By Brian Magejo
THE Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) has described as unconstitutional, President Robert Mugabe’s controversial decision last Friday to reverse Harare advocate Ray Goba’s recent appointment as the country’s substantive Prosecutor General (PG).
In a statement, the group said the decision was “a serious and unacceptable assault on the rule of law and constitutionalism” while also urging the President to reconsider his decision.
The shock decision to relieve the PG of his duties was announced through an Extraordinary Government Gazette, General Notice 642 of 2017, issued and signed by Misheck Sibanda.
No reasons were given for his axing.
Until he was appointed substantive PG, Goba had been acting since the July 2016 suspension and subsequent dismissal of Johannes Tomana on alleged gross incompetence and misconduct.
Goba’s appointment came after he participated in public interviews conducted by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) in August to find a substantive PG.
“It is unconstitutional for President Mugabe to seek to remove Advocate Goba by changing his mind forty-four (44) days after having exercised his executive powers by appointing Advocate Goba as the new PG,” ZLHR said Monday.
The group that has often confronted the State on a number of violations said the removal of a PG should conform with Section 187 of the Constitution, which says the public official, just like a judge, can only be discharged due to mental or physical incapacity, gross incompetence or gross misconduct.
Such decision, says the lawyers group, should follow, recommendations of an appointed tribunal appointed to look into the PG’s suitability to continue holding the public office.
“As ZLHR, we believe that this is how state actors such as those holding the esteemed office of the President should behave in a constitutional democracy that respects the rule of law.
“ZLHR will not be a bystander when the Constitution is violated as such conduct is unacceptable.”
The group called of the President to “return the country to a constitutional order by upholding the Constitution and annul the revocation of the appointment of Advocate Goba as PG”.