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not sitting in January - Bill Watch 46 / 2009
December 31, 2009
The House of
Assembly has adjourned until 2nd February 2010
The Senate has adjourned until 9th February
on Inclusive Government
The three principals
met Wednesday 23rd December – without the benefit of the expected
report from the negotiators. Afterwards the principals held a joint
press conference at which no significant announcements were made
about the results of the negotiations so far. The nation was asked
to be patient while the negotiations continue.
are not due to meet again until mid-January.
It was announced
on 28th December that President Mugabe had commenced his annual
leave. Vice-President Joice Mujuru will be Acting President during
The names of the chairpersons and deputy chairpersons of
the Electoral Commission [ZEC] and the Human Rights Commission [ZHRC]
have not yet been officially announced. The names of the members
of ZEC and ZHRC were given in Bill Watch 45 of 21st December, as
were the names of the chairperson, deputy chairperson and members
of the Zimbabwe Media Commission [ZMC].
Year Macro-Economic Policy and Budget Framework 2010-2012 [STERP
23rd December Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe launched the
Year Macro-Economic Policy and Budget Framework 2010-2012, also
known as STERP II. Acknowledging that Zimbabwe’s own resources
will not be adequate to finance the plan’s expenditures, she
appealed to the international community to close the financing gap
by way of foreign direct investment and concessional loans and grants.
The preface by President Mugabe stresses the need for unity. The
Framework acknowledges the lack of progress on political and democratization
issues since the launch of STERP I. It states as a priority “restoring
basic freedoms” through “resolving all outstanding and
disempowering political issues, legislative reforms, concluding
constitutional reforms, rule of law, respect for property rights
and national healing”. The Framework also recognises that
effective implementation of Government work programmes will need
to be buttressed by review and enactment of a number of pieces of
legislation for submission to Parliament and promises acceleration
of the legislative programme.
reforms specifically referred to include:
aimed at strengthening governance and accountability,
governance and the rule of law, promoting equality and fairness,
including gender equality;
- major changes
to the Mines and Minerals Act;
consumer protection legislation;
- review and
updating of all legislation governing the transport sector;
of all the country’s labour laws;
- and a clear
legislative framework for Public Private Partnerships.
Other than the
Mines and Minerals Act, no specific Acts are listed for attention.
No time frame is given for the reforms, other than that they will
occur during the three years 2010 to 2012. In March last year STERP
I mentioned several Acts as requiring reform – the Prevention
of Corruption Act, the Urban Councils Act, the Rural District Councils
Act and the Labour Act, but none of these promised reforms has yet
reached Bill stage.
Committee Reports on Budget Issues
House of Assembly
Portfolio Committees prepared Post-Budget Analyses of the votes
for their Ministries set out in the Estimates of Expenditure for
2010 presented by the Minister of Finance. These analyses were given
orally to the House by committee chairpersons during the debate
on the Finance (No. 3) Bill on Tuesday 8th December. In spite of
protests by several Ministries of inadequate allocations the Estimates
were estimates were approved.
House of Assembly
Portfolio Committees and Senate Thematic Committees will resume
their meetings on Monday 25th January.
Diamond Field: Recent Developments
It looks as
though, in spite of the High Court confirming the rights of African
Consolidated Resources [ACR] to their claims in the Chiadzwa diamond
field [which had been taken from them by the Government in 2006],
exercising those rights is being subjected to major delays. The
Government, the Mining Development Corporation and its joint venture
partners have noted an appeal against Mr Justice Hungwe’s
decision restoring to ACR its claims, but pending the appeal Justice
Hungwe’s order remains in force by express stipulation of
Justice Hungwe. Nevertheless the joint venture partners continued
their operations and Justice Hlatshwayo refused to treat as urgent
an application by ACR to evict them from the area in dispute. This
means that the eviction application hearing will have to take its
turn on the ordinary court roll next year.
Environmental Management Agency [EMA] has ordered a stop to mining
activity by the joint venture partners on the ground that they have
failed to comply with the requirements of the Environmental Management
Act for submission to and approval by the EMA of environmental impact
assessments. Also, local inhabitants listed for relocation by the
Government to make way for mining operations launched an urgent
High Court application for an order halting their relocation until
they had been properly compensated for their losses; this received
a setback when Justice Musakwa refused to treat the application
as urgent, meaning that, like the ACR application to evict the joint
venture partners, it will have to take its turn with other applications
on the ordinary court roll when High Court sittings resume next
a move which, if it succeeds, could leave the Mining Development
Corporation and its joint venture partners in exclusive possession
of the Chiadzwa field by virtue of special grants issued by the
Government, the Mining Commissioner has notified ACR and other holders
of Chiadzwa diamond claims that he proposes to cancel their claims
with effect from 25th January 2010. The reason stated for the proposed
cancellation is that the claims were improperly pegged and registered
on land that had been reserved against prospecting and pegging.
The claim holders have the right to appeal to the Minister of Mines
and Mining Development against the proposed cancellation –
and also to challenge it in the High Court.
In the interim
the Minister of Finance in his Budget speech announced measures
to ensure that the exploitation of the Chiadzwa diamonds would be
more transparent – that there would be official monitors on
site and producers would have to declare and pay weekly dividends
to the Government.
The latest developments
mean that the ownership of these claims and who benefits from them
become increasingly blurred. This could make for delay in the realisation
of the Minister of Finance’s hopes for Chiadzwa diamonds to
boost both the economy and Government revenues. It also makes the
monitoring situation for the world lobby against misuse of diamond
revenues more difficult.
Bills in Parliament:
House of Assembly:
None. All Bills have been dealt with.
Bank of Zimbabwe Amendment Bill awaits Committee Stage. Amendments
have been tabled for consideration.
Introduction: The Public Order and Security Amendment Bill [Mr Gonese’s
Private Member’s Bill] was gazetted on 11th December. The
Bill now awaits introduction in the House of Assembly.
President’s Assent and Gazetting as Acts: Financial Adjustments
Bill, Public Finance Management Bill, Audit Office Bill, Appropriation
(2010) Bill and Finance (No. 3) Bill.
Several statutory instruments are due to be gazetted in the Government
Gazette dated 1st January 2010 giving effect to budgetary measures
under the Customs and Excise Act, Value Added Tax Act, Capital Gains
Tax Act and Income Tax Act.
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