New Zimbabwe.com

Under-Siege MDC-T Revisits Zanu PF Sponsored Bill

Spread This News

By Bulawayo Correspondent


UNDER FIRE MDC-T says it will next week conduct a cost benefit analysis of the controversial Constitutional Amendment Bill Number 2 which party MPs have endorsed.

The Douglas Mwonzora led opposition invited a barrage of attack from the rival MDC Alliance and some civil society groups after its MPs “blindly” backed the Zanu PF sponsored Bill to pass through crucial parliamentary stages.

The proposed law seeks to, among other things, scrap the running mate clause, empower the State President to handpick some judges without subjecting them to public interviews as is currently the norm.

The Bill also seeks to extend judges’ terms of office after reaching their retirement age.

It has already sailed through Parliament and now awaits Senate’s approval before being signed into law by the President.

Civil society groups have blasted the proposed law, describing it as a brazen attempt by incumbent President Emmerson Mnangagwa to tighten his grip on power ahead of the 2023 national elections.

But addressing journalists at the Bulawayo Media Centre Friday, Mwonzora said his party was yet to come up with a position on the Bill.

The opposition leader said the MDC-T was not rejecting the Bill in its entirety but only objected to the scrapping of the running mate and judges’ clauses.

He appealed to Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi to remove the controversial clauses.

“We have voiced our concern about objectionable clauses. Our concerns are reasonable, our concerns are legally grounded, our concerns are sustainable, and the choice is there for the honourable minister to remove those clauses,” said Mwonzora.

The politician said his party’s leadership was set to meet on Monday to deliberate on the Bill.

“We are going to have our meeting on Monday, our caucus meeting where we will conduct a cost analysis of the Bill.

“After the meeting, we will make our decision on the way forward as we enter this final phase,” he said.

Mwonzora reiterated his party shall continue to engage Ziyambi over the controversial clauses.

“Of course, we are trying dialogue to make sure that those objectionable clauses are removed. We are also against the amendment of clause 3:28, sub clause 7 of our Constitution.

“In terms of that sub-clause, if there is a need to extend a term limit for judges, that extension cannot benefit the incumbent (President). That’s 1.

“It also goes on to say that if there is a need to amend that clause, that amendment can only be done via a referendum,” he said.

Mwonzora, who was among representatives of major political parties who spearheaded the writing of the 2013 national charter, also took a dig at some unnamed civil society groups and opponents for unkind remarks they have directed at his legislators who supported the passing of the controversial Bill.

Zimbabwe’s vocal civil society organisations have been unequivocal in their condemnation and rejection of the proposed law.

They are also up in arms with the country’s governing authority for allegedly cherry-picking self-serving laws to amend and yet there are a lot of existing laws which are still waiting to be aligned with the 2013 national constitution.