Nqobile Tshili Bulawayo Bureau
GOVERNMENT yesterday presented the gazetted proposed constitutional amendment clauses to members of the Political Actors Leaders (POLAD) so that they can also make their input on the landmark development. POLAD consists of 18 political party leaders that participated in the 2018 harmonised elections. Government recently gazetted 27 proposed amendments to the Constitution including clauses to facilitate the rollout of the devolution agenda through removing Members of Parliament from the membership of provincial councils.
The amendments also include clauses permitting the President to appoint at least two more non-constituency Cabinet ministers and also extending the women’s quota in Parliament by another two terms, among other changes.
Briefing media after a closed POLAD meeting held at a Bulawayo hotel, POLAD co-convener Ms Margaret Sangarwe said Government presented the proposed constitutional changes to POLAD so that they make informed decisions.
“There was a presentation from the Permanent Secretary of Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Mrs (Virginia) Mabiza on the constitutional amendments and the highlight of this presentation was that the Bill was gazetted on the 31st of December 2019. Parliament will conduct hearings on the Bill after the mandatory 90-day period.
“It was mentioned that the presentation was mainly informative on POLAD members so that when they discuss, they do so from an informed position,” said Ms Sangarwe.
She said during the deliberations POLAD members also selected chairpersons and vice chairpersons for three thematic committees.
Ms Sangarwe said Dr Thokozani Khupe was selected chairperson for the international re-engagement committee, Professor Lovemore Madhuku chairman of constitutional matters and legislative committee while Mr Trust Chikohora was made chairperson of the economic committee.
She said next Thursday POLAD will appoint the national healing, communication and publicity and monitoring and evaluation committees’ chairpersons and would soon have a spokesperson.
Ms Sangarwe said members also came up with timelines to achieve their objectives.
One of the POLAD members and MDC-T Bulawayo proportional representation MP, Ms Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, said the group was yet to come up with a position on the proposed constitutional amendments.
She said POLAD would take advantage of cordial relations with Zanu PF in coming up with a position.
“The committees are clear about the outputs; the critical ones are going to be on the amendment of the Constitution and coming up with a POLAD position and beginning to engage with Government. We haven’t come up with our position but we have a technical committee that is going to look at those positions and proceed to then engage,” said Ms Misihairabwi-Mushonga.
She said POLAD was also working on a shadow Bill for electoral reforms.
Ms Misihairabwi-Mushonga said POLAD was keen on ensuring that governance issues were addressed and would be advising Government on a course of action after wider consultation on various issues.