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  • Inclusive government - Index of articles

  • Update on inclusive government difficulties - Bill Watch 15 / 2009
    April 20, 2009

    Update on Legislation

    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.]

    Update 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.

    Results 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.

    Update on Legislative Reform

    No information 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, POSA, Broadcasting 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.”

    Update on Parliament

    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 bodies.

    The House of Assembly Portfolio Committees [19] 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.

    Election Business


    The situation 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.

    Minister 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.

    Mutezo 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.

    High 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..

    Other Important Court Cases

    The Zimbabwe 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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