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Asset & in Parliament 19 to 26 November - Bill Watch 58/2013
November 29, 2013
sat last week
Assembly also sat on Tuesday 26th September
will meet again on Tuesday 3rd December
Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation
2013 - December 2018
On 19th November
the Zim Asset document
was made available to members of Parliament. In both Houses the
presiding officers requested all members to read the document thoroughly
in preparation for a workshop to be conducted by the Ministry of
Finance and Economic Planning on a date still to be notified. The
document has been approved by the Cabinet.
Morgen Komichi sworn in
On Tuesday 19th
November Senator Komichi of MDC-T was sworn in and took his seat
as a Senator for Manicaland.
Komichi could not be sworn in when most other members of Parliament
were sworn in on 3rd September because he was in remand prison standing
trial on charges of fraud and contravening the Electoral
Act. The trial ended on 7th November with his conviction
on both charges, and two sentences of imprisonment, one of 8 months
wholly suspended on condition of good behaviour and one of 10 months
wholly suspended on condition that he performs 350 days of community
service. He has noted an appeal against conviction and sentence,
but has started performing his community service because the magistrate
refused to suspend the community service obligation pending determination
of the appeal.
Pending a final
court decision on these appeals by the courts, Mr Komichi remains
a Senator with full rights. If his appeal is unsuccessful, the sentence
of imprisonment imposed on him will automatically result in his
Senate seat falling vacant in terms of section 129(1)(i) of the
19th to 26th November
sat on all last week’s sitting days - Tuesday 19th, Wednesday
20th and Thursday 21st November. The National Assembly also met
on Tuesday 26th November. The next sittings of both Houses will
be on 3rd December.
The Senate sat
for 1 hour 13 minutes on Tuesday and 59 minutes on Wednesday, but
Thursday’s Question Time sitting lasted for 1 hour 55 minutes.
statement on Quality Education Award to Zimbabwe
of Primary and Secondary Education announced:
- the award
to Zimbabwe of a Research Medal at the Ninth Session of the Assembly
of the Southern and Eastern Africa Consortium for Monitoring Quality
Education, which the Minister described as Africa’s recognition
of Zimbabwe’s pole position in providing quality education.
The Assembly was held in Paris in November.
- the Education
Infrastructure Expo and Conference to be held at the Harare International
Conference Centre on 29th and 30th November, with the objective
of mobilising national stakeholders towards a partnership approach
to education as a national development priority. The Minister
said Government could not provide all resources on its own.
on President's speech:
Contributions included Senator Chief Mtshane drawing attention to
the need to rehabilitate the country’s irrigation schemes,
as more than half of them are not working.
- Senator Lilian Timveous introduced her motion recommending a clear
Government policy document on awareness, counselling, screening
for and treatment of cancer, and charges for cancer patients. She
was seconded by Senator Marava. Debate continued on Wednesday with
speakers from all sides supporting the motion.
Need for harmonisation
of existing legislation with the new Constitution - On Wednesday
debate resumed on MDC-T Senator Marava’s motion of 8th October.
Zanu-PF Senators suggested that as the Minister of Justice had given
assurances that the Government was alive to the problem and was
working on the necessary legislation, there was no need to continue
debating the motion. However, there was no response from the Minister
or his deputy, and further debate was postponed.
Time [Thursday 21st November]
of houses and structures
The Deputy Minister
of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing explained
that, although Government did not want to frighten people, it intended
to put an end to the illegal settlements that had sprung up over
the last five years: “what we want is to bring order and that
order will surely come”. But a proper audit was being carried
out to identify such settlements clearly. Examples of illegal construction
were: erection of houses in wetlands, along sewer lines, under power
lines and on roads, and setting up tuck-shop’s without regard
to planning and public health regulations.
for disabled children
of Primary and Secondary Education confirmed that it is Government
policy that disabled and able-bodied children should learn together
in the same schools and classrooms.
of Ministry for Liaising on Psychomotor Activities in Education
State Hungwe explained to Senators that education should be about
more than speaking English and obtaining academic certificates and
degrees, without having the skills necessary to drive rural and
industrial development. The aim, he said, was to produce “cadres
who can deliver”.
to other questions
- on disposal
of solid waste - the Deputy Minister of Local Government, Public
Works and National Housing said the earmarking of at least 5%
of national revenues for provincial and local authorities under
the new Constitution, should result in improved service delivery
by the responsible local authorities.
- on whether
Mt Darwin qualifies for municipal status - the Deputy Minister
- on measures
to improve the lot of public servants in rural areas - the Minister
of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare said the Civil Service
Commission had already resuscitated the 5% rural allowance and
wanted to increase it, and was working to alleviate problems of
housing and transport, and was considering other strategies.
- on land
for former farmer workers - the Deputy Minister of Lands and Rural
Resettlement said they are free to apply for land but there is
no special provision for them.
The four National
Assembly sittings lasted for 4 hours 11 minutes, 2 hours 13 minutes,
1 hour 12 minutes and 1 hour 16 minutes. By the end of these sittings,
there were several long-running debates that remained uncompleted,
even though no further backbench contributions seemed forthcoming.
MDC-T Chief Whip Gonese commented that there was now a need for
Ministers to respond to points raised.
On Tuesday 19th
November proceedings started with contributions to the ongoing debates
on the President’s speech opening Parliament on 17th September.
of laws with new Constitution
Whip Gonese then introduced his motion criticising the Government
for its lack of urgent action on this topic, seconded by Ms Majome.
Both made long and comprehensive speeches. Mr Gonese, among many
other examples of laws needing urgent amendment, instanced the now
unconstitutional provisions on the imposition of the death penalty
and police and court procedures relating to arrested and accused
persons. He pointed out that as long as the relevant laws remain
unaligned there is a danger that people will be denied their new
constitutional rights, whatever the Constitution says. Zanu-PF Chief
Whip Joram Gumbo suggested it was premature to criticise the Government
for inaction so early in the life of the new Constitution, particularly
when the Government was already well aware of the problem and the
President had said when opening Parliament that action would be
taken. Prolonged debate, he said, would be more appropriate when
the relevant Government Bills reached Parliament. Debate continued
on Wednesday and Thursday with further detailed contributions from
Motions on lifting
of sanctions and Establishment of a Women’s Bank - Debate
problems - Debate also continued on this motion, both last week
and on 26th November, when it took up most of the afternoon’s
Time [Wednesday 20th November]
The Deputy Minister
of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing was subjected
to a lengthy grilling on this subject but defended the Government’s
determination not to allow illegal settlement, for instance on wetlands.
He promised that a proper report on the matter would be given to
- Mass bilharzia
drug treatment programme
The Deputy Minister
of Health and Child Care gave a comprehensive justification of the
Ministry’s 5-year programme to give drug treatment for bilharzias
to all children between 3 and 15. He said the drugs were known to
be safe, and had been used for years, and that death was not a known
side-effect. Referring to the deaths of three children that had
occurred several days after treatment, he said that a post-mortem
had been possible in only two of the cases, but they had proved
that the unfortunate deaths were caused by diarrhoea following a
salmonella infection, not by the bilharzia drug administered. The
Ministry was sure the drugs are safe.
- ZIMSEC exam
of Primary and Secondary Education made a Ministerial Statement
on this and was then questioned. He said that some of the alleged
culprits, including one with a previous conviction for the same
offence, had been taken to court; and disciplinary proceedings against
others were ongoing.
housing and amenities for Chiefs
The Deputy Minister
of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing gave detailed
information about the provision of vehicles, housing and amenities
for chiefs, including statistics for provision of electricity and
boreholes [of 220 substantive chiefs, 72 have electricity, 38 boreholes].
- Save Conservancy
of Tourism and Hospitality Industry said Cabinet would soon consider
the report of a new Ministerial taskforce recommending the way forward.
policy and domestic tourism
of Tourism and Hospitality Industry told MPs the new tourism policy
would be released soon. His Ministry would be promoting domestic
tourism as “the future of our product” not concentrating,
as before, on the international market. This would include school
tourism, religious tourism, home hospitality and attracting tourists
from the Zimbabwean Diaspora.
Gazette of 22nd November
VAT SI 159/2013
corrects an error in the Value Added Tax (General) (Amendment) Regulations
published in SI 87/2013. 1st February 2009 is substituted for the
original effective date 1st February 2013.
Income Tax Bill
sent to President
In GN 525/2013
the Clerk of Parliament gives official public notice that on Friday
8th November the Speaker sent the Bill for the new Income Tax Act
to the President’s Office for the President’s assent
and signature, in accordance with the new requirement stipulated
by section 131(5)(b) of the Constitution. It is to be hoped that
in future such notices will be published more promptly.
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