The Hon. Advocate J. F. Mudenda Speaker of Parliament
RE : UNCONSTITUTIONAL PASSAGE OF CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT BILL IN NATIONAL ASSEMBLY OWING TO GLARING IRREGULARITIES AND MISCOUNT OF THE VOTE
I write to bring to your attention for your action and response alarming irregularities I have identified in the counting of votes for and against Constitutional Amendment Bill No. 1 on Tuesday 25 July 2017 (Order Paper & Hansard Vol. 42, No. 79) in the National Assembly whose result is to yield a false two-thirds majority vote. These alarming fatal flaws are apparent even in the Hansard itself.
The irregularities I noted are in three respects:
1.The total number of yeses are recorded as 182, yet they only tally to 181.
2. Double counting of an Honourable MP i.e Hon. I Pedzisai as having voted yes. This brings the total yeses 10 180 instead of the 181 adjusted figure in point 1.
3. The ascribing of a yes vote to 2 Hon. MPs i.e. D. Marapira and C. Mabuwa who were absent with leave, bringing the yes vote down to 178
4. The ascribing of two MDC Hon. MPs i.e. D.M. Ndlovu and B. Tshuma to the ZANU PF yes vote when they neither voted yes and worse were absent from the House on the day. This renders the Yes vote a mere 176, four votes shy of the 180 votes required to pass it.
5. Ascribing 7 votes to the ZANU PF yes vote to MPs who were not recorded as present on the day i.e. Hon. MPs Beremauro G, Chikukwa M, Hlongwane M, Dutiro P, Simbanegavi Y, Ndlovu D”, Tshuma 13* (*votes have already been removed in Point 4) and 1 vote from the MDC i.e Hon Muguni N (Mguni N) This brings down the yes tally to 171.
6. The ascribing of a ZANU PF MP R. Chabaya to the MDC no vote which if we added it to the ZANU PF Yes tally, would yield 172 votes for yes, which would still be a 2/3 majority deficit of 8.
The above gross irregularities mortally impugn the integrity of the passage of a Bill, more so a constitutional amendment Bill. The long and short of these travesties is that Constitutional Amendment Bill No. 1 did not pass with the
‘the affirmative voles of two-thirds of the membership of each House’ required by Section 328(5) of the Constitution. This is apart from the other gross irregularities that occurred during its process not least of which was the failure by Parliament to at the very least consider the written submissions that are specifically required by section 328(4) the Constitution to be elicited from the public by your good office. Ass member of the portfolio committee that considered the Bill 1 can confirm, as 1 did in the House that I and fellow committee members did not ever have sight of the submissions despite repeated requests of them to be produced to the committee, neither were minutes of public hearings produced.
As it is our primary role as Parliament in terms of section 119 of the Constitution to fulfill our duty to 1) …protect (the) Constitution and promote democratic governance in Zimbabwe 2) …ensure that the provisions of (the) Constitution are upheld I write to your good office to seek your action and attention to this critical issue to ensure that Parliament leads in abiding by the Constitution in its own processes or else it undermines its own authority to ensure the same of others.
In my respectful view, in the light of the above stated fatal faults it should not be legally and constitutionally possible for you to issue, in terms of section 328(10) ‘a certificate _that its final vote in the National Assembly the Bill received the affirmative votes of at least two thirds of the membership of the Assembly’ that accompanies the Bill when it is presented to His Excellency the President for his assent. As such it would not be legally and constitutional for His Excellency to assent to a Bill with a false count of the votes for the Bill.
My respectful view is that the House will need to be recalled. stand guided by your good office and therefore look forward to your response as to what urgent measures you will take to will rescind the fatally flawed process of the purported passage of the Bill.
Fungayi Jessie Majome M.P. (Ms.) Member of the National Assembly, Harare West
c.c. The MDC T Whip Chief Hon. I. Gonese c.c. The ZANU PF Whip Chief Hon. L. Matuke c.c. The MDC Whip Chief Hon. J. Toffa
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