Farayi Machamire 2 December 2017
HARARE – President Emmerson Mnangagwa has moved to gazette the
reinstatement of fired Prosecutor-General (PG) Ray Goba.
This follows a decision by the High Court stopping the Judicial Services
Commission (JSC) from removing or interfering with his appointment without
following procedures outlined in the Constitution.
Section (259) (7) of the Constitution says the PG can only be removed from
office by a tribunal after conducting a judicial inquiry.
However, last month former president Robert Mugabe rescinded the earlier
appointment of Goba to the substantive post of PG when he shockingly fired
him via an extraordinary gazette signed by the chief secretary to the
President and Cabinet, Misheck Sibanda, who ironically had issued the
previous gazette confirming his appointment.
On Friday, Mnangagwa through an extraordinary gazette again signed by
Sibanda nullified the firing of Goba.
“It is hereby notified that, pursuant to the judgment in the case of
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) v Mugabe and others (HC
10-49917), the captioned general notice that was published in the
extraordinary gazette on the 27th of October 2017 is repealed,” said
This comes as High Court Judge Justice Priscilla Chigumba issued an
interdict sought by the ZLHR stopping Mugabe and the JSC from instituting
any processes for the appointment of a new PG to replace Goba.
ZLHR executive director Roselyn Hanzi had appealed against the October 27
decision by Mugabe to reverse the appointment of Goba.
In an urgent chamber application filed on November 1, ZLHR had instructed
Advocate Eric Matinenga to argue the matter on its behalf, and wanted the
High Court to interdict Mugabe and the JSC from removing or in any other
way interfering with Goba’s constitutional appointment without following
the removal from office procedures provided for in Section (259) (7) of
In a founding affidavit, Hanzi argued that the organisation has a direct
and substantial interest in the obedience and observance of the provisions
of the Constitution by all individuals and organs bound by it and that the
Constitution is the supreme law of Zimbabwe and every conduct inconsistent
with it is invalid to the extent of the inconsistency.
The human rights organisation contended that the PG can only be removed
from office upon the advice of a tribunal set up in terms of section 187
of the Constitution and that the supreme charter does not provide another
different route that can be followed to remove the PG from office.
Goba was viewed as sympathetic to Mnangagwa who previously held dual roles
as VP and Justice Minister before his powers were first whittled down by
Mugabe in a Cabinet reshuffle and later fired from both government and
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
Goba had come out joint top in the interviews held by the JSC to find a
worthy candidate for the office.
Mugabe picked him from a list of the top three candidates who were
submitted to him by JSC.
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
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 by coming a distant fifth in the eyes of the
JSC with 37 percent.
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
The appointment of Goba drew mixed feelings among observers, with some
questioning his suitability for the job after he was convicted in Namibia
for drunken driving and attempting to defeat the course of justice.
During the interviews to choose the new PG, Goba vigorously defended