Matabeleland North Senator Obert Mpofu will be forced to give up his seat in Senate to spare President Emmerson Mnangagwa his blushes after he appointed six ministers from outside Parliament instead of the five permitted under the constitution.
Mnangagwa, according to government sources, had wrongly assumed that Home Affairs Minister Cain Mathema – one of the six ministers – was a Senator.
Mpofu, who was not reappointed into the Cabinet announced on September 7, now works full-time as Zanu PF’s secretary for administration at the party headquarters in Harare.
The former Home Affairs Minister was sworn-in as a Senator on September 11, a day after the man who replaced him, Mathema, joined 42 other ministers and deputy ministers who took the oath of office in front of Mnangagwa at State House.
The illegality of Mnangagwa’s appointment of a sixth minister from outside Parliament had largely gone unnoticed, until an exclusive ZimLive report on Thursday.
Mpofu, weakened by a permanent fear of arrest on corruption charges, is believed to have reluctantly agreed to step aside for Mathema.
Before Mathema can be sworn-in, Mpofu must first resign through a letter to the Senate President Mabel Chinomona, who in turn must advise the state President of a vacancy. President Mnangagwa then informs ZEC to fill the vacancy.
Because Senators are not voted in but picked from a party list through a proportional representation system, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) will then invite Zanu PF to nominate Mpofu’s replacement.
ZEC will check if Mathema qualifies, essentially whether he was a registered voter in Matabeleland North. ZEC will, if satisfied, then declare Mathema duly nominated before publishing a notice in the Government Gazette.
Only then will he be sworn-in – effectively curing the illegality of Mnangagwa’s breach of the constitution.
Nkululeko Sibanda, the spokesman for MDC leader Nelson Chamisa said Mnangagwa had failed to carry out the “easiest of tasks”.
Sibanda told ZimLive: “When President Mnangagwa was thought of as a presidential candidate, people thought that he would bring something, at the very least bring some brain, capacity and efficiency. The problem we have is that every single time he has been asked to carry out the simplest of tasks, he makes the same mistake over and over again.
“What is important now is to establish whether or not he has any presidential capability, over and above being clearly illegitimate and having been rejected by the people of Zimbabwe.”
Last November, when Mnangagwa first came to power through a military coup, he made a similar mistake of appointing six ministers from outside Parliament and was forced to reverse the appointment of Chris Mutsvangwa as Information Minister.