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of Assembly passed Constitution Bill, now transmitted to Senate
- Bill Watch 13/2013
May 14, 2013
Are Sitting this Week
May the House of Assembly Passed the New Constitution Bill
The House of
Assembly spent most of last week on the Constitution of Zimbabwe
Amendment (No. 20) Bill, 2013. The Bill was passed, with amendments,
by the necessary two thirds majority and transmitted to the Senate,
which will deal with it on Tuesday 14th May. Constitution Watch
27/2012 traces the Bill’s passage through the House in detail,
from its First Reading on 7th May, through Second Reading on 8th
May, to Committee Stage and Third Reading on 9th May.
Parliamentary Business Conducted: 7th to 9th May
Bills [all available
After the First
Reading of the New Constitution Bill on 7th May, Finance Minister
Tendai Biti delivered his Second Reading speeches for three major
Bills from his Ministry, in the following order:
Debate on all
three Bills was adjourned, until 14th May for the Microfinance Bill
and Securities Amendment Bill, and until 5th June for the Income
Tax Bill. The sitting ended early, with no attempt to tackle the
sixteen other items on the agenda.
Apart from passing
a resolution allowing the fast-tracking
of the New Constitution Bill, passing the Bill and hearing the
Minister of Finance’s three Second Reading speeches, the House
conducted no other business at all. Question Time and other Private
Members’ Business on Wednesday were trumped by the Second
Reading proceedings on the New Constitution Bill, which lasted until
the end of the afternoon’s sitting. The House rose at 4 pm
on Monday, 6.20 pm on Wednesday and 4.55 pm on Thursday.
There were no
Bills for the Senate to deal with. Those who had hoped the New Constitution
Bill would reach the Senate, and be passed by it before the end
of the week, were disappointed.
The Senate used
its time to conclude debate on, and approve, both motions on its
agenda: the Vice-President Nkomo condolence motion; and the vote
of thanks to the President for his speech opening the current Parliamentary
The only question
on the Order Paper was carried forward to 16th May [see below].
On the Agenda
for Parliament this Coming Week
Items 5 and
6 on the Order Paper for Tuesday 14th May are the adjourned Second
Reading debates on the Microfinance Bill and the Securities Amendment
Bill. [The House’s Portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance,
Economic Planning and Investment Promotion is due to hear evidence
on both these Bills on Monday morning – see Bill
Watch – Parliamentary Committee Series 9/2013 of 11th
May. The Portfolio Committee on Small and Medium Enterprises will
be considering the Microfinance Bill on Tuesday morning.]
Bill Item 18 on the Order Paper is Hon Gonese’s motion for
leave to be granted to him to bring in a Bill to repeal section
121(3) of the Criminal
Procedure and Evidence Act.
Agreements for Approval
seek approval of four international agreements in terms of section
111B of the current Constitution:
Relating to the Madrid Agreement concerning the International
Registration of Marks [Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs]
of the International Renewal Energy Agency [IRENA] [Minister of
Energy and Power Development]
- United Nations
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and the
Optional Protocol to the Convention [Minister of Labour and Social
Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally
Displaced Persons in Africa [“the Kampala Convention”]
[Minister of Labour and Social Services].
New motion on
voter registration Item 8 on the Order Paper is a motion proposed
by Settlement Chikwinya of MDC-T that calls on the Minister of Justice
and Legal Affairs to restart the current much-criticised mobile
voter registration exercise for a period of not less than 30 days
in each ward countrywide; on the Minister of Finance to fund the
programme; and on Parliament’s Committee on Standing Rules
and Orders to constitute a Parliamentary committee to investigate
the adequacy of the current exercise and report back to Parliament.
on a large number of motions await completion, including:
motions for the late Vice-President Landa John Nkomo and the late
Deputy Minister Seiso Moyo
- motion of
thanks to the President for his speech opening the present Parliamentary
on Portfolio Committee reports on subjects ranging from remuneration
of Government workers to the state of residential care institutions
- other member’s
motions, including one on the need for official recognition of
the historical significance of prisons where nationalist leaders
were detained before Independence; and a suggestion to dissolve
the Sports and Recreation Commission in order to permit the improvement
of Zimbabwean athletes in all sporting disciplines.
on Wednesday - 26 written questions with notice await responses
Bill - This is the only item listed for Tuesday 14th May. It is
expected to be fast-tracked.
No motions are
The only question
listed so far calls for a response from the Minister of Mines and
Mining Development to concerns expressed about haphazard mining
activities at Benson Mine in Mudzi district.
Legal Committee [PLC]
Votes and Proceedings for 7th and 8th May recorded that the PLC
has submitted non-adverse reports on all statutory instruments published
during the months of November and December 2012, and February and
April, 2013. Reports for January and March statutory instruments
have not yet been submitted.
Bid to Unseat Five Parliamentarians
Early in April
the Secretary-General of the MDC led by Professor Welshman Ncube
gave written notice to the Speaker of the House of Assembly and
the President of Senate, in terms of section 41(1)(e) of the Constitution,
that five former members of the party, elected to constituency seats
under its banner in 2008, have ceased to represent its interests
in Parliament, having been expelled from the party. Section 41(1)(e)
provides that when such notice is given, the Parliamentary seats
concerned automatically become vacant. So far Parliament has not
acted on the letters – all five Parliamentarians [three House
of Assembly members and two Senators] were in their respective Houses
when Parliament resumed on 7th May. The Speaker said last week that
he was still waiting for feedback from consultations.
Court Hearing on Matabeleland By-Elections Case Still Awaited
On 16th April
the Chief Justice granted urgent status to an appeal by the three
former MDC MPs Bhebhe, Mpofu and Mguni against Judge-President Chiweshe’s
decision in the High Court releasing President Mugabe from having
to comply with the Supreme Court’s 2012 order to hold by-elections
in three Matabeleland House of Assembly constituencies formerly
held by the appellants. But the appeal has not yet been set down
for hearing even though the record of the High Court proceedings
was received at the Supreme Court two weeks ago.
of 26th April and 3rd and 10th May
increases and contributions/deductions
SI 61/2013 increases
pensions and insurable earnings, effective 1st June 2013.
SI 62/2013 increases
workers’ compensation payments, effective 1st August 2013.
SI 51/2013 deals
with motor industry wages for the period January to June 2013.
SI 55/2013 deals
with agricultural industry [timber sector] wages.
SI 57/2013 to
59/2013 deal with wages and allowances for workers of welfare and
educational institutions from 1st May 2009 to 31st December 2012.
SI 60/2013 deals
with wages and allowances for workers of welfare and educational
institutions for 2013.
SI 50/2013 re-enacts
the existing rebates of duty for the National Railways of Zimbabwe
and Air Zimbabwe.
SI 54/2013 lists
long-term suspensions of customs duties for three mines –
Aco Mining Ventures, Hongji Mineral Development and Yaron Goldenstone
SI 52/2013 enacts
new rents and service and supplementary charges for Gokwe Town Council’s
SI 53/2013 sets
out new licence fees for shop and business licences issued by the
Gokwe Town Council.
notice of acquisition under Mines and Minerals Act
notifies the Government’s intention to acquire for urban development
1057 hectares making up Remaining Extent of Saturday Retreat Estate
near Harare. Objections and compensation claims must be lodged on
or before 20th May.
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