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  • Parliamentary Roundup Bulletin No. 06 - 2013
    Southern African Parliamentary Support Trust
    May 09, 2013


    The House of Assembly debated the Second Reading stage of the Constitution Bill yesterday. The Committee and Third Reading stages of the Bill are likely to be done in today’s sitting as the Minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs, Hon. Advocate Eric Matinenga indicated that he would propose some amendments on the Bill. Hon. Settlement Chikwinya gave notice of a motion on the mobile voter registration exercise currently underway.

    House of Assembly Plenary

    Second Reading Debate on the Constitution Bill

    The Minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs, Hon. Advocate Eric Matinenga, led debate on the Second Reading stage of the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No.20) (H.B. 2, 2013 ) and highlighted key provisions of each chapter of the Bill. He said this was a critical moment in the history of the country where parties with divergent political ideologies came together and drafted a constitution for themselves. Hon. Matinenga said the draft constitution was generally a good document which was predicated on a clearly defined value system; the supremacy of God, fairness, justice, transparency, democracy and good governance. He noted that this theme of fairness and justice runs through all the Chapters of the Constitution Bill; a value system that not only applies to the governed but also to the governing as well. He noted that a good Constitution alone was not good enough; a culture of constitutionalism needed to be cultivated and nurtured in the country. After Minister Matinenga’s speech, leadership of political parties had to caucus and agree whether or not to allow Members to debate the second reading stage of the Bill or to move on to the other stages of the Bill without debate. MDC Members indicated that they wanted to debate the Bill as nothing in the procedures stopped them from doing so. Eventually Members were allowed to debate. However, ZANU PF Members did not seem keen to participate in the debate as only two Members, namely; Hon. Mnangagwa and Hon. Hlongwane later participated in the debated.

    Hon. Tendai Biti gave some insights on the negotiating process as it transpired behind the scenes. He said it was an arduous and acrimonious process and therefore it was a “miracle” that the parties finally agreed on a Draft Constitution. Hon. Biti, said the new Constitution would go a long way in restoring a social contract between citizens and the State and also establishing a new paradigm shift which will usher in a new social order in the country.

    Hon. Emerson Mnangagwa also echoed similar sentiments that the Draft Constitution was a historic event in the country which guaranteed gains of the liberation struggle by restoring land ownership to the indigenous people.

    Most Members who debated on the Bill praised various provisions of the Draft Constitution.

    Women parliamentarians, notably; Hon. Jessie Majome and Hon. Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga hailed the Draft Constitution for incorporating generous provisions towards the cause of women empowerment and emancipation.
    The House of Assembly is likely to pass the Constitution Bill this afternoon and transmit it to the Senate for its consideration of the Bill on Tuesday next week.

    Notice of Motion on Mobile Voter Registration

    Hon. Settlement Chikwinya gave notice of a motion on the mobile voter registration currently underway. The motion will be debated this afternoon. In gist of his motion is that the mobile voter registration has not be adequately advertised and also that not enough centres have been provided for, something which is against the GNU commitment to establish at least one centre per ward for a period of not less than 30 days.

    Today’s Sitting

    The House of Assembly is expected to pass the Constitution Bill today.

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