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10 outstanding Bills before Parliament


Online Desk |  1 week ago | local


PARLIAMENT faces more than 10 outstanding Bills with the process of debate, amendment and acceptance set to be concluded when it resumes its ordinary sitting at the end of this month after the end-of-year break.

Legislators were recalled during this recess to consider a preliminary Delimitation report prepared by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) and Parliament has since submitted its report to President Mnangagwa.

The outstanding 10 Bills will have to be debated alongside 16 additional Bills that were announced by President Mnangagwa when he officially opened the Fifth Session of the Ninth Parliament where he unveiled the legislative agenda for the Session in the magnificent new Parliament building in Mount Hampden. Some of the Bills will have to be debated and disposed of expeditiously because they have a bearing on the forthcoming harmonised elections.

They include the Electoral Amendment Bill which will stop the use of driver’s licences as proof of identity by persons who register as voters and who obtain ballot papers at polling stations.

It will bring into operation Constitutional amendments for the election of the 10 youth members of the National Assembly, one from each province, as well as the continued election of 60 women, six from each province, to the National Assembly under a party-list system.

The Bill will provide for the election of women on a party-list system to provincial councils and local authorities, and will prevent people from being nominated for election if they have been convicted of certain offences and set a time-limit for the withdrawal of constituency candidates. Other Bills that remain outstanding and which will be considered include: Police Amendment Bill, Private Voluntary Organisation Amendment Bill, Provincial Councils and Administration Amendment Bill, Labour Amendment Bill, Child Justice Bill, Judicial Laws (Amendment) Bill, Prisons and Correctional Service (Amendment) Bill, Insurance and Pension Commission Amendment Bill and the Electricity Amendment Bill.

The long awaited Mines and Mining Amendment Bill, which President Mnangagwa withheld his assent to a few years ago after expressing some reservations, is still to be brought back to Parliament.

Another Bill that drew a lot of debate is the Private Voluntary Organisation Amendment Bill, which seeks to ensure all funds of these organisations are in the formal banking system and which will prohibit any private voluntary organisation from supporting or opposing any political party or candidate in a presidential, parliamentary or local government election. The Bill sailed through the National Assembly with amendments arising from discussions between the Government and civil society organisations.

The proposed law will criminalise any action by civil society organisations to support, oppose or fund political parties or candidates in elections and will lay down civil penalties for receiving or moving money outside the formal banking system.