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Budget today; Setting up Media Council - Bill Watch 52/2011
November 24, 2011
2012 Budget will be presented this afternoon
of Finance will deliver his twice-postponed 2012 Budget Statement
in the House of Assembly this afternoon.
22nd and 23rd November
acting chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance
and Investment Promotion reported to the House that in a letter
to his Committee the Governor of the Reserve Bank had charged the
Committee’s chairperson, Mr Zhanda, with putting pressure
on the Governor in an effort to get him to favour Mr Zhanda’s
personal interests. [Under Mr Zhanda’s leadership the Committee
has been investigating aspects of Reserve Bank business.] There
was no debate, as the Speaker said he would make a ruling on 24th
November on what action should be taken. As required by Standing
Orders, Mr Zhanda has stepped down as chairperson of the Committee
pending the resolution of the matter.
The House then
devoted most of its short sitting to hearing the final contributions
to the debate on the condolence motion for the late General Mujuru.
Hon Bhasikiti, the motion’s proposer, wound up the debate
and the House passed the motion.
There was celebratory
noise before the sitting commenced, with congratulations being accepted
by ZANU-PF MP Biata Nyamupinga, sister of the paparazzi-alleged
bride of the Prime Minister. A congratulatory remark was made by
MP Mazikana, ZANU-PF, during proceedings, but the Deputy Speaker
ruled that celebrations could continue after the session –
which they did. There had been no official confirmation of the marriage.
International Agreements approved After presentations by the Minister
of Industry and Commerce and the chairperson of the Portfolio Committee
on Industry and Commerce the House approved two international agreements:
- EU-ESA [Eastern
and Southern Africa] Interim Economic Partnership Agreement signed
in Mauritius on 29th August 2009
Coffee Agreement of 2007
Question Time Several MPs put questions “without notice”
to Deputy Prime Minister Mutambara on MPs’ remuneration. One
asked the Minister of Labour whether she could assist MPs in their
plight; she replied it was outside her mandate. The DPM undertook
to report back to the House next week after discussing the matter
with the President and the Prime Minister.
Tuesday - The
Senate sat for only 13 minutes. There were no contributions to the
debates on the motions currently before the Senate.
The Senate sat for 24 minutes. After a brief final contribution
to the debate on the motion of thanks to the President for his speech
opening the current Session by Senator Simon Khaya Moyo, ZANU-PF
Chairperson, the motion was approved. In concluding his winding-up
speech Senator Moyo also, on behalf of ZANU-PF, congratulated the
Prime Minister on his “marriage”. MDC-T Senators objected
and their whip Mrs Gladys Dube demanded that that Senator Moyo withdraw
this, saying “you can’t rely on newspapers” and
no marriage had been confirmed. The President of the Senate then
asked Senator Moyo to withdraw the congratulations.
Senate then adjourned until Thursday 24th November
Question Time in the Senate Prime Minister’s Question Time
will not take place this Thursday because of the Budget presentation.
sat on Tuesday 15th November only.
There were brief contributions to the ongoing debates on the condolence
motions for Professor Mukonoweshuro and General Solomon Mujuru.
No Bills dealt
with No moves were made to restore the Human
Rights Commission Bill and the Electoral
Amendment Bill to the Order Paper. At this rate neither Bill
is likely to be proceeded with this year, as Budget business is
likely to dominate the scarce remaining Parliamentary time before
the customary December recess.
Report on APU
Conference Senator Mumvuri presented a report on the Conference
of Speakers of Parliaments of the African Parliamentary Union that
was held in Equatorial Guinea at the end of 2010. Senators congratulated
President of the Senate Ednah Madzongwe on her election as a Vice-President
of the APU at the conference.
Motion on partisan
public media Senator Komichi of MDC-T proposed his motion deploring
the partisan nature of TV and radio services in Zimbabwe, and the
print and electronic media, condemning hate speech and abuse of
press freedom by partisan media, and calling for the “relevant
thematic committee” to investigate “these unethical
and unprofessional activities”. His speech concentrated on
the failings of the national broadcaster [ZBH] as a public broadcaster
and the pro-ZANU-PF and anti MDC-T bias of ZBH’s TV and radio
stations. ZANU-PF’s Senator Monica Mutsvangwa said Hon Komichi
should have provided statistics to back up his complaints. There
were other contributions to the debate from all sides, with ZANU-PF
Senators levelling criticism against outside radio stations and
the independent print media. [Note: Earlier this year the House
of Assembly Portfolio Committee on Media, Information and Communication
Technology produced a report on the State of Public Media in Zimbabwe.]
Electronic version available from email@example.com
Media Commission to Establish Media Council
of the Zimbabwe Media Commission [ZMC], Mr Godfrey Majonga, has
said that the Commission would establish the Media Council before
the end of November. He said letters had been written to appropriate
organisations [see below] asking them to nominate representatives
for appointment as members of the Council – each organisation
has been asked to put up three names. Mr Majonga pointed out –
correctly – that the Access
to Information and Protection of Privacy Act [AIPPA] obliges
ZMC to set up the Council. [Section 42A(1) says “the Commission
shall appoint a Media Council”. This section and other sections
relating to the Media Council were inserted into AIPPA by an amending
Act passed by Parliament in late 2007 as part of a “package”
agreed to by all three main political parties ahead of the 2008
How Media Council
to be appointed: Under section 42A of AIPPA, the chairperson of
the 14-member Media Council must be a member of the Commission.
The other 13 members are:
- 2 members
nominated by an association or associations representing accredited
- 2 members
nominated by an association or associations representing advertisers
and advertising agencies;
- 7 members
nominated by associations representing each of the following groups
[1 member per group]: publishers, advertising agencies, mass media
trainers, religious bodies, business, trade union federations,
women’s groups and youth groups
- 2 members
representing the legal profession, one selected by the Commission
from a panel submitted by the Law Society and the other from a
panel submitted by university law faculties.
the members representing the legal profession have to be selected
by the Commission from panels of nominees; each of the other 11
representative members must be a person nominated by the associations
that “in the opinion of the Commission” are representative
of the group concerned. This means that, if the associations put
up only one name per group, 11 members could in reality be chosen
by the associations, with appointment by the Commission a mere formality.
It is for the Commission, however, to decide which associations
are representative of the specified groups – which could cause
disputes in groups where there are rival associations. Importantly,
if a group fails to nominate anyone at all, it is for the Commission
to appoint someone it considers representative of the group.]
Media Council: The principal functions of the Media Council are
stated in AIPPA:
ZMC in its task of drawing up a code of conduct and ethics for
journalists and mass media services [the final word on the code
rests with ZMC];
disciplinary hearings when alleged breaches of the code are referred
to it by ZMC [the Council cannot itself initiate such proceedings];
- when the
Council finds a journalist or mass media service guilty, recommending
to ZMC the penalty that should be imposed by ZMC [again, the final
decision and responsibility for taking action rest with ZMC].
journalists and mass media services found guilty of breaching the
code include cautioning, monetary penalties and suspension of registration.
by Parliament awaiting gazetting as Acts
Gazetted and Awaiting Presentation
being Printed for Gazetting
11th and 18th November
No Bills or
Acts were gazetted. Statutory instruments under the Customs and
Excise Act were the only ones gazetted [electronic copies NOT available].
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