NCA to protest amendments

Published June 3rd 2005 in The Zimbabwe Independent
On Wednesday, President Robert Mugabe decreed through an Extraordinary Government Gazette that parliament would start business on Thursday — two weeks earlier than the initial date of June 28.

The National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) has warned government to brace itself for protests from next week against proposed amendments to the constitution.

Bringing forward the parliamentary session will facilitate government’s intentions to amend the constitution and accommodate the re-introduction of the Senate.

NCA chairman Lovemore Madhuku said the civic group would mobilise for the rejection of the amendments, although he conceded these would probably sail through.

“We are not going to work with government,” he said. “In fact it should now brace itself for protests from us. Mugabe should be prepared for international attention because we are going to protest against the amendments.

“Amendments should not be centred on self-interest,” Madhuku said. “The problem we have with the current constitution is that there is too much centralisation of power in one person. There still remain problems which include the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the Public Order and Security Act.”

The ruling Zanu PF party wants to amend the constitution so that the last vice-president to act takes over the remaining period of the president’s term of office in the event of the incumbent being unable to continue due to ill health or other incapacity.

The amendments are also meant to cater for the reintroduction of the Senate which will have 50 elected members from 10 provinces, and a delimitation exercise would be carried out so that there are five constituencies in each province to ensure proportional representation.

Madhuku said they had mobilised key members of civil society to demonstrate against the amendments.