Both Houses Will Sit This Week
Last week’s sittings of both Houses were very brief. Both Houses hastened to adopt motions from chef whips of the ruling party for an immediate one-week adjournment until Tuesday 28th March. No reason was given. The postponement for one week of the ZANU PF primary elections from Saturday 18th to Saturday 25th March may well have been a reason.
During its twenty-minute sitting the National Assembly heard several one-minute statements raising points of national interest in terms of Standing Order – including one from Hon Biti who drew attention to the billions of US dollars being lost by Zimbabwe due to illicit financial flows. The Deputy Speaker advised him that there was already a motion on the Order Paper on the subject, to which he should move amendments if it did not cover the matters of concern to him. Hon Markham raised the point that Ministers were not coming to the House to make Ministerial statements or answer questions when requested; he named some culprits and the Deputy Speaker undertook to remind those Ministers involved.
On the National Assembly’s Order Paper This Week
The list of Bills awaiting consideration remains the same as the list given at the end of Bill Watch 12/2023 of 7th March [link]:
Electoral Amendment Bill [link] – for continuation/completion of Second Reading debate. The Minister’s Second Reading speech and the Portfolio Committee’s report [link] were presented on 2nd February; see Bill Watch 6/2023 [link]. The proposed amendments on the Order Paper by Hons Gonese, Hwende and Mushoriwa have been rearranged in the customary clause-by-clause order by Parliament [link]. Comments by Veritas are available [link].
Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Amendment Bill [“Patriot Bill”] [link] – for the start of Second Reading stage with the delivery of the Second Reading speech by Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs. The Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs was scheduled to adopt its report on this Bill on the morning of Thursday 9th March and it should be ready presented to the House of Assembly after the Minister speech.
Prisons and Correctional Service Bill [link] – for the continuation of Second Reading debate. The Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs delivered his Second Reading speech on 31st January. Next will be presentation of the Portfolio Committee report on the Bill’s public hearings; which the committee is still working on. Then MPs will make their contributions.
Medical Services Amendment Bill [link] – for continuation of Second Reading debate. There are Committee Stage amendments already on the Order Paper by Hon Dr Labode [link]. The report of the Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care is on the Veritas website [link].
Insurance and Pensions Commission [IPEC] Amendment Bill [link] – for continuation of Committee Stage from clause 4 and the Minister of Finance and Economic Development has further amendments on the Order Paper [link].
Insurance Bill [link] – for start of Committee Stage. There are as yet no proposed amendments on the Order Paper, but proposals are expected.
Public Finance Management Amendment Bill [link] – for start of Second Reading stage.
Children’s Amendment Bill [link] – for continuation of Second Reading debate.
Labour Amendment Bill [link] – for continuation of MPs contributions to the Second Reading debate. The Portfolio Committee report on the public hearings was presented in July 2022 and is available on the Veritas website [link].
Electricity Amendment Bill [link] – for start of Second Reading stage. Veritas has commented twice, in Bill Watch 42/2022 [link] and “further thoughts” in Bill Watch 52/2022 [link].
[Mines and Minerals Bill [link] The Order Paper for 28th March shows that the Parliamentary Legal Committee [PLC] is still considering this Bill. The received its First Reading on 16th February and was immediately referred to the PLC. The PLC’s report on the Bill’s constitutionality is required by Standing Orders before the Bill may proceed to the Second Reading stage.]
On the Senate’s Order Paper for This Week
The Senate at the moment has only two Bills listed on its Order Paper, both the responsibility of the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs:
Judicial Laws Amendment Bill as amended [link] – for the continuation of the Committee Stage from clause 4. An earlier attempt at dealing with the Committee Stage having failed when it became apparent that Senators had not been provided with the text of the Bill as amended by the National Assembly. This is the Bill which provides for court cases to be dealt with virtually.
Child Justice Bill [link] – for the Minister to start the Second Reading Stage with his speech explaining the Bill, which was not amended at all by the National Assembly.
Motion for approval of International Loan Agreement
The Minister of Finance and Economic Development or his Deputy Minister will move that the House resolves to approve a loan from the OPEC Fund for International Development of US$ 15 million for part-financing of the Smallholder Agriculture Cluster Project in Mashonaland Central, East and West, Midlands and Matabeleland North. The loan has already been approved by the National Assembly. But the agreement has still not been tabled in Parliament for scrutiny of terms and conditions.
New motion for creation of a sustainable health care system
Senator Tongogara, seconded by Senator Dr Sekeramayi, has a new motion on the Order Paper, recalling that Zimbabwe has committed to honour the Abuja Declaration by allocating 15% of the National Budget to public health, and calling on the Government through the Ministry of finance to honour the Abuja Declaration, to focus on preventive public health intervention and to disburse budgeted funds expeditiously, particularly to the Ministry of Health and Child Care.
Passed Bills Being Prepared for Transmission to the President
Parliament’s latest information is that these passed Bills are still at the Attorney General’s Office.
- Private Voluntary Organisations Amendment Bill
- Police Amendment Bill
- Institute of Chartered Loss Control and Private Security Management Bill.
Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied.Post published in: Featured