CONTRARY to Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa’s claims that he has never referred to the recently-re-established senate as a temporary institution, he is on record as having told the ruling Zanu PF’s central committee that the upper hous
e was a “stop-gap measure”.
A copy of Chinamasa’s memorandum to the party’s central committee dated May 27 confirms the reports.
Chinamasa last week wrote a letter to the Zimbabwe Independent claiming he had never said the senate would only last from 2005 to 2010.
“I have erroneously been reported in several issues of your paper to have said that the senate is a temporary institution to last from 2005 to 2010,” Chinamasa wrote to the Independent.
“At no time during my submission to the politburo and central committee of Zanu PF and during my second reading speech did I ever refer to the senate as a temporary institution.”
However, according to the May 27 memorandum, Chinamasa said: “The senate will be a temporary institution.
“The proposal to introduce a senate at this hour, at this juncture, should correctly be regarded as a stop-gap measure for the period 2005 to 2010,” Chinamasa’s memo said.
“The structure and composition of the senate will again be reconsidered in a more holistic manner within the context of the more comprehensive constitutional proposals that I shall propose later in the life of this parliament,” he said.
In his letter to the Independent, Chinamasa denied all this. “As far as government is concerned, the senate is to become a permanent institution on our democratic landscape,” he said.
“What I stated to be temporary, a fact which is incorporated in the provisions of the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment Act (No.17), is the bunching of House of Assembly constituencies to make up senatorial constituencies.”
Chinamasa’s memorandum states that the senate will be operative from 2005 to 2010.
“Central committee is being asked to approve this proposal as the best workable proposition in the circumstances for the period between 2005 and 2010,” Chinamasa said.
“This proposal enhances representation of traditional chiefs in that they will, for the first and perhaps only time, be represented in both houses of parliament,” he said. – Staff Writer.