HARARE – Parliament’s Standing Rules and Orders Committee today resolved to retire Clerk of Parliament Mr Austin Zvoma, a Mujuru ally, at the end of this month despite his resistance based on the new Constitution which he says allows him to serve for two more terms.
Mr Zvoma has been forced to resign under the guise that he has spent the past 25 years at the helm and is reaching 65 years old at the end of this month, the normal retirement age for all Government workers. Mr Zvoma is a vocal support of Vice President Joice Mujuru who is facing pressure to resign from ZANU members aligned to Mugabe’s wife Grace.
The SROC, Parliament’s supreme decision making body in terms of administrative authority, met yesterday to deliberate on Mr Zvoma’s tenure which the Salary Service Bureau had indicated would end on November 30.
The committee, chaired by Speaker of the National Assembly, Jacob Mudenda, unanimously agreed that Mr Zvoma should retire in line with his conditions of service and that there should now be a hunt for a new Clerk of Parliament to replace him.
Deputy Clerk of Parliament, Mr Kennedy Chokuda would hold fort while Parliament is looking for Mr Zvoma’s replacement to be filled after an advertisement in the media and interviews.
Sources close to the committee which is constituted by legislators from Zanu-PF and MDC formations said everyone in the meeting agreed that Mr Zvoma should leave. Mudenda declined to comment earlier saying he would issue a statement tommorrow.
“Call me tomorrow I would have completed the process. I need to complete some processes,” said Mudenda without elaborating on the nature of the process to be completed. Some members of SROC said they had no choice but to retire Mr Zvoma because his time was up.
“It was felt that Parliament should not only uphold the Constitution, but must be seen to be upholding it,” said one of the members who refused to be named. “Retirement age is 65 years and that is the end of the story. Mr Zvoma should have asked for an extension in time from his employer, the SROC, but he did not.”
Another source said the SROC appreciated the role played by Mr Zvoma during the 25 years he had been Clerk of Parliament, but said it was time for him to leave. “It was felt that we have not run out of people in the country to administer institutions,” he said.
“His failure to seek an extension on time from the SROC did not work in his favour.” The decision by SROC to retire Mr Zvoma put to rest the anxiety arising from a varied interpretation between him and the Salary Service Bureau regarding the effect of his attainment of 65 years on November 30, which is the retirement age for all Government workers.
Mr Zvoma felt that he should be allowed to serve in his present capacity because in terms of section 154 of the new Constitution, the Clerk of Parliament is appointed for a six-year term and may be appointed for one more term. The SSB felt Mr Zvoma should now retire after attaining 65 years and has since indicated on his payslip that he should expect his last pay-cheque this month.
Legal experts have said only Prosecutor General Mr Johannes Tomana, who was appointed in terms of the new Constitution