Youth say “No” to Constitution Amendment Number 2 Bill

The Youth Empowerment and Transformation Trust (YETT) is a youth networking organization committed to the full participation of young people in sustainable development through advocacy and capacity building of youth and youth organizations in Zimbabwe. In the period 15-19 June 2020, YETT member organizations and their youth constituencies from across the country, participated in the public consultations on the Constitution Amendment Number 2 Bill, which were facilitated by the Parliamentary Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.

In all the 17 physical venues and in virtual spaces set up by parliament, young people (both male and female), turned up in their numbers and shared their thoughts and perceptions on the proposed Amendment 2 Bill. In both rural and urban areas, young people resoundingly said “NO” to this Bill. Key issues cited by youth were:

  1. The timing of the public hearings is disturbing. The country is under a COVID-19 induced lockdown with movement restrictions for non-essential staff. Some laws have not yet been fully aligned to the constitution and yet we are already talking of amending the constitution.
  2. The bill does not in any way advance the fundamental rights and freedoms of the ordinary Zimbabwean citizen, youth included.
  3. The proposed women and youth quotas do not represent genuine goodwill on the part of government to achieve meaningful participation of women and youth within the decision making and political space in Zimbabwe. They are a top-down approach, tokenistic and do not address the structural barriers preventing women and youth from entry into politics and decision-making spaces across all levels of society on merit.
  4. The majority of clauses in the bill focus on consolidation of power in the office of the president including removal of parliamentary oversight role over accrual of foreign debt.This is against the letter and spirit of the Constitution.

One of the roles Members of Parliament (MPs) is to represent and speak on behalf of their constituencies within parliament. YETT calls upon MPs to respect the will and voice of their constituencies and truthfully exercise this representative role when the report on the public hearings is presented and debated in parliament.

Source: Youth Empowerment and Transformation Trust (YETT)