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adopts controversial amendments as MDC pulls out counter proposals
's Parliament yesterday adopted controversial constitutional amendments,
a stage preceding a vote for the changes to become law while the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party withdrew its counter-amendments
after the ruling ZANU PF party threatened to shoot down the motion.
26 clauses of the Constitutional Amendment Bill with minor changes despite
protests from the MDC MPs who were outnumbered.
The Bill will now
be put to the vote next Tuesday and ZANU PF requires a two-thirds majority
out of the 150-member parliament for the amendments to become part of
Zimbabwe 's supreme law.
ZANU PF won 78 seats
in the disputed March 31 parliamentary election. But President Robert
Mugabe's party is assured of support from 20 unelected Members of Parliament
directly and indirectly appointed to the House by the President and the
10 traditional chiefs, who were elected to Parliament by their peers and
have always voted with the ruling party.
The Bill seeks among
other things to ban individuals from challenging the seizure of their land
in court, the setting up of a senate, and allowing authorities to withdraw
passports from individuals suspected of travelling outside the country to
conduct terrorist activities.
MDC spokesman on legal
affairs David Coltart presented the opposition's version of amendments
on Thursday but immediately withdrew the 121 page document after indications
from Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa that the ruling party would shoot
down the amendments.
The MDC's alternative
constitutional amendment document sought to counter the government Bill
on the emotional land issue by proposing that fair compensation should
be paid for seized farms as well as securing the rights of individuals
from eviction from their properties by the government.
the right not to be evicted from their home and not to have their home
demolished, unless an order of court, made after consideration of all
the relevant circumstances, has authorised the eviction or demolition,
the MDC said in its document.
The opposition also
said every Zimbabwean should have immunity from expulsion from Zimbabwe
and that every citizen had the right to move freely in the
According to the opposition
document, the senate would comprise 60 people, of whom 50 would be voted
into the upper chamber while the remainder would be elected from the Chiefs
The government has
proposed a senate with 66 members, 50 who will be voted for while President
Robert Mugabe will appoint six and the remainder elected by the Chiefs
The six appointed
senators would bring to 26 the total number of legislators directly or
indirectly handpicked by Mugabe, a situation opposition and human rights
activists have said would further undermine democracy in the country.
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