Extracted from Parliamentary Hansard 22/06/2017
THE HON. TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Majome, are you standing to debate?
HON. MAJOME: Mr. Speaker Sir, I would want to debate in support of this motion but I stand guided because I thought that maybe the seconder would debate. I am willing and ready to debate.
THE HON. TEMPORARY SPEAKER: You may go ahead because the seconder is not here.
HON. MAJOME: I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I rise to second this motion and support the sterling work that our Zimbabwean team members of the SADC PF are conducting while they go out to the SADC PF.
It is encouraging to hear the SADC PF and I am sure through the voices of our envoys, the Hon. Members who are here amplifying and echoing the issues that are of concern to us even here in our Parliament of Zimbabwe. I am particularly moved and commend the SADC PF for keeping the issue of ending child marriages as well as supporting those who are in child marriages on the radar. I feel particularly proud to be an Hon. Member of Parliament from where the mover of the motion on the SADC Model law on ending child marriages comes from, Hon. Innocent Gonese.
I want to first say that it is encouraging to see male Members of Parliament such as Hon. Innocent Gonese and also even the mover of the motion Hon. Dr. Mukanduri speaking and integrating into the mainstream issues of ending child and forced marriages. It looks like the future for Zimbabwe, also SADC and ultimately Africa is bright when men take responsibility to protect not only their own natural daughters but the daughters of every other parent and see the importance of protecting them against early child and forced marriages.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to thank the SADC PF on doing that. I also want to urge our country as Zimbabwe that us being the country and SADC member State that hosts the Member of Parliament who moved the motion in SADC PF, need to show a brighter light than everybody else in the region to make sure that the SADC Model law on ending child marriages and supporting those who are in those marriages are a reality. We do not just call it talk show and clap hands but we take those measures and implement the SADC Model law.
While I am there, I think possibly we should even stop calling them child marriages because when we do that we are euphemising a very backward and barbaric practice. Possibly, we might think of re-christening it and call it ‘juvenile marital rape’, because what these things that are being called child marriages put children in circumstances where men have sexual intercourse with them without their consent. We know that children are not capable of consenting to sexual intercourse even if they are 15 or 16 years old and even if they might consent, they do not fully appreciate the consequences and the impact is not the same. If they were given a chance to say yes or no in every sense of the word, if they had economic and educational opportunities and social protection, they would not fall prey to that and they are juveniles. So, I want to propose that it be called ‘juvenile marital rape’, because to clothe it with the cloak of marriage is to really make it decent. I hope that when we pass – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, order Hon. Members at the back, do not be surprised when I pick on you because I am watching you. Why do we not just lower our voices or just go outside to the lobby if you feel you need more discussion?
HON. MAJOME: I hope that Hon. Members of this august House will unite in order to make sure that we implement and factor facets of the SADC Model law on ending child marriages and supporting those who are already in child marriages.
In that Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to urge us to quicken and strengthen our oversight role in the different Portfolio Committees that we are in. I say this because we are a country that had already adopted certain steps such as the National Gender Based Violence Strategy of 2012 to 2015 which had four key result areas that aimed at dealing with child marriage. If we were to implement that, we would go a long way. These four key result areas also are in accord with ending child marriages and supporting those who are in marriages are: –
(1) the prevention of early child and forced marriages and gender based violence;
(2) the provision of services to those who would have survived gender-based violence which is defined to include child marriages;
(3) the management of information, research, data collection investigations, monitoring and evaluation of all those efforts that are made to end early child and forced marriages.
(4) The fourth and last key result area of that national gender based violence strategy of 2012 to 2015 is that of coordinating the efforts of all those who work in those so that we have impact.
However, Mr. Speaker Sir, sadly from 2012 to 2015, the strategy expired without any visible action plan and any budget for that to happen.
It is this for reason that I call Hon. Members of Parliament in their different Portfolio Committees in health because there health services that survivors require. Those who are on the Committee on Justice, Legal Service for victims; for raping juveniles for them to be prosecuted and for damages to be found and protection orders to be found and those who are also in the Portfolio Committee on Budget and Finance to ensure that sufficient money is allocated for ending these things, also those that are in the Portfolio Committee on Education, to ensure that girls and boys are kept in schools and not married off so that there is sufficient funding for education.
Mr. Speaker Sir, may I also urge Hon. Members of this august House to ensure that the Executive fulfils the Constitution in terms of Section 76 and ensures that it provides money to ensure that basic state funded education is given to children because that is what the constitution says. Progressively accessible and affordable tertiary – education, that is what will keep the girls and boys away from what is called marriage so that our nation can develop fully.
Secondly, and lastly, I rise to also say that I am particularly encouraged by the motion that I heard was moved by my namesake from Malawi, the Hon. Jessie Kabwila in the SADC parliamentary forum that was reported by Hon. Dr. Mkanduri in his report about the motion that the SADC Parliamentary forum adopted to resolve for our Member States to take measures to remove the impediments that women in politics encounter, particularly political violence.
Mr. Speaker Sir, it is my hope and conviction that the only way of vaccinating against violence, that keeps women out of politics is to ensure that Zimbabwe implements Section 17 of the Constitution which requires that we shall take legislative and other measures to ensure that there shall be 50% equal representation of men and women in elected and appointed bodies. Elections include elections such as this august House.
Mr. Speaker Sir, it is our duty as Parliament to ensure that the Constitution is upheld. As we go into the next election, it is imperative that in order to protect the majority of the Zimbabwean population who are women from political violence during elections we must move with speed and ensure that we effect necessary electoral reforms that makes sure that for the 2010 seats that are in this august House, at least 105 of them are occupied by women and at least 105 are occupied by men, because that is what the Constitution says – so that come 2023 when the 60 seats that are the temporary affirmative action expire, we shall make sure that at least 105 are held by women. in fact, if Parliament does its responsibility, there should be more women, that is 105 seats plus the 60 seats for women but right now, we are only at 34%.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I propose that one way of doing that is to simply reform the Electoral Act per province. What can be done in the electoral act is when the delimitating commission starts, it actually delimits, and we make provisions in the electoral act to indicate that there are certain seats we demarcate and delimit 105 seat to say these are for women. In each province, that the Zimbabwe electoral Commission goes – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – I think my Hon. Colleague, Themba Mliswa forgets that among the youth are also women. The majority of the youths are women, they are not men. So, I think he should not seek to drown the fact that the majority of the youth are women.
This Parliament must ensure that before the next election, we change the Electoral Act to ensure that in delimitation, 105 seats are demarcated to women. We know that these are for women only and equally in each province and the delimitation can go further and delimit that for the next two terms certain 105 seats are for women only. After two terms, the next 10 years, they change over, those seats that would have been for women only become delimited as the seats for men and we do that as well in the local authority election.
I want to end by reminding the august House that the only place where women enjoy 50% representation in elected bodies in the country right now is the provincial councils. In terms of the Constitution, we created provincial council and introduced 50% – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – In chapter 14 of the Constitution, this Parliament created provincial councils and created a system of proportional representation., a zebra listing system where the representatives who were elected in March 2013, have equal men and women but alas, the only place where there is equal representation of men and women in terms of Section 17, has not been allowed to be. There are provincial councilors in equal numbers, but they have not taken off.
Mr. Speaker Sir, that is a travesty of injustice. They must get into office and we must emulate that 50% in the National Assembly and in the Senate, I think we will require also changes to the Traditional Leaders Act and the Electoral Act that will also ensure that women chiefs are also elected into the council of chiefs. There must be measures done, because the Constitution is clear; it requires that there shall be equal representation in all elected and appointed bodies. The Chief’s Council is not a sacred cow, neither is the National Assembly. This Parliament has a responsibility to ensure that we do that.
Mr. speaker, that will be the only way of ensuring that the SADC Parliamentary forum resolution and motion to ensure that in SADC we shall eliminate those barriers, including violence against women because that violence only happens because of these difficulties. If there are designated seats, women do not fight each other. You are not going to see women fighting each and beating up each other for council seats for women only and parliamentary seats for women only and also to be elected to the National Council of Chiefs and to provincial Councils.
Mr. Speaker Sir, let us do our work as this Parliament so that our politics reflects the composition of Zimbabwe so that SADC as a region can achieve all its goals and be a beacon of hope across all of Africa and the world. I thank you.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I want to appreciate Hon. Dr. Mkanduri and the Zimbabwean delegation for having attended and represented Zimbabwean Parliament in an effective, efficient and vociferous way in terms of their representation.
Mr. Speaker Sir, there are quite a few issues that I want to touch on. One of them is energy that was brought up by Hon. Mutsvangwa, secondly, the child marriages and the African wealths, the intra-regional trade that was brought up by Hon. Toffa. I want to then also conclude by saying where does this all come from in terms education; this is where it is all embedded. In the same vein, I would want to touch on Africa’s wealths, Zimbabwe’s wealth in particular and Africa’s wealth in general. Aware that the first point that I spoke to and about was the 10 000 mega watts Inga dam, power generation which is sufficient for the whole of the SADC 14-Member states if optimally, effectively and efficiently utilised. On that note, I want to applaud the Zimbabwean delegation for capturing this very noble point, because for as long as there is no power, we cannot have investment, intraregional trade and free, basic, efficient and optimal education.
Mr. Speaker Sir, what I need to bring to the fore is exactly what we could do with adherence to our own Constitution. In particular, Section 38 (2) of our Constitution provides that anyone who has been resident in Zimbabwe, who was born in Zimbabwe, for a continuous 10 years, is automatically a Zimbabwean citizen. As long as we do not adhere to this, we cannot register our children at birth and so that they go to school. A lot of our children need birth certificates in order to be enrolled in schools.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to touch on issues to do with child marriages which was also discussed here. The reason why we do not have the right age for our children is because they do not have birth certificates, they are not registered. Even when the Child Registration Act provides for the registration of children within six weeks, that is 42 days after birth, this is not being adhered to. As a nation, we are viewed by the way we uphold our own Constitution. Our Constitution and our Acts of Parliament need to be aligned so that our children can be registered at birth and if not at birth, within the 42 days so that as they grow up, they are not in danger of getting married at a tender age as we will be unaware of their correct ages.
Mr. Speaker Sir, in this day and age, where we have genetically modified food, we are at risk of having our children getting married at a very young age because they are not registered, certified and do not have the requisite registration certificates. I applaud Hon. Dr. Mukanduri and his team for bringing this at the highest level in the 14-Member SADC states at that forum. We need to speak with one voice when it comes to registration of our children Mr. Speaker Sir so that we are not at risk of having child headed families.
I also want to touch on the intra-regional trade. The intra-regional trade can only come about if we adhere to the ethos and principles of our own national agenda. Our national agenda speaks in a disintegrated manner of our own wealth in our nations. If we amalgamate national development plans, we can have a powerful SADC region and ultimately, a powerful African Continent. I want to refer to notes as it relates to intra-regional trade. Africa has an abundance of natural resources.
The continent ranks number one in its reserves in chromites, cobalt, diamonds, gold, palladium and phosphates. African production accounts for 80% of the world’s platinum group of metals. For example, titanium, vanadium, zircon, 55% of chromites, 49% of palladium, 45% of vanadium and up to 55% of gold and diamonds. With such ubiquitous amount of mineral wealth, who needs Europe, who needs all other continents, who needs India or any other country?
Mr. Speaker Sir, we can emancipate ourselves using our own mineral wealth. Africa matters because global decisions have a direct impact on the continent’s development prospects, especially when it comes to regulation and climate change. We cannot isolate Africa if we need to have a climate which is globally acceptable. So, as a sleeping giant, we need to take advantage of our mineral wealth in order to advance and enhance intra-regional trade. Mr. Speaker Sir, this should be the reason why, not only SADC but Africa matters. As richly endowed with mineral wealth as it is, the continent should not be a final destination of aid.
Finally, I will touch on why we should not shy away from our God-given resources, in particular, gold. It is a panacea…
Hon. Nduna having been speaking to the gallery.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Member, address the Chair.
HON. NDUNA: Mr. Speaker Sir, I am indebted to you and I will not digress from concentrating on you. I will concentrate on you Mr. Speaker Sir, you alone going forward. From Genesis through to Revelation, the Bible refers to gold more than 783 times, so we should not shy away from such issues as gold. I speak to and about the issues of artisanal mining here, but here is Hon. Dr. Mukanduri and his team going to talk of that in an elongated manner for intra-regional trade in the SADC protocol that they attended.
The first issue, gold is good and it is there in Genesis 2:12. The second thing, gold is tested by fire, that is 1Corinthians 3:12. Thirdly, gold is a sign of power and the continent is powerful and throughout history, the ruling class has always sought to own gold and silver. Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to say, as they concentrate on Africa, let Africa not forget to concentrate on itself in order to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of regional trade so that we can be powerful and export our God-given gold mineral wealth to enhance our economies.
Fourthly, Mr. Speaker Sir, God has given us the power to be stewards over the gold and the silver which is his. Why do we shy away from owning our own God given golden mineral wealth?
As I conclude, I want to say that all the issues that have been raised in that report can only come to fruition if we self-introspect in terms of our wealth and in terms of what it is that we can do with what we have got. If it was by my thinking, by today we should have gold coins in Zimbabwe because they are globally acceptable and a well sought after commodity. All that can enhance our economy and then we can talk of education, health and empowering women.
If you empower a woman, you empower a nation. What men can do women can do better. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – Mr. Speaker Sir, the word ‘women’ is derived from one ‘man’. It means multiple men, ‘we men’. We should not shy away from the fairer sex. It has been enshrined and it is contained in that report that we should effectively concentrate on empowering our women, aware that the Constitution of Zimbabwe is giving 60 women representation up to year 2013.
It is prudent for those women parliamentarians that have come through on the power of the Constitution to lobby their male counterparts who are me and the others to make sure that that becomes an open ended section in the Constitution which is not limited. Otherwise in 2013, we will not be having these women. This is the time to be lobbying for an amendment in the Constitution so that we can always have them in the House.
Mr. Speaker Sir, it has never been easy for women. I want it put on record today that me and the other rightful thinking male counterparts are going to move and push the gender agenda and make sure that women are empowered. Without a woman, who would want to live in this world? I thank you.
HON. NYAMUPINGA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I stand to support the report which was read by Hon. Mukanduri. Looking at the work that was done by the Committee that went on our behalf to the SADC Parliamentary Forum, I am happy that they are looking at challenges that we are facing in SADC, especially gender based violence. In this country, the issue of gender based violence is not given much precedence. If we do not look at that properly, our GDP will not grow. This is because money that is being wasted when people get hurt in violence is a lot. Firstly, that person does not go to work because she was affected. Secondly, one of them in that home will not go to any work because they have to look after someone who is not well.
So, it is affecting a lot of people. Even if it is in the field, our produce will be low and Government is expected to give them money. The hospitals that they visit, there are charges that are supposed to be paid. The Government is not yet in a position to pay for them but those who go through the police, the Government pay and it is money being wasted. Those people who are affected, many of them are found to be HIV positive. This is because many women who are involved in gender violence are forced into having sexual intercourse.
So, you find that they will be affected by HIV and through gender violence you find that the number of people who are affected with AIDS grows. There are certain issues that the Government is not looking at when it comes to gender violence. There are no places to shelter these people who are affected by gender violence which we call safe houses. The Government is not putting money aside to construct safe houses where those people who are affected by gender violence go. We only have Musasa which has safe houses here and there. If you look at our wards which are over 1 900, there are very few wards that have these safe houses.
The Government should make sure that each and every ward has a safe house where these people who are affected run to. This is what we want our Government, through the report from SADC that they should look at that. What we are saying is that people should not be beaten all the time because they do not have anywhere to go. If they go back to where they came from, they will say go back because you are now a married person. But, if there are safe houses, it means that the people will have places to go whilst counselling is going on so that the husband should understand that a wife or a child are not punching bags.
So, I am grateful for this report which was brought in by Hon. Mukanduri and his delegation. They also touched on child marriages especially here in Zimbabwe. They also touched on the alignment of laws to the Constitution, but that does not hinder us to prosecute the people who are perpetrating child marriages because the Constitution is supreme. The issue of child marriages is troubling people because when we went around this country being headed by SADC PF, it was found that in this country, a lot of children in this country are being married whilst they are still young because of poverty, lack of education and also lack of food.
We were told that there are certain areas where children are being fed on GMO food and their bodies grow big, but they will not be mature. We were really troubled because if those people have big bodies, they will not vote, but when it comes to marriage, they are saying what do you want that person to do because when you look at the person, their bodies show that they are grown up. Also this issue of identity documents like birth certificates, there are a lot of challenges that people face when they want to take birth certificates.
So, we are saying all these impediments should be removed so that children would have birth certificates on point of birth, whether in hospital or out of hospital, they should be issued with birth certificates so that we know the proper age of children. This is hindering a lot of issues, especially when it comes to courts and people say their child is young when something has happened and it becomes a challenge. When people bribe their children, parents will lie because there is no proof to show the proper age of the child, which is 18 years. We are very happy because SADC PF is working very hard. It brought up a SADC Model law and now they are bringing up motions so that when member states go back to their countries, they advocate for the same issues and make sure people get assistance in their countries. So, this issue of child marriages is something to be taken seriously.
We know that all these men are proud to be going out with young children and that is very painful to us. These men should respect the fact that these children are young, especially the well dressed men who are the ones who go and park their cars near schools so that the children, because they are poor, are easily enticed to come to their cars. The poor children will not have seen cars and they are given biscuits and sweets before they are sexually abused in the cars which these men turn into bedrooms. I am pleading with this House, through Hon. Dr. Mukanduri’s report and Hon. Nduna’s contribution for all of us to remember that we all have girl children in our homes. Would we like to see our children abused and impregnated then forced to terminate the pregnancy before being chased away. That is a very painful issue. I think as this House, we should fight together when it comes to child marriages so that when we come across old men taking these young girls into their cars, we should report them to the police. We encourage the lawyers in this House to help us amend the existing law and make sure it is written down that any old man seen going out with a young girl should be incarcerated for life .
I also want to say that we are waiting for another report that will soon come out after our public hearings on child marriages. I do not want to pre-empt the report but I just want to urge every Hon Member in this House to open our eyes wide to ensure that the children in our constituencies are not being abused by old men and not being taken advantage of because of poverty. The poverty will not go away because if the young girls do not finish school, they will bear a lot of children and poverty will prevail amongst the women.
I also want to applaud this delegation which went around and brought this report. I want to support what Hon. Majome said on the issue of chiefs, that they should be given the same platform. You find that we only have four female chiefs in this country but if you go into the Senate, there is no female chief in there. When we come to election time, these women are bribed and given dresses and are told that they should not vie to come to Parliament because they do not have any business there. It is because they are poor that they end up receiving those gifts. So when elections come, they will refuse the positions saying that they are not competent enough because they will have been confused by the bribes that they get. We are pleading with the Gender Commission to do its work and ensure that all the people who do not follow the Constitution should be convicted and prosecuted. We want to see women chiefs in the next elections and even in the Chief’s Council, we want to see women there. The Gender Commission’s work does not just end with the female chiefs. Even here in Parliament, if we look at the proportional representation, we thought it was proper for us to have 60 women but we shot ourselves in the foot because now the 50/50 representation is not being recognised. We cannot have the constituencies that we want. The 60 representation does not add up to the constituencies that we want. During COPAC days, we travelled a lot when we wanted the lives of women to be uplifted. Come 2018 elections, we want the 105 constituencies plus the 60 so that in 2023, we will have achieved equal representation. We do not want a scenario where when the 60 facility comes to an end, we see ourselves having only 16 women in this House. Let us not be hoodwinked by this 60 as it does not add up to 50/50, which only comes out with 105 constituencies. We should get into the constituencies and rule in there. We want to get into constituencies without asking permission from anyone. I want to get into my own constituency as a woman and engage in various programmes freely. I have my own constituency but it does not add up to the 50/50 representation. Men should not be afraid of women. We are not taking away your constituencies but it is in the Constitution. It is not about Nyamupinga or women. We want 50/50 in 2023 and Hon. Majome should assist us with the legal side of things and let us know if we should approach the Constitutional Court if we are not given the 105 constituencies.
Before I sit down, I want to thank Hon. Mukanduri’s delegation for the work that they did and would also like to encourage this House, all the honourable blackmen and Hon. Chibaya to fight for 105 constituencies to be given to women. We want you to leave a legacy. Even you Mr. Speaker, you would want to go down in the Guinness Book of Records that you were also involved in the fight for women to get their rights to be given 105 constituencies in 2018. I want to thank Hon. Dr. Mukanduri because you are fighting for the rights of women. If there is a man who is not progressive, I think you should leave them. They are sick and need attention because it is the rights of women. I thank you.
HON. ADV. CHAMISA: On a point of privilege. I rise on a very important extraordinary matter of national importance particularly if we have regard to Section 119 of the Constitution which speaks to the ability and cogence of Parliament intervening to uphold the Constitution of the Republic. I am saying this in connection with Section 23 of the Constitution and also Section 84 (1). I may read so that I motivate my point of privilege in terms of Standing Order 68 (d) because it is a very important intervention. It says “Rights of Veterans of the Liberation Struggle; (1) Veterans of the liberation struggle, that is to say-
- a) those who fought in the War of Liberation;
- b) those who assisted the fighters in the War of Liberation; and
- c) those who were imprisoned, detained or restricted for political reasons during the liberation struggle; are entitled to due recognition for their contribution to the liberation of Zimbabwe, and to suitable welfare such as pensions and access to basic health care”.
I am saying this because it has arisen during the subsistence of this parliamentary debate and I would have raised it earlier that one of our war veterans, Dickson Chingaira, also known as Cde Chinx has been conferred as a liberation hero. It is within our power as Parliament to then intervene and make sure because we are supposed to uphold the Constitution in terms of Section 119. We are supposed to intervene and say as far as we are concerned as Parliament, it is our sincere position that Cde Chinx is supposed to be a national hero as opposed to a liberation war hero –[HON. MEMBERS; Hear, hear.] -This is not about parties, this is not about individual considerations but it is about the Parliament of Zimbabwe coming to stand up to defend those who fought during the liberation struggle and those who sacrificed a lot during the liberation struggle.
As Parliament, we must take our stance to defend the Constitution against any other consideration because Cde Chinx contributed in song, conscientisation and mobilising the people during the liberation struggle. We should not undermine the role that was played by our revolutionaries. For that reason, I kindly move that Parliament consider this matter because Friday is a day of sitting. So, may we take tomorrow as a day of sitting to sit and consider this aspect on Cde Chinx and convey a national heroes status on Cde Chinx. This is a suggestion and recommendation I am giving. It is not for debate.
I have raised it as a matter of privilege and I need the ruling of the Speaker because it is not supposed to be for debate. I want to thank you very much. I am just placing it. If we do not agree with it, let the Speaker then so rule. I thank you.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: In respect of what Hon. Adv. Chamisa has tabled just now, I will study the matter and make a ruling in a few days.
HON. SEN. KHUMALO: I would also want to add my voice to Hon. Dr. Mukanduri’s SADC Parliamentary Forum Report. First and foremost, I would like to make a resolution that as Zimbabwe we should help move SADC Parliamentary Forum to be a Parliament. The moment that motion is moved for SADC PF to be a Parliament, it will give it teeth to bite. At the moment, they are just a Parliamentary Forum and those recommendations can never be taken seriously by any Government because they are not recognised as a Parliament. I think it is time for Zimbabwe and the other 13 SADC countries to put their heads together and turn it into a Parliament. Mr. Speaker Sir, I would like to recommend to your humble office if you can move that agenda on behalf of Zimbabwe to show how serious we are in recognising the work that is being done by SADC PF.
Coming to the issues that were raised by Hon. Dr. Mukanduri on the SADC PF motions, Mr. Speaker Sir, it is so shocking to learn that a child is a woman when it comes to sex but when it comes to voting that child is a minor. What is it that men are benefiting from these children because as women we are giving birth to these children which were sired by the men? If they are not respecting those children, I think the time has come as women to do what we call citizen arrest. It is painful to carry a pregnancy for nine months and have a caesarian section and then a simple man with a black suit which when he stands next to the fire that suit will burn, he goes and abuse that child. As women, the time has come. If the Police are not doing the work for us; women let us stand up and arrest these men on our own – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
Talking of the child Mr. Speaker Sir, we are talking of guarding against child marriages. However, there is one area that is so silent that we are not looking at as Government, that is, the issue of the impact of a young child falling pregnant and the repercussions of falling pregnant. They get what we call fistula. I have been searching high and low in terms of our Government dealing with the issue of fistula. The only thing that I have found is international organisations (NGOs) that come to this country offering treatment of fistula. So, that is one area of coverage that Government and the Minister of Health and Child Care should look at seriously. Fistula should be free of charge in any hospital because this is a 13 year old child who has got fistula.
Talking about the issue of the 50% representation of this girl child, in 1980 we were told that the girl child cannot go to school. Her role is to be at home, cook and look after the sick. We fought so hard for this child to go to school. Eventually, they were allowed to go into universities with lower points and men told us that our children are going through pipes to get to the university. So, this ‘baccosi’ thing is not an issue as far as we are concerned as women. It is a way of shielding themselves, stopping us taking our role as women.
Today, we have got the girl child who is now a doctor or a scientist. That was the hard work of the women of this country. We are saying once again Mr. Speaker, the time has come for political parties to recognise the importance of the 50% agenda – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – All the high ranking positions are held by men in most of our political parties. We should lead by example. Let the 50% agenda start from our political parties. By so doing, everything becomes automatic but our greatest challenge is the man that we cannot live without who is denying us that. The same man uses us to campaign for him. When we are done campaigning and being take aways, we are dumped – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – We are saying no to that Mr. Speaker Sir. Let it be mandatory to respect the 50% agenda.
We have a challenge again on the child marriages and women gender based violence through the cultural norms. Cultures are talking of ‘ngozi’ in Shona, ‘ingozi’in Ndebele where we are told that in order to get rid of that ‘ngozi’, you have to send a girl child who is about seven years old to that family where the man committed the crime. We sacrifice our girl child to become a wife at seven. So, there is need for our chiefs; the Chiefs Council needs to sit down and work on this issue of ‘kuripa ngozi’ using the girl child. Who decided that it has to be a girl? Why not a boy child? Why is it always that the girl child has got to be used ‘kuripa ngozi?’ For what? Somebody was killed whether male or female and you want a replacement. Why do you not replace with boys? Why is it that replacement is only done using girls? That must come to an end Mr. Speaker Sir. We need everybody here to put our heads together to deal with that issue.
We have a huge challenge as a country. Beautiful laws are promulgated – protocols, conventions, et cetera. The sad thing is that as a country we take so long to domesticate those laws. They pass through this Parliament and they end up in file 13. I think there is need for us to have a constitutional amendment where all conventions and protocols signed by member states wherever they are, must automatically be domesticated. That way, it is easier for us to do our oversight role in the implementation.
As we are sitting here, we have a challenge of the implementation of these beautiful laws for women. A very good example Mr. Speaker on the implementation of laws is the issue of rape. In this country when one is raped, they do whatever investigations and DNA testing to find the specimen of the rapist. Sadly, the results of that specimen is put together with evidence of other criminal offences like meat, skins, marijuana and that DNA test becomes contaminated. These men know this, so when he goes to court he denies the rape and demands another test knowing that the DNA has been contaminated. The time has come that as a country we respect the women and accord them the rightful opportunity for their cases of rape to be heard.
Talking of violence Mr. Speaker, political violence is perpetrated against women, especially when it comes to elections. We are raped and society judges us. We become outcasts because rape is an embarrassing thing to a family, especially to the men. However, we are raped by the same men that are marrying us. So, we are saying no to political violence, especially using rape as a tool to stop women participating in political activities, married or not. If we ask male Hon. Members to raise their hands, those that have their women in positions within their parties or within the ZANU PF or MDC Party – they come to meetings on their own and then go and pick up this girl child to use as a take away and keep his wife at home safe.
Mr. Speaker, this is the 21st century. I heard some Hon. Members calling us ‘baccosi.’ We are happy to be called ‘baccosi’ because we have made an impact. You would never call us names if we did not make an impact, never – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – You are always called names if you have made an impact. That means to say what we are talking about is hurting them. What I am asking you Hon. Members, the male ones, if you cannot beat them, join them. The time for you to join us is now because we are here and we are here to stay.
The idea that as women we cannot participate in politics because we are not economically empowered, I will give it a different dimension Mr. Speaker. The same women that you are saying are not good to take up leadership positions, the same women that you are raping, the same girl child that you are using to go and beat up people on your behalf for you to get into power, go there with nothing. All what they do to them is giving them intoxicating alcohol or drugs to influence them to beat up people. Basically what we are saying is, there is no resource used. The only resource that is being used is our bodies – our feet, eyes and hands. So ladies, 2018 is our year – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – Come 2018, every single woman from ZANU PF, MDC, Ndonga, et cetera, our problems are the same. Our goal is 105 seats. I thank you Mr. Speaker.
*HON. MAPIKI: Thank you Mr. Speaker, this debate is very exciting as there is division here between men and women but we are married, stay together and have children but we fight when it comes to certain issues. Men and women are one because Zimbabwe cannot be built by men only or women only.
I want to talk about the issue of statelessness. Statelessness is when a person lives without any documentation to show their places of origin. I think this is affecting the whole country as we have refugees from Ethiopia, Somalia, Mozambique and other neighbouring countries and they are taking refuge in Zimbabwe. They will not be in possession of any identification particulars when they come to Zimbabwe and they cannot be issued with such in Zimbabwe. When they return to their countries, they are strangers because they would have left a long time ago. So they live in a state of being stateless and will be in trouble.
When you go to Tongogara Camp you find that there are a lot of refugees and if you bring them to Harare, they do not have any identification particulars. In the event that they are repatriated, they cannot convince their authorities that they are valid nationals of those countries. They cannot travel to other continents like Europe when they are in Zimbabwe because they do not have any identification particulars, hence they are not free to travel. I think those matters should be looked at, not only in SADC but worldwide. When those people are raped and they go to court, supposedly they are underage; they do not have birth certificates to prove their ages. At times they do not even know their names when they are taken to court, so it is really a challenge. These are the challenges that are caused by being stateless. I think this should be looked into.
In Zimbabwe we also have people like that now because of the scourge of HIV and Aids that can kill both parents and surviving relatives will refuse to assist the orphans in obtaining identification particulars. The orphans just live being troubled and when they are raped, they cannot stand for their rights. They also cannot tell their ages or places of origin because there is no documentation. So these laws should be amended because for one to be orphaned and not be in possession of identification particulars is very difficult. When they try to migrate to other countries they are often referred to as aliens even when they are born in those countries and want to attain citizenship, they have to pay when they are so poor and cannot even afford to buy their own food. I think we should look at our laws even here in Zimbabwe. I have witnessed that children like these have difficult times in courts when they do not have requisite identification particulars.
This also leads to early child marriages and abuse by both men and women. This issue of marrying young people is not only being perpetrated by men but even women are violating the rights of men to the extent of raping and sexually abusing them. Their sperms are taken to South Africa for ritual purposes. I think you have read of rampant sexual abuse of men by women in newspapers. We should not be one sided but look at both sides of the coin because the country is similar to the body with various parts. There is no body part that is more important than the other. So when we are looking at the law, we should look at both sides of the coin.
It is very true when women were complaining that their rights are being violated. We should have more women in Parliament. There is a term that was used by the Hon. Member that we are saying ‘bacossi’, we are not saying that. We are saying all people are important but when it comes to this quota issue, we should not look at just adding numbers when those people are not adding any value. When we say women should come to Parliament, we should look at their contribution, because if we put 400 women here – they should not spend the whole year here without tabling any motions. They just come here to warm the benches, not different from the women we have left in our rural areas – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, order I will give you more time to defend yourselves – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
*HON. T. KHUMALO: Mr. Speaker, may the Hon. Member withdraw the statement that we come here to warm the benches when the wives they have left home are doing much better. Even here, there are male Members of Parliament who spend many years here without tabling a motion but spend most of their time in hotel rooms sleeping with our daughters. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, order if I have given you a chance to talk please you do not have to continue when I say order. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – * Alright, alright, I will give you more time to defend yourselves.
*HON. MAPIKI: Thank you Mr. Speaker for your protection and allowing me to debate. I was reflecting on when people were reading the Hansard. I did not say women only but that if you agree for people to come into Parliament in order for us to have 50/50 representation. Even when it is men – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, order Hon. ladies please, enough is enough. We have heard your objection and concerns but let us do to a limit – [HON. MEMBERS: He should withdraw the statement!] – Order, order, I do not see any reason why – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Order, order Hon. ladies, I do not see any reason why if you feel you have been offended, you stand up and defend yourselves – that is a fair debate. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – You may continue Hon. Member.
*HON. MAPIKI: Thank you Mr. Speaker, if only people would listen to what I am saying, it was going to help us in the future. If we look at the law which is in place that people should come to Parliament representing people, if we would take the academia, the engineers and other different professionals, we would add value to our Parliament since it would be comprised of professionals. These would help the women who are in the rural areas. This is what I am trying to explain.
Even if there was a special group of men comprising also of different disciplines so that when we debate about health issues, we would be having professionals in the health field to assist. If it is about education, there will be also veterans in that field. Even when matters arise that need lawyers, they will be available. So, when we stand to debate, we will be having experts in different areas. This is what I wanted to say, I was not saying that these people should not come in but I was looking at value addition, that we should add value in Parliament so that our debates would be exciting. When we want to add 60 people, if that group consists of professionals – say maybe in mining that would be good, so that when we go astray, they would help us.
Looking at that, Mr. Speaker, I am talking about tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. I think this issue has destroyed so many of our professionals and has consumed a lot of money. There should be enough funding reserved for those diseases and preventative measures should be put in place. In the rural areas, a lot of children learn from the barns where tobacco is treated and tobacco can also cause tuberculosis. So issues like these should be looked into. Even some of the houses that people live in rural areas also contribute to the spread of tuberculosis; we should have standard houses in the rural areas which are well ventilated.
On the issue of HIV, looking at areas like prisons, I think there should be laws that people be tested before they are brought into the cells. Some of the inmates come with diseases and spreads them to their colleagues, hence the increase of HIV in prisons. Many people who go to jail, sometimes they would be HIV negative but by the time they are released they will be testing HIV positive. So, I think the SADC countries should have a law pertaining to that. Condoms should be distributed in our prisons to avoid the spread of HIV.
Again, you will find that our prisons cells are not well ventilated, so if a person has tuberculosis, it will spread quickly to other inmates. So, they should help us to curb the spread of these diseases. If people come out of the jails affected with tuberculosis, they will also pass it on to their families. So, the SADC Parliament or even the whole world should look into that matter and put proper measures in place to curb the spread of tuberculosis.
Our mines also should be well ventilated so that people who get in should not breathe the gases that emanate from there because people are getting tuberculosis from there. There should be regional standards when it comes to mining, that these mines are well ventilated so that they do not get tuberculosis. A law should be put in place, because people use mercury; when you burn it, it emits some gases and affects the liver and countries in SADC should look into that. Illegal gold panning is very rampant in Africa
Coming back to the issue of women’s participation in politics, it is a very good idea, though women should support each other. Women always say men do not support us, when a man stands during election time, the challenge that we have is that we have a lot of talk which denigrates women. I think you should accept one another as women, because women look down upon themselves. So, if women want better positions in politics, they should uplift one another so that they get the positions that they are crying for. Women should improve their level of education; even men are also going to school so that they get good positions.
I have come across a woman who was bandaged, her name was Robinson. She was beaten through political violence, so the political parties should rally against political violence. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the support that I was given by women when I was debating.
HON. RUNGANI: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. MPARIWA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.