BILL WATCH 30/2019
[11th June 2019]
Both Houses will be Sitting This Week
Tripartite Negotiating Forum Act Gazetted and in Force
The Tripartite Negotiating Forum Act, 2019 (Act No. 3 of 2019) was gazetted and came into force on Tuesday 4th June [Government Gazette Extraordinary dated 4th June 2019]. It can be downloaded from the Veritas website [link].
Coming up in the Senate This Week
No Bills are listed on the Senate’s Order Paper for its first sitting of the week, which will be this afternoon, Tuesday 11th June.
Two Bills may, however, reach the Senate in time for Senators to start considering them on Wednesday – the Consumer Protection Bill and the Microfinance Amendment Bill. Both these Bills are likely to be finalised by the National Assembly and transmitted to the Senate today [see below, under Coming up in the National Assembly].
Debate is due to continue on four motions requesting the Senate to take note of the following reports, of:
- the Speaker on his Bilateral Visit to the Shura Advisory Council, Doha, Qatar from 30th March to 4th April
- the delegation to the AfrEA Conference on Monitoring and Evaluation held in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire from 11th to 15th March
- the Thematic Committee on Human Rights on the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission [ZHRC] for 2017
- the delegation to the 44th Plenary Assembly of the SADC Parliamentary Forum in Maputo, Mozambique from 6th November to 8th December 2018.
PLC’s Adverse Report on the Command Agriculture Regulations, 2018
The Senate has been waiting to finalise this item for three months, having discussed this adverse report by the Parliamentary Legal Committee [PLC], which expressed the PLC’s opinion that SI 247/2018 [link] unconstitutionally criminalises breaches of contract by command agriculture beneficiaries. All Senators who spoke said the provisions concerned should be struck down. It was decided, however, that the responsible Minister, the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement, should be given a reasonable opportunity to defend the provisions before the Senate,. If the Minister fails to appear this week, Senators may decide that the time has come to vote on the adverse report without hearing from him.
Question Time will, as usual, be on Thursday afternoon. There are eleven written questions with notice on the Order Paper already; at least six have gone unanswered from last year.
Coming up in the National Assembly
Bills about to be passed and sent to the Senate
Microfinance Amendment Bill
Consumer Protection Bill
On Thursday 30th May the National Assembly went through the Committee Stages of both these Bills, amended them and transmitted them to the PLC for its report on the constitutionality of the amendments. The PLC met last week and cleared both Bills. This means that the National Assembly can now pass both Bills on 11th June and send them to the Senate, which in turn should be able to start.
Education Amendment Bill
This Bill is item 1 on the National Assembly’s Order Paper for Tuesday 11th June. Public hearings have been held and the portfolio committee’s report on the public’s views should by now be ready for presentation.
Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency Bill [link] : PLC report ready
This Bill was given its First Reading and sent to the PLC on 9th May. The PLC’s report has been completed and may be announced today, clearing the way for the start of the Second Reading stage.
Maintenance of Peace and Order Bill [link] : Still under consideration by PLC
This Bill, too, was given its First Reading and sent to the PLC on 9th May – but is still under consideration. Legal commentators have criticised much of the controversial Bill as being inconsistent with the Constitution – for example, see Bill Watch 24/2019 [link].
Early agenda items for today include for continuation of adjourned debates on motions on: the President’s speech opening the current session; the ZHRC’s Report on the 2018 Harmonised Elections; the Judicial Service Commission’s Report for the year 2018. New motions listed thereafter concern: the Report of the Delegation to the Inter-Parliamentary Union Meeting on the Adoption of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration held in Rabat, Morocco on 6th and 7th December 2018; a call to Government to take measures to economically empower and safeguard the welfare of Veterans of the Liberation Struggle – was veterans, war collaborators and ex-detainees – including aligning the relevant pieces of legislation to the Constitution; a call decentralise the collection of vehicle licence fees and road user charges to local authorities instead of ZINARA as a means of enabling local authorities to maintain road infrastructure in their council areas.
Question Time will, as usual, be on Wednesday afternoon. There are more than 80 written questions with notice on the Order Paper, most of them directed to the Ministers of Health and Child Care, Transport and Infrastructural Development, Finance and Economic Development and Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage.
Four Bills Being Printed prior to Gazetting
[Not available from Veritas until after gazetting]
In Bill Watch 29/2019 [link] Veritas reported that Parliament had sent two Bills to the Government Printer for printing and, in due course, publication in the Government Gazette. Two other Bills have since joined them. Under Parliament’s Standing Orders a Bill is not ordinarily introduced into either House until at least fourteen days after it has been gazetted.
The four Bills being printed are listed in the following table [latest two shown first]:
Bills Being Printed for Gazetting
Sent to Government Printer for printing and gazetting 31 May.
Freedom of Information Bill
Sent to Government Printer for printing and gazetting 30 May.
Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Amendment Bill
Sent to Government Printer for printing and gazetting 28 May.
Coroner’s Office Bill
Sent to Government Printer for printing and gazetting 29 May.