THE little knowledge I have of the Domestic Violence Bill came from reading newspapers and the discussion on ZTV programme Face the Nation on October 19.
My concerns are of a kind of forward-looking and general nature giv
en that I have not had the privilege of reading the Bill.
It’s unfortunate that this Bill will sail through parliament and the senate — and like many others before it — bind us all whether we participated in its drafting or not.
The first step with a Bill like this one should have been to publicise it and have MPs or some such relevant committee moving around the 120 constituencies soliciting for comments from members of the public.
Remember the discussion for a new constitution when even high schools were visited?
That is perhaps the only time when parliament/government, through the Constitutional Commission, went out to hear people’s views.
Our legislature could learn a thing or two from neighbouring South Africa. “Marriage Bill fires up all and sundry”, (Sunday Times, October 1), detailed how consultations on the proposed legislation on marriage in South Africa were conducted.
As Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa rightly observed on the ZTV programme, many people do not really know what the Bill is all about.
That probably explains why a majority of the callers could not pin-point their gripe with it.
The minister also skirted a question from the presenter when he asked something about what platform was in place for the general public to comment on the Bill.
Given the stage at which the Bill is now at, it does not seem to serve any purpose that members of the public are asked to comment.
The minister said the Bill has been under discussion for the past 10 years.
I am one person who watches the news and reads the newspapers almost on a daily basis.
How I missed advertisements or whatever it was with regards to this Bill for the past 10 years is a mystery.
The first time I heard about thisBill was when it was already in parliament.
Blessed are the women’s organisations who the minister claims had a chance to contribute to the Bill — not the women I know from home, work and church.
Could it be that they were all not interested or too unintelligent to notice and participate?
It’s a pity that most of the organisations are headed by single women (no offence meant, just an observation) who unless they were once married (in which case, barring death of their husbands,
their experiences of married life were most likely unpleasant), their practical experience of family life dates back to when they were minors.