In a glaring act of deliberate exclusion, marginalization and violation of Constitutional Right to equality and non-discrimination as espoused in Chapter 4 section 56 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Local Government, Rural and Urban Development has excluded the people of Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South from participating in the public hearings for the Local Government Laws Amendment Bill.
Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights notes that according to the schedule of meetings published by Parliament, the Portfolio Committee will hold meetings in all the 8 provinces of the country except Matabeleland North and South Provinces. Whilst in most provinces only 1 meeting shall be held, other provinces have been given special preferential treatment of having more than 1 meeting with Mashonaland East having 3 meetings, Mashonaland West having 2 and Harare having 2.
Our concern as a human rights think tank is that other provinces have undeserved 2 or 3 meetings whilst the people of Matabeleland North and South are totally deliberately excluded from expressing their views and opinions on the Bill.
We therefore call on:
- The Parliament of Zimbabwe through the Portfolio Committee Chairperson, the Speaker of Parliament and the clerk of Parliament to rectify this human right violation by ensuring that there are public hearing meetings in both Matabeleland North and South provinces;
- We also call on the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Chairperson to protect and promote the rights of the people of Matabeleland North and South by compelling Parliament to hold public hearing meetings in these two provinces too;
- We also call on all the Members of Parliament (House of Assembly and Senate) from Matabeleland North and South to stand for the constitutional rights of the citizens of their provinces by demanding public hearings to be done in these provinces.
Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights is an independent human rights think tank that exists to lobby for the promotion and protection of human rights by all the people of Matabeleland.
The General Secretary