BILL WATCH 45/2012
[3rd October 2012]
Both Houses stand adjourned until Tuesday 9th October
No Date Yet for Ceremonial Opening of Next Parliamentary Session
It has been reported that during his meeting with the Prime Minister on Monday 1st October, the President agreed that he would open the next Parliamentary session soon. Parliament has still not been notified of a date and a Presidential proclamation, the formal legal instrument required to end the present session and start the next one, has not been gazetted.
Electoral Amendment Act Gazetted
The Electoral Amendment Act was gazetted on Friday 28th September as Act No 3/2012, following its signature by the President on the 14th September [available from email@example.com].
Commencement All but one of the Act’s 44 sections came into force with effect from 28th September. The exception is section 42, which provides for polling station voters rolls; this section will only come into force after the coming general elections. [After the coming general elections, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission [ZEC] will have to gazette a notice fixing the date for section 42 to come into force – but only once it is satisfied that voters rolls for all polling station areas have been prepared in accordance with the new provisions set out in section 42.]
No polling station voters rolls for coming general elections Because section 42 of the Act will not come into force until later, voters in the forthcoming general elections will still be able to vote at any of the polling stations in the ward in which they are registered.
Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Act Still Awaiting Gazetting
Only one of the five 2012 Bills already passed by Parliament still has to be gazetted as an Act – the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Act. It will be Act No 2/2012.
Other 2012 Acts Now Available
[All available from firstname.lastname@example.org]
The three 2012 Acts gazetted on Monday 17th September are:
- Older Persons Act – No 1/2012 [not yet in force – date of commencement to be fixed by the President by statutory instrument in due course]
- Finance Act – No 4/2012 [into force 17th September]
- Appropriation (2012) Amendment Act – No 5/2012 [into force 17th September]
Justice Chiweshe yesterday afternoon granted the President a second extension of the deadline set by the Supreme Court for the calling of the three overdue Matabeleland by-elections, allowing him up to the 31st March 2013 to comply. The granting of the extension will obviously be interpreted to mean that the other 23 outstanding Parliamentary by-elections – and the many local authority councils vacancies – will be left in abeyance. And by the 31st March no doubt it will be argued that the proximity of the general elections makes by-elections pointless.
Vacant Non-Constituency Seats
The other vacant seats in Parliament could be readily filled:
There are two appointed seats vacant – one provincial governor’s seat to be filled by appointment by the President and one MDC-T non-constituency seat to be filled by an MDC-T nominee formally appointed by the President.
The two vacant chief’s seats have to be elected through provincial assemblies of Manicaland and Matabeleland South chiefs sitting as electoral colleges. These elections, organised by government and presided over by a ZEC official, would be quick and inexpensive to run.
JOMIC: SADC Representatives Still Not in Place
The two SADC representatives due to be attached to JOMIC have still not assumed their positions. They were to have done so at a JOMIC meeting scheduled for Friday 28th September, but, as has happened before, the meeting did not take place because a JOMIC member – this time ZANU-PF’s Nicholas Goche – could not attend. As a result the representative from Tanzania had a wasted trip to Harare. This hold-up illustrates once again the inevitable difficulties caused by JOMIC members having too many other commitments – most are busy Cabinet Ministers who also double as GPA negotiators and COPAC Management Committee members. [Cabinet level JOMIC members are not essential – article 22 of the GPA says merely that JOMIC must be composed of “senior members” from each of the three GPA parties.]
The attachment of the SADC representatives has taken far too long. It has been pending since March 2011, when the Livingstone Summit of the Troika of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation decided the attachments should be made. The Troika’s decision was endorsed by the Extraordinary SADC Summit in Sandton in June 2011 and subsequent Summits have repeated calls for its implementation.
SADC Organ Troika Meeting Called Off
Troika chairperson Tanzanian President Kikwete announced at the SADC Organ Troika meeting last month that Zimbabwe would be on the agenda for the next meeting of the Organ Troika scheduled for 7th and 8th October. This meeting has not been confirmed.
Cabinet-level GPA Implementation Mechanism not Formed
The August SADC Summit in Maputo endorsed a Troika call urging the GPA parties to establish a “mechanism in Cabinet” to ensure that Ministries implement those parts of the GPA, the Implementation Matrix and the Roadmap to Elections that fall within their mandate. But this “mechanism” has not been set up.
Status of Bills as at 1st October 2012
[Bills available from email@example.com unless otherwise stated]
Passed Bill awaiting Presidential assent and gazetting as Act
Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Bill [resubmitted for assent 17th September]
The Constitution requires the President to grant or withhold his assent within 21 days of a Bill being presented to him.
Bills gazetted and awaiting presentation in Parliament
Microfinance Bill [gazetted on 31st August] [not yet available]
Securities Amendment Bill [gazetted on 10th August 2012] The Minister of Finance has given notice of his intention to present this Bill when the House next sits.
Bills being printed None.
Bill in the pipeline The Minister of Finance is expected to send the new Income Tax Bill to Parliament this week for printing. He has previously said he wants this Bill passed by the end of the year.
Acts Electoral Amendment Act [No. 3/2012] [see above]
Bills No Bills were gazetted
Statutory Instruments [copies not available]
Kariba Dam Wall toll fees SI 145A/2012, effective 25th September, clarifies the tariff of toll fees for use of the roadway across the dam wall, replacing SI 72/2012.
Social workers code of ethics SI 146/2012 enacts a code of ethics for social workers formulated by the Council of Social Workers in terms of the Social Workers Act.
Agricultural marketing SI 147/2012 contains a short set of regulations requiring all companies that intend to be “in the business of buying and contracting agricultural products” to register with the Agricultural Marketing Authority [AMA], to submit periodic returns to the AMA on products bought or processed, and to keep records of products bought available for inspection by AMA inspectors. SI 148/2012 re-states the functions of the AMA re seed cotton and seed cotton products.
Collective bargaining agreement SI 152/2012 amends section 32 of the main collective bargaining agreement for the commercial sectors of Zimbabwe.
Customs duty SIs 150 and 151/2012 provide for 3-year suspensions for the benefit of named mining companies.
VAT – fiscalised registers SI 149/2012 is the sixth amendment to the VAT (Fiscalised Recording of Taxable Transactions) regulations published in SI 210/2012.
Engineering profession SI 153/2012 contains the Engineering Council of Zimbabwe (General) By-laws, made by the Council under the Engineering Council Act. The by-laws cover such matters as application forms to be used by engineers, technicians and firms seeking registration or practising certificates under the Act; the related fees; scales and rates for professional fees; and a model code of ethics.
Environmental protection – Harare Wetlands GN 453/2012 notifies the intention of the Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Management to declare 26 areas in Harare to be wetlands. Objectors must lodge any objections to the proposed declaration with the Director General of the Environmental Management Agency before 1st November. The GN also repeals the defective Harare wetlands declaration published earlier this year in GN 313/2012.
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