NATIONAL Constitutional Assembly (NCA) leader Lovemore Madhuku has warned fellow opposition leaders against entrusting the ruling Zanu-PF with the role of promoting constitutionalism.
Madhuku, who has often been described by critics as pro-Zanu-PF, told NewsDay on Saturday that he was recently disappointed when President Emmerson Mnangagwa disregarded contributions made by members of the Political Actors’ Dialogue regarding proposed amendments to the Constitutional Bill Amendment No 2.
Madhuku, as chair of the Polad sub-committee on governance and legislative agenda, said they submitted a number of key recommendations which were largely ignored by the ruling party.
“As NCA we are still very much opposed to the Bill. As a party we will continue to demonstrate to the voters that Zanu-PF is not a party to entrust with the promotion of constitutionalism,” Madhuku said.
“As Polad sub-committee chair on governance and legislative agenda, I am heartbroken that the government has rejected our recommendations. However, I accept that Polad can only recommend, leaving it to the government to accept or reject. Polad has done its part.”
Mnangagwa has proposed 27 amendments to the Constitution adopted by a popular vote in 2013. Among the proposed amendments is the scrapping of the contentious running mate clause to give the President sweeping powers to appoint his deputiaes.
Rights groups view the proposed changes as meant to consolidate the President’s powers, whittling down powers of Parliament and other arms of the State.
Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi has already brought the Bill before Parliament for the second reading after public hearings were fast-tracked under cover of COVID-19 lockdown.
Madhuku said despite the frustrations, Polad would continue engaging the ruling party on other reform agendas including electoral reforms.
“Polad is not just about the Constitutional Amendment Bill,” he said.
“Polad has lost on the Constitutional Amendment Bill but we will continue fighting outside Polad.
“We will remain in Polad for other issues that our sub-committee is working on such as electoral reforms. We hope to succeed in those other areas. It will take time for Zanu-PF to appreciate the value of a dialogue platform such as Polad.”-Newsday