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


While I am there, I also think we forgot to do something, that is pay homage to the memory of the late former Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku.  I believe it would be remise to debate without even just – I do not have the authority to ask for a moment of silence, but I want to believe that we should have done so and pay respect.  He has sadly passed on but that issue pertains to the filling of that office.  I say this Mr. Chairman, that I do want exhort our Hon. Vice President that he may very well have harboured some concerns and some anxieties about how this might not work as it was being done.  Now, I want to hope that he can abandon all those fears because the process has shown that this process works, it has worked.  So there is no need for us to proceed with this amendment because it has worked.  We have a Chief Justice vacancy that was filled – the very first one.  It was filled in terms of what is being proposed to be amended.  There is just no reason to do this.  Instead, let us spend our constitutional legislative time in doing other things that will implement the Constitution and not to change this.  It is not broken, we cannot fix what is not broken.

While I am there Mr. Chairman, in terms of Clause 6 (7) (2), from lines number 13 to 15 of the Bill, it reads “for the avoidance of doubt, it is declared”, declared again and I am averse to “declared” but I give way to spear wisdom, “for the avoidance of doubt, it is declared that the amendment to the Constitution made by (1) applies to the appointment of a Chief Justice to fill the vacancy in that office that exist on the date of commencement of this Act”.  That is also very unusual.  It is unusual for a Bill to also refer to a specific point in time but it makes sense only in the sense that when this Bill was conceived and initiated, there was an impending vacancy in an office.  That vacancy is no longer there and even for other Bills that we pass, we do not ever indicate that it shall happen to fill a vacancy that exists on the date of commencement of this Act.  For me, this is evidence that this Bill has been overtaken by time.  There is no need to proceed with this because even if we were to do it, what would we say about sub clause (2), what would it mean?  It would perplex people to know.

Mr. Chairman, allow me to end by imploring again the Vice President that can we abandon this process.  We have a system that works.  Any fears that may be, may possibly be resolved by practice directions or other things but there is no need to centralise the appointment process of the Chief Justice, the Deputy Chief Justice and the Judge President in the President.  We have a system that works and let us leave it at that.  I thank you.

HON. ZIYAMBI:  Thank you Mr. Chairman.  First of all, I would like to say that, a President is elected by everyone in Zimbabwe.  When a President is elected, he is given the mandate by the people; if people elect an idiot, that is one of the consequences of democracy, you have to live with it.  Americans, they say they elected Donald Trump and for the next four years, they have to live with him.  In the Constitution, the President is elected by the people.  So, these anxieties and perceptions that there will come an idiot – a person is elected by the people and the authority to govern comes from the people.  The problem comes when we start equating a nomination process with an election.  This Constitutional provision about the Chief Justice speaks about nominating …

HON. ADV. CHAMISA:  On a point of order.  Mr. Chairman, Hon. Ziyambi has made a very strong statement and has made reference to Mr. Trump of the United States of America and about idiocy.  He has also made mention of the President, we want to be very clear.  Are you saying the President is an idiot or you are saying that is – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – No, no, no.  We do not want people who just throw things around, what is he saying?  Hatidi munhu anongotuka President. President havatukwi-tukwi.

THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON:  Order.  There is no point of order.

Continued next page


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The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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