By Mthulisi Mathuthu
SW Radio Africa
10 April 2014
Parliament this week questioned why Prosecutor General Johannes Tomana continued to act as the Attorney General (AG) when the two roles are supposed to be independent of each other, NewsDay reported Thursday.
According to the newspaper, deputy AG Kumbirai Hodzi told the human rights parliamentary committee on Wednesday that Tomana was playing both roles since President Mugabe has not yet appointed a substantive AG. Hodzi appeared before the committee on behalf of Tomana to speak on the functions of the National Prosecution Authority (NPA).
The committee felt that it was wrong for Tomana to play both roles because the AG is a member of the executive who sits in both cabinet and Parliament and yet the NPA is supposed to be an independent body.
Hodzi reportedly said the separation of the two roles is still ongoing. He said the NPA ‘will be a stand-alone and independent office which will not be subject to any authority when it comes to prosecutorial decisions.’ However Hodzi said the NPA might consult the ministry of justice on policy issues and will be accountable to Parliament.
Human rights lawyer Chris Mhike said Tomana’s dual role perpetuates the impression that people are not appointed to such positions on the basis of merit. He said: ‘If it was a question of merit surely there are many Zimbabweans who are qualified and competent enough to play either of the two roles that Tomana is playing.’
Mhike added: ‘Human beings were made to do a certain amount of work and if one person is given two roles they are bound to be incompetent on either one of the two or on both.’
Since his appointment as AG in 2008 and subsequently, as PG last year, Tomana has been criticized as a ZANU PF functionary. He is accused of applying the law selectively by routinely prosecuting opposition figures and human rights activists while turning a blind eye to ZANU PF people.
A fortnight ago Tomana claimed that it was right to support ZANU PF, telling his critics to prove that he was biased against the opposition.