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  • New Constitution-making process - Index of articles

  • Debacle at Constitutional Conference - Bill Watch 24/2009
    July 13, 2009

    The House of Assembly is due to resume on Tuesday 14th July, and the Senate on Tuesday 21st July

    Note: If the All Stakeholders Conference is able to resume on Tuesday and work continues through the afternoon, it is likely that the Speaker will immediately adjourn the House of Assembly until the following day.

    First All-Stakeholders Conference on New Constitution

    Accreditation day [Sunday] was marked by bad organisation, and fewer than 300 of the 4000 invited delegates had been accredited by close of day. On Day 2 [Monday] the opening speeches [including the President’s key note address and speeches by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Arthur Mutambara] were due to start at nine. Nothing in fact happened until almost twelve, when leaders from Parliament arrived. After a short prayer and few minutes of the Speaker of Parliament’s speech the proceedings were interrupted by a noisy demonstration by war veterans. As of close of day the proceedings had not been resumed.

    Update on Constitutional Commissions Nominations

    The short-listing of candidates from among the large number of applicants has still not been completed. Work on short-listing stopped while all Parliamentary energies were concentrated on finalising arrangements for the First All-Stakeholders Conference. Short-listing of candidates is expected to be resumed later this week.

    Update on Inclusive Government

    There are two serious new problems confronting the inclusive government:

    • The accusations by MDC-T that today’s debacle at the First All-Stakeholders Conference was engineered by ZANU-PF in an attempt to derail the Constitution-making process.
    • The Kimberly Process demand that military activity cease immediately at the Chiadzwa diamond fields will be a test of the government’s authority.

    In Parliament this week

    Minister of Finance’s Mid-Term Policy Statement

    This will be presented to Parliament on Thursday 16th July. “This will be a report card basically explaining how we have done so far”. As the Minister has already said he will be making serious policy pronouncements aimed at boosting the country’s economy and reviewing taxes, he is expected to present Supplementary Estimates of Expenditure and a Finance Bill.

    New Bills Unlikely

    Although the final draft of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Amendment Bill has now reached Cabinet, it is unlikely that this or any of the Bills on the legislative reform agenda will be presented this week or next.


    • questions for the Minister of Finance asking for guidance on what people should do with their old bank notes; whether there will be an independent audit of the Reserve Bank’s distribution of farm mechanization equipment and agricultural inputs; and which part of the 2009 Budget caters for the Prime Minister’s Office [Note: the approved Estimates of Expenditure contain no specific provision for the Prime Minister’s Office.]
    • questions for the Minister of Defence on measures being taken to ensure that the entire Defence Forces uphold the Inter-Party Political Agreement; and on the attitude of the Defence Forces chiefs towards the Prime Minister
    • questions for the Minister of Agriculture about the allocation of ARDA agricultural properties to private individuals; and calling for information on the winter wheat and barley plantings and the anticipated tobacco hectarage for the 2009-10 season


    • a motion for urgent reform of media laws moved by Mr Chikwinya of MDC-T on 17th June [so far only Mr Chikwinya’s speech has been heard, so much more debate can be anticipated – points raised by Mr Chikwinya include the need for the public media to provide balanced and fair coverage, and the reaction of the Ministry of Media, Information and Publicity to the High Court ruling declaring the Media and Information Commission extinct];
    • a motion on the need for measures to eliminate abject poverty in the communal areas and to extricate them from their present state of underdevelopment [moved by Mr Chinyadza of MDC-T]
    • Mr Chimanikire’s “take note” motion on the report of the SADC Parliamentarians' Policy Dialogue on Poverty and Social Transfers [“ social transfers” being the term used to describe social welfare measures and pensions as means of reducing poverty].

    Senate Thematic Committees will be holding their inaugural meetings on Thursday [not open to the public].

    House of Assembly Portfolio Committee meetings open to the public on Thursday: Education, Sports and Culture for oral evidence from Minister of Education, Sports, Arts and Culture [Committee Room No. 4, 10 am]; Media, Information and Communication Technology for oral evidence from Zimbabwe National Editors’ Forum [Committee Room No. 1, 10 am] [Note: if you wish to attend, it is advisable to clear attendance with Parliament beforehand by telephoning 700181and asking for the relevant committee clerk.]

    Update on Legislation

    Statutory Instruments – the SI extending the suspension of customs duty on groceries and basic commodities until 31st July was gazetted on 10th July.


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