20 February 2013

Zimbabwe: MDC-T Chief Whip's Motion Rejected

SENATE yesterday rejected a motion by MDC-T House of Assembly chief whip Mr Innocent Gonese to restore on the Order Paper his private member's Bill to amend the Public Order and Security Act that was superseded by the lapse of the Fourth Session of the Seventh Parliament last year.

The Posa Amendment Bill (H.B11A, 2010) was passed by the House of Assembly in December 2010, but the Senate blocked it in 2011, with Justice and Legal Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa arguing that it had been brought to Parliament unprocedurally since matters it sought to address were under the purview of the negotiators to the Global Political Agreement.

Senators argued that the Bill sought to make the police redundant and create anarchy in Zimbabwe.

Mr Gonese yesterday pleaded with senators to allow him to restore the Bill on the Order Paper, saying it would give them the opportunity to look at the merits and demerits of his proposed amendments.

"At this time, we are not dealing with the Bill itself but simply a motion to restore the motion on the Order Paper. We are not going to discuss the substance of the Bill but the process," he said.

Zanu-PF senator for Rushinga Cde Damian Mumvuri said nothing had changed from their initial objections to the Bill.

"I stand to oppose what was said by Honourable Gonese. When this motion was withdrawn it was in consultation with one of our leaders in the House, Cde Chinamasa. Now Honourable Gonese is coming back to this House without consulting the same (Minister Chinamasa)," he said.

"So, we are saying we will do the same (reject it) because for some of us, we are guided by that."

Masvingo Senator Minah Mandava (Zanu-PF) echoed similar sentiments in opposing the restoration of the motion.

"The justice minister was in this House on the issue and the motion was removed from the Order Paper and for months we did not hear about it and suddenly now it is brought back. Why now? Is it because we just want to debate," she said.

Chisipite Senator and Deputy Minister for Justice and Legal Affairs, Obert Gutu (MDC-T) said it was imperative that the motion be restored for debate.

"What the mover of the motion is asking for is 'can I simply be allowed to bring back the motion to the Order Paper and when it is reintroduced then all members will be allowed to debate because that is the essence of this House.

"If we allow the House to be a rubber stamp then why are we all here. I don't know if there is anyone who would want to be a member of a house which is a eunuch, toothless and powerless."

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