Parliament calls for political tolerance

Parliament calls for political tolerance
Published: 22 March 2018
PARLIAMENTARIANS have called on political parties to invest in the education of their members to ensure that the country builds communities that are tolerant of divergent views and opinions.

Presenting a report of the Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs on the petition by the Election Resource Centre (ERC) and public hearings held by the committee, chairperson of the committee, Fortune Chasi emphasised the need for instilling a spirit of political tolerance among political parties.

ERC submitted a petition and implored Parliament to exercise its oversight function over the executive by coming up with policies that enhance a good political environment in line with the constitution and principles of good governance.

MP Chasi said that after going through the issues raised in the petition, the legislative framework governing elections and international instruments governing elections ratified by the Government, the committee noted that most of the issues are adequately covered within the country's laws although political tolerance was lacking.

"After due consideration of the petition and the views of various stakeholders, the committee made recommendations to Parliament and the Executive, which include the education of members by their political parties to ensure that the country builds communities that are tolerant of other views and opinions.

"We also recommend constant communication with the public. It's important for ZEC to communicate with the public frequently using as many channels of communication as possible to cultivate public trust and confidence.

This should be an ongoing exercise on a quarterly basis," said MP Chasi, who is the legislator for Mazowe South constituency.

He also recommended that Parliament should take a leading role in conscientising the public on the new constitution.

"Parliament should work closely with other stakeholders such as Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC), Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC), Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ), Zimbabwe Elections Support Network (ZESN) and ERC to conduct outreach programmes.

"During outreach programmes and stakeholder workshops conducted earlier, the committee noted that many participants are yet to grasp and appreciate provisions of the new constitution in respect of political rights and elections," said MP Chasi.

He said besides lack of political tolerance among the public, the major challenge faced by ZEC in implementing its constitutional mandate was lack of funding.

"For instance, the biometric voter registration kits were only acquired this year making it impossible for ZEC to conduct voter registration in terms of the Constitution.

"The committee also noted the absence of will power by the Executive to support ZEC in discharging its mandate," said MP Chasi.

Mutare Central MP Innocent Gonese called for the reviewing of the Public Order and Security Act (POSA), saying it was misunderstood by the police.

"The wording in POSA is clear that if you want to hold a public meeting, if you want to have a public gathering, the provisions clearly spell out that you are required to notify the police. This is simple English which you would expect everyone to understand, particularly police officers.

"But you start to worry when the police say the application has been refused when in fact it is not an application but it is only a notification, which shows that they have that misunderstanding," said MP Gonese.

Harare West Member of Parliament Jessie Majome called for a comprehensive approach to electoral reforms saying the country can be truly open for business when it holds free and fair elections.

President Mnangagwa has on numerous occasions assured the world that Zimbabwe will this year hold free, fair and credible elections.
- zimpapers
Tags: Parliament,


Latest News

Latest Published Reports

Latest jobs