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Thursday, Apr 17th

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Parliament of Zimbabwe

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Mandate of Parliament

The mandate of Parliament is provided for in Section 50 of the Constitution, which states “Parliament shall make laws for the peace, order and good government of

Zimbabwe”.


Parliamentary Committees

A Committee is a group of members appointed by a House of Parliament from amongst its members to perform a specific function, which the House has entrusted to it, and to report back to the House on the matter referred to it.

Committees in the Parliament of Zimbabwe fall into two broad categories, namely; House Keeping and Investigative Committees


House-keeping Committees.
Housekeeping Committees generally are concerned with the smooth administration of Parliament. The House-keeping Committees are;


The Standing Rules and Orders Committee (SROC)
The SROC is the policy making body at Parliament. It is mandated to consider all such matters concerning Parliament, as it shall deem fit. Such matters include, appointment of Members to serve on Committees, appointment of Committee Chairpersons, determining the conditions of service of staff of Parliament and appointment of senior staff of Parliament.

The S.R.OC is made up of the Speaker of the House of Assembly, President of the Senate, Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Deputy President of the Senate and members nominated by President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Assembly and other members who are elected by both Houses by secret ballot. The number of elected members should be greater than those of the appointed members; The Speaker of the House of Assembly and the President of the Senate are chair and vice-chair respectively.

 

Business of The House/ Senate Committee
Each House has its own Business of the House Committee. In the Senate it is established by S.O 155 and in the House of Assembly is established in terms of SO 161. This Committee among other functions, determines the sitting calendar of either House prior to the commencement of the next session.

In the Senate it comprises of the President of the Senate (Chair) Deputy President of the Senate, Government and Opposition Deputy Whips, Leader of Government Business and Leader of the Opposition.

In the House of Assembly it comprises of the Speaker (Chair), the Deputy Speaker, Government and Opposition Chief Whips, Leader of Government Business, and Leader of the Opposition. The Government and Opposition Deputy Chief Whips are alternate members of their Chief Whips. (Link to Members of the Committee).

 

Liaison and Coordination Committee.
The Committee comprises of all Committee Chairperson, the Government and Opposition Chief Whips, the Chairperson and Vice- Chairperson of the Women’s Caucus. The Committee is responsible for coordinating the scheduling of all Committee business and is custodian of Parliamentary reforms.

 

The Library Committee
The Committee advises the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Assembly on matters relating to the policy, conduct and management of the Library of Parliament. The Deputy Speaker and Deputy President of the Senate are the ex officio Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson, respectively, of the Committee.

 

Internal Arrangements Committee
The committee makes recommendations to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Assembly on matters concerning the facilities and amenities of the members. The Deputy President of the Senate and Deputy Speaker are the ex-officio Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson of the Committee respectively.

 

Investigative Committees.
Examples of investigative Committees include Portfolio Committees, Thematic Committees, the Public Accounts Committee and Ad Hoc Committees.

 

Portfolio Committees.
These are Committees designated according to government portfolios to examine the expenditure, administration and policy of government departments and other matters falling under their jurisdictions as Parliament may by resolution determine. Most of the work of Parliament is carried out by and generated in Portfolio Committees.

 

Portfolio Committees are expected to table at one report per sessionin Parliament covering their activities. Portfolio Committees perform both a pre-audit and post-audit function.

The following are the Portfolio Committees currently operational in the Parliament of Zimbabwe:-
a) Budget, Finance and Economic Development
b) Defence and Home Affairs
c) Education, Sport and Culture
d) Foreign Affairs, Industry and International Trade
e) Health and Child Welfare Trade
f) Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs
g) Lands, Agriculture, Resettlement, Rural Resources and Water Development
h) Local Government, Public Works and National Housing
i) Mines, Energy, Environment and Tourism
j) Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare
k) Transport and Communications
l) Youth Development, Gender and Employment Creation (Link to Members of the Committee)

 

Thematic Committees
These are newly introduced Committees that are provided for in the Senate Standing Orders. They were conceived with the reintroduction of a bicameral Parliament with the view to avoiding duplication of efforts between Committees of both Houses. Thematic Committees aremandated to examine government policies that fall under or relate to the designated theme or themes, or any other matters falling under their jurisdiction as the Standing Rules and Orders Committee may determine. Thematic Committees are not yet operational.

 

Adhoc Committees
These are another type of investigative Committees. They are appointed to investigate and report on a specific issue and they cease to exist once they have reported to the House on the matter A good example is the Privileges Committee which is appointed to allegations of breach of privilege.

 

Public Accounts Committee
This is an example of a post audit Committee in the Parliament of Zimbabwe. It is mandated to examine the financial affairs and accounts of Government Departments and state owned enterprises. It also examines all reports of the Comptroller and Auditor General. The Committee also fulfils the oversight function of Parliament by looking at the financial accounts of Departments funded from public funds.

There are Committees appointed in terms of the Constitution and the Standing Orders and whose members are appointed for the life of a Parliament.

 

Parliamentary Legal Committee
The Committee is appointed in terms of Section 40A of the Constitution and Standing Orders193 (1) and 199 (1) of the Senate and House of Assembly respectively. Section 40 A (2) of the Constitution states that the Committee shall comprise of at least three members and the majority whom must be legally qualified.

The Committee is mandated to examine the constitutionality of every Bill, draft Bill, Statutory Instrument, draft Statutory Instrument, amendment to a Bill, or amendment to a Statutory Instrument. It also ensures that no Statutory Instrument makes the rights and liberties of persons unduly dependent upon administrative decisions, which are not subject to review by judicial tribunal nor change an Act Of Parliament.

Parliament Website ... http://www.parlzim.gov.zw