Bill Watch 42-2023 - Last Week of Sittings and Coming up in Parliament on Tuesday 7th November

BILL WATCH 42/2023

[6th November 2023]

Parliamentary Sittings 17th, 18th and 19th October

Parliament to Resume on 7th November after Fortnight’s Recess
for ZANU PF Conference and Move to New Parliament

Veritas’ previous bulletin was Bill Watch 41/2023 [link] which dealt mainly with what happened in both Houses of Parliament during the first week of sittings, after the ceremonial opening of the Tenth Parliament the week before.  This bulletin summarises what happened during the sittings the following week on Tuesday 17th to Thursday 19th October before both Houses started the fortnight’s recess referred to in the heading above.  To end this bulletin, we give an indication of the contents of the Order Papers for the sittings of both Houses tomorrow, Tuesday 7th November.  

Tuesday 17th October

[Still in the old Parliament Building]


Auditor-General’s reports tabled:  The Deputy Minister of Finance and Investment Promotion, Hon K. Mnangagwa, tabled the following reports by the Auditor-General, all of which are available on the Veritas website:

·        Value for money audit report on monitoring of devolution funded by Ministry of Local Government and Public Works [link];

·        Appropriation Accounts, Finance and Revenue Statements, and Fund Accounts, for the year 2022 [link];

·        State Owned Enterprises and Parastatals for the year 2022 [link];

·        Appropriation Accounts and Fund Accounts in Arrear as at end of 2022 [link];

·        Local Authorities for the year 2022 [link]

Continuing debate on President’s SONA speech:   Debate continued for over well over two hours until the adjournment at 4.45 pm.   Many MPs delivered speeches of varying lengths, some taking up their full allotted time and others choosing to be briefer.  Both the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker called MPs to order for the use of words inappropriate to Parliamentary proceedings.  The Speaker stopped one ZANU PF MP from criticising the delimitation that had been done in early 2023 because the President had not referred to the delimitation in the SONA being debated.  He also complained to the Chief Whip about a noticeable drop in MPs’ numbers in the chamber as the afternoon wore on, pointing out that this was not fair to taxpayers who fund Parliament; and expressed disappointment that he could see only one Provincial Minister out of ten Ministers who should be paying attention to the debate in the hope that they would learn the needs of their provinces from MPs’ contributions. 


ZACC 2022 Annual Report:  The Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs presented a take-note motion on the 2022 Annual Report of the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission [ZACC] [link] but immediately moved that any debate should be postponed to enable Senators to read it.

NPA 2022 Annual Report:  Debate on the take-note motion on the 2022 Annual Report of the National Prosecuting Authority [NPA]  was also postponed for the same reason.  The Speaker urged Senators to read both reports, which had been circulated electronically.

Continuing debate on President’s SONA speech:  Senator Mupfumira concentrated on the problems caused by the human-wild life conflict caused by the human and elephant population increase; she also discussed the proposed Climate Change Bill and the proposed Health Insurance scheme, which she said should cover the rural population to ensure they were not obliged to travel to cities for medical treatment.  She was followed by Senator Nyathi from Beitbridge, who praised the new Beitbridge Border Post which had drawn compliments from the South African President Ramaphosa and completion of the new highway from Beitbridge to Masvingo.   These speeches lasted until the adjournment at 3.15 pm after a 45-minute sitting.

Wednesday 18th October


Announcement:  Membership of Committees:  The Speaker informed the House that the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders [CSRO] had appointed the members of the following committees:

·        Portfolio Committees and Public Accounts Committee   All MPs are expected to serve on at least two of these committees; the lists of individual members take up several pages and will be available on the Veritas website.  

·        Parliamentary Legal Committee [PLC]   The chairperson is Hon I. Ndudzo, and the other five members are Hon A. Gumbo, Hon F. Mahere, Hon E. Mutodi, Hon J. Samukange – who is the former chairperson – and Hon Eddison Zvobgo Jnr. 

Announcement:  Appointments to International Parliamentary Bodies:  The Speaker announced the revised lists of members of both Houses to the following bodies

·        Africa Parliamentary Union [APU];

·        OACPS-EU Joint Parliamentary and EU-African Parliamentary Assembly; 

·        Pan-African Parliament [PAP] – including Senator Chief Charumbira, who is PAP President; 

·        SADC Parliamentary Forum [SADC-PF];

·        Association of Senates, SHOORA and Equivalent Councils in Africa and the Arab World [ASSECAA].

Question Time:   In the absence of Written Questions with Notice, this was limited to Questions without Notice. Hon Marupi raised the issue of teachers being assigned to teach Grade 1 and ECD classes without being able to speak the local language, to which the Leader of Government Business, Hon Ziyambi replied that it should not happen because it was against Government policy.  The Minister of Higher Education added that trained teachers now had to be trained in three other local languages other than their own.  The Speaker then raised the issue of the many trained teachers who were unemployed, which led the Minister into the new philosophy of education in Zimbabwe: “… we are also changing the philosophy of why we go to school. We go to school to be trained to be able to do what we were trained for. We go to school in order to be able to use our knowledge and skills and attitudes to start new enterprises. We go to school not to be used by the ones who are already established in industry. We go to school in order to use ourselves to work for ourselves.  This is a deep philosophy which diverts from the philosophy of going to school to be employed by the colonial master, kuzvishandira, kwete kushandiswa.”  In reply to a question about deaf and dumb children being kept in special centres for education, the Minister said teachers would be trained in Braille and sign language to avoid this.  The Minister of Agriculture, Hon Dr Masuka, said that the elderly and vulnerable, including child-headed families, should not be required to collect their Pfumvudza/Intwasa inputs from the GMB but should be assisted by the relevant committees and village heads; he gave MPs his mobile phone number and said they were free to call him to inform him of cases where this was not happening.  [This is a selection of the questions that were answered.]

Ministerial Statement on the State of Solid Waste Management in Zimbabwe  The Minister of Environment, Climate and Wild Life, Hon Ndlovu, made a short statement on the Government’s plans to improve the deplorable state of solid waste management in the whole of Zimbabwe, not solely in urban areas. This generated requests for clarification from MPs which the Minister dealt with at some length.  Note: The state of disaster previously declared in Harare Metropolitan Province has since been extended to the end of 2023 by SI 219/2023 [link].  

Continuing debate on President’s SONA speech:  The resumed debate on the President’s speech continued until the adjournment at 6.44 pm.  During the debate more than a dozen MPs were able to complete their contributions.  


Announcements:  Committees and International Parliamentary Bodies

The President of the Senate announced the membership of the eight Senate Thematic Committees; there are two more than in the previous Parliament, the new ones being (1) Climate Change  and (2) Culture and Heritage.  A list of committees and their members are on the Veritas website.

Continuing debate on President’s SONA speech   As on the afternoon before, the agenda items on the two Annual Reports for 2022 of ZACC and the NPA were postponed in favour of  continuing debate on the President’s speech, which attracted few contributions.  The Senate adjourned to Thursday 19th October at only 3.17 pm.  

Thursday 19th October


PVO Amendment Bill:  To quote from Votes and Proceedings for this date, after Prayers the Deputy Speaker started the afternoon’s proceedings with the following information:

“… on 31st August, 2023, Parliament received the Private Voluntary Organisations Amendment Bill (H.B. 10, 2021) from His Excellency, the President of Zimbabwe with reservations. In terms of section 147 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, the Bill lapsed on the dissolution of the Ninth Parliament. Consequently, the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare was directed to gazette a revised version of the Bill, taking into account the reservations noted by His Excellency, the President. The Bill would then follow the normal stages of a Bill in Parliament.

The revised version of the Bill has not been gazetted.    

Continuing debate on President’s SONA speech:  The House approved a motion by the ZANU PF Chief Whip, Hon Togarepi, to skip the next three items on the Order Paper, which were debating the 2022 annual reports of NPA and ZACC and a new Report to be presented by Hon Shamu and Karikoga on the Conference of the Futures.  Instead MPs spent the whole afternoon debating the President’s speech of 3rd October until the adjournment for the weekend at 5.25 pm.   Hon Makope, MP for Mwenezi North, recommended the recognition of Pfumbi  a hybrid language spoken in his constituency as an additional national language.  Hon Bvute called for the Government to improve the learner-to textbook ratio in order to enable children without Internet to overcome their difficulties with the continuous learning assessment programme [CALA].  Hon Eddison Zvobgo Jnr, in his maiden speech as MP for Masvingo Central, among other things, referred to his connections with Parliament through both his mother and father; cited the latter as saying that “if two men always agree, it simply means that one of them is not thinking”.


Questions without Notice:  This proved so popular that Senators approved Senator Chief Chikwaka’s proposal that their allotted time be increased by fifteen minutes.  In reply to a question by Senator Zhou about arrears of BEAM funds for special schools for the disabled, the Deputy Minister for Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare said that failure to release BEAM funds amounting to ZWL$50 billion had affected all schools, not only special schools.  Senator C. Mutsvangwa, Minister of Liberation War Veterans, faced several questions about children of war veterans being entitled to benefit from their deceased parents’ offer letters for land, which were said to have been withdrawn; he said that he was still getting to grips establishing a new Ministry but undertook to raise such matters with the Minister of Lands, assuring his questioners that the rights of war veterans and their children were constitutionally protected.  

Debate on 2022 Annual Report of ZACC:  Senator Zindi opened contributions to this debate with a speech highlighting that civil servants should be paid a reasonable wage that did not oblige them to “leave their jacket upon a chair, and go out and hustle to make ends meet”, which was itself corruption.  Among several other suggestions, she also supported the urgent enactment of the Witness Protection/ Whistleblowers Bill; the institution of lifestyle audits in both public and private sectors; and the introduction of anti-corruption education from the beginning of primary school to tertiary institutions.  

At 4.15 pm the Senate adjourned until Tuesday 7th November, having sat for an hour and forty-five minutes.  

Both Houses to Sit Again This Week, Starting on Tuesday 7th November

Bills  No Bills feature in the Order Papers for either House.  

Questions without Notice, however, appear on the National Assembly’s Order Paper for Wednesday 8th November and the Senate’s Order Paper for Thursday 9th November.  


Take-note motions   The Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs has three of these motions on the Order Paper in the following order which request the House to take note of the following reports.  

·        Report of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission [ZEC] on the 2023 Harmonised Elections   This report is new to the Order Paper.  It joins the following two reports, which have been on the Order Paper for four sitting days already.

·        2022 Annual Report of the National Prosecuting Authority [NPA]

·        2022 Annual Report of Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission [ZACC].

Hon Shamu, seconded by Hon Karikoga, has been waiting since last week to move his motion for the House to take note of the following report:

·        Report on the Second Summit of the Committees of the Future, held in Montevideo, Uruguay, from 25th to 27th September 2023.

Continuing debate on President’s SONA speech:  This is the last item on the Order Paper for 7th November.


The Order Paper for Tuesday 7th November mirrors that of the National Assembly, [with the exception of Hon Shamu’s motion on the Summit of the Committees of the Future].

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