Prioritise alignment of laws not Supa Mandiwanzira’s draconian bill

By Jacob Mafume

The energy being invested in enacting retrogressive laws by ZANUPF is shocking , it is a reflection of a leadership which envies the ways of the oppressors of who reigned during the colonial era.

ICT minister Supa Mandiwanzira
Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services Minister Supa Mandiwanzira

Zimbabweans sought a progressive constitutional agenda by demanding a new constitution. ZANUPF stood between a progressive constitution and the people.

They polarised consultation meetings during the COPAC process including deploying shady vigilante groups in several places. Violence characterised a couple of meetings during the process in one instance even ZANUPF stalwarts like Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana had to flee for dear life.

The point we make is that ZANUPF has never wanted progressive laws, the rule of law and a proper constitutional democracy.

Despite the disruptions from ZANUPF, the democratic contingent soldiered on, making demands on the expansion of the bill of rights, devolution of power among other progressive issues.

Four years after the effective date, many provisions in the constitution are still divorced to the laws of the land, most of which are not only archaic but totalitarian, draconian and fascist.

Zimbabweans have been left with no choice but to clamour for constitutionalism through litigation. The Constitutional Court has been flooded with cases seeking invalidation of certain pieces of legislation specifically ones taking away political rights.

Issues of child marriages, life imprisonment without parole, corporal punishment, criminal defamation and the state’s right to lock accused persons in custody for a further one week after being granted bail have all been declared unconstitutional by the courts.

While we acknowledge the responsibility by the courts to declare unconstitutional pieces of laws, it is the responsibility of the legislature to update the laws of the land aligning them to the supreme law of the land.

We have seen an incompetent regime taking reins at the Ministry of Justice coupled with a sleeping legislature; this has brewed a recipe for disaster.

Our concern is in the energy invested in retrogressive laws by ZANUPF in its various facets.

Supa Mandiwanzira has all this time devoted his time outside misappropriating POTRAZ funds to the enactment of an evil law called the Cyber Crime and Cyber Security Bill.

While it is essential to ensure technology is not a catalyst of committing crimes, the agenda of this bill is to close the democratic space and criminalise freedom of expression a right enshrined in the constitution.

ICT legislation which Supa must be thinking of is one that protects our children from cyber pornography as a method to reduce child marriages, complimenting the Constitutional Court judgement of the 20th of January 2016 in the Mudzuru case.

ZANUPF as a whole must be focusing on enacting laws ensuring National Peace and Reconciliation Commission is established.

Zimbabweans want the independent complains mechanism against the uniformed forces as enshrined in section 210 of the constitution established. Soldiers who beat up people in the streets must account, police officers who assault citizens must be brought to book, recently a man lost his eye after being beaten by police officers.

Devolution of power is still to be implemented; enactment of a law to establish provincial governments in line with the constitution must be put in place. That is the work that a proper government ought to be doing.

Jacob Mafume is the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) spokesperson