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Zimbabweans Question President Mugabe's Proposed Legislative Agenda

FILE: Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.

After studying President Robert Mugabe’s legislative agenda for the Third Session of the Eighth Parliament that was tabled Wednesday following Tuesday’s mix-up in which he read a wrong speech, observers and ordinary Zimbabweans say proposed laws are almost similar to the first and second parliamentary sessions.

A closer look at President Mugabe’s legislative agenda shows that most of the bills he says will be brought to parliament this session should have been dealt with in the first or second sessions of the Eighth Parliament.

The Land Commission, Consumers Protection, National Border Authority and the Zimbabwe Standard Regulatory Authority bills are among the many pieces of legislation that have been on the country’s legislative agenda for a long time.

Political commentator Masimba Kuchera said the agenda in not new, adding lawmakers must put the executive to task over their failure to bring the bills to parliament.

Media Centre director, Ernest Mudzengi, said President Mugabe has laid what might appear a good agenda on the surface which will face major challenges to implement.

He added that the other challenge is the quality of the laws that would be enacted given that parliament recently passed the Labor Law Amendment Bill even after its own legal committee had said it violated the country’s constitution.

Harare residents like Peter Ngorima of Mbare high density suburb commended President Mugabe for proposing the Public Health Bill saying if enacted this would no doubt ensure healthcare access for all as only just over a million people in the country currently have health insurance.

Ngorima said the president’s proposal to deal with corruption is a good idea but noted that it's time the government acted tough as graft is now the country’s number one enemy.

Just like most lawmakers, analysts and ordinary Zimbabwean concern over Tuesday’s mix-up which led to President Mugabe reading a wrong speech during the official opening of parliament.

Mlondolozi Ndhlovu said this raised questions about the president’s ability to run the country.

Ngorima added that wrong or correct, what the President said in setting the legislative agenda must be implemented.

Political economist, Jabusile Shumba, noted that Tuesday dented the country’s image as it left many people locally and internationally wondering whether the centre was still holding in Zimbabwe.

President Robert Mugabe for the first time since his 35 year rule read a wrong speech at the official opening of parliament leading the opposition to question his ability to remain at the helm while his Zanu PF lawmakers said it was a mistake, which was rectified by the presentation of the correct statement Wednesday.

For further perspective VOA Studio 7 spoke to Nkululeko Sibanda, lecturer at Huddersfield University in London and Washington Mehlomakulu chief economist with Resource Exploitation Watch. Both Mehlomakulu and Sibanda agreed that political will and implementation will be the driving factor for lawmakers to pass the bills proposed in Mr. Mugabe's speech.

Panel with Nkululeko Sibanda and Washingtoin Mehlomakulu
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