Concerns As Constitutional Amendment Bill No 2 Sails Through Parliament

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HARARE – Opposition activists have expressed concerns after Constitutional Amendment Bill No 2 which will give more power on the President sailed through parliament yesterday.

It passed through Parliament in an overwhelming vote of 191 votes FOR and only 22 AGAINST.

The bill, if it sails through the next stage in the Senate then the President signs it into law will see more power concentrated on the President as it will remove the running mate clause of the 2013 Constitution with Vice Presidents being chosen at the President’s authority.

It will also give power to President Mnangagwa to appoint judges without subjecting them to public interviews and for judges from the Supreme and Constitutional Court to serve beyond the current age limit of 70.

MDC Alliance Vice President Tendai Biti said the amendments were aimed to extend Chief Justice Luke Malaba’s term while vowing to fight the amendment.

“Today the ZANU-PF with the support of its MDC surrogates passed viciously mutilated Constitutional Amendment No2 that seeks to extend Chief Justice Malaba s term. The Constitution is sacrosanct and should not be a tool for authoritarian consolidation. We will fight this abomination,” Biti tweeted after the vote.

Malaba’s term is set to end on the 15th of May when he turns 70 and without these amendments, he is not eligible for a contract extension.

Meanwhile, former MDC-T President Thokozani Khupe went against the party line and voted against the amendment bill signalling tension between her and the current party leader Douglas Mwonzora who won the leadership of the party after a widely disputed Congress in December.

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