Joseph Madzimure and Columbus Mabika, Harare Bureau
United Nations Special Rapporteur, Mr Clément Voule is today expected to meet President Mnangagwa after being invited by Government to make an independent assessment of the country’s achievements and challenges in relation to the exercise of the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
President Mnangagwa is set to leave the country for New York later today.
Mr Voule yesterday met Speaker of the National Assembly, Advocate Jacob Mudenda, to discuss a number of issues relating to the new dispensation’s commitment to political and economic reforms.
“I’m not ready to comment up until I meet the President. I am here at the invitation of the Government,” Mr Voule told journalists soon after the meeting.
Briefing journalists, Adv Mudenda said the UN special rapporteur was in the country at the invitation of Government.
“The meeting went on very well by acknowledging the fact that the UN rapporteur came into Zimbabwe at the invitation of Government of Zimbabwe.
“To that extent, the new dispensation is demonstrating that it is transparent. It does not want to hide anything and hence the invitation was extended to the rapporteur and we are happy that the rapporteur did come,” said Adv Mudenda
The areas covered, Adv Mudenda said, include an update on the political reforms that Parliament is undertaking, particularly electoral as well as economic reforms. Among the economic reforms is Zimbabwe Development Agency Bill.
The objective of the Bill is to provide for the promotion, entry, protection and facilitation of investment; provide for the establishment of the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency and for the One Stop Investment Services Centre.
It will also repeal the Zimbabwe Investment Authority Act (Chapter 14:30), the Special Economic Zones Act (Chapter 14:34) and the Joint Ventures Act (Chapter 22:22).
Said Adv Mudenda: “The Bill is now at committee stage which will have an impact on the establishment of our economic zones, joint ventures and ensuring we have a one stop shop investment centre.
“We are happy that the debate in parliament is going on well. We are hoping that midway the second session of our 9th Parliament we should go through that bill and present it to the President.”
On issues related to human rights, Adv Mudenda said they have encouraged members of the public to petition Parliament and Government.
“We have encouraged members of the public to petition Parliament and Government on issues related to human rights and any other developmental issues and so far we have received 69 petitions,” he added.
There have been efforts to portray Government as violating human rights with the alleged abduction of Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors’ Association leader Dr Peter Magombeyi on Saturday, timed to coincide with Mr Voule’s maiden visit and the 74th United Nations General Assembly which the President will attend.
It has also become customary for opposition MDC-Alliance and its civil society appendages to stage attention-seeking activities and allegations to draw a negative agenda on Zimbabwe ahead of international forums such as the United Nations General Assembly.
Western countries, led by the United States of America, are strongly suspected of having a hand in these “black operations”.