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Both Houses resume: Human Rights and Electoral Bills waiting - Bill Watch 9/2012
Veritas
March 13, 2012

Both the Senate and the House of Assembly will sit again on Tuesday 13th March

In the Senate this Week

The Senate has a very light agenda. Only two motions are listed:

  • Motion on the partisan nature of the media in Zimbabwe – debate will probably continue on this partly debated motion proposed by Senator Komichi of MDC-T.
  • Motion to restore POSA Amendment Bill to the Order Paper – this motion, too, has been partly debated. As further debate has been postponed pending a contribution from, Hon. Chinamasa. [It was in his capacity of ZANU-PF negotiator that he asked for a delay in the debate]. No movement is likely until after he returns to the country at the end of the week.
  • Two questions for the Minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs have been carried forward from the Senate’s last sitting:

Lack of Community

Development Funds for Senators - The question is why elected Senators have not been allocated money under the Community Development Fund scheme in spite of the fact that “they are elected officials and there is a lot expected of them from the electorate”.

Whips

The question is why there are only Deputy Whips in the Senate when the House of Assembly has Chief Whips.

In the House of Assembly this Week

Bills

Electoral Amendment Bill and Human Rights Commission Bill

Top of the House agenda for Tuesday is the motion by Minister of Defence Emerson Mnangagwa [in his capacity as Acting Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs] for the House to restore these important Bills to the Order Paper at the point reached when they lapsed at the end of the last session of Parliament on the 5th September last year. But as both Ministers Mnangagwa and Chinamasa are currently out of the country, it is not certain the two motions will be dealt with.

If the two Bills are restored to the Order Paper as proposed:

  • The Second Reading debate on the Human Rights Commission Bill will continue where it left off on 31st August. The Second Reading stage had begun – the Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs Patrick Chinamasa, who is the Minister responsible for the Bill, had delivered his speech explaining the purpose and principles of the Bill to the House and the chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal Affairs, Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs, Douglas Mwonzora, had presented that committee’s report on the Bill. So the MPs will now have their chance to debate the principles of the Bill. Then, if the House approves the Second Reading, the Bill will be discussed clause by clause in the whole House sitting as a committee [the Committee Stage – the stage when the Bill can be amended]. [Note: the Parliamentary Legal Committee [PLC] had given the Bill a non-adverse report, conditional on certain amendments being made to the Bill, the Minister and the PLC had agreed on the form of the amendments and the Minister’s proposed amendments had been printed on the Order Paper. See Bill Watch 36/2011 of 9th September 2011.]
  • The Electoral Amendment Bill will also continue where it left off – it had its First Reading [when the Bill is tabled in the House] on 26th July 2011 and was then referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee [PLC]. The House is awaiting presentation of the report of the PLC on whether or not the Bill is inconsistent with the Constitution. It has to receive a non-adverse report from the PLC before the Bill can proceed to the Second Reading stage.

Note: Veritas summarised and commented on the Electoral Amendment Bill in Bill Watches 37 and 38 of 15th September 2011; and covered the Human Rights Commission Bill in Bill Watches 41 and 42/2011 of 9th October 2011.

The House is still waiting for the Minister of Industry and Commerce to start this Bill’s long-delayed Second Reading stage.

Motions

  • Proposed Private Member’s Bill to repeal section 121(3) of Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act

This is a new motion. Hon Gonese, seconded by Hon Mushonga, both of MDC-T, will seek the leave of the House to bring in his Private Member’s Bill to repeal this notorious provision [see Bill Watch 4/2012 of 4th March].

  • Air Zimbabwe

This motion calling for the privatisation of Air Zimbabwe has probably been rendered academic by the Government’s decision, announced late last week, to take over Air Zimbabwe’s debts and start a new airline.

Civil Service Audit Debate on this motion, which calls for this November 2010 audit report to be presented to the House, started two weeks ago and is set to continue. The Minister of Public Service is expected to respond before the debate ends.

  • Indigenisation regulations

Also down for continuation of debate is Hon Musindire’s motion calling for the replacement of the present indigenisation regulations by revised regulations addressing “broad-based empowerment programmes”.

Questions for Ministers

There are no new questions on the Order Paper for Wednesday afternoon. The 11 questions listed have all been carried forward, unanswered, from previous sittings, some since as far back as October last year.

Update on Bills

[Copies of all these Bills available from veritas@mango.zw]

Bills passed 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]
  • Deposit Protection Corporation Bill [sent to President’s Office by Parliament on 8th December 2011]

Bill awaiting Second Reading in the House of Assembly

  • National Incomes and Pricing Commission Amendment Bill

Bill awaiting Report from Parliamentary Legal Committee

New Bill for Parliament gazetted and awaiting presentation [it can be introduced in either House]

Lapsed Bills from previous session awaiting restoration to Senate Order Paper

  • Public Order and Security [POSA] Amendment Bill [Private Member’s Bill]

Lapsed Bills from previous session awaiting restoration to House of Assembly Order Paper

  • Electoral Amendment Bill
  • Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Bill

Government Gazette of 9th March

Statutory Instruments

Collective bargaining agreements: SI 26/2012 [for the brewing and distilling subsector of the food and allied industries] and SI 27/2012 [for the grading sector of the tobacco industry].

Local authority by-laws: New rents and service charges for the incorporated areas of three local authorities: SI 28/2012 [Marondera Municipal Council]; SI 29/2012 [Chiredzi Town Council]; SI 30/2012 [Chegutu Municipal Council].

General Notices

Traditional leaders: GN 118/2012, made by the Minister of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development in terms of the Traditional Leaders Act, declares certain areas of resettlement land to be under the authority of Chief Zimunya.

Land acquisition: GN 120/2012 is a preliminary notice under the Land Acquisition Act for the State’s compulsorily acquisition of Kaola Park for urban development. Under the Act, if the landowner objects, the expropriation will be subject to confirmation by the Administrative Court – unlike the procedure used when agricultural land is acquired for resettlement purposes under the Constitution. And the Act requires the State to pay “fair and reasonable compensation” – which must be assessed by the Administrative Court in the event of dispute over the amount.

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