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Governors – Bill Watch 18 / 2009
May 28, 2009
Press Conference on Outstanding IPA Issues [Thursday 21st May]
was headed as the Prime Minister’s Statement but Mr Tsvangirai
made it clear that he was talking on behalf of two principals [party
presidents] to the IPA
– himself as MDC-T and Mr Mutambara [MDC-M]. [Electronic version
of PM’s statement available on request.]
The Prime Minister announced
that the three party principals had reached agreement on five issues:
Governors – ZANU-PF would keep 4, 5 would go to MDC-T
and 1 to MDC-M. The six new provincial governors would be sworn
in at the soonest opportunity. The MDC-T have already named their
nominees. He said it had been agreed that compensation would be
paid to the six outgoing ZANU-F governors. [Note: Under the Provincial
Councils and Administration Act the President can remove a governor
from office at any time. Compensation is not usually given for loss
of a political office such as this.]
Secretaries – those in place [appointed by the President,
25th February] were “suitable in terms of experience and qualifications”.
Civil servants should not be appointed on a partisan basis, so there
would be “no civil servant from the MDC or ZANU-PF”.
“Any civil servant who participates in partisan politics will
have no place in our public service” and appropriate measures
would be put in place to ensure that.
– MDC would submit names of individuals to be trained
for ambassadorial appointments, and future appointments would be
made using a formula to be agreed on. Five already existing vacancies
would be filled in the ratio MDC-T 4, MDC-M 1.
mandates – the functions of the “communications
portfolio” would be shared. The Minister of Information Communication
Technology [Nelson Chamisa, MDC-T] would retain responsibility for
the Postal and Telecommunications Act, Potraz, Telone, Netone and
Zimpost. The Minister of Media Information and Publicity [Webster
Shamu, ZANU-PF] would be responsible for the Broadcasting Act and
Transmedia. The Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development
[Nicholas Goche, ZANU-PF] would administer the Interception of Communications
– would be sworn in as Deputy Minister of Agriculture
He said a deadlock remained
on the appointments of the Governor of the Reserve Bank and the
Attorney-General, and these are being referred to SADC as the guarantor
of the Global Political Agreement.
The statement expressed
concern about “continuing violations of the rule of law”,
referring in particular to “some of our citizens taking the
law into their own hands with respect to the land reform programme”.
The statement did not
specifically refer to the position of the political abductees, who
face High Court trials in June and July. [In response to a question
on his statement the Prime Minister expressed disapproval of recent
arrests of journalists and lawyers.]
In the statement he claimed
there had been progress, citing the gathering momentum of the constitutional
process and the Kariba media conference’s recommendation that
AIPPA be repealed. He noted that there is no legal obligation on
journalists to seek accreditation until the new Zimbabwe Media Commission
is put in place, which would be as soon as possible.
Spokesman had a Different Story on Provincial Governors
spokesman, George Charamba [Permanent Secretary in the Ministry
of Media, Information and Publicity] was reported in the State press
as having said on Saturday that the President intends to consult
the ZANU-PF Politburo before an agreement on the appointment of
the provincial governors is effected. The formula Mr Charamba gave
was: ZANU-PF 5, MDC-T 4, MDC-M 1 [different from the formula stated
by the Prime Minister]. He said that the incumbent governors would
complete a year of their two-year term before stepping down –
that year would end in August, after which the new governors would
be sworn in. He also said the two MDC formations had indicated they
would provide funds to compensate those governors not continuing.
[Comment: this seems extraordinary, seeing that the MDC position
is that the appointments were contrary to the MOU
and the IPA.]
On appointment of diplomats
Mr Charamba said much the same as the Prime Minister. On permanent
secretaries he merely confirmed that agreement had been reached.
He did not mention Roy Bennett or the division of the “communications
portfolio” between different Ministries.
Comment on the Position of Reserve Bank Governor Gono
Early in the week, President
Mugabe said at a funeral service for Mr Gono’s brother that
clamouring for Mr Gono’s dismissal was a waste of time. “Even
in the country, in the inclusive government, there are people who
do not want him. They want him to go. I say he will not go.”
A day later, speaking at the burial, Justice Minister Chinamasa
and Air Vice Marshal Muchena also made strong statements against
Mr Gono’s removal. Mr Chinamasa was reported to have said
that those calling for Mr Gono’s removal were in effect demanding
the ouster of ZANU-PF.
[Comment: It is unfortunate
that power struggles between the parties are occupying the government’s
energies to the detriment of solving the problems affecting the
country. On the other hand it is difficult to go ahead with many
of the turnaround plans while there are these issues blocking their
implementation. Resolution of the Reserve Bank question, restoration
of the rule of law and instituting law reform are major conditions
of aid and need to be dealt with rapidly. Most people just want
to see an amelioration in their living conditions.
of National Security Council to meet
There has been public
concern over the fact that the National Security Council [NSC],
has not met – while press reports state that the Joint Operations
Command [JOC] it was meant to replace still meets the President
regularly. Under the Zimbabwe National Security Council Act, which
became law on the 4th March, the Council must meet at least once
in every calendar month at a time directed by the President in consultation
with the Prime Minister. When asked about the NSC at his press conference,
the Prime Minister said it had not met because key members had been
engaged on other duties at relevant times. [The establishment of
the NSC was part of the IPA and a condition, endorsed by SADC, for
MDC participation in the Inclusive Government. That is why the National
Security Council Bill was fast-tracked through Parliament on 10th
February ahead of the swearing-in of the Prime Minister and the
Deputy Prime Ministers the following day.]
The Committee on Standing
Rules and Orders has not met again, so has not yet reached a decision
on its subcommittee’s recommendation that advertisements should
be published calling for applications from persons wishing to be
nominated by CSRO for appointment to the Media Commission, Human
Rights Commission, Electoral Commission and Anti-Corruption Commission.
There is pressure for progress on this; the Prime Minister at his
press conference said the Media Commission would be established
as soon as possible.
The Select Committee
on the Constitution had a budget workshop last week.
met on the 18th and 19th May to finalise workplans. They will not
be meeting again while Parliament is adjourned, although in the
past this has been normal practice. The reason given was shortage
The Parliamentary Legal
Committee has not met for the same reason.
for senior Parliamentary officials was held in Nyanga this week.
Caucus The Women’s Caucus has elected its Chairperson: Biata
Nyamupinga [MP for Goromonzi West, ZANU-PF]. This election was queried
by the ZANU-PF runner-up but has now been confirmed. The deputy
chairperson is Keresenzia Chabuka [Senator for Mutare, MDC-T] There
are 55 women parliamentarians, all members of the Women’s
Caucus: ZANU-PF 33, MDC-T 21, MDC-M 1.
No new Bills were gazetted
The Appropriation (2008)
(Additional) Bill has not yet been gazetted as an Act, although
it was passed by Parliament on 24th March. The delay in gazetting
is curious, as the other two Bills passed by Parliament on the same
day – the Finance Act and the Appropriation (2009) Act –
were gazetted on 23rd April.
The Environmental Management
(Atmospheric Pollution Control) Regulations [SI 72/2009] were gazetted
and came into force on 22nd May. The regulations provide for emission
standards for motor vehicles and various activities and processes.
There is also a section dealing with payment of carbon tax on fuel
which may be invalid for inconsistency with the Income Tax Act.
Previous regulations made under the Atmospheric Pollution Prevention
Act are repealed.
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