By Abigail Mawonde
The President has the right at law to appoint a Commission of Inquiry into the post-election violence that hit Harare on August 1 and any assertions to the contrary are incorrect and misleading, Secretary for Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Mrs Virginia Mabiza has said.
She said this in response to a story published in local daily yesterday claiming the commission appointed by the President recently was illegal, quoting Veritas as its prime source.
In her statement, Mrs Mabiza refuted claims by Veritas, a local NGO, that the President’s actions were unlawful.
“It is most unfortunate that a misinterpretation of the law would constitute such a misleading headline. With all due respect, the interpretation of Section 110 (2) (d) of the Constitution by Veritas is incorrect, misleading and unbalanced,” she said.
“The law does not require the President to consult Cabinet in making appointments, which the Constitution or legislation requires the President to make.”
Mrs Mabiza further explained that the Commission of Inquiry Act required that such appointments be made by the President.
“It is therefore incorrect to say that the provisions do not make it mandatory for the President to appoint a commission.
In the NewsDay article, Veritas – in its analysis of the commission’s appointment – claimed that President Mnangagwa violated Section 110(6) of the Constitution by picking the commissioners without involving Cabinet.
President Mnangagwa, after his inauguration, appointed a seven-member Commission of Inquiry into the post-election violence that led to the death of six people in Harare on August 1.
The commission is made up of foreign and local members who are: former South African president Kgalema Motlanthe (pictured above), UK-based Queen’s Counsel Rodney Dixon, former Commonwealth Secretary-General and Nigerian national Chief Emeka Anyaouku, former Tanzania Defence Forces Chief General Davis Mwamunyange, UZ Dean of Political Science Professor Charity Manyeruke, UZ Dean of Law and NCA leader Professor Lovemore Madhuku, and former president of the Law Society of Zimbabwe Mrs Vimbai Nyemba.
The President said the commission would be sworn-in upon his return from China this week. He also indicated that the appointments would be gazetted to give them effect at law.