MDC senators have blasted Constitutional Amendment Bill Number 2, saying it is a step backwards for Zimbabwe, as it takes away power from the people and gives it all to the president.
Debating the Bill yesterday, which among other things scraps the running mate clause, opposition senators said the move was against the spirit of democracy.
The National Assembly passed the Bill last week.
MDC senator Morgen Komichi said the amendments would disadvantage the people of Zimbabwe.
“People put their ideas in the Constitution, we must respect the views of Zimbabweans. People were against vesting all power in one office …
“We will create a dictator by putting power in one office. The people and Parliament’s power is being thrown away and all the power is now with the president,” Komichi said.
He said VPs must be elected and people must be given the power to select their leaders.
“This will help the country to have a smooth transition and the succession question will be solved. You see what happened in Tanzania and Malawi, there was a smooth transition.
“You are now removing people in the selection of the judges, they must be accountable to Zimbabweans, not to one person and if the judge is appointed by one person he or she will be accountable to that person and in doing so we are removing the independence of the judiciary,” Komichi said.
Another MDC senator, Elias Mudzuri, said it was not good for the country to amend the Constitution.
“Is the minister arguing that the people were not thinking when they contributed to the Constitution in 2013? The whole process of the Constitution took years and we are reversing this a few years after this good job.
“We have not yet implemented some of the provisions but we are now changing it. Let’s not just amend the Constitution for the sake of amending it.
“There is a need for wider consultation. We represent people but sometimes we end up representing our selfish ends.
“We shall be written down in history as people who agreed to do things that negatively affected Zimbabwe,” he said.
MDC senator Tichinani Mavetere weighed in, saying a Constitution is an important document and it must not be amended willy-nilly.
“Don’t use the majority in Parliament to bring unprogressive laws. Hatisi kutsvaga Sabhuku (we are not choosing village heads) why do you want to remove the running mate clause?
“In the 2013 constitution- making process people knew what they wanted. Absolute power corrupts.
“When the president dies, we can’t have a replacement who is chosen by one person.
“People must know who will take over. Previously we have seen a whole vice president being embarrassed and being told by the first lady that he works at the behest of her husband. We can’t allow a repeat of that …,” Mavetera said.
However Zanu PF senator Clara Shumba said the president must be given power to make critical decisions.
“The president is the head of the family and he must make key decisions, these amendments are good. We must give the president powers so that he can work without obstacles. The president must not have equal powers with the vice president,” she said. – Daily News