PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe is in a dilemma on how to deal with Prosecutor-General-in-waiting, Ray Goba, who is yet to take the oath of office almost a month after his appointment through an Extraordinary Government Gazette.
BY BLESSED MHLANGA
Mugabe is reportedly under political pressure to withdraw his decision to appoint Goba, who is seen as sympathetic to Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa. But the 93-year-old leader is said to be in a quandary on how to act without violating the Constitution.
Constitutional law expert, Lovemore Madhuku said Mugabe could not stand in Goba’s way without breaching the Constitution.
“Goba was appointed the PG and he is now the PG. What he awaits is being sworn in and Mugabe cannot refuse to swear in a person he appointed without breaching the Constitution. If he is to do that, it would be a direct constitutional breach. If the President feels he made a mistake, he has to swallow his pride and learn to live with his mistake,” he said.
Madhuku said Goba can now only be removed from office for gross incompetence or incapacity arising from health, but incompetence cannot arise before he has assumed office.
Midlands State University law lecturer, Valentine Mutatu said Mugabe has no option, but to swear in Goba.
“After the gazetting, I believe he can only be fired through a constitutionally-appointed tribunal. The gazetting is a confirmation that he satisfied the requirements of the Constitution,” he said.
But former Justice deputy minister Obert Gutu was of a different view, saying, while a climbdown by Mugabe would expose the President to ridicule, there was no real legal challenge.
“It will be an embarrassing administrative boob to gazette the PG’s appointment and then refuse to swear him into office, but legally, Goba hasn’t been sworn in as the PG. Section 259 (6) of the Constitution provides that before taking office, the PG must take, before the President or a person authorised by the President, the oath of office in the form set out in the Third Schedule. Goba has not yet taken this oath of office and as such, he is, technically, not yet the PG. At this juncture, Goba is not the PG and as such, there is not even need to talk about him being fired because he is not yet the PG,” he said.