Zanu-PF pushes ahead with public hearings to amend constitution

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa will have more power if the constitution is amended.
Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa will have more power if the constitution is amended.
Image: REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

Public hearings into 27 constitutional amendments proposed by Zanu-PF to give more power to Zimbabwe's executive will go ahead this month — despite a spirited campaign against it by civil society, the opposition and even some of the president's advisers.

Justice, legal and parliamentary affairs minister Ziyambi Ziyambi told the state run Herald newspaper that no-one had the authority to stop the government from amending the constitution, as Zanu-PF enjoyed a two-thirds majority in parliament.

“A government is formed through a political party that would have won an election. A political party represents the people. In this case, Zanu-PF won elections and it carries the mandate of the people,” he said.

Last week a group of minority political parties that took part in the July 2018 general elections, the Political Actors Dialogue (Polad), broke ranks with President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

“We have told Mnangagwa to stop acting like Mugabe, where the constitution is amended when he wants. We are saying he should undo the mentality of making and unmaking the constitution,” said the group's Prof Lovemore Madhuku.

Ziyambi said Polad was out of line. “Polad is not a statutory instrument; it is a platform for dialogue, which like any other person or institution should submit its views about the bill and it will be up to parliament to take it up. So suggestions to withdraw the bill are misdirected,” he said.

Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum executive director Blessing Gorejena said the amendments were an ambush and a threat to democracy and good governance.

The amendments include giving the president power to appoint high court judges, instead of the process being done via public interviews.


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