By Lloyd Takawira
The ZANU PF led government has remained defiant despite heavy criticism for tinkering with the constitution .
ZANU PF says it is going ahead to gazette the Constitution Amendment Bill which is going to pave way for the removal of the running mate clause and the restructuring of the supreme court .
The amendments include repealing the running mate clause, meaning Vice Presidents will no longer have powers of succeeding or taking over from the President.
Also, the Bill proposes that the Prosecutor-General be appointed by the President on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission without public interviews.
The tenures of the Constitutional Court and Supreme Court judges will also be extended after reaching the age of 70, for up to five years subject to a favourable medical report.
The changes also include clauses permitting the President to appoint at least two more non-constituency Cabinet ministers and also extending the women’s quota in Parliament by another two terms. The women’s quota was set to expire during the current Parliament.
In addition, the amendments will include a provision for the introduction of 10 extra seats in the National Assembly reserved for youths — one from each province.
Furthermore, the Bill seeks to terminate the joint election of the President and his deputies through removal of the “running mate” clause.
Joint election of the country’s top leadership was set to commence in 2023.
Parliament will soon initiate nationwide public hearings into the Bill to ensure inclusivity in the law-making process.
Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi said the Bill will now be tabled for debate in the National Assembly early April, at least 90 days after its gazetting.
“During this period, public consultations will commence with written submissions to the Clerk of Parliament, while relevant committees will conduct public hearings across the country and produce a report after the consultations,”said Minister Ziyambi.
“After that, the Bill is introduced in the House and given its first reading after which a committee report is tabled.
“After that second reading and winding up of debates, if issues arise after consultations we then go into the committee stage where if there is need, relevant amendments and changes are made.
The Bill will then go through the third House before the vote. A two thirds majority of the vote is required for the bill to pass. It is then sent to the Senate where similar procedures are done before it is sent to the President for assent.
“So the 90 day period will likely come around the end of March so we expect to introduce it in the House early April,” he said.