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to Constitutional Commissions - Bill Watch 19/2009
June 09, 2009
to Constitutional Commissions
published advertisements in the Press inviting applications from
qualified persons who wish to be considered for appointment to the
four Independent Constitutional Commissions – the Zimbabwe
Media Commission, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, the Zimbabwe
Anti-Corruption Commission and the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission
. The advertisements list the functions of each commission and state
the qualifications required of candidates. Applicants must submit:
a cover letter, a comprehensive CV, a typewritten submission, no
more than two A4 pages long, stating why the applicant is a suitable
candidate and certified photocopies of proof of professional qualifications.
Applications must be addressed to the Clerk of Parliament and either
posted or hand-delivered to the Parliament of Zimbabwe, Parliament
Building, cnr. Kwame Nkrumah Avenue and Third Street, P.O. Box CY
298, Causeway, Harare, or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
by Friday 19th June.
in the advertisement is whether the positions are full-time or part-time,
but we have been informed by Parliament that at the moment the idea
is that all chairpersons will be full-time, and members may be a
mix of full-time and part-time. Given the importance of these commissions
and the calibre of members needed, and given the policy of trying
to attract skilled Zimbabweans abroad back to the country, the notice
is very short – the sort of notice usually given for a temporary
typist. Also for this type of post, best practice would indicate
a call for nominations by stakeholders as well as a call for applications.]
Freedom: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back?
The Prime Minister
on 23rd May stated that the Media and Information Commission [MIC]
no longer existed legally, and that accordingly there was no need
for journalists to apply for accreditation until the Zimbabwe Media
Commission was duly constituted to take its place.
spokesperson Mr Charamba a few days later issued a conflicting statement
justifying the maintenance of MIC accreditation requirements, and
this was followed up last week by an order from the Minister of
Media, Information and Publicity that journalists wishing to cover
the COMESA Summit had to have MIC accreditation.
journalists took the matter to court. On Thursday Justice Bharat
Patel overruled the Ministry’s order, agreeing with the applicants
that MIC was legally extinct, having been abolished in January 2008.
He ordered Minister Shamu and his Permanent Secretary Mr Charamba
to retract their statements that journalists had to register with
MIC to cover COMESA and also ordered them to put notices in the
print media, through radio and TV to that effect. He also interdicted
them “from making statements” or “attempting in
any other way to compel the four and/or any other journalist to
accredit to the COMESA Summit or to assume any functions of the
Zimbabwe Media Commission [not yet constituted], including the levying
of accreditation fees”. The judge said that his order would
have effect notwithstanding any State appeal.
It was promptly
announced through the press that the State would appeal against
the decision. The Prime Minister expressed surprise at this development,
saying that the Attorney-General had given him a legal opinion that
“the MIC was defunct.” [In fact the State has not yet
appealed.] The journalists took the High Court order to the COMESA
secretariat who refused them entry, saying they had to stick to
the list of names given to them by the Ministry. The journalists
are taking contempt of court proceedings.
On Friday police
picked up Chris Mahove, a journalist with The Worker, while taking
photographs of a demonstration by Harare city council workers. The
Worker’s editor, Ben Madzimure, was also arrested when he
went to the police station to enquire after his colleague. Both
were held for some hours, then released after intervention by lawyers
from Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights. The police deleted the photographs
from the camera.
Summit at Victoria Falls
Only seven heads
of State out of nineteen COMESA member States came to the Summit.
Their meeting was preceded by meetings of officials and the Council
of Ministers. The COMESA Customs Union was launched – but
a lot of technical work has to be done before it will be fully effective.
The countries of the East African Community are still deliberating
whether to join. All Zimbabwean Ministers were instructed to attend
the Summit, which seems an unnecessarily extravagant gesture in
view of our straitened economy. As COMESA is a trade summit, it
would have been sufficient for relevant Ministers and officials
to attend. [In fact not all Ministers went.]
on Inclusive Government
governors – there has been no further official announcement
on the sharing of provincial governorships and when new provincial
governors will be appointed.
Bank Governor and Attorney-General – this issue,
the remaining unsettled “outstanding issue”, has been
referred to SADC as guarantor of the Inter-Party Political Agreement
[full text of letter to SADC chairman, South African President Jacob
Zuma, available on request]. The MDC-T National Conference on 31st
May called for an extraordinary SADC Summit to deal with the matter
[see resolution below], but the SADC Secretary-General has said
there are no present plans for an extraordinary summit. The next
regular SADC Summit is not due until August.
Reform – no reform Bills have been gazetted, but
Minister of Finance Tendai Biti has announced Cabinet approval of
a Bill to amend the Reserve Bank Act and also said that his Ministry
was working on a Public Finance Bill designed to replace the Audit
and Exchequer Act. Minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary
Affairs Eric Matinenga said that the Council of Ministers had considered
a draft legislative agenda circulated by the Prime Minister’s
Minister’s overseas tour – the Prime Minister
left on the 6th June on a three-week tour that will include visits
to the Netherlands, USA, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium,
UK and France. This is part of his 100-Day
Plan to have Zimbabwe re-admitted as a member of the family
of nations and put an end to years of international isolation as
an essential step to reviving the country's collapsed economy.
Minister while Mr Tsvangirai is away is Deputy Prime Minister Arthur
The MDC-T held
its 9th Annual National Conference over the weekend 30th-31st May.
In his address Mr Tsvangirai claimed progress for the inclusive
government but acknowledged that it was necessary to “move
faster to ensure the full implementation of the GPA,
the rapid progress of a people-driven constitutional process and
the return to the rule of law” and that the “outstanding
issues, which we have now referred to SADC, must be resolved so
that confidence in the GPA is not undermined and it continues to
provide a positive transitional framework”. Conference Resolutions
included the following on:
the reference of GPA outstanding issues to SADC, Conference calls
for the immediate convening of an Extra-Ordinary Summit of SADC
to urgently deal with the outstanding issues.
of the conflict and divisive effect of the unresolved issues of
the Attorney General and the Reserve Bank Governor Conference calls
that in the national interests, Johannes Tomana and Gideon Gono
must resign forthwith.
Inclusive Government’s performance:
progress made in some areas by the Transitional Government, Conference
calls on the Transitional Government to address the issues of deficit
of performance in the following areas:
i. The absence
of any legislative reform agenda
ii. The slow
pace of media reform
high and multiple tariffs by State bodies and parastatals
iv. The slow
implementation of the Government 100 Day Plan
v. The continued
deployment of the military in villages
vi. The existence
of militia and ‘ghost workers’ on the government payroll
The Select Committee
on the Constitution has almost completed its work plan. Portfolio
committees have not met while Parliament has been adjourned. They
will resume meeting on Monday 15th June. The Parliamentary Legal
Committee has still not met. By-elections – no by-elections
have been announced [7 are needed].
Gibson Sibanda – Mr. Sibanda, having ceased to be a Minister
because he has no seat in Parliament, will not be able to sit in
either the House of Assembly or the Senate when Parliament resumes
on 16th June.
Councillors join MDC-T.
district executive and councillors  announced they were leaving
MDC-M in protest against the suspension of Nkayi South Member of
Parliament Abdenico Bhebhe. [Bhebhe is also the party's Matabeleland
North provincial chairman.] The party district chairman Jabulani
Manqonda Ncube said “the whole constituency and district leadership
has crossed the floor to MDC-T led by Prime Minister Tsvangirai."
No new Bills
have been gazetted.
(2008) (Additional) Bill [passed by Parliament on 24th March] has
still not yet been gazetted as an Act.
made under the Environmental Management Act, provides for the collection
of a levy payable at ports of entry on all hazardous substances
and hazardous waste imported into Zimbabwe.
SI 84/2009 fixes
the 15th June as the date of commencement of the Engineering Council
Act [replacing SI 65/2009, which was invalid because gazetted late].
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