Zanu PF passes favourable report on Local Govt Bill

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Innocent Gonese

ZANU PF members of the Parliamentary Legal Committee (PLC) nicodemously passed a non-adverse report on the Local Government Laws Amendment Bill in the absence of opposition members.

by VENERANDA LANGA

Jessie Majome
Jessie Majome

The issue came to light when MDC-T chief whip Innocent Gonese yesterday raised a matter of privileges in the National Assembly complaining that he and another member of the PLC, Jessie Majome got informed about the convening of the meeting which adjudged the Bill as non-adverse, effectively declaring the contest law as constitutional.

Zanu PF members of the PLC who outfoxed the MDC-T members are Jonathan Samukange (chairman), Fortune Chasi, and Ziyambi Ziyambi.

“I was informed that a purported meeting of the PLC had taken place, and the chairman indicated they had already agreed on a non-adverse report on the Bill,” Gonese said.

“I was not aware of that meeting and Majome was not present, and we were not given notice of the meeting. The PLC is an important committee, and the only committee mentioned by the Constitution (section 152).”

Gonese said there were also requirements that if any member of the PLC did not agree with opinions of others, they can do a separate report to be then discussed paragraph by paragraph.

“We must do things properly because already (Local government minister, Saviour) Kasukuwere has moved for suspension of provisions of standing orders relating to stages of Bills when the Local Government Parliamentary Portfolio Committee is still out. The minister wants to come here and do a fast-track of the Bill. I suggest that the motion must be expunged from the Order Paper as it is not lawful.”

Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Mabel Chinomona promised to look into the issue together with administration of Parliament.

When Kasukuwere was about to introduce the Bill all opposition MPs walked out of the House to ensure there was no quorum.

Only 58 Zanu PF MPs were present when the quorum is 70.

Meanwhile, during the question and answer session Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa said Statutory Instrument 64 does not ban importation of goods, but only required people to get an import licence to acquire goods available locally.

“We are importing more than we export and a lot of foreign currency is going to buy trinkets. We need to import goods critical to the development of the country,” he said.