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‘Multi-party democracy not negotiable’

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‘Multi-party democracy not negotiable’


Parliament has to support multi-party democracy, political pluralism and diversity to ensure that

Zimbabwe is and remains a democracy where everyone has a say in the laws that are passed, Speaker of

the National Assembly, Advocate Jacob Mudenda said.

Adv Mudenda was speaking to students at the Zimbabwe National Defence University (ZNDU) on “Parliamentʼs oversight role and contribution to national security”.

Adv Mudenda said Parliament remains the only constitutional body mandated to make laws for the country unless it expressly delegates that authority to other institutions.

“The political systems in Zimbabwe are predicated on democratic governance. Promoting democratic governance where authority is derived from the people of Zimbabwe as enshrined in Section 117 of the Constitution requires Parliament to extol multi-party democracy in Zimbabwe,” he said.

“As such, Zimbabwe is a constitutional democracy founded on the principles of political pluralism and diversity as opposed to political monoism. Party pluralism has been a defining feature of our democracy since independence in 1980.”

Adv Mudenda said Section 3(2) of the Constitution states that the principles of good governance, which bind the State and all institutions and agencies of Government at every level, included: a multi-party democratic political system; an electoral system based on universal adult surage and equality of votes; free, fair and regular elections; and adequate representation of the electorate.

It was because of those constitutional provisions and the need to enhance and expand the democratic dispensation in Zimbabwe that the Ninth Parliament was seized with the completion of the alignment of laws to the Constitution.

“The Electoral Amendment Bill is still before Parliament at second reading stage. The intended law is meant to ensure that the 2023 harmonised elections are free, fair, transparent and credible to the extent that they reflect the true democratic will of the people of Zimbabwe apart from continuing to create a positive environment to attract both domestic and foreign investors thereaer,” he said.

Parliament is the anchor of constitutional and legal guarantee for national security and Adv Mudenda challenged the defence forces for the promulgation of laws that guarantee national security.

“Accordingly, you must always make use of this revered institution because our future and that of posterity hinges on anchoring our national security policies on sound and credible laws that meet the demands of international law and instruments which must always advance peace and security nationally and internationally.”“In that context, the Zimbabwe National Defence University is challenged to conduct empirical research on national security issues and share the research results with the Cabinet as this organ is the engine room of most of the Bills that are tabled in Parliament.

“Parliament expects Bills that are grounded on incisive research so that the resultant laws pass the test of legal legitimacy that is promotive of national security,” said Adv Mudenda.

The Speaker briefed the students that Parliament had enacted or was at various stages of enacting laws that have a bearing on national security.

Such laws or prospective laws include the Cyber and Data Protection Act, the National Security Council Act, the Police Amendment Bill, Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Amendment Bill, the Private Voluntary Organisation Amendment Bill, the Judicial Laws Amendment Bill and the Prisons and Correctional Services Bill.

But Adv Mudenda said sound laws on their own were not enough to guarantee national security.

“At strategic levels, there is need to match the laws and strategic operational plans with the requisite financial resources to enable the realisation of the national security vision and mission,” he said.

The Constitution also compelled Parliament to legislate for the conduct of political activities so that elections reflect the totality of the peopleʼs will on who should govern them and how they want to be governed.

“The use of violence, overt or covert, is not consistent with constitutionalism and the rule of law, and as such is unlawful as well as being anti-national security.

“This explains why all constitutional State commissions, including the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission, National Peace and Reconciliation Commission and all other commissions are accountable to Parliament as prescribed in section 235(1)(c) of the Constitution.

“This is intended to ensure that they give eect to the rights of citizens to live in a peaceful environment as they exercise their fundamental rights lawfully in a democratic state,” said Adv Mudenda.

National security is grounded on constitutionalism, legality, the rule of law and sustainable parliamentary democracy and the Speaker challenged Zimbabweans to embrace the emerging doctrine of Constitutional patriotism, which compels all citizens to put the Constitution above all else as the cornerstone of the rule of law and the unflinching observance of the Bill of Rights which guarantees equality before the law. Herald.

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