President Robert Mugabe will today officially open the Fourth Session of the Seventh Parliament of Zimbabwe where he will announce a new legislative agenda for the lawmakers.
Parliament is not expected to engage in any debates today except to listen to the keynote address that President Mugabe is expected to deliver, which will include announcing Bills that both Houses will be expected to debate during the new parliamentary session.
When Parliament convenes today, Speaker of the House of Assembly Lovemore Moyo will inform the House of the time President Mugabe will give his speech and the House will stay suspended until the President has delivered it.
MPs are not expected to give any new notices of motions soon after the President has made his speech except a notice of a motion in reply to the
issues raised by President Mugabe in his speech.
Last year while officially opening the Third Session of the Seventh Parliament, President Mugabe said 15 Bills were going to be brought before Parliament, including the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Bill, Attorney-General
Office Bill, Media Practitioners’ Bill, Zimbabwe Human Rights Bill, Referendum Amendment Bill, Zimbabwe Electoral Bill, Income Tax Bill, Zimbabwe Border Post Bill and the Small-to-medium Enterprises Bill.
The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Bill was left at the Second Reading Stage during the Third Session of the Seventh Parliament and is expected to be completed during the new session being opened today.
The Human Rights Commission Bill attracted a lot of controversy with Zanu PF supporters disrupting public hearings and engaging in violent activities at Parliament Building and in Masvingo, Chinhoyi and Mutare.
MPs in the House of Assembly objected to continuation of debate during the Second Reading Stage of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Bill and said they needed time to study its provisions and make recommendations as it was a very important Bill.
The Electoral Amendment Bill is also expected to be crafted during the new Fourth Session of the Seventh Parliament and the process will begin with public hearings on the Bill.
The Fourth Session of the Seventh Parliament would be the second parliamentary session to be opened after political parties in Zimbabwe entered into a coalition government.
Prior to that President Mugabe’s speeches in Parliament were accompanied by booing and heckling by MDC legislators, but after the signing of the GPA, legislators have been listening to his speeches in silence.