Back to Index
of Assembly to sit next week - Bill Watch 3/2010
January 28, 2010
The House of
Assembly will meet on 2nd February 2010. The Senate will meet on
sittings of both Houses are likely to be brief because there is
so little work awaiting attention.
The House of
Assembly Agenda for next week: Mr Gonese’s Private Member’s
Bill is due for its First Reading, but further progress on the Bill
will then be delayed while it is considered by the Parliamentary
Legal Committee, which could take a week or two. The only other
items on the agenda are uncompleted motions carried over from last
year and some 50 questions for reply by Ministers.
The Senate Agenda
for the following week: the controversial Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
Amendment Bill, for which proposed amendments have been tabled,
motions carried over and a few questions for Ministers.
No other Bills
are ready for presentation. Those who have been anticipating the
prompt passage of the POSA Amendment Bill and the early introduction
of media and other reform legislation so long promised are likely
to continue to be disappointed. Other Bills urgently needed but
not yet in the pipeline are Bills to enable the Constitutional Commissions
to function properly.
Once the Constitution
Outreach Programme starts, which is now considered unlikely before
the third week in February, it is planned to last for at least 65
days. As most MPs will be involved in that programme, it would be
difficult to have Parliament sitting during that time, although
MPs could be recalled to Parliament to deal with urgent business
Last year Parliament
was unproductive. After the formation of the inclusive government,
there was very little in the way of legislation other than Bills
from the Minister of Finance. As things stand, this year Parliament
looks set for an unproductive few months.
House of Assembly portfolio committees and Senate thematic committees
are scheduled to continue until the Constitution consultation programme
starts in earnest.
Development Funds announced by the Minister of Finance in his Budget
Statement on 2nd December have not yet been set up. The Ministry
of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs is working on a Bill
to provide for the establishment and operations of these funds.
Once the Ministry has completed its draft, the Minister will have
to take it to the Cabinet Committee on Legislation and Cabinet for
approval before it can be submitted to Parliament.
on Inclusive Government
Joice Mujuru is still Acting President, while the President continues
his annual leave.
The Prime Minister
returned to his office from leave on Monday 18th January.
not met this month. Its first meeting of 2010 will be in February.
of Ministers is meeting under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister
today, Thursday 28th January.
No meeting of
the National Security Council [NSC] was scheduled for January, despite
the statutory requirement that the Council must meet monthly. A
February meeting has been tentatively arranged. The NSC has met
only once since its formation – a clear violation of the Act.
In the meantime ZANU PF is said to have refused any suggestion to
dismantle or reform the Joint Operations Command [JOC], which it
says should remain in existence to oversee operational matters while
the NSC handles matters of policy. MDC-T is said to be demanding
that the JOC, be dismantled. This is another unresolved issue for
annual review of progress on the GPA is due 13th February [Article
23 of GPA]
Disputes: Negotiations were resumed this year, but quickly postponed:
The negotiators met briefly on the evening of Wednesday 20th January
after a break of nearly four weeks since the previous meeting of
the principals on 23rd December. They made no progress and fixed
their next meeting for 8th February. In the following days MDC-T
negotiator Tendai Biti was reported to have told the MDC-T Standing
Committee meeting on Friday that the negotiators were deadlocked,
and party spokesman Nelson Chamisa was quoted as saying after the
Standing Committee meeting that the party may refer the current
“logjam” to President Zuma. Negotiators from the three
parties have reportedly agreed on 16 of 28 outstanding power-sharing
issues. But there has been no formal announcement on what has been
The number of
unresolved issues between the major parties in the inclusive government
has increased to include, for example, the review of ministerial
allocations – with the MDC-T said to be demanding the Ministry
of Foreign Affairs and sole control of Home Affairs, the role of
the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Media, Information and
Publicity, George Charamba, who MDC-T accuse of leading a campaign
of hate speech aimed at derailing the GNU, etc.
ZANU-PF at their
National Congress at the end of last year instructed President Mugabe
and ZANU PF negotiators “to ensure that all outstanding issues,
once agreed, must be implemented concurrently. This means there
should be no movement on the concerns of the MDC formations without
corresponding and simultaneous redress of ZANU PF’s concerns
such as the illegal Western sanctions, Western-funded pirate radio
broadcasts”, etc. [Without some reform legislation, which
is not yet in the pipeline, it does not look as if governments imposing
selective “sanctions” will lift them, and now that ZANU-PF
has now clearly made this a condition for concessions, it leaves
the Inter-Party negotiations trapped within a somewhat vicious circle.]
Other GPA articles
on which the nation thought there had been agreement, such as the
land audit and the formation of the National Economic Council [NEC],
have not been implemented and now also seem to be subject of dispute.
Agriculture Minister Joseph Made [ZANU-PF] said there could be no
land audit until sanctions have been lifted because sanctions have
prevented new farmers from becoming productive. And there has been
delay and confusion as to who is responsible for the setting up
of the NEC.
Ministers met on 7th January and were briefed by Mozambique President
Guebuza, chairperson of the Security Organ Troika, on progress in
the Zimbabwe Inter-Party negotiations. The official communiqué
issued after the meeting contained only one sentence on Zimbabwe:
“ISPDC also noted with appreciation the efforts of SADC Facilitator
in assisting Zimbabwe to fully implement the Global Political Agreement
(GPA)”. Press reports afterwards, however, quoted Mozambique
Foreign Minister as saying that nobody at the meeting was happy
with the pace of negotiations in Zimbabwe. "We want the talks
to conclude as soon as possible." The Organ Troika met with
the SADC Summit Troika on 14th January. The official communiqué
issued after this Summit again had only a single sentence on Zimbabwe:
“Summit also noted with appreciation the efforts of SADC facilitator
in assisting Zimbabwe to fully implement the global political agreement
and urged the parties to implement decisions made.”
25th January to 2nd February, Addis Ababa
The AU Heads
of State and Government will meet 31st January - 2nd February. This
is proceeded by meetings of the Permanent Representatives Committee
and the Executive Council. The theme of the Summit is “Information
and Communication Technologies in Africa: Challenges and Prospects
for Development”. Among items to be considered are the report
of the AU’s Peace and Security Council on the State of Peace
and Security in Africa, and Malawi’s candidature for the AU
chair, which is endorsed by SADC, but being contested by President
Gaddafi, who wants to retain the chair for a second term. ZANU-PF
has said that it will be taking the “sanctions” question
to the AU Summit.
Gazetted: On 8th January, after normal Government Printer business
hours [and after we sent out Bill Watch 1/2010]. the Appropriation
(2010) Act and the Finance (No. 3) Act were gazetted in a Gazette
Extraordinary, effective immediately. [Note: Most of the tax law
changes in the Finance (No. 3) Act are with effect from the 1st
House of Assembly:
None. All Bills have been dealt with. No new Bills are currently
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Amendment Bill awaits its 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.
by Parliament Awaiting President’s Assent and/or Gazetting
as Acts: Financial Adjustments Bill, Public Finance Management Bill
and Audit Office Bill.
On 1st January
seven Budget-related statutory instruments were gazetted, effective
immediately: SIs 1/2010 [VAT changes], 2/2010 [customs and excise
tariff changes] 3 and 4/2010 [customs duty suspensions], and 5,
6 and 7/2010 , which fix at 10% the rate of interest payable by
taxpayers on unpaid customs duty [SI 5], capital gains tax [SI 6]
and income tax [SI 7] and provide for the same rate of interest
to be paid by ZIMRA on overdue refunds to taxpayers.
On 8th January
three statutory instruments were gazetted, effective immediately:
SI 8/2010 [fixing the maximum height and length of omnibuses for
the purposes of the Road Motor Transportation Act]; SI 9/2010 [fixing
the 31st December 2010 as the deadline for the change-over from
the “old” to the “new” motor vehicle number
plates under the Vehicle Registration and Licensing Regulations
]; and SI 10/2010 [brokers’ fees, levies payable to the Securities
Commission, and registration and licensing fees under the Securities
On 15th January,
in another measure announced in the Budget, SI 11/2010 prescribed
road toll fees, not only in US dollars but also in rand, pula, euro
and pound; it also specified two additional tolling points near
Harare, one on the Harare-Mutare road beyond Ruwa, the other on
the Harare-Seke road beyond Chitungwiza.
On 22nd January
the following statutory instruments were gazetted, effective immediately
– 13/2010 [customs duty suspension on water treatment chemicals],14/2010
[increase, backdated to 1st November 2009, in national employment
council dues payable by employers and employees in welfare and educational
makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take
legal responsibility for information supplied.
Please credit www.kubatana.net if you make use of material from this website.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless stated otherwise.