MORE wrangling looms in the coalition government between President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai over the appointment of provincial governors whose terms expire early next month.
Report by Wongai Zhangazha
According to the Provincial Councils and Administration Act, terms of provincial governors shall not exceed a period of two years.
The country’s 10 provincial governors were unilaterally appointed in October 2010 by Mugabe for two-year terms despite their appointment being one of the outstanding issues in the Global Political Agreement.
The appointments resulted in Tsvangirai suing Mugabe in the High Court for failing to consult him as outlined in the GPA. The MDC-T approached the High Court on November 24 2010 seeking a reversal of the re-appointments arguing they were unconstitutional.
Tsvangirai’s court papers said Mugabe was aware he could not appoint provincial governors without consulting him.
However, Mugabe cited Rule 18 to dismiss Tsvangirai’s accusations. It reads: “No summons or other civil process of the court may be issued out against the president or any of the judges of the High Court without the leave of the court granted on court application being made for that purpose.”
In July, Mugabe lost his appeal in the Supreme Court meaning he must now answer on the merits of Tsvangirai’s argument.
MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora said his party stands by its position that any appointment without consulting Tsvangirai is illegal.
“The unilateral appointment of provincial governors by Mugabe was null and void and thus illegal,” said Mwonzora. “We therefore still insist the Prime Minister must be consulted in any re-appointment in accordance with the GPA.
If not, then the appointment will be unrecognisable,” he said.
However, MDC spokesperson Nhlanhla Dube said his party was not bothered by the re-appointment of governors.
“As a party, we will not put our gear into political reverse by allowing ourselves to be swayed from political work which is focused on elections,” said Dube. “Governors do not have any budget they implement. They are the least important issue in the GPA. He (Mugabe) can go ahead and appoint and we will let him enjoy his very last re-appointing powers.”
Constitutional law expert Lovemore Madhuku said Mugabe is going to repeat what he has done before in appointing provincial governors.
“The Provincial Councils and Administration Act is clear that the terms of the governors expire after two years,” said Madhuku. “However it is quite clear what will happen. Mugabe is very predictable. He will go ahead with what he wants to do. The constitution stalemate should be an example to show how Mugabe behaves.”