Sunday, July 31, 2005

Minister holds post in breach of constitution

Immediately after ZANU-PF's controverstial win in the March parliamentary elections Mugabe expediently made his cabinet appointments. In doing so he made several rash decisions which have haunted him since. One of the hottest issues for the beleagured leader has been that of the legitimacy of his lone none-parliamentary minister, Sithembiso Ndlovhu. Zimbabwean law prohibits anyone who isn't elected or appointed to parliament to hold a ministerial post.

I mentioned this in this post right after cabinet was appointed:

"In the latest development, the aging leader finds himself at odds with his own words after his Small and Medium Enterprises Development minister, Sithembiso Nyoni, is still without a constituency to represent in parliament. Zimbabwe's constitution states that every minister and deputy minister must hold a seat in parliament within three months of their appointment to the cabinet. Mugabe, who touted this rule strongly during his campaign along with his inititiave to ensure that women represented ZANU in a third of all the seats, now has to conjure up a seat for Nyoni, a woman.

Reeling from criticism about the enormous size of his "development cabinet," and the controversial death of a former confidante. This is proving to be no easy task as he used all of his parliamentary appointments for people he has given cabinet or gubernatorial positions. The only option he seems to have is that of imposing Nyoni, who lost to the MDC's David Coltart in Bulawayo South, on the people of the Mashonaland East constituency of Mudzi East. The Mudzi seat is available for by-election after Ray Kaukonde who won the seat in the parliamentaries was appointed Mashonaland East governor and handed one of Mugabe's 30 appointmented seats."
For Sithembiso Nyoni, the three month grace period has now lapsed. Cabinet was sworn in on April 15, so since the clock struck midnight on July 15, she holds her post in breach of the constitution.

The only thing we know is htat the illegitimate minister's name is not listed on any of the government's official documents. From the Standard,
"Up to now, Nyoni has not set foot in Parliamentary chambers. Her name and ministry do not appear in the official parliamentary publication, the Hansard. Only that of her deputy minister, Kenneth Mutiwekuziva, the Member of Parliament for Uzumba-Maramba-Pfungwe is listed.

Nyoni could have either gotten into parliament through a by-election or if Mugabe had asked one of the appointed MPs to resign. Another avenue would have been if Zanu PF had fast-tracked the re-introduction of the senate where a number of party officials who did not win parliamentary elections are expected to find sanctuary."
The constitutional ammendment that would reintroduce senate is stuck in the draft phase. It will most likely be another 90 days before anything is heard about that.

This legal dilemma awaits Mugabe when he returns from his conquest of the east.

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