BILL WATCH 12-2017

BILL WATCH 12/2017

[4th April 2017]

Both Houses of Parliament Will Sit This Week before Taking a Three-Week Break

Mwenezi East By-election Due This Saturday, 8th April

This by-election involves four candidates, including a one-time holder of the seat until his ouster from ZANU-PF – Kudakwashe Bhasikiti-Chuma who now represents ZIM PF the other  three are Welcome Masuku of NCA, Turner Mhango of FreeZim Congress and Jooshi Omar of ZANU-PF.

GN 154A/2017 of 27th March gazetted the designation by the Judicial Service Commission of three magistrates to try cases of politically motivated violence and intimidation in Masvingo Province before, during and after the by-election.  The designation is in terms of section 133J of the Electoral Act, a provision which obliges the designated magistrates to “give priority to all such cases and ensure that they are brought to trial and completed as expeditiously as possible”.   Section 133J also requires the police and the Prosecutor-General to ensure quick and competent investigation, processing and prosecution of such cases.

In Parliament Last Week

The National Assembly

Bills

Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Bill   Following the Parliamentary Legal Committee [PLC]’s non-adverse report on the House’s Committee Stage amendments, the National Assembly finalised the Bill and it was transmitted to the Senate.

Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Bills  The Minister of State in Vice-President Mnangagwa’s Office, Hon C.C. Sibanda, delivered the Second Reading speeches on the following three Bills—

Deeds Registries Amendment Bill

Judicial Laws Amendment (Ease of Settling Commercial and Other Disputes) Bill

National Competitiveness Commission Bill   The Minister of Industry and Commerce replied to the Second Reading debate, insisting that despite doubts that had been expressed by some MPs, there was a real need for establishment of the Commission.  The Bill was duly read the Second Time.  Next will come the Committee Stage.

Speaker’s Ruling

On 30th March the Speaker handed down a ruling on statements given by the Minister of Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development in reply to a question from Hon Khupe on the establishment of the Women’s Bank.  In the light of inconsistencies in the Minister’s response to the question, the ruling calls on her to clarify her statements in a comprehensive Ministerial Statement, failure of which a charge of contempt of Parliament by prevarication will be laid.

Motions

Public Accounts Committee report on 2013 Appropriation, Funds, and State Enterprises Accounts  The Minister of Finance and Economic Development apologised for the delay in responding to this report, dating from last Session.  Committee chairperson Hon Mpariwa closed the debate with thanks to the Minister for having reported on progress on measures taken to deal with points raised in the report.  

Aviation Industry in Zimbabwe  Hon Nduna introduced the report of the Portfolio Committee on Transport and Infrastructure Development on its enquiry into the industry. 

State of urban roads  Hon Majome introduced her new motion calling for the return of motor vehicle licensing, a function presently handled by ZINARA, to Harare City Council and other local authorities and for an audit of ZINARA accounts for the last five years.

The Senate

Bills

ZEP-RE (Membership of Zimbabwe and Branch Office Agreement) Bill. The Bill was approved without amendment on 28th March.  It can now be prepared for submission to the President for his assent and gazetting as law.

Land Commission Bill   During the Committee Stage on 29th March the Senate approved all Senator Chief Mtshane’s amendments.  The Bill was then referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee [PLC] for its report on the constitutionality of the amendments.  On 30th March the presiding officer announced that the PLC had returned an adverse report, which would be considered at the next sitting.

Motions

No new motions were introduced.  Debate continued on motions previously introduced.

Coming up in Parliament This Week

At the end of this week’s sittings on Thursday 6th April both Houses are due to start a three-week break lasting for the rest of April.  According to the 2017 Sitting Calendar, sittings will resume on Tuesday 2nd May.

The National Assembly

Bills

Estate Administrators Amendment Bill  This is due for presentation by Vice-President Mnangagwa and its First Reading on 4th April.

National Competitiveness Commission Bill  This awaits its Committee Stage, also on 4th April.   No proposed amendments are shown on the Order Paper.

Bills with Parliamentary Legal Committee

Movable Property Security Interests Bill [referred 24th January, extension granted by Speaker 1st March]

National Peace and Reconciliation Commission Bill [the new Bill] [referred 15th March]

The Senate

Bills

Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Bill  This Bill, as passed by the National Assembly with amendments last week, is listed as item I for its Second Reading stage.  The Minister of Finance and Economic Development will start proceedings by delivering a speech explaining the Bill.

Land Commission Bill   The Senate is due to consider the Parliamentary Legal Committee [PLC]’s adverse report on the amendments made to the Bill by the Senate on 29th March.  When the adverse report was announced on 30th March, the presiding officer said Hon Samukange, PLC chairperson, would be in attendance to explain the adverse report.  

Motions

Debate is due to continue on a large number of motions.  No new motions are listed.

Reminder:  Prohibition Importation/Sale of Inefficient Light Bulbs Now in Force

Readers in Zimbabwe may have noticed that old-style incandescent light bulbs have more or less disappeared from the shelves of supermarkets and other retail outlets.  The reason is this: the Electricity (Inefficient Lighting Products Ban and Labelling) Regulations, 2017 [SI 21/2017] have now come into operation, three months after their gazetting on 27th January.  The regulations prohibit the importation, manufacture, distribution or sale or of the old-style product, and are binding on all importers wholesalers, retailers, consulting engineers and contractors or installers of lighting products.  But the old bulbs may continue to be used in home, office, etc.  These Regulations are available at this link.

Government Gazettes: 24th to 31st March

Statutory Instruments [SIs]

Collective bargaining agreements  Three SIs contain collective bargaining agreements for the agriculture industry – SI 42 [tea and coffee sector]; SI 43 [kapenta sector]; SI 44 [general agriculture sector].  [24th March]

Local authority by-laws  SI 45/2017 contains new Rusape Town Council Hawkers and Street Vendors) By-laws.  [24th March]

NSSA funeral enhancement benefit  SI 46/2017 effects the change recently announced by the National Social Security Authority for its retired pensioners.  [31st March]

Electricity (Distribution Code) Regulations  SI 47/2017, a mammoth 96-page document requiring technical know-how to make complete sense of it, sets out a Code governing the operation, maintenance and development of Electricity Distribution Systems in Zimbabwe.  It covers the operations not only of the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company, but also other licensed electricity distributors.  The Minister of Energy and Power Development has approved the code in terms of section 58(3) as read with section 65 of the Electricity Act, after consultation with the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority.  [31st March]

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