ZLHR Jolts Parliament into Action over ZICC

ZLHR Jolts Parliament into Action over ZICC

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PARLIAMENT has called on members of the public to nominate suitable persons to be considered for appointment to serve as Commissioners on the Zimbabwe Independent Complaints Commission (ZICC), which will be tasked with probing complaints from aggrieved members of the public about misconduct on the part of members of the security services.

On Friday 12 January 2024, Parliament’s Committee on Standing Rules and Orders (CSRO) called on the public to nominate persons to serve as Commissioners of ZICC and set 31 January 2024 as the date when submission of nominations will close.

Among its functions, the ZICC will be tasked with investigating any complaints filed against delinquent members of the security services in the discharge or purported discharge of their duties and to inspect any facilities under the control of any security service, where persons are detained among other duties.

The move by Parliament to call for nominations for the appointment of ZICC Commissioners came after it was sued by Hon. Takudzwa Ngadziore, a legislator for the opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) political party, who on 5 December 2023 filed a constitutional application at the Constitutional Court, to consider the failure by Parliament to fulfil its constitutional obligations to facilitate the appointment of Commissioners to ZICC.

In the application, Hon. Ngadziore, who was represented by Kossam Ncube of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), argued that Parliament failed to fulfill its constitutional obligations as enunciated in section 237(1)(a-e) of the Constitution in respect of the procedural steps it is mandated to implement in order to facilitate the process of appointment of members of ZICC by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

The opposition legislator argued that Parliament had failed to protect the Constitution and promote democratic governance in Zimbabwe.

He asked the Constitutional Court to remedy Parliament’s constitutional failures by complying with and discharging its mandate as required of it in terms of the provisions of the Constitution and to in a period of two months, submit a list of nominees to be considered for appointment as Commissioners of ZICC by President Mnangagwa.

Hon. Ngadziore also asked the Constitutional Court to order President Mnangagwa to appoint members of ZICC within 10 days of submission of the list of nominees to him by Parliament.

In response to Hon. Ngadziore’s petition, Speaker of Parliament Hon. Jacob Mudenda, opposed the application arguing that Parliament had not failed to fulfill its constitutional obligations.

Hon. Mudenda argued that Parliament was seized with other pressing business, which required its immediate attention.

Hon. Mudenda also contended that Parliament’s business was disrupted in 2023 as it was an electoral year, which saw many petitions being filed against it related to electoral issues.

The matter is yet to be set down for hearing at the Constitutional Court.

Earlier on, ZLHR had in November 2023 given President Mnangagwa an ultimatum lasting up to 30 November 2023, to ensure that he complies with the provisions of the Constitution by appointing Commissioners of ZICC.

In a letter written to President Mnangagwa by Ncube on behalf of Nesbert Munyuki, a Harare resident, the human rights lawyer protested that President Mnangagwa had spent more than one year since the enactment of the Independent Complaints Commission Act in October 2022, without appointing ZICC Commissioners as required by section 6 of the Independent Complaints Commission Act.

This failure and the delay to appoint ZICC Commissioners, Ncube said, rendered the essence of the protection of members of the public as provided for in section 210 of the Constitution nugatory, as the complaints mechanism was compromised by the fact that President Mnangagwa’s Office had not fulfilled its statutory mandate of appointing Commissioners to deal with complaints filed against delinquent members of the security services.

ENDS

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