This paper articulates the Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) position on the proposed constitutional amendments (Bill Number 2). This position is based on the findings of the various consultations conducted by the Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) with church leaders in Zimbabwe. The ZCC facilitated 3 dialogue meetings where over 400 church leaders drawn from different sectors that is men, women and youth. This position paper is therefore a result of the participation of church leaders from across the ten (10) provinces of Zimbabwe. The dialogues established the views and consolidated the position of our constituency of 29 member churches with regards the proposed constitutional amendments which sought to establish the views and consolidated position of our constituency of 29 member churches with regards to the proposed constitutional amendments. In addition, the ZCC participated in consultative meetings with other CSO’s with regards to the proposals as it is part of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum. This position paper is an outcome of the processes highlighted.
The critical concerns raised for consideration during the dialogues meetings include:
- Concentration of authority away from the electorate to either government or the Executive arm of state,
- Whether the cumulative proposed amendments warrant a wholesome constitutional alteration,
- The weight of the proposals against the necessity of implementation via the constitutional amendment route,
- The need to weigh in on alternatives outside of tinkering with the constitution,
- The subtraction from the principle of separation of powers, precisely, independence of the judiciary,
- The necessity of extending the women’s parliamentary quota system until 2028 vis a vis implementation of the equality clause in the Constitution,
- The financially strained status of Government and the intention to undermine or reduce parliament’s oversight role in the fiscal obligations of the state and the principles of good governance.
These concerns are raised against the backdrop that alignment of subsidiary laws to the constitution remains incomplete and the quality remains questionable. The alignment that has taken place so far is of laws that have little bearing or impact to electoral reform as the current legislative framework is characterized by failure to guarantee enjoyment of broad support of main political parties and the public in general Furthermore, the 2013 constitution is fairly young and still embedding its roots in constitutionalism thus any attempt to change its contents would be premature in nature.
The paper concludes by laying bare the recommendations towards the proposed amendments which may proffer solutions that will see the realization of the desires as envisaged in the preamble of the Constitution in the, “we the people” of Zimbabwe document.
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Source: Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC)