By Anna Chibamu
ZIMBABWEANS are generally not happy with a government push to amend the national constitution, a parliamentary committee has said in a report.
This follows public hearings conducted by MPs recently on the Zimbabwe Amendment (No.2) Bill.
The Bill seeks, among other objectives, to grant powers to a sitting President to appoint his two deputies, handpick judges for promotion to higher courts as well as increase the number of non-MP ministers he could appoint to cabinet.
However, according to a report by Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Portfolio committee, Zimbabweans felt alignment of laws to the Constitution should be the priority as opposed to attempts to amend it.
Committee chair and Zanu PF MP for Makoni South, Misheck Mataranyika said “the major issue expressed was need to urgently align laws and full implementation of the constitution rather than rush to amend the Constitution”.
“The committee urges the executive to prioritise the realignment of laws to the constitution and its full implementation.”
The Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 2) Bill [H.B. 23, 2019] was gazetted on the 17th January 2020 and was read for the second time in Parliament on Thursday.
Public hearings and consultations took place in June this year.
Specific submissions on the proposed amendments of the Bill; clauses 2–8 seek to remove the running-mate concept of the vice presidency in national elections.
The Bill seeks to instead, allow the two VPs to be appointed by the President and serve at the President’s pleasure.
Among the most controversial clauses of the draft law are those seeking to grant a sitting President powers to appoint up to 7 (instead of the current 5) additional cabinet ministers from outside parliament.
The Bill also seeks to allow the President, acting on the recommendations of the Judicial Service Commission, to appoint sitting judges of the High Court and the Supreme Court to vacancies in the higher courts, without subjecting them to the public interview procedures.