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Member's Bills nullified: Parliament adjourned until 4 June - Bill
May 30, 2013
House of Assembly
and Senate adjourned until Tuesday 4th June
Court Nullifies Private Member’s Urban Councils Amendment
In a judgment
dated 20th May the Supreme Court unanimously declared that the introduction
of the Urban Councils
Amendment Bill was null and void. [Judgment available from firstname.lastname@example.org]
[See details of case in Court Watch]
on other MDC-T Private Member’s Bills
adversely affects both the other Private Member’s Bills that
have been initiated by MDC-T Chief Whip Innocent Gonese: the Bill
to repeal section 121(3) of the Criminal
Procedure and Evidence Act and the POSA
Amendment Bill. Both must now be dropped.
Adverse Reports from Parliamentary Legal Committee
on three statutory instruments were tabled in the Senate on 21st
May [available from email@example.com]:
Youth Council Regulations [SI 4/2013] [The PLC’s unsurprising
conclusion is that the regulations are ultra vires the parent
Act in a number of important respects.]
- Mangwe Rural
District Council (Sand Extraction) By-laws [SI 25/2013] [The PLC
finds the by-laws to be unconstitutional because they contain
a provision stating that a person convicted of a breach of the
by-laws is liable to a penalty stipulated by the rural district
council rather than a penalty decided by the court – an
interference with judicial independence inconsistent with section
18 of the Declaration of Rights.]
- Mining (General)
(Amendment) Regulations [SI 29/2013] [Last year the PLC reported
adversely on the SI that this SI replaced. Its adverse report
on the present SI is based on two findings: that it is ultra vires,
because the Minister of Mines and Mining Development has gone
beyond the regulation-making powers conferred on him by the Mines
and Minerals Act; and that it is also unconstitutional because
“it contains matters that are more appropriate for parliamentary
enactment” and are therefore in violation of Standing Order
201(1), “which was duly made in terms of the Constitution
the Government take more notice of the adverse report on SI 29 than
it did of the adverse report on its predecessor?
sat on 21st and 22nd May only. While Parliamentarians had a relatively
relaxed week, attention was focused elsewhere – on the signing
and gazetting on 22nd May of the Act for the new Constitution [see
Constitution Watch 29/2013 of 22nd May].
House of Assembly
Bills - No Bills
were dealt with.
On 21st May,
after two brief contributions to the debate, the House approved
the vote of thanks to the President for his speech opening the Session.
voter registration exercise
The House then
continued debating Hon Chikwinya’s motion on the just-ended
voter registration exercise – which called for a repeat exercise,
this time with proper notice to the public and adequate funding,
of the just-ended mobile voter registration exercise. ZANU-PF Chief
Whip Joram Gumbo said the motion was “meaningful” and
supported by all sides of the House. In winding up the debate Hon
Chikwinya read into the record, and commended to his colleagues,
the resolution passed earlier in the day by a meeting of civil society
organisations which stressed the need for a new and far more efficient
voter registration exercise [resolution available from firstname.lastname@example.org].
The House approved the motion without opposition. [Note: A new countrywide
registration exercise at ward level is due to start on 3rd June,
as required by paragraph 6 of the Sixth Schedule to the new Constitution,
a provision that is already in operation – although the problem
of funding does not seem to have been resolved.]
Time [Wednesday 22nd May]
During the hour
allotted, Deputy Prime Minister Mutambara and a few Ministers fielded
questions on Government policies. Topics raised included:
- Voter registration
DPM Mutambara waxed eloquent on voter registration, maintaining
that we are going to have a bona fide voters roll if two principles
are upheld: (1) “if you were on the voter’s roll in
the year 2008 and you are not dead, you must be afforded the opportunity
to vote if you want to do so; (2) “if you want to register
and you are an eligible voter in our country, we must allow you
the opportunity to register and vote. Now, I am speaking of the
young people who are coming up, who are now eighteen and above.
They were not on the voter’s roll in 2008 because they were
below 18. I am also now talking about the so called aliens who
have been empowered by the new Constitution. These people must
be expeditiously and painlessly enabled to become voters. If we
uphold those two principles, we are going to have a bona fide
education in schools The Minister of Science and Technology, Professor
Dzinotyiwei, told the House that Government policy on science
education calls for scientific-related curriculum content, including
development of ICT skills, to be at least 30% in primary schools
and at least 60% in secondary schools.
- Use of GMO
crops in Zimbabwe Minister Dzinotyiwei, while acknowledging the
strength of the scientific case for GMO crops and the need for
Zimbabwe to move with the times, explained that reservations of
other interested sectors was preventing the adoption of pro-GMO
with notice came next. Only two of the twenty-seven questions on
the Order paper were dealt with before the House adjourned. The
Minister of Water Resources Development and Management reported
on the condition of the washed-away wall of Shagari Dam in Gokwe
district. The Minister of Labour and Social Services explained procedures
for accessing assistance from the Disabled Persons Fund and for
duty-free importation of special equipment for disabled persons.
Bills In the
absence of the Minister of Finance, the two Bills received from
the House of Assembly [Securities Amendment Bill and Microfinance
Bill] were not dealt with.
Agreement Approved - On 22nd May, at the request of the Deputy Minister
of Justice and Legal Affairs the Senate approved the Protocol Relating
to the Madrid Agreement concerning the International Registration
of Marks in terms of section 111B of the current Constitution. The
other three international agreements approved by the House of Assembly
the previous week have not yet been laid before the Senate.
Question Time - There were no motions for discussion. Question Time
did not take place, because the Senate did not sit on Thursday.
In any event, there was only one question listed, a much deferred
one for the Minister of Mines and Mining Development about perilous
conditions prevailing at Benson Mine, Mudzi district.
up in Parliament Next Week
Tax Bill [available from email@example.com],
is due to come up again on 4th June, for continuation of the Second
Reading debate following Finance Minister Biti’s Second Reading
speech on 7th May. No other Government Bills are listed. In preparation
for the debate, the Portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance and Investment
Promotion is holding public hearings on the Bill round the country
from 28th to 31st May [see Bill Watch – Committee Series 12/2013
of 27th May]. The committee’s report will be presented by
its chairperson during the debate.
Bill Hon Gonese’s motion for leave to bring in his Bill to
repeal section 121(3) of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act
is item 11 on the Order Paper but it view of the Supreme Court judgement
[see above] will have to be dropped. [Note this Bill has delayed
for one reason or another for over three years and these tactics
have paid off for the opponents of the reforms recommended in the
on a large number of motions await completion [see Bill Watch 13/2013
of 14th May for a summary]
on Wednesday 25 written questions, most carried forward, await responses
from Ministers. Two of the newer questions highlighted in Bill Watch
16/2013 of 20th May are still on the list: one for the Minister
of Mines and Mining Development about the value of the Government’s
interest in diamond mines in Marange, and related details; and the
other for the Minister of Youth Development, Indigenisation and
Empowerment on the criteria used to select beneficiaries of the
indigenisation programme and a list of all beneficiaries.
The only Bills
on the Order Paper are the two Bills passed by the House of Assembly
two weeks ago: the Microfinance Bill and the Securities Amendment
Bill. The Senate awaits the Minister of Finance’s Second Reading
speeches on both these Bills.
agreement for approval
of Energy and Power Development seeks the Senate’s approval
of the Statute of the International Renewable Energy Agency [IRENA],
in terms of section 111B of the Constitution. This Statute has already
been approved by the House of Assembly.
reports from Parliamentary Legal Committee
The three adverse
PLC reports [see above] are due to be considered by the Senate.
The PLC chairman, Hon Mushonga, will present the reports. If, after
discussion, Senators vote to adopt the adverse report/s, these SIs
will either have to be amended to accommodate the PLC’s objections
– or, if that is not done, will have to be repealed by the
President – unless within 21 sitting days after the Senate’s
adoption of the adverse reports the House of Assembly resolves that
the SIs should not be repealed.
Gazette dated 24th May 2013
Control of firewood,
timber and forest produce
SI 70/2012 retrospectively
– and very belatedly – changes the effective date of
the important main regulations [SI 116/2012] from 2nd July 2012
to 2nd June 2013. There are other minor amendments to the main regulations.
For a note on SI 116/2012 see Bill Watch 28/2012 of 29th June 2012.
SI 73/2013 –
Harare Hawkers By-laws
SI 71/2013 –
Victoria Falls Licensed Premises By-laws
Allied Substances Control
SI 72/2013 enacts
changes to the First Schedule to the main regulations of 1991 which
lists fees payable to the Medicines and Allied Substances Control
makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take
legal responsibility for information supplied
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