23 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Parastatals: Principals Agree On Term Limits

Term limits for all chief executives of Government-controlled entities will be set through an Act of Parliament, according to the recent resolution by principals to the Global Political Agreement on sticking issues on the draft constitution.

The three parties in the inclusive Government resolved that the appointment of heads of parastatals could be "situational" or "professional" hence the decision not to put legal restrictions on the number of years they can hold office.

Principals in the inclusive Government last week resolved all outstanding issues that were stalling the process, including whether or not chief executive officers of State entities should have term limits.

Initially, the MDC formations wanted all heads of statutory boards to have term limits arguing the present ones were executing their mandate on political grounds. However, Copac co-chairpersons Mr Munyaradzi Mangwana (Zanu-PF) and Mr Douglas Mwonzora (MDC-T) yesterday said the term limits would be set through an Act of Parliament.

"We resolved that if the Government of the day sees a need to come up with an Act of Parliament to set the term limits, it can do so," said Mr Mangwana.

"The draft constitution itself does not put legal restrictions on the term limits, but it states that the Constitution may provide for the setting of the term limits through an Act of Parliament."

Mr Mwonzora said his party had realised that the appointment of the heads of parastatals was "situational". "The term limits, if there is need, will not be set by the Constitution itself, but will be done through an Act of Parliament," he said.

"We felt that the problems related to a certain parastatal could be situational and therefore the Government of the day must see if it is necessary or not to put stern measures on them."

Mr Mwonzora said it was "not a good idea" to impose term limits on heads of statutory boards.

"We realised it was not a good idea because these are not necessarily political appointees," he said.

"You will realise that some appointments could have been done on professional grounds and a certain person might be capable of executing certain duties hence no reason to set term limits for such a person."

Zimbabwe has 78 State entities with a capacity to contribute 40 percent to the Gross Domestic Product, but most of them have been underperforming due to mismanagement and excessive debts.

Government has approved the restructuring of some State entities, but most of them have failed to produce restructuring plans.

Government restructuring manual, launched last year to deal with incompetence among managerial and technical staff, has failed to achieve meaningful results.

Government recently introduced a corporate governance manual in parastatals in the hope of overcoming their inefficiencies.

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