Zanu PF lawyer guns for Mnangagwa

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa’s lawyer in the just-concluded presidential election challenge, Advocate Lewis Uriri, yesterday challenged the Zanu PF leader’s authority to appoint a special anti-corruption investigative unit, saying it was illegal for him to just wake up and appoint a government crack unit without an Act of Parliament, arguing such action was clear abuse of his duty.

BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE

Uriri recently successfully represented Mnangagwa at the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) against a petition filed by MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa, who was seeking to overturn the Zanu PF leader’s victory in the July 30 election.

Addressing Harare magistrate Lazini Ncube, where he was representing suspended University of Zimbabwe (UZ) vice-chancellor Levi Nyagura in a criminal abuse of office charge, Uriri also said the prosecutors seconded by the Office of the President to handle the matter were before the court illegally.

The National Prosecution Authority had seconded Tapiwa Godzi and Mikel Chakandida, who are in private practice and were recently incorporated into the anti-corruption special unit housed in the Office of the President.

While challenging their presence in court, Uriri said it was a clear violation of the Constitution to have the prosecutors who directly report to the President, saying this compromises the administration of justice.

“These prosecutors take instruction from the State President. They do not report to Prosecutor-General. The President woke up one morning and said I am putting a commission or a special unit, that is fundamentally a breach of the Constitution of Zimbabwe,” Uriri said.

“It is an abuse of power for other purposes not known to us. If there is going to be a conferment of prosecutors who are not from the Prosecution Authority, such power must be by Act of Parliament.”

“These learned colleagues are subject to control by the Office of the President. The role of public prosecutor lies at the centre of the constitutional right to a fair trial. If they are employed by the Office of the President, are they going to be fair? Obviously they are going to please their appointing authority, who is the President.”

Uriri asked the court for referral of the matter to the ConCourt to determine whether the granting of certificates to private lawyers by the National Prosecuting Authority did not violate the constitutional rights of the accused person’s right to equal protection under the law.

“Prosecutorial independence lies at the heart to constitutional right to a fair trial. The public prosecutor is intended by the Constitution to be independent, impartial and not subject to the direct or control of someone,” he said.


Uriri further told the court that acting Prosecutor-General Kumbirai Hodzi had no authority to issue prosecuting certificates, as it amounted to wilful violation of the Constitution.

But Godzi said Uriri should have challenged the special prosecutor’s presence during the remand period.

“Uriri should have challenged our presence during the remand time. We even issued him with all court documents to prepare his client’s defence. All witnesses have been given their papers. Your worship, it is just a ploy to delay the proceedings,” Godzi told the court.

Ncube postponed the matter to today for ruling.

Allegations are that sometime in 2011, Nyagura singlehandedly accepted and approved Ntombizodwa Grace Marufu’s (Grace’s maiden name) application to study for a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Sociology without the knowledge and recommendations of the departmental board and Faculty of Higher Degrees Committee in violation of UZ quality assurance, guidelines and benchmark.

Nyagura allegedly abused his position after showing favour to Grace, who did not meet the minimum requirements to study for the degree. It is alleged Nyagura’s action had the capacity to discredit Zimbabwe’s education system, thereby affecting its international rankings.

14 Comments

  1. Although Uriri won the case he is no match for Mpofu and the soft spoken Kanengoni

  2. Comment…Ndiyaniko anonyatsoziva DOz & DON’Ts?

  3. These are the symptoms and results of a president and government suffering from a severe legitimacy crisis. Barely a month ago Uriri was defending ZANU PF and ED now he says there is abuse of office and corruption. This is what MDC Alliance’s Chamisa and Thabani Mpofu said then and are still saying now. From Uriri’s observations it shows that ZANU PF has since mutated from a liberation movement into some self serving monster.

    1. Do you even understand how lawyers work in the first place. Its very normal in a democratic that a lawyer can represent you against person A in one case and then tomorrow he can represent person A against you as long its a different case. Its strictly business.

      1. True tht but its absurd to challenge and try to rectify today the very same thing tht you were in support of just a week ago,which you knew and damn sure know that its not legit,it just lacks legitimacy on his part,he is just a devil advocate

        1. But Thabani MPOFU did the same by representing Mnangagwa in the Supreme Court in December 2017 and then Chamisa in August 2018, so wha

  4. In a Court lawyers advance arguements but it does not mean the arguements are correct. A person in private practice may be issued with a certificate to prosecute a case by the Prosecutor General, a case in point is the Kereke case in which Warara, a private lawyer prosecuted. Newsday potayi muchitumira vanhu vane knowledge yeLaw kuma Courts because you end up misleading people. Those prosecutors obviously have practising certificates and were authorized by the PG. The PG is appointed by the President so why can he not listen to the authority of the President?

    1. The PG is appointed by the president bcoz someone is supposed to carry out the task of appointing. He however is required by the constituion to be independent and this means not listening to anyone including the president.

  5. I think Uriri is regreting representing ED. He is now seeing what everyone was seeing.

  6. But how on earth does SAME law efficiently meet contradictory political and justice ends?

  7. Uriri never won the case the verdict was known already those judges never took any effort in that case. They had an understanding with ED before the day. That uriri guy never addressed the relevant questions like why more votes for the president as compared to MPs in the absence of forms stating that some voters voted for the president only, why votes exceeded the ceilings of registered voters, some votes cannot be traced to constituencies resulting in ghost polling stations, why the voters turnout was more within one hour as compared to the bigger part of the day. The list is endless. The issue of primary evidence from adjusted data even by 1% as they claim is not strong enough to ignore the truth. We are not foolish

  8. There were not arguments at all these judges had and understanding with ED period. There is God in Heaven who is Malaba before God. This what he deed before the Zimbabwean will is against him before and he will not be the judge before God. God is the only incorruptable judge who not take bribe from anyone even from the so called heads of states. Uchazoifunga nguva iyoyi waroyerwa mwana nemuroyi wawakarwira. Muroyi haapembedzwi. Kudenga kuna Mwari

  9. Yes, we know it is business but what do they want people to think?

  10. To me this could be a stage management to achieve certain goals like sanitising independence of Zim courts. Remember uriri is good at staging such dramas. He may be colluding with some high office to achieve such. Let’s watch the space. If courts accept his argument then my theory is confirmed

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