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on Parliamentary business - Bill Watch 9/2013
March 10, 2013
have adjourned until Tuesday 7th May
Update on Parliamentary
of Vacancies in ZEC and ZHRC Chairs
It was announced
on 18th and 19th February that Justice Rita Makarau and Mr Jacob
Mudenda had been nominated as the new chairpersons of the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission and the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission respectively.
The selection was by agreement among the so-called “principals”
President Mugabe, Prime Minister Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister
Mutambara [but MDC’ s President Welshman Ncube was not consulted
although under the GPA
the three party leaders should agree.]
Under the Constitution
the President cannot legally finalise either appointment until both
the Judicial Service Commission [JSC] and the Parliamentary Committee
on Standing Rules and Orders [CSRO] have been consulted.
The JSC met
within days of the announcement. But the CSRO has not yet met because
it has not been possible to arrange a quorate meeting as so many
of its members are going about the country promoting the Yes vote
for the Referendum. CSRO chairperson, Speaker of the House of Assembly
Lovemore Moyo has therefore circulated the names of the two nominees
to all CSRO members asking for their views in the hope of being
able to give a response to the President without a full meeting.
MDC leader Welshman
Ncube is challenging both proposed appointments and insisting on
a proper CSRO meeting. The Speaker, however said he was still waiting
for responses to from members and that an early CSRO meeting might
be difficult to arrange. This makes it unlikely that Justice Makarau
will be able to assume office at ZEC before the Referendum on 16th
March. [Note: When appointments have to be made “after consultation
with” the CSRO, this means the President has to consult, but
is not bound by the advice or opinion given by the body consulted
although he must carefully consider the advice or opinion before
Amendment Bill on Hold
Mr Gonese has
confirmed that he is considering tabling a motion in the House of
Assembly asking that the Bill, as passed by the House in December
2010, be sent to the President for assent, despite the Senate’s
rejection of his motion to revive the Bill and consequential failure
to pass the Bill. [Note: This procedure is permitted by the Constitution,
Schedule 4, paragraph 3, which sets out what can be done by the
House when the Senate either rejects a Bill passed by the House
or has not passed it within 90 days of its introduction into the
Senate. If Mr Gonese goes ahead this would be the first use of this
special procedure.] Nothing further can be done until Parliament
sits again, when there are likely to be other issues clamouring
for the House of Assembly’s attention.
Youth Council (General) Regulations [SI 4/2013]: Update
Legal Committee [PLC] adverse report - The PLC’s adverse report
on these regulations was not presented to the Senate before it adjourned
until 7th May. So further Parliamentary developments will have to
wait until then. In the meantime interested parties are free to
go to court to challenge the validity of the regulations if so advised
by their lawyers. [The adverse report is not available until tabled
in the Senate.]
Adjourned until Tuesday 7th May
After the sittings
covered in Bill Watch
8/2013, both Houses sat only once – on Tuesday 26th February
– before adjourning until 7th May. The reasons given for the
call for MPs and Senators to join the publicity campaign to make
the COPAC draft
known to the people before the Referendum and also to urge
their constituents to vote YES
- an apparent
lack of urgent Government business to place before Parliament.
The Speaker has said that he received no response from the Prime
Minister when he wrote to him, in his capacity as Leader of Government
Business in Parliament, to enquire whether the Government had
any business requiring Parliament’s urgent attention.
Referendum duties will be completed by the 16th March, unless the
polling date is extended at the last moment.
are Bills outstanding and motions and questions carried forward
from the last session of Parliament – and there should be
legislative reforms before the election. Is too much business being
left for Parliament to tackle later, in addition to adopting the
new Constitution before the elections?]
In timing the
long adjournment, Parliamentary authorities have obviously calculated
that with Referendum result probably taking the full 5 days allowed
for their announcement by ZEC; and taking a YES vote for granted;
and with Easter falling on the weekend the 29th March to 1st April
and Independence Day on the 18th April; and with the Constitution
Bill having to be gazetted for 30 days before it can be introduced
in Parliament, it will probably not be necessary for Parliament
to sit to consider the new Constitution until 7th May.
Note: the Houses
can be recalled by Speaker or Senate President at the request of
President Mugabe, whatever the result of the Referendum. A possible
reason for recall would be a Government decision to press on with
the three Ministry of Finance bills awaiting Second Reading [see
on 26th February
The House sat
from 2.15 pm to 6.34 pm.
Bills [all available
There was no
progress on the three Ministry of Finance Bills awaiting the Second
Reading stage, all of which have therefore been carried forward
to the next sitting on 7th May:
The House approved
the United Nations Convention for the Suppression of the Financing
of Terrorism at the request of Home Affairs Co-Minister Mohadi.
His brief explanation of the Convention and the need for Zimbabwe
to be a party to it was accepted without opposition or debate [Full
text of Convention available from email@example.com].
of thanks to the President for his speech opening the Session
several substantial contributions to this debate. Subjects raised
included political violence past and present; the state of the country’s
roads; police roadblocks [an MP suggested renaming the police force
the Zimbabwe Roadblock Police]; and hunger and drought relief programmes.
report on Shabanie Mashava Mines [SMM] The chairperson of the Portfolio
Committee on Mines and Energy, Hon Chindori-Chininga wound up the
revived debate on the Committee’s report. He expressed the
Committee’s disappointment that the two Ministers criticised
in the report [Justice and Legal Affairs, and Mines and Mining Development]
had not responded to the report’s findings and recommendations,
although obliged to do so by House Standing Order 168. This criticism
was backed up by a suggestion that the Standing Order be tightened
up to provide for punishment of offending Ministers. Mr Chindori-Chininga
also criticised backbenchers for failing to contribute to the debate
on the report.
following death of Deputy Minister Seiso Moyo There were also several
contributions to the debate on this motion, which will continue
when the House returns.
not taken because the House did not sit on the appointed day, Wednesday
The Senate sat
for only 24 minutes before adjourning.
Bills - There
were no Bills for consideration.
There were brief
contributions to the debates on the vote of thanks to the President
for his speech opening the current Session, and to the Vice-President
Landa John Nkomo condolence motion.
did not take place because the Senate did not sit on the appointed
day, Thursday 28th February.
the short sitting hours and the small amount of work done by the
Senate during this Parliament, it could be questioned why the new
Constitution is providing for a Senate.
Gazettes: 1st to 8th March
[NOT available from Veritas unless stated to be available]
and Election issues
SI 26/2013 [gazetted
1st March] contains the new Referendum Regulations, and replaces
the regulations of 2000.
[gazetted 6th March] contains regulations setting accreditation
fees payable by observers at the Referendum and at elections [gazetted
6th March]. [Both available from firstname.lastname@example.org]
New mining fees
SI 29/2013 [gazetted 8th March] repeals the controversial mining
fees that were fixed by SI 11/2012 and drew an adverse report from
the Parliamentary Legal Committee [PLC] and protests from the mining
sector and replaces it with a new schedule of fees. [It is extraordinary
that it has taken the Government a year to react to the PLC’s
practitioners fees for conveyancing
SI 24/2013 [gazetted
1st March] sets new Law Society (Conveyancing Fees) By-laws.
suspension and rebate
SI 27/2013 [gazetted
8th March] grants suspensions of duty on goods for listed mining
locations for two or three years.
SI 30/2013 [gazetted
8th March] amends the regulations granting customs duty rebates
for electrical manufacturers.
agreement SI 28/2013 [gazetted 8th March] sets out an agreement,
signed on 30th August 2012, settling rates of pay for the mining
industry for 2011 and 2012
SI 25/2013 [gazetted
1st March] sets out the Mangwe Rural District Council sand extraction
rights – proposed compulsory acquisition by State
In GN 123/2013
[gazetted 1st March] the President gives preliminary notice of the
State’s intention to expropriate, under section 398 of the
Mines and Minerals Act, “part of the land held by Zimplats
Holdings Ltd under Special Mining Lease Number 1 for the utilisation
of such mining location for the benefit of the public”. The
area concerned is described by a long list of map grid references
and by reference to a map of the area available for inspection at
the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development. As the Mines and Minerals
Act applies the Land Acquisition Act procedure to this sort of expropriation,
persons wishing to object to the acquisition are given 30 days from
1st March to lodge objections with the Minister of Mines and Mining
Development; and claims for compensation in terms of section 22
of the Land Acquisition Act are invited. If the acquisition is contested,
the State will have to apply to the Administrative Court for confirmation
of the acquisition; and the court may refuse to confirm the acquisition
unless satisfied that the acquisition is “reasonable necessary”
for the stated purpose. Disputes over compensation must likewise
be decided by the Administrative Court.
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