SPEAKER of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda yesterday rapped MPs for not taking Parliament business seriously after members of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Women, Gender and Community Development failed to submit a report during the Second Reading Stage of the Gender Commission Bill.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
The committee members remained quiet and failed to steer debate even after they were invited to do so by Mudenda following the Second Reading, Stage of the Bill by Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development acting minister Christopher Mushohwe.
“It is apparent that MPs do not take seriously the business in the National Assembly Order Paper because we should have received a report from the committee so that they then open up debate for other MPs to contribute on the Bill,” Mudenda said.
“MPs should take Parliament business seriously,” he said.
In his presentation, Mushohwe said if passed, the Bill would provide for the establishment of the Zimbabwe Gender Commission to promote gender equality, and strengthen and institutionalise monitoring of gender issues across all sectors of society.
“The Zimbabwe Gender Commission will add value to gender mainstreaming, which is a process of identifying and dissolving gender gaps and making both sexes integral for the design, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programmes in all spheres so that they benefit properly,” said Mushohwe. “Government is fully committed to the establishment of a fully functioning gender commission to investigate possible violations of rights related to gender,” he said.
If properly constituted, some of the duties of the commission would include conducting research on gender-related issues, social injustice, as well as to make recommendations and changes to gender -related laws. The commission would also investigate gender-related violations leading to discrimination, and also advise public and private institutions to take steps against gender inequality.
“The commission will also recommend prosecution for criminal violations over gender and do everything necessary to promote gender equality,” he said.
Debate on the Second Reading Stage will resume when the committee ultimately presents its report on the Bill.