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105- CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT BILL NUMBER 19
CONSTITUTION OF ZIMBABWE AMENDMENT (NO. 19) BILL, 2008
This Bill will amend the Constitution in the following principal respects: firstly, to substitute the Chapter on Citizenship by another Chapter making more comprehensive provision on the same topic; secondly, to make specific provision for the appointment and functions of the committee of Parliament known as the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders; thirdly, to provide that the appointment by the President of the chairperson of Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, and of the members of the Anti-Corruption Commission, must be done in consultation with the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders; fourthly to provide for the appointment and functions of a Zimbabwe Media Commission; and finally to make certain transitional amendments pursuant to the agreement between the Presidents of the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) and the two formations of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), on resolving the challenges facing Zimbabwe, which was signed at Harare on the 15th September, 2008 (referred to in this Memorandum and Bill as the “Interparty Political Agreement”).
In more detail the individual clauses of the Bill provide as follows:
This clause sets out the Bill’s short title.
This clause defines a couple of terms for the purpose of this Bill.
This clause seeks to substitute Chapter II of the Constitution (“Citizenship”) by another
Chapter making more comprehensive provision on the topic of citizenship.
The new subsection which this clause will insert in section 18 of the Constitution will require
public officers to observe the law and to uphold the rule of law. It will give effect to articles 11
and 13(2)(b) of the interparty agreement.
This clause will insert a new section 23A into the Declaration of Rights giving citizens the
right to free, fair and regular elections and referendums, as well as the right to vote and to stand
for elective office. The new section will reinforce the interparty agreement by creating a culture
of political participation which allow the new democratic constitution to be properly debated.
This clause seeks to correct the omission of the Vice-Presidents implied by the phrase
“Minister of the Cabinet” presently found in section 31G of the Constitution.
This clause seeks to correct certain cross-references contained in section 41 of the Constitution
(which previously cross-referred to members of the House of Assembly only) so as to make clear,
for instance, that the “anti-defection” provisions of section 41(1)(e) apply to elected Senators as
well as members of the House of Assembly.
This clause seeks to omit from section 57(2) of the Constitution the incidental reference to the
Committee on Standing Rules and Orders, for which fuller provision is to be made under Clause
This clause seeks to include a new section in the Constitution that makes specific provision for
the appointment and functions of the committee of Parliament known as the Committee on
Standing Rules and Orders. However, for the period during which the Interparty Political
Agreement subsists, the composition of this Committee will be as specified under subclause (2)
of this clause.
This clause seeks to substitute subsection (1) of section 109 of the Constitution, which deals
with constitutional Commissions, by a provision strengthening the independence of those
This clause gathers in one Chapter all provisions relating to constitutional Commissions other
than those Commissions concerned with the disciplined forces. Of special note is the following:
The appointment by the President of the chairperson of Zimbabwe Electoral Commission must
be done in consultation with the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders. Other amendments
will fix that the term of office of members of the Commission at six years (renewable for one
more consecutive term) and specify in broad terms the qualifications of members of the
The appointment by the President of the members of the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption
Commission must be done in consultation with the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders.
There will be appointed a new constitutional commission to be called the Zimbabwe Media
This clause seeks to amend the interpretation section of the Constitution by revising the
definition of “Committee on Standing Rules and Orders” in conformity with the amendment
made under clause 6.
Clauses 14 and 15
These clauses will insert a new section and three more Schedules in the Constitution providing
(in Schedule 8) for certain transitional amendments in connection with the new (but possibly
temporary) office of Prime Minister and other matters pursuant to the Interparty Political
Agreement, the political neutrality of traditional leaders (Schedule 9) and the constitution-making
process (Schedule 10). The Interparty Political Agreement itself is set for public information in
Schedule 11. Since it is proposed to hold a referendum on a new Constitution within two years,
this office may fall away or be retained, depending on the outcome of the referendum. If the
referendum rejects the new Constitution, or the Interparty Political Agreement is for any reason
terminated, the Constitution will continue in force as if not amended by the Schedule 8.
1st Draft: 17th November, 2008
2nd Draft: 26th November, 2008
3rd Draft: 27 November, 2008
To amend the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
ENACTED by the President and the Parliament of Zimbabwe.
1 Short title
This Act may be cited as the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 19) Act, 2008.
In this Act
“fixed date” means the date of commencement of this Act.
3 New Chapter substituted for Chapter II of Constitution
Chapter II of the Constitution is repealed and the following is substituted
4 Zimbabwean citizenship
(1) There is a common Zimbabwean citizenship and all citizens are equal, that is to say
citizens are entitled, subject to this Constitution, to the rights, privileges and benefits of
citizenship and are subject to the duties and obligations of citizenship.
(2) It is the duty of every Zimbabwean citizen
(a) to observe this Constitution and to respect its ideals and institutions; and
(b) to respect the national flag and the national anthem; and
(c) to the best of his or her ability, to defend Zimbabwe in time of need.
(3) Every Zimbabwean citizen is entitled to the protection of the State wherever he or
she may be.
(4) Zimbabwean citizenship may be acquired by birth, descent or registration.
5 Citizenship by birth
(1) Everyone born in Zimbabwe is a Zimbabwean citizen by birth if, when he or she
(a) either of his or her parents was a Zimbabwean citizen; or
(b) either of his or her grandparents was a Zimbabwean citizen by birth or descent.
(2) Anyone born outside Zimbabwe is a Zimbabwean citizen by birth if, when he or she
was born, either of his or her parents was a Zimbabwean citizen and was
(a) ordinarily resident in Zimbabwe; or
(b) working outside Zimbabwe for the State or an international organisation.
6 Citizenship by descent
(1) Anyone born outside Zimbabwe is a Zimbabwean citizen by descent if, when he or
she was born
(a) either of his or her parents or grandparents was a Zimbabwean citizen by birth or
(b) either of his or her parents was a Zimbabwean citizen by registration;
and the birth is registered in Zimbabwe in accordance with the law relating to the registration
(2) This section does not affect a person’s right to citizenship by birth under section 5.
7 Citizenship by registration
(1) Anyone who has been voluntarily and ordinarily resident in Zimbabwe for at least
ten years, or for a shorter period fixed in an Act of Parliament, may apply to become a
Zimbabwean citizen by registration.
(2) If a Zimbabwean citizen legally adopts someone who is not a Zimbabwean citizen,
the adopted person becomes a Zimbabwean on the date of the adoption order and must be
regarded as a citizen by registration.
(3) A minor child of a person who has become a Zimbabwean citizen by registration is
entitled, on application, to become a Zimbabwean citizen by registration.
(4) A person who is married to a Zimbabwean citizen and who has been ordinarily
resident in Zimbabwe for at least five years since the marriage is entitled, on application, to
become a Zimbabwean citizen by registration.
(5) An Act of Parliament may provide for
(a) the acquisition of citizenship by registration by persons other than those
mentioned in subsections (1), (2), (3) and (4); and
(b) the procedure for acquiring citizenship by registration.
8 Citizenship and Immigration Board
An Act of Parliament must provide for the establishment of a Citizenship and
Immigration Board consisting of a chairperson and at least two other members, appointed by
the President, to be responsible for
(a) granting and revoking citizenship by registration;
(b) permitting persons, other than citizens, to reside and work in Zimbabwe, and
fixing the terms and conditions under which they may so reside and work;
(c) exercising any other functions that may be conferred or imposed on the Board by
or under an Act of Parliament.
9 Powers of Parliament in relation to citizenship
An Act of Parliament may provide for
(a) the prohibition of dual citizenship;
(b) procedures for the renunciation of citizenship;
(c) the circumstances in which persons qualify for or lose their citizenship by
descent or registration; and
(d) any other matters regarding citizenship.
10 Interpretation and supplementary provisions regarding citizenship
(1) A reference in this Chapter to the citizenship of a person’s parent or grandparent at
the time of the person’s birth must be construed, in relation to a person born after the death
of the parent or grandparent, as a reference to the citizenship of the parent or grandparent
when he or she died.
(2) Where a person became a citizen of Zimbabwe by virtue of his or her marriage to a
citizen, the person remains a citizen of Zimbabwe even if the marriage is subsequently
annulled or dissolved.
4 Amendment of section 18 of Constitution
Section 18 (“Provisions to ensure protection of law”) of the Constitution is amended by the
insertion after subsection (1) of the following subsection
“(1a) Every public officer has a duty towards every person in Zimbabwe to exercise his
or her functions as a public officer in accordance with the law and to observe and uphold the
rule of law.”.
5 New section inserted in Constitution after section 23
The Constitution is amended by the insertion after section 23 of the following section
“23A Political rights
(1) Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, every Zimbabwean citizen shall have
the right to
(a) free, fair and regular elections for any legislative body, including a local
authority, established under this Constitution or any Act of Parliament;
(b) free, fair and regular elections to the office of President and to any other elective
(c) Free and fair referendums whenever they are called in terms of this Constitution
or an Act of Parliament.
(2) Subject to this Constitution, every adult Zimbabwean citizen shall have the
(a) to vote in referendums and elections for any legislative body established under
this Constitution, and to do so in secret; and
(b) to stand for public office and, if elected, to hold office.”.
6 Amendment of section 31G of Constitution
Section 31G (“Cabinet”) of the Constitution is amended by the repeal of subsection (3) and
the substitution of
“(3) Every member of the Cabinet, other than the President shall, before entering upon
his or her office as such, take and subscribe before the President or some other person
authorised by the President in that behalf, the oath of a member of the Cabinet in the form
set out in Schedule 1.”.
7 Amendment of section 41 of Constitution
Section 41 (“Tenure of seats of members”) of the Constitution is amended
(a) in subsection (1)
(i) in paragraph (e)
A. by the deletion of “section 38(1)(a)” and the substitution of “section 34(1)
(a) or 38(1)”;
B. by the deletion of “the Speaker” and the substitution of “the President of
the Senate or the Speaker, as the case may be”;
(ii) in paragraph (h) by the deletion of “section 38(1)(a)” and the substitution of
“section 34(1)(a) or 38(1)”
(iii) by repeal of paragraph (i) and the substitution of
“(i) if, being a member referred to in section 34(1)(b), he ceases to hold office
as Provincial Governor;”;
(b) in subsection (2) by the repeal of paragraph (a) and the substitution of
“(a) being a Vice-President, the Prime Minister, a Deputy Prime Minister, a Minister,
a Deputy Prime Minister or Provincial Governor;”;
8 Amendment of section 57 of Constitution
Section 57 (“Standing Orders”) of the Constitution is amended by the repeal of subsection (2)
and the substitution of
“(2) There is, for the life of Parliament, a Committee to be known as the Committee on
Standing Rules and Orders consisting of
(a) the Speaker; and
(b) the President of the Senate; and
(c) the Deputy Speaker; and
(d) the Deputy President of the Senate; and
(e) members appointed by the Speaker and the President of the Senate from their
respective Houses of Parliament which shall include the Leader of Government
Business, the Leader of the Opposition and the Chief Whips; and
(f) members elected by each of the Houses of Parliament.
(3) With respect to the number of members of the Committee on Standing Rules and
Orders from either House of Parliament, the number of members elected in terms of
subsection (2)(f) is to be greater than that of members appointed in terms of subsection (2)
(4) The election of members of the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders is to be
based on the political and gender composition of the Parliament and is to be conducted as
soon as possible after the commencement of each session.
(5) The Speaker is the Chairperson of the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders
and the President of the Senate is to be its Deputy Chairperson.
(6) The procedure of the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders shall be as
prescribed in Standing Orders.
(7) A vacancy occurring in the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders is to be filled
in terms of the procedure applicable to the category of the position.
(8) The Committee on Standing Rules and Orders is responsible for
(a) supervising the administration of Parliament; and
(b) appointing the staff of Parliament and fixing their conditions of service; and
(c) considering and deciding all matters concerning Parliament; and
(d) performing such other functions as are provided for under the Constitution.
(9) An Act of Parliament or Standing Orders may confer further functions on the
Committee on Standing Rules and Orders.”.
9 Repeal of sections 61 and 61A of Constitution
Sections 61 and 61A of the Constitution are repealed.
10 Amendment of section 109 of Constitution
Section 109 (“General provisions as to Commissions, etc”) of the Constitution is amended by
the repeal of subsection (1) and the substitution of
“(1) Subject to this Constitution the Commissions
(a) are independent and are not subject to the direction or control of anyone; and
(b) must exercise their functions without fear, favour or prejudice.”.
11 New Chapter inserted in Constitution
The Constitution is amended by the insertion of the following Chapter after Chapter XA
OTHER INDEPENDENT COMMISSIONS
ZIMBABWE ELECTORAL COMMISSION
100B Establishment and composition of Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
(1) There is a Zimbabwe Electoral Commission consisting of
(a) a chairperson appointed by the President after consultation with the Judicial
Service Commission and the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders; and
(b) eight other members appointed by the President from a list of not fewer than
twelve nominees submitted by the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders.
(2) The chairperson of the Zimbabwean Electoral Commission must be a judge or
former judge of the Supreme Court or the High Court, or a person qualified for appointment
as such a judge.
(3) At least four members of the Zimbabwean Electoral Commission, apart from the
chairperson, must be women.
(4) Persons appointed to the Zimbabwean Electoral Commission must be chosen for
their integrity and their experience and competence in the conduct of affairs in the public or
(5) Members of the Zimbabwean Electoral Commission must be appointed for a term
of six years, and their appointment may be renewed for one further term only.
100C Functions and powers of Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
(1) The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has the following functions
(a) to prepare for, conduct and supervise
(i) elections to the office of President and to Parliament; and
(ii) elections to the governing bodies of local authorities; and
and to ensure that those elections and referendums are conducted efficiently,
freely, fairly, transparently and in accordance with the law;
(b) to supervise the registration of voters by the authority charged with that
responsibility under the Electoral Law; and
(c) to compile voters’ rolls and registers; and
(d) to ensure the proper custody and maintenance of voters’ rolls and registers; and
(e) to design, print and distribute ballot papers, approve the form of and procure
ballot boxes, and establish and operate polling centres; and
(f) to determine, subject to section 100J, limits of boundaries of local authority
wards, House of Assembly constituencies and Senatorial constituencies; and
(g) to conduct voter education; and
(h) to accredit observers of elections and referendums in accordance with an Act of
(i) to give instructions to persons in the employment of the State or of a local
authority for the purpose of ensuring the efficient, proper, free and fair conduct
of any election or referendum; and
(j) to exercise any other functions that may be conferred or imposed on the
Commission by the Electoral Law or any other law.
100D Disqualification for appointment to Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
A person who is
(a) a Member of Parliament; or
(b) a public officer, other than a judge; or
(c) a member or employee of a statutory body, a Provincial council or a local
is not qualified for appointment to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.
100E Members of Zimbabwe Electoral Commission not to be members of political
(1) Persons who are members of a political party on their appointment to the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission must relinquish that membership without delay and in any event
within fourteen days of their appointment.