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Parliament adjourns for end of session - Bill Watch 32/2011
August 11, 2011
of Parliament have adjourned until Tuesday 30th August
it is likely that the President will have ended the present session
and opened a new session - the 4th session of the 7th Parliament
of Parliamentary Session
met over the past two weeks. After that the Senate adjourned on
Wednesday 3rd August and the House on Thursday 4th August. Although
both Houses adjourned until Tuesday 30th August, it is likely that
the President will before then declare this Session of Parliament
over and announce the opening date for the next [the Fourth Session
of this - the Seventh Parliament]. The legal instrument formally
ending the present session will be a Presidential proclamation in
the Government Gazette that will prorogue Parliament [suspend its
sittings] and name the date for the opening of the new Session.
[It is expected that this will be Tuesday 23rd August.] The new
Session will commence with the traditional ceremonies and the delivery
of the President’s Speech outlining the Government’s
legislative and other intentions for the coming year.
Effect of the
end of Session: At the end of a Session, all pending Bills and motions,
and uncompleted portfolio and thematic committee proceedings, lapse.
Standing Orders, however, allow for lapsed Bills and motions to
be restored to the Order Paper and for the committees appointed
for a new session to adopt the uncompleted work of their predecessors
- and this is what usually happens. [Note: The work of the Parliamentary
Legal Committee is not affected by the ending of a Session because
it is a permanent committee, appointed for the life of a particular
Parliament. Its adverse reports do not lapse at the end of a Session,
so current adverse reports must be followed up - see Bill
Watch 31/2011 of 6th August for adverse reports awaiting debate.]
due to lapse
Bills that will
lapse at the end of the Session because they had not been passed
by at close of business on 4th August are the Zimbabwe
Human Rights Commission Bill, the Electoral
Amendment Bill and the National Incomes and Pricing Commission
Amendment Bill and the Public
Order and Security [POSA] Amendment Bill. All these are on the
House of Assembly Order Paper and will probably be restored in the
new Session. The POSA Amendment Bill on the Senate Order Paper will
also lapse, but as it is now to be discussed in the GPA
negotiations it is doubtful if it will make it back next Session.
to lapse Motions still being debated, that will lapse at the end
of the Session, include: “take note” motions on a number
of Portfolio Committee reports [on the public media, prisons, Shabani-Mashava
mines, revival of industry, and “constitutionalisation”
of housing]; Hon Chikwinya’s motion on unconstitutional statements
by Service chiefs; Hon Musundire’s motion on arbitrary interference
in local authorities by the Ministry of Local Government; and Hon
Mare’s motion on conditions of service for civil servants.
[Comment: This failure to complete debate on motions suggests inefficient
use of available Parliamentary time. The House seldom sat until
7 pm although Standing Orders envisage sittings lasting from 2.15
pm to 7 pm.]
House of Assembly
Fiscal Policy Review and Finance Bill
of Finance presented his Mid-Term Fiscal Policy Review on 26th July.
There were no amended Estimates of Expenditure, but the Minister
did present a short Finance Bill to give effect to some of the fiscal
measures he had announced in the Review. [Electronic version of
Bill available.] The Bill was passed by the House of Assembly without
amendment on Tuesday 2nd August and sent to the Senate. Adjustments
to customs duty mentioned in the Review were processed by statutory
instruments gazetted on 29th July [see under Statutory Instruments,
below]. The Minister also mentioned various forthcoming Bills being
planned by his Ministry: a Bill for a brand-new Income Tax Act [perhaps
before the end of the year]; a Microfinance Bill; a Bill on the
Reserve Bank’s debt [also before the end of the year]; and
possible amendments to the Securities Act, Insurance Act and Pensions
and Provident Funds Act to strengthen regulatory functions across
the whole financial spectrum.
and Pricing Commission Amendment Bill - this Bill, awaiting
the Second Reading debate, was not dealt with before the adjournment.
The responsible Minister is the Minister of Industry and Commerce.
Rights Commission Bill and Electoral Amendment Bill are still under
consideration by the PLC. The responsible Minister for both is the
Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs.
Select Committee: Proposed On 27th July Hon Chambati of MDC-T presented
a motion expressing concern that two and a half years into the GPA
no programme or framework for national healing is in place and accordingly
calling for the three GPA political parties to comply with GPA Article
7(1)(c) on national healing by appointing a Parliamentary Select
Committee to work with experts in crafting measures and policies
dealing with issues of transitional justice and national healing
and to forward its report to the political parties and the Executive.
[Article 7(1)(c) requires the political parties to give consideration
to the setting-up of a mechanism to properly advise on measures
to achieve national healing, cohesion and unity in respect of victims
of pre- and post-independence political conflicts. The Organ on
National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration, whose work programme
was launched with much fanfare in August 2009, is the advisory mechanism
the parties agreed on, but it has not yet produced results.] After
a spirited debate in which 27 MPs from all parties took part, some
commenting on the lack of capacity afflicting the Organ on National
Healing, some on the Organ’s failure to bring a policy on
national healing to Parliament, some calling for a Truth and Reconciliation
Commission, the motion to appoint a Parliamentary Select Committee
was approved on 4th August
Statements by Service Chiefs: This motion had been removed from
the Order Paper at an earlier sitting when it failed to attract
a quorum [25 members]. On 27th July it was restored to the Order
Paper but there was no further debate. It can be resuscitated in
the next Session. [The subject also featured in Question Time -
Time - 27 July
by Brigadier-General Nyikayaramba: Minister of Defence Mnangagwa
told a questioner that members of the Defence Forces have the constitutional
right to express themselves, but said Brigadier-General Nyikayaramba
was not representing the Defence Forces when he made the statements
Defence Force Commanders: The Minister of Defence told the House
that military tradition demands saluting only within the chain of
command, which is topped by the President as Commander-in-Chief.
He avoided explaining why the Commanders in practice also salute
Vice-Presidents, some Ministers [including himself] and some MPs,
none of whom are in the “chain of command”.
The Deputy Minister of Mines furnished details of Zimbabwe’s
diamond production, and of the proceeds remitted to the Ministry
of Finance from Chiadzwa
diamond sales in 2010 and January and February 2011 [dividends:
$90 090 484 million; royalties and taxes: $84 122 471 million; Total:
$174 212 955].
Time - 3 August
Indigenisation Asked how many companies have complied with the indigenisation
laws, the Minister of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment
did not give that information but said “nobody to date has
benefited from the process”; when anyone had benefited, that
would be published in the press. He said indigenisation was “a
process not an event”.
This was passed
without amendments on 2nd August. It will now go the President for
assent and subsequent gazetting as an Act.
This was passed
on 3rd August without amendments, having been approved by the House
of Assembly, also without amendments, the day before. It will also
go to the President for assent and subsequent gazetting as an Act.
- Public Order
and Security [POSA] Amendment Bill
The Second Reading
debate was adjourned after Mr Gonese’s Second Reading speech.
On 26th July
nine agreements, all presented by the Minister of Environment and
Natural Resources Management and all previously approved by the
House of Assembly, were approved by the Senate in terms of section
111B of the Constitution,
which requires international agreements to be approved by both Houses
- 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
The Senate continued
discussing Senator Komichi’s motion on violence in Harare
suburbs earlier this year; the debate had not been wound up by the
adjournment on 3rd August.
- SI 84/2011
- Amendment No. 4 to the Indigenisation
Regulations [SI 21/2010] [see Bill
Watch 31/2011 for details] [Electronic version of SI available.]
- SI 88/2011
- commencement date for Suppression of Foreign and International
Terrorism Act - 29th July.
- SIs 85, 86
and 87 - instruments under the Customs and Excise Act adjusting
customs duties following the Mid-Term Fiscal Policy Review [electronic
versions not available].
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