HomeLocal NewsZim urged to align laws with African charter on democracy

Zim urged to align laws with African charter on democracy

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BY HARRIET CHIKANDIWA

MPs have urged the country to begin aligning its laws with the African Charter for Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG) to promote rule of law, democracy, and to conduct free and fair elections in 2023.

This comes after President Emmerson Mnangagwa last Thursday signed the instrument of ratification of ACDEG, making Zimbabwe a full State party to the charter.

To date, 34 African countries have ratified ACDEG.

The charter seeks to address problems such as economic development, poverty alleviation, free and fair elections, human rights such as the rights of women, ethnic minorities, migrants and people with disabilities, and it promotes devolution of power, democracy, and other socio-economic, environmental and political rights.

Chairperson of the Justice Parliamentary Portfolio Committee, Misheck Mataranyika on Saturday told delegates at the ActionAid Zimbabwe workshop for MPs to review Zimbabwe’s progress in ratifying and domesticating ACDEG, that the next step after signing the instrument of ratification was to align several laws pertaining to democracy, elections, governance, socio and economic rights with the charter.

“We have been anxiously waiting for ratification of this charter. For the general public, this means that we now need to align a number of our laws with ACDEG,” Mataranyika said.

“Before we align our laws with the charter, we need to first domesticate it (make it into law). Signing the charter is one step, but we also need to deposit the instrument with the AU so that we can fully become a member State of the charter,” he said.

Mataranyika said the next step was for most of the laws, for example, electoral laws, to be aligned with ACDEG to conduct free and fair elections.

“We now have a reference point on issues to do with the rule of law, democracy and governance,” he said.

Pelandaba Mpopoma MP Charles Moyo, who represented the Foreign Affairs Portfolio Committee, said the signing of the instrument of ratification of ACDEG came at the right time when the country was headed for the 2023 elections.

He said Zimbabwe could benefit from ACDEG if laws on natural resource management, for example, mining laws, were also aligned with the charter.

ActionAid Zimbabwe national director Joy Mabenge said ACDEG would foster economic development, poverty alleviation and also increase literacy.

“It’s a good step that has shown political will, but we are fully cognisant that it is one thing to ratify, and another to domesticate and to fully implement ACDEG. For us, we will keep pushing and working with other stakeholders to ensure that we get to a point where there is a degree of comfort in terms of alignment of our own national systems and national governance to the ethics and principles of the charter,” he said.

  • Follow Harriet on Twitter @harrietchikand1

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