Constitution Watch 7/2014 of 28th July

via Constitution Watch 7/2014 of 28th July | The Zimbabwean 28 July 2014 by Veritas

Update on Constitutional Appointments: Anti-Corruption Commission & Other Constitutional Commissions and Supreme Court

Parliament Invites Nominations of Candidates for Appointment to Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission

The weekend press contained advertisements from Parliament calling on the public to nominate persons to be considered for appointment to the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission [ZACC].

Closing date

The closing date for submission of nominations is 31st August.

Submission of nominations

Nomination material must consist of:

• a completed nomination form [Soft copies of the nomination form and Parliament’s advertisement are available from Veritas at the addresses given at the end of this bulletin; also on Parliament’s website www.parlzim.gov.zw, under Publications]

• the candidate’s CV

• a typewritten submission [no more than two A4 pages] stating why the nominee is a suitable candidate.

Nominations must be addressed to the Clerk of Parliament in envelopes clearly marked with the name of the Commission and must either be posted, hand delivered or emailed to:

The Clerk of Parliament

Parliament of Zimbabwe

Parliament Building

Cnr. K. Nkrumah Avenue and Third Street

P.O. Box CY 298

Causeway, Harare

Email: clerk@parlzim.gov.zw

Appointments to be made: Chairperson and eight Commission members

The terms of office of all eight ordinary members of ZACC expired at the end of 2013. The current chairperson’s term of office expires on 31st August. The President therefore needs to appoint a chairperson and eight commission members.

Chairperson The chairperson must be appointed by the President after consultation with Parliament’s Committee on Standing Rules and Orders [CSRO]. This consultation must comply with section 339(3) of the Constitution, which states that the President must:

• inform the CSRO in writing who he has in mind for the chair and why

• give the CSRO a reasonable opportunity to make recommendations or representations about the proposed appointment, and

• give careful consideration to any recommendations or representations the CSRO may make.

The President is not, however, obliged to appoint a person recommended by CSRO; it is up to him.

Eight Commission members The President must appoint the eight Commission members from a list of at least twelve names submitted to him by the CSRO after completion of the preliminary procedures required by section 237 of the Constitution, which started with the Parliament’s publication of the advertisement calling for nominations from the public [see further below].

Note: Parliament’s advertisement came a few days after the Minister of Home Affairs made a Ministerial statement in the National Assembly attempting to explain how it had come to pass that since the end of 2013 ZACC had been without lawfully appointed members apart from its chairperson, whose term of office is due to expire at the end of August. MPs were not impressed. [Soft copy of Minister’s statement available from Veritas at the addresses given at the end of this bulletin.]

Procedure after receipt of nominations

After the closing date for nominations, the process will be the same as for the appointments to the Human Rights Commission and other independent Commissions described in Constitution Watch 3/2014 of 5th April. So the next step will be public interviews of prospective candidates by the CSRO on a date to be advised. After that the CSRO must come up with a list of at least 12 persons and submit it to the President. The President must then appoint the eight members of the Commission from this list; there is no provision for him to call on the CSRO to repeat the procedure and come up with another list.

Gender balance A highly relevant factor, although not mentioned in the advertisement, is that section 17 of the Constitution requires that at least half the members of ZACC and every other commission be women. This is something that will have to be taken into account by the CSRO when compiling its list of recommended candidates and the President when making the appointments.

Qualifications required Section 254 of the Constitution provides that all members of ZACC must be chosen for their integrity and their knowledge of and experience in administration or the prosecution or investigation of crime or for their general suitability for appointment. It also requires that there must be at least one legal practitioner and one accountant [each with at least 7 years’ experience] and at least one person with at least 10 years’ experience in the investigation of crime.

Functions of ZACC Section 255 of the Constitution confers the following functions on ZACC:

(a) to investigate and expose cases of corruption in the public and private sectors;

(b) to combat corruption, theft, misappropriation, abuse of power and other improper conduct in the public and private sectors;

(c) to promote honesty, financial discipline and transparency in the public and private sectors;

(d) to receive and consider complaints from the public and to take such action in regard to the complaints as it considers appropriate;

(e) to direct the Commissioner-General of Police to investigate cases of suspected corruption and to report to the Commission on the results of any such investigation;

(f) to refer matters to the National Prosecuting Authority for prosecution;

(g) to require assistance from members of the Police Service and other investigative agencies of the State; and

(h) to make recommendations to the Government and other persons on measures to enhance integrity and accountability and prevent improper conduct in the public and private sectors.

Public Interviews of Candidates for Appointment to

Other Constitutional Commissions: No Announcement Yet

Parliament has not yet announced a date for public interviews by the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders of candidates nominated by the public for appointment as founding members of the new Zimbabwe Gender Commission and National Peace and Reconciliation Commission or to fill vacancies on the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, Human Rights Commission and The closing date for submission of nominations by members of the public was 23rd May [see Constitution Watch 3/2014 of 5th April for details].

Progress on Judicial Appointments

Three Supreme Court judgeships – names submitted to President

The public interviews of ten candidates for appointment to the Supreme Court took place as scheduled on 15th July. The interviews were conducted by the Judicial Service Commission, presided over by Chief Justice Chidyausiku. All ten candidates were interviewed during a sitting that lasted well into the evening.

The Commission has submitted the required list of nine candidates to the President. The President’s decision is awaited.

Three High Court judgeships

The Judicial Service Commission has not yet announced a date for public interviews of candidates for appointment to the three vacancies on the High Court bench. The closing date for submission of nominations by members of the public was 14th April.

[For further detail on judicial appointments see Court Watch 5/2014 of 17th March, 10/2014 of 8th July and 11/2014 of 10th July.]

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