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SENATE HANSARD 21 NOVEMBER 2017 VOL 27 NO 14

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PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Tuesday, 21st November, 2017

The Senate met at Half-past Two o’clock p.m.

PRAYERS

(THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE

MOTION ON THE REMOVAL OF PRESIDENT FROM OFFICE

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:

1.0    INTRODUCTION

Honourable Senators,

The Chair wishes to inform the House that today, 21st November, 2017, Presiding Officers received a notice of motion to remove the President from Office as prescribed in Section 97 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.  The mover of the motion is Hon. Senator Mutsvangwa, seconded by Hon Maridadi. In terms of both substantive and procedural compliance, I have found the motion to be admissible. As you may all be aware, this motion is unprecedented in the history of post-independent Zimbabwe. In this regard, therefore, and pursuant to the need to guide the proceedings accordingly, the Chair shall outline the fundamental Rules of Procedure that will be used in dealing with the motion.

2.0    REMOVAL OF THE PRESIDENT FROM OFFICE

The Constitution of Zimbabwe, as the supreme law of the Republic of Zimbabwe as enunciated in Section 2 of the same, provides as follows:

(1) This Constitution is the supreme law of Zimbabwe and any law, practice, custom or conduct inconsistent with it is invalid to the extent of the inconsistency.

(2) The obligations imposed by this Constitution are binding on every person, natural or juristic, including the State and all executive, legislative and judicial institutions and agencies of Government at every level, and must be fulfilled by them.

 

In view of the above, the Speaker and I have agreed that all processes shall be done in a manner which recognises the values of constitutional supremacy, legality and the rule of law. As such, the Chair shall proceed to outline what the law enumerates before outlining the Rules of Procedure for the Joint Sitting of the Senate and the National Assembly and the next series of Joint Sittings on the motion to remove the President from Office.

Section 97 of the Constitution highlights the linear process which must be followed in the removal of the President from Office. Under Section 97 of the Constitution, the process of removing the President from Office can be conveniently split into three distinct phases.

3.0    STAGE 1: ADOPTION OF THE MOTION STAGE TO REMOVE THE PRESDIENT FROM OFFICE

Section 97(1) of the Constitution provides that:

“The Senate and the National Assembly, by a joint resolution passed by at least one-half of their total membership may resolve that the question whether or not the President or a Vice-President should be removed from office for

(a) serious misconduct;

(b) failure to obey, uphold or defend this Constitution;

(c) wilful violation of this Constitution; or

(d) inability to perform the functions of the office because of physical or mental incapacity;

should be investigated in terms of this section”.

At this point, it is important to note that the afore-stated grounds of removal of the President from office can be singularly or severally/jointly pursued. In addition, at least 174 Members of Parliament of both Houses in the Joint Sitting of Parliament must vote in the affirmative to pass the motion to institute proceedings for the removal of the President from office.  Currently, the total Membership of Parliament is 347. The Senate has 78 Members, meaning there are two vacancies. The National Assembly has 269 Members, meaning there is one vacancy.

The calculation of a required threshold of numbers has been guided by Section 344 (4) of the Constitution which provides that Any reference to the total membership of Parliament is a reference to the total number of persons who for the time being are Members of Parliament”.

4.0    STAGE 2: APPOINTMENT OF A JOINT COMMITTEE TO INVESTIGATE THE CHARGES AGAINST THE PRESIDENT

In the event that the procedure outlined in Stage 1 has been satisfied and passed in the affirmative, the Committee of Standing Rules and Orders takes the process further. Section 97(2) of the Constitution provides that:

(2) Upon the passing of a resolution in terms of Subsection (1), the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders must appoint a joint committee of the Senate and the National Assembly consisting of nine members reflecting the political composition of Parliament, to investigate the removal from office of the President or Vice-President, as the case may be.

As outlined in Section 151 of the Constitution, the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders enjoys exclusive jurisdiction and supremacy in:

(a) supervising the administration of Parliament;

(b) formulating Standing Orders;

(c) considering and deciding all matters concerning Parliament; and

(d) exercising any other functions that may be conferred or imposed on the committee by this Constitution or by Standing Orders or any other law.

5.0    STAGE 3: APPOINTMENT OF THE INVESTIGATING COMMITTEE

Accordingly, the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders shall immediately proceed to appoint a Nine Member Joint Committee and give it its terms of reference to investigate the removal of the President.  The Chair shall announce the names of the Joint Committee which shall immediately start its work.

6.0    Stage 3: REPORTING AND FINAL VOTING STAGE

Section 97(3) of the Constitution provides that

“If—

(a) the joint committee appointed in terms of subsection (2) recommends the removal from office of the President or Vice-President; and

(b) the Senate and the National Assembly, by a joint resolution passed by at least two-thirds of their total membership, resolve that the President or Vice-President, as the case may be, should be removed from office; the President or Vice-President thereupon ceases to hold office”.

          Two thirds of the current members requires at least 232 Members of Parliament to vote in the affirmative.

7.0    RULES TO BE APPLIED ON THE MOTION TO REMOVE THE PRESIDENT FROM OFFICE

          PART I

JOINT SITTINGS

          1. Application

     These rules shall apply to this Joint Sitting and the next series of Joint Sittings until the motion on the removal of the President from office has been disposed of.

     2. Calling of joint sittings

     (1) A joint sitting of the National Assembly and the Senate may be held for the purposes mentioned in Section 97 of the Constitution.

     (2) The Speaker and the President of the Senate must make the necessary arrangements for such a joint sitting.

     3. Presiding officer

     The Speaker, or in his absence - the President of the Senate, must preside at any joint sitting of the National Assembly and the Senate.

     4. Relief of Presiding Officer

     An elected presiding officer of either House must take the Chair whenever requested to do so by the Speaker or the President of the Senate.

     5. Venue

     Joint sittings shall be held at any place taking into account public interest, security or convenience.  After consultation with the Hon. Speaker of the National Assembly, we have agreed to convene the Joint Sittings at the Harare International Conference Centre at 1600 hrs today, Tuesday, 21st November, 2017.

     6. Quorum

     The quorum of the joint sitting shall be at least one half of the total membership of Parliament.  When we say Parliament, we are referring to all the Hon. Members of the National Assembly and the Senate.

     PART II

     CONDUCT AND DEBATE GENERAL RULES

     7. Members in House

     Unless otherwise stated in these Interim Joint Standing Orders, Rules relating to Order in the House, Rules of Debate, Divisions and any other relevant provisions in the National Assembly and Senate shall, mutatis mutandis  apply in the joint sitting.

8. Limitation of speech

          A Member must not exceed ten (10) minutes in speaking to any question before the House, except in the case of a Vice-President, Ministers and Members in moving a motion and in replying to the debate thereon:  Provided that on motion moved at the expiration of the time limit, a Member may be permitted to speak.  So 10 minutes is the limit – there is no extension.

          9. Disorderly conduct in Joint Sitting

(1) If the Presiding Officer is of the opinion that a member is deliberately contravening a provision of these Rules, or that a member is in contempt of or is disregarding the authority of the Chair, or that a member’s conduct is grossly disorderly, he or she may order the member to withdraw immediately from the Chamber for the remainder of the sitting.

(2) The Sergeant-at-Arms must act on such orders as he or she may receive from the Chair in pursuance of this Standing Order.

     (3) Members ordered to withdraw in pursuance of this Standing Order, or who are suspended in pursuance of Standing Order 109, must immediately withdraw from the precincts of the House.

11. Power to name Member

          If on any occasion the Chair deems that the powers conferred under Standing Order No. 109 and Standing Order No. 107 of the National Assembly and Senate respectively, are inadequate to deal with the offence, he or she may name such Member.

12. Temporary suspension from service of House

          (1) Any Member who disregards the authority of the Chair or persistently and wilfully disrupts the business of the House commits an offence for which he or she may be suspended from the service of the House.

          (2)  Any Member may move a motion in respect of which no amendment, adjournment or debate must be allowed, for the temporary suspension from the service of the House of any Member who has been named by the Chair in terms of Standing Order No. 109 and Standing Order No. 107 of the National Assembly and Senate respectively.

          (3) When the motion referred to in suborder (2) has been moved, the Speaker must immediately put the question that such Member shall be suspended from the service of the House.

          (4) If any Member is suspended in terms of this Standing Order, his or her suspension must continue on the¾

(a)  first occasion for one sitting day;

(b) second occasion for two sitting days;

(c) third or any subsequent occasion for three sitting days

          (6) In the event of¾

(a) a Member being suspended from the service of the House in terms of this Standing Order he or she may submit to the  Presiding Officer  a written expression of regret which must be entered in the Journal of the  joint sitting of both houses of Parliament and laid before the House;

(b) a written expression of regret referred to in paragraph (a) being  

laid before the joint sitting, any  Member may move a motion, in respect of which no amendment, adjournment or debate shall be allowed, for a discharge of the order of suspension;

(b)            a motion referred to in paragraph (b) has been moved, the

Presiding Officer must immediately put the question that such Member be readmitted to the service of the joint sitting of both Houses;

(c)  the question put in paragraph (c) passing in the affirmative, the

suspension order must be discharged and the Member readmitted.

     (7) A Member who has been suspended from the joint sitting in terms of this Standing Order must immediately withdraw from the Chamber and or the precincts of Parliament until such time as the period of suspension has expired, or he or she has been readmitted in terms of suborder (6).

13. Member withdraws while conduct under debate

          Every Member against whom any charge by way of motion has been made and whose conduct is under debate, having been heard in his or her place, must withdraw while such charge is under debate and must take no further part in the proceedings.

PART III

GENERAL MATTERS

          14 General

          Upon entering the Chamber, Members shall register their attendance with the Sergeant-at-Arms by signing in the Joint Sitting Register and showing his or her Parliament Identity card.

          15 Voting

          In addition to the provisions of Section 138 of the Constitution, when voting, Members shall for the purposes of transparency and accountability produce their Parliament Identity Cards or a valid National Identification Document to the tellers prior to signing against the name and vote on the Division List.

          Honourable Members, what I have outlined above are the Rules that shall bind us during proceedings on this motion.  I am appealing for tolerance, calmness and recognition of the respect for the inherent dignity worthy of every Member of Parliament.  I am urging all the Hon. Members of Parliament to now proceed to the Harare International Conference Centre for the Joint Sitting of the House which will commence around 1600 hrs.

          Ordinary Sitting times for both Houses of Parliament shall not apply in respect of a motion to remove the President from Office.

          Members shall now proceed to the Harare International Conference Centre. All Members must be seated by 1630hrs.

          I thank you.

          On the motion of THE MINISTER OF MEDIA, INFORMATION AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON SENATOR S.K. MOYO), the Senate adjourned at Three o’clock p.m. until  Tuesday, 28th November, 2017.

Senate Hansard SENATE HANSARD 21 NOVEMBER 2017 VOL 27 NO 14