Some members of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care are pushing for legislation on abortion amid revelations that 16 percent of maternal deaths were due to unsafe abortions, with over half of the deaths occurring among adolescents.
According to the 2016 national adolescent fertility study, nine percent of adolescents between 10 and 19 years had ever been pregnant, majority of whom were girls from rural areas.
Speaking during the parliamentarian’s advocacy workshop on HIV and Aids in Gweru recently chairperson of the Health and Child Care portfolio committee Dr Ruth Labode, who is also legislator for Matabeleland North province, said given the above statistics, it was only fair to allow safe abortions in unwanted pregnancies.
Dr Labode said it was a fact that teenagers were engaging in unprotected sex, resulting in them falling pregnant and wanting to terminate the pregnancy, unfortunately using unsafe means since abortion is illegal in Zimbabwe.
“We cannot continue denying these young women access to safe abortions, yet we know they will still proceed to abort, whether it is allowed or not,” said Dr Labode.
THE Speaker of the National Assembly, Advocate Jacob Mudenda, has challenged legislators to advance their educational qualifications to be able to eloquently debate issues brought before Parliament.
Mudenda made the remarks in Harare last week during a stakeholders’ meeting organised by the Southern African Parliamentary Support Trust (SAPST).
Mudenda said civic players like SAPST had produced various publications in a bid to strengthen the institution of Parliament, but expressed disappointment with some legislators who had dismally failed to comprehend these publications.
He, however, hailed some members for heeding the call to enhance their educational qualifications.
Speaker of the National Assembly Advocate Jacob Mudenda yesterday reprimanded Zanu-PF political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere for attempting to initiate a discussion in the Chamber on a Zanu-PF team probing him on a litany of allegations raised by the party’s provinces.
When Cde Kasukuwere made reference to the probe team while responding to a point of order, Adv Mudenda asked him to withdraw the statement and reprimanded him for the behaviour he had shown in the House.
Adv Mudenda, a Zanu-PF Politburo member, led the probe team to Mashonaland Central last week after the province was the first to pass a first vote of no confidence on Cde Kasukuwere, who hails from the province.
All the other Zanu-PF provincial chairpersons, except for Bulawayo, followed suit in passing a vote-of-no-confidence on Cde Kasukuwere, who stands accused of creating parallel structures in a bid to oust President Mugabe and other various allegations of undermining the party.
This was after Adv Mudenda noted that Cde Kasukuwere was acting in an awkward way and demanded an explanation to his actions.
“I want to thank you for that Mr Speaker Sir,” responded Cde Kasukuwere. “But as chairperson of a (Zanu-PF) probe team looking into my case, I will come and greet you as I go out.”
Adv Mudenda was not amused that Cde Kasukuwere wanted to introduce the subject on the Zanu-PF probe team in the House. “Honourable Kasukuwere, can you withdraw the last part of your statement (on the probe team),” he said. Cde Kasukuwere duly complied and withdrew his reference to the probe team.
Adv Mudenda was also not happy that Cde Kasukuwere, who is also the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, set out to shake hands with all Zanu-PF legislators when he entered the Chamber, making a spectacle of himself.
After briefly taking his seat, Cde Kasukuwere rose and moved around the Chamber, greeting lawmakers from the Zanu-PF side and caused a scene when he hugged Hurungwe East MP Cde Sarah Mahoka, a departure from shaking of hands he had been doing in respect of other backbenchers.
After completing the greeting of legislators on the two front rows, Minister Kasukuwere went to the back rows where he continued greeting the other legislators, prompting Tafara/Mabvuku MP Mr James Maridadi to raise a point of order.
Minister Kasukuwere left the Chamber before Mr Maridadi had started speaking, resulting in Adv Mudenda calling him back, but he did not take heed.
Buhera South MP Cde Joseph Chinotimba (Zanu-PF) followed him outside to inform him that he was wanted by the Speaker back in the Chamber. Upon his return, Mr Maridadi questioned why Minister Kasukuwere was behaving awkwardly and why he was greeting Zanu-PF legislators only.
“Is it because he got anointing water from Mudzidzi Wimbo to apply on Zanu-PF MPs?” said Mr Maridadi, drawing laughter from the Chamber. Adv Mudenda then said he was surprised by Minister Kasukuwere’s conduct.
“You are going around greeting people and that is very unusual,” he said. “I have been here (in Parliament) for a while and I have never seen that happening. May I request that you sit down as you normally do.”
PARLIAMENT is set to debate a motion on the possible existence of a cartel which controls who is awarded a tender or not, following claims that enterprises from Matabeleland provinces are being sidelined, especially for hospital works.
The latest move follows years of complaints that some of those who would have been awarded tenders under questionable circumstances have failed to deliver or have provided sub-standard service.
In an interview yesterday, Matabeleland South MP Mrs Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga said within the next two weeks she will table a motion in Parliament on the allocation of tenders. She said there is a growing trend where tenders are mainly awarded to companies from Harare countrywide to the detriment of local industries.
“I’ve got a motion actually on the order paper and the results that I found are frightening. I should be bringing it within a week or two.
“You’ll find that someone from Harare is doing debt collection for United Bulawayo Hospitals or Mpilo Central Hospital as if there are no debt collectors in Bulawayo,” she said.
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