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This article participates on the following special index pages:

  • Inclusive government - Index of articles
  • Spotlight on inclusive government: It's not working - Index of articles


  • No announcement yet on inter-party negotiations - Bill Watch 44 / 2009
    Veritas
    December 14, 2009

    The Senate will sit on Tuesday 15th December

    The House of Assembly has adjourned until Tuesday 2nd February

    Update on Inclusive Government

    The South African mediation team returned to Zimbabwe on Monday 7th December to meet the three principals and the negotiating teams. They received a report from the negotiators on progress made in the thirty days decreed by the SADC Organ Troika Summit in Maputo. [“The Summit decided as follows: (i) the Political parties signatory to the GPA should engage in dialogue with immediate effect within fifteen(15) days not beyond thirty (30) days; (ii) the dialogue should include all the outstanding issues emanating from the implementation of GPA and SADC Communiqué of 27th January 2009; (iii) the Facilitator should evaluate progress and report back to the Chairperson of the Organ…...”]

    The mediation team returned to South Africa on Tuesday evening to report to President Zuma who will in turn report to the chairperson of the Troika, President Guebuza of Mozambique. There has been no official statement on what has been agreed by the negotiators and what remains in contention, or on developments at SADC level. The three principals are scheduled to meet at 3 p.m. today Monday 14th to consider the negotiators’ reports and possibly make an announcement.

    Talks between the negotiators have been on hold since the 7th December and are due to resume on the 18th December. ZANU-PF negotiators sought time off to attend the ZANU-PF Congress; this week MDC-M negotiators will be out of the country on official business before then. Resolution of some of the outstanding issues has also been put in doubt, given the sentiments expressed at the ZANU-PF Congress [see below].

    Swearing in of Second Vice-President

    This post has been vacant since the death of Vice-President Msika on 4th August this year. Mr John Nkomo, newly elected Vice-President and Second Secretary of ZANU-PF will be sworn in as one of the country’s Vice-Presidents on 14th December [under the Constitution as amended by the Inter-Party Political Agreement the country must have two Vice-Presidents, both appointed by the President and/or ZANU-PF]. Ms Joice Mujuru, who retained her position as the other Vice-President and Second Secretary of ZANU-PF, remains in her position as a Vice-President of the country. In the President’s absence he can appoint either Vice-President as acting President.

    Update on Constitutional Commissions

    On Human Rights Day, 10th December, the Prime Minister said “… the President and myself will soon be announcing the composition of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission and the other commissions designed to provide support to the issue of peoples' rights”.

    Last Week in Parliament

    House of Assembly

    The House sat on Tuesday and Wednesday only.

    Budget: On Tuesday the Minister of Finance’s Budget Speech was debated and chairpersons of portfolio committees presented their reports on the Estimates of Expenditure, some critical of inadequate allocation of funds, especially for the Ministries of Media, Information and Publicity and Public Construction and National Housing. Also criticised was the Ministry of Finance’s failure to hold the customary pre-Budget consultations with members of Parliament. The Minister pleaded lack of time for consultations and undertook to consult early in future, with Parliamentarians, stakeholders and the public; he said he would aim at starting consultations for the next annual Budget in August 2010. [Note: The Public Finance Management Bill, as amended by the House, and now before the Senate, contains provision for the Minister to consult portfolio committees in the preparation and formulation of the budget, and for the committees in turn to conduct public hearings to elicit the opinions of stakeholders.]

    Budget Bills: On Wednesday the Estimates of Expenditure were approved without further discussion and the Appropriation (2010) Bill [authorising government expenditure in accordance with the Estimates] was passed without amendments; this means that allocations of funds remained unchanged despite the complaints made in the House. Also on Wednesday the Finance (No. 3) Bill [giving effect to the Budget taxation proposals] was passed by the House, with substantial amendments proposed by the Minister. These two Bills have been transmitted to the Senate.

    Other Bills: On Tuesday the Public Finance Management Bill and Audit Office Bill were passed, with amendments [all proposed by the Minister], and transmitted to the Senate.

    Senate did not sit.

    This Week’s Parliamentary Agenda

    House of Assembly

    The House will not be sitting. It is adjourned until 2nd February 2010.

    Senate

    Bills: The Second Reading debate on the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Amendment Bill, as amended by the House of Assembly, will continue. 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 further consideration in February. [Electronic version of amended Bill available on request.]

    Four other Bills have been transmitted to the Senate after being passed by the House of Assembly [see above]:

    • Public Finance Management Bill
    • Audit Office Bill
    • Appropriation (2010) Bill
    • Finance (No. 3) Bill

    These four Bills are likely to be “fast-tracked”. Because the Appropriation (2010) Bill and the Finance (No. 3) Bill are both “Money Bills”, the Senate has no power to amend them, although it can recommend changes. The Finance (No. 3) Bill is urgent because it contains many provisions that will take effect from the 1st January 2010; the aim must be to gazette it as an Act before then. The other Bills are not quite so urgent.

    State Funds for Political Parties

    The Budget sets aside $4 million for political parties under the Political Parties (Finance) Act. [Electronic version available on request.] This must be divided among the three parties represented in Parliament in proportion to their shares of the total number of votes cast in the 2008 Parliamentary elections. The share-out must be notified in the Government Gazette by the end of January 2010.

    ZANU-PF Congress Wednesday 9th to Saturday 12th December

    On Wednesday and Thursday the Politburo and Central Committee, respectively, endorsed nominations for the four-member party Praesidium: President Robert Mugabe as the President and First Secretary; Vice-President Joice Mujuru as Vice-President and Second Secretary; John Nkomo, the current party Chairman, as the other Vice-President and Second Secretary [filling the vacancy left by the death of the late Joseph Msika] and Ambassador to South Africa Simon Khaya Moyo as party Chairman. The nominees were elected by the Congress plenary session on Saturday. Congress resolutions called for the early settlement of all outstanding GPA issues while insisting there should be no more compromise on the part of ZANU-PF until the MDC succeeded in stopping “illegal” radio broadcasts into Zimbabwe and in having sanctions removed.”

    In his speech closing the Congress on Saturday President Mugabe emphasised the need for the party to prepare for the next elections, saying that the GPA envisages a life of only about 2 years from February 2009 for the inclusive government. He also warned against “tampering” with the Army and Air Force.

    Legislation Update

    Bills in Parliament:

    House of Assembly: None [the House has passed all the Bills brought before it].

    Senate: Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Amendment Bill [HB 7A, 2009], Public Finance Management Bill [H.B. 9A 2009], Audit Office Bill [H.B. 10A, 2009], Finance (No. 3) Bill [H.B. 13A, 2009] and Appropriation (2010) Bill [H.B. 12, 2009].

    Bills Gazetted: The Public Order and Security Amendment Bill [H.B. 11, 2009] [Mr Gonese’s Private Member’s Bill] was gazetted on 11th December. Also gazetted were the Finance (No. 3) Bill [in a form including the amendments made by the House of Assembly] and the Appropriation (2010) Bill.

    Bill Awaiting President’s Assent: Financial Adjustments Bill [HB 8, 2009]

    Statutory Instruments: None - for the fourth week running.

    *Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied.

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