VICE President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said there is nothing sinister about the President choosing the country’s Chief Justice as this is standard practice the world over, including in countries such as the United States.
VP Mnangagwa, who also oversees the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, recently moved the Constitutional Amendment Bill (Number One) that allows the President to choose the country’s Chief Justice in consultation with the Judicial Service Commission.
The Bill is now waiting to go through Senate before being assented to by President Mugabe.
Speaking in Chiredzi on Thursday during an advocacy meeting to explain provisions of the new Constitution, VP Mnangagwa defended the move to have the President appoint the Chief Justice.
He said the current method of choosing the Chief Justice was flawed.
”We cannot have a situation where teachers sit down and say among ourselves let us choose the headmaster,” said VP Mnangagwa.”Someone has to choose the headmaster.
Similarly, directors in the ministry (of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs) cannot be left to choose who should be the ministry’s permanent secretary, that is wrong.
“On top of having the right qualifications, integrity and probity, the Chief Justice must be appointed by the President, who is also the Head of State. Even (US President Mr Donald) Trump chose his own Chief Justice. That is the practice the world over, so we are saying the President must choose and that is what we are working on.”
The remarks by VP Mnangagwa followed heated debate in the National Assembly over the Bill that eventually passed after a vote in the House.
Opposition Members of Parliament were opposed to the Bill, but Zanu-PF prevailed after the party used its two thirds majority.
Legal experts have since hailed the passage of the Bill, saying the move to allow the President to appoint the Chief Justice was in line with international best practices.
VP Mnangagwa urged Zanu-PF to make sure it retained its two thirds majority in Parliament in next year’s elections like what was currently obtaining, saying the Bill would not have sailed through the Lower House without that majority.
”Lets make sure we retain that two thirds majority in next year’s elections; we are very confident, of course, that we will win because Zanu-PF has a traceable history of delivering to the people on the ground, while the opposition will be sleeping,” said the VP Mnangagwa.