The National Assembly sat on Tuesday 10 October 12, 2017 and the main business of the day was debate of the Presidential Speech that he delivered during the official opening of the Fifth session of the Eighth Parliament last month. Members of Parliament raised pertinent issues pointing to the fact that the speech did not address how the economic crisis affecting the country will be dealt with. Members also said more needs to be done to speed up the alignment of laws to the Constitution as the tenure of the eighth Parliament is fast approaching.
Question and Answer Session
On Wednesday 12 October 2017 Parliament then convened for the Question and Answer session where the Executive is expected to respond to critical issues asked by Members of Parliament. As expected, a handful of Ministers were in attendance resulting in Hon. Innocent Gonese (MDC-T Mutare Central) raising a point of order complaining over non-attendance of the Executive. However, Deputy Speaker of the House Hon. Mabel Chinomona argued that Ministers had sent apologies and their Deputies were in the House representing them.
To kick off the question and answer session was Hon. Sabbina Thembani (ZANU PF Harare Metropolitan) who asked Deputy Minister of Local Government, Rural Development and National Housing what the Ministry was doing regarding unlicensed shop operators. In response, Hon. Christopher Chingosho (ZANU PF Headlands) said the Ministry was working on measures to address this menace and was due to meet with local authorities for recommendations.
On a supplementary question, Hon. Dexter Nduna (ZANU PF Chegutu West) asked if the Deputy Minister was aware of local authorities taking money from these unlicensed shop operators and not channelling it to good use. Hon. Chingosho indicated that the Ministry was drafting a Land Developers’ Bill that would ensure that people are settled legally and address such challenges.
Hon. Dr Thokozani Khupe (MDC-T Bulawayo Metropolitan) directed her question to the Minister of Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development in relation to the International Day of the Girl Child. She asked what Government was doing to provide sanitary wear in schools so that girls do not miss lessons. In response, Minister Chikwinya said Government has approached two companies that are going to provide sanitary wear for free. She, however, added that one of the two companies underscored that they were not able to provide sanitary wear for free but can only reduce the cost from US$1 to 50cents. On breast cancer awareness, Minister Chikwinya said her Ministry was working in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Childcare raising awareness and carrying out free breast examinations.
On Agriculture, Hon. Mapetere Mawere (ZANU PF Zaka West) asked the Minister of Agriculture’s position concerning people who are in rural areas and are failing to access or get assistance for Command Agriculture as they are requested to bring slips from GMB. Hon. Joseph Made requested that the honourable Member outline details of areas where the problem is occurring so that it will be addressed.
Hon. Moses Chibaya (MDC-T Mkoba) referred a question to the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Hon. Obedingwa Mguni (ZANU PF Mangwe) concerning the majority of Zimbabweans sleeping in queues waiting for the processing of identity documents and birth certificates. In response, Hon. Mguni said the Ministry has engaged other Ministries and has since deployed additional teams so they can cover the whole country and expedite the process otherwise they will not meet the November 30 deadline.
Hon. Fani Phiri (ZANU PF Kadoma Central) then asked Deputy Minister of Local Government, Rural Development and National Housing what the Ministry is doing to assist local authorities in avoiding flooding like what happened last year due to poor drainage in most towns and cities. Hon. Chingosho pointed out that the Ministry, through its Department of Civil Protection will assist local authorities as they are faced with financial challenges and will not be able to deliver in their duties.
Hon. Nelson Chamisa (MDC-T Kuwadzana East) raised a point of order and asked when the Ministry of Transport will release a Ministerial Statement on road accidents mitigation programmes following the King Lion bus accident which claimed many lives. Deputy Minister Michael Madanha (ZANU PF Wedza South) said the ministry was still working on the statement as it required input from other Ministries.
On Thursday 13 September 2017, the National assembly sat and again the main business of the House was the debate on the Presidential speech. The Deputy Speaker also announced that there was going to be a pre-budget briefing workshop on 20 October 2017 urging all Legislators to attend.
Parliament adjourned at 4.05pm and will resume sitting on Tuesday, 17th October 2017. The major business on the Order Paper is the debate on the Presidential speech.
Source: Southern African Parliamentary Support Trust (SAPST)