HARARE West legislator Jessie Majome (MDC-T) has challenged the legality of President Robert Mugabe assenting to the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment No 1 Bill, saying the voting process to pass the Bill in the National Assembly had alarming irregularities.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
In a letter to Parliament this week, Majome cited several irregularities during the counting of votes in the National Assembly to pass the Bill to amend the Constitution and set out how the Chief Justice, Deputy Chief Justice and Judge President of the High Court would be appointed.
She pointed out in the letter, gleaned by NewsDay, that the total affirmative votes counted on Tuesday July 25, 2017 to pass the Bill were insufficient by eight votes to yield the required 180 votes to make up the two-thirds majority votes to pass it.
“The irregularities I noted are that the total number of yeses (yes votes) are recorded as 182, yet they only tally to 181, and that there was double counting of an MP, Innocent Pedzisai (Chirumanzu, Zanu PF) as having voted yes, and this brings the total yeses to 180 instead of the 181 adjusted figure,” Majome’s letter read.
“There was ascribing of a yes vote to two Zanu PF MPs Davies Marapira (Masvingo North) and Chiratidzo Mabuwa (Mberengwa South) who were absent with leave, bringing the yes vote down to 178.”
Majome also pointed out in the letter that two MDC MPs Dorothy Ndlovu (Proportional Representation) and Brian Tshuma (Hwange Central) were ascribed the yes vote when they were absent from the House on voting day, further reducing the yes vote to a mere 176 votes, making it four votes shy of the required 180 votes.
“Zanu PF MPs who were not recorded as present on the day, Godfrey Beremauro (Hurungwe Central), Miriam Chikukwa (Proportional Representation), Makhosini Hlongwane (Mberengwa East), Patrick Dutiro (Guruve South), Simbanegavi Yeukai (Proportional Representation), and one vote from MDC MP Nomvula Mguni (Proportional Representation) brings down the yes tally to 171 votes.”
The MP cited another anomaly where a Zanu PF MP, Beauty Chabaya (Bikita West), was wrongfully recorded as having voted no to the Bill when she had voted yes, which would bring the number of affirmative votes for the Bill up to 172, which, however, still fell short by eight votes to make up the two-thirds majority of 180 votes.
“The above gross irregularities mortally impugn the integrity of the passage of a Bill, more so a constitutional amendment Bill. The long and short of these travesties is that Constitution Amendment No 1 Bill did not pass with the affirmative votes of two-thirds of the members of each House as required by section 328 (5) of the Constitution,” she said.
Majome said other irregularities were that the people’s views rejecting the Bill were not considered during its crafting.
She said it would not be constitutionally and legally possible for the Speaker to issue a certificate in terms of section 328 (10) of the Constitution which accompanies the Bill for assent by the President, adding it would, therefore, be unconstitutional for the President to sign the Bill.