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Parliamentary Roundup Bulletin No. 29 - 2011
Southern African Parliamentary Support Trust
September 21, 2011

Introduction

The House of Assembly and the Senate resumed their sitting yesterday after a two-week break following the official opening of the 4th Session of the 7th Parliament by President Mugabe on 6 September 2011. The only motion on the agenda for both Houses was a reply to the President’s Speech, which he presented to Parliament when he officially opened the 4th Session.

House of Assembly and Senate Plenary Proceedings

Reply to the President’s speech

Hon. Patrick Zhuwao (ZANU PF Zvimba East), seconded by Hon. Mabel Memory Chinomona (ZANU PF Motoko North) introduced a motion in reply to the President’s Speech. In introducing his motion, Hon. Zhuwao appealed to all Members to promote reconciliation and unity across the political divide in order to leave a positive legacy for the 4th Session of the current parliament.

While he commended the inclusive government for stabilizing the economy and the political environment, Hon. Zhuwao said the country should emulate the Chinese, Indian and Brazilian economic models if this country were to move forward. He argued that since the economy was anchored by the agricultural sector, the country should adopt the “Brazilian Green Revolution” policies so as to increase agricultural productivity. In elaborating this point, Hon. Chinomona said government should implement adequate support services to farmers by availing financial facilities as well as marketing support services.

On the mining sector, Hon. Zhuwao embraced the indigenization policy that government was currently implementing. He said the Zimbabwe Investment Centre should change its mind-set of concentrating on foreign investors but instead target local investors. He said this will speed up the empowerment drive.

Hon. Chinomona appealed to government to put in place measures that would compel mining companies to invest in the communities where they operate as well as in coming up with empowerment schemes or projects for the local communities. She cited the granite mining operation in her constituency which she said apart from damaging the environment, has left local people impoverished.

While the MDC-T Members who debated on the motion, namely; Hon. Tabitha Khumalo, Bednock Nyaude and Tangwara Matimba welcomed the President’s Speech, they said the policy measures that the President mentioned in his speech needed to be translated into action otherwise they will remain as rhetoric. Hon. Khumalo pointed out that while the President was condemning violence in the House; ironically, ZANU PF supporters were beating up people outside parliament. She said as a result this eroded the sincerity of the President’s position on non-violence. She also cited the ZANU PF mob that disrupted public hearings on the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Bill, who even had the audacity to storm into parliament and assault a Member of Parliament with impunity. Hon. Khumalo said up to this day the culprits have not been prosecuted despite overwhelming evidence. Regarding the issue of violence, especially in Harare, the so-called Chipangano Militia featured prominently during debate and was singled out as the major culprit, which has been terrorizing residents in Harare¡¦s high density suburbs.

The debate on the Presidential Speech in the Senate was led by Senator Simon Khaya Moyo (ZANU PF Non Constituency) and Senator Josaya Hungwe (ZANU PF Chivi-Mwenezi).

Senator Moyo glorified the President Mugabe for presenting a visionary speech and thus appealed to Senators to take heed of the President’s message. He said while the Global Political Agreement (GPA) managed to stabilize the economy and to create a conducive political environment, it had outlived its usefulness. Hence, he said the country needed to conduct elections and have a new government in place. Senator Moyo also took the opportunity to lambast Western countries for imposing sanctions on Zimbabwe and for sponsoring pirate radio stations, which he accused of fomenting disunity in the country. He said sanctions were imposed on Zimbabwe following the disagreement between the Government of Zimbabwe and the British Government under Tony Blair administration on the land issue. Senator Simon Khay Moyo also castigated youths who were involved in violence outside parliament when the President delivered his speech. He said this tarnished the image of the country, given the fact that the ceremony was also attended by foreign diplomats.

Senator Hungwe underscored the need for government to channel adequate resources to the agricultural sector and to implement policies that would lift up productivity in the sector.

New Motions Introduced

Eight notices of motions were given yesterday in the House of Assembly and these motions will be debated today;

  • Condolence motion on the death of Retired General Solomon Mujuru
  • Condolence motion on the death of Professor Elphas Mukonoweshuro
  • National Soccer Team match-fixing scandal
  • Restoration to the Order Paper of the motion regarding unconstitutional statements by some military service chiefs
  • Restoration to the Order Paper of the National Incomes and Pricing Commission Bill
  • Ratification of the Interim Economic Partnership Agreement signed in Mauritius on 29th August 2009 between the Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) and the European Union (EU);
  • Ratification of the International Coffee Agreement concluded in London, United Kingdom on 28th September 2007 at the Conference convened by the International Coffee Organisation (ICO);
  • Ratification of the 2nd Revised Cotonou Agreement concluded in Brussels, Belgium on 19th March 2010 at the Extraordinary Joint ACP V EU Ministerial Meeting and signed in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso on 22nd June 2010 during the joint ACP V EU Council of Minister's;

Question and Answer Session

Private Members’ business, (e.g. questions, motions) takes precedence in the House of Assembly on Wednesdays. Hence the first the part of the sitting is dedicated to question time, where backbenchers quiz Ministers on policy issues and programmes under their purview. The first segment is reserved for impromptu policy questions whereas the second segment deals with written questions which are submitted to Ministers ahead of the sitting since they require detailed research.

On today's Order Paper there is only one written question by Hon. Felix Magalela Sibanda (MDC-T Magwegwe) to the Minister of Finance regarding torn notes.

Update on Activities of Committees

Most committees are meeting this week for their inaugural meetings for the 4th session and they are mainly crafting their workplans for the session. Hence this is the right time for sectoral stakeholders to engage their relevant committees on issues they would want to see tackled in the current session.

Legislative Update

Bills that lapsed by virtue of the end of the 3rd session are set to be restored on the Order Paper at the stage which they had reached and these include the following;

Title of Bill Ministry Bill Number Status Gazetted
Public Order and Security Amendment Hon Gonese
Private Members
H.B. 11A, 2009 Transmitted to Senate for 2nd reading 08/12/210 11/12/09
National Incomes and Pricing Commission (A) Industry and Commerce H.B.10, 2010 Awaiting Second Reading in the House of Assembly 05/11/10
Older Persons Bill Labour and Social Services H.B. 1, 2010 House copies ready 09/09/01
Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Bill, 2011 Justice and Legal Affairs H.B. 2, 2011 Second reading in the House of Assembly 10/06/11
Electoral Amendment Bill, 2011 Justice and Legal Affairs H.B. 3, 2011 First Reading - Referred to PLC - 26/07/2011 27/06/11

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