Polad rejects constitutional amendment

BY PRAISEMORE SITHOLE

POLITICAL parties affiliated to President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Political Actors Dialogue (Polad) yesterday rejected the proposed constitutional amendments, saying it was “too premature for the government to publish a Constitutional Amendment Bill.”

Constitutional law expert and Polad member Lovemore Madhuku said a special subcommittee tasked to analyse the Bill had observed that most of its provisions were unacceptable.

“We have taken a two-stage approach and we are calling on the government to withdraw the Constitutional Bill in Parliament and this is what we are going to be recommending to our plenary,” said Madhuku, who heads the opposition National Constitutional Assembly (NCA).

“We are saying it is too premature for the government to publish a Constitutional Amendment Bill. As Polad we have to discuss what are our electoral challenges, political challenges, and constitutional challenges ahead of 2023 election on the reforms that we wish to have undertaken.”

“The question is why are you rushing for the removal of the running mate when the elections are in 2023. As Polad we also really want the electoral laws amended in a number of areas to create a free and fair election,” said Madhuku.

“What we did is we went into that Bill clause by clause and some things would be acceptable while some are not acceptable. We looked if there were good ideas in the Bill and on balance we found that most of the things are not acceptable and we completely rejected the Bill.”

“Even if the government decides to go ahead with the amendment, we will fight on the provisions relating to the Judiciary, it’s a unanimous position again. Judges must retire at 70 mandatory and as a subcommittee we have said judges must retire at 70.”

Madhuku said on matters relating to gender equality in Parliament they had reached an agreement of 50/50.

“The point that must be clear is that the Polad subcommittee has not endorsed the Constitutional Amendment Bill. We are not going to accept the Constitutional Amendment Bill and that we can assure you,” he said.

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