Zimbabwe: PG's Appointment Challenge Finally Kicks Off

President Emmerson Mnangagwa swears in Prosecutor-General Kumbirai Hodzi at State House in Harare (file photo).
10 October 2019

A Harare lawyer's Constitutional Court (ConCourt) bid to force President Emmerson Mnangagwa's appointment of Kumbirai Hodzi as Prosecutor General has finally kicked off Wednesday.

Joshua Chirambwe the applicant in the matter is arguing Hodzi's appointment was ultra-vires the country's Supreme law.

Chirambwe's lawyer, Advocate Thabani Mpofu told the ConCourt bench headed by Justice Paddington Garwe that President Mnangagwa failed to adhere to Constitutional provisions and rejected qualified candidates without cause.

"There was creation of a further list which was done in circumstances contrary to the law," said Mpofu.

"The first respondent (Mnangagwa) sought to influence the decision of the Judicial Services Commission (JSC).

"He (Mnangagwa) appointed a person who disqualified himself during the public interview by announcing that he is not prepared to be independent but to take instructions from the executive," Mpofu further submitted.

In the application, Mnangagwa, the JSC, Chief Justice Luke Malaba, Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi and Hodzi are cited as respondents.

It is Chirambwe's claims that Hodzi is not fit for the top prosecutorial job, adding that his appointment, which was marred by controversy, must therefore, be declared null and void.

"The interviews were conducted in full public glare 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 PG.

"It was there for all to see. The commissioners scored him so badly (that) 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 in his founding affidavit.

In response F Chimbari who was representing Mnangagwa and Ziyambi challenged the allegations and told the full bench that Chirambwe did not support his arguments with any evidence.

Chimbari also submitted that Mnangagwa had discretion to appoint a PG of his choice.

"The applicant must establish facts which establish failure to adhere to Constitutional provisions by the first and fourth (Mnangagwa and Ziyambi). This has not been done," she said.

"The basis of the alleged failure is based in speculations . Criteria for rejecting a list is not set out in the Constitution."

Chimbari added: "Surely, the President cannot be called upon to give reasons why there was a second list when the Constitution does not call for him to do so."

Hodzi was one of the several candidates who took part in public interviews last year following the dismissal of Ray Goba.

Ruling on the matter was yet to be made.

Other 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 with Mantsebo, Chinyoka and Hogwe, emerging the top three.

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