The Sunday News
Lincoln Towindo, Harare Bureau
CABINET is this week set to debate a comprehensive package of reform proposals drawn up by a high-level committee set up by President Emmerson Mnangagwa last month, which, if adopted, will trigger the roll-out of epoch-making political and economic reforms that will define a prosperous future for the country.
The Cabinet Committee on Political and Electoral Reform has since produced a working document outlining reforms prescribed by some election observer missions, the Motlanthe Commission and the ongoing political dialogue. Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi, who chairs the committee, told our Harare Bureau that the working party charged with coming up with the proposals “has concluded its work”.
“The working party produced a working document on all the things that we need to do as part of implementation of the political reform which we are working on. Very soon we are going to present a memorandum to Cabinet outlining the things that need to be done. Within the next week or two we should be doing that . . . But the working party has concluded its work and we think we are making good progress. Suffice to say some of the things we have already started doing, including the repeal of Posa and Aippa and the alignment of laws to the Constitution,” he said.
Some of the recommendations will ultimately result in constitutional amendments that will be housed under an omnibus Constitutional Amendment Bill. Already, some of the reforms that have been approved are being operationalised.
Minister Ziyambi said Government, through the Department of Social Welfare, has begun paying tuition fees for children whose parents were killed during the August 1 post-election violence as recommended by the Motlanthe Commission. The Maintenance of Peace and Order Bill, which will replace Posa, has already been gazetted. Work on the Protection of Personal Information Bill, Media and Information Commission Bill, and the Freedom of Information Bill — expected to repeal Aippa — is underway.
Further, laws that are considered to be anti-business are being reviewed. Government has also made giant steps to improve the doing business environment through gazetting the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency Bill, which seeks to streamline investment application procedures and guarantee protection of investments. Minister Ziyambi said the process to set up an independent complaints mechanism to deal with complaints against misconduct by members of the security services — in line with Section 210 of the Constitution — is underway.
“Also, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) has been reviewing the previous electoral process, and going forward, we will also look at how we can further improve our electoral environment. . . We are going to have lots of Bills when we open Parliament . . . Parliamentarians will be very busy,” he said.
Parliament resumes sitting on Wednesday, he said. President Mnangagwa has placed political and economic reforms at the centre of the Second Republic’s agenda, and not surprisingly, he has placed 27 Bills on the legislative agenda of the First Session of the Ninth Parliament. Most of the Bills have a strong bias towards political and economic reforms.
Global and regional capitals are beginning to increasingly warm up to the new political administration’s efforts to set the country on a sustainable path to economic development. Japanese Ambassador to Zimbabwe Toshiyuki Iwado told our Harare Bureau that the ongoing efforts are likely to create conditions that are favourable for investments.
European Union Ambassador to Zimbabwe Timo Olkkonen recently said there were a lot of positives inherent in the country’s legislative agenda.