Church leaders have urged Zimbabweans to resist the proposed first amendment to the Constitution, which is aimed at changing the process of choosing the country’s Chief Justice (CJ), warning this creates room for more alterations to the country’s supreme law.
By KHANYILE MLOTSHWA
The church leaders spoke alongside other civil society leaders at a public meeting organised by the Christian Alliance of Zimbabwe (CAZ), Public Policy Institute of Zimbabwe and the Southern African Parliamentary Support Trust to discuss the proposed amendment to the Constitution.
In an open devotion to the workshop, a Roman Catholic priest and convenor of the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) in the Matabeleland region, Peter Nkomozana, reminded citizens that they “are the salt of the earth”, pointing to their important role in defending democracy.
“There are times when we have failed to be brave enough to point out where there have been shortcomings,” he said. “As community leaders, there are times when we have become tasteless and are no longer effective. Let us stay as the salt of the earth.”
CAZ leader, Useni Sibanda said the Constitution needed to be defended.
Human rights lawyer, Matshobana Ncube encouraged citizens to lobby MPs to block the amendment when it goes before Parliament.
“There are three arms of government: the legislature, the judiciary and the Executive, and the Constitution says these three arms of government are independent of each other,” he said.
“What is the interest of the Executive in appointing the head of the judiciary arm? The judiciary is supposed to be independent, which means that the Executive is not supposed to be involved in the appointment of its head, the CJ,” he said.
“The ruling party does have a two-thirds majority in Parliament and can amend the Constitution. But I believe that there are people here, who associate with the ruling party somehow, but don’t agree to the amendment. This is a factional issue. If we can, let us lobby some Zanu PF members and MPs. Let us lobby, especially those who are against the amendment.”