Five members of the National Constitutional Assembly, a civil society organization seeking reform of Zimbabwe’s constitution, were arrested Tuesday afternoon while demonstrating outside parliament as the house considered government-sponsored legislation to significantly amend the constitution to bolster state powers.
The NCA members were among some 300 protesters urging the government to consult nongovernmental organizations and the public before pushing through the proposed amendments. Parliament adjourned late Tuesday after the controversial bill passed a first reading, with a second reading expected on Wednesday.
The ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front holds a two-thirds majority in parliament, giving it the power to directly legislate constitutional changes.
NCA Chairman Lovemore Madhuku was arrested August 4 in a similar protest at the Harare International Conference Center where a parliamentary hearing on the bill was being held, and later released. He was not among those arrested on Tuesday.
From Harare, correspondent Thomas Chiripasi reported on the arrests.