BILL WATCH 29-2019 3rd June In Parliament Last Week - Progress on Bills

BILL WATCH 29/2019

[3rd June 2019]

Both Houses Sat Last Week

Both have Adjourned until Tuesday 11th June

The last two weeks have seen encouraging progress on Bills, as follows:


Name of Bill

National Assembly [NA]


Bills Passed by Both Houses

Tripartite Negotiating Forum Bill

Passed with amendments.
Sent to Senate 17 May.

Passed 23 May without further amendment.

Companies and other Business Entities Bill 1

Passed with amendments.
Sent to Senate 17 May

Passed 29 May without further amendment.

Bills Still with the National Assembly

Microfinance Amendment Bill 2

Second Reading Stage completed 29 May.
Committee Stage completed and amendments referred to Parliamentary Legal Committee [PLC] 30 May. 
PLC report awaited.

Waiting for Bill to be passed by NA.

Consumer Protection Bill 3

Second Reading Stage completed 23 May.
Committee Stage completed and amendments referred to PLC 30 May.
PLC report awaited.

Waiting for Bill to be passed by NA.

Education Amendment Bill

Second Reading Stage  pending.

Portfolio Committee report on public hearings awaited.

Waiting for Bill to be passed by NA.

Maintenance of Peace
and Order Bill

Waiting for PLC Report following First Reading on
9 May.
Public hearings due from
3 to 7 June.

Waiting for Bill to be passed by NA.

Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency Bill

Waiting for PLC Report following First Reading on
9 May.
Public hearings due from
3 to 7 June.

Waiting for Bill to be passed by NA.



1.  Companies and Other Business Entities Bill [link] – On 28th May the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs delivered a lengthy Second Reading speech in the Senate.  On 29th May Senators gave the Bill its Second Reading without further debate.  There were no amendments suggested by the Senate and the Bill had its Third [and final] Reading.  The Bill that will be sent to the President for his assent and gazetting as law will be the one incorporating the amendments made by the National Assembly [link].

2.  Microfinance Amendment Bill [link] – On 29th May, when winding up the Second Reading debate, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development commended a good report from the Portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance and Economic Development and said he would accept most of the suggestions made.  On 30th May he was ready with the amendments, which were duly approved during the Committee Stage.  The amendments [link] were then referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee [PLC] for its report on their constitutionality.

3.  Consumer Protection Bill [link] – As expected after Deputy Minister Modi’s reply to the Second Reading debate on 23rd May – see Bill Watch 28/2019 [link] – a lengthy notice of proposed major amendments to the Bill appeared in the Order Paper for 30th May to be considered during the Committee Stage – all having the objective of making the Consumer Protection Agency a separate Commission as opposed to a department within the Ministry of industry and Commerce, as in the original Bill.  During the Committee Stage, the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs handled the Bill on behalf of the Minister of Industry and Commerce.   Before the House adjourned at 6.37 pm the amendments had all been adopted [link] and the Bill, as amended, approved.  The amendments were then referred to the PLC for its report on their constitutionality. 

Two New Bills Received by Parliament Being Printed

[Not available from Veritas until after gazetting]

Having received two Bills from the responsible Ministers, Parliament has sent them to the Government Printer for printing and gazetting.  Standing Orders stipulate that there must be at least 14 days between a Bill’s gazetting and its introduction.  If the Bills can be printed and gazetted quickly, therefore, they may, just, qualify for introduction this month.  But printing, which includes checking and correcting proofs by the drafters, can be a slow process.


Bills Awaiting Gazetting

Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Amendment Bill 1

Sent to Government Printer for printing and
gazetting 28 May.

Coroner’s Office Bill

Sent to Government Printer for printing and
gazetting 29 May.


1.  Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Amendment Bill  This Bill is intended to insert a new Part into the Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Act to allow the High Court to make unexplained wealth orders ­– court orders designed to elicit explanations from persons who exhibit possession of great wealth without having apparent lawful means of obtaining such wealth.  An unexplained wealth order, which can be obtained by specified authorities without prior notice to the person concerned, require that person to explain his or wealth and provide supporting documentation showing it was lawfully obtained.  The aim is to combat money laundering, terrorist financing, tax evasion and corruption. If no satisfactory explanation is provided, forfeiture of property may follow.

The President made temporary provision for such orders in the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) (Amendment of Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Act and Exchange Control Act) Regulations, 2018, gazetted in SI 246/2018 [link] of 9th November 2018 and made under the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) Act [PPTM Act]. Those authorised to apply for unexplained wealth orders were the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission  [ZACC], the National Prosecuting Authority [NPA], the Commissioner-General of Police and the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority [ZIMRA].

As temporary measures, however, the regulations were good for only 180 days from 9th November unless re-enacted by Act of Parliament.  And, as they were not so re-enacted, they expired at midnight on Thursday 8th May.  The result of this expiry is that from 9th May onwards no new applications for unexplained wealth orders can be lodged with the High Court – but applications lodged before the deadline may continue to be dealt with and finalised.  The regulations have certainly been used at least once -  an unexplained wealth order was issued recently by Justice Ndewere in response to an application by the.

Comment  The re-enactment of the whole of SI 246/2018 was catered for in the Finance (No. 3) Bill of December 2018 [link] but the provision for unexplained wealth orders – clause 34 – was not approved by Parliament, on the ground that it should not have been included in a Money Bill [see Bill Watch 1/2019 [link] which refers to the circumstances surrounding the omission of clause 34 with the agreement of Ministers].

2.  Coroner’s Office Bill  Given the number of times this Bill has been mentioned, without any result, in successive annual Legislative Agendas, this Bill has not hitherto been regarded as urgent.  

Other Parliamentary Business This Week

Despite the preoccupation with Bills, Question Time went ahead in both Houses.  In the National Assembly Minister of Finance and Economic Development Mthuli Ncube and Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Sekai Kanhutu-Nzenza faced most of the questions. 

NSSA forensic audit report  MPs complained that Minister Kanhutu-Nzenza was in breach of the Constitution or the Audit Office Act or both because she was withholding from Parliament the forensic audit report on the National Social Security Authority.  After inconclusive exchanges between MPs and the Minister in which the Minister said she had the report but was not yet ready to discuss it in Parliament, the Speaker intervened and ruled that the Minister would have two weeks in which to bring the report to Parliament.

Comment: The constitutional provisions mentioned by MPs do not, in fact, compel a Minister to furnish Parliament with audit reports received from the Auditor-General, even forensic ones.  Section 12(1) of the Audit Office Act, however, covers the tabling in Parliament of the Auditor-General’s reports by Ministers; it requires a Minister receiving such a report to lay it before the National Assembly “on one of the seven days on which the National Assembly next sits after” the Minister’s receipt of the report.  Equally important is the duty imposed on the Auditor-General by section 12(2) if a Minister fails to lay a report before the National Assembly within the specified period – the Auditor-General must then “transmit a copy of such report to the Speaker of the National Assembly for the Speaker to lay it before the National Assembly”. 

Parliament’s failure to honour Dr Dumiso Dabengwa  On Tuesday 28th May some MPs questioned the failure so far by Parliament’s presiding officers to call on MPs to stand in silence in memory of the late Dr Dumiso Dabengwa, late freedom fighter, ZIPRA Intelligence chief, Minister and MP, leader of the new ZAPU and recognised as a National Hero by the ruling party.  The Acting Speaker’s explanation was that Parliament does not observe the practice for persons no longer MPs at the time of death.

Ministerial statement on the State of the Energy Sector  On 30th May the first half of a very long afternoon’s sitting was taken up by the new Minister of Energy and Power Development Fortune Chasi’s Ministerial Statement and the numerous requests for clarification and suggested remedies with which MPs proceeded to bombard the Minister.  Among the Minister’s many alarming statistics was that the water level in Lake Kariba is so low that water available for power generation may last for only 14 more weeks.  The statement will be posted on the Veritas website as soon as we have it in full.


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