GOVERNMENT’s attempts to amend the Constitution through Constitutional Amendment (Number 1) Bill to enable the President to appoint a new Chief Justice (CJ), faced another setback, with residents in most parts of the country, rejecting the move, saying it is too early to tamper with the governance charter adopted in 2013.
Source: Residents reject amendment Bill – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 21, 2017
BY Stephen Chadenga/TATENDA CHITAGU
The Ziyambi-led Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice is currently conducting public hearings, where the general sentiment is that the proposed Bill would compromise the principle of separation of power, as it seeks to give President Robert Mugabe excessive power over the judiciary.
The proposals are being pushed by Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa and to date, the committee has held meetings in Harare, Gweru and Masvingo.
In Masvingo province, despite being Mnangagwa’s perceived stronghold in Zanu PF, there were no takers for his sponsored Constitution Amendment (number 1) Bill, with participants from across the political divide, unanimously rejecting the Bill for various reasons.
A Gweru resident, Cleopas Shiri, yesterday said the government’s rush to amend the Constitution, which has not yet been fully implemented raised a stink.
“The doctrine of separation of powers should be adhered to and the executive arm of the government should never be allowed to interfere with appoint of the judiciary. In any case, it is disheartening that efforts are being made to amend a Constitution that has not been fully implemented and where alignment of acts of law has not been done,” he said.
Another contributor, Doubt Ncube said the Executive should not be allowed to usurp the powers of other arms of government.
Terence Mlambo said the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) should be given the sole mandate to appoint top judicial officers through public interviews, as provided for in the Constitution.
Pastor Karima said: “Let the Constitution, which is barely three years, work first. What are the fears now that you rush to make amendments? Have people from the JSC failed to do their work?”
Amendments to section 180 of the Constitution would allow Mugabe, in consultation with JSC, to appoint the CJ, Deputy Chief Justice and the Judge President of the High Court.