Bill Watch 41-2023 - Sittings of Parliament 3rd October to 12th October

BILL WATCH 41/2023

[1st November 2023]

In Parliament from Tuesday 3rd October to Thursday 12th October

Both Houses are now Adjourned and will Resume on Tuesday 7th November

Tuesday 3rd October : Ceremonial Opening of Parliament

This took place in the New Parliament Building at Mount Hampden.  The President had issued a proclamation on 27th September announcing the opening of the Tenth Parliament of Zimbabwe. [Section 145(1) of the Constitution says that the first sitting of Parliament after a general election must take place at a time and place determined by the President that must be no later than thirty days after the President-elect assumes office].  As soon as the President had finished his speech, which included his State of the Nation Address and the governments legislative agenda for the coming year, he declared the First Session of the Tenth Parliament officially open.

The President’s State of the Nation Address can be found on the Veritas Website [link] and the Legislative Agenda for Parliaments first session in Bill Watch 40/2023 [link] The legislative agenda specified 52 pieces of legislation, but this is a tall order.  In its first year the new Parliament is expected to pass more Acts than the Ninth Parliament managed over five years.

Announcement on CCC Absentees and Adjournment:  After the President’s address, both Houses resumed sitting briefly.  In the National Assembly the Speaker announced that CCC members who were not present during the President’s address and official opening of Parliament should not receive fuel coupons for their travel to Harare and that hotel expenses incurred should be deducted from their salaries.  Both Houses adjourned for seven days until Tuesday 10th October.

Tuesday 10th October

[Back in the old Parliament Building]


New members sworn in:  Hlatshwayo Gladys K.; James Brian L.; Marashe Sekai; Markham Allan N.; Sibanda Dubeko P.; and Toffa Jasmine.  

Recalls of 14 CCC MPs announced and resulting disorder:  The Speaker announced that on 4th October he had received a letter from a Mr W. Sengezo Tshabangu “who signed off as the interim Secretary-General of the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) political party notifying him that the following Members ceased to be Members of the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) political party with effect from the 3rd October, 2023”.  Accordingly, the law as laid down in section 129(1)(k) of the Constitution “and related previous court rulings on similar matters do not require the Speaker to adjudicate but compels Parliament to only action notification upon receipt of a letter of the recall. Accordingly, the necessary administrative measures were taken to inform His Excellency, The President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) of the existence of the vacancies in line with Section 39 (1) of the Electoral Act.”

The CCC Chief Whip, Hon Chibaya, raised a point of order, placing on record that Mr Tshabangu was not even a member of the CCC, that the CCC did not have an officer such as Secretary general and that the CCC had delivered a letter to the Speaker on 11th September saying that all correspondence relating to its members of Parliament should come from the office of the President of the CCC party, Mr Chamisa.  The Speaker stood by his statement;  he said that anyone disagreeing with the recalls had a remedy in the courts.  There followed a period of disorder during which CCC MPs refused to leave until they were eventually ejected from the House by a contingent of police.  Before business continued, the Speaker announced the penalty for those MPs who had caused the commotion, which he said had led to a waste of taxpayers’ money for more than two hours: they would not be allowed to sit in the House for the next six sittings and they would forfeit their salaries for two months.

Motion for vote of thanks for the President’s SONA:  Hon Nguluvhe then moved the customary motion of thanks for the President’s speech of 3rd October; he was seconded by Hon Tsitsi Zhou, making her maiden speech in the House.  Several other MPs followed with their speeches until the last item of business. 

Membership of Committee on Standing Rules and Orders [CSRO]:  Before the adjournment at 6.13 pm, the Speaker announced the membership of the new Committee on Standing Rules and Orders, the parliamentary committee responsible under section 151 of the Constitution for administering Parliament and formulating Standing Orders.  Some of the members representing the CCC party are yet to be appointed.  For a list of appointed members see [link]. The Committee was scheduled too hold its first meeting on Thursday 12th October


Recall of CCC Senators announced: The President of the Senate announced nine vacant seats in the Senate following receipt of a recall letter dated 4th October from the same Mr Tshabangu who had signed the recall letter to the Speaker as described above.  The nine Senators concerned are Hellen Zivira, Gideon Shoko, Siphiwe Ncube, Felix Magalela Sibanda [all of Bulawayo Province], Tendai Sibanda, Joel Gabuza Gabbuza, Anastasia Moyo [all of Matabeleland North Province], Mativenga Godfrey Madzikana [of Masvingo Province] and David Antony Chimini [of Manicaland Province].  All recalled Senators left the Senate Chamber after this announcement.

Motion for vote of thanks for the President’s SONA:  Senator Kambizi, who was seconded by Senator Shiri, then began his speech in support of this motion, only to interrupted by the return of the recalled CCC Senators, who said they would not leave the Chamber because the person who had recalled them was unknown in CCC.  The President of the Senate tried to explain, at length and in vain, that their remedy for wrong recalls lay in the courts; she even refused to allow Senator Tome – who had not been recalled – to discuss the recalls.  Eventually, business was suspended for 15 minutes after which the President of the Senate resumed the chair and adjourned the Senate until the next day.

Wednesday 11th October


Questions without Notice:  This headed the Order Paper, but first the Speaker read out a long list of apologies from Vice-President Chiwenga and various absentee Ministers and Deputy Ministers. Vice-President Mohadi, however, was present, which drew a special welcome from the Speaker.  Hon Masuka, Minister of Lands, Agriculture and much else, and Hon Mhona, Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development were present and called on frequently; indeed,  Hon Mhona was called on so often that the Deputy Speaker felt it appropriate to intervene to give new MPs some advice:

“Hon. Members, let me take this opportunity to inform the new Members of Parliament that when asking questions for Questions Without Notice, they should be on policy issues. When you want to ask questions about a specific issue on a specific area, you have to go to Papers Office and submit your question for Questions With Notice. This will enable the Minister to research on the issue and bring to this House a comprehensive response to the question.”

The new Deputy Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion, Hon K. Mnangagwa – in his maiden appearance at Question Time – fielded several questions on behalf of Minister Mthuli Ncube, who was out of the country.  One of the questions was why Zimbabwe was due to end the multi-currency system in mid-2025.  His answer was not very enlightening – perhaps because the policy was being reconsidered. [on the 27th October the Deputy Minister’s father, President Mnangagwa, published a statutory instrument [link] extending the multi-currency system until the end of 2030]


Appointment of CSRO: The President of the Senate announced members of the new Committee on Standing Rules and Orders.

Continuation of Interrupted Debate on the President’s SONA speech:  Senator Kambizi resumed his speech, begun the day before but interrupted by the hasty adjournment caused by the CCC Senators.  He finished it with a call to fellow Senators to pass the Bills in the Legislative Agenda proposed by the President.  He was followed by his seconder, Senator Annah Shiri, one of the two Senators representing people with disabilities, who noted the appointment of persons with disabilities to senior posts in the Public Service and appointment by the President of a High Court judge with a disability; she referred particularly to the Persons with Disabilities Bill from the Legislative Agenda.  There followed contributions by Senator Tsomondo and Senator Alice Dube.

Thursday 12th October


Announcement: Chairpersons of Portfolio Committees: The Speaker announced that the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders [CSRO], which had held its inaugural meeting that morning, had appointed the chairpersons of Portfolio Committees.  A list of these chairpersons and their committees is available on the Veritas website [link].

Announcement: Members of International Parliamentary Bodies:  The Speaker announced that the CSRO had also appointed various members from both Houses to international Parliamentary bodies.  A list of the bodies and the appointments will be available on the Veritas website when it has been revised as announced in subsequent sittings.

Debate on the President’s SONA speech:  The whole of the rest of the sitting was devoted to the continuing debate on the President’s SONA, until the adjournment at 6.11 pm.  In previous Parliamentary sessions this debate has been allowed to drag on until nearly the end of the session, without Ministers replying to points made.

It is noteworthy that all three sittings of the National Assembly this week lasted until after 6 pm.  Making allowances for the two hours lost to the CCC disorder on Tuesday, this may be taken as evidence that the Tenth Parliament means business.  It is hoped that Ministers play their part by ensuring that the MPs are kept busy with a supply of Bills to work on and that Ministers and their deputies regularly attend the weekly Question Time in each House.


Question Time:  The whole of the Senate’s sitting was devoted to Questions without Notice.  Written Questions with Notice will presumably feature on the Order Paper again when Parliament has settled down in its new premises.

Senator Zindi asked several questions, including one for the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education about continuous assessment learning activities (CALA) which require children to do research at home using the internet;  this, she pointed out, was difficult for people who do not have electricity or internet access.  The Minister replied that there had been many complaints about CALA from parents, which were being reviewed by expert consultants whose comprehensive report he expected to be delivered in the next two weeks.  Stakeholders would be informed of the results.  While he could not say that CALA would be removed, “we are going to implement the views and contributions of the people”.

In answer to a question from Senator Bimha on when the railways would be able to resume carrying heavy traffic, in order to do away with abnormal loads being transported by road, the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development told Senators that only 10 per cent of Zimbabwe’s rail network needed rehabilitation to become operational, which he said optimistically would be done “very soon”.  New locomotives would also be acquired by Government.  In the meantime weighbridges would be installed on roads so that vehicles carrying abnormal loads could be identified and their operators charged accordingly.  It was Government policy, he insisted, that such loads should not be transported by road.

At 4.06 pm the Senate adjourned until Tuesday 17th October.


These are released on Tuesday evenings and are posted onto the Veritas website in the Governance section under the heading “Post-Cabinet Meeting Briefings”.


Parliament has announced that it will be moving to the new Parliament building at Mt Hampden over a two-week period beginning on the 30th October.  According to the announcement, some services may be temporarily interrupted or delayed during the move, though the staff would try to ensure that critical services continue to be provided.

When sittings resume on Tuesday 7th November they will probably be in the new Parliament.

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