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Parliamentary Roundup Bulletin Number 27 - 2011
Southern African Parliamentary Support Trust
September 07, 2011

Official Opening of the Fourth Session of the Seventh Parliament

President Mugabe officially opened the 4th Session of the 7th Parliament of Zimbabwe on Tuesday 6 September 2011 and outlined some policies and draft legislation that he said would come before parliament in this session.

Legislative Agenda

The President mentioned 20 Bills in total which he said would be brought before Parliament during the Fourth Session. They are as follows;

1. Electoral Amendment Bill
2. Referendums Amendment Bill
3. Zimbabwe Income Tax Amendment Bill
4. Exploration Corporation Bill
5. Zimbabwe Border Post Authority Bill
6. Civil Aviation (Amendment) Bill
7. Micro Finance Bill
8. Women’s Council Bill
9. Securities Amendment Bill
10. RBZ Debt Restructuring Bill
11. NRZ Amendment Bill
12. Land Developers Bill
13. State Enterprises Restructuring Agency Bill
14. Older Persons Bill
15. GMO Biotechnology Bill
16. Public Health Amendment Bill
17. Food Control Bill

Treatises, Conventions, and Protocols

1. Convention on the Rights of Persons with disabilities
2. Domestication of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons
3. Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area Treaty
4. The Great Mapungubwe Transfrontier Conservation Area Treaty
5. The Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area Treaty
6. SADC Protocol on Shared Watercourses

As indicated in our Parliamentary Roundup Bulletin No. 24, of the 24 Bills that the President mentioned in his Speech when he officially opened the 3rd Session, only 7 of them were brought before parliament. Some of those which were not brought before parliament were mentioned again in his Speech yesterday. However, there was no mention on quite a number of Bills that were supposed to have been introduced in parliament in the 3rd session, which include the following;

1. Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill
2. Environmental Management Amendment Bill
3. Zimbabwe Examinations and Qualifications Authority Bill
4. Schools Examinations Council Amendment Bill
5. Indigenous Languages Bill
6. Medical Aid Societies Bill
7. Media Practioners Bill
8. International Agreements Bill

It is not clear therefore whether or not the above-mentioned bills will be part of legislation that will come before parliament during the life of the fourth session.

Other Major Highlights of President Mugabe’s Speech:

Implementation of Global Political Agreement (GPA)

President Mugabe said the inclusive government had made strides in implementing the GPA as evidenced by the appointment of independent commissions, the most recent being the appointment of the Anti-Corruption Commission on Thursday 1 September 2011. He also informed the House that the GPA Negotiators were currently seized with the crafting of an election roadmap.

Constitution-Making Process

The President said the Constitution-making process has reached the drafting stage and once the process was completed, a referendums bill will be introduced in parliament.

Economic Outlook

President Mugabe noted that the economy was on a positive upward trend. Policies to revive the economy will be anchored on the Medium Term Plan (MTP) which was recently launched by government.

Agricultural Sector

He singled out the agricultural sector as the leading contributor to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at 33, 9 %. The President informed the House that due to an extended mid-season dry spell in the 2010/2011 agricultural season, many households in Matabeleland South, Matabeleland North, Masvingo and Manicaland Provinces were left exposed to food deficits. Government, through the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) was expeditiously moving maize to the affected areas.

Mining Sector Government has stepped up efforts to plug leakages and enhance accountability in the mining sector. Government was also in the process of establishing a Mineral Exploration Company which will serve as a vehicle to spearhead exploration of the country’s mineral resources. President Mugabe informed Parliament that government was in the process of crafting a Diamond Mining Policy and a Diamond Bill in order to provide a framework for the efficient and effective operation of the diamond mining sector. He also noted that the resuscitation of the former ZISCO STEEL, now ZIMSTEEL, was a positive development which will contribute to the revival of the manufacturing sector. Transport Sector The President said this sector was plagued by many challenges as evidenced by the grounding of the national airline, Air Zimbabwe. He said government was frantically working out short to medium-term measures to bail-out the national airline.

Power Sector

President Mugabe pointed out that government was concerned by frequent power cuts and their “disruptive effects on social and economic activities”. As a long term solution, government was working on the expansion of power generation capacity at Hwange Thermal Power Station and Kariba Power Station. In tandem with this programme, government would embark on the construction of new power stations.

Tourism Sector

Government was currently engaged in efforts to rebrand the tourism sector under the theme, “Zimbabwe – A World of Wonders” which was being launched in various tourist source markets.

Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Sector

This sector was said to be hampered by lack of appropriate infrastructure and technologies. Thus the President told parliament that new sites for India-Zimbabwe Common Facilities Centre will be established around the country in order to boost access to modern technologies by SMEs.

Payroll and Skills Audit

On the civil service job audit regarding “ghost workers”, the President said the Public service Commission (PSC) was in the process of verifying areas of presumed irregularities with a view to taking corrective action.

Criminal Justice System

The President said government was in the process of implementing a pilot project under which juvenile offenders for non-serious offences can be diverted from the criminal justice system and be dealt with through a less formal system. Government was seriously considering the possibility of introducing an open prison system for local female offenders.

Youth Programmes

The National Youth Policy was being reviewed in order to align it with latest developments in country, regional and international fora. Parliament was also told that government was in the process of revising the National Youth Service Programme “to impart to the youth attributes that include the virtues of tolerance, patriotism and volunteerism”.

National Healing and Reconciliation

President Mugabe also took the opportunity to urge Members of Parliament to preach the message of national healing and reconciliation and to shun violence in all its manifestations.


In order to facilitate continuity in the work of portfolio committees, The Speaker announced that committees of the previous session would be retained and continue with their work of the previous session until such a time new committees were formally announced for the current session. In terms of parliamentary procedures, portfolio committees are announced at the beginning of each session. The process of constituting new committees usually takes a lot of time before the committees are finally announced in the House by the Speaker. Thus the decision by the Speaker to allow committees of the previous session to continue with their work is an attempt to circumvent the unnecessary delays that are usually experienced in appointing new committees at the beginning of a parliamentary session.

Adjournment of Parliament

Parliament adjourned to 20 September 2011.

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