15 Bills outstanding before Parliament

Kennedy Chokuda

PARLIAMENT is saddled with at least 15 Bills that have been outstanding owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, with the Second Session of the Ninth Parliament nearing its end.

There are six Bills before the National Assembly that are at different stages, while the Senate is seized with three Bills, with the rest yet to be tabled before the August House.

Bills that are before the National Assembly include the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment Bill (Number 2), Forest Amendment Bill, National Prosecuting Authority Amendment Bill, Zimbabwe Media Commission Bill, Attorney-General’s Office Amendment Bill and Financial Adjustments Bill.

Senate is yet to clear the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (Number 1) Bill, Marriages Bill and Constitutional Court Amendment Bill.

There are Bills that have been gazetted by Parliament, but are yet to be tabled in the House.

They are the Cyber Security and Data Protection Bill, Pension and Provident Funds Bill, Manpower Planning and Development Bill, while the Centre for Education, Innovation, Research and Development Bill awaits being gazetted.

Some of the Bills are meant to align with the Constitution and bring necessary political and legal reforms that the Second Republic has set out to achieve.

There is also the much awaited Mines and Mining Amendment Bill which initially went through Parliament, but President Mnangagwa withheld his assent and referred it back to the august House so that it could address concerns that he felt were not consistent with the Constitution.

The decision by the President to refer the Bill back to Parliament is consistent with the Constitution where a Head of State and Government can withhold his or her assent should he or she feel that some of its clauses offend the Constitution.

Parliament’s portfolio committee on Mines and Mining Development chaired by Shurugwi South MP Edmond Mkaratigwa (Zanu PF) has since raised concern over drafters for taking long to attend to the issues which will see the Bill being brought back to Parliament.

Clerk of Parliament Mr Kennedy Chokuda yesterday said they will strive to dispose of the Bills before the end of the Session.

“If time and the Covid-19 situation permit us, we should be able to dispose of them before the end of this Session,” he said.

“If we fail to do so, the responsible minister can move a motion in the House to have them restored to the Order Paper in the next session.”

There are also other Bills whose principles have been approved by Cabinet and are yet to be brought before Parliament.

They include the Witness Protection Bill and a Bill that seeks to regulate political parties and punish individuals and organisations that campaign against their country in foreign lands. – Herald