Attorney-General (AG) Johannes Tomana on Thursday withdrew practising certificates for the five-member executive committee of the Zimbabwe Law Officers’ Association (Ziloa), effectively barring them from acting as public prosecutors.
Tomana accused the Ziloa executive of inciting members of the association to go on strike early last month.
Contacted for comment yesterday, Tomana could neither deny nor confirm the development, insisting he was not at liberty to disclose an inhouse issue to the Press.
“It’s a confidential matter and we have a law to that effect and I see people are asking around, but there is a law against that.
“Let’s see how it pans out. But it’s a confidential matter I cannot comment on,” Tomana said before the call was terminated.
According to a letter dated November 3 2011, Tomana ordered Ziloa’s top executive, which comprises Leopold Mudisi, Patrobs Dube, Dereck Charamba, Musekiwa Mbanje and Mehluli Tshuma to stop their prosecution duties with immediate effect until finalisation of the matter.
“Therefore that you have chosen to ignore the request that you respond to me within seven days, I accordingly accept that you admit all the allegations referred to you for a response in my aforementioned letter (of October 17).
“My constitutional mandate and duty to
uphold the Constitution of Zimbabwe and the laws of Zimbabwe and in particular my duty to administer justice, does not envisage a situation in which I would rely on a prosecutor of the predisposition you admit to.
“I accordingly hereby and with immediate effect withdraw your authority and power to prosecute,” read part of the letter signed by Tomana.
The letter was copied to the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Public Service Commission (PSC), Permanent Secretary of Justice and Legal Affairs, Deputy Attorney-General (Crime) and the director of human resources.
Earlier, Tomana had written to the Ziloa executive demanding that they, within seven days, write to him justifying why he could not stop them from practising as public prosecutors.
However, the Ziloa leadership, through its lawyer Harrison Nkomo, scoffed at Tomana’s threats, arguing his inquiry had no foundation at law.
The development has set the stage for a bruising legal battle between the AG and Ziloa.
On October 4, Ziloa urged its membership to go on strike to press for a salary hike and better working conditions.
This was after their employer, the PSC, had failed to address their plight within 14 days.
A Ziloa executive member who declined to be named said they would contest Tomana’s decision in court.