High Court to hear ZLHR’s petition to interdict Mugabe and JSC from removing Goba from serving as PG

HIGH Court Judge Justice Priscilla Chigumba will on Friday 03 November preside over the hearing of an urgent chamber application filed by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) seeking an order to interdict President Robert Mugabe and the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) from instituting any processes for the appointment of a Prosecutor General (PG) to replace Advocate Ray Goba.

President Mugabe on Friday 27 October 2017 reversed the appointment of Advocate Goba as the country’s PG through an Extraordinary Government Gazette, General Notice 642 of 2017, issued and signed by Misheck Sibanda, the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet on Friday 27 October 2017. This notice repealed the General Notice 493 of 2017 issued through an Extraordinary Government Gazette.

But in an urgent chamber application filed on Wednesday 01 November 2017 and which will be heard on Friday 03 November 2017 at 2:30 PM, ZLHR wants the High Court to interdict President Mugabe and the JSC from removing or in any other way interfere with Advocate Goba’s constitutional appointment without following the removal from office procedures provided for in Section (259)(7) of the Constitution.

ZLHR argued that according to media reports published on 01 November 2017, the JSC is scheduled to meet on 02 November 2017 to reconsider the process for the appointment of the new PG, notwithstanding the fact that Advocate Goba has not been validly removed from office.

In a founding affidavit filed together with the urgent chamber application and signed by ZLHR Executive Director Roselyn Hanzi, the human rights organisation argued that it has a direct and substantial interest in the obedience and observance of the provisions of the Constitution by all individuals and organs bound by it and that the Constitution is the supreme law of Zimbabwe and every conduct inconsistent with it is invalid to the extent of the inconsistency.

The human rights organisation contended that the PG can only be removed from office by President Mugabe upon the advice of a tribunal set up in terms of section 187 of the Constitution and that the Constitution does not provide another different route that can be followed to remove the PG from office.

Hanzi argued that the purported reversal of Advocate Goba’s appointment through a government gazette is unlawful, ultra vires provisions of the Constitution in addition to being in breach of provisions of the Administrative Justice Act (Chapter 10:28).

ZLHR wants the High Court to issue an order declaring that the government gazette extraordinary notice number 642 of 2017 published on Friday 27 October 2017 purporting to repeal government gazette number 493 of 2017 invalid and of no legal force and effect.

The human rights organisation is also seeking an order declaring that the government gazette extraordinary notice number 642 of 2017 does not have any legal effect on the appointment of Advocate Goba as the PG of Zimbabwe duly appointed through government gazette number 493 of 2017 published on 13 September 2017.

ZLHR also wants the High Court to direct President Mugabe to administer the prescribed oath of office on Advocate Goba failing which the oath of office he took on 07 July 2016 as Acting PG, be confirmed as being sufficient for his appointment to the substantive position of PG.

In addition, ZLHR also wants the High Court to interdict President Mugabe and the JSC from removing or in any other way interfere with Advocate Goba’s constitutional appointment without following the removal from office procedures provided for in Section (259)(7) of the Constitution.

ZLHR wants Advocate Goba to remain in office until the final determination of the matter.

Source: Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights

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