Members of the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) whose term of office expired last year have been called back into office, The Standard can reveal.
By Charles Laiton
The nine Zacc commissioners, who were nominated by the former Government of National Unity (GNU) along partisan lines, were told to resume duties in a memo dated May 29 2014 and signed by the commission chairperson, Denford Chirindo.
The general notice 29/05/14, titled “Resumption of duty by commissioners” reads: “Please be advised that the Secretary for Home Affairs [the accounting officer] has advised that the commissioners whose term of office expired in August 2013 should come back to work with immediate effect so that they continue to function until a new commission has been set up by his Excellency the President.”
“Please, also be advised that the commissioners reported for duty today 29 May 2014 in compliance with the secretary’s advice. For the avoidance of doubt, please note that according to the accounting officer’s instruction, commission business is back to normal.”
Contacted for comment, Chirindo confirmed the development but declined to shed more light on the anticipated operations of the commissioners or the cases targeted for investigation.
“I can confirm that pursuant to the decision taken by the ministry, the commissioners started their duties but the person who is able to clarify or explain on what the commissioners are expected to do is the ministry’s accounting officer, Melusi Machaya, given that the officers were not re-appointed,” Chirindo said.
The re-called commissioners are Chirindo, his deputy, a policy consultant and former civil society practitioner, Theresa Mugadza, president of the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe, Goodwills Shana, a former police assistant commissioner, Emmanuel Chimwanda, a former senior police officer, Keith Lakayana Dube, Shepherd Gwasira, Zed Rusike, Annah Colletah Chitsike and a former senior civil servant in the President’s office, Elita Sakupwanya.
But a Zacc official said although the commission had been re-called, the operations of the graft body still remained controversial since there were no laid down operating procedures to avoid clashes with other law enforcement agents.
“According to the new constitution’s section 255 (1) (e) Zacc is expected to direct the Commissioner-General of Police to investigate cases of corruption and to report to the commission on the result of such investigations and sub section (2) says the Commissioner-General of Police must comply with any directive given to him or her by Zacc under sub section (1) (e) but on the ground you will note that these top offices will be fighting for authority,” the official said on condition of anonymity.
Zimbabwe Human Rights Forum executive director Abel Chikomo welcomed the recalling of Zacc. He said it was not healthy for the country to operate without an anti-graft body and urged the government to allow the commission to operate without interference.
“For me, this is a positive step and we welcome the development if it is just an interim measure. It is important for the government to ensure that the commission is fully operational in order to deal with rampant cases of corruption by the so-called bigwigs,” Chikomo said.”