Bulawayo human rights lawyer Matshobana Ncube claims some elements within Zanu PF had embarked on a spirited campaign to demonise the proposed new constitution after realising that the draft document contained clauses that limit presidential powers.
Speaking during a constitutional consultative meeting organised by Bulawayo Agenda yesterday, Ncube said Zanu PF officials had upped their campaign against the draft document because they viewed it as an “anti-Mugabe” (President Robert Mugabe) constitution.
“All the appointments that were critical in the assault of democracy, presently the appointment of the Police Commissioner-General (Augustine Chihuri), Defence Forces Commander (General Constantine Chiwenga) and Attorney-General (Johannes Tomana), who have come out and clearly declared their loyalty to one party instead of another, your intelligence chiefs, all those functions now have to be done by the President only with the approval of Parliament,” Ncube said.
“The President is not as grotesque as he used to be. He is no longer the monster that he was, that he currently is in the Constitution that currently prevails.
“I think this is the reason why we have heard the so-called unlearned Professor Jonathan Moyo saying this is an anti-Mugabe constitution, an anti-Chihuri, Chiwenga and Tomana because it clearly takes away the power that it had placed in the President and distributes it to the other arms of government, especially Parliament.”
He added: “When it comes to the impeachment of the President, this constitution now allows for a different outcome altogether.
“In the Constitution that we have, if you move impeachment proceedings or loss of confidence in the President, the President has three options, firstly, he fires his Cabinet then the impeachment falls away, or dissolves Parliament and call for elections and the last is for the President to resign.”
Ncube said in terms of the relationship between the President and Parliament, “there is now serious check and balancing because if you look at the appointment of judges for instance, they are appointed by the President in consultation with the Judicial Service Commission, but if you check who appoints the commission, it is the President in consultation with some other person.”
Ncube said the new constitution empowered Parliament to make key decisions and appointments that were once Mugabe’s sole preserve.