Mnangagwa Appoints Accused CIO Michael Reza To ZACC Chairmanship
20 March 2024
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Controversial Prosecutor Appointed to Lead Zimbabwe’s Anti-Corruption Body Amidst Rising Concerns

By Dorrothy Moyo | In a decision that has ignited widespread controversy and debate, President Emmerson Mnangagwa has appointed Mr. Michael Reza, a prosecutor known for his involvement in high-profile political cases, as the new chairperson of the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC). The Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Dr. Martin Rushwaya, announced the appointment, which took effect immediately, raising serious concerns among observers about the future of corruption investigations in Zimbabwe.

Mr. Reza, whose career has been marked by contentious legal battles involving opposition figures, steps into a role that is pivotal for the integrity of the nation’s fight against corruption. “His career, although distinguished by various legal credentials, has been mired in controversy, particularly regarding his involvement in cases that appeared to have political motivations,” stated a legal analyst who wishes to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the matter.

Critics point to Mr. Reza’s prosecutorial record, including his role in cases against members of the CCC Alliance, where he has been accused of pushing for the alteration of evidence. “The appointment of Michael Reza as ZACC Chairperson raises significant concerns about the independence and impartiality of the commission moving forward,” said a spokesperson from a Zimbabwean civil rights organization. “His past actions, particularly in political cases, suggest a tendency that could undermine ZACC’s critical mission.”

Despite the uproar, the government has defended its decision, highlighting Mr. Reza’s qualifications and experience. “Mr. Michael Reza holds a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree from the University of South Africa and a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from the Midlands State University,” Dr. Rushwaya noted in his statement. “He possesses vast experience in criminal investigations and prosecution, having handled corruption cases at the highest level.”

Simultaneously, Ms. Fungayi Jessie Majome’s appointment as the chairperson of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission has been met with approval, given her extensive legal and human rights background. “Ms. Majome’s appointment is a beacon of hope for human rights in Zimbabwe. Her experience and dedication are what the commission needs to steer it forward,” said a human rights advocate.

As Zimbabwe grapples with these significant leadership changes at the helm of its key commissions, the international community and local citizens alike will be closely watching. The effectiveness of ZACC under Mr. Reza’s leadership, especially in handling corruption cases without political bias, remains a critical concern. “For ZACC to fulfill its mandate, it must operate independently, free from political influence or interference,” remarked an international observer. “The integrity and credibility of its investigations are paramount for the trust of the Zimbabwean people and the international community.”