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Parliament adjourned till February - Bill Watch 53/2010
December 31, 2010
has adjourned until Tuesday 8th February 2011
The House of
Assembly has adjourned until Tuesday 15th February 2011
(No 2) Bill Passed for Second Time by Senate
16th December the Senate, specially recalled from its adjournment
to deal with the Finance (No. 2) Bill for the second time, approved
the two additional amendments to the Bill made by the House of Assembly
[deletion of clauses 21 and 24] and passed the Bill as twice amended
by the House
of Assembly. The House acted wrongly and unconstitutionally
in further amending the Bill by deleting clauses 21 and 24. [Bill
Watch 52 of 16th December traces the sorry story of the Bill
in detail and explains why its final passage was unconstitutional.]
The Bill will now go to the President for assent in this amended
form, i.e., without the original clauses 21, 22, 23 and 24, and
with a small but politically significant amendment to clause 18
which will restrict ZIMRA Board members to a maximum of three statutory
board memberships instead of four [a maximum of four was in the
original version of the clause put up by the Minister of Finance].
[Electronic version of Bill as finally passed available –
email requests to firstname.lastname@example.org
When the Bill is gazetted as an Act it will be open to being struck
down as invalid by the courts.
from ZANU-PF Conference 15th to 18th December
of the ZANU-PF Annual Conference started in Harare on 15th December
with a meeting of the Politburo. The two-day main event followed
in Mutare on 17th and 18th. Matters covered by Conference resolutions
- the next elections should be held in 2011 without fail and should
be for the President, Parliament and Local Government and not
just for the Presidency.
– the government should take counter-measures against foreign
companies, institutions and entities whose home countries maintain
sanctions against Zimbabwe.
of foreign envoys – the Government should expel envoys promoting
the West’s regime change agenda and interfering in the internal
affairs of Zimbabwe
- NGOs –
organisations acting as “conduits of regime change”
should be deregistered.
– the indigenisation and economic empowerment programme
should be accelerated and expanded.
Moyo for Politburo
President Mugabe told the Conference that Jonathan Moyo had been
appointed to the Politburo. [Mr Moyo, elected to the House of Assembly
as an Independent in 2008, was re-admitted to ZANU-PF late last
of MDC-T’s National Council 16th December
On 16th December
Mr Tsvangirai held a press conference to announce decisions
made at that day’s meeting of the MDC-T National Council.
SADC Troika Meeting Needed – a call for an immediate meeting
of the Troika of the SADC Organ on Politics, Democracy and Security
Co-operation to discuss outstanding GPA
issues [Reserve Bank Governor Gono, Attorney-General Tomana, Roy
Bennett, provincial governors and ministerial mandates], the roadmap
to elections and other issues described as “toxic”
[violence, deployment of security agents in the countryside and
“a corrosive media”].
matrix – a call for the principals to implement the
24 agreed issues in accordance with the matrix agreed by the principals
on 4th August and endorsed by the SADC Summit two weeks later].
- 2011 Elections
for Presidency only – the election in 2011 should be for
the Presidency only, to put to rest “the question of illegitimacy
associated with the farcical Presidential run-off election of
June 2008”. Harmonised elections for President, Parliament
and local authorities should be in 2013 [which would allow Parliament
its normal 5-year term].
- MDC-T National
Congress – this should be held before 31st May 2011 –
and Mr Tsvangirai would be eligible to continue as party president.
President Mugabe is in office, the Government cannot, under the
existing provisions of the present Constitution
Act, call an election for the sole purpose of electing a President.
If a Presidential election alone is agreed to before we have a new
Constitution, amendment of both the existing Constitution and Electoral
Act would be required to give effect to this MDC-T proposition.
If there is a new Constitution, it is likely that negotiated transitional
constitutional arrangements will dictate the form the elections
Prime Minister Mutambara
Arthur Mutambara announced that he would not stand for re-election
as party leader at the party’s congress on 8th and 9th January.
This raises the question whether he will stand down as Deputy Prime
Minister in favour of a new MDC-M President. [Article 20 of the
GPA does not name Mr Mutambara as Deputy Prime Minister –
only President Mugabe and Prime Minister Tsvangirai are named –
it merely says that there will be two Deputy Prime Ministers, of
whom one will be “from MDC-M”.]
Parliamentary Sittings of 2010
Senate The only
business transacted during the Senate’s 25-minute sitting
on 16th December was the passing of the Finance (No. 2) Bill as
amended by the House of Assembly [see further at the beginning of
this bulletin]. All other items on the Order Paper, including other
Bills transmitted from the House of Assembly, were carried forward
to be dealt with when the Senate resumes on the 8th February.
House of Assembly
The House sat on 14th and 15th December.
passed and transmitted to Senate
As well as the
Finance (No. 2) Bill [see above], the following Bills were passed
and transmitted to the Senate:
Laws Amendment (Protection of Power, Communication and Water Infrastructure)
Question Time on 15th December
of armed forces and chiefs Deputy Prime Minister Mutambara assured
the House that Government policy is that neither the armed forces
nor traditional leaders should conduct themselves in a politically
partisan fashion; he asked questioners to supply details of offending
behaviour by soldiers and chiefs so that the responsible Ministers
- One Stop
Investment Centre The Deputy Minister of Economic Planning and
Investment Promotion Undenge said the aim of the Centre, opened
last week, was to reduce to 5 days the time taken to approve an
- Civil Service
Manpower Audit Report received The Minister of the Public Service
said the report on the Audit had been handed to him on 10th November
and still had to be considered by Cabinet; he assured the House
the report would be tabled in Parliament, not “swept under
of Government Pensions to Outside Pensioners The Minister of the
Public Service said the Government would resume paying pensions
to its approximately 5, 600 pensioners resident outside the country
on completion of the current exercise to ascertain which pensioners
were still alive, their whereabouts and where payments should
Prime Minister’s Question Time Proposed
Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs Eric Matinenga proposed
the establishment of a Prime Minister’s Question Time once
a month, lasting one hour in each House, during which the Prime
Minister would respond to written questions submitted by members
through the Speaker and the President of the Senate. This would
enable the PM to provide information on the formulation and implementation
of government policies and programmes. ZANU-PF Chief Whip Joram
Gumbo expressed support for the idea but said it was for the Committee
on Standing Rules and Orders to put it into practice.
SIs 183 and
184/2010 [gazetted 10th and 17th December] Amendments to VAT (Fiscalised
Recording of Taxable Transactions) Regulations
In June Minister
of Finance Tendai Biti made regulations [SI 104/2010] requiring
all businesses to use “fiscalised” electronic cash registers
from 1st July [and only equipment approved by the ZIMRA Commissioner-General
would be accepted] – he later announced this would be postponed
to 1st January 2011, and SI 183 confirms this postponement.
SIs 183 and
184/2010 also transfer to the Minister, in consultation with the
ZIMRA Commissioner-General, the function of approving fiscalised
equipment for sale; and establish a technical committee, appointed
by the Minister, to supplement ZIMRA’s role in policing the
regulations and advising the Minister on which equipment should
Comment: A Herald
story on 18th December, headlined “Biti in bid to usurp ZIMRA
powers”, ventilated purported ZIMRA objections to the Minister
changing the regulations without first consulting ZIMRA, and raised
confidentiality concerns over the technical committee having access
to business records. Whatever the policy merits of the objections,
the Minister did not “usurp” ZIMRA’s powers when
he chose to reassign to himself a function that he had bestowed
on the Commissioner-General in the original regulations.]
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