The opposition MDC Alliance believes the recall of their Members of Parliament (MPs) was part of a plan by Zanu-PF to railroad amendments to the country’s constitution through parliament without any resistance from the opposition.
More than 30 MDC Alliance MPs led by Nelson Chamisa were recalled from parliament by the MDC-T in a fight to control the biggest opposition movement.
The ‘controversial’ Constitutional Amendment (No.2) Bill sailed through the Senate last week with a two-thirds majority of 65 to 10 after 11 senators from the Douglas Mwonzora-led MDC-T voted with Zanu-PF legislators.
The bill was ‘speedily’ signed into law last Friday by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, which gives effect to 27 changes to the Constitution and offers the president unfettered powers over the Judiciary and parliament.
“We are of the firm view that the recall of scores of opposition members of Parliament was a clear abuse of Parliament to achieve the passing of this egregious law,” said MDC Alliance Secretary for Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs, Kucaca Phulu.
Phulu noted that time and again, the MDC Alliance MPs had called for laws to be aligned to the constitution rather than amending the constitution.
“As highlighted by President Nelson Chamisa, the citizens must converge to fight this and all other hallmarks of autocracy,” he said.
He added the party condemned the recent passing of the amendment bill through Parliament yet the constitution of Zimbabwe was people-driven and a product of democracy.
“We are aware that there were Zanu-PF hardliners who were against the constitutional reform agenda who were proponents and sponsors of the ‘No’ Vote during the referendum in 2013. The same hardliners have been working day and night to reverse the gains of constitutionalism and the rule of law in Zimbabwe,” Phulu said.
“Zanu PF has embarked on a concerted agenda to destroy the constitution. The imminent amendments have nothing to do with enhancing the rights of the people or improving human rights and democracy, transparency and good governance. Rather they are designed to entrench an imperial executive whose power is not adequately checked and balanced.”
The MDC Alliance’s constitutional secretary highlighted it was not surprising that Parliamentarians under the control of Mwonzora voted in support of the amendments alongside Zanu PF.
“Data shows that without the vote of the parliamentarians who fall under Mwonzora’s party, the regime would not have had the required two thirds majority to amend the Constitution. Although Section 320 of the Constitution provides for its amendment of the constitution, the amendments in a progressive democracy must be reasonably justifiable in a democratic society,” Phulu said.
“In this case, any amendment must also be necessary to strengthen our democracy, and ultimately geared towards promoting the rule of law, fundamental human rights transparency accountability justice and accountability.”