PARLIAMENT will soon carry out public interviews for shortlisted candidates to head four constitutional commissions amid growing concern the process could be politically-driven.
Austin Zvoma, the clerk of parliament, yesterday said potential commissioners of the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC), the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission and the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission would be interviewed by the Parliamentary Standing Rules and Orders Committee in public before the names of those nominated are forwarded to President Robert Mugabe for appointment.
The human rights commission, which seeks to monitor and investigate human rights violations, has not been constituted since the relevant legal statutes were enacted two years ago.
“The interviews are going to take place in public,” said Zvoma, adding that the public will “listen and watch without participating in the process”. He said appointments would be gender-sensitive.
Asked when the four commissions would be constituted, Zvoma said it was up to the president.
He emphasised that the process would be “two-pronged”, starting with parliament and ending with the president who appoints the commissioners in terms of the constitution.
He said commissioners from past commissions were also eligible to apply for the new posts.
The Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment No 19 Act says the president shall appoint commissioners for these bodies from a list submitted to him by the Standing Rules and Orders Committee.
A sub-committee of the Standing Rules and Orders Committee (Law and Procedure) chaired by Masvingo Urban MP Tongai Matutu, will conduct the interviews.
“There are applications from individuals but civic society organisations raised concerns that why not accept block applications,” Zvoma said. “But the committee will decide the methodology to be used.”
He, however, emphasised that the commissions’ work was “not advocacy or to represent sectoral interests” and that the appointments would be based on “integrity”.
After the constitution of the ZMC, the commission is expected to invite applications from people interested in publishing new newspapers as espoused in the Global Political Agreement signed last September, which give birth to the inclusive government.
Zvoma said an Act of parliament would be enacted to provide for “other duties” of the ZMC.
Meanwhile, the Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe this week gave the green light to anyone of its members to serve on ZMC if they so wish.
BY BERNARD MPOFU