via Opposition loses bid to block NPA prosecution monopoly – NewsDay Zimbabwe October 15, 2015
OPPOSITION MPs yesterday lost their bid to block a clause in the General Laws Amendment Bill which gives the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) the monopoly to prosecute.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
Zanu PF MPs resoundingly moved that the clause should not be deleted as suggested by Harare West MP Jessie Majome (MDC-T) during the Committee Stage of the Bill.
Majome had argued that the clause was dangerous as it gave the Prosecutor-General sweeping powers to solely either allow or deny prosecution of a case.
She said the clause might be abused, prejudice prosecution of bona-fide cases or deny indigent or poor people the right to access justice.
“The Judiciary has the discretion and authority to decide whether the matter has merit or not. It is not the Prosecutor-General who should have that power,” Majome said.
MDC-T chief whip Innocent Gonese said a problem could arise where the PG decides a case has no merits when, in fact, he could be wrong.
“We might have a citizen whose rights are breached and the PG says there is no case, but the courts say that there is a case to answer,” he said.
Gonese said the law should allow the PG to issue a certificate to that individual to institute another private prosecution.
“We ask Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa to consider or defer the clause so that we have a rethink on that issue,” he said.
Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga (MDC Proportional Representation) said section 56 of the Constitution talked of equality and non-discrimination.
“If I had a daughter raped and the PG says there is no case to answer, where do I then go?” she queried.
Despite spirited efforts by the three MPs to have different clauses changed or removed, Zanu PF MPs shot them down.
Mnangagwa had promised the opposition MPs that he would take their concerns during the Committee Reading Stage, but none of them were taken on board.
Gonese said he was surprised that Mnangagwa had reneged on his pledge.
“It appears the Executive is not amenable to any proposals by us MPs. We are now at the Committee Stage of the Bill and it appears none of the issues raised by MPs are being taken. It appears that what comes from the Executive is cast in concrete and cannot be changed at all. We wonder why all those issues are brought before Parliament if none are taken into consideration,” he said.
However, the Bill fell out of the Order Paper as there was no quorum in the House and Mnangagwa has to reinstate it on another day.