Bikita West MP Munyaradzi Kereke’s bid to avoid standing in the dock on charges of raping his relative’s then 11-year-old daughter at gunpoint, continued to suffer major blows, with Attorney-General (AG) Prince Machaya adding his voice in calling for the legislator’s prosecution.
BY CHARLES LAITON
Unlike Prosecutor-General (PG) Johannes Tomana, who had been trying to protect Kereke until the intervention of the Constitutional Court, which slapped him with a 30-day jail term for defying a court order, the AG’s Office has, instead, castigated Kereke for trying to avoid justice.
“This matter has been dragging for several years, with the applicant making frantic efforts to clutch at every straw to avoid prosecution in whatever manner and the present application, is one of his latest efforts. But it must fail on the basis that he has no locus standi,” the AG’s Office said in its court papers filed with the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) yesterday.
Since the allegations of rape arose sometime in October 2010, Kereke made frantic efforts to thwart his prosecution by filing several court applications most of which have been dismissed by the courts.
Two weeks ago, the Zanu PF MP lost his bid seeking permanent stay of prosecution at the ConCourt after the latter declined to entertain his application, but chose to deal with Tomana’s contempt of court charges instead.
Immediately after Tomana issued a certificate of private prosecution to the girl’s guardian, Francis Maramwidze, Kereke rushed to the ConCourt and filed yet another application arguing the section under which the certificate had been granted violated the PG’s constitutional right. He was granted an interdict in chambers stopping criminal proceedings.
But, Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku yesterday told Kereke’s lawyers, advocates Lewis Uriri and Webster Chinamora, that the interdict had been granted on the basis that his application was scheduled to be heard and finalised by end of day yesterday.
Justice Chidyausiku’s remarks followed another application by Kereke to have the matter postponed in order to enable him to file another set of heads of argument after realising the AG’s Office had urged the court to dismiss his application.
However, his application was granted but with a costly price: “The court unanimously made the following order: Application for postponement is granted upon the following conditions: (1) The registrar is directed to set this matter down for hearing on the earliest available date next term; (2) The order staying criminal proceedings pending determination of this matter be and is hereby discharged,” Justice Chidyausiku said.
The AG’s Office also filed an affidavit opposing Kereke’s application, arguing he had no locus standi to file an application challenging the constitutionality of a law on behalf of Tomana.
“It is humbly submitted that the applicant (Kereke) does not at all have that legal standing at law to bring the present application. The provisions of section 85 of the Constitution, which would ordinarily confer locus standi on him are clear, they do not cover him,” AG’s representative, Olivia Zvedi submitted in her response on behalf of Machaya, Tomana and the Minister of Justice.
Zvedi further said since Kereke had brought the application on the basis that section 16 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence (CP&E) Act compromised the independence of the PG, no right that related to him personally had been infringed.
“Applicant, who is a suspected person, does not have an interest of a legal nature which is sufficient to create a locus standi on his behalf. He has no prosecutorial powers and he cannot therefore argue that section 16 of the CP&E Act violates his rights to equal protection and benefit of the law.”
Commenting after the proceedings, Charles Warara, who is representing Maramwidze, said: “We will now approach the prosecution at the magistrates’ court for a set-down date to have the matter tried. I think we will have the matter before Christmas this year.”