President Emmerson Mnangagwa violated the constitution when he appointed more than five non-parliamentarians as ministers on Thursday, constitutional lawyer Professor Welshman Ncube has said.
The new ruling Zanu PF leader also beached the constitution by maintaining provincial affairs ministers, said Ncube who also heads the MDC party added while an opposition coalition threatened to sue the president over the issue.
The new constitution gazetted in May 2013 provides for the establishment of eight provincial councils and two metropolitan provincial councils. But almost five years after the crafting of the supreme law, the councils have not been set up.
On Thursday Mnangagwa announced a 22-member cabinet, ten ministers of state for provinces as well as six deputy ministers.
However, in an interview with New Zimbabwe.com Prof Ncube said the president violated both section 104 (3) and Chapter 14 (268) of the constitution.
“The President appointed eight non-elected people as cabinet ministers which is a clear violation of section (3).
“Like his predecessor, the president has also retained provincial affairs ministers which are unconstitutional,” said Prof Ncube.
In terms of the constitution, ministers and deputy ministers are appointed from senators or members of the national assembly.
In addition, up to five ministers, chosen for their professional skills and competence, may be appointed from outside parliament.
However, Mnangagwa appointed eight cabinet ministers who are members of the legislature.
Some of the unelected new ministers include Christopher Mutsvangwa, Perrence Shiri, Sibusiso Moyo, Clever Nyathi, Winston Chitando, Victor Matemadanda, and July Moyo.
Prof Ncube said Mnangagwa’s only option to rectify his appointments is to fire some of Zanu PF’s proportional representation MPs and senators, and replacing them with the new ministers.
“The bottom-line is that the current appointments are illegal in terms of the constitution. We all have to see what Mnangagwa and Zanu PF will do to legitimise this flawed process,” said Ncube.
Code threatens to sue Mnangagwa
Meanwhile, the opposition Coalition of Democrats (CODE) has threated to sue Mnangagwa over the constitutional breach.
“He (Mnangagwa) has gone ahead to disregard the constitution and appointed provincial ministers contrary to the Chapter 14 of the constitution which requires that these be appointed from people who would have won in those respective provinces and that the metropolitan mayors should be chairing the provincial councils,” CODE President Elton, Mangoma told reporters in Harare Friday.
“This must be a sign to everyone that this President does not want to implement anything in the constitution and he will do anything that is good for him.”
Mangoma said CODE was consulting lawyers over the constitutional breaches.
“We are conscientizing people that there is a violation and thereafter we will take the case to the court and those are the things that we are doing right now,” he said.
“President Mnangagwa himself was the minister of Justice Legal and parliamentary affairs, which ministry was tasked to align the constitution or the statutes with the constitution and he failed to do so.
“If anybody who thought that it was because of the former President Mugabe, now that doubt has been taken away by what he (Mnangagwa) has done in only one week.”