Thursday, 18th March, 2021

The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two O’clock p.m.


(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)

HON. T. MLISWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, mine is to acknowledge the recalling of the Members of Parliament but at the same time to also commend the work that they did when they were here. It is important to acknowledge good work of Hon. Members who were recalled and I would like to mention especially Hon. Phulu. He was a humble person, intelligent and it really hurt me to just think of how fair he was and his conduct.

I remember sitting with him here the other day, he said, “I really do not know why I got into this game Hon. Mliswa, I did not know politics was like this but anyway, I am here to serve people.” It is people like him whom you wish would be here because a voice of reason from time to time is really needed in any situation. Indeed, he was a voice of reason at any given time and I would like to commend and appreciate the work that he did though of course his demise has nothing to do with you or any of us but the political parties that they belong to.

Equally, Hon. Biti, Hon. Tsunga and Hon. Chikwinya, I think were also vibrant in many ways. It is from that point that I rise to say their work is appreciated and Parliament has got to be vibrant. I think it is one of the issues which I want to thank you for, that you have allowed this Parliament to be vibrant.

Mr. Speaker Sir, the issue of vibrancy which I am talking about, talks about the Parliamentary Committees which are currently there. There is not much which is happening. I and most people recall that when I chaired the Committee on Mines and Energy, you constantly gave us guidance and the Clerk as well. It seems Chairpersons, some of them have no confidence to discharge the duties according to the Standing Rules and Orders. For examples, we invited the former late President, R. G. Mugabe to come through and you were supportive of that because it was a matter which was in order. So, I am wondering, with many things which are happening right now, our committees seem not to be vibrant. A lot is happening and I am wondering what is really happening that is stopping them from discharging their duties. I hope the Chief Whip can really listen to this because we are now making Question Time a Parliamentary Committee business; that is why you see us bringing issues yet they should be there as an engine of Parliament and that engine, unfortunately Mr. Speaker Sir, you are the driver, your cylinders are not firing. I do not know how you are going to get to the next point when the cylinders are not firing. I implore your good office to task the chief whips to look at the capacity and to look at the work. The reports which come here are not that strong. The recommendations which other Committees have done before have not been implemented.

I say so because we were in the Public Accounts Committee doing the Dema Project but if you go to the Mines and Energy recommendations and inquiry on that, the results are there. May Committees go through recommendations previously done by other Committees? Get them implemented, call the Ministers to task that how far have you gone? The subject matter is that…

THE HON. SPEAKER: You are getting derailed.

HON. MLISWA: I am talking about the people in courts from a vibrant point of view who are trying to bring up my case – there is no vibrancy. We are weaker without the vibrancy and the Committees must discharge their duties.

Finally Mr. Speaker Sir, the welfare of Members of Parliament; thank you for the CMED fuel structure which is there. I must say it is working very well and recommendations that you put forward. But the other issue seemS to be missing, Issues like people having their stands done. We are told this is happening, but people are dying without getting their stands. How do they get them when they are dead? Can we also….

THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Mliswa, you speak on one item on an issue of national interest. Do not perambulate.

HON. T. MLISWA: I will stop there Sir. Thank you Sir but I think you have heard semwanavo ari kuchema kuna baba kuti zvakati wandei and tinokumbiravo your guidance kuti tiri papi nezvimwe zvacho.

THE HON. SPEAKER: It is only the driver who will know that the pistons are not firing. The car would not pull if the pistons are not firing, you know alternatively as they ought to do. I think the Committee Chairpersons as I listen from my office, they are doing very well. One of the Chairpersons is here, and I can mention a very good example. She brought her reports that have tickled debates very forcefully. The other one is there – that is Hon. Chikukwa; Local Government is there, it has tickled debates here and forced Ministers to be on a gyrating jive and have responded accordingly. I am aware Hon. Mliswa of three chairpersons that have not been up to scratch and they have been told. If they do not improve then we stand them down. Were it not for the exigencies that happened to you, you were one of the good chairpersons. Unfortunately, I hope history and the future will create some opportunity so that you are back in the fold but reformed so that you do not suffer the same exigencies that occurred resulting in your stepping down, but you were one of the good chairpersons. There is no doubt about that and you left a very impressive record, in terms of hitting the nail on the head in terms of recommendations. I can assure you, we have identified three. If they do not improve, we shall stand them down because they would not be doing good service for Parliament, the electorate and the party that proposed them to be chairpersons accordingly.



HON. MUTAMBISI: I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 10 be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 11 has been disposed of.

HON. MPARIWA: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.



HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: I move the motion in my name that this House takes note of the Report of the Portfolio Committee on Primary and Secondary Education on the school feeding programme fact finding visits.


HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. I stand to move a motion from the report of the Portfolio Committee on Primary and Secondary Education. This report is in connection with a petition that you have forwarded to the Committee. The petition is one that is coming from Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) and as you would know Mr. Speaker Sir, in terms of Section 149, we are required as a Committee when you refer a petition to us to make sure that we deal with it.

Section 149 of the Constitution on the Right to petition Parliament, provides that “every citizen and permanent resident of Zimbabwe has a right to petition Parliament to consider any matter within its authority, including the enactment, amendment or repeal of legislation”.

The Portfolio Committee on Primary and Secondary Education received a petition from Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA), on the School Feeding Programme (SPP) and the Petitioner (s) made the following prayers;

1. The need for parliamentary oversight regarding best interests of the children as regards the SPP, to be studied and gaps in the policy identified;

2. Engage the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education (MoPSE) to fully implement the School Feeding Programme according to their strategic plan, constitutional provisions and regional treaties. The Ministry to ensure that all associated costs are identified and all schools adhere to policy adopted;

3. Enhance the nutritional value of meals through greater diversity and where possible, MoSPE must ensure there are alternative sources of food that do not require cooking ;

4. Ensure a fully resourced feeding scheme, complete with grain and relish that come at no cost to the parents, ensuring children’s learning interest, became paramount;

5. The SPP to be uniformly implemented in all school, urban and rural to encourage retention of learners and reduce the school dropout rate;

6. Ensure holistic and multi stakeholder consultative approach, so as to make schools an important agricultural development nerve centre with water, food and agricultural innovations that bring food sovereignty to their community and;

7. Ensure that MoPSE audits all school, to determine access to water and cause to be prepared a School Water Access Action Plan in coordination with the relevant Ministries. The school Water Action Plan must provide sufficient access to water for the development of school Nutrition Gardens. Dams and Irrigation systems are paramount if the New Competency Curriculum can facilitate the practical learning of agriculture as a subject.


The Committee’s main goal was to respond to the petition on the basis of the demands made by the Petitioner and report back to the august House. Additional objectives were to;

Appreciate the challenges being faced in the implementation of the School Feeding Programme and to offer recommendations for policy improvements.


The Committee conducted field visit to purposively selected schools in Matabeleland South, Bulawayo Metropolitan and Matabeleland North, in line with the dictates of the petitioners.

The Committee had discussions with School Development Associations, parents and teachers. In addition, the Committee also interacted with children and observed pupils as they go through the actual feeding processes.

Although the petition made reference to SFP in Matabeleland and Metropolitan, the Committee took advantage of the field visits to schools to assess compliance and implementation of the Standard Operating Procedure for COVID 19 pandemic.

The Committee split into two teams and the other team took the opportunity to investigate the SFP in Masvingo, Manicaland and Mashonaland.

Team A




Sitez Primary


Matabeleland South

Mhali Primary


Bulawayo Metropolitan

Zibungululu Primary


Matabeleland North

Fudu Primary


Matabeleland North

Nyongolo Primary


Matabeleland North


Team B




Matriore Primary



Mashonjowa Priamry





Mashonaland West

Bondamakare Primary


Mashonaland East



Mashonaland Central


Committee Findings

– Contributions towards relish, foreign currency required and majority of parents cannot afford.

– Sustainability and frequency of food distribution was cited as a huge challenge for most beneficiary schools.

– Challenges to collect the food stuffs from Government offices

– Government only providing maize and/or rice without any relish

– Parents bearing the burden to meet procurement of relish and other ingredients.

– In the Southern region, only Mashonjowe Primary School was implementing the school feeding programme


– Water availability situation throughout the schools visited shows a dire situation.

– At Mhali and Sitezi Primary, availability of water constrains the preparation of food and learners were requested to bring their own water to school

– Firewood was the main source of energy for cooking and particularly women were tasked to bring the firewood,

– At Bondamakare Primary School, the SFP was not functional because firewood and water was a challenge in addition to food.


– Committee noted that those who prepare food did not go through any medical examination, posing a serious health disaster to the pupils.

– Learners bring their own utensils e.g. at Sitezi Primary while other schools have their own utensils e.g. at Mhali Primary in Bulawayo Metropolitan.

– Some schools expressed ignorance of the SFP, like Mhali School where the school Administration did not have clarity on those who cook, and did not have an idea where the food comes from.

– At Bosbury Primary School, the school authorities noted that there was no specific staff employed to cook the food hence they relied on parents from the community.

Majority of the schools visited indicated that labour was a serious challenge that affected the smooth running of the SFP.


Whilst the field visits were conducted during the pinnacle of COVID-19 pandemic, the SFP appeared to be implemented in a normal way. A situation which confirms that the Standard Operating Procedures do not specify new means of implementing the SFP.

The SFP was placing an extra burden on women both in urban and rural areas who are being requested to cook for pupils on voluntary basis as well as providing firewood and relish.

The SFP is discriminatory on the basis of contributions. Children with parents who were failing to contribute towards transportation costs, among others, were being denied food, thereby working against the principles of SFP.

Structural unavailability of portable and clean water within school premises affected the preparation and serving of food and in some cases schools were using water that is not safe for drinking and an example is Sitezi Primary School.

That food supply is inconsistent thereby affecting the full implementation of the programme.

Schools were facing the challenge of relish and this was affecting the provision of a balanced nutritious diet.

The SFP is currently being implemented for primary schools only and that secondary school learners are not benefitting which is inconsistent with the policy.


The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education should commission a proper evaluation study of the SFP and report the findings to the august House before first term 2021 schools open.

The Standard Operating Procedures should be reviewed to take into account the SFP and outline clearly the process that should be followed in food preparation in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic before first terms 2021 schools open.

The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education should consider procuring instant and prepared food such as porridge and mahewu to eliminate vigorous challenges of preparing food, unpaid labour, and energy unavailability and ensure adherence to the COVID-19 regulations by 30 June 2021.

Going forward, the Ministry should run tenders for producing and delivering of food requirements to the schools to avoid burdening parents with transport costs and subsequent discriminations.

That for vulnerable communities, secondary schools should benefit from the programme to ensure that learners attend school and reduce structured poverty by 30 June 2021.

The Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare should reserve an allocation of food distribution to schools in vulnerable communities by 30 June 2021.

That the SFP in its current state was ineffective and unsustainable.

There is need for a comprehensive review of the SFP to take into account new developments including the challenges of COVID-19 pandemic, as such, the following should be considered.

Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga presented a sample of the instant porrige meant for the school feeding programme to the Hon. Speaker to taste.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Yes, it is delicious and no sugar is required. I wish I was a pupil. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –

HON. JOSIAH SITHOLE: Thank you Hon. Speaker Sir, I rise to express my views over this petition from WOZA and the report that was presented by our Chair for the Portfolio Committee on Primary and Secondary Education, Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga…

THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order! Can I educate you a little bit? I am seeking your permission – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – No, no, no, where you are.


THE HON. SPEAKER: Yes. When you rise, you simply say that, you rise to second the motion.

HON. JOSIAH SITHOLE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I rise to second this motion from a petition by Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) that has been presented by the Portfolio Committee on Primary and Secondary Chairperson, Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga.

Mr. Speaker Sir, the issue of the Feeding Programme in schools was introduced by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education with the hope of trying to improve attendance of children in schools. Some children were found not to be attending school due to hunger especially in years when we would be having poor harvest. The Ministry did a lot to try and make sure that this programme would set off by having structures all the way from Head Office to school levels. There are structures that are there from Head Office, provincial, district up to school level. There are structures that were put in place to make sure that the Feeding Programme was going to be a success.

However, these structures have encountered a lot of challenges. Some of them being their failure to see the upper structures going down to the grassroots to see what was happening there because when people are not supervised, usually the thing does not work well. We observed that the food that was being provided in schools was of no nutritional value. The concept of nutrition was not there because usually they just got the grain and in some cases there was simple rice and there was nothing to add on. The type of relish that the children were being fed was usually very inadequate to the extent that schools had to request parents to augment the efforts that were being made by the Ministry.

We finally discovered that there were also challenges where children who could not bring relish would be exempted from getting food that had relish. So discrimination started all the way from there. You would also find that the exercise focused mainly on primary schools when in fact at secondary level, those who are in Form 1 or Form 2 would have longer distances to schools compared to those in primary school. These pupils would need food to have enough energy to navigate the long distances to school. So this was again a challenge that was not addressed and the parents who were taking turns to prepare the food would also have their own domestic chores at home. In some cases, the parents would not come to prepare the food and as a result, some children would go without the food – that would be bad for them as they would be expecting to have that food for the day.

We also discovered that where children were requested to bring relish, they were bringing different types of relish and the way that the relish was stored was risking the health implications of the relish. You find that children just enter the classroom and place their relish in the classroom waiting for a meal that would be prepared around 1100 hours or 1200 hours. You know, for those who would have come from long distances, the relish might have been prepared the previous night and children would be made to consume relish that is no longer in a good state. So that was another challenge that we also discovered.

Those who decided to make parents pay, they would ask for a Dollar from the children. So when a child could not get a Dollar then automatically the child would be exempted from having food. Here we would now see a situation whereby those who are critically in need because a child who cannot get a Dollar simply means that he/she is coming from a poor family and such a child would not have food and that discrimination was bad for the children. Some of the parents would simply say, ‘I am not going to pay. My child will not eat since they said that if you do not pay, then you do not eat.’ So parents in a way were also neglecting their children because they were not paying for the relish that was required there.

We also discovered that the cooks who were preparing the food were not medically examined in the majority of cases. When people prepare food for children and there is no medical examination, that can actually cause problems to the children and we actually encountered such a scenario. One time when we were touring as a Committee, we discovered that when we spoke about school feeding in the urban centres, they were not as excited as their rural counterparts. They would simply say that, ‘I will provide my child with better food than what you want the children to eat.’ So it was another situation where we found variations here and there.

Mr. Speaker Sir, we also expect that what has been put forward by the Chair to have some pre-cooked food is a good suggestion particularly for urban centres where you find that such foods are readily available. This would be a good move so that we do not have situations where we continually ask parents to come and prepare food for the children. During our time, when we were going to Form 1, we used to have what was called soup – just having something which is prepared. Some of these suggestions would be good for us.

I strongly believe the feeding programme has to go on in our schools, particularly starting with rural areas because the ECD concept is now part and parcel of the primary and secondary education sector where we have to get the little children who need to be fed. They should get a warm meal at least once a day and that will make them want to attend school. I thank you.

*HON. MUCHENJE: I want to thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for the opportunity which you have given me to add my voice on the motion on school feeding at primary and secondary schools. I want to touch on the benefits of school feeding. It is very important to feed the school children at primary and secondary schools because most of the times there is not enough food at their homes. Some of the kids are being taken care of by grandparents. The HIV pandemic claimed a lot of people and therefore many kids became orphans. Some kids lack food but they are able to go to school and therefore, it is important for kids to be given food at school. The provision of food at school also acts as an immune booster because they will be fed during learning time.

We also have challenges with the school feeding programme. The parents who go to prepare this food, it means during the farming season they are not able to go to farms. Even if they have other programmes which they are expected to do, it means they are not able to do that because they will be spending more time at school preparing the food.

The Chairperson of the Committee also touched on the issue of firewood which is used to prepare food. Cutting down of trees leads to deforestation and environmental degradation. There is a lot of cutting down of trees to prepare this food using firewood especially in the rural areas, which means we are going to face a lot of problems in terms of climatic change. There are also schools in the rural areas which do not have tapped water. Some of the water for cooking is fetched from unprotected wells. Even those who go to prepare food at the schools, they are not hygienic enough to prepare the food for children. Therefore we must look at the issue of hygiene.

We also look at the area where the food is being prepared at. More often than not, those who are poor end up being the least in class because they will be suffering from hunger and they feel shy to participate in class because their parents would have arrears in schools fees. For a child to perform well in the class they must be well looked after at home.

Hon. Porusingazi having passed between the Chair and the Hon Member speaking.

In rural areas the people who prepare food for school children are the same people who stay in those areas. These people can refuse to give food to the other parent’s child because they are not in good books back home. It can be a challenge and leads to poisoning of the kids. Therefore, I say for the school feeding programme to be administered very well, firstly we must also examine and suggest that the programme be done by the Ministry. Community health workers at home must look at the issue of hygiene. Those are the people who must be able to select parents who are going to prepare food for the school children.

Cooking of beans consumes a lot of firewood and therefore schools must buy a case of baked beans and prepare food for the kids without cutting down trees. It is very imperative for every rural school to have a school garden. At that same school you may get vegetables, tomatoes and onion which will help a lot in preparing the food for the kids. Sometimes schools can have a farm which can grow green mealies.

I attended school at Nyandoro, Chembira and proceeded to Highfield High. We were given mahewu and two buns for no charge. You would simply go and stand in the line and get mahewu and a bun. At secondary school you were requested to bring five cents. This arrangement can help a lot for kids to have food which is hygienic because the Ministry would be the one responsible for buying food and distribute to schools. Those community health workers would be able to guide in terms of selection of those who are going to distribute food. Chemicals are needed for cleaning the utensils and there must be a feeding room at school and where food is prepared. They must be able to have a shed at school where children would sit while they are being fed. This will help a lot. Some of the issues have already been mentioned. Those are the few things that I saw are pertinent on the issue of school children feeding programme. I thank you.

(v)*HON. MURAMBIWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I want to thank you for giving me this opportunity to debate on the issue of the school feeding programme. Mr. Speaker Sir, the issue of the feeding programme is a crucial issue which Government should proceed with because it encourages school children to continue to go to school energetic and they will be able to read and prosper in their studies. Some of the issues have already been mentioned….

*THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Murambiwa, we wanted to see if you are properly dressed. You may proceed.

(v)*HON. MURAMBIWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I was saying most of the time some children fail to attend classes whilst they will be doing other jobs without eating anything. Therefore, the school feeding programme is very crucial. For this programme to be successful there must be uniformity amongst all the schools. What is done at one school must the same as for other schools.

There must be shelter at every school where food is prepared and where children are going to be feeding from. For the school feeding programme to proceed well, there must be enough workers to prepare food for the particular number of children to be fed. This helps the programme to move smoothly.

Schools must buy utensils so that those preparing the food have enough material to use on preparing the food, not to ask the parent who is assisting with the preparation of food to bring utensils. Some of the parents who are asked to bring utensils for the preparation of food they do not have enough utensils in their households. Some do not even have a clay pot. Therefore, it is crucial to have school utensils to be used at schools.

For the feeding programme to be successful, relish must be provided for the food to be consumable. Pre-cooked foods are some of the food needed to be incorporated in the school feeding programme because they are easy to prepare and it takes less time. With these few words Mr. Speaker Sir, I thank you affording me this opportunity.

HON. T. MOYO: Good afternoon Mr. Speaker Sir. I wish to add my voice on the motion raised by my Chairperson Hon. Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, seconded by Hon. Josiah Sithole on the visits, the tours which were done by two groups. I happen to have been in Team B which toured Manicaland, Masvingo and Mashonaland. Observations by the Committee, if one was to look at the observations done in Matabeleland and those done in Mashonaland, one would superimpose we came up with the same findings. Mr. Speaker Sir, it is important to applaud the First Lady for the invaluable role that she has played in our schools, from fumigation in the schools and also the role she has played in assisting on the feeding programme. She has donated hampers through Angel of Hope Foundation to some of our schools in Zimbabwe. We want to commend her for such humanitarian work, philanthropic work that she is doing.

Secondly, I need to justify the importance of the feeding programme. Firstly, according to a psychologist called Maslow, in his model, he came up with hierarchy of needs and the highest is called self actualisation stage. For a child to get to self actualisation stage, the potential of that child will be realised when physiological needs are put in place. What do I mean by physiological needs? We are looking at food, we are looking at security. The ambiance in the school should be conducive for effective education to take place. It is important to note Mr. Speaker Sir, that no child will learn when he or she is hungry. I need to applaud the Government for the school feeding programme. Do not worry about the modalities of the programme but in essence, on paper and in theory it is very important to feed our children especially in the rural areas. I happen to represent Gokwe-Chireya in this House. We have some of our students who travel for 4 to 5 km on foot where there are no commuter omnibuses to schools. By the time they get to the school, they will be hungry and anyone who would practice pedagogical, andragogical methods which are modern which would ensure that there is effective learning taking place in a school; without food, that child will not progress and he will fail. Without water that child will not perform well. So in this case we are saying it is very crucial and important to have this feeding programme.

THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Member simplify the jawbreakers please, ‘pedagogical and andragogical’.

HON. T. MOYO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, I was referring to methods of teaching. So, according to Maslow Mr. Speaker Sir, for a child’s potential to be realised, those fundamental basic needs should be fulfilled. So the Government has done a positive development to provide the feeding programme. However, there are challenges associated with the feeding programme. When I went to a school in Chimanimani, we discovered that there was a team of 5 people, one male four women who were taking part in the preparation of the food. All of them had not been tested for COVID-19 and that was a big mistake and we advised the district staffing officer who was there that those support staff were supposed to be tested as a mitigatory measure against the spread of COVID-19.

Another justification Mr. Speaker Sir, according to Sustainable Development Goal No. 2, it focuses explicitly on food by seeking to end hunger. In this case we are saying it is important to provide food as a nutritional value so that we do not have our children fainting at school. There are children who faint at school because of hunger. Some of them may also develop kwashiorkor, but now the challenge is the ministry does not provide the relish. So, to use Hon. Nduna’s words, it is my clarion call Mr. Speaker Sir that the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development headed by Hon. Prof. M. Ncube should set aside some funds for the procurement of relish. In my constituency, I remember receiving several letters where SDC members wrote to me asking for cooking oil, beans and vegetables. I was happy to donate, but not to all the schools in my constituency. I remember donating to at least 5 schools which I can name, but because of time I may not be able to name all of them.

Mr. Speaker Sir, the issue of running water is also very important for the success of this programme. I remember Hon. Prof. Ncube saying that schools without water must not open…

THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, please cite the full name of the Hon. Minister.

HON. T. MOYO: Hon. Prof. M. Ncube, when he came for oral evidence, he said the Government was making a deliberate effort to provide water in all schools and they have a budget for that. So we are saying we want to appeal to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development to provide adequate resources so that there is running water. The team that prepares food will not have challenges of diseases spreading because of lack of water.

Finally Mr. Speaker Sir, we noticed in some schools, I will give an example of Gandavacheche Primary School in my constituency, they received 160 bags of grain from the Grain Marketing Board, but because the School Development Committee did not have resources to buy relish, the bags were dumped in one of the classrooms. What did the headmaster do, he ended up stealing those bags. I understand 2 tonnes of grain was stolen by the headmaster and we had to intervene and he was transferred from the school after he had made restitution for the grain that he had stolen.

Finally the issue of transport consideration is very important that the schools should also be provided with resources to transport grain from the Grain Marketing Board so that we do not burden the parents or School Development Committees. On that note Mr. Speaker Sir, I thank you for the time that you have afforded me.

HON. DR. KHUPE: Thank you Mr. Speaker, let me also add my voice to a motion raised by Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga on a petition which was put forward by WOZA on the feeding scheme. Mr. Speaker Sir, education is the foundation of any child and of any country – so in order for a country and of any country. In order for you to build a strong country you need a strong foundation and that strong foundation is primary education. Primary education is a foundation because after primary education, children go to secondary and then tertiary. So like what other Hon. Members said earlier on, a hungry child Mr. Speaker Sir never focus, they never concentrate.

As long as the child goes to school and they do not have anything to eat, you are wasting our time. What kind of a foundation are you building? They will never focus and concentrate. I am saying this Mr. Speaker Sir to add to what other Hon. Members said, Government must prioritize education particularly the feeding scheme. Enough money must be allocated to education, particularly the feeding scheme. For me this cooking business, I do not support it at all because of the hygiene issues involved. I did my grade 1 in 1970, 51 years ago Mr. Speaker Sir and 51 years ago at 1000hrs during break time we were given milk – umkara and Pronutro, 51 years ago. Looking at those years right children are failing to get food in schools after independence, it leaves a lot to be desired. We are a very rich country which is endowed with enormous resources and those are the resources which are supposed to be used to feed our children so that we build a strong foundation.

These are serious issues that we must be talking about as a country. Like I said, we are building a foundation. How do you build a foundation which is weak when your children are going hungry? You are asking parents to contribute to a feeding scheme when they do not have money to feed their families at home and you expect them to contribute towards a feeding scheme. Where are they expected to get that money from? Many of the families live in abject poverty. They cannot even live on a dollar per day; they do not have a dollar in their names and you cannot expect them to then contribute towards a feeding scheme because they do not have food in their own homes. This must be the responsibility of Government to make sure that school children are fed. This is the reason why we are saying enough money must be allocated to education, particularly the feeding scheme so that we know that our children will have food. Those who are disadvantaged, even ifthey come from their homes where there is no food but they know that they will come to school where they will have food and they will focus. I know if I am hungry, all I will be thinking about is what time are we going to be knocking off so that I go home, maybe I will find something to eat or I will find something on the way. This is what children do. So, we would like to implore on Government to say can you allocate enough money towards feeding scheme.

Let us support packs which Hon. Misihairabwi brought here, this cooking business does not work. That instant porridge is what Government must be buying. This is why I say they must allocate enough money and make sure that they distribute to all schools. Everything else Mr. Speaker Sir, must stop. I propose that everything else can stop but let us make sure that we feed our children so that we build that strong foundation. Without that what are talking about? Without education a child is nothing. You want children to just go to school, they finish Grade 7, they get zero. You want them to go to Form 1, they get zero; you want them to go to Form 4, zero. What future are they going to have? Youths are the future citizens of this country. What kind of children are we bringing up? Are we building a future for our children? No, we are not doing that. Mr. Speaker, with these few words, I would like to support Hon. Misihairabwi for this report.

Let us go for this instant porridge. Let us budget for it. Enough money must be budgeted for. If there is not money they must virement, I do not know where they are going to get the money from. We have got gold, diamond and we have got whatever. This must be done as a matter of urgency. We want every school to be given those food stuffs as a matter of urgency so that our children are able to focus, concentrate, and they are able to build a strong foundation for this country because that is the country which can prosper. If a country has a weak foundation it does not prosper but if a country has got a strong foundation it prospers. So we want to build a strong country with a strong foundation and our foundation is education for our children. So feed our children, we do not want our children to go hungry. I thank you.

*HON. ZEMURA: Thank you Mr. Speaker sir. I would like to thank you for giving me this opportunity to talk on the issue of school children which was raised by the Education Committee, chaired by Hon. Misihairabwi and seconded by Hon. Sithole. We become emotional because we were denied access to what we were supposed to get. We used to carry boiled dried maize (mangai) to school. We would hide our food in the bush because we were not allowed to bring those food stuffs in classrooms. What she told us here is due to research they carried out. During our time we would carry boiled dried maize, some with ground nuts and the like. We are now in 2021- in 1960, I was doing Sub B and by then I would go to check my lunch and it would have been eaten by cattle. It was not a good experience at all and I would go to school crying.

The problem was, there was no classroom to store our lunch boxes, we had to leave our lunches in the bush. Now, we are in a year of change. We cannot continue with what happened to me, I do not want my grandchildren to experience what I experienced in school. I want them to experience something better when going to school.

Our local companies are being given an honour because they are being asked to manufacture this instant porridge for school children. This in a way is empowering our companies because National Foods can manufacture those food stuffs but export to South Africa and Mozambique. During my time, we used to drink beans soup at school. I drank that when I was in Form 1 because Grade 1 to 7, I did it in the rural area there was nothing like that. When I was in Form 1, I was in town that is where I tasted crushed beans soup. When you drink that soup you will be full for the whole day.

We are farmers most of us and companies are there. We have realised that if we task our companies to manufacture this instant porridge it is quick to prepare. Yes, it was good for them to cook, it was then. I also at one time donated cabbages to schools in Murehwa South because they were failing to feed children due to lack of relish. When we implement this, the responsible Ministry will take over the task of buying that instant porridge which is produced locally.

The research that was carried out by this Committee will uplift us to a higher level. I thank you as a Committee because of your wisdom to realise that locally produced farm produce can help our children in school so that they are fed. As I speak, I notice that those people who used to steal beans meant for school children will not steal this porridge because each packet will be for one child so there will be nothing to steal. The way we do things cause some people to steal. Some of them take those things saying that we are entitled because we are working for nothing. We are now moving towards what we really are. Zimbabweans are said to be the most educated in Southern Africa. When we take this route of providing instant porridge to our school children we will be in the right direction, which is equivalent to the level of our education.

Time which was spend on cooking – some even volunteer to be in the cooking committee because they will be after benefits. We do not do these programmes so that people benefit. Our country is poor but we should do it for school children. These days the First Lady, Auxillia Mnangagwa is donating uniforms in schools. Imagine buying uniforms for the whole school but she is doing it. So the Ministry should take up that responsibility to tangible works, especially feeding programmes. We no longer want to see donation of cabbages; we no longer want to be donations of beans, we now want processed foods that are milled or ground.

I know of ladies that were in the cooking committees that would even use the spoon to test the food and would stir the food again. This has been revealed by the Committee. We should stop our bad behaviour or habits and have better habits that are hygienic. As an educated nation, we should not have a situation where a child spends the whole day going hungry and at the end of their Grade Seven, attain a chain of low grades. We will be wasting their time and the resources. Let us help our children to be educated in a proper manner. It is better to have an educated population that is unemployed than having an illiterate population. Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity Hon. Speaker.

HON. T. MLISWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, thank you very much for allowing me to contribute to this debate. I listened to the debate on the petition by WOZA. WOZA is doing a good job and the presentation by Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga was good. You always raise the bar – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – keep up the good work and we are inspired.

Let us talk about the GDP of this country because everything that we are saying here is about resources, it is about money. The GDP of this country is $20 billion, the Poverty Datum Line (PDL) is $10 000 to $15 000 or US$150 per family of six. This is the source of the problem. Hon. Moyo articulated this well when he said that pupils are hungry but there is also no teacher who can teach when they are hungry. So, it is one thing having a class full of students who are well-fed. What about the teacher? We did not look at this from a holistic point of view. What is critical is to be able to look at this holistically. I would have loved a situation where we are also able to look at the teachers because this talk about the effects of lack of food, we cannot miss out the teachers in this.

For me, we need to include a lot of Ministries. These are the Ministries which I noted which need to be involved in this; the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement, Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development, Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation and the Ministry of Energy and Power Development. Basically, what I am talking about is an entire portfolio of all these Ministries involved. We have a situation where, whilst you expect the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education to provide the food, it tells you the money has not come in from the Ministry of Finance.

In all this, I also have a soft spot for the disabled. My question is, if the able bodied are not able to get food, what about the disabled? They have no means of working, we do not have schools for them and they have got to go to those schools. Where are they in this matrix? They are 10 to 15% of the population and if these ones who are able bodied are not getting the food, we might as well say the disabled will starve to death. What initiatives are being done in ensuring that there is prioritisation as Hon. Khupe said? The key issue is that we need to understand what makes this country tick. We need to understand that Zimbabwe is where it is because of its educational reputation. We are known to be a resource for human capital but that resource is fast diminishing because of the structures and foundation not being laid properly. Hon. Khupe spoke about the foundation that education is key to whatever we do but right now, we blame the teachers for bad results yet we all agreed that we cannot have good results when pupils are starved.

Hon. Moyo, with his prowess in the education sector, was able to articulate clearly Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and it has to be balanced. Where it is not balanced, do not expect anything Hon. Speaker Sir. Let us not expect to get ten tonnes yield when you have put no fertiliser in the crop. So, this is what we are expecting. We are expecting miracles when clearly the whole structure from the foundation is not there.

Prioritisation – when we sit in the post budget, what are we doing? We seem to be a nation which likes to talk, no implementation and it is becoming the order of the day. We will have a generation consensus one day which will say these leaders failed us and that is coming. I have always said that if you are a politician like me and you analyse, the generation which was 18 at the 2018 elections and one which was 29 by the 2018 elections, I calculated, we are looking at over two million. Let us say half of them register to vote, what will they vote for. Forget about our generation; we have been discarded. This is a matching generation which is coming through. In 2013, the youth vote was 5% and in 2018 it was 30%, 2023 it will be 55 to 60%. We are not youths and we are not advocating for the things which make them be what they are. This is a warning to the politicians today.

I see the circus we play but there is a generation which has reached a consensus. If I talk to my daughter, she says what are you still doing in office. The children of the war veterans have started insulting their own parents, why did you go to the war. They speak a different language. How many of them are graduates but have no jobs? So let us go back and say how many graduates do we get a year and calculate that by the years where there has been unemployment. So, it is a wave which is coming and I thought I would share this but it is because we are failing. Basically, what we are looking at Mr. Speaker, is a generation which is growing which is angry. This is because firstly, they did not eat when they went to school. They failed and when they fail they do not blame themselves and they cannot blame their parents. The parents have got nothing to give because of the PDL which talks about US$150 for a family of six. It has effects on results. We went to these schools and we have got to admire; we must be able to say like the Hon. Speaker says, “chakanaka chakanaka.” We went to St Johnson School. We left home, we would be given milk coupons in class and I remember one had to choose, strawberry, banana or chocolate. I always used to get two chocolates because I had a little girl that used to like me when I was young.

Mr. Speaker Sir, it was a system which the parents paid for the coupons. Why do I talk about milk; it is the fundamental, all these that you are talking about is nothing, give kids milk. It is nutritious; it has everything, iron, protein and so forth. So why are you not talking about milk. You give a child a pint of milk – that is good enough. We all sucked milk, that is why we are where we are today. What I propose in that respect is a situation where we are able to have schools receiving deliveries of milk, they give kids milk and we solve many problems from a nutritional point of view.

Milk is hygienic because no one is cooking milk, it comes packed. We raise issues of hygiene here, when you have milk packed, there is no hygiene issue, each child is given milk and they drink it.

We have spoken about the village heads, Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga was correct in saying that the councillors and the Members of Parliament are not there. As Hon. Members of Parliament we have failed to push for that, there is a deliberate attempt on even the Executive not to involve us in Government programmes when it comes to one’s constituency. You will only hear that the Minister was here and he is gone. We meet in Parliament and they do not tell you that they are coming.

Now, the traditional leaders become more visible, that is why at the end of the day when there is a distribution of such a scheme which is Government oriented, the councillor, the Member of Parliament and Senator are not there. Why are we not invited to be there? We now end up giving power to traditional leaders because the people who were voting are saying it is the traditional leaders who are giving us food. Why is it that Members of Parliament are never involved in Government programmes in their constituencies? That is something that we need to be very clear about because we will end up allowing a situation where we allow people to be gods when it is not supposed to be like that. This is a Government scheme and as such, it is important that Members of Parliament be involved.

The World Food Programme is a good institution which has delivered, well known and tried. Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga talked about all these nutrients, foods which were there; I would say why not empower the women in the local communities in the rural areas making this until beneficiation and they are the ones who are supplying. The INSCORs and the National Foods of this world have made the money but the women are being left out – this is where the Ministry of Women Affairs comes in with a budget to say whatever you are supplying to the schools, the Ministry will pay; so that the empowerment of women is there in these areas, where they are making the food there is an inspection in terms of hygiene and in terms of the health officers. Therefore, let us see this as an empowerment initiative for those who are coming through.

When did these programmes start and why did it start – because we had a drought. In a drought, how do you then tell this family is doing well and this one is not doing well? There is the Social Welfare which is responsible for dealing with child headed families, the vulnerable, the elderly, the chronically ill and so forth – what is their database saying about this? To me, social welfare is doing its job, they must know that at Hon. Minister’s house, at Hon. Khupe’s house there are kids there who need food and the food is brought through. An arrangement just to say how many people get maize and goods from social welfare that should be packaged. We are now turning these schools into cooking schools and not into education schools. It is not sustainable to continue on this programme the way we are going about it.

I commend the First Lady for the humanitarian work but it is not sustainable, you give me bacon and chips today and tomorrow you do not come. I will end up saying where is it? Let us be careful because some of these programmes will end up having our leaders hated. If I have good food today, I want to eat everyday. What the First Lady is doing is complementing but it is not sustainable. She does a good job in encouraging, that I agree, I support but the sustainability of a programme is the one that measures the success.

So it is important to appreciate what the First Lady is doing but as soon as she is gone, who is following behind. Where are the women? The First Lady is an example saying, women this is what you must do. The Proportional Representation women, where are you? All you do is clap hands when she is there and when she goes you disappear. I know PR Members of Parliament who are working like Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga, Hon. Mavetera but some are not. I am challenging every PR Member of Parliament to start a scheme through the CDF.

The corporate social responsibility companies are sleeping. What are we doing to engage them to be part of these? How many mines are in Gokwe and other areas? May we be getting the OK’s and TM’s of this world to be able to contribute to this scheme?

Finally, Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to say that this has been a good petition. It exposes a lot and I think there is a corrective measure that needs to be taken. I would like to thank Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga once again, the seconder, Hon. Sithole and the Portfolio Committee for bringing this to the fore because we have a lot of work to do.

Those gardens that you say you do for the children, the teachers feed on them, so ultimately they do not achieve anything. Let us also be careful not to encourage malnutrition because you give them starch and there is no protein. Maize comes and there is no beans, what diets are we saying the children must have porridge everyday without peanut butter and so forth.

Let us take corrective measures but it is certainly a good petition because it does expose a lot of systems in Government and for it to be successful, they all need to be in it so that it is a sustainable programme. It also needs inter-ministerial committees working together pulling the same direction and providing resources at the same time.

Once again, Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga, you did well in exposing these, what you did in terms of the presentation, certainly makes us to be proud of who we are as Parliament, especially being women’s month. Hon. Khupe spoke like a mother, so may this month be the one that changes our children because you cannot be a mother when the children are not happy. Let us feed out children. I thank you.

HON. MAVETERA: Thank you very much Hon. Speaker for this opportunity. I really want to commend and thank Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga for such a splendid presentation and indeed, she has really set the tone when it comes to presentations here in Parliament and I am going to follow suit. Well done Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga. Let me also commend the Committee for also taking it upon themselves to be looking at one pertinent issue which I am sure is also very well for us going forward as a country.

I just thought that I should add my voice with a few issues. The first one Hon. Speaker Sir, is the issue that I thought I also needed to commend what Her Excellency Amai Mnangagwa is doing. What Her Excellency is doing is that she is trying to encourage women so that they can get involved when it comes to the school feeding programme. She is trying to set the tone when it comes to what is expected even in terms of putting on uniforms at school. So I think that it has to be very clear that what she really wants to do is to try to encourage and at the same time trying to let people understand what they are supposed to be doing. I think we really need to commend and thank her for also re-introducing this thought that had well gone out of people’s minds when it comes to the school feeding programme.

Let me go on and talk of what Hon. Misihairabwi did here. She gave us this ‘fast food’. When we talk of instant, we need to appreciate that something instant, many a time is more or less like fast food. Now my issue that I thought I needed to talk about is, I am looking at the nutritional component of this. I am very glad that when Hon. Sithole came through, he also stated that there is that aspect of the nutritional component which is very important. My question then comes to say, when we have instant porridge that is there, what nutritional value are we giving to the children?

We need to go on the fundamentals here. What was the reason for introducing the school feeding programme? In my view, I think the reason was because we needed to keep our children healthy. However, when I look at the instant porridge, I was elated that when I then queried Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga, she informed me that if you look at the ingredients there is now peanut butter. So what it means is that peanut butter is being added into the instant porridge. If that is the case, it now means that for me I feel that yes, it has got the nutritional value because when we are looking at that, at least it has peanut butter.

However, these were my options; I remember that Hon. Khupe and Hon. T. Mliswa also mentioned it. When we were growing up, we used to have milk and now I think that there is need for us to have that option as well, mukaka nemabhanzi that is what we used to know as we were growing up. When you look at it now, what is the advantage of having that mukaka and mabhanzi? Are you aware that when they were presenting, they informed us that there is the issue of the health aspect? If we are going to be having mukaka, what it then means is that there is no looking for firewood so that you can then ensure that there is that hot meal.

Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga also mentioned about WHO having a guideline that states that a child should have a nutritional meal that has to be warm. Now my issue then comes to say, if it has to be warm, why then do we have to be giving it at school? Why can they not go and be able to have that hot meal at home since we still have the issue of health being put into play. There is that issue whereby we now have to look for firewood and get the people who are going to warm that water so that we can prepare this instant porridge. My thinking is that we need to really look at this and also add the issue of having milk and mabhanzi; that is my thinking.

I also thought that, I am looking at this porridge and I take porridge everyday Hon. Speaker Sir. My question now comes to say, zvinogara here mudumbu because at the end of the day, we want the child to be able to concentrate. So my thinking was, if you look at what milk does and you also look at what mabhanzi will do, my thinking would be, zvinomboti garei mudumbu mai mwana but when you look at this now, my issue says – does it really stay? These are questions that I think we need to get responses from Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga and her team so that we come up with a decision here in Parliament or come up with a recommendation that I think will not leave a lot of words outside.

Hon. Speaker Sir, let me continue and also talk about the issue of the hot meal. The hot meal, I understand and that is what Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga informed me that we need this hot meal. My fervent call Hon. Speaker Sir, is that if we cannot then it is better for us to then be able if it means that we do not have the capacity. Let us at least look for other options that can also be able to help us ensure that we have this. Let me look at it at the rural areas. My question then comes to say, is this cool programme really going down there to the rural areas so that it benefits all? I feel that there should not be any discrimination in any form where some people would be benefitting and others are not. There is need for us to make sure that this has to go and everyone benefits from it.

Again, when you look at the scarcity of water that we have as a country, will we be able to continue making sure that it is a healthy meal and that we will be able to make our children to access clean water when it comes to what has to be given? So my view which Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga can then be able to respond to is, I think we should go to the route of mukaka nema bhanzi. If we go that route, I think that it is quite healthy and I really want to commend them for coming up with all these options. I believe as Parliament, we can also then be able to look at all these issues, find out and come up with a solution. I feel that it is good that we get the instant porridge but another option would be mukaka and mabhanzi. I really thank Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga and Hon. Sithole for coming up with this very important response and report after the petition that was raised. I thank them and say, I hope that it will all work well. I thank you.

(v)*HON. MOKONE: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. I would like to add my voice to the report that was presented by Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga on the schools feeding schemes.

The feeding scheme is quite commendable in schools because schools accommodate children from different backgrounds. Some of the children leave their homes without eating anything but at least schools are feeding those children – it is quite commendable. However, there are a few issues that need to be addressed as regards the feeding scheme. We have to ensure that the environment where the food is being prepared is clean and also that people who are preparing the food for the minors/pupils are also clean so that we prevent the outbreak of diseases. There is also need to see how the food is preserved to prevent the outbreak of dysentery.

Again, there is the issue of schools demanding relish from parents. I understand that most of these are providing sadza to the children who in turn have to provide the relish. At times the children are asked to pay for the relish and some of them have challenges accessing money for the relish. That is a big disadvantage to the child who comes from a disadvantaged family as this is creating a system of classes whereby you start providing full meals with relish and the other one will just be given plain sadza.

The other issue is that Government has to invest much in drilling of boreholes in schools especially in Matabeleland South Province so that food is prepared. Schools also need to prepare the food in accordance with COVID-19 regulations. I thank you very much.

(v)*HON. CHIKUNI: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. I would like to say a few words with regards to the motion that is before this House. I am in total support with some of my colleagues who have debated before me. I want to thank Government and the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education for allowing schools to open their doors to learners. Most parents were eager to let their children go back to school. Yes, schools may not have all the necessary facilities to be ready to open but I would like to encourage schools to keep on improving until they reach an optimum level.

The provision of food to learners in schools is a welcome development seeing that most learners in both rural and urban areas travel long distances to get to their schools. So, I support the notion that children should be given food at schools. Most schools are receiving maize from the Department of Social Welfare but they are not being given the relish. The authorities must put in place a programme where relish is being provided at all the schools so that there is no discrimination when it comes to feeding time.

I would also like to urge community health workers to carry out inspections at all schools so that hygienic standards are maintained at all times. By so doing, this will promote the washing of hands by children so that they do not contract diseases. I thank you.

(v)*HON. PRISCILLA MOYO: I want to add my voice on the motion that is before the House concerning the provision of food for school children. We heard from the report that the Committee is in support of the idea that school children must be given porridge or a hot meal so that they do not learn on empty stomachs. While I am in support of this idea, I do not see porridge alone helping the children especially those in rural areas. Porridge is good for children in urban areas and not those in rural areas because children in rural areas travel long distances to get to school. So, I am proposing that the Ministry of Public Service and Social Welfare must provide food stuffs that are filling.

Still on the issue of food, we hear reports that some teachers may be tempted to take the maize set aside for school feeding because most schools are not provided with relish. I am urging the Department of Social Welfare to move in and make sure that there is enough relish at all schools. In addition, I would like to say that while the school feeding programme is a noble idea, school children must not make contributions towards the purchase of relish. Most parents are failing to pay school fees and I do not think they can afford to fork out an extra dollar to buy the relish. I urge the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education to monitor this programme closely so as to plug out any loopholes. If their budget is not enough they should make sure that more resources are channeled towards this programme.

Looking at where I come from, Mwenezi West, this is an area where most children travel long distances to and from school and as such, I urge Government to quickly move in so that this programme can begin in earnest. I thank you.

HON. KASHIRI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I would like to thank the mover and seconder of the motion for bringing such an important report on the petition by WOZA. There is not much to debate as a lot of points have already been debated by Hon Members that debated before me.

I would like to provoke our minds for the Committee Members led by Hon Misihairabwi in one or two instances. Firstly, as Parliament, we need to look at the budget that we are passing towards this particular scheme. Is it enough? Are we as Parliament helping in supporting that every child gets food at the end of the day? Food security is SDG 3 when you look at the UN fight to reduce hunger. As we go on, the scheme is important as alluded to by Hon Members that it increases enrolment, reduces absenteeism and also increases the health of every child.

I would like us to look for a minute to say how possible is it to decentralise this feeding scheme so that we let caterers outsource the feeding and distribution because we have heard from other Hon Members that we do not have the capacity to manage this programme. What it does is that when caterers come into the equation, it creates employment for the community because we will be getting jobs from school. The communities become part and parcel of the programme.

It might be my wild thinking that every school should get into some sort of Government’s sponsored programme. Mr. Speaker Sir, suppose a school goes into command agriculture, command maize or command soya bean programme of one acre or two acres on a school, that gives us the basic nutrition and all we will have to look for is relish. It will help on the monetary aspect side of it.

My last point Mr. Speaker Sir is we need to do an impact analysis. What has happened, have we ever carried out an impact assessment to see the impact of the feeding scheme since it started. Are we going ahead? Are we progressing? Are we stable? Are we stationary? Mr. Speaker Sir, for us to move forward, I think we need to look back and see where we have been, where do we want to go and where are we now. Mr. Speaker Sir, I conclude my submission. I thank you.

*HON. MPARIWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I would like to thank the Committee chaired by Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga for the Committee Report that was seconded by Hon. Sithole. We have received many committee reports by this Committee and we should thank them for the good job they are doing as a Committee. The Hon. Speaker previously mentioned that there are some Committees that are not performing as expected by Parliament. I would like to urge other Committees to emulate the good work by Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga’s Committee. She has done very well – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –

Still on that note, Mr. Speaker Sir, I think if there be competition for the Committee Chairpersons, I think people would work hard just as she does. Mr. Speaker, people grow maize, groundnuts, et cetera, this would make it easy for people to feed children. Where is the maize and the groundnuts? I would want to concur with what Hon. Mliswa said when it comes to food. We have to follow what has been said by the Ministry of Agriculture or the industry that it is Government’s duty to look after the vulnerable families, the elderly and the children and the disabled persons.

All those vulnerable people, especially the street kids; there is nothing called a street kid – but all these people should be looked after by the Government. I would like to touch on what was said about groundnuts and maize. We know that teachers’ remuneration is little. Last week we said they should get non-monetary benefits. I think it is important that they get bags of maize, beans and cooking oil as incentives to teach the children. We have been told that a lot of children failed their examinations but the teachers are hungry because they are not earning much. They are earning below the poverty datum line but before we get to that level, Government should also assist like what was said by the Hon. Khupe that we have to lay a good foundation for the children as are the future leaders. If we do not look after them, it will create problems. When it comes to food, I looked at the plate of food that was being served. I noticed that the food was cooked without cooling oil. It should not be just food, but food that is supposed to assist children to grow up properly like what was said by the Ministry of Labour.

I think the Ministry of Labour also has a component part to look after these children by giving them food. They should work hand-in-hand with the Ministry of Education. There is a lot that the Ministry of Public Service has to do because the Ministry of Public Service touches on everyone. They should look after everyone who is suffering, especially for those like teachers and school children. Those are the future leaders. I thank you.

*HON. TEKESHE: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I am in support of this debate, but I would like to differ a bit on the issue of serving porridge to children. Children from rural areas travel long distances so they should be served with sadza instead of porridge because some of them travel 7 to 10 km to go to school. So for them to have porridge, that would not help but those in urban areas can take the porridge. On the issue of relish, the issue of children bring relish from home does not work. I think Government should ensure that schools feed the children with game meat as relish since we have many of them in this country. This is manna from heaven. Government should look into this issue. There is also crocodile meat which is now being used by most people as relish, Government can also take advantage of this to use as relish for school feeding scheme. I thank you.

HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: Mr. Speaker Sir, if you allow me, I was going to wind up the motion.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Yes, you may proceed.

HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: Thank you very much. Let me thank the Hon. Members for supporting the recommendations that were given to us. Like we indicated, this was a petition. As you know in our laws, if it is petition – we are limited by what the petitioners would have asked us to look at. What they have asked us to look at was the school feeding of the children but we acknowledge the sentiments that Hon. Members have raised to say as we look at school feeding, perhaps let us also look at the fact that the teachers themselves may actually also be hungry. I think we will take that.

I did not almost like operate like I am marketing National Foods, this is why I did not go into detail, but if you look at the package, what they do is to make sure that their foods contain vitamin C and D. It is a product that they have deliberately made to respond to the nutrition issues that are needed. Yes, I hear that we should not be encouraging big companies like INSCOR, the lesson we have learnt as a Committee is when we have tried to procure, trying to empower communities, we have dealt with inefficiencies but mostly with issues of corruption. The money is actually there in the budget, but it is how we are using it. Sanitary wear is an example. We came here with a report where we tried to say it is about empowering – the kind of product that we got was not a product that we could use. So, in the short term, as we are getting our communities to mimic what INSCOR is doing, we believe that we need to go with something that is easy and effective.

Hon. Khupe did speak to the issue that at the very least you are able to do it very quickly. Yes, we still have a problem but if we are just going to boil water, it is different from boiling beans which starts at 3am. So we hear the recommendations that Hon. Members are giving, but we have a crisis in the schools. What we need is to at least make sure that we provide something. If we are able to add mahewu and add milk to it, it is even better. Let deal with the crisis that we have at the moment. We agreed as a Committee where Hon. Members are saying let us start with the vulnerable areas where you know this child had not eaten at all.

Hon. Khupe did speak to the issue that how do you expect this child who have not eaten anything to actually come in class and learn. So, let us deal with those whom we know are not able to get anything. I think we are coming from as a Committee is money has been allocated for this, but the way it is used may not be effective enough to give us the things that we could like to have. Like we said, we are all in agreement, if we did not have the requirements that come from UNICEF and one of the requirements is that even when you are going to give milk or you are going to give mahewu, every child will have to start with something that is warm.

This is why we are saying if we need something warm then let us start with porridge initially and let us move with mahewu. Hon. Deputy Chief Whip, I agree with you that in certain instances because children are walking long distances, by the time they get just porridge on its own may not work. What we found is that even that little thing that you are talking about sadza is not available so the question is what we can do so that at least this child gets something. For us it is what do you do in the short term, medium and long term but for now, let us think what we can do. We are not saying INSCOR is the only one that can provide this, a tender can be put out and we may be able to find that there are other people in the country that have also packaged instant food that has less burden in doing the kind of things that we are doing right now. Let me not be misunderstood to have come here to market National Foods, it is just an example of what can be done effectively. I know she keeps coming back to me and saying buns, again if they are nutritious enough, I think the idea is to find what is nutritious at that particular time and what is it that we can do. I want to thank Hon. Members for all the time that we have taken and to support us in saying this is one crucial things that needs to be done.

Like what the Hon. Speaker asked us to do, we will be raising this issue at the strategic planning meeting that we are going to have with the ministry and all your ideas will come in so that at least they look at a wide range of options that are available to make sure that our children are fed. On that note I move that this particular report be taken note of so that the Minister can come back and respond.

I move that the report that this House takes note of the Report of the Portfolio Committee on Primary and Secondary Education on the school feeding programme fact finding visits be adopted.



HON. T. MOYO: Madam Speaker, I move that Orders of the Days, Nos. 1 to 8 be stood over until Order of the Day, No. 9 has been disposed of.

HON. KHUPE: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

(V)HON. NDUNA: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: What is your point of order?

(V)HON. NDUNA: Hon. Speaker Sir, I noted that we did not get an opportunity to debate on this motion.

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: I went through all the virtual hands that were raised; I had to finish the members that are inside. They are four other members that raised hands and I announced that they are the last members on the virtual platform. Your hand was not there at that moment. Please forgive me, you will debate next time.



Adjourned debate on motion in reply to the Presidential Speech.

Question again proposed.

HON. N. MGUNI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. Good afternoon to all the esteemed Members of this august House. I thank you for affording me the opportunity to add my voice and debate the Presidential Speech as well as presenting my maiden speech. Madam Speaker Maam, please allow me to begin by notice that as a country we joined the international world to celebrate the International Women’s Day on 8th March, 2021. We remain dedicated to advocating for gender equality in all aspects of life in our society.

Madam Speaker Maam, I want to thank and pay tribute to some special women who are an inspiration and a true symbol of hope for the struggle of women issues. I would like to salute my own mentor, Dr. Thokozani Khupe, the leader of the opposition in Parliament and former Deputy Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, Hon. Paurina Mpariwa, MDC-T Chief Whip, Madam President of the Senate, Hon. Mabel Chinomona, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, South African Minister and Former Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Kamala Harris, the Vice President of the United States of America and last but not least, Ngozi-Okonjo-Iweala, the Director General of the World Trade Organisation among others.

I want to challenge ourselves as women to introspect if we genuinely are committed to achieving the 50/50 gender equality. If so, let us then desist from what we call the ‘pull her down (PHD) attitude or syndrome. Madam Speaker I stand today representing Bulawayo Metropolitan Province, the City of Kings and Queens, the second largest city of this country, with a population of 638 337 according to ZIMSTATS, 2012, while Bulawayo City Council claims the population to be about 1.2 million. It is my hope that the coming census will present a true picture of Bulawayo Province population density, so as to help in the planning, implementation of developmental programmes as well as in allocation of financial resources.

In the SONA, His Excellency the President, E. D. Mnangagwa raised a number of issues and challenges affecting our country as well as Bulawayo Province. These include among others, socio-economic challenges, environmental and ever changing climate conditions, sanctions as well as the recent global pandemic, COVID – 19.

Zimbabwe has been on national lockdown for over 12 months, with most severe period being the festive season which saw the country recording alarming increase of the COVID – 19 cases as well as deaths. The period of this lockdown had a serious impact of livelihoods because our economy is mostly informalised. We hope that the recent opening of the economy will have a positive impact on the daily lives of our people and of recent note is the procurement of the Sinopharm Vaccine which has seen most frontline workers as well as Members of Parliament being vaccinated. Also of note are the following positives on the SONA:-

· The opening of the skies to boost both domestic and international flights which will boost our tourism industry;

· The opening of schools and colleges which will stabilise our education system;

· Export increase in the first half of 2020 by 4.9, that is about 1.96 billion as compared to 1.86 million in 2019;

· The foreign receipts performing better than anticipated at 18% at the end of August, 2020, coupled by the diaspora remittances;

· The Five Year National Development Strategy which answers the question of the dilapidated infrastructure that has been debated upon by many Hon. Members in this august House;

· Road construction, modernisation and rehabilitation as an ongoing programme throughout all provinces as well answers need for Bulawayo roads that are in an appalling state;

· The ongoing reforms in the health services sector which will improve accessibility and affordability of health and medicines for all Zimbabweans.

Before I go any further, there is a myth that I would want to correct. It was being debated here about women who cook for children in school and the concern was may be the medical examination that had not been done for most of them. I would like to state that HIV/AIDS is not transmitted through cooking. When we ask people who cook to go for medical examinations, we are trying to avoid conditions that are caused by the bacteria and probably things like tuberculosis. They normally take swabs from the fingers in order to see that they do not have bacteria as they are going to handle food but HIV/AIDS is not transmitted through food.

Issues for Bulawayo – Madam Speaker, Bulawayo Province like many other provinces in Zimbabwe, has not been spared by socio-economic environmental challenges. These include the issues of water, housing, economy, corruption, de-industrialisation and road infrastructure among other issues.

Water as a basic human right -Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6) speaks to the issue of clean water and sanitation for all. The City of Bulawayo has had perennial water shortages since time immemorial. The situation worsened in year 2020. Three months into COVID -19 national lockdown, thus in June, 2020, the city embarked on a water rationing programme as a way of saving water, which saw residents going for long hours without water. It is during this period that the residents experienced diarrhea outbreak that claimed 13 lives and affected 2000 residents.

It is my hope that the Gwayi-Shangani project and pipeline will be completed as promised by His Excellency, the President E. D. Mnangagwa as it will go a long way in resolving the perennial water shortage for the City of Bulawayo and the province as a whole. Madam Speaker, please allow me to thank His Excellency President E. D. Mnangagwa for the official opening of the Epping Forest Acquifer in Nyamandlovu, following the expansion and rehabilitation programme which recently took place in the past weeks. The project will go a long way in alleviating and addressing the prevailing water shortages for the province.

Let me thank also the Almighty for the rains that we were graced with as a country. By his grace, our dams which supply the City of Bulawayo have harvested a combined 65% of water that will improve the city’s water supplies.


Bulawayo Province, like the rest of the country, has not been spared of a plethora of challenges which include fuel shortages leading to transport problems. The province and Bulawayo City council has been affected by such resulting to failure to collect refuse. This has led to residents dumping refuse and garbage in undesignated areas around the city. This has been a serious cause for concern as it is a threat to our environment. Hon. Members of Parliament have recommended to the Government to adopt a biogas strategy as a way of increasing our energy as well as addressing the environmental hazards that come with refuse. It is my hope that these recommendations will also form part of the NDS1 in dealing with electricity shortages in our country.

The issue of de-industrialisation in Bulawayo province remains a serious cause for concern. Our industries have been turned into shells and now house most churches. This development has stripped Bulawayo of her status of being “Intuthu Ziyathunga” because of the economic activities that were coming from Bulawayo. It is my hope that as we thrive to implement devolution, we move to redress the economic challenges in the province.


Madam Speaker, corruption is a cancer which has had a negative bearing to our economy as well as revenue collection. Let me commend the Government for empowering the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) and giving them a constitutional mandate to deal with corruption activities besieging our country. I call upon the Central Government to increase financial support for ZACC activities to enable the Commission to decentralise their operations in the provinces and be able to discharge their mandate effectively and delinquently. An act of Parliament must be put in place so as to protect the whistleblowers if the fight against corruption is to be taken seriously.

Shelter and Accommodation

Bulawayo is facing a housing backlog of over 100 000 units to address the issue of housing shortages. Section 28 of our Constitution empowers our arms of Legislation and local authorities to enable every person to have access to good shelter. SDG 11 also makes cities and human settlements inclusive, resilient and sustainable. The Government should look at ways of providing affordable accommodation for all including the poor of our society. These efforts have been curtailed by harsh economic conditions bedeviling our country, as well as, corrupt transactions involving land across the country. Madam Speaker, I call upon this august House to critically look into these issues in fulfillment of SDG 11.

Gender and Women

Our country joined the rest of the world in commemorating the International Women’s Day on 8th March, 2021, yet women remain faced with serious health issues as a result of inaccessibility to health facilities and services. May I applaud the Government for coming up with a policy of free maternal and child care. Whilst that is celebrated, the first port of call for antenatal booking is the local authority health care centre which still charges US$19 for the booking. This remains a challenge to most pregnant women who cannot afford such. It is therefore my sincere hope that the ongoing reforms in the health sector improve accessibility and affordability of the health and medicines for all Zimbabweans.

Whilst the national lockdown measures were a necessity and acceptable for the country to control the deadly pandemic, these had negative effects on the welfare of women who mostly irk a living through the informal sector. Most households could not afford to get food for their families, pay rentals as well as other livelihood obligations.

Let me call on the Central Government, working together with the local authorities through the devolution funds, to establish state working stations for the informal sector to allow them to carry out their businesses even during the times of crisis like this one.

According to Zimstat, the informal sector provides 94% of the country’s employment and it is the major contributor to the country’s economic activity, contributing to an estimate of at least 48% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

As the country implements NDS1, let us make it a point that women and youths are included in the manufacturing sector to drive our economy and return Zimbabwe to her rightful place, that of the bread basket of Africa. Empowering women and closing the gender gap in the whole world is key to achieving the Vision 2030 Agenda. Unemployment will be a thing of the past.

Madam Speaker, may I conclude by saying that we have ourselves to correct all wrongs and leave a good legacy for generations to come. Allow me to quote the Speaker, Hon. J.F. Mudenda. In his opening remarks in the 2017 Budget in Bulawayo, he said, “Emancipation from mental slavery by Marcus Garvey / Bob Marley depending on when you were born.” God bless you all. I thank you.

HON. M. KHUMALO: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I want to join others who debated the Presidential Speech and I am going to speak in Ndebele. Hon. Speaker Ma’am, His Excellency, the President in his SONA touched on a lot of important issues affecting our country. I would like to add my voice to the speech on the 2020 State of the Nation Address. Firstly, before I delve into the President’s speech, I would like to thank the President that when he was appointed President of the country, he managed to select a leanest Cabinet that we have ever had in this country.

If you look at Section 104 of the Constitution, Section 4 says when the President selects ministers and deputy ministers, he should take into consideration where they come from so that the whole country would be represented by Cabinet Ministers. I am glad that where I am from Matabeleland North, out of 22 Cabinet Ministers, he appointed four Ministers from Matabeleland North. If you work out the percentage, the four ministers out of 22, it is about almost three ministers which is almost 13% of 22. If he had appointed Ministers according to provinces, then it would have been two ministers per province. However, we got three ministers, which is above all other provinces.

Out of those ministers, he also appointed female ministers. I know that women are clamouring for 50% but he appointed five female Cabinet Ministers; five out of 22 is almost around 20 to 22%. This percentage according to women is very small.

We would love a scenario where there is 50% representation of women. We are happy though that 22%, although it is five in number is almost half of the 10 provinces in the country. So it means that he managed to get the 50% of the provinces in terms of provinces although it is a small number in terms of population because women make up 52% of the population in the whole country. I am also grateful that amongst the five women, one of them comes from Matabeleland North and she represents the Ministry of Women’s Affairs. I am happy that she is one of the 50% who will represent the women.

Now coming to the President’s speech, when the President presented SONA, there was a problem in the country. Prices of commodities were too high and there was devaluation of our currency since the economy was not performing well. As I speak, our currency is now strengthening. Since last year, the rate of our currency against the USD is hovering around 1:80 to 83. Since last year, prices have not gone up; they are stable. We now have a lot of our locally manufactured goods in the shops, which is a plus to the President and his Cabinet.

When the President delivered the SONA, we were in the middle of the COVID pandemic. If we compare statistics of the number of infected and deaths, our figures are very low. This is because the President and his Cabinet managed to contain the virus. Our neighbours, South Africa and even great nations like America who have many doctors and big hospitals, a lot of people have died. We are grateful that the Cabinet led by His Excellency the President, Cde. E.D Mnangagwa managed to contain the disease.

If you check the COVID 19 statistics today, the figures from March, they indicate that we have had about four deaths which is very low. I noticed that the figures started going up when the borders were opened. A lot of people were infected and the Government took a further step and closed the borders again. So I would like to thank the President for taking that bold step in closing the borders.

The President spoke about agriculture that a lot of money was going to be invested into agriculture. I am happy that if you move around the country, you will notice that a lot of people are going to get a bumper harvest because of the good rains that we received.

Farmers through Command Agriculture Programme managed to get farming inputs in time and also those in the rural areas got their fertilizers and seed though the Pfumvudza Programme.

The President, in his speech, also spoke about harnessing water. This year 2021, in Matabeleland North, we saw the President launching and commissioning the pipeline from Gwayi-Shangani to Bulawayo. His Excellency is also pushing that the Gwayi-Shangani Dam be completed this year. The Gwayi-Shangani Dam is at the boundary of my constituency and Hwange East. I managed to go there recently; the project is now 32% complete. Had it not been for COVID 19 induced lockdown, the project would have been completed. The project is being done by a Chinese company but they went back to their country during the lockdown period. The incessant rains that we experience during the rain season also affected the project. In terms of the budget, I remember when we were crafting the National Budget; we agreed that this project should be complete by December. I think if they were to resume since the funds were already disbursed, the project should be complete by December, 2021.

We need to harvest this year’s rains. As people from Matabeleland, our request is that this project should not be like the Tokwe-Mukorsi project where the dam was completed but without a master plan of what to do after the completion of the dam. That dam has a pipeline and a throwback. It is understood that the throwback will go 52 km along Shangani and some kilometers along Gwayi. It is going to displace a lot of people and they will also lose their fields. The Government should take measures to resettle those people who would have been disadvantaged.

The school children that Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga talked about are also going to lose their schools because of the displacement caused by the throw back of water along the Gwayi and Shangani Rivers.

The President also spoke about allocating funds for roads to ZINARA. I am happy that recently the President declared through his Government, that roads are now a state of disaster. The roads are in bad condition and it is difficult to go to rural areas because of the state of our roads.

Hon. Speaker, we expect a bumper harvest this year but we are worried about how the harvest will be ferried to the national silos. So I would like to request that responsible authorities expedite the refurbishment of our road infrastructure. For instance in Matabeleland North, Bulawayo and Matabeleland South, we have the Beitbridge-Victoria Falls Road that is utilised by tour operators but unfortunately, the state of that road is deplorable. The road is infested with potholes and this might affect the influx of tourists.

His Excellency the President spoke about education and I would like to say that I am happy that in Matabeleland North, we have a State university that is in Lupane. Despite its location, the enrolment of Lupane State University does not reflect local ownership as a lot of its students come from other provinces. This can be attributed to the standard of education in the region culminating from students graduating from different secondary schools that do not qualify for university studies. When you look at the staff complement in most schools in Matabeleland North, it reflects that most school heads do not speak local languages. Whether it is Ndebele, Tonga or Kalanga, most of them come from other provinces. This is because we do not have adequate colleges where local students can be trained in their respective languages. So it is difficult for local children to proceed to university since most of them fall by the wayside before graduating from secondary school.

However, we appreciate that our councils are utilising the Devolution Fund to better education standards in the region. I would also like to urge Hon. Members to inject the CDF Fund in different educational programmes so that we fulfill governmental obligations towards the empowerment of students in education. The President also spoke about power and energy which is critical in attaining a middle class economy by 2030 because this will culminate in a lot of industries that would be powered by solar, hydro and other alternative forms of energy. So my request to Government is that there should be more hydro-power stations, solar paneling and the bigger Hwange Thermal project. These projects should be well funded for the nation to be fully industrialised.

We are also happy that Hwange 7 and 8 falls under Hwange and its completion should improve the livelihoods of local people. The President also spoke about the re-engagement of the international community. In my two terms as a member of the Budget and Finance Committee, the engagement discourse has been topical with organisations like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) indicating that sanctions and other embargos would be relaxed. Hon. Speaker, I think that this is taking our precious time; we are left with two years before the next election and still speaking about re-engaging organisations that are not interested in releasing their funds to us. I support those who propose that we should look within and pool resources locally for the development of our nation because those who want to inject funds into Zimbabwe at one time were imperialists who were taking away our gold and natural resources. We have a lot of gold and other mineral resources underground which can play a critical role in developing the nation.

I would also request Government to slow down its re-engagement drive. Yes, we can engage with our bilateral friends but there are some countries which would not benefit us in any way. In view of that, I would like to urge Government to put more effort in the exploitation of our own natural and human resources. The President also spoke about several Bills that are supposed to go through this august House. I am worried Madam Speaker because we can attribute the delay to COVID-19 since Parliament was in recession for a long time which stalled a number of motions. Furthermore, I would like to urge various ministries to expedite different Bills because at the current pace, we might find ourselves going to the next election before finalising all the pending Bills.

Let me conclude by thanking Hon. Members across the political divide for the commendable teamwork because in the past things were different. We hope that this is going to be a more mature Parliament. Young people should emulate the current legislature as we leave a legacy.

(V)*HON. KASHAMBE: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am. I would like to add my voice to the motion that was presented by the Government Chief Whip, Hon. Togarepi on the State of the Nation Address.

Let me thank His Excellency the President Cde E. D. Mnangagwa who spoke about economic issues. The President launched a $12 billion mining programme which is going to benefit artisanal, small scale miners and women in mining resulting in women mining syndicates. This would also improve women’s livelihoods. I would also like to thank mining giants, particularly big companies that are empowering communities. Looking at our road infrastructure, of course, we received a lot of rains this year but there were efforts to rehabilitate most of the roads in the country, especially the Beitbridge-Chirundu highway. This is a major highway which generates a lot of foreign currency for our country as it links most countries in the SADC region.

The President also spoke about agricultural production in the country which is the backbone of this country’s economy. Government, through the leadership of His Excellency has embarked on many programmes to improve the agrarian sector. We have Command Agriculture and Pfumvudza programmes which were introduced by the Second Republic. His Excellency has managed to give each household a pack of maize seed and fertliser to improve food security at household level. This move has been bolstered by the good rains that we received this year.

I would like to touch on the economic blueprint called NDS1 which encompasses various aspects of our country. The Ministry of National Housing was tasked with the responsibility of looking at how citizens should be settled. This is will ensure that everyone is settled in a proper manner and not haphazardly. Land barons had become a law unto themselves and this was not giving a good image to our country.

I would like to thank the President for putting in place a sound currency reform in our country. Runaway inflation and price increases had become the order of the day but all disappeared when the auction system was introduced as prices of basic commodities have stabilized. The President also touched on the issue of orphans and the elderly where the vulnerable groups are given maize and food stuffs for free.

I would like to proceed while focusing on the education sector. We observe that our schools are being developed although some were closed during the COVID era. Today we have the Presidential Scholarship that is being given to less privileged students who would have excelled in their studies. With the very short time that we have, I would like to end by saying that let us be united as children of Zimbabwe and members of the same family, this is the clarion call that the President always makes.

(v)*HON. P. ZHOU: Thank you Madam Speaker Ma’am for the opportunity that you have given me to add my voice to the President’s State of the Nation Address. His Excellency, the President talked about the improvement of the economy, the fight against COVID-19 and hunger. His Excellency, the President conceded that COVID was a worldwide epidemic and Zimbabwe was not spared in the loss of lives. Loss of life in Zimbabwe is on a small scale in comparison to other nations. This is attributed to His Excellency’s intelligence and astute leadership. This ranged from legislating penalties against those who breach WHO COVID-19 regulations.

The various lockdown stages that we have gone through were supported by the people because everyone realised that they were essential life saving measures. We are also grateful for the stern measures that have been taken against pirate taxis which have now been replaced by ZUPCO buses. We need more ZUPCO buses because they cost less than pirate taxis and their customer care is excellent. Only 70 people have succumbed to COVID-19 in the Midlands Province. We give thumps up to His Excellency and his Government, thumbs up to the Ministry of Health for a job well done in ensuring that this disease does not kill a lot of people. I am a survivor of COVID-19 because of the measures that were put in place by the Government to safeguard the health of the nation. There are certain doctors that prescribed medication which is not approved by the Health Medicines Council. They should be forgiven for having done so because they were merely saving the lives of their COVID stricken patients. I am glad that Ivamectin medication that was prescribed to me is now readily available in the form of tablets.

I would like to thank the President and his Cabinet for their wisdom and astute leadership for urgently providing the COVID-19 vaccine that was availed from China. I would like to thank the Vice President who is also the Minister of Health for leading by example when he became the first recipient of the COVID-19 vaccine. Secondly, I would like to thank the Government for the projects that it has embarked on, namely Command Agriculture and Pfumvudza. The Pfumvudza project is the panacea to hunger.

In the Midlands Province, the programme was well received. God blessed us with adequate rains and we are expecting a bumper harvest through this project. I say congratulations to the Midlands Province for a job well done. Two hundred and seventy-five thousand households were required for the Pfumvudza Project, we are glad that it was oversubscribed. Agritex officials in the Midlands expect to receive 360 819 metric tonnes. Midlands annual consumption is estimated at 178 012 metric tonnes. This means that we have excess grains. We thank the President for his visionary leadership. In spite of this expected bumper harvest, there are certain pockets in our district whose crops were destroyed by the incessant rains, coupled with the lack of adequate provision of fertilizer. Turning to Kwekwe where I reside, we have sufficient amounts of small grains. The majority of the farmers who underwent this programme are women. All farmers benefited from workshops where knowledge was imparted to them in order to sharpen their farming skills.

Farmers received ammonium nitrate late. Furthermore, their fields were water-logged and became impassable. We urge the farmers to put in place contour ridges to protect the fields from water logging. Yet another challenge was the theft of the Pfumvudza implements by unscrupulous characters. Corrective measures have been taken by arresting them and taking them to court. We urge the police and court officials not to indulge in any bribery tendencies when attending to these cases. There should be no sacred cows, the law should take its own course. I also thank the NGOs that are working with Government in the fight against hunger. We would like to thank the First Lady Mai Mnangagwa and Angel of Hope Foundation for traversing the length and breadth of the country in alleviating hunger against the less privileged, orphans, the sick and the elderly. This is the women’s month and women are working so hard. I appeal that a national day be set aside to celebrate women. We urge that the 50:50 threshold be reached as soon as possible.

Lastly, for the complete success of Command Agriculture and Pfumvudza, Government should assist seed companies like SEEDCO to give their clients credit for them to buy tractors and other implements. Agritex officials should be given adequate transportation. In ending I thank the President for his vision and the measures that he has put in place for COVID-19. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.

(V) *HON. RTD GEN. DR. MURIRE: Thank you Mr. Speaker for giving me this opportunity to support the motion moved by Hon. Togarepi seconded by Hon. Mhona concerning the Presidential Speech and the economy of this country. I live in Musikavanhu Constituency and I am the Member of Parliament there. The people of Musikavanhu are thankful of the Presidential Speech in issues of farming and availability of clean water. There is a problem of food in Musikavanhu Constituency and now we have a problem that those people who give food assistance are not able to reach all areas of Musikavanhu because of political differences.

The President also talked about farming and the people of Musikavanhu rely on rains. There are no irrigation schemes and in the event that there are no rains, the people face starvation. The constituency of Musikavanhu has a lot of underground water and the Save River flows into the Musikavanhu area. This river now needs to be disilted as this is disturbing the flow of water. The constituency experiences cyclones. Recently there was a lot of rain which destroyed a lot of schools and now many children are not going to school. I want the Government to help the constituency in rebuilding these schools so that the children can get education.

On feeding programmes, I want to applaud this good initiative but in my constituency, even if the food is made available, the children do not have classrooms so that they can go and learn and be fed. I want to thank the Hon. Speaker for affording me this opportunity to add my voice on the Presidential Speech.

(V) *HON. SEWERA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, for affording me this opportunity to debate on this motion on the Presidential Speech. Firstly, I want to applaud our President for walking the talk. When he presented his Presidential Speech, a lot of things happened. He touched…

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members can you please stick to the 5 minutes.

(v)*HON. SEWERA: His Excellency touched on issues of economic development and the agricultural sector. We applaud Government’s efforts in supplying ARDA farms with irrigation schemes and a lot of crops were grown. In Murehwa West constituency, everyone is happy. Furthermore, everything is now moving in line with the devolution policy and the people in the communal lands are happy. He also talked about the fight against corruption. We are also witnessing people being arrested – illegal land barons are a case in point who sold stands in wetlands to innocent people.

On the issue of COVID-19, Zimbabwe is either the first or second country to receive COVID vaccines from China. This shows that the President has got the interests of his people at heart. As MPs, we have already been inoculated despite the unfounded claims that these vaccines would be detrimental to our health. We are fit and strong and we urge all Zimbabweans to be vaccinated. It is now clear to all Zimbabweans that His Excellency the President is now focused on the attainment of Vision 2030. I do not have much more to say, I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, for affording me this opportunity.

(V)+HON. MAYIHLOME: I would like to thank the President of our country Cde. E. D. Mnangagwa for his SONA address. Firstly, I would want to thank the President for his continuous encouragement on peace. Peace and brave leadership make things move forward in our country. We are grateful for the fact that when COVID-19 started, it was during that time when other countries were crying foul on the challenges brought about by this pandemic. Our leader gave us ideas on how we could remain safe from this pandemic. We are grateful for the fact that in Zimbabwe, we had less statistics of those that succumbed to this pandemic because of the esteemed leadership of our brave President.

This brave leadership saw the introduction of the forex auction system which brought about stability in our economy. We also appreciate His Excellency for introducing National Development Strategy I and I would also like to thank the fact that our 2021 National Budget has increased funds allocated through devolution to develop rural infrastructure.

The second thing that I would like to thank our President for is that the War Veterans Liberation Struggle Act is now law. We are grateful for the role played by the liberation fighters during the war. They will now get what they deserve and due to them. What we are asking for is that some of their dues such as pensions need to be increased. Some of the liberation fighters continue to suffer because their pension is too little. If only it could be above the poverty datum line. In addition to this, loans that are given to individuals should be introduced to liberation fighters so that they do not rely on pensions only. Back in 1980, there used to be a scheme called Government Guarantee Scheme.

The third issue Mr. Speaker Sir, is to thank the President for indicating that there will be a Youth Bill when he presented his SONA address. Youths are our tomorrow and they have a lot of things that they require. As it is, we never used to have laws like the Youth Act so we hope that the Youth Bill will be quickly put into law so that issues relating to mining, land distribution, skills development and everything that brings development to the youths is easily accessible. Our plea is that each time investment plans are made, those with money should be given incentives each time they employ the youths.

Fourthly, I would like to thank the President for the development of dams and availability of water through the Gwayi-Shangani dam. Since this dam is in Matabeleland North, the people from Matabeleland South are happy, especially those in Umzingwane because once this dam is fully functional and water is accessible in Bulawayo, it will lessen pressure on Umzingwane which used to provide water to Bulawayo and start doing irrigation schemes. We hope Umzingwane Dam will start getting fishery projects and irrigation schemes will increase.

The other important issue about Umzingwane is the need to rectify network accessibility because this is a mountainous area. There is need for strong network infrastructure to promote e-learning and mobile transactions. People from Umzingwane are left behind because of lack of network infrastructure.

The road network from Beitbridge to Victoria Falls is key to us people from Matebeleland, especially us from Matebeleland North because it gives us more revenue mostly those people who drive on this road. Right now, we are into the third year with the construction of this road but we realise that cars spend most of the time parked in people’s homes.

I would also like to thank the President for bringing the Immigration Act and policy into this SONA. Most of the people in Matebeleland do not have identity documents. Therefore, my plea to the Government is to see to it that there is a plan that is put in place to make sure that these people get access to these documents. Thank you.

HON. KASHIRI: Hon. Speaker, I would like to thank you for giving me this opportunity to add my voice on the motion moved by Hon. Togarepi, seconded by Hon. Mhona on the speech given by H.E Hon. Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa. Hon. Speaker, I would like to touch on a few major items that came out of SONA.

Top on my list is productivity, productivity, productivity. The President said that we need to produce if we have to succeed as a country or nation. We have to use what we have to look after ourselves. In his SONA, he spoke about capacity utilisation. If we fully utilise what we have we will then gain foreign currency and our foreign currency inflows will definitely increase because we have fully utilised what we have.

The President also touched on the re-engagement programme. It is of paramount importance that nations live together. There is no nation that can exist in this world alone. We need to attract friends. The friend was very clear that he was going to drive the engagement programme very aggressively, which he has done. We say thank you for the re-engagement programme which is actually going to see us on the world map.

Rehabilitation and development of public infrastructure Mr. Speaker, if we look at the energy sector, Hwange has a lot of work going on. There is the rehabilitation of the Hwange Power Station to increase capacity. There is a lot of road network that is going on. The Beitbridge-Harare Road is under reconstruction. In my constituency, there is Karoi-Victoria Falls-Binga road. This is the one that is going to link Harare to Victoria Falls via Karoi. It is going to cut the distance from Harare to Victoria Falls by almost half. That is underway and the works there are going on very well.

On the map, very soon we will be embarking on the Harare-Chirundu Highway. It is of paramount importance to note that Harare–Chirundu is also our gateway to Africa. This is a very important route and the President has promised that he is going to make sure that this road is done in the very nearest future.

I would like to touch on the agricultural programmes which were also mentioned by H.E the President, Cde E. D. Mnangagwa. The Command and Pfumvudza Programmes were very successful from where I come from. In Magunje in particular, the fertilisers came on time although we have a couple of issues where people were taking inputs and abusing them. Some were actually selling them instead of getting them in the ground for production purposes, which is not a good thing. It sorts of undermines the President. The President is talking about productivity and then someone goes and gets inputs and sells to make himself rich. It is quite a bad one.

When I speak about Pfumvudza Hon. Speaker, in Magunje it is unbelievable. If we had or could collate the figures, Magunje is a total rural constituency. There is not a single farm there but you will find that there are two GMBs in Magunje. Magunje GMB is a silo GMB and has about six major silos. We have another GMB at Mudzimu depot which is a stacking GMB. So two GMBs in a rural constituency without even a single farm, the production is unbelievable. So we want to thank the President for making sure that fertilisers come on time and Pfumvudza is a very successful programme. We wish this carries on to next year.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to touch on mining. The mining sector has grown tremendously as evidenced by the mining giants who are coming into the country scampering for our natural resources. Zimbabwe is endowed with gold, lithium, platinum and one of the biggest mining giants in the world, Alrosa coming into the country. That is through also the re-engagement programme of His Excellency. Well done Mr. President for that. This also rests well with the mantra – Zimbabwe is open for business by H. E., Hon. Dr. Mnangagwa.

Hon. Speaker, I would like to discuss the issue of prices. Transitional stabilisation came in. We ran through it and it managed to stabilise the economy and foreign currency. As we speak now, prices are stable on the market. Mr. Speaker, the foreign exchange right now is also stable. In-as-much as the other market commonly referred to as the black market, they are trying to increase those rates day by day but every week we see them failing to do that. Well done as well to the policies of the President with regard to that.

Mr. Speaker, I cannot sit down without mentioning the vision that our President, Cde. E. D. Mnangagwa has in terms of the next leadership. The next generation that is going to lead Zimbabwe are the youths. In his SONA, the President alluded to the fact that the youth vocational training centres need to be increased and expanded. Zimbabwe is an economy that is 60-70% informal sector. What does that mean Mr. Speaker? It means we need skilled youth to take over from where we are now.

Hon. Speaker, I will not sit down without also mentioning the decentralisation of the tobacco auction floors. In Hurungwe, we are now blessed with six auction floors. This came about through the COVID-19 pandemic. All auction floors previously were located in Harare, we did not even have one auction floor in Hurungwe the last couple of years but now we are talking of six. What does that mean Mr. Speaker to the local farmer. The local farmer has cut the travelling distance from 350 kilometers to Harare auction floors to about 35 kilometers to Karoi, Karoi being the central town of Hurungwe District. Mr. Speaker, with those few words, I would like to say thank you very much and well done to His Excellency, the President, Cde. E. D. Mnangagwa.

HON. T. MOYO: Hon. Speaker Sir, I move that the debate do now adjourn.

HON. TEKESHE: I second.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Tuesday, 23rd March, 2021.

HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: On a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir. Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I want to refer you to Standing Rules and Order No. 91 which says, “with prior approval of the Speaker, a Member may make a personal explanation, although there is no question before the House, but in this case no contentious matter may be brought forward, and no debate must arise”. I am not seeking to bring a contentious issue Mr. Speaker Sir, but when I had my debate on the report from my Committee, I moved for a take note because my assumption was that for Portfolio Committee reports we do a take note. But on hindsight understanding, the seriousness of the report and the need for the Ministry to respond, with the leave of the House, can I seek that the report on School Feeding Programme fact finding visits be adopted.

Motion put and agreed to

On the motion of HON. T. MOYO, seconded by HON. TEKESHE, the House adjourned at Twenty Minutes past Six o’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 23rd March, 2021.