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Parliamentary Update - Bill Watch 45/2010
November 06, 2010
of Parliament will resume on Tuesday 9th November
On the Parliamentary
Order for the Coming Week House of Assembly
are listed for attention on Tuesday:
Watch 43/2010 of 16th October for a summary of the proposed
amendments that have been tabled forconsideration during the Committee
Stage. Although there was time for it to be taken further during
October, the Bill seemed stalled. Police meanwhile continue to
against MDC-T meetings – on 26th October police attempted
to stop a party meeting in Mbare that was due to be addressed
by the Prime Minister, notwithstanding MDC-T insistence that prior
notice had been given to police as required by POSA. The meeting
eventually went ahead after considerable delay.]
Tuesday’s Order Paper include: a motion to adopt the Public
Accounts Committee’s report on the Comptroller and Auditor-General’s
Special Report on the 1st Quarter of 2009 [the report that exposed
the irregular engagement by Government of thousands of “youth
officers”]; the motion on the Portfolio Committee’s
report on local government service delivery in Norton, Chitungwiza
and Harare; and motions to consider adverse reports from the Parliamentary
Legal Committee [PLC] on statutory instruments [see Bill
Watch 42/2010 of 11th October for more on these adverse reports].
with notice are listed for reply by Ministers, including questions
Minister of Education, teachers pensions, Grade 7, O and A level
pass rates in urban and rural schools, and comparisons between
ZIMSEC and Cambridge examinations
Minister of Transport, a dispute between Zambia and Zimbabwe
over Zimbabwe’s new vehicle number plates
co-Ministers of Home Affairs, complains of police brutality
at a police post in Lupane District
Minister of Youth, alleged discrimination against known or suspected
MDC youths in the allocation of loans by his Ministry
Minister of State Security, officers of the Central Intelligence
Organisation [CIO] belonging to political parties, citing a
Deputy Director-General’s membership of ZANU-PF
Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, awards under the
Presidential Scholarship Scheme for studies at South African
only two items on the Senate Order Paper – the continuing
debates on the motions on the President’s speeches opening
the present session of Parliament and the previous session.
Bills are with the PLC for reports on their constitutionality.
Only after the PLC reports to the House can the Bills have
their Second Readings.
and Thematic Committees
of business on 5th November Parliament had not released the schedule
of committee meetings for the coming week. A separate bulletin
will give details of meetings, if any, open to the public as soon
as they are available.
Amendment Bill has not yet been published, in spite of the President’s
recent pronouncements about his desire to see the constitutional
referendum in February and the next elections not later than mid-2011.
draft of the Bill is still stuck in the Cabinet Committee on Legislation,
notwithstanding the parties’ earlier agreement on the points
to be covered.
Only once approved by Cabinet can the Bill be sent for printing
and gazetting. After gazetting comes the 14-day wait required
by Parliamentary Standing Orders before the
Bill’s formal introduction in Parliament. This means that
its introduction in Parliament is not imminent. If normal procedures
are followed, and if the Bill is to be properly considered by
Parliament and its committees with the assistance of public input
at portfolio committee hearings around the country, it will not
be possible for Parliament to deal with it before the end of the
did not sit from 1st to 6th November
Duties for Parliamentarians:
As neither House sat, MPs and Senators were able to attend the
1st November – Induction and Consultation Meeting for
all members at an upmarket venue just outside Harare –
this was an opportunity for legislators to reflect on developments
during the first two years of this Parliament.
3rd to Saturday 6th November – Pre-Budget Seminar at the
Elephant Hills resort, Victoria Falls.
Meetings: There were a few portfolio committee meetings on Tuesday
2nd November, to discuss draft reports and evidence received.
These meetings were not open to members of the public.
of Parliamentary Sittings from 19th to 27th October
of Assembly had two relatively busy weeks, sitting on 19th, 20th,
26th and 27th October, until 4.38 pm, 5.40 pm, 5.58 pm and 4.40
pm, respectively, before adjourning until 9th November. [The Senate
did not meet, having adjourned until 9th November at its last
sitting on 12th October.]
POSA Amendment Bill: There was no movement on this Bill, although
it was listed for its Committee Stage in the House of Assembly.The
Order Paper also listed proposed amendments tabled by the Bill’s
sponsor, Mr Gonese of MDC-T.
Security Council Amendment Bill – this Bill received a non-adverse
report from the PLC on 19th October.
Authority Bill – this Bill was given its First Reading on
20th October and referred to the PLC.
on Portfolio Committee Report on Local Government
On 26th October
there was a lively debate lasting over three hours on the report
of the Portfolio Committee on Local Government on the State of
Service Delivery in the municipalities of Harare, Chitungwiza
and Norton. [Electronic version available.]
Time – Wednesdays 20th & 27th October
no written questions with notice on the Order Paper on Wednesday
20th October, but the Deputy Speaker acknowledged the “sizeable
number” of Ministers present to deal with members’
oral questions without notice.
complaints about non-attendance by Ministers at the previous Question
Time on 6th October.
MPs made full use of the time set aside for questions.
27th October the turn-out of Ministers was not quite as good,
but Ministers present fielded questions both with and without
notice. [For answers to key questions see below.]
of International Agreements
October the House passed resolutions approving the following
International Agreements in terms of section 111B of the Constitution:
Agreement between Government of Zimbabwe and Export-Import Bank
of China relating to Zimbabwe’s 2G and 3G National Network
Rollout Project being implemented by Net One
on the Establishment of the Zambezi Watercourse Commission
Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain
Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade
Convention on Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and
on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds
on Persistent Organic Pollutants
Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer
on the Conservation of Migratory Species
on Wildlife Conservation and Law Enforcement.
to Members’ Questions
Development Funds: In his Budget speech in December 2009 the Minister
of Finance Biti promised funding for each Constituency Development
Fund to receive $50 000. So far the funds have received only $38
000 each. Minister Biti undertook to ensure that the outstanding
balances would be made available before yearend.
to Districts and Involvement in ZANU-PF activities: Minister of
Defence Mnangagwa denied that senior serving officers had been
deployed to all districts, as alleged by a questioner. He suggested
that misconceptions about Army presence might be attributable
to retired commissioned officers [major and above] having the
right to wear uniform on appropriate occasions and to the fact
that at any one time up to 10% of Army personnel might be off
duty in their home districts. He also said there was nothing wrong
in retired Army personnel joining ZANU-PF or any other political
party. But he conceded in response to a supplementary question
that it was “not national policy” for serving senior
members to chant ZANU-PF slogans on public occasions, and he assured
the House that retired Army personnel were subject to the ordinary
laws of the land regarding possession and use of firearms.
Donation to Disappointed TV Reality Show Contestant
Biti assured the House that State funds had not been used for
the $300 000 “consolation prize” presented by the
President to Big Brother runner-up Munyaradzi Chidzonga.
on 22nd October
A proposed copyright law amendment in the General Laws Amendment
Bill has already been discussed in Bill
Watch 44/2010 of 31st October. As soon as a Bill is gazetted
it is automatically referred to the relevant House of Assembly
Portfolio Committee for consideration. These Bills should be considered
next week. When sittings resume on Tuesday both these Bills will
be eligible for their First Readings as they have been gazetted
more than 14 days previously.
Gazetted on 5th November
Small Enterprises Development Corporation Amendment Bill
National Incomes and Pricing Commission Amendment Bill.
Instruments and General Notices
Officers and Receivers of Revenue: SI168/2010, gazetted on 29th
October, lists receivers of revenue and accounting officers for
the purposes of the Public Finance Management Act. Accounting
officers are those officials, usually Permanent Secretaries, responsible
for accounting for the use of public money and the safekeeping
of State assets by Ministries.
and High Court Calendar for 2010: This was gazetted on 29th October
in GN 291/2010. [Electronic version available.]
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