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Parliamentary Monitor: Issue 18
Parliamentary Monitoring Trust (Zimbabwe)
January 09, 2012

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3 bills dormant

In a clear sign of how paralysed the current Parliament has become, three important bills have stagnated and now await reintroduction when Parly resumes on the last day of February. The three bills have a direct impact on human rights and electoral issues in the country. This is a serious drawback on the little reforms that have been initiated by the august house and may mean the next elections, whenever they are held, would be carried out without some of the necessary and anticipated reforms. The said bills could still be rescued if they were reintroduced as it is allowed to do so after a bill has lapsed without being concluded. The three bills that have become hostage to the political bickering and paralysis in the august house are: The Public Order and Security Amendment Bill, the Electoral Amendment Bill and the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Amendment Bill. These bills lapsed after President Robert Mugabe opened the Fourth Session of the Seventh Parliament in September last year. It is quite interesting and informative that of the three bills, the POSA amendment bill has been a victim of the hung parliament. POSA Amendment Bill was introduced as a Private Member’s Bill by Innocent Gonese (MDC-T). After it had passed through the House of Assembly and reached Second Reading stage at Senate, it was then blocked by Zanu PF senators. The move to block was based on a technicality as the party argued that Justice and Legal Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa had said it was not relevant to discuss it in Parliament as it was a Global Political Agreement outstanding issue. The dormancy of the bills at a time when the nation is being told of the impending elections is assign that things are not well with the GNU, parliament and the general politics of the country. There are those in Zanu PF who are arguing that reforms, though necessary should not be used to bar the holding of the next elections. In an opinion piece in the Sunday Mail of January 8, 2012, Professor Jonathan Moyo (Zanu PF) argued that it was possible for the political parties to include the said reforms in their manifestos and then sale the idea to the electorate. Professor Moyo, who is arguing for the elections minus the reforms, gave an allegory of a hospital and patients saying it made no sense to deny the patients treatment, the impeding elections arguing that they would only be treated after a hospital, reforms, had been built. Whichever way one looks at it, it is clear that the politics of the land is poisoned and the legislature has avoid drinking from the poisoned source.

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