CONSTITUTIONAL and Parliamentary Affairs minister Eric Matinenga has revealed that any proposed amendments to such sensitive clauses as the Bill of Rights, agricultural land and presidential term limits would require a referendum once the new constitution becomes law.
Matinenga told NewsDay last week, parliamentarians would also be required to give a 90-day notice instead of the current 30 days to introduce a motion to amend the new constitution.
“If there is going to be any Bill to amend the constitution, it must be gazetted in not less than 90 days and any ordinary amendment will need two-thirds majority to be passed,” said Matinenga, adding that 144 MPs would constitute the requisite two-thirds majority.
“However, if it is a Bill seeking to amend the Bill of Rights and agricultural land and term limits, it will need a two-thirds majority and in addition that amendment should also be submitted to a referendum.”
Matinenga said the proposed new governance charter which now awaits Senate’s nod before it is signed into law by President Robert Mugabe was a mixed bag in as far as Presidential Powers were concerned.
“You will notice that to a large extent in some issues like the declaration of war and peace and dissolution of Parliament, the Executive will, in certain circumstances, report to Parliament and the Constitutional Court will have a say,” he said.
The minister said the issue of running mates and presidential term limits meant that the running mate should be prepared to take over as the term of the incumbent head of State draws to an end.
“What it means is that with a President going to be in power for a specific time of 10 years and no more. The issue of patronage falls away. Now the President has to appoint running mates and the issue of succession is also addressed as we now have a situation where before the term of office of President A ends, President B must take over,” he said.