By Staff Reporter
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa’s recent vows to national peace and security come under test this Friday when parliament convenes public hearings on the potentially divisive Electoral Amendment Bill.
Past public hearings conducted by parliament have often been disrupted by hordes of suspected Zanu PF supporters in attempts to hush up the opposition’s voices from being co-opted into proposed legislation.
Opposition MPs have also been assaulted with Hwange MP Brian Tshuma and Jessie Makome, Harare West having in the past been roughed by the mobs while little to no protection has been offered by the police.
Some of the violence has been linked to Zanu PF top politicians who would be sponsoring youths to disrupt the hearings.
But teams of MPs shall this Friday return to the provinces to gauge citizens’ views on the proposed law which has a huge bearing on the conduct of the 2018 elections.
The hearings are set to conclude 7 December.
In his inauguration speech last Friday, Mnangagwa pledged peace and prosperity in the country, coupled with free and fair polls next year.
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition vice chair George Makoni said Tuesday the public hearings by parliament will provide Mnangagwa with a chance to prove he was sincere in his vows for peace.
“I think it’s a very good litmus test for the new President to demonstrate whether he was genuine in his statements during his speech.
“The continuation of violent behaviour which characterised similar processes would be viewed as either defiance to his word or that, just like Mugabe, he preaches peace during the day and the opposite during the night.
“We are alert to his reaction to this whole process since it is critical to credible free and fair election which he promised to facilitate.”
Former President Robert Mugabe preached peace but was accused of paying lip service to his vows when violence linked to his followers often erupted without any effort to deal with it.
Makoni urged the new President to depart from the culture of his predecessor and follow through his promises of a peaceful transition to democracy.
“As civil society,” he told the Zimbabwe Star, “we are saying let’s give him a chance and even engage him in very peaceful ways and see if it can materialise. If he goes by his promises, then he will be in tandem with our demands.”
Expectations are high in the country after Mugabe’s unceremonious exit from power with Mnangagwa already putting into motion, some of his plans to mend the country’s battered economy.