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  • Inclusive government - Index of articles

  • Launch of 100 day action plan - Bill Watch 16/2009
    May 12, 2009

    Both Houses sat today, Tuesday 12th May

    The Senate sat for less than half an hour, then adjourned until 16th June; the House of Assembly will resume tomorrow

    Prime Minister’s Planned Address to Parliament Cancelled

    Prime Minister (PM) Morgan Tsvangirai was expected to address Parliament tomorrow, 13th May, to outline the challenges, achievements and problems still facing the inclusive government, but this now been cancelled.

    Update on Inclusive Government

    It now seems a stalemate has been reached in the discussions on outstanding issues facing the inclusive government and it is likely that SADC mediation will be called for. The MDC-T have said they will be holding a national council meeting this Sunday, 17th May, to discuss the way forward. The Prime Minister, however, has reiterated that there is no going back on the inclusive government and that any problems are to be worked through.

    It is now just a few days short of nine months since the formal signing of the Interparty Political Agreement [IPA] [15th August] and is almost three months since the inception of the inclusive government on 13th February. Whilst the new government has worked hard to achieve what it can under very difficult circumstances, it has been thwarted by unsettled issues between the parties. In this transitional period it has been difficult for the hitherto entrenched one party state element to let go of control of power and resources and fully cooperate in the implementation of the IPA. The succession struggle within its party has made this doubly difficult.

    There have been many unilateral decisions taken by the President representing ZANU-PF interests which have been contrary to the IPA and its preceding Memorandum of Understanding: – the appointment of provincial governors, ambassadors, top civil servants, a new Attorney General, reappointment of the Governor of the Reserve Bank. Now administrative and contractual implications are cited as preventing the reversal of these unilateral appointments. The recent unilateral shifting of Communication responsibilities from MDC-T Minister Chamisa’s Ministry to a ZANU PF Ministry seemed to many to signal either a lack of respect for the IPA or that one party’s desperation to fully control communication was such that they were willing to contravene the IPA. The allocation of Ministries had been decided on after six months of intense negotiations brokered by SADC.

    For a country that has recently emerged from ten years of sporadic violence, especially in periods leading up to elections, the perceived failure to deal with political detainees, the lack of police response to farm-related violence, arrests of journalists and students and harassment of lawyers, do not send a signal to the world that a new dispensation has arrived. The inability of the new government to initiate the promised reform of repressive legislation, administer the law impartially, review laws governing investment in sectors such as mining, or tackle corruption has prevented the needed aid and investment inflow. There is constant pressure from the one party to promote the lifting of “sanctions” but no quid pro quo. This slows down the efforts to revive the economy and restore employment and basic services.

    Recently, Botswana has warned that the international community might withdraw pledges to help the reconstruction of Zimbabwe if President Mugabe and ZANU-PF do not stop violating the power sharing agreement.

    Formal Launch of 100-day Action Plan

    The 100-day Action Plan was formulated at the Ministerial Retreat at the Victoria Falls in early April to implement the Short Term Emergency Recovery Plan [STERP]. It was adopted by Cabinet on 28th April. The Prime Minister announced that the 100 days started on Wednesday 29th April, and the public launch of the Plan is tomorrow, 13th May. The Plan commits every ministry to “tangible and achievable targets”. The success of much of the implementation of the Plan will depend on the ability of the inclusive government to raise money, which depends on resolving outstanding issues. However, making public the implementation plans and the time-frames the Ministries have set themselves is a welcome move towards transparent governance and will enable civil society organisations and the general public to monitor the progress of the inclusive government.

    Update on Parliament

    There are no Bills ready to table. The Order Paper for the House of Assembly tomorrow list motions carried forward from previous sittings and questions. There is also a motion for the approval of the SADC Protocol on Science and Technology Development.

    Update on Parliamentary Committees

    The Select Committee on the Constitution Members of the Select Committee attended a two-day induction workshop in Bulawayo last week. The number of subcommittees to be set up have not yet been decided.

    A Subcommittee of the Committee on Standing Ruling Orders on Constitutional Commissions has been set up to work out procedures for selection of nominees for these commissions

    The House of Assembly Portfolio Committees. These nineteen committees did not meet during the recess, so their work plans for the remainder of the session still have to be finalised. The committees will be meeting this week and next to receive briefings from the Ministries they shadow and to finalise the work plans. Ministries have now had more than fifteen months – since January last year – more or less free from Parliamentary scrutiny; it remains to be seen how much of this “backlog” the portfolio committees will attempt to tackle.

    The Senate committees have not yet been established.

    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 October 2008 which it also has to consider and report on to the House of Assembly. This is a constitutional obligation which, according to Standing Orders, should be completed within 26 “business days” of the appointment of the PLC, although the Speaker is empowered to grant extensions on the grounds of length, complexity, volume or other sufficient reason.

    The Liaison and Co-ordination Committee held a two-day workshop at Nyanga two weeks ago. It met to coordinate the meeting schedules of all the other committees.

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