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  • Marange, Chiadzwa and other diamond fields and the Kimberley Process - Index of articles

  • Indigenisation Regulations Discussed by Council of Ministers – Bill Watch 9/2010
    March 08, 2010

    The Senate will resume on Tuesday 9th March, The House of Assembly has adjourned to Tuesday 16th March

    The regulations were discussed at an extraordinary meeting of the Council of Ministers on Thursday 4th March. Strong objections were voiced to some provisions and it was agreed that the responsible Minister, Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment Minister Savior Kasukuwere, would prepare amendments for consideration at the Council’s next meeting on Thursday 11th March. The Minister’s public remarks in the meantime leave little room to expect significant changes.

    Update on Inclusive Government

    Negotiations on GPA Disputed Issues: The MDC-T have said that negotiations on the disputes between the two main parties in the inclusive government are deadlocked. They held a National Executive Council meeting on Thursday and a National Council meeting on Friday and it was decided that they would ask the South African facilitator and SADC to step in. [National Council resolutions available on request]

    Elections: President Mugabe declared last Thursday that the Global Political Agreement has a two-year lifespan which means that if the constitution-making process succeeds there will be an election and if it fails that, too, would lead to an election. [In fact there is nothing in the GPA to indicate its lifespan.] The President said he would be standing for re-election if his party nominated him. Speaking at a MDC-T rally over the weekend Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, referring to the next elections, said "We want a peacekeeping force, so that we can have a free and fair environment for the election to keep our people free so that they can vote. We can use AU and Southern African Development Community forces for peacekeeping during the election period."

    “Sanctions”: US President Barack Obama extended the travel and financial restrictions on Mr. Mugabe and other individuals until 6th March 2011. During his State visit to the United Kingdom last week President Zuma pressed the British government for the removal of all “sanctions” against Zimbabwe, but the British Prime Minister said there first needed to be clear evidence of improvement in human rights, reform of governance and freedom of speech. He reiterated that the EU's sanctions did not target Zimbabwe or Zimbabweans but "individuals who are responsible for violence and a number of businesses linked to them."

    National Security Council [NSC] Meeting: The NSC met on Friday 5th March, and is now scheduled to meet on the first Friday of every month, monthly meetings being required by the NSC Act. It has taken a year to arrive at this point. What has not been established is whether JOC continues to meet.

    In Parliament Last Week

    The House of Assembly met on 2nd, 3rd and 4th March. The Senate was in recess.

    House of Assembly

    Speaker’s Ruling on Submission of Notices of Motions: To avoid the disorder that arose in the House last month when a motion was introduced without prior warning, the Speaker confirmed the previous practice of Parliament under which the Speaker has had sight of motions before their announcement on the floor of the House, thereby enabling the Speaker to assess the admissibility of all motions and to withhold from publication or to amend any motion not complying with Standing Orders. “In future, therefore, all Notices of Motion must be submitted to the Clerk’s Office by 11 am on the day on which Notice is to be given. Notices of motion not abiding by this ruling will not be allowed.”

    Motions: The House approved Hon. Bhasikiti’s motion calling on the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Mutambara to “engage the European Union, the United Nations, the British and American governments to urgently and unconditionally remove the illegal sanctions imposed at their instigation on the government and people of Zimbabwe as confessed in the British Parliament by the Foreign Affairs Secretary Mr David Milliband”. Curiously, although MDC-T contributors to the debate challenged the motion’s attribution of responsibility for sanctions to Mr Tsvangirai and demonstrated that Mr Miliband had been misquoted, they did not move amendments to the motion, which was approved without apparent opposition.

    BIPPA between Zimbabwe and SA approved: At the request of the Minister of Economic Planning and Investment Promotion the House approved the Agreement between Zimbabwe and South Africa for the Promotion and Reciprocal Protection of Investments. [Electronic copy of agreement available on request.]

    Coming up in the Senate this Week

    Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Amendment Bill: The Committee Stage of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Amendment Bill is on the agenda for the Senate’s sitting on Tuesday 9th March. Senator Mutsvangwa of ZANU-PF has tabled major amendments; Senator Gutu of MDC-T has tabled one amendment. [Bill as amended by House of Assembly available on request.]

    Court Cases Affecting Parliamentarians

    High court rulingexpected on validity of speaker’s election: Last year Jonathan Moyo [at that stage an Independent MP, but now back in ZANU-PF] went to the High Court seeking the setting aside of the August 2008 election of Lovemore Moyo as Speaker of the House of Assembly. The complaint was that voting had not been conducted by secret ballot as required by the Standing Orders of the House. Justice Patel is expected to hand down his decision on Tuesday 9th March.

    MDC-T MP Acquitted of Fraud: Tichaona Mharadze, MDC-T MP for Masvingo West, has been acquitted of fraud at the close of the State case; the charge alleged misuse of agricultural inputs allocated to him under the Master Farmer Scheme.

    Bennett Case resumes March 8th.

    POSA Amendment Bill

    The Portfolio Committee on Defence and Home Affairs have finished holding public hearings on the Bill around the country. The opinions from the public expressed at these hearings indicate that most people would like POSA repealed and a simpler new Act drafted from scratch, based on the intention of protecting the public when exercising their right of assembly and freedom of expression, rather than one that can be used by the State to repress these rights and freedoms. In the meantime the amendments were considered a step in the right direction. Also raised repeatedly in the hearings was the need for retraining and reorienting the police force. The Committee will meet again on 8th March to discuss its draft report, and may invite the co-Ministers of Home Affairs and Hon Gonese, the sponsor of the Bill, to appear before the Committee for further discussions. The Committee will then finalise its report on the Bill for presentation to the House of Assembly during the Second Reading debate. The Parliamentary Legal Committee will meet on Tuesday 9th March to consider the constitutionality of the Bill. [Available [1] POSA with all amendments to date; [2] POSA annotated to show the effect of the changes proposed by the Bill.]

    Update on Constitutional Commissions

    Media Commission [ZMC]: President Mugabe said during a meeting with editors and journalists last week that the new Media Commission should get down to work without delay and deal with the accumulated applications for registration of media houses and journalists under the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act [AIPPA] that await its attention. They do not need to be sworn in before commencing their duties. There is still a legal question mark over whether or not AIPPA needs updating, as there is now a Constitutional Media Commission as opposed to the former statutory Commission to which AIPPA refers.

    Electoral Commission [ZEC] and Human Rights Commission [ZHRC]: The Judicial Service Commission and Parliament’s Committee on Standing Rules and Orders are being consulted on these appointments, as required by the Constitution. [The proposed chairpersons are former High Court Judge Simpson Mtambanengwe [ZEC] and Prof. Reg Austin [ZHRC].]

    South African Court Judgment on SADC Tribunal Farm Case

    Having obtained the registration in South Africa of the SADC Tribunal’s rulings in the Campbell cases, legal practitioners for the three farmers who applied for the registration have said that the next step could be legal proceedings to attach Zimbabwean Government properties located in Cape Town in order to recover the costs awarded to the applicants by the Tribunal. The properties are said to be “non-diplomatic”, i.e., not protected by the immunity from legal action applicable to buildings and land used for the purposes of Zimbabwe’s diplomatic mission in South Africa. [SA court order available.]

    Chiadzwa Diamonds Case

    African Consolidated Resources [ACR] has alleged that mining is continuing in the area in dispute between ACR and the Government’s joint venture partners, notwithstanding the Chief Justice’s order that there must be no mining there pending the Supreme Court’s decision on the Government’s appeal against Judge Hungwe’s September 2009 decision in favour of ACR. ACR has also indicated its intention to contest the recent administrative action taken by the Permanent Secretary for Mines and Mining Development to cancel its mining rights under the Mines and Minerals Act. Minister of Finance Tendai Biti, lamenting that Government has received no royalties from the exploitation of the diamond field, has suggested that: “In the interest of transparency, all mining licenses, leases, special grants that have been given in Chiadzwa must be cancelled forthwith. All mining operations must cease. There must be a new diamond law in Zimbabwe."

    Legislation Update

    Acts: No Acts were gazetted last week or this week.

    Bills passed by Parliament last year awaiting gazetting as Acts: Financial Adjustments Bill, Public Finance Management Act and Audit Office Bill.

    Bill in House of Assembly: POSA Amendment Bill.

    Bill in Senate: Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Amendment Bill awaits its Committee Stage.

    Statutory Instruments: SIs 35 to 67/2010 dated 4th March [available on request] notify the assignment to Ministers of responsibility for the administration of Acts of Parliament. [See Bill Watch 8/2010 of 6th March 2010 for an explanation of these statutory instruments.]

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