By Nyashadzashe Ndoro | Nehanda Politics |
The MDC-T presidium comprising its president Douglas Mwonzora and his deputies, Thokozani Khupe and Elias Mudzuri conjoined with Zanu PF senators and chiefs to vote for the Constitutional Amendment number 1 Bill that intends to give President Emmerson Mnangagwa powers to appoint Judges without them going through public interviews.
During the vote on Tuesday, at least 70 senators voted for the passage of the Bill that seeks to give the President powers to appoint the Chief Justice, the Deputy Chief Justice and the Judge President without interviews.
Senators from both Zanu PF and MDC-T (Mwonzora, Mudzuri and Khupe) and traditional leaders led by Chiefs Council president Fortune Charumbira yesterday supported its passage in a show of unity.
Only one voted against it.
In an interview with Nehanda Radio, MDC-T Secretary For Legal Affairs Brian Dube said the MDC-T had nothing to do with the passage of the Bill because the leading party in the senate, Zanu PF had capacity to influence the outcome of the votes because when combined, their MPs were enough to make the two thirds needed to pass it.
“For the record, Constitutional Amendment number 1 Bill passed in the Senate because it got the 2/3 majority vote of more than 54 Senators.
“The Senate Chamber has 80 MPs broken down as follows:
Zanu PF 34
“Zanu PF needed to have 54 votes to pass the Amendment and got exactly that as 34 of their own, adding 18 Chiefs who always vote for Zanu PF, and 2 People With Disabilities who are appointed by Gvt who always vote for Zanu PF,” he said.
Dube added: “The passing of the Constitutional Amendment in the Senate has nothing to do with the MDC-T as they could not stop it numerically. If ever any other senator voted for the amendment, it could have been their personal persuasion as will always be the case in a democracy. MDC-T is a democratic party and always gives freedom to its members to be persuaded by their conscience and not coerced into making decisions against their will.
“The official position of the MDC-T as expressed by its President in his statements is clear and to the point that the MDC-T as the champion to the Constitutional making process which brought about the current Zimbabwe Constitution is that we are on principle against any form of constitutional amendment. Our position is that we are for constitutional alignment and believe the Constitution of Zimbabwe is adequate to address the safeguards required by the people of Zimbabwe.
“In my personal view, giving the President powers to appoint the Chief Justice, Deputy Chief Justice and Judge President without them going through public interviews is not good for Zimbabwe. This was the position before 2013, and the people of Zimbabwe through a referendum voted to change that and have public interviews. This was a clear expression of the desire to consolidate the independence of the judiciary. My opinion is that there is no justification for going back to pre-2013.
Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi praised the senators for uniting in the passage of the Bill.
“Madam President, I want to thank Hon. Senators for a joyous and historic moment where we showed that we can become a united House for a common purpose and move our country forward. I want to thank all the Senators for the maturity that has been exhibited in this House,” he said.