Civil society condemns the regime’s attempts to change the constitution to consolidate the power of Prime Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, who came to power in 2017 following the accusation of former President Robert Mugabe. This week, MPs – under the control of the ruling Zanu-PF party – adopted a constitutional amendment allowing the head of state to exercise further control over the judiciary.
With a majority in parliament, the ruling party’s deputies, Zanu-PF, had no difficulty in pushing through this amendment to the constitution. This allows the head of state to appoint alone the most important judges in the country – constitutional court, supreme court, supreme courts – without any consultation.
A stifling grip on the legal system that already existed under former President Robert Mugabe, but which had been modified in 2013 under pressure from the opposition.
For Musa Kika, of the Zimbabwean Human Rights Organization, this change is a real democratic setback. “The separation of power is the basis of our system of government. Three branches: legislative, executive and legal who work together and strive for a balance of power. This amendment destroys our control system and allows absolute power without any control “.
This amendment is one of a series of changes supported by the ruling party. For example, they would allow the Vice-President to be appointed and no longer elected. Or to retain in their function magistrates who have been acquired in the regime, but who have passed retirement age.
For civil society – which intends to go to court to block these changes – these changes in the constitution are a further limitation of the democratic space.
These changes, a total of 27, have not yet been signed by the head of state.