MDC legislator for Dzivarasekwa Edwin Mushoriwa Thursday led party MPs into scolding government ministers for short-circuiting the enactment of laws through shock gazetting of 233 Statutory Instruments with far-reaching effects on locals in just 12 months.
Contributing to debate on the International Treaties Bill in parliament, MPs said the executive has usurped parliament’s legislative role while making already existing laws ineffective.
“We all know that the powers to make laws are vested in Parliament,” said Mushoriwa.
“What has been happening for the past 10 months or so is that 233 statutory instruments that have been passed by government through various ministers… they are usurping the powers of Parliament.
“I find it difficult today to support this clause because previously we have allowed ministers to pass the SIs in the belief that would act in the reasonable manner, thinking they would close the gaps that are left and come up with regulations but the ministers are abusing that little power that they have and substituting us parliamentarians.”
He added, “We now have a challenge, industry, various stakeholders are complaining.
“… Our powers have been usurped. It is time now time to defend this House on both benches to defend the people who elected us.”
Madzimure said parliament must reclaim its mandate to scrutinise government policy.
“To allow ministers to continuously issue regulations has shown us that it is not progressive,” he said.
“The number of statutory instruments that have emanated from the ministers have proved to be disastrous.
“I want the minister out of those 233 regulations to say which ones have promoted the interests of this country.”
Madzimure continued: “We have irrational ministers being allowed free open cheque to manipulate and usurp the powers of this Parliament. It is not good.
“When the law (International Treaties Bill) was crafted, it shows sharp minds were not used. It is because it was rushed and done for specific certain purposes.
“I do not think we can continuously give ministers an open cheque. They must show some seriousness in crafting laws.”
Among some of the statutory instruments that have caused a public outcry and confusion in the country was Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube SI 142 of 2019 which effectively ended the multi-currency system and determined the “Zimbabwe dollar” as the sole legal trading currency in the country.
The Industry and Commerce amended SI 212 of 2017 to ban importation of groceries and this led to chaos and the burning of Beitbridge border post as Zimbabweans protested last year.
However, leader of government in the House Ziyambi Ziyambi dismissed the MP’s assertions saying the constitution jealously guarded the powers of Parliament.
“The constitution ensures efficient operations and allows delegated authority to ministers to issue regulations and statutory instruments. The same constitution and standing orders make provisions for same to be to come to Parliament,” he said.
Ziyambi told the House that he was saddened that Parliamentarians were not well educated or informed about Parliamentary procedures.