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Civil Society Organisations call for Constitutional amendment rejection

by BustopTV

By Kudakwashe Vhenge

Civil society organizations (CSOs) have called for the rejection of Constitutional Amendment Bill No.2 of 2019 which has been proposed by government which they say is the biggest threats to civil and political rights in Zimbabwe.

The above position was revealed during an engagement workshop facilitated by the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) and members of the media in the capital this week.

The workshop which was an CSOs capacity strengthening for media personnel on Constitutional Amendment Bill No.2 of (2019) was attended by various civil society organizations among them Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, Veritas, Women’s Academy for Leadership, Heal Zimbabwe Trust, Election Resource Centre among others.

These organizations made various submissions regarding their position on the proposed amendment by the government.

Veritas Communications Manager, Valentine Maponga explained all the 27 proposed amendment and explained the implications that these alterations would bear on the day to day operations of the governance.

Most notable implications were the limitation of Parliament’s power to approve international treaties, the abolition of provisions for electing Vice-Presidents, extending and expanding provision for Party-list Members of the National Assembly, delimitation of electoral boundaries from censuses, allowing the appointment of additional non-parliamentary Ministers among others.

CiZC Spokesperson, Marvelous Kumalo stated that his organization together with several others have already moved to block the amendment of the constitution describing it as a “recipe for disaster”.

“Civil society organizations under the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition banner and other like-minded organizations have already rejected the amendments for what they are, a threat to democracy and a recipe for disaster,” said Kumalo.

Presenting at same meeting, Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum Director, Blessing Gorejena highlighted major reasons why several stakeholders have rejected the amendments.
“These amendments are undesirable; we have observed that there were no public consultations conducted before coming up with proposed amendments.

“There is also the question of necessity, we have asked ourselves if these amendments are really necessary and unfortunately we do not see the necessity. For us, the sanctity of the constitution should be respected and unfortunately, that has not been done.
“Once these amendments are allowed, we do not know when they will stop,” he said.

Women’s Academy for Leadership and Politics (WALPE) Programs Manager, Batanai Mapinde indicated that her organization is rejecting the proposed amendments as well.

“As WALPE, we reject in totality the proposed amendments and we are in the process of finalizing a court challenge to seek the intervention of the Constitutional court to order the Government to implement the 2013 constitution in letter and spirit especially gender parity provisions,” she said.

The Elections Resource Centre (ERC) pointed out that there is no sufficient evidence to justify the amendments. ERC emphasized that the appointment of judges and the prosecutor general by the president will compromise the integrity of elections as these appointees will preside over electoral disputes. They become conflicted and the independence and security of the judiciary become questionable.

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