High Court sets rules for ZACC interviews

Fidelis Munyoro Chief Court Reporter
Interviews for commissioners of the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) on Friday must be steered by a full Committee on Standing Rules and Orders (CSRO) of Parliament and not subcommittees, the High Court has ruled.

The court also ruled that the interviews should be held non-stop until the last candidate has been interviewed.

This follows an application by Harare lawyer Mr Tinomudaishe Chinyoka, a nominee to the position of Zacc commissioner, challenging the selection process set for June 21.

He was suing Speaker of Parliament Advocate Jacob Mudenda and Senate president Mabel Chinomona, who were listed as respondents.

Justice Benjamin Chikowero granted the application by Mr Chinyoka by consent of both parties’ lawyers — Advocate Lewis Uriri representing Mr Chinyoka and a Mr K. Tundu, acting for the respondents.

“Section 254 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 20) Act, 2013 requires that interviews for the appointment of commissioners of the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission be conducted by the entire Committee on Standing Rules and Orders of Parliament and not subcommittees thereof,” the judge said.

“The respondents shall ensure that all the interviews for shortlisted candidates for the Anti-Corruption Commission scheduled for 21 June 2019 or as may be rescheduled are conducted by a single quorate Committee on Standing Rules and Orders of Parliament of Zimbabwe starting from 8am on that date continuing without adjournment (save for meal breaks) until after the last interviewee has been interviewed.”

At least 38 candidates are set to be interviewed.

Parliament had split the candidates into two groups to be interviewed simultaneously in the National Assembly and Senate Chambers from 9am to 4.20pm.

Mr Chinyoka had argued that the proposed format for the interviews was unconstitutional.

The format which CSRO proposed to use for the interviews meant that in being assessed for their suitability as commissioners, each candidate would only be seen by half of the CSRO.

“This proposed manner of proceeding is against the Constitution, namely that it is the entire CSRO that should send names of possible commissioners to the President, not a sub-committee thereof,” Mr Chinyoka had argued.

It was also Mr Chinyoka’s contention that no criteria had been disclosed as to how particular individuals ended up on either list to be interviewed.

Early this month, Parliament announced the names and dates for interviews of prospective Zacc commissioners who will be appointed by the President.

The development follows the resignation of the Zacc chairperson and commissioners in January this year.

The CSRO carried out an exhaustive analysis of the nominated candidates to ascertain their suitability for consideration to serve on the commission and shortlisted 38  candidates.

Some those to be interviewed are Ms Jessie Majome, Mr Tongai Matutu, Mr Gabriel Chaibva, Mr James Andrew Mushore, Mr Brian Kashangura, Mr Blessing Chebundo, Mr Frank Muchengwa, Retired Major Gibson Botomani, Mr Kennedy Mtombeni, Advocate Michael Majuru and Advocate Wilbert Pfungwadzashe Mandinde.

Members of the public are free to attend and witness the interviews.

President Mnangagwa has since sworn in High Court judge Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo as ZACC chairperson.

The anti-corruption campaign is one of President Mnangagwa’s key reckoning points in the Second Republic to attract foreign investment and extricate the country from economic challenges.

The new administration has set targets to transform the country into a middle-income economy by 2030, with corruption being singled out as the biggest impediment.