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What Zimbabwe MPs said about the Constitution Amendment Bill-Part Three

There has been a lot of interest in the heated debate that ensued in Parliament on Tuesday, 20 June, over the Constitution Amendment Bill which seeks to give the President powers to appoint the top three judicial officers of the nation. The constitution says they must be selected after interviews. For the benefit of our readers were hereby serialize the debate.

On Clause 2:

HON. GONESE: Thank you Mr. Chairman.  In so far as I believe that clause No. 2 refers to in this Act, in other words, this Bill, if passed will become an Act of Parliament.  In so far as Members of Parliament on this side of the House are opposed to it, we do not believe that that particular part which says in this Act, then the rest that follows becomes superfluous if the Bill is not to be passed.  For that reason, Mr. Chairman, I object to that particular clause because it is already pre-supposing that we are going to pass this Bill which we are vehemently opposed to.

 HON. MAJOME: Thank you Hon. Chairperson.  I also rise to object to Clause No. 2 that is the interpretation section that describes the present Constitution as set  out in the Constitution.

Mr. Chairperson, I rise to say that possibly, I want to propose an amendment to this clause so and that if there to be an amendment, it should be the only amendment and that there be no other.  The only amendment that could be necessary in this Constitution is a renaming and a rechristening of the Constitution of Zimbabwe so, that this Constitution reads, ‘The Constitution of Zimbabwe’.

 It is my respectful view and I urge Hon. Members that if we must amend the Constitution, that is the only thing that we must amend, that is to christen our Constitution that came about from a process that involved people and that went to a referendum.  Therefore, I propose that if we are to amend the Constitution, to amend it only to end at Clause No. 2 by changing that clause to say that ‘Constitution means the Constitution of Zimbabwe as set forth in the Schedule to the Constitution of Zimbabwe No. 20 Amendment’, which will be hereafter named the Constitution of Zimbabwe and that should be the end of this amendment of the Constitution.

 THE HON. VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON.  E. MNANGAGWA): Thank you Mr. Chairman, the Constitution, this is an interpretation which will appear when this Bill becomes an Act.  It will read as this Act because it would have become an Act.  So, that is how it is crafted in terms of drafting legislation.

The second issue raised by Hon. Majome, that this Constitution means the Constitution of Zimbabwe as set forth in the Schedule to the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment No. 20, 2013, that is the name of the Constitution which we are amending.  If she thinks that title is not proper, she is entitled to move a Private Members Bill to amend the Constitution. For now, we are amending the one which is in existence.

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