Constitution Amendment Bill number 2 (2019) irks civil society

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By Adeline Mapfumo and Audrey Galawu

CRISIS in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) on Wednesday held a workshop which was attended by representatives from the country’s civil society who spoke out against Constitution Amendment Bill number 2 of 2019.

Zimbabwe Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) Human Rights Forum representative, Blessing Gorejena, spoke on citizens’ ignorance concerning Constitution Amendment Bill number 2 and how it proposes to appropriate disproportionate powers to the President.

Gorejena went on to elaborate how the Bill intended to shrink democracy through proposals that the President should wield unmitigated influence over constitutional court judges.

“The problematic aspect (of the Bill) is that for the judges to be allowed to renew for a year, they have to apply to the President and not the Judicial Services Commission. The President, upon being convinced that the judge is medically fit, then allows him to continue. The problem with the President being the sole appointing authority is suppose he sees there is a certain judge who is doing very well but is not favouring his establishment, he can decide to declare him mentally unstable to continue,” Gorejena said.

Speaking at the same workshop, National Association of Youth Organisations spokesperson McDonald Munyoro said the Bill, if passed into law, had the potential to entrench dictatorship as it tended to give the President excessive powers, including the power to select judges.

“As youths, we are being locked out of certain offices by the Constitution, for example, the law that states that judges should be 40 years old and above is unnecessarily restrictive. Those limitations should be removed,” Munyoro said.

Women’s Academy for Leadership and Political Excellence spokesperson Batanai Mapinde said there was no need for leadership discrimination in the country, adding equal representation in Parliament of both men and women was essential.

She also said the reason why men were in most leadership positions was because they had a bigger financial muscle than women.

Also at the workshop was Heal Zimbabwe representative, Veritas spokesperson and Election Resource Centre representative.

Veritas coalition works on human rights issues, democratic governance, political freedom, women’s rights, electoral reforms, peace and development.

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