BILL WATCH 22/2017
[26th June 2017]
Only the National Assembly is sitting this week
The Senate will resume on Tuesday 11th July
National Assembly Sitting This Week: Departure from Sitting Calendar
Both Houses achieved their June quota of nine sitting days when they sat on Thursday last week.
In accordance with the 2017 Sitting Calendar the Senate then adjourned for two weeks, until Tuesday 11th July – once again putting off a decision on how to resolve the problem caused by the Parliamentary Legal Committee’s adverse report on the Senate’s amendments to the Land Commission Bill [see below].
The National Assembly, however, departed from the Sitting Calendar and adjourned for only five days, until Tuesday 27th June. Government’s legislative expectations for the month had not been met [see below].
Three Acts Gazetted Friday 23rd June
The following three Acts were gazetted on 23rd June in a Government Gazette Extraordinary, all of them coming into force on that date—
National Competitiveness Commission Act [Act 6/2017] [link]
Judicial Laws Amendment (Ease of Settling Commercial and Other Disputes) Act [Act 7/2017] [link]
Deeds Registries Amendment Bill [Act 8/2017] [link]
Bills Passed by Parliament but not yet Gazetted as Acts
Two Bills passed by both Houses are still being prepared for submission to the President—
Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Bill [link]
In the National Assembly Last Week [20th to 22nd June]
Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 1) Bill [link] The Committee Stage started on Tuesday 20th June, with debate taking up most of the afternoon and being interrupted by the adjournment just before 7 pm. At that point, as already reported in Bill Watch 21/2017 of 22nd June, clauses 1 to 5 of the Bill had been approved despite determined resistance from MDC-T MPs, and clause 6 – the core of the Bill – still under spirited discussion. And as things turned out, Vice-President Mnangagwa was not in attendance on Wednesday and Thursday, so there was no further progress on the Bill.
Other Bills None of the other Bills on the Order Paper came up during the week - National Peace and Reconciliation Commission Bill [although Vice-President Mphoko was in attendance on Tuesday afternoon, the Constitution Amendment Bill took precedence]; the Estate Administrators Amendment Bill [another of Vice-President Mnangagwa’s bills]; the ZEP-RE (Membership of Zimbabwe and Branch Office Agreement) Bill [for attention to a defect in its preamble pointed out by President Mugabe when he returned the Bill to Parliament after refusing to assent to it].
The National Assembly, therefore, ended the week with work still to do on these four Bills, although it had been generally expected to have completed and transmitted all four of them to the Senate.
Bill awaiting PLC report
Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill [link] This very large Bill was still under consideration by the PLC.
Motions Two new motions were moved during the week—
Report on China International Travel Mart On 20th June, before the debate on the Constitution Amendment Bill, Hon S Mpofu asked the House to take note of the Report of the Parliament of Zimbabwe’s Delegation to the China International Travel Mart, held in November 2016 [link].
Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy – Report on Consolidation of Diamond Mining Companies On 21st June, after Question Time, the Minister of Mines and Mining Development gave a lengthy response to this report.
Report on SADC Parliamentary Forum 40th Plenary Session On 22nd June Hon Mukanduri asked the House to take note of the Report of this Session of the Forum, which was held in Harare from 3rd to 15th November 2016 [link].
In the Senate Last Week [20th to 22nd June]
Land Commission Bill Once again the week ended without discussion of, let alone an end to, the deadlock over the Parliamentary Legal Committee [PLC]’s adverse report on the Senate’s amendments to this Bill. For our detailed note on the problems caused by the PLC report, please see Bill Watch 19/2017 [link].
Electoral reform and alignment, Biometric Voters Roll The Senate adopted Senator Timveos’ motion on 20th June [full text available on the Veritas website, link].
Other motions Debate continued on several other motions, particularly the take note motion on the report of the Thematic Committee on HIV and AIDS on HIV and AIDS in Institutions of Higher Learning in Zimbabwe [report available on the Veritas website].
Coming up in the National Assembly This Week
Bills are listed in the following order on the Order Paper for tomorrow, Tuesday 27th June—
Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 1) Bill [link] – which is in its Committee Stage at the point reached just before 7 pm on Tuesday 20th June, i.e., with clauses 1 to 5 approved, clause 6 still under discussion and clauses 7 and 8 still to come. There are no proposed amendments to the Bill on the Order Paper.
Estate Administrators Amendment Bill [link] – awaiting the beginning of its Committee Stage. There are no proposed amendments on the Order Paper.
National Peace and Reconciliation Commission Bill [link] – also awaiting the beginning of its Committee Stage. The Order Paper sets out proposed amendments to be considered – one from Vice-President Mphoko, several major ones from Hon Gonese, MDC-T Chief Whip [amendments available on Veritas website, link].
ZEP-RE (Membership of Zimbabwe and Branch Office Agreement) Bill [link]– recommitted to Committee of the whole House to attend to the reservations about the Bill’s preamble by the President when he returned the Bill to Parliament, in terms of the Constitution, after refusing to assent to it. The Minister of Finance and Economic Development has a proposed amendment on the Order Paper designed to attend to those reservations; his amendment [available on the Veritas website, link] would replace the whole of the preamble to the Bill including the single paragraph in the preamble to which the President objected.
Also listed is a motion by the Minister of Mines and Mining Development to restore his Minerals Exploration and Marketing Corporation Bill [link] to the Order Paper at the stage it had reached when it lapsed at the end of the last Parliamentary session on 5th October 2016 – which was that the Bill had received a non-adverse report from the Parliamentary Legal Committee [PLC] and was ready for the Second Reading stage. This motion was first listed on the Order Paper for Tuesday 16th May, but was stood down by the Deputy Minister pending further discussions between the Ministry and the Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy after it was pointed out to him that the Portfolio Committee had advised the Ministry against amalgamating exploration and marketing functions under one statutory body and had instead recommended two separate Bills for two separate bodies.
Police beating-up of innocent civilians Hon Chamisa’s motion is now No 15 in the Order Paper queue, heading the list of Private Member’s motions.
Various committee/delegation reports Coming before Hon Chamisa’s motion, are several new motions on reports – to adopt a Public Accounts Committee report on the 2015 and 2015 Accounts of the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development; to take note of two Portfolio Committee reports on Turnaround Strategies for the National Railways of Zimbabwe and the Central Mechanical Equipment Department, respectively; and three take note motions for reports of Parliamentary delegations to international conferences and events.
Fairness towards regions and women After Hon Chamisa’s motion is Hon Misihairabwi-Mushonga’s motion on fair representation of Zimbabwe’s regions for providers of services to Government and in awarding of government and parastatal tenders. Her motion also demands that a 30% quota of Government tenders be reserved for women.
Government Gazettes Friday 23rd June
Statutory Instruments [two SIs gazetted]
Collective bargaining agreements SI 76/2017 publishes a new general agreement for the Ferro-Alloy Industry. SI 77 is a republication with corrections of SI 67/2017, dealing with fixed term contracts for the General Agriculture Industry and providing for successive contracts to become permanent after 4.5 years.
VAT – Approved suppliers of fiscal devices GN 307/2017 lists suppliers approved by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development and the fiscal devices they are approved to supply.
General Notices [GNs] [no SIs gazetted]
Gazetting of three Acts GN 308/2017 from the Office of the President and Cabinet notified the gazetting of Acts 6, 7 and 8 of 2017, as noted at the beginning of this bulletin.
Electoral Act – Nominee to fill vacant MDC-T party list seat in National Assembly GN 309/2917 from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission [ZEC] notifies the party’s nomination of Revayi Muguti to fill the vacancy in its party-list seats for Harare Province. Objections may be lodged with ZEC by not later than Friday 7th July. In the absence of valid objections, ZEC will declare the nominee duly appointed as a party-list MP.
Chiwundura By-election candidates Four weeks after the nomination court sitting, GN 310/2017 is ZEC’s official notification of the names of the four candidates duly nominated and the parties they represent: GUZETE Takudzwa [NCA], MUDZVITI Brighton [Freezim Congress], NDLOVU Brown [ZANU-PF] and ZULU Webster [PDZ]. The GN confirms that polling day will be Saturday 15th July.
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