Parliament of Zimbabwe is getting slow towards fulfilling the Government’s Legislative Agenda which was presented to Parliament by President Emmerson Mnangagwa on 13th September 2018, the day he officially opened the first session of the present (Ninth) Parliament.

Thirty Bills were listed on the Legislative Agenda, however during the first six and a half months of the session, not one of them has been finally passed and sent to the President for his assent and gazetting as law.

Though Parliament has made some progress on four of them, Companies and Other Business Entities Bill, Consumer Protection Bill, Tripartite Negotiating Forum Bill, Zimbabwe Investment Development Agency Bill, it is now clear that most of them won’t be realised under the current parliament.

Parliament is presently in recess.  Almost eight months of the session will have passed when the next series of Parliamentary sittings begins on 7th May.  Those sittings will effectively end on Thursday 1st August 2019, the last working day of the session.

Twenty-six agenda Bills are still to be considered by Parliament. Among them, Bills ready to be sent to Parliament for approval, Bills being drafted by the Attorney-General’s Office, final drafts approved by Cabinet for sending to Parliament.

Meanwhile, as it stands there is no finally approved agenda Bills which are on their way to Parliament from Ministers.

Some of the agenda Bills approved in principle by Cabinet for drafting by the Attorney-General’s Office to begin include;

Citizenship of Zimbabwe Amendment Bill approved on 26th February 2018, Cyber Protection, Data Protection and Electronic Transactions Bill [a combination of at least two Legislative Agenda items] [18th December 2018]

Freedom of Information Bill [19th February], Immigration Amendment Bill [5th February 2019], Labour Amendment Bill [26th March], Protection of Personal Information Bill [19th February] [Data Protection], Zimbabwe Media Commission Bill [12th February], among others.

Other agenda Bills include the Broadcasting Services Amendment Bill, Constitutional Court Bill, Cyber Crime and Cyber Security Bill, High Court Amendment Bill, Public Finance Management Amendment Bill.

Apparently, constitutional watchdog Veritas Zimbabwe says it sees no chance of the Legislative Agenda being completed by the end of the present session.  “The agenda has turned out to have been far too ambitious.  Another factor is that Cabinet has also found it politic to approve the drafting of several non-agenda Bills,” says the watchdog.

However, the Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda is on record saying that it was up to the Government to ensure that the Bills on the Legislative Agenda were sent to Parliament in good time.  As such, it is now clear that the Executive has not given Parliament a reasonable chance of fulfilling the Agenda’s demands.

Meanwhile, only the Maintenance of Peace and Order Bill (MOPO), a Bill to replace the Public Order and Security Act has since been gazetted. Amid reports that the Bill is just the same as the Act it is purported to replace. POSA is a twisted version of the Law and Order Maintenance Act (LOMA).