Bill Watch Parliamentary Committees Series 16/2013 of 24th October



[25th October 2013]

Parliamentary Committees – Part 1

Standing Rules and Orders Committee [SROC]

SROC’s functions These are laid down in section 151 of the Constitution as: supervising the administration of Parliament, formulating Standing Orders, considering and deciding all matters concerning Parliament, and exercising other functions imposed on the committee by the Constitution [such as nominating candidates for appointment to constitutional commissions], by Standing Orders [such as appointing other Parliamentary Committees] or by an Act of Parliament.

SROC’s members are ex officio or appointed or elected, in accordance with section 151 of the Constitution:

  • ·      11 ex officio [automatically members by virtue of their holding of other offices]
  • ·      4 appointed [2 appointed by President, 1 by Speaker and 1 by President of Senate]
  • ·      8 elected [4 by Senate, 4 by National Assembly]

Bill Watch 51/2013 of 8th October listed 13 members identified by that date and but the SROC was then still short of its full complement, with eight backbench members still to be elected by the two Houses and two appointments still to be made by the presiding officers.  That was done last week, and the full committee had its first meeting on the morning of 16th October.

Names of SROC Members

The full SROC has a Chairperson, Deputy Chairperson and 21 other members:

Ex officio members [11]

Speaker: Hon Jacob Mudenda, Chairperson

President of the Senate: Hon Ednah Madzongwe, Deputy Chairperson

Deputy Speaker: Hon Mabel Chinomona

Deputy President of the Senate: Hon Chen Chimutengwende

Minister responsible for  finance: Hon Patrick Chinamasa

Leader of Government Business in Parliament: Hon Emerson Mnangagwa

Leader of the Opposition in Parliament: Hon Thokozani Khupe [MDC-T]

Chief Whips of the political parties represented in the National Assembly and Senate:

ZANU-PF:     Hon Joram Gumbo

MDC-T:         Hon Innocent Gonese

MDC:             Hon Jasmine Toffa

President of the National Council of Chiefs:  Hon Chief Charumbira

Appointed members [4]

Two Ministers appointed to the Committee by the President

Hon. Dr.Sydney Sekeramayi, Minister of Defence

Hon. Sithembiso Nyoni, Minister of Small and Medium Enterprises and Cooperative Development

One Senate backbencher appointed as a member by the President of the Senate

Hon Priscah Mupfumira [ZANU-PF]

One National Assembly backbencher appointed as a member by the Speaker

Hon Anne Simbanegavi [ZANU-PF]

Elected members [8]

Four Senate backbenchers elected by the Senate:

Hon Sen Charles Tawengwa [ZANU-PF]

Hon. Sen Monica Mutsvangwa [ZANU-PF]

Hon Tambudzani Mohadi [ZANU-PF]

Hon Sithembile Mlotshwa [MDC-T]

Four National Assembly backbenchers elected by the National Assembly:

Hon Daniel Shumba [ZANU-PF]

Hon Constance Tsomondo [ZANU-PF]

Hon Kazembe Kazembe [ZANU-PF]

Hon Nelson Chamisa [MDC-T]

Breakdown of SROC Membership

By gender

Women               11

Men                     12

By political party

ZANU-PF            17

MDC-T                  4

MDC                      1

Inaugural SROC Meeting

A major item of business at the first SROC meeting on 16th October was the appointment of other Parliamentary committees.  Standing Orders state that in making committee appointments the SROC must take into account:

  • ·      “the expressed interests or expertise”  of members of Parliament, and
  • ·      “the political and gender composition of Parliament”.

As ZANU-PF holds comfortable majorities in both Houses, its MPs dominate all committees.

Appointment of Other Committees

On 17th October, the Speaker and the President of the Senate announced the appointment by the Standing Rules and Orders Committee of the following committees:

  • ·      Public Accounts Committee [chaired by MDC-T]
  • ·      19 National Assembly Portfolio Committees [4 chaired by MDC-T, 15 by ZANU-PF]
  • ·      6 Senate Thematic Committees [2 chaired by MDC-T, 4 by ZANU-PF].

On 22nd October the appointment of the five-member  Parliamentary Legal Committee  was announced.

The members of the Public Accounts Committee and Parliamentary Legal Committee are listed below.  The membership of the portfolio committees and thematic committees will be covered in future bulletins.

Public Accounts Committee

Chairperson:  Hon Paurina Mpariwa [MDC-T]

Clerk: Ms Nyawo

ZANU-PF [17]:  Chitindi C.; Gumbo S.; Jaboon J.; Kaundikidze H. M.; Madanha T.; Madondo T.; Masamvu L.; Mpofu M.M.; Mudambo T.; Musanhi K.S.; Ncube S.; Nduna D.T.; Nyanhongo M.; Sibanda M.; Sindi C.; WadyajenaJ.M.; Zhou P.; Matimba K.M. ; Mudau M.; Nyamupinga B.B.; Mbwembwe E.N.; Rungani A.; Thembani S.; Marumahoko  R.; Muchenje F.; Dziva T.M.; Simbanegavi Y.; Masiya D.; Pedzisai I.; Mhlanga J. N.; Paradza K.;Chidavaenzi E.; Sibanda Z.; Nkomo M.

MDC-T [8, including the Chairperson, Mrs Mpariwa]:  Sansole T.; Cross E.; Chirisa F.; Madzimure W.; Musundire A.; Mashakada T.; Nkomo S.S.

MDC [1]:  Misihairabwi-Mushonga P.

Functions: The committee plays a vital part in Parliament’s oversight of the Executive.  Its mandate is to examine the financial affairs and accounts of Government ministries and departments and State-owned enterprises.  It works closely with the Auditor-General, all of whose audit reports are examined by the committee and if necessary made the subject of special reports to the National Assembly.

Inaugural meeting: The committee will hold its inaugural meeting on 28th October, in closed session.  Meetings open to the public are unlikely until the committee has decided on its work plan.

Parliamentary Legal Committee

The five members of the Parliamentary Legal Committee [PLC] are:

Hon Tendai Biti [MDC-T]

Hon Dr. Christopher Kuruneri [ZANU-PF]

Hon Jesse Majome [MDC-T]

Hon Priscah Mupfumira [ZANU-PF]

Hon Jonathan Samukange [Independent ZANU-PF]

As all the members except Senator  Mupfumira are legally qualified, there has been compliance with section 152(2) of the Constitution, which states that a majority of the PLC’s members must be qualified to practise law in Zimbabwe.

Chairperson  The PLC will elect its chairperson at its inaugural meeting, but as three of the members are out of the country this is not likely to be held until next week.  Secretarial services for the PLC are provided by the office of Parliamentary Counsel, Ms Pise.

Functions  The PLC’s functions are to examine Bills introduced into Parliament for consistency with the Constitution, and to examine all newly-gazetted statutory instruments [regulations, by-laws, rules of court, and General Notices which have the force of law] not only for consistency with the Constitution but for exceeding the powers granted by enabling Acts of Parliament.

The PLC’s meetings are not open to the public, but written representations can be made to it on constitutional and legal points arising from the Bills or statutory instruments it has under consideration.