The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) has rubbished announcement of Public Hearings dates on proposed Constitutional Amendment Bill number 2 and called for suspension of the hearings.
In a statement, spokesperson for the Coalition Marvellous Khumalo said Parliament should abide by Covid 19 lockdown regulations.
“The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) rejects the premature announcement of Public Hearings dates on proposed Constitutional Amendment Bill No2 and call on the Parliament of Zimbabwe to suspend the hearings. The announcement comes at a time when the country is in lockdown level 2 due to the COVID19, a move which will unnecessarily expose citizens to the Covid-19 coronavirus unless necessary and sufficient measures are put in place,” said Khumalo
He said Parliament should ensure preventive measures are instituted before commencement of the hearings.
“The Parliament of Zimbabwe must ensure that Covid-19 preventative measures are in place before any public hearings commence. It is strange that the public hearings are resuming at a time when the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has suspended all electoral activities citing Covid-19 regulations,” he said
The coalition said key Covid-19 measures announced by the government which have a huge effect on citizens’ contributions to this process include maintaining social distance at all times, wearing face masks outdoors, limiting unnecessary travel and travel restrictions locally and between towns and cities, except for those providing essential services, and a ban on gatherings of more than 50 people.
CiZC reiterated that no amendments should take place without implementing fully the 2013 Constitution and urged Parliament to review the proposed public hearings dates until citizen’s participation is guaranteed.
“Ensure that citizen’s participation is guaranteed considering the current lockdown measures which limit movement especially those not providing essential services. Clearly outline safety measures to reduce the spread of Covid-19 during all outreach activities
“Ensure that all key stakeholders including civil society organisations are considered providers of essential services to allow them to conduct outreach activities to educate citizens on the proposed constitutional amendments before the proposed public hearings” said the Coalition
The Public Hearings on Constitutional Amendment Bill No2 CiZC said were initially scheduled to take place from 29 March to 3 April but were suspended together with all parliamentary activities from 18 March to 5 May 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.