THE outgoing First Session of the Ninth Parliament failed to meet expectations after President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced a busy legislative agenda of 29 Bills to be brought before Parliament for crafting, but only nine Bills were successfully crafted into law.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
Leader of the House in the National Assembly, Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi last year told NewsDay that it would not be business as usual in the new dispensation, but these statements have been proved wrong as ministers were notorious for truancy during Wednesday’s question-and-answer sessions in the National Assembly and Thursdays in the Senate.
The nine Bills crafted and enacted into law by Parliament included the Maintenance of Peace and Order Act, and business oriented laws such as the Micro Finance Amendment Act, the Consumer Protection law, the Companies and other Business Enterprises Act, the Tripartite Negotiation Forum Act and four laws to do with passing the 2019 National Budget and the 2019 supplementary budget — the Finance No 2 Act and the Appropriation 2019 Act.
However, there are still some laws that were in the process of being crafted and are at different stages of finalisation. These include the Education Amendment Bill, the Marriages Bill, the Zimbabwe Investment Development Agency Bill, the Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Amendment Bill and the Coroner’s Office Bill and the Freedom of Information Bill.
The failure to perform to expectation by the First Session of the Ninth Parliament is more evident in that several motions that MPs said they were going to move were never moved.
Most of these motions were to do with relevant issues affecting the economy, and they never saw the light of the day.
About 28 new motions, which are already in the National Assembly Order Paper, were supposed to have been introduced by MPs for debate during the First Session of the Ninth Parliament, but they were never introduced.
What it points to is that the MPs were not serious about debating the motions on the Order Paper in the first place.
Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda announced last month that the unintroduced motions will lapse, but can be reinstated on the Order Paper in the incoming Second Session of the Ninth Parliament.
Debates on motions which MPs managed to introduce were undermined by partisan stances, characterised by too much heckling, walk-outs, and several adjournments due to lack of a quorum.
Ministers performed dismally during the question and answer sessions on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Despite the promises that ministers in the “new dispensation” would hit the ground running, on average about 10 ministers and deputies would attend question and answer sessions.
A fortnight ago, Mudenda said he had written to President Emmerson Mnangagwa twice advising him of the shameful performance of his ministers who continued to bunk question-and-answer sessions in breach of section 107(2) of the Constitution.
Senate deputy president Michael Nyambuya also expressed displeasure over the continued truancy of ministers to take questions.