An eventful eighth Parliament of Zimbabwe has come to a close. Last Thursday, Senators and Members of Parliament concluded their business as curtains came down to a lively session of the National Assembly.
This followed the gazetting of July 30 as the election date on which President Emmerson Mnangagwa will face MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa for the first time since they took over leadership of their respective parties — Zanu PF and the MDC.
Notwithstanding, the life of this Parliament will continue until midnight on July 29 when the Speaker of the National Assembly, Jacob Mudenda, will disband the august House in accordance with the Constitution.
In terms of the national charter, the bicameral Legislature will stand dissolved at midnight on the day before the first polling day.
Any unfinished work of Parliament will lapse on dissolution.
On the dissolution of Parliament, all proceedings pending will be terminated and every Bill, motion, petition and other business lapses.
The First Session of the eighth Parliament commenced following the swearing in of former president Robert Mugabe, on August 22, 2013, when he began a new five-year term.
The eighth Parliament was one of the most extraordinary since independence in 1980.
A major highlight was the impeachment motion moved by legislators from across the political divide in November last year to force Mugabe’s resignation — a week after the army and his former political allies revolted to end his four-decade long iron-fisted rule.
Mugabe threw in the towel on November 21, moments after Parliament had begun the impeachment process, which had become the only legal way to force him out.
The proceedings were a culmination of eight tense days that began with the military intervening in the governance of the country.
MDC MP for Mabvuku-Tafara, James Maridadi, had for almost two years tried to move the motion to impeach Mugabe, but failing at each attempt because Zanu PF, which enjoyed the majority in the National Assembly, was simply not interested in humiliating their “icon”.
But after Mugabe turned against his liberation-war allies, including then vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa, whom he fired from government and the party a few days before the military intervention, his victims ganged up and mobilised against him.
Interestingly, it was the wife of Christopher Mutsvangwa — dismissed from Zanu PF and government in 2016 when the 94-year-old despot fell out with the war veterans — who moved the impeachment motion that forced Mugabe to resign.
Mutsvangwa is the chairperson of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association.
His wife, Monica, a Zanu PF senator for Manicaland, successfully moved the motion to impeach Mugabe over several charges including serious misconduct, mental and physical incapacity to represent the country because of old age resulting in him stumbling while walking and falling asleep during international meetings.
Several pieces of legislation were passed by the eighth Parliament including several bills that gave legal effects to annual budgets.
Among the Bills passed by the eighth Parliament are the following;
• the Sovereign Wealth Fund of Zimbabwe Bill;
• the National Prosecuting Authority Bill;
• the Trafficking in Persons Bill;
• the Public Accountants and Auditors Amendment Bill;
• the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Debt Assumption Bill;
• the Zimbabwe Gender Commission Bill;
• the Marondera University of Agricultural Science and Technology Bill;
• the Public Debt Management Bill;
• the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Amendment Bill;
• the General Laws Amendment Bill;
• the Joint Ventures Bill;
• the Banking Amendment Bill;
• the Labour Amendment Bill;
• the Local Government Laws Amendment Bill;
• the Gwanda State University Bill;
• the Manicaland State University of Applied Sciences Bill,
• the 2015 Movable Property Security Interests Bill;
• the National Competitiveness Commission Bill;
During its tenure, the eighth Parliament also made amendments to several Acts, among them the Deeds Registries Amendment Act and the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act.
But while on May 28 Mnangagwa signed the Electoral Amendment Act into law to bring legal effect to the Statutory Instrument on the Biometric Voter Registration carried out by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, sadly, the Electoral Act is not yet aligned with the Constitution.
Zanu PF’s rivals are therefore up-in-arms with Mnangagwa’s administration for failing to introduce amendments that could have levelled the political playing field, which is currently skewed heavily in favour of the ruling party.
Unfortunately, the eighth Parliament has come to an end before it could make the playing field even, which does not augur well for the holding of the general elections on July 30.
Parliamentary portfolio committees were, however, busy throughout the session with Temba Mliswa’s Mines and Energy committee hogging the limelight for attempting to make the Executive accountable over the missing $15 billion from diamond revenue.
The Justice Mayor Wadyajena-chaired Portfolio Committee on Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment also exposed capricious conduct in respect of the management of Community Share Ownership Trusts.
The portfolio committee on Transport and Infrastructural Development led by Chegutu West MP Dexter Nduna also did superb work, including recommending and pushing for a Harmonised Licensing System between the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara) and insurance companies.
The recommendation was adopted and implemented by the ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development. Using a computerised network, Zinara is now linked to all insurance companies and other service providers.
In terms of outcomes, this development has plugged revenue leakages and insurance data is now available to Zinara on a real time basis.
The Parliamentary Legal Committee, which is established by section 152 of the Constitution, also managed to influence amendments to at least 15 Bills through engaging the relevant ministries.
The committee issued adverse reports on the following key Bills; the Labour Amendment Bill, the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission Bill and the Finance Act 2016, among others.
The Kindness Paradza-led portfolio committee on Foreign Affairs also did a splendid job of highlighting the plight of Zimbabwean women that were being used as sex-slaves in Kuwait.
During its visit to Kuwait, the committee ensured and coordinated the repatriation of the stranded women who were working under hostile conditions in Kuwait.
The Paurina Mpariwa-led Public Accounts Committee also managed to expose financial malpractices, particularly in State-owned enterprises which are plagued by lack of internal controls and safeguards, and where management override approved policies. DailyNews