Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Reject Constitutional Amendment Bill, it gives ED imperial powers: MDC Alliance

By Nyashadzashe Ndoro

President Emmerson Mnangagwa is obsessed with imperial powers that is why he is amending the constitution, MDC Alliance legislators have told Nehanda Radio.

Job Sikhala and Emmerson Mnangagwa
Job Sikhala and Emmerson Mnangagwa

Public consultations started on Monday on the Constitutional Amendment Bill that seeks to make the present interim measure of Vice Presidents being chosen by the President permanent and for him to promote or choose Judges without interviews.

Nehanda Radio also understands that the Amendment seeks to extend for another 10 years the addition of 60 seats in the National Assembly to be reserved for women.

Outspoken Zengeza West MDC Alliance MP Job Sikhala told Nehanda Radio it was Mnangagwa’s love of power that had made him want to amend the constitution so that he awards himself imperial powers.

“The Amendments can be seen by any legal mind as the obsession with imperial powers by the incumbent president. As a lawyer myself, you smell that descension of Zimbabwe into tyranny and authoritarianism.

“He loves power and control. In a modern democracy, it is a desire to take Zimbabwe to pre colonial and post colonial one party states constitutions.

“This frowns on all tenets of constitutionalism, democracy, good governance, the rule of law and the principles of separation of powers,” Sikhala told Nehanda Radio.

Brian Dube, Member of Parliament for Gweru Urban also told Nehanda Radio that there was no need for the 2013 constitution to be amended because Zimbabweans were still implementing it.

Last month, government separated the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court guided by the 2013 constitution.

“My honest opinion is that Zimbabwe currently does not require constitutional amendment. What is important for Zimbabwe to do currently is to align the law and start to practice the constitution.

“There is nothing bad about the constitution as it currently stands as it necessarily limits the excessives that were there prior to 2013.

“It is my strong view that as we stand, we need to comply with the constitution.

“What is happening is like patching a new cloth. You can’t go into a shop, buy a new cloth and start patching it before you wear it. That is what is happening. We have not even tested the running mates for vice presidency but we are already amending it.

“Actually, we just starting to separate the Constitutional Court and and the supreme court now and we are trying to circumvent issues relating to public interviews.

“Our constitution is very clear that it requires 50:50 gender representation in all government deployments and we want to perpetuate the balance by making sure that we come up mechanisms that allow that by 2023 we have 50% of Members of Parliament as women,” Dube said.

One of the three Vice Presidents of the main opposition MDC Alliance, Lynette Karenyi
One of the three Vice Presidents of the main opposition MDC Alliance, Lynette Karenyi

MDC Alliance vice-president Lynette Karenyi also sent a document in which the main opposition party has dismissed the need to amend the constitution.

According to the 2013 constitution, Section 161 of the constitution provides that the delimitations of boundaries must be aligned to population census.

This is so because the constituency must be delimited based on the population size because an MP does not represent voters but the whole population, including non-registered voters. 

The amendment now seeks to de-link the delimitation of electoral boundaries to the population in general.

The MDC Alliance said “this is scandalous and dangerous as it delinks the general population to the MP. Gives impression that MP just represents voters.

“In a democracy, a function democracy, all elected leaders represents the full population in their constituency not registered voters. Reject Proposed Amendment,” read the document.

The 2013 constitution, Section 180 On the appointment of judges, people nominate, interviews, President appoints from list.

The MDC Alliance argues that this was a transparent, accountable and responsive. Respects the wishes of the people of Zimbabwe from whom authority to govern is derived.

Only most suitable and qualified appointed as judges when there is vacancy constitutional court, administrative court and labour court. Even sitting judges who wish to be promoted from one bench to the other are interviewed

The amendment seeks to give Mnangagwa prerogative powers to promote Judges without interviews.

The MDC Alliance says, “this process is not reasonable acceptable in a democratic society. Every appointment or promotion of judges must be in line with the principles of transparency, justice, accountability and responsiveness as well as respect for the people of Zimbabwe, from whom authority to govern is derived, as currently provided in the section 180 on appointment of judges. Reject Proposed Amendment”

The 2013 constitution, Section 259 says that prosecutor General is appointed in the same way as judges, which means they undergo public interviews and in the past many blue-eyed people of the executive failed in these public interviews and this process is transparent and just.

The Amendment authorises the President to appoint Prosecutor General of his own, and therefore to appoint a puppet.

MDC Alliance believes “the Prosecutor General must function without fear, favour, affection or ill-will. Proposed method of appointment defeats this and therefore is not reasonably justifiable in a democratic society. Reject Proposed Amendment.”

“Proposed amendment is bad and not reasonably justifiable in a democratic society, as it seeks to establish puppet judges in the constitutional court and Supreme Court.

“The favour is not even extended to High Court judges and other judges clearly confirming that there is a bad motive, since the executive wants to influence judgments and decisions in the Supreme and Constitutional Courts, which are the highest courts in the country,” further read the MDC Alliance document. Nehanda Radio