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sworn in: Parliament sits this week - Bill Watch 57/2013
November 19, 2013
will Sit on Tuesday 19th November
The former Attorney-General,
Johannes Tomana, was formally sworn-in as Prosecutor-General by
the President on 13th November. Mr Tomana automatically became the
Prosecutor-General on 22nd August when the new Constitution
came fully into force [Constitution, Sixth Schedule, paragraph 19].
That being so, he did not have to go through the elaborate appointment
procedure that would otherwise have applied. [Note: Section 259(3)
of the Constitution provides that the Prosecutor-General must be
appointed on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission after
the Commission has advertised the position, called for nominations,
conducted public interviews of candidates, and submitted a list
of three nominees ,one of whom the President must appoint. This
is the same procedure that now applies to the appointment of a High
Court judge under section 160 of the Constitution].
term of office as Prosecutor-General is six years, i.e. until 21st
August 2019 [Constitution, section 259(5)].
post vacant - The Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs
confirmed after the ceremony that Mr Tomana is no longer the Attorney-General,
and said that the search for a new Attorney-General is under way
but will not be hurried. The Attorney-General must be a legal practitioner
qualified to be appointed as a High Court judge, but apart from
that the appointment is entirely in the President’s discretion
and the new Attorney-General will hold office at the President’s
pleasure [Constitution, sections 114 and 115].
of Women’s Parliamentary Caucus
the Speaker informed the National Assembly that the Women’s
Caucus had elected office bearers as follows:
Hon Senator Monica Mutsvangwa [ZANU-PF]
- Deputy Chairperson:
Hon Paurina Mpariwa [MDC-T]
Hon Melody Dziva [ZANU-PF]
Hon Senator Shuvai Mahofa [ZANU-PF]
members: Hon Sarah Mahoka [ZANU-PF]
- Hon Senator
Annah Shiri [Disabled Persons Representative]
the Zimbabwe Women’s Parliamentary Caucus
Women's Parliamentary Caucus was launched in October 2001, with
the assistance of Association of Western European Parliamentarians
for Africa [AWEPA], in response to a SADC Parliamentary Forum initiative.
The objective was for women parliamentarians to rise above party
politics and address issues of common concern as women. Membership,
management and operations of the Caucus are governed by a Constitution.
For a prescribed fee, membership is open to all Zimbabwean Women
Members of Parliament and, as Associate Members, former woman members
of the Parliament of Zimbabwe. Associate members have no role in
the management of the Caucus and cannot vote.
Up In Parliament This Week
The last sitting
of the Senate was on Thursday 24th October. The National Assembly
last sat on 7th November.
There are three
items on the Order Paper for 19th November, starting with the ongoing
debate on the President’s 17th September speech opening Parliament,
and followed by two new motions:
on the roads - This motion calls on government (i) to put in place
a strict regulatory framework that would prohibit the presence
on our highways of heavy trucks between certain times of the day
and (ii) to resuscitate the railway system as a way of addressing
the carnage problem [proposer: Senator Siphiwe Ncube of MDC-T].
- Cancer policy
- This motion recommends a clear Government policy document on
awareness, counselling, screening for and treatment of cancer,
and charges for cancer patients [proposer: Senator Timveous of
20th November debate is due to resume on MDC-T Senator Marava’s
motion on the need for harmonisation of existing legislation with
the new Constitution. Debate began on 8th October but was interrupted
at the request of the Deputy Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary
Affairs to allow him time to report back to Senators on steps being
taken by the Ministry to deal with this urgent problem.
Time [Thursday 21st November]
There are 17
questions on the Order Paper, 10 of them put down by Senator Alice
Chimbudzi of Mashonaland, including queries on:
Mount Darwin qualifies for municipal status
spraying in mosquito-infested areas such as Mount Darwin
- school feeding
programmes and measures against food shortages generally
for allocation of land to former farm-workers.
There are 13
motions on the Order Paper for Tuesday 19th November, 8 of them
already under debate [President’s speech, ZESA power cuts,
sanctions etc. – all referred to in previous Bill Watches]
and 5, high on the Order Paper, still waiting to be moved by the
- Hwange Colliery
Company – the motion calls for Government as majority shareholder
to ensure relief for unpaid workers [proposer: Hon B Tshuma of
of laws with new Constitution – the motion calls for urgent
steps to be taken by the Executive [proposer: Hon Gonese of MDC-T]
- Venue of
Parliament – the motion includes a call to consider moving
the seat of Parliament to Bulawayo [proposer: Hon Misihairabwi-Mushonga]
land development – the motion expresses dismay about swindling
of desperate home-seekers by illegal land developers and unregistered
cooperatives, and calls for action against them and settlement
plans that are sustainable and pro-poor
vehicles for public servants – the motion calls on the Minister
of Finance to implement immediately the issuing of duty-free certificates
for public servants to import vehicles for personal use.
[Wednesday 20th November]
There are 16
questions on the Order Paper, most of them deferred from 6th November.
- Chiefs Questions
for the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National
Housing and the Minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement ask about
vehicles and homesteads for chiefs, and Government policy on allocation
of farms to chiefs.
Scholarship Fund - A question for the Minister of State for Presidential
Affairs asks for the Fund’s annual budget, why it is administered
outside the Education Ministry, and the beneficiaries by province
since its inception.
Youth Fund - A question for the Minister of Youth, Indigenisation
and Economic Empowerment asks how much money has been disbursed
by the Fund and who are its beneficiaries.
Toxin Weapons Crimes Bill - The page proofs of this Bill have been
returned to the Attorney-General’s Office for checking. [No
summary can be provided until the Bill is gazetted, but the Bill’s
title gives some indication of its content. ]
Update on Acts
Income Tax Act
On Friday 8th November Parliament sent the Bill to the President’s
Office for the President’s assent and signature. Under section
131 of the new Constitution, when the Bill is presented to the President,
he must, within 21 days, either:
- assent to
it and sign it and have it published in the Government Gazette
“without delay”; or
- refer it
back to Parliament for reconsideration.
must, therefore, make up his mind on the Bill by not later than
Monday 30th November.
Amendment Act - There has still been no official public confirmation
of the withdrawal of this Act although there was a press report
that the Clerk of Parliament had said the Act was not validly assented
to and signed by the President.
Gazette of 15th November
agreement - Construction Industry SI 158/2013 notifies an agreement
regrading some workers and adjusting the principal agreement’s
provision for long service awards.
suspension SI 157/2013 provides for a suspension of duty until 24th
November 2014 on power equipment, critical spares and transformer
components imported by four ZESA companies.
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