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Parliament opened and adjourned until Tuesday 24th September - Bill
September 20, 2013
Watch 45/2013 – Ministerial appointments
In Bill Watch
45/2013 we named the wrong Mumbengegwi [Samuel] as Minister of Foreign
Affairs. In fact Simbarashe Mumbengegwi is the Minister of Foreign
Affairs, retaining his previous Cabinet post. Any embarrassment
caused by this error is sincerely regretted.
adjourns to Tuesday 24th September
opened the first session of the Eighth Parliament of Zimbabwe on
Tuesday 17th September amid the pomp and ceremony traditionally
associated with the event. As expected, MDC-T members of Parliament
did not attend the ceremony. The two MDC Senators, however, did
After the ceremony
both Houses reassembled briefly before adjourning for one week.
Business next Tuesday is expected to be confined to starting the
traditional debates on the speech delivered by the President at
President's Legislative agenda for the Session
are not yet gazetted]
Early in his
speech President Mugabe said that Parliament would have the task
of passing Bills of three kinds:
- Bills amending
existing legislation to align it with the new Constitution
- Bill for
new legislation to give legal underpinning to the new structures
and institutions provided for in the new Constitution
six of the twenty-seven Bills the President went on to mention have
anything to do with aligning existing laws with the new Constitution,
or underpinning new constitutional structures and institutions.
And those barely scratch the surface of this complex subject. [See
further comment at the end of this bulletin.]
legislative business from the Seventh Parliament.
The Bills the
President mentioned are listed below, starting with the six Bills
named by him that will give effect to the new Constitution.
Bills to give effect to the New Constitution
Land Commission Bill - This Bill will give legal underpinning to
the establishment of the Zimbabwe Land Commission, and it’s
taking over the tasks and role previously performed by the Agricultural
Land Settlement Board. Sections 296 and 297 of the Constitution
create the Commission and list its functions.
President did not mention Bills for the other new Commissions: the
National Peace and Reconciliation Commission [Constitution, section
251 to 253] and the Zimbabwe Gender Commission [Constitution, sections
245 to 247]. Nor did he refer to the need for new Acts for provincial
and metropolitan councils.
2. Health Services
3. Medical Services
4. Public Health
President said that, “the new Constitution imposes on the
State the obligation to take concrete and reasonable measures to
prevent the spread of diseases and to treat health care as an inalienable
right for every Zimbabwean citizen”. Several Acts would be
urgently amended to reflect this perspective, including the three
Prosecuting Authority Bill - The President said combating corruption
would be bolstered through the establishment of the National Prosecution
Authority as prescribed in the new Constitution which would take
over the functions previously performed by the Criminal Division
of the Attorney General’s Office. Although he did not specifically
mention a Bill, sections 259 and 261 of the Constitution make it
clear that a Bill is essential.
Anti-Corruption Commission Amendment Bill - A Bill is necessary
to aligned existing provisions to the new Constitution. The President
also said that members of the Commission will be required to adhere
to a strict code of ethics and also to publicly declare their personal
is to be hoped that Parliamentarians will find the time and the
will to finalise, adopt and, most importantly, ensure the implementation
of their own Code of Conduct and Ethics, which has been in the Parliamentary
pipeline for over a decade. Adoption of this code will allow implementation
of the declaration of assets provision in Standing Order 19, which
has long been a dead letter in the absence of the Code. Also, declaration
of assets requirements should be enacted for Ministers, judges and
other holders of important public offices.
Bills listed in the President’s speech
subheadings are by Veritas].
to mobilise funding for pro-poor economic development initiatives
said that the Government “will, as it prioritises the implementation
of sustainable pro-poor economic development initiatives hinged
on the consolidation of macro-economic stability, effect the revival
of key sectors of agriculture, mining, tourism and manufacturing.
This will require vigorous mobilisation of the requisite funding”.
He listed the following Bills as part of this thrust:
Act Amendment Bill, to strengthen regulation of new forms of banking
And three Bills
designed to “collectively enhance pension and insurance sector
and Provident Funds Amendment Bill
and Pensions Commission Amendment Bill
rights and fair trade
Quality Standards Regulatory Authority Bill
resources for public infrastructure, irrigation and rural development
Two Bills, said
the President, will assist Government in pursuing public-private
partnerships and establishing the Sovereign Wealth Fund “as
vehicles for mobilising resources for the critical programmes of
public infrastructure, irrigation and rural development”:
Wealth Fund Bill
and Minerals Amendment Bills have been in the pipeline for six years
or more but have never been presented to Parliament for enactment.
It seems that a replacement of the current Mines and Minerals Act
is now contemplated.
- Border Posts
Authority Bill - The President said this Bill will facilitate
the efficient movement of all forms of traffic at the country’s
- Road Tolls
Amendment Bill - This Bill will facilitate the takeover of the
collection of toll fees from the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority by
the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration [ZINARA].
Negotiating Forum Bill to facilitate consultation, negotiation
and cooperation among Government, Business and Labour.
- Labour Law
Harmonisation Bill to both harmonise existing labour law and ensure
its alignment with International Labour Organisation Conventions
acceded to by Zimbabwe.
- Bill to
consolidate Occupational Health and Safety legislation and align
it with internationally accepted standards.
Small and Medium Enterprise sector
said the policy framework for this sector is being reviewed to enhance
its employment potential and its capacity to eradicate poverty.
- Bill to
regulate Common Facility Centres These are centres being established
to impart entrepreneurship skills to young unemployed graduates
from higher and tertiary institutions and assist them in starting
up their own businesses.
and Credit Cooperatives Societies Bill
Societies Amendment Bill
- Gwanda State
University of Agricultural Science and Technology Bill
Development Fund Bill - This Bill will regulate the application
of and accounting for money allocated to Parliamentarians for
constituency development. The President promised it would contain
heavy penalties for Parliamentarians found guilty of abusing allocated
in Persons Bill - This Bill will domesticate, incorporate into
Zimbabwe law the Palermo Protocol [the United Nations Protocol
to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially
Woman and Children].
International Conventions for approval
111B of its predecessor, section 327 of the Constitution requires
most international agreements to be approved by Parliament before
they become binding on Zimbabwe. President Mugabe listed the following
international agreements to be brought to Parliament for its approval.
the establishment of:
- the Kavango-Zambezi
Transfrontier Conservation Park
- the Greater
Mapungubwe Conservation Park
sustainable development and human well-being
agreements aimed at “enhancing the contribution of biodiversity
to sustainable development and human well-being”:
- the Nagoya
Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and Fair and Equitable
Sharing of Benefits arising from their Utilisation
- the Nagoya-Kuala
Lumpur Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress to the
Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety; and
- the Doha
Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol.
on necessary legislative changes not mentioned by the President
It is disappointing
that the President’s speech made only token references to
what needs to be done to align existing legislation with the new
Constitution. Acts that urgently require such alignment, but went
unmentioned by the President, include [the list is far from exhaustive]:
and 35/2013 of 20th,
23rd and 28th August were the first of several planned bulletins
on this subject, and covered some of the Acts referred to above.
Constitution Watch 36/2013 will deal in detail with important changes
needed to the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act to make it compliant
with the Constitution.]
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