Both Houses Sat Last Week and Are Sitting This Week
Two Bills Completed by Parliament Last Week
In the National Assembly
Marriages Bill [as amended by the Senate]
On Tuesday 8th March the Bill was brought up for consideration of the amendments to clauses 9, 16, 41, 43 and 45 made by the Senate the previous week. It was the first item of business dealt with by the House immediately after the Speaker had made an announcement associating the Parliament of Zimbabwe with the rest of the world in commemorating International Women’s Day. The House in committee made short work of the re-opened Committee Stage and adopted the Senate’s amendments without debate. The Bill was then read for the third time. The Bill has, therefore, been finally passed by both Houses of Parliament and will in due course be sent to the President for his assent and gazetting as an Act of Parliament.
In the Senate
Guardianship of Minors Amendment Bill [as amended by the National Assembly]
On Wednesday 9th March the Bill was brought up for consideration by the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs. The Minister started his Second Reading speech by saying it was appropriate to bring up the Bill during the week of celebrating International Women’s Day, as it was not only a constitutional alignment measure [to bring the Guardianship of Minors Act into line with section 80 of the Constitution] but also an important measure for the advancement of women’s equality. He then proceeded to explain the thrust of the Bill. Several Senators made brief contributions to the debate, all of them welcoming the Bill, and the Bill was given its Second Reading after the Minister’s reply. The Committee Stage went ahead immediately, with no queries or debate, and the Bill was given its Third Reading, completing its passage through both Houses. Like the Marriages Bill, the Bill will in due course be sent to the President for his assent and gazetting as an Act of Parliament.
This Week So Far: Progress on Pension and Provident Funds Bill
On Tuesday 15th March the Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Hon Chiduwa, delivered the Second Reading speech for this Bill. Debate was then adjourned and resumed yesterday. Several Senators contributed, among other things comparing the comfortable situation enjoyed by pensioners in decades gone by and the penurious state of pensioners in the present day. Replying, the Deputy Minister thought it necessary to point out that the Bill did not apply to pensions paid by NSSA or the Government and accordingly it did not deal with some of the complaints made by Senators, which would have to be covered by separate measures, including Bills and regulations. The Bill was then given its Second Reading, enabling the Committee Stage to taken on a later day, perhaps even today, when it will be the only Bill on the Senate Order Paper – but, Thursday afternoon being reserved for Question Time and Private Members’ business, perhaps not.
Coming up in the National Assembly This Afternoon
For Committee Stage
- Zimbabwe Independent Complaints Commission Bill – a Veritas commentary is available. Also available is a document setting out amendments to the Bill proposed by the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.
For continuation of the Second Reading debate
For the start of the Second Reading stage
- Public Finance Management Amendment Bill .
- Insurance Bill.
- Insurance and Pensions Commission Amendment Bill – see Veritas comments . Note that the Minister has taken the unusual step of having a Notice of Amendment included on the Order Paper at this early stage. The notice envisages the insertion of a new clause 4 providing for Delegation of functions by Commissioner (of Insurance), which will entail the renumbering of every clause from there onwards.
- Health Services Amendment Bill – see Veritas comments .