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Senate to resume sitting on Tuesday 8th February - Bill Watch 3/2011
February 08, 2011

The Senate will resume sitting on Tuesday the 8th February
The House of Assembly remains adjourned until the 15th February

Senate Agenda for This Week


The Senate has five Bills on its Order Paper:

Public 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.

Zimbabwe 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.

Attorney-General’s Office Bill

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. Bill Watch 41/2010 of 7th October 2010 has a full discussion.

Energy Regulatory Authority Bill

This sets up an Authority with a governing board to regulate electricity and petroleum supplies and other energy resources.

Criminal Laws Amendment (Protection of Power, Communication and Water Infrastructure) Bill

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] 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.]

Other Business

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 session.

Update on Inclusive Government

MDC-M Leadership Changes

The changes 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.

Meetings of Party Principals

The President 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.

Another 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.

Next SADC Organ Troika Meeting

A Troika meeting is expected this month – the date still to be fixed.

Next Cabinet meeting

The first Cabinet meeting of 2011 is scheduled for Tuesday 8th February. Cabinet last met on 14th December.

President 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.

Referendum Preparations

On 20th January the Zimbabwe 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 - 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.

Update on Bills

Bills in Senate

See above under Senate Agenda.

Bills in House of Assembly

Awaiting Second Reading

  • Deposit Protection Corporation Bill

Awaiting Report by Parliamentary Legal Committee

  • Small Enterprises Development Corporation Amendment Bill

Bills Gazetted and Awaiting Introduction

  • General Laws Amendment Bill [gazetted 22nd October 2010] [Electronic version available –address requests to]
  • National Incomes and Pricing Commission Amendment Bill [gazetted 5th November 2010]

Bills being printed for presentation in Parliament


Statutory Instruments

  • Fees for registration of journalists and media houses under AIPPA

    New registration 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
    Plastic 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.
  • Ozone 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.
  • High 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 of court.
  • Mining 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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