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Tomana faces axe

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MDC-T is seeking to establish an independent prosecuting authority to clip current Attorney-General (AG) Johannes Tomana’s wings.

Tomana is accused of being biased towards Zanu PF.

The MDC-T made the resolution at its national council meeting over the weekend to push for the establishment of an independent board to ensure impartiality.

Tomana, who remains one of the many outstanding issues in the Global Political Agreement, has voiced his support for the former ruling Zanu PF party.

The MDC-T accused Tomana of bias by “persecuting” instead of prosecuting party activists who in many cases, were cleared by the courts.

The party said it was annoyed by the AG’s presence at Zanu PF gatherings which greatly compromised his position.

MDC-T secretary-general Tendai Biti confirmed the party was pushing for Tomana’s ouster by forming the independent board aimed at keeping the AG’s Office in check.

Among other resolutions, the MDC-T resolved all public service institutions should be apolitical arguing in the present set-up, Home Affairs and Defence ministers had no power over the police and the army as the latter report directly to President Robert Mugabe.

“We resolved that we need depoliticisation of public service institutions. As it stands, the ministers of Home Affairs and Defence have no power over their ministries. Mnangagwa has no power over the army and the only power he can use is that of his superiority in Zanu PF to which army bosses subscribe,” Biti said.

He said the new constitution should also include multiple or dual citizenship guarantees and respect the fundamental principle of devolution within a unitary State.

Biti also attacked police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri and Tomana, and called for the immediate release of party activists among them youth assembly chairperson Solomon Madzore, Pheneas Nhatarikwa, Councillor Tungamirai Madzokera, Yvonne Musarurwa, Rebecca Mafukeni, Lazarus Maengahama, Stanford Maengahama and Stanford Mangwiro among others.

The MDC-T activists were arrested and are being held in remand prison for allegedly killing police Inspector Petros Mutedza early this year.

“The party notes with irony that while no stone has been left unturned with regards to the arrests and harassment of MDC activists including Madzore, the perpetrators of the June violence — never mind the perpetrators of Gukurahundi — have not been prosecuted.

“The party condemns the actions and unequivocally calls upon police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri and the Attorney-General to take immediate action and to apply the law evenly and equally.

“The party therefore demands the immediate release of arrested cadres.”

Yesterday, Justice deputy minister Obert Gutu said: “An independent and impartial prosecuting authority is the bedrock of every efficient, fair and impartial criminal justice delivery system.

“Such an authority should be in the Constitution in order to guarantee its independence and impartiality. The main challenge with the present system in Zimbabwe is the chronic deficit of impartiality and fairness, particularly in politically sensitive matters. We have to develop a culture of respect for the rule of law, benchmarked by the enforcement of fundamental individual rights like freedom of association and expression.”

Gutu blamed the AG’s Office for persecuting MDC-T activists.

“MDC-T activists have been persecuted instead of being prosecuted. Just look at the examples of Elton Mangoma, Jameson Timba, Shua Mudiwa, Amos Chibaya and many others. All these people have been cleared by the courts, surely proving that there was something fundamentally wrong with the manner in which the decision to prosecute was reached,” he said.

“We are more concerned about the independence and impartiality of the AG’s Office. Our argument is not about strengthening personalities, but rather, about strengthening and capacitating institutions that will ensure the dispensation of an efficient, fair and impartial criminal justice delivery system.”

Recently, whistleblower website WikiLeaks quoted the then Justice deputy minister Jessie Majome claiming Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa regarded Tomana lowly because of the “clumsy manner and legal incompetence his Office often demonstrated”.

Majome told US Embassy staff Tomana attended Zanu PF caucus meetings, which was wrong as he was supposed to be a non-political player.

Repeated attempts to get comment from both Tomana and Chinamasa were fruitless as their mobile phones went unanswered.

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