Parliament of Zimbabwe has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the
Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA), an official partnership that
will see the latter contributing effectively to the Parliament’s key functions
that include legislative, representative and oversight.
is a premier public interest environmental law organisation which seeks to
promote environmental justice, sustainable and equitable use of natural
resources, democracy and good governance in the natural resources and
environment sector. ZELA’s work is mainly anchored on a core group of rights
which are reflective of natural resources governance namely; Environmental, Economic,
Social and Cultural (EESC) rights. As such a large component of the
organisation’s work involves influencing implementation and reforms within
legal,policy and institutional frameworks governing the environment and natural
resources sector through research, civic education, advocacy and strategic
Memorandum came at a time where the Parliament of Zimbabwe has developed a five
(5) year Institutional Strategic Plan (ISP) 2018-2023, which provides a vehicle
for it to fulfil its legislative, representative and oversight function to
ensure peace, order and good governance of the country as espoused in Section
112 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe. Similarly , ZELA is in the process of
finalising its five year strategic plan which will run from 2020-2024.
Parliament’strategic objective 1:1 reads, Hold all institutions and agencies of
the State and government at every level accountable to Parliament while
Strategy 1.1.2 notes that this will be achieved through; Enhancing public
participation in the oversight work of Parliament. This also relates to ZELA’s
new strategy specifically the organisation’s objective on Responsible Investments and Business where the organisation for
the next five years will commit to promote responsible and sustainable private
and public sector investments and businesses that respect human rights in the
natural resources sector. The work will
include advocating and raising awareness on business and human rights issues to
ensure that Government’s obligation to protect human rights, corporation’s duty
to respect human rights and the communities’ right to benefit from the
exploitation of natural resources are reflected in Zimbabwe’s laws, policies
and practices. ZELA will also build the capacity of communities, CSOs, human
rights commission, parliamentarians and other stakeholders to hold the
Government and businesses accountable where human rights have been violated in
the course of doing business and exploitation of natural resources through redress
In the new Parliament Strategy, ZELA will also contribute in enhancing
effectiveness of Parliamentarians in the law-making process. Timely passing of
laws that are consistent with the Constitution is a key result area in the ISP.
It has been noted that what remains a major challenge is the
existing old and colonial legal architecture especially the Mines and Minerals
Act. The Act does not adequately deal with environmental protection,
transparent issuance of mining rights and public disclosure of mining revenues.
Since 2007, there are several stalled legal reform processes initiated by
government such as the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill, Draft Minerals
Policy, a diamond law and exploration law and till to date nothing has
materialized. Legal research and advocacy is ZELA’s forte hence the public
interest law organisation will initiate processes to promote and influence legal
reforms in the coming five years.
the years, the premier public interest law organisation has taken part in
parliament business by building the capacity of parliamentarians, participated in public hearings and petitioned
parliament where necessary as it drives its mission of promoting equitable,
just, sustainable environmental and natural resources management for the
benefit and on behalf of marginalised communities in Zimbabwe.
is not the first MOU signed between ZELA and the Parliament of Zimbabwe, the
previous one was signed in May 2015. We are pleased with the role we played as
an organisation during the previous session. ZELA managed to build the capacity
of legislators to scrutinise legal reforms for the benefit of the citizenry.
The organisation will continue offering its expertise and strengthening the
capacity of Parliamentarians for effective monitoring, oversight and influence
on utilisation of public resources and executive decisions in the extractives
sector. Overally, we will support the overarching
goal of Parliament’s ISP; A Parliament that supports the attainment of a
prosperous Zimbabwe that sustainably and equitably benefits all people,” saidZELA’s Executive Director, Mutuso Dhliwayo.
Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association
through sustainable and equitable utilisation of natural resources and