Hectic schedule for ninth Parly

HARARE - The ninth Parliament will commence in earnest next week with a busy schedule which will see it debate a dozen bills proposed by President Emmerson Mnangagwa during his State-of-the-Nation Address (Sona) on Tuesday.

Mnangagwa, who officially opened the ninth Parliament’s first session, outlined a comprehensive legislative agenda that is premised on the need to align the country’s laws to the 2013 Constitutions which is now long overdue.

Describing the constitutional alignment as “work-in-progress, notwithstanding the strides made in the previous Sessions,” Mnangagwa said the ninth Parliament was expected to consider the Coroner’s Bill, which provides for the establishment of the Coroner’s Office, the Constitutional Court Bill which, among other things, seeks to confer additional responsibilities to the Constitutional Court as well as the Customary Law and Local Courts Bill, which provides for the exclusion of harmful cultural practices from Customary Law.

The executive also wants the legislature to consider the High Court Amendment Bill, which will provide for clear appeals and referral procedures from the High Court to the Constitutional Court and establish their jurisdictional matters.

Parliament will also consider the Child Justice Bill and the Marriages Bill, which seeks to provide a child justice system and to outlaw child marriages, respectively as well as the Mandatory Sentencing for Rape and Sexual Abuse Bill.

Furthermore, Mnangagwa proposed that the Rural District Councils Bill — intended to give rural councils greater autonomy in line with the Constitution — be tabled in this august House.

“The Traditional Leaders Act will be amended to bring it into line with the Constitution and more particularly, to provide for the establishment of Provincial Assemblies,” Mnangagwa said.

He said the Provincial and Metropolitan Councils Bill will be prioritised to facilitate the devolution of governmental powers and responsibilities to provincial and local authorities.

“This will further seek to facilitate enhanced coordination between central government, provincial councils and local authorities, within the context of the decentralisation and devolution programme,” he said.

Mnangagwa said the Public Finance Management Act will be amended to facilitate the allocation of sufficient resources for basic social services and economic development at the local level.

Parliament will also bring forward the Forestry Amendment Bill for consideration “to provide for measures to effectively foster the sustainable management of the country’s forestry resource”.

“My government will also  bring for ratification by this Parliament; the Kigali Amendment to the Nogoya-Kualar Lumpur Supplementary Protocol on Stability and Redress to the Cartagena Protocol on Bio-Safety, the accession to the Additional Protocol to the Agreements between States and the International Atomic Energy Agency for the Application of Safeguards, the accession to the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management,” Mnangagwa said.

Also on the agenda of Parliament are accessions to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear, the Convention on Assistance in the case of a Nuclear Accident or Radiology Emergency and the Convention on the Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident.

Mnangagwa called on MPs to always act in the national interest and “preach the gospel of peace, love, harmony, tolerance and hard honest work.”

“I exhort you all to undertake the legislative task before you as servant leaders, emboldened by the people’s mandate which you each carry,” he pleaded, warning that “history will judge us harshly, should we renege on the sacrosanct duty to uplift the livelihoods of our people.”  

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