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What Zimbabwe MPs said about the Constitution Amendment Bill

In the national interest which is an interest that captures the mood, the interests of all the people of Zimbabwe.  May we, Hon. Vice President, focus on things that matter?  What matters and what are of national priority at the moment is to align our Constitution to all the laws that we have in the country, align all our laws to the Constitution that we have in the country.  We have already appointed the Chief Justice, he is serving, and we have not seen any mischief that is worth to merit a national emergency and a national panic response from the Government.

So, one wonders what is the source of motivation for this kind of a Bill. As Parliament, we have a duty to flash warning lights, hazard lights when we see that the Government is driving us off the road. This is why we make the appeal to the Hon. Vice President and Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs; please may you kindly allow the wisdom that comes from the alternative to visit you, enlighten you and to encourage you to abandon the route that we feel is a bit dangerous and risky for our country.

 We cannot be a country that has a Constitution without constitutionalism.  We cannot be a country that comes to Parliament hardly before the ink has dried; we are already subtracting certain letters and certain words.  We need to understand that the people are the ultimate Government.  We need to understand that the people are the ultimate, umpires of how nations are run.  So, may it be understood Hon. Vice President that this is our plea and appeal that this title be abandoned with grace.  I thank you.

HON. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Mr. Chairman.  I rise to add my views on the Constitutional Amendment No. (1) Bill.  First of all, I want to say that we are going Clause by Clause, dealing with the amendments so that we scrutinise them and we pass; but I have noticed that we are debating things that  are not relevant to the particular Section, which I believe is not in order.  If we are talking about the short title, we are supposed to address the short title.

Secondly, when you look at the Constitution, when it was passed, it has a provision for its own amendment.  So, it will be very wrong for us to sit here and lie to ourselves that constitutionalism means that when you pass a Constitution, you cannot amend it.  Any Constitution in the world has got a provision for its own amendment and that is what is constitutionalism.

I want to add also to say that the notion that you cannot amend a Constitution a day after passing it is not correct.  If you are moving in a certain direction and you notice that there is a big hole and you are about to fall into a pit, even if you had agreed that let us move in that particular direction, you have to change direction and go towards a safe direction.  All Hon. Members of Parliament in this august House were voted in by members of the public – we have a mandate which we got from the people.

So, when we sit here and enact laws, we are doing it by virtue of the powers bestowed on us by the people.  So, for us to sit here and say that we are taking away the people’s power that is a very big lie.  This Constitution clearly states that.  When we are voted in, we are supposed to pass laws for the good and just governance of men and we have been given that power by the people to do that.  So, when we are in here, we are representing the people.  Whatever we decide here depicts the picture that is out there.

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