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resumes for HRC and Electoral Bills and mid-term financial statement
- Bill Watch 30/2012
July 09, 2012
Houses of Parliament resume sittings on Tuesday 10th July
Few Sittings of this Session
sitting calendar was extended to put in extra July sittings this
week and next week to accommodate:
- the Mid-Term
Financial Statement by Finance Minister Tendai Biti – and
any Amended Estimates of Expenditure and Appropriation Amendment
Bill necessitated by the Statement, and
two urgent major Bills - the Electoral
Amendment Bill and the Zimbabwe
Human Rights Commission Bill. This will mean there will be
some progress to report to the SADC Facilitator on compliance
with the GPA Roadmap
of the next two weeks will be the last of the present Parliamentary
session. Both Houses will then adjourn, and the President will gazette
a proclamation "proroguing" Parliament
[ending the present session by suspending sittings] and announcing
the opening day of the next session.
to Open New Session Later this Month
opening of the Fifth Session of Zimbabwe's Seventh Parliament
is planned to be on Tuesday 24th July.
Up in the House of Assembly
The House is
expected to concentrate on the Human Rights Commission Bill and
the Electoral Amendment Bill. Cabinet last week resolved that the
Bills should proceed when Parliament resumes, as both Bills were
approved by Cabinet before they were introduced. Parliament is expected
to comply. Justice and Legal Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa
is the responsible Minister for both Bills:
Human Rights Commission Bill
The Bill has
been on the Order Paper for a long time. It was introduced on 2011.
The Parliamentary Legal Committee [PLC] returned a non-adverse report
conditional on certain changes being made by the Minister. On the
strength of the Minister's assurance that this would be done,
the Bill had its Second Reading. The Minister's proposed changes
were tabled and have been on the Order Paper since 31st August 2011.
The next step is the Committee Stage, during which amendments tabled
months ago by the Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, to meet
the PLC's conditions, and any other amendments coming from
the House will be debated and voted on. [Bill and proposed Committee
Stage amendments available from email@example.com]
is high time the Bill was passed, even if it is falls short of the
ideal, if only to put an end to the present ridiculous situation,
in which the Human Rights Commission, for want of an enabling Act,
has not been operational in spite of the fact that its members have
been in office for over two years, since being sworn in by the President
in March 2010.
This had its
First Reading 26th July 2011. An Adverse Report from PLC was announced
on the 27th March this year, but is still to be presented and debated,
so it is not yet published. Although agreed by Cabinet before being
sent to the House last year, progress on the Bill had been stalled
because of later objections by MDC-T to the principle of polling-station
based voters rolls, prompted by fear of intimidation and reprisals.
The Bill was discussed again in Cabinet last week, resulting in
MDC-T saying it will now support the Bill, albeit with reservations.
It should therefore go through this session.
on the Order Paper:
of Finance's Mid-Year Financial Statement and Revised Budget
afternoon, 12th July, Minister Biti will present his Mid-Year Financial
Statement. As the Minister has already said downward revision of
expenditure is essential, he will also have to introduce amended
Estimates of Expenditure for 2012 and an Appropriation Amendment
Motions on the
Order Paper include motions on:
corruption at the Reserve Bank;
- the need
for Portfolio Committees to hold Ministers to their obligation
to respond to committee reports;
- the viability
of the Hwange Colliery Company;
- the withdrawal
of the existing Indigenisation Regulations, a motion proposed
long before this month's GN 280/2012 gazetting new indigenisation
rules for financial institutions and most other sectors of the
There are 23
written questions on the Order Paper for Wednesday.
Up in the Senate
Any Bills passed
by the House of Assembly will be immediately transmitted to the
Senate. If the Minister brings in an Appropriation Amendment Bill
in the House, that will also go to the Senate, but the Senate will
have no power to amend it – its powers regarding Money Bills
are limited to recommending changes for the consideration of the
House of Assembly.
Order and Security Amendment Bill - This is expected to be left
unattended to, so it will lapse at the end of the Session [see more
Adverse Reports on Statutory Instruments
Legal Committee chairman Shepherd Mushonga explained the PLC's
six adverse reports to the Senate before it adjourned on the 21st
June, so Senators have had time to consider the reports and prepare
their contributions to the further debate on the reports scheduled
for the coming week. As all the reports concern local authority
by-laws approved by the Minister of Local Government, Rural and
Urban Development and vetted by law officers in the Attorney-General's
Office before they were gazetted, there may also be contributions
to the debate from the Minister and from the Attorney-General, if
they disagree with the PLC's views. [At the conclusion of
the debate Senators will vote for or against resolutions to adopt
the PLC reports, and if they vote to adopt the reports, the President
will be obliged by the Constitution to repeal or amend the offending
SIs unless the House, within 21 sitting days, decides they should
remain in force.]
There will be
time for the Senate to deal with motions while it waits for Bills
to come across from the House, including:
to permit the Government to accede to the Protocol [see Bill
Watch 27/2012 of 18th June for details of this Protocol, which
has already been approved by the House of Assembly]
of Democracy, Elections and Governance [see Bill Watch 27/2012
on: Public Service ghost workers; remuneration of teachers; the
International Women's Conference on Women and Technology,
held in Bangalore, India, in February 2012; the Conference of the
African Parliamentary Union [APU] held in Khartoum, Sudan; a report
on the indigenisation and empowerment policy by the Thematic Committee
on Indigenisation and Empowerment [available from firstname.lastname@example.org];
a report on access to clean water in Masvingo and Bulawayo by the
Thematic Committee on Gender and Development [available from email@example.com].
Business Lapses at End of Session
If Bills, Motions,
Questions or any other items on the Order Paper in either Houses
have not been dealt with by the end of this Parliamentary Session,
they will lapse – but can be revived in the next Session.
Amendment Bill Likely to Lapse Again
Whip Innocent Gonese has said that he is not in a position to press
to a vote his motion to revive his Private Member's Public
Order and Security Amendment Bill in the Senate, given ZANU-PF
Senators opposition and Minister Chinamasa's attitude that
amending POSA is a matter for the GPA negotiators. This means the
motion is likely to lapse, unpassed, at the end of the present Session.
Note: One of
the issues in the Roadmap to Elections of July 2011 was freedom
of association and freedom of assembly. There was no definite agreement
reached on POSA. MDC-T wanted an agreement to amend POSA so as to
tighten it against police discretion and abuse and to bring it in
line with commitments within the GPA and the Constitution. MDC N
wanted a review of POSA in light of the current abuse by police.
ZANU-PF merely said "we need to know the nature of the proposed
amendments before we comment. The current POSA was amended in 2007
by all political parties through negotiation and provides a sound
legal framework for regulating meetings and assemblies."
Bill has highlighted very real concerns about police actions under
POSA. It is hoped that the Bill has already served as an incentive
for the government itself to introduce an acceptable Government
Bill to amend POSA, and, with the SADC facilitation team urging
action on the Roadmap,
that this will be expedited.
Gazette of 6th July
Changes to Harare
City Council and Goromonzi Rural District Council areas
proclamations make related changes to the contiguous areas under
the jurisdiction of the Harare City Council [SI 119/2012 –
Proclamation 1/2012] and the Goromonzi Rural District Council [SI
120/2012 – Proclamation 2/2012] with effect from 6th July.
The proclamations do not explain which area has lost land and which
the Gazette of 6th July is the Consolidated Statement of Financial
Performance for April 2012.
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