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Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 17) Bill, 2005 - Notes on committee stage amendments
Veritas
August 28, 2005

Read the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 17) Bill, 2005 [H.B. 7, 2005] with Amendments

Amendments were made to the following provisions of the Bill during the Committee Stage—

  • clauses 2, 4, 10, 19, 21 and 22
  • First Schedule
  • Second Schedule

Clause 2
This clause deals with land acquisition. A new section 16B is inserted into the Constitution. The Committee Stage amendments fall into three groups—

  • correction of a cross-reference to section 5 of the Land Acquisition Act [Chapter 20:10] in section 16B(2)(a)(i) and (ii) (not a matter of substance)
  • the deletion of the words "the thirtieth day after" in the last three lines of section 16B(2)(a); the effect of this deletion is that land gazetted for acquisition after this Bill becomes law will vest in the State with effect from the date on which the land is gazetted (the original wording envisaged vesting thirty days after gazetting). An important change.
  • the creation, in respect of compulsory land acquisition, of a further exception to the Constitution's provision for protection of law. The original wording exempted the land acquisition process from only section 18(9) of the Constitution (right to a fair hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial court or other adjudicating authority established by law). The Committee Stage amendment adds an exemption from section 18(1) also; section 18(1) provides that "Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, every person is entitled to the protection of the law." The effect of this amendment is significantly to extend the Bill's derogations from the rule of law.

Clause 4
Clause 4 amends section 23 of the Constitution which prohibits discrimination on certain stated grounds. The original Bill provided for (1) the extension of the existing list of prohibited grounds of discrimination so as to include "physical disability" and (2) the express authorisation of laws providing for the implementation of affirmative action programmes for the protection or advancement of persons previously disadvantaged.

The Committee Stage amendments widen the scope of the clause by—

  • further extending the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination to include "sex" and "marital status". The complete list of prohibited grounds will now be race, tribe, place of origin, political opinions, colour, creed, sex, gender, marital status or physical disability.
  • inserting a new subsection (3a) into section 23 requiring the Government to treat men and woman on an equal basis in allocating or distributing land under programmes of land reform.

Clause 10
In its original form the Bill provided that Money Bills will not be submitted for scrutiny by the Parliamentary Legal Committee (PLC) (a change from the present situation, under which Money Bills are scrutinised by the Committee). The effect of the Committee Stage amendment is to maintain the present situation. Money Bills will, therefore, continue to be scrutinised by the Parliamentary Legal Committee for compatibility with the Declaration of Rights and the Constitution generally.

Clause 19
This clause provides for the insertion of new definitions into section 113 of the Constitution. Originally the new definitions included a definition of "Money Bill". That definition has now been omitted, having been rendered unnecessary by the changes to Clause 10. Clause 21 The clause provides for a new Schedule 4 to the Constitution, laying down the principles of Parliamentary procedure in the new bicameral Parliament. The Committee Stage amendment merely takes out obviously incorrect words which should not have been in the Bill in the first place. Not a matter of substance.

Clause 22

A minor, tidying-up of the heading of the new Schedule 7 to the Constitution (which lists agricultural land previously gazetted for compulsory acquisition). The heading is brought into line with the new section 16B(2)(a)(i). Not a matter of substance.

First Schedule

The First Schedule to the Bill contains minor consequential amendments to the Constitution, most of them consequential to major amendments made by preceding clauses, particularly the introduction of the Senate. This Committee Stage amendment attempts to clear up confusion in one of those minor amendments. Again, not a matter of substance.

Second Schedule

This Schedule contains special transitional provisions for the election and setting-up of the first Senate. This Committee Stage amendment attempts to correct inaccurate cross-references. Not a matter of substance.

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