Patrick Chitumba, Midlands Bureau Chief
PRESIDENT Mugabe has been hailed for refusing to sign into law the Special Economic Zones Bill that he said was anti-workers.
He held steadfast in September last year against the Bill that had been passed by Parliament.
Addressing members of the media and civic society during a Parliament meet the people function in Gweru yesterday, the Speaker of Parliament Advocate Jacob Mudenda said President Mugabe must be acclaimed for refusing to sign into law the Bill, which he said has a clause that sought to suspend the Labour Act whose effect would have exposed workers to serious abuse by employers.
Adv Mudenda said President Mugabe showed a good measure of checks and balances — a decision he said would go down in Parliament history as being very pro-workers.
He said President Mugabe’s decision was even against a Zanu-PF which has majority in Parliament.
“His decision to refuse to put his signature on the Special Economic Zones Bill is commendable. His decision was even against his party which has majority in Parliament. He disagreed with the whipping system. So the President must be given some acclamation. That was very classic, a good measure of checks and balances on his part. He brought back the Bill that Parliament had agreed on,” said Adv Mudenda.
He said the Bill had a detestable provision in terms of the Labour Act which sought to suspend it and put workers in the Special Economic Zones under the mercy of their employers. “The provision said the labour laws in the economic zones will not apply to them and the President said ‘No’, how can this be when these workers are still in Zimbabwe? He said there should be equity in labour laws in the country and refused to sign. It will go down in Parliament history that His Excellency refused to put his signature on that Bill,” said Adv Mudenda.
“Having a majority in Parliament doesn’t mean that you are always right. The Members of Parliament from Zanu-PF were whipped into voting for the Bill. We have this provision of whipping in our parliamentary democracy which in a way is a problem.”