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Parliamentary session opened; adjourned to 15th November - Bill
November 08, 2012
Officially Opened the new Parliamentary Session on Tuesday 30th
Houses then Adjourned until Thursday 15th November [Budget Day]
of Fifth and Final Session of Seventh Parliament
opened the fifth and final session of the Seventh Parliament
of Zimbabwe on Tuesday 30th October. Immediately after the ceremony,
both Houses reassembled separately and adjourned until Thursday
15th November. That is the day earmarked for the presentation of
the 2013 Budget by the Minister of Finance.
President’s Speech at the Opening Ceremony
[full text available
speech on this annual occasion gives him an opportunity to highlight
key developments in the previous year and Government intentions
for the year ahead, in particular what Bills the Government plans
to introduce during the session.
likely - President Mugabe started with a warning that the session
is “likely to be an abridged one”. This hint at an early
end to the present Parliament was followed by an unequivocal statement
of the President’s intention that the next elections be held
by the end of March 2013.
party leaders, Mr Tsvangirai and Professor Ncube, have since said
they do not share this intention. Constitutionally, Parliament can
continue until 28th June 2012, and the elections could be as late
as 28th October.
- The President referred to the just-ended COPAC Second All Stakeholders’
Conference on the draft constitution and the need for COPAC to now
“work frantically to produce a Report of the Conference”
to enable progress to be made towards the constitutional
Referendum – and, if the Referendum vote is YES, the introduction
in Parliament of the Bill for the new constitution for it to be
passed into law.
The Bill for
the new constitution will be presented if the Referendum vote is
for new Acts [4 Bills]
Development Fund Bill – to strengthen accountability in
the management of funds allocated to MPs for development in their
constituencies, given experience gained since the CDF was introduced
and the irregularities unearthed by the audit of those funds that
commenced last year.
- Diamond Bill
– to give effect to Zimbabwe’s Diamond Policy, which
has now been agreed and is designed to guide the development of
the local diamond industry. There will be consequential amendments
to the Precious Stones Trade Act.
- State Enterprises
and Parastatals Management Bill – to codify the Corporate
Governance Framework for these bodies.
Negotiating Forum Bill – to set up a legal framework for
the Tripartite Negotiating Forum. This body brings together government,
business and labour in negotiations over key socioeconomic matters.
It was established in 1998 accordance with International Labour
Organisation Convention No. 44. Its success has been limited by
lack of a legal framework.
to amend existing Acts [4 Bills]
Investment Authority Amendment Bill – to enhance Zimbabwe’s
competitiveness as an investment destination.
- Civil Aviation
Amendment Act – to provide for the separation of the Civil
Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe into two entities: the Airports
Management Administration and the Civil Aviation Regulatory Authority.
This will enable Government to better discharge its international
obligations and responsibilities with respect to aviation safety
oversight and security functions.
- Mines and
Minerals Amendment Bill – this long-awaited Bill seeks to
facilitate increased mineral production, provide a more competitive
mining legislative framework, facilitate continuous exploration
and local beneficiation of minerals.
General’s Office Amendment Bill – to amend provisions
in the Attorney General’s Office Act that potentially infringe
upon the independence of that office as enshrined in section 76
of the Constitution.
The principal Act
was gazetted on 10th June 2011 but has not been brought into force.
Presumably it will remain in limbo until this Bill has become
law. Meanwhile members of the Attorney General’s Office
remain part of the Public Service, a situation which is incompatible
with a truly independent Attorney General’s Office.
- The first
2 of these bills were on the President’s legislative agenda
when he opened the Fourth Session in September 2011, but they
were not introduced in Parliament.
- The bill
to amend the Mines and Minerals Act was mentioned when the President
opened the Third Session in 2010, but the Minister of Mines and
Mining Development did not bring it to Parliament.
- The Attorney
General’s Office Amendment Bill is the only new Bill of
This is one
indication of how little of their planned legislative work the Inclusive
Government has actually placed before Parliament. Of the 14
Bills listed in the President’s Speech at the beginning of
the last session, only one – the Electoral
Amendment Bill – was introduced and passed. Those that
were not even introduced included the Referendums Bill, Reserve
Bank Restructuring Bill, Public Health Amendment Bill, Food Control
Bill, Land Developers Bill and Railways Bill – and none of
these is on the President’s list for this session.
agreement for Parliament’s approval
Charter on the Values and Principles of Public Service Administration
will be presented for approval by both Houses in terms of section
111B of the Constitution. This charter was adopted by the AU Summit
in Addis Ababa in January 2011, and it has since been signed by
21 countries but ratified by only 2 of those 21. Zimbabwe has not
signed it. The Charter seeks to improve public service delivery,
combat corruption, protect the rights of citizens as users of public
service and to promote sustainable development on the continent.
remarks on political differences and violence
the President said: “As we look ahead, irrespective of our
political differences, let us continue to be bound together as Zimbabweans,
and to maintain a disciplined focus on the task of developing our
country for the benefit of our current and future generations. Let
us also continue to engender within ourselves the belief that we
are masters of our own destiny and the resolve to jealously guard
our hard-won independence and nationhood, hoisting national unity
as our solid bond. To this end, I wish to appeal to all our leaders,
followers of our Parties and other organisations and stakeholders,
including the media, to adopt the pledge to work genuinely for national
unity and cohesion. Let us all shun violence in all its manifestations
and latent forms, especially as we look forward to our national
Expected Bills Omitted
Bills to amend
or repeal laws that restrict civil liberties:
been expected ever since the inception of the Inclusive Government.
in Persons Bill
In his last
year’s speech the President gave notice of the Government’s
intention not only to accede to the UN Palermo Protocol to Prevent,
Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and
Children, but also to give legal effect to it in domestic law. Also,
when the Senate approved Zimbabwe’s accession to this Protocol
in July, co-Minister of Home Affairs Theresa Makone promised Senators
that she would be back with the Bill this session.
- Income Tax
Bill - This is in fact being printed – the Minister of Finance
had previously told Parliament he wants it passed before the end
of the year.
Two money Bills
to give effect to the 2013 Budget will come up later in the month
– the Appropriation (2013) Bill and the Finance Bill. These
Bills are never referred to in the President’s legislative
agenda because they are part of the normal end-of-the-year Budget
of Bills as at 5th November 2012
on the Agenda for 15th November
There are no
Bills listed on the agenda for either House when Parliament resumes
on 15th November. This is because the Bills left uncompleted at
the end of the last session have lapsed in accordance with Parliamentary
Standing Orders. Any lapsed Bill may, however, be restored to the
agenda if the House of the Assembly or Senate so resolves.
from 4th Session that could be revived
considered by Parliamentary Legal Committee
Bills held up pending Supreme Court decision
Watch 20 and 21
of 15th May 2012]
Bill in Pipeline
Bill [gazetted on 31st August] – ready for presentation
- Income Tax
Bill – being prepared by Government Printer
Gazettes of 26th October and 2nd November
VAT SI 168/2012
makes the changes to the VAT system with effect from 1st August
2012, as promised by the Minister of Finance in his Mid-Year Fiscal
Policy Review Statement. Domestic electricity, soya beans, seed
cotton and white sugar are now zero-rated for VAT purposes.
agreements - SI 169/2012 notifies new wages for the motor industry
for the period July-December 2012. SI 170/2012 sets out complete
conditions of service for the textile industry.
Falls Bridge - SI 171/2012 specifies the fees payable for use of
the bridge by minibuses, buses, heavy vehicles and haulage vehicles,
ranging from $5.00 to $30. Light motor vehicles are not subject
to the toll.
Arbitrators SI 173/2012 contains regulations governing arbitrators
appointed under section 98(6) of the Labour Act to handle disputes.
A code of ethics is included.
by-laws - SI 172/2012 contains by-laws governing the use and conservation
of communal and resettlement land in the Makonde Rural District
- GN 489/2012
notifies the Government’s compulsory acquisition of a 1785-acre
farm in Makonde district, under the special no-objections-allowed
constitutional procedure for taking land for settlement for agriculture.
- GN 490/2012
gives preliminary notice of its intention to acquire, under the
Land Acquisition Act, approximately 1000 hectares on the outskirts
of Harare for urban development; affected parties have the right
in Magistrates Court Jurisdiction in Civil Cases
Watch 49/2012 of 19th October gave notice of SI 163/2012, gazetted
on the 19th October. [SI 163 is now available from email@example.com].
The SI makes changes to the monetary limits on the jurisdiction
of the magistrates court in civil cases. The amounts are as follows:
for cases based on “liquid documents” [e.g. cheques,
promissory notes] the limit is now $5 000 [was $1 000] and for other
cases it is now $10 000 [was $2 000].
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