By Hon. Innocent Gonese Secretary for Justice and Legal Affairs
The MDC Alliance welcomes the recent ruling by a panel of three Judges of the High Court on the unlawfulness of the purported extension of former Chief Justice Malaba’s tenure as Head of the Judiciary.
We believe in the ideals of constitutionalism, the rule of law, separation of powers, judicial independence and
These values are not negotiable as they serve to deepen our democracy. It was important for the High Court to uphold them.
However, we are extremely concerned that the Executive in general and the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs in particular, saw it fit to issue an intemperate and contemptuous statement against the judges who presided over this important matter, civic society and the MDC Alliance.
We call upon the Minister to retract and apologize for his unfounded allegations and for scandalizing the court. We further demand that he be held to account for his unethical and dangerous remarks that threaten the independence of the judiciary and the constitutional right to protection of the law.
We believe that the undue haste with which the Constitutional Amendment Bills were handled is an indication that they were intended to achieve a sinister objective that does not enhance our democracy.
Rather, the amendments undo the will of the people as expressed in a nationwide referendum and the painstaking work that led to crafting of our Constitution.
Respect for the will of the people demands that any process of amendment must be consultative and inclusive as opposed to the unilateralism that has been exhibited by the Minister of Justice an the Executive.
It is our respectful view that the Constitutional Amendments are fraught with illegalities, which illegalities were pointed out by our MPs in Parliament and by a number of citizens during the public hearing process. The people’s right to be heard must be respected.
We reiterate that it is imperative for laws to be aligned to the Constitution as opposed to the unlawful attempts to change the supreme law, notwithstanding the overwhelming opposition to this process.
The Constitution is the Supreme Law of the land that binds everyone and in line with our People’s Agenda, we re-affirm the citizens’ collective obligation to defend it.