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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
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.
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
It is now just
a few days short of nine months since the formal signing of the
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.
Launch of 100-day Action Plan
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.
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.
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
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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