BILL WATCH 52/2016
[24th November 2016]
The National Assembly is Sitting This Week but not the Senate
The Senate will Resume on 29th November
The President’s State of the Nation Address will be on Thursday 1st December
The 2017 National Budget will be presented on Thursday 8th December
Bond Notes Bill Fast-Tracking Motion This Afternoon
Minister Chinamasa’s motion to fast-track the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Amendment Bill was not dealt with yesterday. At the Minister’s request, the House adjourned at 4.36 pm, immediately after a full-length Question Time.
The motion is item 1 on today's National Assembly Order Paper.
Item 2 is the continuation of the Second Reading debate on the Land Commission Bill. Debate started on Tuesday 15th November. The Minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement made his introductory speech, and this was followed by the report on the Bill prepared by the Portfolio Committee on Lands, Agriculture Mechanisation and Irrigation [link to Bill on Veritas website].
Item 3, on the Order Paper for some time now, is discussion of the Parliamentary Legal Committee’s adverse report on the Plumtree Town Council’s Clamping and Tow-away By-laws, SI 86/2016.
The many other items on the Order Paper include two take note motions referring to new Portfolio Committee reports [one on Village Health Workers, the other on Service Delivery by the Registrar-General’s Department] and several seeking the restoration to the Order Paper of Portfolio Committee reports presented last session, for completion of debates and replies by the responsible Ministers].
Bikita West Nomination Day – Friday this week [25th November]
The nomination court for the Bikita West by-election will sit tomorrow at the Magistrates Court, Masvingo [corner Robert Mugabe Street and Jason Moyo Avenue] from 10.00 am. Polling day, should polling be necessary, will be on Saturday 21st January 2017. These dates were fixed by Presidential Proclamation 10/2016 [SI 139/2016] gazetted on 11th November [available via this link to the Veritas website].
Note: The former MP, Dr Kereke, was convicted of rape and sentenced to 14 years’ imprisonment. This led to the Speaker declaring the seat vacant on 20th July, citing 129(1)(i) of the Constitution. Thereafter, Dr Kereke noted an appeal against conviction and sentence, but in October failed in his bid to be released on bail pending the determination of the appeal. The President’s advisers must have decided that the failure of Dr Kereke’s bail bid justifies treating the vacancy as final.
Chimanimani West Polling Day – Saturday this week [26th November]
There are four candidates: Peter GUDYANGA [RDP]; Nokuthula MATSIKENYERE [ZANU-PF]; Edmore MTETWA [Independent]; Pesanai MUSAKANUKA [NCA]
Parliament – the Next Three Weeks
Both Houses are due to sit next week and the week thereafter, for which the following major Parliamentary events are scheduled—
Thursday 1st December – the delivery of the annual State of the Nation address by President Mugabe
Thursday 8th December – the delivery of the 2017 National Budget Statement by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Hon Patrick Chinamasa
At this stage the outlook for the rest of Parliament’s year, apart from the State of the Nation address and the Budget presentation already mentioned, looks like this—
- The Land Commission Bill and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Amendment Bill [Bond Notes Bill] will probably be completed.
- No Parliamentary sittings are expected during the third week of December, which is earmarked for this year’s ZANU-PF annual Conference, to be held in Masvingo. This will account for the period from Tuesday 13th to Saturday 17th December.
- It is possible, but unlikely, that MPs will be called on to reassemble for Budget business on the two sitting days available before Unity Day on Thursday 22nd December begins the holiday season.
- It seems unlikely, therefore, that Parliament will have enough time to complete the customary post-Budget proceedings before the end of the year. These post-Budget proceedings normally require several days’ worth of intensive committee meetings followed by presentation of committee reports and debate in the National Assembly.
So it may well be that the follow-up to the Budget presentation will have to be postponed to the New Year. This has happened before, and it would not be in breach of the Constitution.
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