BY VENERANDA LANGA
LEGAL think tank, Veritas has warned that Parliament is running out of time and might not be able to pass all the outstanding Bills amid reports that the Second Session of the Ninth Parliament could end next month.
The warning came as the august House resumes sitting tomorrow after a month-long break caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Veritas, in its latest Bill Watch publication, said Parliament was behind in its legislative agenda.
“The government introduced Bills which were not on the legislative agenda and since March this year there have been some delays because of the necessity for COVID-19 precautions, but the government is very behind on its legislative agenda for this session,” Veritas said.
“This is a session which began on October 1, 2019 and will probably end about the end of September and yet there is a lot of work for the government to still do.”
Veritas noted that 25 Bills carried over from the previous session were yet to be enacted.
Currently, Parliament is seized with crafting the Zimbabwe Media Commission Bill, the Cyber Security and Data Protection Bill, the Constitution of Zimbabwe (No 2) Amendment Bill, the Marriages Bill, the Pensions and Provident Funds Amendment Bill, among others.
But there are several amendments to laws that are yet to be done that include the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill, the High Court Amendment Bill, the Public Finance Management Amendment Bill and the Gold Trade Amendment Bill.
Also to be amended include the Precious Stones Trade Amendment Bill, the Broadcasting Services Amendment Bill, the Child Justice Bill, the Mandatory Sentencing for Rape and Sexual Offences Bill, and the Immigration Bill. There are several other Bills that are supposed to be crafted that were announced by President Emmerson Mnangagwa during the official opening of the Second Session of the Ninth Parliament that are pending.
These include the Labour Court Bill, the Magistrates Court Amendment Bill, the Police Bill, the Insurance and Pensions Commission Amendment Bill, the Securities and Exchange Commission Bill, the Deposit Protection Corporation Amendment Bill and the Competition Amendment Bill.
The Petroleum Amendment Bill, the Medical Aid Societies Bill, the Persons with Disabilities Bill, the Private Voluntary Organisations Bill and the Prisons Bill, the Manpower Planning and Development Bill, the Centre for Education, Innovation and Research and Development Bill and Correctional Service Bill are also yet to be crafted.
“It is now seven years after the Constitution came into force and there is still new legislation and amendments to existing legislation outstanding to align the laws of Zimbabwe to the Constitution,” Veritas said.