Constitutional Amendment: Govt shirk accountability to citizens

Zimbabweans have to reject the Constitutional Amendment Bill which has been tabled by the Zanu PF government as it seeks to eliminate government’s accountability to the people, Nkulumane Member of Parliament Kucaca Phulu has claimed.

Hon Phulu said the government’s need to eliminate Parliament’s power to approve international treaties and the personal promotion and tenure of Judges proves that the government does not want to be accountable for its actions to anyone.

Speaking during a Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD) Public Finance Management (PFM) Reform Indaba held in Bulawayo on Tuesday, Hon Phulu revealed that if the government is handed over power to approve international treaties without the approval of the Parliament a lot of funds will be unaccounted a situation that is likely to increase the country’s debt.

“If we allow the kind of situation where the Minister can sign whatever he wants disregarding the Parliament’s conditions it will be another way of rendering section 299 obsolete because we have signed a binding agreement another country can sue on the basis of that agreement actually he would be getting the nation into debt, so you can see the debt that we can get into when the Minister can go and sign with third parties what we did not agree on, the people as they were drafting this constitution were not stupid they saw that there was a possibility of this happening,” said Hon Phulu.

The MP revealed that the secret appointment of judges was once introduced during the former President Robert Mugabe’s era by the current President and it was rejected but the same bill is being brought to Parliament again.

“They wanted to be able to directly appoint the chief justice and judge presidents and so forth, I was one of the people who were involved in opposing that at that time I was a lawyer and we filed opposing it, that particular amendment flustered and failed because I think Mugabe did not want it as well so it failed because of politics,” said Hon Phulu.

“We moved away from the system where we just wake up and be informed that Mugabe has sworn in three judges and we see it in the morning as it happened at night so they are arguing to go back to that situation so it is clear that this is an anti-accountability government.”

The lawyer also explained that even though the amendments are giving government more power they have a few advantages that include the setting up provincial councils.

“Under Chapter 14 of Provincial Councils which people loosely refer to as devolution if you look at urban centres and Metropolitan centres like Bulawayo, Harare and Chitungwiza. The Provincial council is made up of councillors and local, authorities in that area headed by the Mayor and then Senators and locals from the house of assembly are also placed there,” said Phulu.

Source: Centre for Innovation and Technology (CITE)