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Civil Society Releases Damning Report on GPA

CIVIL society has released its first monitoring report on the inclusive government in which they accuse President Robert Mugabe of violating provisions of the constitution and the global political agreement (GPA).


A report released by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights on Wednesday says Mugabe appointed 41 ministers and 19 deputy ministers, contrary to the constitution.

“On the 13th of February 2009 and the 19th of February 2009, President Mugabe swore into office 41 government ministers and 19 deputy ministers respectively in direct contravention of the constitution which, in Schedule 8 (the only Schedule constitutionally entrenched to give force and effect to the inclusive government) stipulates that there shall be 31 government ministers and 15 deputy ministers,” reads the report.

The report says this bodes ill for a return to the respect for the constitution and the rule of law.  

The report said the constitution-making process in terms of Article VI of the GPA was not included as part of the current constitution by way of Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment No19.

The civil society said: “This amendment refers to Schedule 10 (which sets out the Article VI process), which was initially included as part of the amendment when it was a Bill. However, this was then excluded when the Bill was signed and gazetted into law.”

A potential risk, the report said, was that the constitution-making process was not entrenched and could not be enforced.

The Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, Patrick Chinamasa, recently told parliament that Article VI had no constitutional effect and was merely for “public information purposes”.  

Civil society said apart from the constitution-making process, there have been instances of non-compliance with certain procedures as well as provisions of the present Constitution of Zimbabwe, as amended by Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment No19.

Amendment No19 itself was passed without public input and submissions, against the accepted norm, the report said. Similarly, the National Security Council Bill was fast-tracked without consultation with stakeholders.

However, civil society welcomed the appointment of three Ministers of State responsible for national healing as a positive mechanism towards the envisaged establishment of an Organ on National Healing and Reconciliation as outlined in the GPA.

The report said mechanisms for transitional justice were yet to be established, including the mechanism to make recommendations to government on national healing.

BY LUCIA MAKAMURE

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