Parliament will Resume Today, 5th March, after a Two-Week Recess
Coming Up in the National Assembly This Week
Tripartite Negotiating Forum Bill Item 1 on today’s Order Paper is the Second Reading speech for this Bill by the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare.
Companies and Other Business Entities Bill Item 2 is the continuation of the Second Reading debate. The Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs has delivered his Second Reading speech. The next step will be the presentation of the relevant portfolio committee’s report on the public hearings on the Bill that it conducted last week. As the Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs is only due to consider its draft report on Thursday morning, the National Assembly Bill is unlikely to deal with it before Thursday afternoon.
Other Bills ready for presentation The following three Bills, having all been gazetted more than two weeks ago, could be presented this week, subject to the responsible Ministers having given notice of presentation:
- Consumer Protection Bill
- Microfinance Amendment Bill
- Education Amendment Bill.
The status of the Zimbabwe Investment Development Agency Bill is that it is still “awaiting gazetting”; the latest information from Parliament is that the printer’s page proofs have been back with the drafters in the Attorney-General’s Office.
ZHRC 2017 Report Continuation of debate on the take-note motion for this report by the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission is listed ahead of a sizeable number of motions lined up for presentation.
Motions awaiting presentation The new motions include calls for: prioritisation reasonable pensions and other benefits for war veterans, war collaborators and ex-detainees; decentralisation of collection of vehicle licence fees from ZINARA to local authorities; a comprehensive national policy on persons living with disability; a solution to the problem of cholera and adequate resources to deal with water and sewer infrastructure challenges; the abandonment of the Parliamentary whipping system.
Item 20 on the Order Paper is an MDC-A motion stemming from the reports of rampant abuse of women and girls, including indecent assault and rape allegedly committed by members of the security forces. It calls on the Government to put a stop to these abuses, to create an environment for reports to be made, and to expedite the enactment of an independent complaints mechanism in accordance with section 210 of the Constitution. But, a governing party MP has proposed an amendment which would completely change the motion into one praising the role of the security forces in defending the country during the “acts of terrorism unleashed in some urban areas under the face of a job stay-away from 14th to 16th January 2019”. Heated inter-party debate seems certain if this motion comes up.
There are 128 questions listed for Questions with Notice on Wednesday afternoon.
Expected rulings on Privilege
Rulings from the Speaker are expected on (1) Hon Mliswa’s complaint of death threats by Hon Nduna and (2) Hon Phuthi’s complaint about the absence of facilities at Parliament for translating his contributions in Kalanga.
Coming up in the Senate This Week
Senators have no Bills to deal with as yet. They are once again waiting for Bills to be completed by and transmitted from the National Assembly.
Adverse PLC Reports on Statutory Instruments
The first five items on today’s Senate Order Paper are consideration of adverse reports from the Parliamentary Legal Committee [PLC] on a variety of statutory instruments from the second half of 2018.
Instruments condemned by the PLC include the Command Agriculture Regulations [SI 247/2018]. The PLC report reminds one that previous Command Agriculture Regulations also attracted an adverse report and for the very same reasons: unconstitutional criminalisation of breaches of contract. On the previous occasion the Senate agreed with the PLC. Whether it will do so again remains to be seen.
The remaining adverse reports all identify indefensible instances of penalty provisions that are clearly ultra vires the authorities that made them [two sets of local authority by-laws and three sets of Civil Aviation regulations]. So Senators should have no hesitation in passing resolutions that the penalty provisions are indeed ultra vires, which will immediately nullify the offending provisions and must be followed up the Clerk of Parliament gazetting notices to that effect [Constitution, Fifth Schedule, paragraph 9(4)]. The adverse reports will be posted on the Veritas website no later than tomorrow.
There is a new motion drawing attention to rampant violence by artisanal miners and the high number of cases of sexual abuse by men against women and children and calling on Government to bring perpetrators to book.
Question Time will be on Thursday. There are already 24 Questions with Notice listed for reply by Ministers.