‘No constitutional crisis in Zimbabwe’ – Parliamentary Committee Chair

Jonathan Samkange

PARLIAMENTARY Legal Committee (PLC) chairperson Mr Jonathan Samkange says there is no constitutional crisis in the country and recent developments reflect the proper functioning of the judiciary.

A crisis, Mr Samkange said, would have been there if the arms of the state including the judiciary and the legislature were fighting each other.

The High Court recently nullified the extension of Chief Justice Luke Malaba’s tenure which was however, challenged by Government prompting some sections of the legal fraternity and the media to wrongly claim a constitutional crisis in the country.

In an interview on the sidelines of a refresher workshop for members of the PLC here at the weekend, Mr Samkange said what was happening was that the judiciary was assisting in the democratisation process.

“There is absolutely no crisis and I would say the crisis is in the minds of those people who feel they have not achieved what they intended to achieve,” said Mr Samkange.

“A crisis would have been a situation where the judiciary is fighting the legislature and also Parliament on the other hand fighting the judiciary which, is not the case. What we see is the judiciary assisting in a democratic process.”

The situation, he said, would then be corrected by the executive.

Differences in interpretation of provisions of the Constitution, said Mr Samkange, did not translate into a constitutional crisis.

“Courts are made of human beings and that is why you have magistrates, High, Supreme and Constitutional courts as an acknowledgement that mistakes can be made and that someone may be aggrieved and needs recourse through an appeal,” he said.

Criminal cases can go all the way to the President through appeal for clemency and during the colonial era, people could go as far as the House of Lords for appeal citing the Madzimbamuto case.

The workshop sought to sharpen the skills of the PLC which comprises legal minds on the skills of drafting, definition of various clauses, the purpose of a bill and statutory instruments and how they can be thoroughly scrutinised.

Mr Samkange said the PLC was the ears and eyes of Parliament when it comes to analysis and scrutiny of bills and Statutory Instruments. – Herald

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