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Civil Society in Zimbabwe not lobbying Parliament

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Here’s an excerpt from an interview I’ve just done with the Executive Director of the Southern African Parliamentary Support Trust, John Makamure:

You work with both Civil Society and Parliament. For a very long time Civil Society has been advocating for media freedom, but obviously the legislative environment does not allow for this. Why do you think civil society is not lobbying parliamentarians directly to introduce the Private Member Bills that would change this?

I am also very concerned that our civil society friends are not taking advantage of the democratic space available in Parliament. Advocacy requires that you exploit any opportunities that are available. We have supported quite a number of public hearings that are conducted by committees in Parliament. We fund those. And we try to send out information to members of civic society. But the response has been very poor on some public policy matters, which we believe would be relevant to those organisations. We don’t understand the apathy. We need civic society to engage Parliament more and work with the committees and individual members to improve the public policy environment.

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