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Zimbabwe sets up security complaints commission

by Staff reporter
16 Jan 2024 at 04:40hrs | Views
FOLLOWING the enactment of the Zimbabwe Independent Complaints Commission (ZICC) Act in 2022, Parliament has now called for nominations of persons to become members of the Commission that will handle the public's complaints of misconduct by members of security services.

The establishment of the new ZICC fulfils the requirement in Section 210 of the Constitution for an independent and impartial mechanism for the investigation of misconduct committed by members of security services, and also ensure independent oversight of the handling of the complaints.

The Parliament's Committee on Standing Rules and Orders that is mandated to nominate members of the Commission for appointment by President Mnangagwa, called for nominations by the public of potential commissioners.

The public has up to January 31 to submit the names of their nominees with a detailed curriculum vitae and written justification of why their nominee is suitable for appointment.

The Commission will comprise a chairperson appointed by the President, after consultation with the Judicial Service Commission, and four other members appointed by the President from a list of at least seven nominees submitted by Parliament.

According to the statement from Parliament, ZICC will be mandated to; "investigate any complaint made by any person or on his or her behalf against any misconduct on the part of a member of a security service in the discharge or purported discharge of the member's functions, to investigate any contraventions of, or practices which do not comply with sections 206 (2) and (3) and 208 of the Constitution; to inspect any facilities under the control of any security service where persons are detained or incarcerated and make any recommendations or remedial orders it considers necessary, and to cause the presentation of any information it considers appropriate to an inquest conducted by any court or other investigation in terms of the Coroner's Office Act."

Persons eligible for appointment to the ZICC should be eligible for appointment as a High Court Judge or is a sitting judge or former judge, a legal practitioner of not less than seven years' experience in the practice of law, a medical practitioner of not less than seven years' practical experience registered as such in terms of the Health Professions Act, a psychologist of not less than seven years' experience registered as such with the Health Professions Act.

The ZICC is also empowered to make disciplinary recommendations in respect of members of the security services resulting from investigations; ensuring the grant of appropriate remedies in respect of any harm caused by any misconduct by members of the security services; and enhancing accountability and transparency by the security services and their members in accordance with the principles of the Constitution.

The acts of misconduct relate to any criminal or other act by a security services member contrary to the proper exercise of their functions as specified in the Constitution and includes, but is not limited to: any death in the custody of any member of a security service; any death as a result of actions of any member of a security service; unjustified discharge of an official firearm by any member of a security service; rape of any person while that person is in the custody of a security service; and the torture or assault of any person by a member of a security service in the execution of the member's duties among others.

In addition, the chairperson must invite the head of each security service to appoint a serving or retired member of that service of sufficient seniority to sit with the commission whenever it is investigating any alleged act of misconduct on the part of any member or former member of that particular security service.

The commissioners must not be politically partisan, cannot belong to any political party or organisation, and cannot be Members of Parliament, councillors in local authorities, or be part of parastatals or other Government-controlled entities.

The President will have power to dismiss commissioners from office for conduct inconsistent with their membership of the commission or because they lack qualifications for appointment, or if they fail to attend three or more consecutive meetings.

Source - the herald