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This article participates on the following special index pages:
Constitutional Amendment 18 of 2007 - Index of articles, opinion and anaylsis
of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 18) Bill, 2007 [H.B. 7, 2007]
the special index of articles, analysis and opinion on Constitutional
12th Amendments to the Bill
Constitution of Zimbabwe incorporating the original 18th Amendment
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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 harmonise the holding of local
authority elections with elections for the President and Parliament;
fourthly, to abolish the Delimitation Commission, the functions
of which are to be assumed by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission,
and which will also delimit local authority wards; fifthly, to provide
for the appointment of a Deputy Chief Justice; sixthly, 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
clauses seek to amend sections 28 and 29 of the Constitution in
order to achieve the objects outlined below.
Firstly, it 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.
Secondly, at 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 Senate
and the House of Assembly will jointly 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 or her 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 of senators.
This clause seek 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 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 93. In addition to
the 60 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 5 Presidential appointees.
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.
8, 9 and 26
These clauses replace references to “Parliament”
by appropriate references to the “House of Assembly”
or “Senate and/or House of Assembly”.
This clause amends section 58 of the Constitution in order
to provide that local authority elections will be held on the same
day or days as a general election of members of Parliament.
This clause repeals the sections in the Constitution concerned
with the Delimitation Commission, the functions of which will be
taken over by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.
This clause amends section 61 (“Zimbabwe Electoral Commission”)
of the Constitution as follows: (1) 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; and (2) the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission will have the additional functions of delimiting
constituency and local authority ward boundaries.
Consequent to the repeal of sections 59 and 60 of the Constitution,
this clause inserts a new section elaborating on the powers of the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to determine the boundaries of the
House of Assembly and senatorial constituencies and local authority
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, having won a Presidential election referred
to in section 28(3)(a) as amended by this Bill, takes the oaths
of loyalty and office under the new subsection (5) of section 28
of the Constitution).
15 and 25
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.
17, 19, 21 and 23
These clauses are consequential to the provision for the appointment
of Deputy Chief Justice contained in the amendments effected by
18 and 20
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 20, 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.
24, 28 and 30
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 30, 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.
This Act may be cited as the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment
(No. 18) Act, 2007.
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