MDC-T MPs on Wednesday objected to the motion on the automatic adjournment of Parliament, which would have allowed the House to conclude the crafting of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Bill, arguing they needed time to study the Bill.
The MPs objected to the fast-tracking of the Bill in the House of Assembly after Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, on behalf of Justice and Legal Affairs minister Patrick Chinamasa, had proposed that Parliament sits until late as well as today to complete the crafting of the Bill before another session of Parliament resumes on September 6.
MPs alleged this was a ploy by Chinamasa to ambush them when he unexpectedly brought the Bill for its Second Reading stage on Tuesday.
They said when they were recalled to attend Parliament they thought it was to sit for a short time so that a proclamation might be read to MPs to announce that President Robert Mugabe would officially open a new session of Parliament next Tuesday.
Kambuzuma MP Willias Madzimure said: “Mr Speaker, taking note that the Bill before us is quite an important Bill, we are of the notion that time should be given to MPs to look at the Bill and suggest amendments to it.
“I move that the debate on the Bill be deferred because there is no need to suspend the Standing Rules and Orders in order to facilitate the speeding up of the Bill.”
Highfield West MP Simon Hove concurred and accused Chinamasa of attempting to fast-track the Bill by ambushing MPs and bringing it before Parliament when they had not studied it in greater detail.
“When Parliament was recalled we came with the view that we were simply going to have the proclamation of the opening of Parliament and then adjourn, but now we are being ambushed with debate on this Bill.
“It should be suspended until we have had enough time to go through the contents of the Bill.”
Zanu PF chief whip Joram Gumbo agreed to the suggestion by MDC-T MPs and said the Bill was an important piece of legislation which should not be discussed along partisan lines.