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Mnangagwa appointment stirs controversy

by Staff reporter
19 Mar 2024 at 20:29hrs | Views
President Emmerson Mnangagwa's appointment of Deputy Prosecutor-General Michael Reza as new Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) chairperson to replace Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo, who is now Prosecutor-General, is unconstitutional, lawyers say.

Mnangagwa appointed Reza in terms of Subsection 1 (a) of section 254 of the constitution.

His appointment today to replace Matanda-Moyo does not meet the required seven years experience in legal practice to take that position.

Any commissioner who is a lawyer must have seven years legal practice or be eligible to be appointed a judge or has been a High Court or Supreme Court judge.

Reza applied to join the Law Society of Zimbabwe to practice law in 2020 and registered the same year or in 2021 to become a lawyer.

This means he only has three or four years experience, which is not enough for him to become a Zacc commissioner, worse still its chairperson.

Reza holds a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree from the University of South Africa and a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from the Midlands State University, but does not qualify to be a commissioner - let alone chairperson - in the first place.

"President Mnangagwa's appointment of Reza as Zacc chair is unconstitutional; he is not qualified to be a Zacc commissioner as a lawyer in the first place because he doesn't have enough experience to be there. He needs to have seven years experience - that means he has to be qualified to be a judge or has been a judge of the High Court or Supreme Court," the lawyer said.

"Even if we were to take the other requirement that one can be a commissioner if they have 10 years experience in investigating crime, which he probably has, the problem is that after the removal of Matanda-Moyo and Jessie Majome, there is no lawyer in the commission, moreso with the constitutionally required seven years experience."

Majome, one of the commissioners who was qualified as a lawyer to be there, has been appointed chairperson of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission.

While some lawyers say Reza does not necessarily need to have seven experience as a lawyer himself if there is already another qualified lawyer in the commission, others say he is technically out because he does not meet basic requirements to be a commissioner through the legal route, his own profession.

Reza’s supporters now say as an alternative he should be manoeuvred in through the requirement that he has at least 10 years experience in investigating crime.

Analysts say Reza is simply not qualified and even suitable to be on Zacc, so Mnangagwa must appoint someone else to replace him.

This is not the first time that Mnangagwa has repeatedly violated the constitution on appointments.

Previously, he appointed more unelected ministers into his cabinet than permitted by the constitution.

On all those occasions, he was subsequently forced to reverse the illegal appointments.

This has raised questions about Mnangagwa's attention to detail and the quality of legal and political advice around him.

Reza's appointment has also stirred controversy as he is also notorious for throwing into detention through the bail process and insisting on the  jailing of civil society and opposition activists.

There is concern that he has been linked to corruption cases.

Source - newshawks