What Zimbabwe MPs said about the Constitution Amendment Bill-Part Four


Mr. Chairman, can you imagine a court that works with judges that are all called judges of the Labour Court and may be if they appoint more judges to the Administrative Court, that have two-tiers; those that came before this amendment was passed have their salaries, allowances and benefits that are very good and the ones that come after are going to have salaries and allowances that are inferior.  That will cause nothing but administrative havoc.  Also, it will be discrimination.  It will be an unfair labour practice that is prohibited by the Bill of Rights in the Constitution, Section 65 (1), which requires that everyone is entitled to fair labour practices.   Fair labour practices are not only for those who are employed but for all those who give their labour such as judges.  It will not be fair and therefore unconstitutional to have judges who are of different caste in the same court because that is what will happen if we pass this amendment. 

 Secondly, it will be a nightmare.  It will cause low morale to have judges receiving different salaries.  It should not be done by this Parliament.  This Parliament is required to pass laws for the order and good governance of Zimbabwe.  It will not be orderly and it will not be good governance to have courts and Labour Courts with judges that have different salaries.  You might very well start to be making the first recipe for possibly labour unrest and job actions in the courts if we continue to do what we are doing.

 I want to urge the Hon. esteemed Vice President to re-consider the implications of this proposed amendment that, is he certain that he wants to countenance in future judges that will have different tiers?  If it is the Judicial Services Commission that proposed this, I believe it is still the responsibility of this Parliament to reject such a proposal because this Parliament has a superior role to play in terms of Section 164 (2) (b) where we are required to do everything we can as Parliament to protect the independence of the Judiciary and assist it.  So, if the Judiciary decides to shoot down its own independence and suggests amendments that will get its internal cohesion compromised, this Parliament has a duty to assist and preserve its independence and maintain the status quo, which is what as we are today, the High Court, the Labour Court and Administrative Court rank what is called by lawyers, pari pasu.  They are at the same level and they are of the same status, even though the High Court has original jurisdiction.   The Constitution being the supreme law of the land decided to give those specialised courts equal standing with the other courts.  It is the Constitution that reigns supreme and we must respect that.  I thank you Mr. Chairman.

HON. GONESE: Thank you very much Mr. Chair.  Just like colleagues who have spoken before me, I would also want to express my disquiet over this particular clause.  In saying so, I would like to draw the attention of Hon. Members to certain clauses which are in our Constitution.  First and foremost, I want to reiterate the import of the Sixth Schedule, in particular Section 18 (6), where it was made very clear that those who preside over Labour Court- if you recall Hon. Vice President, previously we did not have people presiding over the Labour Court and Administrative Court being referred to as judges.  They were referred to as presidents of the Labour Court and Administrative Court respectively.

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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