On Tuesday 15 May 2018, the National Assembly sat. The main item on the agenda was debate on the Civil Aviation Amendment Bill. Before the debate commenced, the Speaker of Parliament Hon. Jacob Mudenda announced that Parliament on Wednesday, 9th May, 2018, received a petition from the Women's Institute of Leadership Development seeking Parliament to exercise its oversight function by ensuring that the municipality of Gwanda and its parent Ministry bring to an end the chaotic and unsustainable environmental mess in Ward 5, of Gwanda Town. The petition has since been referred to the Portfolio Committee on Local Government Public Works and National Housing.
The Speaker also announced that the House on Thursday, 10th May, 2018, had received a petition from the College Lecturers Association of Zimbabwe beseeching Parliament to exercise its oversight function and protect the Constitutional rights of college lecturers to fair labour practices. The petition has since been referred to the Portfolio Committee on Higher and Tertiary Education Science and Technology Development.
The Civil Aviation Amendment Bill is now at the Committee stage in the National Assembly. Hon Dexter Nduna (ZANU PF Chegutu West) brought forward a number of proposed amendments to the Bill. Some of the proposed amendments are as follows:
Amendment of Clause 3 of the Bill as follows a) to provide air traffic management, navigation and related training services, b) to provide advice to Government on all matters related to domestic and international civil aviation; (c) to provide and maintain communication, navigation, surveillance and air traffic management infrastructure.
Hon Nduna also put forward an Amendment which sought to include women on a 50/50 representation basis and the need for at least two members to be appointed for their knowledge in the operational exposure to the Civil Aviation system.
Hon Nduna proposed that the Minister in consultation with the authority must enter into a performance agreement relating to:
(a) The State's requirements in respect of the Authority's scope of business, efficiency and financial performance and achievement of objectives
b) The principles to be followed by the Authority for purposes of business planning; and that this must be outlined clearly in the performance agreement of that authority and the Minister so that he can make sure that they are kept in check.
c) Minister should put forward necessary measures to protect the financial soundness of the Authority;
It was also proposed that the Minister in consultation with the Authority may in writing amend the performance agreement from time to time.
Another proposal was that the Minister must publish performance agreements in the Gazette and that any amendment thereto must be so published at least thirty (30) days prior to that amendment coming into operation. It was further proposed that a copy of the performance agreement must be open to inspection by the public at the head office of the Authority during business hours, and that the agreement be subjected to stakeholder consultation before finalisation.
The Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development, Hon Jorum Gumbo agreed to consider some of the proposals in the Bill, although he expressed reservations about legislating for administrative issues.
Members also took time to debate a report on the Commission of Inquiry into the conversion of Insurance and Pension Values from the Zimbabwe dollar to the United States dollar.
During the same sitting the Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company Debt Assumption Bill and the Insolvency Bill were read for the third time.
In other news, Hon Priscilla Misihairambwi-Mushonga (MDC Mat South) has been excluded by her party in its candidates' list for this year's polls. The Welshman Ncube-led MDC on Sunday unveiled names of 31 candidates who will represent the party in this year's National Assembly polls. In a Facebook post in response thereto, Hon Misihairabwi-Mushonga said although she had been left out, she still saluted the party for incorporating women in its previous structures. She also vowed to continueadvocating for the rights of women. In a related development Harare West Legislator Hon. Jessie Majome also withdrew from the MDC-T party primary polls and said will be standing in the next elections as an independent candidate, as the party was not following proper rules in the primary elections. Some Harare West residents have reportedly vowed to support Hon. Majome as an Independent candidate.
In the Senate Chamber, the Electoral Amendment Bill sailed through Parliament yesterday and now awaits Presidential assent to become law. The Senate passed the Bill last night without amendments after the National Assembly allowed the Bill to sail through last week. The Bill seeks to give legal effect to the Statutory Instrument on the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) that was undertaken by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).
Source: Southern African Parliamentary Support Trust (SAPST)