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AU Convention on Democracy Elections and Governance - Bill Watch
January 31, 2012
Houses are adjourned until Tuesday 28th February 2012
on Democracy, Elections and Governance to Come into Force without
The AU Convention
on Democracy, Elections and Governance will come into force, for
states which are party to it, on 15th February 2012, following the
deposit of Cameroon’s instrument of ratification. The Convention
was adopted by the AU Heads of State and Government on 30th January
2007 and has now been signed by 38 out of 54 African states, but
ratified by only 15; so there are only 15 “States parties”.
Zimbabwe has neither signed and ratified, nor acceded to the Convention.
Only 3 out of 15 SADC states are parties to the Convention: Lesotho,
South Africa and Zambia. It seems contradictory that Zimbabwe says
it has a strong commitment to the AU, but has not signed this convention.
With elections being talked about there is good reason to lobby
MPs to press for Zimbabwe to accede to it. [Electronic version of
Convention available from email@example.com]
Resolution on Clerk Overruled by High Court
On 20th January
Justice Bere granted Clerk of Parliament Austin Zvoma an urgent
interim order suspending implementation of the MDC-T resolution
against him passed by the House of Assembly on 15th December after
ZANU-PF members walked out [see Bill
Watch 56/2011 of 16th December]. The resolution called for the
appointment of committee to hear Mr Zvoma’s representations
before reporting back to the House on an appropriate penalty for
the acts of misconduct cited in the resolution. The judge pointed
to the failure by the movers of the motion to adhere to the principles
of natural justice before treating Mr Zvoma’s guilt as established.
Being interim only, the court order freezes further action against
Mr Zvoma pending the determination of his main application for clarification
of the legal position.
Allowances for Parliamentarians
adjourned in mid-December members of the House
of Assembly and Senators have been paid a lump sum of $15 000
each towards the amounts owed to them for sitting allowances not
paid since the commencement of the present Parliament in 2008. Some
legislators have complained that the one-size-fits-all amount is
unfair – over-generous to those who seldom attend Parliament
and less than what is owing to those who attend diligently. They
point out that the agreement reached between the legislators and
the government late last year was that the allowance arrears would
be paid at the rate of $75 per sitting. The Minister of Constitutional
and Parliamentary Affairs has explained the $15 000 was merely a
working figure, and that shortfalls would be made up and overpayments
recovered once Parliament had confirmed the entitlement of each
[Comment: A point not so far given publicity is that the legal basis
for payment of any amounts is shaky. Under the Parliamentary Salaries,
Allowances and Benefits Act members of Parliament are entitled only
to those allowances specified in regulations made by the President
under the Act. The current regulations specify now meaningless amounts
in old Zimbabwe dollars: SI 401A/1999 as last amended by SIs 148
and 216/2003. The regulations need to be updated in order to put
the payment of Parliamentary salaries and allowances on a proper
of Terms of Office of Security Force Chiefs
With the expiry
of the current statutory terms of office of the Commissioner-General
of Police and the Defence Force and Army commanders imminent, both
MDC-T and MDC have, correctly, reiterated that under Article 20.1.3(p)
of the GPA
the President needs the consent of the Prime Minister before exercising
the power given to him by the Defence Act and the Police Act to
extend these appointments for up to one year. Previous extensions
have been granted without such consent.
AU Summit: 23rd to 30th January 2012: Addis Ababa
ambassadorial level [the Permanent Representatives Committee] on
23rd and 24th January and at Ministerial level [the Executive Council]
on 26th and 27th January, led up to the Assembly of Heads of State
and Government on 29th and 30th January. The theme for the Summit
is "Boosting Intra-African Trade. The Zimbabwe situation is
not a formal agenda item.
New AU Chair:
A new AU chairperson for the year has been elected – Benin’s
is the secretariat of the AU, with a chairperson and deputy chairperson,
and eight each commissioners, each heading a department of the secretariat.
The term of office of the current members of the Commission ends
this month. Before the Summit end the Heads of State and Government
will be to elect a new Commission chairperson and deputy chairperson
to replace outgoing office-holders Jean Ping of Gabon and Erastus
Mwencha of Kenya, both of whom are candidates for re-election. There
is one other candidate for the chairperson of the Commission: that
is Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma of South Africa, currently Minister
of Home Affairs and ex-Minister of Foreign Affairs. The eight other
members of the Commission will also be chosen today, by the Ministers
of the Executive Council. Two Zimbabweans are standing for election:
Ms Hesphina Rukato, for Commissioner of Political Affairs; Ms Rudo
Mabel Chitiga, for Commissioner for Social Affairs.
Peace and Security
Council: 10 members of the council will be elected by the Assembly
of Heads of State and Government to assume office on 1st April.
Zimbabwe’s 3-year term of office on the council ends on 31st
of Bills as at 23rd January 2012
versions of these Bills available from firstname.lastname@example.org]
by Parliament awaiting Presidential assent/gazetting as Acts
- Small Enterprises
Development Corporation [SEDCO] Amendment Bill [sent to President’s
Office by Parliament on 30th September 2011]
Protection Corporation Bill [sent to President’s Office
by Parliament on 8th December 2011]
51(2) of the Constitution
says that when a Bill is presented to the President for assent he
must either assent or withhold his assent within 21 days; if assent
is withheld the Bill must be sent back to Parliament. The 4-month
delay in movement on the SEDCO Amendment Bill needs to be officially
Second Reading in the House of Assembly
and awaiting presentation
from previous session awaiting restoration to the Order Paper
electronic copies of these are not available]
radio broadcasting licences – application deadline: GN 14/2012
is a reminder that the deadline for applications to reach the Broadcasting
Authority is Tuesday 31st January. 13 licences are on offer, one
for each of Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru, Masvingo, Chinhoyi, Bindura,
Gwanda, Marondera, Lupane, Plumtree, Kariba, Victoria Falls and
– another departure fee: SI 7/2012 imposes a new “Aviation
Infrastructure Development Fund fee” payable by passengers
departing from aerodromes, whether on a domestic flight [$5] or
an international flight [$15]. Airlines must levy the fee on all
tickets issued on and after 1st February 2012.
Council Market and Trading By-laws: SIs 8 and 9/2012 enact new by-laws.
The trading by-laws require 80 different types of businesses to
hold annual trading permits, the permit fee being $40.
of second-hand underclothing: In Bill Watch 1/2012 of 2nd January
SI 150/2011 was said to “ban” the importation of this
type of article, repeating the official explanatory note in the
SI itself. In fact, as the Minister of Finance has since pointed
out, the SI, which was gazetted by the Minister of Industry and
Commerce, did not impose a total ban. But the practical effect is
similar: second-hand underclothing cannot now be imported under
the Open General Import Licence; each importation instead requires
an import licence issued by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.
And the Minister of Finance’s SI 159/2011 increased the customs
duty on worn clothing.
agreements have been gazetted: on the 6th January for the communications
and allied services industry [SI 1/2012], on 13th January for the
agricultural industry [SIs 2 and 3/2012], and on 20th January for
welfare and educational institutions [SI 6/2012].
provident funds registration: SI 4/2012 adjusts monetary amounts
in section 3 of the principal regulations [SI 323/1991] which deals
with applications for the registration of funds.
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