Is the Appointment of VP Chiwenga as Zimbabwe’s Health Minister Legal?

Zimbabwe's VP Constantino Chiwenga is the New Health Minister (File Photo).

Harare: Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa has appointed his VP and former Army General Constantino Chiwenga as Minister of Health and Child Welfare “with immediate effect”- a move which has shocked many in the ruling Zanu-PF and the opposition.

“In making this decision his Excellence, The President has noted the urgent need to stabilise, restructure and reform the national health delivery system to better cope with challenges of the global covid-19 pandemic and in the process ensuring a quick turnaround in national healthcare,” read the statement from the office of the Presidency.

Lawyers say the appointment is unconstitutional anyway since a President and Vice-Presidents are not allowed by the constitution to “hold any other office” while still serving in their capacities.

“That appointment is unconstitutional as it violates s103 of the Constitution. The “Vice-President” is not permitted to hold any other public office while in office,” Advocate Fadzai Mahere said in a tweet.

Prominent Lawyer and MDC Alliance Vice President Tendai Biti described the appointment as clearly null and void, and must be tested in a court of law .

“It violates the constitution but more than that it is irrational and grossly unreasonable . No person of sound mind , properly applying his mind , would have made the same,” Biti commented.

Chiwenga is replacing DR Obediah Moyo who was fired as Health Minister and charged with corruption over illegally awarding a multi-million-dollar contract for medical equipment.