Public Participation in the Legislative Process in Mozambique

Public Participation in the Legislative Process in Mozambique

One of the challenges of the Mozambican legislative process is the lack of legislation that defines the processes of public participation in the creation, modification or extinction of laws and their regulations. The normative absence of this process causes several institutions to follow different methods, often without sufficient understanding of the public to whom the laws are intended.

On the other hand, the Constitution of the Republic of Mozambique (Article 73), mentions that one of the pillars to democracy in Mozambique is the participation of the people regarding Nation matters, and the realization of this postulate may be done through the approval of an ordinary legislation.

In 2012, the Confederation of Economic Associations of Mozambique (CTA in Portuguese), in partnership with MASC, IESE, Fórum Mulher, WWF, Centro Terra Viva, Centro de Integridade Pública, IMPROG and SEKELEKANI, and in collaboration with the USAID’s Supporting the Policy Environment for Economic Development (SPEED+) project, developed a legislative proposal on public participation in the lawmaking process.

The proposal has benefited from a process of research on Mozambican legislation and comparative analysis of similar legislation in selected countries, including consultations with Mozambican public and private entities.

As a follow-up, CTA, the civil society organizations above mentioned, the Government, and with support from USAID/SPEED + Project, held a meeting, in Maputo, to discuss and define the next steps that will culminate in the finalization of the Legislative Proposal and submission to Appreciation and approval by the competent bodies.

Why Mozambique needs a Public Participation Law for Legislative Process?

At the meeting, Dr. José Caldeira presented the contents of the document to about 60 participants and mentioned that the current Mozambican legislation does not clearly detail the procedures that indicate ways of listening different sectors of the society in the design of Legislative Proposals. Caldeira also pointed out that the time for the Mozambican public, civil society and private sector to be heard is not defined in any legislation. In practice, time is not enough and the lack of clear rules leads to an arbitrary process, without involving the recipients of the laws.

The application of a law on public participation in the legislative process may have, among other benefits, enhance transparency in the process of legislating, strength participatory democracy and improve the quality of legal provisions. In addition, it may allow greater identification of citizens and other interested parties with the approved laws and create bases for increased voluntary and informed compliance with the laws.

The law can help anticipate problems and challenges resulting from the implementation, and ensure greater proportionality and fairness of legal standards. On the other hand, it can help improve the culture of legislative and planned intervention.

For the legislator, the law can be an excellent tool to assist in assessing the effects of the standard in terms of social impact. The definition of parameters for the public participation can increase the level of effectiveness in terms of degree of compliance within the social practices where it will be implemented.

Subsequent steps for the finalization and submission of the proposal

The participants in the debate were unanimous that this law, to be approved, will certainly support the Government of Mozambique and the legislator to anticipate positive and negative impacts and consequently bring the necessary balance in the decisions of policies and legislation process.

One of the suggested steps is to expand the debate regarding the contents of the law to more than just the participants from the meeting, but to other sectors and provinces. Upon completion of the extended consultation, the proposal will be finalized and submitted for consideration and approval by the competent institutions.

A communication agenda was additionally recommended as the starting point for its implementation after approval.

Apresentacao da Lei de Participação Publica Maio 2017

Fluxograma draft da proposta lei participação pública no processo legislativo em Mocambique

Comunicado de Imprensa sobre Participacao Publica no Processo Legislativo

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