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  • New Constitution-making process - Index of articles

  • Members of 3 Constitutional Commissions announced - Bill Watch 45 / 2009
    December 21, 2009

    The House of Assembly has adjourned until 2nd February 2010
    The Senate has adjourned until 9th February

    Update on Inclusive Government

    The three GPA principals met this afternoon to discuss the outstanding issues of disagreement between the two main parties. Nothing was concluded. After their meeting last Monday they had directed the negotiators to produce a comprehensive report detailing the issues agreed on with deadlines for implementation. The negotiators did not however meet over the weekend as was planned – once again some of them were not available. They are meeting this evening to finalise their report which they will now present to each of the principals separately tomorrow, Tuesday. The principals will then meet together to discuss the report on Wednesday at 10 am. After that meeting it is likely that any outstanding issues which are still in dispute will be referred to SADC for arbitration. According to the Prime Minister’s office last week, “the majority of issues have been resolved, either between the negotiators or via recommendations by the facilitators themselves”, but the appointments of the Reserve Bank Governor and Attorney General were still unresolved.

    Constitutional Commissions

    At the meeting of the GPA principals this afternoon, the composition of three of the four constitutional commissions was almost finalised except that the Chairpersons and Deputy Chairpersons of ZEC and ZHRC have not yet been named. The names released are as follows:

    Zimbabwe Electoral Commisssion [ZEC] 8 Members: Daniel Chigaru, Geoff Feltoe, Theophilus Gambe, Joyce Kazembe, Petty Makoni, Sibongile Ndhlovu, Bessie Nhandara, Mukuni Nyathi [One of these members will be named as Deputy Chairperson. There is speculation that former Harare High Court Judge Simpson Mtambanengwe will be named as Chairperson.]

    Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission [ZHRC] 8 Members: Kwanele Jirira, Carol Khombe, Joseph Kurebwa, Jacob Mudenda, Elasto Mugwadi, Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube, Neseni Nomathemba, Ellen Sithole. [One of these members will be named as Deputy Chairperson. There is speculation that former UZ Law Professor Reginald Austin will be named as chairperson.]

    Zimbabwe Media Commission [ZMC] Chairperson Godfrey Majonga, Deputy Chairperson Nqubile Nyathi and 7 other members: Lawton Hikwa, Miriam Madziwa, Chris Mhike, Millicent Mombeshora, Henry Muradzikwa, Chris Mutsvangwa, Matthew Takaona.

    Last Week in Parliament

    House of Assembly did not sit last week. It adjourned on Wednesday 9th December until Tuesday 2nd February.
    Senate sat on Tuesday and Wednesday, then adjourned until 9th February. Wednesday’s sitting lasted until after 7 pm to enable fast-tracking of the two Budget Bills and two other Bills.

    Budget Bills: The Appropriation (2010) Bill and Finance (No. 3) Bill were passed without amendment on Wednesday.

    Other Bills: The Public Finance Management Bill and Audit Office Bill were also passed without amendment on Wednesday.

    The Second Reading debate on the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Amendment Bill was completed on Tuesday. ZANU-PF Chief Whip Monica Mutsvangwa tabled major amendments to the Bill for consideration during the Committee Stage. Senator Obert Gutu of MDC-T tabled an amendment to delete the provision granting indemnity [backdated to 1999] to the Bank and the Governor [added during the Bill’s passage through the House of Assembly at the insistence of ZANU-PF MPs]. On Wednesday the Minister of Finance told the Senate he had been informed by the Leader of the House that the three principals are holding consultations on the Bill. So the Bill was carried over to be dealt with when the Senate resumes on 9th February.

    Parliamentary Business carried forward to next year

    House of Assembly

    Bills: The Public Order and Security Amendment Bill [Mr Gonese’s Private Member’s Bill] awaits its introduction.

    Legislative Agenda: Unless the Prime Minister chooses to make an earlier announcement outside Parliament, his promised statement on the Government’s legislative agenda will have to wait until the House resumes in February.

    Motions: Uncompleted motions on the agenda include one calling for a comprehensive audit of the voters roll and another to take note of the report of the SADC Parliamentary Forum Observer Mission on the recent Botswana general elections.

    Questions: Because the last two Question Times were deferred to allow Budget business to take precedence, 53 questions have accumulated for reply by Ministers. The Prime Minister has undertaken to ensure that Ministers attend the House to deal with unanswered questions. A recently tabled question asks Minister of Media, Information and Publicity Webster Mr Shamu [ZANU-PF] to explain ZBC’s negative reporting on the Prime Minister.


    Bills: The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Amendment Bill awaits its Committee Stage. A number of amendments have been tabled.

    Motions: the uncompleted debate on Senator Muchihwa’s motion on Community and Home-Based Care Programmes will continue.

    Questions: Several questions await Ministerial reply – one posed by Senator Mumvuri of ZANU-PF, asks the co-Ministers of Home Affairs to explain what measures the Ministry has put in place to “curtail the rampant thefts of property, illegal panning of gold and indiscriminate cutting of trees perpetuated by the unemployed former farm workers who are still living on legally acquired and resettled farms”.

    Swearing in of Second Vice-President

    Senator John Landa Nkomo was sworn in as a Vice-President on Monday 14th December, filling the vacancy created by the death of Vice-President Joseph Msika on 4th August. Mrs Joice Mujuru remains in her position as a Vice-President of the country. The President can appoint either Vice-President as acting President in his absence. Mrs Mujuru acted as President while he was at the Copenhagen Climate Conference. Mr Nkomo’s appointment will not alter the number of vacancies in the Senate, but his appointment will necessitate his replacement as Minister of State in the President’s office and Chairman of the Organ for National Healing. He has said that until this happens he will continue to chair the Organ.

    Parliamentary Committee Meetings

    House of Assembly Portfolio Committees and Senate Thematic Committees wound up their business for 2009 last week. Committee meetings will resume on Monday 25th January 2010.

    Portfolio Committee Report on Ministry of Mines and Energy

    The House of Assembly portfolio committee on Mines and Energy reported on the 2010 Post-Budget Analysis of Votes for the Ministry Mines and Mining Development and the Ministry of Energy and Power Development. The report criticised the Secretary for Mines and Mining Development for various breaches of the Mines and Minerals Act, including suspending the operations of the Mining Affairs Board from April 2009 onwards.

    BIPPA between Zimbabwe and South Africa

    The text of the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement with South Africa [BIPPA] signed in Harare on 27th November has been released. This should be read with the Pretoria High Court’s order in the case Louis Fick v Republic of South Africa, which records the South African government’s assurance that the BIPPA does not affect existing rights under the SADC Treaty or the efficacy of the SADC Tribunal’s rulings in the Zimbabwe land cases, which rulings the South African government respects and undertakes to honour.

    Legislation Update

    Bills in Parliament:

    House of Assembly: None. All Bills have been dealt with.

    Senate: Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Amendment Bill

    Bill Awaiting Introduction: The Public Order and SecurityAmendment Bill [Mr Gonese’s Private Member’s Bill] was gazetted on 11th December. The Bill now awaits introduction in the House of Assembly.

    Bill Awaiting President’s Assent: Financial Adjustments Bill, Public Finance Management Bill, Audit Office Bill, Appropriation (2010) Bill and Finance (No. 3) Bill.

    Statutory Instruments: On 18th December only one statutory instrument was gazetted – a suspension of customs duty.

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