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Parliamentary Roundup Bulletin No. 01 - 2013
Southern African Parliamentary Support Trust
February 06, 2013

Introduction

The House of Assembly and the Senate resumed their sittings yesterday after a long Christmas break. The major highlight in both Houses yesterday was the notice of motion on the Draft Constitution. Parliament will debate the Draft Constitution Report today.

House of Assembly

Motion on the Draft Constitution Report

Hon. Douglas Mwonzora (COPAC Co-Chair) gave notice of motion on the Draft Constitution Report yesterday. In his notice of motion he made it very clear that the Report was not for the adoption by the House but rather just for the information of Members. What this means therefore, is that Parliament can only debate the Report but not amend it.

It appears also that at this stage, Parliament will not debate the Draft Constitution itself but the Report. Debate on the Constitution proper will come after the Referendum, assuming that the Draft Constitution will garner affirmative votes.

Non-Remittance of Government Revenue to Treasury

Hon. Felix Sibanda (MDC-T Magwegwe) and Hon. Collen Gwiyo (MDC-T Zengeza West) introduced a motion in the House of Assembly calling upon government to rescind a moratorium on non-remittance of public revenue by some government departments; namely the Registrar General’s Office and the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP). Government introduced this policy during the Zimbabwe Dollar hyper-inflation era to cushion these departments from the adverse effects of the volatile economic situation.

Hon. Sibanda argued that the policy has outlived its purpose given that the country was now using a stable multi-currency regime. He said revenue generated by government departments and agencies should be remitted to Treasury so that government could be able to account for its revenues. Hon. Sibanda was concerned that government might be losing a lot of revenue as a result of corruption since there were checks and balances in place to ensure that the above-mentioned departments used the retained funds for the intended purposes. He also lamented the fact that government was failing to pay its workers well due to suppressed revenue inflows yet some departments were allowed to retain revenue they generated and used it at their own discretion.

In support of the motion, Hon. Gwiyo and Hon. Madzimure echoed similar sentiments and argued that the only way to ensure transparency and accountability regarding government revenues was to have one authority; Treasury, in charge of government coffers as opposed to the obtaining situation. Call for the Dissolution of the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) Hon. Jeffryson Chitando (MDC-T Masvingo Central) moved a motion yesterday calling for the dissolution of the Sports and Recreation Commission for “failure to discharge its mandate”. He argued that performance across all sporting disciplines in the country has

drastically gone down as evidenced by dismal performance of national teams at regional and international tournaments. He argued that SRC was to blame as it had failed to develop sport in the country in line with the mandate for which it was established to do. He thus urged his colleagues in the House to support his recommendation for the dissolution of the Sports and Recreation Commission.

The motion received general support across the political divide. However, some Members were of the view that before rushing to call for the dissolution of the SRC, Parliament should be pushing the Executive to establish a stand-alone Ministry solely responsible for sport development and administration. They noted that the current situation whereby the sport administration was lumped together with education, arts and culture did not augur well for the development of sport in the country. They further argued that the current international best practice was to have a stand-alone Ministry of Sport.

Restoration of Motions to the Order Paper

The House of Assembly restored to the Order Paper the following motions which had lapsed to due to the prorogation of the 4th Session of Parliament:

  • Second Report of the Portfolio Committee on Education, Sport, Arts and Culture on the Challenges in the Education Sector in Zimbabwe,
  • Private Member’s Bill to amend Section 121 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act.

Today’s Major Business in Parliament

The House of Assembly will kick off its sitting today with Question and Answer session on topical policy issues followed by debate on the Draft Constitution report.

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