By Daniel Chigundu
With about three months left to complete the legislative agenda that was set for the First Session of the 9th Parliament of Zimbabwe which started on the 18th of September 2018, legislators continue to waste time through early House adjournments.
According to legal watchdog Veritas Zimbabwe, the only Bills that have been passed since September are the two routine Budget Bills leaving about 30 Bills on the legislative agenda
Parliament resumed sitting today (Tuesday 7 May) from a long break to face a thickening Order Paper but only decided to sit for an hour before deciding to adjourn to tomorrow.
Despite the adjourning early, the legislators are entitled to their full $75 in sitting allowance for the day,
The decision to adjourn is also contrary to calls by the Speaker Jacob Mudenda for legislators to stay longer in the House to try and deal with House business.
In his opening remarks, Mudenda said “may I take this opportunity to welcome you all to this session and appeal to you to remain in the House as much as possible.
“We have a very long legislative agenda which we should try as much as possible without compromising quality assurance that we complete the task before us.
“So I appeal to you to stay in the House, debate as much as possible and conclude the business of the House to the best of our advantage and interest,’ he said.
Parliament is expected to sit nine times from the 7th of May to the 23rd May in accordance with the agreed sitting calendar and according to Veritas Zimbabwe; the National Assembly has so far sat on for 45 days since the official opening of Parliament.
Meanwhile, Veritas Zimbabwe says there are about seven Bills that are likely to come up for attention in the month of May; five of them were on the legislative agenda which was delivered by President Emmerson Mnangagwa while the other two were not.
Veritas Zimbabwe said “that five of the Bills are from the legislative agenda is encouraging, but as pointed out in previous bulletins, the government is running out of time to pass the other twenty-five Bills on its agenda by the end of this Parliamentary session,” it said.
The seven Bills expected to come for attention in the House are: Companies and Other Business Entities Bill and Tripartite Negotiating Forum Bill (these Bills are now at Second Reading stage), Consumer Protection Bill, Microfinance Amendment Bill and Education Amendment Bill (have been give non-adverse reports by the PLC) while Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency Bill and the Maintenance of Peace and Order Bill (are waiting presentation and First Reading)