Taurai Mangudhla Senior Business Reporter
The re-appointment of Mildred Chiri to the post of Auditor-General for a further term backdated to February 2017, is expected to assure investors of Zimbabwe’s economic paradigm shift, observers say.
Mrs Chiri, who came into office in 2004, bounces back to her post after Parliament in July rejected the nomination of former Industrial Development Corporation boss Mike Ndudzo as her replacement. Her re-appointment also comes as President Mnangagwa’s Government is emphasising that it is open for business to the world.
Government has also taken corruption head on, leading to the arrest of top politicians and officials. A crackdown against externalisation has also taken off. Finance and Economic Planning Minister Patrick Chinamasa, is scheduled to present his case for the re-appointment of Mrs Chiri to the post of Auditor-General on January 9 in the National Assembly.
“On January 9, the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning is due to ask the House to approve the reappointment of former Auditor-General Mrs Chiri to the post — an appointment that, given Mrs Chiri’s sterling reputation, will reassure stakeholders and potential investors in Zimbabwe’s new market economy,” parliamentary watchdog Veritas recently said.
“The Senate’s approval is also required, as the appointment must be made by the President with the approval of both Houses of Parliament (Constitution, section 310).
“The proposed appointment is ‘for a further term in office effective from February 25, 2017’ — the backdating calls for an explanation from the Minister when he addresses the House on January 9.
“The re-appointment of Mildred Chiri to the position of Auditor-General for a further term backdated effective February 2017 is expected to assure investors of Zimbabwe’s economic paradigm shift,” observers say. Economist Takunda Mugaga said Mrs Chiri’s re-appointment can be seen in positive light on the part of Government’s commitment to fighting corruption, fostering accountability and streamlining costs.
“If she had the bravery to point out irregularities in the previous Government then she should be able to do even better now,” said Mr Mugaga who is also the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce CEO. Mr Mugaga said the move also gives confidence Government is committed to streamlining parastatals.
“Minister Chinamasa spoke about streamlining parastatals and making sure they are well run in his 2018 National Budget. This is in line with Mrs Chiri’s previous reports that exposed glaring shortcomings and made various recommendations which need implementation,” he said. However, Mr Mugaga said the market should not exaggerate the significance of her re-appointment.
“I don’t think it should turn heads to that level of directly influencing investors because her job is strictly independent and professional unless you make this political where it will look like we are saying she is here to go after some individuals which becomes vindictiveness.
“We shouldn’t associate the office with an individual such that whoever comes in at any point is able to carry out their duties professionally,” Veritas added.