By Byron Mutingwende
SPEAKER of the House of Assembly Jacob Mudenda has hailed civil society organisations for their work in implementing parliamentary reforms through capacity building for both parliamentarians and staff.
Mudenda made the remarks during the signing ceremony of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Parliament of Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe Environmental Lawyers Association (ZELA) and Zimbabwe Peace and Security Trust on Monday.
“Parliament cherishes the relationship and the continued endeavor to implement Parliamentary Reforms through capacity building for both Parliamentarians and staff by various CSOs,” Mudenda said.
He said the relationship built from the MOUs will yield positive results through building the capacity of Committees of Parliament in the exercise of their oversight mandate over the Executive in the area of environmental protection and oversight of the security sector.
Mutuso Dhliwayo, the director of ZELA said Parliamentarians are the custodians of the democratic values enshrined in the home grown constitution hence the need for CSOs to work with the August House in influencing policies and laws that foster peace, order and good governance.
“In our line of work, we endeavor to influence the government to come up with laws and policies that are favourable to the environment and to ensure transparency and accountability in the extractive sector. We hope the signing of the MOU will go a long way in meeting our objectives,” Dhliwayo said.
ZELA funded the fact finding visits on the gold sector by the Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy to Metallon Gold Mine and small-scale miners in Shamva which culminated into the Committee’s report to Parliament with recommendations to plug leakages and smuggling of gold.
Together with the Chamber of Mines ZELA also funded the workshop on mineral legislation that was organized for the same committee as well as another workshop on mining which has helped build the capacity of the Committee in preparation for contributing to the review of the Mines and Mineral Act.
On the other hand, the Zimbabwe Peace and Security Trust clarified to Parliamentarians through vigorous training, the need for oversight over the security sector without compromising national security. It has also held seminars to improve service delivery by Parliamentarians in Zimbabwe and Zambia.