BILL WATCH 20-2016

BILL WATCH 20/2016

[2nd May 2016]

Both Houses of Parliament Will Resume Sitting on Tuesday 3rd May

Parliament has been in recess since the adjournment of both Houses on Thursday 14th April.  According to the 2016 Parliamentary sitting calendar for the next three months, the May sittings will last from Tuesday 3rd to Thursday 19th May, June’s from 7th to 23rd June and July’s from 12th to 28th July, and there will be no sittings in August. 

Three New MPs

Three new members of Parliament may be sworn in this week, one in the National Assembly and two in the Senate.  They are as follows.

National Assembly – Guruve South By-Election Result

Polling in the by-election took place on Saturday, 23rd April.  The ZANU-PF candidate, Patrick Dutiro, was declared the winner on 24th April.   

Senate – ZEC announces new Senators

On Friday 29th April the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission [ZEC] gazetted the appointment of the following two party-list Senators [GN 75/2016], effective from the date of gazetting —

Victor Mapungwana [MDC-T], to fill the Bulawayo vacancy created by the expulsion of Matson Hlalo from MDC-T ;

Tabeth Murwira [ZANU-PF], to fill the Mashonaland East vacancy created by the expulsion of Olivia Muchena from ZANU-PF

The Senate now has a full complement of 80 Senators.

National Assembly vacancy

The only remaining vacancy in Parliament is in the National Assembly’s Mazoe North constituency  The seat has been vacant since the death on 17th March of Edgar Chidavaenzi of ZANU-PF.  The statutory instrument calling the by-election has not yet been gazetted.

Status of Bills as at 1st May 2016: At a Glance

Passed by Parliament, awaiting Presidential assent and/or gazetting

Banking Amendment Bill [to be Act 12/2015] [sent to President’s Office 17th March]

Criminal Procedure and Evidence Amendment Bill [passed 9th March]

Zimbabwe National Defence University Bill [passed 8th March]

General Laws Amendment Bill [passed 14th April]

Awaiting Second Reading in the Senate 

Manicaland State University of Applied Sciences Bill [passed by National Assembly 12th April]

Gwanda State University Bill [passed by National Assembly 14th April]

Awaiting Second Reading in National Assembly

Special Economic Zones Bill [Minister’s Second Reading speech 7th April]

Awaiting National Assembly Consideration of PLC Adverse Report

National Peace and Reconciliation Commission Bill                      

Awaiting PLC Report to National Assembly

Public Finance Management Bill [to PLC 7th April]

Pan-African Minerals University of Science and Technology Bill [to PLC 14th April]

Minerals Exploration and Marketing Corporation Bill [to PLC 14th April]

Being prepared for gazetting

Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill [proofs returned to the drafters for checking in early January]

[With the exception of the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill, all the above Bills are available from Veritas.]

Coming up In Parliament This Week

In the National Assembly

Bills awaiting discussion

Special Economic Zones Bill  This is item 1 on the Order Paper for 3rd May.  The Minister of Finance and Economic Development opened the Second Reading debate on this Bill with his Second Reading on 7th April.  Continuation of the debate this week will depend on whether the Portfolio Committee on Finance and Economic Development Planning is ready to present its report on the Bill and on public reaction to it during the public hearings conducted by the Committee.    [Bill available from Veritas]

National Peace and Reconciliation Commission Bill   The Second Reading stage of this Bill cannot begin until the Adverse Report on the Bill by the Parliamentary Legal Committee has been dealt with.  Consideration of the report is item 2 on the Order Paper.  PLC chairperson Hon Samkange will explain to MPs why the PLC considers the Bill to be inconsistent with the Constitution in several respects.  MPs will then have a chance to express their views and Vice-President Mphoko, who has Ministerial responsibility for the Bill, will be able to respond to the report.  [Bill and adverse report available from Veritas]

If Vice-President Mphoko agrees to have the Bill amended to meet the PLC’s objections, it is possible that the adverse report will be withdrawn, making it unnecessary for the National Assembly to vote on whether or not to approve the report. 

On the other hand, if the Vice-President does not back down, and the National Assembly votes to approve the report, the Bill cannot be passed as long as it includes the provisions identified by the PLC – unless Vice-President Mphoko, within 14 days of the vote, applies to the Constitutional Court for a declaration that those provisions are consistent with the Constitution and the court grants the application.     

Bills awaiting PLC reports

The Second Reading stages of the following Bills may go ahead if non-adverse reports are returned by the PLC—

- Public Finance Management Bill [to PLC 7th April]

- Pan-African Minerals University of Science and Technology Bill [to PLC 14th April]

- Minerals Exploration and Marketing Corporation Bill [to PLC 14th April]

Motions  Of the many motions listed on the Order Paper, the following have waited some time for initial presentation—

Praise for the President and the Security Services, to be moved by Hon Shamu seconded by Hon Zindi.

Disharmony and Policy Inconsistency within the Executive, to be moved by Hon Maridadi seconded by Hon Majome.

Call for Government to subsidise the cost of blood for blood transfusions and encourage blood donations, to be moved by Hon Nduna [ZANU-PF] and Hon Labode [MDC-T].

Question Time [4th May]   I05 written questions are listed for reply by Ministers or Deputy Ministers, carried forward from 13th April when Question Time was aborted because the National Assembly adjourned prematurely for lack of a quorum. 

In the Senate

Bills   Two University Bills that were passed by the National Assembly three weeks ago await the Senate’s attention—

- Manicaland State University of Applied Sciences Bill

- Gwanda State University Bill.

Motions  Several motions await initial presentation—

Devolution in accordance with Constitution  A motion to be moved by Senator S. Ncube, seconded by Senator A. Sibanda, calls upon the Executive to set a time-limit for urgently addressing devolution in accordance with the Constitution

Zambezi Water Project  A motion by Senator B. Sibanda, seconded by Hon Timveos, calls on Government to resuscitate the Zambezi Water Project by regular budget allocations, to seek partners both internal and external, and to explore the BOT [build, operate, transfer] option.

Malnutrition  A motion by Senator D.T. Khumalo, seconded by Senator J. Ndhlovu, cites the challenges of food security and under nourishment, and calls on the Government to provide adequate information to community leaders, including members of Parliament, on how to reduce the incidence of malnutrition among children and adults.

Question Time [5th May]  The 14 questions listed include two for the Minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement: (1) “whether the land reform process has been completed, so that farmers can confidently concentrate on agricultural production” and (2) about the policy regarding farmers with title deeds who are not utilising their land.

Government Gazette

Statutory Instruments

15th April

Quality standards for postal, courier and telephone service providers  SI 42/3016 [already noted in Bill Watch 18/2016] contains the new Postal and Telecommunications (Quality Services) Regulations, setting quality standards to be achieved by all licensees [soft copy available from Veritas – follow this link or see end of bulletin]

22nd April

Harare (Traffic) By-laws Amendment  SI 45/2016 is a clumsily-worded attempt to amend the principal by-laws [SI 357/1983]—

- to introduce new restrictions on driving and parking ofheavy vehicles” in the CBD and residential areas [“heavy vehicle” defined as over 2 300 kg, but with several exceptions]

- to penalise the ferrying of passengers for “commercial purposes” without “relevant documents” [defined]

- to penalise persons who “cling to or attach or hang or suspend” themselves to any moving vehicle [defined as including anything from a bicycle to a bus].

The Parliamentary Legal Committee may well return an adverse report on this SI because much of it lacks the clarity that is necessary when criminal offences are being created.   

Customs duty suspension for imported bank notes  SI 46/2016 brings the SADC Suspension Regulations [SI 345/2002] into line with the recent change made to the main Customs Tariff by SI 26/2016. 

Customs duty suspension for mining development  SI 47/2016 is the latest addition to the list of mining companies qualifying for suspension of duty on items imported for capital development of mines.

29th April  No statutory instruments were gazetted.

General Notices

Two new Senators appointed  GN 75/2016 is noted at the beginning of this bulletin.

 

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