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Inclusive government - Index of articles
on inclusive government difficulties - Bill Watch 15 / 2009
April 20, 2009
No Acts or statutory
instruments were gazetted last week. [The Finance Bill, the Appropriation
(2009) Bill and the Appropriation (2008) (Additional) Bill, passed
by Parliament two weeks ago, still await gazetting as Acts.]
on Inclusive Government
Last Thursday saw the
inaugural meeting of the “Government Executive Committee”,
comprising the President and the two Vice Presidents, the Prime
Minister and the two Deputy Prime Ministers. The meeting was aimed
at setting the 'ground rules' of how the top six should operate
and allocate responsibilities.
Last Friday The IPA Principals
met to resolve outstanding Interparty differences, including the
latest cause of contention, the President’s unilateral reassignment
of responsibility for Communications matters from MDC-T Minister
Nelson Chamisa to ZANU-PF Minster Goche. No agreement was reached.
The full list of issues includes the sharing of provincial governorships,
the appointment of the Reserve Bank Governor and Attorney-General,
the appointment of permanent secretaries and ambassadors, the ongoing
land disputes and disruption of agricultural activities, the freeing
of the media, and the swearing in of Roy Bennett, the MDC-T Deputy
Minister of Agriculture designate.
On Monday 20th the party
principals met again. According to a newsflash on the Prime Minister’s
official website, Welshman Ncube and Emmerson Mnangagwa, representing
the chief IPA negotiators, clarified the legal implications of the
IPA. It was pointed out to the principals that that no one principal
has the unilateral power to alter or vary the mandates of Ministers
without the consent of the other two principals and that the appointment
of permanent secretaries and ambassadors can only be done through
a process of negotiation.
On Thursday the meeting
will be continued and the outstanding issues will be tabled. The
PM’s office has said that Chief Mediator Thabo Mbeki has not
been invited to Zimbabwe to mediate.
It is regrettable that
these unresolved issues between the parties to the inclusive government
are dragging on so long – some of them are issues that were
left unresolved at the signing of the IPA on August 15th 2008. They
distract from progress on other essential government business. The
inability to resolve them also casts doubt on the viability of the
GNU and is an impediment to much needed foreign investment.
of Victoria Falls Ministerial Retreat
As yet there has been
no official announcement of details of the 100-day action plan that
emerged from the Retreat, with its targets and deadlines. The draft
is being circulated towards the end of this week and the final document
should be ready next week. Both the implementation plans and the
time-frames the Ministries have set need to be made public to enable
civil society and the general public to monitor the progress of
the inclusive government.
on Legislative Reform
has emerged to suggest that the Government's legislative drafters
in the Attorney-General's Office are busy drafting Bills to give
effect to the indications in the IPA, STERP
and ministerial speeches that reform of AIPPA,
Services Act, etc. is a priority area. Recently Jameson Timba,
Deputy Minister of Media, Information and Publicity, was reported
as having said that repealing laws takes time. "Give us six
months, not six weeks" he said to an interviewer. Welshman
Ncube, however, in a recent radio interview said: “The policy
changes have been agreed through STERP, the line ministries must
now review the relevant legislation as soon as possible...those
100 day plans…should include the processing of the requisite
legislation to implement the agreed policies.”
Usually while Parliament
is in recess the work of Parliament carries on through its Committees.
But only one committee has been meeting
The Committee of Standing
Rules and Orders [CSRO] seems to be the only committee that is currently
active – it has appointed the Select Committee on the Constitution,
and a sub-committee to work out the modalities for the carrying
out of the CSRO’s functions in connection with compiling list
of nominees for appointment to Constitutional Commissions and statutory
The House of Assembly
Portfolio Committees  held their inaugural meetings on the 8th
and 9th April, but did not even finalise their work plans as expected.
They will not meet again until Parliament resumes sitting on 12th
May. As their principal function is to shadow the work of the clusters
of Ministries allocated to them, and as this work has not been done
since the last Parliament adjourned in January 2008, it would be
thought these committees have sizeable backlogs to work on.
The Senate committees
have not yet been established. Six committees have been approved
by the CSRO, and the parties have been asked to nominate committee
members but are still to do so. These committees will deal with
broad issues such as gender, indigenisation and economic empowerment,
and Millennium Development Goals.
The Parliamentary Legal
Committee [PLC] has not met since it was formed. There has been
no new legislation going through Parliament for it to report on,
but there is a huge backlog of statutory instruments that has built
up since January 2008 which it also has to consider and report on
to the House of Assembly.
The Liaison and Co-ordination
Committee There is a two-day workshop for this committee at Nyanga
this week. The Committee’s responsibilities include coordinating
the schedules of all committee business. It consists of the chairpersons
of all committees, the party whips and the chairperson and vice-chairperson
of the Women’s Caucus. Details of the schedules for portfolio
committee meetings can be expected to be released after this workshop.
remains unchanged. There are six vacant constituency seats in Parliament.
The long overdue by-elections cannot take place until the Government
gazettes proclamations fixing dates for nomination court sittings
and polling days. Why the delay? It is true that in the IPA the
three parties agreed that until August 15th 2009 they would not
oppose each other in by-elections, the idea being that the candidate
of the party previously holding the seat would be declared elected
unopposed. But this did not change the law or suspend by-elections,
so by-elections must still be called if vacancies occur, and, if
two or more candidates are nominated, voting must take place.
without a seat in Parliament
Minister of State Gordon
Sibanda [MDC-M] must be found a seat in Parliament by 19th May or
forfeit his Ministerial post. MDC-M has no appointed seat to bestow
on him. But ZANU-PF has two non-constituency seats in its gift,
one in the House of Assembly, the other in the Senate.
vs Karenyi – court application to unseat MDC-T MP
Munacho Mutezo [ZANU-PF]
has gone to the High Court in a bid to unseat Lynette Karenyi, MDC-T
MP for Chimanimani West, basing his case on her conviction in the
magistrates court on allegations of forging signatures on her nomination
form. Mr Mutezo claims that the forgery conviction leaves him as
the only person properly nominated for the seat and therefore entitled
to be declared the duly elected MP. Ms Karenyi is opposing the case.
She has also appealed against her conviction. This is Mr Mutezo’s
second attempt to unseat Ms Karenyi; his election petition against
her last her was dismissed because it was served out of time.
Court challenge to election of Speaker
Professor Jonathan Moyo
is pressing on with his High Court application to set aside the
election of Mr Lovemore Moyo as Speaker of the House of Assembly.
His complaint is that Mr Moyo’s election was invalid because,
contrary to Standing Orders, it was not conducted by secret ballot.
He relies on the fact that many MPs displayed their marked ballot
papers to colleagues before placing them in the ballot box..
Important Court Cases
Human Rights NGO Forum has taken the Government of Zimbabwe
to the SADC tribunal on the grounds that it has breached the SADC
Treaty and its various Protocols. The case was taken because of
the lack of effective domestic remedies for victims of violence
and torture perpetrated upon the Forum's clients by state agents,
including the police and army. The Forum pursued the cases through
civil litigation in Zimbabwe, resulting in awards of monetary compensation,
but the Government failed to pay these amounts altogether, or, in
the case where it was paid, the delays were so lengthy as to render
the amounts useless due to hyperinflation. The case is set down
for hearing at the Tribunal Seat in Windhoek, Namibia on Wednesday
22nd April 2009.
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