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Parliamentary Roundup Bulletin No. 12 - 2013
Southern African Parliamentary Support Trust
June 12, 2013

Introduction

There was not much business conducted by both Houses of Parliament in yesterday’s sitting, save for the tabling of two reports in the House of Assembly. During the course of the week, the issue of election preparations took centre stage in Parliament as the Registrar General of Voters, Mr. Tobaiwa Mudede and the Chairperson of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, Justice Rita Makarau appeared separately before parliamentary committees to give an update on the constitutionally mandatory mobile voter registration currently underway.

House of Assembly

Debate on the Fourth Quarter Budget Performance Report of the Ministry of Local Government.

The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Local Government, Rural and Urban Development, Hon. Lynette Karenyi presented the Committee’s report on the 4th Quarter Budget Performance of the Ministry of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development for the year ended 2012. She noted that the report was in line with the provisions of the Public Finance Management Act, which compels every ministry to table its quarterly budget performance report to a relevant portfolio committee.

The report noted that the ministry was originally allocated US$88.3 million which was later revised downwards to US$28.9 during the course of the year. She said this had an adverse impact on the ministry’s service delivery. The cut in budgetary allocations was further affected by delays in release of funds by the treasury. [Electronic Copy of the Report is available on Request] Debate on Report on Access to Financial Resources for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Zimbabwe

The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Small and medium Enterprises, Hon. Reggie Moyo presented the Committee’s report on the access to financial resources by Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Zimbabwe. He said the SMEs sector in Zimbabwe played a critical role in economic growth and development, and eradication of poverty. Its contribution to the GDP, demanded prioritization in terms of financial support from both the fiscus and the private sector. However, the Committee observed that the SMEs sector was grossly underfunded as most of it was owner-capitalized. [Electronic Copy of the Report is available on Request]

Senate Plenary

The Senate only sat for 15 minutes and immediately adjourned after prayers and announcements from the Chair without debating any one of the items on the Order Paper.


Portfolio Committee on Defence and Home Affairs

The Registrar General of Voters, Mr. Tobaiwa Mudede appeared before the Committee on Monday 10 June 2013 to brief Members on the Mobile Voter Registration currently underway. He was accompanied by the Permanent Secretary of Home Affairs, Mr. Melusi Matshiya. The 30-day intensive voter registration is provided for in the new Constitution. However, Mr. Mudede informed the Committee that due to financial constraints, he was not able to conduct a ward-based 30-day voter registration exercise as directed by the provisions of the new Constitution. Hence his department decided to conduct a district-based voter registration exercise with the limited resources. He said their calculations had shown that they would require $104 million if the exercise was ward-based; $94 million if it was constituency-based and $33 million if it was district-based.

Mr. Mudede told the Committee that the initial voter registration exercise which ended on 19 May 2013 was severely hampered by resource constraints. He said his department had requested $13 million from treasury in January 2013 but was only allocated $4 million, despite treasury’s undertaking of $8 million. As a result his department was not able to purchase all the required equipment such as vehicles, cameras etc to ensure that all the 1958 wards in the country were covered.

He also revealed to the Committee that the inspection of the voters roll was happening concurrently with the registration of voters.

Regarding the controversial issue of aliens and citizenship, Mr. Mudede said there were various categories of aliens who included refugees, those from the SADC region, those without any documents, those who needed to confirm their citizenship, and those that required documents to confer them citizenship. He said his office would during this exercise deal with that category of aliens that were catered for in the new Constitution. Other categories that required undergoing the immigration procedures under the relevant department would have to seek assistance through district offices and not the mobile registration centres. Refugees, for instance, fell into this latter category, as well as those without any form of identification. Zimbabweans who had renounced Zimbabwean citizenship also had to go through the procedures under the Immigration Act.

Mr. Mudede categorically denied accusations that his department had deleted names of bona fide voters. He said the information technology system they were using was fool-proof and that there was an audit trail for any transaction, making it impossible to delete names willy-nilly.

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