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‘Const Amendment Bill 1, evidence MDC-T is Zanu PF stooge’- David Coltart

By Nyashadzashe Ndoro | Nehanda Politics |

The decision by the MDC-T presidium to vote for the Constitutional Amendment Bill number 1 that gives President Emmerson Mnangagwa powers to appoint judges without public interviews shows that the party is a “Zanu PF stooge,” says MDC Alliance Treasurer General David Coltart.

Former Education minister David Coltart and President Emmerson Mnangagwa
Former Education minister David Coltart and President Emmerson Mnangagwa

On Tuesday, MDC-T leader Douglas Mwonzora and his deputies, Thokozani Khupe and Elias Mudzuri conjoined with Zanu PF senators and chiefs to vote for the Bill that intends to give Mnangagwa powers to appoint Chief Justice, the Deputy Chief Justice and the Judge President without them going through public interviews.

At least 70 senators voted for the passage of the Bill, only one senator voted against it.

Writing on his microblogging Twitter handle, the former Education minister said the passage of the Bill undermined the key aspects of the 2013 Constitution of balancing the powers of the judiciary.

“If ever there was proof that the MDC T is now just a Zanu PF stooge, the unanimous passage (with singing and dancing) of the Constitutional amendment granting powers to the Executive to pick and choose senior judges, provides it,” he said.

“This goes against all the MDC has ever stood for. The founding MDC always believed that the Executive always had too much power and there needed to be an effective balancing of power – and separation of powers. This amendment undermines a key element of the 2013 Constitution

“Messrs Mwonzora, Komichi, Mudzuri and Madam Khupe should hang their heads in shame. How can they possibly explain away this grave assault on such a fundamental tenet of our Constitution? And to think that it was done with singing and dancing is just appalling.”

Coltart added his view was not partisan but the judiciary needed to be independent.

“This has nothing to do with partisan politics. The independence of the judiciary is critical for ordinary people, irrespective of which party they support. It is a key element of the rule of law, which in turn is a prerequisite for meaningful international investment.

“I thought that Mr Mwonzora would be more subtle than this and to that extent it is a silly move on his part. It will be impossible to explain away why this was done – it confirms emphatically that we have a mere veneer of an opposition in parliament which will do ZANU PF’s bidding,” he said.

In an interview with Nehanda Radio, MDC-T Secretary for Legal Affairs Brian Dube said the MDC-T had nothing to do with the passage of the Bill because the leading party in the senate, Zanu PF had capacity to influence the outcome of the votes because when combined, their MPs were enough to make the two thirds needed to pass it.

“The passing of the Constitutional Amendment in the Senate has nothing to do with the MDC-T as they could not stop it numerically. If ever any other senator voted for the amendment, it could have been their personal persuasion as will always be the case in a democracy.

“MDC-T is a democratic party and always gives freedom to its members to be persuaded by their conscience and not coerced into making decisions against their will,” he said. Nehanda Radio