The Human Rights NGO Forum has accused President Emmerson Mnangagwa of abusing the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) Act to stifle citizens’ freedoms.
The human rights lobby group claimed in its 2019 state of human rights report released on Thursday that the president enacted three unjustified statutory instruments.
The group argued that Mnangagwa invoked his presidential powers to enact Statutory Instrument 33 of 2019 converting depositors’ RTGS bank balances into a currency.
The civic group says observed that the president later enacted two other statutory instruments, which outlawed the use of foreign currency for the settlement of domestic debts. Reads the report:
In all these instances, there seemed to be no clear rationale why these issues were not dealt with in the ordinary way through the legislation-making process in Parliament as provided for in the Constitution.
The President’s sweeping powers to enact regulations on issues that can ordinarily be legislated by an Act of Parliament represents an affront on the principle of separation of powers.
The Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) Act, Chapter 10:20 gives the president powers to make regulations concerning urgent matters.
The powers, however, are limited to exceptional circumstances given that they overtake the law-making function ordinarily vested with Parliament.
The Human Rights NGO Forum makes the above allegations amid concern by other human rights defenders and the opposition as well as the international community that the Mnangagwa-led administration is using the lockdown to crackdown on dissent.
Meanwhile, President Mnangagwa has hinted on the review of regulations guiding the conduct of non-governmental organisations which he accused of working outside their mandate as stipulated by local laws.