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announcement yet on inter-party negotiations - Bill Watch 44 / 2009
December 14, 2009
The Senate will
sit on Tuesday 15th December
The House of
Assembly has adjourned until Tuesday 2nd February
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
Communiqué of 27th January 2009; (iii) the Facilitator
should evaluate progress and report back to the Chairperson of the
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.
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].
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.
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”.
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.]
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.
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
Week’s Parliamentary Agenda
House of Assembly
The House will
not be sitting. It is adjourned until 2nd February 2010.
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
- Audit Office
(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.
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.
Congress Wednesday 9th to Saturday 12th December
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.
Bills in Parliament:
House of Assembly:
None [the House has passed all the Bills brought before it].
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.
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.
President’s Assent: Financial Adjustments Bill [HB 8, 2009]
None - for the fourth week running.
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