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adjourned until October - Bill watch 34/2008
August 30, 2008
After the ceremonial
opening of Parliament on Tuesday 26th September both Houses were
adjourned, the Senate until 7th October and the House of Assembly
until 14th October
After the long
delay in convening Parliament, the immediate adjournment of both
Houses for several weeks has caused comment. The adjournments were
not voted by legislators. In accordance with Parliamentary Standing
orders the dates were chosen by the Government and were not open
to debate. [Standing Orders state that at the conclusion of the
business immediately following the formal opening of Parliament,
the Speaker [the President of the Senate, in the case of Senate]
shall adjourn the House without putting any question, to a day to
be appointed by a Minister - House of Assembly Standing Order 12;
Senate Standing Order 12.] Mr Mnangagwa, Acting Minister of Finance,
announced the adjournment date in the House of Assembly.
An early recall
of both Houses is possible only at the request of Mr Mugabe. Standing
Orders authorise the Speaker and the President of the Senate to
recall their respective Houses at his request, if they are satisfied
that the public interest requires an early resumption of sittings
[House of Assembly Standing Order 194; Senate Standing Order 187].
of the opening address
[Full text of
address available on request]
In his Address
at the opening of Parliament Mr Mugabe congratulated the new MPs
on having won the mandate to represent their various constituencies
and condemned the “odious habit of election-related violence”.
He acknowledged the inordinate delay in opening Parliament, attributing
it to “the praiseworthy search for peace and greater amity
for our Nation.”
that the “illegal sanctions imposed by Britain and her allies”
must go. In highlighting the need for food security, he attributed
reduced agricultural yields to floods, drought and shortage of inputs.
He said government had a massive programme for the importation of
maize from neighbouring countries, but had “noticed the destructive
hand of our enemies seeking to undermine our grain importation programme,
in the process pushing up regional food prices. Indeed, food is
the latest of their weapons in their regime change agenda.”
Efforts would be focused on empowering farmers for greater crop
production. Crops for bio-fuels would be promoted as part of the
fuel conservation programme together with reducing the “ostensible
careless consumption of fuel, exploring solar energy, gas, etc.”
an economy facing challenges of hyperinflation, shortages, and declining
quality of infrastructure. “We have detected an insidious
foreign hand in the destabilisation of our currency”. The
government in conjunction with stakeholders is embarking on “short-term
bridging economic stabilization programme” - including encouraging
price stability , currency reforms, boosting availability of basic
and essential commodities and foreign currency, enhancing food security,
addressing infrastructure development, revamping service delivery
by public utilities and combating corruption.
The centre piece
of government development efforts is the empowerment of the “formerly
deprived indigenous majority of our people”. Following the
and Economic Empowerment Act, “the empowerment policy
shall be pursued with renewed vigour on a sector-by-sector basis”.
and Minerals Amendment Bill which will broaden participation
in the sector by indigenous players would be tabled expeditiously.
being made to expedite implementation of cooperation agreements
with “Look East” development partners, especially in
strategic sectors of the economy such as power and energy, mining,
infrastructure development and agriculture.
The following Bills were listed for introduction during the session:
Public Finance Management Bill, Audit Bill, Mines and Minerals Amendment
Bill, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Amendment Bill, Small
and Medium Enterprises Amendment Bill, Older Persons Bill, Energy
Laws Amendment Bill, Zimbabwe Qualifications Authority Bill, Education
Amendment Bill and Zimbabwe Construction Industry Council Bill.
in Parliament - Pending by-elections
There are two
vacant seats in the House of Assembly:
[resulting from the death of the incumbent]
- Matobo North
[seat vacated by Mr. Moyo on election as Speaker]
And three vacant
elected seats in the Senate:
- Chegutu [seat
vacated by Mrs Madzongwe on election as President of the Senate]
[seat vacated by Mr Maluleke on appointment as Provincial Governor,
- Gokwe South
[seat vacated by Mr Machaya on appointment as Provincial Governor,
are now necessary to fill the vacancies. The proclamation/s calling
the by-elections must be gazetted within 14 days after the President
is notified of the vacancies by the Speaker or the President of
of House of Assembly members sworn in
of the of the 210 seat House of Assembly were sworn in on the morning
of 25th August. [one seat vacant because of the death of the MP
[ see above] and one MP absent [Mr. E. Jembere, MDC-T MP for Epworth
was arrested and detained by police on criminal charges en route
to Parliament and therefore unable to attend.] Another MDC-T MP
was picked up by police as he entered Parliament but his release
was secured in time for the swearing-in.
of Senators sworn in
of the 93 seat Senate were sworn in on the afternoon of 25th August.
The shortfall  arose as follows: 4 vacancies [2 provincial governor
seats, 2 appointed seats] and 3 absentees.
Lovemore Moyo [MDC-T, MP for Matobo North]. He defeated the other
candidate Paul Temba Nyathi [MDC-M, a former MP, who failed to gain
re-election on 29th March] by 110 votes to 98. ZANU-PF did not put
up a candidate, but indicated support for Mr Nyathi.
Speaker: Mrs Nomalanga Khumalo [MDC-M] [Umzingwane] was
Mrs Edna Madzongwe [ZANU-PF elected Senator for Chegutu Constituency].
She defeated Mr. Dalumuzi Khumalo [MDC-M elected Senator for Lupane
Constituency] by 58 votes to 28.
President: Mr. Naison Ndlovu [ZANU-PF elected Senator for
Insiza constituency]. He defeated Mrs Sekai Holland [MDC-T elected
Senator for Chizhanje Constituency] by 57 votes to 29.
Ministers and Cabinet
In a second
speech on Tuesday 26th August [at a function following the opening
of Parliament] Mr Mugabe said he would soon announce a new Cabinet
to replace what he described as his "worst Cabinet". This
had not happened at the time of writing. However, two Ministers
who failed to gain seats in the 29th March poll automatically left
the Cabinet and their Ministerial posts on appointment as Provincial
Governors on Sunday 25th August [Mr Chigwedere and Mr Mushohwe].
Although Mr Chinamasa, Minister of Justice, also failed to win a
seat on 29th March, he became eligible to continue as a Minister
on the strength of his appointment as a Senator on 25th August.
[Vice-President Msika, who did not stand for election, also became
eligible to continue in office when appointed as a Senator on 25th
Ministers who failed to gain seats in the election, and were not
given appointed Senate seats, automatically became ineligible to
continue as Ministers when Parliament was opened on 26th August
31E(2)]. Those concerned are: Samuel Mumbengegwi [Finance], Amos
Midzi [Mines and Mining Development], Mike Nyambuya [Energy and
Power Development], Joseph Made [Agricultural Mechanisation and
Engineering], Munacho Mutezo [Water Resources and Infrastructural
Development], Sikhanyiso Ndlovu [Information and Publicity], Oppah
Muchinguri [Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development] and
Rugare Gumbo [Agriculture].
Social Security Authority [NSSA]
makes important changes to the rules governing the NSSA national
pension scheme:  as foreshadowed in the Reserve Bank’s
recent Monetary Policy
Statement, contributions must be paid on the full monthly earnings
of employees with effect from 1st August 2008;  the contribution
rate will be 4 per centum with effect from 1st January 2009. [Electronic
version available on request.] SI 123/2008 covers the rates of survivors’
pensions and grants. SI 124/2008 amends the NSSA workers’
compensation scheme, including a 10 000% increase in pension payments
with effect from the 1st September 2008.
Claims Courts – fees and jurisdictional limits
increases the small claims court’s limits of jurisdiction
from $5 million [old currency] to $5 000 [new currency]. SI 125/2008
prescribes court fees. Both SIs take effect from 29th August 2008.
[Electronic versions available on request.]
re standby electricity generators
– Electricity (Licensing) Regulations. These regulations came
into force on 18th July 2008. They include provisions requiring
permits for the use and possession of standby generators producing
less than 100 kW of electricity. Users must: ensure compliance with
prescribed safety standards; notify their generators to the Zimbabwe
Electricity Regulatory Commission [not ZESA] using the prescribed
form EL4 and paying an inspection fee [Zimbabwe currency equivalent
of US$5]; notification must be given not later than 17th November
2008, but if it is given by 16th September the inspection fee is
waived. The regulations also cover the licensing of large-scale
generation of electricity by producers wishing to supplement the
efforts of ZESA. [Electronic version available on request: not the
whole SI, only the provisions affecting standby generators.] Note:
although the Herald reported during the week that the Minister of
Energy and Power Development had “suspended” the “levy”
on generators, nothing to give proper legal effect to any such suspension
or modification of the regulations has been gazetted. At the moment,
therefore, the legal position is that the regulations remain in
of agricultural land
notifies the expropriation by the Government of five pieces of land
“for the purposes of settlement for agriculture”.
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