PG's dismissal compromises the Judiciary

HARARE - The dismissal of Prosecutor-General (PG) Ray Goba, hardly two months after  assuming office as the country’s substantive PG, is really shocking.

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 appointment.

“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that the captioned general notice that was published in the gazette Extraordinary on the 13th September, 2017 is repealed,” it was announced.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 former PG.

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.

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