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House of Assembly, Senate roles to be separated
The Herald (Zimbabwe)
July 20, 2007

The roles and identity of the House of Assembly and Senate will soon be separated to avoid duplication of duties and friction between members of the two houses in their constituencies.

This emerged during a retreat in Victoria Falls of the Parliamentary Liaison and Coordinating Committee and the resolutions will soon be tabled before Parliament for consideration.

The Liaison and Coordinating Committee comprises chairpersons of portfolio committees, chairperson of the women caucus, Government and opposition chief whips.

Addressing a press conference in Harare yesterday, chairman of the Liaison and Coordinating Committee and Government Chief Whip Cde Joram Gumbo said the separation of identities could be achieved through separate committee systems for the two Houses and the delineation of their different roles and responsibilities.

“The delineation of different roles and responsibilities was important to remove duplication and forestall the development of friction between Senators and Members of the House of Assembly especially in their constituencies,” said Cde Gumbo, who is Mberengwa West Member of the House of Assembly.

“We made the resolution that the Standing Rules and Orders Committee should facilitate the creation of separate identities and functions for the Senate and the House of Assembly through delineating different roles and responsibilities for each House. That thematic committees, that are subject specific, be created for the Senate as part of creating separate identities for the two Houses.”

There have been reports of tension between Senators and Members of the House of Assembly in the past especially in constituencies as members of the Upper House felt that they were more senior by virtue of them representing a bigger area.

The perceived tension has been discussed in various parliamentary retreats.

At yesterday’s press briefing, Cde Gumbo said the proposed changes were part of ongoing parliamentary reforms which began in 1998.

He said it was important to realize the difference between the current Senate and the one in place soon after independence as the current one was made of elected representatives while its predecessor was made up of appointed Senators.

He said the current set up of elected Senators allows and promotes accountability.

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