Zimbabwe's Parliament passes bill, giving sweeping powers to President
Zimbabwe's Parliament has passed a bill amending the constitution to give the President sweeping powers to appoint the country's top judges without consulting any other institution.
Zimbabwe's Parliament on 25 July 2017 passed a bill amending the constitution to give the President sweeping powers to appoint the country's top judges without consulting any other institution.
If passed into law, the bill will give the country’s President Robert Mugabe the sole responsibility to appoint the chief justice and their deputy.
• The country’s ruling party, the Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU–PF) led by President Mugabe enjoys a majority in the 270-seat legislature.
• The vote saw a total of 182 lawmakers voting in favour of the amendment to the Constitution.
• Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who heads Zimbabwe's Parliament, also supported the adoption of the bill.
• The Constitution was adopted in a 2013 referendum after being put together by the ruling and opposition parties under a power-sharing government.
• Under it, the President could only appoint a chief justice from individuals recommended by the judicial services commission and after public interviews of the candidates.
While addressing the lawmakers after the law change was announced, Mnangagwa said, “This is what democracy is all about, where those who disagree are given the opportunity to air their views.”
The opposition and civil society had, however, aired their concern that the amendment to the Constitution would compromise and weaken the judiciary.