Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter
All is set for the official opening of the Third Session of the Eighth Parliament by President Mugabe today where he is expected to set the legislative agenda. The Second Session of the Eighth Parliament ended on August 25 when President Mugabe delivered his State of the Nation Address and last week he proclaimed dates for the official opening.
Clerk of Parliament Mr Kennedy Chokuda yesterday said everything was set for the ceremony.
“We want to advise members of the public that preparations for the opening of the Third Session of the Eighth Parliament are well on course. We began preparations for the event soon after the proclamation of dates was made by His Excellency the President,” Mr Chokuda said.
“We have made arrangements for members of the public who cannot get into the Parliament Building to follow proceedings from the big screens in Africa Unity Square. We are also grateful to ZBC who will broadcast the event live on television,” Mr Chokuda said.
During the tenure of the Third Session, Parliament is expected to craft legislation to facilitate speedy implementation of the 10-Point Plan presented by President Mugabe in his State of the Nation Address to Parliament recently as part of measures to turn around the nation’s economic fortunes.
The 10-Point Plan has unsettled opposition parties, with the MDC-T admitting the plan had potential to unlock value, turn around the economy and render the party redundant.
In his address, President Mugabe said there was need to revamp the Companies Act and other investment regualtions to simplify the easy of doing business and registration of new firms by foreign investors.
There are also a number of Bills that were brought before Parliament during the Second Session of the Eighth Parliament which are at various stages of debate.
The Zimbabwe Gender Commission Bill is at the Committee stage in the Senate while the Criminal Procedure and Amendment Bill and the General Laws Amendment Bill are at the Second Reading stage in the National Assembly.
The Joint Ventures Bill was passed in the National Assembly and is now before the Senate.
Once passed into law, it is expected to promote public-private sector partnerships by setting up operational parameters.
The Banking Amendment Bill is also expected to be debated during the new session as Government seeks to restore confidence in the financial services sector following the collapse of a number of banks mainly due to unethical practices by shareholders.
Parliament is also expected to discuss Bills to create the Manicaland State and Gwanda State universities while debate on the Biological and Toxin Weapons Crimes Bill should also come up for debate.
There are about 400 laws that need to be re-aligned with the new Constitution and Parliament has been moving at a nail pace, resulting in serious problems in the delivery of justice.