Human rights forum bemoans passing of Amendment Number II

By Trevor Makonyonga

The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum (The Forum) has called the passing of Amendment Bill Number 2 in parliament yesterday as a dark day as drastic changes could be made to the yet to be fully implemented constitution.

In a statement, the Forum said that the bill seeks to undermine separation of power and undoes the desires of the Zimbabwean people.

The forum said, “Today, Zimbabwe marks a dark day in its post-independence history, a day after 191 Parliamentarians voted in the House of Assembly to pass Amendment Number 2 Bill to the Constitution. Days after marking our 41st independence anniversary, a time at which we ought to be taking stock of progress made in consolidating our democracy, we mark a moment of monumental regression. The Constitution of Zimbabwe was born out of a protracted constitutional struggle that started in the 1990s, finally meeting with success on 22 May 2013 when the new Constitution took effect.

If passed into law, the bill will amend various clauses of the Constitution limiting separation of powers, checks and balances, citizen participation, Parliamentary oversight and independence of institutions.

The Forum also noted that when public hearings were done in 2020, most attendees said no to this amendment.

“When Parliament consulted the people in 2020, citizens risked the COVID-19 pandemic to attend public hearings. The results of these nationwide hearings as observed by the Forum was a resounding NO! Citizens, civil society, the international community and the democratic opposition, all spoke against the amendments. If our government was truly a government for the people, and if the leadership were truly a listening leadership, surely the democratic wishes of the majority would carry the day. However, it is abundantly clear that the wishes of the people are a secondary consideration,” the Forum said.