By Veritas Zimbabwe
This Bill was gazetted in a Government Gazette Extraordinary on Tuesday 31st December 2019 [General Notice 2186/2019 signed by the Clerk of Parliament, Mr K.M. Chokuda]. The Bill is available for downloading on the Veritas website [link]. Our analysis of the Bill will follow in due course.
When can the Bill be presented in the National Assembly?
The Bill cannot be presented until 31st March at the earliest. There is a compulsory 90-day post-gazetting waiting period – section 328(3) of the Constitution provides that a Bill to amend the Constitution may not be presented in either House of Parliament unless the Speaker has given at least ninety days notice in the Government Gazette of the Bill’s “precise terms”.
Although General Notice 2186 was not signed by the Speaker and does not cite section 328(3) of the Constitution, it certainly gives notice of the precise terms of the Bill, and is probably sufficient to start the countdown to presentation of the Bill in the National Assembly on or after 31st March. [Remember, however, that for the First Amendment to the Constitution in 2017 a notice by the Clerk was promptly followed by a notice by the Speaker – see Bill Watch 1/2017 [link].]
Consultations with members of the public are essential under the Constitution
Section 328(4) of the Constitution obliges Parliament, immediately after the Bill has been gazetted, to start consulting members of the public about the Bill by inviting them to express their views on the proposed Bill in public meetings and through written submissions, and to convene meetings and provide facilities to enable the public to do so.
A call for written submissions can, therefore, be expected from Parliament soon. Public meetings, however, will probably have to wait until MPs reassemble on 11th February.
Two Budget Acts Also Gazetted
Also published on 31st December 2019, in a separate Government Gazette Extraordinary, were the following two Acts, both available on the Veritas website:
Finance (No. 3) Act, 2019 (No. 13 of 2019) [link]
Appropriation (2020) Act, 2019 (No. 14 of 2019) [link]