We Are Game! Legislators Commit to AMDC Statute Ratification
Compiled by Batanai Mutasa
Kadoma, 17 March 2022 – The Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) and the Africa Institute of Environmental Law (AIEL) this week, held a workshop to strategize and combine efforts to encourage the ratification of the African Minerals Development Centre (AMDC) Statute, which is one of the priority implementation indicators of the Africa Mining Vision (AMV).
Despite being instrumental in providing strategic operational support for and coordinating the implementation of the AMV and its Action Plan, the AMDC statute had (as at July 2022) been signed by only eight member states – Chad, Comoros, Ghana, Mauritania, Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, Sierra Leone, Sudan, and Togo – while only three countries – Guinea, Mali and Zambia -had gone further to ratify it.
With the realization that Zimbabwe is a key mining country in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and Africa and is primed to be a torch bearer in the implementation of the Africa Mining Vision, ZELA and AIEL brought together stakeholders from government, parliament, AMDC, civil society, development partners, communities, and the media for a discussion and deliberations on the strategies to encourage ratification in the country.
“When I look at the stakeholders here present, I have no doubt that we will achieve our objectives. We hope to see Zimbabwe ratifying the AMDC statute,” said ZELA Executive Director Mutuso Dhliwayo in his opening remarks.
To kickstart deliberations, AMDC Programmes Officer, Mkhululi Ncube focused on the topic: Harnessing the Africa Mining Vision for transformative socio-economic development, explaining that this vision had implications that went beyond mining.
Presentations that followed brought immense knowledge and information on the ratification process. At the core of these deliberations was the value proposition of, and why Zimbabwe must implement the AMV. All the different stakeholders agreed that there was a need to ensure that the AMDC statute was ratified as it would rationalize mining in the country and ensure that the industry led to sustainable development and industrialization through transparent, optimal and equitable exploitation of mineral resources.
This was underscored by the Chairperson of the Mines and Mining Development Parliamentary Portfolio Committee, Honourable Edmond Mukaratigwa, who said there were very few if any submissions against the ratification of the AMDC statute from all the presentations and subsequent deliberations. He noted that the Portfolio Committee was willing to support the ratification of AMDC Statute, especially as it [the Committee] was being capacitated to fully comprehend the Statutes’ intentions and provisions.
Said Mukaratigwa: “Parliament has a role to play in the signing and ratification of the African Minerals Development Centre (AMDC) Statute. That authority is derived from the common knowledge and tradition that Parliament’s work is divided into three key roles, namely oversight, law making and representation.
“I do not doubt that the establishment of the AMDC is crucial for keeping alive the hopes and aspirations of the African Continent founding leaders and in particular the vision for deriving optimal benefits from the exploitation of national mineral resources for the benefit of the African people. Parliament of Zimbabwe is ready to be educated, to consider, and ratify the statute within the confines of international law practice and domestication guidelines. It is now up to the Executive and specifically the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development in this case, to bring this statute before Parliament. Where we are satisfied that this Statute is pertinent to the country through these engagements, Parliament has the capacity to engage the Executive to consider bringing this statute to Parliament for due consideration and ratification,” he added.
Mukaratigwa’s sentiments were echoed by the Member of Parliament for Magwegwe Constituency and Mines and Mining Development Parliamentary Portfolio Committee Member Honorable Anele Ndebele who said Parliament would support and promote ratification of the AMDC statute.
“We want to get the stakeholders together and give them a soft nudge to get ratification,” said Ndebele. “We believe the question of the AMDC Statute is a burning issue that must be raised in Parliament as early as next Wednesday. I put myself on the spot to ask this question and in the event of my absence, Honorable Caston Matewu will,” he added.
Ndebele, a member of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Parliamentary Forum, advised that the forum was also fertile ground to nudge the Executive in member states to sign and ratify the Statute.
“I am challenging you not to look at local coalitions only but also regionally. You can even submit a petition on the ratification of the Statute and get this regional support. Where you feel Parliament has a vital role to play, we are game” he said.
While giving his closing remarks, ZELA Executive Director Mutuso Dhliwayo thanked all participants for stirring the discussions.
“I hope that we will be able to build on this, there are a number of strategies and proposals that were put forward here, let’s not wait for such platforms only to carry this forward but keep building towards our vision because it would be tragic if we don’t build on this,” said Dhliwayo.