Harare(New Ziana) – Cabinet on Tuesday approved several amendments to the Zimbabwean constitution as part of efforts to further refine the supreme law which was adopted in 2013.
One of the significant changes agreed to by Cabinet include repealing the running mate clause contained under section 92 which stipulated that Vice Presidents were to be elected jointly with the President in a Presidential election.
Under the new amendment, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said, the President will appoint his two deputies after assuming office.
“Some of the salient amendments to be effected will include the provision under section 94 of subsection 2 to allow the President elect as soon as he assumes office to appoint two persons to be Vice Presidents who shall take their oath of office before a Chief Justice or the next senior judge available as set out in the third schedule,” she said in a post Cabinet briefing.
Section 95 which deals with terms of office of the President and Vice Presidents is also being amended.
“Setting out in section 95 the conditions under which a Vice President will vacate office which include resignation, removal by the President, serious misconduct, failure to uphold the constitution or inability to perform the functions of the office due to physical or mental incapacity.”
Previously, section 95 of the Constitution did not specify how and why a Vice President could be removed from office only stating under sections 95 subsection 2(a) that the term of office of the Vice President extends until “he or she resigns or is removed from office.”
Mutsvangwa said Cabinet also agreed to amend section 268 by barring Members of Parliament and Senators from sitting on provincial councils because they have oversight mandate over provincial councils.
Section 180 will also be amended to allow the President upon recommendation by the Judicial Services Commission to appoint a sitting judge to be judge of a higher court wherever a vacancy in such a court arises without the need for interviews.
“(Cabinet also agreed) the appointment of judges of the Constitutional Court for a non renewable term of not more than 15 years who may also be appointed as judges of the Supreme Court of High Court if they are eligible for such appointment, after completion of their term. That the retirement age for judges of the High Court, Labour Court and any other judges will be seventy years.
“That the Chief Justice, the Deputy Chief Justice and judges of the Supreme and Constitutional courts will hold office until they reach the age of 70 years and thereafter may have their contracts renewed annually upon production of a medical fitness certificate for a period not exceeding five years,” she said.
The amendments will also empower the President to appoint the Prosecutor General only after consultations with the Judicial Services Commission instead of holding public interviews for the post.
A new section will also be inserted into the Constitution.
“Insertion of a new section in the constitution after section 204 to include the appointment of the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet and his or her deputies by the President in consultation with the Civil Service Commission whose terms and conditions of service shall be fixed by the President,” she said.
Another amendment agreed to included the repeal of the provision under section 161 which mandated that delimitation of electoral boundaries should be done once every ten years after a population census.
Meanwhile, Mutsvangwa said Cabinet also received and noted progress made in the implementation of various projects under the third 100 day cycle.
The 100-day cycle approach was adopted by government in 2017 to ensure speedy implementation of priority projects under various line Ministries.
She said during the period under review, a total of 98 projects were implemented by 19 ministries while projects which were not completed would be rolled over to the next cycle.
Some of the projects that were completed under infrastructure and utilities pillar included the installation of 6 384 prepaid electricity metres countrywide, the electrification of 42 institutions including schools and clinics in the rural provinces.
Under the social development pillar, a total of 453 metric tonnes of maize, 5 tonnes of beans, 23 tonnes of cow peas and 1.9 tonnes of sorghum were harvested at Prisons and Correctional Services farms countrywide meaning that the country’s prisons were food self-sufficient.
“On the other hand) a total of 403 756 schoolchildren were assisted under Basic Education Assistance Module,” she said.
On the legal front, seven high profile corruption cases and eight minor corruption cases were identified.
“Despite delays emanating from referrals to superior courts, finalisation of the cases is being taken seriously,” she said.