HARARE – Legal experts say the process to choose the new Prosecutor General (PG) following President Robert Mugabe’s rescission of his earlier appointment of Ray Goba, can only be halted through a court interdict.
This comes as the Zimbabwe Lawyers of Human Rights (ZLHR) have filed an application challenging the dismissal of Goba. The hearing which had been set for tomorrow will now be heard next Wednesday before Judge Priscilla Chigumba.
The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has begun the hunt for the new PG by flighting adverts calling for nominations by members of the public for the lawyers they think are suitable for the selection process whose interviews would be publicly-held .
Prominent Harare lawyer and former Finance minister during the government of national unity, Tendai Biti, said the JSC’s fresh process of choosing the new PG could only be stopped by an interdict.
“There has to be an interdict to stop the process. Under the circumstances where such an important decision is to be made, the powers that be must respect the court process. We, however, live in an extraordinary country where extraordinary things happen.
“The JSC is saying there is no interdict to stop us. I would therefore urge the applicants including Goba himself to seek an interdict, because that man was properly appointed and cannot be removed through a correction in a government gazette but through a tribunal,” Biti told the Daily News.
The JSC said it came to its decision to select a new PG after Mugabe had found none of the shortlisted candidates submitted to him suitable for the role.
Goba came joint tops in the original interviews held by the JSC to find a worthy candidate for the office.
The results of the interview process showed that Goba was tied joint top, on 59 percent with Misheck Hogwe, while Wilson Manase was third with 53 percent.
Deputy PG Florence Ziyambi — who was touted as a worthier contender for the top prosecution job in some Zanu PF quarters — actually performed dismally in the interviews, coming a distant fifth in the eyes of the JSC with 37 percent.
Mugabe picked Goba from the list of the top three candidates who were submitted to him by the JSC.
According to the JSC’s list of six candidates, Tecler Mapota scored 38 percent, Ziyambi 37 percent and prominent criminal lawyer Charles Chinyama had 23 percent.
Goba was appointed to the position by Mugabe, after serving a year in the job on an interim basis — following the suspension and subsequent sacking of his predecessor, Johannes Tomana.
However, his appointment — announced via an extraordinary gazette — was contested by factions of the brawling ruling Zanu PF, just as they did during the selection of the new Chief Justice, where they fought viciously to have their preferred candidate take over from the late Godfrey Chidyausiku.
The appointment of Goba drew mixed feelings among observers, with some questioning his suitability for the job after he was convicted in Namibia for drunk driving and attempting to defeat the course of justice.