Poor turnout at Mutare Justice, Legal public hearing

Jabulani Mangezi
The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs held Public Consultations on the Judicial Laws Amendment Bill, Deeds Registries Amendment Bill and the Estate Administrators Amendment bill in Mutare this morning amid concerns from participants over poor turnout.

The Public Hearing at Mutare Hall, the first of a nationwide tour that will see the Committee visit Masvingo, Bulawayo, Gweru and Kadoma before concluding in Harare on the 25th of March, was attended by less than 20 participants.

One irate participant, lambasted the committee over lack of proper publicity, saying the low turnout compromised debate on very important bills, He added that it was disappointing that tax payers’ money was used yet the tax payer was being denied the opportunity to properly contribute due to poor organisation.

A female participant said “We only got to know of the meeting this morning, why aren’t  copies of the bills  made readily available in advance to allow us ample time to study the documents so we can hold more meaningful debates?”.

In response, The Chairman of the Committee and Member of Parliament for Zvimba West Constituency, Cde Ziyambi Ziyambi said he was not overly concerned by the turnout since the meeting was not a Public Hearing but consultations which were targeting specific groups like lawyers, magistrates and Estate administrators since the Bills are specialised.

Pressed further on whether those groups were represented, Cde Ziyambi said “Here in Mutare I don’t think these groups were adequately represented, I am a bit disappointed that they didn’t turn up to give their input, but we are hopeful that as we move to Masvingo and Bulawayo we will try to ensure these groups turn up to give their input.”

Concerning the availing of bills in advance, Cde Ziyambi said “Even though the Bills are available on Parliament’s website, there is need to find some mechanism to ensure people have enough information on bills under debate”

The Bills seek to amend current legislation by introducing the Electronic filing of Deeds with the Registrar of Deeds and the Introduction of “Virtual” courts, among other things.

The Committee now heads for Masvingo where Consultations will be held at the Chevron Hotel starting at 10 am.