BILL WATCH 13/2014
[4th March 2014]
Both Houses of Parliament Are Sitting this Week
Coming up in Parliament This Week
Both Houses start sitting on 4th March.
No recent Bills are listed for consideration. The three Bills already introduced in the National Assembly cannot be set down for their Second Readings until the Parliamentary Legal Committee [PLC] has reported on their constitutionality.
The Income Tax Bill, a Bill from the last Parliament that was returned unsigned to Parliament by the President in early December last year, is next to last on the Order Paper, and is obviously not being treated as urgent; it is the There has been no indication of when the National Assembly will get round to considering the President’s reservations on the Bill, and MPs have not been provided with copies of the Bill as sent to the President, i.e., incorporating the major changes made as it went through the Parliamentary process in June 2013.
There are more than 20 motions on the Order Paper, most for continuation of debates already started. Items high on the Order Paper are:
Corruption Debate is due to continue on last week’s motion by Hon Madzimure calling for the appointment of the Anti-Corruption Commission and a review and harmonisation of all corruption-related laws.
Tripartite Negotiating Forum Hon Hlongwane’s new motion calls on the Government to reactivate the dormant Tripartite Negotiating Forum constituted by Government, business and labour.
TV and radio coverage of Parliament Hon Chamisa’s new motion calls among other things for live coverage of Parliamentary proceedings by TV and radio.
Question Time [Wednesday 5th March]
The Order Paper lists 49 questions, all deferred from earlier sittings.
No Bills are listed for consideration. Although the Electoral Amendment Bill had its First Reading in the Senate on 6th February, the Second Reading stage cannot start until the PLC has reported on the Bill’s constitutionality.
Note Further proceedings on this Bill may even have to wait until the Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs has completed its planned public hearings on the Bill.
Vote of thanks for the President’s opening speech This is item 1 on the Order Paper. The President of the Senate last week appealed to Ministers to respond to points raised by Senators during this long-running debate on matters falling within their jurisdiction. Once Ministers have contributed, the motion’s mover will wind up the debate and the motion will be put to the vote.
Use of solar systems in agriculture Senator Mutsvangwa’s new motion on this subject is item 2. Referring to the adverse effect on the agricultural sector of erratic power supplies over the last decade, it calls for the establishment of a Government policy for enhanced usage of solar systems in agriculture, including subsidies and Public/Private Partnerships.
Indigenous languages, environmental pollution and land degradation, underdevelopment in Beitbridge resettlement areas The Order Paper lists the motions on these subjects for continuation of debate already started.
Question Time [Thursday 6th March]
Questions for the Minister of Health and Child Care Three new questions ask about policy on using traditional healers in treating cancer [nhuta], policy on establishing a national nutrition unit, and whether it has been decided to stop training visually handicapped rehabilitation technicians at Marondera Hospital’s Rehabilitation Technicians Training School.
Promoting sports The Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture is asked to explain his Ministry’s policy on promoting sport.
In Parliament Last Week
Water supply failure forced early adjournments on both 25th and 26th February.
On 26th February two Bills were introduced, given their First Readings and immediately referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee:
- · National Prosecuting Authority Bill [Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs]
- · Financial Adjustments Bill [Minister of Finance and Economic Development]
Mandatory 30-year sentence for rape Minister of Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development Oppah Muchinguri, in her contribution to the debate, supported the call for stiffer sentences, commended recent efforts in that direction by the courts, and said her Ministry would take advantage of the ongoing realignment of laws process to “ensure that there is mandatory sentencing for rapists” [the motion requested minimum 30 years for rape].
Corruption Hon Madzimure, seconded by fellow MDC-T MP Hon Chikwinya, introduced his motion referring to the deteriorating state of corporate governance in Zimbabwe, ineffective anti-corruption laws and a weak Anti-Corruption Commission, and calling for the filling of vacancies on the Commission and a review to harmonise the anti-corruption laws. There was strong support from the first ZANU-PF contributor, Hon Chinotimba.
Question Time [26th February]
Remuneration of local authority managers Responding on behalf of his absent colleague Ignatious Chombo, Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Emerson Mnangagwa assured the House that the Ministry ofLocal Government, Public Works and National Housing was still compiling the requested information on this remuneration and hoped to report back to the House in the next two weeks.
As the PLC’s report to the Senate on the Electoral Amendment Bill was not announced, there could be no progress on this Bill.
Indigenous languages Senator Mathuthu introduced her motion on the need for policies encouraging wider use of indigenous languages particularly in the education and training system.
Strategic agrarian reform Senator Carter introduced his motion questioning why, 14 years on, the beneficiaries of land reform have not been granted the security of tenure they need to develop the agriculture sector and promote Zimbabwe’s economic recovery.
Question Time [27th February]
Senators noted that, unusually, there were “a lot of Ministers” present to answer questions without notice.
MPs’ exemption from road toll fees – the Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Development assured Senators that he and ZINARA had been working on the administrative challenges facing them on this issue. MPs would be exempt, but would have to ensure that ZINARA have sufficient information to facilitate implementation of the exemption at toll gates.
Dissolved parastatal boards – the Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Development referred to the difficulties in finding suitable candidates to replace fired board members. As an interim measure pending substantive appointments, Air Zimbabwe was being run by a panel of civil servants.
Licensing of local commercial radio stations The Deputy Minister of Media, Information and Broadcasting Services revealed that applications for licensing of local commercial radio stations had been received for only 9 of the 25 urban centres listed by the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe late last year. Applicants’ interest had been focused mainly on Harare and Bulawayo.
Servicing of dams on former commercial farms The Deputy Minister of Environment, Water and Climate, asked about Government measures to service these dams, mentioned inadequate resources and the fact that new farmers were often not prepared to maintain dams on resettled land that had in earlier times been maintained by the commercial farmers concerned, not the Government.
Update on Bills
[unless otherwise stated, available from addresses at the end of this bulletin]
Bills awaiting PLC reports
For report to Senate
Electoral Amendment Bill
For report to National Assembly
Sovereign Wealth Fund Bill
Financial Adjustments Bill
National Prosecuting Authority Bill
Bill gazetted and awaiting introduction
Biological and Toxin Weapons Crimes Bill
Bill returned by President for reconsideration
Income Tax Bill [see note above] [not available]
Bills being printed by the Government Printer
Trafficking in Persons Bill [not available] [The Deputy Minister of Home Affairs told Senators on 27th February that he hoped the Bill would be ready for tabling in Parliament in a few days.]
Bills passed, sent for Presidential assent and gazetting as Acts
Appropriation (2014) Bill
Government Gazette 28th February 2014
Statutory Instruments [SIs]
Parks and Wild Life Management Authority fees tariff SI 45/2014 sets out the new tariff of fees payable for the services and facilities provided by the Authority. There is differentiation between residents and non-residents, and residents must produce “positive proof of their Zimbabwe residence” to benefit from lower fees. Resident pensioners over 60 will pay 50% of conservation fees.
Reduction of Chirisa safari area SI 47/2014 amends the Fourth Schedule to the Parks and Wild Life Act, subtracting land from the Chirisa safari area; it has descriptions of the subtracted area and the reduced safari area.
Deposit Protection Regulations SI 46/2014 amends the principal regulations [SI 156/2013] to adjust the surcharge payable when a contributory institution fails to pay its full contribution to the Deposit Protection Fund on time.
General Notices [GNs]
Council of Legal Education [CLE] GN 29/2014 notifies dates for the 2014 professional examinations for would-be legal practitioners:
- · Winter Session – 16th to 27th June [last day for submission of notice of intention to sit: 30th April]
- · Summer Session – 17th to 28th November [last day for submission of notice of intention to sit: 30th September]
The GN gives CLE contact details and sets out the requirements to be fulfilled when giving notice of intention to sit the examinations to the CLE. [Full text of GN available on Veritas website – see address at the end of this bulletin]
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