Constitutional Watchdog Veritas says it has just been informed by the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs that President Emmerson Mnangagwa has this week signed the Instrument of Ratification of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance.
Adding that the deposit of the Instrument of Ratification with African Union is now necessary.
Although President Mnangagwa signed the Charter on 21st March 2018 at an AU Summit, his signature alone was not sufficient to make Zimbabwe a “State Party” and as such legally bound by the Charter’s provisions.
The Charter’s definition of “State Party” and its Article 47 require the President’s signature on behalf of Zimbabwe to be supplemented by ratification in accordance with Zimbabwe’s constitutional procedures and the deposit of Zimbabwe’s Instrument of Ratification with the Chairperson of the AU Commission.
On the deposit of the Instrument of Ratification – and only then – will Zimbabwe become a full State Party to the Charter.
The Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs will now engage the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade to have the Instrument of Ratification of the Charter deposited with the Chairperson of the AU Commission in Addis Ababa by Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to the African Union.
The President’s signature of the Charter in March 2018 was within his constitutional powers [Constitution, section 110(2)].
For signature and deposit of the Instrument of Ratification, however, the approval of Parliament was first necessary [Constitution, section 327].
That approval was given by resolutions passed by both Houses of Parliament in March 2019.
Veritas says why it took so long after Parliamentary approval for the Instrument of Ratification to be placed before President Mnangagwa for signature is a mystery.
Veritas has repeatedly, over the past two and a half years, called for the ratification process to be completed.