Committees of Parliament undertake such specialized functions which the House as a whole sitting in session may not be able to undertake and execute. Executive oversight, principally the review and monitoring of operations and activities of government programs and policies, takes a variety of forms and utilizes various techniques, of which committee enquiries is the most prominent. Oversight inquiries range from specialized investigations by select committees to annual appropriations hearings and is supported by a variety of authorities in the form of the Constitution, Court rulings, public law, chamber and committee rules
Parliament performs Executive Oversight by scrutinizing government policies, programmes, and expenditure plans. This is done, among other things, by making inputs into, approving and monitoring the national budget. Parliament, through its system of Portfolio and the recently established Thematic Committees, monitors all government policies and programmes to ensure efficient use and allocation of national resources. In addition, individual members can raise questions or move motions that relate to government policies and programmes.
**Management Committees **
A Committee is a group of members appointed by a House of Parliament from amongst its members to perform a specific function, which the House has entrusted to it, and to report back to the House on the matter referred to it.
Committees in the Parliament of Zimbabwe fall into two broad categories, namely; House Keeping and Investigative Committees
Housekeeping Committees generally are concerned with the smooth administration of Parliament. The House-keeping Committees are;
**The Standing Rules and Orders Committee (SROC)
The SROC is the policy making body at Parliament. It is mandated to consider all such matters concerning Parliament, as it shall deem fit. Such matters include, appointment of Members to serve on Committees, appointment of Committee Chairpersons, determining the conditions of service of staff of Parliament and appointment of senior staff of Parliament.
The S.R.OC is made up of the Speaker of the House of Assembly, President of the Senate, Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Deputy President of the Senate and members nominated by President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Assembly and other members who are elected by both Houses by secret ballot. The number of elected members should be greater than those of the appointed members; The Speaker of the House of Assembly and the President of the Senate are chair and vice-chair respectively.
Business of The House/ Senate Committee
This Committee among other functions, determines the sitting calendar of either House prior to the commencement of the next session.
In the Senate it comprises of the President of the Senate (Chair) Deputy President of the Senate, Government and Opposition Deputy Whips, Leader of Government Business and Leader of the Opposition.
In the House of Assembly it comprises of the Speaker (Chair), the Deputy Speaker, Government and Opposition Chief Whips, Leader of Government Business, and Leader of the Opposition. The Government and Opposition Deputy Chief Whips are alternate members of their Chief Whips. (Link to Members of the Committee).
Liaison and Coordination Committee.
The Committee comprises of all Committee Chairperson, the Government and Opposition Chief Whips, the Chairperson and Vice- Chairperson of the Women’s Caucus. The Committee is responsible for coordinating the scheduling of all Committee business and is 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 House of 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.
Committees are currently operational in the Parliament of Zimbabwe and they are expected to table at least one report per session in Parliament covering their activities. 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. Most of the work of Parliament is carried out by and generated in Portfolio Committees and they 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. The Portfolios include:
These are newly introduced Committees that are provided for in the Senate Standing Orders. They were conceived with the reintroduction of a bicameral Parliament with the view to avoiding duplication of efforts between Committees of both Houses. Thematic Committees are mandated to examine government policies that fall under or relate to the designated theme or themes, or any other matters falling under their jurisdiction as the Standing Rules and Orders Committee may determine. Thematic Committees are not yet 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 matter A good example is the Privileges Committee which is appointed to 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 fullfils the oversight function of Parliament by looking at the financial accounts of Departments funded from public funds.
There are Committees appointed in terms of the Constitution and the Standing Orders and whose members are appointed for the life of a Parliament.
**Parliamentary Legal Committee **
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.