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How Mugabe was given powers to appoint key judges with MDC kicking and screaming

HON. GONESE: On a point of privilege. I will try to be as brief as I can. Firstly, Mr Speaker Sir, I want to seek your guidance because I am ready for both. First of all, let me start with the matter of privilege. I will go for my substantive motion in terms of Standing Order 152.  Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir.  I am moving a motion in terms of the provisions of Standing Order 152 (3), which provisions I will just read quickly.  “When a Bill has been reported, a Motion maybe moved to recommit the Bill either wholly or in respect only of particular clauses”.  In this regard, I am moving that this Bill be recommitted in respect of clause 6, and I will give you the reasons why I am moving that motion.

 On the 27th of June 2017, during the debate at the Committee Stage, and I am going to quote the words of the Hon. Vice President, Hon. Mnangagwa, from the official record of the Hansard, “ The appointment of the Chief Justice will be done by the President after consultation with the Judicial Service Commission.  It is very clear in the Constitution that for every office that falls vacant, that of the Chief Justice included, there is need to have three nominees for each vacant position.  In the case of the Chief Justice, the President has to submit these three nominees to the Judicial Service Commission for the purpose of consulting the Judicial Service Commission in relation to qualifications, probity and integrity.  This is then read and recommendations are made to the President.  The President has the discretion to select from the three as evaluated by the Judicial Service Commission”.  So, these are the critical words on the basis upon which I am moving that the Bill be recommitted to the Committee Stage.

The Hon. Vice President is a legal practitioner of many years standing, and I believe that he could not have made a mistake.  What he said reflects the thinking of the Executive that in terms of the consultation that has to take place, the President must give three nominees to the Judicial Services Commission and thereafter, recommendations are made appropriately.

 However, when we look at the provisions of the Bill before us, that is not what it said.  I do not want to think for one moment that the Hon. Vice President who is a man of integrity wanted to mislead this august House.  I do not want to think for one moment that the Hon. Vice President wanted to mislead the Nation of Zimbabwe.  So, those are the words which are in black and white. In the circumstances, Mr. Speaker Sir, because I believe that this is a man of integrity who is before us, obviously there must be an error on the Bill, because the Bill does not say what he said.

In that respect, Mr. Speaker, it is important that we recommit the Bill, so that the Bill reflects the thinking of the Executive as adumbrated by the Hon. Vice President in this august House.  This is precisely the reason why I am saying we cannot proceed with the Bill as it stands, because the official record of the Hansard says one thing and that thing is what the Executive intends and we want the Bill to reflect precisely the thinking of the Executive that you must then have three names which are for the purpose of consultation submitted to the Judicial Service Commission.  For that reason we cannot remain with a record which is inaccurate, contradicting the words which are in the print.

The only way to regularize and to rectify that anomaly is to recommit the Bill to the Committee Stage so that at that particular point in time, the Hon. Vice President can, it is not me who is going to make the amendments, we want him to make the amendments which are in sync with what he told us unless, God forbid, the Hon. Vice President decided – to mislead this august House, decided to mislead the nation of Zimbabwe,  decided – for lack of a better word, to lie to this august House.  So, that is the basis upon which I am making this motion that let us proceed in terms of Standing Order 152 – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]-

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