Parliament especially the National Assembly, during the Committee Stage of the Bill, made changes to the original bill which were eventually adopted instantly.
According to Veritas Zimbabwe, the changes were very substantial in many clauses which makes their adopting unconstitutional since they cannot be made by Parliament.
In its Bill Watch series, Veritas Zimbabwe said ‘’As we have seen, most of the changes which the National Assembly made to the Bill in its Committee Stage materially alter clauses of the original Bill or add new clauses which were never in the original Bill. Hence, they are unconstitutional because they were made without going through the procedure laid down in section 328 of the Constitution.
‘’As a result, the clauses which have been changed and the clauses which have been added to the Bill have not been properly passed by Parliament. This will remain so no matter how many Members vote for the Bill in its final reading today,’’ Veritas said.
The organisation also bemoaned the fast-tracking of bills by Parliament as it is depriving the citizens an opportunity to lobby and advise their legislators.
‘’The haste with which the Bill is being rushed through Parliament is almost indecent. It is certainly inappropriate for a Bill that will amend the Constitution, the country’s supreme law.
‘’So rushed has the process been that Members were given no proper notice of the Minister’s amendments, and some additional amendments were made to the Bill that were not notified in the day’s Order Paper – one member pointed out that she had not been allowed time to give proper notice of the amendments she proposed,’’ read the Bill Watch series.
Below are some of the changes to the Bill that Veritas Zimbabwe think were made unconstitutionally.
Changes to clause 3 (Qualifications of Vice-Presidents)
Changes to clause 11 (Representation of women in Parliament)
Deletion of clause 12 (Delimitation of electoral boundaries)
New clause substituted for clause 13 (Appointment and promotion of judges)
New clause substituted for clause 14 (Tenure of judges)
New clause amending functions of Civil Service Commission
Deletion of clause 18 (Creation of office of Public Protector)
Amendment of clause 20 (composition of provincial and metropolitan councils)
New clause (Local authority elections)
New clause substituted for clause 23 (International agreements)
Veritas Zimbabwe: Parly made unconstitutional changes to Amendment Bill No.2