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Amendment (No.17) Bill passes
Zimbabwe Lawyers For Human Rights (ZLHR)
August 30, 2005
that the Constitutional Amendment (No.17) Bill was passed in Parliament
on the afternoon of Tuesday 30 August 2005 by a vote of 103 for,
and 29 against. The voting regrettably proceeded along party lines,
which confirms that Members of Parliament adhered to their party
policies rather than voting in the interests of their constituents.
There had been vast public outcry and opposition to the contents
of the Bill and its impact on the general citizenry, which disappointingly
was blatantly ignored by the legislators.
Justice, Legal & Parliamentary Affairs, Patrick Chinamasa, remarked
that the amendments were justified in order to protect the national
and economic interests of the state. In particular the derogations
to the right to freedom of movement were necessary to deal with
the political campaign for official and unofficial sanctions and
for the international isolation of the government. As regards the
amendments to the protection of property, Chinamasa indicated that
the passage of the Bill was the last phase of the Third Chimurenga
and decolonisation, and would bring finality to the land redistribution
indicate a worrying lack of appreciation of the need for the protection
of fundamental human rights and the need by the state to adhere
to minimum human rights norms and standards in terms of the various
international instruments to which Zimbabwe is a State Party and
is therefore bound. The Minister’s comments also portray a high
level of intolerance to alternative views on the part of the state.
They also betray an intention to asphyxiate human rights defenders
and convert them into prisoners in their own country.
in the strongest possible terms this latest amendment of a flawed
Constitution, which has served to render the Judiciary impotent
and has highlighted the Executive’s insistence on placing personal
interests and patronage before the economic and socio-political
interests of the people of Zimbabwe. The legislators have failed
in their duty to protect all their constituents from the endless
attacks to their basic rights and freedoms, and continue to ignore
the universal calls for a consultative process of wholesale constitutional
Such a stance
can only lead to an anarchic state where there is no adherence whatsoever
to the principle of constitutionalism and the rule of law, and will
only serve to drag the country more quickly to complete disintegration.
ZLHR reiterates that Zimbabwe’s full integration into the international
community will be a natural by-product of full adherence to universally
recognised human rights and fundamental freedoms rather than passage
of a litany of repressive pieces of legislation against its own
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