We have a Prosecutor General in office: Charamba
Despite calls for the appointment of a Prosecutor-General (PG), given that the post has been vacant for a year, the government has refuted such claims saying there is one in place albeit in an acting capacity.
However, the lack of a permanent appointment, according to citizens, indicates that President Emmerson Mnangagwa is not committed to upholding the law and defending human rights.
In Zimbabwe, a PG plays an important role as the head of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), an institution responsible for instituting and carrying out criminal proceedings on behalf of the State while the constitution requires the PG to be independent.
The previous PG, Kumbirai Hodzi, resigned last year, on March 1, 2022, citing an illness that necessitated medical attention.
In an interview with CITE, Deputy Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet (Presidential Communications), George Charamba, said that the PG position was filled by the appointment of Nelson Mutsonziwa last year in an acting capacity.
“There is a Prosecutor-General, as we speak. He’s a very young able lawyer. He’s the acting PG who is doing very well and until the appointing authority decides to take a different decision we assume there is a person in place,” he said.
But some legal experts claim that despite giving himself so much power in appointing a PG, Mnangagwa has failed to appoint one.
“It is now a full year since Hodzi resigned. The vacancy in this critical position has left a gaping hole in the country’s justice system. Mnangagwa’s failure to appoint a Prosecutor General undermines the rule of law and promotes a culture of impunity, which can have significant consequences for Zimbabwe’s democracy. As is apparent, constitutionalism and democratic principles are in decline,” wrote Nqobani Nyathi, a lawyer.
“The absence of a PG also limits the States’ ability to prosecute cases, including those that are complex and involve corruption, effectively. Mnangagwa’s anti-corruption rhetoric sounds hollow under the circumstances.”
Hodzi was appointed by President Mnangagwa on January 23, 2019, to replace Ray Goba, who resigned on August 8, 2018, while suspended and awaiting a tribunal to determine his fitness to hold office.
Goba replaced the now Ambassador, Johannes Tomana in September 2017.
Tomana was removed from office in June 2017 by the late President Robert Mugabe after replacing Sobusa Gula-Ndebele who left office in May 2008.