Source: VP unpacks Constitutional Bill | The Herald June 21, 2017
Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
The will of the people in Parliament and public interest in general is represented by the ruling party which commands the majority, Vice President Emerson Mnangagwa has said. He said opposition parties’ representative capacity was to the extent that they were in the minority. VP Mnangagwa said this in the National Assembly last night during the committee reading stage of the Constitutional Amendment Bill (Number One) that seeks to confer powers to the President to appoint Chief Justice, his deputy and High Court judge President.
During debate MDC-T led by Kuwadzana East legislator Advocate Nelson Chamisa (MDC-T) had accused Zanu-PF of usurping the people’s will by seeking to amend the Constitution barely four years after its adoption in a referendum. Adv Chamisa had argued that the amendments were not in the public interest.
“The will of the people in this chamber is represented by the ruling party. Who represent the public interest in this House? It is the ruling party. The public interest is expressed through the majority of the ruling party. It is an elementary jurisprudential point,” said VP Mnangagwa.
The MDC-T had also submitted that giving the President powers to make key appointments violated the doctrine of separation of powers of the arms of State.
In response, VP Mnangagwa said while the President was head of the Executive with Chief Justice and Speaker heading other arms of the State like the judiciary and legislature respectively, the President had an additional responsibility of heading the State. “We have three arms of the State, the judiciary, legislature and executive and you have another person who is the Head of the State. He is the head of the executive but plays another responsibility of heading all the three arms,” said VP Mnangagwa. He said the absence of the Attorney General in Parliament to follow the debate did not impinge his role as head of the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.