Parliamentary Portfolio Committee disregarded citizens’ views on Amendment Bill No. 2

Community members who are part of Heal Zimbabwe’s Community Peace Clubs (CPCs) from Muzarabani have castigated the decision by the Parliament to amend the constitution even after citizens rejected the amendments during public bill hearings in 2020. This came out during a CPC meeting conducted in the area on 11 May 2021.

Participants highlighted that plans to amend the constitution were premature and rushed since the constitution has not been fully implemented. ”We are yet to enjoy the benefits that came with the new constitution but yet politicians are already amending the constitution for their own selfish ends. We read in newspapers that country wide, citizens shot down the amendments but their views were disregarded”. Participants further noted that the public hearings on the bill were rushed and conducted under a Covid 19 lockdown and this was restrictive on the participation by citizens.” For us in Mashonaland Central, we only heard that hearings were being done in Bindura and there was a limited number needed for the hearings. Some people from as far as Muzarabani  and Mbire  travelled  to Bindura on their own cost and were turned away by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs”, added another participant. Participants also noted that the portfolio committee did not incorporate views gathered during the hearings.

The peace club meeting among other issues resolved that there was need to continue mobilizing and rallying communities around collaborative neutral platforms (nhimbes / amalima). These platforms follow the traditional practice of bringing together people to work as a community under the direction of a Traditional leader. These platforms promote a culture of working together, build social cohesion and help cement a sense of community and unity among community members. Participants also resolved to mobilize community members to register to vote and also attend future public hearings on bills organised by Parliament.

The meetings by Heal Zimbabwe are part of efforts to empower local communities to help safeguard against human rights abuse and also help build peaceful communities. Heal Zimbabwe utilizes various strategies to address conflicts in local communities. One of these ways is the use of community dialogues, an initiative for communities to discuss and collectively identify ways through which they can proffer solutions to problems in their communities. The platforms also equip communities with relevant information on Covid 19, Gender Based Violence (GBV) and human rights. Such   platforms also facilitate local level conversations on pertinent issues affecting communities as well as create socially cohesive communities.

Source: Heal Zimbabwe

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