Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter
Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko, who is also responsible for national healing, yesterday tabled the new National Peace and Reconciliation Bill in the National Assembly after it was withdrawn from Parliament last year. The Bill was withdrawn following its rejection by the Parliamentary Legal Committee and members of the public. The PLC had rejected the Bill, saying it undermined the independence of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission by conferring too much power on the parent ministry.
Following its tabling in the National Assembly yesterday, the Bill was immediately referred to the PLC.
In the new Bill, the minister will no longer demand reports from the Commission, with that responsibility now falling under Parliament. The Commission will also no longer need to get approval from the minister if they want to receive funds from other sources, but would just need to consult him or her.
Meanwhile, Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Tapuwa Matangaidze has said a new Disabled People’s Act will be crafted soon.
He said this during the National Assembly question and answer session, saying consultation on the amendment Bill were at an advanced stage.
“We have come up with principles that will govern the new Disabled People’s Act and the outreach programme is ongoing and we have already covered six out of the 10 provinces,” he said.
The new law will outline mechanisms to alleviate the plight of disabled people that constitute 10 percent of the country’s population.
In other issues, the Minister of Energy and Power Development Dr Samuel Undenge said Government had electrified over 8 500 rural institutions since the inception of the rural electrification programme in 2002.
“The REA Act was enacted by this Parliament in 2002 and a rural electrification fund was set up and is funded from a six percent levy from consumers and Treasury allocations.
“The rural electrification fund has electrified over 8 500 institutions countrywide and it is our policy as Government that all rural schools and public institutions are electrified wherever they are,” Dr Undenge said.
He added that the targeted institutions also include clinics, hospitals and Government offices.
Dr Undenge said a new master plan was being crafted to expedite the roll-out of electrification of rural areas.