BILL WATCH 49/2022
[24th October 2022]
Parliamentary Update for Last Two Weeks
Part 1: Sitting Days Tuesday 11th to Thursday 13th October
Please note that this bulletin was written and should have been e-mailed to the
Veritas mailing-list before close of business on Monday 17th October.
Apologies: this was prevented by Technical difficulties,
Bills in the National Assembly 11th to 13th October
Only the two Bills listed below came up for consideration in the National Assembly, both on Thursday 13th October, the last sitting day of the week. The Senate had no Bills on its Order Paper, because the National Assembly had not passed any Bills and sent them to the Senate since the two Budget Bills.
PVOs Amendment Bill: Opposition MPs Continue Resistance
The Private Voluntary Organisations Amendment Bill was finally brought up for consideration on Thursday 13th October.
This was over three weeks after the Speaker’s controversial ruling of 20th September rejecting Opposition protests against the holding of the Committee Stage when Opposition MPs were not present in the National Assembly Chamber except on an improperly functioning virtual platform.
Normally, there is no debate at the Consideration Stage of a Bill amended during the Committee Stage where, as in the present case, the Parliamentary Legal Committee has returned a non-adverse report on the Bill as amended. Debate is, however, possible – and Opposition MPs Hons Biti, Markham and Muchenje seized the opportunity to deliver vigorous protests against the adoption of the Bill. All three MPs called for the Bill to be abandoned or withdrawn. The Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs then moved the adjournment of the debate until the next sitting.
Note: On the 16th October President Mnangagwa, in his capacity as a columnist for The Sunday Mail, used his weekly column to urge Parliament to pass the Bill, saying “I am ready to sign this Bill into law once Parliament has done its part.”
The Bill’s Consideration Stage remains on the National Assembly Order Paper for Tuesday 18th October, where it heads the list of Bills for attention.
Institute of Loss Control and Private Security Managers Bill [link] – Private Member’s Bill
Also on Thursday 13th October, Hon Murire started the Second Reading stage of his Private Member’s Bill by presenting his Second Reading speech explaining his Institute of Loss Control and Private Security Managers Bill. Hon Murire has anticipated the Committee Stage by giving a lengthy advance Notice of Amendments setting out the changes he proposes to move when that stage is reached; the Notice of Amendments has been on the National Assembly’s Order Paper since at least 30th August.
Other Business in the National Assembly 11th to 13th October
Petitions accepted and referred to Portfolio Committees
Petition for law on “Rights to Shelter” and harmonisation of laws on Property Rights This petition was received from the Coalition for the Market and Liberal Solutions and has been referred to the Portfolio Committee on Local Government, Public Works, National Housing and Social Amenities.
Petition on review of the Mining Laws to promote decent work for women in the mining sector This petition was received from the African Women in Mining Empowerment Trust and has been referred to the Portfolio Committee on Mines and Mining Development.
Petition for Parliament to call Harare City Council to provide decent accommodation for families housed at disused Zororo Bar This petition was received from Chipo Jiri and has been referred to the Portfolio Committee on Portfolio Committee on Local Government, Public Works, National Housing and Social Amenities.
Petition for amendment of Electoral Act and Political Parties Finance Act to provide for the allocation of campaign financing and provision of training for elections etc This petition was received from Women’s Law in Southern Africa and has been referred to the Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs
Petition for protection from environmental damage caused by mining activities and protection of citizens’ health, relocation of residents and compensation This petition was received from Eiffel Flats and neighbouring areas and has been referred to the Portfolio Committee on Mines and Mining Development.
Condolence Motion on the passing of late Hon Leonard Chikomba This motion was approved on 11th October.
Approval of International Agreement: Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement with Turkey On 12th October the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade presented a motion for the approval of this 2018 agreement following its ratification in April 2022 by the Republic of Turkey; the House approved the agreement the next day. This clears the way for President to ratify the agreement and, once that has been done, for the agreement to come into force.
In the Senate 11th to 13th October
In the absence of Bills sent to them from the National Assembly, Senators on Tuesday and Wednesday had no Government business to deal with and had to be content with: continuing to make contributions to adjourned debates on motions previously moved; approving the motion calling on the Government to do something about street children; the conclusion of the debate on the 51st Plenary of the SADC Parliamentary Forum; and Question Time on Thursday.
Gazetting of Appropriation (Supplementary) Act, 2022
This Act was published in the Government Gazette and came into force on Friday 14th October 2022 as Act No. 7 of 2022, by General Notice 2354 of 2022.
Note: The Finance Act, 2022, is expected to be gazetted soon. The final passage of the Bill for the Act was delayed by the discovery of careless errors caused by an unduly rushed Committee Stage when it was in the National Assembly. It has now been sent to the President’s Office for assent and signing by the President and publication in the Government Gazette as an Act.
Gazetting of Prisons and Correctional Service Bill
This 79-page Bill [link] was published in the Government Gazette on 7th October 2022. Veritas will comment on the Bill in a separate bulletin in due course.
Update on Government’s Electoral Amendment Bill
Parliament received this Bill from the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs on Thursday 13th October and has sent it to the Government Printer for printing and publication in the Government Gazette. The Bill was approved by Cabinet on 4th October and a summary of the Bill’s contents was given in the Post-Cabinet Briefing by the Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services of the same date. Veritas published its comments on this summary in Election Watch 4/2022 of 11th October [link].
Veritas will make the Bill available on our website as soon as it has been gazetted.