Zimbabwe main opposition in Parliament supports constitutional amendment despite criticism

Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa
Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa

Zimbabwe’s main opposition party in Parliament, MDC-T, has described a recently passed constitutional amendment that gives President Emmerson Mnangagwa more executive powers as progressive.

Party leader Douglas Mwonzora, who sits in the Senate, said that Constitutional Amendment No. 2 consolidated the gains made thus far in achieving gender equality and entrenched devolution, the government-controlled Herald newspaper reported Thursday.

He also said the amendment took on board youths who had for long been side-lined in the country’s politics and decision-making.

The lower House of Assembly passed the bill on April 20, with the Senate following suit on Tuesday.

The bill, which now awaits Mnangagwa’s assent to become law, also gives the president power to promote judges to superior courts as he deems fit and extends their retirement age from the current 70 to 75 as long as they are medically fit.

The MDC-Alliance, which had been the biggest opposition party in Parliament before its members were expelled at the instigation of MDC-T, has opposed the bill, together with various civic organizations.

Several MDC-T senators, including those who crossed over from MDC-Alliance, voted together with ruling party ZANU-PF members and traditional leaders to pass the bill.

Mwonzora said they voted for the bill because it extended the women’s quota, which was one of the opposition’s biggest quests towards achieving 50-50 representation.

“We know what we wanted. We wanted the women quota, the youth quota, and the devolution quota. Those are issues that we have always fought for. There are some clauses that we didn’t want and that we challenged but that is a democracy, we went down but we were fighting.

He added that civil society and other smaller opposition parties that were criticizing the bill did nothing when the process was going through public hearings.

“We have come under unfair criticism from some sections of civil society and some opposition parties. As I said, the criticism is unfair. It does not give credit to the exceptional fight that the opposition made in Parliament,” he said. Enditem

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