Mnangagwa told to put his house in order


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President Emmerson Mnangagwa must fire one of his unelected ministers with immediate effect so that he complies with the constitution, Mutare legislator Innocent Gonese told Parliament today.

Mnangagwa is only allowed to appoint five ministers who are neither Members of Parliament nor the Senate but he appointed six.

He appointed Cain Mathema as Minister of Home Affairs, Kirsty Coventry Minister of Youth, Sports and Arts, Mthuli Ncube Minister of Finance, Obadiah Moyo Minister of Health, Amon Murwira Minister of Higher Education and July Moyo Minister of Local Government.

He made a similar gaffe when he assumed office in November last year but one of the ministers Christopher Mutsvangwa had to step down to become a special advisor to the President.

Reports say Obert Mpofu, Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front Secretary for Administration, stepped down as senator to make room for Mathema but Gonese said this has not been formalised.

“In terms of the Constitution, Section 104 (3) which provides for the appointment of ministers, the provisions are clear.  Today is question time and the point which I want to raise goes to root and it is so fundamental that I feel it is important for me to raise it at this point-in-time,” Gonese told Parliament after raising a point of order just before question time.

“The reason being that in terms of Section 104 (3) the President can appoint up to five ministers who are not Members of the Senate or of the National Assembly.  As it stands, the President has appointed six Ministers and that is on record Mr. Speaker.

“He has appointed six and I think two of them are in this august House.  I see Hon. July Moyo who is neither a Member of the Senate nor the National Assembly and Hon. Professor Amon Murwira who is also neither a Member of the Senate nor the National Assembly.

“I am now raising this point Mr. Speaker because unlike the previous Constitution, which gave the Executive up to 90 days or three months to regularise the appointments, the current Constitution does not have a similar provision.  As a result, only a maximum of five can be appointed from outside Parliament.

“I am aware Mr. Speaker that indications have been made that Hon. Obert Mpofu is going to step down but until that happens, the fact still remains that we have got six who are not Members of the Legislature. That is unconstitutional and I would like the Hon. Leader of this august House to tell us why the Executive continues to violate provisions of the Constitution which are written in very simple English.”

Gonese said in terms of the Electoral Act, if a vacancy has been declared, that vacancy must be gazetted and after it has been gazetted, the political party concerned must then submit the name of a substitute.

“Those steps have not been taken.  As such, the Hon. Cain Mathema who was appointed as the Hon. Minister of Home Affairs is not currently in that position, together with the other ministers, in terms of the provisions of the Constitution.  Since those steps have not been followed, it is fundamental Mr. Speaker, for the leader of the House to tell us why the Government wants to violate the Constitution and does not want to abide by the provisions,” Gonese said.

“As this Institution Mr. Speaker, we have already alluded to Section 119 which obliges us to protect the Constitution.  It obliges us to ensure that provisions of the Constitution and Good Governance are upheld.  In light of the submissions that I have made, it is my respectful submission that the Executive is not properly constituted.

“We have got an excess in terms of the ministers who have been appointed from outside Parliament and that has got to be regularised.  One of those ministers must forthwith be told to step down so that we comply with the provisions of the Constitution.”

Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi, who is the leader of the House, said the issue was being corrected but did not say when.

(1100 VIEWS)

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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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