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Statement: We will fight Mnangagwa’s attempts at ‘legalising’ corruption 

A Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition Statement in response to General Notice 635 of 2023, 10 May 2023 The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition has noted with great concern a notice by President Emmerson Mnangagwa published in the Government Gazette of May 5, 2023 to the effect that the State is not obliged to publicly disclose the procurement of certain materials in the health sector. Through General Notice 635 of 2023, President Mnangagwa, in terms of Section 3 (6) of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act (Chapter 22:23) declared the following products as “of national interest and shall not be publicly disclosed”- construction equipment and materials, biomedical and medical equipment, medicines and drugs, vehicles including ambulances, laboratory equipment, chemicals and accessories, hospital protective equipment and repairs and maintenance services of hospital equipment and machinery. The regulations are against the national interest This new regulation, declaring certain procurement items to be of national interest and not to be publicly disclosed goes against the general principles of accountability and transparency. In effect, this new regulation is the one that is actually against national interests as it violates the very constitution upon which the Republic stands. The Constitution of Zimbabwe under Section 62 (a) guarantees citizens the right of access to information held by the State or by any institution or agency of government at every level, in so far as the information is required in the interests of public accountability”. This naturally includes information on public procurement. Moreover, Section 194 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe sets out the principles governing public administration clearly states that public administration must be accountable to Parliament and the people; and that transparency must be fostered by providing the public with timely, accessible and accurate information”. The President seems to ignore that even the Second Republic’s economic blue-print National Development Strategy 1 (Chapter 12 on cross-cutting issues) emphasizes Transparency and Accountability as key in improving the overall economic governance outlook. Such tendencies only explain why NDS1 has dismally gone off-track and faces many missed targets. This declaration by President Mnangagwa clearly undermines the Constitution of Zimbabwe and casts the President as a constitutional delinquent, despite his avowed oath of office to protect and defend the same constitution. An attempt to conceal theft, plunder? It is unfortunate that the declaration by President Mnangagwa comes at a time Zimbabwe continues to witness a trend where public officials responsible for procurement (including Ministers) have been accused of inflating prices, contracting unqualified service providers without following due processes, among other corrupt acts. At the height of the Covi-19 pandemic in 2020, the former Minister of Health, Dr. Obadiah Moyo was arrested for criminal abuse of office after he awarded a US$60 Million contract to a company that supplied Covid-19 protective equipment at inflated prices. The awarding of the contract was done without the consent of the procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe. In 2021, the Director of Epidemiology and Disease Control in the Health Ministry, Dr. Portia Manangazira was arrested after she authorized the procurement of goods worth US$280 529 without following due process. She was also charged for misappropriation of funds and fuel meant for the training of 800 community health workers. The office of the Auditor General in 2021 revealed that there were serious irregularities in the handling of Covid 19 funds. The anti-corruption system does not inspire confidence through a pattern of catching and releasing merchants of corruption. The state-society contract gained on 18 April 1980 must be respected. The taxes and wealth created by Zimbabweans can not be blown in darkness under the guise of “security”. Parliament has the obligation to provide oversight on the executive. President Mnangagwa must respect the basic tenets of governance and not usurp Parliamentary powers. Section 87 clearly states that only during public emergencies can a President reasonably bypass due process. Any President of Zimbabwe derives executive authority from the people of Zimbabwe and their actions must be exercised in accordance with the Zimbabwean Constitution. We will defend the constitution As the Coalition, we stand firm and ready to defend the constitution against such blatant constitutional delinquency which is anti-developmental. We are therefore going to challenge these new regulations in the Constitutional Court, whose existence we believe is to defend the constitution from wilful violation by the Executive. Our duty as law-abiding citizens remains to hold our government to account, without fear or favour and ensuring that they, above everyone else, respects, upholds and defends the Constitution. Obert Masaraure, Spokesperson, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition

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