BY EVANS MATHANDA
Parliamentarians have urged women’s groups and civil society organizations to work together to draft legislation that will improve peace, justice, and social cohesion.
Speaking at a Policy Indaba on Access to Justice, Transparency, and Social Cohesion workshop hosted by the Institute for Young Women’s Development Hon Maxwell Mavhunga said CSOs must bring forward bills and adjustment recommendations to current laws.
“It is important to bring forward either Bills or proposals of amendments to existing laws,” he said.
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“We already have a Bill form the Election Support Network (Zesn) and we are still debating it. You can make those proposals and submit them to the parliament and our role as a committee for justice is to do some consultations and the finally we present our findings to the parliament for debate. It’s critical that CSOs must be involved in all these processes since they are the ones who actually know what happens on the ground,” Mavhunga said.
The Policy Indaba intends to explore young women’s and women’s narratives about how conflict affects social cohesion and access to justice for the most vulnerable, as well as experiences with case handling and reporting to the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission.
According to MP Lindiwe Maphosa, there have always been clashes between vendors and the police, which has resulted in an increase in police personnel abusing and harassing women.
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“I have always questioned myself why is there is always conflict between vendors and the police. You will find out that the vending sites are far away from where there are customers which make it difficult for vendors to get access to their customers. Even if they try to be lawful, it won’t work because no one will go there,” she said.
IYWD is now executing an intervention aimed at increasing the agency of young women for justice and social cohesion. By collaborating with the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) and (ZHRC) at the local community level, the project has facilitated access to justice while also encouraging social cohesion.