PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has chosen High Court judge, Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo (pictured), who is also Foreign Affairs minister Sibusiso Moyo’s wife, to be the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) chairperson in a development that has sparked outrage in parliament.
BY ANDREW KUNAMBURA
Mnangagwa last week wrote to the Standing Rules and Orders Committee (SROC) of parliament informing it of his decision to appoint Matanda-Moyo as Zacc chairperson.
Some MPs, however, raised tconcerns of partiality since her husband is a cabinet minister and retired lieutenant-general, who played a prominent role in Mnangagwa’s rise to power when he announced and became the face of the military coup that toppled former president Robert Mugabe in November 2017.
They argued that her appointment would compromise the credibility of Zacc.
Officials from the Justice ministry confirmed the development this week saying Mnangagwa’s letter went through clerk of parliament Kennedy Chokuda and was relayed to Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda, in his capacity as chairperson of the SROC.
Zanu PF and MDC chief whips Pupurai Togarepi and Prosper Mutseyami are part of the 26-member SROC.
“The president wrote a letter to parliament informing them of his decision to appoint Justice Matanda-Moyo as Zacc chair. The letter was sent via Chokuda’s office,” a government source said.
The development comes as the committee is in the middle of selecting eight other members of the commission from a large pool of 130 applicants vying for the posts.
These include former newspaper editors Geoffrey Nyarota and Tommy Sithole; former clerk of parliament Austin Zvoma and ex-MDC MPs Jessie Majome, Gabriel Chaibva and Blessing Chebundo.
Mnangagwa dissolved the previous anti-graft body chaired by Job Whabira in January this year following claims of ineffectiveness and corruption by the very commissioners.
Mnangagwa has pledged to deal with rampant corruption in the country, although critics dismiss it as lip service.
Of the 130 names, the SROC will shortlist 12 for interviews.
According to Section 254 of the constitution, the chairperson of the commission is not subjected to such scrutiny as he or she is “appointed by the president after consultation with the committee on Standing Rules and Orders.”
Mnangagwa’s decision has, however, left the committee sharply divided after some of the members argued that she was not the most suitable candidate because she is married to the Foreign Affairs minister.
The MPs expressed their reservations at a meeting at parliament on Tuesday last week.
According to sources who attended the meeting, MDC members of the SROC argued that Matanda-Moyo’s appointment would raise serious questions about her impartiality since her husband was a cabinet minister.
An MP who sits in the SROC said: “Mudenda read the letter to us and afterwards there was a heated debate over the issue and when Mudenda realised that he was losing the debate amid fierce resistance from MDC MPs who felt that the appointment would be inappropriate, he decided to put the matter to vote.
“MDC legislators then requested for more time to research on Matanda-Moyo, but Mudenda stuck to his guns and ordered the vote to proceed. The reason for his stance was that he had been given the instruction to ensure that she is approved immediately. MDC MPs abstained from the vote, but Zanu PF MPs went ahead and unanimously approved of her.”
Chokuda and Mudenda declined to comment on the matter this week.
“Communication between the president and parliament is strictly confidential, therefore I cannot comment on that letter. We are not allowed to discuss correspondence between the president and parliament,” Chokuda said.
Mudenda charged: “Why don’t you talk to your sources on that matter? I am not going to talk about it, so talk to your sources.”
Matanda-Moyo has been a High Court judge since 2013
Before her appointment as a High Court judge, Matanda-Moyo was the president of the Labour Court and at one stage, she was director of public prosecutions in the Attorney-General’s Office.