BILL WATCH 10-2022 - Last Week in the Assembly & Coming up This Week in Both Houses

BILL WATCH 10/2022

[28th February 2022]

The National Assembly Sat Last Week

Both Houses Will Sit This Week

In the National Assembly Last Week

New party-list MP sworn in

On Thursday 24th February Moreblessing Tembo was sworn in as a party-list member of the House representing MDC-T.  The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission [ZEC] appointed her an MP with effect from 18th February on the nomination of the MDC-T party.  She fills the vacancy left by ex-MP Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, now Ambassador to Sweden, amongst the women party-list MPs for Bulawayo Metropolitan Province; see General Notice 324/2022 by the ZEC Chairperson [link].  

Announcements

Leader of the Opposition and Opposition Chief Whip  On Tuesday 22nd February the Speaker announced receipt of a communication from Hon Senator Mwonzora advising him of the elevation of Hon Paurina Mpariwa as Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly.  As a result Hon David Tekeshe becomes the Opposition Chief Whip in her place and Hon Lwazi Sibanda is Opposition Deputy Chief Whip in the National Assembly.

Membership of the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders [CSRO]  On Wednesday the Speaker followed up the above announcement with another: that Hon Mpariwa remains a CSRO member of the CSRO, but now in her new capacity as Leader of the Opposition; and that Hon Tekeshe is a new CSRO member as Opposition Chief Whip.

ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly  On Thursday the Speaker informed the House that Hon Senator Mudzuri was replacing Hon Misihairabwi-Mushonga as a delegate for the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly.

Bills

Non-adverse PLC reports received from PLC [22nd February]

Non-adverse reports from the Parliamentary Legal Committee [PLC]  were announced on the following three Bills [all referred to the PLC after their First Readings in November 2021]:

Insurance Bill [link]

Insurance and Pensions Commission Amendment Bill [link]

Health Service Amendment Bill [link] [underlining of “Service” to indicate that the frequently-used plural “Services” is an error].

Now that the PLC has returned non-adverse reports on the constitutionality of the Bills, their Second Reading stages may start with the Ministerial speeches motivating the Bills.  Still needed for further progress after that, however, are the portfolio committee reports on the public hearings on the Bills.  No public hearings have yet been conducted. 

Guardianship of Minors Amendment Bill [link]

On Wednesday 23rd February after Question Time the Bill was taken swiftly through its Committee Stage.  The Minister put the amendments to clauses 1, 3 and 5 of which he had previously given notice.  All the amendments were approved and the Bill was referred back to the PLC for a report on their consistency with the Constitution.  As the PLC meets on Wednesdays, its report may well be announced on Thursday.

Motion for Leave to Bring in a Private Member’s Bill

Hon Dr Col (Rtd) Murire moved his motion seeking the leave of the House to present a Private Member’s Bill to provide for the Establishment of an Institute of Chartered Loss Control Management .   He made a lengthy speech explaining that the Bill is considered necessary because existing legislation controlling professions does not cater for what is a new professional field. 

Other Bills on the Order Paper

These Bills were not considered.  They include Bills carried over from last year and the three Bills reported on by the PLC on Tuesday [see above], and are now on the Order Paper for this week [see Coming up This Week below].

Motions

Three major motions were presented during the week, the first two on Tuesday 22nd February and the third on Thursday 24th February, as follows:

Identification of Graves of Freedom Fighters  Hon Raidza, seconded, by Hon Musikavanhu, moved his motion referring to the fact that more than forty years after Independence, freedom fighters who lost their lives continue to lie in unknown graves scattered all over the country and calling on the House: to assist in disseminating information leading to the identification of these graves; to urge the Executive to set up committees to ensure that every late freedom gets a decent burial; use MPs to sensitise the public on the indelible footprints the freedom fighters left in the history of Zimbabwe.

Portfolio Committee Report on Benchmarking Visit to Kenya Parliament on Implementation of Devolution  Hon Chikukwa, seconded by Hon O. Sibanda, moved a take-note motion on this Report of a Delegation from the Portfolio Committee responsible for local government.  Devolution has been implemented for ten years in Kenya, so the report is full of useful information about the Kenyan experience.  The report will be on our website as soon as possible, enabling readers to compare it with the report on Zimbabwe’s devolution implementation presented last week by the same portfolio committee and mentioned in Bill Watch 9/2022 [link]

Bills Coming up in the National Assembly This Week

The first four Bills on the Order Paper for Tuesday 1st March have been there for nearly three months now, the only Bill no longer there is the Guardianship of Minors Amendment Bill, which is now with the PLC after being amended during its Committee Stage last week.  Only Bills 5 to 7 are new to the queue of Bills, having had non-adverse reports from the PLC [see above].

For Committee Stage

Zimbabwe Independent Complaints Commission Bill [link] – a Veritas commentary is available [link].  Also available is a document setting out amendments to the Bill [link] proposed by the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.

For continuation of the Second Reading debate

Copper Control Amendment Bill [link]

Police Amendment Bill [link] – a Veritas commentary is available [link]

For the start of the Second Reading stage

Public Finance Management Amendment Bill [link].

Insurance Bill [link]

Insurance and Pensions Commission Amendment Bill [link] – see Veritas comments [link].

Health Services Amendment Bill [link] – see Veritas comments [link]

Note on Private Voluntary Organisations Bill [link]  Although the Bill has not yet been presented by the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, it is the subject of public hearings being conducted around the country all this week, as indicated in our Committees Series bulletin 2/2022 [link].  Veritas comments on the Bill [link].

Bills Coming up in the Senate This Week

Pension and Provident Funds Bill [link]

Senators are waiting for the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to start the Second Reading stage of this Bill with his introductory speech.

Marriages Bill amendments now under consideration by PLC

The amendments approved by the Senate [link] when it last sat are with the PLC for a report on their constitutionality, as stated in Bill Watch 9/2022 [link]

If the report is received this week and if it is non-adverse, the Senate may finally approve the amendments and then give the Bill its Third Reading, the final reading.  The Bill must then be returned to the National Assembly for it to consider the amendments made and whether to accept them.

Other Bills coming from the National Assembly?

While it is difficult to predict whether the National Assembly will complete any of the Bills on its agenda this week, the Guardianship of Minors Amendment Bill [link] could possibly – depending on the PLC’s report on the House’s amendments being non-adverse – be passed by the House and be transmitted to the Senate by the end of this week.

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