The work of Parliament, particularly that of detailed consideration of matters, is more appropriately performed by smaller groups of parliamentarians than either the National Assembly or the Senate sitting in plenary, i.e. as the full House. Much of the Parliament’s work is therefore done in committees, although the final decision on all matters is taken by either House.
Since Parliament delegates its functions to the parliamentary committees, the programme essentially entails training and assisting parliamentary committees with technical resources to enable them to execute Parliament’s constitutional mandate, i.e. oversight, legislative and representative functions. To this end, committees are capacitated in their sectoral areas and equipped with relevant skills so that they can discharge their mandate effectively. The programme also provides technical expertise to committees as well as financial resources to support activities of committees such as public hearings and fact-finding visits to government programmes and projects under their respective purview. The anticipated outcome of the programme is an effective portfolio committee system.
Objectives of the Zimbabwe Parliamentary Strengthening Programme
- Enhance the capacity of Parliament committees to scrutinize existing legislation and proposed legislation, budgets and other key policy documents and perform effective oversight.
- A more resourceful Parliament with capacity (institutional strength) to respond to stakeholder needs when executing its mandate.
- To strengthen the budget process by allowing participation by MPs, CSOs and citizens at all stages from formulation, approval, implementation, monitoring/budget tracking and auditing.
- To institutionalise parliamentary processes and practices through regular review and revision of Parliament’s strategic direction, Standing Orders, Guides and Manuals.
- To strengthen the voice of Parliament in the fight against corruption.
- To equip MPs with requisite knowledge and skills which they can use to enact progressive anti-violence laws and ensure their enforcement as well as to spearhead peace and development in their constituencies.
- To enhance the capacity of MPs and communities to resolve conflicts through implementation of programmes which promote good governance and accountability.
- Educate and sensitize civic society organizations and the general public on legislative, oversight and representative developments and how to influence outcomes at Parliament.
- To enhance the skills of journalists in covering parliamentary business more widely and more accurately.
- Assist parliaments disseminate information widely.
- Provide a viable framework for parliaments to share experiences and information on international best practices in their budget, legislative and oversight functions.
- Promote scholarly work on parliamentary democracy.