Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC formation says President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party is trying to stall key legislative reforms by blocking parliament from debating bills proposing changes to current legislation deemed draconian by activists.
A ZANU-PF caucus Wednesday concluded that parliament cannot debate the proposed Urban Councils Amendment Bill, Electoral Amendment Bill, the Human Rights and amendments to the Public Order and Security Bill, among others, saying these issues fall under the Global Political Agreement and should therefore be negotiated by unity government principals, a move the MDC says is meant to stall the reform agenda.
ZANU-PF, the MDC says, wants parliament to rubber stamp bills coming from the executive only, barring lawmakers from bringing in private member bills suggesting changes to current laws.
Mr. Mugabe's party has tasked its legal secretary, Emmerson Mnangagwa, who's also the defense minister, to communicate its position to Parliament Speaker Lovemore Moyo.
ZANU-PF lawmaker Kudakwashe Bhasikiti tells VOA'S Blessing Zulu that private member bills are technically unconstitutional.
But chief whip Innocent Gonese of the Tsvangirai MDC says the ZANU-PF's move is shocking, adding his party will not entertain such efforts to derail democratic reforms.
Political analyst Belinda Chinowawa of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights says the ZANU-PF move is unconstitutional.