President Mugabe signs the New Constitution

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe yesterday signed Zimbabwe’s new constitution into law to replace the 33-year-old charter crafted in the dying days of British colonial rule.

Report by Everson Mushava

Provisions of the new charter effectively rule out the holding of elections by
June 29.

Experts said the Constitution requires that a 30-day mandatory voter registration period be accommodated from the day the new constitution is published, while 56 days would be needed from the day the election date is proclaimed to the polling date.

Approved overwhelmingly in a referendum in March, the Constitution clips the powers of the President and imposes a two-term presidential limit.

However, the presidential term limit does not apply retrospectively, paving the way for the 89-year-old Mugabe to contest in fresh polls and extend his over three-decade rule by another 10 years.

Zimbabwe has been using a peace-pact constitution crafted at Lancaster House in London in 1979 to end a protracted war of liberation. The constitution was amended 19 times to entrench Mugabe and Zanu PF rule.

The parts of the new constitution which immediately took effect after the supreme law was gazetted yesterday were Chapter 3 relating to citizenship, Chapter 4 being the declaration of rights, Chapter 5 relating to the election and assumption of office of the President and Chapter 6 relating to the election of MPs, the summoning of Parliament after a general election and to the assent to Acts of Parliament by the President.

Other sections that also took immediate effect were Chapter 7 relating to elections, except sections 158, 160 and 161, Chapter 8 relating to the jurisdiction and powers of the Constitutional Court and Chapter 14 relating to provincial and local government.

Under the new charter, both genders will now be equally represented in all institutions and women will constitute at least half of the membership of all commissions.

In terms of the new Bill of Rights, the Constitution now explicitly guarantees freedom of expression and freedom of the media.

The Registrar-General and his officials will be obliged to apply the new provisions when dealing with applications for IDs, voter registration and passports. There should be a marked reduction in difficulties with officialdom.

On elections, the President will not be able to issue a proclamation calling the next elections immediately.  He will have to wait for the Electoral Amendment Bill to be passed and gazetted into law.

Addressing journalists after the signing ceremony at State House, Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa confirmed some provisions of the new law would come into force immediately.

Mugabe said the adoption of the constitution was historic as it was “produced by Zimbabwe for Zimbabweans”.

“For me, this event is a happening of joy, of great joy indeed,” Mugabe said. “This is an event by Zimbabweans for Zimbabweans.  In practice, in the past years, we did not have economic power, but the political power which we are now using to realise the meaning and significance of real sovereignty.”

MDC-T leader Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai described the event as historic.
He applauded the nation for coming up with a new constitution without the help of foreigners, despite the polarisation that characterised local politics.

“As Zimbabwe, we are setting on a new journey with a new governance system,” Tsvangirai said.

Constitutional Affairs minister Eric Matinenga said the new governance charter would create an “architecture for the future of Zimbabwe”.

Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara said a document alone without upholding a culture of constitutionalism would amount to nothing.

He said the same discourse that characterised the constitution-making process should now shift to building the economy as the “stomach was more important that the constitution”.

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28 Responses to President Mugabe signs the New Constitution

  1. tomo May 23, 2013 at 9:22 am #

    zvozodii?e GPA ws signed n ws it upholded, n nw e constitution, vry lil wl cum out of it. the new constitution wl wrk afta Mugabe. lets hop n pray

  2. jaku May 23, 2013 at 9:26 am #

    I hope people of Zimbabwe will be serious and follow what the constitution says.For starters Civil servants, Security services are supposed to their conduct business in a non-partisan fashion. It is in the constitution. What is going to happen to the Chiwengas, Zimondis and Chihuris who think they can be partisan and get away with it?

  3. Petembi May 23, 2013 at 9:41 am #

    Mazidofo. This constitution is not about individuals. Munofunga kuti munhu wese akavenga President RG sezvamunoita. Muchaneta nekumirira isu tichingofamba nebhora.

  4. felix mutambara May 23, 2013 at 9:52 am #

    amhlope manawevhu

  5. Man Gushaz May 23, 2013 at 9:53 am #

    We a government for the people not for the party. Thank you
    Amen

  6. Chinja 4life May 23, 2013 at 10:01 am #

    This is a win win situation for both sides. Those in favour of Bob and those who are against him. The biggest and the most important is his time as pressident has now beeb defined. he only has ten years more that is if he steals the elections for it is an open secret that on free and fair elections he doe not have a chance. Above all this there is now freedom of speech. So i can be able to tell him that he practised adultery with his former secretary who is now his wife. I can be able to hire the MEdical dectatives to investigate the death of Sally for I smell something fishy. I can call him what ever name i feel I want to call him without fear.

    • divadola May 23, 2013 at 11:06 am #

      So u think that’s what freedom of speech is. Saying whatever u like! You can only say what u know is true and u can prove it. If u cant prove it then u will be arrested for peddling lies – defamation of character!

    • reason May 23, 2013 at 11:41 am #

      chinja yu are a simpleton right from the hills. an idiot who does not know what freedom of expression is. what adultery, is it yr wife with whom the president slept? it shows how confused you are and the excitement you have will sink to zero with yr stupid antics coz they will lend you in trouble. stupidity is no excuse when the courts convict you of yr offences resulting from misguided and idiotic misinterpretation of the new constitution.

      • Chinja 4life May 23, 2013 at 10:57 pm #

        @reason ndiwe Saskam why are you defending the man, he stole somebody’s wife, slept with her at work , commited adultery. Do your mathematics mhani. When was her first child born? kana wairova mateachers nerekeni instead of learning haisi mhosva yangu ndeyako.Freedom of speech kawani. Nyika takatora constitution yakanyorwa nemaZimbo tavanayo chi chimwe chaugade futhi? Get away mhani Ndakunyara ndingadai ndaku kandira dhirihora

  7. Wht a great moment, thumbs up May 23, 2013 at 10:10 am #

    Zim shal prosper,

  8. ogpj May 23, 2013 at 10:36 am #

    The speech by HE showed that this man is full of wisdom he has got vision to see beyond the limits of the ordinary man. No country will ever be blessed with such a broad minded leader.

  9. Mutongi Gava May 23, 2013 at 10:40 am #

    Congratulations to all Zimbabweans for this historic amd momentous occassion, the way forward is to uphold the constitution with the weight it deserves, those who flout laws of the country beware, especially those who have developed a tendancy of disrepecting human life

  10. Kufandada May 23, 2013 at 10:50 am #

    Freedom of expression is important.Now all those who have been arrested for calling Mugabe a limping donkey should site the Bill of Rights in the Constitution.Iyi ndiyo inonzi freedom manje.Imagine nyaya muKombi.

    • divadola May 23, 2013 at 11:12 am #

      SHAME!!!! THERE ARE ALWAYS LIMITS TO WHAT U SAY.

  11. chirandu May 23, 2013 at 11:05 am #

    The president must act not saying public media has let the country down, the way they are attacking mdc t leader and his members leaves a lot to be desired. The way charambaa,jonathany and shaamhu are controlling public media should be stopped otherwise if left will create a revange situation before, during and after general elections, let us all preach peace and public media must cover all rallies for all political parties equally and call represantetives for live debates unbiased, Let us emulate the just ended Kenya elections, we need journalists to go into the streets and interview pple what they want for a free and fair elections. Not the drama we are currently experiencing under mucheteree, this guy has really destroyed zbc even jonathan’s era was better.

  12. Alie May 23, 2013 at 11:17 am #

    It great thing we expect out of this new constitution is that it must be upheld by everyone. I mean everyone including the securocrates and anyone breaking it must answer to the laws governing the land. The law must be seen to be working not in biased form. Freedom of speeche must be seen to be in force,no pity laws like undermining Pres,that we have seen pple being jailed.

  13. Soulman May 23, 2013 at 12:02 pm #

    Proff Mutambara is spot on. A good constitution is only useful if pple adhere to it. The prblm wth zim as Dr Makoni rightly puts it is not the constitution, the old consritution wasnt so bad. Its bad governance and misplaced priorities! It ddnt say tht police shld torture suspects in custody, it dznt say tht the public media shld promote zanu, it dznt say pple shld go scott free whn they loot our minerals bt these things hppn! Hpe our leaders follow our constitution

  14. mwanawekwachirumhanzu May 23, 2013 at 12:18 pm #

    AS THE CURRENT GENERATION,WE REALLY HAVE MADE OUR MARK IN ZIMBABWE. A CONSTITUTION FOR THE PEOPLE BY THE PEOPLE. WHAT IS LEFT IS THAT WE RESPECT AND UPHOLD THIS SUPREME LAW.

  15. General Mukuru May 23, 2013 at 1:04 pm #

    Time to dissolve the inclusive Government and get rid of Tswangirai and his dolls. Maybe we can let Biti stay till the elections.

  16. officer May 23, 2013 at 1:04 pm #

    iv

    hu takatora

    i

    ivhu takatora

  17. Mupfana May 23, 2013 at 1:11 pm #

    Ko zvawaimboti maElections by JUNE 29 wani?MaZanu munoshamisa zvikuru, you swallow propaganda hook,line and sinker semadhodhi enzou!

  18. simon May 23, 2013 at 1:30 pm #

    Zimbabweans should have the heart to stand up to politicians and call them to account without fear. It is our God given duty. It is for posterity; for the children who will come after us. Lets not just be cry babies. Lets stand up to our servants (they are not the masters even though they are leaders) to call them to serve. They only succeed to the level we assist, allow, or permit them.

  19. nesta May 23, 2013 at 4:43 pm #

    Dai wakazova mutemo pakutevera zviri mauri.

  20. Warl May 23, 2013 at 7:18 pm #

    Its a change to make all things new. New constitution, new president, new government, new service chiefs, new management at zesa/zbc/idc/nrz/zimra/airzim/csc/netone/zinara/arda/gmb/uz etc, new town clerks, new registrar general, that would be refreshing i guess. ZIMBABWEANS LET US ALL SEIZE THIS WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY AND MAKE A LOUD AND CLEAR STATEMENT TO OUR POLITICIANS IN THIS ELECTION THAT WE WANT REAL SERVICE DELIVERY AND ACCOUNTABILITY.

  21. T one May 23, 2013 at 7:24 pm #

    Chaiti chauya chikopokopo chichitenderera kuseni seni chichiumburudza mweya yegamba…hanzi vaMugabe vakanganisa ..haiwa havana kukanganisa..maiMujuru vakanganisa haiwa havana kukanganisa…Zanu yakanganisa haiwa haina kukanganisa…kuimba kwevazivi vehupenyu ngatibatanei munyika yedu tese tichengete runyararo sevana vezimbabwe pasina kupomerana tigotarisa mberi kwatirikunda

  22. Warl May 23, 2013 at 7:50 pm #

    Mugabe agona, there are just too many ppl who have nothing to offer on own except riding on his back. Now he is tired and now wants to rest but they can’t go it alone. President’s speech is a statement from a true and genuine statesman who has run his race and ready to pass on the button. I really wish him a peaceful and fulfilling retirement, he deserves that now that he has set the tone for a trully independent and new dispensation by signing a homegrown constitution into law. Doesn’t matter who is voted into ofc the corridors of power have been restructured.

  23. Diibulaanyika May 23, 2013 at 8:08 pm #

    now that we have a new constitution what is left is to get rid of the limping old donkies , sons of the migrants and a troop of idiots who destroyed our country.

  24. Warl May 23, 2013 at 8:41 pm #

    There is no need for certain ppl to threaten us with war unnecessarily. If chihuri and chiwenga are worried about the country going back into the hands and the british, they can simply resign from their jobs and contest freely for the presidency and defend the country coz its their constitutional right but whats unconstitutional is for them to use their offices to threaten the nation with war should mugabe loses to tsvangirai or anybody for that matter. The same applies to webster shamu who says the country can not be taken through the ballot and that mugabe can rule for life, coz that is unconstitutional. My point is at law anybody can be president for as long as they meet the criteria, so all these zealots must stop making silly pronouncements to us but should simply contest in an election, showcase what they can offer like morgan and mugabe and ppl choose and vote for their preferred candidate because thats what the constitution requires and does not limit the contest to mugabe and morgan alone. So service chiefs there you are mukana uripo kana musingazvigoni nyararai and confine yourselves to the barracks. .kikikk seka zvako mwana wevhu hokoyo nenhamo…

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