HARARE - Zimbabwe's Parliament was adjourned without taking up any business for the next two weeks as President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF opens its 6th national people’s congress this week.
Jacob Mudenda, speaker of the National Assembly and Edna Madzongwe, the president of the Senate; informed legislators last week of the adjournment of business to December 16.
The announcement was made on Thursday soon after Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa had tabled his 2015 National Budget.
“Parliament will adjourn for just over two weeks, to allow Zanu PF members to attend the party’s congress, which will take place in Harare during the period Tuesday 2nd to Sunday the 7th of December, and Parliament business will resume on 16 December,” Mudenda said..
The two-week break will also offer an opportunity for public members time to digest the budget proposals and prepare representations about them for submission to portfolio committees, and to lobby individual MPs before parliamentary consideration of the proposals begins.
Parliamentary portfolio committees meetings will resume on December 8 with public hearings and a post-budget seminar for parliamentarians.
Portfolio committees will hold open meetings at which stakeholders and members of the public will be permitted to make representations about the budget proposals.
The committees will then meet in a closed session to prepare reports to be presented to the National Assembly the following week when the budget and the estimates of expenditure for 2015 are expected to be approved and the Appropriation and Finance Bills to put them into effect when passed by both Houses.
The Senate’s role in budget business is a limited one, because the Finance Bill and the Appropriation (2015) Bill are both “money Bills”.
Both Bills will come to the Senate after they have been passed by the National Assembly, but under the Constitution the Senate cannot amend either of them.
Last week, government ordered the early closure of primary and secondary schools to allow the smooth flow of the party’s congress.