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Parliamentary Roundup Bulletin No. 37 - 2011
Southern African Parliamentary Support Trust
November 23, 2011

Introduction

The Minister of Finance had been scheduled to present the 2012 National Budget in Parliament yesterday but this event had to be rescheduled to Thursday 24 November at short notice. Meanwhile, the Acting Chairman of the Budget Committee, Hon. Willias Madzimure presented an interim report of the Budget Committee in terms of Select Committee Rule 13, on a matter of privilege arising from information submitted to parliament by the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Dr. Gideon Gono, alleging impropriety by Hon Zhanda. Hon. Madzimure thus implored the Speaker to make a ruling on the existence of a prima facie case on the matter. Hon. Bhasikiti concluded his condolence motion on the death of Retired General Solomon Mujuru. The Senate sitting only lasted seventeen minutes.

House of Assembly Plenary Proceedings:

Report on a Matter of Privilege

The Portfolio Committee on Budget Finance and Investment Promotion has been investigating how the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe accumulated a debt of over $1 billion, which has seen creditors attaching the assets of the central bank. In particular, the Committee wanted to know the names of people and organizations that benefitted from the RBZ’s quasi-fiscal activities. The RBZ felt that, such information was confidential but the Committee insisted that the RBZ used public funds and therefore it was within its mandate to demand that information from the RBZ.

In a twist of events during the Committee’s course of enquiry, the RBZ Governor, Dr. Gideon Gono submitted information to parliament alleging improper conduct by Hon. Zhanda, Chairman of the Budget Committee. The letter sent to parliament alleged that Hon. Zhanda sent his emissaries to the Dr. Gono asking for certain favours which the latter turned down. In effect, the allegation is that Hon. Zhanda was now using the Budget Committee to settle personal scores.

In terms of Select Committee Rule, once such an allegation is raised against a Member of the committee during an enquiry, the Committee is enjoined to report the matter immediately to the House so that the Speaker makes a ruling.

In pursuance of this procedure, the Committee elected Hon. Madzimure to table the report in House, which he did yesterday. The Speaker said he would deliver his ruling on the matter on Thursday 24 November 2011.

Adoption of Motion

Hon. Bhasikiti concluded his condolence motion on the death of Retired General Solomon Mujuru. The House unanimously adopted the motion.

Senate Plenary Proceedings:

As indicated above, the Senate only sat for 17 minutes before it adjourned to the following day without debating any motion on the Order Paper.

Deferment of Presentation of the 2012 National Budget

In our previous Bulletin we had indicated that the Minister of Finance was scheduled to present the 2012 National Budget on Tuesday 22 November 2011 after having deferred it from Thursday 17 November 2011. However, the presentation has once again been deferred to Thursday 24 November 2011 in yet unclear circumstances.

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