BILL WATCH 42/2017
[28th November 2017]
Both Houses of Parliament will Sit Today, Tuesday 28th November
President Mnangagwa Sworn in on Friday 24th November
Bill Watch 41/2017 of 22nd November took the Presidential succession story up to Mr Mugabe’s resignation late on the afternoon of Tuesday 21st November and ZANU-PF’’s nomination of Mr Mnangagwa as the next President of Zimbabwe on Wednesday 22nd November.
Mr Mnangagwa duly assumed office as President of Zimbabwe when he took the oath of office as President at midday on Friday 24th November in a ceremony at the National Sports Stadium.
As explained in Constitution Watch 11/2017 of 23rd November, Mr Mugabe’s Ministers and Deputy Ministers and Vice-President Mphoko continued in office until the moment Mr Mnangagwa was sworn in as President. At that point they automatically ceased to hold office. At the same time President Mnangagwa became entitled to appoint not more than two new Vice-Presidents and new Ministers and Deputy Ministers of his choice.
Two Acting Ministers
At the time of writing no substantive new appointments have been made, but the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet has announced the President’s appointment, in an acting capacity, of two former Ministers “to allow for uninterrupted services to critical units of Government”:
· Patrick Chinamasa to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development
· Simbarashe Mumbengegwi to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
2018 National Budget to be Presented on 7th December
The Clerk of Parliament has announced a new date for the presentation of the 2018 National Budget – Thursday 7th December.
Parliament to Resume Sittings Today
Last week’s change in the Presidency has not brought Parliament to a standstill. Far from it.
Parliamentary committees met yesterday and are due to meet until Thursday, as usual The Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs will start a countrywide series of public hearings on the Electoral Amendment Bill and the Insolvency Bill from Friday 1st December until Thursday 7th December [see Bill Watch Committee Series bulletins 30/2017 and 31/2017 of 26th November].
And both the Senate and the National Assembly will meet again today, which is the day they decided on when they last met as separate Houses on Tuesday 21st November.
Inevitably, the current lack of Ministers will hold up proceedings on Bills and other Government business, such as Ministerial motions for the approval of international agreements. And Question Times in the National Assembly and the Senate may not proceed as usual on Wednesday and Thursday.
Today’s Order Papers, however, also list other Parliamentary business that could be tackled in the absence of Ministers:
In the National Assembly
New Portfolio Committee reports A number of such reports are listed for presentation by committee chairpersons:
· Report on the Turnaround Strategy for the National Railways of Zimbabwe [NRZ]
· Report on the Turnaround Strategy for the Central Mechanical Equipment Department [CMED]
· Report on the Women Development Fund [WDF] projects
· Report on the State of the Postal and Telecommunications Sector and the Regulatory Environment
· Report on the Petition for Electoral Reform submitted by the Election Resource Centre
· Report on the UN Climate Change Conference in Marrakesh, Morocco in November 2016.
Motion on Implementation of the Right to Safe, Clean and Potable Water – a new motion to be presented by Hon Nduna
Motion on the Code of Ethics and Conduct for Members of Parliament – for continuation of debate adjourned on 17th October
In the Senate
· Report of the Zimbabwe delegation to the 7th Retreat of the Association of Senates, Shoora and equivalent Councils in Africa and the Arab World, November 2016, in Addis Ababa [for presentation]
· Report on Access to Safe and Clean Water in Rural Areas by the Thematic Committee on Gender and Development [for continued debate]
· Non-Establishment of Community Share Ownership Trusts in Mudzi and Mutoko Districts [for continued debate].