A law lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe, Fadzayi Mahere has said the appointment of Vice President Constantino Chiwenga as the Health Minister on Tuesday is unconstitutional.
Mahere who is also the national spokesperson of the opposition MDC Alliance said the appointment violated Section 99 and Section 103 of the national Constitution. She said Section 103 of the Constitution stipulates that the “Vice-President” is not permitted to hold any other public office while in office.
She added that the appointment is, therefore, a nullity and must be set aside. When Nick Mangwana the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services insisted the appointment is constitutional, Mahere added:
“So he’s not the Minister of Health? Is he the “Vice President” or is he the Minister of Health? He cannot be both. I’m sure you can read. Section 103 of the Constitution is clear. That appointment must be set aside on an urgent basis. It is illegal.”
Kudzai Bushu weighed in suggesting that the appointment could be within the confines of the law. Bushu cited Section 99 which says the Vice-Presidents assist the President in the discharge of his or her functions and perform any other functions, including the administration of any Ministry, department or Act of Parliament, that the President may assign them.
Mahere responded saying Bushu was wrong in his opinion. She said:
“You’re mistaken. Section 99 is clear. It doesn’t permit the appointment of a VP as a substantive Minister. The terms “assist” in the “administration of a Ministry” mean that at most a VP can be acting at best not that he can hold 2 roles at once. That’s unconstitutional per s103.”
The post was being held by Dr Obadiah Moyo who was relieved of his duties over his involvement in a corruption scandal that prejudiced the state of over US$60 million.
– Fadzayi Mahere