Three years after coming to power in a military coup and promising a new and evolving democracy, Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa is now being compared to his authoritarian predecessor Robert Mugabe as he pushes a series of constitutional changes to consolidate his hold in power.
President Mnangagwa, 78, a protégé of the late Mr Mugabe, who ruled Zimbabwe with an iron fist for 37 years, forced a number of changes in parliament over the past fortnight of the Constitution who will see him. Appoint his successor, among others.
With the recent amendments to the Constitution, which were only passed in 2013, the President will elect his Vice-Presidents and high-ranking judges.
Constitutional experts described the Constitutional Amendment Act No. 2 as unconstitutional and poorly worded, while civil society organizations and d he opposition said it was a sign that Zimbabwe is sliding back to authoritarianism.
“The rush with which the bill being brought through parliament is almost indecent,” said legal think tank Veritas .
“It is certainly inappropriate for a bill that will change the supreme law in the country. “
Veritas said Zimbabweans, who only voted overwhelmingly for the new constitution eight years ago, should have been properly consulted before the changes were passed through the legislature.
David Coltart, a legal expert and former education minister, said the passing of recent amendments to the constitution “undermines the independence of the judiciary and consolidates the power of (President) Mnangagwa significantly.” Critics say by President Mnangagwa The powers sought had been withdrawn from Mr Mugabe because he had become ‘an imperial president’.
The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, a coalition of 20 human rights organizations, drew parallels to the Mugabe years when Mnangagwas took the step assessed.
“The passage of the law days after the Senate Amendment No. 1 was passed is a clear sign of a relapse,” said the forum.
“It sc means that participation was a self-sustaining act of political preservation, as opposed to a vision that defines the vision and an obligation to follow the constitutional and democratic path.
“Zimbabweans participated. In the referendum, 94 voted .5% for it, believing that everyone in the process was real. “
During the constitutional process, the ruling Zanu PF strongly opposed clauses that would have excluded Mr. Mugabe from the 2013 elections, introducing term limits and introducing an age limit for presidential candidates.
In the end, closed the political parties reached a compromise with some of the clauses that should come into effect during the 2023 elections, such as B. the direct election Election of the Vice-Presidents.
The amendments that were approved by Parliament to delete the clause on the election of the Vice-Presidents and give the President the power to make direct appointments.
< p> “Ironically, prior to 2013, the current government had refused to endorse provisions that appear to have been. It appears that some of the amendments at hand are person-specific, particularly those related to the office of Chief Justice,” the forum added.
“That is it. It is clear that the bill seeks to cement and consolidate the presidential position ahead of the 2023 elections and beyond. “
Former Finance Minister Tendai Biti, who is also an expert on constitutional law, said Zimbabwe is rising again to a position of dictatorship under President Mnangagwa.
” The constitution is sacrosanct and should not be a tool for authoritarian consolidation, “said Biti. “We will fight this atrocity.
” (President Mnangagwa) Disregard for the Constitution and violation of decency and the rule of law make him the greatest existential threat to the Zimbabwean state.
“In For three years, thanks to the politics of greed, violence and idiocy, Zimbabwe has gotten into a small outpost of fascism and state failure. ”
Last year, President Mnangagwa was accused of using the cover of Covid-19 to close the democratic space after dozens of opponents were jailed for alleged non-compliance violations.
Hundreds of civil society and opposition activists were also kidnapped and tortured for allegedly organizing protests against the government.
Since its controversial election in 2018, the military has twice been accused of killing protesters and raping women.
Pre Sident Mnangagwa has also been accused of trying to create something a one-party state after at least 48 opposition MDC Alliance Leg Islanders and about 80 council members were controversially recalled last year.
His government also held the holding a year ago suspended by by-elections, citing Covid-19. However, the ruling party has been allowed to hold public meetings in violation of the lockdown rules.
Western countries have responded by imposing more targeted sanctions on those associated with the ruling party and the security forces for their alleged role in violations stand
Zimbabwe has been punished since 2002 by various countries and the European Union for alleged election theft and human rights violations, which the regime of Mr Mugabe was accused of.