Harare – The Zimbabwe Parliament has passed the Constitutional Amendment Bill No 2 after getting 192 votes against 22 opposing votes. The Bill now awaits ratification by the Senate, and a final assent by president Mnangagwa.

As the 2023 general elections draw close, this Bill, voted for by Zanu PF MPs, with the support of Douglas Mwonzora’s acquired MDC-T MPs effectively gives judicial and appointing powers of Vice Presidents to the President. Mwonzora acquired the MPs after Parliament accepted the expulsion of elected MDC Alliance MPs, and their replacements with MDC-T MPs on contested legal grounds. 

Clauses 2,3,4,5,6,7 and 8 of the Bill which dispense with the running mate concept of the Vice-Presidency will be replaced by giving authority to the president to choose his Vice- Presidents.

Clause 10 of the new Bill gives the president powers to appoint up to 7 (instead of 5) additional Ministers from outside Parliament. Clause 13 will allow the president, acting on recommendations of the Judicial Service Commission to appoint sitting judges to vacancies in the higher courts, without subjecting them to the public interview procedure.

Clause 14 of the new Bill will also allow judges of the Constitutional Court and Supreme Court to extend their tenure after reaching the age of 70 annually for up to 5 years, subject to a favorable medical report.

Since the ouster of Robert Mugabe from power on 17 November 2017, Zimbabwe’s National Constitution of 2013 has been amended several times. The 2013 Constitution was approved in the referendum of 16 March 2013, and the parliament approved it on 9 May 2013.