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'Law is tool for development'

by Staff reporter
08 Oct 2021 at 06:26hrs | Views
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa yesterday laid down the legislative agenda for the Fourth Session of the Ninth Parliament which will see a number of Bills which include the consideration of legislation relating to the devolution agenda being high on the to do list.

The President yesterday delivered his annual State of the Nation Address (SONA) when he officially opened the Fourth Session of the Ninth Parliament setting the Government's legislative agenda.

President Mnangagwa addressed a joint sitting of both the National Assembly and Senate in which legislators followed proceedings both physically and virtually while he was at State House.

"Allow me to shift focus to the legislative agenda for the Fourth Session of the Ninth Parliament. I am aware that some Bills could not be dispensed with and were carried over from the Third Session. Of the existing statutes which are required to be aligned to the Constitution, it is pleasing that only 42 statutes remain to be enacted under the alignment process. These must be completed during this session," he said.

President Mnangagwa said 13 Bills are still with the respective line ministries, of these, the principles of two Bills have been approved by Cabinet.

The Second Republic, he said, will continue to maintain its responsive and proactive stance to emerging needs of our society by ensuring that the law is a tool for development.

President Mnangagwa said the ratification of agreements is equally important. Hence, my Government submitted the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination State Party Report to the UN Treaty Body and is on schedule to submit the 3rd Cycle Universal Periodic Report to the UN Human Rights Council.

"Allow me to highlight that Parliament will soon be requested to consider legislation relating to the implementation of the Devolution Agenda. Of special note is the presentation of the Provincial Councils Amendment Bill.

The requisite legislation used by the lower tiers of the State to ensure efficient implementation of the devolution agenda will also be amended. These include the Urban Councils Amendment Bill; Rural District Councils Amendment Bill; Regional Town and Country Planning Amendment; and the Traditional Leaders Amendment Bill," he said.

Parliament, President Mnangagwa said, is also expected to consider the Municipal Courts and Police Bill as well as the Liquor Licensing Bill that's intended to ensure the efficient discharge of the various mandates of local authorities.

The Second Republic, he said, is committed to ensuring that communities and all relevant arms of the State are adequately organized and capacitated to implement best practices on disaster risk management.

"Hence, legislation on Disaster Risk Management will strengthen our nation's responsiveness and preparedness to tackle disasters," said President Mnangagwa.

Through the Labour Amendment Bill, the President said the dispute settlement machinery will be rationalised to remove cumbersome confirmation procedures.

"It also seeks to align the Labour Act with ratified International Labour Organisation Conventions, including freedom of association, the right to maternity leave and equal remuneration for work of equal value.

"With regards to the welfare of our Parliamentarians, the proposed amendments to the Parliamentary Pensions Act should address deficiencies identified in the present Act," he said.
President Mnangagwa said the Government has initiated a process to amend the Co-operative Societies Act in view of the changes in the socio-economic environment and the need to restructure operations, efficiencies and growth of co-operatives.

He said to enhance good governance, transparency and accountability among Private Voluntary Organisations, the Act governing these entities is going to be amended.

"The Bill seeks to align the Act with best practices, including on adherence to the Financial Action Task Force Standards. Proposed amendments will further ensure that PVOS operate within the thematic parameters, under which they are registered," said President Mnangagwa.

He said the Persons with Disabilities Bill is set to amend the 1992 Disabled Persons Act, informed by other contemporary legislation on disability rights.

"With regards to children, the Child Justice Bill seeks to establish a child justice system for children in conflict with the law in accordance with the Constitution and international obligations. Additionally, the Guardianship of Minors Amendment Bill will amend the Guardianship of Minors Act by revising matters incidental to the definition of guardianship and custody," said President Mnangagwa.

He said through the Administration of Justice Amendment Bill, the Government intends to align the Administration of Justice Act to the Constitution.

The Judicial Laws Amendment Bill, the President said will amend the High Court Act, Labour Court Act and the Magistrates Court Act to ensure the proper functioning of the lower courts and efficient justice delivery.

"The Fourth Session will consider the Prisons Amendment Bill, targeted at establishing a progressive system based on principles of rehabilitation and reintegration of offenders into society.

"The Independent Security Service Complaints Commission Bill which seeks to provide for an independent complaints mechanism by members of the public should equally be considered during this Session," he said.

President Mnangagwa said the Defence Amendment Bill; Anti-Personnel Landmines Prohibition Amendment Bill and Biological and Toxin Weapon Warfare Bill will also be tabled before the Fourth Session, in accordance with the need to fulfil our country's international obligations.

He said the recognition and welfare of the brave men and women who sacrificed their lives for the freedom and democracy which the country is enjoying today is Constitutionally guaranteed.

"This year thus witnessed the enactment of the Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Act," said President Mnangagwa.
"The operationalisation of this Act has paved the way for the establishment of the Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Board; the Heroes Dependants Assistance Board and the appointment of the War Victims Compensation Fund Commissioner. Measures are now in place to restructure assistance programmes to support economic projects run by our Veterans of the Liberation Struggle.

"To entrench the work ethic of the Second Republic and the culture of accountability, all our Permanent Secretaries signed Performance Contracts in December, 2020. At the end of 2021, the inaugural evaluation of the Contracts will be conducted. In January 2022, all heads of State-Owned Enterprises, Parastatals as well as Local Authorities will be required to sign similar Contracts in order to guarantee that our citizens enjoy value for money," said President Mnangagwa.

He said he is aware of the expectation to migrate to the New Parliament Building in the new city in Mt Hampden adding that the progress on the construction works to date is indeed pleasing.

"To our Parliamentarians, I wish to reiterate the need to expedite the legislative work that lies ahead. For the remainder of this year, and going into 2022, let there be a common desire to prioritise the enactment of laws which reflect and give impetus to the developmental aspirations of our people," he said.

Source - The Chronicle
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