Forty six Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) across the country have expressed concern over the passing of Constitutional Amendment Bill number 2 by parliament saying the move is a reversal of the gains recorded by the overwhelming participation and endorsement of the new charter by Zimbabweans in 2013.
Addressing the media on the passage of the bill in senate this week, civic groups including the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union, Elections Resource Centre, ZINASU and many others said the amendments to the constitution were at a time the new charter adopted in 2013 has not been fully implemented.
“It is very disturbing that the proposed amendments to the Constitution are being introduced at a time when the May 2013 Constitution has not been fully implemented. Since the introduction of the Bill, we have expressed our reservations to this process and made several calls on all progressive citizens and duty bearers to reject this Bill as it reverses the gains that were ushered in by the 2013 Constitution.
“The adoption of this Bill will undoubtedly centralize too much power in the executive, particularly the President. Besides widening the scope of the Presidential powers and undermining democratic accountability, the Bill unilaterally increases the size of the central government and imposes an unprecedented burden on the already suffering citizenry. Taxpayers will bear the primary burden of a bloated government.
“The proposed sections of the Amendment Bill are a backward step in the pursuit of democracy, accountability, the divisions of governmental power, representatives, the rule of law and human rights in Zimbabwe. The adoption of the Bill entails further strengthening of the President’s powers while weakening the mechanisms intended to hold the President to account for his or her actions, wrongdoing and in some cases, illegal conduct,” ZCTU President Peter Mutasa said.
The organisations called for the alignment of laws with the Constitution and urged citizens to condemn the amendment through available legal means.
“We therefore call on all progressive citizens to condemn and reject this amendment through all appropriate legal means, call on state actors to implement provisions of the Constitution, call on those responsible within Government to fully align all laws with the Constitution and hold to account one way or the other their representatives in the National Assembly who voted for the Amendment,” added Mutasa.