MDC-T challenges Amendment Bill (No1)

MDC-T MPs have filed a constitutional application seeking the nullification of Parliament proceedings that led to the passing of the Constitutional Amendment Bill (No.1), which gives the President sole powers, to appoint the Chief Justice, his deputy and the Judge President.

BY CHARLES LAITON

The lawmakers argue when the process was done, the National Assembly and Senate were not fully constituted.
The application was filed at the Constitutional Court yesterday by MDC-T chief whip, Innocent Gonese and Harare West MP Jessie Majome.

“Parliament failed to fulfil the constitutional obligation defined in section 328(5) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, which requires a Constitutional Bill to be passed by two-thirds of the membership of each House sitting separately, when it passed Constitutional Amendment Bill (No.1) of 2017 on July 25, 2017 and August 1, 2017 in the National Assembly and Senate respectively,” Gonese and Majome said in the draft order urging the court to rule in their favour.

The duo’s application comes barely a month after the National Assembly passed the Bill on July 25, which then sailed through the Senate on August 1.

In his founding affidavit, Gonese accused Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is cited as the fourth respondent in the application, of rigging an election in Parliament, which resulted in the passing of the Bill.

“The net result is that the fourth respondent, the minister of Justice (Mnangagwa), rigged an election in Parliament. This is why, contrary to the rules, the Speaker (Jacob Mudenda) did not allow the chief whips and the Sergeant-at-Arms, together with the tellers to move around to make the necessary verifications,” Gonese said, adding some MPs were recorded as being present during voting, when in fact they were out of the country.

He further said the common practice, where Parliament tellers would move around with the chief whips acting as election observers, for transparency’s sake, was disregarded in favour of counting of each party’s MPs’ sitting arrangement.

“That act alone could not be done purely on the basis of the ruling party whipping its members, more so when it was self-evident to everyone that there were divisions in the ruling party and a secret vote would allow members to express their feelings openly,” Gonese said.

“The regrettable position adopted by the Speaker was the assumption that those who sat on government benches were automatically voting yes to the motion. Those who sat on traditional opposition benches would oppose the motion.”

The MDC-T chief whip further said even some Zanu PF MPs, who were not in the House, were counted as being present and, as such, the whole process was marred by irregularities.

In the application, Parliament of Zimbabwe, Mudenda, Senate President Edna Madzongwe, Mnangagwa and Mugabe are cited as respondents.

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9 Comments

  1. What difference does it make? We are interested in bread and butter issues that benefit the generality of the population than the office of the chief justice.

    1. You are mad to think these appointments do not affect bread and butter issues.

    2. you are ill in the head,musoro wako unorwara.usangomhanye kunyora zvausinganzwisisi.

  2. It well and good Ms Majome and Mr Gonese to test our “democracy”. Are uou calling for another vote or what? It looks like a waste of time to me since Zanupf has the numbers that you don’t have. The best thing is for your party to work very hard to win the next election with a huge margin that will enable you to reverse the Zanupf ammendment.

  3. The Constitution being supreme should be followed to its letter and spirit. Don’t blame others for the mere reason of blaming. Democracy can only be judged by the social, moral, political and judicial processes. The Honourable MPs did what is best for Zimbabwe and not an individual person or party.

  4. The MPs are correct since the constitution is supreme law of the country, if procedure is ultra virus means the process is null an void. Thumps up CDEs democracy ndizvo.

  5. Muchuva Mutiusinazita

    If the Chief Justice is chosen by the President, then by virtue of being appointed he is already biased in favor of the president.

  6. @sickbob, please educate me how the choice of a chief justice will affect my life as you claim to be a lawyer. Most people dont even who was and is the chief justice and have never attended the supreme court and concourt..

  7. if all Judges copy what the Chief Justice of Kenya did,that is the integrity we wish. He called the just ended elections in Kenya as null and void, That one is a true man of God indeed. Shame on those who rig the voice of the people. I think he should come and preside over Zim Election next year.

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