HARARE – In a historic virtual constitution rally attended by leading voices on democracy under the hashtag #ResistDictatorship, Zimbabweans have converged against the latest amendments to their National Constitution, ENN reports.
A coalition of Civil Service Organisations and citizens have started a petition against the amendments, which they have lebelled an attack on democracy. The petition is titled ‘ Stop Butchering the Constitution of Zimbabwe, and had already garnered over 700 signatures within the first hour of its creation.
Below is a full extract of the petition to the president of Zimbabwe ,which was started by ZimRights.
“Stop Butchering the Constitution of Zimbabwe – A Petition
We, the people of Zimbabwe, have watched with utter disbelief the ongoing mutilation of the Constitution of Zimbabwe by
you our leaders who have pledged to defend the Constitution.
The passage of the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 2) Bill in the National Assembly and the Senate represents an arrogant attack on our democracy by the government.
The politicking that is fuelling these amendments is a subversion of the will of the people. If you are truly listening leaders, you should have heard the clear voice of the people, that we not need these amendments. This was clear in the public consultation by Parliament in 2020.
Our hope that as leaders in power, you would do the right thing and listen to the voice of reason, which is the voice that has been raised by the people Amendment (No. 2) Bill is an attack on our young and fragile democracy.
By removing certain of Parliament’s oversight powers, the Amendments have violated the principle of separation of powers as well as the tenets of transparency and accountability.
By giving the President power to appoint judges of the superior courts without public interviews, and extending the tenure of the judges, the Amendments are facilitating the capture of the judiciary by the executive.
These, among many other evils of this Amendment Bill, have been made very clear to the government during public hearings as well as in various position papers shared with Parliament and in the public domain.
We, therefore, demand the following:
a. That the President withholds his assent from the Bill because it violates the principle of separation of powers and creates conditions of autocracy in Zimbabwe. Explicitly, the Bill is a deviation from the founding values of the Constitution;
b. That the Chief Justice shows leadership and desists from any thoughts of holding on to the office after the expiration of his term on 15 May 2021, and that the Chief Justice leads the judiciary to push back on anti-democratic and unconstitutional practices in both the process and substance of amendments to the Constitution, as and when such challenges are brought before the courts; and
c. That the Speaker of Parliament shows leadership by realising and admitting to the illegalities in the process of passing the Amendment Bill, that he leads Parliament to reflect on its anti-people vote in favour of the Bill, and that he advises the President not to assent to the Bill.”