President spells out legislative agenda…urges House to harness laws for development
Zvamaida Murwira, Harare Bureau
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa yesterday laid 29 Bills that will help facilitate the implementation of programmes and projects that will enhance the livelihoods of people and communities in the country, towards Vision 2030.
Officially opening the First Session of the 10th Parliament of Zimbabwe, the Head of State and Government challenged legislators to put all hands on deck, saying a lot of work lies ahead as they serve their constituencies for the next five years.
He said there will be five obsolete laws that will be repealed from the country’s legal statutes since they have ceased to serve their purpose while the current Session will have to deal with six uncompleted Bills from the last Parliament.
“I challenge you to accelerate the completion of the matters outstanding from the legislative agenda of the Ninth Parliament. Much work lies ahead. As you are aware, our economy has been on an upward trajectory, recording positive growth rates across sectors, notwithstanding the illegal sanctions imposed on us by our detractors,” said President Mnangagwa.
“This August House should ensure that the law is an instrument for development. Further, Parliament is encouraged to be an institution of peace-building, hope, national development and the entrenchment of constitutionalism and deepening democratic practices in our country.”
Bills that were outstanding from the last Parliament that he directed to be concluded include the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill, Public Finance Management Amendment Bill; Medical Services Amendment Bill, Insurance Bill and the Private Voluntary Organisations Bill.
Obsolete laws that are set to be repealed under the Repeal of Laws (General Amendment) Bill include the Fredrick Clayton Trust Act, the Service of Documents Act, Settled Estates Leasing Act and the War Marriages Validation Act.
New Bills which will constitute the business of the First Session include the Persons with Disabilities Bill and the Administration of Estates Amendment Bill.
“The Legal Practitioners (Amendment) Bill 2023, seeks to streamline the registration process for foreign legal practitioners. Also on the agenda will be the Inheritance and Succession Laws (General Amendment) Bill 2023, which aligns inheritance and succession laws to the Constitution and international best practice,” said President Mnangagwa.
“To give impetus to matters related to climate change adaptation and resilience, the 10th Parliament is called upon to review the Water Act; the Zimbabwe National Water Authority Act and the Plant Breeders Act. The much-anticipated Climate Change Bill seeking to regulate greenhouse gas emissions and facilitate low carbon development technologies should be thoroughly debated towards strengthening appropriate institutions and funding mechanisms.”
He said the Parks and Wildlife Act will be amended whilst a Human Wildlife Conflict Relief Fund will be set up to offer monetary benefits to victims of human-wildlife conflict in communities.
“The Second Republic aims to fully exploit, value add, and beneficiate the country’s abundant natural resources. In this regard, as industrialisation gathers momentum, Parliament must expedite the consideration of the Competition Amendment Bill, Economic Empowerment Bill, Standards Bill, Sugar Production Amendment Bill and the Technical Regulations Bill,” the President said.
There will also be ratification of the Sadc Protocol on Industry and the Inter-African Coffee Agreement while Parliament will assist in the establishment of a framework promoting fair, accessible, responsible and sustainable online transactions through the Electronic Transactions and Electronic Commerce Bill.
“Government is committed to providing modern and affordable human settlements for all Zimbabweans. In this regard, the Zimbabwe Construction Contractors Council Bill seeks to establish an authority that will bring sanity in the built environment. Parliament is expected to consider the alignment of the Housing Standards Control Act and the Housing and Buildings Act,” President Mnangagwa said.
He said Government has made strides towards decentralisation of service delivery, including deployment of medical specialists to provincial and district hospitals.
To this end, said President Mnangagwa, the Medical Aid Societies Regulatory Authority, Health Professions Act, Family Planning Council Act and the Medicines and Allied Substances Control Act will be among the Bills to be tabled.
Others include the National Health Insurance Bill for the establishment of the National Health Insurance Scheme towards Universal Health Coverage.
Other Bills include National Productivity Institute Bill; Pensions Amendment Bill; Occupational Safety and Health Amendment Bill, Human Resources Practitioners.
“Government is deeply concerned about the increase in drug and substance abuse, especially among the youth. Measures to tame the scourge by strengthening relevant institutions for effective co-ordination and programming of activities, will be instituted. Over and above this, Government is developing the National Youth Bill, which will be considered during this Session. The Bill will provide for mechanisms to facilitate mainstreaming of the youth in social, economic and political spaces, as well as the sustenance of Vocational Training Centres as hubs for local community development,” the President said.
The Small to Medium Enterprise Act will also be reviewed while Parliament is expected to approve the Savings and Credit Co-operative Societies Bill to provide for the administration and management of Savings and Credit Co-operative Societies while the Broadcasting Services Act and the Zimbabwe Media Commission Act will be amended as part of the Second Republic’s drive to mainstream Community Radio Stations among other issues.
“Sport is integral to job creation as well as the promotion of healthy lifestyles. In this regard, the Second Republic is currently developing the Sport, Leisure and Recreation Bill to create an enabling environment for sport and recreation delivery. Through the Sports Integrity Bill, Parliament is expected to assist in the creation of a regulated and fair sporting environment,” President Mnangagwa said.
Other Bills include the Lotteries and Gaming Amendment Bill, Biological Warfare Bill, Trafficking In Persons Amendment Bill among others.
“Our political independence came about through the support and solidarity of progressive nations in the region and beyond. Hence, the Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Act will be amended to include Botswana as one of the countries that had transit camps during our Liberation Struggle. ‘Non-Combatant Cadre’ will be redefined to acknowledge those who played a part in the struggle, under this category,” said President Mnangagwa.
Other amendments will be on the National Heroes Act and War Victims Compensation Act that are set to include recommendations from the Chidyausiku Commission of Inquiry Report.
“As Zimbabwe strengthens its co-operation with the international community, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which seeks to complement the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, is expected to be tabled for ratification. Furthermore, radiation safety will be strengthened through the Radiation Protection Amendment Bill. Biological weapons, which were used by the minority racist white settler regime during our Liberation Struggle, harmed both combatants and civilians alike,” the President said.
He said the country’s economy had been on an upward trajectory, recording positive growth rates across sectors despite illegal sanctions imposed by the West.
“The robust measures put in place by Government to enhance and guarantee agricultural productivity, including irrigation development and climate-proofing, saw us realise national food security. Zimbabwe is now wheat self-sufficient. The Second Republic has begun the drilling of 35 000 boreholes and establishing Village Agro-Business Units. This is set to consolidate national agriculture productivity and food self-sufficiency,” said President Mnangagwa.
He said power supply had significantly improved following the commissioning of Hwange Power Station Units 7 and 8 while arrangements had been made to guarantee stable supply from existing power stations.
“My Administration is committed to industrialising and modernising the economy as well as transforming our infrastructure in order to improve incomes and the livelihoods of our citizens,” President Mnangagwa said.
The ceremony was attended by First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa, Vice Presidents Dr Constantino Chiwenga and Cde Kembo Mohadi, Government Ministers, captains of industry, and diplomats accredited to Zimbabwe among others.