Constitutional Amendments, A Decimation of Democracy
Civil society, opposition political parties and analysts have condemned the recent signing of the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No.2) Act 2021 (the Constitution) by President Mnangagwa. The amendments contained in the amendment have been described as a step back in the promotion of democratic principles in Zimbabwe. The constitution amendments will consolidate power in the hands of the president who will appoint and fire senior judges of the Constitutional Court and Supreme Court without the involvement of parliament or the Judicial Services Commission. This, analysts believe, will compromise the independence of the courts as they become answerable to the president who can also appear before them.
Call the Government to Order, AU Urged
The Forum appealed to the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) to ensure the Government of Zimbabwe applies the basic tenants of democracy and respect for human rights in the country. The appeal was made in a statement presented and read at the recently ended Virtual 68th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR). The statement presented by the Forum highlighted several concerns of ongoing human rights to read violations in Zimbabwe. The Forum raised concern on the exploitation of COVID-19 regulations by the security services sector to effectively clamp down and restrict the constitutionally enshrined rights of citizens. Between January and April 2021, 38 cases of assault and torture involving members of the security sector have been recorded while 59 cases of arbitrary arrest are on record.
Civil Society Urged to Press for Accountability
Civil society and other key stakeholders in Zimbabwe have been called upon to remain vigilant in advocating for the respect and promotion of people’s rights in the face of inaction by government and other public authorities on matters of concern. The wakeup call comes as several incidences of flagrant human rights violations seem to have fallen off the agenda despite the lack of action by responsible authorities.
Civil society and other pillars of democratic and open societies exist to hold the state accountable and transparent in its mandate to govern the citizens. We are witnessing the deliberate deployment of the delaying tactic where authorities make pronouncements and delay to take action until the country forgets and moves on without justice being served for victims.Wilbert Mandinde, Programmes Coordinator at the Forum
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Source: Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum