CHAPTER 5. THE EXECUTIVE
PART 1. EXECUTIVE AUTHORITY
88. Executive authority
- Executive authority derives from the people of Zimbabwe and must be exercised in accordance with this Constitution.
- The executive authority of Zimbabwe vests in the President who exercises it, subject to this Constitution, through the Cabinet.
PART 2. THE PRESIDENT AND VICE PRESIDENTS
89. The President
The President is the Head of State and Government and the Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces.
90. Duties of President
- The President must uphold, defend, obey and respect this Constitution as the supreme law of the nation and must ensure that this Constitution and all the other laws are faithfully observed.
- The President must–
- promote unity and peace in the nation for the benefit and well-being of all the people of Zimbabwe;
- recognise and respect the ideals and values of the liberation struggle;
- ensure protection of the fundamental human rights and freedoms and the rule of law; and
- respect the diversity of the people and communities of Zimbabwe.
91. Qualifications for election as President and Vice-President
- A person qualifies for election as President or Vice-President if he or she–
- is a Zimbabwean citizen by birth or descent;
- has attained the age of forty years;
- is ordinarily resident in Zimbabwe; and
- is registered as a voter.
- A person is disqualified for election as President or Vice-President if he or she has already held office as President under this Constitution for two terms, whether continuous or not, and for the purpose of this subsection three or more years’ service is deemed to be a full term.
92. Election of President and Vice-Presidents
- The election of a President and two Vice-Presidents must take place within the period specified in section 158.
- Every candidate for election as President must nominate two persons to stand for election jointly with him or her as Vice-Presidents, and must designate one of those persons as his or her candidate for first Vice-President and the other as his or her candidate for second Vice-President.
- The President and the Vice-Presidents are directly elected jointly by registered voters throughout Zimbabwe, and the procedure for their election is as prescribed in the Electoral Law.
- The qualifications for registration as a voter and for voting at an election of a President and Vice-Presidents are set out in the Fourth Schedule.
- The election of a President and Vice-Presidents must take place concurrently with every general election of members of Parliament, provincial councils and local authorities.
93. Challenge to presidential election
- Subject to this section, any aggrieved candidate may challenge the validity of an election of a President or Vice-President by lodging a petition or application with the Constitutional Court within seven days after the date of the declaration of the results of the election.
- The election of a Vice-President may be challenged only on the ground that he or she is or was not qualified for election.
- The Constitutional Court must hear and determine a petition or application under subsection (1) within fourteen days after the petition or application was lodged, and the court’s decision is final.
- In determining a petition or application under subsection (1), the Constitutional Court may—-
- declare a winner;
- invalidate the election, in which case a fresh election must be held within sixty days after the determination; or
- make any other order it considers just and appropriate.
- If, in a petition or application under subsection (1)–
- the Constitutional Court sets aside the election of a President, the election of the President’s two Vice-Presidents is automatically nullified;
- the Constitutional Court sets aside the election of either or both Vice-Presidents, the President must without delay appoint a qualified person or qualified persons, as the case may be, to be Vice-President or Vice-Presidents.
94. Assumption of office by President and Vice-Presidents
- Persons elected as President and Vice-Presidents assume office when they take, before the Chief Justice or the next most senior judge available, the oaths of President and Vice-President respectively in the forms set out in the Third Schedule, which oaths they must take–
- on the ninth day after they are declared to be elected; or
- in the event of a challenge to the validity of their election, within forty-eight hours after the Constitutional Court has declared them to be the winners.
- The incumbent President continues in office until the assumption of office by the President-elect in terms of subsection (1).
- A Vice-President who becomes President on the death, resignation or removal from office of the President assumes office when he or she takes, before the Chief Justice or the next most senior judge available, the oath of President in the form set out in the Third Schedule, which oath he or she must take as soon as possible and in any event within forty-eight hours after the office of President became vacant.
95. Term of office of President and Vice-Presidents
- The term of office of the President or a Vice-President commences on the day he or she is sworn in and assumes office in terms of section 94(1)(a) or 94(3).
- The term of office of the President or a Vice-President extends until–
- he or she resigns or is removed from office; or
- following an election, he or she is declared to be re-elected or a new President is declared to be elected;
and, except as otherwise provided in this Constitution, their terms of office are five years and coterminous with the life of Parliament.
96. Resignation of President or Vice-President
- The President may resign his or her office by written notice to the Speaker, who must give public notice of the resignation as soon as it is possible to do so and in any event within twenty-four hours.
- A Vice-President may resign his or her office by written notice to the President, who must give public notice of the resignation as soon as it is possible to do so and in any event within twenty-four hours.
97. Removal of President or Vice-President from office
- 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–
- serious misconduct;
- failure to obey, uphold or defend this Constitution;
- wilful violation of this Constitution; or
- inability to perform the functions of the office because of physical or mental incapacity;
should be investigated in terms of this section.
- 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.
- the joint committee appointed in terms of subsection (2) recommends the removal from office of the President or Vice-President; and
- 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.
98. Presidential immunity
- While in office, the President is not liable to civil or criminal proceedings in any court for things done or omitted to be done in his or her personal capacity.
- Civil or criminal proceedings may be instituted against a former President for things done and omitted to be done before he or she became President or while he or she was President.
- The running of prescription in relation to any debt or liability of the President arising before or during his or her term of office is suspended while he or she remains in office.
- In any proceedings brought against a former President for anything done or omitted to be done in his or her official capacity while he or she was President, it is a defence for him or her to prove that the thing was done or omitted in good faith.
99. Functions of Vice-Presidents
The Vice-Presidents assist the President in the discharge of his or her functions and perform any other functions, including the administration of any Ministry, department or Act of Parliament, that the President may assign to them.
100. Acting President
- Whenever the President is absent from Zimbabwe or is unable to exercise his or her official functions through illness or any other cause, those functions must be assumed and exercised–
- by the first Vice-President;
- where the first Vice-President is unable to exercise those functions, by the second Vice-President; or
- if there is no Vice-President who is able to exercise the functions, by a Minister–
- designated for such an eventuality by the President; or
- nominated by the Cabinet, where no Minister has been designated by the President in terms of subparagraph (i).
- Except in accordance with a resolution passed by a majority of the total membership of the Cabinet, a person exercising the functions of the office of President in terms of subsection (1) must not exercise the power of the President–
- to deploy the Defence Forces;
- to enter into any international convention, treaty or agreement;
- to appoint or revoke the appointment of a Vice-President, Minister or Deputy Minister; or
- to assign or reassign functions to a Vice-President, Minister or Deputy Minister, including, in the case of a Vice-President or Minister, the administration of any Act of Parliament or of any Ministry or department, or to cancel any such assignment of functions.
101. Succession in event of death, resignation or incapacity of President or Vice-President
- If the President dies, resigns or is removed from office–
- the first Vice-President assumes office as President until the expiry of the former President’s term of office;
- the second Vice-President assumes office as first Vice-President until the expiry of the former President’s term of office; and
- upon assuming office as President, the former first Vice-President must appoint a qualified person to be second Vice-President until the expiry of the former President’s term of office.
- If the first Vice-President dies, resigns or is removed from office–
- the second vice-President assumes office as first Vice-President until the expiry of the former first Vice-President’s term of office; and
- the President must without delay appoint a qualified person to be second Vice-President until the expiry of the former first Vice-President’s term of office.
102. Remuneration of President and Vice-Presidents
- The President and Vice-Presidents are entitled to the salaries, allowances, pensions and other benefits that are prescribed under an Act of Parliament.
- The salaries and allowances of the President and Vice-Presidents must be charged upon and paid out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
- A person who has ceased to be President or Vice-President is entitled to receive–
- a pension equivalent to the salary of a sitting President or Vice-President, as the case may be; and
- such allowances and other benefits as may be prescribed under an Act of Parliament.
103. President and Vice-Presidents and former office-holders not to hold other office or employment
The President and Vice-Presidents, and any former President or Vice-President, must not, directly or indirectly, hold any other public office or be employed by anyone else while they are in office or are receiving a pension from the State as former President or Vice-President, as the case may be.
PART 3. MINISTERS, DEPUTY MINISTERS AND CABINET
104. Appointment of Ministers and Deputy Ministers
- The President appoints Ministers and assigns functions to them, including the administration of any Act of Parliament or of any Ministry or department, but the President may reserve to himself or herself the administration of an Act, Ministry or department.
- The President may appoint Deputy Ministers to assist any Minister in the exercise of his or her functions.
- Ministers and Deputy Ministers are appointed from among Senators or Members of the National Assembly, but up to five, chosen for their professional skills and competence, may be appointed from outside Parliament.
- In appointing Ministers and Deputy Ministers, the President must be guided by considerations of regional and gender balance.
- Ministers and Deputy Ministers who are not Members of Parliament may sit and speak, but not vote, in the Senate or the National Assembly.
- Before taking office, a person appointed as Minister or Deputy Minister must take before the President the appropriate Ministerial oath in the form set out in the Third Schedule.
- There is a Cabinet consisting of the President, as head of the Cabinet, the Vice Presidents and such Ministers as the President may appoint to the Cabinet.
- Cabinet meetings are presided over by the President or, in his or her absence, by a Vice-President or, in their absence, by a Minister referred to in section 100(1)(c).
106. Conduct of Vice-Presidents, Ministers and Deputy Ministers
- Every Vice-President, Minister and Deputy Minister must act in accordance with this Constitution.
- Vice-Presidents, Ministers and Deputy Ministers may not, during their tenure of office–
- directly or indirectly, hold any other public office or undertake any other paid work;
- act in any way that is inconsistent with their office, or expose themselves to any situation involving the risk of a conflict between their official responsibilities and private interests; or
- use their position, or any information entrusted to them, to enrich themselves or improperly benefit any other person.
- An Act of Parliament must prescribe a code of conduct for Vice-Presidents, Ministers and Deputy Ministers.
107. Accountability of Vice-Presidents, Ministers and Deputy Ministers
- Subject to this Constitution, every Vice-President, Minister and Deputy Minister is accountable, collectively and individually, to the President for the performance of his or her functions.
- Every Vice-President, Minister and Deputy Minister must attend Parliament and parliamentary committees in order to answer questions concerning matters for which he or she is collectively or individually responsible.
108. Tenure of office of Ministers and Deputy Ministers
- The office of a Minister or Deputy Minister becomes vacant–
- if the President removes him or her from office;
- if he or she resigns from office by written notice to the President;
- upon the assumption of office by a new President.
- Subject to subsection (4), a Minister or Deputy Minister who was a Member of Parliament on appointment as Minister or Deputy Minister vacates his or her office as such upon ceasing to be a Member of Parliament.
- Subject to subsection (4), a Minister or Deputy Minister who was not a Member of Parliament on appointment as Minister or Deputy Minister vacates his or her office as such if circumstances arise that would result in his or her seat becoming vacant were he or she a Member of Parliament.
- Subject to this Constitution, in the event of a dissolution of Parliament, Ministers and Deputy Ministers continue to hold office as such until the President-elect assumes office after a general election.
109. Vote of no confidence in Government
- The Senate and the National Assembly, by a joint resolution passed by at least two-thirds of their total membership, may pass a vote of no confidence in the Government.
- A motion for the resolution for a vote of no confidence may be moved only if–
- at least seven days’ notice of the motion has been given to the Speaker; and
- the notice of motion has been signed by at least half of all the Members of the National Assembly.
- A motion for a vote of no confidence–
- must be debated in a joint sitting of the two Houses of Parliament within twenty-one days after the Speaker received the notice of motion; and
- must be voted on within seven consecutive sittings after it was moved;
otherwise it is regarded as lost.
- Where Parliament passes a vote of no confidence in the Government, the President must, within fourteen days after the vote–
- remove all Ministers and Deputy Ministers from office, unless they have already resigned as a result of the resolution, and appoint persons in their place; or
- dissolve Parliament and, within ninety days, call a general election.
- If the President does not act in accordance with subsection (4) within fourteen days after the passing of the vote of no confidence in the Government, Parliament stands dissolved.
PART 4. EXECUTIVE FUNCTIONS
110. Executive functions of President and Cabinet
- The President has the powers conferred by this Constitution and by any Act of Parliament or other law, including those necessary to exercise the functions of Head of State.
- Subject to this Constitution, the President is responsible for–
- assenting to and signing Bills;
- referring a Bill to the Constitutional Court for an opinion or advice on its constitutionality;
- summoning the National Assembly, the Senate or Parliament to an extraordinary sitting to conduct special business;
- making appointments which the Constitution or legislation requires the President to make;
- calling elections in terms of this Constitution;
- calling referendums on any matter in accordance with the law;
- deploying the Defence Forces;
- conferring honours and awards;
- appointing ambassadors, plenipotentiaries, and diplomatic and consular representatives; and
- receiving and recognising foreign diplomatic and consular representatives.
- Subject to this Constitution, the Cabinet is responsible for–
- directing the operations of Government;
- conducting Government business in Parliament;
- preparing, initiating and implementing national legislation;
- developing and implementing national policy; and
- advising the President.
- Subject to this Constitution, the President may conclude or execute conventions, treaties and agreements with foreign states and governments and international organisations.
- A decision by the President must be in writing if it is taken in terms of legislation.
- In the exercise of his or her executive functions, the President must act on the advice of the Cabinet, except when he or she is acting in terms of subsection (2) above.
111. War and peace
- The President has power to declare war and make peace, and must advise the Senate and the National Assembly within seven sitting days.
- The Senate and the National Assembly, by a joint resolution passed by at least two-thirds of the total membership of Parliament, may resolve that a declaration of war should be revoked.
- Where Parliament has resolved that a declaration of war should be revoked, the President must take all practical steps to disengage from the war, taking due account of the need to ensure the safety of Zimbabwean personnel and equipment.
112. Power of mercy
- The President, after consultation with the Cabinet, may exercise the power of mercy, that is to say, may–
- grant a pardon to any person concerned in or convicted of an offence against any law;
- grant a respite from the execution of a sentence for any offence for an indefinite or specified period;
- substitute a less severe punishment for that imposed for any offence; or
- suspend for a specified period or remit the whole or part of a sentence for any offence or any forfeiture imposed in respect of any offence;
and may impose conditions on any such pardon, respite, substitution or suspension.
- Where a person who is resident in Zimbabwe has been convicted in another country of an offence against a law in force in that country, the President may declare that the conviction is not to be regarded as a conviction for the purposes of this Constitution or any other law in force in Zimbabwe.
- The grant of a pardon or respite from execution of sentence or the substitution or suspension of a sentence must be published in the Gazette.
113. States of public emergency
- The President may by proclamation in the Gazette declare that a state of public emergency exists in the whole or any part of Zimbabwe.
- A declaration of a state of public emergency ceases to have effect after fourteen days beginning with the day of publication of the proclamation in the Gazette unless, before the end of that period, the declaration is approved by at least two-thirds of the total membership of Parliament at a joint sitting of the Senate and the National Assembly.
- If Parliament is dissolved during the period of fourteen days after a state of public emergency has been declared, the declaration ceases to have effect after twenty-one days, beginning with the day of publication of the proclamation in the Gazette, unless within that period the declaration is approved by a majority of all the Members of the new Parliament at a joint sitting of the Senate and the National Assembly.
- A declaration of a state of public emergency which has been approved under subsection (2) or (3) remains in effect for three months from the date on which the proclamation was published in the Gazette unless it has earlier been revoked or ceased to have effect under this section.
- If a declaration of a state of public emergency is not approved after consideration by Parliament, or if for any reason it is not considered by Parliament within the period specified in this section, the President must, within seven days, by proclamation in the Gazette, revoke the declaration.
- If, by a resolution passed by a majority of the members present at a joint sitting of the Senate and the National Assembly, Parliament resolves that a declaration of a state of public emergency.
- should be continued for a further period not exceeding three months, the President must without delay, by proclamation in the Gazette, extend the declaration for that further period;
- should be revoked or that it should apply within a smaller area, the President must without delay, by proclamation in the Gazette, revoke the declaration or provide that the declaration relates to that smaller area.
- The Constitutional Court, on the application of any interested person, may determine the validity of–
- a declaration of a state of public emergency;
- any extension of a declaration of a state of public emergency.
- Any court may determine the validity of any legislation enacted, or other action taken, in consequence of a declaration of a state of public emergency.
PART 5. ATTORNEY-GENERAL
- There is an Attorney-General appointed by the President.
- A person who has been appointed as Attorney-General assumes office upon taking before the President, or a person authorised by the President, the oaths of loyalty and office in the forms set out in the Third Schedule.
- A person is qualified for appointment as Attorney-General if he or she is qualified for appointment as a judge of the High Court.
- The functions of the Attorney-General are
- to act as the principal legal adviser to the Government;
- to represent the Government in civil and constitutional proceedings;
- to draft legislation on behalf of the Government;
- to promote, protect and uphold the rule of law and to defend the public interest; and
- to exercise any other functions that may be assigned to the Attorney-General by an Act of Parliament;
and the Attorney-General may exercise those functions in person or through subordinate officers acting under the Attorney-General’s general or specific instructions.
- The Attorney-General may–
- attend Cabinet meetings, but has no vote;
- sit and speak in the Senate and the National Assembly, but has no vote; and
- with the leave of the court concerned, appear as a friend of the court in any civil proceedings to which the Government is not a party.
115. Removal from office of Attorney-General
The President may at any time remove the Attorney-General from office.