ED Mnangagwa Has Nothing To Apologise for Appointing His Qualified Relatives: Mavaza
12 September 2023
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“Presidential Appointments and Nepotism: A Perspective”

By Dr. Masimba Mavaza | President ED Mnangagwa may appoint qualified relatives without the need for apologies. However, the practice of appointing close friends and family has raised concerns about nepotism in government hiring. It’s worth considering whether rules against nepotism should be established to prevent the executive branch from becoming a family enterprise. Currently, Zimbabwe lacks specific regulations governing presidential appointments to the cabinet.

In selecting personal staff and the cabinet, the President has considerable freedom, aligned with the constitutional demands of his office. While the blame for appointments ultimately falls on the elected President, it’s crucial to note that the President has the authority to appoint and set the pay of the cabinet members, independent of other laws regulating government employment.

The debate over restricting the President’s appointment powers, particularly regarding close relatives, has stirred discussion on social media. Some argue that such restrictions should not apply to presidential appointments since the Cabinet and the State House are not considered executive agencies but part of the President’s office.

Zimbabwe’s situation resembles a “bootstrap” meritocracy, where the most qualified individuals, even if related to the President, should assume roles based on their qualifications. It’s essential to recognize that there is no evidence suggesting a lack of due diligence in these appointments.

During the 2023 campaign, President ED Mnangagwa pledged to surround himself with the “best” and “most serious,” which is reflected in his announced cabinet. As long as appointees are qualified and possess the necessary credentials, there should be no need for apologies.

Accusations of nepotism should be evaluated based on merit, and appointments of family members should be exceptions rather than the norm. President Mnangagwa has emphasized that if qualified individuals are available, there is no reason for apologies.

While nepotism can erode trust in government and lead to unqualified appointments, the current appointments do not exhibit nepotism. ZACC (Zimbabwe Anti Corruption Commission) plays a crucial role in preventing corruption by having the authority to investigate even the President’s appointees.

Presidential nepotism is not unique to Zimbabwe but has occurred in various countries, including the United States. It’s important to recognize that the issue is not about personal enrichment but rather the potential challenge of addressing incompetence within family appointments.

In summary, while the debate on presidential appointments and nepotism continues, it’s essential to consider qualifications and merit when assessing these appointments. ZACC’s role in preventing corruption is crucial, and appointments should prioritize competence over familial relations.