Bill Watch 04-2024 - Parliament Resumes on Tuesday 5th March- What's On the Agenda


[3rd March 2024]

Both Houses Resume Sitting on Tuesday 5th March 

Both Houses of Parliament have been in recess since they last sat on Thursday 15th February; they will resume sitting on Tuesday 5th March.  This bulletin will deal briefly with what happened in for both Houses on the three sitting days 13th to 15th February, events affecting Parliament since then – including three Bills that were gazetted on Friday 1st March [see below] – and what is on both Houses’ agenda when they sit in the coming week.  

In the National Assembly from 13th to 15th February

Tuesday 13th February

Motion adopted: 2023 Commemoration of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence [GBV]  The Minister of Women Affairs, Community and SMEs, Hon Monica Mutsvangwa, presented a comprehensive response to points made during the debate, which began in November last year, and was congratulated by the Speaker, Hon Mudenda, who said that other Ministers should follow her example and respond to motions concerning their Ministries.  Hon Ndebele then wound up the debate and thanked the many MPs who had contributed.   

Continuing debate on ZEC Report on the 2023 Harmonised Elections [link]    Debate continued in the same partisan vein as previously, with ZANU PF MPs dismissing the various Observer Mission reports as in breach of Zimbabwe’s sovereignty.  Hons Mugwadi, Ndudzo and Chiduwa were among the ZANU PF MPs who spoke, while Hons Shiriyedenga and Zvaipa spoke up for the more critical Opposition point of view.  Debate on the report will continue.   

Wednesday 14th February

Swearing-in of six new ZANU PF MPs  Proceedings began with the swearing-in of the following new MPs who had been successful in the 3rd February “recall” by-elections [the constituencies for each are indicated, together with the former CCC MP’s name]:

TIMBURWA Shakemore Wellington – Chegutu West [former MP CHIVERO Addmore]   

ZHANDA Washington – Goromonzi South [former MP CHAGWIZA Stephen]

NCUBE Edgar – Mkoba North [former MP CHIBAYA Amos]

KASHAMBE Munyaradzi – Seke [former MP MADZIMBAMUTO Willard]

TSHUMA Joseph – Pelandaba-Tshabalala [former MP SIZIVA Gift Ostallos]

MANANZVA Kudakwashe – Zvimba East [former MP MUTASA Oliver].

Question Time then followed, despite the absence of a long list of Ministers and Deputy Ministers who had tendered their apologies, which evoked a brief homily from the Speaker, who stressed that they were only holding their positions as a result of their status as members of Parliament and asked them to bear this mind.  

Among the Questions Without Notice, was a query about Starlink, which was recently licensed in Zambia, and as a result had spilled over into Zimbabwe.  Hon Ziyambi assured his questioner, Hon Maoneke, that “the necessary processes and procedures are being done by the relevant departments, that is POTRAZ and our security, to ensure that the usage of Starlink is regularised”.  

Only one Question with Written Notice was answered, which was by Hon Dr Hamauswa on provision of workspaces for SMEs by the Harare City Council and addressed to the Ministry responsible for SMEs.  It was answered on behalf of Hon Mutsvangwa by Hon Ziyambi in his capacity as Leader of Government Business: the lengthy answer acknowledged that the absence of workspaces hampering the growth of the SME sector in Harare but gave examples of progress: including the convening of a Workspace Provision Conference in 2022; the establishment of an Inter-Ministerial Committee for Harare Metropolitan Province, which had identified several places in Greater Harare for development; the opening of the Epworth Smart Vegetable Market.  Hon Hamauswa said research had shown few SMEs in Harare had known of the 2022 Conference and suggested the holding of another Conference preceded by sufficient publicity, with which Harare MPs could help. 

Presentation of Motions on Parliamentary Delegation Reports   Three take-note motions on report were then presented, in each case with an introductory speech which consisted of reading out the report:

·        147th Assembly of the IPU (International Parliamentary Union) and Related Meetings, 23rd to 27th October 2023 in Luanda, Angola;

·        53rd Plenary Assembly of the SADC Parliamentary Forum, 22nd to 27th November 2023, Port Louis, Mauritius;

·        Report of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Parliamentary meeting at 28th Session of the Conference of Parties (COP 28), 6th December 2023, Dubai, UAE. 

Thursday 15th February

Resignation of two CCC MPs  The Speaker announced the resignations of Ms Fadzai Mahere on 29th January and Mr Allan Markham on 31st January with immediate effect; these will in due course result in by-elections being called in the Mount Pleasant and Harare East constituencies, respectively.  

Continuing debate on the President’s speech at the opening of Parliament  

Continuing debate on ZEC Report on the 2023 Harmonised Elections [link]   Noteworthy among contributions to the continuing partisan debate was the speech of Hon Mutodi, who suggested that the qualifications for candidates for the President and  MPs should exclude those who had previously made allegations about electoral fraud in Zimbabwe or advocated sanctions against Zimbabwe, i.e., who were not patriotic Zimbabweans.  

In the Senate from 13th to 15th February

One-minute statement on a Point of National Importance: Section 129(1)(k) of Constitution  Senator Zvidzai made a statement on the number of recalls that had occurred during the previous Parliament and in the life of the present Parliament, referring to the drain on the fiscus that the resulting by-elections of MPs and councillors had caused.  He suggested that there was a need for the Senate and the nation “to sit down and develop regulations on the application of Section 129 (k) of the Constitution so that people are not recalled on the whims of individuals to the detriment of the fiscus of the nation, the stability of Parliament and indeed, the harmony and happiness of the nation.”  The Deputy President of the Senate said that he would study the point and make a ruling at the appropriate time.

Motion adopted: 2023 Commemoration of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence [GBV]   On Tuesday 13th February the Minister of Women Affairs, Community and SMEs, Hon Mutsvangwa, delivered her response to the debate on this motion, which was an adaptation of the speech she had made earlier in the afternoon to the National Assembly.  She was commended by the Deputy President of the Senate for her efforts.  On the next day Senator Mbohwa wound up the debate  and the motion was adopted.  

Question Time (Thursday 15th February)  Senator Zindi asked about the apparently indiscriminate mushrooming of cyanidation plans erected by gold miners that were allegedly causing deaths of farmers’ cattle.  The Deputy Minister of Mines and Mining Development answered that there were laws requiring prior inspection by and registration with the Ministry, and asked that any breaches be reported to the Ministry. 

New motion on road carnage  On Thursday 15th February Senator Mlotshwa, seconded by Hon Phuti, moved a motion calling on all possible relevant authorities ­to take appropriate action to prevent the high rate of accidents on Zimbabwe’s roads – and “all drivers to act responsibly and to observe rules of the road in order to minimise the risks of road carnage … at all times”.

Three Bills Gazetted 

Parliament gazetted the following three Bills on Friday 1st March:

1.   Private Voluntary Organisations Amendment Bill [link] (H.B. 2, 2024)

2.   Administration of Estates Amendment Bill [link(H.B. 3, 2024)

3.   Criminal Laws Amendment (Protection of Children and Young Persons) Bill [link(H.B. 4, 2024)

These Bills will be summarised and analysed in separate Bill Watch bulletins.

ZEC Appoints Party-list Members of Parliament 

In the Government Gazette dated Friday 1st March 2024 General Notices 291 and 292, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission [ZEC] notified, respectively, its appointment of nine party-list Senators and five party-list members of the National Assembly.  The notices are over the name of the ZEC Chairperson, Justice P.M. Chigumba, and the appointments are with effect from the 1st March 2024.  These appointments fill the vacancies created by the controversial “recalls” 

Note: The gender balance of the Houses is not affected by the appointments, as ZEC was obliged to appoint members of the same gender as the recalled members.

Coming up in the National Assembly This Week

Swearing-in of newly appointed CCC MPs?

In view of the fact that ZEC has officially notified their appointments [see previous paragraph] the new party-list MPs will probably be sworn-in this week. 

Annual Reports 

Presentation of the Annual Report for 2023 of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission [NPRC] [link]   The presentation of the report and the take-note motion by the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs is item 1 on the Order Paper for Tuesday 5th March. 


Death Penalty Abolition Bill [link] – item 3 on the Order Paper for 5th March, for consideration of the Parliamentary Legal Committee’s adverse report by Committee of the Whole House.  

Continuing debates on motions already presented  The debate on ZEC’s report on the 2023 harmonised elections seems likely to attract continued attention.  Ministers are likely to continue responding to the debate on the President’s speech.

New motions waiting to be presented  Hon Jere has two new motions on the Order Paper for 5th March as items 8 and 9 which have been in the queue for thirteen sitting days: (1) calling on the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works to come up with competitive conditions of service for local authority councillors so that their livelihoods can be sustained with dignity commensurate with their dedication to duties and responsibilities to the nation; (2) alleging poor corporate governance in the banking sector over the last decade and calling on the Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion to come up with comprehensive legislation that will among other things compel financial institutions to compensate clients who lost savings/ investments as a result. 

Coming up in the Senate This Week

Swearing-in of nine new CCC Senators?  In view of the fact that ZEC has officially notified their appointments [see above], the nine new party-list Senators will probably be sworn in this week.

Presentation of the Annual Report for 2023 of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission [NPRC] [link]     As in  the National Assembly, the presentation of the report and the take-note motion by the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs is item 1 on the Order Paper for Tuesday 5th March. 

Other business on the Order Paper consists of  adjourned debates on motions already presented.

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