Independent Member of Parliament Temba Mliswa yesterday questioned the legality of the Special Anti-Corruption Unit in the President’s Office headed by Thabani Mpofu arguing that it was unconstitutional.
Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda advised him to approach the Constitutional Court if he wanted the issue clarified.
The issue was first raised during question time in Parliament by Movement for Democratic Change vice-chairman Job Sikhala who said Mpofu was interfering with the functions of both the lower and upper courts.
Mliswa said as far as he was aware the constitution only gave powers to investigate and prosecute to the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission, the Prosecutor-General and the police. So where did the Special Anti-Corruption get its mandate?
Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi said the unit was functioning within its mandate.
“This is purely a special unit within the office of the President with a specific mandate given by His Excellency the President and they do not and have never interfered with the work of any organ that is established in the Constitution,” he said.
Mliswa insisted that the unit’s operations were unconstitutional.
“I therefore, implore the Hon. Minister to tell us the Act which gives Mr. Thabani Mpofu the powers to do what the other constitutional bodies are mandated to do through the Constitution of Zimbabwe and under section 119 of the Constitution, we must uphold provisions of the Constitution. The President cannot violate the Constitution, he is a lawyer,” he said.
Ziyambai said he did not see any conflict at all with established constitutional bodies.
Mudenda chipped in: “I want to advise you Hon. T. Mliswa…. Where you are not clear, you can approach the Constitutional Court to clarify issues for you……. I want to assist Hon. T. Mliswa, be guided by section 167 (2) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe in what I have said.”
Section167 subsection 2 states:
- Subject to this Constitution, only the Constitutional Court may—
advise on the constitutionality of any proposed legislation, but may do so only where the legislation concerned has been referred to it in terms of this Constitution;
- Hear and determine disputes relating to election to the office of President;
- hear and determine disputes relating to whether or not a person is qualified to hold the office of Vice-President; or
- determine whether Parliament or the President has failed to fulfil a constitutional obligation.
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