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Mugabe says only 30 laws yet to be aligned

13/09/2017 00:00:00
by Staff reporter
 
 
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PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe says parliament now remains with only 30 pieces of legislation to realign with the new constitution from a possible 206.

Mugabe was officially opening the Fifth and final Session of the Eighth Parliament on Tuesday.

“Out of the 206 pieces of legislation identified as requiring alignment to the Constitution, only 30 Acts remain outstanding,” President Mugabe said.

“The rest have been aligned through the enactment of legislation, such as the National Prosecuting Authority Act, the Public Debt Management Act, and the promulgation of the General Laws Amendment Act. 

“Let me take this opportunity to urge this august House to expedite consideration of the other Bills that have already been submitted for scrutiny.”

President Mugabe said this as opponents have continued to accuse his administration of cherry-picking laws that have a bearing on their stranglehold on power at the expense of those that seek to expand citizens’ freedoms.

Zanu PF loyalist and former COPAC co-chair Paul Mangwana told a recent public meeting the opposition was expecting too much if it continued hoping the executive would expedite the alignment of laws that seek to trim its powers.

In his address, President Mugabe described work done by parliament so far as “some measure of progress” although admitting more needs to be done as he rallied MPs to dedicate their efforts towards completing the process.

“Much more though, still has to be done in fulfilment of the aspirations of our people, expressed during the Constitution outreach campaign.

“As such, it is my fervent hope that for the remaining life of this Parliament, emphasis be placed on the alignment of the remaining pieces of legislation to the Constitution,” he said.

He further outlined a raft of laws whose alignment he said would dominate proceedings in the new session.

These include the Cyber Crime and Cyber Security Bill, the Electronic Transactions and Electronic Commerce Bill, and the Data Protection Bill.

He said these will help deal with challenges brought by the advent of the information communication technologies.

Parliament shall also see the ratification of the Smuggling of Migrants Protocol which seeks to curb the now rampant snuggling of citizens to often hostile world territories where some turn into sex slaves.



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“The problem of trafficking in persons is now no longer an alien phenomenon,” President Mugabe said.

“As a country, we have indeed been horrified by the harrowing experiences of our citizens who fell victim to this heinous crime after having been lured to foreign lands by the promise of employment and better fortunes. 

He added: “Similarly, the Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of, and Trafficking in Firearms, their Parts and Components and Ammunition, which will enhance cooperation with regional and international agencies in ensuring the safety of citizens, will be tabled before this august House.

The President said his government will also bring to Parliament, the Mandatory Sentencing for Rape and Sexual Abuse Bill to deter the high incidence of what he described as a “repulsive crime” which saw one of his party’s legislators Munyaradzi Kereke jailed for 10 years last year.

President Mugabe said the Defence Forces Act shall be amended to render it consistent with the Constitution. 

Tuesday’s opening of the country’s legislative assembly happened without incident.

However, the 93 year old leader had occasion to exchange a joke with opposition legislators who shouted “we want ice cream” at him, a jibe that was directed at Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa who was recently taken ill after suspected poisoning by Zanu PF rivals.

The Zimbabwean leader jokingly promised to bring some for them.

The First Lady, Grace also had time to shake hands with MDC-T deputy presidents Thokozani Khuphe, Nelson Chamisa, Elias Mudzuri and a few others as the first couple left the legislative chamber.

Previous parliamentary opening sessions have seen opposition legislators drowning President Mugabe’s address with heckles which were later followed by death threats on defiant MPs allegedly by state agents.

Khuphe and Mnangagwa’s presence was, equally, another spectacle after the two have been trending lately.

Khuphe has avoided a recent visit to Harare fearing a backlash from angry MDC-T supporters who accuse her and allies in the predominantly Ndebele Matebeleland region of attempts to throw spanners in the formation of an opposition coalition against Zanu PF in next year’s elections.

As per custom, Tuesday’s ceremony was marked by the British style custom of the Head of State driving to parliament in a slow moving convoy of cars and horses.

Debate in the last session of parliament is almost certain to be explosive as MPs seek to be noticed by their parties and the electorate as they will soon start campaigns for re-election in next year’s elections.

 


 
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