Six Parties Petition Govt Over Law Reforms Delay

By Dumisani Nyoni

Bulawayo, September 02, 2016 – SIX opposition parties in Zimbabwe have petitioned Parliament, demanding a number of issues, among them, the realignment of the country’s laws with the new constitution as well as the implementation of electoral reforms.

The parties include MDC-T, ZAPU, MDC, ZimPF, PDP and Ibhetshu LikaMahlabezulu.

ZAPU president Dumiso Dabengwa, who represented parties, told journalists in Bulawayo on Friday the broader opposition was concerned about the inordinate delays in the realignment of laws, three years after a home grown constitution came into force.

“(We are) worried about massive corruption levels, entrenched and institutionalised abuse of public office which undermines integrity and dignity of hard work…realising the continued economic downturn that is adversely affecting the livelihoods of the majority of the poor, women and children,” Dabengwa said.

In their petition, the parties want parliament to urgently take some practical steps to ensuring that all laws of the State are realigned in accordance with the constitution of Zimbabwe which was voted to replace the old Lancaster House Constitution May 22, 2013.

“In particular, that 10 members elected per province in the 2013 elections be urgently sworn in, in order for them to attend to their constitutional duties of leading the development agenda of their respective provinces,” reads part of the petition.

“That the Parliament of Zimbabwe ensures that Electoral Reforms are put in place ahead of the next harmonised elections due in 2018.”

The petition further demands that a new voters’ roll be compiled, Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC) be demilitarised and for Zimbabweans based abroad to be allowed a chance to take part in national elections back home.

The parties also want “all international and regional observers wishing to observe elections are allowed to do so; creation of an Independent Electoral Court; cancellation of voter slips; traditional leadership authorities stay out of politics and elections; voter education be carried out by all electoral stakeholders; and inclusion of an Electoral Code of Conduct in the new Electoral Act”.

It also demanded that Parliament starts playing its oversight role over the Executive.

“In particular that Parliament ensures that the Executive does not impose wrongly-headed policies that negatively affect the lives of the generality of Zimbabweans such as import ban (Statutory Instrument 64 of 2016) and bond notes.

“Parliament should also review all laws that hinder citizens’ right to trade and earn a living.

“That Parliament ensures that the Executive upholds the provisions of the constitution and respect the rule of law including the right of the people to stage peaceful demonstrations and petition government on matters of public interest,” it further reads.

Parties also demanded that Parliament should urgently take practical steps to ensure that Civil-Military Relations are framed in accordance with the constitution.

“In particular that the Zimbabwe Republic Police’ heavy-handedness to peaceful demonstrations is censured by law. In particular that all police officers honour and respect their Police Charter and Bill of Rights in the constitution of Zimbabwe to protect life, human dignity and human rights,” it said.

Meanwhile, the Bulawayo High Court on Friday allowed the National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera) to conduct its demonstration in Bulawayo.

However, the parties involved said they would not go ahead with their demonstration as advised earlier.

This comes after the state on Thursday issued a blanket ban on all political demonstrations citing security issues in the country.