FORMS OF PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEES
Housekeeping Committees generally are concerned with the smooth administration of Parliament. The main House-keeping Committees are;
Committee on Standing Rules and Orders (CSRO)
Section 151 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides for the appointment of the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders. The CSRO is the policy making body at Parliament. It is mandated to consider all such matters concerning Parliament, as it deems fit. Such matters include inter-alia, appointment of Members to serve on Committees, appointment of Committee Chairpersons, determining the conditions of service of staff of Parliament and appointment of staff of Parliament.
The CSRO is made up of the Speaker of the National Assembly(Chairperson), President of the Senate(Deputy Chairperson), Deputy Speaker, Deputy President of the Senate, Minister of Finance and two other Ministers appointed by the President, the Leader of Government Business, the Leader of the Opposition, Chief Whips of all parties represented in Parliament, the President of the National Council of Chiefs, eight members elected by Parliament, four from each House and two members appointed by the Speaker of the National Assembly and the President of the Senate.
Business of the House/ Senate Committee.
Each House has its own Business of the House Committee. In the Senate it is established by S.O 155 and in the House of Assembly is established in terms of SO 162. This Committee among other functions, determines the sitting calendar of either House prior to the commencement of the next session.
Liaison and Coordination Committee.
The Committee comprises of all Committee Chairpersons, Party Whips and their Deputies, the Chairperson and Vice- Chairperson of the Women’s Caucus. The Committee is responsible for coordinating the scheduling of all Committee business and it is the custodian of Parliamentary reforms.
The Library Committee
The Committee advises the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Assembly on matters relating to the policy, conduct and management of the Library of Parliament. The Deputy Speaker and Deputy President of the Senate are the ex officio Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson, respectively, of the Committee.
Internal Arrangements Committee
The committee makes recommendations to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the National Assembly on matters concerning the facilities and amenities of the members. The Deputy President of the Senate and Deputy Speaker are the ex-officio Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson of the Committee respectively.
Examples of investigative Committees include Portfolio Committees, Thematic Committees, the Public Accounts Committee and Ad Hoc Committees.
These are Committees designated according to government portfolios to examine the expenditure, administration and policy of government departments and other matters falling under their jurisdictions as Parliament may by resolution determine. Most of the work of Parliament is carried out by and generated in Portfolio Committees. Portfolio Committees are expected to table at least one report per session in Parliament covering their activities. Portfolio Committees perform both a pre-audit and post-audit function. Currently, the National Assembly has 19 Portfolio Committees which are fully operational.
These are another type of investigative Committees. They are appointed to investigate and report on a specific issue and they cease to exist once they have reported to the House on the subject matter they have been appointed to examine. A good example is the Privileges Committee which is appointed to investigate allegations of breach of privilege.
Public Accounts Committee
This is an example of a post audit Committee in the Parliament of Zimbabwe. It is mandated to examine the financial affairs and accounts of Government Departments and state owned enterprises. It also examines all reports of the Comptroller and Auditor General. The Committee also fulfils the oversight function of Parliament by looking at the financial accounts of Departments funded from public funds.
Parliamentary Legal Committee. (PLC)
This is a Committee appointed in terms of the Constitution and the Standing Orders and whose members are appointed for the life of a Parliament. The Committee is appointed Standing Orders193 (1) and 199 (1) of the Senate and National Assembly respectively.
The Committee is mandated to examine the constitutionality of every Bill, draft Bill, Statutory Instrument, draft Statutory Instrument, amendment to a Bill, or amendment to a Statutory Instrument. It also ensures that no Statutory Instrument makes the rights and liberties of persons unduly dependent upon administrative decisions, which are not subject to review by judicial tribunal nor change an Act of Parliament.
Directorate of Committees and Procedural Services
The Directorate of Committees and Procedural Services facilitates the business of Portfolio, Thematic and Ad hoc Committees through the provision of procedural and administrative services.
More specifically, the Directorate proffers procedural advice and administrative support to 19 pre-audit Portfolio Committees, 6 Thematic Committees, the post audit Public Accounts Committee and any other ad hoc Committees as may be appointed from time to time.
The Directorate is headed by a Deputy Clerk of Parliament who is assisted by the Assistant Clerk of Parliament.