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SENATE HANSARD - 4 FEBRUARY 2014 VOL. 23 NO. 30

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Tuesday, 4th February, 2014

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

 

 

PRAYERS

(MADAM PRESIDENT in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENT BY MADAM PRESIDENT

LIAISON AND COORDINATION COMMITTEE MEETING

MADAM PRESIDENT: I have to inform the Senate that the Liaison and Coordination Committee, which includes all Committee Chairpersons, the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson of the Women Caucus, the Whips and their deputies, will hold a meeting tomorrow, Wednesday, 5th February, 2014, at 9 a.m., in the Government Caucus Room.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE SENATE

SENATOR CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: Madam President, I move that Order of the Day, Number 1 on today’s Order Paper, be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the day, have been disposed of.

SENATOR MATHUTHU: 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.

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

SENATOR MATHUTHU: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 5th February, 2014.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE SENATE

SENATOR MUPFUMIRA: I move that Order of the Day, Number 3 on today’s Order Paper, be stood over until Thursday, 6th February, 2014.

SENATOR CHIEF CHARUMBIRA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE SENATE

SENATOR MOHADI : I move that Order Number 4 be stood over until all the other orders of the day on today’s Order Paper have been disposed of.

SENATOR MATHUTHU: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

REPORT ON THE THIRD ORDINARY SESSION OF THE THIRD PAN AFRICAN PARLIAMENT.

Fifth Order read: Adjourned debate on the report of the Third Ordinary Session of the Third Pan African Parliament.

 

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

SENATOR MATUTU : I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 5th February, 2014.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE 34TH PLENARY ASSEMBLY OF THE SADC-PARLIAMENTARY FORUM IN ARUSHA, TANZANIA.

Sixth Order read: Adjourned debate on the report of the 34th Plenary Assembly of the SADC-Parliamentary Forum in Arusha, Tanzania.

*SENATOR CHIMBUDZI: Thank you Madam President, for allowing me to add my voice to this report.

The theme was benchmarking the conduct and assessment of elections in Southern Africa. The Parliamentary delegation of Zimbabwe was led by Hon. Jacob Mudenda, Speaker of the National Assembly. The plenary session was attended by 12 out of 14 Member Parliaments and six were led by Presiding officers, including Zimbabwe.

Out of the 54 delegates present, 22 (41%) were females and 32(59%) were males.

The Executive Committee met on 18 and 19 October 2013, and underscored the importance of the theme which was based on evaluation of SADC PF’s Election Observation Programmes (1999-2010) and also to review norms and standards for elections in the SADC region.

The significance of the 34th Plenary Assembly was the adoption of the revised Constitution and Rules or Procedures that will pave way for the SADC PF to operate like a Parliament.

The meeting noted the leadership of upcoming election observation missions. Hon Jacob Mudenda, Speaker of the National Assembly of Zimbabwe will lead the election observation mission in Namibia in November 2014.

South Africa held a workshop for Members of Parliament to enable MPs to appreciate the SADC PF’s operations. Other Parliaments were also encouraged to follow suit.

The plenary was officially opened by the Vice President of Tanzania who appreciated the participation of women in the political field. Governments were persuaded to eliminate all forms of violence and discrimination and also encouraged popular participation of women in all sectors of the countries.

The observation mission’s deliberative session’s scope was aimed at promoting peace and stability in the region with free, fair and credible elections.

Zimbabwe sought to understand the difference between the norms and standards. Benchmarks were defined as an improvement on the norms.

Zimbabwe also suggested that there be a media commission to monitor the role of media during elections. Policy issues were discussed and are highlighted in the report. Issues pertaining to HIV/Aids were also discussed.

On the Regional women’s Parliamentary Caucus, the Committee commended strides taken by Angola, Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe in the quest to realise the 50% women quota as prescribed in the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development. Governments were urged to avail resources and also sustainable social empowerment of women candidates. I hope and trust that this will continue. The forum also talked about South Africa that there was a workshop done by South Africa. As regards the SADC Forum, we also expect that in the not too distant future, a similar workshop could also be held for our member, so that they appreciate how such fora operate and to prepare them for duties that they may have to discharge in that forum. We know that Zimbabwe gave a lot of ideas and also did pose questions about the issue of free, fair and credible elections. We have answers in the reports that we have brought.

I am glad Zimbabwe also gave its idea. It is also important that we have a media forum so that we have elections well conducted because the observer mission’s duty is to make sure that there is peace and that elections held are free and fair. This is a report that we must read and understand especially with the Women’s Parliamentary Caucus. As Zimbabwean Women, we should read and understand this section, so that we know what SADC is saying about women? If possible we should have a workshop and call those who attended so that they may explain about how the Women’s Caucus should function. As Zimbabweans, what are we expected to do despite the fact that we have challenges in funding? Madam President, thank you for giving me the opportunity and I rest my case.

SENATOR MUTSVANGWA: Thank you Madam President. I would like to thank the mover of this motion, Senator Mohadi for making this report available to all Members of Parliament. SADC Parliamentary Forum is an institution which was approved by the SADC Executive. You know there are 15 member countries in SADC and the Executive approved it as an institution which would come up with very progressive policies which would help democratic governance in the Southern region.

It is SADC Parliamentary Forum, Madam President, which develops the norms and standards for elections in the SADC region which are being used by SADC. We know that SADC Executive sends Members of Parliament to observe the elections in the region. They use the same norms and standards which were developed by SADC Parliamentary Forum. These have actually promoted democracy in our region we applaud the Parliament of Zimbabwe for continuing to send a delegation to SADC Parliamentary Forum. A lot of good things come from the SADC Parliamentary Forum and I happen to have been part of the SADC Executive of SADC Parliamentary Forum.

What we are missing as Parliament, is that we need to have coordinators in this Parliament. We need to have desk officers who will facilitate communication and feedback between what the SADC Parliamentary Forum Secretariat does and what other member Parliaments do. Our delegation does attend twice a year and there are many more workshops which are conducted at the SADC Parliamentary Forum. So, if this Parliament appoints two desk officers who will continuously educate Members of Parliament on these good policies coming from the SADC, it will really help a lot of our members.

We are happy that at Arusha this year, they have actually been able to come up with a revised Constitution and Rules of procedure to run as a Parliament. This has taken a long time. When I was an executive, we moved from one SADC country to another meeting all the Presidents of our SADC countries and they were all in agreement that SADC Parliamentary Forum should conform into a Parliament. It would help because then they would work as Members of Parliament in our oversight role over what SADC member states would be doing.

The SADC Parliamentary Forum in Arusha also came up with something which is very good for our Members of Parliament, what is called Barometer for Resource Governance in Southern Africa. What this Barometer does, it is a critical tool in making sure parliamentarians do take the oversight role very seriously on governance, whether it is mineral resources or something else. We have heard that South African Parliament has done some workshops with their Members of Parliament in order to unpack that Barometer so that every member understands their duty when it comes to the oversight role.

This would help Madam President, once parliamentarians are aware of their mandate in full, they will guard against all this kind of corruption we are witnessing in our own country. It is important that we get this kind of workshop as parliamentarians where we go through this Barometer to make sure that we stop.

There is a tendency in this country Madam President, there seems to be a lot of gaps in the appointment of people who lead parastatals. If our Members of Parliament are aware of their oversight role because ministers, like I said before are implementers of Government policy and we are the policy makers. So, if we are seeing a lot of these parastatals being led by people who are not up to scratch, it is important Madam President that Members of Parliament get more workshops so that they understand their oversight role.

There are a lot of incompetent people who are being given the responsibility to run the state companies and as such, Government is short changed. There is a tendency by ministers to appoint their friends, maybe, in which case loyalty becomes more important than delivery of service. It is only Members of Parliament who can guard against that. We need our Members of Parliament to be trained using this Barometer so that we can unearth corruption. As soon as it happens there must be a quick solution when somebody has been found to be corrupt. As such, I found this report which was moved by Senator Mohadi very critical for all our parliamentarians to take note.

I know the other thing that is very much promoted at the SADC Parliamentary Caucus is the Region of Women Parliamentary Caucus, Madam President. As the theme of the 34th Plenary said “Benchmarking the Conduct and Assessment of Elections in Southern Africa”; SADC Parliamentary Forum underscored the need to implement the SADC protocol on gender and development which was signed and ratified by Zimbabwean government. This provides at least 50% decision making positions at local Government, Parliament, Cabinet and senior positions in the public sector and also, in the private sector and as such, all delegates to SADC Parliamentary Forum have to adhere to gender parity. As the previous speaker has already noted, 22% were women and 32 were male and so, this is a very important forum where we can learn a lot of things. Women’s problems need to be addressed. There is need for a strong political will by both Government and political parties in order to achieve gender parity, or else it will be a talk show.

We learnt a lot from the regional Women’s Parliamentary Caucus. They are putting in more resources so that women can also move in the regions and understand how other women are faring in terms of positions of influence in either political parties or Government. This is one of the most important issues.

The previous speaker spoke about observer missions. The SADC Parliamentary Forum sends observer missions each time there is an election in any of the regional countries. As such, from these observer missions, they have actually improved the norms and standards.

They now have what is called benchmarking of the forum. It is moving away from classifying elections as free and fair but indicating that an election met the required standards. This is so because, free and fair, Madam President, has always been questioned by one party or the other. Therefore, once the forum has a benchmark, this region will be more democratic in its elections. It also talks about the importance of observing elections in three stages, which are; the pre-election, during election and post-election period in order to make sure that everything is observed.

Madam President, the 34th Plenary endorsed that Zimbabwean elections were free and fair as reported by the SADC Parliamentary Forum. There is more that can be learnt by this Parliament. As I said, I want to emphasise the importance of having desk officers at Parliament so that we can facilitate communication and learn. This will also ensure that more of our hon. members can attend some of these workshops which are very beneficial for them. Thank you Madam President.

+SENATOR MATHUTHU: Thank you Madam President for giving me this opportunity. I would like to thank the mover of this motion, Senator Mohadi. Madam President, most of the issues have been spoken about. I have stood up to speak about the barometer, which we need to take a look at as it is mentioned in this report. As the previous speaker highlighted, it will help us as Members of Parliament in carrying out our oversight role. The barometer will help us in scrutinising Government policies. It is an awakening gesture for us to figure out how Government can function properly. I would like to thank those who attended the meeting. Their report reveals that they performed their duties well with much understanding and unity. We thank them for tabling the report on time.

I would also like to thank the previous speaker who mentioned that our Speaker, Hon. Mudenda will lead the group that will observe the elections in Namibia. This shows that other countries from the SADC region believe in us. Amongst other duties that need to be carried out by different parliaments, is that of observing the voter-registration process, which is done on a daily basis in other countries. I can testify that, it is also one of the processes done here in Zimbabwe.

However, I hope that those of the SADC Observer Mission can also visit countries that claim to do this. At times, when people go for registration, they face a number of challenges and need to be assisted.

Madam President, I would like to comment the work done by the Vice President of Tanzania, Dr. Mohammed Gharib Bilal who took time out on his busy schedule to officially open the meeting. That shows that although he holds such an important post, he realises the importance of such meetings. There are many things that I would want to say, but I would like to give others a chance.

With those few words, I would like to say thank you. I would like to thank those who attended the meeting and I would like to urge Zimbabweans to pay the subscriptions for this year. In this report, it is mentioned that last year’s subscriptions were paid up but this year’s have not yet been paid. If only we could get the money and pay these contributions so that people will not look down upon us. Thank you.

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

SENATOR MOHADI: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 5th February 2014.

MOTION

POLICY ON SPECIAL NEEDS EDUCATION

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

Question again proposed.

*SENATOR MUCHIHWA: Thank you Madam President. The whole of last week, I was standing and you were not recognising me. I was at the rear and now I have come here in front.

I would briefly want to add my voice to this motion about educational needs of our counterparts who are disabled. I observed that at a school, school children also run away from those that are disabled because they say they are afraid of the handicapped. It is an issue which we need to socialise each other from our homes or in schools that if you are seated next to a handicapped child, there is nothing wrong with that child. We should accept them as our equals. It should start at the family unit. Charity begins at home but it does not end there.

These disabilities can take the form of being blind or physically handicapped. The main thrust of my debate is that of those that are on the road. There are a lot of blind persons on the streets of Harare. This does not paint a good picture for our foreign visitors. It is not pleasing to us locals as well because we look down upon them that they are begging on the street. They survive from begging. Regardless of how fast a motor vehicle will be travelling, they will be led by a minor. The minor will be deprived because he or she cannot attend school because he is leading the parents as they go about begging on the streets. The end result of that child is that at 12 or 13 years, she will become pregnant from the street kids. She is impregnated by street kids. The blind woman will then be seen with a chain of children trailing her.

If you go near TM, you will witness this. You will see a woman sitting next to a bin and the children are now going to pick up from the bin and feed their mother. Men are now abusing blind women. That is what I thought I would add my voice to. Women are being abused on the street. They are taken advantage of because they are of no fixed aboard. They have no other means of sustaining themselves. We the able bodied are now abusing the handicapped. The children from such unions or relations will result in street kids. They end up on the street because the parents are either of no fixed aboard or unemployed.

As an august House that received this motion from Senator Mashavakure, seconded by Senator Shiri; I must thank him belatedly for having raised such an important motion. We should put our heads together to ensure that the Government reviews the law and establish a foundation of the policy as proposed by Hon. Mashavakure so that children go to school.

Furthermore, I plead that we have such institutes as Danhiko and others. The name that quickly comes to my mind is Danhiko. At Danhiko, the disabled move on tri-cycles or wheelchairs and other forms. Government should have centres in various provinces so that the disabled can go to school and learn with the able bodied. At Danhiko, they are into carpentry, welding and many sorts of things. This will help to take them off the street and stop them from the syndrome of begging.

Danhiko is a case in point of the success of people with disabilities putting their minds to do a good piece of work because their products are sold in the shops in town. I urge that there be such centres in each province so that our people with disabilities can earn a living.

As legislators, we need to amend our laws. We have a Chapter that deals with the disabled people. We want that to be put into practice. We should implement that law. Let us call for the Executive to bring such legislation before this Senate so that it will assist the women I have earlier on made reference to.

We beat our chests saying there are several languages to be used in the Constitution. They also will be using Braille, but at the moment there is nothing on the ground. Let us implement this. The disabled person is neither a member of ZANU PF nor MDC. He or she is a citizen of this country. We are able bodied; we walk and see. So let us discuss this. We all have disabilities in our families. We represent our families, constituencies and provinces where we come from where we have such people living with disabilities.

As mentioned by Senator Goto, she is aware of the number of people in her constituency. I encourage that each senator should know the number of the disabled persons that are in their constituencies. I should know that if I were to cultivate my field and get some cobs; how many cobs I should supply to the disabled. I would like to thank you Mr. President for the opportunity.

SENATOR MARAVA: Thank you very much Mr. President for affording me this opportunity to talk about this very important motion that was moved by Senator Mashavakure and seconded by Senator Shiri. I join the few Senators who are thanking you.

Mr. President, this is a very important motion and it deserves the dignity that we must handle it with. This motion of challenges faced by persons with disabilities at educational levels affects everybody. It affects the whole population and therefore it touches everybody’s heart.

Zimbabwe opted for the inclusive education as a policy that would lead to the avoidance of discrimination in schools. We need to accept the provisions of The Convention of the Rights of the Child, the Copenhagen Declaration on Social Development and the Dakar Framework for Action. Zimbabwe is also a signatory to the UNESCO Salamanca Statement and Framework for Action on special needs education and several other inclusive education related international charters and conventions.

According to UNESCO, inclusive education is a process of addressing and responding to the diverse needs of all children by increasing participation in learning and reducing exclusion within and from education. All children must be able to go to schools nearest to them or to schools of their choice without impediments being put on their way. The process involves mainstreaming children with special educational needs into regular classroom settings, allowing them to learn side by side with their peers without disabilities. Inclusive education implies that children with special needs have to attend mainstream schools they would have attended if they did not have a disability. Mainstreaming children with special needs education has a positive impact on both social and academic learning for children with and without special needs.

However, the continued existence of specialised, that is, segregated schools for people with disability precludes inclusivity. At the same time, very few teachers in ordinary schools have the necessary skills to be able to work with pupils with special educational needs.

Inclusive education is about social justice and equity and takes into account learners’ abilities, potential and diverse needs. The learner does not have to adapt to the school system. The school or the education system has to change in order to meet the learning needs of all children in a given community.

Inclusion involves restructuring the cultures, policies and practices in schools so that they respond to the diversity of students in their locality. The guiding principle in inclusive education is that all learners have a right to learn in mainstream schools. It guarantees children with disabilities their right to education and helps achieve equality.

2.0 Constitutional Provisions

· Section 22(1) of the new Constitution of Zimbabwe (2013) states that, it is the Government’s responsibility to ensure that the rights of persons with disabilities, to be treated with respect and dignity are recognised.

· It is Government’s responsibility to assist persons with disabilities to achieve their full potential, [Section 22(2)].

· The Constitution states that the Government must develop programmes for their welfare and consider their specific requirements as a priority in development plans and encourage the use and development of suitable communication.

· Section 22(4) further states that appropriate measures must be taken to ensure access to buildings and amenities by people with disabilities.

3.0 Acts of Parliament

The Education Act of 1996 advocates for non discrimination in the provision of education. However, the Act does not articulate the provision of education to persons with disability. The education of persons with disability has been left to be addressed by the Zimbabwe Disabled Persons Act of 1996, which advocates for non discrimination of people with disabilities in Zimbabwe. The Disabled Persons Act emphasises equal opportunities for all and states that no disabled person shall be denied, on the ground of disability, any service or amenity ordinarily provided.

4.0 Special Needs Education Policy

Special education is the primary responsibility of the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education but it shares some responsibility for certain groups with the Ministry of Health and Child Care and the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare. However, Zimbabwe does not have a comprehensive National Policy on Special Needs Education, but has policy guidelines in special education which cover the following issues:

· Early detection, intervention and prevention of handicap.

· Integration of children with special educational needs into regular schools.

· Development of local training facilities.

  • Procurement of equipment.

· Development of resource centres in favour of integration.

· Establishment of Government personnel to service, monitor and coordinate programmes.

· Cooperation with Non Governmental Organisations.

5.0 Conclusion and Recommendations

Since signing of the 1994 Salamanca statement and framework for action on special needs education, a number of strides have been made on the principle of inclusive education in Zimbabwe. However, Zimbabwe still needs to craft a National Policy on Special needs Education to give general guidance and direction to the development of special education, to the learning environment, the training and responsibilities of special education practitioners, the role and responsibilities of institutions involved in such education and training of persons with disabilities.

Zimbabwe needs to enact legislation on Special Needs Education to enforce the National Policy on Special Needs Education and to regularise the national response to the diverse educational requirements of variously disabled persons and to create a facilitatory environment wherein learners with disabilities can benefit fully from the fruits of all education policies and programmes.

Zimbabwe can learn the successful implementation of inclusive education from other countries like New Zealand, which has a range of policy and legislative initiatives that support the rights of children with special needs to an inclusive education. The New Zealand’s Special Education Policy Guidelines states that children with special needs education have the same rights to high quality education as their colleagues without special needs education.

Other countries with inclusive education policies include Australia and Finland. Almost every school in Finland has one or more permanent special education teachers. Where such teachers are not available, for example in rural areas, peripatetic teachers are available.

For inclusive education to be successful there is need to accept all learners as true learners at their own level of ability and for collaboration among all players in education, that is, teachers, specialist teachers, parents, supporting disciplines and students. There is also need to avail resources, provide training to teachers and commitment by policy makers to reduce the challenges faced by people with disabilities.

SENATOR TAWENGWA: Mr. President, I want to thank Honourable Mashavakure, the mover of this motion, Honourable Shiri the seconder and all honourable senators who contributed to this robust debate.

Mr. President, the educational landscape in Zimbabwe has gone through many changes since independence in 1980. The huge investment in education by Government has seen the country becoming a leading nation in Africa as far as education is concerned, both in terms of literacy levels and quality of results.

The motion calls on Government to craft a national policy on special needs education. This must be done by developing and operationalising an inclusive education, particularly on bringing all the benefits of education to those with special needs. Inclusive education is mainly concerned about equal opportunities for all people in the education sector regardless of disabilities. The education of people with disabilities is coming from a background decorated by rejection, segregation, intolerance, exclusion and negative attitudes by the mainstream societies towards those with disabilities. Being disabled, Mr. President, does not mean that you are not part of society; you are not an outcast or a leper.

Mr. President, I was privileged to have attended Waddilove Primary School as a boarder, where I learnt and integrated with those who were visually impaired. I recall names such as Jacob, Langton and Godfrey. I had the opportunity to meet Godfrey about three years ago, who is now working as a switchboard operator and this was after about 40 years. On recognising him, I said, “Hallo, Gody”, and he instantly replied “Hallo Charlie”, this was amazing, you can imagine meeting after 40 years. They are special people, they are just like us. Since then we have been friends and we have remained friends and we will never forget each other.

For some of us who went to school with them, who lived with them, we urge society in general to accept them as equals and urge the Government to realign teacher training college to offer skills to trainee teachers so that they will be equipped with the requisite tools and skills. Education should be offered to all children with different backgrounds, regardless of disabilities and with emphasis on removing barriers to participation and learning. It must be a process that involves addressing and responding to the diverse needs of learners with disabilities.

As stated earlier, policies must address the status, welfare and professional development of teachers’ children with disabilities. I believe that the challenges of meeting the goals of special needs education can be met only if their education is fully supported by the State.

Teachers are a precondition to the achievement of our goals. Therefore, it is crucial for the recruitment, deployment, training and retention of qualified teachers of children with disabilities.

Mr. President, I am reliably informed that amongst other initiatives, the Mutare Teachers College has started an inclusive education department which is offering skills to teachers. It has gone further by including disabled trainee teachers in their programmes.

Special needs education in Zimbabwe is set to improve following Government’s approval of the establishment of the Reformed Church University in Masvingo. The university will offer approved degrees in the field of special needs education including, Bachelor of Education Honours Degree in Special Education, Bachelor of Education Honours Degree in Early Childhood Development, Bachelor of Theology, Bachelor of Commerce in Human Resources, Industrial and Labour Relations Management.

Mr. President, this is a milestone towards the development of special education in Zimbabwe. We cannot preach empowerment without empowering those with special needs.

Mr. President, as a contribution to those with special needs in Highfield, my family managed to source funds and built an institution, a facility for children at C.J. Hall in Highfield. The group is called Masimba and it houses twenty one children.

Therefore, all people in the society should work together with key stakeholders to ensure that Government plays its major role as far as inclusive education is concerned. Mr. President, our attitudes need to be transformed from negative to positive ones and parents need to be educated about the benefits of inclusive education.

As policy makers, we have a role in formulating policies which are disability friendly so that school administrators, parents and the society at large will have legislation and policies which are clear on special needs education.

Mr. President, I believe that given the tools, they will deliver.

*SENATOR MAVHUNGA: Thank you Mr. President for allowing me to add my voice to this motion. I would like to thank all Zimbabweans for affording us to have representatives of the disabled in this august House. They will help us to deal with disability issues. I would like to thank Senator Mashavakure and the seconder for moving this motion which deals with education; in particular the special needs for people with disability. We want to have proper policies so that they can have proper education. I agree with the mover of the motion that it is important to have someone who is capable to teach the disabled persons and have good faith to people with disabilities. It helps us as a nation to have enough resources so that we cater for the disabled. It is now a challenge that people who are disabled are now spending their money on transport producing nothing. You find that there are some people who are disabled but are capable of doing other activities that we, the able bodied are not able to do. This merely means that if these people are properly educated, they can help the Government by reducing the amount of money it has to give out to these people.

There is also need for the august House to carry out some awareness campaigns and give people knowledge that, all people who are disabled and those who are not disabled, are all fellow humans and we are equal. It is also wise for us to encourage the extended family to love their relatives and take care of them when they are disabled.

This has to cascade from the chiefs, the headmen and the village heads down to the villagers themselves, so that we can have natural policies which fight against uncontrolled movement of the disabled people. I have got an example; on television, there was a man who was imprisoned by the police. He managed to say he was from Mashonaland East. The Correctional Services’ department responsible managed to bring him back to Mashonaland East but they had the challenge of connecting this person to his relatives. In my point of view, for someone who is mentally disturbed, the best way to help him out is to go with him to the hospital first, so that he or she does not become violent.

Even through traditional means, there are mechanisms which we use to help stabilise people who are mentally disturbed. If those people from the Correctional Services were to help this man in such a way, I think that could have helped them to reconnect this person to his family. With the current position, there are a number of problems now and it will take a longer period before this person connects back to his family. People are no longer sure about where he really came from.

Again, failure to take care of people who are mentally disturbed ends up with those people in the streets, removing clothes they should be having on and remaining with the birth suit. This could also affect those passing by. In our culture, it is something very humiliating to have someone who has no clothes on in public.

The issue of disability is one which we should not just look down upon. Even amongst us here present in this august House, we may end up having some of us disabled in the near future. We have some war veterans who fought for the nation and they are now disabled. It could be helpful if they could get some assistance from the Government so that they can earn a living on their own.

Being disabled is not something that can be applied for or reasonably chosen. Yesterday, we even heard that there was another lady who has the problem of losing her mind. She could not even recall her name and this lady, if she travels alone, she may end up being abused. It means she needs to be cared for. In addition, we encourage families to take care of their relatives and with that, Mr. President, I thank you.

+SENATOR. S. NCUBE: Thank you for allowing me to say a few words on this motion that was brought to this august House by Hon. Senator Mashavakure and seconded by Hon. Senator Shiri. I would like to thank them.

I thought I would be one of the first ones to speak. However, many senators have spoken on this motion which is saddening. Most of the issues I had wanted to say have been said by the previous speakers. However, I still have a few things to say.

Firstly, I would like to say that disability is a thorny issue. People get disabled in different ways and most of these ways have already been alluded to. What is sad is that, as much as the disabled people are looked down upon, some of them are people who can walk and eat on their own. They can do their own things, but there are only a few people who can feel pity for them as well as sympathising with them. I will say a few words because this motion has been brought to this House and we have to debate on it.

Customarily, it is expected that male children should be more respected by others in the family. However, if the child is disabled, people look down upon him and he ends up not being accorded their deserved respect due to disability. From there, you will realise that the child grows up, perhaps gets a job and then get married. In addition, most disabled people end up marrying each other. They are only a few who manage to marry people who are not disabled.

The first person I knew who was disabled, was an old man who used to live in our neighbourhood when I was growing up in the rural area. He could not walk on his own and he used to move around with a donkey before I moved to the urban area.

I would like to thank Senator Chief Nyamukoho who debated on the issue of the disabled people and mentioned that where he comes from, he has a list of all the disabled people in his area. This reveals that he has good leadership qualities. In my constituency, I had never bothered to look at this issue. However, over the weekend I decided to look into this issue and I realised that near where I stay there are about 17 people.

Before I even go further into the constituency, in my neighbourhood there is a man who wakes up at around 4 a.m. and starts work at 8 a.m. The reason why he does this is because he has to look for transport. During peak hours, people do not pick him up, they leave him behind because they say that they are not able to ferry him. About 4 or 5 commuter omnibus pass through him without ferrying him, which is really sad, especially, considering the fact that this is the rainy season. All this is done by able bodied people who manage to work for themselves.

I would like to urge the Government to provide buses in each and every area where there are disabled people. I know it is not an easy task to carry, but I would wish that there be a bus provided for the disabled people because they also want to work for their families. They go through difficult circumstances especially in the rainy season. Most of them get dirty as they move around either in their crutches or their wheelchairs. In the community where this man used to live, he decided to do a chicken project and most people where complaining about it. Thieves stole his chickens, can we all be kind to each other and preach kindness all the time.

I tried to help this man when he bought his car and at that time, left hand vehicles were not allowed. He tried to clear his vehicle at the boarder but it was taken back to Botswana. Fortunately, at the end of the day he managed to bring his car to Zimbabwe. He has a very beautiful big house; however, thieves broke into his house and escaped with two tyres from his car. We all know that these are people whom we know, people from our neighbourhood or who may be our relatives. It is really sad that people steal from a disabled person. How does one feel after doing such an act? I know that people in my community know who stays in each and every house.

They are many people who read the Hansard, and I have to put it on record that, it is very sad to steal from the disabled. He managed to repair his car and after sometime the thieves came back and stole the tyres again. Therefore, I would like to urge the Government to look into the issue of transportation for the disabled to their workplaces so that they can feel that they are also part of our community.

I am very glad that many people have stood up to debate on this motion and I hope that the Government takes note of all what they have said. They are people that we live with, who are not like us but are people like us. Apart from the issues of transportation, many other issues were spoken about. I need to emphasize on the fact that most of the disabled people are troubled. If someone who is not disabled suffered by walking one kilometre to get transport, it is even worse for a disabled person. We do hope that ways will be found to help the disabled.

With these few words, I would like to thank the previous speakers for all what they have said Government should look into these issues. I thank you.

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

SENATOR MOHADI: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 5th February, 2014.

MOTION

PROHIBITION OF HEAVY DUTY TRUCKS ON HIGHWAYS

Eighth 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 MUMVURI: Thank you Mr. President and thank you for giving me this chance to add my voice to this important issue which was brought in by the mover, Senator Ncube and her seconder. The causes of road accidents clearly come out as the following; defective or un-roadworthy vehicles, poor road conditions or absence of road signs, overloading of vehicles which travel on the roads and the presence of stray livestock and lastly human action. I want to concentrate mainly on the last one.

In my view Mr. President, the largest cause of accidents on our roads in Zimbabwe is that which is caused by human action. Under human action, we attribute things like errors of judgment by the drivers, over speeding by drivers, jaywalking by pedestrians and disregard of traffic rules by both pedestrians and drivers. Therefore by and large, if the drivers in this country have a tendency to disregard the rights of other road users when they get behind the wheel, they think they are more important than any other road users.

The rights of pedestrians and cyclists are disregarded by the same drivers on the road. For example, they shout at other road users when they are driving. They hoot at them for no apparent reason and they even shout at them to get out of the way because they will be driving slick and fast cars. That is very disrespectful of other drivers. Slow moving traffic is not spared by such ridicule and abuse by the drivers behind the wheel and at the end, this type of behaviour confuses other road users, especially in cities and towns. Such actions can also cause unnecessary accidents which could otherwise be avoided.

I want to appeal to all drivers in this country and the motoring public at large, that driving fast vehicles is not a licence for you to abuse other road users. All other traffic users have the same equal rights to use the road that you are also using. Our drivers have to learn to do the following:

- To be cautious when driving

- To be patient with other road users

- To follow road signs and above all

- To drive at very safe speeds.

Human action as a major cause of road accidents can also be attributed to pedestrians. In towns and cities, pedestrians tend to compete with motorists at flouting the traffic rules and regulations, even if they know that they are at a disadvantage. In most cases, they end up getting injured or even killed because of this disregard of rules and regulations.

Jaywalking for example, is on the increase in Harare. An example is just outside Parliament Zimbabwe building. There is a pedestrian crossing but people do not follow the regulatory sign there. The pedestrians want to walk at the centre of the road where there are no crossing lines at all and where motorists are supposed to turn right, left and centre. That is jaywalking, which unfortunately in this country has not been enforced.

This jaywalking is very prevalent among the youths. They cris-cross busy roads and streets while talking on their mobile phones and not paying any attention to approaching motor vehicles. Some of them have got the courage to even touch the bonnets of moving vehicles and tell the driver to stop and let them cross. However, I am now gratified to learn that Government has mooted the idea of revising the traffic rules which govern both motorists and pedestrians. The impending revision of the Highway Code and the enforcement of laws to those who break traffic rules will be very welcome and was long overdue.

My appeal therefore, to Government, is that it must embark on massive road user education, especially to the pedestrians, who are mostly ignorant of where, when and how they should cross the busy roads in the large cities of our country.

There is need therefore, for the public education to be embarked upon before enforcing the rules which require the jaywalkers to be arrested. Needless to say that there should be enough designated points for the larger population of the pedestrians to enable them to use the roads safely. The public are regrettably not aware that the Highway Code should be studied by everyone that is both motorists and pedestrians, for the safe use of our national roads. Admittedly Mr. President, some among us, legislators, may have overlooked this requirement. So, all that I have said and discussed above goes a long way to show that human action is the major cause of most traffic accidents on our major roads in Zimbabwe. Human action can be controlled and if done successfully, we can turn the traffic jungle through avoiding the following, speeding, misjudgment, ignoring traffic signs / rules and regulations and avoiding jaywalking in busy streets in our towns.

The other causes which I have mentioned above are depended upon the human action. What we do and what we do not do can cause accidents but mainly it is the human action, because if we talk about unroadworthy vehicles, these can be controlled by strict banning of such vehicles and imposing deterrent measures to whoever drives them.

Poor road conditions can be managed by driving slowly along those roads, driving during day time, avoiding driving at night and reducing speed, we can still get to our destinations in those bad roads.

The presence of livestock on the highways can also be tamed by giving massive education to the public, especially those people who keep their animals and shoot on site all stray animals. That is a deterrent action. If we do that we can go a long way in reducing road accidents on the major roads. Let me conclude by commending Government for spelling out their intention to improve the road network throughout the country in the next five years. The Government’s Blue Print ZIM ASSET that is, gives a detailed project on page 71 to 73 of that document. If successfully completed and implemented it will go a long way to reduce the carnage on our roads. While we have a gloomy picture on our road net-work, we have a long standing and brighter picture which is accident-free on our air and rail network. This is for the record; we have fewer accidents on the air and traffic, railway network. This is a cause for optimism for the future. I want to thank you Mr. President.

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

SENATAOR MUKHWEBU: I second

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 5th February, 2014.

MOTION

ALIGNMENT OF LAWS TO THE CONSTITUTION

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

Question again proposed.

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

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 5th February, 2014.

MOTION

CANCER TREATMENT POLICY

Tenth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on cancers.

Question again proposed.

+SENATOR W. SIBANDA: I would like to make a contribution on this motion that was raised by Senator Timveos. It is written that this issue is only commemorated in October. However, we should always commemorate it on a daily basis. There are thousands of people who die from cancer each year. In the past, it was believed that cancer only affected elderly people. However, nowadays we realise that even children are affected by this disease. It is important, Senators, that we educate people in our Constituencies about this disease. In the past, we used to put more focus on HIV/AIDS, ignoring other disease like cancer. Even most Non Governmental Organisations used to concentrate on the issue of HIV and AIDS. It is important for us to use both Government and Non Governmental Organisations to educate people on the issue of cancer so that we prevent many deaths.

I have realised that in 2013, on 3rd December, a company called Nestle held a ceremony to fundraise money to help children who are affected by cancer. In my point of view, it is important that these ceremonies be held in all communities in our nation. We know as Zimbabwe, that we do not have many companies anymore; most of them have closed down. We urge that Nestle does the ceremony for everyone as it did for people in Harare. Again I have noticed that most times we are concerned about World Aids Day; of course, there is a cancer day. However, there should be ceremonies and occasions that are held on the issue of cancer. This is because this disease is very similar to HIV/AIDS, therefore it is important for people to be educated on it. Where I come from in Matebeleland in areas like Beitbridge, Maphisa, Plumtree, we need hospitals. In Zimbabwe, there are two hospitals only that are used to cater for cancer treatment. In my own point of view, I urge the Government to prioritise that one of these hospitals that I have mentioned, there is machinery that can be used to diagnose people of this disease and help them. If we do not do that, the death toll will continue to rise. As a nation, it is important that we give priority to awareness of cancer. We urge people to go and get tested. I have come to realise that it is because of some of the foods that we now eat that we get some of these diseases. It is important for our chiefs like Chief Charumbira and our traditional leaders like the sangomas, the traditional healers, so that as leaders of communities, they can educate people on this issue. Research is not only western, it is also traditional.

As a nation, we need to meet different stakeholders in order to prevent this disease from killing many people. With those few words, I thank you Deputy President.

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

SENATOR MOHADI: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 5th February, 2014.

On the motion of SENATOR CHIEF CHARUMBIRA seconded by SENATOR MUMVURI, the Senate adjourned at Twenty Minutes Past Four o’clock p.m.

 

B st240250 4 February 2014

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE SENATE

SENATOR MOHADI : I move that Order Number 4 be stood over until all the other orders of the day on today’s Order Paper have been disposed of.

SENATOR MATHUTHU: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

MOTION

REPORT ON THE THIRD ORDINARY SESSION OF THE THIRD PAN AFRICAN PARLIAMENT.

Fifth Order read: Adjourned debate on the report of the Third Ordinary Session of the Third Pan African Parliament.

 

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

SENATOR MATUTU : I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 5th February, 2014.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE 34TH PLENARY ASSEMBLY OF THE SADC-PARLIAMENTARY FORUM IN ARUSHA, TANZANIA.

Sixth Order read: Adjourned debate on the report of the 34th Plenary Assembly of the SADC-Parliamentary Forum in Arusha, Tanzania.

*SENATOR CHIMBUDZI: Thank you Madam President, for allowing me to add my voice to this report.

The theme was benchmarking the conduct and assessment of elections in Southern Africa. The Parliamentary delegation of Zimbabwe was led by Hon. Jacob Mudenda, Speaker of the National Assembly. The plenary session was attended by 12 out of 14 Member Parliaments and six were led by Presiding officers, including Zimbabwe.

Out of the 54 delegates present, 22 (41%) were females and 32(59%) were males.

The Executive Committee met on 18 and 19 October 2013, and underscored the importance of the theme which was based on evaluation of SADC PF’s Election Observation Programmes (1999-2010) and also to review norms and standards for elections in the SADC region.

The significance of the 34th Plenary Assembly was the adoption of the revised Constitution and Rules or Procedures that will pave way for the SADC PF to operate like a Parliament.

The meeting noted the leadership of upcoming election observation missions. Hon Jacob Mudenda, Speaker of the National Assembly of Zimbabwe will lead the election observation mission in Namibia in November 2014.

South Africa held a workshop for Members of Parliament to enable MPs to appreciate the SADC PF’s operations. Other Parliaments were also encouraged to follow suit.

The plenary was officially opened by the Vice President of Tanzania who appreciated the participation of women in the political field. Governments were persuaded to eliminate all forms of violence and discrimination and also encouraged popular participation of women in all sectors of the countries.

The observation mission’s deliberative session’s scope was aimed at promoting peace and stability in the region with free, fair and credible elections.

Zimbabwe sought to understand the difference between the norms and standards. Benchmarks were defined as an improvement on the norms.

Zimbabwe also suggested that there be a media commission to monitor the role of media during elections. Policy issues were discussed and are highlighted in the report. Issues pertaining to HIV/Aids were also discussed.

On the Regional women’s Parliamentary Caucus, the Committee commended strides taken by Angola, Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe in the quest to realise the 50% women quota as prescribed in the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development. Governments were urged to avail resources and also sustainable social empowerment of women candidates.

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Senate Hansard Vol. 23 SENATE HANSARD - 4 FEBRUARY 2014 VOL. 23 NO. 30