Back to Index
and Electoral Amendment Bills passed, by-elections discussed - Bill
July 22, 2012
Houses of Parliament
will continue sitting on Tuesday 24th July
Key Bills Passed
– Awaiting President’s Signature
This Bill, passed
by the House of
Assembly with amendments on 12th July, went through all its
stages in the Senate on 19th July and was passed without further
amendment. It now needs to be assented to by the President and then
gazetted as an Act before it can become law.
This Bill was
passed by the House of Assembly with amendments on 17th July. It
also went through all its stages in the Senate on 19th July and
was passed without further amendment. As with the Zimbabwe Human
Rights Commission Bill, this Bill, too, needs to be assented to
by the President and then gazetted before it becomes law.
will be need for further amendments to the Electoral
Act to bring it in line with the new constitution, for example,
to give effect to new constitutional provisions on matters such
as proportional representation in the election of Senators.
of Supreme Court By-Elections Decision
In the Senate
on 19th July, Justice and Legal Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa,
who is the Minister responsible for electoral matters, was questioned
about the Supreme Court’s decision of 12th July ordering the
President to call three long-delayed by-elections in Matabeleland.
He made the following points:
- the rule
of law requires the Government to respect the decisions of the
courts and to abide by the judgment
- one implication
of the decision is that there should not be by-elections in these
three constituencies only, because the Government also has to
face the prospect of holding by-elections to fill the other Parliamentary
vacancies. He said “in total we have about 38 “vacancies”.
But he also said “I will need to verify the exact figure”.
In addition, referring to the numerous vacancies on local authority
councils, he said Zimbabwe’s harmonised election system
means that it will be necessary to also “fill the vacancies
in the local authorities”.
- he was still
exploring the full implications of the decision and what it means
for a “cash-strapped Government”.
falls short of an undertaking or promise that by-elections will
be held in all the vacant constituencies, or even in the three constituencies
directly affected by the Supreme Court’s order.
Overestimated Number of Constituency Vacancies
will find when he checks with Parliament that that his figure of
about 38 constituency vacancies is an overestimate. A recent figure
Veritas obtained from Parliament was 28. Parliamentary officials
are checking the record and Veritas will shortly issue a bulletin
which will contain full details, verified with Parliament, of all
the vacant seats and which party won them in the last election.
The House sat
on Tuesday 17th and Wednesday 18th July only.
Bill - This was passed on 17th July and transmitted to the Senate
[see note at the beginning of this bulletin].
Policy Review Statement
- Minister of Finance Tendai Biti presented this statement on Wednesday
18th July. In terms of Parliamentary procedure, the statement is
delivered in support of the Minister’s motion seeking the
leave of the House to bring in a Bill “to make further provision
for the revenues and public funds of Zimbabwe”. In a presentation
lasting almost two hours, which included use of video equipment
to screen charts and tables, the Minister said that:
- the austerity
measures he would be outlining were agreed to at a special Cabinet
meeting on 14th June
so far this year had fallen well below targets, meaning that the
would have to be revised downwards from $4 billion to $3.640 billion,
which would affect all Ministries
- local production
and industry would be encouraged by changes to customs duties
on such items as wheat flour, effective 1st August
of products for VAT purposes would be rationalised
- excise duty
on diesel and petrol would go up, but was not expected to lead
to an increase in retail prices for the products oil producer
prices had come down
- new mining
fees would be announced in an attempt to encourage new entrants
into the mining sector
retention by Ministries and departments would be reviewed
on official foreign travel was disproportionately high and needs
to be “managed downwards”.
On the legislative
side the Minister referred to the forthcoming new Income Tax Act,
the Bill for which had already been approved by the Cabinet Committee
on Legislation and could now be printed and gazetted ahead of its
introduction in the House of Assembly. He also said that Public
Finance Management Regulations would soon be gazetted.
At the end of
his speech the Minister tabled the 2012 Amended Estimates of Expenditure
[the “Blue Book”] reflecting the proposed downward revision
of the 2012 Budget. The House then adjourned until Tuesday 24th
July, when it will debate the Minister’s statement and consider
the Amended Estimates of Expenditure, and then move on to pass the
two associated Bills needed to give effect to his proposals –
the Finance Bill and the Appropriation (2012) Amendment Bill [both
Bills available from email@example.com].
[See outline of Finance Bill below.]
of the respective Portfolio Committees presented committee reports
on the State of Tertiary Institutions in Zimbabwe; on challenges
in the Education Sector; and on a visit to China by the Portfolio
Committee on Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International
Trade [copies available from firstname.lastname@example.org].
was replaced by the Minister of Finance’s Fiscal Policy Review
- On Thursday 19th July the Senate passed, without amendment, the
three Bills received from the House of Assembly at the beginning
of the week:
Human Rights Commission Bill [see note at the beginning of this
Persons Bill [passed by the House without amendments on 12th
Amendment Bill [see note at the beginning of this bulletin].
The Bills now
need to be assented to by the President and then gazetted as Acts
before they can become law.
Legal Committee Adverse Reports on statutory instruments
The Senate did
not continue with its discussion on these seventeen reports, so
these agenda items have been carried forward to the 24th July.
The Senate approved
Senator Makore’s motion calling on the Government to clear
the Public Service payroll of ghost workers.
of Labour and Social Welfare answered several questions about food
relief, the grain loan scheme, and beggars in cities. The Minister
of Justice and Legal Affairs was asked about the way the police
deal with spot fines and gave an impromptu reply outlining in some
detail what the law says on the subject. Points he made included
- spot fines
are legal and constitutional
- the maximum
spot fine per offence is $20 [a level 3 fine]
- spot fines
are for use only for petty crimes where guilt is admitted by the
offender – a crime warranting a fine of more than $20 should
be taken to court
- if the offender
cannot pay on the spot, he or she can insist on paying at the
nearest police station
of all spot fines imposed are submitted to a magistrate to be
reviewed, as a check to ensure police are acting within the law
- the Ministry
of Justice and Legal Affairs supports the proper use of the spot
fine system because it helps to counter congestion of the court
system by large numbers of petty cases in which guilt is admitted.
is often not realised by members of the public is that the signing
of an admission of guilt form, and payment of the spot fine requested,
results in the offender being convicted of the offence concerned
by the magistrate who reviews the form – section 356 of the
and Evidence Act.]
makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take
legal responsibility for information supplied
Please credit www.kubatana.net if you make use of material from this website.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless stated otherwise.