Thursday, August 18, 2016

Zimbabwe Parliament Adopts Southern African Development Community Tribunal Protocol
August 19, 2016
Zvamaida Murwira
Senior Reporter

The National Assembly yesterday adopted the Sadc Tribunal Protocol that seeks to rationalise its powers by barring it from hearing cases brought against states by its citizens.

The Tribunal was disbanded in 2010 after Zimbabwe protested its biased ruling on Harare’s successful land reform programme as white commercial farmers would seek to challenge the agrarian reform after losing their cases in domestic courts.

The reconstituted Tribunal would only hear cases of inter-state disputes.

Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa who oversees the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, tabled the protocol following its adoption by Heads of States and Governments in Victoria Falls in 2014 during Sadc summit in which President Mugabe was the chairperson.

“The difference now is that the former Tribunal allowed it to supersede a decision of the High Court of member states. It allowed citizens to take their own Government to the Tribunal without even exhausting domestic remedies. This Tribunal is structured to adjudicate and deal with disputes between member states and not individuals taking their Government to the Tribunal. Disputes are bound to arise between states whose nature might be commercial, industrial and even political,” said VP Mnangagwa.

He said the Tribunal might also deal with ordinary Bills that were not of a constitutional nature nor statutory instruments.

“We will not raise the status of a Statutory Instrument to be discussed,” said VP Mnangagwa.

Earlier on Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Cde Marble Chinomona, shot down a call from some MDC-T legislators to have debate on the Protocol deferred after opposition legislators said they wanted more time to study it.

Cde Chinomona said copies of the Protocol had been distributed in their pigeonhole since July 2016.

Meanwhile, Southerton MP Mr Gift Chimanikire (MDC-T), reacted angrily after he was poked by some legislators over recent media reports that he was keeping pigs at his Belvedere residence.

The Herald reported this week that Mr Chimanikire’s neighbours were complaining of the stench that emanated from the pigs.

A legislator shouted at Mr Chimanikire who was on the floor debating about the Palestine/Israel conflict to remove the pigs from his residence.

“I strongly object to that statement because if you come to my house you will not find any pigs. Madam Speaker you are not protecting me,” said Mr Chimanikire.

In a related matter, the National Assembly is set to sit again this morning in terms of Standing Orders after it failed to raise a quorum forcing an automatic adjournment.

In terms of the rules, if the House adjourned because of absence of quorum, it has to meet the following day and Parliament does not usually meet on Fridays.

The National Assembly adjourned after Kuwadzana East MP Mr Nelson Chamisa (MDC-T), was about to introduce a motion in which he was accusing the police of brutality in recent days against “peaceful demonstrators.”

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