30 October 2017
HARARE – The dismissal of Prosecutor-General (PG) Ray Goba, hardly two
months after assuming office as the country’s substantive PG, is really
As pointed out by constitutional law experts, President Robert Mugabe’s
rescission of Goba’s appointment is a violation of the Constitution and
is fraught with many inconsistencies.
Goba’s dismissal was announced in last Friday’s extraordinary gazette
signed by the chief secretary to the President and Cabinet, Misheck
Sibanda, who ironically had issued the previous gazette confirming his
“Repeal of the General Notice 493 of 2017 concerning the appointment of
the Prosecutor-General of Zimbabwe. It is hereby notified that the
captioned general notice that was published in the gazette Extraordinary
on the 13th September, 2017 is repealed,” it was announced.
At law, as pointed out by constitutional experts, Mugabe has no legal
standing to dismiss Goba without appointing a tribunal that would hold a
hearing against the PG, in the event that he was charged with either
improper behaviour or misconduct detriment to the execution of his duties.
In Goba’s case, he had just been appointed by Mugabe and according to
experts, Mugabe cannot therefore rescind his decision which he made as
part of fulfilling his Executive function, which is to make appointments
as demanded by the Constitution.
Mugabe cannot stand in the way of the person he appointed unless there was
a change of circumstances such as abuse of office and misconduct as what
happened to Goba’s predecessor, Johannes Tomana.
In firing Tomana, it must be noted, Mugabe correctly followed the law. He
appointed a tribunal chaired by a retired High Court judge which made its
ruling whose findings were forwarded to him to decide on the fate of the
Mugabe’s decision on Goba is really unprecedented and sends very
worrying signals as far as independence and integrity of critical arms
such as the Judiciary are concerned.
Sadly, the selection process of finding the new PG, as evidenced by Goba’s
inexplicable dismissal, has become farcical.
Whoever is going to replace Goba, in the event that the dismissed PG
doesn’t successfully fight his case at the courts, would be viewed as
someone compromised yet it could be further from the truth.
The nation would want to know the reasons for Goba’s dismissal. Certainly
many are hoping that this is not part of the ongoing tribal, factional and
succession wars ripping Zanu PF apart.