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of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 18) Bill, 2007 [H.B. 7, 2007]
June 08, 2007
Constitution of Zimbabwe incorporating the 18th Amendment
the September 12th Amendments
to the Bill
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It has been
widely assumed that the Bill requires the holding of combined Presidential
and Parliamentary elections in March 2008 when President Mugabe’s
current six-year term of office would expire under the present law.
That is not so. In fact, the Bill could even extend his term of
office by up to two years, by allowing him to remain in office until
the five-year term of the present Parliament expires in mid-2010
- unless he chooses to dissolve Parliament before then.
of the Constitutional Amendment (No 18) Bill provides that an election
to the office of President must take place at the same time as a
general election of members of Parliament, but does not require
the holding of an early general election in 2008. Clause 2(2) of
the Bill states that amendments made by clause 2(1) apply to the
President in office on the date when Amendment 18 comes into effect,
notwithstanding the current section 29 of the Constitution, which
states that the presidential term is limited to six years [the President’s
current term will expire on 31st March 2008]. The effect of the
Amendment Bill is, therefore, that President Mugabe’s term
of office ends with the next general election, whenever that may
be. A general election must be held in mid-2010, when the current
Parliament’s five-year term will end, but will only be held
before then if the President chooses to bring one about by dissolving
Mugabe will not have to face the voters until 2010, unless he chooses
to dissolve Parliament before then. He has said he would do so in
March 2008, but this is a political decision not dictated by the
provisions of the Constitutional Amendment.
the 8th June, 2007
This Bill will
amend the Constitution in the following principal respects: firstly,
to shorten the term of the office of President and make it run concurrently
with that of Parliament; secondly, to change the composition of
the Senate and House of Assembly; thirdly, to provide for the appointment
of a Deputy Chief Justice; fourthly, to alter the title of the Commissioner
of Police and Ombudsman to those of the “Commissioner-General
of Police” and the “Public Protector” respectively;
and finally, to make provision for the establishment and functions
of an independent Human Rights Commission. The opportunity is also
taken to correct errors that have become apparent in the text of
the Constitution since the last amendment.
In more detail
the individual clauses of the Bill provide as follows:
This clause sets out the Bill’s short title.
2 and 3
These clauses seek to amend sections 28 and 29 of the Constitution
in order to achieve the objects outlined below.
is proposed to reduce the Presidential term of office from 6 years
to 5 years. The Presidential term is to run concurrently with the
term of Parliament, and may be shortened or extended accordingly
as the term of Parliament is shortened or extended in accordance
with section 63(2), (5) or (6) of the Constitution.
present,, in terms of section 28(3) of the Constitution, if a President
dies, resigns or is removed from office, an election must called
within 90 days. It is proposed that in the event of such a casual
vacancy in the office of the Presidency, the House of Assembly will
sit as an electoral college to elect a successor.
This clause corrects the proviso to section 31H(5) of the Constitution
(listing the circumstances under which the President must exercise
his powers on the advice of Cabinet), in particular paragraph (c1)
of that proviso (appointment of members of Parliament) by adding
an omitted cross-reference to the power to appoint senators.
This clause seems to amend section 31J of the Constitution
in order to make the House of Assembly alone responsible for voting
on motions of no confidence in the Government and r resolutions
in connection with public emergencies.
Presently, the Senate is composed of 66 Senators, of whom 50
are directly elected on a constituency basis. It is proposed to
increase the number of seats in the Senate to 84. In addition to
the 50 directly elected Senators and the President and the Deputy
President of the Council of Chiefs, the Senate will be made up of
the 10 Provincial Governors, 16 Chiefs and 6 Presidential appointees,
two of whom will represent Harare and Bulawayo provinces.
Presently, the House of Assembly is composed of 150 members,
of whom 120 are directly elected on a constituency basis, 10 are
Provincial Governors, 8 are Chiefs and 12 are Presidential appointees.
It is proposed to increase the number of seats in the House of Assembly
to 210, of whom 200 will be directly elected and 10 will be Presidential
8, 9 and 24
These clauses replace references to “Parliament”
by appropriate references to the “House of Assembly”
or “Senate and/or House of Assembly”.
This clause replaces section 60 of the Constitution that deals
with the delimitation of constituencies. The replacement is consequential
to the provision for the increase in the number of elected House
of Assembly seats from 120 to 200 contained in the amendment made
by clause 7, and the proposal to make the Delimitation Commission
responsible for determining the boundaries of the senatorial constituencies.
This clause amends section 61 (“Zimbabwe Electoral Commission”)
of the Constitution to the following effect: where the recommendation
of the Judicial Service Commission for the appointment of the chairperson
of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is not adopted by the President,
it is proposed that the President will cause the Senate to be informed
of this fact, and not both Houses of Parliament.
This clause replaces subsection (4) of section 63 of the Constitution
that deals with the prorogation or dissolution of Parliament. The
purpose of the amendment is to coordinate the beginning of the period
from which the life of Parliament runs with the commencement of
the period of the Presidential term (in other words, from the day
when the President takes the oaths of loyalty and office under the
new subsection (5) of section 28 of the Constitution).
13 and 23
These clauses replace references to the “Commissioner
of Police” by references to the “Commissioner-General
Where the recommendation of the Public Service Commission for
the appointment of a Secretary to Cabinet or a Ministry is not adopted
by the President, it is proposed that the President will cause the
Senate to be informed of this fact, and not both Houses of Parliament.
15, 17, 19 and 21
These clauses are consequential to the provision for the appointment
of Deputy Chief Justice contained in the amendments effected by
16 and 18
These clauses make provision for the separate appointment of
a Deputy Chief Justice, who will act as Chief Justice whenever the
office of Chief Justice is vacant or the Chief Justice is for any
reason unable to perform the functions of his or her office.
under clause 18, where the recommendation of the Judicial Service
Commission for the appointment of a Chief Justice, Deputy Chief
Justice or Judge President is not adopted by the President, it is
proposed that the President will cause the Senate to be informed
of this fact, and not both Houses of Parliament.
22, 26 and 28
These clauses make the necessary amendments to the Constitution
in order to change the title of the “Ombudsman” to the
more commonly comprehensible title of “Public Protector”.
The functions of this office will also need to be subordinated to
some extent to the functions of the proposed Zimbabwe Human Rights
Furthermore, under clause 28, where the recommendation of the Judicial
Service Commission for the appointment of a Public Protector or
Deputy Public Protector is not adopted by the President, it is proposed
that the President will cause the Senate to be informed of this
fact, and not both Houses of Parliament.
Pursuant to the United Nations General Assembly resolution
41/129 of the 4th December, 1986, which urged member States to set
up national human rights institutions, this clause seeks to establish
the Human Rights Commission, which will have the functions set out
in subsection (5) (a) to (f) of the new section 108B.
This clause eliminates the last outdated references to the
“common roll” of voters (since 1987 there has only been
a single roll of voters).
To amend the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
ENACTED by the President and
the Parliament of Zimbabwe.
1 Short title
and dates of commencement
This Act may be cited as the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment
(No. 18) Act, 2007.
the full document
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