Lawson Mabhena News and Politics Editor
Parliament has passed the Maintenance of Peace and Order Bill (MOPA) — which is set to replace the contentious Public Order and Security Act (POSA) — as well as two Budget Bills, with the House having to sit from Thursday afternoon to 4am yesterday.
The amended MOPA as well as the Finance and Appropriation Bills will, however, not become law until they have been passed by Senate, assented to by the President and gazetted as Acts of Parliament.
President Mnangagwa has since summoned Senate to sit on Wednesday.
In a statement yesterday, Parliament said Senate will consider the Finance Bill (2009), Appropriation (Supplementary) 2019 and Maintenance of Peace and Order Bill.
“His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe has in terms of Section146 (a) of the Constitution, summoned the Senate to meet on Wednesday 14th August 2019 to consider the Finance Bill (2019), Appropriation (Supplementary) 2019 and the Maintenance of Peace and Order Bill. Consequently, all senators are invited to attend the sitting on Wednesday 14th August 2019 commencing at 1430 hours,’’ reads the statement.
MOPA is one of the major milestones in legal reform and opening up of democratic space in the Second Republic.
In a bid to entrench democratic values and freedoms in line with Vision 2030 of achieving an upper middle income economy, President Mnangagwa’s leadership has implemented a raft of reforms designed to transform the political and economic environment.
The Bill went through the three readings in Parliament after the Parliamentary Legal Committee withdrew an adverse report that it had issued against MOPA, which is in fulfilment of reforms aimed at opening up democratic space in the Second Republic.
This Bill was passed by the National Assembly yesterday, but with amendments proposed by the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Ziyambi Ziyambi to accommodate the reservations expressed by the PLC in its adverse report.
The amended Bill received a non-adverse report from the PLC before the final vote in the National Assembly and its transmission to Senate.
Said Minister Ziyambi just before the third and final reading: “I want to thank the Honourable Members and everyone. I think this was highly informative, exciting, educative and I think we have come up with certain pieces of clauses that were also problematic but we managed to bring our brains together and improve them.
“I believe that what we have done tonight and finished this morning is a wonderful job. I want to thank all the Honourable Members that have endured the whole night until now for a job well done. I think we have done justice to the Bill and I want to thank all the Honourable Members even though at times we appeared to be differing for coming together to deal with specific clauses and improving them.”
MDC-Alliance vice-president Tendai Biti said: “Honourable Chair, can we also thank the esteemed Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and his team for granting us indulgence and also for holding fort on behalf of the State. This dialogue must be a national dialogue to serve our country. So we want to thank you Minister and everyone else on the right and left side. Zikomo kwambili.”
The Appropriation Bill allows for additional funding as presented by Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube during the Supplementary Budget and Mid-Term Budget Review Statement last week while the Finance Bill gives effect to the minister’s proposals.