HARARE West MP Jessie Majome (MDC-T) last week blasted members of the executive for bypassing parliamentary portfolio committees and breaking the House’s standing rules each time they brought protocols for ratification.
by VENERANDA LANGA
Majome raised the issue when Environment minister Oppah Muchinguri sought the ratification of the bilateral agreement between Zimbabwe and Mozambique over the Pungwe Watercourse.
Majome said the executive had been breaking Standing Order number 20(c), which stipulates that portfolio committees must consider or deal with all treaties, conventions and agreements relevant to them that are negotiated or entered into by government.
“I am raising this because I am not aware that the relevant portfolio committee on environment has indeed considered this treaty. I do not think it bodes well for Parliament to ignore our very own standing rules and orders,” she said.
“If we do not take ourselves and our rules seriously, we cannot expect the Zimbabwean public to respect us as a Parliament,” she said.
Leader of the House, Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa admitted the oversight by the executive to bring the protocols first before parliamentary committees before they are brought for ratification in the House.
“Yes, it was an oversight and I think this (involving Parliament) should be done in the future,” he said.
Muchinguri said the bilateral agreement with Mozambique over the Pungwe Watercourse, was meant to minimise potential conflicts between the two countries over water.
“The agreement outlines measures jointly adopted by the parties for the sustainable utilisation of the Pungwe watercourse, which includes the joint responsibility to prevent, reduce as well as to control pollution of both surface and ground water for purposes of enhancing the quality of the waters and the surrounding ecosystems,” she said.
Muchinguri said the agreement would safeguard Zimbabwe’s interests in the sustainable supply of water to Mutare, as well as the utilisation of water from the Pungwe river basin in general, for afforestation, livestock management and tourism, and create opportunities for other forms of cooperation in different sectors.
The watercourse is managed under the Pungwe Basin Trans-boundary Integrated Water Resources Management and Development Programme, a joint initiative between the two governments that was established by the Joint Water Commission.