POLICE BAN ON DZAMARA PRAYER RALLY UNCONSTITUTIONAL

SENATOR LILIAN TIMVEOS
Midlands Province
Press Statement
POLICE BAN ON DZAMARA PRAYER RALLY UNCONSTITUTIONAL
30 August, 2015.
As Senator for the Midlands Province and resident of Zvishavane, I am deeply shocked and dismayed by the ZRP’s ban of a lawful prayer meeting for the missing activist Mr Itai Dzamara in Zvishavane on Saturday, August 22, 2015. This heartless action was unconstitutional, unwarranted, unfair and only served to put the Government into disrepute.
Elements of the Zimbabwe Republic Police and others allegedly drawn from the Zimbabwe Prison Services and dressed up in police uniforms prevented the family of Mr Dzamara and many others from praying for his safe return. What kind of society is this, where people are banned from praying for their missing loved ones?
For the record, the convener of the prayers, Dr Patson Dzamara, Itai’s brother, obtained police authorization for the prayers well in advance. Dr Dzamara then invited heads of several church denominations and political parties to participate as speakers and observers. The MDC-T President, Dr Morgan Richard Tsvangirai travelled to Zvishavane for the event.
It is shocking that although Dr Dzamara sought and obtained police permission for the prayer meeting, this was changed by the riot police officers who stopped the rally on the day. Not only was that a violation of the people’s constitutional right to practice their religion, it was also a breach of the constitutionally-enshrined rights to freedom of association and assembly, and freedom of expression.
I am very concerned that a written order by the ZRP permitting the meeting was disregarded without notice, in violation of the law. Attempts by the organizers to get explanations from the police were met with arrogance and threats and no logical reasons were given. The public would like to know who gave the order for a lawful meeting to be banned in this way and for the participants to be treated as criminals.
The actions of those who carried out this brutal operation are to be condemned in the strongest terms. Information reaching my office shows that many people who turned up at the venue, Mandava stadium in Zvishavane, were beaten, arrested, threatened and generally harassed. A night curfew was imposed on the town and people were not allowed to move in twos. The presence of riot police in full armour patrolling Zvishavane’s streets, along with three water cannons, was clearly meant to intimidate and achieved the desired effect of cowing the people into silence. Is that democracy?
Statements attributed to Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa and quoted by the ZBC on the incident were clearly not helpful. The Dzamara family is in pain and deep anguish. The last thing they want to hear are unsympathetic statements from politicians whose party is suspected to have been involved in the kidnapping and disappearance of Mr Dzamara.
The constitution is clear that it is the state’s duty to find missing persons. Despite a High Court order, the police and other departments tasked with assisting in the search have not reported any significant progress in the search for him. It is, therefore, not surprising that the Dzamara family is appealing to all people who can assist the search to come to their aid. It should be the duty of our police service to assist people in distress, not to harass and treat them as criminals.
I know that a large number of our police officers are only trying to do their job. It is now time to defy illegal and unconstitutional orders issued on political grounds for them to brutalize the people.
Thank you.
Statement issued by Honourable Senator Lilian Timveos, Senator for the Midlands Province, Shadow Minister, National Secretary and Spokesperson for Domestic Affairs, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T)
Contacts: lilimikoro@gmail.com
Cell: 263 773 894 366

NRZ CHAOS MUST BE ADDRESSED: SENATOR TIMVEOS

Midlands Senator Lilian Timveos (MDC-T) has highlighted the rapidly deteriorating state of National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) and called on the Executive to urgently address the situation.Speaking during debate on the state of NRZ in the Senate on Thursday 30 July 2015, Senator Timveos called for swift action to address the situation. Below is the full text of her debate, which is also available through Hansard on the Parliament of Zimbabwe website, www.parlzim.gov.zw and on her own website, www.liliantimveos.wordpress.com.

SENATOR TIMVEOS: Thank you Mr. President for giving me this opportunity to debate this motion. I want to thank Senator B. Sibanda for moving this motion and the seconder Senator Makore. I stand with a heavy heart Mr. President on the shocking state of the National Railways of Zimbabwe. Let me start by saying, as a land locked country, we really need efficient and reliable railway transportation. This is not only for this country; it caters for the whole region. It also helps our neighbouring countries including South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique. These countries depend on this rail service. From the 1960s, Mr. President until now, we used to do good business and earn very good money for the Treasury of the nation by providing rail transit services to our neighbours.

Mr. President, I would like to refer to the recent report of the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee which was tabled in the National Assembly on the 10th June, 2015. This report makes some very sad reading. According to the report, the NRZ is in a state of chaos because of poor business performance, aging fleet and dilapidated infrastructure. The company is not paying tax, workers and its creditors. Its debts have reached alarming levels. Mr. President, NRZ employs 6 500 workers and these workers are suffering. Information provided by management shows that the company owes its workers US$55 million in salary arrears when Parliament conducted its investigation in August 2014. Some sort of arrangement had been made where the lower grades got 75% and the managers got at least 50% of their salaries. You cannot run an oraganisation like that Mr. President. The workers need motivation, they need to get all their salaries so that they can work to make sure that the NRZ is operating in a good way. Experts say they can no longer retrench staff. To begin with, NRZ used to have over 30 000 workers but now you can see the big difference of 6 500 only that are left. They can no longer retrench because they actually have to maintain the workers who know their job.

It is also of grave concern Mr. President, that while NRZ was deducting NSSA and Railmed contributions on workers pay slips, no remittances were made to NSSA or Railmed. When the Comptroller and Auditor General conducted the 2011 audit, NRZ owed NSSA about US$2 m dating back to 2009. Mr. President, you can see that surely NRZ is in a lot of problems. The debt had gone up to $4.1 million in August 2014. Railmed was owed over $1.3 m. There is a danger that workers will not be able to get their pensions in full when they retire.

Because of the failure of Railmed, workers have no access to health services at all. So, definitely this should concern all of us who are in this Senate –[HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.]- because we are here to represent these workers.

Mr. President, considering the importance of NRZ to this country and this economy, this is a very bad situation. The railways used to be our cheapest and reliable means of transport and it was used for bulk goods and passengers. NRZ also used to do good business by transporting international tourists to destinations such as Victoria Falls but today, most of us are filled with dread when we think of boarding a train or even sending goods through this mode of transport. Most businesses have abandoned the railway systems and are now transporting goods by road which is very expensive, considering the state of our major roads and the high cost of fuel. It is not viable to transport good by road. It actually makes these goods more expensive and our people actually have to use money for these goods.

Mr. President, the NRZ transported nearly ten million tonnes of goods in 2000. This has dropped to 3.7 million tonnes in 2013. The NRZ needs to ferry about 5 million tonnes to break even. We have to ask ourselves what went wrong. The reasons are clear Mr. President. Our equipment is old and it experiences breakdowns. We also have issues to do with security where equipment is vandalised. In fact, it is appalling that NRZ had to abandon cheap and efficient electric trains on the Harare to Gweru route. You remember that there was a Harare and Gweru railway and it was really cheap and people were really excited until cables were stolen. Surely, we really have to guard against these thieves that are doing a disservice to the NRZ. The NRZ like other hon. senators said who have spoken before me, is definitely facing a financial crisis. By 2011, it had accumulated losses of $105 million. Information at hand shows that its current liabilities exceeds its assets by about $17 million. The organisation needs $700 million Mr. President, to restore normal operations. It has been reported that negotiations were underway for $450 million loan from the Development Bank of Southern Africa. Even if that loan was availed soon, that still leaves the NRZ with a shortfall of $250 million. So, really, some more money has to come from somewhere else. We are hoping that this will come true and our railway will get back to where it was. I hope our Minister of Finance knows what really a mammoth task he is facing.

Mr. President, as things stand, NZR’s ability to attract funding is very limited at the moment. Because of its poor financial performance, the NRZ does not have current tax clearance certificate from, what I read from this report. It also owes ZIMRA at lot of money, almost $43 million and that is a lot of money. There are also suspicions of corruption there at NRZ and it actually needs to be investigated to see how best we can avoid these corrupt activities.

In conclusion Mr. President, I want to advise that the Government must recapitalize the NRZ as a matter of urgency. Yes, the country is facing financial constraints but considering the strategic importance of NRZ to the national economy, this matter deserves to be prioritised. The NRZ management must come up with a viable business plan within the six months prescribed by the Public Accounts Committee. Without the plan, it is impossible to raise the money.

The Government must also ensure that a substantive management is appointed, because as of now, currently the top managers are actually acting – including the General Manager. They have been acting for a very long time. The Government must also ensure that whatever equipment is bought conforms to the modern railway standards. It is better to buy new equipment which may be expensive in the short term than to keep trying to fix the old which is way past its viable 25 year lifespan. On this note it may also be useful to ask what happened to the high-speed trains which were reported to have been ordered from China?

Security of rail infrastructure to avoid the vandalism that I spoke about must be beefed up as well so that NRZ does not continue to lose vital equipment through vandalism and theft. The Government must restore the confidence of the business community and the public so that they get back to using the railway to ship their goods and for ordinary travel. The Government must address all issues of suspected corruption in railway tender processes and other related matters. All those found to have been corrupt must be prosecuted. With these few sentiments, I thank you Mr. President. – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.]-

MDC Demands Government Action on Human Trafficking After Women Are Murdered in SA

MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRATIC CHANGE
MDC Demands Government Action on Human Trafficking After Women Are Murdered in SA
Press Statement
Harare, 30 July 2015.
The Movement for Democratic Change has learnt with shock and horror about the fate of two Zimbabwean women who were brutally murdered by a human trafficking gang in South Africa recently.
We extend our heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims, one of whom has been identified as Olga Gwena while the other, suspected to be Esther Mwinde, is still to be officially accounted for. According to news reports, the women were abducted by the traffickers, who demanded ransom from their families but still went on to kill them after the money was paid.
As a party, the MDC is concerned about the Government’s failure or refusal to comply with the full provisions of the United Nations Trafficking in Persons Protocol of 2000. This has made the country a hotbed for human trafficking.
Although the Government announced the formation of an inter-ministerial anti-trafficking committee in January 2015 under the leadership of the Ministry of Home Affairs, this so-called committee has not been visible and has not reported any progress in efforts to combat human trafficking. We note with concern that the committee remained without a designated chair and has not met or reported regularly on the progress of its anti-trafficking activities. While the government established a position in the president’s office in 2014 to focus on trafficking issues, nothing has come out of this office to indicate progress in curbing or preventing human trafficking in the country.
The MDC notes that in June 2014, the Government passed the Trafficking in Persons Act. This law is defective and falls far short of meeting the standards set out in the 2000 UN TIP Protocol. Contrary to international law, which defines trafficking in persons as a crime of exploitation, the Zimbabwe TIP Act provides a very limited definition of this heinous crime. This loophole is being exploited by traffickers.
Human trafficking is a very serious problem for Zimbabweans. As in the case of the late Olga Gwena, an unknown number of Zimbabweans are being abducted for ransom by trafficking gangs when they travel outside the country, especially to South Africa. Others are promised lucrative jobs, only to end up as sex slaves and forced labourers.
The latest United States State Department report on trafficking in persons makes it clear that Zimbabwe is not fulfilling its international obligations in this regard . The crime is not limited to activities of traffickers outside the country but within our borders as well. Millions of Zimbabweans are trapped in conditions of forced prostitution and slave labour inside the country, especially on farms in mines and households.
As a social democratic party with the interests of the people at heart, the MDC calls for urgent action to free those who are trapped in this practice and to prevent others from becoming victims. We are aware that many of the people who end up being victims of human traffickers are only trying to survive. They are already victims of Zanu PF misrule and political repression at home. They are forced to undertake these hazardous journeys because of corruption-induced economic collapse in Zimbabwe.
Recommendations
We recommend the following:
Amendment of the Zimbabwe Trafficking in Persons Act to bring it in line with the 2000 UN Trafficking in Persons Protocol;
Increasing efforts to investigate and prosecute trafficking offences, including those involving state and ruling party officials;
That Government makes greater efforts to convict and punish trafficking offenders;
Train police, diplomatic personnel and other relevant authorities on how to deal with human trafficking offences;
Escalate public awareness campaigns to prevent people falling victim to traffickers;
Provide support services to survivors and reassure those that are trapped in this practice that there is a way out for them.
Thank you.
Issued by Hon. Senator Lilian Timveos,
Secretary for Domestic Affairs, MDC.
Harvest House, Harare.
E-mail: lilimikoro@gmail.com
Mobile: 263 773 894 366
Website: http://www.liliantimveos.wordpress.com

Senator Timveos Calls Upon Government to Stop Company Closures and Protect Debtors

Senator Lilian Timveos has called on the Government to act immediately to stop the mass closure of companies in Zimbabwe, especially banks and mining firms. Speaking during debate in the Senate on Wednesday July 15, 2015, Senator Timveos said the company closures were causing financial hardship on workers, whose assets were now being seized by creditors. Below is her full debate:

MOTION
PROVISION OF FUNDING TO THE DISTRESSED AND MARGINALISED INDUSTRY FUND
Second Order Read: Adjourned debate on motion on economic challenges resulting in individuals and companies being heavily indebted.
Question again proposed.
SENATOR TIMVEOS: Thank you Mr. President. I am very much thankful for having this opportunity to debate this very important motion. I also want to thank the mover of the motion Senator T. D. Khumalo and the seconder Senator Ncube. Mr. President, the shortage of money in Zimbabwe as formal banking system commonly known as the ‘liquidity crunch’ has led to many companies collapsing. People are being thrown out of work and in some cases, it affects the rest of the family. It affects wives and children; children do not go to school anymore because the fathers will not be working. Companies are closing down and this is worsened by the failure of banks which have failed to actually give the depositors their money after they have closed doors.
According to the Deposit Protection Corporation latest updates on closed banks – Mr. President, if I can just refer to my notes because I want to mention all the banks that have been closed. In view of the current legislative framework no compensation was made to depositors
of failed banking institutions whose resolution methods did not entail liquidation. These are NDH, Highveld, Inter-Market Bank, Inter-Market Discount House, Original Trust Bank, Royal Bank and Barbican Bank whose assets were sold to ZABG in 2005.
More banks were closed down from 2004, that is Afro-Asia Bank, Allied Bank, Interfin Bank, Capital Bank, Trust Bank, Royal Bank, Genesis Investment Bank, Century Discount House, Rapid Discount House and Sagid Finance House. Some of the remaining banking institutions are making super profits out of the misery of the people. Families are breaking apart and some people flee the country to escape debts. Others are engaging in cat and mouse games, changing addresses and phone numbers to dodge their creditors.
Mr. President, this is not right, the Government should put in place policies to assist bankers and companies which are facing heavy debts and liquidation. Mr. President, on a daily basis, we read about properties and goods being auctioned because the owners have failed to pay their debts. People also need protection of the law to save their
goods from loan sharks, illegal debt collectors and unregistered auctioneers who are springing up everywhere. Zimbabweans need protection from these people because they are actually charging exorbitant administration fees which actually makes it worse for the debtors.
The Legal Practitioners Act Chapter 27.7, Mr. President, under Section 9 states that, ‘Only a legal practitioner with a valid practicing certificate can issue out letters of demand and take legal action on behalf of third parties’. Mr. President, this is not happening; there is a lot illegal deals that are going on and illegal sharks that are really sprouting around everywhere. This is giving a lot of problems to the people who owe money and they are actually losing a lot of properties through these illegal debt collectors.
Mr. President, this is a very important motion and surely we should really look at our policies as Government. I am not saying that the people who owe monies should be protected but policies should be clear
to actually make sure that everyone who is dealing with collecting money that is owed is a legal practitioner.
In conclusion Mr. President, I understand the Government is in talks with CABS to revive the Distressed and Marginalised Industry Fund. We hope this facility can be availed soon. However, we should not leave the job of bailing out our companies to the private sector alone. It should be the State’s responsibility to ensure that businesses are operating and that people are going to work. I also like to end by giving you the example of the constituency where I come from, Midlands Province. We have an example of Sabi Gold Mine which was closed over a debt of over US$2m. That mine is actually rich in gold but the workers are now being stripped of their goods by creditors because they cannot pay. The mine was actually the guarantor of these debts while the State was a guarantor of ZMDC debts. This cycle debt has now also affected businesses that are owed money by these insolvent State corporations. So really, Mr. President, as Government we need to look at our policies strongly. I thank you.

Senator Timveos Moves Motion Against Child Marriages

The Zimbabwe Senate has adopted a motion to end child marriages in the country. The motion was moved by Senator Lilian Timveos on Tuesday 30 June 2015 amid growing concern that children as young as 12 were being forced to marry and endure a life of misery. Below is the full text of her debate.

MOTION

ENFORCEMENT OF NATIONAL LAWS WITH A VIEW TO END CHILD MARRIAGES

SENATOR TIMVEOS: I move the motion standing in my name

That this House –

AWARE that new provisions in the Constitution have made 18 the age of marriage for girls and boys;

NOTING that some elements of existing laws such as the Marriage Act and Customary Marriages Act are now unconstitutional;

CONCERNED that the Marriage Act and Customary Marriages Act have not yet been harmonized with the Constitution;

COGNISANT of the fact that Zimbabwe is a signatory of African Union and United Nations Conventions such as the Maputo Protocol, declaring 18 to be the minimum age of marriage;

ALARMED that a large number of girls are being forced into marriage before they reach the age of 18 in contravention of AU and UN guidelines;

NOW THEREFORE, recommends that the Government and leaders end child marriage by:

  1. a) Enacting and enforcing national laws that raise the age of marriage to 18 for both girls and boys;
  1. b) Using available information to identify and target trouble spots of ‘hot spots’ areas and communities with high proportions and numbers of girls at risk of child marriage and intervening to end it;
  2. c) Setting up prevention programmes that empower girls at risk of child marriage and addressing root causes of the problem such as poverty, ignorance and negative cultural and religious practices and beliefs;
  3. d) Mitigating the harmful impact of child marriage on girls by providing care and support programmes for victims and survivors.

SENATOR S. NCUBE: I second.

SENATOR TIMVEOS: Thank you Madam President, for this opportunity. Child marriage is a very evil social, economic and growing problem in Zimbabwe. It is estimated that one in three women were married before the age of 18 years and the trend still continues today.

Child marriage is a violation of the Constitution. The Constitution states that every girl or boy under the age of 18 years is to be protected from economic and sexual exploitation or any form of abuse.

Child marriage happens mainly because of poverty and ignorance. Some parents think that they can escape poverty by charging lobola or bride price for their children. Others try to dodge the responsibility of looking after their children by marrying them very early. The young girls are forced out of school and prevented from acquiring skills from the formal job market. As a result, they can only enter the workplace of unskilled labourers. Parents are also forced to marry off their daughters, which makes it even worse, because then their children are not equipped for any kind of job, and this actually makes poverty to continue. Thus, the child marriage robs girls of education, health and long term prospects.

Cultural and religious practices are also to blame for child marriage. Cultural practices of giving away girls to appease spirits of the dead or the activities of some of religious sects are also encouraging

child marriages. On this note Madam President, it is encouraging that the President of the Chiefs Council, Hon. Senator Chief Charumbira has already issued a statement against child marriages and I want to thank him today for a job well done – [HON. SENATORS: Hear. Hear.] – As legislators, we must play a very big role in awareness campaigns against child marriages.

Experts say that young people lack the emotional maturity needed for marriage. The younger the parties are, the more likely that their marriage will break down, and because they have no education and skills, these desperate young girls end up engaging in other criminal activities like sex work. We saw that when we had a workshop recently in Kadoma. Young girls are now engaging in sex work which is really bad for our country. Young girls often suffer physical injury and emotional stress from marriage because they are very young. Their bodies are not sufficiently developed and they usually experience problems when giving birth. A lot of these young girls or mothers’ babies also die during child birth.

Let me turn to the laws that govern child marriages in our country. Many people have complained about the Government’s delay in aligning our laws to the Constitution. It is obvious this process of alignment is long overdue. You might be aware that there are some young citizens of this country – Loveness Mudzuru and Ruvimbo Tsopotsi who have taken the Government to the Constitutional Court over the laws. Without really pre-empting or commenting on the on-going case, I think I want to submit that this is the right time to amend our laws.

Madam President, the Marriage Act Chapter 5.11 is unconstitutional because it allows marriage by people below the age of 18. Sections 20 and 22 of this Act say, “a girl between the age of 16 and 18 can marry with the consent of her mother or father.” The Customary Marriage Act, Chapter 5.07 is also unconstitutional on the basis that it does not provide for a minimum age of 18 years for marriage.

Zimbabwe is party to several African Union Conventions aimed at ending child marriages. It is only on implementation of these treaties that we are lagging behind. We have the African Charter on the Rights

and Welfare of the Child 1999. Article 21.2 states that, “child marriages and betrothal of girls and boys shall be prohibited and effective action, including legislation shall be taken to specify the minimum age of marriage to be 18 years and above”. Article 6 (b) of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa 2003 also known as the Maputo Protocol has the same effect. It makes it mandatory for the State parties to enact laws to guarantee that minimum age of marriage for women shall be 18 years and above.

The AU theme for 2015 is, “Women’s empowerment”. As the country’s President, Cde. R. G. Mugabe is the current AU Chairman, Zimbabwe can lead by example by taking direct actions to end child marriages.

In conclusion, as Parliament the greatest action we can take on this to bring our laws in line with international norms in protecting the rights of girls and women, the current Constitutional Court application seeks to have the minimum age written into Constitution. Government should come up with a Bill to make it illegal for boys and girls below 18 to

marry. Such a law will make it mandatory for marriage officers to ensure that marrying parties are above 18 years of age. Madam President, we can spend a lot of time talking or we can change bad laws and shape a better Zimbabwe. I thank you Madam President.

Senator Timveos Debates Problems at Hwange National Park

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Tuesday, 23rd June, 2015
The Senate met at Half-past Two O’clock pm.
PRAYERS
(MADAM PRESIDENT in the Chair)
MOTION
RE-FENCING OF THE NATIONAL PARKS AREA
SENATOR NYATHI: I move the motion standing in my name That this House –
CONCERNED by the overpopulation of elephants in the Hwange National Parks;
DISTURBED by the violation of the security of humans by the animals;
FURTHER CONCERNED that Government protects these animals at the expense of humans;
ALARMED by the destruction of ploughing fields, grazing areas for domestic animals and threat to humans which is yet to be addressed:
NOW, THEREFORE, calls upon Government to protect the people in the surrounding areas by re-fencing the National Parks area and adopt measures to reduce these animals to a sizeable and manageable herd.
SENATOR TIMVEOS: I second.
+SENATOR NYATHI: I would like to debate on the high number of wild animals in the Hwange National Parks. This problem is caused by the fact that we no longer have a fence which used to separate human beings from the animals. What is really surprising is that when this protective fence was removed, there were no investigations made to locate its whereabouts. This is despite the fact that a fence is something durable. If thorough investigations had been done, this fence could have been found and used again to protect people from wild animals. This fence had been in place for quite some time, protecting people from these wild marauding animals. We think there is a conflict between human beings and animals near the Hwange National Park. There are
now lots of elephants which are straying into homesteads and fields and this is a problem. In Hwange, people have problems with animals.
When you look at Jambezi and Tshenamisa, in 2010, a person was killed by these wild animals and another person was killed when he was guarding his field and protecting it from these wild animals. People were of the opinion that if they go and guard their fields, the animals would not stray into their fields. What is of concern is that the starvation being faced by people in Hwange, in the Jambezi area, is not because of lack of rain but it is because of these wild animals which are killing people’s cattle. If we have enough grain, people will not starve; they will have enough food to eat. Now, the people in those areas are stranded because they do not know where to go or where to seek assistance. We have some other areas, especially where I come from in Dete, where there are lions that come into homesteads and they are so daring that they even get into kraals. In 2007, they broke into my sister’s kraal and killed three cattle. We are pleading with the Government, the National Parks and Wild Life to take steps to protect
them. People need to be protected from these wild animals. We have people who are going about their duties and children who go to school.
A lion is a very shy animal. When it sees you, it will turn away and go its own way but because they are now so many in this area, they have lost respect for man and they can attack any time. At one time, in 2014, they even attacked a young child who had been sent on an errand. What is worrying the electorate is, we seem to be of the opinion that the animals in Hwange National Parks, in Matabeleland North, now have more respect and dignity than human beings because they are protected better than human beings who can be attacked by these animals and nothing happens to them.
I am happy because we have traditional leaders in this Senate. There are people who live in Hwange and travel to Victoria Falls. We talk about the roads on which we travel. We used to have sign posts along main roads and these sign posts will be telling the people where animals can be found. There is a certain man who was travelling in May 2014, from Bulawayo going to Victoria Falls. He had a tyre puncture.
He had to get out of the car and start changing the wheel at the 5km peg on his way to the Safari Lodge. I am not sure about what happened. There was a lorry which was coming from Bulawayo and it hit the lion. The man stopped his lorry, reversed and asked the man whether he was aware of the dangers surrounding him. When the man looked from where he was repairing his car, he saw that a lion had been knocked down by the lorry. The cause of the problem is that sign posts have not been put in that area. This motorist would have known that there is such danger in that place.
When you travel from here to Masvingo, there is need for sign posts on the road. They will tell you of the dangers on each part of the road. In my area, we met with the villagers and talked about what was happening and I am of the belief that if this motorist had known that this area was infested with dangerous wild life, he would have taken precautions to protect himself. He did not know because there was no sign post. My plea is, may our Government please know that lions are very dangerous and that the lions attack anybody when they are hungry.
When people go to holiday resorts or for camping, they should be careful. There are lions, leopards and any other dangerous animals in these areas. When we are talking of protecting people, we are not only talking about the people in Hwange but all the people of Zimbabwe because you can visit that place and be devoured by these lions.
We have a very big problem. Some people may seem to think that this is a small problem. We have an animal which is called a baboon. People who stay in Hwange know that the animal called baboon is a menace. You do not grow vegetables and fruits. We have areas like the ZRP, Baobab, Chibondo and DRC. In these residential areas, you do not open windows of your house, you have to keep your doors locked as if you are at Chikurubi Maximum Prison. I am telling you the truth because if you get into your home and you do not lock, these baboons get into the house and attack you.
People who visit Hwange do not know that we have these dangerous animals, which are a menace. I sympathise greatly with visitors who know nothing about the behavior of wild animals in
Hwange and visit these places and they believe that they have to breathe some fresh air. That area is very hot. When you want to open your window or door in Hwange, make it a point that you do not leave that window or door open because the baboon or monkey will walk in. The weather in Hwange is very hot and arid, you need to ventilate your rooms by opening doors and windows. I have a friend of mine who works for a company called Bulamanzi. When they came to the place they would leave their windows open and go about their work. One thing interesting about baboons is that when they get into the house, they are so adventurous. They will open doors of fridges, stoves and even sleep on the bed. These animals are so cunning that when they see a woman, especially in a dress, they do not care. They will challenge and stare at the woman until she reverses. They are only afraid of men. When the baboon gets into a house and you make a noise calling for assistance from neighbours, if they see that they are only women who are coming, they are so stubborn that they simply look at the women and go about their business of wrecking havoc in that home. Therefore, we are pleading with the powers that be. We want to be free in our houses,
we want to breathe fresh air. We give out some gases which we have to remove when we open the windows. These baboons have lice and ticks and when they get into your home, they roll onto your blankets, carpet and sofas and infest your home with those lice.
We are noticing that these animals are a menace. You cannot grow vegetables in the area. As a result, the vegetables are very expensive, three leaves of vegetables cost a dollar, so how far can you go and how much does a family need. If you grow some seeds, they have a way of sniffing out those seeds, pick out the seeds and eat them. That is why I said in areas adjacent to national parks, wild animals are more protected and have more privileges than human beings.
We also have crocodiles which are infesting our rivers near residential areas. There is one crocodile which has grown so big and nothing is being done about it. At one time I called the national park officers and showed them the crocodile. When I get to that place, I always ask them about the crocodile. It will end up killing someone. It is so big and I told them, this animal is going to kill some people and
children. I do not know, I stand to be guided, why is it that when people are crying for help, asking for help from the powers that be, why is it that the Government does not come to their assistance and help its people eradicate these marauding and menacing animals?
The problem with these marauding animals is not at Hwange only; it is also in Victoria Falls or any other area where there is wildlife. We have traditional chiefs, let us support our people. This is going to affect our manpower development because if people are transferred into these areas they do not want to live in these areas because they will be told that it is unsafe to even open their windows. These baboons are so daring, they are like human beings; let me say they are human beings, because they will come at the door, which is closed and they try to open it. I remember some time back when I was inside the house, I felt that someone was opening the door, but from what was happening, I could tell that this was not a human being but a baboon. Surely, when I opened, there was a very big baboon and it ran away. Now, we are asking the Government, the Ministry responsible, please we are
appealing, we are pleading, we need your assistance, and we need to be protected. Why do animals have more dignity and protection than human beings? We are suffering, we are living a life of imprisonment in our houses, they are leaving dirt and they are even leaving diseases. I thank you.
SENATOR TIMVEOS: Thank you Madam President. I feel privileged to be debating this very important motion. I stand in support of this motion aimed at bringing sanity and peaceful co-existence between people and animals in the vicinity of Hwange National Parks. Hwange National Parks is Zimbabwe’s biggest park, occupying nearly 15000m2. It is now part of the vast and potentially lucratively Kavango.
Madam President, it is now part of the fast and potential lucrative Kavango- Zambezi or Kaza Frontier conservation area spanning five countries namely, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Zambia, Namibia and Angola. This was after the Zimbabwean Government agreed to ratify the Kaza Treaty early in June 2015. However, of late, there have been serious
conflicts in that area between people and animals as well as criminals and law enforcement authorities.
Mr. President, I am reliably informed that a few people have died recently in incidents involving elephants. On the animal side, hundreds of elephants and other animals have been killed through cyanide poisoning , shooting and other horrific methods used by poachers. Mr. President, in terms of tourism, Hwange National Park generates a significant amount of business for the country, especially because of the location which is close to Victoria Falls.
The biggest problem in the Hwange area is that communities are not stakeholders. Of all the hunting which is taking place there, the only people who are benefiting are the safari operators. What the locals do not understand is that when foreign hunters come, they kill the animals and take trophies. However, when they kill the animals for food, they are sent to prison. That is why sometimes you find some people with criminal minds poisoning the animals as what was witnessed recently. That conflict caused by such inequities must be addressed. For instance,
some fences were run down in Hwange National Park and this has created problems for humans. Therefore, Government should actually look at these fences which have broken down and make efforts to repair them so that animals can stay within the park and do not mix with humans.
We also have a problem of not having accurate statistics. The last official statistical research was done in 1997. This has created a serious management problem for ZIMPARKS because you cannot manage resources whose existence you do not know. In the media, some people have claimed that there are as many as 53 thousand elephants in Hwange and some reliable sources estimate that the figure is less than 20 thousand. Therefore, there is need for proper records so that as a country, we know how many elephants and other animals we have at Hwange National Parks.
We also need to capacitate ZIMPARKS to enable it to carry out its mandate of effectively managing our animals in Hwange. If we have excess animals, which cannot be culled, why not move them to Angola
or Botswana or any other neighbouring country. Mr. President, we need to review the policy of hunting inside the park and explore other fund-raising alternatives. Killing elephants has been abandoned by countries such as Kenya, which focuses on conserving the animals and reaping profits from direct tourism, which is now very vibrant.
Mr. President, we should also ensure that the fences are repaired. Additionally, we must try other non-harmful ways to control elephant movements such as planting the habenaria plant. I did research and I am led to understand that this plant, once it is planted, the elephants do not cross, they do not like that plant. The communities can also benefit from that plant because it can be sold in India or China and they can make a lot of money. Elephants do not like this plant, so, it can benefit the communities.
Mr. President, urgent and speedy solutions from the relevant Ministries are required if we are to keep Hwange National Park open for business. We must also ensure that communities benefit and do not get
harmed by animals. It is the Government’s duty to protect its citizens. I thank you Mr. President.

Update on Murowa Diamonds

In April 2015, I had conversations with workers whose contracts had been terminated at Murowa Diamonds in Zvishavane, Midlands Province. Their situation was desperate. Workers’ representatives told me that 250 contract workers out of a workforce of 400 had lost their jobs. I raised the issue with the Deputy Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Hon. Fred Moyo in the Senate on 14th May 2015 and this is what he had to say.

SENATOR TIMVEOS : My question is directed to the Deputy Minister of Mines and Mining Development. Murowa Diamonds has terminated contracts of most of their companies that were contracted there and over 250 people have lost t heir jobs. What is your Ministry doing about the problems that are now being faced by these miners who have lost their jobs? THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF MINES AND MINING DEVELOPMENT (MR. F. MOYO): Thank you Madam President. Yes , we had a problem regard ing Muro wa Diamond Mines which faced three challenges recently. The first one was the one that Government was debating regarding the 15% tax on diamonds being exported unbeneficiated. The second was discussions we were having with them regarding ground rental whic h attracts a tax that must be paid to Government. The third issue was that the current mining contracts had come to the end of the tenure , so they had to be renewed and their renewal protocols are such that they have to terminate the current contractors, r emove them from site and then re – advertise the same contracts so that fresh bidders can come through and bid for the mining work that has to be done by contract companies. The tax issue of 15% has been resolved and the ground rental issue is receiving at tention. The bidding for contracts, I believe has been done and the interested contractors have been shortlisted. Final stages of selection of the final contractor, I believe is in process. This is a company issue and so, I cannot be specific there but the hon. senator will find that, once the contract to mine is awarded to the winning bidder, the work should start again and the mine should operate as normal. The mine could not remain with sub – contractors when in fact the main contract had been terminat ed. So, that is what led to the removal of sub – contractors from the mine. So, things should be going back to normal in the next couple of weeks. I thank you Madam President.