Charles Mabhena

The Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda has given notice in the Government Gazette announcing that three bills have been sent to President Robert Mugabe’s office for his assent to become law, as stated by section 131(5)(b) of the Constitution.

The Finance and the Appropriation bills were sent to the President on 2 March, while the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe bills was transmitted to His Excellence on 7 March 2017.

The Finance Bill, seeks to make further provisions for the revenues and public funds for Zimbabwe and to provide for matters connected thereto, while the Appropriation Bill is to apply a sum of money for the service of Zimbabwe during the year ending December 2017.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Bill seeks to amend RBZ Act (Chapter 22:15) to allow for the issuing of the Bond Notes, all the three bills are equally critical, and should be treated as such.

Despite all the bills being classified as urgent, they are all yet to be gazetted as Acts. Parliamentary watchdog, Veritas Zimbabwe says such delays should be a cause for concern, as has capacity to stall progress.

“Although the President has been out of the country a great deal, this should not be taken as excuse for the delays.

“There has, after all been an Acting President, with full power under the Constitution to assent to and sign the Bills and have them gazetted as Acts,” says the watchdog.

As for the Finance Bill has several provisions backdating tax changes to the 1st January, the delay in those provisions becoming law would cause legal problems.

Mugabe has over the years been accused of running the country as his family business or tuck shop, where his absence from office stalls everything including parliament business. He has treated his deputies as but only ceremonial with no power to make decisions on issues of public importance in his absence. Sometime last year, diplomatic missions were left stranded wanting to present their credentials to the President who was in and out of the country on state and personal visits.