By Joel Mandaza
Zimbabweans say the proposal to have President Emmerson Mnangagwa picking the Coroner General is not ideal adding that the role should be given to Parliament instead.
The Coroner General’s Office will be a public office that will be responsible for unearthing causes of suspicious deaths.
Presenting a report to the National Assembly on the Coroner`s Office Bill during second reading recently, Committee Chairperson on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Dudzai Mataranyika said members of the public are worried about the executive’s proposed role in the setting up of the department.
“The reservations on this Clause were made on the appointment process. Members of the public were of the view that appointment of the Coroner- General and the Deputy should be done by Parliament in the same manner as Independent Commissions. The general feeling from the public is that, the Coroner should not hold any political office or after appointment be actively involved with any other work,” Hon Mataranyika said.
There was also a proposed provision that the responsible Minister provides policy direction and the public rejected that too.
“Some people were of the view that this provision gives excess powers to the Minister which may be abused in the name of ‘policy direction,” said Honourable Mataranyika.
He added that the coroner`s office should be accessible to those in remote areas;
“The coroner`s office should be decentralised and have offices outside Harare and overall the system must be established in such a way that is sustainable and financially viable.”
Consultations by the Parliamentary committee on the Bill were done in Mutare, Harare, Masvingo, Gweru and Bulawayo from October 14 to the 17th this year.
In 1995, Germany offered to help Zimbabwe set up the office but there was no will to see the process through.
If the Bill sails, Zimbabwe will join countries like Uganda who have a central government analytical laboratory which falls under the Ministry of Internal Affairs performing the proposed function.