The Third Session of the Seventh Parliament of Zimbabwe wound up last Thursday to pave way for the fourth session pencilled to be opened on August 23 by President Robert Mugabe.
Speaker of the House of Assembly Lovemore Moyo and acting President of the Senate Chief Fortune Charumbira last Thursday advised both Houses to wind up their motions and committee business as Parliament would be gearing up for a new session when President Mugabe announces a new legislative agenda.
Although the new fourth session of Parliament would be opened without having drafted many Bills that President Mugabe had announced would be presented during the just-ended session, Clerk of Parliament Austin Zvoma said there was nothing unusual about it.
Zvoma told NewsDay in an interview that it was normal to have a session of Parliament ending without working on all the Bills, ratifications of protocols, or making conclusions to motions that would have been brought before Parliament.
“The President in his speech envisages that certain Bills will be brought before Parliament, but since independence it does not happen that the full list of Bills that the President said would be brought up are actually brought before Parliament and there is nothing unusual about it,” said Zvoma.
“However, there are procedures to enable those Bills or motions to be included in the new session. They can be resuscitated by a motion in the new session so that MPs start debating them at the stage they were superseded by prorogation of Parliament,” he said.
The major highlights of the Third Session of the Seventh Parliament included attempts by MDC-T chief whip Innocent Gonese to bring in a private member’s Bill in the form of the Public Order and Security Amendment Bill, which changes were going to see the oppressive nature of the Public Order and Security Act altered.
Gonese’s attempts were successful in the House of Assembly, but hit a brickwall in the Senate where Justice and Legal Affairs minister Patrick Chinamasa halted it on the grounds it was a matter under discussion by GPA negotiators.
Parliamentary committees also grilled a lot of government ministers and public officials, resulting in the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy, chaired by Guruve South MP Edward Chindori-Chininga, producing a damning report on the Shabanie-Mashaba Mines issue.
The Mines and Energy committee also investigated issues regarding diamond mining activities in Chiadzwa.
The Public Accounts Committee, chaired by Goromonzi North MP Paddy Zhanda, also took to task public officials, resulting in Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono narrating how flaws in the RBZ Act before its amendment in 2010 made him release money after the government ordered him to do so.
Another achievement was the audit report by the Comptroller and Auditor General’s Office that exposed maladministration by some government departments.
In the forthcoming fourth session to be opened on August 23, Zvoma said one of the major highlights would be the introduction of the Prime Minister’s Question Time.