transport master plan should be the over-hauling of all motor roads by erecting fences along tarred and dirty roads.

Most of our roads are becoming narrow, with crater-like potholes which makes it difficult for motorists to negotiate. The poor state of our roads continue to cause accidents and damage to vehicles and in some areas, roads do not have enough road signs, which I believe is the major cause of road accidents which are claiming lives.

Mr. President, the introduction of tollgates should have been a major change in the state of our roads in the country today. ZINARA is collecting millions of dollars in license and tollgate fees, but there is no one who can give a good explanation of how the resources are used. The road levy that is paid by the heavy duty trucks should go a long way in maintaining the roads that they use. Now it is up to the Government to make sure that they speed up the process as our roads are becoming too dangerous.

Mr. President, there are so many roads which need urgent attention, here I have just listed a few of them:-

i) Victoria Falls – Bulawayo

ii) Bulawayo – Tsholotsho

iii) Bulawayo – Nkayi

iv) Nkayi – Lupane

v) Binga – Kamative

vi) Binga – Gokwe

vii) Tsholotsho – Lupane

viii) Siabuwa – Tyunga, Binga – Kariangwe – Lusulo

ix) Gwayi – Lubimbi – Lusulo road. All these roads need fencing.

Mr. President, ZINARA should be more transparent in the manner in which it is making use of collected funds. The ministry must also make the rehabilitation of our major roads a priority by erecting fences to avoid straying animals which are causing road accidents. Mr. President, with these few words, I thank you.

SENATOR CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: I move that the debate do now adjourn.

SENATOR MARAVA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Thursday, 30th January, 2014.

MOTION

ALIGNMENT OF LAWS TO THE CONSTITUTION

Fifth Order read: Adjourned debate on the motion on the harmonisation of existing legislation with the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

Question again proposed.

SENATOR CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: I move that the debate do now adjourn.

SENATOR MLOTSHWA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Thursday, 30th January, 2014.

On the motion of SENATOR CHIEF CHARUMBIRA seconded by SENATOR MATHUTHU, the Senate adjourned at Ten Minutes past Four o’clock p.m.

Last modified on Thursday, 17 April 2014 07:28
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Senate Hansard Vol. 23 SENATE HANSARD - 29 JANUARY 2014 VOL. 23 NO. 28