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Parliamentary Roundup Bulletin No. 30 - 2011
Southern African Parliamentary Support Trust
September 22, 2011

Introduction

Most of the Ministers were conspicuous by their absence during the Question and Answer Session in the House of Assembly yesterday. After taking a few questions for the few Ministers who were present, the House proceeded to debate a condolence motion on the death of Retired General Solomon Mujuru. The House however adjourned abruptly due to lack of quorum. The Senate continued with debate on the Presidential Speech. Hon. Gonese gave notice to restore to the Order Paper his amendment Bill on the Public Order and Security Act (POSA), which had lapsed with the prorogation of the 3rd Session.

House of Assembly and Senate Plenary Proceedings

Question and Answer Session

As indicated above, only a handful of Ministers, namely, the Minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs, Hon. Eric Matinenga, the Minister of Public Works, Hon. Joel Gabbuza, the Minister of National Housing and Social Amenities, Hon. Giles Mutsekwa, Deputy Minister of Economic Planning and Investment Promotion, Hon. Dr. Samuel Undenge and the Deputy Minister of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture, Hon. Lazarus Dokora were present in the House during Question and Answer Session.

As a result, backbenchers were restricted to pose questions for the Ministers present. Hon. Fred Kanzama raised his displeasure to the Speaker, regarding the absence of Ministers during Question and Answer session.

Progress on the One Stop Shop Investment Policy

Hon. Willias Madzimure (MDC-T Kambuzuma) asked the Deputy Minister of Economic Planning and Investment Promotion to brief the House on progress regarding the One-Stop-Shop Investment Policy which was recently launched by government. In his response, Dr. Undenge said the policy was meant to expedite investment application procedures. Hence government has put in place mechanisms to ensure that all investment procedures are done under one roof. He said this has considerably cut the processing time from the previous 45 – 90 days to 5days.

Renovation of Public and Government Buildings

Hon. Felix Magalela Sibanda (MDC-T Magwegwe) asked the Minister of Public Works to explain government policy regarding renovation of public and government buildings. His question was in relation to the Police Station in his constituency which he said was in a dilapidated state and has not received attention from government for the past 20 years. Hon. Gabbuza said it was the responsibility of his ministry to do maintenance of all public and government buildings. However, due to the inadequate budget allocations, his ministry has not been able to carry out maintenance works to all government buildings. The Minister said as a result of the budget constraints his ministry was prioritizing institutions like hospitals.

National Housing Policy

Hon. Fred Kanzama asked the Minister of National Housing and Social Amenities to brief the House on his ministry’s programmes regarding the alleviation of housing problems especially for civil servants in rural set ups. Hon. Mutsekwa said the inclusive government has resuscitated housing programmes which had stalled for the past 10 years due to the economic crisis prevailing then. He informed the House that his ministry has adopted a deliberate policy for providing housing for civil servants not only in urban centres but rural areas as well. He said for all housing projects undertaken by his ministry, 20% of completed houses were reserved for civil servants.

Hon. Mutsekwa also informed the House that his ministry was currently carrying out a study to establish cheaper modern construction technologies to ensure that even the poor in society could be able to own houses. He said the official housing backlog in the country stood at 1 200 000.

Review of Education School Curriculum

Hon. Dorothy Mangami (ZANU PF Gokwe) asked the Deputy Minister of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture to brief the House on the policy regarding the review of school curriculum. Hon. Dokora said that the curriculum was reviewed periodically to ensure that it remains relevant to the prevailing environment. He said his ministry was currently reviewing the curriculum.

Resource Material Gaps in Schools

On the question by Hon. Paul Mazikana (ZANU PF Mbire) regarding the financing of resource material gaps in schools, the Deputy Minister said that gaps was financed through school levies that schools collect each term.

Anglican Church Property Saga

On the question by Hon. Collin Gwiyo (MDC-T Zengeza West) regarding the Anglican Church property saga which he said was also affecting schools under the Anglican Church, the Deputy Minister of Education Sport Arts and Culture was non-committal. He said the issue was subjudice and he therefore could not answer the question.

Constituency Development Fund (CDF)

Hon. Betty Chikava (ZANU PF Mount Darwin East) asked the Minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs when would MPs get the remaining tranche of the CDF given that parliament was approaching the next budget cycle. Hon. Matinenga said his ministry would disburse the money as soon as treasury makes the money available. He said treasury was operating in a tight fiscal space yet it was faced with competing national priorities.

Condolence Motion on the Death of Retired General Solomon Mujuru

Hon. Kudakwashe Bhasikiti (ZANU PF Mwenezi East) seconded by Hon. Betty Chikava (ZANU PF Mount Darwin East) moved a condolence motion on the death of Retired General Solomon Mujuru.

The debate on the motion had to be abandoned due to lack of quorum. Only 22 Members were present in the House during the debate on the motion, shy of 3 members to make a full quorum. After Hon. Mazikana had raised a point of order regarding lack of quorum in the House, bells were duly rung for 7 minutes in terms of Standing Order No. 27(1). After failing to raise the required quorum, the House adjourned automatically and would resume sitting today.

What it means therefore is that the motion under debate when the point of order regarding lack of quorum is raised and the House subsequently fails to raise the required quorum of 25 Ministers in the House of Assembly and 11 Members in the Senate, the motion falls off the order paper. Hence the condolence motion on the death of Retied General Mujuru fell off and can only be restored to the Order Paper after a motion to resuscitate it has been moved.

Restoration of POSA Amendment Bill to the Order Paper

Hon. Gonese gave notice to restore to the Order Paper his amendment Bill on Public Order and Security Act (POSA), which had lapsed with the prorogation of the 3rd Session. The Bill has been stuck in the Senate for several months. The House of Assembly unanimously passed the Bill on 8 December 2010 and immediately transmitted it to the Senate in terms of the constitution and parliamentary procedures. When the Senate debated the Bill towards the end of the 3rd session (beginning of September this year), the Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs Senator Chinamasa informed the House that the Global Political Agreement (GPA) party negotiators were seized with the matter. He therefore asked Hon. Gonese to withdraw the Bill to give the negotiators time to deal with the matter. Hon. Gonese said he would rather keep the Bill on the Order Paper than withdraw it completely so that if there was nothing forthcoming from the GPA negotiators he would proceed with his Bill.

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