President Robert Mugabe has put nine crucial pieces of legislation under his office without consulting his unity government partners as per some provisions of the Global Political Agreement, a move some critics view as an attempt to consolidate his grip on power ahead of next year’s general elections.
In a statutory instrument gazetted last Friday, the president single-handedly allocated himself the Commission of Inquiry Act, Emergency Powers Act, Honors and Awards Act, Interception of Communication Act, Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) Act, Procurement Act, Radiation Protection Act, Research Act and the Zimbabwe National Security Council Act.
The notice read in part: “It is hereby notified that His Excellency and the President, in terms of section 31D (1) (a) of the Constitution as read with section 37 (2) of the Interpretation Act has assigned to the Office of President and Cabinet — (a) the administration of the Acts set out in the schedule and (b) the functions conferred or imposed on the Office of the President and Cabinet, save to the extent that those functions have not been assigned to some other minister.”
Tendai Biti, secretary general of the MDC formation of Prime Minister Tsvangirai, told the independent Standard newspaper that his party will meet soon to discuss the matter and take appropriate decisions.
But University of Zimbabwe law lecturer Lovemore Madhuku said there is nothing wrong with the president’s move because no minister exercises executive powers without the approval of the president.
President Mugabe allocated himself strategic ministries just after the formation of the unity government in 2009 in an attempt to have a tight grip on power.
He has used some of the ministries like Home Affairs and Defence to terrorize his ruling partners.