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New Parliament session - date not yet announced - Bill Watch 40/2012
Veritas
August 28, 2012

Both Houses of Parliament have adjourned until Tuesday 4th September

No Date Yet for Ceremonial Opening of Next Session

There has still been no announcement of a date for the official ceremonial opening of the next Parliamentary session. As only seven days remain before the end of the present Parliamentary recess on Tuesday 4th September, an announcement should be made soon.

Any further delay in commencing the new session will make it difficult for Parliament to keep to the very tight schedule carefully planned for the remainder of the year – which must accommodate the customary recess of about two weeks to consider the implications of the President’s Speech, the time-consuming run-up to the presentation of the Budget in November, Bills to be passed and other business. Toward the end of the year there are also customary recesses for party congresses, etc. which eat into the working time before Christmas.

At the opening ceremony the President’s Speech will outline Government’s policy and legislative intentions for whole of the next session of Parliament. This session – the Fifth Session of the current Seventh Parliament of Zimbabwe – will be the last before the next elections are held. The Speech should therefore give an indication of when the draft Constitution, the Referendum and essential pre-election reforms will take place.

The President’s Speech is essentially a collective Cabinet presentation, but the President has the final say on content. It is compiled in the President’s Office, under the supervision of the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, from contributions submitted by every Ministry. Well ahead of the anticipated opening date Ministries are called on to submit their suggested input on their highlights/achievements over the past year and what they wish to do in the year ahead, including the Bills they want to take to Parliament.

SADC Facilitation Team Coming

President Zuma’s facilitation team [Lindiwe Zulu, Charles Ngaqula and Mac Maharaj] is expected back in Harare for a two-day visit on Tuesday 28th and Wednesday 29th August to follow up on the resolutions of the SADC Summit in Maputo on 18th August.

Included in the Summit’s resolutions on Zimbabwe was the decision that “if there are any difficulties with regard to the Constitution and implementation of agreements, the Facilitator should be called upon to engage with the parties and assist them resolve such issues, bearing in mind the timeframes and the necessity to hold free and fair elections”.

The facilitation team’s first task will be to assist with the impasse on the Constitution following ZANU-PF’s presentation of its own re-draft of the COPAC draft constitution, the outraged refusal by both MDCs to countenance further constitutional negotiations and the ZANU-PF Politburo’s re-affirmation of its re-draft at a special meeting a few days ago, on Saturday 25th August.

President Mugabe at NAM Summit in Iran

President Mugabe left Harare on 26th August to attend the Non-Aligned Movement Summit in Iran. The Summit is scheduled to run until 31st August.

By-Elections

There has still not been a Presidential notice fixing dates for the three long overdue Matabeleland by-elections in response to the Supreme Court’s order of 12th July. 31st August was the deadline given by the Supreme Court for the gazetting of a notice, so if the President intends to comply with the court’s order, there are only a few days left in which to do so.

So far, apart from general remarks in Parliament by Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs Patrick Chinamasa confirming the Government’s respect for the rule of law and for the courts, there has been no official reaction to the Supreme Court’s order. If the three Matabeleland by-elections are to be held, in principle the many other overdue Parliamentary and local authority by-elections, although not directly affected by the Supreme Court’s order, should also be held. But, the first priority would seem to be to respect the court order over the three Matabeleland constituencies – there are only four days left for a notice to be gazetted calling for these, after which the President will be in contempt of court.

Status of Bills

[no changes since Bill Watch 39/2012 of 20th August]

[Bills available from veritas@mango.zw unless otherwise stated]

Passed Bills being prepared for Presidential assent before gazetting as Acts

Bill gazetted and awaiting presentation in Parliament

  • Securities Amendment Bill [Gazetted on 10th August 2012. See above.]

Bill being printed for gazetting before presentation [not yet available]

  • Micro-Finance Bill [expected to be gazetted on 31st August]

Bill approved by Cabinet, but not yet in the Parliamentary Pipeline

  • Income Tax Bill – mentioned by the Minister of Finance in his Mid-Year Fiscal Policy Review

Government Gazette of 24th August

[copies not available]

Statutory Instruments

Collective bargaining agreement SI 138/2012 replaces the existing provision for monthly levies payable to the Motor Industry National Employment Council by workers and employers in the industry.

Customs Agreement with Botswana SI 136/2012 sets out an agreement between Zimbabwe and Botswana amending the existing agreements of 1956 and 1988. It will come into force on a date still to be announced, after completion of internal approval processes in both countries.

Trade Agreement with Namibia SI 137/2012 sets out an agreement signed in Harare on 28th October 2009. It amends the existing trade agreement between the parties with effect from 24th August 2012.

General Notices

Government Financial Statements - Published with this Government Gazette are the monthly financial statements for May and June 2012, and the consolidated statement for the quarter April to June.

Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied

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