Legislators to burn the midnight oil

Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi

Parliament has resolved to work late when necessary to speed up debate on Bills and other Government-related business as it races to conclude outstanding work ahead of the end of the Second Session of the Ninth Parliament next week.

On Thursday, the National Assembly resolved to suspend several standing orders and procedural requirements including a rule that provides for automatic adjournment of sitting by 6.55pm.

This means the National Assembly can sit until late, beyond the legally prescribed time.

The National Assembly also resolved to suspend the rule requiring referral to Portfolio Committees and observation of stages of Bills, among other issues, in a bid to create ample time to consider Government business.

The motion was moved by Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Ziyambi Ziyambi.

Matabeleland South Proportionate Representative MP, Dr Ruth Labode (MDC-T), sought to understand what Minister Ziyambi sought to achieve in simple terms.

“Let me try to explain the procedure in the House. When we start sittings at a 1415 hours, we cannot go beyond 1855 hours. That is the automatic adjournment time at which business will then have to stop, regardless of whether we have finished what we are doing or not.

“What we want to do is to consider Government business on the Order Paper that we can dispose of before the beginning of the Third Session. In order to do that, we need to suspend the adjournment time to enable us to go beyond 7pm and consider whatever we can until we conclude, then we can adjourn at any time, even tomorrow morning,” said Minister Ziyambi.

The National Assembly went on to consider the Finance Bill, which seeks to give legal effect to several measures announced by Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube in his mid-term statement.

The Bill sailed through with amendments and now awaits transmission to Senate next Tuesday.

Other Bills that are outstanding include the Constitution Amendment Bill (Number 2), the Zimbabwe Media Commission Bill, the Cyber Security and Data Protection Bill and the Marriages Amendment Bill.

There is also the much-talked about Mines and Mining Amendment Bill. – Herald