#PGSaga: Zim Court reinstates Goba and interdicts JSC from conducting interviews for appointment of new PG

HIGH Court Judge Justice Priscilla Chigumba on Wednesday 22 November 2017 interdicted the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) from proceeding with conducting interviews for the appointment of a new Prosecutor-General (PG) and ordered that Advocate Ray Goba remains appointed as PG.

Justice Chigumba ruled that the purported rescission of the appointment of Advocate Goba cannot be termed a bona fide exercise of constitutional duty.

ZLHR on Wednesday 01 November 2017 filed an urgent chamber application seeking an order to interdict President Robert Mugabe and the JSC from instituting any processes for the appointment of a Prosecutor General (PG) to replace Advocate Goba.

This came after 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 This notice repealed the General Notice 493 of 2017 issued through an Extraordinary Government Gazette.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 through the urgent chamber application, ZLHR, which instructed Advocate Eric Matinenga to argue the matter on its behalf, petitioned 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.

In a founding affidavit, ZLHR Executive Director Roselyn Hanzi, argued that the organisation 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).

But Justice Chigumba on Wednesday 22 November 2017 ruled that President Mugabe was obliged to
give reasons for the removal of Advocate Goba and could not get a second bite of the cherry after the
process provided in terms of section 180(2) of the Constitution.

The High Court Judge interdicted the JSC from proceeding with process for the appointment of a PG and ordered that Advocate Goba should remain in office until final determination of the matter.

Source: Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights

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