House begs senators to debate motions

Some senators yesterday had to be begged to contribute to debate by Senate president Mabel Chinomona and later by acting president Chief Fortune Charumbira after they remained mum on most of the motions on the Senate Order Paper.

BY VENERANDA LANGA

Some of the motions that were before Senate included the Second Reading Stage on the Marriages Bill and other motions pertaining to climate change and mining.

Chinomona expressed her dismay when motions on the Senate Order Paper were read without anyone contributing to debate.

“Did everyone exhaust debate (on the Marriages Bill)? I am of the opinion that we had two weeks off as senators and that when we come back to the House, we will have zeal to discuss what we have been observing around the country,” Chinomona said as she begged senators to contribute to debate.

“Do you want us to break for another week and go home? It should be seen that whenever Senate is sitting, senators contribute to debates like what happens at Senates in other countries around the world. Our work in the House is to debate and we are allowed to do so in whatever language we feel comfortable with.”

After her plea, a handful of senators contributed to a motion on the repeal of the death penalty and two other motions on climate change and mining before the House was adjourned after sitting for less than an hour.

Before it was adjourned, Charumbira, who was now acting president of the Senate after Chinomona had left the House, read several motions on the Senate Order Paper, which were adjourned as they had no takers for debate.

Charumbira then expressed dismay over failure by Senators to debate in the House.

He also ordered The Hansard not to record his speech saying it was embarrassing that Senators were failing to contribute to debate, and adding that this does not justify their presence in Parliament.

“An issue was raised that the National Assembly must sit for two weeks because there are many MPs there and then Senate follows by sitting for one week. I then argued saying that at the end, MPs in the National Assembly will earn more money (sitting allowances) than senators. However, they argued saying that the problem with senators is that even if they are called back to sit, they do not debate and they only sit for 10 minutes and adjourn,” Charumbira said.

“Can you please meet at your party caucuses and bring motions in Senate for debate. I know that most of you do not like to debate controversial issues, but let us bring good motions in Senate to justify our presence.”

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