via Grace, VP collide – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 1, 2015 by Phyllis Mbanje
FIRST Lady Grace Mugabe yesterday revived her spirited campaign to have Prosecutor-General Johannes Tomana axed, a day after Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa declared him a “lord” of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).
Grace first called for Tomana’s head last month after State media reported that he said 12-year-olds can consent to sex.
The First Lady labelled the senior government lawyer a paedophile who did not deserve to hold such an office.
Officiating at the launch of a campaign to end child marriages being spearheaded by the African Union (AU), Grace said people who “think that girls under 12 could be sexually active are abusers in their own right and must be banished from society.
“People who think that a 12-year-old child is allowed to be sexually active are wrong. It’s unfair,” she said.
“In most cases, people who think like that do not have children or if they do, they must be investigated because they could be abusing their own.”
Last month, Tomana was also criticised by human rights activists for allegedly suggesting that it was acceptable for 12-year-old girls to get married and have sex.
Tomana’s job came under threat as activists demonstrated against his utterances with some pushing for President Robert Mugabe to fire him.
But he survived the pressure after he claimed that he was quoted out of context as he was “merely stating the law” and not his personal views.
In an impassioned address to the delegates that included Cabinet ministers, legislators, a high-powered delegation from the AU and other stakeholders, Grace launched an indirect tirade against Tomana .
“You see people quoting some laws in the Constitution which suit them — down with such people,” she said.
While officially opening the first NPA offices in central Harare this week, Mnangagwa described Tomana as the best candidate for the PG’s job.
“We have no doubt that you have the capacity, vision and foresight to carry the burden of the NPA . . . In fact, I declare you lord of these premises and commander-in-chief of the NPA. The basic elements for you to operate are now in place,” Mnangagwa declared.
His comments reflect widening cracks in Zanu PF as groups within the party continue to fight for control of key State organs, the prosecution included.
Besides the attack on Tomana, Grace also repeated her demands that rapists must be castrated as punishment for their crimes, which she said were being triviliased by the courts through lenient sentences such as community service.
A fired-up Grace said the Ministry of Justice has to relook at sentences being given out by the courts to sex offenders.
“I still have my issue that rapists should be castrated using a machete and display their manhood to serve as a deterrent measure to those who would be offenders.
“I don’t care whether it’s bad or good because what these devilish men do is painful,” she said to thunderous applause from women while men who were at the function looked unsettled.
AU Goodwill ambassador for ending child marriages, Zimbabwean-born Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda, said poverty was the key driver of child marriages.
“We need to reclaim our dignity and commit ourselves to end this scourge,” she said.
Zimbabwe becomes the first country in Africa to launch the programme which was initiated last year.
Women Affairs minister Nyasha Chikwinya said Mashonaland Central topped the list on child marriages with 50% of the marriages in the province being for minors.
“The laws are disjointed, there is need to realign them with the constitutional provisions,” Chikwinya said.