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New Parliamentary Session to Open on 6th September - Bill Watch
August 23, 2011
will meet on Tuesday 30th August
Parliamentary Session will end on 5th September followed by the
Opening of the
Next Session on Tuesday 6th September
Proclamation Fixes Date for New Parliamentary Session
expectations the new Parliamentary session will not begin this week,
but on Tuesday 6th September. When both houses adjourned until the
30th of this month it was expected that it was a token adjournment
to that date, and that the end of the present session and the beginning
of a new session of Parliament would take place before then. But
the presidential proclamation, gazetted on 17th August, announced
that Monday 5th September would be the date Parliament would be
prorogued [i.e. the present Parliamentary session would be ended].
The same proclamation summoned Parliament to meet for the opening
of the new session at 12 noon on 6th September [Electronic version
of proclamation available on request to email@example.com].
This will be the Fourth Session of the Seventh Parliament
of Zimbabwe. There will be a ceremonial opening and then there is
usually an adjournment of a week or two to allow the Parliamentarians
to study the President’s opening speech.
As the present
session has not ended, both Houses will have to sit on the 30th
August – the day to which they had been adjourned. There is
unfinished work on the Order Papers of both Houses [see below],
but judging by their track records so far in this session it is
unlikely that any serious business will be conducted, and more likely
that both Houses will briefly fulfill their obligation of sitting
and then immediately adjourn until 6th September when the new session
will be opened. Once again an opportunity for continuing with the
Amendment Bill is Iikely to be lost.
Parliamentary Agenda for 30th August
If the House
of Assembly and the Senate choose to get down to real work on the
30th August, there are agenda items awaiting their attention:
Incomes and Pricing Commission Amendment Bill – this
Bill has been awaiting its Second Reading debate for a long time.
The responsible Minister is the Minister of Industry and Commerce.
Human Rights Commission Bill and Electoral
Amendment Bill – these two Bills have had their First
Readings, but both are awaiting Parliamentary Legal Committee
reports before they can be taken further. In addition, the reports
of the Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal Affairs, Constitutional
and Parliamentary Affairs are not ready, and the Portfolio Committee
still has to hold its public hearings on the Electoral Amendment
Bill [see below]. There have been no indications that there will
be repeat public hearings on the Human Rights Commission Bill
although some were aborted because of disruptions. The responsible
Minister for both Bills is the Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs.
business under this head includes: “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
and Security [POSA] Amendment Bill Mr Gonese’s Private Member’s
Bill is the only Bill on the Senate Order Paper. When the Senate
last met Mr Gonese completed his speech opening the Second Reading
debate. After an intervention by the Minister of Justice and Legal
Affairs, Mr Gonese agreed that further debate should be adjourned
while the issue of amending POSA was considered by the GPA
negotiators [see Bill
Watch 33/2011 for details]. Whether the Bill can move forward
on the 30th August will depend on what, if anything, the negotiators
have managed to agree on by then.
is still to be concluded on Senator Komichi’s motion on violence
in Harare suburbs earlier this year.
of the effect of the end of a Session:
At the end of
a Session, all pending Bills and motions, and uncompleted portfolio
and thematic committee proceedings, lapse. The Standing Orders of
both Houses, however, allow resolutions to be proposed and approved,
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 31/2011of 6th August for adverse reports awaiting debate.]
Committees and Thematic Committees
There will be
no meetings of these committees until the new Session. The delay
in the end of the Session does not affect the position previously
Hearings on Electoral Amendment Bill
planned public hearings around the country, and including rural
centres, on the Electoral Amendment Bill. When it was thought the
new Parliamentary Session would begin on 23rd August, it was intended
that the circuit of public hearings would start shortly thereafter.
Now that the opening of the new Session has been put off to 6th
September, the public hearings will not start until 12th September.
Vacancy in the House of Assembly
on 5th August of Professor Mukonoweshuro, Minister of Public Service
and MDC-T MP for Gutu South, has created another vacancy in the
House of Assembly, bringing the total number of vacancies –
and pending House of Assembly by-elections – to 12. In terms
of the GPA his successor as Minister will be an MDC-T nominee formally
appointed by the President [GPA Article 20.1.10].
Party Voting Strengths in House of Assembly
As a result
of Professor Mukonoweshuro’s death there has been a shift
in voting strengths, which are now as follows: ZANU-PF 98; MDC-T
95; MDC 8.
Suspension from Political Party Impact on Tenure of Parliamentary
suspension from ZANU-PF membership of T racy Mutinhiri, MP for Marondera
East, has prompted the question whether the party suspension means
she automatically forfeits her seat in the House of Assembly or
is suspended from Parliament. The answer is No. It is only when
an MP ceases to be a member of the party under whose banner he or
she stood for election that the party can insist on that MP’s
seat becoming vacant [Constitution,
section 41(1)(e)]. That is what happened when three MDC MPs in Matabeleland
lost their seats in 2009 following their expulsion from the party.
And a party suspension does not suspend the MP’s membership
MPs Failing to Account for Constituency Development Funds
In the 2010
Budget approved by Parliament in December 2009 funds were allocated
for Constituency Development Funds [CDFs], to be channelled to MPs
through the Ministry of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs.
Each constituency would receive $38 000 during 2010, which would
have to be used for construction of boreholes, repair of schools
and clinics, purchase of generators, etc., in accordance with an
annual development plan drawn up by a committee of elected councillors
chaired by the House of Assembly member for the constituency. Strict
accountability would be required; the Ministry provided MPs with
a manual on how the funds should be managed and expenditure accounted
for. $50 000 was eventually disbursed for each of 209 constituencies
in 2010. In the 2011 Budget the same amount was promised.
This year complaints
have surfaced of misuse of funds by some MPs, and the Ministry has
started on a programme of audits to check on how the money has been
used. On 13th July the Minister told the House of Assembly that
when money for 2011 was received from the Ministry of Finance, it
would go first to those MPs who had submitted returns accounting
for expenditure of the funds disbursed in 2010 – at that time
only 60 out of a total of 210. A week later he told the House that
more MPs were coming forward. The latest information is that 106
have submitted their returns.
Gazette and Statutory Instruments
versions not available]
Consolidated Statements of Financial Performance for the month of
June 2011 and for the second quarter ending June 2011 were published
in this Gazette.
fees for medical and dental practitioners These and related fees
fixed by the Medical and Dental Practitioners Council were gazetted
in SI 94/2011.
industry wages and allowances April 2011 to March 2012 [SI 95/2011].
for Kadoma and Kwekwe [SI 96/2011].
makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take
legal responsibility for information supplied
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