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week in Parliament: Senate only sitting this week - Bill Watch 53/2013
October 21, 2013
The Senate will
sit this week
National Assembly will sit again on 5th November
is as it was for Bill
Watch 52 - no Bills are on the agenda in either House, and no
Bills have been sent to the Government Printer to be printed for
presentation in Parliament.
Assembly vacancy: Constitutional Court to hear Kereke challenge
Sitting in chambers
on 16th October the Chief Justice ordered an urgent hearing for
Dr Kereke’s application to nullify the Speaker’s declaration
of a vacancy in his National Assembly seat in terms of section 129(1)(k)
of the Constitution. The case has been set down for hearing in the
Constitutional Court on Wednesday 23rd October. [For the basis of
Dr Kereke’s claim that Zanu-PF was not entitled to invoke
the section against him, see Bill Watch 52/3013 of 15th October.]
2014 Budget - Pre-Budget Seminar at Victoria Falls
The run-up to
the 2014 Budget will start for MPs with their customary Pre-Budget
Seminar, from Thursday 31st October to Sunday 3rd November. The
seminar will take place at the Elephant Hills complex at Victoria
Rules and Orders Committee and other Parliamentary Committees
With its full
membership at last in place following unopposed nominations to fill
the eight backbencher seats, the Standing Rules and Orders Committee
[SROC] had its first meeting on Thursday morning, 17th October.
That afternoon the presiding officers in both Houses announced that
the SROC had appointed the Public Accounts Committee, National Assembly
Portfolio Committees and Senate Thematic Committees. [Veritas will
shortly make members’ names available]
Parliament and SADC Parliamentary Forum
Parliament - On 16th October the following five members were declared
elected unopposed as the Zimbabwe delegation to the Pan-African
Parliament: Hon Chen Chimutengwende, Hon Joram Gumbo, Hon Mupfumire
[all of Zanu-PF], Hon Mashakada [MDC-T] and Hon Chief Charumbira.
Forum - Also on 16th October the following five members were declared
elected unopposed as Parliament’s representatives to the SADC
- Hon. Senator
- Hon Dr. S.
M. Mutsvangwa [all of Zanu-PF];
- Hon. I.
Gonese [MDC-T] and
- Hon. J.
Building Workshops for Women MPs
in Politics Support Group [WIPSU] has organised two capacity
building workshops for women MPs. The workshop for the first group
is from 19th to 21st October at Montclair Hotel in Nyanga.
up in Parliament this eek
started will continue on the motion on the President’s speech
at the opening of Parliament and the take note motion on the report
of the Zimbabwean delegation to the 62nd Session of the Executive
Commission of the African Parliamentary Union [APU] held in Cote
d’Ivoire last month.
All ten written
questions on the Order Paper have been carried forward from either
10th or 17th October because the Ministers concerned were not then
available [see Bill
Watches 51 and 52/2013 of 8th and 15th October]. Senator Mumvuri
has tabled several questions recently, on the following topics:
for civil servants stationed in rural areas - asking the Minister
of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare whether Government
has any plans for such incentives
- Air Zimbabwe
- to ask the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development
for an update about the airline’s current viability and
when it will serve international destinations such as Beijing
education period of learning - to ask the Minister of Primary
and Secondary Education to explain how the primary school period
of learning transitional phase is going to be changed from the
current 7 years to 9 years.
sat on all three sitting days, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday,
with the National Assembly putting in longer than usual hours.
- Debate continued
on the motions on the President’s speech and the report
on the APU meeting in Cote d’Ivoire.
- Are Chinese
miners not entitled to harm environment? - When asked by Chief
Chisunga whether Chinese miners enjoyed special rights to mine
along the Mazoe River without considering environmental concerns,
the Minister of Mines and Mining Development said Government had
learned with utter dismay about what had happened along the Mazowe
River. Nobody should mine on a river. “It does not matter
who they are.” All investors, no matter where from, had
to abide by the country’s laws”.
- ZISCO Steel/ESSAR
situation - The Minister of Industry and Commerce said he hoped
remaining issues would be ironed out by the end of the year.
of minerals, especially platinum, gold and diamonds - The Minister
of Mines and Mining Development said the new Minerals Development
Policy would be presented to Cabinet soon and would form the basis
of a new Mines and Minerals Act that would incorporate provisions
for value addition and beneficiation.
- Role of
NGOs - In his answer to a written question from Senator Mumvuri,
the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare distinguished
between NGOs/private voluntary organisations that have to register
under the Private
Voluntary Organisations [PVO] Act because of the nature of
their activities, and trusts which do not perform such activities
and do not come under the PVO Act. On NGOs/PVOs the Minister said
they are expected to carry out their activities in a way that
supports national policies and recognises Government priorities
and if they engage in partisan politics “will be liable
for deregistration.” [Full answer available in soft copy
- Chiefs to
be customary marriage officers - The Minister of Justice, Legal
and Parliamentary Affairs mentioned his Ministry is working on
a Bill to make chiefs customary marriage officers and oblige chiefs
and headmen to keep a record of existing and future unregistered
2013 Elections disallowed by Speaker
16th October Hon Zvidzai attempted to give notice of his new motion
calling for the Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary
Affairs to “conduct an inquiry into the conduct of the 31st
July, 2013 harmonised elections, to ensure that future elections
are fully compliant with all laws and regulations of Zimbabwe, and
fully meet regional and international standards”. The Speaker
stopped him, and on Thursday the Speaker disallowed the motion as
“unacceptable in its current formulation”. He ruled
that the motion was unconstitutional [because it sought debate on
and a Parliamentary inquiry into a matter on which the Constitutional
Court had made a final decision: the validity and credibility of
the 31st July elections] and also in breach of the sub judice rule
in Standing Order 62 because there are 31 election petitions pending
before the Electoral Court. [Full ruling available from Veritas
in soft copy.]
Hon S.S. Nkomo
of MDC-T moved this motion, starting a debate in which all agreed
there was a huge problem, but opinions differed on its cause: with
Hon Nkomo mentioning the land reform programme and Zanu-PF speakers
blaming illegal sanctions and withholding of funds by the previous,
MDC-T, Finance Minister.
Need for a
by Hon Khupe of MDC-T, drew support from all who contributed to
debate, with the Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care going
further and suggesting a National Health Insurance scheme.
proposed by Zanu-PF’s Hon Hlongwane, sparked vigorous debate
and disagreement between Government and Opposition speakers on the
existence, legality and reasons for sanctions/restrictive measures.
A noisy confrontation only ended when the Speaker terminated proceedings
at 7 pm in accordance with Standing Orders.
was proposed by Hon Maridadi and seconded by Hon Chimanikire, both
There were no
questions without notice, and only two questions with notice were
- Amount of
grain imported from neighbouring countries - The Minister of Agriculture,
Mechanisation & Irrigation Development said Government had
so far imported 14 000 metric tonnes of maize from Zambia of a
150 000 tonne commitment, with payment on a cash upfront basis.
The private sector was also importing maize.
and Evidence Act - The Deputy Minister of Justice, Legal and
Parliamentary Affairs acknowledged the importance of the question,
as the Act immediately impacts on constitutional freedoms. The
Ministry was working on amendments, but they would have to go
through the Cabinet Committee on Legislation before being brought
to the House, so he could not say when they would be ready.
Amendment Act [Act 5/2013] - this Act was gazetted on 18th October
and came into operation immediately. The Act obliges the Government,
through the Minister of Energy and Power Development, to restructure
ZESA, specifically by unbundling the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission
and Distribution Company into two separate companies responsible
for transmission and distribution of electricity respectively. The
six-month deadline for achieving this is 18th April 2014. [Act available
in soft copy on Veritas website or by e-mail - see addresses at
New Income Tax
Act - this is the only Act of the last Parliament still to be assented
to by the President before gazetting. The printing of the final
text of this lengthy Act is now nearing completion.
and Proceeds of Crime Act - the revised version of this important
Act is still not generally available. The Law Reviser initially
announced it would be available for purchase from the Government
Printer 4th October, but it has still not been released in adequate
petrol blending - SI 147A, gazetted on 16th October, sets out the
timetable for mandatory blending of anhydrous ethanol with unleaded
petrol, and the relevant technical specifications. Commencement
dates for blending are 23rd October for ethanol blend grade E10;
30th November for grade E15; 31st March 2014 for grade E20. The
Minister is empowered to grant exemptions from blending “in
exceptional circumstances for special use”.
- Makoni Rural District Council and Rusape Town Council Presidential
proclamations published in SIs 148 and 149/2013 alter the wards
of both councils with immediate effect. Maps showing the changes
can be inspected at the offices of the Ministry of Local Government,
Public Works and National Housing and the councils.
agreement for Banking Industry - SI 150/2013 contains  wages
and allowances for the period 1st July 2010 to 31st December 2011
in full and final settlement of a dispute pending in the Labour
Court;  the basis for future salary inflation-related salary
vacancy - GN 502/2013 notifies the Mashonaland West party-list vacancy
in the Senate [see above].
professional examinations - GNs 504 and 505/2013 announce the examination
fees payable and the dates for the Council of Legal Education’s
examinations for would-be legal practitioners. The examinations
run from 11th to 22nd November. GN 505 allows candidates up to 30th
October to notify their intention to sit the examinations to the
Council’s Secretary, at 7th Floor, East Wing, Century House
East, Nelson Mandela Avenue, Harare.
statement GN 506/2013 gives notice of the publication in this weeks
Gazette of the consolidated statement of Government’s financial
performance for the month July 2013.
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