Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday said the constitution amendment bill that seeks to give the President powers to appoint the chief justice, his deputy and the president of the High Court is not a self-serving amendment but is apolitical and is centred on the notion that for the administration of justice to be smooth, it must be predicated upon an independent appointment process, insulated from potential internal influence of its senior officials.
Mnangagwa told Parliament that it was his firm belief and conviction that those who believed that the amendment was self-serving were not only mischievous and self-destructive but were dangerous, not only to constitutional democracy but to themselves.
“It must be clear to them that I, as the Minister to whom the Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs portfolio was assigned, have the unfettered mandate to propose amendments accordingly to the people’s wishes, the law and procedures available for the peace, order and good governance of the motherland,” he said.
“It is that duty which I credibly execute in a balanced manner, to the satisfaction of all our Zimbabwean people regardless of their political persuasions.”
He said that the appointment of senior judicial people should be done “by an official from a different arm of government, which official has the authority of the masses from which judicial authority is derived – who is the President”.
Mnangagwa said even Mabvuku-Tafara legislator James Maridadi, who belongs to the Movement for Democratic Change, endorsed this view but “he could not afford to be too clear for fear of reprisals from his party colleagues”.
“Allow me to also address the unwarranted fears that the Hon. Members appear to have been harbouring throughout the debate. The unwarranted fear that the appointment of the Chief Justice, Deputy Chief Justice and President of the High Court shall erode the independence of the judiciary and unsettle the separation of powers as was expressed by Hon. Ndebele, Chirisa and Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga,” Mnangagwa said.
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