Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere has given notice that he will today bring before Parliament the Local Government Laws Amendment Bill, before public hearings over the legislation are complete, raising the ire of opposition legislators.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Local Government is still conducting public hearings on the Bill in Matabeleland after complaints the region had been excluded.
Kasukuwere moved that the Parliamentary Standing Orders be suspended to ensure that he brings in the Bill so that it is crafted in the National Assembly.
However, opposition legislators led by Kuwadzana East MP Nelson Chamisa interjected, saying the minister was trying to smuggle in the Bill to amend the Rural District Council Act and the Urban Councils Act by jumping Parliamentary procedure at a time when the committee was still gathering public views.
“Is it not smack of arrogance of the highest order and for Parliament to be abused in this aspect that we suspend debate on other motions to debate on a Bill before we have exhausted Parliamentary processes?” he asked.
But, Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Mabel Chinomona quashed the point of order, saying the Local Government Portfolio Committee will still present its report even as the Bill is being discussed.
“All the stages will be taken care of. The minister was just giving notice that tomorrow (today)he will move to introduce the Bill and it will be up to you to object tomorrow (today),” she ruled.
Members of the public have largely rejected the Bill over powers bestowed on the Local Government minister.
Meanwhile, Chegutu West MP Dextor Nduna (Zanu PF) said school authorities who abused the Basic Education Assistance Module (Beam) and chase away students for non-payment of fees must be hanged.
He was debating a motion on a report presented by Public Service Portfolio Committee chairperson Goodluck Kwaramba on the administration of Beam funds.
Kwaramba told the House that most Beam beneficiaries could not afford school uniforms, stationery and other basic needs such as food.
Chitungwiza North MP, Godfrey Sithole said government priorities were misplaced citing the case of Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko, who has clocked 556 days booked at a top Harare hotel at the taxpayers’ expense.