JUSTICE Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi has dismissed as malicious, claims by opposition parties and civil society organisations that Zanu PF was planning to create a one-party state in Zimbabwe.
The charges follow the signing into law of the Second Amendment Bill by President Emmerson Mnangagwa last Friday.
Ziyambi, who is also the Zanu PF Mashonaland West provincial chairperson, told the media at the weekend that Zimbabwe’s democratic systems remained strong unlike what critics sought to make it appear.
“Our system is a democratic one which doesn’t give one person the power to choose who must lead the country next, like what they (critics) want it to appear,” he said.
The new changes in the Constitution include the removal of the presidential powers and the age limit for local judges.
“They (critics) want the president to pick his vice president and then that person succeeds if anything happens. What they want is not practiced in many countries. The majority of the world’s democracies do not have running mates.
“We are, therefore, not solving our succession issues because in Zanu PF, that is dealt with within our party when we hold our congress. Congress chooses who leads the party and it’s congress that then says our candidate for this particular election is so and so.”
Ziyambi told Zanu PF opponents not to speak on behalf of the ruling party because they were not part of them.
“They (critics) are not in Zanu PF to speak for the ruling party. Zanu PF is very clear about how it deals with its succession issues. We are not giving the president more powers than he already has. Why were they (critics) not complaining about the presidential powers from 2013 up to now? We are simply maintaining the status quo.”
Turning to the extension of the age limit for judges, the Justice Minister said the amendment made had nothing to do with turning the country into a one-party state.
“There is no provision in the Constitution that requires a referendum to extend the term limits of judges. In fact, the provision in the Constitution that talks of term limits says the incumbent will not benefit…it doesn’t mean you go to a referendum,” he added.
“The only judges with term limits are Constitutional Court judges and we never tampered with that. All other judges retire at 70 and we are merely increasing the retirement age and it remains one term. The amendments have nothing to do with the politics of turning the country into a one-party state.
“What we did is to maintain the status quo where the president appoints his deputies and I don’t see how the raising of a judge’s retirement age and extension of the women’s quota will turn the country into a one-party state. There is no correlation in all this whatsoever.” – Newzim