14 November 2012

Zimbabwe: Chinamasa Stalls Law

JUSTICE and Legal Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa has stalled the enactment of a proposed reconciliation law that would have gone a long way in facilitating peaceful polls in the wake of politically motivated violence that has marred recent elections.

A Medium Term Plan (MTP) implementation progress report unveiled this week shows that a National Peace and Reconciliation Council Bill was crafted by the Organ on National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration but is yet to get feedback from Chinamasa, who chairs the Cabinet committee on legislation.

In a parliamentary speech in March 2010, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvang-irai referred to the National Healing, Reconciliation and Integr-ation Bill as one of 17 proposed laws that the house of representatives was supposed to have passed by the end of that year.

The proposed law will, however, not see the light of day in the life of the inclusive government as it was omitted by President Robert Mugabe from a list of Bills Parliament would deal with before its dissolution to pave way for next year's polls.

"The National Peace and Reconciliation Council Bill was crafted and sent to the Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs as well as to the Cabinet committee on legislation. The Bill awaits feedback. National and provincial dialogue meetings are being undertaken to ensure buy-in of the above processes," reads part of the MTP implementation progress report.

Chinamasa has previously blocked amendments to the Public Order and Security Act as well as the revision of the Referendums Act.

In July, the Justice Minister told a public meeting that suggestions by some sections of society to set up a Truth and Reconciliation Commission in the country were unhelpful.

He argued that evidence showed that such bodies failed to achieve anything in countries where they were established.

There are however, fears that the 2008 electoral violence, which tainted that year's presidential election run-off, leading to the Southern African Development Community to conclude that the plebiscite was not reflective of the will of the people, might recur. This is mainly due to the fact that perpetrators of that electoral violence have not been arrested, giving them a sense of impunity that might encourage them to repeat their heinous acts.

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