Heated debate over when civil servants or parastatals employees wishing to contest elections should resign


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There was heated debate in Parliament this week over when senior civil servants and heads of parastatals who have won primary elections to contest in the coming elections should resign from their posts.

Environment Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri said they should only do so after their candidature has been approved by the nomination court but opposition legislators including Jessie Majome said this was not what the nation’s constitution said.

The debate was sparked by Mutasa South Member of Parliament Trevor Saruwaka when he asked when Zimbabwe National Water Authority chief executive Jefta Sakupwanya will resign since he had won the primary elections to contest the Mutasa Central seat.

Muchinguri-Kashiri said a civil servant was only required to resign after successfully presenting himself or herself to the nomination court.

When the acting Speaker argued that an employee of a parastatal was not a civil servant and therefore Saruwaka’s question did not apply, Majome argued that the acting Speaker had been advised wrongly.

Muchinguri-Kashiri, however, stood her ground despite accusations that she was misleading the nation.

Below is the full debate:

HON. SARUWAKA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. My question goes to the Minister of Environment, Water and Climate Hon. Muchinguri-Kashiri. According to our Constitution Section 200 regarding the conduct of members of the civil service and particularly in Section 200 (1) states that, “members of the civil service must act in accordance with this Constitution and the law and in part 4 of the same Section, it says “members of the civil service must not be office bearers of any political party. My question to the contest as an MP for Mutasa Central during the ZANU PF primary elections which is a very high task for him.

Therefore I want to know why the Hon. Minister is allowing the CEO to continue in office in clear breach of the provisions of the Constitution. Since he is now an election candidate of a political party, he must cease forthwith being the CEO of ZINWA in-order to also stop abusing state resources for his personal political campaigns for the Member of Parliament (MP) office. Why is the Minister allowing that to continue and when is he going to stop?

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Minister of Environment, are you aware of that?

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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