Zimbabwe Parliament resumes sitting

Parliament Building

HARARE – Parliament resumes sitting today with at least 10 Bills set to be debated and the Constitutional Amendment Bill is expected to be the major highlight of the Second Session of the Ninth Parliament.

Both the National Assembly and Senate will be sitting for the first time this year.

Several portfolio committees have been conducting public hearings seeking the views of people on Bills.

The Bills include Veterans of the Liberation Bill, Constitutional Amendment Bill, National Prosecution Amendment Bill, Freedom of Information Bill, Marriages Bill, International Treaties Bill, Zimbabwe Media Commission Bill, Forestry Amendment Bill, Access to Information Bill, among others.

Of all the Bills, it is the Constitutional Amendment Bill that is expected to be of interest.

Opposition members, including some in the Political Actors Dialogue (POLAD) platform, have expressed reservations over Government’s decision to bring such a Bill without consultations.

But Government has argued that as a governing party, they were entitled to bring any Bill which they felt would deepen democratic principles.

The Bill is expected to be passed at its last reading in the National Assembly and the Senate by the affirmative votes of two-thirds of the membership of each House.

When the Bill is presented to the President for assent and signature after being passed, it should be accompanied by a certificate from the Speaker of the National Assembly that at its final vote in the National Assembly, it received the affirmative votes of at least two thirds.

The President of the Senate should also present a similar certificate indicating that members of the House affirmed the Bill with at least two thirds.

One of the provisions of the Bill is a clause on running mates which it seeks to remove.

The removal of the running mates clause will allow the President-elect to appoint the two Vice Presidents.

The 2013 Constitution, through Section 92, had a 10-year transitional clause that provided for the joint election of the President and two running mates selected by the Presidential candidate.

The authorities moved for the abrogation of the provision, arguing that the American concept had the effect of creating parallel centres of power.