13 July 2012

Zimbabwe: Rights Bill Passed

THE House of Assembly yesterday passed the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Bill and now awaits debate in Senate.

The Electoral Amendment Bill was also read for the second time and adopted and was referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee.

The ZHRC Bill seeks to operationalise the commision that was sworn in 2009 as part of measures adopted under Constitutional Amendment (19) that created the inclusive Government. The ZHRC was established to promote adherence to human rights and investigate any cases of their abuse.

Initially the MDC formations wanted it to be empowered to deal with any case of abuse that happened in past although this was rejected by Justice and Legal Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa who said rule of law dictates rejected applying laws in retrospect. The Bill sets February 13, 2009 as the date the commission can start investigating human rights abuses and the minister said that date itself was a compromise.

Meanwhile the Electoral Amendment Bill was read for the second time with MDC legislators speaking against a clause that requires voters to show their ballots to presiding officers and that a polling officer be present when a visually impaired voter cast their vote.

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