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Constitution Amendment No. 1 should have started from scratch

Legal watchdog Veritas Zimbabwe says the Constitution Amendment Bill No.1 which was recently approved by the Senate should have been started from scratch.

According to Veritas Zimbabwe, the Bill was a Bill of the 8th Parliament of Zimbabwe which was dissolved just before the 2018 general elections.

Zimbabwe is now in its 9th Parliament up to 2023 general elections.

Section 147 of the Constitution states that on dissolution of Parliament all proceedings pending at the time are terminated and every Bill, motion, petition and other business lapses. 

Two of the judges who sat on the matter when the decision to invalidate the Senate decision also highlighted the clause.

“In Veritas opinion the Bill should start from scratch and go through all stages of both Houses of the 9th Parliament,” said the legal Watchdog in one of its weekly bulletins.

The Bill had initially been passed by the Senate of the 8th Parliament in August 2017 but was invalidated by the court after it was challenged by Honourable Innocent Gonese and Jessie Majome.

Gonese and Majome queried the voting process that took place in the Senate especially on the issue of numbers.

Veritas has also warned that if the vote were taken at a sitting where some members will be attending virtually, there could be some challenges with authenticity.

Due to COVID-19, only a few legislators are attending the sittings physically to curb the spread.

Most legislators attend the sitting virtually through the Samsung Tablets that they got from Parliament in 2019.

The Amendment Bill has also caused some talk in opposition circles following the decision by MDC-T to support the Bill.

According to democracy watchers, Douglas Mwonzora who is fronting the opposition party might have sold the country’s democracy, especially the independence of the judiciary.

The Bill if signed into law, will allow President Emmerson Mnangagwa to appoint top judges on his own which will be a departure from the current norm of going through public interviews.

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