Constitutional Amendment Bill No.2

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Constitutional Amendment Bill No.2 was published by the Clerk of Parliament in a Government Gazette Extraordinary dated 31 December 2019.

History

Constitutional Amendment Bill of 2019 was gazetted on 3 January 2020 after it was approved by Cabinet.[1]

Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No 2) Bill passed its Second Reading in the National Assembly on April 14, 2021, and the August House resolved to suspend Standing Orders to permit the Bill to be fast-tracked through its remaining stages — the Committee Stage and Third Reading — in the Assembly.

On 15 April 2021, Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs minister Ziyambi Ziyambi gave notice of amendments he wanted to be made to the Bill at the Committee Stage. The Bill underwent its Committee Stage that very day that is on the same day that the minister’s amendments were published and in a late-night sitting, the Assembly passed it with all the amendments proposed by the minister and others put forward during Committee Stage. The Bill’s Third and final reading was done on 20 April 2021.[2]

Purpose

Constitutional Amendment Bill No.2 purpose is to amend the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

The bill seeks to:

  1. remove a clause on running mates and enable the President to appoint vice-presidents
  2. extend the special addition of extra women MPs by two more terms
  3. add 10 more seats reserved for people aged 21 to 35
  4. extend the tenure of judges after reaching the age of 70, for up to five years
  5. allow the President to appoint up to seven (instead of five) additional ministers outside Parliament.
  6. empower the President, acting on the recommendation of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), to appoint sitting judges to vacancies in the higher courts without subjecting them to the public interview procedure.

Key Clauses

Clauses 20, 21, 22 and 25 of the Bill seek to remove members of Parliament from membership of the provincial council. Metropolitan councils will no longer be chaired by mayors, but be elected in terms of Section 272 like provincial councils, and provide for the election of 10 of the members of Metropolitan Councils by a system of party-list proportional representation.

Clause 9

Clause 9 reads: “This clause adopts the provisions of paragraph 14 of the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution as the operative provisions relating to the question of the succession to the Presidency (given that the Vice-Presidents are not elected as running mates).”

Clause 14

Clause 14 allows judges of the Constitutional Court and Supreme Court to annually extend their tenure after reaching the age of 70, for up to five years subject to a favourable medical report regarding the mental and physical fitness of the judge to continue in office.

Clause 19

Clause 19 will provide for the appointment of the Prosecutor-General by the President on the advice of the JSC, without a public interview procedure, and makes a special provision for his or her removal for cause by a Tribunal.

Clause 23

The Bill also seeks to limit Parliament’s powers to approve the signing of international treaties.

Clause 23 of the Bill proposes to alter section 327(3) of the Constitution so that it applies only to agreements entered into with “international organisations” such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank whose members include foreign States.

Section 327(3) will no longer apply to agreements with foreign banks or similar non-State institutions even if the agreements impose fiscal obligations on Zimbabwe.

Hence Parliament will no longer have the constitutional power to approve loan agreements with such non-State institutions.[3]

Voting

Parliament

At least 191 MPs voted for its passage, while 22 legislators voted against it. As a result, the bill sailed through the National Assembly after gaining the required two-thirds majority and went to the Senate for debate and voting.[4][3]

PDF Download

You can download a PDF copy of Constitutional Amendment Bill No.2 here

References

  1. Fidelis Munyoro, Bill to repeal running mates clause gazetted, The Herald, Published: January 4, 2020, Retrieved: April 28, 2021
  2. Constitutional Amendment Bill No 2: Unconstitutionally handled, fast-tracked, NewsDay, Published: April 23, 2021, Retrieved: April 28, 2021
  3. 3.0 3.1 SILENCE MUGADZAWETA, National Assembly endorses Constitutional Amendment 2, NewsDay, Published: April 21, 2021, Retrieved: April 28, 2021
  4. Youth League hails Constitutional Amendment Bill