Inclusive Government Moving Too Slowly On Reform

The outspoken former MDC MP for St Mary’s, Job Sikhala, lobbed a verbal grenade against his former colleagues in parliament when he described them as ‘deceitful and dangerous’ for not quickly moving motions in the house of assembly, to repeal all the repressive laws.

The Global Political Agreement signed by the three parties in September last year identified the Public Order and Security Act (POSA), the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) and the Criminal Code, as just some of the laws needing urgent amendment.

‘They are now telling us Zimbabwe is a democracy, but do we need AIPPA and POSA in a democracy? asked Sikhala.

Almost two months into the inclusive government, there have been few attempts or moves by the government to commence the process of restoring the rule of law. The MDC’s chief whip, Innocent Gonese a lawyer by profession, told us recently the first steps of drafting a new bill begins mostly with the Justice ministry, which falls to ZANU PF in the inclusive government.

The process of drafting a new Bill begins with the ministry’s outline of what it has in mind, before going to the Cabinet for approval in principle.

According to the parliamentary bill watch of this week, the Bill is then crafted in the ministry and sent to the Attorney General’s office for legal drafting. It must then go to the cabinet for final approval. Once the final version is accepted by cabinet, a Bill must be gazetted at least two weeks before its introduction into Parliament.

However, Sikhala said if the MPs had the desire to change the way the country is governed, they would have done so in the first weeks of the inclusive government.

‘What we have now in government is lack of strategic thinking among the people who constitute the inclusive government. What has now happened is that they have turned themselves into praise singers of Robert Mugabe,’ Sikhala said.

‘They no longer concentrate on the issue of delivery for the long desired political reforms that Zimbabwe was looking at,’ he added.

Sikhala said instead of reforming POSA and AIPPA, MDC MPs should move a motion to strike off the two statutory bills from the constitution, adding that a simple majority in parliament was needed make it happen. 

‘In 2000 the parliamentary legal committee led by ZANU PF fast tracked the land acquisition act, that gave birth to the chaotic land invasions and this bill sailed through parliament in a week. ZANU PF, using their majority in 2002, fast tracked POSA and AIPPA to curtail the liberty of all MDC activists. This also sailed through parliament in record time,’ Sikhala said.

He added; ‘It’s now time for the combined MDC’s to use their parliamentary majority to repeal all these laws. They shouldn’t be telling us all the nonsense that it takes time or there is a procedure to be followed. That is nonsense and they are being deceitful if they delaying these reforms.’ SW Radio Africa