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What Zimbabwe MPs said about the Constitution Amendment Bill

It is not necessary Mr. Chairman and I therefore object to that Short Title of the Bill for the simple reason that I am totally opposed to the Bill and I believe that I speak for the majority of the Zimbabwean people who overwhelmingly voted for the adoption of this Constitution and also the three political parties which were represented in Parliament at the particular point in time who were part and parcel of the Global Political Agreement.  They gave their wholehearted support to the amendment or the adoption of the new Constitution and because of that overwhelming support which the people of Zimbabwe gave to the new Constitution, we should not be tearing it to shreds at this point in time.  I therefore say that I cannot, in good conscience, support the Short Title of the Bill.  Those are my submissions Mr. Chairman and I would really want the Hon. Vice President to take this into consideration using a by-partisan approach.

HON. MAJOME:  I rise in support of what was said by Hon. Gonese regarding the views of the public on this Bill and therefore, its very short title of amending the Constitution.  I also want it to be placed on record that in terms of the Public Hearings that were held and were recorded even by dictaphone were not availed. I also want to raise concern that I am hoping that the report of the Public Hearings is going to be made available because it was not available when we debated the Bill.

I am in support in support of the view that this Bill was vehemently and overwhelmingly rejected by the public in Zimbabwe that they do not want an amendment of the Constitution at this stage. I thank you.

HON. ADV. CHAMISA:  I rise with a very heavy heart to be debating at this Committee Stage this very important Bill particularly the issue of the Short Title.  I just rise to indicate the plea that I wish to amplify which has already been made by other colleagues.  The plea that is being made to the Hon. Vice President to revisit and revise the view that has been taken by our Government that it is necessary to amend the will of the people, that it is necessary to amend the mandate of the people.

The will of the people cannot be amended and the will of the people cannot be usurped.  What is clear in this Bill is that it seeks to usurp and takeover and take away that confidence of the people that they have given and reposed, not just in this Constitution but also in the supremacy of constitutionalism.  Hon. Chairman, I am saying this because the attempt to have this Short Title that seeks to be the first amendment will go a long way in withdrawing and subtracting the confidence of the people in Government.  To say that the Government has been given the mandate to govern instead of governing in a way that aligns the will of the people to the dictates of the Constitution, Government has taken an off tangent.  It has chosen to come and call on this Parliament to violate the same Constitution.

How are we violating the Constitution?  You may have regard to Section 119, which is the Role of Parliament in terms of the supremacy of constitutionalism.  We, as Parliament, are supposed to defend the Constitution against any sectional interest that may seek to retard or even reverse the gains of constitutionalism in this country.  This amendment is one such amendment that is not profitable to the national interests.  It does not advance national interests and the big question is who defines national interest? National interest is defined by the people of Zimbabwe.  How did the people of Zimbabwe define the national interests? They spoke and they spoke eloquently when they were consulted on what should be done in terms of how certain key offices and officers are supposed to be appointed.  So, it is my humble submission at this juncture without abusing you.

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