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‘I am ready to serve,’ charges new AG Mabhiza…as new commissioners are sworn in

President Mnangagwa, flanked by Vice Presidents Dr Constantino Chiwenga and Kembo Mohadi swears in the new Attorney General Mrs Virginia Mabhiza at State House in Harare, yesterday

NEWLY-APPOINTED Attorney General, Mrs Virginia Mabhiza, took her oath of office before President Mnangagwa at State House in Harare yesterday and immediately declared: “I am ready to serve and ensure the upholding of the rule of law in Zimbabwe by all arms of the State”.

Mrs Mabhiza previously served as the country’s Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Permanent Secretary before her appointment by President Mnangagwa to make her Zimbabwe’s first female Attorney General.

In an interview after the swearing in ceremony, Mrs Mabhiza said she would diligently discharge her duties and ensure the observance of the rule of law.

Going forward, she said all legal advice concerning Government would be channelled through her office, as the Attorney General proffers legal guidance on local, regional and international issues.

“Maybe I may not give much prominence on being the first woman but being the Attorney General because I am ready to serve albeit as a woman. However, let me start by expressing my very deep gratitude to His Excellency, the appointing authority, for bestowing this position to a woman,” she said.

“I am ready to serve and I have got the privilege to have worked in the justice sector for over a decade so I am very much aware of the challenges that the office faces today.

“I am responsible for advising the entire Government. You may have seen that in the past some legal practitioners may have been out-sourced by different Government departments but let me put it on record that all legal advice is channelled through the office of the Attorney General and whoever wants to outsource has to do it with the authority of the Attorney General bearing in mind that outsourcing is a procurement issue hence whatever legal issue it has to come through the office of the Attorney General”.

Mrs Mabhiza said as the Attorney General, she has roles to play in the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary, the three arms of the State.

“I am coming in at a time when the Attorney General’s office is now a statutory body. The Attorney General as a statutory body is now run by a board which I chair. It is my hope and belief that any Attorney General in any jurisdiction has an ambition to ensure that there is fairness and justice for every citizen and to ensure that there is observance of rule of law, to ensure that we preserve the tenets of impartiality which we have always held very strongly in our system.

“The Attorney General is not only a chief legal advisor to Government, but if you look at it, the Attorney General in terms of the Constitution sits in Parliament and Cabinet although not allowed to vote and is also a member of the Judicial Service Commission so these are the three arms of the State.

“It means that the Attorney General is supposed to ensure that there is a balance and that all the three arms of the State comply with the law, so this is the duty of the Attorney General and I am privileged to hold such an office,” she said.

Mrs Mabhiza is a seasoned legal practitioner with experience in civil and criminal litigation.

Meanwhile, Mr Walter Tonderayi Mufuka, Ms Angeline Vere and Mr Jigu Katsande were also sworn in as commissioners of the Zimbabwe Gender Commission (ZGC) by President Mnangagwa yesterday.

The three commissioners pledged to hit the ground running and ensure gender balance and representation prevails in the country.

Ms Vere said she would champion equality for women and girls.

“I think we would like to ensure that we keep marriages intact because it is a vital institution,” she said.

Mr Katsande said he would propagate the conscientisation of males from an early age on the dangers of abusive tendencies.

“Personally I am coming from the background of education so we are saying let’s educate the boy child from ECD to University level, we want the boy child to understand that it is wrong to abuse the girl child,” he said.

Mr Musuka weighed in saying there was a need to fight vices such as child marriages and early child pregnancies.

“I am biased towards the upliftment of the girl child. Our women and girls are playing a catch-up game and that is a fact, we need to fight child marriages and school dropouts due to pregnancies. I am a lawyer myself so I will be coming to the commission to try and complement what is happening in that area,” he said.

ZGC chairperson Mrs Margaret Mukahanana-Sangarwe said the Commission was not relenting in championing gender equality as well as the upliftment of women’s professional and social statuses.

“The Gender commission has been doing a lot of work with regards to uplifting the status of women. We have been looking particularly at women’s participation in politics and leadership positions. We have been looking at issues of sexual harassment and child marriages because they are among issues that affect the upliftment of the girl child,” she said.

Mrs Mukahanana-Sangarwe said they were also engaging traditional and religious leaders in an effort to address issues that drive gender stereotypes. 

Chronicle

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