CHAOTIC scenes once again characterised the public hearing by the Parliamentary Portfolio on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs on the Constitution Amendment Bill (Number 1) held at Chinhoyi’s Cooksey Hall yesterday.
Source: More chaos rocks Chief Justice Bill hearings – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 25, 2017
BY NUNURAI JENA
The Bill seeks to effect changes to country’s supreme law and allow for the President to appoint the Chief Justice (CJ) without consultation against the current situation in which prospective candidates are subjected to public interviews.
There were angry interjections as residents with differing views tried to outdo each other amid accusations committee chairperson Ziyambi Ziyambi was failing to protect those opposed to the Bill.
Contributors in favour of the amendment, that has caused a furore, resorted to changing clothes in order to contribute more than once without being detected.
Ziyambi confirmed the Bill had met with mixed views.
“It is clear from our meetings tthat there are two strong views, one suggesting a change from the status quo, where candidates are subjected to an interview before three names are forwarded to the President, who will appoint one of them to be CJ,” he said.
While some contributors gave the Bill a seal of approval, others questioned the logic of amending the Constitution that is less than five years old and when over 300 laws are still to be aligned to the national governance charter.
A Chinhoyi resident, one Mutovido, said President Robert Mugabe was elected by the people, hence, it makes sense to empower him to appoint the CJ.
“The President is chosen by the people, so it makes sense if he appoints the CJ for the smooth running of government affairs,” Mutovido said.
Precious Zizhou agreed and was blunt that Mugabe should appoint a CJ “who listens to him.”
But Justin Munyaradzi offered a different view.
“What is the rush with this amendment? Who really is behind this amendment and for what reason when the Justice ministry is yet to align more than 300 laws to the new Constitution that is still a baby for amendment?” he said.
He was harangued, insulted and his pleas to chairperson Ziyambi for protection fell on deaf ears.
“Chairman, could I have some protection so I can contribute please? You are supposed to be in control of this process,” Munyaradzi pleaded.
Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku is due to retire at the end of the month after turning the mandatory 70 years of age and the hunt for his successor has divided Zanu PF.