Are legislators doing us any good?

EDITORIAL COMMENT

CITIZENS who take the time and pain to go the extra mile and fight for other people to have the freedom to exercise their many God-given rights must be applauded, especially in a country like Zimbabwe where the crafting of laws that suppress people’s rights now appear to be the norm.

What, however, is most worrying — if not distressing — is that we have individuals we call legislators who were elected to fight for and defend the rights of those they represent both in the lower and upper chambers of Parliament. The situation obtaining in Parliament is simply depressing, where MPs appear no longer interested in fighting for the rights of the hapless citizens because they are largely now
concentrating on protecting party interests.

For instance, at the moment we have the contentious Maintenance of Peace and Order Act (Mopa) Bill – one among many others — which seeks to replace an equally belligerent Public Order and Security Act (Posa),
that is about to be signed into law with some obnoxious provisions of Posa having been flagrantly smuggled into the new Bill.

While MDC legislators have tried to raise the red flag over the unconstitutional clauses lifted word for word from Posa and pasted into Mopa, ruling party MPs have given the thumbs up for the Bill as is so that
it is signed into law. It is very worrisome, indeed, when we have representatives in the Legislature who are determined to pass oppressive pieces of laws that run rough shod over people’s rights.

We also have a situation in this country where security agents have been allowed to abuse innocent citizens, with lawmakers seeing it fit to bury their heads into the sand, hearing and seeing no evil. It boggles
the mind to imagine that we still have legislators who are wont to protect law enforcement agents who beat up people for no apparent reason. Supposing people were guilty of whatever offence, law enforcement agents
still have a constitutional obligation to protect them.

And it is the legislators’ duty to ensure that law enforcers are made accountable for their wayward actions. Lawmakers have, since 2013, not even bothered to interrogate how, some among the country’s law
enforcement agents, have considered themselves as being above the law and have willy-nilly abused the authority bestowed upon them to protect the largely defenceless citizens.

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