Zimbabwe rights groups notes with approval the implementation of the long overdue separation of the functions of the Attorney General and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). This is a good practice that will allow for increased public scrutiny of, and accountability for, the actions of the prosecutorial authority.
The new Constitution of Zimbabwe sets out a clear procedure for the appointment of a Prosecutor-General. It includes advertising the post, allowing public nominations, and requiring public interviews of prospective candidates. This enhances the transparency of the appointment process, whilst contributing to ensuring the credibility and professionalism of the nominees through scrutiny of their record of service and past conduct.
Mr. Johannes Tomana was sworn in as the Prosecutor-General (the head of the NPA) on Wednesday 13 November 2013. By operation of transitional provisions in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution, the current Attorney General becomes the Prosecutor General without operation of the previously outlined requirements. Mr. Tomana has therefore been saved and shielded from the constitutionally mandated process of public scrutiny, which is regrettable.
ZLHR will nevertheless continue to monitor how the Prosecutor-General carries out his mandated functions as he is constitutionally obliged not to act in a partisan manner; not to further the interests of any one political party or cause; not to prejudice the lawful interests of any other political party or cause; not to be an active member of any political party; and not to violate the fundamental rights or freedoms of any person.
We further expect the political neutrality of the Prosecutor-General and the officers in the NPA to be urgently legislated by way of an Act of Parliament as part of the harmonisation of laws with the new Constitution, as this is a critical issue which is in the national interest and which will improve public confidence in the justice delivery system- Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.