Constitution Amendment Bill No.1 Public Hearings

Citizens in Harare today rejected attempts to amend the constitution during the Public Hearings held by the Parliamentary Legal Committee (PLC) on the Constitution Amendment Bill No.1 at the Senate Chambers.

100% of the people who spoke during the two sessions at the Senate Chambers rejected the amendment and queried the hastiness of amending a constitution that has not been implemented in full. Speaking at the Public Hearings in parliament Memory Kadau, Acting Coordinator of Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition emphasized that ‘the principle of the separation of powers cited in section 3(2) of the constitution should be adhered to.’

‘The president should not be given unfettered powers which are even more than the ones he had before in the Lancaster house constitution,

“Any attempt to amend the constitution should be aimed towards its improvement. The Parliament should therefore defend and protect the constitution,” said Kadau

Mr Okay Machisa, the director of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association lamented the slow pace at realigning legislation to the constitution and the surprising hastiness in amending the constitution.

David Hofisi of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights noted that the government was disrespecting the constitution yet its primary oath is to protect the constitution further emphasizing the importance of an independent judiciary.

‘This amendment defeats the will of the people who voted for the constitution in 2013 and limits public participation in the appointment of the Chief Justice,’ said Hofisi

On Thursday, the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition submitted a petition objecting to the proposals to amend the constitution.

It is our view that the articulated process, in the Constitution of Zimbabwe, of appointing of the Chief Justice allows a democratic process of selecting shortlisted competent candidates from the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) on merit whereas the proposed amendment gives the President the power to select and appoint,’ read the petition

The Public Hearings follow the proposal by the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to amend section of the Constitution of Zimbabwe and gazetting of Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 1) Bill of 2016 published in General Notice 434 of 2016. This is the first proposed amendment since the Constitution came into force on August 22, 2013.

The PLC is set to conduct Public Hearings in other parts of the country in a consultative process that will end on Thursday 23 February 2017.

The PLC also indicated that they are accepting written submissions from anyone to be sent to the Clerk of Parliament via email on [email protected]

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