Constitutional Amendment Bill ready for Parliament

BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE

THE Constitutional Amendment Bill, incorporating a number of agreed amendments to the existing electoral law, is now set to be brought to Parliament before Christmas, with debate and passage of the Bill expected to be done by June next year, a senior government official has claimed.

Foreign Affairs minister Sibusiso Moyo told diplomats accredited to Harare this week that Cabinet has already endorsed the recommendations of the inter-ministerial taskforce chaired by Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi, reflecting agreed positions on many recommendations contained in various international election observer missions’ reports.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration is under pressure to make a number of political and economic reforms demanded by the West as a precondition for re-engagement and lifting of sanctions.

“The Minister of Justice, Ziyambi Ziyambi, has indicated that an omnibus Constitutional Amendment Bill, incorporating inter alia a number of agreed amendments to the existing electoral law, will be brought to Parliament before the annual Christmas recess. He has indicated a completion target date of June 2020,” Moyo told diplomats at an annual reception.

He said the Zanu PF administration had made significant progress in the implementation of the reforms, with the Maintenance of Peace and Order Act now law and the three pieces of legislation to replace Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act at various stages in Parliament.

“The independent Complaints Mechanism Bill has been drafted, the Zimbabwe Investment Development Agency is in the final stages of the parliamentary approval process, and will shortly become law,” he added.

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But MDC secretary for elections, Jacob Mafume dismissed the purported reforms, accusing government of misleading the diplomats.

“We do not know what Moyo is saying and there is a common mistake by the government that when they do something on their own, they have reformed,” Mafume said.

“They do not understand the aspect of stakeholder consultation. They think reforms are manna from Zanu PF or hell. We will not accept so-called reforms. Any attempt to push through the said reforms will be dismissed like the footprint of an ant on the Sahara desert. We have not agreed on anything.”

He said Zanu PF had resisted the reforms since the Global Political Agreement era, vowing it would not reform itself out of power.

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