ZANU PF Presidential hopeful and current Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Emmerson Mnangagwa says that the ruling party executive will not be bound to take into consideration any of the inputs into the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.
Speaking in parliament on Thursday, Mnngagwa said that while he appreciated the efforts of the portfolio committee that went around the country gathering public views on what the people felt should be included in the bill, the onus of what has to be finally put in the bill lies with the executive of the ruling party.
“Indeed, as Government, we regularly engage interested stakeholders in the public and private sectors and civil society at large when drafting legislation for our nation. We would only caution and remind hon. Members of Parliament that policy is within the domain of the executive branch of the State in accordance with the principle of separation of powers enshrined in our Constitution,” said Mnangagwa.
Speaking against loud disapprovals from the opposition side of the parliament, Mnangagwa insisted that members of the public can not tell parliament what to do as the Members of Parliament were elected to make laws for the country as representatives of the people. “Parliament was elected to make laws for the people. It is not for the people to do the work of Parliament,” said the Minister.
The parliamentary portfolio committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary affairs recently set up a committee that went out into all the provinces of the country consulting the public on what the people felt should be included in the controversial Electoral Act Amendments Bill which government sort to push through against the wishes of the opposition and some sectors of the population. The committee presented its findings to parliament which Justice Minister Mnangangwa is refusing to incorporate into the proposed reforms.
“I am thinking here of Bills such as this one that are urgently required for the functioning of the State or to realign our laws with the Constitution in the shortest possible time. This of course does not preclude consultations at a later stage when the laws come up for review or amendment. Parliament must develop additional or alternative means of consultations through for instance its Parliamentary website and also facilitating consultations by MPs in their constituencies with civil society organisations in attendance and that must not be forgotten,” Mnangagwa closed his debate.