By Nyashadzashe Ndoro
The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) is under-fire for compromising its independence by operating under the “unconstitutional” directive of President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
On Thursday, Mnangagwa suspended Zesa Holdings Executive chair Sydney Gata, the entire ZESA Holdings board and “unconstitutionally” directed Zacc to investigate corruption allegations levelled against him by Energy minister, Fortune Chasi.
“His Excellency, President Emmerson Mnangagwa has suspended the Executive Chairman of the ZESA Holdings, Dr Sydney Gata and the entire ZESA Board Members with immediate effect.
“President Emmerson Mnangagwa has also directed the Chairperson of the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo to immediately undertake thorough investigations into, the allegations levelled against Executive Chairman by Honorable Minister Energy and Power development Fortune Chasi, and any other underlying corrupt activities bedevilling Zesa Board and the electricity sector as a whole.
“President Mnangagwa expects ZACC to complete its investigations as well as tabling its report on the findings within four weeks,” read a statement by the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Misheck Sibanda.
UK based academic and constitutional lawyer, Dr Alex Magaisa said Mnangagwa had, according to Section 235 of the Constitution, no power to direct an independent commission how to operate.
He added the President’s tendency to direct Zacc had compromised the mandate of the commission to fight corruption in Zimbabwe.
“Zacc doesn’t have the guts to challenge this illegality. President Mnangagwa has no power to “direct” Zacc like this. Section 235 of the Constitution says, commissions “are independent and are not subject to the direction or control of anyone” #ZimbabweanLivesMatter
“The fact that Zacc operates under these presidential directives is precisely why it is compromised. How can it investigate a man or allies of a man who directs it? An anti-corruption body that is a puppet of the President is not fit for purpose #ZimbabweanLivesMatter,” Magaisa said.
Section 235; Independence of Commissions:
“(1) The independent Commissions—
(a) are independent and are not subject to the direction or control of anyone;
(b) must act in accordance with this Constitution; and
“(c) must exercise their functions without fear, favour or prejudice;
although they are accountable to Parliament for the efficient performance of their
“(2) The State and all institutions and agencies of government at every level,
through legislative and other measures, must assist the independent Commissions and must protect their independence, impartiality, integrity and effectiveness.
“(3) No person may interfere with the functioning of the independent
Commissions,” reads the constitution.
Responding to Magaisa’s allegations, Zacc spokesperson John Makamure said Mnangagwa had not directed Zacc and the commission would engage the Office of President and Cabinet (OPC) over the matter.
“Alex Magaisa i can assure you that there are no directives that have been received from the President. We are engaging the Office of the President and Cabinet on the issue and the public will be informed accordingly,” Makamure said.
Gata is accused of allocating for his personal use five Zesa vehicles over and above his official Mercedes Benz in addition to, among other things, spending $10 million on parties.
He had accused Chasi of basing his allegations on press reports.
Observers have been accusing Zacc of failing to investigate President Mnangagwa, his son Collins and his wife Auxilia after they were involved in massive corruption, the US$60m Drax Covidgate scandal that saw the arrest and dismissal of former Health Minister Obadiah Moyo. Nehanda Radio