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Parliamentary Update - Bill Watch 28/2011
July 12, 2011
of Parliament will meet on Tuesday 12th July
The Bill was
gazetted on 27th June. As 14 days have passed since it was gazetted,
the Bill could be presented to Parliament
this week for its First Reading. This is when the Minister responsible
for a Bill – in this case Minister Chinamasa, Minister of
Justice and Legal Affairs – merely presents the Bill to the
House, but there are no explanations or debate. It is then referred
to the Parliamentary Legal Committee [PLC]. The PLC has up to 26
business days within which to report on its constitutionality –
although the Minister could request that they expedite their report.
It is to be hoped that Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal Affairs,
Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs will arrange public hearings
on the Bill, but nothing has been organized to date.
negotiators met last week and on Wednesday they signed a document
assigning tentative dates for those parts of the Roadmap on which
agreement had been reached previously. Disputed parts of the Roadmap,
such as security sector reforms, remain unresolved and without timeframes.
The new document has not been made public but individual negotiators
have revealed that the timeframe envisages the Referendum on the
new Constitution being held in November and the next elections in
August 2012. But the negotiators also warned that everything hinges
on the constitution-making process moving smoothly to its conclusion,
which is far from certain.
7th July the Government launched its Medium Term Plan [MTP], the
successor to the Short-Term Economic Recovery Programme [STERP].
The MTP sets out the blueprint for economic growth from 2011 through
Legal Committee [PLC] on Indigenisation Regulations
Amending the Main Indigenisation Regulations [SI
adverse report on this SI has not yet been discussed in either House
[for details of the adverse report see Bill Watch 26 of 30th June].
The report may fall away entirely, because the Minister of Youth
Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment has informed the PLC
that he will amend the statutory instrument to align it with the
committee’s report and the PLC has said it will withdraw the
adverse report once acceptable amendments are gazetted.
Rules for the
Indigenisation of the Mining Sector [GN
144/2011] The PLC has not reported on this General Notice, which
was gazetted on the same day as SI 34/2011. An adverse report had
been expected, after leading lawyers criticized the GN as not only
inconsistent with the Constitution
but also ultra vires the Indigenisation
and Economic Empowerment Act. [Note: Notwithstanding its gazetting
as a General Notice rather than a Statutory Instrument, GN 144 is
a statutory instrument as defined in the Constitution; so it should
have been considered by the PLC. But, in terms of Standing Orders
any report on the GN should have been presented by the end of April,
so it is now too late for the PLC to present a report, unless the
Speaker and the President of the Senate grant an extension. Even
if no PLC report is presented, interested parties can still, of
course, challenge the constitutionality and legality of GN in the
The House of
Assembly did not sit last week. [It last sat on 15th June.]
out of a current complement of 88, were present at the Senate’s
sitting on Tuesday 5th July and the Prime Minister was also in attendance.
The sitting lasted a mere forty minutes before adjourning to this
week. The debate on the President’s speech was concluded and
the vote of thanks to the President was passed. No other business
was conducted – no start was made on the three Bills listed
on the Order Paper for Second Reading. The Bills were carried forward
to this week as were other items listed for debate – including
matters that are of high importance, such as the debate on violence
in Mbare and Budiriro, the Senate Thematic Committee report on access
to treatment for HIV/AIDS, and the Senate Thematic Committee report
on the role of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in peace and security.
The Prime Minister was scathing about this lack of commitment to
business shown by the Senate.
up in Parliament this Week
There are three
Bills on the Order Paper :
All three Bills
have already been passed by the House of Assembly, and all of them
await their Second Reading in the Senate. The POSA Amendment Bill
cannot, however, be dealt with until next week, by which time the
Senate’s Standing Orders are likely to have been amended to
allow Mr Gonese or any other member of the House of Assembly to
present a Private Member’s Bill in the Senate, something not
permitted at present.
of Environment and Natural Resources Management will present nine
international agreements for approval by the Senate, all of them
already approved by the House of Assembly:
- Ramsar Convention
Convention on Prior Informed Consent
- AEWA Agreement
on the Conservation of African-Eurasia Migratory Waterbirds
- SADC Protocol
and Beijing Amendments to the Montreal Protocol on Substances
that Deplete the Ozone Layer
- Bonn Convention
on the Conservation of Migratory Species
- Basel Convention
on Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal
- SADC Protocol
on Wildlife Conservation and Law Enforcement.
Reports for the Senate:
The Senate will
be asked to take note of Thematic Committee reports on Social Protection
Programmes and on the State of Prisons and Prisoners.
will continue on motions previously introduced, on subjects such
as sanctions; the achievements of the inclusive government; violence
in Mbare, Budiriro and surrounding areas; and earlier Thematic Committee
reports – the role of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in peace
and security and the report on access to treatment for HIV/AIDS.
Two Bills are
listed on the Order Paper :
Human Rights Commission Bill – due to be presented by
the Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs on Tuesday 12th July.
Presentation will be followed by the First Reading of the Bill,
after which it will be referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee
[PLC] for a report on the Bill’s constitutionality. Under
Standing Orders the PLC has 26 “business days” within
which to report back to the House, but can be granted an extension
by the Speaker. The House cannot proceed to the Second Reading
stage of the Bill until the PLC has reported, so further progress
is likely to be delayed until well into August. [Note: A “business
day” is any Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday
that is not a public holiday.] Public hearings are likely to be
held by the Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal Affairs, Constitutional
and Parliamentary Affairs in the week commencing 18th July.
Incomes and Pricing Commission Amendment Bill – awaiting
Motions on the
Order Paper include a motion for consideration of the PLC’s
adverse report on the Indigenisation Amendment Regulations [SI 34/2011]
[this is unlikely to be dealt with – see above]; take note
motions on Portfolio Committee reports; and motions on Public Service
remuneration and on complaints of arbitrary interference with local
authorities by the Minister of Local Government, Rural and Urban
questions are listed for reply by Ministers on Wednesday afternoon.
It is to be hoped that this time Ministers will be in attendance
to deal with these questions. At the last Question Time on 15th
June no written questions were answered because none of the Ministers
concerned turned up. [The Prime Minister last week said he will
ensure that all Ministers are present for Question Time.]
of Friday 8th July contains local authority by-laws and the latest
consolidated Government financial statements. [Electronic versions
makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take
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