By Mbekezeli Ncube
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa’s allies in the Political Actors Dialogue (POLAD) have rejected government’s proposed constitutional amendments that were gazetted at the beginning of the year.
Constitutional Amendment Bill (No. 2) comes with a raft of changes, which critics say serve to tighten Mnangagwa’s grip on power.
Addressing journalists in Bulawayo, one of POLAD members and National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) President, Lovemore Madhuku (pictured above) said the grouping was against the proposed amendments and wanted the proposed Bill withdrawn.
“We are calling upon the government to withdraw the Bill from Parliament forthwith,” said Madhuku.
“It is premature for the government to publish the Constitutional Amendment Bill when the purpose of POLAD is to have all the political actors discuss constitutional, electoral and political challenges ahead of the 2023 elections.”
He said POLAD members’ demands were that it was premature for the government to gazette the Bill as there were issues that had to be revised.
“There is no hurry, let the government wait for the next six or seven months. As we go through this process, we will just have one Bill that goes to Parliament which also accommodates things that we would want discussed.
“We have put in place a machinery to look at how electoral commissions are appointed, how Diaspora votes are conducted and our committee will be meeting with models from different countries to find out how it is done in some other countries,” said Madhuku.
“We want to retain the current provisions on judges. Judges must retire at 70 years mandatory, the Bill proposes that judges of the Supreme court and the Constitutional court may go up to 75, we unanimously reject that as POLAD. They must to retire at the age of 70,” said the NCA president.
The proposed judiciary changes by government are that sitting judges can be promoted without going for interviews.
Madhuku insisted that all judges must go through interviews except for the Chief Justice, his deputy and the Judge president.
Formed in May last year, POLAD is a group of political parties that participated in the 2018 presidential elections.