By Costa Nkomo
UNITED KINGDOM based academic, lawyer and former advisor to the Prime Minister, Alex Magaisa has hit out at Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi after the latter labelled the Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ) an activist lobby group.
Last week, cabinet emerged with a controversial decision to amend the national Constitution to remove the obligation by anyone gunning for national President to choose a running mate.
This will leave a future sitting president with discretionary powers to appoint and fire their deputies as it suits them.
But the Law Society of Zimbabwe was quick to raise red flags saying the controversial move opened avenues for the national leader to abuse authority and it stifled national democratic processes.
“The effect of the proposed amendment to Section 94 means that Vice Presidents will no longer be elected but appointed by the President,” the lawyers’ group had said in a statement.
“This removes the transparency and democratic process sought to be achieved by Section 92 in relation to the assumption of these important offices.
“In addition, the Vice President’s tenure will be at the pleasure of the President.”
Justice Minister and ally to the President, Ziyambi Ziyambi felt that the LSZ’s statement was tantamount to activism which he said was not part of the institution’s mandate.
“The Law Society of Zimbabwe have converted themselves into an activist lobby group. They no longer know why they exist, they have lost their bearings,” Ziyambi said.
However, Magaisa has launched his own attacks at Ziyambi whom he accused of showing little understanding of the constitution and the responsibilities of the LSZ.
“It is preposterous for the Justice Minister to belittle and mock the LSZ for something that is well within its mandate and has been so recognised by his more illustrious predecessors and courts for decades,” Magaisa wrote on Twitter Tuesday.
“But this regime has long shown itself to consist of reactionary elements.
“Justice Minister and the Information Secretary may be new to their roles but the Law Society of Zimbabwe was there long before they arrived.
“They must acquaint themselves with the legislation before they embarrass themselves with ridiculous statements.”
Firebrand activist and lawyer Fadzayi Mahere echoed Magaisa’s thoughts, urging Ziyambi not to just understand the national constitution but to also protect it.
“A whole lawyer who has no understanding of the Constitution.
“The Dishonourable Minister of Injustice must revisit Constitutional Law 101. He should be in the forefront of upholding the Constitution, but he chooses instead to do violence to it,” Mahere wrote on Twitter Tuesday.