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Senate to resume sitting on Tuesday 8th February - Bill Watch 3/2011
February 08, 2011
Senate will resume sitting on Tuesday the 8th February
The House of Assembly remains adjourned until the 15th February
Agenda for This Week
The Senate has five Bills on its Order Paper:
Order and Security Amendment Bill
This Private Member’s Bill, introduced into the House
of Assembly by MDC-T Chief Whip Innocent Gonese, will not come
up this week. There is a procedural issue to be resolved over whether
Mr Gonese, a non-Senator, is entitled to pilot it through the Senate.
It is hoped that the Bill will not be long delayed, as it was first
introduced into the House of Assembly on 2nd February 2010.
National Security Council Amendment Bill
This is minor amendment, making provision for the Minister of Justice,
in his capacity as Minister responsible for prisons, to be an ex
officio member of the Council.
This will establish the AG’s Office as an entity outside the
public service, under the control of new Board which will make staff
appointments. The Attorney-General and the Deputy Attorneys-General
will continue to be appointed by the President under the Constitution.
The Bill does not affect the powers or duties of the Attorney-General.
Watch 41/2010 of 7th October 2010 has a full discussion.
Regulatory Authority Bill
This sets up an Authority with a governing board to regulate electricity
and petroleum supplies and other energy resources.
Laws Amendment (Protection of Power, Communication and Water Infrastructure)
This provides for a tougher response by law enforcement agents and
the courts to vandalism and theft of power, communication and water
infrastructure material, including mandatory minimum sentences.
[Note these amendments relate to the Electricity Act, the Water
Act and various Acts covering communications. It is not an amendment
of the Criminal
Law (Codification and Reform) Act.]
All these Bills
[electronic versions available – address requests to firstname.lastname@example.org]
have already been passed by the House of Assembly and transmitted
to the Senate, where they will go straight into the Second Reading
stage, i.e. when the Minister responsible for the Bill will explain
and Senators can debate its principles. [When a Bill has been transmitted
from the House to the Senate it does not have a first reading in
the Senate. This happens only when a Bill’s first introduction
to Parliament is in the Senate – a Bill can be first introduced
into either House.]
Also on the Order Paper are two motions; one by Senator Georgias
[ZANU-PF] deploring sanctions, the other the traditional motion
of thanks for the President’s speech opening the Parliamentary
on Inclusive Government
in the MDC-M leadership made by the party’s congress and standing
committee last month have not been translated into changes at inclusive
government level. The President has said he cannot replace Mr Mutambara
as Deputy Prime Minister unless Mr Mutambara resigns the post, which
Mr Mutambara has said he will not do. Both the President and Mr
Mutambara have also referred to the High Court case brought by a
small group of party members to have the congress decisions nullified
on the ground that the congress was not lawfully constituted.
of Party Principals
and Mr Tsvangirai met on Wednesday 2nd February, following violent
clashes between their party members in Harare in recent days; Mr
Mutambara was not present, being out of the country. The party principals
did not meet at all during January. The only December meeting was
on the 21st – a somewhat delayed fulfilment of an undertaking
to resume meetings given to President Zuma during his late November
visit to Harare.
Visit by SA facilitators
The South African facilitation team was in Harare from 17th to 20th
January and met Constitution Parliamentary Select Committee [COPAC]
representatives, the GPA party negotiators and other stakeholders
in an effort to speed up the preparation of the “road map
to free and fair elections” called for by the SADC Summit
on 17th August 2010.
SADC Organ Troika Meeting
A Troika meeting is expected this month – the date still to
The first Cabinet meeting of 2011 is scheduled for Tuesday 8th February.
Cabinet last met on 14th December.
Zuma receives new Zimbabwe Ambassador
On 3rd February President Zuma accepted the credentials of Zimbabwe’s
new ambassador to South Africa, Phelekezela Mphoko [ZANU PF]. This
has raised tensions both between the parties, as MDC-T had hoped
to have its nominee in this post, and between the Facilitator and
MDC-T, who have accused him of not being impartial. Mr Zuma has
known since last October of MDC-T’s position that this and
other recent ambassadorial appointments by President Mugabe are
unconstitutional because made without consulting the Prime Minister
and others as required by the GPA.
On 20th January
Election Support Network [ZESN] released a comprehensive report
detailing the defects in the present voters roll; it recommended
the drawing-up of a new roll. [The Report can be downloaded from
www.zesn.org.zw - it is a 1.7Mb pdf document.] On 27th January COPAC
confirmed its intention to complete its work in time for the referendum
on the new constitution to be held before the end of September.
On 31st January Zimbabwe Electoral Commission [ZEC] chairperson
Judge Mtambanengwe said on State television: “In line with
its mandate of conducting and supervising all elections and referendums
in the country, ZEC has started working with the Registrar-General’s
office to ensure that the voters roll is in order in time for the
referendum expected later this year.” The judge retired from
the Namibian Supreme court in December and is now back in Zimbabwe
to concentrate on his ZEC duties full-time.
See above under Senate Agenda.
in House of Assembly
Protection Corporation Bill
by Parliamentary Legal Committee
Enterprises Development Corporation Amendment Bill
Gazetted and Awaiting Introduction
Laws Amendment Bill [gazetted 22nd October 2010] [Electronic version
available –address requests to email@example.com]
Incomes and Pricing Commission Amendment Bill [gazetted 5th November
being printed for presentation in Parliament
for registration of journalists and media houses under AIPPA
fees under AIPPA,
some greatly increased, were purportedly fixed by regulations
published in SI 186/2010, gazetted on 31st December. The regulations
were self-evidently invalid; the fatal legal defect was the
statement that the regulations had been made by the Minister
of Media, Information and Publicity, who has no power to make
such regulations. Regulations under AIPPA can only be made by
the Zimbabwe Media Commission, albeit with the Minister’s
approval. SI 10/2011, gazetted on 4th February, attempts to
“correct” this defect by substituting a statement
that the regulations were in fact made by the Commission with
the Minister’s approval. Electronic version of SI 186/2010
as corrected by SI 10/2011 available – email request to
Environmental Management Regulations
packaging – there have been claims that “Government
regulations” are the reason for supermarkets starting to
charge for plastic carrier bags, previously usually supplied free.
These charges are not required by law, although they may well
be in accordance with official policy to reduce plastic waste.
The relevant regulations under the Environmental Management Act
[SI 98/2010] date back to last May and merely prohibit the manufacture,
distribution and importation of plastic packaging with a wall
thickness of less than 30 micrometres; the only exceptions are
packaging that is biodegradable and bread packaging or cling film
with a thickness of at least 25 micrometres.
Depleting Substances and Ozone Depleting Substances Dependent
Equipment – SI 7/2011 contains a new set of regulations,
effective 1st March 2011, controlling the import and export of
ozone-depleting substances and appliances or equipment that rely
on those substances to function. There is an outright ban for
“prohibited substances” and related appliances, and
a strict licensing system, to be managed by the Ozone Office,
for “controlled substances” and related appliances.
Court – New Fees Tariff for Legal Practitioners SI 12/2011,
gazetted on 4th February and effective immediately, enacts a new
tariff of fees for legal practitioners in High Court civil cases.
[Note this tariff does not control the fees legal practitioners
actually charge clients; it is a guide for the calculation of
legal expenses a successful litigant may seek to have reimbursed
by a defeated opponent.]
Magistrates Courts – New Fees Tariff for Legal Practitioners
and Messengers of Court SI 2/2011,
gazetted on 14th January and effective immediately, enacts a new
tariff of fees for legal practitioners in magistrates court civil
cases. [As with the new High Court tariff noted above, does not
control the fees legal practitioners actually charge clients;
it is a guide for the calculation of legal expenses a successful
litigant may seek to have reimbursed by a defeated opponent..]
There is also a new tariff of fees for the services of messengers
Regulations – new official fees SIs 13 and 14/2011
fix new fees payable under the Mines and Minerals Act and regulations.
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