5 April 2008
Deputy Commissioner clears air
The Deputy Commissioner of the Elections and Boundary Commission, Mzwandile Fakudze, yesterday cleared the air over the controversy surrounding their appointment to the commission.
Mostly controversial to many people was the appointment of Chief Gija to the post of head of the body, when Section 90 (1) of the Constitution stipulated that members of this body should have qualifications equivalent to those of a judge or of the Superior Courts.
A number of associations have openly voiced out this concern, expressing their disappointment at such a turn of events. Obviously, they had looked forward to Judges or legal eagles that have spent not less than a decade working in the courts of the land to be appointed to the commission.
Clarifying this, Fakudze stated that Sub Section of Section 90 did not end on the judge’s qualifications, but continued that ‘or be a person of high moral character, proven integrity, relevant experience and demonstrable competence in the conduct of public affairs.’ “In this spirit, the Constitution then does not only limit membership of the commissioners to judges only. They can all be judges, they can comprise of three judges and two non-judges or none of them can be judges at all, as long as they also have the qualities outside the judge’s qualifications,” Fakudze said.
He continued then that in this sense, all the people in the commission, including the head, do qualify to be appointed, looking at the law at hand.
When the journalists asked as to how the ‘high moral character and proven integrity’ were measured as one could measure a judge by his qualifications, which are written down, Fakudze said that was done by the King after being advised by the Judicial Service Commission.
“Indeed, every man has his shortcomings as no one is perfect. There is a saying that even the devil can never know what is inside of every man, but in this case what is normally called a ‘Reasonable Man’s Act’ could be used where a person could be evaluated by the way he handles himself, speaks to others and other things.”
When further pressed as to what really happened in this commission’s case, whether it was the Judicial Service Commission that selected the names and brought them to the King or it was the King who selected the names and handed them to the JSC for scrutiny, Fakudze openly stated that he was not sure as to how the selection process went, saying all he knew was that it was the King who appointed the commissioners acting on the advice of the JSC.