ACTING Prosecutor-General Ray Goba yesterday struggled to fend off his previous conviction on charges of obstruction of justice in Namibia in 2002 and prove to the interview panel that he was suitable for the vacant post.
By PAIDAMOYO MUZULU
Goba was among seven candidates interviewed yesterday by the Judicial Service Commission to replace Johannes Tomana, who was fired by President Robert Mugabe in June for incompetence and misconduct.
The other six are Charles Chinyama, Misheck Hogwe, Wilson Manase, Tecler Mapota, Peter Mafunda and Florence Ziyambi.
Goba said the conviction was an unfortunate incident that should not have happened in the first place and was never regarded as serious by the Namibian authorities, who kept him on his job as director of public prosecutions.
“I cannot judge for myself how much weight the conviction should be accorded,” he said.
“The conviction arose out of a minor road traffic offence and the Namibian authorities did not consider it serious, as they did not dismiss me from employment, but went on to promote me not once, but twice after the conviction.”
Chief Justice Luke Malaba, Justice Happious Zhou and commissioner Lloyd Mhishi were not satisfied and continued with that line of questioning.
“How do you think the commission should decide on you being a fit and proper person to be the Prosecutor-General after this conviction?” Justice Malaba questioned.
Goba responded: “I believe that a reasonable person would look at the matter in a reasonable manner and not with an armchair view.
“It is a blot on my white piece of paper. I was a victim of a grave injustice.”
He described himself as an experienced lawyer with a great vision for the National Prosecuting Authority.
Goba spoke on the need to align laws with the Constitution, increase the budget allocation for better conditions of service for the authority’s employees and the need to have degreed prosecutors.
Another candidate, Chinyama, had a torrid time trying to convince the commission that he was suitable for the office, despite having 14 unprofessional conduct complaints against him at the Law Society of Zimbabwe.
Among the allegations against Chinyama are that he failed to represent clients after being paid, failed to pay his associates and had a relationship with a female client in a divorce case.
Chinyama, after 19 years in private practice mainly centred on criminal law, does not have a single reported case in the law reports.
The commission was still to interview Misheck Hogwe, Wilson Manase, Tecler Mapota, Peter Mafunda and Florence Ziyambi late in the day.