‘Constitutional amendment meant to consolidate dictatorship’

LOCAL governance expert, Vincent Chakunda on Wednesday said the Constitutional Amendment Bill currently under public scrutiny was meant to consolidate dictatorship by the Zanu PF government and should never be allowed to be passed into law.

BY STEPHEN CHADENGA

Speaking in Gweru at a public finance management workshop organised by the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (Zimcodd), Chakunda said the amendments particularly that of limiting Parliament’s oversight on foreign agreements that impose fiscal obligations on the country would plunge the country into deeper international debt.

“These amendments are meant to consolidate dictatorship by giving too much power to the President,” Chakunda said.

“There are no justifications for these amendments because they further weaken Parliament. And in particular the amendment we are focusing on today (at workshop) to limit Parliament’s power to approve international treaties is bad for good governance as the august House’s oversight role to monitor government expenditure and the country’s debt would be greatly affected.”

Chakunda added: “By agreeing to such an amendment we will be simply mortgaging future generations. Such a move will see the Executive going on borrowing sprees without Parliament approval and further burdening the already over-burdened taxpayer.

“Civil society and other stakeholders should mobilise and reject the amendments because they are against good governance and must never be passed into law.”

Speaking at the same meeting, human rights defender Jasper Maposa said the Executive should never be allowed to enter into unchecked fiscal obligations that affect the citizens.

He said the country was already trapped in debt and could not afford to sink into more financial challenges. The government has an external debt of US$11,5 billion and a domestic debt of around US$8,5 billion.

Gweru lawyer Wellington Davira chipped in: “If Parliament has limited powers on foreign agreements the President would solely decide the economic status of this country and it’s not healthy.”

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