Re­align parly rules with con­sti­tu­tion: Mu­denda

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Pamela Shumba Se­nior Re­porter

MEM­BERS of Par­lia­ment yesterday con­cluded a two-day re­treat in Bu­l­awayo with the Speaker of Par­lia­ment Ad­vo­cate Ja­cob Mu­denda say­ing there is a need to re­align Par­lia­men­tary rules with the con­sti­tu­tion.

Ad­dress­ing mem­bers of par­lia­ment’s Li­ai­son and Co­or­di­na­tion Com­mit­tee on Satur­day at the re­treat which was also at­tended by the Pres­i­dent of the Se­nate Cde Edna Mad­zongwe, Adv Mu­denda said the re­treat was of crit­i­cal and strate­gic im­por­tance as it seeks to re­view the work done by par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tees and to plan for the fu­ture.

He said pub­lic hear­ings for pro­posed laws catered for Na­tional As­sem­bly com­mit­tees, but there was no pro­vi­sion for Se­nate the­matic com­mit­tees.

The Speaker said this should be cor­rected by re-align­ing the rules with the con­sti­tu­tion.

He said in South Africa, a court there in­val­i­dated four pieces of leg­is­la­tion on ac­count of the fact that one of the Houses of par­lia­ment had not ful­filled its con­sti­tu­tional obli­ga­tion to fa­cil­i­tate pub­lic con­sul­ta­tions and that must not hap­pen in Zim­babwe.

“In­deed, this must be im­me­di­ately cor­rected and har­monised with sec­tion 141 of the con­sti­tu­tion, which com­pels Par­lia­ment to in­volve the pub­lic in its leg­isla­tive pro­cesses. The stand­ing or­ders as cur­rently con­fig­ured do not pro­vide for re­fer­ral of Bills to The­matic Com­mit­tees.

“The­matic Com­mit­tees, more of­ten than not, have to re­ply on the good­will of Port­fo­lio Com­mit­tees for them to be in­volved in the pub­lic con­sul­ta­tions on Bills through joint in­quiries and pub­lic hear­ings,” said Adv Mu­denda.

He said if par­lia­ment has an obli­ga­tion to com­ply with its stand­ing or­ders and lead by ex­am­ple so that it be­comes easy to question other arms of Govern­ment on ac­count­abil­ity.

“Strict ad­her­ence on its own rules will en­sure that se­lect com­mit­tees re­main fo­cused and ac­count­able. We must not com­pro­mise on the com­pelling need to con­vene such LCC re­treats more reg­u­larly,” said Adv Mu­denda.

He com­mended the se­lect com­mit­tees for the work that they have done in ex­pos­ing un­eth­i­cal con­duct in the pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tors.

“In­spite of our ob­served short­falls in gen­eral, credit must be given to se­lect com­mit­tees for the good work they have done. They have pur­sued with vigour, the cor­po­rate mal­prac­tices raised by the Au­di­tor­Gen­eral,” Adv Mu­denda said.

The Speaker com­mended the Au­di­tor­Gen­eral Mil­dred Chiri for be­ing fear­less in her au­dit re­ports, say­ing the find­ings should help com­mit­tees.

In their rec­om­men­da­tions, MPs re­solved that there is a need for com­mit­tee chair­per­sons to in­sist on Min­istries re­spond­ing to rec­om­men­da­tions tabled in par­lia­ment.

They also re­solved that the Par­lia­men­tary Le­gal Com­mit­tee should con­tinue to en­gage the ex­ec­u­tive on ac­cel­er­at­ing the process of re-align­ing laws with the con­sti­tu­tion.

The MPs also said there is a need to ex­am­ine all Statu­tory In­stru­ments that have ex­pired and make a re­port to Par­lia­ment.

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