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

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 6:

 HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: Thank you very much Chair.  I take cognisance of the comments that the Vice president gave.  I listened quite intently when he responded to the issues that we had raised during the Second Reading, save to say like my colleagues that one of the reasons why we keep raising these issues is that history will judge us for the things that we would have said during that time.

There were issues that were being raised Mr. Chairman about the fact that we are doing this because it is law.  I think the one thing that you learn during first year at law school is that law is law but it being just or being unjust is another thing.  So that this law is there is not in dispute but the fact that it is unjust is the issue that I would want to raise and I want to underline the issues that we raised during the Second Reading.  The Vice President raised it and the Chairperson of our Committee also raised it.  The issue is not necessarily questioning whether there is merit in what the Vice President is saying that, let us change the way the judges are appointed.

The question is, how do we vaccinate against abuse of power if we do give it to one individual?  The Vice President raised an issue and said, when some of you were debating here, you kept creating impressions, perceptions or issues that were not right in that you were saying that in other jurisdictions what you are finding is that, there is always an interview process for the Chief Justice and for the Judge President and I agree with him.

However, I think we must also agree that what you find in most jurisdictions, including the United States of America that our other Members were bringing is that yes, the President may have a right to appoint but there is always something that vaccinates against this person being the ultimate authority in doing so.  For example in the United States of America, you will then have the Senate coming in.  So, all we are saying is that, yes we agree Vice President, you know that some of these things have already gone through and you have the numbers and you have put them through but please, consider the fact that we may have somebody who is an idiot and a lunatic coming into power.  Are you really comfortable with that you would want to give this person the ultimate authority to be the person who appoints without any other example that those appointments will be brought to the National Assembly.

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