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Roundup Bulletin No. 30 - 2012
Southern African Parliamentary Support Trust
July 11, 2012
of Assembly considered the Zimbabwe
Human Rights Commission Bill and the Electoral
Amendment Bill when it resumed its sitting yesterday after 3-week
long break. The Minister of Finance, Hon. Tendai Biti gave a ministerial
statement in the House on the forthcoming population census.
Proceedings in The House of Assembly:
Statement on the Population Census
In his ministerial
statement, the Minister of Finance informed the House that the upcoming
population census will conducted on the 17th and 18th of August
2012. He implored Zimbabweans to cooperate and take the event seriously
by avoiding unnecessary movement so that they are enumerated. Hon
Biti emphasized that the census was important for economic planning
and delimitation of constituencies among other things.
appealed to Members of Parliament to educate their constituencies
on the importance of the census. He said the population census staff
would be made up largely of school teachers. Hon. Biti assured the
House that he did not anticipate political problems for the enumerators
given that the population census was a national programme. However,
in the event of any problems that may arise on the ground, the Zimbabwe
Republic Police would be there to deal with such problems. Regarding
people outside the country, the Minister said that a website was
being developed to cater for them. The media was called upon to
play a constructive role during the census exercise.
on Legislation before Parliament
debated the long overdue Bills; the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission
Bill and the Electoral Amendment Bill. Debate on the two Bills had
stalled due to disagreements on some clauses by the governing parties.
On the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Bill, the major contention
by MDC-T MPs was the clause regarding cut-off date of February 2009
where the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission would start off from.
MDC MPs wanted the Commission to be able to consider past human
rights abuses that occurred before the stipulated date in the Bill.
The Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, Senator Chinamasa dismissed
the proposal as he argued that the Bill as it stood was a result
of compromise reached by the negotiators from the three political
parties. He said the issue of past human rights abuses would be
handled by the National Organ on Healing, Integration and Reconciliation.
The Bill passed the committee stage with amendments and thus was
referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee to ascertain if the
adopted amendments did not violate provisions of the constitution
or any other existing legislation.
The major contentious
issue on the Electoral Amendment Bill was a clause stipulating polling
station-based voters registers. This clause had attracted an adverse
report from the Parliamentary Legal Committee in that it violated
voters’ freedoms of choice and movement. MDC-T MPs also argued
that this clause will make it easy for their supporters to be targeted
and thus disenfranchised. The Parliamentary Legal Committee withdrew
its adverse report on the understanding that the Minister of Justice
and Legal Affairs would amend the clause so that the voting would
be ward-based. However, this compromise will only apply specifically
to the forthcoming elections. Future elections will be polling-station
based. The Bill went through its second reading yesterday and awaits
committee stage on Thursday this week.
of Justice and Legal Affairs, Senator Chinamasa, suspended Standing
Orders regarding the stages of bills in the House in respect of
the two aforementioned Bill in order to expedite their passage.
Proceedings in The Senate:
of Motion on Measures to Curb Effects of Drought
wound up and withdrew her motion urging government to take immediate
steps to curb the effects of drought and climatic change in the
country, especially in region V.
of the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in
persons, especially Women and Children
The Senate approved
ratification of the UN
Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in persons,
especially Women and Children. The Home Affairs Co-Minister,
Hon. Theresa Makone introduced the motion in the Senate following
its adoption by the House of Assembly on 21 June 2012 before parliament
for a 3-week break. Hon. Chief Charumbira also spoke in favour of
the motion but queried the delay in bringing the Protocol to Parliament.
Chief Charumbira also spoke on the need to investigate the root
causes of the problem and attitude of the victims involved. In addition,
He also questioned the quality of passports (and other identification
documents) that are specifically mentioned in the Protocol and the
role of government agents in facilitating human trafficking, e.g.
at boarders. Co-Minister Makone responded by informing the Senate
that the Ministry would soon be tabling a bill to domesticate the
Protocol and invited debate on those and other issues when the bill
was tabled in the Senate. She also indicated that the Ministry was
working on e-passports that she expected to be ready for issue before
the forthcoming elections.
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