Harare lawyer challenges PG’s appointment

BY CHARLES LAITON

A HARARE lawyer, Joshua Chirambwe, has petitioned the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) seeking the nullification of Kumbirai Hodzi’s appointment as the substantive Prosecutor-General (PG).

Chirambwe’s application comes barely a fortnight after a similar application was also filed by a local man Simbarashe Zuze.

However, Zuze’s matter was eventually struck off the roll after being deemed abandoned, but his lawyer, advocate Thabani Mpofu, said his client was still pursuing the matter.

In the current application, President Emmerson Mnangagwa, the Judicial Services Commission (JSC), Chief Justice Luke Malaba, Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi and Hodzi are cited as respondents.

In his founding affidavit, Chirambwe said Hodzi was not fit for the top prosecutorial job, adding his appointment, which was marred with controversy, must be declared null and void.

“The interviews were conducted in full glare (of the public) and the fact that fifth respondent (Hodzi) had a torrid time is known to all who cared to follow that process. To me it was clear that he had shown that he was clearly disqualified from being appointed to the position of Prosecutor-General. It was there for all to see. The commissioners scored him so badly. At the end of the day, he sat at the bottom of the pile. He was clearly and effectively out of the reckoning,” Chirambwe said.

“For the good of my country, I celebrated. It felt so good that the Constitution had come up with this transparent process. The President could not, in terms of the Constitution, appoint a person ill-suited for the job simply because he liked him. I thought we had turned a corner. I legitimately expected that at the end of it all, cream would rise to the top and merit rewarded.”

Hodzi was part of the several candidates who took part in public interviews last year when the country did not have a substantive PG following the resignation of advocate Ray Goba.

Some of the candidates who participated in the interviews were Calvin Mantsebo, Tinomudaishe Chinyoka, Misheck Hogwe, Jessie Majome, Justice Maphios Cheda, Wendy Chingeya, Florence Ziyambi, Edios Marondedza and Noria Mashumba.

Mantsebo, Chinyoka and Hogwe, emerged the top three.

“Fifth respondent (Hodzi) had failed the interview and could not have made that list or any other list that could be produced. But he made it! Such strange happenings have no place in a constitutional set up and must be banished therefrom,” the court was told.

“The three gentlemen whose names were rejected passed on competence. They passed on merit, but failed on politics. The approach taken by the first respondent completely turns constitutional ideals on their head and represents a total negation of those ideals to which those wielding public office must aspire.”

The matter is pending.

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