Prioritise citizens’ welfare, govt urged

THE Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference (ZCBC) has called on government to stop pursuing constitutional amendments and channel its energies and resources towards prioritising the welfare of the suffering masses.

By Richard Muponde

The Catholic priests also demanded that there be widespread public consultations and input in the whole process.

Government is pushing amendments to the Constitution under Constitutional Amendment Bill No 2 of 2019, to, among other things, remove a clause on Presidential running mates and heap the powers on the President to appoint judges of the higher courts.

The move to amend the Constitution has drawn widespread condemnation from civil organisations, churches and opposition parties, chief among them the Nelson Chamisa-led MDC Alliance.
In a statement yesterday, ZCBC said government should prioritise the wellbeing of its impoverished citizens.

“There is urgent need to prioritise other pressing problems facing the country such as economic stability, health service delivery system, food security, employment conditions, unity and peace,” the bishops said.

“We generally feel that the 2013 Constitution of Zimbabwe is a major breakthrough in the country’s constitution-making process and its implementation should be expedited.”

The Catholic bishops said the Bill was being done with limited public participation.

“While the Bill makes some proposals that promote democracy, to a larger extent, it unravels the huge amounts of progress stemming from extensive input, public interest, wide consultations, negotiations and broad-based compromises.

“Our call to the government is that it should consider suspending the Constitution amendment and intensify efforts to address the economy, health, social and food security issues affecting members of the public in Zimbabwe.”

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