BILL WATCH 44-2017 Revised Ministerial Line-up

BILL WATCH 44/2017

[3rd December 2017]

Revised Ministerial Line-up

The President’s Ministerial-line up has been revised so that he does not break the constitutional stipulation of having only five non-MPS as Ministers or Deputy Ministers.  The Annexure to this bulletin contains three tables showing the revised Ministerial appointments [with the effect of the revisions in shown in red].

What has not been announced is whether the two Defence Forces appointees have resigned their posts.

Gender Balance is still very poor with only seven women out of 33 Ministers [Cabinet and non-Cabinet] and Deputies

The swearing-in ceremony is set for Monday 4th December

Cabinet Ministers

The revised list brings the number in Cabinet down to 21 [compared to 28 in the last Mugabe Cabinet], including one Minister of State.  One Ministerial post is still vacant.  Some of the others have been reshuffled to bring the number of non-MPs who are Ministers down to 5 as allowed by the Constitution. 

Deputy Ministers

There are now only two of these on the revised list.  [Deputy Minsters do not sit in Cabinet]

The other Minister of State in the President’s Office [1] and Ministers of State for Provincial Affairs [10] are not in Cabinet. There was no revision of these appointments.

Vice-Presidents have not yet been appointed – when they are, they will sit in Cabinet ex officio.

Gender Balance Achieved?  NO

Section 104(4) of the Constitution provides that in appointing Ministers and their deputies the President “must be guided by considerations of regional and gender balance”.  But men predominate in the President Mnangagwa’s appointments: Four of the 21-member Cabinet are women; three of the 10 Ministers of State for Provincial Affairs are women; and the two Deputy Ministers are men and the one non-cabinet Minister of State is a man.  So out of 34 appointees, seven are women.

Appointment of Ministers from Outside Parliament

The President may appoint up to five Ministers and Deputy Ministers from outside Parliament “chosen for their professional skills and competence” [Constitution, section 104(3)].  Once this quota has been filled, all other Ministers and Deputy Ministers must be members of Parliament [either Senators or members of the National Assembly]. 

In the revised list the number of non-MP Ministers or Deputy Ministers is within the constitutional limits. The non-MP Ministers remaining are Sibusiso Moyo, Amon Murwira, Perrance Shiri, July Moyo and Winston Chitando; there are no non-MP Deputy Ministers in the revised list.

Lazarus Dokora has been dropped – other non-MPs who had been appointed have either become Special Advisors to the President or assigned or reassigned to important ZANU-PF party posts [as indicated in the attached table]. 

Appointment of Ministers from the Defence Forces

Serving members of the Defence Forces cannot be Ministers.  The Constitution prohibits Ministers from holding any other public office [section 108].  One, therefore, assumes that Air Marshal Perrance Shiri and Major-General S.B. Moyo resigned or retired from the Air Force and the Army, respectively, before they were named as Ministers – or will do so before they are sworn in. 

Ministers of State for Provincial Affairs

Reminder  Under the Constitution, there is no provision for the appointment of Ministers for Provincial Affairs or Provincial Governors.  

Instead, the Constitution contains new provisions for the devolution of governmental powers and responsibilities to provincial and metropolitan councils, constituted by a province’s MPs, the mayors and chairpersons of the province’s local authorities and, in the case of the eight provincial councils, ten persons elected to the council by a system of proportional representation as part of every general election.  It is these councils which should be responsible for provincial affairs.

The ten elected provincial councillors for each provincial council were formally elected as part of the July 2013 general election, but apart from that nothing has been done to implement the new constitutional provisions.  Next year’s harmonised elections will also produce 80 elected provincial councillors – the Constitution and the Electoral Act require it.  And, unless President Mnangagwa moves speedily to put things right by getting legislation enacted to implement the constitutional provisions concerned, they will, once again, be councillors in name only, with nothing to do.  

In the meantime those that are appointed as Ministers of State for Provincial Affairs can only carry out whatever functions the President gives them, but only provided such functions are permitted by law. 

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