President’s rescinding of the appointment of Ray Goba as Prosecutor-General: Breach of the Constitution or not?

Background

Following public interviews before the Judicial Services Commission for a new Prosecutor General, Raymond Goba was appointed in September 2017. Barely two months later, an Extraordinary Government Gazette his appointment. The first report that Mr Goba’s appointment might be reversed appeared less than a week following his appointment. Indications were that Dr Misheck Sibanda had blundered in releasing the appointment, and his conduct was “irregular and unauthorised”, and that the appointment was “null and void”. The reports were that “there was manipulation and doctoring of the JSC [Judicial Service Commission] recommendations leading to the hurried gazetting of Goba’s name without the usual security clearance required in such high-profile constitutional appointments. The security clearances are done by the Central Intelligence Organisation”. Additionally, unconfirmed reports are that Raymond Goba did not receive any appointment letter.

This afternoon, High Court Judge Justice Priscilla Chigumba will 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. 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.

But, lawyer Musa Kika beleives that there is no unconstitutionality or a breach of administrative justice in the conduct of the President in reversing the appointment of Mr Ray Goba. The removal process stipulated by the Constitution does not kick-in as Mr Goba had not assumed office before he was removed. Mr Goba continues to hold office now in an acting capacity – a capacity for which he took oath of office. The President can now appoint from the existing candidates from the list of three that he was given by the JSC. If he is not happy with that list, the President can request the JSC to supply another list. The latter would necessitate holding fresh interviews.

Read Musa Kika’s full opinion on the matter here

Source: Musa Kika

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