Zanu PF last week demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that it cannot be trusted with unfettered control of the legislature when it railroaded the disputed Constitutional Amendment Bill (Number 1) through the National Assembly.
The Standard Editorial
The controversial Bill, sponsored by Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, once passed into law, will restore President Robert Mugabe’s imperial powers to unilaterally appoint the country’s top judges.
Mnangagwa’s proposed law now awaits Senate’s approval before it is sent to Mugabe for his signature.
There is no doubt that the Zanu PF leader would append his signature without even thinking twice because he loves power.
The amendment comes barely four years after Zimbabweans voted overwhelmingly for the new Constitution that has done a lot to promote civil liberties despite Zanu PF’s reluctance to give it life through the alignment of a number of toxic laws.
Mugabe is anything but a reformer and this has been evident in the 37 years of his tumultuous rule.
Despite pretentions of being a liberator, the president and his party have fought tenaciously to preserve statutes inherited from Ian Smith’s obnoxious regime.
It must be remembered that Zanu PF was against most progressive provisions in the new Constitution and it was just a matter of time before they started mutilating the supreme law, as they did through Amendment Number One, which only serves their selfish agendas.
Zanu PF was so desperate to push through the amendment because it wants to manage Mugabe’s succession, which could herald the demise of the ruling party, if not handled properly.
Once Mugabe signs Mnangagwa’s monster Bill, the president will have the power to handpick the chief justice, his deputy and the judge president, as was the case before the 2013 milestone where Zimbabweans chose a system where the top judges would be selected through a transparent system.
The new chief justice Luke Malaba, a respected jurist who is not known to pander to the whims of the elite, was a product of this system where judges aspiring for the highest office had to go through rigorous public interviews.
There were reports that Mnangagwa’s faction in Zanu PF was hell bent on installing a less-qualified judge who is known to be a ruling party zealot as the country’s chief justice.
In their scheme of things, the courts might have to be used to settle disputes that are likely to arise over the control of the country once Mugabe exits the scene.
Therefore, pliant judges would make it easier for the power hungry to execute their mission. All these schemes have nothing to do with the aspirations of the majority.
Instead of protecting the governed against abuse from the country’s leadership, Amendment Number One serves a contrary purpose.
Therefore, Zimbabweans have every reason to punish Zanu PF come 2018 elections by denying the party a two thirds majority in the National Assembly because its leaders have demonstrated over and over again that they cannot be trusted with that responsibility.
Zanu PF has a history of taking voters for granted as its track record is littered with unpopular laws that only serve the narrow interests of the ruling elite.
Mnangagwa’s law could not have come at a better time for voters as it reminds them of the devious nature of the ruling party on the eve of a very important election.