THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (Debt Assumption) Bill sailed through the National Assembly yesterday after Zanu PF MPs outvoted the MDC-T.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
The 37 MDC-T legislators present in the House had tried to block it, but were outnumbered by the 115 Zanu PF legislators.
Before the third reading stage to pass the Bill was done, Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda announced that the Parliamentary Legal Committee (PLC) had found the proposed law constitutional.
But MDC-T chief whip Innocent Gonese immediately raised a point of order, saying opposition MPs had been sidelined by the PLC.
“My point of order is related to the purported non-adverse report of the PLC because I sit in that committee together with Harare West
MP Jessie Majome and we were never informed that the PLC was sitting to scrutinise the Bill,” Gonese said.
“As far as I am concerned, the PLC comprises five members and I believe there was no meeting last week and the PLC did not deliberate on this matter and were not legally qualified to pass the Bill as non-adverse.”
Zanu PF MPs in the PLC include Mudzi South MP Jonathan Samukange (chairperson), Mount Darwin MP Christopher Kuruneri and Matabeleland North Senator Sithokozile Mathuthu.
Mudenda dismissed Gonese’s point of order saying the PLC was properly constituted when it sat.
Gonese then called for a division of the House to vote for the Bill and Zanu PF won because of its numerical advantage.
When Kuwadzana East MP Nelson Chamisa (MDC-T) raised a point of order saying Parliament had contravened the Constitution by allowing the MPs who benefited from the RBZ farm mechanisation scheme to take part in voting for the Bill, Mudenda ruled him out of order.
Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa said the MDC-T’s demands over the Bill were a waste of Parliament’s time.
“What we have been doing over the one and a half hours was unwarranted and was abuse of the National Assembly,” Chinamasa said.
“Chamisa has right to appeal in other quarters, but not in Parliament because the issue has been concluded.
“In any event, this Bill is about taking over the $1,35 billion liabilities of the RBZ so that it operates with a clean balance sheet.”