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

Some of us are prepared to even go into that compromise but I think what gives some of us sleepless nights and I said it to the Vice President, not just myself but even him, is that if you had somebody who is after him and judiciary that is so partisan and political, will you be able to survive it. Does he really think we should just have this ultimate authority? That is why I am requesting. Somebody said they saw Hon. Gonese begging. We do beg because this is about our lives and what is likely to happen to our children, and to ourselves. I do not want to wake up tomorrow and have somebody who believes that their only appointing authority is this person and therefore will do whatever they want. Somebody who can wake up and say their wife is now Chief Justice and therefore can do whatever they want in their bedroom. Do we really want that Hon. Vice President?

All I am asking is that give me just a little bit. I do not care what it is but give me something that will say this person does not have ultimate authority. Like I said, if you check in all jurisdictions, they do have at least something that gives the checks and balances on this. Not that I am agreeable to all the other amendments but I am now begging because I was quiet all along. This one frightens the hell out of me because I keep thinking if a mad person comes into power, we are in serious trouble including him.

HON. MAJOME: Thank you Hon. Chair for allowing me an opportunity to debate. I suppose the most impetuous part of this Bill that is proposing to centralise all power of judicial appointment of the top three judges in the country in one person, that is, the Executive President.

Mr. Speaker, I also rise to implore the Hon. Vice President to think and rethink, and in fact desist from proceeding with this centralisation of power. I say this because right now, since 22nd May, 2013, ordinary members of the Zimbabwean public, me included, have enjoyed democracy. We have enjoyed participating in the selection of the top most judges in the country because the provisions right from head of judiciary, Chief Justice, Deputy Chief Justice and the Judge President. We have enjoyed this jointly with His Excellency the President. The President has been enjoying the same powers as we have in nominating people as judges. I will not say the same because clearly the President has much more power.

As it is right now, because we could also apply when vacancies arise, as the Constitution stands now before this ill-advised amendment. If a vacancy arises in the offices of the Chief Justice, Deputy Chief Justice or the Judge President of the High Court, the Judicial Service Commission conducts a very democratic process where it announces that there are vacancies and invites nominations from people like me, a member of public although I am a Member of Parliament. His Excellency the President will also put forward a name or two names or as many names as he/she wants to put in the hat. The Judicial Services Commission is empowered by the Constitution to select a person by merit and even as a member of public or Member of Parliament, I have enjoyed going to sit at Rainbow Towers and watch interviews of judges being conducted, and after also participating and following the process.

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