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

HON. ZIYAMBI:  Thank you very much Mr. Chairman.  When this was mentioned, they never complained.  When it was referred that maybe in future, a President may be elected who is an idiot, I never heard anyone complaining.  When I made reference to the future that somebody may be elected, I hear noise.  The point that I wanted to say is, democracy dictates that you respect the wishes of the people.  Whoever is elected by the people and power is bestowed on him, you have to respect that.  That is very clear.

The process of appointing a Chief Justice that they are clamouring for is only nomination not power that is vested by the generality of the people.  So there is a misconception that is being peddled that by giving the authority to the President, you are taking away the power from the people.  That is not the position.  However, I want to go to Clause 6, the new section 180 (3).  Firstly, I would like to say, I concur with what Hon. Majome has said that, we have never seen the Attorney-General in this august House.  I think it is a misnorm.  While the Deputy Attorney-General comes when Bills are presented, we applaud him but the Constitution and our rules specifically implore the Attorney-General to come.  I think and I believe that he should attend.  I say so looking at Section 180 (3) that talks about the appointment of a Chief Justice, the Deputy Chief Justice and the Judge President of the High Court, “if it is not consistent with any recommendation made by the Judicial Service Commission, in terms of sub-section (2), the President shall cause the Senate to be informed as soon as is practicable.  It goes on to say, “provided for the avoidance of doubt, it is declared that the decision of the President, as to such appointment shall be final”.   I believe the drafters did a bad job of it. There is no need to inform the House if there is no action to be taken. Surely, if there is need to inform the Senate then the Senate should be given power and responsibility to do something. If we have a clause that refers to a referral and that referral does not then state what the power of that House is, it becomes very difficult to see what it is trying to achieve.

 In that regard, the Hon. Vice President might need to reconsider that position to say that if you look at most jurisdictions, where there is a referral, that House or that organ acts in a particular manner. In this case you do not find what it is supposed to do. Regarding Clause 6, we need to seriously look into that. Either we remove it altogether or we do something to state that the Senate will do 1, 2, 3 and 4. I thank you.

 HON. MARIDADI: I am a bit concerned. The Constitution of Zimbabwe came into being after a very elaborate process and this Constitution is a very progressive document. You can talk of the American Constitution, South African Constitution but the Zimbabwean Constitution is very progressive. One Hon. Member stands up to say that if Zimbabweans elect a President then you live with that President for the next five years indeed. Why do we have a Constitution? The Constitution is so clear on the State and how the State must function – separation of powers. It is for purposes of checks and balances that we have those three arms of the State. We have a Judiciary which is a stand alone, a Legislature which is a stand alone and we have an Executive which is also stand alone.       The reason why we have never spoken about the President appointing a Speaker or having anything to do with the appointment of the Speaker is because the issue of separation of powers is sacrosanct. You cannot tamper with it.

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