This first chapter serves as a project plan, which gives guidance in identifying the research statement to be addressed through the various stages until the conclusion stage of the study. The rationale of the study, its aims and objectives are covered in this chapter. The chapter explains the reasons for studying, the relevance of the selected topic, and the research questions that are asked in order to cover the topic fairly. An overview of the research design and methodology is also provided. Finally, the chapter concludes with an outline of the thesis by giving a research sequence. HE EFFECTIVENESS OF PARLIAMENTARY PORTFOLIO COMMITTEES IN CURBING CORRUPTION IN ZIMBABWE.
1. Introduction
In this chapter, which serves as the plan of the project, that’s where the guidance will be provided in identifying the research statement. Therefore, the aims, objectives and the rationale of the study will be covered within this chapter. In this regard, the chapter will explain the relevance of the selected topic, and the research questions in order to produce a fair study. Finally, the chapter concludes with a summary of the Chapter.
1.1 Background of the Study
Zimbabwe is a country that uses the concept of separation of powers in governance, thereby creating the three arms of the government which are the Executive, the Judiciary and the Legislature, each with its own distinctive roles and functions in the running of the state. These roles make the arms to be complementary of one another. In this study, the third arm, the Legislature is the point of focus in its duties.
Legislative authority in Zimbabwe is derived from the people through democratic elections founded on the values of fairness and transparency and is vested in the Legislature. Due to the its nature and system of a bicameral Parliament adopted in 2005, the Parliament of Zimbabwe consist of two houses which are the National Assembly and the Senate. In this regard, Portfolio Committees are found in the National Assembly while the Senate has Thematic Committees.
As a former British colony, Zimbabwe inherited the Westminster approach in the oversight process of the Parliament. The traditional Westminster approach, is regarded adversarial and in some instances oversight is professed to be the purview of the opposition politicians and not the legislature as an institution (Parliament of South Africa, 2006). However, this approach has been embraced in Zimbabwe to let the Public Accounts Committee to be chaired by an opposition Member of Parliament even though the Finance and Economic Development Committee is chaired by whichever side according to the allocation of the committees among parties represented in Parliament.
Oversight entails the formal and informal, watchful, strategic and structured scrutiny exercised by the Legislature in respect of the implementation of laws, the application of the budget, usage of all state resources and public finances and the strict observance of the Constitution, all other enabling Acts of Parliament and statutes. Oversight further incorporates the processes of monitoring of the performance of government ministries, departments and parastatals through the establishment of compliance to the rules and regulations as well as other best ethical practices where there are no formal rules or formalized procedures.
In view of the above, Parliament has an obligation as stated in Section 119 (2) that, “Parliament has power to ensure that the provisions of this Constitution are upheld and that the state and all institutions and agencies of government at every level act constitutionally and in the national interests. Thus, the oversight function is derived from Section 119 (3) which state that, “For the purposes of subsection (2), all institutions and agencies of the State and government at every level are accountable to Parliament.”
As a constitutional democracy, the Zimbabwean Executive is accountable to the Parliament as a body which was elected by the people, to represent their will. Through Portfolio Committees, Parliament performs the Executive oversight by scrutinizing government policies, programmes and government expenditure plans in order to ensure that they are in line with the Acts of Parliament or the Constitution and ensure that the actions of the Executive are intra virus, for national interests, appropriate and procedural. In this regard it is important to take into consideration the doctrine of separation of power so that the Parliament will not seek to govern as this is the function of the Executive.


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