The opposition MDC on Wednesday reportedly blocked ZANU PF’s attempt to rush the Marriages Bill through Parliament.
Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi wanted to move a motion to suspend the clause that states that when a Bill is gazetted, it must take at least 14 days before it is introduced in Parliament.
In seeking to suspend the Standing Order, Ziyambi told House Speaker:
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… I seek leave of the House to have the suspension of Order Number 134, which states that every Bill other than a Constitutional Bill must be published in the Gazette at least 14 days before it is introduced in the National Assembly. So I seek to leave that it be introduced to tomorrow.
In his objection to Ziyambi’s request to have the Bill railroaded through Parliament, MDC MP Innocent Gonese said:
I think it is important for the Hon. Minister to favour us with the reasons why they are seeking the leave of this august House to depart from the Standing Order.
We cannot just blindly follow. We should be acquainted with the rationale and reasoning behind that request.
If the Hon. Minister gives that rationale or reasoning, we can then consider it but if we are in the dark, it becomes very difficult for us.
This Bill has generated a lot of controversy and debate. As a result, before it is introduced, it is important for the time period which is provided to run its course.
Therefore, until and unless we have an explanation, I am inclined to say that we are not agreeable to that request; we must follow the normal rules.
Edwin Mushoriwa (MDC) weighed in, asking rhetorically why the Bill should be rushed through Parliament. He said:
… every Bill that comes to this august House should be subjected to public consultations and should pass through all stages.
There is nothing special about that Bill. People should be allowed to air their opinions. There is no reason to rush in ensuring that it becomes law.
Why should we rush the Bill? For that reason, the people of Zimbabwe have got the right to be consulted on the contents of the Bill. There is no hurry.
What the Minister wants to do is against what the people want. As a people, we are saying we will not accept that.