Zanu PF needs to be stopped

ON TUESDAY, Zanu PF legislators passed the Constitution Amendment Bill (No.1) into law and — in less than four hours — undid the efforts made by the majority in 2013 in coming up with a so-called people-driven Constitution.

Of course, it was never a people-driven Constitution, as the dominant political parties, Zanu PF and the MDC were calling the shots during the inclusive government era that lasted between 2009 and 2013.
Yet the final product was endorsed by over 3 million people with only 179 000 voting “No”, so in democracy parlance that was the voice of the people that has, however, been drowned by the politics of expediency that Zanu PF pursues.

Of course, the ruling party broke no law — but its actions are a reminder that the country’s progressive statutes are at risk of total overhaul because of the super majority that Zanu PF enjoys in both Houses.
The Constitution Amendment has now restored powers in the president to appoint the chief justice, deputy chief justice and judge president of the High Court instead of the transparent process where the judges were subjected to public interviews.

The process the drafters hoped would create checks and balances would have seen the president — instead of appointing judges on his own — would act on a public process involving public interviews. It would be open and transparent and the president would make the final selection from a list of candidates recommended after a rigorous interview process. That is all gone now.

The 2013 Constitution had tried to limit the president’s excessive powers but in doing so they were blind and left it to Parliament to tinker with the efforts of millions, in the name of democracy.

Sadly, with Zanu PF commanding an overwhelming majority and the whipping system still in place, there was no way any legislator from the ruling party would have defied the party.

Perhaps the drafters of the Constitution should have put it beyond the whims of a two-thirds majority to amend with provisions that would require nothing but a referendum for such amendments to take place.
Mechanisms should have been put in place to protect the Constitution but unfortunately, legal experts overlooked such an important area and parked several issues that are now back to haunt Zimbabweans.

Now the opposition has work on its hands, to work hard and cut Zanu PF’s majority in Parliament, maybe they may not succeed in removing the ruling party altogether in the 2018 elections but they must strive to reduce its dominance, otherwise the Constitution will be lacerated to fit into the plans of the Executive.


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