Hwange residents express mixed views over Amendment Billl

RESIDENTS of Hwange have expressed mixed views over Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No1) Bill with mostly senior citizens supporting the idea of President Robert Mugabe appointing top judges, while the younger generation felt it is dangerous for a head of State to wield too much powers.

by VENERANDA LANGA

The views were expressed during a public hearing on the Bill at Edmund Davis Hall by the Fortune Chasi-led Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice.

Tafila Dube said presidential appointments can be subjected to political pressure.

“The issue we should ask is what will stop the President from appointing his son, spouse or close relatives into the positions of Chief Justice (CJ), Deputy Chief Justice (DCJ) and Judge President of the High Court?” Dube asked.

“Are there any provisions in our legal statutes to stop the President from appointing from a nepotistic view? The President is a public servant and if he is allowed to appoint the Judiciary that will make them his subordinates.

For example, the President has a number of MPs that he handpicks into the Legislature and they have voting powers, and if we allow him to just handpick the Judiciary we might end up creating a monarchy.”

He said the Constitution was an opinion of the people and gives guidance on how high offices in the land must perform.

“If we are to make amendments now on the opinions of the people, it will be a very grave mistake. Instead the amendments that we should be discussing are that Parliament should play a role in choosing the person to fill in the position of CJ, DCJ and Judge President of the High Court,” Dube said.

Ritz Dube said the public hearings on the Bill were a waste of money, suggesting that instead the resources should have been used to capitalise struggling Hwange Colliery Company, which used to sustain the livelihoods of thousands of locals.

Cellia Mukova said the move to amend the Constitution three years after its crafting was alarming.

“It is disturbing that a people-driven Constitution is already being amended, what is now wrong? Let us respect our supreme law and give it a chance to be implemented,” Mukova said

Others advocated that retired judges be involved in the interviewing process together with the Judicial Service Commission.

Jabulani Muthingwa said: “Patching the young Constitution is mistrust of what people said when it was crafted. If the Constitution is amended now, it will destroy people’s interests and include interests of certain individuals.”

However, supporters of the Bill argued a President is a reasonable person, who is elected by people to make decisions for the country.

They said a President was trusted by people and should be entrusted to appoint senior judges

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