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MDC-T Minister & Deputy Minister Sworn In - Bill Watch 43/2011
October 11, 2011
House of Assembly sat last week and continues on 11th October
Senate resumes on 11th October after a two-week break
Minister and Deputy Minister Sworn In
A new MDC-T
Minister and Deputy Minister were sworn in by President Mugabe yesterday:
- Mrs Lucia
Matibenga, MDC-T MP for Kuwadzana, as Minister of Public Service
[she fills the vacancy created by the death
on 4th August of Professor Eliphas Mukonoweshuro]
- Mr Seiso
Moyo, MDC-T MP for Nketa, as Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation
and Irrigation Development [this post has been vacant since the
government was sworn in February 2009 because President Mugabe
refused to swear in the original MDC-T nominee, Senator Roy Bennett.
MDC-T have at last given up on what was at one point a major “sticking
point” between the parties. Mr Bennett remains a Senator,
but his prolonged absence from Zimbabwe and from Senate sittings
means he could lose his Senate seat if Senators so resolve.]
Periodic Review [UPR] on Human Rights Instruments
of Justice and Legal Affairs is in Geneva to present the Government’s
UPR report to the United Nations Human Rights Council. Governments
were so dilatory in fulfilling their reporting obligations under
international human rights instruments that there is now a system
under which each country comes up automatically every four years
for review. [Electronic version of Government’s UPR report
available from email@example.com.]
Strategy Paper Launch
On 5th October
Minister of Finance Tendai Biti made a Ministerial statement, enlivened
by a Power Point presentation, introducing the Government’s
2012 Budget Strategy Paper [BSP] to the House of Assembly. [The
BSP can be downloaded from the Ministry’s website at www.zimtreasury.org/downloads/921.pdf.
It is a pdf file of approximately 1.2 MB. If you do not have Internet
access please request a copy from firstname.lastname@example.org.]
When presenting his mid-term
Fiscal Policy Review on 26th July the Minister told the House
the BSP would be launched in early August, so that all stakeholders
would have ample time to study it and made suggestions. The budget
speech in Parliament will probably be late November, so there is
still time for inputs direct to the Ministry or at country-wide
Ministry consultations, or at Parliamentary public hearings [see
In his foreword
the Minister says the BSP has been developed “to underpin
participatory democracy, inclusivity and ownership in policy formulation.
The Budget is an important fiscal element that must belong to the
people and a BSP serves to guarantee bottom-up participatory approach
in budget formulation.” The BSP is therefore being made available
to the public “for full participation by stakeholders in order
to build consensus on the priorities that should guide the preparation
of the 2012 Budget. The document should also guide Ministries and
public sector institutions in the formulation of their 2012 Budget
formulation will be guided by estimated revenue for 2012 of $3.4
billion [2011 $2.7 billion]. Of that at least $2.1 billion will
have to be earmarked for the public sector wage bill, including
pensions; other recurrent expenditure and capital expenditure will
have to come out of the remaining $1.3 billion. The Ministry hopes
to get at least $500 million from international donors, for allocation
under the vote of credit to “off-Budget” projects that
cannot be funded from revenue.
Role of Budget
Portfolio Committee in Budget Formulation The BSP will assist the
House of Assembly’s Portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance
and Investment Promotion to fulfil its responsibility under section
28(5) of the Public Finance Management Act which provides that “the
Minister [of Finance] may through the appropriate portfolio committee
of Parliament, seek the views of Parliament in the preparation and
formulation of the national annual budget, for which purpose the
appropriate portfolio committee shall conduct public hearings to
elicit the opinions of as many stakeholders in the national annual
budget as possible.”
The portfolio committee is finalising plans to hold public hearings
in all ten provinces starting on 17th October [details to be announced
Finance Consultative Process The Ministry of Finance is conducting
its own 2012 budget consultative process, launched on 29th September.
Week in the House of Assembly
Bills None of
the Bills that lapsed at the end of the last Session were restored
to the Agenda. These include the Zimbabwe
Human Rights Commission Bill and the Electoral
BIPPA with Iran The Minister of Economic Planning and Investment
Promotion ran into trouble when, in a somewhat cursory fashion,
he asked the House to approve a Bilateral Investment Promotion and
Protection Agreement signed with Iran in 1999. MPs demanded a fuller
explanation and justification of the agreement, and asked how the
indigenisation policy would impact on an agreement signed long before
the policy was introduced. Debate was then adjourned. [Note: There
are two other BIPPAs coming up for approval – one with India,
also signed in 1999, and one with Botswana signed in March 2011.]
Action on “Asiagate”
soccer match-fixing scandal There being no contributions from MPs,
the proposer Hon Madzimure wound up the debate and the motion was
passed. As the main thrust of the motion is the appointment of a
Parliamentary committee to investigate the scandal, the next step
will be the setting up of the committee. Under Standing Orders its
members will be appointed and given their terms of reference by
the Standing Rules and Orders Committee.
Condolence Motion: The House approved a motion restoring this motion
to the Order Paper. The motion fell away on 21st September for want
of a quorum in the House. Debate took up most of the House’s
time on Thursday, with appreciative contributions from all sides
of the House, and will continue.
of other lapsed motions The House passed resolutions restoring the
following lapsed motions to the Order Paper:
- to present
the report of the Portfolio Committee on Local Government on local
government Service Delivery in Harare, Chitungwiza and Norton
- to present
the report of the Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy on the
state of affairs at Shabani-Mashava Mines.
There was improved attendance by Ministers after a poor showing
two weeks before. Issues raised included:
- Abuse of
Constituency Development Funds Constitutional and Parliamentary
Affairs Minister Matinenga declined to “put the record straight”
regarding press reports of MPs abusing CDFs. Saying he had no
control over the press, he advised aggrieved MPs to sue for defamation.
of birth records by hospitals The Minister of Health said he would
stop hospitals insisting on payment of “user fees”
before releasing birth records.
of Revenue by Government Departments The Minister of Finance confirmed
the existence of a policy allowing some Government departments
to retain part of the revenues they generate for operational costs,
e.g., the police can retain traffic fines they collect. As the
correct constitutional position is for all revenues to be deposited
into the Consolidated Revenue Fund, the Minister said he would
be revisiting the policy with a view to reversing it.
The PLC submitted
a non-adverse report on all statutory instruments gazetted during
August 2011. This means it found no inconsistencies between any
of the month’s statutory instruments and the Constitution.
up This Week in the House of Assembly
Bills No progress
is expected on the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Bill or the
Electoral Amendment Bill. The Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs,
who is the Minister responsible for both Bills, will be out of the
country all week.
Committee on Justice, Legal Affairs, Constitutional and Parliamentary
Affairs is due to start public hearings on the Electoral Amendment
Bill on 17th October.
listed on the Order Paper include:
- the General
Mujuru condolence motion
- the Third
Session motions which were restored to the Order Paper last week
- a condolence
motion on the death of the late Public Service Minister, Professor
- a motion
calling on the Government to nationalise all diamond mining operations
on the Marange Diamond Fields and secure the fields against unauthorised
access by fencing
- a motion
calling for the withdrawal of the Indigenisation and Empowerment
Regulations [SI 21/2010]
and the indigenisation requirements for the mining industry [GN
114/2010], as being contrary to the Government’s economic
revival policy and as having been made without Cabinet authority
and in contravention of international agreements
motions seeking approval of international agreements, including
BIPPAs with Iran, India and Botswana.
There are already 20 written questions listed; more may be added
before Wednesday. Issues raised include:
- for the Minister
of Agriculture: who benefits from ARDA Silobela?
- for the Minister
of Water Resources Development and Management: what is being done
about continuing water shortages in Bulawayo?
- for the co-Ministers
of Home Affairs: why are birth certificate records kept only in
Harare, making them inaccessible in the provinces?
- for the
Minister of State Security: why are three named members of CIO
still in full-time State employment when they hold positions on
the ZANU-PF Central Committee?
up This Week in the Senate
There are only
two items on the agenda:
- Motion to
Amendment Bill to the Order Paper This is item 1, and Hon
Gonese has said he intends to press ahead with it. ZANU-PF is
expected to oppose the motion. The Bill was passed by the House
of Assembly in December 2010. Senate proceedings started on 2nd
August when Mr Gonese delivered his speech moving the Second Reading
of the Bill. On 3rd August, after Minister Chinamasa raised objections
to the Bill being debated while changes to POSA
were on the agenda of the GPA
negotiators, debate was adjourned. The Bill then lapsed at the
end of the Third Session.
- Motion of
thanks to the President for his speech opening the session.
from House of Assembly: Tracy Mutinhiri
of written notice from ZANU-PF that as a result of Dr Mutinhiri’s
expulsion from the party she no longer represents its interests
in Parliament, the Speaker wrote to her notifying her that her seat
had become vacant. [Constitution,
section 41(1)(e).] As a result party strengths in the House are
as follows: ZANU-PF 96; MDC-T 97; MDC-M/N 8.
by Parliament awaiting gazetting as Acts
- Older Persons
Bill [gazetted 9th September] [Electronic version available from
The Bill is being considered by the Portfolio Committee on Public
Service, Labour and Social Welfare.
No Bills, Acts or statutory instruments were gazetted.
SI 116 contains meat by-laws for Norton. SIs 117, 118 and 120 suspend
customs duty for a few mining companies. SI 119 grants a rebate
of customs duty on water treatment chemicals imported by the Zimbabwe
National Water Authority and local authorities. [Electronic versions
makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take
legal responsibility for information supplied
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