Strengthening Extractive and Natural Resources Sector Transparency and Accountability through Citizen Action and Parliamentary Oversight in Zimbabwe
ZELA supported 10 community monitors from mining and natural resources rich areas to attend public hearings conducted by Parliament on the Constitutional (Amendment) Bill No. 2 gazetted on 17 January 2020. The community monitors are residents of; Mhondoro Ngezi, Gwanda, Save- Odzi, Marange and Chiadzwa communities. The community monitors attended the following public hearings: Gwanda (16 June 2020), Mutare (17 June 2020) and Ngezi (18 June 2020).
Community Monitors’ Submissions During the Public Hearings
GWANDA: Community monitors submitted their position on amendment of Section 327 which goes against principles of executive and state transparency and accountability in a number of sectors (including the mining sector) and works adversely against keys objectives of the Constitution of Zimbabwe. Other submissions made were against the extension of the quota system and the appointments of key offices such as the Vice president and the Prosecutor general by the President.
MUTARE: In Mutare urban, community monitors travelled from Marange, Save- Odzi and Chiadzwa to make their submissions at Queen’s Hall on the proposed Constitutional Amendment Bill No.2. The community monitors estimated that 200 or more people attended the public hearing. The overall sentiment at the public hearing was that the constitutional amendment is consolidating power in one office and stripping off Parliamentary powers and citizen rights to querying and seeking accountability from the Executive. If the amendments were to pass, the doctrine of separation of powers and the rule of law would be greatly impaired.
NGEZI: ZELA Community monitors in Ngezi indicated that community members bemoaned the Constitutional amendment and indicated that there hardly has been satisfactory implementation of the Constitution in its current state through realignment yet there are proposals to amend it. There was also a strong sentiment that the Constitutional Amendment Bill No.2 is seeking to consolidate power in one office which goes against good governance and democracy. Distinctly, in the submissions to reject the amendment, community members in Ngezi indicated that removal of the oversight function of Parliament in agreements that impose financial obligations on the country, is an antithesis to transparency and accountability of the Executive.
ZELA compiled key submissions that the community monitors made on the Constitutional Amendment Bill number 2. These are:
- Parliament should retain its oversight role on all activities of the executive and the issue of public finance management should not be tampered with as sections 298, 299 and 300 are intended to maintain check and balances by Parliament.
- Section 327 must not be amended as its current form is in line with good governance, democracy, transparency and accountability.
- Any loans or government guarantee that will impose a fiscal obligation on the state should always be approved by Parliament which plays a representation role of the citizens.
- The focus should be on implementation of Constitutional provisions as opposed to amendment.
- Transparency and accountability should guide any legislative reforms in Zimbabwe.
Prior to the public hearings, ZELA produced an analysis paper of the Constitutional Amendment Bill Number 2 from a mining sector perspective and it is available here: http://www.zela.org/secretive-constitutional-amendment-mischief-implications-of-constitutional-amendment-bill-no-2-on-transparency-and-accountability-in-zimbabwes-mining-sector/. The paper was shared with community monitors and CSOs to inform their presentations at public hearings.