MPs voice concern over Bills backlog

via MPs voice concern over Bills backlog | The Herald August 25, 2015 by Farirai Machivenyika

Fifteen Bills have been brought before Parliament since the opening of the Eighth Parliament’s Second Session last October while five have been passed, amid calls on the Government to bring more Bills to accelerate the realignment of laws with the new Constitution.

In an interview recently on the performance of the current session, Zanu-PF Chief Whip and Mberengwa West legislator Cde Joram Gumbo said legislators expected more Bills to be brought before them.

“Fifteen Bills have been introduced during the Second Session. Five were passed by Parliament. The rest are still pending. We were expecting more Bills to come since the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs had said 206 Bills were ready,” Cde Gumbo said.

The five that have been passed by Parliament are the RBZ Debt Management Act, Public Accountants and Auditors Amendment Act, Finance No. 2 Act, Appropriation Supplementary Act and Finance No. 3 Act.

The 10 still pending include the Zimbabwe Gender Commission Bill, the Public Debt Management Bill, the Biological and Toxin Weapons Crimes Bill, Criminal Procedure and Evidence Bill, the General Laws Amendment Bill, the Joint Ventures Bill, the Banking Amendment Bill, which is yet to be gazetted and the Labour Amendment Bill recently passed by both Houses.

The Marondera University of Agriculture and Natural Sciences Bill now awaits Presidential assent.

Cde Gumbo said at least 15 reports had been tabled in Parliament, 13 in the National Assembly and two in the Senate.

“We expect that more business will come from Government so that we expedite the realignment of laws and improve the business of Parliament,” said Cde Gumbo.

His MDC-T counterpart, Mr Innocent Gonese (Mutare Central), also urged Government to bring more Bills to Parliament for legislators to carry out their mandate.

“Our challenge is that we have insufficient Bills coming from the Executive. We have so many laws that need to be re-aligned with the Constitution. So, we need more Bills to come so that we carry out our legislative mandate,” Mr Gonese said.

He said ministers had also been found wanting in fulfilling their obligations in Parliament with very few of them coming to answer questions from backbenchers or to respond to members’ motions.

Parliament has since passed new Standing Rules and Orders that provide for penalties against ministers who fail to respond to backbenchers’ questions on time, without justification.