Letters to the editor: Police conduct should not undermine free, fair elections

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POLICE

THE Election Resource Centre (ERC) has noted with concern the rising levels of police-led oppression and intimidation which are characterising political and campaign activities ahead of the 2022 by-elections.

Incidents of what appear to be systematic abuse of the rule of law to deny the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) and its candidates the opportunity to campaign in line with section 67 of the Constitution have been reported across areas due to hold by-elections over the past few weeks.

The protection of human and electoral rights is part and parcel of police functions under section 219(1)(e) of the Constitution.

Police officers are the first line of defence in the protection of political rights, especially in light of the upcoming by-elections and must conduct themselves in a manner that promotes the holding of credible elections.

ERC calls on the Zimbabwe Republic Police to ensure that the country remains committed to multiparty democracy and should refrain from exercising their powers in a manner that undermines conditions conducive to unhindered participation in elections.

ERC calls on the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to condemn in the strongest possible terms all conduct that undermines democratic processes leading to free and fair elections.- Election Resource Centre


 

Why good corporate governance is crucial for the pension industry

GOOD corporate governance is a key factor underpinning the integrity and efficiency of any organisation.

For those entrusted with the management and administration of wealth on behalf of others, such as pension funds, good corporate governance is crucial.

Corporate governance encompasses every aspect of management and calls for deliberate observation. In the absence of sound corporate governance principles, corporate strategies run the risk of failure.

The pension industry operates on and is sustained by mutual trust between pension scheme members and fund managers.

Participating members contribute to pension schemes trusting that their managers and administrators will act in their best interest.

The business landscape has undergone changes mostly influenced by disruptive force such as technology. Social and political changes have also had notable influence on the industry.

Coupled with these changes, a slew of corporate scandals over the years have put a dent in public trust in corporations and increased public scepticism and mistrust in some businesses and the political elite.

In Zambia, the corporate world, however, has renewed hope in the pronouncements of the new government which has made public declarations of its intentions to restore the rule of law in the management of national affairs.

This is an opportunity for corporates to recommit to the tenets of good corporate governance so as to encourage transparency and rebuild the trust that is critically needed.

Private pension schemes should operate within and in accordance with existing legislation and effective corporate governance.

They should prioritise ensuring that their administration and operations reflect the interest of shareholders and members and that the funds’ activities and risks are responsibly monitored and managed.

This ethos should be the invisible force propelling the fund, its administrators and fund managers, so that they can be the largest players in the pension market.

Building the fund on principles of sound corporate governance has helped maintain trust in pension funds among shareholders and members.

The pension schemes should be in sync with the complexities and realities of the business environment, and the challenges shaping the industry today and in the future.

As an industry that plays a crucial role in the economy relating to key channels of transmission, especially financial and labour markets, it is important that government, business and society work together to come up with a shared vision for delivering prosperity.

To be successful, it must be underpinned by trust and understanding of the roles played by all parties involved.

Good governance is, and always will be, work in progress, but it has come a long way in recent years.

From  policy and regulatory perspectives, corporate governance guidelines should be a shinning light in the promotion of sound governance practices and safeguarding the discharge of fiduciary duties.

Overall, stakeholders in the industry hope that these guidelines will raise the minimum standard by which business is conducted.

By raising the bar, trust of members will no doubt increase.

Any previous loopholes and oversights that may have inhibited growth and transparency will become a thing of the past.

As the old adage goes “what gets measured gets done”, this holds true in the context of good corporate governance.

Pension schemes should take the lead; hold themselves to account and not just be forced to change through legislation.

Holding themselves up to greater scrutiny and seeing how they compare is a good way to motivate change.

That is good for the pension industry, and by extension, the availability of capital for investment in the nation’s growth and development, and the long-term financial security of all the people.- Bryson Hamanzuka


 

CCC didn’t comply with Mopa provisions

THE Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) sets the record straight on security arrangements and the holding of political rallies in view of the current campaigns for the by-elections set for March 26, 2022.

Firstly, it is the responsibility of a convener to notify the local regulating authority of the intention to hold a rally in line with provisions of the Maintenance of Peace and Order Act (Mopa), [Chapter 11:23].

It is not just a case of notification, the convener has a responsibility to discuss and agree on the security and safety measures to be enforced at the rally for the benefit of the public and the community in general.

Sadly, the police has noted with concern that some political parties are adopting a confrontational approach when notifying the regulating authorities on their intended rallies.

In the case of Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC)’s Marondera rally, it is clear that the convener had not complied with Mopa provisions and was advised by the regulating authority. However, the convener and their lawyers insisted that the rally will go ahead while at the same time a court process was in motion at the High Court and subsequently at the local magistrate court after Justice (Lucie-Anne) Mungwari had ruled that the CCC convener had to exhaust the domestic legal remedies provided under Mopa before holding a rally. This is on record.

However, the convener had already mobilised CCC supporters to gather without sanctioning and before conclusion of the court proceedings. The police has a constitutional responsibility to ensure that all the country’s laws are observed and complied with. In this case the rally could not be sanctioned without due processes being followed. It is sad that some political parties are resorting to acts which clearly show that they are not observing law and are acting as a law unto themselves.

The ZRP will not compromise on security and safety of the public and expect political party conveners to lead by example and avoid misleading the public.

Political parties are warned against disrespecting the police, acting as if there are no laws to be observed or they are untouchable institutions and entities.

The ZRP is ready to ensure that the forthcoming by-elections are held in a peaceful environment.

Therefore any form of lawlessness by individuals, groups or political parties will not be tolerated.- Nyathi Paul, Assistant Commissioner Senior Staff Officer (Press, Public and International Relations)