Thursday, 14 February 2019


A CITIZEN has petitioned Parliament to amend some sections of the Constitution so as to provide for minimum educational qualifications before one is elected as President and member of the National Assembly.

The issue has come under scrutiny many times given the conduct or utterances of some legislators in and out Parliament.

Deputy Speaker of Parliament Cde Tsitsi Gezi announced in the National Assembly that they had received a petition from Mr Blessing Kudhlande on amendment of the Constitution to include minimum educational qualifications.

“I wish to inform the House that on 14th January, 2019, Parliament received a petition from Mr Blessing Chamwapuwa Kudhlande requesting Parliament to amend Sections 91 and 125 of the Constitution to provide for minimum educational qualifications for election as President and Member of the National Assembly,” said Ms Gezi.

She told legislators that the petition has since been referred to the Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs. Chairperson of the committee, Cde Jonathan Samukange could not be reached for comment to shed more details on the petition.

According to Section 91 of the Constitution a person qualifies for election as President or Vice President if he or she is (a) is a Zimbabwean citizen by birth or descent; has attained the age of 40 years; is ordinarily resident in Zimbabwe and is a registered voter.

Section 125 on the Qualification states that one is qualified for election as a member of the National Assembly if he or she is registered as a voter and is at least 21 of age.

Speaker of Parliament, Advocate Jacob Mudenda, has in the past said it may be necessary to amend the Constitution to make it mandatory for aspiring councillors and Members of Parliament to have a minimum of 5 Ordinary Level passes for them to be considered for public office.

Adv Mudenda said the country should take a leaf from Zambia which has introduced a law that requires councillors and MPs to have at least a Grade 12 certificate which is equivalent to the local O-Level.

He suggested that for one to contest as a councillor or MP in Zimbabwe, the Constitution only requires that person to be a registered voter and above 18 years and be a Zimbabwean national.
Describing the then crop of Members of Parliament, Adv Mudenda said: “Vanotatarika (they struggle) and if the trend carries on, we might have to amend the Constitution and make it mandatory that for one to contest as a councillor or MP, one must have a minimum of an Ordinary Level certificate.

“You know if a professor is in charge of a portfolio committee, his academic or professional background makes it easy for us in Parliament.”

Speaking during a panel discussion at the ongoing 6th CEOs Africa Round Table meeting in Victoria Falls on Wednesday Adv Mudenda bemoaned lack of economic literacy among some of the Members of Parliament saying this was negating efforts to steer the country forward.

He said Parliament needs quality in terms of personnel and political persuasion. “I’m worried about the level of politicians that come to Parliament. There are few who can articulate issues in Parliament.

“If you look at different portfolio committees we involve politicians from different political persuasions but sometimes we don’t have quality in terms of personnel and economic literacy in Parliament,” said Adv Mudenda.

He was responding to concerns about lack of capacity by Parliament to address issues such as budget deficit.

Adv Mudenda said in 2014 he produced a book on economic literacy for Members of Parliament and organised a training workshop which was adjourned prematurely after the majority of Parliamentarians failed to grasp issues. Chronicle


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