Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa yesterday called for political tolerance among politicians aspiring to contest in the 2023 harmonised elections.
The President also said parliamentarians should swiftly attend to some bills that will be brought before Parliament such as the Electoral (Amendment) Bill which will govern the conduct of 2023 harmonised elections.
President Mnangagwa said this while delivering the State of the Nation Address and officially opening the fifth session of the Ninth Parliament of Zimbabwe at the New Parliament Building in Mt Hampden, Mashonaland West province.
President Mnangagwa said politicians should lead in promoting peace ahead of the general elections.
“Political players, seeking the people’s mandate during the upcoming 2023 harmonised elections, must maintain and consolidate the peace, unity, harmony and love that we have built under the Second Republic. Violent confrontations have never been part of our culture,” said President Mnangagwa.
He said the Electoral (Amendment) Bill, which spells out new provisions for holding the 2023 Harmonised Elections, should be speedily concluded.
The President said Parliament is expected to accelerate the completion of matters on the legislative agenda in line with the expectations of the electorate.
He said Government has created an enabling environment for Parliament to execute its mandate through separating the Office of the Attorney-General from the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.
“This should see this office fully discharging its mandate more efficiently and effectively. In the financial services sector, the Insurance Bill seeks to replace the Insurance Act to address regulatory gaps and weaknesses. The new Session must expedite passage of the Labour Amendment Bill,” he said.
“Cabinet recently passed the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets (Compliance, Monitoring and Evaluation) Regulations, 2022 as well as the Amendments to the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets (General) (Amendment) Regulations, 2018 which, among other provisions, will require all procuring agencies to establish the market value of goods for ease of evaluation of quotations.”
President Mnangagwa said Parliament should expedite devolution of power proposed legislation.
“The Fifth Session must speedily consider legislation towards alignment of the devolution and decentralization programme of the Second Republic, through amendments of the Provincial Councils and Administration Act; the Rural District Council’s Act; as well as the Regional, Town and Country Planning Act,” said the President.
He said the Disaster Risk Management Bill will promote the involvement of all citizens in effective disaster preparedness, mitigation, response and recovery measures.
President Mnangagwa said in line with the Agriculture Food Systems and Transformation Strategy, amendments to the Plant Breeders Act; the Animal Health Act; the Water Act; the ZINWA Act; the Land Commission Act; and the Bees Act will be tabled.
“Equally, the Fisheries and Aquaculture Bill; the Agricultural Resources Conservation Bill; and the Agricultural Education Bill will enhance the attainment of food and nutrition security. In addition, the Sugar Act is being reviewed in order to classify sugarcane as a strategic crop,” said President Mnangagwa.
He said the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill now awaits gazetting and will ensure farming and mining activities are accorded due recognition in the resolution of disputes.
President Mnangagwa said the Bill will also strengthen environmental protection.
“Government shall be seeking Parliamentary ratification of various Memoranda of Understanding regarding partnerships to promote ICT infrastructure and skills development. Through the Electronic Transactions and Electronic Commerce Bill, Government seeks to establish a legal framework that facilitates fair, accessible, responsible and sustainable online transacting, including the recognition of digital signatures,” said President Mnangagwa.
He said the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) (Amendment) Bill, 2022; the Public Interest Disclosure (Protection of Whistle Blowers) Bill, 2022; the Electoral (Amendment) Bill, 2022; the Witness Protection Bill; the Zimbabwe Human Rights (Amendment) Bill; and the Legal Aid (Amendment) Bill must all be tabled during the fifth session of Parliament.
President Mnangagwa said outstanding Bills from the Fourth Session of the Ninth Parliament must be expedited.
“These include the Child Justice Bill, the Judicial Laws (Amendment) Bill, and the Prisons and Correctional Service (Amendment) Bill,” said President Mnangagwa. – @nqotshili