BILL WATCH 37/2017
[11th October 2017]
Both Houses of Parliament are Sitting This Week
National Peace and Reconciliation Commission Bill Finally Passed
On Tuesday 3rd October the Senate dealt with all stages of this Bill without making any amendments. Now that it has been approved by both Houses, the Bill can be sent to the President for his assent and signature and subsequent publication as an Act in the Government Gazette. The Bill as finally approved incorporated amendments made by the National Assembly; those amendments are indicated in an annotated version of the Bill accessible at this link to the Veritas website.
PLC Adverse Report on Police Association Regulations
After consideration of the adverse report of the Parliamentary Legal Committee [PLC] [link], the Senate agreed with the PLC and resolved that SI 74/2017 enacting these regulations [link] was inconsistent with the Constitution. The Clerk of Parliament must now report the Senate’s resolution to the authority that enacted the SI [the Minister of Home Affairs]. The Minister must, within 21 days after being so notified, either repeal the SI or apply to the Constitutional Court for a declaration that the SI is in accordance with the Constitution.
In the National Assembly Last Week
On Wednesday 4th October after Question Time and the Ministerial Statement on Commercial Child Sexual Exploitation [see below], proceedings were abruptly terminated when a quorum could not be raised.
Insolvency Bill [link] Vice-President Mnangagwa, in his then capacity as Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, delivered his speech starting the Second Reading stage of this important Bill.
Ministerial Statement on Commercial Child Sexual Exploitation in Harare Province
In response to the previous week’s urgent motion by Hon Misihairabwi-Mushonga and Hon Nduna, the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare made a statement [link]. There was no opportunity for follow-up questions from MPs because immediately after the statement attention was drawn to the absence of a quorum and the sitting was abruptly terminated when attempts to muster a quorum failed,
Portfolio Committee Report on Shabani-Mashava Mine Last session’s motion on this report was restored to the Order Paper.
Fair regional and gender representation in awarding government contracts Hon Misihairabwi-Mushonga moved her motion on 3rd October.
Veld fires Hon Mudyiwa moved his motion on 5th October and was supported by colleagues in their contributions. The motion calls for stiffer custodial sentences for those who cause fires and speedy resolution of court cases involving environmental crimes.
WTO Agreement Amendment arising out of Bali Trade Facilitation Agreement [TFA] Zimbabwe is a member of the World Trade Organisation [WTO]. The Minister of Industry and Commerce moved a motion for the approval of an amendment to the WTO Agreement to give effect to the Bali TFA which aims to reduce red tape and streamline customs. It is already in force as the necessary two thirds of countries have ratified it. Debate was not concluded.
In the Senate Last Week
The only Bill dealt with was the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission Bill, which was passed on 3rd October [see above].
Motion to adopt Code of Conduct and Ethics for MPs
On Wednesday 4th October Senator Masuku, seconded by Senator Mohadi, introducing a motion calling on Senators to adopt the Code of Conduct and Ethics for MPs, as approved by the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders in April 2016. Debate was not completed by the end of the week. The motion recalls that such a Code was recommended by the Parliamentary Reform Committee way back in 1999, and that section 198 of the Constitution calls for such a Code to have the status of an Act of Parliament. The Code is available on the Veritas website [link]. It has not yet been debated in the National Assembly.
Report on conference on Arms Trade Treaty Senator Timveos moved a motion asking Senators to take note of the report of the Zimbabwe delegation to a an International Conference in Senegal in June 2017 on Promoting Stakeholder and Parliamentary Dialogue on the treaty.
GMB preparedness for 2016-2017 season and Success of Command Agriculture The Senate voted to restore to the Order Paper last session’s motion on the Thematic Committee’s report on these two subjects. Debate was then resumed and will continue.
In Parliament Yesterday, Tuesday 10th October
No Government business was dealt with in either House in the aftermath of the major Cabinet reshuffle announced on Monday by the Office of the President and Cabinet. Vice-President Mnangagwa, no longer Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, was not present in the National Assembly, nor was the former Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Hon Chinamasa.
The Senate adjourned after only 47 minutes; most of that time was taken up by short contributions to the debate on the Thematic Committee on Peace and Security’s Report on Command Agriculture [link].
In the National Assembly MPs managed to keep things going for just under two hours with a number of contributions to the debate on the President’s speech opening the session.
Coming Up in Parliament on 11th and 12th October
It remains to be seen what effect the Cabinet changes will have on Question Time in the National Assembly on Wednesday afternoon, and in the Senate on Thursday.
Approval of International Agreements
Three agreements are listed for approval, all from the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare. There has been a change of Minister in the Cabinet reshuffle, the Deputy Minister has a track record of successfully handling Ministry business in Parliament. The three agreements are:
· Marrakesh Treaty to facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print disabled;
· SADC Protocol on Employment and Labour
· Protocol to the International Labour Organisation’s Forced Labour Convention P029.
There is a great deal of Government business on the agenda for Thursday.
Adoption of the Code of Conduct and Ethics for MPs
Hon Chamisa and Hon Dr Shumba are due to move a motion for the adoption of the Code [link] after Question Time on Wednesday. Debate on the Code is already under way in the Senate.
International Agreements for Approval
In addition to the motion carried over from last week on the Amendment to the WTO Agreement [see above], the Order Paper lists the three agreements from the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare referred to in the entry on the Senate, above.
The following Bills are listed, but are unlikely to come up until Thursday or later: Insolvency Bill [for continuation of Second Reading debate] and Estate Administrators Amendment Bill [both from the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, now under a new Minister]; Land Commission Bill [for approval of Senate amendments]; Shop Licences Amendment Bill [for further consideration of the PLC’s adverse report].
Government Gazette Extraordinary dated 29th September
Compulsory acquisition of land under Constitution GN 499/2017 notified the immediate acquisition under section 72(2) of the Constitution of eight pieces of land listed in the GN. The Constitution allows no opportunity to object. Compensation will be for improvements only, not for the land itself.
Preliminary notice of compulsory acquisition of land under Land Acquisition Act GN 500/2017 gives preliminary notice of the Government’s intention to expropriate 19.5 hectares of land in Harare under the Land Acquisition Act. Owners, occupiers or holders of other rights in the land have the right to object on or before 29th October. Full compensation is payable. The Administrative Court has the power to decide on objections and/or the amount of compensation.
Privileges and immunities for Southern African Power Pool GN 498/2017 notifies the granting, in terms of section 7 of the Privileges and Immunities Act, of privileges and immunities for the SAPP as an international organisation, and, as long as they are not Zimbabwean citizens, for its representatives, experts, consultants and other officials and employees.
Government Gazette dated 6th October
Code of Conduct for Ferro Alloy Industry SI 125/2017 publishes the Code of Conduct agreed by the parties to the National Employment Council for the Ferro Alloy Industry.
Customs duty rebate on fuel imports for Power Generation Projects SI 126/2017 provides for a suspension of duty for the year 2017 on fuel for use at Dema Emergency Power Projects, Kariba South Extension Project and African Chrome Field (Pvt) Ltd. The quantities of fuel covered are specified.
Cargo tracking routes for goods vehicles transiting Zimbabwe SI 127/2017 prescribes the routes through Zimbabwe which must be followed by vehicles fitted with electronic cargo tracking devices.
Government’s Consolidated Financial Statement for May 2017 GN 504/2017 notifies the publication by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development of the Government's Consolidated Financial Statement for May this year [link]. This publication is required by section 34 of the Public Finance Management Act; it should have been published by the end of July.