Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
At least six Bills that were before Parliament lapsed after the august House failed to debate and pass them during the First Session of the Ninth Parliament.
The failure by legislators to pass Bills confirmed President Mnangagwa’s concern when he delivered the State of the Nation Address early this month on the slow pace at which laws were being passed, a situation he said resulted in fewer Bills sailing through in the last session.
Parliament has since given notice of the lapsing of the Bills in terms of its Standing Orders saying it was up to the Legislative Assembly to have them restored at the stage at which they lapsed.
“Kindly note that the following Bills lapsed following the end of the First Session of the Ninth Parliament on 26 September 2019: Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency [H. B. 2, 2019], Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Amendment [H. B. 4, 2019], Coroner’s Office [H. B. 5, 2019], Freedom of Information [H. B. 6, 2019], Marriages [H. B. 7, 2019] and Zimbabwe Media Commission [H. B. 8, 2019],” read the notice from Parliament.
In terms of the Standing Orders any public Bill which lapses by reason of the end of a session before it has been agreed to by the National Assembly and the Senate might be allowed to proceed in the ensuing session at the stage it had reached in the preceding session.
“The Bill may proceed by a resolution of the House restoring it to the Order Paper; (b) unless the resolution restoring the Bill to the Order Paper directs otherwise, the Bill must be proceeded with at the commencement of the particular stage, which it had reached during the preceding session. (2) Any Bill so restored to the Order Paper must be proceeded with as if its passage has not been interrupted by end of a session,” read the notice.
The Standing Orders also spell out what happens should Parliament fail to agree on whether or not to restore a Bill.
“If a motion for the restoration of a Bill to the Order Paper is not agreed to by the House, a new Bill may be introduced and proceeded with in the ordinary manner,” read the Standing Orders.
Speaking during SONA, President Mnangagwa urged Parliament to expedite the passage of Bills in the august House saying laws were a critical part of development.
“The law must be a universal instrument of development. 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,” said President Mnangagwa.
He laid out his legislative agenda that is a continuation of the economic, political and social reforms set out in the previous session.
The President also commended the progress made by Parliament in aligning laws with the Constitution.