There was widespread excitement when the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) sentenced Prosecutor-General Johannes Tomana to a suspended 30-day sentence and ordered him to issue a certificate of prosecution to a family that wants Bikita West legislator Munyaradzi Kereke charged for rape.
The excitement reached delirium levels when it was reported that the certificates had finally been issued, only to be tempered by revelations Kereke has approached the ConCourt to have execution of the matter stayed.
While Kereke has every right to approach the courts, the manner in which Tomana acted in trying to block his trial and the way the legislator is acting in approaching the courts to have the matter stayed are the hallmarks of a person with something to hide.
We are not convicting Kereke, but rather saying if he has nothing to hide and is innocent, then let the courts prove that his accusers are lying rather than seek to avoid prosecution.
As the maxim states, one is innocent until proven guilty and the onus now is on that family to prove Kereke’s guilt, while he has the benefit of the doubt.
In the court of public opinion, Kereke and Tomana’s efforts only help to feed into conspiracies that he wants to avoid trial because he may be guilty.
It is imperative that Kereke demands his day in court over the rape matter and clears his name, rather than use a technicality of the ConCourt.
Even if the ConCourt were to stay the prosecution and strike off the law that allows private prosecutions, as wanted by Kereke and Tomana, the reality is that the legislator will always carry the stigma of a rape accused, who escaped by technicality rather than by innocence.
The rape accusations have been in the public domain for the best part of five years now and the longer Kereke does not clear his name, the more his image is sullied by the allegations.
It is in his best interests to put finality on the matter and a ConCourt application will not do that.
Questions will also be asked on the relationship between Tomana and Kereke, as the Prosecutor-General was at the receiving end of a tongue-lashing from High Court judge Justice Nicholas Mathonsi over another matter.
Mathonsi questioned circumstances in which Tomana had refused to oppose an appeal by former Zupco board chairman Charles Nherera, which had the import of clearing him of a guilty verdict.
The judge pointed out the relationship between the two, and the circumstances that led to the then Attorney-General literally allowing Nherera to be cleared of the charges, saying this left a lot to be desired.
The latest case raises questions why Tomana did not want Kereke prosecuted, whether by the State or privately.
These two episodes only help to amplify calls for the removal of Tomana as the Prosecutor-General and we urge him to either say his side of the story or resign.
It is time Kereke took his own medicine, if he is innocent, the courts will clear him and that will end all speculation about the incident.
On the other hand, if he is guilty, then justice must be seen to be done.