There has been a lot of interest in the heated debate that ensued in Parliament on Tuesday, 20 June, over the Constitution Amendment Bill which seeks to give the President powers to appoint the top three judicial officers of the nation. The constitution says they must be selected after interviews. For the benefit of our readers were hereby serialize the debate.
HON. MLISWA: Mr. Chairman, I think this opened us a lot to the person of the President. We seem to undermine the person of the President in that the President will not think and that he/she will be a reckless person. I will go deeper in terms of that. Section 89 of the Constitution is very clear about who the President is. I think we seem not to be respecting that. For as long as we do not respect that, we will continuously have problems. The President is the Head of the State and Government and Commander in Chief of the Defence Forces. It talks about the duties of the President.
Let us go to the duties of the President. “Section 91, the President must uphold, defend, obey and respect this Constitution as the Supreme Law of the nation and must ensure that this Constitution and all other laws are faithfully observed”. This is what the President is expected to do. “The President must;
(a) Promote unity and peace in the nation for the benefit and wellbeing of all the people of Zimbabwe.
(b) Recognise and respect the ideals and values of the liberation struggle”.
Let me go back to that one. “Recognise and respect the ideals and values of the liberation struggle”. It goes without saying that whoever the President appoints must equally recognise and respect the ideals and values of the liberation struggle.
Let me go back to the land reform with Chief Justice Gubbay at the time. He was going against the ideals and values of the liberation struggle and the President would not allow that to happen because this country was founded on that. He was certainly a service to the western world and not to the people of Zimbabwe. He had failed to respect that and in failure to respect that, the President must see it fit and realise that this person is not working according to the ideals and the founding principles of the liberation struggle.
As such, he must exercise the powers that he has by dismissing that person. We would not be having the land reform today if the President had not made that decision. We would not be having farms. Some of us would not be empowered. Despite us not having gone to the liberation struggle; we are empowered because of the struggle. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]- Why should the President be appointing people who want to reverse the ideals and the founding principles of the struggle.
If the Opposition truly are part of this nation, they must equally subject themselves to the ideals and struggles of the struggle unless otherwise. You have that opportunity to say you are not part of the struggle of this country and you are prepared to go the other way. You are free to say that but make it very clear to everybody so that the nation knows where you stand and who you are.
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