Harare East Legislator Tendai Biti has described the incidents around the Government Gazette general notice 635 of 2023 which placed the procurement of certain goods outside public scrutiny on grounds of national interest as a constitutional coup.
The statute which was hastily rescinded by the government had indicated that the procurement of medical equipment, construction, medicines and drugs as well as protective clothing in hospitals will no longer be publicly disclosed.
According to section 315 of the constitution on procurement and other government contracts, an act of Parliament must prescribe procedures for the procurement of goods and services by the State and all institutions and agencies of government at every level, so that procurement is effected in a manner that is transparent, fair, honest, co-effective and competitive.
Directing his question to the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Bit demanded to know how the gazette was published.
“Today (Wednesday), the Office of the President has issued a statement disowning that Statutory Instrument. My question to the esteemed Minister is; on what basis does an arm of Government issue a Statutory Instrument which is not authorised by your Ministry and by the Attorney General’s office, by the Attorney General himself? Is that not a form of a legal coup d’etat,” said Biti.
He added, “In future, someone can actually suspend the Government through statements like that. It is a serious matter. It is a constitutional coup.”
In response to the matter, the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Ziyambi Ziyambi said the issue is being investigated and once the investigation is completed, they will issue another statement.