BILL WATCH 29/2011
[21st July 2011]
The House of Assembly is sitting this week
The Senate has adjourned until Tuesday 26th July
Roadmap to Elections
Two members of President Zuma’s facilitation team – Lindiwe Zulu and Mac Maharaj – arrived in Harare yesterday for a follow-up on the Election Roadmap being finalised by the facilitator and the three party negotiators. Although a time frame was drawn up and agreed by the facilitators and party negotiators it is still to be agreed by the party principals.
President Mugabe may prove to be obdurate on this issue, as the ZANU-PF Politburo on Wednesday 13th July resolved that the elections must be this year. This contradicted the timeframe for the Roadmap to Elections agreed by all the negotiators including those from ZANU-PF on the 6th July, which envisaged August 2012 for the elections.
What has been agreed by the three parties’ negotiators and the facilitation team, and was the stance taken by SADC at its last Summit, was that the new Constitution must be in place before Zimbabwe goes to elections. As the thematic committee stage of the constitution-making process has still not resumed, ZANU-PF’s insistence on elections this year is simply not attainable.
It must be remembered that at the next SADC Summit due in August, President Zuma is due to take over the chairmanship of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation. As SADC has mandated both President Zuma as Facilitator and the SADC Organ to continue working for the full implementation of the GPA – which includes completion of the constitution-making exercise as a pre-condition to the elections, for ZANU-PF to maintain its insistence on elections this year would put it at loggerheads not only with South Africa but also with the rest of the region.
Lindiwe Zulu, the facilitators’ spokesperson, said that as well as working on the Election Roadmap the team would look at other issues in the GPA that have not yet been implemented. The team was scheduled to meet with JOMIC, which was set up by the three parties to monitor the implementation of the GPA.
[Note: the SADC Sandton Summit in June resolved that there should be a three-person SADC team in Zimbabwe to work with JOMIC, but the team members have not yet been indentified.] One of the outstanding issues is the non-impartiality of the security sector, which is likely to be a sticking point in the implementation plan.
The Facilitators will be expected to produce a report for next SADC Summit, which will be on the 17th and 18th of August in Luanda, and as well as reporting on the Election Roadmap and GPA implementation, they will be giving their assessment of the conditions of the country. As part of this assessment they will be meeting with the Electoral Commission, the Human Rights Commission and the Media Commission.
In Parliament Last Week
Both Houses sat on Tuesday 12th, Wednesday 13th and Thursday 14th July.
House of Assembly
Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Bill – the Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs introduced the Bill on 12th July and it was immediately referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee [PLC] for a report on its constitutionality.
National Incomes and Pricing Commission Amendment Bill – the Bill was not dealt with. It remained awaiting its Second Reading.
Public Service remuneration, ghost workers, proceeds from diamond sales – most of Tuesday afternoon’s sitting was taken up with debate on this comprehensive motion, which calls for all minerals to be sold to be sold to the best advantage of the country, for proceeds of diamond mining to be properly accounted for and go to Treasury, for Treasury to take full control of diamond mining; for ghost workers to be removed from the Government payroll and for conditions of service of everyone paid through Treasury [which includes Parliamentarians] to be improved.
Unconstitutional Statements by Service Chiefs – MDC-T MP Settlement Chikwinya proposed his motion calling on the House to condemn the “unconstitutional and treasonous statements that bring into disrepute the professional institutions of the Army and the Police”, to request the Army and the Police to reaffirm their loyalty to the constitution and laws of Zimbabwe, and to direct the relevant authorities to investigate the statements complained of and make their findings public.
Question Time There was improved attendance by Ministers, and the backlog of unanswered written questions was reduced from 38 to 19. [Details of replies cannot be supplied, as the Hansard reports for Wednesday and Thursday were unavailable at time of writing.]
Small Enterprises Development Corporation Amendment Bill – the Bill went through all its stages on Tuesday afternoon and was passed without amendment. As it has already been passed by the House of Assembly, it will now go to the President for his assent and subsequent gazetting as an Act.
Public Order and Security [POSA] Amendment Bill – the Bill was not dealt with [its presenter, Innocent Gonese MP of MDC-T, is still waiting for the coming into force of the amendment to Senate Standing Orders that will permit him, as a member of the other House, to take his Bill through the Senate. The amendment is expected to be in force by the time the Senate resumes on 26th July.]
Deposit Protection Corporation Bill – in the absence of the Minister of Finance, this Bill was not dealt with.
International Agreements The nine agreements listed for Senate approval in compliance with section 111B of the Constitution were not considered. They will have to be dealt with when the Senate resumes on 26th July [see Bill Watch 28/2011 of 11th July for list].
Sanctions Senator Mandaba wound up the debate on his motion, noting that the need for the removal of sanctions had been agreed by all the GPA parties. The motion was adopted – this means the Senate has resolved to call on the inclusive government to: institute a class action case against the EU in the European Court of Justice, challenging sanctions; to demand that the western powers withdrawn sanctions and end their hostile propaganda; and to mobilize international support against sanctions.
Thematic Committee Reports Take note motions on the following reports were presented by the committee chairpersons.
• Millennium Development Goals on Social Protection Programmes –Thematic Committee on MDGs
• State of Prisons and Prisoners –Thematic Committee on Human Rights on the State
• Indigenisation and Empowerment Policies and Programmes –Thematic Committee on Indigenisation and Empowerment
Debate on the reports will follow later. [Electronic versions of reports available from [email protected]]
In the House of Assembly This Week
National Incomes and Pricing Commission Amendment Bill – this is the only Bill listed for consideration by the House. It awaits its Second Reading. [The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Bill, presented last week, is under consideration by the PLC.]
PLC Adverse Reports
Several PLC adverse reports are listed for consideration. Most of them concern penalty clauses in various local authority by-laws. The report on the Indigenisation and Empowerment Amendment Regulations [SI 34/2011] is not likely to be discussed, as Minister Kasukuwere has told the PLC he will amend the regulations in line with the report.
Motions Debate continues on Hon Chikwinya’s motion on unconstitutional and treasonous statements by Army and Police officers, with MDC-T MPs calling for the offenders to be court-martialled and ZANU-PF MPs defending the statements as personal views expressed by individuals in the exercise of their right to freedom of expression.
Questions 19 written questions were listed for reply by Ministers on Wednesday afternoon. One that has been on the Order Paper since November last year, but remains topical, asks the Minister of State for State Security, Hon Sekeramayi, to explain whether CIO officers are allowed to hold office in political parties, citing the case of a Deputy Director-General who is a ZANU-PF Central Committee member.
Coming Up – the Mid-Term Fiscal Policy Review: 26th July
The Minister of Finance is scheduled to present his Mid-Term Fiscal Policy Review to Parliament in the House of Assembly on Tuesday 26th July. He has already said there will be no supplementary Budget.
Contempt of Parliament Complaint against Minister Chinamasa
The Speaker has told the House he will consider the complaint by the Portfolio Committee of Mines and Energy that the Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs “could have lied under oath” when giving evidence to the Committee during its investigation into the state of affairs at Shabani /Mashava Mines e [SMM] [see the committee’s report on the SMM saga – electronic version available from veritas @mango.zw] .
If the Speaker finds that there is “a prima facie case” – i.e. sufficient evidence to require an answer from Mr Chinamasa – the next step would be the appointment of a Privileges Committee to investigate the allegation and report its findings and recommendation to the House.
[Note: There is a recent precedent. In 2007 a Privileges Committee was set up to investigate statements made by Obert Mpofu, then Minister of Industry and International Trade, when giving evidence to a Portfolio Committee he was found guilty of “prevarication” and fined.]
The Gazette of Friday 15th July contained no Bills and only three statutory instruments – a collective bargaining agreement for the printing, packaging and newspaper industry fixing salaries and allowances for the rest of 2011 [SI 80] and Chinhoyi Municipal Council by-laws – rents and charges SI 81] and cemeteries fees [[SI 82]. [Electronic versions NOT available.]
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