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assignment of ministerial functions - Bill watch 8/2010
March 06, 2010
without any consultation with the Prime Minister, has gazetted the
long-awaited legal instruments stating which Minister is responsible
for the administration of which Acts of Parliament. There are 33
statutory instruments in a Gazette Extraordinary late on 4th March.
In terms of the Constitution
[section 31D] it is the President who assigns functions to Ministers,
including the administration of Acts of Parliament [this involves
responsibility for the implementation and enforcement of an Act,
the making of regulations under the Act, and the initiation and
preparation of any Bill to amend or replace the Act.] There are
of course other functions to be carried out by Ministers [see note
Now that there
is an inclusive government and a Prime Minister, it would have been
expected that there would have been consultation and agreement on
the allocation of Ministerial functions. It was one of the issues,
which delayed the formation of the inclusive government after the
three parties signed the GPA.
It was with the aid of the South African facilitators that the issues
were resolved, with South Africa and SADC as the guarantors. The
allocation of Ministers was to be reviewed after 6 months by the
Parties with the assistance of the guarantors, SADC, AU and the
Facilitator. This was not in fact done. It would not be surprising
if the MDC-T were to take the issues raised by these SIs back to
South Africa as Facilitator and to SADC.
A first reaction from
an MDC spokesman was that “the Prime Minister was shocked”,
“that is like the renegotiation of the GPA” by one party,
and that in some Ministries “the MDC have been left with the
shell of a Ministry with vital functions taken away”.
Below are brief notes
[not a full analysis] on the gazetted Ministerial functions. There
are a few typos and anomalies [e.g. the Cooperative Societies Act
has been given to three different Ministries] so there may be some
revisions to these SIs.
Minister of Transport, Communications and Infrastructure Development,
Nicholas Goche [ZANU-PF], has the Posts and Telecommunications Act.
Media, Information and Publicity, Webster Shamu [ZANU-PF], has the
Act; Access to Information
and Protection of Privacy Act [AIPPA]; Zimbabwe Broadcasting
Corporation (Commercialisation) Act; and Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation
(Debt Assumption) Act.
of the President and Cabinet”, in a “surprising”
move, has been given the Interception
of Communications Act [see note below]
[Minister of Information Communication Technology, Nelson Chamisa
[MDC-T], has not been assigned any Acts.]
Acts Governing Law and Order
Co-Ministers of Home Affairs, Kembo Mohadi [ZANU-PF] and Giles Mutsekwa
[MDC-T], have the Public
Order and Security Act [POSA]; Police Act; Unlawful Organisations
Act; Protected Places and Areas Act; Official
Secrets Act; and Preservation of Constitutional Government Act.
These were all under the Ministry of Home Affairs previously. One
significant change is that Home Affairs now has the Prevention of
Corruption Act and Anti-Corruption
Commission Act [previously assigned to the Ministry of State
Enterprises, Anti-Monopolies and Anti-Corruption, which no longer
Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission
This is listed under the Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs.
There is in fact no Act on the statute books governing this about-to-be-formed
Constitutional Commission. Listing it under Justice and Legal Affairs
indicates that it is the intention that when a Human Rights Commission
Act is eventually enacted it will be the responsibility of the Minister
of Justice and Legal Affairs, although there is a stronger argument
for putting it under the Ministry of Constitutional and Parliamentary
Minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs, Eric Matinenga
[MDC-T], has not been given the Electoral
Act nor the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission Act as would be expected. [He has been
given the Referendums Act.]
Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, Patrick Chinamasa [ZANU-PF],
has been given the Electoral Act and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
Act, which doesn’t make sense – it is harking back to
the time when his Ministry was the Ministry of Justice, Legal and
[Note: under section 100J of the Constitution the supervision of
the registration of voters and the compilation of voters rolls is
the responsibility of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission [ZEC], and
the Electoral Act accordingly states that the Registrar-General
of Voters is subject to the direction and control of ZEC. The Registrar-General’s
Office is part of the Ministry of Home Affairs.]
governing Parliamentary Affairs
ZANU-PF Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, Patrick Chinamasa
[ZANU-PF], has been given the Political
Parties (Finance) Act, the Private Bill Procedure Act and the
Public Bodies Private Bill Procedure Act. [It would have been more
logical for these to come under the Minister of Constitutional and
Parliamentary Affairs.] The only Act to do with Parliament allocated
to the Minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs is the
Privileges, Immunities and Powers of Parliament Act.
Minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs, Eric Matinenga
[MDC-T], is now formally assigned the Constitution, except Chapter
XI on Finance [which, as previously, goes to the Minister of Finance].
Private Voluntary Organisations Act
This remains with the Minister of Labour and Social Services [MDC-T]
as do the Labour Act
and all the other Acts previously administered by this Ministry,
except Acts dealing with the Public Service and some State pensions
which are now under the Minister of Public Service [MDC-T].
Assigned to the Office of the President and Cabinet
Note: It is surprising to assign that several Acts have been assigned
to the “Office of the President and Cabinet” instead
of to a Minister, as there is no constitutional provision for Acts
to be administered by the Office of the President and Cabinet. These
assignments are legally questionable. The Acts are: Emergency Powers
Act [previously with Home Affairs]; Zimbabwe National Security Council
Act [a new Act not previously assigned]; Interception of Communications
Act [previously with Transport and Communications]; Presidential
Powers Act [previously with a Vice-President]; Procurement Act;
Commissions of Inquiry Act; Honours and Awards Act; Research Act
[previously with a Vice-President].
of Any Great Significance
There are no differences of any significance in the assignments
of Acts governing Law and Order; Defence; Finance; Local Government;
Mines and Mining Development; Energy and Power Development; Industry
and Commerce [except investment Acts, which go to the Ministry of
Economic Planning and Investment Promotion], Education; Higher and
Tertiary Education; Health and Child Welfare.
without Acts to Administer
Four Ministers have no Acts to administer: Information Communication
Technology [MDC-T]; Regional Integration and International Cooperation
[MDC-M]; State Enterprises and Parastatals [MDC-T]; Science and
Technology Development [MDC-T].
A Minister’s responsibilities, of course, go beyond the administration
of Acts of Parliament. Ministers have other functions within the
fields covered by their portfolios – the Constitution states
that a Minister exercises general direction and control over the
Ministry he or she heads. A Minister is also answerable to Parliament
for what his or her Ministry does or fails to do. So having responsibility
for only one or two Acts of Parliament, or even none, does not mean
that a Minister has nothing to do. For example, the Minister of
Foreign Affairs administers only one Act – but is responsible
for the conduct of the country’s foreign relations. In the
past it has not been customary for the Government to publish details
of the broader responsibilities attaching to each Ministerial portfolio.
In the interests of transparency and accountability it is to be
hoped that the Government will soon publish a document specifying
makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take
legal responsibility for information supplied
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