Zimbabwe News

Legal controversy surrounds appointment of Michael Reza as ZACC chairperson

Lawyers argue that President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s appointment of Deputy Prosecutor-General Michael Reza as the new Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) chairperson, replacing Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo, who now holds the position of Prosecutor-General, is unconstitutional.

Mnangagwa appointed Reza in terms of Subsection 1 (a) of section 254 of the constitution.

However, a lawyer who spoke to The NewsHawks said Reza does not have the required seven years of experience in legal practice to take that position.

Any commissioner who is a lawyer must have seven years of legal practice or be eligible to be appointed a judge or has been a High Court or Supreme Court judge.

However, Reza applied to join the Law Society of Zimbabwe to practice law in 2020 and registered the same year or in 2021 to become a lawyer.

This means he only has three or four years of experience, which is not enough for him to become a ZACC commissioner or, worse still its chairperson.

Reza holds a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree from the University of South Africa and a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from the Midlands State University, but does not qualify to be a commissioner. Said the lawyer:

President Mnangagwa’s appointment of Reza as ZACC chair is unconstitutional; he is not qualified to be a ZACC commissioner as a lawyer in the first place because he doesn’t have enough experience to be there.

He needs to have seven years of experience – that means he has to be qualified to be a judge or has been a judge of the High Court or Supreme Court.

Even if we were to take the other requirement that one can be a commissioner if they have 10 years experience in investigating crime, which he probably has, the problem is that after the removal of Matanda-Moyo and Jessie Majome, there is no lawyer in the commission, moreso with the constitutionally required seven years experience.

Majome, one of the commissioners who was qualified as a lawyer to be there, was appointed chairperson of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission.

According to The NewsHawks, this is not the first time that Mnangagwa has repeatedly violated the constitution on appointments.

In the past, he exceeded the constitutional limit by appointing additional unelected ministers to his cabinet. In each instance, he faced pressure to rectify the unlawful appointments.

These actions have prompted inquiries into Mnangagwa’s attention to detail and the calibre of legal and political guidance he receives.

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