Civil society wants amendments to Zim constitution stopped

eNCA correspondent Pindai Dube reports. Courtesy of #DStv403

HARARE - Forty-six Zimbabwean civil society organisations say they will mobilise citizens and take legal action against the government, over a move to change the country’s constitution.

They argue it will give the president too much power and turn him into a dictator.

The country’s Justice Minister insists there’s nothing wrong with amending the constitution, which was voted in during a referendum in 2013.

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Zanu-PF’s two-thirds majority in Parliament makes it easy to change the constitution.

Not only can it approve elections, but it’s given the green light to the president to appoint vice-presidents.

The amendments also mean the president can extend the tenure of senior judges and appoint them.

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Groups like labour federation ZCTU, the Zimbabwe National Students Union, Crisis Coalition in Zimbabwe, and Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights say they’ll do all they can to stop this.

ZCTU president Peter Mutasa said, "besides widening the scope of presidential powers and undermining democratic accountability, this bill unilateral increases the size of the central government and imposes any unprecedented burden on the already suffering citizenry,taxpayers will bear the primary burden of a bloated government."

Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi says changing the constitution will modernise it.

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Ziyambi said: "There are misguided the constitution is not being amendment because of the need to give the executive or the president more powers than he currently has, if you look into the constitution and the amendments that we are proposing there is no way it gives powers than to him than he original as.

"Members of the public must not be abused to believe that a constitution cannot be amended, if you go to Section 328 it has the whole provision on how the constitution should be amendment should a need arises. So this idea of saying you can not amend a constitution is total wrong and misplaced."

The amendments are awaiting the final approval of the Senate next week, before the president signs on the dotted line.


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