LEGAL and parliamentary affairs independent think-tank Veritas has expressed misgivings over the roles and duties which President Emmerson Mnangagwa assigned to himself and vice-presidents amid concern over centralisation and ineffectiveness over the years.
Mnangagwa has reserved to himself the administration of 14 Acts of Parliament.
He also assigned roles to vice-presidents and ministers, as outlined by sections 99 and 104 of the constitution. Mnangagwa reserved to himself the administration of the Anti-Corruption Commission Act, Commissions of Inquiry Act, Emergency Powers Act, Honours and Awards Act and Interception of Communications Act, among others.
He has also allotted to himself control of the Presidential Pension and Retirement Benefits Act, Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) Act, Presidential Salary and Allowances Act, Prevention of Corruption Act and the Radiation Protection Act.
Mnangagwa has also put under his direct administration the Sovereign Wealth Fund Act (now renamed the Mutapa Investment Fund Act), Zimbabwe Independent Complaints Commission Act, Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency Act, and the Zimbabwe National Security Council Act.
In its analysis this week, Veritas said while some of the Acts fall under the President’s domain, other roles have raised questions on whether they have been correctly placed.
“Some of the listed Acts fall clearly within the President’s domain; the Honours and Awards Act, for example, and the Presidential Powers Act, and perhaps the Acts providing for the President’s salary and pension (though should not they be administered by the Treasury?). One Act seems completely out of place: the Radiation Protection Act, which should fall under the Ministry of Health,” Veritas said.
“Apart from those Acts, it is a revealing list; By reserving to himself two Acts which give power to deal with corruption, the President may be signalling the Government’s determination to stamp it out. On the other hand, he has administered both Acts since 2018 to little effect.
“Most statutes relating to security, such as the Maintenance of Peace and Order Act, are administered by the Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage. But by keeping the Emergency Powers Act, the Interception of Communications Act and the Zimbabwe National Security Council Act to himself, the President retains significant control over security matters.
“The President’s interest in economic matters is well known, but retaining the Mutapa Investment Fund Act and the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Act may amount to over-centralisation. And taking the latter Act under his control is hardly a ringing vote of confidence in the Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion.”
While Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga was assigned responsibility for “economic sector ministries”, the ministries have not been clearly specified.
“In addition, he (Chiwenga) is responsible for administering three Acts, the Public Entities Corporate Governance Act, the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act and the Research Act — the last one not really an economic Act,” Veritas said.
Vice President Kembo Mohadi was put in charge of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission Act, which has outlived its 10-year lifespan under section 251 of the Constitution.
He has also been placed in charge of the District Development Fund Act and social sector ministries.