Political parties should be placed under a uniform code of conduct, hate speech should be banned and campaigning against Zimbabwe criminalised, the Cabinet Committee on National Peace and Reconciliation has recommended.
Cabinet has approved the recommendations, but there are parliamentary processes to follow to effect any legal changes, starting with a presentation by committee chairman Vice President Kembo Mohadi to Parliament.
Speaking after yesterday’s Cabinet meeting, Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprise Development Minister Sithembiso Nyoni, standing in for Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa, said Cabinet adopted recommendations from the Cabinet Committee on National Peace and Reconciliation.
Highlights of the recommendations, she said, included:
That legislation and a code of conduct will be put in place to regulate the operations and conduct of all political parties;
That existing laws shall be strengthened to include elements that foster tolerance, equality and social cohesion among Zimbabweans as well as prohibit hate speech by public officials, media houses and citizens in public spaces and social, print and electronic media platforms,
That the public should be educated on the security services’ complaints handling and feedback mechanisms.
In the past, the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association has called for the enactment of laws that bar anyone calling for sanctions and economic sabotage from contesting elections in the country and make it a serious crime.
Minister Nyoni said the Witness Protection Bill will soon be expedited and that historians will be resourced to document inclusive story lines that reframe and capture narratives about Zimbabwe’s history.
Responding to another question, Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube said the Government would consider several ways to raise US$3.5 billion including floating a 30-year bond to raise money to compensate more than 4 000 white commercial farmers who lost farms during land reform for the improvements on the expropriated farms.
This followed signing of agreement between Government and the farmers this week known as Global Compensation Deed which President Mnangagwa described as a milestone that demonstrates the Second Republic’s commitment to re-engagement and constitutionalism.
Prof Ncube said as chairperson of the Resource Mobilisation Committee he had since constituted a team comprising representatives from both Government and the farmers.
“By next year we should make some progress to raise half of the amount. We are going to hire a financial adviser because we are going to raise a debt instrument for 30 years. There will be a 30-year bond,” said Prof Ncube.
He said there was still room for parties to sit down and extend deadlines if timelines were not met.
The compensation is for infrastructural improvements that the farmers did on farms, which were repossessed at the turn of the millennium to redress colonial imbalances. These improvements include land clearance, drainage, irrigation trenching, fencing, dams and boreholes, as well as buildings.
Prof Ncube said it was important that the decision to compensate former farmers was consistent with the Constitution.
Commenting on the investment climate, Prof Ncube said Zimbabwe was open for business and remained as one of the best investment destination where one would get returns for his money. He said the country had a lot of potential, particularly in the mining sector.