Mugabe blasted over Constitution moves

HARARE - Constitutional law experts and other interested parties have savaged Zanu PF’s plans to make far-reaching changes to Zimbabwe’s new Constitution, barely two years after the country’s supreme law was adopted.

Opposition parties also told the Daily News this week that they suspected that President Robert Mugabe and the ruling party harboured ulterior motives despite claiming to mean well in their mooted plans to alter the Constitution.

In an interview with lickspittle State media last weekend, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa, who is also Zanu PF’s secretary for legal affairs, said the government had resolved to effect significant changes to the supreme law because Treasury could no longer afford the expanded government that was created by the new charter.

He went on to blame the new Constitution for the consequent drain on the fiscus, as the charter provides for 210 directly elected legislators and 60 proportional representatives, as well as 80 senators in the Upper House.

The new charter also creates seven independent commissions under Chapter 12, including the Electoral, Human Rights, Gender, Media, National Peace and Reconciliation and Anti-Corruption commissions.

But constitutional law expert Welshman Ncube, who is also president of a breakaway MDC faction, slammed Zanu PF’s plan as ill-advised.

He also accused Mugabe’s administration of “misplaced priorities, spending lavishly on Mugabe’s birthday party and appointing a bloated Cabinet”.

“Clearly, the claim (about the cost of the charter) is a mere pretext to rid the Constitution of those aspects they consider to be against their interests.

“It is a malicious intention which basically has nothing to do with resources but is all about the concentration of political power,” Ncube said.

He said constitutions the world over, particularly commissions, were an expression of how people desired to be governed, in addition to being “a reservoir of the people’s rights.”

“So when you attack those commissions, you are essentially attacking the rights of citizens and I find it strange that a whole government would seek to thwart democratic institutions for the sake of power,” Ncube said.

Another constitutional law expert, Lovemore Madhuku, said while he felt that there were some sections of the Constitution which needed to be re-visited, such a process needed to be driven by the people.

Citing the powers of the president provided for in the Constitution, Madhuku whose National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) unsuccessfully campaigned for a “No” vote during the 2013 referendum, said these needed to be reduced.

“As NCA, we feel that any changes to the Constitution have to be on a quid pro quo basis and not be at the whims of Zanu PF.

“There has to be a national discussion which should be open in all respects,” Madhuku said.

While he agreed with Chinamasa that the legislative assembly was unsustainable and too big, he said the country’s supreme law should also do away with deputy ministers and provincial ministers because “they are the most expensive”.

But lawyer and legislator, Jonathan Samukange, backed Chinamasa’s  plan, saying his proposals were honourable in view of the dire financial situation that the government finds itself in.

Samukange also accused the tripartite parliamentary select team (Copac) — led by Paul Mangwana (Zanu PF), Douglas Mwonzora (MDC-T) and Edward Mkhosi (MDC) — of not having applied their mind properly when they drafted the charter.

He said although the new Constitution had solicited views from Zimbabweans across the country in four months of public hearings, an even broader-based approach was needed to avoid piecemeal amendments.

“I would have preferred to have a panel of retired judges to gather evidence from constitutional law experts, including intellectuals, and then make suggestions.

“Piecemeal amendments are not good because we will end up having over 30 amendments. It is unfortunate that the minister wants it urgently done and he is cutting his cloth to fit,” Samukange said.

He said the legislature in particular was unnecessarily large, calling on the government to do away with non-constituency Members of Parliament.

He also suggested that human rights-related commissions such as the National Healing and Reconciliation and Gender commissions be bundled together under the Human Rights Commission.

“Do we really need a commission of gender or national healing when they deal with human rights?” he asked.

But Douglas Mwonzora, a lawyer and opposition leader, alleged that Zanu PF’s reasons “to mutilate the charter” had nothing to do with funding but the ruling party’s desire to do away with the national reconciliation commission which dealt with victims of its political violence.

“They do not want justice to be extended to the victims of violence including Gukurahundi and the 2008 political violence,” Mwonzora said.

He said the huge government pay bill had nothing to do with the Constitution but was because the government was paying ghost workers employed by the ministry of Youth during the time Saviour Kasukuwere was the minister in that portfolio.

Mwonzora also accused Zanu PF of seeking to do away with devolution of power “which they have always been opposed to yet is an answer to unequal development.”

“Zimbabweans must stand up and use both legal and extra-legal means to stop Zanu PF in its tracks to preserve their Constitution,” Mwonzora said.

Comments (5)

All Mugabe supporters are mud eating scumbags. Rascals, imbeciles, stupid beyond stupid. You find them defending Mugabe at every turn, but what has this country got to show for all his good leadership skills. We have no currency. We are flooding neighboring countries like locusts, We are dying young of malnutrition, cholera, typhoid you name it. We went to school but cannot even employ our youths. We rely on foreign countries to take care of our people where they are abused, insulted and even killed and Mugabe doesn't give a hoot. All Mugabe supporters think with the wrong orifices

Phaphamani - 13 March 2015

Well come to Zimbabwe Ruins my country men. Zanu-PF led by Mafia god-father, RG Mugabe, have presided over Zimbabwe as a failed state, Zimbabwe Ruins. 34 years of Zim Asset Stripping. Shame on you Chinamasa. Scum bags!

Mbareboy - 13 March 2015

Matimadii,naMugabe muchati baba.This man is Satan's most loved disciple.He wants everyone and everything in this country to age and die with him because he thinks he cannot go down alone.

Cde Dokora - 14 March 2015

Mugabe's long life is a curse to both himself and Zimbabwe, never a blessing at all.

Cde Dokora - 14 March 2015

the country is very small and it needs not more than 100 elected . The problem with zanu pf it does certain things to suit itself and not the country at large. Mostly its a ploy to get E.U monies or it cant fill those posts after the gammatox fall. out. They should also change death sentance. It must cover to Hang anyone condemned and remove age limit. Most of the political thugs are over 70 and still killing. The death sentence must be enforced.

X-MAN IV - 14 March 2015

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