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


 Secondly, there is no issue with regard to the constitutionalism of the process of amending the Constitution. We have followed what the Constitution provides in terms of procedure to amend this entrenched clause of the Constitution which only requires two thirds majority and not a referendum. So, that has been complied with. Currently, you have put the question of the Short Title which only tells this House that this is the first amendment of our Constitution. It is not the second, third or fourth but this is the first amendment. Others are going to come which we are already looking at.

 The question of the separation of powers doctrine does not mean that each branch is free to do what it wants without accountability to each other. This amendment enforces that separation of powers and with regard to all the issues Hon. Members have raised, I adequately covered them. Just now we are addressing the Short Title which you have answered to and that is what is on the table. People who want to debate perhaps may come to debate when we come to the content of the amendments and not the title. It is Number 1 and it cannot change. I know that it is very important that in society there can be people with wisdom, also in society you can find people without wisdom but both democratically should be respected. I thank you.

  HON. GONESE: It is allowed in terms of Standing Order Number 173 to speak twice.  In so far as the issues which we have been discussing are concerned, I just want to clarify that when we are looking at amendments to the Constitution, we also look at the spirit. When the Hon. Vice President refers to the will of the people, I think we must also bear in mind that the exercise which was undertaken during the Constitution making process under COPAC entailed having at least three meetings in every ward in this country. In 1900 wards, there were three meetings that were held. That cannot be equated to any other process which has ever been undertaken in this country. For that reason, I still want to maintain the stance that we have taken that this is an unnecessary amendment.

 We are not saying that legally or procedurally it is wrong but we are saying that in terms of the substance and in terms of what is desirable for our country, this is not a necessary amendment.  I want to reiterate that our position is not that Section 328 of the Constitution does not allow amendments; that is not our point.  Our point is simply that this particular amendment is not in sync with the aspirations of the people of Zimbabwe as enunciated during the Constitution making process.

 I do not want to repeat myself but I just wanted to make that point so that it is abundantly clear and that the Hon. Vice President has an appreciation of our point of view, which is not that we are saying that the Constitution cannot be amended.  We are very aware that this particular section does not require a referendum.  Be that as it may, we must not abuse the numbers because we must not have the use of the tyranny of numbers.  We must have the monopoly of ideas.  We must have the best ideas which must be taken into account by our Hon. Vice President and not what the majority want but rather what is best for our country.  Those are my submissions Hon. Chair.

HON.  E. MNANGAGWA:  Hon. Chair, whilst I appreciate your indulgence that people continue to repeat and repeat the same things, I will repeat that they can read the Hansard where all those issues are answered.  There is no point of me becoming irrelevant, addressing issues that are not on the table.  What is on the table now is the issue of the Short Title. I thank you.

Continued next page


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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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