HARARE – Another step was made on the bumpy road to the full realisation of a new Zimbabwe with President Robert Mugabe approaching the 100th day of his new term.
Amnesty International said in a fresh report, titled Human Rights Agenda for the new Government — 2013 to 2018, that the new Constitution offers a golden opportunity for the government to begin to right the wrongs of the past, to deliver justice for its people and to allow freedom of expression.
We agree, with the political will, all that is possible.
This might seem like a mundane piece of news to the casual observer but it is not.
The path to a new Constitution has been littered with so many setbacks that no achievement is too small to celebrate.
Indeed, the mere formality of enforcing the new Constitution was looking dimmer by the day when Parliament, in its wisdom, decided that some economic rights could wait because there was no cash, while more important business was transacted.
The new Constitution must be enforced to the latter, and the new charter must finally begin its life, especially human rights enshrined in Chapter 4 including economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights that are enforceable by law .
We want to see the new government sending a clear signal that it is committed to breaking away from a past where human rights were blatantly violated.
Now that Mugabe has both the wherewithal and the support of Zimbabweans, he must move fast to pursue his mandate, which includes monitoring and overseeing the development of legislation and administrative procedures required to implement the new Constitution.
This is a job that must also involve the Attorney-General (AG), who must prepare new laws for tabling in Parliament.
But as it is, Zimbabwe is yet to appoint an Attorney General, following the promotion of Johannes Tomana to become Prosecutor General.
A new AG must be appointed now, and he must hit the ground running, obtaining documents and demanding presentations from the public on matters concerning implementation.
The law, in addition, requires public officers to cooperate by providing Mugabe with the information he requires for smooth implementation of the new Constitution.
Mugabe himself is required to work with the relevant bodies to ensure the letter and spirit of the Constitution is respected.
We agree with Amnesty International that government needs to immediately repeal or amend all laws that are not aligned with the new Constitution.
Laws such as the Public Order and Security Act and the Criminal (Codification and Reform) Act were used in the past to deny people their rights to freedom expression, association and peaceful assembly.