Zimbabwe is a presidential republic, where the President is both the Head of State and the Government. It gained independence from Britain in 1979. The Constitution states that the legal system is a combination of the Roman Dutch Law and African Customary Law as modified by legislation.
The bicameral parliament consists of Senate and House of Assembly. Among the 80 seats of the Senate, 60 members are elected by popular vote for a five-year term, 18 traditional chiefs are elected by the Council of Chiefs and 2 seats are reserved for people with disabilities. The House of Assembly has 270 seats, where members are elected by popular vote for five-year terms and 60 seats are reserved for women identified by their parties or nominated by proportional representation. The last parliamentary and presidential elections were held in 2013, and the next elections are expected to be held in 2018. The President is elected for a five-year term with no term limits.
Cabinet Ministers are appointed by the President, who is selected from the Members of Parliament. Laws can be proposed either as public, private or hybrid laws. Public bills relate to matters of public interest introduced by the Members of Parliament (Private Members Bills), which can be originated from either of the two houses. Private laws are introduced for the interest or benefit of the person or bodies of persons who prompt the bill; private laws affect only particular individuals or a group of people, e.g. the Zimbabwe Institution of Engineers Act that only affects engineers.
Hybrid bills are public or private bills that are associated with both public and private interests. Bills go through preliminary stages before they are brought to the Parliament; public bills introduced by members of the Executive require proposals from the responsible Minister, approval by the Cabinet and publishing in the Government Gazette. The Portfolio Committee that administers the bills under the relevant ministries consults the public through public hearings or oral evidence interviews, by which the output is presented in the reading stage of parliamentary discussion. Bills are passed at first in the originating House by a simple majority of the MPs present at the time of voting. Bills are then transmitted to the other House for the second reading and voting. The President is required to assent to the bill within 21 days, otherwise the bill is returned to the Parliament. The Constitution provides that in case of disagreements between the two houses not resolved within 90 days, the bill may be presented to the President to assent in the form it was passed in the House of Assembly. Once the President assents, the bill becomes an Act. Private bills are brought in by motion, which in case of approval by the house the bills are introduced in the Parliament for reading and voting.