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SENATE VOTES 14 JUNE 2016 VOL 25 NO 56

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PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Tuesday, 14th June, 2016

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

PRAYERS

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

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE

BILL RECEIVED FROM THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  I have to inform the Senate that I have received a Special Economic Zones Bill (H. B. 15A, 2015) from the National Assembly.

APPOINTMENT TO THEMATIC COMMITTEE MEMBERSHIP

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:  I also have to inform the Senate that Hon. Tabeth Murwira has been appointed to serve in the Thematic Committee on HIV/AIDS and the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment.

MOTION

PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH:  DEBATE ON ADDRESS

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

Question again proposed.

HON. SEN. MURWIRA:  Madam President, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to present my maiden speech to the Senate.  I want to thank the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe and Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces on his opening of the Third Session of the Eighth Parliament of Zimbabwe.  He talked about the support of communal resettlement and A1 farms with crops and livestock inputs where seeds and fertilizers were channelled to those sectors.

Madam President, in Seke and Chikomba, there is need to site and establish new irrigation schemes and also the rehabilitation of schemes that are defunct.  Irrigation is the way forward if we are to move from beggars to exporters of agricultural produce.  Empowerment of the youths through support of small irrigation schemes for horticulture and crop production will create employment, reduce crime rate and move away from dependency syndrome.

There are gold deposits in Seke and Chikomba Constituency where small miners need support in terms of knowledge on operational procedures.  In the health sector, there are few clinics in the resettlement areas and people move for up to 15 km for health services.  There are drug and staff shortages and Government needs to support the cause of building more health centres.  Madam President, the education sector is another area of concern where satellite schools and established ones need more classroom blocks and teachers’ quarters.

Water and sanitation is necessary on health and education institutions.  Manyame RDC drills boreholes for every ward yearly but this is not enough.  Government programmes should look into this.  Most people in the constituency are farmers and they work hard.  Markets for the produce are a worry.  Drying vegetables and tomatoes for later use and distant markets is a need here.  Challenges of illegal settlers in both communal and resettlement areas are a concern and the Government should support the policy and procedures for regulations. 

Madam President, the country needs to be united at all levels as the President said for development to be realised.  You can add facts and figures to support your debate for example, number of schools, clinics that need rehabilitation and water bodies which can be used for irrigation purposes.  I thank you Madam President.

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

          HON. SEN. MASUKU: I second.

          Motion put and agreed to.

          Debate to resume: Wednesday, 15th June, 2016.

MOTION

LEVELS OF CORRUPTION IN THE COUNTRY

          HON. SEN. B. SIBANDA: I move the motion standing in my name:

That this House:

Noting that corruption is now endemic in the land;

Alarmed at the rate at which incidents of corruption are occurring unabated;

Concerned at the implications that this trend has on the economic recovery; the international status of the country and its international credit ratings;

NOW, THEREFORE, this House calls upon:

  1. Legislators to take an unequivocal stance against this scourge;
  2. Legislators to closely monitor the Executive performance in dealing with reported cases for corruption; and
  3. Citizens to report to law enforcement agents, and the Anti – Corruption Commission any suspected cases of corruption.

          HON. SEN. MAKORE: I second.

          HON. SEN. B. SIBANDA: Madam President, I thank you for this opportunity.  From the on-set, I would like to say I am moving this motion with a heavy heart in this august House as I raise a subject that shames me as a citizen of this country.  I commence my motion by quoting from a rare source, Mr. Zinyemba of ZANU PF National Consultative Assembly who said yesterday, “We read about corruption almost on a daily basis but we do not see any action being taken”.  This was in The Herald yesterday.  Mr. Zinyemba, in my opinion, is 100% right. 

          As I carried out research on this subject and looked back at the history of this country, I said to myself, ‘cry the beloved country’, lafa elihle lafa sikhangele and ‘things fall apart’.  In that research, I also came face to face with the reality of this scourge. 

          I would like to categorically state that, I have deliberately used the subject we as against they in the hope that we will galvanise and assist ourselves build the national consensus we so desperately desire in order to minimize or eradicate the scourge of corruption.  I would like to refer to sentiments that I have heard in the debate on the motion on the Arab Parliamentarians and Business Persons Conference. I gleaned that views were suggesting that the subject of corruption has been over debated or over dramatised.  I respect all people’s views on any subject.  I also believe that you can only abandon a conviction when positive results are produced, not when the evil is on the right. 

Corruption, Mr. President, is a cancer and must be subjected to the severest combination of chemo and radioactive therapy.  During a planting season, if your seeds do not germinate, you plant and plant again until you achieve germination.  The word of God has probably been around us for over a million years and continues to be preached because there are still adulterers and transgressors out there – we cannot stop the process.  Sanctions have been topical for dozens of years and I have little call for the subject to be black listed especially from the other side, although some Ministers have conceded that it is now a tired song. 

What makes corruption so deserving of mercy; I would like to look at this nation called Zimbabwe.  I distinguish Zimbabwe as a land empowered with unparralled range of minerals, soils and a plethora of flora and fauna, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, an educated and innovative population;  a population endowed with loads of energy, will-power that so prosecuted and produced the liberation struggle.  Therefore, our capacity to deal with challenges such as corruption is unlimited at least in theory.  However, what is lacking is the political will.  Resultantly, we languish in the one sixth third positions in the corruption index of the world out of the 174 nations.  We are also in the last position in the SADC region, as the most difficult destinations for doing business, largely due to corruption.

We languish there together as Zimbabweans, irrespective of religion, political affiliation, we languish there.  I state it once again as Zimbabweans, the innocent and the guilty, what a dichotomy in this nation.  The juxtaposition   position of the capacity of the nation and the performance of the nation in the corruption area, do not relate. Prior to this motion, the subject of corruption has come up in this House, all be it as an appendage to other topics or discussions. 

Today, I would like us to come face to face with the elephant in the sitting room. Corruption is defined as the aggregate abuse of entrusted power for private or personal gain.  It can manifest itself as petty or grand in scale.  It includes the use of political and managerial power to manipulate policies and rules of procedure and people in the allocation of resources.   At higher levels it manifests itself in the distortion of policies and the functionality of institutions.  It invariably results in the creation of a class of the corrupt which deprives the majority of their right, self belief and creates a dangerous dependency syndrome on this manipulative political cliprocrassy.

 The growth and development of corruption in Zimbabwe; let me state that corruption grew and developed as we watch as accomplices or un-interested by-standers and here I am referring to all of us as citizens.  This is an indictment on this generation and us at various leadership levels.  I remember, in the early days of independence when officials collected allowances to travel to wherever and did not bother to account for these monies.  The estimates committees of Parliament questioned such action but there were no takers.  This was the genesis of corruption in my opinion.

I also remember myself having a discussion with a number of Parliamentarians soon after independence and saying to them if we do not eat nhaka with care iyapela, inopera nhaka, kayidliwe njengo muti we..,I stopped there and I was dismissed for a prophet of doom who did not understand how money should be eaten.  Often we do not listen as Zimbabweans.  The same people can still look at me today and say what corruption are you talking about?

The compulsion to bring up the subject of corruption; the pilferage we saw in the early 80’s is now monumental as exemplified by the numerous allegations and Acts of corruption reported daily in the various press.  Here, Mr. President, I look at dozens of cases, particularly over the past two to three months and I have selected just a few for reference point.  These include dating back to 1999, the VIP housing scandal which was a monumental episode.  An instance where Government loses millions of dollars through recruitment racket perpetrated by seven civil servants as reported in the News Day of the 12th May, 2016, I also selected a caption referring to the President which says that corruption levels rile the President.  I also refer, Mr. President, to a situation where workers are said to be even stealing from the President.  This is absolutely unbelievable.  I think I would shudder and shake before I stole from the President.  This list includes a ZINARA worker implicated in an US$8 million deal involving a company associated with them.  It also includes NetOne – prejudiced of up to US$78 million in an overpriced Huawei deal.

Once again, this is catastrophic.  I understand there has been renegotiation on the figure and maybe the loss stands at around US$34 million.  I am sure that if you ask an average Zimbabwean to quantify what a million dollars looks like, I am sure they will have difficulty.  How about US$34 million? 

We are all aware of the NSSA manager who was reported, rightly or falsely, of having externalised over US$200 million.  We are also aware of over 200 cases of externalisation reported by the Panama Papers involving Zimbabweans, both from the public and private sector.  If you calculated that portion of over 200 people involved in high level corruption then, Mr. President, we have a shock in our lives.

I also refer to Chiadzwa.  I cannot imagine US$15 billion being lost by this nation.  If we take it lightly, this is about three to four years of our annual budget, gone.  Yesterday, I read a report that some of it is traceable as being in London.  Mr. President, this list I have given is not exhaustive, but is an indicator of the state in which we are, as a nation, largely as a result of corruption. 

I ask the question, are we not ashamed of ourselves?  All of us, including me, are we not ashamed to be a part of this nation?  Is there any moral fabric left in this nation?  I do not have an answer.  However, Mr. President, I make certain proposals.  I often think that we, as Zimbabweans, equivocate when it comes to the question of corruption.  We equivocate at all levels.  I have not seen what I would call straight talk and straight action on the subject of corruption.  The reasons for this equivocation are almost obvious to me and I reduce it to enlightened self interest.  Most of us, if not all of us, have a stake in corruption and therefore cannot come out and condemn corruption because we may be beneficiaries of this disease.

I now look at what we can do.  What can the legislature do?   I start off and challenge all in this Hon. Senate to make a historic decision and stand up and be counted together as a Senate that took an unequivocal stance against corruption and redirect the trajectory of the history of this nation with regard to corruption.  I am asking that we, as a Senate, the Upper House, push the entire legislature, the Lower House and the Upper House, to cause the establishment of a corruption occurrence office within Parliament, where the record of the instances of corruption will be kept. 

Not a large office, but an affordable office where we maintain a record of which of these cases are real and which are fictitious because some are allegations.  Also, where we can maintain a record of each case resolved by the Anti Corruption Commission and those cases that were not resolved and the reasons for the none conclusion of the cases.  I also request that this Parliament considers using that information to provide Parliamentarians with corruption related information to be used to censure the Executive for non performance where litigation is not pursued in situations where corruption is proven.

Mr. President, it is my opinion that what will give us results is action, not talk and talk.  Besides this record bringing available information, it also provides a measurement instrument; how many cases in this year have been reported and how many were resolved.  That also defines the direction.  Are we controlling our incidence or is it getting out of hand? 

Mr. President, I think as Hon. Members, we should make a clear choice and decide whether we decide to be honourable or dishonourable in the eyes of the electorate by denouncing corruption through action without reservation.  Just recently Government introduced the National Code of Corporate Governance which was first crafted in 2014.  I welcome the development, but I have a concern.  If it takes us two years to concretise a priority area, it says that we are not serious.  Further, I think we as the legislature, have effected dereliction of duty, in terms of holding the Executive accountable for example, to expedite such an important piece of legislation or guidelines to deal with cases of corruption.  Mr. President, I also think that the Executive must take it hands off the Anti Corruption Commission and let the commission execute its constitutional mandate without interference.

What I have done is attempt to create a framework that I propose Parliament should establish and use to control Executive performance in the elimination of corruption.  We are all aware that the judicial fraternity has expressed concern about Presidential pardons for high profile corruption convictions.  What have we done as legislators?  My answer is nothing that I have seen.  Sometimes we find ourselves in defense of corruption.  Is that not dereliction of duty as legislators?

Let us also look at the role that citizens can play.  I believe that without citizen buy in, we can kiss any effort in trying to eradicate corruption good-bye.  Mr. President, we must rope in the citizens of this county as our foot soldiers in our war against this disease, and I suggest the following ways to deal with the citizen element.  Let us engage in massive unparalleled corruption elimination education for all.  I also suggest that we plaster all entry points into provinces, into private and public buildings, escalators with the message that declares corruption as our number one enemy.  If you go to South Africa, I remember particularly if you enter Kwazulu Natal, you are greeted by this big sign ‘Zero tolerance of corruption in this province’.

When I first saw it, it was a great challenge.  It was a source of motivation about what we could do for ourselves as a nation.  Mr. President, I believe that this will be an antidote that our nation requires to address this calamity.  I also believe that we should reward those citizens that give us critical information such as whistleblowers and keep their identities extremely confidential so that we generate confidence in the populace and that they can cooperate to their very best with Government institutions in eliminating corruption.

Finally, I believe we should declare and go on a war path on this evil and the results will soon be evident.

In conclusion, I would like to quote a distinguished scholar called

Prof Mele. He has done a lot of work on the issue of corruption. He says; “This is a fight we cannot afford to lose. If leaders do not have the capacity to deal with it, they should step down and give others a chance”. I thank you – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] ­–

          HON. SEN. MAKORE: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to second a very important motion raised by Hon. Senator B. Sibanda. I want to thank you very much honourable for bringing this particular motion to the House to be debate.

          Mr. President, corruption has been bemoaned for quite some time in various segments, sectors and even in this House. Repeatedly, this topic returned time and time again for discussion. The way we look at corruption is more or less a culture that has been seen destroying, such as has been mentioned by the Hon. Sibanda in his motion. Destroying the private sector and the parastatals in this country namely, railways which is now finished. The previous speaker raised the same issue in his motion. It has also destroyed ZIMASCO, Air Zimbabwe and ZISCO Steel.

          Generally, it is the quality of people of the people we field. At the recruitment point, it appears not to be based on the professional qualifications. However, it is who you know to get a job in a particular profession but that who you know sometimes calls for qualities that are desirable so as to maintain efficiency of administration. I have also seen that in Africa, countries like Nigeria, they used to say there is a missing page in your passport and if you do not produce something, your page would go missing and you would be left by your plane. If you produced something, they would just say your page is already there my brother and things are okay.

          To me, that becomes a culture that we can speak about again and again. Perhaps, the other element that is far short is that employment opportunities become too few in other countries to the effect that in our numbers, we run for too few jobs, hence being tempted to engage in to other dubious means. I do not know whether it is only an African who is so selfish, but even if there is certain medicines that people must know about, sekuru vanofa nemuti wemudumbu vasingaudze munhu. To me that is a culture of selfishness. You cannot tell anybody about the medicine and say it is my medicine.

Similarly, it is short of a liberal mind that spills to a greater extent inculcated into the culture where people want the people of their own to engage in without involving other people because zvinhu ndezvangu ini and I must do it alone. It is a mindset that we must change and become transparent and accountable. The transparency that we are calling for has been spotted here coming from the systems that are in place. We have put very important machinery on the ground in the form of the Commissions put according to our Constitutions, but Commissions must be independent, in relation to Section 235 of the Constitution.

If I may be allowed to read what I think can assist this House on Independent Commissions. It says, “(1) Independent Commissions - (a) are independent and are not subject to the direction or control of anyone; (b) must act in accordance with this Constitution; and (c) must exercise their functions without fear, favour or prejudice”. If we can follow the spirit of the Constitution, those people will not be bound by even the Minister or anything because Commissions are entitled to report direct to Parliament. When we institute some certain measures Mr. President, we limit the independence of those institutions. Hence, they must be working in the interest of the department for which they are which really will limit the operations and discharge of duties by those subsequent commissions.

These are areas that we must look at very closely and be able to make amends to them. We know there are a lot of things going on but the best we can do because we cannot eradicate corruption totally, but let us start from now to give powers to these Commissions so that they can be meaningful and be able to exercise their duties. We have everything to ourselves, they have already being set and are in motion but they are limited in terms of their operations, sometimes in terms of finances or in terms of other things. Be that as it may, we are bound to have a start and move to change our mindset though of course, it is culture that has been inculcated in all our actions and anywhere else, but we must, as was emphasised by the former speaker. In accordance with Section 119 of the Constitution subsections (1) and (2), gives authority to this House to be able to see that these are binding and within the constitutional dictates in all duties that we do.

I want to thank the mover for this motion. I cannot repeat a number of things. He has mentioned almost everything. I just want to leave this opportunity for others to also share their ideas regarding the motion before us. I thank you.

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

HON. SEN. MARAVA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 15th June, 2016.

MOTION

DETERIORATION IN THE ROADS AND RAILWAY TRANSPORTATION SYSTEMS

          Third Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on alarming incidents of road carnage due to dilapidated infrastructure, obsolete vehicles and human error.

          Question again proposed.

          *SENATOR GOTO: Thank you Mr. President.  I want to support the motion that was raised by Senator Musaka seconded by Senator Chipanga, concerning incidences of road carnage in our country.  It is something that deeply concerns me and you will agree with me that we are all cognisant of what is happening.  I think this motion was also raised in the Seventh Parliament and now it is being discussed again. Most people are dying because of the narrow roads.  This shows that it is an important motion. I was touched to hear that the road from Mushandirapamwe to the growth point is terrible in terms of infrastructure; it has claimed a lot of lives.  Some of the statistics are not in the press but as someone who comes from that area, we realize it is claiming a lot of lives. 

          As people were bringing in their tobacco, most commuter omnibuses travelled the same road with trucks carrying tobacco and there was a head-on collision which claimed a number of lives.  That is why you hear of 15 people who have recently perished.  So, you see so many accidents along that road.  What I am saying is that the commuter omnibuses have caused so many accidents.  When looking at it, you find that buses were better because the accidents were not as bad as they are today.  I think the Government did a good initiative to ensure that we have access to transport.  It should go further to look at the documents of drivers as well as the fitness and registration of the commuter omnibuses.  We request the ZRP to assist us so that we travel safely. You find that the drivers are so reckless; they go off the road into the forest and hit a tree killing so many people.

          I want to thank Senator Musaka for this motion.  Some families die in road accidents.  Along the Wedza road, we travel at 40km per hour for us to travel safely.  My plea is that the Government should do something about it.  I know the budget was done long back but I think the Government needs to reconsider this to ensure that the road network is improved and the roads become wider.  As Senator Musaka said, there are other big buses such as those from Nyaradzo funeral parlour which will be ferrying mourners.  Commuter omnibus drivers do not give way to those buses.  Some of the commuter omnibus drivers do not have licences and others use their colleagues’ licences. The police must diligently do their work and make sure they bring to book those who cause accidents. 

Even though the owners can buy the coffins and sponsor the funerals, that does not help in any way because it will not bring the lives of the people back.  It is painful to see the whole family perishing in a car accident.  Personally, I think the number of commuter omnibuses on the roads should be reduced and interrogated.  At one time, I got on a commuter omnibus because my vehicle had a problem.  The drivers do not even respect the police orders to stop but speed their vehicles.  So, if they are people with good moral behaviour, why should they run away from the police?  They do not listen to the police at all.  It is an issue that we need Government to take up. 

In Mashonaland East, people have perished due to these incidences of road carnage and most of them are involved in accidents that are claiming so many lives.  The sorry thing is that once a person dies, he cannot be resuscitated.  What we want is to protect our children.  It is not everyone who has a car; some do not have and we need to protect them.  I thank you.

          *SENATOR BHOBHO: Thank you Mr. President.  I also want to add my voice to the motion that is before the Senate that was moved by Senator Musaka and the seconder.  It is important that we put our heads together as what the Senator who spoke previously said that road carnage is claiming so many lives.  I think there are strategies that we need to come up with to ensure that we reduce the number of deaths.  There are so many cars, so many commuter omnibuses and the buses are depleting in number. 

Even if she has mentioned Chikomba area, when you look at Bulawayo/Harare, there are also quite a number of road carnage incidents.  On the issue of commuter omnibuses, I will cite Chegutu.  If you are chosen as a Member of Parliament or Senator, you do not only represent you constituency but represent the nation to assist the people of Zimbabwe. 

          If you go to Chicken Inn, you find buses that will be coming from Bulawayo passing through a tiny road.  There will be commuter omnibuses also, including informal traders.  If travelling from Harare going to Bulawayo; you should look at what happens at Chicken Inn.  It is not a surprising fact that accidents do happen there.  The buses no longer go to the terminus; they go to Chicken Inn so that people can buy their food.  Yes, people are buying food but that is also causing road carnages.   The commuter omnibuses are actually creating their own roads through the forests.  So, as we travel with commuter omnibuses, we should encourage people in the commuter omnibuses to speak out.

          At one time, I noticed that a commuter omnibus had been stuck in the mud because of using these shortcuts.  They were evading the police.  The police are there to protect lives of the people.  We must fasten seat belts always when we get into our vehicles. We must adhere to that because it is for our safety.  As leaders, we need to assist.  This is a national issue; it is about our children who are perishing on the roads.  We should assist even in an area that is not your constituency.  We should discuss these issues here so that we prevent lives being lost because of road accidents. 

The buses are very few on the roads and the commuter omnibuses have become so many.  If you go down town, there are few people but the commuter omnibuses are many.  Yes, people want to survive but there should be a law that protects people, especially their lives.  Even children now witness dying people because of these accidents. 

So, I want to thank Senator Musakwa for this motion.  We need to assist each other.  There is no household that is not immune to death.  Yes, people die; accidents do happen but the alarming levels in Zimbabwe are of concern.  We need to assist each other as a nation.  I thank you.

*HON. SEN. MAKWARIMBA: Thank you Mr. President. I also want to add my voice to the motion that was raised by Hon. Musakwa and his seconder. Mr. President, I think the road carnages incidents are now alarming. He talked of all sectors - the railways, air transport as well as the road transport but what is of concern is that a person spends nine months in the womb and then die. People are passing on in numbers. Where will we go with such people?

Here I am looking at the Beitbridge-Chirundu highway. People who stay around there are no-longer alarmed by accidents. Even children now know that it is the order of the day. They know that once there is a loud bang, it is an accident. They rush to help themselves from the spoils of the dead people. If such a highway which is plied by heavy vehicle trucks that are coming from South Africa and is our major economic route, if only railway lines could be resuscitated as what Hon. Musaka said some goods would then be ferried using the railway line.  It would assist us in reducing the road carnages. A heavy truck, once it becomes dark does not care. They do not even realise that there other road users and just do as they please.

          When a head-on happens along the road, you find it is the children who perish most, not people above 65 years. In my opinion, the Government as proposed by Hon. Musakwa, should avail a budget to ensure that the railway line is resuscitated and that some goods are transported using the railway route. That might also assist in reducing the road carnage. With these few words Mr. President, I thank you. –[HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.]-

          *HON. SEN. CHIMBUDZI: Thank you Mr. President. I want to add my voice to the motion raised by Hon. Sen. Musakwa. It is a pertinent motion concerning road carnage incidents on our roads. I think that it does not please us all as a nation.  At one time, I got on the bus from Mbare to my rural home. The driver bought sugar cane and he was busy pealing his sugar cane whilst the door was open, throwing the rubbish through the door. Up to Bindura, he was eating his sugar cane. The driver did not care about the lives of the people but his sugar cane.  

As Zimbabweans, we have failed to mould our morals. If you look at the accident that occurred in Zimunya, that is not pleasant at all. It impacts badly on our image as leaders and it appears we are not there, yet we are there. We need to put our heads together as leaders to ensure that we come up with legislation that people are able to live. We find that even children when coming from their school trips are prone to such accidents.

          If you go to any area be it Bulawayo, Mutare or other areas, you find that commuter omnibus touts fight for customers. Their behaviour is the same throughout. My suitcase was taken by the touts whilst other goods were taken by other people.  They were fighting to get me as their client. So they force people to get on a particular bus, not for you the traveller to be able to choose the Combi that you want. It means that there is a challenge there. We need to re-visit our laws and legislation because it affects the image of the nation. We have lost so many lives. If we look at Harare, we have children whom we find along the roads begging. We even have women who are begging along the streets that is how they survive. The Combi drivers do not even look at that.  They just speed and I do not know how they know all these roads. They do not care whether they are people or not, they do as they please. I think they realised that there are some loopholes in our law. When you talk to them, they behave as if they are the owners of the Combis yet they are workers.

          If you complain, as what was mentioned before that as travellers if we complain, we are told that we must buy our own vehicles. They say, “Why did you get into this Combi, get your own car.” So we have seen a lot of these road carnage incidences caused by the Combis. As leaders, we need to sit down and re-visit our laws to make sure that we give stiffer penalties to offenders and also come up with a strategy as to how these Combis should operate. A Combi that has a carrying capacity of 15 people carries 27 people. You see it written Harare-Mukumbura. It plys that route and goes back and forth, close to the border. As a nation, we need to look into what routes we should have, where a Combi should travel and to and to what point. This is to ensure that we safeguard lives of our people. At the end of the day, it is us who will be found wanting.

          I want to thank you Hon. Sen. Musakwa and the seconder for this insight. We might have challenges in that we do not have so many aircrafts but we have never had an air crash. It is true to say that our railways need to be resuscitated. I am sure if the Government gets money, they will avail funding in order for the railways to be improved.

          The heavy trucks are a challenge and mostly, the tobacco farmers travel at night. If only you knew the number of lorries or trucks that you meet along the roads - why they travel at night is because they do not have the required documents. They travel around 1 a.m. to go to the tobacco auction floors in order to sell their produce.  We know that they want to make money but on the other hand, life does not have any shortcuts.

Once a person is dead, he is dead. We need to value the lives of the people more than we value money. That person might be rich or poor but we need to value the life of each and every person despite social status. We want to thank Sen. Musaka for the motion that he raised as well as his seconder that as a nation, we need to come up with legislation and ensure that there are stiffer penalties on the issue of our vehicles and transport. The issue of licences and also the age of the drivers needs to be revisited because we are experiencing a lot of challenges through these touts.

When you are talking to them, they have no respect. They tell us to go away and say if we are not interested, we should go and buy our own vehicles. We are all not the same in life. Some use kombis and some have cars, but we need to value the lives of each and every individual because we have lost so many lives on the road. I want to thank Sen. Musaka as well as his seconder for the motion they raised. I thank you.

*THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE: It was said that some of the kombis are inscribed ‘Boko Haram’.

HON. SEN. B. SIBANDA: Thank you Hon. President. Firstly, I would like to sincerely thank Hon. Musaka for the subject he has raised together with his seconder. There are a few things that I would like to relate to. On the issue of road network, we used to have the second best road network in Southern Africa. We have allowed it to deteriorate. It will take us time to rehabilitate those roads. One day I had an unfortunate assignment to go to Sanyati. It took me two hours and Sen. Komichi knows it. It took me two hours to do a 60 kilometre journey and another two hours back. When I got to Harare, I sold that vehicle because when I went for a quotation, it was US$4 000.00. To make things worse, I had persuaded my wife to give me her vehicle. That is how bad our roads can be.

Secondly, Hon. Musaka talked about what we call grey imports. The points he made are valid. We have a document called the MIDP which we produced with the motor industry and handed it over to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. Unfortunately, we chose to ignore the MIDP because it was designed for our local industry and to serve Willowvale from erratic operations and limit the number of grey imports. The problems that we are creating are monumental. The shortage of spares in that industry is unbelievable, but the point that he makes is valid.

Thirdly, I would like to say when a young man walks up to me and says mudhara, ngitoli licence or ndawana licence, my first and straight question is how much did you pay for it? The answer comes back straight that I paid US$300.00. That means we have no drivers on our roads. We have products and I am sorry to refer to this as products of corruption. I will not extend that. The other threat that we have due to the type of road network that we have is the transfer of business through Zimbabwe to Kazungula.

It is a reality, it is going to happen, it is in the process of happening and unless we do something about our road network, we will lose a huge chunk of our transit fees. I think the key word in what Hon. Musaka is talking about is modernisation. Unfortunately, at the moment our capacity is very low. I do not know how it will take us to modernise, but I agree in total with the Hon. Senator that we need to take steps to modernise our infrastructure. With those words, I lend my support to his motion and congratulate him for bringing up the subject. I thank you –[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]-

+HON. SEN. CHIEF GAMPU: Thank you Hon. President. I would like to thank the opportunity given to me to add my voice on the other things that we can do as Zimbabweans in trying to solve the problem that we have that is causing too many problems in our roads. I would like to thank Hon. Musaka and the seconder of the motion Hon. Chipanga on the issue of accidents that we are having on our roads. I was thinking that as a way of trying to control especially the commuter omnibuses that are causing too many accidents, there is need to create a school whereby we can teach them customer care.

There has to be associations that will be controlling all the drivers who are driving public transport. For example, if there is a driver who is over speeding or not treating customers well, that can be reported to the members of the association. If we take note of ZUPCO, they used to train all their drivers before the driver has been hired or after, so that they are told all the rules of the company and how to treat the customers. I think this will be a noble idea. The reason why we are having too many accidents is because of lack of having such associations.

Once we have them, they should be known publicly for it will be easy for members to report any of the drivers who are speeding on the roads. I know we are all aware of the driver who overran a Girls’ High School pupil and we have seen that the courts have sentenced the driver in jail. This is a lesson to other drivers who are driving public transport. It is a way of sensitising them that if you break the rules of the road, you will be accountable to it.

Another thing that I think would assist is that if all the public transport is written hotline numbers at their back, the driver who will be following that car can easily report or phone the hotline number. We have seen in other countries like South Africa that they have the hotline numbers. This would assist us in trying to curb the public transport drivers who are misusing the roads. It will assist those who are using public transport as well and we should know that we have the right to control the driver who will be driving public transport. We can actually stop them from speeding if they are carrying us.

I know and I believe that if the citizens of the country are educated on their rights as citizens, they actually have the right to stop the driver from overspeeding.  Most of the times, after an accident has happened, the passengers will start saying but we saw this coming or we talked to the driver about his speed.  My question is that you will be inside that car and you are saying that the driver is speeding but you are not doing anything about it.  If we take for example Botswana, we will realise that if a driver is overloading, the passengers are the ones who will actually stop him from overloading.

 I believe if the Government could assist in educating all our citizens that they have the right to say their views over the public transport that they are using. For example, if the driver of that public transport is not treating the passengers well or speeding, they have the right to tell him to drive properly.  I know this will help a lot.  We may not be part of the passengers in each and every public transport that has been driven but if all the citizens are educated on their rights when it comes to public transport, this will help in reducing the number of carnages on the roads.

In Bulawayo, public transporters have associations such as Tshova Mubaiwa, Butra and Transit.  So, when a passenger is not treated well by the driver or the conductor, one can call on the number displayed at the back or inside the car.  The Association will then call the driver for disciplinary measures.  All the drivers who are working under those Associations now know the rights of the passengers and they do not insult or mistreat the passengers.  It helps sometimes even when we have the lost and founds, you can easily call the associations and you will be able to retrieve your goods. If we try to really emphasise on such associations, we will have control over all the public transport drivers. 

Another thing that will assist is to train all our public transport drivers and conductors, especially for the heavy vehicles.  I know that they have seen and copied the system that is being used in Bulawayo.  However, in every situation there has to be someone who is a leader.

One last thing that I would highlight is the issue of age limit which is 25 years when it comes to drivers of public service vehicles.  Ever since it was introduced, we realised that the number of accidents that have been happening has actually reduced.

Another thing that I would like our country to introduce is having points that can be given to the drivers. If they have done well, they should be given some points and if they are not doing well the points are reduced.  For example, in Australia, we realised that out of 12 points, when you go through a red robot, three points are reduced and if all the drivers; that is everybody who drives, if you have your licence, it will be given points, so when you fail to drive properly on the roads, they will be reduced.  Thank you.

HON. SEN. MOHADI: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to add my voice on this motion.  First and foremost, I want to thank Hon. Sen. Musaka for bringing this motion to this august House.  Mr. President, the issue of these commuter omnibuses and their drivers; I do not know Mr. President whether they were trained by one person throughout the whole country because they behave in the same manner.  You cannot differentiate a kombi driver in Beitbridge from a kombi driver here in Harare; they seem to be the same.  I think there should be some stern measures that should be taken so that our people may survive because a lot of lives have been taken away because of these kombi drivers.

Mr. President, I take the issue of these roads especially the Beitbridge-Masvingo-Chirundu-Harare road.  To me, it is no longer a road but just a death trap – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]- Mr. President, just last week when I was travelling home from Harare, just around Beatrice, there was a kombi which had fallen into the river.  I do not know the name of that river, lives were lost there.  As I continued with my journey, along that road, immediately after Mvuma, there was a car which got out of the road, a Toyota and people were trying to take a out a corpse from that car after it had rolled over.  Be that as it may, as I travelled further, there was a bus that had burnt to ashes the previous night.  Immediately after Ngundu, again there was a haulage truck burning the same day.  So, can you imagine the lives that were lost within the same day just because of this road?

Whenever we talk of this road, I think so many people have talked about this road; they have brought in questions in this august House, some written and some orally without notices and some even motions about this road.  However, we get the answers that ah, everything is in order, very soon widening or dualisation will be started, here and there you will find that everything is in order yet there is no implementation.  We cannot talk and talk without any implementation because lives are being lost.  Here, we are talking about the lives of people and they are dying on a daily basis.

Talking of this road Mr. President, you will find that it is so congested, let me just tell you.  At the border post there, they clear more than 300 lorries in a day and more than 200 buses cross at the border post every day on the exit and on the other side.  Taking into consideration those lorries and those buses, the road is busy for 24 hours.  You will recall that last month one of the buses was involved in an accident and we had 13 people who died on the spot.  Can you imagine 13 people dying at one time and leaving some injured?  We do not know whether those who were injured later on died or they are still alive.  These are the problems that we are facing.  I know that our country is running short of funds.  We do not have enough funds to dualise our main roads, but those are some of the main roads which we should take care of, because it means saving the lives of people.

Also, Mr. President, I urge the Committee on Peace and Security to look at these issues because if people are dying on a daily basis, it is the Committee’s duty to look into these issues of how best we can reduce the deaths of our people because we are here to represent them.  These accidents are being caused by negligent drivers, because sometimes, after drivers have travelled these long journeys, they end up getting too tired.  As a result they end up dozing and their trucks get involved in accidents, killing people.

Mr. President, I think there was once a regulation saying that these heavy trucks, after 6 o’clock must not travel.  They have to park wherever they will be, but there has been no monitoring on that one as the drivers just travel willy nilly.  Even if you travel at whatever time along this road, lorries will be there.  In the afternoon, the buses are very few, but three quarters of the buses travel at night and they are carrying passengers.  As a result, many people die at night.  Even that one that I am reporting about which had 13 deaths, it did not occur during the day, it was at night.  What are we doing about that as Zimbabweans who love their country and love their people? 

Let us look into this matter seriously and assist our people.  Our people look up to us as parliamentarians, as their representatives and hope that we can, maybe, bring sanity into the country without even looking at who has died from which side or where.  As Zimbabweans, we need to take care of our people.  We have to come up with laws that protect our people and we have to monitor and evaluate what we talk about here.  It must not just end in this House.  We have to make follow ups, find out whether what we are talking about has been implemented; so that we have a way forward to saving our people’s lives.  It does not help us to talk every day and every time competing here, without any action or implementation taking place.  We have to monitor and evaluate what we talk about in this august House.

With these few words, Mr. President, I would like once more to thank Hon. Musaka for bringing in this motion so that it is debated fully.  Maybe we will see something happening.  I thank you.

*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHARUMBIRA:  Thank you Mr. President.  I want to thank Senator Musaka for raising this motion, the seconder as well as all those who have debated.  I want to add my voice by saying that the issue of incidence of road carnage is a pertinent issue in this nation.  Firstly, maybe the Committee on Peace and Security could get statistics on the number of people who lost their lives in road carnages.  For you to be able to deal with the issue, you need to know the cause of the whole issue.  You need to get to the root of the problem and hence, the statistics are important as well. That is why we do not address these issues. 

We always come with issues such as drunken driving, burst tyre or whatever reasons.  We want to know the root causes.  Some even say the road is different, for example the road to Masvingo that causes most of the accident.  From there, there are so many things that we see on the roads that are very obvious, but we do not address these issues.  Maybe again, the Thematic Committee on Peace and Security needs to move a motion or legislation. 

You find that there are heavy vehicles that breakdown along the road.  On one side the wheels are on the tarred road and you find they put branches as a sign that there has been a breakdown.  If you are coming from the other side, you do not see that there is a broken down vehicle until you get close to it.  So, we need strict liability on the law that says when your truck breaks down, it should be removed from the road immediately before sunset.  If they are unable to do that, the Government should step in to remove broken down vehicles.  We can engage the private sector and the vehicle can be removed from the road and then the bill is sent to you.  You cannot be a danger to other motorist because of your broken down vehicle, leading to the loss of lives.  So, the person who does that needs to pay.

The other issue that I see as a challenge is the training that we have especially for drivers.  It needs to be revisited.  The drivers who drive on the roads, are they qualified drivers?  Do you know how licences are being obtained nowadays?  I was shocked three months ago when someone began driving lessons and after 13 lessons that person was going for a road test.  I was shocked as to how they could go for a road test after a few lessons and he said that he was told that if he were to bring in US$370 he would get a licence.  He informed me that the instructor had said that he would be going away and already he had made the booking.  He brought the licence and showed me.  Those are some of the reasons why so many lives are being claimed on the roads.

I remember there was also an issue that the left-handed trucks had caused the road carnage and we were told that they were being banned, but up to today they are still on the roads. What happened? There were people who were paid a certain amount of money in corrupt tendencies. It is clear that there are transporters who have money and paid the relevant Ministry to ensure that their trucks are not removed from the roads. So in the end, that was not implemented.

That is the job of Parliament, the oversight function. We should be actually saying no, our oversight function requires that we do A, B, C and D. we should take the Minister and ask him why the condemned left-hand vehicles are still on the road. It is as if the trucks have changed from left to right. How can you condemn such left-handed vehicles and now you say they are okay. If you try to overtake driving a left-handed vehicle, it is a challenge because you cannot see what is on the other side. So we need to address that.

Currently, VID – the condition of vehicles on the roads is also an issue. Even these old cars are always on the road and you will be surprised to see some of these old unroadworthy vehicles on the road, especially at night and people perish and you end up crying. We see all this happening but we have done nothing about it. These are issues that we can address. The VID inspectors no longer check on the small vehicles but only check the kombis, trucks and buses because that is their cash-cow. The small cars are told to pass and what they want are the trucks, bus and kombi drivers because that is where they get cash. So, we need to talk about that.

I heard in this House that they are termed mushika-shika . Those people who drive mushika-shika vehicles do not have licences but they travel on the highways from Harare to Masvingo and go through the police roadblocks. Long back, without a driver’s licence you could not go on the road. Mr. President, this is an interesting issue to debate. For those who moved the motion Hon. Musaka and the seconder, we come here every week, get fuel and stay in hotels.

If you look back and ask yourselves, what is the outcome of what we discuss? I think as Parliament we need to sit down and ask ourselves, what is the outcome of everything that we do? We know that Parliament has five years. Most motions are just repetition. Motions are debated every year. Next year, someone else will bring the same issue. Last year it was brought by someone else. It is the same motion each and every year. I remember this motion was moved by Hon. Muchena last year. We had this one on road carnage and we are repeating it again.

It seems as leaders, we also have a problem because we keep on debating issues that we always debate. Five years will come to pass and we have 5 or 6 issues being discussed. We should ask ourselves and do introspection that as the Senate, do we understand what we are doing. So, what I am saying Mr. President is that there is need for us to get feedback on what is happening. This transport motion has been debated since 2013. We come here and talk but no one comes here. We come and entertain each other talking about issues, clap our hands and hit our desks, but we do not even see the transport Minister.

You know, we are not living up to our standard. I do not know the parliamentary system but we need to sit down. We have done so many workshops and need to come up with a strategy that once we bring up an issue, we need to call the Minister who will be answerable and give us feedback. This will give us an opportunity to ask questions. Thank you Mr. President.

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

HON. SENATOR MARAVA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 15th June, 2016.

MOTION

REPORT OF THE DELEGATION TO THE FIRST AFRO-ARAB LEGISLATORS AND BUSINESS SUMMIT

          Fourth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the report of the First Afro-Arab Legislators and Business Summit held in Addis Ababba, Ethiopia.

          Question again proposed.

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

HON. SENATOR MARAVA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Wednesday, 15th June, 2016.

On the motion of THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. SEN. MUZENDA), the Senate adjourned at Seven Minutes past Four o’ clock p.m.

 

 

Senate Hansard SENATE VOTES 14 JUNE 2016 VOL 25 NO 56