Bill Watch Parliamentary Committees Series 13-2013

BILL WATCH 13/2013

[14th May 2013]

Both Houses of Parliament Are Sitting this Week

On 9th May the House of Assembly Passed the New Constitution Bill

The House of Assembly spent most of last week on the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 20) Bill, 2013.  The Bill was passed, with amendments, by the necessary two thirds majority and transmitted to the Senate, which will deal with it on Tuesday 14th May. Constitution Watch 27/2012 traces the Bill’s passage through the House in detail, from its First Reading on 7th May, through Second Reading on 8th May, to Committee Stage and Third Reading on 9th May.

Other Parliamentary Business Conducted: 7th to 9th May

House of Assembly

Bills [all available from]

After the First Reading of the New Constitution Bill on 7th May, Finance Minister Tendai Biti delivered his Second Reading speeches for three major Bills from his Ministry, in the following order:

·        Microfinance Bill

·        Securities Amendment Bill

·        Income Tax Bill.

Debate on all three Bills was adjourned, until 14th May for the Microfinance Bill and Securities Amendment Bill, and until 5th June for the Income Tax Bill.  The sitting ended early, with no attempt to tackle the sixteen other items on the agenda.

No other business conducted

Apart from passing a resolution allowing the fast-tracking of the New Constitution Bill, passing the Bill and hearing the Minister of Finance’s three Second Reading speeches, the House conducted no other business at all.  Question Time and other Private Members’ Business on Wednesday were trumped by the Second Reading proceedings on the New Constitution Bill, which lasted until the end of the afternoon’s sitting.  The House rose at 4 pm on Monday, 6.20 pm on Wednesday and 4.55 pm on Thursday.  



There were no Bills for the Senate to deal with.  Those who had hoped the New Constitution Bill would reach the Senate, and be passed by it before the end of the week, were disappointed. 


The Senate used its time to conclude debate on, and approve, both motions on its agenda: the Vice-President Nkomo condolence motion; and the vote of thanks to the President for his speech opening the current Parliamentary session.

Question Time [Thursday]

The only question on the Order Paper was carried forward to 16th May [see below]

On the Agenda for Parliament this Coming Week

House of Assembly


Ministry of Finance Bills

Items 5 and 6 on the Order Paper for Tuesday 14th May are the adjourned Second Reading debates on the Microfinance Bill and the Securities Amendment Bill.  [The House’s Portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance, Economic Planning and Investment Promotion is due to hear evidence on both these Bills on Monday morning – see Bill Watch – Parliamentary Committee Series 9/2013 of 11th May.  The Portfolio Committee on Small and Medium Enterprises will be considering the Microfinance Bill on Tuesday morning.]

Private Member’s Bill  Item 18 on the Order Paper is Hon Gonese’s motion for leave to be granted to him to bring in a Bill to repeal section 121(3) of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act.

International Agreements for Approval

Ministers will seek approval of four international agreements in terms of section 111B of the current Constitution:

·        Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement concerning the International Registration of Marks [Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs]

·        Statute of the International Renewal Energy Agency [IRENA] [Minister of Energy and Power Development]

·        United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and the Optional Protocol to the Convention [Minister of Labour and Social Services]

·        African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa [“the Kampala Convention”] [Minister of Labour and Social Services].


New motion on voter registration  Item 8 on the Order Paper is a motion proposed by Settlement Chikwinya of MDC-T that calls on the Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs to restart the current much-criticised mobile voter registration exercise for a period of not less than 30 days in each ward countrywide; on the Minister of Finance to fund the programme; and on Parliament’s Committee on Standing Rules and Orders to constitute a Parliamentary committee to investigate the adequacy of the current exercise and report back to Parliament.

Adjourned debates on a large number of motions await completion, including:

·        condolence motions for the late Vice-President Landa John Nkomo and the late Deputy Minister Seiso Moyo

·        motion of thanks to the President for his speech opening the present Parliamentary Session

·        motions on Portfolio Committee reports on subjects ranging from remuneration of Government workers to the state of residential care institutions

·        other member’s motions, including one on the need for official recognition of the historical significance of prisons where nationalist leaders were detained before Independence; and a suggestion to dissolve the Sports and Recreation Commission in order to permit the improvement of Zimbabwean athletes in all sporting disciplines.

Question Time on Wednesday  26 written questions with notice await responses from Ministers.



New Constitution Bill  This is the only item listed for Tuesday 14th May.  It is expected to be fast-tracked.


No motions are listed.

Question Time [Thursday]

The only question listed so far calls for a response from the Minister of Mines and Mining Development to concerns expressed about haphazard mining activities at Benson Mine in Mudzi district.

Parliamentary Legal Committee [PLC]

The Senate’s Votes and Proceedings for 7th and 8th May recorded that the PLC has submitted non-adverse reports on all statutory instruments published during the months of November and December 2012, and February and April, 2013.  Reports for January and March statutory instruments have not yet been submitted.

MDC Bid to Unseat Five Parliamentarians

Early in April the Secretary-General of the MDC led by Professor Welshman Ncube gave written notice to the Speaker of the House of Assembly and the President of Senate, in terms of section 41(1)(e) of the Constitution, that five former members of the party, elected to constituency seats under its banner in 2008, have ceased to represent its interests in Parliament, having been expelled from the party.  Section 41(1)(e) provides that when such notice is given, the Parliamentary seats concerned automatically become vacant.  So far Parliament has not acted on the letters – all five Parliamentarians [three House of Assembly members and two Senators] were in their respective Houses when Parliament resumed on 7th May.  The Speaker said last week that he was still waiting for feedback from consultations.   

Supreme Court Hearing on Matabeleland By-Elections Case Still Awaited

On 16th April the Chief Justice granted urgent status to an appeal by the three former MDC MPs Bhebhe, Mpofu and Mguni against Judge-President Chiweshe’s decision in the High Court releasing President Mugabe from having to comply with the Supreme Court’s 2012 order to hold by-elections in three Matabeleland House of Assembly constituencies formerly held by the appellants.  But the appeal has not yet been set down for hearing even though the record of the High Court proceedings was received at the Supreme Court two weeks ago. 

Government Gazettes of 26th April and 3rd and 10th May

[not available from veritas]

Statutory Instruments

NSSA pension increases and contributions/deductions

SI 61/2013 increases pensions and insurable earnings, effective 1st June 2013.

SI 62/2013 increases workers’ compensation payments, effective 1st August 2013.

Collective bargaining agreement

SI 51/2013 deals with motor industry wages for the period January to June 2013.

SI 55/2013 deals with agricultural industry [timber sector] wages.

SI 57/2013 to 59/2013 deal with wages and allowances for workers of welfare and educational institutions from 1st May 2009 to 31st December 2012.

SI 60/2013 deals with wages and allowances for workers of welfare and educational institutions for 2013.

Customs duties

SI 50/2013 re-enacts the existing rebates of duty for the National Railways of Zimbabwe and Air Zimbabwe.

SI 54/2013 lists long-term suspensions of customs duties for three mines – Aco Mining Ventures, Hongji Mineral Development and Yaron Goldenstone  .

Local authority by-laws

SI 52/2013 enacts new rents and service and supplementary charges for Gokwe Town Council’s incorporated area. 

SI 53/2013 sets out new licence fees for shop and business licences issued by the Gokwe Town Council.

General Notices

Preliminary notice of acquisition under Mines and Minerals Act

GN 222/2013 notifies the Government’s intention to acquire for urban development 1057 hectares making up Remaining Extent of Saturday Retreat Estate near Harare.  Objections and compensation claims must be lodged on or before 20th May. 


Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied

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