By Shakespeare Muzavazi
Gweru-Bid by the Zanu Pf led government to unilaterally smuggle new biased judiciary appointment procedures contained in section 180 of the constitution of Zimbabwe will not see the light of the day, Abammeli Human Rights Lawyers Network has vowed.
The bill is fast attracting hyper critics and concern among Zimbabweans, civic society, Non-Governmental Organisations, media and legal fraternity and other democracy advocacy institutions across the nation
Speaking to journalists on the side lines of the Justice Delivery Indaba Stakeholders Meeting recently held at the Village lodge, in Gweru, Abammeli Chairperson, Tineyi Mukwewa said his organisation will not watch while the government is taking citizens for a ride.
“The meeting was organised so as to seek people’s views in relation of the proposed amendment number 1.,
“we felt as a group of lawyers that there is need for public participation in the event that the government would want to go through a process as important as an amendment. So we needed to solicit the views of the public because the government failed to do public consultation although the parliament t tried to do consultation but they were not enough,” he said.
Mukwewa went on to say there is need for them to get more lawyers and Civic Organisations not only to start talking about it but to spread the message and from there, they begin to lobby and advocate in their communities and bring awareness that there is something like this happening.
When asked what effect the amendment has, if it happens to sail through, the law expert said the amendment will affects the concept of judiciary independence.
“It means that the President now has over aching powers to nominate who become the chief justice and the deputy chief justice and the judge president. Its import and because the current proviso has public participation and also the powers of the president are limited in terms of choice.
” The president only has to choose among the three nominated by the JSC. On its own that is a safeguard to make sure that the president does not choose people that are friendly to him or aligned to him. So it’s a necessary safeguard, said Mukwewa.
Mukwewa added that once the safeguard is removed we are reverting to back to the Lancaster house constitution where the president consults when he already has a choice.
“We don’t want him to first have a choice. We want him to pick through a process which is transparent and accountable and has public participation.
Speaking on the sidelines of the event Dr Gordon Moyo reiterated saying ZANU PF is defiling and desecrating the constitution.
“Both factions are competing to win the right to install the chief justice, the deputy and the judge president. It seems you are asking me to respond to hypothetical questions. I don’t want the draft to sail through I don’t want the draft to sail through. I want the people of Zimbabwe to reject it because of the reason that it is politically driven. It’s not good for Zimbabwe,” he fumed.
Moyo said he would prefer a process where the public is involved, because it allows the public to respect and have confidence in the judiciary.
“I would prefer where there is public participatory, this is democracy. But this amendment is eroding the judiciary integrity, so that why it should be rejected,” he said.