Civil Society takes stand against constitutional amendments

Civil Society Organisations under the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition banner took a firm stand and dismissed in totality Constitutional Amendment Bill No.2 for what it is, a mockery to democracy and a recipe for disaster.

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Without any compromise members unanimously agreed that there will be no changes to the constitution before its full implementation.

In arriving at this decision, CiZC members analysed all proposed changes and came to a conclusion that the common denominator to all proposed changes is political emotion largely driven by the desire to consolidate power in the hands of the ruling elite. This will thus be achieved through a Constitutional amendment scheme that will see the president wielding too much executive powers in relation to the appointments of Vice Presidents, a shift from the current running mate provision in the 2013 Constitution, a provision which guarantees that the country does not go back to the one party state period.

The proposed amendments also relate to the appointments of the Prosecutor General, Public Protector, promotion of judges and the terms of office of judges, all of which is evident of the strong desire to impose the views of the ruling elite in all these appointments.

CiZC members noted that these changes are miles away from guaranteeing a democratic governance system as they have an effect of undermining traditional checks and balances existing in the yet to be implemented 2013 Constitution.

Of great concern to CSOs is the fact that the proposed amendments are not a result of any consultative process which involved citizens, thereby justifying the position taken by CSOs as the decision taken by the ruling elite does not single handedly justify fundamental changes to the constitution.

To defend this position, CiZC membership agreed to belt out a nationwide campaign educating citizens on the impact of the proposed changes and most importantly mobilizing citizens to reject in totality proposed Constitutional changes.

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