ZCTU President joins opposition factional wars over constitutional amendments

ZCTU's Peter Mutasa

THE Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) says opposition MDC-T legislators who last week voted in support of Constitutional Amendment Bill Number 2 were sell-outs.

The proposed law seeks to, among other things, strike off the presidential running mate clause in the constitution as well as empower the President to promote sitting judges of the High Court and Supreme Court without going through any public interviews as is currently the case.

The law also seeks to provide judges of the Constitutional and Supreme Courts an option of extended tenure beyond the retirement age of 70 while also broadening the president’s scope to appoint non-parliamentary ministers.

The attempt to patch up the 2013 national constitution has also been widely criticised as an attempt by President Emmerson Mnangagwa to safeguard his political interests beyond the 2023 elections.

Critics are angered government was investing a lot of energy and resources towards a law that did not seek to have any positive impact on the lives of ordinary citizens while there was no equal display of zeal to align existing laws with the national charter.

But while Zanu PF could be excused for pushing a law tailored at tightening its stranglehold on national politics, it is the opposition that has come under fire for being willing participants to perceived enemy machinations.

Said ZCTU president Peter Mutasa at a Thursday press conference, “The 2013 constitution came through a long process that includes consultation of the citizens.

“So, anyone who has been appointed or elected by the citizens and who sits in the Senate or House of Assembly and does not realise the need for consultation before the Constitution is amended, there is no other characterisation of that person; they are sell-outs.

“They are the Morrison Nyathi of the liberation struggle and they are everywhere.

“So, we must be very clear as citizens that we are not going to side with those that are not siding with us. That has to be open.

“And I am sure you have seen some of them trying to come out after citizens raised voices.

“So, we need also to raise our voices against those who are mutilating the people’s Constitution.

“It is expected, they have never been any struggle without its turncoats, without its sell-outs but what we can pronounce openly is that those people are selling out.”

Mwonzora, a day after the Bill passed through the Parliament with his MPs voting yes, hurriedly converged a press conference to explain why his legislators voted in support of the Bill in what stakeholders say was meant to manage public perception.

There are claims the politician was secretly whipping his Senators to vote in support of the Bill but publicly criticise it.

Added Mutasa, “There is another point we need to urgently deal with. Many people across the country are not aware of what is happening in the citadel of dictatorship in Harare, in the Parliament which is no longer honourable.

“We need to spread this message in languages that people understand and it is a collective responsibility.

“It is only when people are informed, empowered and understand what is happening and when we get everyone standing up fighting for their rights.

“So, we need to fight against this amendment and use all our organisations, all our resources that we have.

“In fighting, you are going to get many reprisals, we are going to face many challenges, what is going to make sure that this amendment, what is going to make sure that we succeed is the solidarity which must be the goal that unites us.” – Newzim

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