Pres­i­dent re­jects Bill

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Zva­maida Mur­wira Se­nior Re­porter

PRES­I­DENT Mu­gabe has re­jected the ZEP-RE Bill (Mem­ber­ship of Zim­babwe and Branch Of­fice Agree­ment) that seeks to pro­vide some quasi-diplo­matic priv­i­leges and im­mu­ni­ties on a re­gional rein­sur­ance com­pany es­tab­lished by an agree­ment of the Pref­er­en­tial Trade Area mem­ber States, now re­ferred to as Comesa.

The Head of State and Gov­ern­ment and Com­man­der-In-Chief of the Zim­babwe De­fence Forces with­held his as­sent on the Bill, which sailed through Par­lia­ment two months ago.

Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe re­jected the Bill af­ter he ex­er­cised Sec­tion 131 (6) of the Con­sti­tu­tion, which con­fers him such right when­ever he has reser­va­tions on a pro­posed law that would have been sent to him for as­sent by Par­lia­ment.

Par­lia­ment is now set to sit as a com­mit­tee to con­sider the reser­va­tions and Fi­nance and Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment Min­is­ter Pa­trick Chi­na­masa has since made the nec­es­sary amend­ments to ac­com­mo­date Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe’s reser­va­tions.

Speaker of the Na­tional Assem­bly, Ad­vo­cate Ja­cob Mu­denda, has since no­ti­fied the House of the Pres­i­dent’s ob­jec­tion.

“His Ex­cel­lency, the Pres­i­dent, in­formed Par­lia­ment on June 2, 2017 that he had not as­sented to the ZEP-RE (Mem­ber­ship of Zim­babwe and Branch Of­fice Agree­ment) Act No. 4 of 2017 ow­ing to reser­va­tions per­tain­ing to the last para­graph of the pream­ble on the top page of the Act,” he said.

“The Pres­i­dent noted that the sen­tence in ques­tion was not clear on what should be done and who was re­spon­si­ble for the stated en­act­ment.

“Thus, in or­der to fa­cil­i­tate the re­con­sid­er­a­tion of the Bill, the Bill now stands recom­mit­ted to the com­mit­tee of the whole House pur­suant to Stand­ing Or­der Num­ber 121 (3) of the Na­tional Assem­bly.”

The Bill has since been re­stored on the Or­der Paper of the Na­tional Assem­bly and would soon be re­con­sid­ered to ac­com­mo­date Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe’s reser­va­tions.

A source close to the Bill in­di­cated that Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe re­jected the Bill af­ter notic­ing an er­ror on the pream­ble that had the ef­fect of cre­at­ing wrong im­pres­sion on the law mak­ing process.

Ac­cord­ing to the pro­posed amend­ment, a new pream­ble has since been made to ad­dress the con­cerns.

The re­vised Bill deleted the word “the com­pany”, which had been listed to­gether with Par­lia­ment and Pres­i­dent of Zim­babwe to make the Bill read as fol­lows: “Now, there­fore, be it en­acted by the Par­lia­ment and Pres­i­dent of Zim­babwe.”

“The im­pres­sion that had been cre­ated by the man­ner in which the Bill was ini­tially drafted was that the “com­pany” con­sti­tuted the leg­isla­tive ma­chin­ery, yet it is Par­lia­ment and the Pres­i­dent who are charged with that duty of law­mak­ing,” said a source.

The Bill seeks to give le­gal ef­fect to a re­gional rein­sur­ance com­pany by con­fer­ring it a quasi-diplo­matic sta­tus as a cre­ation of Comesa to en­able it to open branches in the coun­try.

In Septem­ber last year Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe re­jected the Spe­cial Eco­nomic Zones (SEZ) af­ter he cited sec­tion 56 of the Bill, which he said was not con­sis­tent with sec­tion 65 of the Con­sti­tu­tion, as it sought to sus­pend op­er­a­tions of the labour laws in spe­cial eco­nomic zones.

Par­lia­ment ad­dressed the con­cerns and the law was even­tu­ally op­er­a­tionalised by the Pres­i­dent.

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