Zimbabwe: Parliament to Up Re-Engagement Efforts

Parliament of Zimbabwe will continue with re-engagement efforts with the international community to affirm the New Dispensation led by President Mnangagwa's resolve to expedite both political and economic reforms and address negative perceptions about the country, legislators have heard.

The Speaker of the National Assembly, Advocate Jacob Mudenda started the ball rolling by leading a delegation from Parliament to Sweden late last year where they met several Government officials and business leaders as part of efforts to drum up support for the removal of sanctions against Harare.

This was said in the National Assembly last week by Parliament's portfolio committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade chairperson Cde Kindness Paradza, who was part of the delegation that visited Sweden, when he presented a report of their trip to Europe.

He said their visit was successful and they planned to visit the United States, Belgium and United Kingdom, among other countries as part of their re-engagement efforts through Parliamentary diplomacy.

The visit was the first to be undertaken by Parliamentarians in almost 20 years of Zimbabwe's isolation.

"The re-engagement visit sought to complement the efforts of the Executive in articulating the major political and economic reforms being instituted by the Second Republic through parliamentary legal processes. Furthermore, the interface sought to strengthen bilateral relations between the Parliament of Zimbabwe and the Swedish Riksdag in areas of common interest," said Cde Paradza.

During the visit, said Cde Paradza, the delegation met Speaker of the Swedish Parliament, Dr Andreas Norlen, head of African department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Parliament's committee on foreign affairs, Swedish-Southern Chamber of Commerce and International Centre for Democracy in that country.

"Of paramount importance, the delegation emphasised the opening up of democratic space in Zimbabwe under President Mnangagwa's leadership," said Cde Paradza.

"The delegation informed their hosts that the New Dispensation under the leadership of President Mnangagwa had opened up the political democratic space. That is why 133 political parties emerged to contest the 2018 harmonised elections, while 23 candidates registered to contest the presidential race.

"The stakeholders were informed that Parliament, through its constitutional mandate, is seized with instituting political and economic reforms. The reforms are anchored on the recommendations by International Election Observer Missions during the 2018 Harmonised Elections, civil society petitions and the Motlanthe Commission recommendations."

He said they also appealed to Sweden to assist the country to achieve a positive international image as it embarks on the highlighted reforms.

"In this context, the delegation called on the removal of the illegal sanctions which are hurting the Zimbabwean economy and the ordinary citizens," said Cde Paradza.

He said from their engagement it was evident that the international community expected Zimbabwe to focus on the implementation of political and economic reforms as well as the protection of human rights as enshrined in the country's Constitution.

"Accordingly, Parliament of Zimbabwe will expedite the realisation of political and economic reforms as well as complete the aligning of all outstanding 60 laws to the country's Constitution. This requires the concerted support of the Executive because it is the Executive that generally originates the Bills," he said.

The delegation focused on Sweden because of its influence within the Nordic countries including its active role at the EU in Brussels.

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