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House sends Budget to Senate - Bill Watch 55/2011
December 12, 2011

Both Houses have adjourned until Tuesday 13th December

Estimates of Expenditure and Budget Bills Passed by House of Assembly

The Estimates of Expenditure for 2012 and the Amended Estimates of Expenditure for 2011 were approved by the House of Assembly on 6th December. As explained in the Budget Statement, the amended Estimates for the 2011 financial year are needed to cover an additional expenditure requirement of $595 million, brought about by cost overruns on employment costs [$403 million, arising from unbudgeted salary reviews in January and July]; and other unavoidable expenses [$192 million, including costs of the constitution-making process, 2012 Census preparations and grain procurement]. $391 million is to be covered by Budget reallocations and reductions under Ministry votes, enabling the additional appropriation to be limited to $204 million. The cash budgeting rule will not be broken, as sufficient additional revenue for 2011 is anticipated. [Examples of reallocations and reductions: the President’s Office vote goes up by $31 million; the Defence, Home Affairs and Education votes go up substantially; the Energy and Power Development vote is almost halved.]

The House then passed the three necessary Money Bills: [Electronic versions of all three Bills available from]

  • Finance (No. 2) Bill: The Bill gives effect to those taxation changes proposed in the Budget Statement that the Minister of Finance cannot implement by statutory instrument. Changes include: raising the income tax threshold; broadening the income tax bands; increasing the tax-free amount of employees’ bonuses. Legal practitioners and company secretaries should note that the Bill also “dollarizes” amounts still stated in old Zimbabwe dollars in the Companies Act, although some of the problem provisions have apparently escaped the notice of those preparing the Bill.
  • Appropriation (2012) Bill: This gives effect to the approved Estimates of Expenditure for 2012, i.e., it authorizes expenditure from the Consolidated Revenue Fund for the purposes listed in the Estimates.
  • Appropriation (2011) Amendment Bill: This gives effect to the approved Amended Estimates of Expenditure for 2011 and increases the total amount appropriated for 2011 from $2 467 600 000 to $2,661,207,000. [This is strictly speaking not part of the 2012 Budget as it makes adjustments to the 2011 Budget, but it was treated as integral to the Budget Statement.]

Last Week in Parliament

House of Assembly

The House of Assembly sat on Tuesday for just over three hours, dealing only with the Budget items on the Order Paper. The sitting started with a heated discussion over whether the Budget business was properly before the House. ZANU-PF members maintained that at the previous sitting on 1st December debate on the Budget had been adjourned until the 13th December. MDC-T MPs were adamant that the adjournment had been until the 6th. Deputy Prime Minister Mutambara confirmed the MDC-T position and the Acting Speaker ruled that debate on the Budget items should proceed. [Going by Hansard for 1st December, this was correct. It records that Hon Zhanda of ZANU-PF requested more time for MPs to consider the Budget and suggested they needed until the 13th December. But no motion to that effect was proposed or approved.]

Debate on Budget: The House heard reports from the chairpersons of portfolio committees, starting with the report of the Portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance and Economic Development. For the Budget Committee Hon Zhanda stressed the need to allow Parliament to consider the Budget fully in future and suggested 1% of the Budget should be allocated to the Constituency Development Fund, which should be regulated by a special Act. Other committees mentioned the need to ensure a smooth flow of funds to Ministries throughout the year to permit effective use of limited allocations under the Budget. After the Minister’s winding-up remarks the House dealt with the Estimates and the Budget Bills [see details above]. The Bills were then transmitted to the Senate. No other business was conducted. The House adjourned until Tuesday 13th December to accommodate the ZANU-PF conference.


The Senate met on 6th December, but adjourned, without doing any business, until Tuesday 13th to accommodate the ZANU-PF conference.

ZANU-PF Annual Conference in Bulawayo

The ZANU-PF conference in Bulawayo started on Tuesday 6th December, was opened by President Mugabe on Thursday and ended on Saturday with uncompromising calls for an early end to the inclusive government and elections in 2012 with Mr Mugabe as the party’s presidential candidate.

Coming up This Week in Parliament

House of Assembly

Bills: The National Incomes and Pricing Commission Amendment Bill, restored to the Order Paper last week, is listed for its Second Reading. If the Senate recommends amendments to the Budget Bills, the House will have to consider these and decide which, if any, to adopt, before the Bills go to the President for assent.

Motions: Three new motions by MDC-T MPs are listed for 13th December:

Motion to dismiss Clerk of Parliament: This motion calls for section 48(2) of the Constitution to be invoked “to dismiss Mr Austin Zvoma from the service of Parliament forthwith through a secret ballot process”. It cites Mr Zvoma’s alleged failure to uphold the values of “honesty, integrity, professionalism and respect” that bind officers of Parliament, specifying “misdemeanours”, including:

  • failure to conduct the election of the Speaker in August 2008 in accordance with Standing Orders [this election was overturned by the a majority of the Supreme Court in March 2011 for the Clerk’s failure to enforce the secret ballot procedure required by Standing Orders]
  • conduct related to the election of the Speaker in March 2011 after the Supreme Court’s decision: unprocedurally deferring a scheduled sitting of the House [at the time MDC-T began court action over this but it fell away when the Speaker’s election proceeded before the case was heard]; disdaining the Attorney-General’s advice that the unseated Speaker, Mr Lovemore Moyo, had reverted to being an MP following the Supreme Court’s judgment; and tampering with the record of the proceedings of the House when Mr Moyo was re-elected Speaker on 29th March [during the proceedings Mr Zvoma directed that certain passages be stricken from the record]
  • having a “condescending attitude” towards MPs and the Office of the Speaker, and issuing press statements contemptuous of MPs.

Section 48(1) and (2) of the Constitution provide: “(1) There shall be a Clerk of Parliament appointed by the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders. (2) A person appointed as the Clerk of Parliament shall not be removed from office unless the House of Assembly resolves, by the affirmative votes of more than one-half of its total membership, that he should be removed from office.”

[It is curious that MDC-T members are complaining about the 2008 Speaker’s election, when MDC-T MPs were guilty of the very conduct that the majority of the Supreme Court said had destroyed the secrecy of the ballot.]

Motion on Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe [BAZ] and broadcasting licences: This motion calls for the dissolution of the current BAZ Board because it was illegally appointed; the appointment of a new Board in accordance with the Broadcasting Services Act; and the withdrawal of two broadcasting licences recently granted by the current Board. [Note: The inter-party dispute over the BAZ Board is of long standing; in August 2010 the party principals and Cabinet endorsed the GPA negotiators’ agreement to “regularise” the Board as part of the 24-point “Implementation Matrix”. The agreement was that regularisation would be effected in one month. The irregular Board has nevertheless remained in place ever since, with the Minister of Information and Publicity denying its appointment was illegal. Question: Why didn’t MDC-T or other stakeholders take legal action to unseat the Board before this issue was complicated by the Board’s action in calling for licence applications and then granting licences.]

Motion on Air Zimbabwe: This calls for the current Air Zimbabwe fleet to be “put out to pasture” and for Air Zimbabwe to be privatised.

Question Time: If the House sits on Wednesday there are 25 questions on the Order Paper awaiting responses from Ministers, including a new one for the co-Ministers of Home Affairs about an alleged police practice of shattering windscreens of commuter omnibuses when traffic offences are suspected.


Budget Bills: The main business of the Senate will be to deal with the three Budget Bills transmitted from the House of Assembly [see above]. As explained in Bill Watch 53/2011 of 25th November the Senate cannot itself amend these Bills but can recommend amendments for consideration by the House.

Motion: Also on the agenda is Senator Komichi’s motion for a thematic committee investigation of unethical and unprofessional activities by the media.

Deputy Speaker Nomalanga Khumalo

The rift in the MDC party led to disorder in the House of Assembly on 1st December when Professor Ncube was heckled about the current loyalties of MPs elected on the MDC ticket in 2008, before the rift. These MPs include Deputy Speaker Khumalo, MP for Umzingwane. Last week a Ncube faction spokesperson said Hon Khumalo was the subject of party disciplinary proceedings. Speculation about Hon Khumalo and the other MPs facing forfeiture of their seats under the floor-crossing provisions of section 41 of the Constitution seems premature until legal proceedings over the MDC rift produce a clear-cut resolution of the leadership dispute. Section 41(1)(e) provides for a seat to fall vacant automatically if the incumbent ceases to be a member of the political party of which he was a member when elected and “the political party concerned” by written notice to the Speaker declares that he or she “’has ceased to represent its interests in Parliament”.

Status of Bills

[Electronic versions of Bills are available from]

Bill awaiting Second Reading in the House of Assembly

  • National Incomes and Pricing Commission Amendment Bill

Bills awaiting Second Reading in the Senate

  • Finance (No. 2) Bill [gazetted 30th November]
  • Appropriation (2012) Bill [gazetted 30th November]
  • Appropriation (2011) Amendment Bill [gazetted 9th December]

Bill gazetted and awaiting presentation

Bill being printed for Gazetting

Lapsed Bills awaiting restoration to the Order Paper

Bills passed by Parliament awaiting gazetting as Acts

Government Gazette

[electronic copies of statutory instruments not available]

National Museums and Monuments By-laws [SI 143/2011]: These updated by-laws prescribe entry and other fees and prohibited behaviour, and replace much-amended by-laws dating back to 1973.

Marketing of ethanol-petrol blend [SI 144/2011]: This SI under the Petroleum Act requires producers of ethanol and blenders of ethanol and petrol to be licensed and fixes specifications for ethanol-petrol blend and anhydrous ethanol.

NSSA assessment rates and pensions [SIs 145 and 146/2011]: These notices take effect from 1st January 2012. Pension contribution rates go up from 3% to 4%. Pensions are increased.

Government financial statements: The October statements were gazetted on 9th December, well before the deadline set by section 34 of the Public Finance Management Act.

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