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MPs challenged to speed up legislative process

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has challenged Members of Parliament (MPs), to speed up the business-oriented process, saying the slow pace at which legislators were passing bills, was uncalled-for.

The first session of the ninth Parliament performed dismally in the passage of bills and out of the 29 tabled, only nine were successfully crafted into law.

The nine include the Maintenance of Peace and Order Act, and business-oriented laws such as the Micro Finance Amendment Act, the Consumer Protection, the Companies and other Business Enterprises Act, the Tripartite Negotiation Forum Act and four laws to do with passing the 2019 National Budget and the 2019 supplementary budget — the Finance No 2 Act and the Appropriation 2019 Act.

There are, however, still some laws that were in the process of being crafted and are at different stages of finalisation.

These include the Education Amendment Bill, the Marriages Bill, the Zimbabwe Investment Development Agency Bill, the Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Amendment Bill and the Coroner’s Office Bill and the Freedom of Information Bill.

Officially opening the second session of the ninth Parliament in Harare on Tuesday, President Mnangagwa challenged the lawmakers to expedite the procedure for the country to move forward.

“The law must be a universal instrument of development,” said Mnangagwa.

“As such, the slow pace in this August House, which has resulted in a low number of bills passing through Parliament, cannot be allowed to continue. I, thus, challenge honourable members in their individual and collective capacities, to play their part in speeding up our parliamentary processes.”

The Second Session of the ninth Parliament, President Mnangagwa said, is expected to continue aligning the country’s laws with the Constitution adopted in 2013.

About 26 bills will be tabled before the August House during the second session of the ninth Parliament, and these include among others, amendments to the High Court Act, Labour Court Act, Magistrates Court Act and the Police Act, Public Finance Management Amendment Bill, Insurance and Pension Act Amendment Bill and the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill. 

“As the media legislative reforms gather pace, the bills relating to Freedom of Information, the Zimbabwe Media Commission, Protection of Information and the Broadcasting Services Act Amendments, must be expedited during this Session,” said Mnangagwa.

He added: “In view of the fast-changing technology, there is a need to continue to research and develop new legislative and regulatory instruments to secure the country’s cyberspace. This Session of Parliament must, therefore, consider the Cyber Crime and Cyber Security Bill and the Data Protection and Electronic Transactions Bill to regulate this field.”

Parliament during the second session is also expected to consider the ratification of the Protocol Against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air and the Protocol Against the Illicit Manufacturing and Trafficking of Firearms, Their Parts and Components and Ammunition.

 “The ongoing democratic reforms must entrench Constitutional rights and freedoms for all Zimbabweans. The culture of fear and violence must be uprooted from our societies,” said Mnangagwa. 

“It is time to increase accountability and transparency. We must work hard and smarter to serve our people, they deserve better.”

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