Back to Index
ZIMBABWE: Constitutional amendment to restrict travel
August 12, 2005
- The Zimbabwean government has dug in its heels over proposed constitutional
amendments and challenged its critics to take their concerns to
Human rights activists and lawyers have slammed the controversial
Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment No.17 Bill of 2005, labelling
it the latest in a long line of alterations to the constitution.
Zimbabwe's fundamental law has been amended 16 times by the ruling
ZANU-PF government, the most notable being the abolition of the
Prime Minister's position, which led to the creation of an Executive
Presidency in 1987.
Under the draft Bill the government seeks the power to restrict
freedom of movement in the name of national interest and security.
If passed, the proposed legislation will give the state the right
to suspend or withdraw the travel documents of citizens.
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa told IRIN on Thursday that there
was no need for law-abiding citizens to worry about the proposed
changes because they were aimed at improving national security.
"All laws are created to protect national interests and this is
just one of them. The restrictions on travel and movement are not
new, as it is normal procedure for any suspects to be placed under
such conditions," Chinamasa said.
"The Bill is due in parliament, possibly this week. There is no
need to discuss anything about it until it goes through parliament.
Those complaining about it should make their representations to
the parliamentary portfolio committee on justice, legal and parliamentary
affairs," he added.
Chinamasa would not be drawn on the criteria for determining whether
an individual or group posed a threat to "national interest".
In representations to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee for
Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs last week, Zimbabwe Human
Rights Lawyers (ZHRL), a civic group, complained that travel restrictions
were likely to be used against opposition party members and civil
rights activists, who have been critical of Harare's policies.
Since March 2001, ZANU-PF legislators have argued for the confinement
of opposition leaders who enjoy political links and travel rights
to countries considered active in maintaining targeted sanctions
against some top ruling party officials.
Despite the concerns raised by the opposition and civil society
groups, the Bill is expected to sail through parliament, which is
dominated by the ZANU-PF.
Please credit www.kubatana.net if you make use of material from this website.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless stated otherwise.