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Parliamentary update for week ending 19th February - Bill Watch
February 21, 2011
of Assembly sat last week and adjourned until 22nd February
The Senate did
Standing Rules and Orders [CSRO]
At its meeting
on Monday 14th February the CSRO made decisions on:
Question Time Once a month there will be Prime Minister’s
Question Time in the House of Assembly [Wednesday afternoon] and
the Senate [Thursday afternoon], probably on consecutive days.
Right of Audience
in Both Houses for Introducer of Private Member’s Bill CSRO
approved in principle an amendment to Standing Orders to allow a
member responsible for a Private Member’s Bill to speak to
his or her Bill in both Houses. This will, for instance, allow Mr
Gonese to speak to his current POSA Amendment Bill in the Senate
even though he is not a Senator. [The general rule is that a member
of Parliament may sit and speak only in the House of which he or
she is a member. A Vice-President or a Minister may sit and speak
in both Houses, but may only vote in the House of which he or she
is a member. This allows a Minister responsible for a Government
Bill to pilot it through both Houses. But there is no current rule
allowing a backbencher responsible for a Private Member’s
Bill to speak to that Bill in the House of which he or she is not
House of Assembly Last Week
The House sat
on Tuesday and Wednesday 15th and 16th February. It did not overwork,
sitting for just under two hours on Tuesday and under one and three
quarter hours on Wednesday.
Amendment Bill This was introduced on 16th February, read the first
time and referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee. [Electronic
version available] [See Bill
Watch 44/2010 of 31st October for an opinion that the Bill’s
clause imposing copyright protection on the texts of Acts, statutory
instruments and court judgments is unconstitutional.]
- On Tuesday
the House approved a motion formally ratifying Parliament’s
membership of the SADC Organisation of Public Accounts Committees
- The chairperson
of the portfolio committee on Small and Medium Enterprises presented
the committee’s report on the Status of SMEs in Harare.
The report’s conclusion is that Government has failed to
provide adequate capital for the SME growth that is vital for
economic growth and reduction of poverty.
Also on Tuesday,
the Minister of Finance made a statement on the implementation and
management of the 2011 Budget and dealt with follow-up questions
raised by members.
Failure to appoint
Anti-Corruption Commission The Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs
acknowledged there had been a delay in appointing new members to
the Commission but said the matter was being attended to. The Government
was looking for people “who will be objective and will not
use corruption as a political weapon”, and there had been
wide-ranging and deep consultations. [Note: Under the Constitution
the Commission has 4 to 9 members appointed by the President in
consultation with Parliament’s Committee on Standing Rules
Audit The Minister of Public Service said the audit, by Ernst and
Young India, had been submitted to but not yet considered by Cabinet.
The party principals had been given the report last November. He
undertook to make a full statement to the House once Cabinet had
dealt with the matter.
Torture Asked to explain why Zimbabwe has still not ratified this
Convention, the Minister of Justice said that in discussions with
the United Nations Geneva Office he had undertaken to conduct workshops
in Zimbabwe to ensure understanding of the Convention before it
was ratified. The workshops had not yet been conducted “because
of the busy schedule of our work”.
vehicles for failure to pay “spot fines” Co-Minister
of Home Affairs Theresa Makone expressed the opinion that it is
unacceptable and unlawful for the police to impound a vehicle where
the driver does not pay a “spot fine”.
Vacancy in Senate
The death of
Senator Chief Chimombe of Manicaland on 26th January created a second
vacancy in the ranks of Senator chiefs. The first arose from the
death of Senator Chief Bidi of Matabeleland South in 2009. A vacancy
of this sort should be filled by a chief from the province concerned
elected by the provincial assembly of chiefs at a meeting summoned
by Presidential proclamation gazetted within 14 days of notification
of the vacancy. The Government has to date failed to hold, not only
an assembly of chiefs to replace Senator Chief Bidi, but also by-elections
to fill the many vacant constituency seats in both Houses.
Gazette of 18th February
No Bills and
no Acts were gazetted
New fees for registration of factories SI 16/2011 gazetted new fees
for the annual registration of factories under the Factories and
makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take
legal responsibility for information supplied
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