BILL WATCH 12-2016

BILL WATCH 12/2016

[8th March 2016]

Both Houses of Parliament are Sitting This Week

Minister Dismissed & Replaced

On Saturday 5th March President Mugabe dismissed Christopher Mutsvangwa from the post of Minister of Welfare Services for War Veterans, War Collaborators, Former Political Detainees and Restrictees, and swore in the former Deputy Minister, Retired Colonel Tshinga Dube, as his replacement. 

Mr Mutsvangwa was suspended from all party posts for three years at the ZANU-PF Politburo meeting on 3rd March, but remains an ordinary member of the party and the MP for the National Assembly Norton constituency.  His wife Monica Mutsvangwa, Deputy Minister for Macro-Economic Planning and Investment Promotion, was also suspended from ZANU-PF for three years. 

Membership of Parliament

New ZANU-PF party-list MP sworn in

On 1st March Josephine Shava was sworn in as a new ZANU-PF party-list member of the National Assembly for Mashonaland West.  She was appointed by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission with effect from 19th February following her nomination by ZANU-PF to fill the vacancy caused by the death of the late Joan Tsogorani.

Another section 129(1)(k) vacancy in the Senate

On 3rd March the President of the Senate announced that Senator Matson Hlalo had that day ceased to be a member of the Senate following receipt from the MDC-T party of notice that Mr Hlalo had ceased to be member of the party.  The vacancy will be filled by a nominee put forward by MDC-T and appointed by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission after completion of the procedure laid down by section 39 of the Electoral Act.

Mhondoro-Mubaira by-election result 

On 6th March George Gangarahwe of ZANU-PF was declared the winner of the by-election held the previous day to fill the vacancy in the National Assembly caused by the expulsion of Sylvester Nguni from ZANU-PF.  He is the new MP with effect from the 6th March, the date of the declaration of the by-election result.  Mr Gangarahwe polled 13934 votes against the 1056 for the only other candidate, Rodwell Nyanganya of the Freedom Front party.

Establishent of Land Compensation Fund

On 1st March the Minister of Finance and Economic Development tabled the Constitution of the Land Compensation Fund in the National Assembly [available from Veritas – follow this link or see end of this bulletin].  This is a new fund established in January by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development in terms of section 18 of the Public Finance Management Act.  Section 18 allows the Ministry to establish a special separate fund, with its own constitution, for the holding of funds intended for a particular purpose, including funds from sources outside Government – such as from development partners [who are mentioned in this fund’s constitution].

Parliament must be informed when such a fund is established – a new fund’s constitution must be promptly tabled in Parliament [which in this case was done on 1st March] – but Parliamentary approval is not legally necessary.  MPs may, however, wish to hear more from the Minister of Finance and Economic Development about how this fund will fit into the process for re-engagement with the international community and the debt repayment strategy.  They may also wish to examine the wording of the fund’s constitution in detail and to suggest improvements. 

The constitution of a fund must specify the objects of the fund, the money that must be paid into it and how the money may be spent, all of which the LCF Constitution does.   A preliminary comment is that while the fund’s objects certainly include paying compensation to dispossessed farmers “in terms of section 295 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe”, they also include assistance to the beneficiaries of the land reform programme under objective 3.1.3:  “enhance productivity on allocated land”.  The reference to section 295 of the Constitution is significant, because the section differentiates between different classes of dispossessed former farmers: indigenous Zimbabweans and those protected by BIPPAs [who may be compensated for land and improvements] and the rest [who may be compensated for improvements only].

In the National Assembly Last Week

Bills

Zimbabwe National Defence University Bill passed, sent to Senate  On Tuesday the Second Reading debate resumed.  The Portfolio Committee on Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services presented its report and recommended that the Bill be approved.  MPs from both sides of the House applauded the Bill in their contributions, and the Bill was given its Second Reading, swiftly followed by the Committee Stage [no discussion] and Third Reading, before the Bill was transmitted to the Senate.

Bills with Parliamentary Legal Committee [PLC]  Two Bills remained under consideration by the PLC – the Special Economic Zones Bill and the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission Bill.

Documents tabled included the Constitution of the Land Compensation Fund, opportunely unveiled ahead of a high-level IMF visit to Zimbabwe [see above for a note on and link to the document].

Motions  Making her maiden speech as MP in the continuing debate on the President’s speech opening the session, MDC-T party-list MP for Bulawayo Metropolitan Nomvula Mguni referred to the Government’s failure to operationalize provincial and metropolitan councils in breach of the Constitution’s provisions for devolution. 

In the Senate Last Week

Bills

General Laws Amendment Bill Despite Vice-President Mnangagwa’s absence from the country on official duty, there were some contributions from Senators to the Second Reading debate on this Bill.  Senator Marava said the Bill should be adjusted to make the age of marriage [18] and the age of consent [16] the same.  Senator Nyambuya, chairperson of the Thematic Committee on Human Rights, presented a brief report on the Committee’s discussions with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission on the Bill’s amendments to the Electoral Act.  He pointed out that the Bill does not complete the task of aligning the Act to the Constitution and expressed the hope that further amendments would follow in due course.

Criminal Procedure and Evidence Amendment Bill  There was no progress on this Bill.

Zimbabwe National Defence University Bill  Although this Bill was transmitted to the Senate on 1st March after being passed by the National Assembly, Senate proceedings on it did not start.

Motions   Debate continued on Senator Mawire’s motion on the need to respect the Role of Traditional Leaders.   New motions were presented, on—

- Rehabilitation of war shrines and recognition of departed sons and daughters of the liberation struggle [Senator Mohadi]

- Appreciation of President Mugabe’s leadership of the AU [Senator Chief Musarurwa]

- The report of Parliament’s delegation to the Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) held in Geneva, Switzerland in October 2015.

Coming up This Week in the National Assembly

Bills  Two University Bills are listed for presentation by the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development—

- Manicaland University of Applied Sciences Bill

- Gwanda State University Bill.

After presentation the Bills will be referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee for its report on their consistency with the Constitution. 

Bills with PLC  Two Bills are listed as still under consideration by the Parliamentary Legal Committee [PLC] – the Special Economic Zones Bill, referred on 9th February, and the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission Bill, referred on 11th February.  The National Assembly cannot start the Second Reading stages until the PLC has reported..

Motions  High on the Order Paper is Hon Shamu’s motion, seconded by Hon Zindi, calling on Zimbabweans to recognise the iconic role and visionary leadership of Mr Mugabe as President and Commander-in-Chief; to complement the efforts of the Security Services to improve the welfare of the nation; and to uphold the spirit of national unity, peace and development.

Question Time [Wednesday 9th March]  30 written questions include one from Hon Cross asking the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to state and justify the expenditure, if any, incurred by the State on the First Lady’s “recent tours to the provinces” and one from Hon Masiya on how the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare regulates distribution of relief food in rural areas.

Coming up This Week in the Senate

GLA Bill and CPE Amendment Bill

The first three items on the Order Paper for 8th March all refer to Second Reading debates on Bills, in the following order—

- Zimbabwe National Defence University Bill – for Minister of Defence’s Second Reading speech and ensuing debate

- General Laws Amendment Bill – for continuation of Second Reading debate

- Criminal Procedure and Evidence Amendment Bill for continuation of Second Reading debate.

Note: Veritas’ detailed commentary on the CPE Amendment Bill is to be found in Constitution Watches 14 and 15/2015 of 15th July 2015 [available from Veritas for those who do not already have them – follow this link or see end of this bulletin]

Motions   There are no new motions are listed for presentation, so debate on motions already presented will continue should time permit.

Question Time [Thursday 10th March] Eighteen written questions are already listed.

Government Gazettes 4th March

Statutory Instrument

Customs duty suspension  SI 33/2016 re-states the effective period [1st December 2015 to 30th November 2016] of a suspension of duty in favour of Beitbridge Bulawayo Railway (Pvt) Ltd. 

General Notice

Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe – increase in authorised share capital  GN 44/2016 is a notification by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development of an increase in the authorised share capital of the IDBZ by the addition of 382 830 non-cumulative and non-redeemable preference shares of US $100,00 each. 

 

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