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Constitution gets Senate thumbs up

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THE Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment 20 Bill yesterday passed through Senate with the President of the Senate Edna Madzongwe announcing that all the 75 senators present had voted affirmatively for its passage.

REPORT BY VENERANDA LANGA

Today, the constitution Bill returns to the House of Assembly and needs a two-thirds majority (144 MPs) to pass it after two more amendments were introduced during the Committee Reading Stage at Senate by Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs minister Eric Matinenga.

In his Second Reading speech of the Bill, Matinenga said the new Constitution would introduce a new dispensation and transparency, for example, on the issue of appointment of judges.

“What is important is that appointment of judges will now be done in an open and transparent manner,” said Matinenga.

“Never again should the people of Zimbabwe feel there was selective persecution by the Attorney-General’s Office as the new charter has dealt with those issues,” he said. Zanu PF National Chairman Simon Khaya Moyo said the new constitution was “homegrown and smells of no external ingredients”.

“The voice of the people is the voice of God and who can then challenge God. The people have spoken. The Lancaster House Constitution which had been the supreme law for 33 years was a compromised document and it is now destined for burial and there will be no mourning period for it,” he said. Legal Affairs Secretary in the MDC David Coltart said his cautionary remarks were that never should Zimbabweans allow unfettered power to an individual.

“Separation of powers in this Constitution is important because constitutions are designed for the future. Devolution of power is also an important feature because some areas in the South Western parts of our country had been underdeveloped and devolution brings about equity,” he said.

Coltart said precautions that have to be taken were to ensure the sizes of bodies created were not too big for the fiscus.

“We need to ensure we do not make devolution of power so expensive to undermine the ideals behind it,” he said.

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