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Zimbabwe's Mugabe opens final parliament session ahead of polls next year
Last Updated: 2017-09-13 08:18 | Xinhua
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Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Tuesday opened the fifth and final session of the Eighth Parliament of Zimbabwe with a call for legislators to conclude alignment of remaining pieces of legislation to the new Constitution adopted in 2013.

Out of the 206 pieces of legislation identified for realignment to the Constitution, only 30 Acts remain outstanding, Mugabe said.

Mugabe outlined government's legislative agenda for the last parliamentary session before Zimbabwe holds general elections next year in which Mugabe will seek re-election.

Mugabe said a number of Bills will be tabled in Parliament for debate during the session, including the Child Justice Bill which seeks to improve child justice system and the Marriages Bill which outlaws child marriages, a social ill prevalent in Zimbabwe.

Mugabe said the Defense Forces Act will be amended to strengthen the security forces role in safeguarding peace and tranquility in the country.

As part of efforts to address the challenge of human trafficking which saw several Zimbabwean women being repatriated from Kuwait this year where they had been lured on the promise of better fortunes, Mugabe said Smuggling of Migrants Protocol will be brought before parliament for ratification.

The Protocol seeks to promote safe migration management within the country and to uphold the dignity and rights of migrants.

"Similarly, the Protocol against the illicit manufacturing of, trafficking in firearms, their parts and components and ammunition which will enhance cooperation with regional and international agencies in ensuring the safety of citizens, will be tabled before this august House," Mugabe sad.

To curb rising rape cases in the country, Mugabe said his government would also bring to Parliament the Mandatory Sentencing for Rape and Sexual Abuse Bill which seeks to provide for more deterrent measures against perpetrators.

Mugabe said to address some of the challenges posed by information and communication technologies, Parliament will consider the Cyber Crime and Cyber Security Bill, the Electronic Transactions and Electronic Commerce Bill and the Data Protection Bill.

Regarding mining, Mugabe said amendments to the Gold Trade Act and the Precious stones Trade Act will be tabled for discussion during this session.

The president also urged parliament to expedite scrutiny of the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill which has been before parliament for quite some time.

The Disaster Risk Management Bill which seeks to strengthen the country's disaster response and resilience mechanisms in the wake of frequent, alternating bouts of floods will also be tabled in parliament, Mugabe said.

He urged parliament to accord high priority to bills seeking to galvanize economic reforms being implemented by government to improve the domestic business environment and attract foreign investment.

Other bills that will be tabled before parliament are the Labor Amendment Bill, the Coroner's Office Bill to establish the Coroner's office, Constitutional Court Bill, Companies Amendment Bill and the Prisons and Correctional Service Bill.

"The many pieces of legislation for tabling during this session certainly mean hard work which demands absolute commitment and diligence from all Members of Parliament," Mugabe said.

He urged cabinet ministers who have been criticized by the opposition for bunking parliament, to lead by example and exhibit parliamentary conduct by attending parliamentary sessions.

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