Wednesday, 7thOctober 2020
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two o’clock p.m.
(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)
THE HON. SPEAKER: The following Hon. Ministers have tendered their leave of absence:
Hon. Vice President Chiwenga, Minister of Health and Child Care;
Hon. Kazembe, Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage;
Hon. S. B. Moyo, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade;
Hon. Mathema, Minister of Primary and Secondary Education;
Hon. O. C. Z. Muchinguri-Kashiri, Minister of Defence and War Veterans;
Hon. Muswere, Minister of ICT, Postal and Courier Services;
Hon. July Moyo, Minister of Local Government and Public Works;
Hon. Madiro, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage;
Hon. E. Moyo, Deputy Minister of Primary and Secondary Education;
Hon. M. Mutsvangwa, Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services;
Hon. Chombo, Deputy Minister of Local Government and Public Works;
Hon. Matiza, Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development is on leave; and
Hon. Chiduwa, Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Development.
THE HON. SPEAKER: In terms of Section 39 (7) (a) of the Electoral Act, [Chapter 2:13], the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), notified the Clerk of Parliament that the following persons, nominated by the MDC-T party to fill the vacancies that occurred among the Party-List Members of the National Assembly, following the recall of the incumbent Members by the MDC-T party on the grounds that they had ceased to be members of that party, have been appointed as Party-List Members with effect from 2nd October, 2020:
1. Thokozani Khupe, Bulawayo Province;
2. Sipho Mokone,Matabeleland South Province;
3. Lindani Moyo, Harare Province;
4. Memory Munochinzwa, Masvingo Province;
5. Winfielda Yvonne Musarurwa, Harare Province;
6. January Sawuke, Mashonaland Central Province; and
7. Lwazi Sibanda, Matabeleland North Province.
Section 128 (1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides that before a Member of Parliament takes his or her seat in Parliament, the Member must take the Oath of a Member of Parliament in the form set out in the Third Schedule of the Constitution. I, therefore, call upon the Clerk of Parliament to administer the Oath of a Member of Parliament.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Members, it has been brought to my attention that although we are now in the third quota of our Ninth Session, only 68 members have applied for the 2020 Constitutional Development Fund (CDF). Statistics show that 142 members have not applied for the year 2020; 67 Hon. Members did not apply for the 2019 allocations and 20 did not apply for the 2018 allocation.
I am aware that the money is not the right amount but surely it can be put to good use in the constituencies that you represent especially now during COVID-19, the period when schools and clinics are in need of PPEs, sanitiSers, extra chairs and desks. I urge all Hon. Members who have not applied for their CDF allocation to do so as a matter of urgency. May I request the Whips to assist in following up on the Hon. Members of their political parties. Are there any Notices of Motions?
HON. CHIKWINYA: On a point of order Mr. Speaker! Thank you Hon. Speaker, good afternoon. Hon. Speaker, when we budgeted for the CDF and I want to indulge you on the point of the CDF,we budgeted in USD$ and it was being paid in RTGs and with the devaluing of our local currency against the USD$, I propose that the amount be converted at the prevailing bank auction rate so that at least we can do meaningful developments in our constituencies.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Member, I thought you were going to be bold enough to castigate your fellow members who have not accessed that money at the material time. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – That is the first thing. On one hand, you say our welfare is not being taken care of, there are delays in disbursements and so on, when there are so many of you who have not even bothered to have applied – 142 is a huge number – [HON. CHIKWINYA: It speaks of something also!] – Order! If it speaks of something, why was this not raised at the material time?
The responsibility is yours to make the adjustments accordingly – [HON. SIKHALA: On a point of order!] – Order! I am still speaking please take your seat. You must be procedural. At the material time, if there were issues around this CDF as Hon. Chikwinya has raised then it was up to you to deal with the adjustments through your proposals but no proposals came forward.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Questions without notice, Hon. P. Moyo, are you there?
HON. P. MOYO:Sorry Mr. Speaker Sir, I am not ready yet, I am still preparing my gadget is not working.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Ministers in the front you are too close to each other, please there is a lot of space the other side.
*HON. TOGAREPI: Thank you Hon. Speaker. My question is directed to the Minister of Health and Child Care. What measures does the Government have in place to ensure that rural hospitals have medical doctors?
*THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD CARE (HON. MANGWIRO): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, Government policy is that we want doctors to be available at every medical institutions starting from the referral hospitals such as Parirenyatwa, Harare and Mpilo hospitals. We have specialists that are being trained and are already present at those hospitals. Most of the hospitals do have medical doctors but we are increasing the number of medical doctors including those who have specialized in areas such as the surgeons or physicians are available, that is Government policy.
What we also want is that we do not want these doctors to be concentrated at district hospitals but we want them to visit clinics at different times to assist those with poor in any way possible. We want village health care to be accessed by those who cannot access medical centers that are far away where they cannot travel due to lack of transport or ill health. We will also have medical personnel who we will train to be able to assist in the medical field in a professional way. I thank you.
*HON. TOGAREPI: The Minister has explained but my issue is on the issue of rural health centres. There is what is called a catchment area, they are so many nurses but the doctors are not available and people end up travelling long distances when they experience challenges. I am saying that at these rural health centres when will the Minister avail these medical doctors?
HON. T. MLISWA: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir.
THE HON. SPEAKER: What is our point of order?
HON. T. MLISWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My point of order really is the other day I said members of Parliament must understand Government policy and the Minister must respond to Government policy and its implementation. Here is a policy and the question is why are there not there, not to tell us they are coming or we are educating them. So, it is critically that when Ministers are here they must know the policy which we all know but how far have they gone in the implementation of policy. That is what we expect of them and that is why the Minister must respond not tell us how many are being trained. No, there is a hospital already in the rural area and people are dying. In terms of your policy what are you doing to alleviate the problems of people dying not to tell us that doctors are coming yet people are dying. Those who die do not come back.
THE HON. SPEAKER: That was the import of the supplementary question from Hon. Togarepi.
HON. MANGWIRO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, the question was specific to rural health centres which are referring to clinics. So, we need to understand that at these clinics there are no beds, there are just clinics whereby one is treated and goes home. If the nurses fail to assist that person they then refer the case to the district hospital where there is a hospital that is why you find medical doctors. Rural health centres are just clinics for example in Madamombe where they are nurses who are there to administer intravenous medication and people go home. So, the doctors are only found from district hospitals. At the clinics they are doctors known as the DMOs, they do not stay at the clinics all the time but they are summoned to come to the clinic or they receive referrals from the clinics in that area. I thank you.
*THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Minister, Hon. T. Mliswa has explained that the issue of the health centre was an example. The original questioner indicated that there are several health centres in a district when can we get the doctors to take care of these rural hospitals with their satellites rural health centres?
*HON. MANGWIRO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir that is what I am explaining that district hospitals have a number of clinics, the clinics is what he is referring to as the rural health centre, from the clinic we go to village health centre. At rural health centres, there are no doctors, the doctors is resident at the district hospital where he is able to use the medical equipment that is available. At the clinic you will not find some of this equipment, that is why patients can only go and access their medication for hypertension and diabetes. They are no admission beds at clinics. At clinics such as Tsholotsho, there are no admission facilities – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order Hon. Minister. The question is – are the doctors there? – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Order, allow the Minister to answer.
* HON. DR. MANGWIRO: Mr. Speaker, most districts do have what are known as DMOs with junior doctors who then can visit rural health centres. If there is a clinic – [HON. T. MLISWA: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Mliswa, you have made your point. You can ask a supplementary question.
*HON. DR. MANGWIRO: I am requesting that you listen to me. The medical doctors are not resident at the clinics. They visit from the district hospital. If there is a clinic, the doctor does not reside at the clinic and in each health centre, there are PCEs. Specialist health doctors are found at provincial level. I want to repeat that district hospitals are the ones that serve the different clinics and doctors’ take turns to visit the clinics if there are people needing the doctor’s attention. The doctor is not resident at the clinic but comes occasionally. I thank you.
HON. CHIKWINYA: My supplementary question arises from the original answer by the Minister. Hon. Speaker, the Hon. Minister outlined a plan to increase medical doctors in pursuit of achieving health towards rural health centres. Can the Hon. Minister confirm to us the circulars that we have seen where junior medical doctors are going to be recruited through the military system?
*HON. DR. MANGWIRO: What he is talking about that there are junior doctors who will be recruited through the army is false. What was said was that the junior doctors who were there last year did not complete their courses. There is another group that did not complete so for them to be availed jobs through Government, there are no vacancies but for those willing, they can go through the army, police or prisons. Whoever does not want or is not willing to go there can wait until next year January if there is a vacancy so that the person can be employed through the Ministry of Health. So it is not mandatory but what we are saying is that there are vacancies in the army, police or prison service. The Ministry of Health is overwhelmed because students did not complete at the same time. So no one is being forced. Whoever wants to wait until January if there is space can do so and then they can go? If vacancies arise in April, then they can be absorbed.
HON. GONESE: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker. My supplementary question to the Minister is in view of the fact that our Constitution provides that everyone must have access to basic health care. Does the Government not have any plans to ensure that even in these rural health centres we have medical doctors who are stationed there to ensure that the people in the rural areas can have this access to basic health care through the provision and through the situation where doctors are also available to attend to them instead of a situation where they have to service several or up to ten health centres as he has indicated.
HON. DR. MANGWIRO: I want to thank the Hon. Member for a wonderful suggestion. What that will entail means us upgrading rural health centres or clinics into hospitals where they will be place and space for the doctors to operate from. Doctors need to operate and manage certain diseases. With time, definitely we would want people to move as little a distance as possible so it will mean upgrading the rural health centres into proper hospitals.
HON. T. MLISWA: My supplementary question to the Minister is health is a right to everyone and so is education. There are satellite schools but there is a teacher at a satellite school which falls under the District Education Officer, which equally falls under the Provincial Education Officer. In health, it is the same. Why is it that the satellite clinics are not getting doctors there to attend to patients because of the distance? The reason why the satellite clinics are there is proximity and the inability of the rural people to get to the clinic. So it is a service that they expect. Why are they not getting to those satellite clinics?
HON. DR. MANGWIRO: I like the passion the Hon. Member has but I really want to make it clear that clinics are not hospitals. Once we upgrade them, we will have doctors stationed there. Like I said, we are even going to go further and have village health care centres in villages which will reduce even the 5 km walk. If it is a clinic, it is meant to have nurses continuously but doctors will be visiting on appointment.
HON. DR. MASHAKADA: May I start by congratulating Dr. Khupe on the occasion of her swearing in as a Member of Parliament and Leader of Opposition – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, Hear.] I also want to congratulate other MPs who have been sworn in today on the same note.
My question is directed to the Minister of Energy but I want to give a small background to my question. The background to my question is that ….
THE HON. SPEAKER: We normally do not encourage backgrounds. Just go to your question.
HON. DR. MASHAKADA: Hon. Minister, in view of the fact that most REA projects in rural areas have been rendered stranded assets because of the vandalisation of transformers and theft of transformers, what is the Ministry’s policy towards switch to off grid renewable projects which will avoid the vandalisation of these gadgets?
THE MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. ZHEMU): It is acknowledgeable that there is vandalism of electrical infrastructure. Yes, I appreciate that if we move on to other sources like renewable sources of energy, the vandalism can be reduced but at the same time, we are having solar systems that are being installed. All the same, there is still a requirement for the power that is being generated from the solar plants to be evacuated into the grid, especially to the existing grid –[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
HON. ZHEMU: What it entails is that we still have to have some mechanisms despite the use of renewable sources of energy. There is still need for the infrastructure to be protected. Let me indicate here Mr. Speaker Sir, there is total sabotage that is happening, especially with electrical infrastructure. The kind of vandalism that is happening is not just natural but I suspect it is happening for the purposes of reducing the economic activity in the country and I think it is deliberate –[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
HON. ZHEMU: As a Ministry, currently ZESA holding is working on a system to procure some technology that will be used to send some alerts whenever there is vandalism that will be happening with the electrical infrastructure –[HON. T. MLISWA: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Mliswa you can ask a supplementary question –[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]
HON. DR. MASHAKADA: I think my question has not been answered. I asked about….
HON. T. MOYO: On a point of order. I want to encourage Hon. Members on your left to behave as Hon. Members –[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Mr. Speaker Sir, Hon. Members on your left should behave honourably, instead of trying to reduce our Ministers here –[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order, the Hon. Member who is saying kusanyara; ndicharegera kukunyarai ndokuburitsai iyezvino.
HON. DR. MASAKADA: With your indulgence, I do not think my question has been addressed. The Minister has been emphasising on vandalisation which was the background to my question, but he was thin on the policy of rolling out renewable energy projects in the sector. May I crave your indulgence so that he addresses the question of renewable energy policy….
THE HON. SPEAKER: What is the accent of your question?
HON. DR. MASHAKADA: Can the Minister highlight to us the renewable energy policy that is being pursued by the Ministry to avoid projects which are prone to vandalism in the electrification sector?
HON. ZHEMU: Let me thank the Hon. Member for giving the correct context of his question because I think there were two questions that were intertwined. The question of vandalism of the electrical infrastructure – I do not think that can be addressed by use of renewable sources of energy because like l indicated, even if we pursue renewable sources of energy – for instance installation of solar systems, there is still need for evacuation of power from the plant onto the grid until it reaches to the consumers. I think that one is straightforward.
On the renewable sources of energy, the Government of Zimbabwe has adopted a policy – I think you are very much aware that on the 20th of March 2020, His Excellency launched the national Renewable energy policy. This is to the effect that there is promotion of green energy as we are moving away from fossil sources of energy like a use of coal. The National Renewable Energy policy is promoting the use of renewable sources of energy like I have indicated – solar, wind and hydro electricity schemes are being promoted. Let me speak to the issue of solar energy. In terms of solar energy, the Government has said those that are importing solar equipment, their solar equipment is not tobe taxed when the equipment is being brought into the country. That is a way by which the Government is promoting the use of solar energy in the country. What the nation wants to hear from the Minister of Energy speaking is there is a policy that promotes the use of renewable sources of energy, for instance the use of solar energy in the country where there is duty free promotion when you are importing the equipment for use. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
HON. T. MLISWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. Hon. Minister, the country requires at least 3500mgw. In terms of solar energy how much do we have to augment?
HON. ZHEMU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I would want to thank the Hon. Member for asking such a pertinent question. The question seems to be very specific in terms of figures, but let me attempt to respond to it. Mr. Speaker Sir, it is true that the current power that is being generated is in deficit of what the country requires. To that end, there is promotion for use of solar energy in the country. Yes, not much has come through on to the grid currently. I think we have not more than five investors that have done investments in solar energy on commercial bases. Currently, what is being put onto the grid is a total 6mgw from the solar investors. We call them independent power producers. They are only doing a total of 6mgw currently. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
HON. NDUNA: Mr. Speaker Sir, I would want to seek clarity from the Minister of Energy and Power Development in relation to the conjunction you have with the Minister of Industry in terms of revoking the copper trade licenses in view of the fact that they are the ones giving appetite to vandalism of the existing copper power infrastructure. To what extend have you gone in terms of revoking the licenses of the copper trade which we do not have mines for and which we do not produce, which is only produced from vandalism of your infrastructure.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon Nduna, that question was asked and the Hon. Deputy Minister answered accordingly. Please check your Hansard.
HON. NDUNA: Mr. Speaker Sir, I thought I was going to be first on your list but it looks like I am on just on complete questions.
THE HON. SPEAKER: We are on supplementary, please take your seat. Your name is here for a substantive question.
HON. KARUMAZONDO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. What is the Ministry of Industry and Commerce doing on import substitution with regards to fertilizer?
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Government is capacitating Sable Chemicals so that they can retool and produce fertilizer that is more affordable and available to our farmers. That is the programme that the Government is doing. I thank you.
HON. SIKHALA: What is government doing to promote organic fertiliser to supplement the importation of fertiliser?
HON. ZIYAMBI: It is a part of a whole package. What we have been doing as Government is to encourage our institutions of higher learning to collaborate with industry so that we can have a cheaper, affordable and good quality product. So, Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology: Ministry of Industry and Commerce and Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement are working together in many areas to ensure that we come up with products that will be affordable and afford our farmers to have high yields. I thank you.
HON. NDUNA: My question is directed to the Minister of Tourism. In relation to road infrastructure development in the tourism industry, what is Government policy as it relates to those tourism players who have got either their chalets or tourism facilities in the area of your jurisdiction?
THE HON. SPEAKER: I do not understand the question. Are these roads leading to chalets or what?
HON. NDUNA: We have people that have leases in the tourism camps or in areas which are under the purview of the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Tourism and Hospitality Industry. What is Government policy in terms of those players developing the roads that they are using to their camps? Am I clear Mr. Speaker? I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT, CLIMATE CHANGE, TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY (HON. M. NDLOVU): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to thank the Hon. Member for the question that he has asked. We are aware that we have infrastructure gaps to fill especially road infrastructure that he is highlighting. We have discussed these and they are captured in our Tourism Recovery and Growth Strategy which involves quite a number of institutions within Government, Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development, DDF as well as local authorities. All these have been engaged with a view of making sure that they assist in making sure the roads are passable. With regards to National Parks, it does not get direct support from the fiscus. They rely mostly on their revenue collections from gate takings and also from partners who make donations. They are gradually rehabilitating road infrastructure, for instance we will be commissioning one within the Hwange National Park. So with that specifically, it is a matter of availability of resources. Suffice to say that with other roads, we are working closely with other institutions like I have highlighted, to chip in and make sure that these roads are rehabilitated. I thank you Mr. Speaker.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr Speaker Sir. Would it be possible to make it mandatory for the operators in the National Parks to have as a first mandatory input to first and foremost rehabilitate, reconstruct, maintain and rejuvenate the roads that they use to their places of placement? Would it be possible for you to have that in the document of the lease agreement so that we try and deal with the backlog of road infrastructure development.
HON. M. NDLOVU: I want to believe this remains the responsibility of Government. If the user or lease holder has the resources to rehabilitate, that will be encouraged but I do not think it should be made mandatory for a lease holder to be involved in road infrastructure. We will encourage that at all times, resources permitting on their side. I thank you.
HON. CHIKWINYA: My supplementary question arises from the need to put up infrastructure in National Parks and do business as long as there is balance in promoting SDG No. 15. How are you balancing the two Hon. Minister?
THE HON. SPEAKER: Can you clarify your SDG No. 15?
HON. CHIKWINYA: Hon. Speaker, I thought the Minister is aware of the SDGs that are …
THE HON. SPEAKER: I am asking you to do that.
HON. CHIKWINYA: SDG No 15 is about life on land and the promotion of ecosystems. I thought the Minister is aware of that.
HON. M. NDLOVU: When I indicated, I had not understood him I wanted to know if the question is requesting for a link between conservation and roads. I am not getting what it is that he is asking, if he could clarify his question.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Kindly clarify your question in terms of the original question.
HON. CHIKWINYA: There is development that is happening in the National Parks with regards to erection of lodges and resource centres in National Parks and you are putting up roads, thereby disturbing the ecosystem. As you promote business, what are you doing to preserve the ecosystem as per SDG No 15?
HON. M. NDLOVU: By and large, our road network in National Parks remains gravel road. We do not put tar to try and make it accessible for tourists but at the same time, try and make it as close to being natural as much as possible.
HON. SIKHALA: Mr. Speaker Sir, my question is directed to the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs in whose jurisdiction is the Administrator of the Prisons Act. In relation to Section 50 (5) (d) of the Constitution which provides that, ‘Any person who is detained including a sentenced prisoner has the right to conditions of detention that are consistent with human dignity, including the opportunity for physical exercise and the provision at the State expense, of adequate accommodation, ablution facilities, personal hygiene, nutrition, appropriate reading material and medical treatment;’
My question therefore is – what is Government doing to make sure that the provisions of the Constitution in relation to the conditions in our prisons at the present moment are achieved and delivered? What is the Government policy in making sure that our prisons are up to standard and not converted into concentration camps where there are no proper facilities?
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. It is true that we have a constitutional obligation to ensure that we provide adequate facilities for our prisoners, a Constitution that came into place in 2013 and it is also true that over the years, we have had an expansion in our population with a proportionate increase in the number of prisoners in our prisons that have not been increasing.
So as Government, we started on several measures to ensure that we reduce our prison population. Firstly, we are on a drive to ensure that we identify land and build new modern prisons. Secondly, we also introduced other measures to ensure that we do not send everyone to prison like the community service. Even the pre-trial diversion programme for young offenders who are in contact with the law; the main thrust that we are having is, we want to build new prison facilities. Funds permitting, we would have started it a long time ago but we are trying as much as possible to identify other partners who can partner with us to ensure that we improve the facilities in our prisons. I thank you.
HON. SIKHALA: You are an idiot!
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order! Hon. Sikhala, can you withdraw your statement?
HON. SIKHALA: I withdraw Mr. Speaker Sir but he called me a jailbird. Can he also withdraw that word? – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – I am angry and angered by statements from other people – he called me a jailbird. Withdraw that statement!
THE HON. SPEAKER: Who actually said that? Was it the Hon. Minister?
HON. SIKHALA: It was Hon. Togarepi who said that. So can he also withdraw that statement?
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Togarepi, if you said that, please withdraw the statement.
HON. TOGAREPI: Mr. Speaker, I looked at his passion and just wanted to know. I asked him a question, ‘Are you a jailbird?’
THE HON. SPEAKER: Can you withdraw?
HON. TOGAREPI: I withdraw.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Yes, thank you. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Order! Can we hear the question please? Hon. Sikhala, please switch on the microphone.
HON. SIKHALA: My supplementary Mr. Speaker Sir is on the conditions. Mr. Speaker Sir, Section 86 of our Constitution gives limited and unlimited rights in terms of the citizens of our country. My question to the Hon. Minister is; in light of Section 86 (3) (b) and (c) where it says that, ‘the right to human dignity is an unlimited right put together with the right not to be tortured or subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment’, – these are unlimited rights. What is Government policy vis-à-vis the assault, torture and also the mass naked searches of prisoners by prison authorities?
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to thank the Hon. Member for the question and want to preface my response by saying Mr. Speaker, our Constitution now recognises prisons and correctional services. In other words, we emphasize that even though you were in contact with the law, once you come to our prisons – we will start a rehabilitation programme of our offenders so that we bring out a different person from the one who got into prison.
Having said that, there is no deliberate policy to ensure that we hold our prisoners in an undignified manner. I indicated earlier on that we have a problem of overcrowding which is not of our own making but is because of events that have happened and that I explained. On the question of searching Mr. Speaker Sir, the Hon. Member is aware that we have had incidents of prisoners who may smuggle dangerous items into prison. It is something that is unavoidable to ensure that those who are entering prison will not harm innocent prisoners who are there, if we had another way, that would ensure that our prisoners are searched in a dignified manner as they enter. I believe that our prison officers explain fully and do it in a dignified manner because we have to do it. I thank you.
HON. SIKHALA: My question Mr. Speaker is not answered. My question to the Hon. Minister is that, inmates in prisons are being assaulted by prison guards and in light of the provisions of Section 86 (3), what is the Government doing to stop inhuman and degrading treatment and torture that is happening on daily basis in our prisons and also what I am asking him is that inmates who are already detained and in prison are asked every week on a particular day and they will be around 500 to be undressed, naked and they search them. What is the Government policy in the 21st Century where people are still exposed to such inhuman and degrading treatment where people enmassewill be naked and all their body parts including their private parts will be open for everyone to see and say we are searching them? What is Government policy to end that inhuman and degrading treatment and also the assault of prison inmates by prison guards?
HON. ZIYAMBI:Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I had partially answered the question to say that our prison is more for rehabilitation. You do not rehabilitate somebody if you are injuring their dignity. If there is a process whereby prisoners are being humiliated and being harassed, I think it is something that can be investigated with a view of correcting it because our – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – thrust now is we no longer want somebody who comes from prison to be despised by society kuti aaa uyo ibhanditithat word we no longer want it. We want somebody who comes out of prison to be integrated into society and to be one of us. So, if that is happening, it is something that can be investigated but our thrust now is to have a prison and correctional services that will bring out somebody who would have been rehabilitated and be able to be integrated and not commit any other crime. I thank.
HON. GONESE:Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. What has Government done in practical terms in order to realise this paradigm shift from prison to correctional services? I ask this question in light of the fact that in our prisons for example in relation to ablution facilities, there has been no change. We still have a situation where those facilities have not been adjusted and nothing has been done, they are still being flushed from outside and people are still relieving themselves whilst in those cells. So, in terms of human dignity, it appears that there has been no practical change even in relation to remand prisoners when they come to court. I believe that they should be allowed to wear their own clothes but we are still finding them coming to court dressed in prison garb. So, I want the Hon. Minister to outline in real terms what they have actually done as opposed to just paying lip service and just regurgitate what is in the Constitution.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, can the Hon. Minister be heard in silence.
HON. ZIYAMBI:Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. In terms of prison infrastructure, I have partly answered that to say that our desire within the prisons and correctional services is to ensure that we build modern prisons. The prisons that we have admittedly were built a long time ago and they do not satisfy the standards that are expected as of now. I have indicated that we have taken other measures to ensure that we decongest the existing prisons, at the same time trying to secure land and funding to build other prisons.
Mr. Speaker, you also realise that we also brought about the concept of open prison. We are also in the process of trying to set up an open prison for women because they need a space that is freer than the male counterparts when they are in prison. So, we are trying our best within the limited resources that we have whilst pushing Government to ensure that we improve our infrastructure. I thank you.
HON. SIKHALA:There is a question asked which the Minister did not answer. It is very important if the Minister could answer Hon. Gonese’s question where he said why people on remand and unconvicted prisoners are being forced to wear prison garb whilst Section 63 of the Prison Act does not allow or authorise that? That is a very important question.
HON. ZIYAMBI:Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Indeed there is a distinction between unconvicted and convicted prisoners and unconvicted prisoners can go to court wearing their own clothes. If incidences like that are happening, perhaps what I can say is I will have to discuss with them to find out circumstances why what is provided for by the Prisons Act is not being followed. I thank you.
THE HON. SPEAKER: The Hon. Minister will follow up the issues accordingly as agreed.
HON. T. MLISWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is directed to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. The mantra ‘Zimbabwe is open for business’ certainly has gone on. From a foreign direct investment point of view, which is on the ground; besides the MOUs and the reengagement process, how far have you gone and is it working?
THE MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE (HON. RTD. LT. GEN. DR. S. B. MOYO): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I would like to thank the Hon. Member for asking the question particularly on the quantification of FDI into Zimbabwe and secondly the success or otherwise of the reengagement process. Let me start by the second part. Mr. Speaker Sir, the reengagement process is a process and it is not an event and it lays the responsibility of engagement to all of us not necessarily the Minister of Foreign Affairs alone but even all the Hon. Members who are here in this House – [AN HON. MEMBER: Ko, Johana Mamombe, where is she?] – Let me say that the reengagement process which has been on for some time has seen quite a lot of success particularly within Europe andeven within the Americas, and I have always said before, we did not use to have any conversations with even the Americans but now we have got conversations and in these conversations, we are identifying areas of interest and we still have certain areas of divergence. In overall assessment, I would say the re-engagement process is on course to success.
The second part of the question which is the qualification of the FDI, yes, there have been quite a lot of interest on Zimbabwe from China, Russia, India and even the western countries, different countries. You can actually see the trade which is now developing even between the USA and Zimbabwe through mechanisation support of the agricultural sector. Now, we are also seeing quite a lot of diasporians coming through proposing and offering to come into the agricultural sector so that they can participate in the horticulture recovery and the overall agriculture recovery plan.
The rest of the sectors are key. Just today, I was in an India – Zimbabwe Investment Conference which clearly solidified the interest of investors and not only investors but trade so that the balance of trade between India and Zimbabwe is in the surplus. I can say that there has been, without specifically coming up with quantifications in numbers, a significant progress as regards the investments and the FDI particularly in different parts of the country.
HON. T. MLISWA: I am grateful for the Minister’s response. Minister, you are correct in saying that the re-engagement process the Americans are bringing their equipment here but Zimbabwe is not taking anything to America. How can it be a successful re-engagement process when the sanctions are still hard? Recently, the Minister of State Security was on sanctions in the Second Republic which is seemingly non- reformist and democratic and again, the aspect that you seem to be forgetting is the traditional allies like China which was the look east policy. What is it that we so seek from the Americans to continuously try to re-engage them but they are constantly showing us the other side of the arm? More money is being spent on that. Public relations have been invested into re-engaging but nothing comes through.
In terms of the figures, Hon. Minister, I think with the indulgence of the Speaker, it will be important for you to come up with the breakdown in terms of figures to see the success of the foreign direct investment broken down to see how much has America, India or China invested so that we understand because currently, it is like we are on our own. The Minister of Finance is troubled, there is no foreign currency yet we see MOUs being signed every day. Is there a possibility of you bringing down a statement of the FDI that have come in so that we understand and equally why go to America when they are not opening for us and are still hitting us with sanctions?
HON. S. B. MOYO: Again, I would like to thank the Hon. Member for that further inquisitive position which he has. Mr. Speaker Sir, our engagement and re-engagement programme did not; in fact in full, we call it Re-affirmation, Engagement and Re-engagement Programme meaning that our old friends who have stood by this country for many years like China, even India and Russia and other middle eastern countries can and we re-affirm their positions and ensure that we continue, not only continue but enhance our cooperation between those nations and Zimbabwe.
Mr. Speaker Sir, in the international trade dimension, even when we deal with China, there is always what they call a country risk profile. Nationally, they look at what exactly you have. You have this tag which is called sanctions over you and therefore the risk profile of Zimbabwe goes up. Therefore the cost of money goes up. Now, it is in the interest of Zimbabwe to be a family of nations in terms of trade and investments in the rest of the world. So, it is critical that whilst we have had serious tensions between the West and ourselves, it has been critical that we had to diffuse these particular tensions.
Yes, with the USA as I said, there are areas of convergence and divergence. We have even said that we want access, to be part of the AGOA in the USA market. This process is a process which we are asking and I have said can these outdated sanctions go. All that are the interests of this country and I am sure that it is the interest of each and every one of us in this country. As I said, it is a process Mr. Speaker Sir and that process does not take a day, it takes quite a lot of building a paradigm which brings in a number of convergence areas so that countries can agree and proceed on that basis. So I think we have not abandoned our friends but we still want to make more friends.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Minister, there was a request that perhaps you could favour the House with a breakdown of FDI as a result of the engagement and re-engagement process so that the House is accordingly informed.
HON. S. B. MOYO: My apology, I had not responded specifically to the issue of data in as far as the level of the FDI which has come into the country as a result of engagement and I undertake that can be done, Mr. Speaker. Let me just indicate because the interest was so much on the western investments into the country. Let me even indicate at this onset stage that, not that it is not coming, I believe that it is coming because already – [HON. SIKHALA: Inaudible interjections.]
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Minister, ignore him.
HON. S. B. MOYO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. You are aware already that there is a Batoka energy project which was awarded to China Power and Jeena Electric Company which is a US company. That is a project which is ongoing and underway. I can obviously elucidate a number of other issues on investment portfolios which different countries can do. I can do that as I present the paper.
THE HON. SPEAKER: In view of the requested Ministerial Statement, we shall not entertain further supplementary questions -[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Once the Hon. Minister makes his statement, you will then come in to seek further clarification on his statement.
HON. CHIKWINYA: Point of order Hon. Speaker.
THE HON. SPEAKER: You have no point of order on my ruling.
HON CHIKWINYA: So that the supplementary…
THE HON. SPEAKER: No. He will clarify, the Hon. Minister
HON. SIKHALA: We would like to know when he will bring the Ministerial Statement because it must not be delayed so that you will not keep your Members of Parliament hanging.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order! Do not take over when I am still there. I had not finished addressing the response of the Hon. Minister. The Hon. Minister will give us a comprehensive statement as soon as possible – if not next week, most likely on Thursday.
+HON. MATHE: My question is directed to the Minister responsible for water. What plans have been put in place with regards to putting up boreholes in order to meet WHO guidelines that state that there should be water in schools to ensure that school children wash their hands in this era of COVID 19?
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): My understanding is that the Hon. Member wants to know what Government is doing in terms of provision of water throughout our schools in view of the opening and in light of the COVID pandemic.
The majority of our schools either are Council or Government owned and we have structures within our Rural Council Authorities whereby they have to ensure that they liaise with the relevant departments – DDF or ZINWA to identify those schools and ensure that there is provision of water at each and every school. My response would be in the areas where she comes from; she can liaise with the Rural District Council so that they can liaise with the relevant Government departments to ensure that water provision is brought to schools.
+HON. MATHE: The Minister responsible for this is not available and the Leader of the House has not answered my question. ZINWA, RDCs and all structures are in place. WHO guidelines require that there be water at every school during this COVID 19 era. My question is what has the Ministry put in place to ensure that this guideline is met, because there is no water at the schools?
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): I think the Hon. Member has pointed out the specific issue relating to water provision in schools. I will request the Minister to come with a Ministerial Statement so that we can then discuss and clarifications will be made to Hon. Members regarding the opening of schools, the adherence to WHO standards and other related matters. I thank you.
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Please may you go ahead and ask the responsible Minister to come with a Ministerial Statement.
Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER in terms of Standing Order No. 64.
HON. MAYIHLOME: Madam Speaker, I move that Questions Without Notice time be extended.
HON. MATHE: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order, Hon. Members. We are extending our time with fifteen minutes.
*HON. NYABANI: My question is directed to the Leader of the House. What measures has the Government put in place in order to address the issue of hunger, because farmers are farming but the selling price of grain is not appealing?
*THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Madam Speaker. Hon. Nyabani did not investigate on whether the farmers are happy or not happy with the prices. This year we were informed that farmers were happy with the pricing. For maize there was an increase in the price twice and even the wheat farmers actually requested that the GMB depots be opened for 24 hours to enable them to take their wheat to GMB. I do not think he did his research well but what is being done right now is that the Minister of Agriculture is putting in place measures to end hunger through the Pfumvudza project. He is encouraging our small farmers to be part of the project and if they all take up this project, we will have 1.8 million tonnes. Since the Metrological Department has told us that there is a lot of rain this season, this will enable us to be food secure and also have food to feed ourselves and our livestock. Thank you.
HON. CHIKWINYA: The import of Hon. Nyabani’s question is that farmers are crying out that they are underpaid, therefore it is leading them to be discouraged from producing maize and wheat. When Government pegged the producer price for maize, they also put a US dollar to it. It is US$200 something per tonne, if I am not mistaken – the Minister may correct me. Why are you not paying that US dollar price converted to the prevailing auction rate of that particular day?
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank Madam Speaker. Government never pegged a price of maize.
HON. ZIYAMBI: What we did is, we worked out a price on a cost of production basis and we put a mark-up plus an incentive. That is what we did and – [HON. CHIKWINYA: Inaudible interjection.] – Madam Speaker, if he can indulge me to answer.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Chikwinya, why are you doing that? Please order!
HON. ZIYAMBI: Madam Speaker, what we did is, we worked out a cost build up model and we put a mark-up plus an incentive and then came up with a price. We went further, like I said, midway to review that particular price and we increased it with the concurrence of the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to say, let us incetivise our farmers. My second response; was we had a very good response from farmers when we did that and I went on, because I thought the question was speaking about farmers in general, their satisfaction and I said we even did that for wheat. We did a cost build-up plus a markup plus an incentive and our wheat is actually comparable with prices around the region. We are actually paying far much better than what is obtaining in the region and our farmers as we speak requested our GMB depots to be opened 24 hours so that they can deliver their produce.
So we are endeavouring every time to ensure that we review our prices so that we do not disadvantage our farmers. We will continuously do that using our own currency, of which we are very happy that the measures we have put in place have stabilised our currency. So there is no need really for us to be worried about using the United States dollar or what. We are stabilising our currency and ensuring that we continuously review our prices with a view of ensuring that our farmers are incentivised. I thank you.
Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER in terms of Standing Order Number 64.
1. HON. B. DUBEasked the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairsto inform the House the Government policy position regarding individuals who lost parliamentary elections and then went on to masquerade as Honourable Members as has been the case in some parts of the country such as Chiwundura Constituency.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Madam Speaker. The Hon. Member is a learned colleague who knows the Constitution very well and he knows that for you to be a Member of Parliament, you must be elected in terms of Section 124 of the Constitution and once you are sworn in you become an Honourable Member.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Minister, are you connected?
HON. ZIYAMBI: Yes, I think so. Yes, I think I am connected now. Madam Speaker, I was saying the Hon. Member wanted to enquire whether somebody can be called an Hon. Member of Parliament without being elected and my response is; the Hon. Member is a very learned colleague, a very prominent lawyer in Gweru who knows that for you to be a Member of Parliament you go through an election process.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members! Order please.
HON. ZIYAMBI: You go through an election process. We were very fortunate today that we witnessed a swearing in ceremony and after that swearing in, those comrades become Honourable Members of Parliament. So the procedure that is provided for in the Constitution and the Electoral Act is the procedure that results in you earning the title ‘Hon. Member of Parliament.’
HON. B. DUBE: The procedure for being a Member is understood as explained by the Minister, but my worry is what is Government doing because as a matter of fact, those people are going even on public occasions and allowing themselves to be introduced as such in the presence of DAs, PAs and provincial ministers. My point is – it tarnishes the image of the Government per se and those people are not answerable and accountable to you, but they would have misrepresented. What is the Government doing or after knowing, like now that we have asked a specific question relating to Chiwundura, what is Government doing to either penalise or punish those people who masquerade and mislead the public to that effect?
Madam Speaker, it is very important because it has even affected the discharge of some functions in communities, including even the writing of the COVID -19 benefits where some of these people were actually saying people must bring their names to his office for purposes of taking them as an MP to the relevant place. I just want Hon. Ziyambi to clarify to us so that next time when we meet those people we will be able to hold them and make them accountable because I believe it is a serious issue. Government must actually make a clear pronouncement disassociating itself because the majority of them will be pretending as if they are getting authority from their political party.
HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Madam Speaker. Government can only intervene if somebody makes a misrepresentation of an official nature. I say so because in our parliamentary system or in our governance system, we also have shadow ministers and nobody has questioned or even taken action, but when that particular person starts exercising executive authority then it becomes a problem. So my question is where somebody masquerades and then officially does something as if they were a Member of Parliament, then that borders on misrepresentation and it becomes criminal. In our parties we have shadow people who do certain things because of the nature of our political organisations. I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Madam Speaker. I move that Orders of the Day, Nos. 1 to 35 be stood over until Order of the Day No. 36 has been disposed of. Thank you.
Motion put and agreed to.
Thirty Sixth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion on the Second Reading of the Forestry Amendment Bill [H.B. 19, 2019].
Question again proposed.
1.0 Introduction
Following the gazetting of the Forest Amendment Bill (H.B. 16, 2019) the Portfolio Committee on Environment and Tourism resolved to conduct public hearings on the Bill. This is in keeping with provisions of Section 141 (2) of the Constitution, which makes it mandatory for Parliament to consult members of the public before considering Bills and passing them. The Committee held consultations with members of the public who made submissions to the Committee on the said
2.0 Methodology
The Committee held a half day workshop to unpack the Forestry Amendment Bill on Saturday, 25 January 2020. Power point presentations were given by the Forest Commission followed by the
Sustainable Afforestation Association delineating all the clauses to help Members understand the Bill before taking it out to the public. In order to cover much ground, the Committee was split into two teams; one covering Mashonaland West, Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland East, Manicaland while the other one covered Midlands, Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South and Bulawayo and Harare. The views of the public were gathered during the public hearings. Every clause was interrogated by the public to bring out their views on the proposed legislation.
3.0 Objectives of the Public Hearings
The following were the objectives of the public hearings;
i) To afford members of the public an opportunity to submit their views on the proposed legislation.
ii) To enable the Committee to obtain public opinion and to receive information the Committee might not have.
iii) To produce reports based on the submissions from the members of the public and Committee Members’ views with the appropriate recommendations.
4.0 Submissions on the Forest Amendment
4.1 Clause 1 Short Title
There was no objection raised on the short title of the Bill and it was adopted as it was in all public hearings.
4.2 Clause 2 Amendment of section 5 of Cap. 19:05
While, it is plausible to align the Forest Act to the principles of gender balance as provided for under section 17 of the Constitution, the public observed that competence based gender balance should be prioritised. The Bill needs to include an important skill set on the composition of the Board; a person recognised for his/her ability or experience in human resources management.
4.3 Clause 3 Amendment of section 8 of Cap. 19:05
Diverging views came from the submissions made by the public on the additional duty of the Commission to issue orders. Some submitted that this duty should be carried out by EMA alone whilst the majority were of the view that the forestry officers should issue out orders subject to the approval of the Provincial Manager of the Forestry Commission.
4.4 Clause 4 Amendment of section 27 of Cap. 19:05 and, 4.5 Clause 5 Amendment of section 27A of Cap. 19:05
The promotion of gender balance when appointing the Chief Executive Officer of the Commission and the deputy as well as the other members of staff was welcomed by the general public. However, the public recommended emphatically that gender balance should be promoted without compromising on competence. Further to that, the public suggested that promotion of gender balance should not start at recruitment level but from training institutions.
4.6 Clause 6 Amendment of section 66 of Cap. 19:05
There was no dispute raised regarding the insertion of a new clause (d) in relation to the control or prohibition of “the development of forest conservation and demarcation programmes” after section 66 (2) (c).
4.4.7 Clause 7 Amendment of section 68 of Cap. 19:05
The decentralisation of the dispute resolution mechanism was endorsed by the public. However, the major issue raised on this clause relates to the absence of specific time frames for the appeal process. The public suggested that an appeal must be finalised within two days because fire waits for no man. Once an appeal is lodged, it effectively allows the appellant to avoid correcting the fireguard until the appeal is adjudicated.
4.8 Clause 8 New Section substituted for of section 69 of Cap. 19:05
The decentralisation of the issuance of orders in relation to fireguards as well as the criminalisation of any failure to comply with the orders was also endorsed by the public. Nonetheless, the public complained that the penalties for failing to comply with an order and when considering the extent of danger posed by the size of the land and vegetation are not deterrent enough. The public suggested that the levels of penalties stipulated in the Bill in both instances should be minimum not maximum sentences.
4.9 Clause 9 Amendment of section 70 of Cap. 19:05
There was no objection raised on this clause regarding the insertion of a new sub-section (2) on section 70 of the Forest Act. The Public was in agreement that all fires that are started whether dangerous or not should carry a sentence as provided for in section 78(2) of the principal act.
4.10 Clause 10 Amendment of section 72 of Cap. 19:05
The insertion of a new sub-section (2) on section 72 of the Forest Act relating to criminalising the carelessness or negligence of either an employee or employer to control fires and the burning of vegetation was also not objected to by the public. However, the public suggested that the Bill should specify the minimum precautions and responsibilities an employer should effect before requiring an employee to use fire for operation. The public pointed out that the clause may be open to abuse by arresting authorities where the evidence is based on unconfirmed reports.
4.11 Clause 11 Amendment of section 75 of Cap. 19:05
The first issue raised by the public on an amendment on subsection (2) was that the proposal seems to weaken the Bill because the actual value of forest resources destroyed are not really taken into considerations except the property and lives lost by fire. The public suggested that the clause should provide for the calculation of the approximate value of forest resources lost.
The second issue raised was on amendment on subsection (5) where the penalty of failing to extinguish a fire was deemed not deterrent enough. The public questioned why cattle hustling carries a sentence of between 9 and 15 years imprisonment whilst fires that destroy cattle and property have a maximum of 5 years imprisonment. The public suggested a minimum of level 10 fines and a more deterrent jail term of not less than 9 years.
The public appreciated the widening of stakeholders that would be working with forest officers to include traditional leaders among others. Forest and environmental officers who operate from district offices only may not be in a position to handle all disputes and effectively follow up on them. Nevertheless, the public urged the Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry to broaden the scope of fires to include communal lands where a lot of damage takes place with fires getting out of control and destroying considerable land and resources.
4.12 Clause 12 Amendment of section 78 of Cap. 19:05
The public suggested that subsections (2) and (3) relating to the imprisonment periods on the damage caused by fire should be doubled in both instances to show the seriousness of conserving our biodiversity.
The insertion of a new subsection (4) was received by the public but they bemoaned the lack of compensation to the property owner in the case of destroyed property and lives caused by fire outbreaks. The public proposed an amendment to section 78 of the principal act by the insertion of two categories of charges; the one focusing on civil charges with a compensation mechanism and the other one providing for criminal liability.
4.13 Clause 13 Amendment of section 81 of Cap. 19:05
The public proposed a more deterrent fine schedule of not less than level 10 and not less than 6 months imprisonment for “offences relating to smoking or negligent use of matches”.
4.14 Clause 14 Amendment of section 86 of Cap. 19:05
The public hinted that the search powers given to forest officers are not specific and may be open to abuse. The public submitted that the powers conferred to forest officers should also be given to the local communities and traditional leaders, in particular, as custodians of all-natural resources in their respective areas.
4.15 Clause 15 Amendment of section 89 of Cap. 19:05
The public applauded the Government for a provision of a clause that ensured a multi-disciplinary approach to the management of veld fires by giving the Minister power to consult relevant Ministers when making regulations. The giving of precedence to the Forest Act, over other laws on matters relating to the management and control of veld fires was accepted by the public. The public opined that a multi-disciplinary approach and precedence of the act allowed synchronisation of laws and improvement on forest resources monitoring.
On the other hand, in subsection 89(3), the public suggested that in order to avoid establishment of illegal settlements in forest areas, there is need for the Minister when making regulations to be explicit by specifying the purpose for which occupancy in forest areas may be permitted, for example, only for forestry related purpose, and not for building homes or engaging in agriculture or other non-forestry activities.
4.16 Clause 16 Amendment of (second) Schedule to Cap. 19:05
The public embraced the clause and was confident that it allowed for speedy and logical conclusion of many forest offenses and set examples to would-be offenders. However, the Forest officer’s duty should be specified where applicable. For court proceedings, it was suggested that Forestry Commission appoints an environmental lawyer to represent the state.
5.0 Committee Observations
5.1 Guiding Principles
The Committee observed the absence of guiding principles in the text of the Bill. Experience over time and in many different jurisdictions have shown that legislation is better focused when it has guiding principles. Certain core standards imbedded in the Forest Act should guide many forest concerns such as the development of biodiversity and ecological integrity of gazetted forest areas, exotic plantations, aesthetic functions and values of forests and woodlands, urban tree resources and wood forest products.
Non-timber forest resources, value addition to forest produce, forest conservation and sustainable management, role of trees and forests in climate change, dynamic forest laws that creates obligations to society for sustainable use, management and protection of forest resources.
Efficient, well-motivated and coordinated forest resources institutions at all levels, mainstreaming forestry in other sectors’ policies and activities and participation of multiple stakeholders in forest management and multilateral agreements on forests and their use.
5.2 Forest Levy
The Committee observed the need for a forest levy pursuant to the application of the “polluter pays principle”. The Committee proposes the establishment of a forest levy under the Forest Act. The levy targets any person or class of persons whose activities impact on the forest resource. This levy would be ploughed back in the conservation and management of the forest resource to achieve sustainable forest management. However, the Bill should provide for the legitimate target for the levy and any possible exemptions thereof.
6.0 Recommendations
The Committee recommends as follows;
i) The Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry should include guiding principles in the text of the Bill.
ii) The Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry must ensure that the Bill includes a person recognised for his/her ability or experience in human resources management on the composition of the Board.
iii) The Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry must ensure that the Bill provides for a competence based gender balance recruitment on the Commission’s employees.
iv) The Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry must consider the upward revision of the penalties that are stated in the Bill in all instances.
v) The Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry must include a clause that outlines specific time frames for the appeal process.
vi) The Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry must include a clause in the Bill stating the minimum precautions and responsibilities an employer should effect before requiring an employee to use fire for operation.
vii) The Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry must include a clause to provide for the calculation of an approximate value of forest resources lost during a veld fire.
viii) The Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry must also include a clause that on civil and criminal liability.
ix) The Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry specify the limits to the search powers given to forest officers to avoid abuse of this power.
x) The Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry should specify the purpose for which occupancy in forest areas may be permitted when making regulations.
xi) The Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry to establish a forest levy under the Forest Act that should be deducted from persons who use forest resources for commercial use.
The major challenges highlighted by the public were on enforcement and application of the forest law. The Committee implores the Ministry, through the Forestry Commission, to enforce the law for the sole reason of the conservation and protection of forest resources. The recommendations proffered above could assist the current Bill in achieving its stated objectives and the Committee will bring up the amendments during Committee Stage.
HON. TOGAREPI: There are things that took my attention, mainly gender balance. The observations made by people they interviewed were very important and very reasonable that whenever we come up with boards for our institutions, they should be very sensitive to gender balance and I think that must be included. The Hon. Minister must take cognizance of that when he/she comes up with a board.
The other issue that I found very good and in tandem with our efforts on devolution was the decentralisation of offices. It is critical whenever there are issues that are related to offences and must be dealt with locally. In many instances, because they take long to deal with the challenge that is affecting the environment can then be perpetuated because there has not been a resolution. So having a local process or structure that can deal with these issues will ensure that even the destruction of vegetation or natural environment is quickly dealt with and the environment can be protected. This will go well with our efforts and Government’s efforts to promote local activities in the name of devolution.
The other thing that also caught my eye was related to deterrent fines. Surely, when you look at the example that was given wherein if somebody steals a cow is incarcerated for 15 years just for a cow and when you look at the value of destroyed forestry. I think that people do not even want to think about how many trees? How old are those trees? How can we recover them? Even the benefits that we get from forests cannot be measured because they are much more than the value of a cow. I think that it is critical that the Hon. Minister and Government ensure that there are deterrent fines to stop people from wanton destruction of forestry is critical and very important.
The other issue that I also found very important from the report and observation by the Committee relates to having a Forestry Levy. I think that if this levy is deployed correctly, it will assist with reforestation, bringing back where people have cut and where veld fires have destroyed – with the levy, we can plant new trees; protect forests by putting up fire guards et cetera. If the money that comes from the Forestry Levy can be used and deployed to protect the forests, it will be very critical and maybe employing people in those areas where veld fires and other forms of destruction can come in. We employ those people and use the levies to pay inspectors, extension officers and also to educate the communities to appreciate the importance of forestry – it is critical. So this levy will be very important.
The other issue that I also felt would be important was that we need to have local communities be in charge of their forests. The first thing is to educate these people to understand and appreciate the value of natural resources around them. It could be fauna or flora – the local communities must take ownership and say, ‘Nobody must burn grass, vegetation and small animals in those areas need to be protected.’ When people appreciate the value of vegetation, they would want to protect it and policing of adherence to the law will not be very difficult because members of those communities will find reasons to ensure that those who are going against the law are prosecuted.
In this country, you need to travel to countries that have big deserts and you get to value our resources in terms of forestry – you will value it. When you get to desert countries where they cannot even grow crops and there is no rain because vegetation promotes rainfall precipitation. So, if we take time to educate our people – I saw in one of the recommendations that they said, ‘For us to appreciate or bring in both of our genders into this, we also need to start from school.’ I also want us to go back to primary schools and educate our children to understand the value of the vegetation around them. They should not just cut down trees, destroy grass or burn areas around them because if they do that, we run the risk of becoming a desert.
We all know the consequences of climate change as we are already victims now in this country and many countries around us because of climate change induced by some of these activities where people destroy vegetation. There is no rain and we get catastrophic weather conditions that destroy our people, infrastructure, environment and crops. We can avoid all this if we conserve our vegetation but the best way to do this is to educate our people and where we then get those who are intransigent – there should be deterrent fines. Fines should not be that low but should be deterrent enough so that people go to jail and rot there. There should also be a way of calculating the value of the trees that have been destroyed. Then we say, this is what you owe the people of Zimbabwean land and let us make you pay either by going to jail or paying a fine. There should be a relationship between these fines and the loss caused by anyone’s deeds.
Mr. Speaker Sir it is therefore, very important that the ministry comes up with a clear structure from national level to the lowest level of our society – a clear structure in terms of conservation and prosecution of anyone. There is no small fire, there should not be a small fire because a person starts with that small fire and ends up destroying the whole district because people are careless. So, there should be structure understood and through this effort – I think that now we will have an opportunity to protect our environment and vegetation.
Mr. Speaker, this is my contribution and I see all this happening as we approach the rainy season. I will tell you that in my constituency, you see hills and mountains all burning and the person responsible goes scot-free because of the ignorance that we have maybe as a community, we do not know that this is a crime. We need to do something to educate our people to protect our environment. Somebody is just coming from a beerhall, he is smoking a cigarette and he throws that away and it will burn the whole community. People have lost lives when people try to do funny things like hunting using fire, destroying vegetation, destroying the habitats for animals and destroying other people’s assets in the process. If we educate our people and if this Act provides for education of communities, it will lessen the dangers of people destroying our environment.
So it is my plea that in amending this, we ensure that this is an opportunity to tighten the screws around those who have the behaviour of destroying our environment and our forestry in particular. We need to have a very strong and deterrent law that will ensure that our environment is safe. I thank you.
HON. MAYIHLOME: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, I just want to highlight a few points that were probably touched by the last speaker. It is very pleasing to note that at least the Act is going to be amended to bring it up to date with the current demands or requirement of the new time that we are living in Mr. Speaker Sir. It brings in a of lot issues, particularly on the penalties or the criminalization of activities and so forth. It highlights very little on the benefits that the nation should really gain from forests.
The first thing that I really want to bring out to your attention Mr. Speaker Sir is the issue of having forest that are of commercial value. We have so many trees in this country, millions or billions of them and some are probably of no commercial value. Where I come from in Umuzingwane, we have trees that are of no use to the community and it is not clear in this Act what the Forestry Act intends to do with those trees that are toxic to the environment, those that do not add commercial value to the environment and what they can do to reforest those areas with trees of a commercial value.
The second issue that I want to emphasise is the issue of benefits to the local communities. Currently trees of the forest – those that are controlled by the Forestry Commission are being seen as belonging to the Government and some institutions out there. The local populations do not identify with the tree because there is nothing that they are benefiting from it. The only thing they know about trees is when they get arrested for chopping down trees for firewood. We need the Act to provide for benefits that are touchable just like the Campfire project where the local populations were managing these forests on their own.
If these are commercial plantations, it becomes easier for the local population to really benefit. I will also want to implore for policies that will be crafted, just like what the Forestry Commission is doing in the Eastern Highlands, we bring new exotic trees to all parts of the country so that they benefit.
The other issue that I wanted to highlight is the issue of conflict between forestry, mining and agriculture, particularly between forestry and mining. We have seen the conflict between mining and agriculture. What the small scale miners or informal mining does to land that is actually under agriculture. What measures are there to ensure that the new Forestry Act will synchronize or harmonize with the Mines and Minerals Act to ensure that the conflict is minimized? When the illegal or unregistered miners go into an area, they just wreak havoc and they are nameless, they are not easy to identify. What they leave is a trail of destruction. So we need to make sure that as a country we make sure that our laws are harmonized and that we do not have laws that are not aligned and not in unison. My contribution ends here to emphasize that the local communities must benefit from those forests, just like the Campfire – then we will see a difference in the management of the trees. I thank you.
*HON. DUTIRO: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I want to thank you for giving me this opportunity to add my voice. I want to thank the inclusion of women in this Bill. Women are the ones that go and look for firewood, so it is important to include them. We are also looking forward that the Minister will look at the background of the woman who is going to be appointed to the board, to be a person with a rural background who knows and has used cow dung for cooking; who knows how the smoke of cow dung hurts in the eyes, not those women who stay in towns and when they visit their rural homes carry with thems gas stoves to go and use there. We need a woman with a rural background who understands rural life.
In Zimbabwe, 60% of people use firewood and this means the majority of people in the rural areas use firewood. So, the issue of firewood is a very important issue. If possible, women must be 70% in the board of the Forestry Commission, not just saying we must have 50:50 whilst the women are the ones who carry the burden of looking for firewood in the rural areas. We are advocating that the board add more women. The issue of forestry is very important. The greater part of the country is under wildlife and forestry. This means forestry and wildlife take a greater percent age which is around 33%. It is a very important thing that we must be able to manage as a country.
In the Bill, I do not see clearly the power that is being given to headmen and chiefs to control forestry in the areas they lead. Chiefs and village headmen are ladhering very well to Government policies but they should guide people in areas where there is enough forestry. We want the Bill to give power to the village heads, headmen and chiefs.
If we look at the laws being set, our people do not understand much or have enough knowledge on how the forests must be protected. We must give power to the village heads, headmen and chiefs to protect forests and the environment. For example, we said that two million must own mines and people managed to get into mining because village heads, headmen and chiefs were suppotive. So we appeal for more power to the headmen, village heads and chiefs, not to give people punishment without educating them. Let us educate them first and then we give more power to the rural leadership.
Many people have offer letters for their farms; say A1 or A2 but forestry commissioners must go to the rural areas and farms to observe if there are fire guards. If you have not put fire guards from this certain date to another date you should be punished for that. So the Bill must clarify all these things, like what we do when we are cutting down cotton and tobaccoplants. Fireguards must have timeframes, so we are able to identify cell phone farmers who are not utilising their farms. We must put timeframes within which fireguards must be constructed.
We are talking here about the issue of fire which is destroying the forestry and environment killing the wildlife. Most of the time the fines which have been alluded to, there are many contributing factors which cause fire. Sometimes the fire can start through an accident, thus throwing out ashes, starting a fire in order to catch wild animals and so on. Right now, guinea fowls and hares are kept at homes, so there is no reason why a person should start a fire for purposes of hunting. We must look at all those projects so that we end the deforestation which is destroying our environment. As Members of Parliament, we must encourage people to venture into projects like chicken raring and other projects to prevent the issue of veld fires.
Looking at the issue of ZESA, are there any areas in which they are doing the rural electrification? We have put more laws on the rural people that if they cut trees they are going to be punished but ZESA does not have the capacity to give people enough electricity even in towns. What about rural areas where there are elderly people in the rural areas? It is something which is difficult. So Minister, you must scrutinise this Bill and specify that if someone is in town, for example using water rationing, you are given minimum water for what you are using. It must also apply in the rural areas that minimum firewood to be used is this amount. At the end of the day we will end up filling our jails with people because 60% of the people in the rural areas use firewood. This must be analysed so that we have a minimum stack of firewood used within a family.
We also used talked about the issue of the Forestry Commission. Those people must be sent to school so that they understand how fires start, analyse the causes of different fires and what happened (forensics) because most of the time we see that there is a fire but do not know how the fire started. It will end up being an issue of pushing one another but we must have enough evidence and understand everything. The law can be there but we may end up not getting a culprit because we do not have an analyst who understands.
We also have the Global Fund and Paris Agreement to assist Third World countries. We are not seeing the Global Fund assisting our people in the rural areas. If it is tree planting happening in schools and in our areas, the fund is none-existant. It is only talked about in the newspapers and radios but we are not seeing any tangible projects. According to the Paris Agreement, there is something which is tangible. This must be looked at closely.
Right now we have got tobacco farmers, their money is being deducted in US$ but up to now, there is nothing which has gone to the Forestry Commission. This issue started about four or five years ago. Tobacco farmers right pay money so that the Forestry Commission uses to replant the trees that they have cut down whilst curing tobacco. The Forestry Commission who are the owners of the money begs for it from those who are withholding the funds of the country, so it is difficult to do reforestation. I thank you.
*HON. NYABANI: Looking at the Bill, many people who are affected by this issue are those who live in the rural areas and the rural leadership. They should be given the responsibility of taking care of the forests. Looking at Mbire, Muzarabani and Rushinga, they do not know about electricity; they use firewood. Their houses are built with pole and dagga. In whatever they do, they use the forests. I see it fit that these people must be educated about the use of firewood rather than imposing stiffer laws. Even on the issue of fire, sometimes children go to their neighbours to look for fire. I am advising the Government to put the laws of planting trees before coming up with stiffer penalties. Government must go to areas where there are veld fires and teach people so that they understand because some of them will end up being arrested but not knowing what crime they committed because some of the people will be cutting down trees to get poles for good use.
It is important to educate people so that they can understand the law and the Government should give people and give them some seeds to plant so that we can have enough trees and if they need poles and firewood they will have enough. Right now, I encourage Government to help people to understand the law and not give them stiffer penalties. In my view, before Government puts stiffer penalties, it is important to educate people because they will end up being arrested without understanding the law. Before this is made law, the issue must be put in newspapers and then talk to different leaders so that they understand everything.
Government must channel funds towards the reafforestation programme so that there are enough trees. Government should educate people about the importance of planting trees and keeping the environment, especially in rural areas. I thank you.
*HON. DZUMA: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. I rise to debate on the forestry issue. I think that we should have more women on the board because it will benefit us. Women are the ones who go and look for firewood. They are the ones who cause deforestation because they will be looking for firewood to use when preparing meals for their families. Having them in the board will assist in ensuring that the issues are addressed.
For those who are in engaged in timber plantation, the Minister of Environment should ensure that a certain fee is paid to enable development in the country. I once travelled by air to Bulawayo and Victoria Falls; I noticed that it is a challenge because there is no vegetation and you will be in a totally different world without oxygen. When deforestation occurs, it is a challenge for us as human beings. I say so because if the ZRP has poly cons that assist people at Morris Depot; why can the Minister of Environment not have watch keepers under the Ministry and give them motorbikes to ensure that at the windbreaks or where there are fire guards, they can go and monitor and also see that there is no deforestation. These watch keepers should be given wages in order to perform their work effectively.
This reminds me of other countries such as Sudan where we took case studies during our schooling – like the Gezira Scheme. Desert areas do not have vegetation – I think vegetation and trees are important for us. The commemoration of tree planting hat we have on the first week of December, look at how the traditional leaders and different sectors of the country are observing and commemorating the day. We need to take up the challenge and have this maybe three or four times a year; first week of the first quarter; first week of the second quarter; first week of the third quarter and also the first week of the fourth quarter. If this happens three times a year, it will assist in reafforestation and it will be thrice as much of planted trees unlike having it once a year.
During the armed struggle, it was the use of trees that enabled us to hide and seek refuge from the enemy. You needed to hide somewhere. Even with those who came with airforce, we were able to hide under trees and they would think it is a tree and yet it was a person hiding under a tree. Without the trees, a lot of bombing would have happened and we would not have attained independence. We used to maneuver our way through the trees. I remember if cows…..
*THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA): Hon. Dzuma, we want you to debate in line with the Bill on veld fires destroying vegetation that is being debated.
*HON. DZUMA:Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for your guidance. What I am saying is that for those who start the veld fires, the fines should be deterrent because if not, they will continue starting these veld fires, so the fines need to be increased. I think I have come to the end of my debate. Thank you.
*HON. CHIKUKWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Most of the things I wanted to say have already been said. However, I heard most people say that women are the culprits in terms of causing deforestation. So, my request is that as the Bill is written, they should understand that the women look for firewood as a source of fuel. In other areas where we come from, there are areas that have experienced deforestation. As what is done with the animals, there is a quota that is done. I am hoping that in rural areas, as women, you will also give us a quota. It is not all women who can afford to buy gas because of financial challenges. Even if they have access to electricity, it is expensive. So, our request is that you assist us on this matter and that the Bill may assist.
Furthermore, in this Bill, our request as women is that we erect granaries to put our maize and our request is that we do not have money to construct proper granaries. The Bill should look at how it can assist us in this regard. Fence is also expensive for us to fence our gardens so we request that you look into the matter and try and assist us. In our culture, we also access medicines from vegetation. If we have experts in medicinal pharmacies, they know how they get these medicines but in our cultural context, we know how to get those medicines. We also want the Bill to address the issue of how people can access those medicines without being arrested.
In conclusion, yes as women a lot was said about us but if there are forests close to our homesteads, our safety is also at risk because our security is compromised. My request is that you give us a quota. I thank you.
HON. A. MPOFU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for giving me this opportunity to contribute to this very important Bill. Indeed they say that forests are the lifeline of life; any life on earth. First, I would like to observe that the objectives that this Bill seeks to achieve constitute key pillars upon which the environment, food production and many aspects of rural livelihoods do rest.
I would like to acknowledge first, a very important point that has been raised by Hon. Gen. Rtd Mayihlome that as we debate this Bill, it is very critical that we look at the balance. The competition that is happening for instance when rural communities are trying to sustain their livelihoods; there is competition to gather forests food resources. It could be insects, fruits or anything and most important is the issue of energy in the rural areas. We cannot escape as other Hon. Members have said that wood and forests remain unfortunately the key source of energy for our rural communities. That as it may, it does not mean that we should therefore look aside and say this is how our livelihoods are like. It means we therefore have to be innovative and say how do we try to bring balance between this need to survive and the need to fulfill a key Sustainable Development Goal of eradicating hunger. How do we balance it with this other SDG of trying to save the environment and take corrective action in terms of climate change?
What therefore comes to mind as we debate this Bill in that regard Mr. Speaker Sir, is the fact that there is need for a very well thought out integration between our pieces of legislation. For instance, how do we integrate the issue of energy, our energy strategy, our energy production, particularly for rural services and the restoration and expansion of our forests? What is the link for instance between the strategy of the Rural Electrification Programme and our forests strategy; our re-aforestation strategy? There should be a close link and it is important that we take opportunities like this debate on this Bill to reflect on those kind of things.
The second point is that the last Hon. Member who came just before me here, did touch on a very important point and this important point has to do with the resource that we get from our forests. Mr. Speaker Sir, I have observed a lot of people very excited when they talk of visiting a Chinese herbal shop. They go there with a lot of promise psychologically because they say I am going to the Chinese shop but I am sure these herbs come from a forest somewhere in China. What this underlies is that there is a close link, we have our education 5.0 now, it is the issue of research and innovation. How do we relate that innovation for instance to the survival of our forests? How do we relate that so that there is commitment in our universities on skills and effort being put in researching the kind of resources and their uses that we find in abundance in our forest? I am sure that to date, if we count the number of research projects that are there, they are most likely to be more on apples and guavas than on mazhumu and matamba. We should begin in this context Hon. Speaker to say, is it now time that our universities should help to save our forests through commitment to research? I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
*HON. MASENDA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I want to add my voice to the motion raised. Where I stay, people survive on tobacco farming so they are cutting down trees and causing massive deforestation. If this continues to prevail in the next five years, there will not be any trees. What pains most is that people are cutting down trees and no effort is made for reforestation. The companies that fund tobacco farming are responsible for encouraging people to grow tobacco but they are not giving people coal to cure their tobacco, hence the cutting down of trees to cure tobacco. The Government should put in place legislation that binds the contractors to ensure that if a person is given a hectare to farm, they should avail the necessary coal for curing tobacco. They should avail the tools of trade needed for tobacco farming.
I live 250 kilometres away from Harare. On my way to Harare, all the forests were destroyed by fire. It is not only the forests that are affected but even households, grains, inputs and so forth are destroyed because of these fires. I think we need to come up with legislation that is deterrent enough to ensure that people do not start veld fires. If a person is aware of the deterrent sentences, it will prevent him or her from destroying our forests.
In conclusion Mr. Speaker, I want to say that the traditional leaders, village heads, MPs and Councillors need to work as a united force to raise awareness in communities because we might end up with our country being a desert. With these few words, I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity. I thank you.
HON. TOGAREPI: Mr. Speaker, I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. CHIKUKWA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Thursday, 8th October, 2020.
On the motion of HON. TOGAREPI, seconded by HON. CHIKWINYA, the House adjourned at Six Minutes past Six o’clock p.m.


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