Zimbabwe: Constitutional Amendment (No.1) Bill Sails Through Senate

President Emmerson Mnangagwa inspecting guard of honour (file photo).

President Emmerson Mnangagwa is set to sign Constitutional Amendment No. 1 Bill into an Act after it sailed through Senate on Tuesday by 70 votes to one.

The rescheduling of the vote follows the Constitutional Court application for an extension to regularise the Amendment after it was deemed to have been unconstitutionally passed in the Senate in 2017.

However, the Bill may face new challenges after it has become clear that the 9th Parliament cannot constitutionally pass a bill that lapsed at the end of the 8th parliament.

The case may come back to the courts if it finds some takers.

Former Harare West MP Jessie Majome, current Mutare Central legislator Innocent Gonese and others challenged the passing of the Bill and their arguments were upheld by the Constitutional Court.

MDC-T Senator Morgen Komichi voted against the Bill.

Leader of government in the Senate and Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi commended the senators for the vote for the Bill to sail through.

"Madam President, Senate "imba yevasharukwa inofanira kuratidza zvataurwa na Senator Chief Charumbira kuti kana wauya muno, kana wenga uchibhabhauka, unosvikodzikama," Ziyambi said.

Senate President Mabel Chinomona read the results of the vote,

"The results of the count is that 70 honourable Senators have voted in favour of the Third Reading of the Bill and one has voted against the Bill.

"The number of the affirmative votes recorded is not less than two-thirds of the total membership of the house.

"I therefore declare the final votes in the Senate on the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No.1.) Bill (H.B. 1A.2017) to have been in accordance with the provisions of Subsection (5) of Section 328 of the Constitution," Chinomona declared.

Chief Fortune Charumbira described the recent Senate debates on the draft law as "sweet".

"In the past three weeks, surely in the Senate during debates Madam President, we have a totally new political atmosphere. It does not matter whether it is Zanu PF or MDC-T debating; there is convergence.

"You listened to the two honourable Senators, honourable Senator Komichi and honourable Senator Chifamba, we will tell everyone that the nation is moving and we are united.

"We are listening to sweet debates. The acrimony which characterised previous politics is fading away and I want to thank honourable Senator Mwonzora's party for what it is doing, muvengi osvoda. Please keep that spirit," said Charumbira.

Both Senate and National Assembly has seen recalls of parliamentarians from MDC Alliance led by Nelson Chamisa.

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