Chinamasa proposes amending Domestic Violence Bill

JUSTICE minister Patrick Chinamasa has proposed far reaching amendments to the Domestic Violence Bill now at committee stage where it will be debated clause by clause in the House of Assembly.


In one of the clauses dealing with t

he meaning of domestic violence, Chinamasa has proposed the prohibiting of selling movable and immovable property by husbands as a way of punishing their wives.


The minister has proposed the deletion of “household effects or other” from the Bill.


The minister proposed the change after MDC Harare East MP Tendai Biti said the initial definition limited property not to be sold to household goods. He called for the definition to be worded more clearly, so that it will also prohibit husbands from punishing wives by selling immovable property.


The Bill, which was gazetted at the end of June, lists domestic violence as sexual abuse, emotional, verbal and psychological abuse, harassment, stalking, among others.


On emotional, verbal or psychological abuse, Chinamasa has also proposed to remove jealousy as part of the abuses, leaving “the repeated exhibition of obsessive possessiveness” as an offence.


The minister’s amendment appears to be taking on board misgivings expressed by Zanu PF Nyanga legislator Paul Kadzima who said a married man with a beautiful wife has a right to be jealous.


Chinamasa has also promised to repeal a section seeking the establishment of an anti-domestic violence committee and to replace it with a board.


A new clause giving jurisdiction to community courts to preside and issue protection orders over stipulated offences such as emotional, verbal and psychological abuse, has also been proposed.


The Bill this week saw women’s groups demonstrating against MDC Mabvuku-Tafara legislator Timothy Mubawu after he said the Bible says “women are not equal to men”.


Reports on Tuesday said MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai addressed the demonstrators, telling them that Mubawu’s comments did not reflect the position of his party.


The reports added that Tsvangirai also urged the women to be impartial saying: “We did not see these kind of demonstrations when other women such as Lucia Matibenga were brutally assaulted by police while in custody. Violence is violence and it must be condemned.” — Staff Writer.