Masvingo CSOs reject Bill to amend Constitution

Masvingo: Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Masvingo have resolved to reject any attempts to amend the country’s Constitution arguing that government should prioritise implementing Constitutional provisions and not amending them to suit a particular status quo.

Representatives of the civil society organisations, convening at a CSOs’s Indaba organized by Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (today) called on government to align the country’s laws as a matter of urgency and stop diverting their efforts in amending a ‘New’ document which was adopted in 2013.

“The Constitution is barely 4 years old yet the government is already in a hurry to amend it well before its full implementation,” said constitutional lawyer Lucy Chivasa, querying the composition of the current Judicial Service Commission which she said was questionable as it was made of appointed people.

“The president appoints judges to the Commission which compromises their independence,” she added.

CiZC Advocacy Committee Chairperson, Marvelous Kumalo said the proposed Constitution Amendment Bill No.1 defeats the principle of separation of power.

He said while public participation was well guaranteed and provided for in Section 180 of the Constitution, amending it would take away citizens’ rights to monitor candidates selections in the appointment of Judges.

“The amendment is in bad taste as it seeks to replace a public interview process which at least is built on the principle of merit,” argued Kumalo, indicating that through the amendment, the public will not be able to monitor the selection of candidates.

Stakeholders at the CSOs Indaba agreed that the bill sought to further entrench a culture of centralized decision making in the presidency which defeats the principle of separation of power.

There was consensus that CSOs should advocate and demand that government fully implement the Constitution and not amend it.

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