Zimbabwe, among other countries has made great strides in creating more political space and parliamentary seats for women through constitutional or legislated quotas. Never the less, women’s ability to effectively engage with issues of policy and governance in Parliament, in order to effect change is still frail.
With the rising pressures for macro-economic and social gains from engendered systems around the world, the need for active and effective participation of female parliamentarians in policy issues is increasingly felt. It is in this regard that SAPST holds policy dialogue meetings with female Members of Parliament (MPs) in order to discuss some of the bills presented to Parliament and prepare them for debate in the National Assembly and Senate.
With support from USAID, SAPST conducted a policy dialogue meeting to discuss the Maintenance of Peace and Order Bill (MOPO) which was presented to Parliament in April. The meeting was attended by female Legislators from both the ruling and opposition parties drawn from both houses of Parliament. SAPST Programs Officer, Chengetai Kanyangu gave the opening remarks and explained the purpose of the meeting and SAPST Legal Officer, Mr Phillip Muziri went on to take the MPs though a refresher of the law making process as well as to explain the contents of the bill.
In his presentation Mr Muziri took time to explain the difference between the terms, “clauses and sections” as used in the bills and acts of Parliament. He further took them through a step by step process of explaining all the clauses in the MOPO Bill highlighting their similarities and differences from sections of Public Order and Security Act (POSA). Of key interest during the discussion were clauses that provide for issues around Identity Documents, Appointment of Conveners and Authorised Officers, Civil Liability of Conveners, Powers of the police as well as Amendment Powers by the Minister.
Parliamentarians committed to carry on with the discussions around the bill and actively participate in the parliamentary debate.