African Journal of
Political Science and International Relations

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Pol. Sci. Int. Relat.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0832
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJPSIR
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 369

Article in Press

DISSECTING THE ROLE OF PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE IN KEY FOREIGN POLICY DECISIONS

Cleophas Gwakwara, Zwelibanzi Mpehle and Ricky Munyaradzi Mukonza

  •  Received: 01 January 2020
  •  Accepted: 06 March 2020
Parliaments, all over the world are expected to be the central institutions of democracy, embodying the will of the people hence should play a proactive role in the executive’s policy formulation and execution. The aim of this paper is to assess the dilemma that the parliament of Zimbabwe has faced in contributing to the formulation and execution of Zimbabwe’s foreign policy in particular. The Constitution of Zimbabwe, under section 118, makes a declaratory statement that, “all institutions and agencies of the state and Government at every level are accountable to Parliament”. During the period under review, Zimbabwe embarked on what Columbus (1990:3) prefers to call high politics in which the executive makes vital, high-level impact decisions which ordinarily should not escape the attention and sanction of parliament, including Zimbabwe’s decision to withdraw from the Commonwealth in 2003. A number of scholars portray parliament of Zimbabwe as a weak, if not the poorer and less helpful cousin of the three arms of State on policy formulation and execution (Makumbe,2000:41),(Mandaza 2018). This tag has been made because of the tilt in balance by the existence, at least during the period under review, of what in many scholars view as powerful, dominant executive led by the late former president, Robert Gabriel Mugabe. It is also ironic that this same institution triggered the resignation of the former president in November 2017, a matter for study on another platform. This paper, therefore, seeks to analyse the dilemma that parliament of Zimbabwe faces in trying to put checks and balances on the formulation and execution of Zimbabwe’s foreign policy. There will be an assessment of newspaper articles, documents on the role of parliament in foreign policy and other relevant literature on the legislative oversight of the institution on the executive. The paper aims to inform both the public policy makers on the need to have an improved interface between the legislature and the executive. Furthermore, the article will contribute on the body of literature on the role of parliament in foreign policy making and execution. Whilst unravelling the structural deficiencies impinging the interface between the two institutions, the paper will proffer recommendations for a healthy tension between the two arms of state. If parliament is to be truly responsive and responsible for the overall citizen, then it should play a competent and luminary This paper should contribute to the practical steps that the legislature can take in reclaiming is rightful place in a country’s foreign policy institutional decision-making matrix.

Keywords: Parliament, Zimbabwe, foreign policy,