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Parliamentary Monitor: Issue 5
Monitoring Trust (Zimbabwe)
September 12, 2011
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set for Fourth Session
At least 16
Bills will be presented for debate during the fourth session of
the 7th Parliament.
This is an important session for many reasons. One is that since
it is not clear when the next elections will be held, especially
after President Robert Mugabe said they would be held by March next
year, this session of Parliament should conclude all elections related
Bills. This session is also important because it is during its seating
that the constitution
making process is likely to be concluded. It is important in
that Parliament, which has been driving the constitution making
process, will continue to play this role and also pass the Bill
should it be approved through a referendum.
It is important
to mention that some of the bills to be debated during the Fourth
Session of the Seventh Parliament, are a spillover from the third
session. Reasons proffered for failure to debate them have swung
from limited time as a result of focusing on equally important constitution
making process and a rather disturbing assertion that there are
some which were not touched because Global
Political Agreement partners had not yet concluded negotiations.
Waiting for the GPA partners to first negotiate on the substance
of a bill is noble but the inherent danger is when one of the signatories
to the agreement chooses to throw spanners into works. We have already
noticed this when Honourable Member Innocent Gonese (MDC-T) moved
a motion to amend sections of POSA.
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, said the Act (which political
parties have said was used to curtail freedoms and has been abused
by the Police) could not be put up for debate because it was already
being discussed by political party negotiators under GPA. “It
is not necessary to bring this motion in the house as it is under
the agenda of the negotiators and by bringing it to parliament it
creates unnecessary friction in the GPA as the matter will be debated
further as it is on the GPA table.
So debate on
the matter will be adjourned and we take it to the GPA talks,”
said the Minister. Gonese, during the last session of Parliament,
introduced the issue of amendment to POSA as a Private
Member Bill (when an MP moves a motion to amend an act. This
is usually done with the support of either his party or other Members
of Parliament who may share the same view with the mover of the
motion.) While conceding that amendments to POSA have to go via
GPA negotiations, it is important that necessary amendments are
passed if the next elections are to be considered free and fair.
Some of the proposed amendments would allow political parties to
campaign more freely which is one of the important building blocks
towards a free and fair election. Some of the bills that are going
to be debated during the fourth sessions include: the
Electoral Amendment Bill, Referendum Amendment Bill, Human
Rights Commission Bill, Diamond Bill and the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe Debt Restructuring Bill. It is clear that these are politics/
economics inclined bills. There are other Bills, but these have
a bearing on the performance of the economy as well as creating
a proper environment for free and fair elections and should be debated
and passed soon.
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