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ZANU-PF Senate can delay but not stop legislation

The Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front which lost its parliamentary majority in the lower house to the Movement for Democratic Change made some amends in the Senate where it won 30 of the 60 elected seats but analysts said this was only going to delay but not stop legislation.

ZANU-PF could have as many eats as 63 in the Senate if President Robert Mugabe won. This could be reduced to 48 if Morgan Tsvangirai won.

There were 18 appointed seats reserved for chiefs traditionally said to be aligned to ZANU-PF, 10 reserved for provincial governors and five for special interest groups.

Israel Chilimanzi, legislative programme advisor at the United States government-funded State University of New York parliamentary project, said that a ZANU-PF controlled Senate could only delay the legislative process in the event of a MDC presidency and not bring it to a full stop.

Chilimanzi said that the House of Assembly was the more important and powerful body because it could introduce money bills as well as by-pass the Senate to send bills to the president for assent.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 08HARARE291, A ZANU-PF SENATE CAN DELAY, BUT NOT STOP LEGISLATION

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

08HARARE291

2008-04-08 14:28

2011-08-30 01:44

UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO6431

OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0291/01 0991428

ZNR UUUUU ZZH

O 081428Z APR 08

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2726

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 1894

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2017

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 0587

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1294

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 1651

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2073

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4504

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUAEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1149

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000291

 

SIPDIS

 

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

 

SES-O

AF/S FOR S. HILL

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

STATE PASS TO USAID FOR E. LOKEN AND L. DOBBINS

STATE PASS TO NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR B. PITTMAN

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PGOV PHUM KDEM ASEC ZI

SUBJECT: A ZANU-PF SENATE CAN DELAY, BUT NOT STOP LEGISLATION

 

REF: HARARE 00273

 

1. (U) SUMMARY: The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) announced

final results for the 60 Senate seats contested with ZANU-PF winning

30 seats, MDC Tsvangirai 24 seats, and MDC Mutambara 6 seats. In

addition to the 60 contested seats, there are 33 Senate seats filled

by appointment, as follows: 18 seats drawn from traditional chiefs,

10 seats filled by provincial governors, and five seats representing

special interest groups. With 30 contested Senate seats wrapped up

and traditional chiefs in pocket, ZANU-PF will likely maintain a

majority in the upper house regardless of who eventually wins the

presidency. In the event of an MDC presidency, a ZANU-PF controlled

Senate could only delay the legislative process and not bring it to

a full stop. END SUMMARY.

 

—————–

Senate Results In

—————–

 

2. (U) The ZEC announced final results for the 60 Senate seats

contested with ZANU-PF winning 30 seats, MDC Tsvangirai 24 seats,

and MDC Mutambara 6 seats. In addition to the 60 contested seats,

there are 33 Senate seats filled by presidential appointment, as

follows: 18 seats filled by traditional chiefs elected by fellow

chiefs plus the president and deputy president of the Council of

Chiefs, 10 seats filled by provincial governors who are appointed to

governorships by the president, and five seats are appointed by the

president to represent special interest groups.

 

3. (U) According to official results published in the

government-controlled newspaper The Herald, 2,422,980 valid votes

were cast in the Senate elections — ZANU-PF received 1,102,230

votes (45.5 percent), MDC Tsvangirai 1,055,514 (43.6 percent), MDC

Mutambara 193,068 (8.0 percent), and independents and other minor

parties 72,168 (3.0 percent). These percentages track with the

House of Assembly results released last week (reftel). There were

five Senate races won by ZANU-PF in which the total combined votes

for the two MDC formations were more than the ZANU-PF votes.

Additionally, the MDC Tsvangirai did not fare as well in Mashonaland

provinces, picking up only one Senate seat compared with the 12

House of Assembly seats won in these previously “no-go” areas for

the opposition.

 

4. (U) Notable ZANU-PF losses were former Zimbabwe Defense Forces

commander retired general Vitalis Zvinavashe in Gutu constituency in

Masvingo province and Deputy House Speaker Kumbirai Kangai in Buhera

constituency in Manicaland province. ZANU-PF winners included

Senate Speaker Edna Madzongwe in Chegutu constituency in Mashonaland

West province, former finance minister Herbert Murerwa in Goromonzi

constituency in Mashonaland East province, and Defense Minister

Sydney Sekeramayi in Marondera-Hwedza constituency in Mashonaland

East province. MDC Mutambara candidate David Coltart won in Khumalo

constituency in Bulawayo Metropolitan province.

 

—————————-

A ZANU-PF MAJORITY IN SENATE

—————————-

 

5. (U) With 30 contested seats wrapped up, ZANU-PF will likely

maintain a majority in the upper house regardless of who eventually

wins the presidency and fills the Senate appointments because the

traditional chiefs invariably vote with ZANU-PF. If President

Mugabe manages to win the presidency, ZANU-PF would control a total

of 63 seats, which is more than a two-thirds majority in the Senate.

If Morgan Tsvangirai wins the presidency and appoints the other 15

seats (apart from the traditional chiefs), ZANU-PF will still

control 48 seats compared with the opposition’s 45 seats.

 

6. (SBU) Israel Chilimanzi, legislative program advisor at the

USG-funded SUNY parliamentary project, explained that a ZANU-PF

 

HARARE 00000291 002 OF 002

 

 

controlled Senate could only delay the legislative process in the

event of a MDC presidency and not bring it to a full stop.

Chilimanzi added that the House of Assembly was the more important

and powerful body because it could introduce money bills as well as

by-pass the Senate to send bills to the president for assent. As

such, a ZANU-PF controlled Senate could only manage to delay rather

than stop legislative business.

 

——————-

Roles of Parliament

——————-

 

7. (U) The two houses of Parliament have four roles: legislative,

executive oversight, representational, and forum for public debate.

As per the Constitution, Parliament performs its legislative role by

passing Bills that are subject to assent by the president. Passage

of legislation requires the participation of both Houses. Any bill,

except a money bill, can be introduced in either house. Money bills

can only be introduced in the House of Assembly, but must be

considered by both Houses. Each house is free to make amendments to

any bill that comes before it. A bill is considered passed with a

simple majority in both houses. A constitutional bill is considered

passed with a two-thirds affirmative vote of the total membership of

each house. Parliament also performs executive oversight by

scrutinizing government policies, programs and expenditure plans

through the committee system and by making inputs into, monitoring,

and approving the national budget.

 

————————-

How the Two Houses Relate

————————-

 

8. (U) The Constitution provides that if a disagreement between the

two houses has not been resolved within 90 days, the bill may be

presented to the President for assent in the form in which it was

passed in the House of Assembly, with any amendments the Senate and

the House of Assembly may have agreed on. Additionally, if the

Senate does not pass a constitutional bill passed by the House of

Assembly within a period of 180 days, the bill is deemed to have

been passed by Parliament if two-thirds of the House of Assembly

then agrees that the bill should be presented to the president in

the form in which it was passed in the House of Assembly, with any

amendments the Senate and the House of Assembly may have agreed on.

As such, it is explicit that where there is disagreement, the lower

house bill prevails.

 

——————-

Presidential Assent

——————-

 

9. (U) Once a bill has been duly passed by Parliament, the bill is

presented to the president for assent. The president is required to

assent to the bill within 21 days or if he withholds assent, the

bill is returned to the House of Assembly. If, within six months

after a bill has been returned, the House of Assembly passes the

bill again with two-thirds affirmative votes of all the members of

the House of Assembly, the bill is again presented to the president

for assent. The president is then required to give his assent to

the bill within 21 days or dissolve Parliament.

 

 

MCGEE

 

(11 VIEWS)

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