In Parliament Thursday 27th September

BILL WATCH 28/2018

+ September Statutory Instruments

Both Houses have adjourned until Tuesday next, 2nd October

Mutoko North By-Election

The Mutoko North constituency seat in the National Assembly has been vacant since the former MP Mabel Chinamona [ZANU PF] was elected President of the Senate on 4th September.

The necessary by-election has now been called by Proclamation 7/2018 gazetted on 26th September [SI 188A/2018].  Nomination day is Friday 12th October at Marondera Magistrates Court; if the election is contested,polling day will be Saturday 24th November.

In the National Assembly on September 27th

Continuation of Debate on President’s Opening Address

In the absence of other items on the Order Paper, MPs continued their contributions to the debate on the motion responding to the President’s Opening Address of 18th September.  This took up the whole sitting, which ended when the House adjourned at 4.11 pm.  Most contributions enthusiastically supported the President’s vision and proposals for modernising the economy and improving the lot of all Zimbabweans.

The afternoon’s sitting gave new members the opportunity to see Standing Orders  and rules of procedure in practice.

Rules about reading speeches

A veteran MP had to be reminded not to read her speech from a written script.  A little later, when a new MP was making his maiden speech, an objection to his reading his speech was overruled by the Speaker because this is allowed for a maiden speech.  Standing Order 81 is as follows:

“81.  A Member must

  1. a)be allowed to read his or her maiden speech;
  2. b)not read his or her speech, but may refresh his or her memory by reference to notes when addressing the House at any point other than the maiden speech.”

Other rules of Parliamentary decorum

Other infringements of the rules occurred yesterday and the offenders were corrected.  A Deputy Minister new to Parliament entered the chamber and went to his seat without bowing to the presiding officer.  Another MP passed between the presiding officer and the MP who was speaking.  Standing Oder 76 obliges every MP “to make obeisance to the Chair in passing to and from his or her seat and upon entering and leaving the Chamber” and prohibits “passing between the Chair and any Member who is speaking”.

In the Senate on September 27th

Question Time

Questions without Notice went ahead and was even extended for 10 minutes.  Written Questions with Notice were postponed because the Ministers concerned had not yet seen Senator Chimbudzi’s 13 questions.

Alignment of Labour Act with Constitution  Senator Shoko asked the new Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Sekai Nzenza, when the Labour Act would be aligned with the Constitution, as demanded by the International Labour Organisation (ILO).  Minister Nzenza replied that this was among her key priority areas, that she was already working on the issue and consulting stakeholders and would bring it to a conclusion within 100 days.

Needs of Post-O and Post-A level students  Answering Senator Ncube, the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development gave details of measures and plans for absorbing such students into the higher and tertiary education system.

Alignment of Disabled Persons Act with UN Convention Senator Khupe was assured by Minister Nzenza that this would be attended to.

Devolution and Provincial Councils  The Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs acknowledged the urgent need for legislation to be put in place to allow provincial councils required by the Constitution to be constituted, and for the provincial councillors elected in the 30th July elections to be sworn in and assume their duties.

Use of indigenous languages and translations of the Constitution  In answer to a question from Senator Mohadiwhen all 16 indigenous languages recognised by the Constitution would be used officially, for instance in Parliament (where translation services are available for Shona, siNdebele and English only), the Minister of Justice pointed to progress on translating the Constitution, saying that the relevant committee of experts had finished the task of translating the Constitution into all 16 indigenous languages.  Funds permitting, the Ministry would produce the Constitution in all the languages.

Debate on President’s opening address of 18th September

Before the House adjourned at 4 pm, there was a brief contribution to the continuing debate on the President’s opening address of 18th September from Senator Chirongoma in which he mentioned the natural gift for mining shown by many artisanal miners [makorokoza] and praised them for doing a splendid job.  He called for them to be properly trained in using safe mining methods to improve their contribution to the economy.

Statutory Instruments of September [SIs 169 to 195] 

By-election for Mutoko North  SI 188A/2018.  See note on at the beginning of this bulletin.

Establishment of Commission of Inquiry into Post-Election Violence  SI 181/2018 dated 14th September [linkis President Mnangagwa’s Proclamation 6/2018, signed on 12th September, establishing this commission of inquiry. For further discussion please see our Commissions Watch dated 25th September [link].

Correction of Finance Act, 2018 (No. 1 of 2018)  SI 188/2018 [link], gazetted by the Law Reviser, corrects textual errors in Act No. 1 of 2018, as permitted by Statute Law Compilation and Revision Act.

Medicinal and Scientific Use of Cannabis  SI 178/2018 of 14th September [link] amends the Dangerous Drugs (Production of Cannabis for Medicinal and Scientific Use) Regulations gazetted earlier this year in SI 62/2018 [link]. The original application fee for a licence to produce cannabis ($50 000) is amended to an application fee of $10 000 and a licence fee of  $40 000.  Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport is made the only permitted port of entry or exit for cannabis and cannabis products.

Complementary medicines  SI 182/2018 [link] amends the principal regulations set out in SI 97/2015.  From 21st September onwards complementary medicines may be sold only by persons authorised by the Medicines and Allied Substances Control Authority “Complementary medicines” are homeopathic remedies, Ayurvedic medicines, Traditional Chinese medicines, Traditional Dutch medicines and other herbal medicines,

Electricity (Public Safety) Regulations  SI 177/2018 [soft copy available shortly].  These important regulations were gazetted on 14th September.

Suspension of customs duties  SI 170/2018 grants a ring-fenced suspension of duty on fertilised poultry eggs for six named importers, SI 171/2018 a ring-fenced suspension on tyre-casings for five named importers.

Labour matters  The following collective bargaining agreements were gazetted during September: agricultural industry – wages with effect from 1st June 2018 [SI 195]; commercial sectors – wages June 2018 to May 2019 [SI 184]; detergents, edible oils and fats industry – wages and allowances for 2017 [SI 193] and new general conditions of service [SI 194]; funeral industry – supplementary agreement on wage increases for July to December 2018 [SI 183]; sugar milling industry – agreement giving effect to arbitral award on wages and allowances; tourism industry – wages March 2018 to February 2019 [SI 176].

Chivi Communal Land – Chivi Turn-Off Business/Rural Service Centre  SI 180/2018 of 14th September is by the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing in terms of section 10 of the Communal Land Act.  It notifies the setting aside of a specified area of Chivi Communal Area adjacent to the Masvingo to Beitbridge Highway for the establishment of a business centre, township and industrial area.  All persons occupying land in the area are ordered to leave the area permanently with all their property by the 31st October.

SI 179/2018 of 14th September is an obviously related but confused and legally ineffective Presidential proclamation citing section 6 of the same Act, in which President Mnangagwa claims to establish the same business centre, township and industrial centre.  The legal flaw is that section 6 of the Act does not empower the President to do any of these things; it merely authorises him to extract land from Communal Land to make it State land – which SI 179 as it is presently worded does not do.  The President has been badly advised, and this pointless proclamation should be replaced by a simple statutory instrument so worded as to achieve the extraction of whatever area needs to be taken out of the Chivi Communal Land.

Local authority by-laws:  A number of such by-laws have been gazetted during September:

Chipinge Town Council – Water and Air Pollution By-laws [SI 175]

Chiredzi Town Council – Solid Waste Management By-laws [SI 172] and Animal By-laws [SI 173]

Hurungwe Rural District Council – Anti-litter By-laws [SI 186]; Clamping and Tow-away By-laws [SI 187]; Rents, Services and Supplementary Charges By-laws [SI 185]

Matobo Rural District Council – Communal and Resettlement Land (Sand Extraction) By-laws [SI 189]; Hawkers and Street Vendors By-laws [SI 191]; Refuse Removal By-laws [SI 192]; Traffic, Clamping and Tow-away By-laws [SI 190]

Nyanga Rural District Council – Communal and Resettlement Land (Land Use and Conservation) By-laws [SI 169].

Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied.

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