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report yet on inter-party dialogue - Bill Watch 43 / 2009
December 07, 2009
will sit on Tuesday 8th December
Week in Parliament
The House of
Assembly sat on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons.
On Tuesday the
Minister addressed the House and presented the Government’s
Workplan for 2010 [see below].
afternoon the Finance Minister presented the Budget,
predicting a growth rate in 2010 of 7% [the revised growth rate
for 2009 was 4.7%, better than the predicted 3.7%] [See Bill
Watch 42 of 5th December for more details on the Budget]
Bills: The Public
Finance Management Bill and the Audit Office Bill were given their
second readings. The Minister of Finance gave notice that he would
ask for amendments to be made to the Bills during their Committee
motions were debated due to pressure of other business [two Bills,
the Prime Minister’s address and the Budget Statement].
The usual Wednesday question time did not take place. By agreement
of the House it was deferred to make way for the Budget Statement.
The Senate sat
on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
Bills: The Senate
passed the Financial Adjustments Bill without amendment on Thursday.
The Bill will be sent to the President for his assent as soon as
it has been reprinted. Also on Thursday, the Minister of Finance
made his Second Reading speech on the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Amendment
Bill; debate was then deferred to this week to allow Senators time
to study the Bill.
Tuesday there was brief debate on the President’s Speech opening
Parliament and the condolence motion for the late Vice-President
Msika. On Thursday Senator Muchiwa introduced her motion calling
for a review of the Community and Home-Based Care Programme for
those living with and/or affected by HIV/AIDS.
On each of Tuesday and Thursday the Senate sat for only a few minutes
over one hour. On Wednesday the Senate adjourned immediately after
prayers to listen to the Budget Statement, so no business was conducted
of Prime Minister’s Address to House of Assembly
The Prime Minister
presented the Government’s Work Plan for the fiscal year 2010
[January to December]. This plan forms the basis of the 2010 Budget.
Five Priorities and Related Targets
the Government had adopted five priorities
Economic Growth and Ensure Food Security
Basic Services and Infrastructural Development
& Ensure the Rule of Law and Respect for Property Rights
and Safeguard Basic Freedoms
the Inclusive Government's priorities, including the commitments
contained in the Global
Political Agreement. Ministries have worked on setting “SMART”
targets for these priorities – Specific, Measurable, Achievable,
Realistic and Time-bound. The Council of Ministers will track the
performance of Ministries against these targets to identify problems
as they arise and find solutions.
Role of the House
The House would
also be expected to play its role by tracking and questioning Ministries
on their performance. “Where Ministries under perform, they
should be held to account. If State resources are misallocated,
misspent or misappropriated, those responsible should be brought
to book by this House. In this you will have my full support.”
“Every public official - whether a Minister, a policeman or
a civil servant - who has broken the law, acted corruptly or simply
incompetently - must respect the supremacy of this House.”
Question Time in 2010
stand ready to be challenged or questioned by Parliament at any
time. And I expect, and will direct, all of our Ministers to do
the same. I welcome the opportunity to regularly attend Prime Minister's
Question Time when this House reconvenes in the New Year.”
Agenda – Details to be Presented in Early 2010
This was dealt
with in general terms only. “The Government Work Program,
informed by the key five priorities, will form the basis for the
Legislative Agenda, which, after it has been approved by Council
of Ministers and Cabinet, I will present to this House, early in
the New Year. In line with the legislation outlined by the President
in his opening address, such as the Human Rights Commission and
ICT Bills and amendments to the Mines and Minerals Act, Labour Laws
and Public Service Act, we shall be introducing legislation in keeping
with Government's priorities and our commitments under the GPA.”
The Prime Minister
also referred to Parliament’s role in the constitution-making
process, commending the work done to date under difficult circumstances
and expressing his satisfaction that the outreach programme “will
The Prime Minister
paid tribute to all members of Parliament for work done over the
past year under trying circumstances. He acknowledged the inadequacy
of their remuneration, which he said would receive attention “within
our constrained economic environment”.
Week’s Parliamentary Agenda
8th December – the House will debate the Minister of Finance’s
motion for leave to bring in the Finance Bill – last Wednesday’s
Budget Statement introduced this motion. The House will also commence
consideration of the Estimates of Expenditure for 2010 [for this
purpose it will sit as a committee of the whole House known as the
Committee of Supply]. Approval of the Estimates will permit the
Minister of Finance to present the Appropriation (2010) Bill authorising
the expenditure proposed in the Estimates.
down for Tuesday 8th December are the Committee Stages of the Public
Finance Management Bill and the Audit Office Bill. The Committee
Stage is when the House considers a Bill in detail, clause by clause,
and may make amendments. The Minister of Finance has given notice
that he will be asking for a few amendments to be made to both Bills.
Mr Gonese’s Private Member’s Bill to amend the Public
Order and Security Act will not come up for consideration; Parliament
has not yet sent it to be printed.
permitting, debate will continue on motions carried over from last
week or the week before, including the motion calling for an audit
of the voters roll, and the motion on the President’s Opening
of Parliament speech.
[Wednesday]: The number of written questions awaiting Ministerial
responses has now risen from 26 to 52, Recently added questions
include one asking the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education
for details of the Presidential Scholarship Programme over the years
and probing the welfare and privileges of present scholarship holders;
another asks the Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs for detailed
statistics of prisoners in the country’s prisons.
Bills: The Senate
will continue the Second Reading debate on the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
Amendment Bill, as amended by the House of Assembly. It remains
to be seen whether ZANU-PF Senators will, as reported, seek to have
the Bill further amended. Any amendments made by the Senate would
have to be approved by the Parliamentary Legal Committee and then
go back to the House of Assembly for its endorsement.
time not taken up with Bills will be devoted to the continuation
of debate on adjourned motions, including Senator Muchiwa’s
new motion on the Community and Home-Based Care Programme [see above].
Congress is not expected to interfere with Parliamentary sittings
as its first two days will be taken up with preliminary business.
Congress Wednesday 9th to Sunday 13th December
This takes place
every 5 years and this year will be in Harare. On Wednesday and
Thursday the Politburo and Central Committee meet. Plenary meetings
of all delegates [possibly as many as 5000, depending on fund-raising
efforts] will follow. The Congress agenda includes the filling of
all party leadership posts. The person who gets the position of
Vice-President and Second Secretary held by the late Vice-President
Msika will become one of the country’s Vice-Presidents [under
the Constitution the President and /or ZANU-PF must appoint two
Vice-Presidents]. If, as is likely, John Nkomo is elected to that
position, his present position as National Chairperson will need
to be filled. In theory the positions of President Mugabe as party
President and First Secretary and Joice Mujuru as the other Vice-President
and Second Secretary are also open. The provinces have endorsed
Mr Mugabe continuing as President and First Secretary of the Party
which means he is automatically the party nominee for President
in the next elections. The inclusive government will also be discussed
and what emerges may well influence the ongoing negotiations.
on Inclusive Government
Dialogue Continues: The three negotiating teams had more meetings
last week, and again this weekend. Emerson Mnangagwa replaced Patrick
Chinamasa on the ZANU-PF team while Chinamasa was out of the country
on business. Press reports over the last few days [based on “sources”,
not on official pronouncements] have claimed that the negotiators
have made progress, that 15 items have been discussed and agreement
reached on 12 [including provincial governors and turning ZBC into
a truly public broadcaster, but not the Attorney-General, the Reserve
Bank Governor or the swearing-in of Deputy Minister Bennett].
Mediation To Return: President Zuma’s new mediation/facilitation
team [see Bill
Watch 41 of 30th November] arrived in Harare on Sunday 29th
November, met the three principals, separately, and the negotiators,
all together, on Monday, and left on Tuesday 1st December to make
a report to President Zuma. The team is to return to Harare today,
for a more comprehensive assessment. A member of the South African
team has dismissed suggestions that President Zuma himself would
be coming to Harare this week. According to the terms of the SADC
Organ Troika’s Maputo
Communiqué President Zuma is to report on progress made
to the Troika chairperson, President Guebuza of Mozambique by the
6th December. There will be no public announcement until the report
has been made to the SADC Organ Troika.
Chiadzwa Court Case
Resources [ACR], confirmed by the High Court as the lawful owners
of mining claims over part of the Chiadzwa diamond field, have launched
a second court application to evict from those claims two companies
the Minister of Mines signed an agreement with to exploit the fields
in a joint venture with the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation.
In spite of the court order in ACR’s favour, operations on
the contested claims were recently inspected by a ministerial delegation,
and the joint venture was also referred to in Minister Biti’s
House of Assembly:
Public Finance Management Bill [HB 9, 2009] and Audit Office Bill
[HB 10, 2009]. Both Bills await Committee Stage.
Bank of Zimbabwe Amendment Bill [HB 7, 2009]. Awaiting continuation
of Second Reading debate. [See Parliamentary Update above.]
Introduction: Appropriation (2010) Bill and Finance (2010) Bill
[Minister of Finance]
Order and Security Amendment Bill [Private Member’s Bill].
Parliament have not yet sent this Bill to the Government Printer
to be printed. It is unlikely to be introduced this year.
and Ready for Submission for President’s Assent: Financial
Adjustments Bill [HB 8, 2009]
For the third week running, no statutory instruments were gazetted
makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take
legal responsibility for information supplied.
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