Zanu PF secretary for legal affairs Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana has defended the Constitutional Amendment Bill number one that was recently passed by the Senate saying the ruling party was mandated to amend the constitution.
The Bill recently sailed through senate and now awaits President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s signature to become law.
The bill which seeks to give Mnangagwa unfettered power to appoint judges without exposing them to public interviews has received widespread condemnation mainly from the opposition MDC Alliance.
Speaking during a live programme with a local publication, Mangwana who was co-chair of the Constitutional Committee in 2013 said the Constitution remains a people’s document by virtue of the two thirds majority mandated to Zanu PF by the electorate.
“It is the people’s constitution people choose a leadership through a political process we call an election. When people gave Zanu PF a two thirds majority, they also in that process gave it the right to amend the constitution if it so desires on their behalf yes it is still a people’s constitution.
“You do not necessarily have to run a country through a referendum every time that is why we have various ways of changing. We agreed during the Constitution making process that if at any stage it becomes necessary to amend the Constitution the following processes should take place.
“So when we are simply doing an amendment to a provision of the Constitution you now need two thirds majority in Parliament to do so that is the process which is provided for by the Constitution. The Constitution is a living document it also allows amendment to itself through a particular process in this case through an amendment.” said Mangwana
Before the amendment, it stipulated that the Chief Justice, Deputy Chief Justice and judges should undergo public interviews before they are appointed to the bench.
In July 2017 the Bill sailed through the National Assembly, the then MDC Alliance legislator for Harare West, Jessie Majome, challenged its passage citing “gross irregularities” and that it was passed without the two-thirds majority votes as stipulated by section 328(5) of the Constitution.
Last week after all senators from Zanu-PF and the MDC-T, with the exception of Senator Morgen Komichi (Midlands), voted for its passage.