via Mugabe seeks global friends – DailyNews Live by Chengetai Zvauya 18 SEPTEMBER 2013
HARARE – President Robert Mugabe yesterday moved to re-establish ties with the rest of the world in exchange for fair treatment.
He spoke at the State’s official opening of the 8th Zimbabwe Parliament amid a diplomatic stand-off between Zimbabwe and Western countries which have imposed sanctions on the southern African country over alleged human rights violations and electoral fraud.
“With the election now behind us, we look forward to meaningful and effective collaboration with all the progressive members of the global community,” Mugabe told lawmakers largely from his Zanu PF party.
His rival Morgan Tsvangirai and MDC legislators boycotted the official opening in protest at the results of the July 31 vote won by the octogenarian leader.
“We indeed stand ready to work even with those who before were at odds with us, some of them our detractors.”
Mugabe also demanded that sanctions must be removed unconditionally.
“On the other hand, Zimbabwe will continue to demand the immediate and unconditional removal of the illegal sanctions imposed by some arrogant Western countries,” said Mugabe.
The US and European Union imposed travel bans on Mugabe in 2002, and have steadfastly refused to lift the punitive measures saying there has not been sufficient reform by the Zanu PF regime.
Meanwhile, Mugabe set out the legislative agenda for the 8th Parliament.
“The 8th Parliament will be seized with aligning the existing various pieces of our legislation to the new constitution,” Mugabe said. “There will be need to come up with the new legislation to give legal underpinning to the new structure and institutions provided for in the new constitution.”
The 8th Parliament is expected to debate 21 bills, among them a Land Commission Bill, which establishes the Zimbabwe Land Commission to deal with land and agricultural matters, the Banking Act Amendment Bill which seeks to strengthen regulation of new forms of banking.
Amendments to the Insurance Act, the Pension and Provident Act and the Insurance and Pension Commission Amendment Act which collectively seeks to enhance operations of the pension and insurance sectors, are also due to be presented before this session.
The Consumer Protection Bill which will seek to protect the rights of consumers and foster fair trade is also being tabled in the house.
There will also be the Public Private Partnership Bill and the Sovereignty Wealth Fund which be used as vehicles for mobilising resources for the critical programmes of public infrastructure, irrigation and rural development.
Mugabe also hinted on a new Mines and Minerals Bill, to boost the mineral development and maximise benefits from the sales of the country’s minerals.
He said the 8th Parliament was expected to debate the Health Services Act, Medical Services Act, the Public Health Act to enable the State to carry out its duty to treat health care as an inalienable right for every citizen.
The 89-year-old leader said government was set to continue improving the working conditions of health workers.
Government was working towards reviewing the wages and salaries of civil servants, he said, an announcement that received wild applause from the legislators.
Mugabe warned legislators against abusing the Constituency Development Fund (CDF), and said a CDF Bill was going to be introduced in Parliament to curb abuse of the fund. The new the law would descend heavily on those who abused the fund, he said.