The Zimbabwe Sentinel-Media Centre

Telling the other story – MEDIA CENTRE


ZANU PF Faces Constitutional Hurdles Despite Perceived Majority, Says Academic

By A Correspondent

Renowned academic Dr. Phillan Zamchiya has challenged popular perceptions surrounding Zimbabwe’s ruling party, ZANU PF, asserting that the party does not and cannot claim a two-thirds majority in Parliament, a prerequisite for passing constitutional amendments independently.

In a detailed opinion piece, Dr. Zamchiya highlights the common oversight in colloquial discussions about Parliament, emphasizing that for a constitutional bill to pass, it requires a two-thirds majority in each house, namely the National Assembly and the Senate.

“Contrary to popular perceptions, the ruling ZANU PF party DOES NOT and CAN NOT have two thirds majority in Parliament necessary to pass a constitutional bill on its own. Reader, in Zimbabwe a Parliament consists of the Senate and the National Assembly. I have noticed that when pundits talk of Parliament, they tend to colloquially refer to the National Assembly and thus far and no further,” said Dr. Zamchiya.

Following the recent by-elections on February 3, 2024, ZANU PF secured 190 seats out of 280 in the National Assembly, constituting a two-thirds majority in only one house.

Dr. Zamchiya contends that this is insufficient to amend the constitution.

“Following the by elections held on 3 February 2024, the ruling party now has 190 seats (150 directly elected through first past the post, 33 proportional representation for women and seven youth quota) out of 280 seats in the National Assembly.

“Reader, that translates to two thirds majority only in one House and that is not enough to amend the constitution. This is because in the Senate, the other part of Parliament, ZANU PF DOES NOT and CAN NOT have two thirds majority during the tenure of this Parliament.

“Reader, in the August 2023 general election, ZANU PF got 33 out of 80 seats and will therefore need 21 seats to get a two thirds majority in the Senate which is required to pass a constitutional amendment on its own,” added Dr. Zamchiya.

The academic argued that the proportional representation in the Senate is based on the 2023 election outcome, making it improbable for ZANU PF to achieve the necessary majority through recalls or replacements.

Contrary to the belief that recalling opposition members could tilt the balance, Dr. Zamchiya clarified that such recalls result in the filling of vacancies with party members, without the need for by-elections in the Senate.

To achieve a two-thirds majority in the Senate, ZANU PF must engage in persuasion and negotiations with various Senate members, including representatives for people living with disabilities, traditional leaders, and at least one Member of Parliament from the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) which could be a difficult task.



Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *